Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Confession

There are still many moments (probably more than I should admit to) when I catch myself thinking "Oh, she's going to love this..." right before I remember I cannot call her. I can talk to her (and I do, probably also more than I should admit) but I really cannot describe how sad it is not to be able to share everyday things with my girl.

So, I am going to occasionally foist them on you throw them out into the blogosphere instead. First up is Thanksgiving Related News She Would Have Loved: I found a Pilgrim in our family tree. An honest-to-goodness Mayflower-Compact-Signing Pilgrim (two really, if you count his Excommunicated-from-the-Church-of-England Separatist Pilgrim Wife, which we do).

Really, this would have tickled her funny bone and made her extremely proud, all at the same time. Straight-laced Puritans! Rebellious Roots! Seventeen generations from the Mayflower to My Girl. Fun Stuff.

Brittany Alaina Harbuck
14th Great Granddaughter of James Chilton, Signer of the Mayflower Compact

[Note: There are now an estimated 30 million Mayflower Descendants wandering the globe. We regret we cannot invite all of them to dinner.]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fragments & Flowers

Occasionally, I stumble on a quote that really resonates. Today it was this one:

“There is a beginning and an ending for everything that is alive. In between is living.”

From Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

I like it. Also, these:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Remembering Kandy

The night I met Kandy Sims she earned a permanent place in my heart. I didn't expect and I wouldn't have bet on it, but it happened.

It was the fall of 2007, and the freshman dorms had just opened at SCAD. Kandy and her husband, Mike, had spent the day moving their son into his home-away-from-home. The Sims are a musical family, so after the unpacking was finished and the teenager made it clear he didn't need them to hang around, Kandy and Mike headed for River Street to check out the local acts. Chance brought them into the Bayou where Dave was on stage. I wish I could remember how we started talking, but I don't. Bars are crowded and loud and I am used to fielding questions about Dave (I'm With The Band), handing out business cards, and occasionally booking gigs while he's playing. I do remember that we hadn't been talking long when I asked what brought them to Savannah.

You know where this is going, right? She told me about her kid and then, because it's what moms do, she asked about mine. Did I have them, how old...and I told her, in that oddly-tensed way, 'I have a daughter. She died about year and half ago in a motorcycle accident.'

And, for the first time in that year and half, someone new - someone who hadn't known me Before and who never knew my girl - stepped towards me instead of taking that oh so perceptible half-step back. In a moment where most people murmur and move away, she chose to stay. I never forgot it.

We ended up hanging out with Kandy and Mike that whole night and saw them several more times over the years when they'd come from Atlanta to Savannah to visit their son. We saw them in Atlanta, too, catching Mike's show when we were visiting family there.

Kandy and Mike's son graduated from SCAD yesterday, but she wasn't here to see it. Kandy died in April and I will always miss her. Her particular kindness - because that's what it was, truly, a kindness - remains a rare thing and Kandy's initial reaction has become the yardstick by which all new people are measured. Not many people have passed that test.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

And...We're Back!

If you read this blog, chances are you know me fairly well. It will not surprise you to know my family often describes me as 'mouthy.' I prefer 'outspoken' or 'opinionated'; 'firm in her convictions' is a personal favorite and I'll even cop readily to 'righteously indignant' but, perspective matters too and sometimes I AM mouthy. As a child, I was a back-talker, even if the highly charged atmosphere in my home meant that back-talk was always under my breath and most often into a pillow. As an adult, I stopped muttering and whispering and found my voice. There's not much silence in my corner of the world.

And, since Britt's death and the subsequent loss of filters that comes, frankly, from having little left to lose, it's only gotten, well, louder. I say what I think. What I believe is not a mystery. No one ever has to wonder where I stand on an issue, large or small. This isn't always easy to live with, I know, and I appreciate each and every one of you who's hung in there. Because, I do believe it matters. It's important to know yourself and what you stand for. And it's important to stand and be counted, especially if what you are standing up for might make a difference in the lives of others.

Facebook, for all its silly games and sometimes endless repetitions of dinner menus also offers a space to make a stand, to spread the word. I often link to articles I read that move or anger me; post news updates that cheer or horrify me; and, yes, call people out when they post something that sticks in my craw, makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, or just leaves me thinking 'What?! Really?!' I had one of those "are you kidding me?" moments yesterday. Through my dear friend Renee, I've become FB friends with Connie Schultz. [For those of you who are not familiar with her work, Connie is, among other things, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, an author, a political activist and, because it's an important part of this story, also the wife of Senator Sherrod Brown. I am a long-time admirer of the Writer and the Senator, both.] On Thursday evening, Connie posted this picture on her page:

On Friday morning, I was a little shocked to see it there. I clicked to see what she had to say and, well, the next part of this story is Connie's to tell, so in her words - with her permission - this is what happened next:

"Yesterday, I posted this photo and shared an exchange I had with a stranger who doubted that I could have an Eagle Scout in our home. (Sherrod and both of his brothers are Eagle Scouts.) This bumper sticker was meant to communicate my pride in my husband, and illustrate that conservatives have no monopoly on public service.

Today, Debi Carey Harbuck posted a comment that took me aback: "Connie, I have to tell you this disappoints me. Not your witty come-back to Guy #1, who clearly has an attitude problem, but you and the Senator, both, actively and publicly supporting (proudly!) an organization that openly discriminates against gays in the name of 'god' and 'faith.'"


I assured Debi that Sherrod and I have been in the trenches for decades on behalf of our LGBT friends and family members, but she pushed back: "I most certainly do respect your activism, and as the mother and step-mother of LGBTs, I have to respectfully disagree with this one choice. In places where institutionalized discrimination is entrenched, your support, and the Senator's, serves to legitimize and makes it harder for those who are excluded to make their case. There are many fine organizations (which I know you also support) that do good work for fatherless children without standing beneath an umbrella of hate and fear. I don't believe the discriminatory policies of the BSA will change until not-gay Americans serve notice that it just won't be tolerated and withdraw their support."

Debi is right.

I removed the bumper sticker this morning. Not everyone here will agree with this decision, and, as always, I welcome the discussion. I'm still very proud of Sherrod's childhood accomplishment, but the message matters. I am grateful to Debi for her honesty, and her advocacy

So. Today I am adding 'advocate' to my list of self-descriptors. And, I am going to keep on being a mouthy advocate for what I think is right. Because it matters. And because people are listening.