March 10, 2014 |
Black, white, pink . . . I just wanted to see smoke. It was March 13, 2013. I was in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City awaiting smoke, smoke that would signal a new pope, or no new pope, or, maybe, a colorful statement by Catholic women protesters. Little had I imagined four months earlier when I booked my first Road Scholar trip that a pope would resign in February, and then a conclave would convene, and then the eyes of the world would be on the Eternal City the very week I was there.
March 5, 2014 |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - One of the first names out of Ryne Sandberg's mouth yesterday afternoon was that of a 36-year-old who has tallied more than 100 major league plate appearances in a season four times, 200 major league plate appearances in a season twice, and who has a frame that looks more like a utility infielder's. Meet Wil Nieves, the Phillies' backup catcher, a man who might print his resume in landscape mode, its breadth far exceeding its depth. A veteran of eight organizations, two of which never promoted him to the major leagues, the 5-11, 190-pound Puerto Rican player signed a $1.125 million contract to replace Erik Kratz as Carlos Ruiz' understudy behind the plate this season.
March 3, 2014 |
Nearly every year that my brother and I can remember, my parents took us on family vacations. These began as simple trips to Pennsylvania attractions only an hour or two away from home, but as my brother and I grew older, our destination list expanded to include places in California, Arizona, and Europe. The trip to Hawaii this winter was our final family vacation together. My brother finished college in December and was searching for his first professional job. I was enjoying the last extended winter break I would have before completing my sixth and final semester of law school.
February 25, 2014 |
"It's a waste of time and nothing good will come of it!" Before Thursday night, I would have agreed with that attitude toward an adult who was adopted as a child into a healthy, welcoming family and who late in life decided to seek out his "real" parents. Eric Conger's Beautiful Boy proved me wrong. Now in its world premiere at the Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio on 3, Conger's exquisitely constructed, moving play begins with Bill Moore (Jeff Coon) attending the funeral of the woman who raised him. Recently unemployed, he decides at 49 to find his birth parents, and hopes to discover himself.
February 24, 2014 |
I circle the Las Vegas airport for an hour waiting for my brother, who is flying in from Philly. When he finally emerges there's no time for a hug; the traffic controller is yelling. Driving the Strip to our hotel, seeing all the lights, I can feel the pressure of Vegas. But it's midnight and he's tired and hungry. So am I. We find an off-strip casino-steakhouse. My brother, who is three years younger, insists on paying for the meal. I order a burger. He tries to order the prime rib. They are out of the prime rib. He orders chicken.
February 17, 2014 |
My twin sister contacted me in early 2013 with a proposal: "We are going to celebrate our 66th birthday in Salthill, Galway, Ireland. " She had lived in Salthill for two years and the people and place had entranced her. She rented an apartment on the Promenade in Salthill. The "Prom" is a walkway along the Galway Bay and beaches. Salthill is to the Irish as the Jersey Shore is to Philadelphians. There are a couple of casinos, a bingo hall, an aquarium, and many restaurants and cafes.
February 10, 2014 |
When I felt the plane lift off from Philadelphia International Airport, I knew I was embarking on an incredible adventure. My destination was Milan, Italy, where I would begin my semester abroad. Little did I know that a weekend trip to Africa would be in my future. On April 29, 2013, my friends and I boarded a plane to Marrakech, Morocco, for one exciting, moving weekend. I fell in love with Marrakech: its beautiful, charming people, the endless piles of dried fruits, nuts, and spices, the warm, soothing scents emanating from tea stands, the gorgeous, colorful lanterns lighting every roof.
February 2, 2014 |
We'd been planning the trip since Lauren was 7, soon after I heard about the Sweet 16 parties South Jersey parents threw for their girls. Elaborate occasions with multi-course meals, tributes, and even a first dance with Dad seemed more fitting for a bride than for an adolescent's coming-of-age. Soon after my own 16th birthday, I'd left home for a summer tour of Europe. I couldn't re-create that life-altering trip for Lauren, but I wanted to at least give her a taste of it. The idea came when I'd married her father 10 months after relocating from the West Coast to join his family.
January 27, 2014 |
I stopped for a moment on a curve of the switchback trail in Bryce Canyon, Utah. My fellow hikers had vanished from sight around the next bend, and I stood alone in complete silence. It was an eerie silence I had never experienced before: not a whisper of breeze, not a rustle of tree leaf, no human voice, no trickle of water. For that brief moment, I felt alone in the world. Suddenly, a single sound broke the spell: It was the call of the canyon wren that I had been waiting to hear for the first time.