Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Righteous Among the Nations

Righteous Among the Nations

I was irritated at the man who butted ahead of me in the line for the taxis. Weren’t we all tired from a day of travel? He got the last cab in line, and there was a short lull before others arrived. I couldn’t be more grateful for how it all turned out, because my cab driver was a man who came to the U. S. from Poland in the 1980s.

Rightly or wrongly, I’ve held a long grudge against Franklin D. Roosevelt for letting the Russians have control of Poland and other Eastern European nations after WWII.  When I was a child, I heard Pastor Richard Wurmbrand speak, and I read his books when I was a teenager. Wurmbrand and others suffered torture at the hands of the Communists, Wurmbrand in Romania, but the atrocities took place in every country behind the Iron Curtain, and I’ve been fascinated by these stories for nearly 50 years

I’d just read Irena’s Children and The Zookeeper’s Wife-- both books chronicle the lives of Poles whose names appear in Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations*, a list of gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis—so I wanted to ask so many questions, but I made a conscious decision to just listen as the cab driver talked. He told me about going to elementary school under Communist rule, and how he and other Polish children were forced to learn to speak Russian. His parents grilled him every day when he got home, correcting the history the Communists taught him.

His father and other close family members fought in the Warsaw Uprising, and he talked at length about Witold Pilecki, who inserted himself into a street round-up of Poles in order to infiltrate Auschwitz and smuggle out information. He eventually escaped and wrote an intelligence report about what he’d seen in Auschwitz. According to my cab driver, Pilecki often said Auschwitz was “kindergarten compared to the Communist rule of Poland”. I can’t find any recorded evidence of this statement, but Pilecki was accused of espionage and shot by the communists.

I asked if he had known Irena Sendler or Jan and Antonina Zabinski. He said he didn’t but he’d always heard of their bravery in helping the Jews in Warsaw.

I was disappointed when the ride was over and I said a silent and heartfelt thank you to the impatient man in the taxi line.

*Note: I suggest spending some time reading about the Righteous Among the Nations. The only one I met in person was Corrie ten Boom, who is on the list along with other members of her family. Mama took us to hear Corrie speak when I was in elementary school. It was a powerful experience.

Plane Talk

They were strangers. One sat in 22B, the other in 22C. I could hear them well from 21C, and I pulled out my notebook to jot bits of dialogue. I couldn’t see them during the flight, but I did get a quick glimpse when we deplaned. 22B was seventy-something; 22C was probably in her early 60s.

22B: Are you coming or going?

22C: Going. And you?

22B: Going. It’ll be good to sleep in my own bed tonight after 2 weeks away. Seattle, though, so I won’t be home until nearly midnight.  You?

22C: Atlanta’s home for me. I’m glad I’ll be there by noon. I can’t have a late night. I have to work tomorrow.

22B: I never worked, but Raymond did, so I know. Raymond was a supervisor at the shop. He liked to get to work a good hour or more before his men. He liked a good breakfast, too.

22C: We working folks like our schedules.

22B: Raymond did.  He kept his schedule even after he retired.

22C: Really?

22B: He wanted his dinner at 5:30 every day. I always thought 5:30 was early to eat dinner, but Raymond liked his dinner at 5:30.

22C: Bugles?

22B: Just a couple. I had a good breakfast. These are good.  I haven’t had Bugles in 15 years.

22C: I haven’t either. I was surprised to see them in the gift shop. I always loved Bugles, so I had to buy them. It’s the salt, don’t you think?

22B: Yes. Raymond liked Fritos. He wasn’t a potato chip person. I like potato chips, but Raymond liked Fritos.  And pork rinds. How can those men out there hear each other? Must be real loud.

22C: They have head things, I think. Yep. I see their head things.

22B: That one doesn’t. He’ll ruin his hearing. Raymond did at the shop.

22C: That’s a shame. Things do change when you get old, and you wish you’d been more careful.

22B: I have so many pins and things in me. My whole body is pins and rods. The hip replacement was the easiest. People said the knee would be easiest, but for me it was the hip. Feel free to nod off if you want.  It’s fine with me either way.

22C: I’m not a nap person. Messes up my sleep at night.

22B: Raymond wasn’t either. He liked his schedule.  Lunch at 12 noon and dinner at 5:30.

Friday, March 13, 2015

When Weather Changed History

The Weather Channel airs a series of episodes chronicling the effects of weather on major events in history.  Episodes include The Chicago Fire, D-Day, Hindenburg, Titanic, and others.  On this Friday of Spring Break 2015, at the end of a week of rain and crazy changes in atmospheric pressure, I am wondering how many other events have changed the course of our lives but have not been attributed to weather. 

As a teacher of young children for 20 years, I dreaded the passing of a weather front, knowing the negative effects of such fronts on children's behavior.  Just google it, and you'll see lots of studies have been done on this phenomenon, cataloguing the long list of behavioral consequences, such as increased impulsiveness, lower cognitive functioning, irritability, and the reduction of oxygen to the brain.  Multiply this times 27, and three o'clock can't come too soon. 

Even as a child, I observed the effects of a series of rainy days or the approach of a weather front on the behavior of members of our household.  I just wanted to be very still  and hope it would give way to sunshine quickly, but Mama threw open all the doors to "enjoy" it and often had us go out and dance in it.  It seemed the only ill effect she suffered from a front was if it came through on a day she'd planned to make divinity. 

Job didn't seem to allow weather to affect his actions.  When a bolt of lightning struck his sheep and shepherds and a tornado hit the house where his children were partying and killed them all, Job blessed the name of God. 

I do wish the weather didn't affect me the way it does, I really do.  Because if it didn't, I might not be so dadgum irritated when I go on Facebook and see yet another commentary posted about the Common Core and how bad it is for children or how the PARCC uses passages that are two grade levels above the grade being tested.  I might not be so tempted to message each of those people individually and yell at them, "If you're not literate enough to go to the primary source and stop relying on commentaries for your information, then just keep your mouth shut."

A check of WDAM's weather page tells me the sun is supposed to shine tomorrow.  Just for the sake of a little experimentation, I might revisit those posts to see if they still make me want to stand up Moses-style in front of the congregation and retrace our education history, reminding them of the wilderness wanderings and ridiculing them for choosing to stay there.  Maybe tomorrow when the sun shines, I won't want to yell at supposedly literate adults and point out that reliance on commentaries is not a capacity of a literate being.  Maybe.

Or I might just make some divinity.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Below is the text of a letter I sent last week to Mississippi's Senate Education Committee.  I also sent one to the House Education Committee regarding HB 1117.  This is a very important time in our state.  We can blow it, or we can do it right. 

Dear Members of the Senate Education Committee,

I am growing increasingly concerned about the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the Common Core standards in our state. Initially,  as I witnessed the escalation of the discord, I was primarily concerned that the high ELA standards of the Common Core would be replaced with standards less tied to readying students for the literacy demands of citizenship in a democratic republic.  Recently that concern has become secondary to the fear that the continued divisive rhetoric used by some state legislators is fomenting community unrest and even hostility. I am sure you have come to realize, as I have, that whether or not the Common Core State Standards survive this legislative session, one thing is certain: the sacred bond of trust between the public schools and the communities they serve will most assuredly be a casualty. 
The literacy crisis in our state is real and should be approached with both calmness and urgency.  I see neither of those at work right now.  As a 28 year educator, a National Board certified teacher, a K-12 literacy specialist, and an early childhood specialist, I have watched Mississippi students fall behind the nation in literacy acquisition for many years due to low literacy standards and low expectations of the capabilities of our students.  If we raise those standards and expectations, our students will most certainly encounter challenges.  Supported and encouraged by adults who remain calm and maintain a sense of urgency, our students will be able to meet and embrace those challenges. 

As a Newton County native and a graduate of Lake High School in Scott County--valedictorian, STAR student, recipient of multiple academic awards in both Math and English--I was accepted into the Honors College at USM in 1983 and knew immediately that I was behind in academic achievement compared to my Honors College classmates from other states.  I was privileged to be born into a literate family, many of whom served in the state legislature and were educators, doctors, and businessmen.  Though a lifelong avid reader, I found it quite challenging to read, discuss, and write about the complex texts required of me in college.  It was a baptism by fire, so to speak, and I had to discipline myself to embrace the discomfort that comes from being stretched beyond the literacy demands of previous experiences. I had been taught by adults not to back away from challenges but to work through the discomfort to eventually gain proficiency. 
 If I had been taught using the higher standards of the Common Core or something comparable, I would have been more prepared for college, as the literate capacities in the CCSS were exactly those required of me at USM.  Much has been made of the fact that "not everyone goes to college."  As I think back to the typical literacy experiences in my own K-12 education and those of most of the Mississippi schools that I visit as a professional development provider and World Class Teacher Program director, I am convinced that "college and career ready standards" are even more necessary for those Mississippians who choose not to pursue education beyond college than for those who do, since all citizens will be making the same difficult decisions about navigating systems, budgeting for their own and their children's futures, and choosing political candidates for whom to vote.  A high literacy level enriches the lives of all of our citizens, not just those who earn college degrees. 

 I taught in schools with a high level of poverty and worked hard to raise the academic bar for my students.  I planned challenging lessons and created engaging experiences  that would enable my students to achieve as much as their same-age peers in other communities in the state and nation.  Most of my students were being raised by grandparents who trusted me and trusted the entire school community to do what was best for their children.  There was a sacred bond of trust in place between the school and the community.  I didn't need the huge tomes of research that have been churned out over the last several years to tell me that the bond of trust between schools and the communities they serve is a key contributing factor to student achievement. I am not describing nor advocating a relationship in which parents merely accept school policies.  In fact, every school district in Mississippi has mechanisms in place for both parental input and feedback into almost all aspects of school operations. 
Senate Bills 2690 and 2249 both call for the formation of committees to choose new standards of learning for Mississippi students.  In my opinion, SB 2690 is so strictly prescribed that there is little need of a committee; one or two people could carry out the prescribed actions fairly quickly, pulling from pre-2010 standards of states that are no longer using them.  SB 2690 seems more thoughtfully crafted and takes into consideration several logistical factors, including the need for professional development for teachers once the committee has chosen new standards and they have been adopted by the State Board of education.  Both bills create a gap period of uncertainty for teachers.  The members of this committee will be charged with choosing and/or creating standards that will have a huge impact on the future of our state. Their task should be approached not only with courage but with fear and trembling.  I will pray for each member to have clarity of mind and purity of motive as they respond to this challenge.
However, I fear that no matter what standards are adopted and implemented in our state, so great a level of discord exists in many communities, along with the attendant atmosphere of mistrust that comes with such a state of agitation, that those standards will be met with suspicion and dissatisfaction.  No bill can be written to form a committee to restore the sacred bond of trust between schools and the communities they serve.  Until this bond is restored, if indeed it can ever be, no amount of work on the part of a standards committee will make one bit of difference. 
Robin Atwood

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Various and sundry items

So much going on here and never time to write. I miss writing and made a resolution to write more in 2009. I do write, of course--I even do a lot of personal writing when I'm facilitating professional development with teachers--but not the kind of "this is what's going on today" type of writing that helps keep a record of day-to-day goings on and helps me to sort of put things in their place for order and structure.

I have a meeting tonight with NB candidates, so I'm allowing myself a lunch break and a little writing time. I need to get five pounds off that crept up on me in the fall, so writing during lunch might help to make that happen.

We finally got all the bulbs in the ground. My shoulders, neck, back, and the backs of my thighs are very sore from wielding the shovel and all the bending involved. We had several boxes full of bulbs--probably seven or eight hundred altogether, possibly even a thousand. A nursery up Mama's way overstocked their late-winter bulbs and had them on a trailer for delivery to the landfill. They alerted the community to come and take what they wanted, and they loaded down people's car trunks and truck beds with them when they showed up. Mama dispensed huge sacks full to several people, including us. For several days, I'd go out and plant 50 or 60 daffodil, narcissus, tulip, and crocus bulbs. Still, after a week of it there were so many bulbs still to go that began to despair of ever finishing. Then Tim got the idea to make two island beds in the yard. He prepared the beds with a plow on the back of his tractor and bought a load of topsoil from someone up the road. He and I went out and put hundreds of bulbs in the prepared trenches, then he covered the bulbs with the new dirt. It was over in a couple of hours and beats the heck out of the shovel method I was using, one bulb at a time. Now we're going to add trees and flowering shrubs to the beds. I can't wait for the bulbs to bloom. The way we massed them, they should be quite striking.

I am reading my day-by-day chronological Bible this year. It is arranged chronologically, which means it is different from a regular Bible because Job comes right after Genesis 11, the psalms are inserted within Kings and Chronicles, during the time frame in which they were written, the gospels are all intermeshed, and Paul's letters are interspersed throughout Acts. The readings are divided by date, so that if you start on January 1 and read the daily readings every day, you will have read through the Bible by December 31. I can't stick with a schedule of that sort, of course, so I got through Abraham way ahead of schedule and am skipping straight over to Acts. I'm itching to get to those epistles and refuse to wait until October.

I'm also reading a collection of Teddy Roosevelt's writings. What a man. That's about all I can say. They don't make 'em like they used to. Where are the statesmen anymore? Have you ever in your life seen so many constitutional crises as we're having these days? Every day, it seems, there's a constitutional crisis. Trouble is, not many of those folks in Washington seem to have read the constitution. Makes me want to cut a switch for sure and get up there and clean house. Teach your children the constitution, please, or else don't encourage them to vote. People got all excited about the huge voter turnout among the youth in the last election. I'm all for voter turnout, but without an informed electorate, we're up a creek. If they don't have knowledge of history, government, and yes, even economics, they don't need to be at the ballot box. How can they make an informed choice? Through what will they filter the rhetoric? When I was growing up, my parents made sure we watched all the presidential debates and watched the political conventions. Afterwards, there were debriefings where they'd explain to us what we'd just heard and seen. I knew the difference in liberalism and conservativism when I was a preteen. That's why I know GWB was only masquerading as the latter, and not very effectively at that. That's why I know BHO is a major accident waiting to happen. So many people on the news seem upset that he is not keeping promises he made in his campaign. I say, thank heaven he is not keeping them. I say let's hope it was all a lie.

But Arne Duncan? What? It's all over, folks. First of all, the fact that he is not an educator is a slap in the face to every teacher in the nation. Will the insults never stop? But I never expected BHO to appoint a teacher anyway. I knew it would be all about cronyism, of course, but good grief. Arne Duncan? I don't even have words.

If you're not drinking green smoothies several times a week, why not? Get on to it right now. My friend put me on to them, and at first I was drinking them every day. I have to admit it did get old though: peeling and chopping fruit, washing spinach, cleaning up the blender. And I had an old blender and there were spinach leaves I was having to chew. Now I'm all set with a new blender, and I do the smoothies 3 or 4 days a week. Try it. Today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


That's about the only word I know that describes how I feel right now. Last time I wrote here, I wrote about our 7-month old puppy. I continued to become more and more attached to Pup Pup. I really think he pulled me through the grief over not teaching. We got him in September, and as his primary caregiver I got him out of the playhouse every morning, fed him, played with him, rocked him in the rocking chair on the back porch, and all the rest of it. He sat on the back porch and watched me cook supper every afternoon, he went on walks with me twice a day. We were walking together Saturday, when I thought I felt a sprinkle or two even though it was mostly sunny. There were a few dark clouds, and I've been caught with clothes on the line in afternoon showers too many times to count lately. I went around back to get the clothes off the line, took them in the house, decided to start some coffee, and that's when Bobby came to the door and I couldn't hear exactly what he said but I did hear "your little puppy". I just dropped the pot and ran, and there was his sweet little body in the road. I have been in a fog the last couple of days. Sunday was particularly hard. I had such a sense of unreality that day, expecting him to be sitting at the back window watching me, and expecting to hear the tinkle of his little tag when he came running around the house. I've had to change my walking route, because I can't walk the same route I walked with him--just too painful.

We went to the animal shelter yesterday; Lizzie picked out a brother-sister puppy duo. We paid the $150 to have their little surgeries and shots and everything, and we're waiting for them to call us to come and get them. I walked every step of that place, looking for another Pup Pup, not that I thought they'd have a designer hybrid at the shelter or anything, but mainly I was looking for a pup with his spunk and love of life. Pup Pup absolutely made the most of every minute of every day. He plunged headlong into everything with a real zest for life. When Tim eulogized him at the graveside, he thanked our Father for the privilege of knowing Pup Pup and asked that we would all learn from his example, the way he embraced life and made the most of it. I've thought a lot about that through my grief during the last couple of days. I've been thinking about all the people I've loved and lost, the friends I don't have anymore through death or moving away. I realized with startling dismay I don't have a friend right now. Not a real friend, really. I asked God for another Katie, another Shontelle. We'll see what happens.

Enough about Pup Pup; I am starting to descend again. On a brighter note (but what is brighter than Pup Pup?) I saw the Celtic Spring band on EWTN the other night. Incredible! Wow! Google them for more info. They have a truly enjoyable show.

My friend Mandy Lacy's husband Ray found out a couple of weeks ago he has colon cancer. He's only 29. For updates, click here: http://www.stpatrickhighschool.net/?section=viewStory.cfm&ID=3716

Oh, and here's a page I made of the pageant Hannah was in: http://mrsatwood.com/pageant2008.html

I don't know why the link thing isn't working.

I voted early this morning against Barack Obama. Only 8 people had voted before me. Tim voted on the Republican side, and I voted on the Democratic side. It's the first time we've voted on different tickets. I really felt strongly led to vote against Obama, so that's what I did. He scares me. I don't even think he's a good speaker the way everyone says. Isn't substance part of the package at all? Can you be a good speaker if you have no substance? My main problem with him is I think he's very weak. I don't think he'd ever be able to stand up to his handlers. It irritates me that you have to vote either one ticket or the other. There were people running in the congressional races that I wanted to vote for, but I couldn't. Whose dumb idea is it to make you vote a straight ticket?

Did any of you ever look into the history of early church worship? Did you ever think how closely related it is to synagogue worship, since of course the early church started out in the synagogues? It just seems so obvious to me that it was heavily influenced by it. It also seems so obvious that so many early Christians were crazy in love with those priest suits and ceremonies, despite Paul's clear and constant warnings against it all, despite his clear and continual declaration that the new covenant is new, new!, they sewed that blasted vail right back up and kept right on. I have friends who've been to Rome and they say those keys are everywhere in every basilica. Despite the fact that Jesus himself said the world would know his body by their love. But did you ever try to call one of them on it? One of those people who are into genealogies and holy days and priest suits and keys? They'll spew hatred for all they're worth and come running out with their swords cutting off ears right and left.

I guess I could care more, but since we put Pup Pup to rest under the dogwood tree, it just seems to me there's no time for anything but love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time Flies

I'm sitting in Starbuck's in the university library with my bold brew and chocolate-covered graham crackers. The waistband on my pants is snug and not likely to get any looser if I don't take some action. Actually, I do work out three or four days a week, but still I've gained ten pounds, mostly in my mid-section, despite the kick boxing. I lack energy, I lack creativity, I lack initiative. I googled all my symptoms, including the chest pains, sleeplessness, etc., and it's almost certain I am experiencing depression. It's not in me to just accept it, nor to go to a doctor for meds, so I'm doing the magnesium, fish oil, exercise, fresh air bit. As much time as I spend googling health problems, I think I could probably practice medicine.

A girl named Michelle just came in and called across Starbuck's to a boy named David that they're having a birthday party for Sharla (Charla) and all chipping in together to buy her some fuzzy dice. She is wearing an orange and red North Face jacket. His is black. From where I am sitting, I can see 11 North Face jackets. If I turn around, I can probably see more, but if you've seen one you've seen them all. Or so I thought. Hannah got one last year, but somehow needed (?) another one this year.

How do mothers get through the teenage years? This week, there's Beta convention which requires new clothing; next week, there's the school beauty pageant--she's wearing a dress she's worn before, at least; two days after the pageant, cheerleader tryouts; later in March, she's someone's little sister in Junior Miss. Then there's gas and eating out and general public school expenditures. She also has a prom dilemma unfolding. When she comes home in the afternoon, it takes her 30 to 45 minutes to tell me about her day. I mostly listen attentively, sometimes sympathizing, sometimes advising, and always silently praying she is learning good lessons from these teenage dilemmas and will mostly make good decisions.

Some of these coffee drinks cost nearly $4. How do these college kids afford it? A North Face jacket just came in in a color I've never seen before.

A couple of days ago, I read with deep grief that Emmett Rosenfeld did not gain National Board certification this year. I had kept up with his blog last year as he went through the process. Most of you know that part of my new job is to support National Board candidates. When I read Emmett's news, I immediately wanted to get in touch with him and give advice, etc. , but then yesterday I saw that he has been inundated with advice about Entry 4. I somehow don't want to add my words to those that have been written already. Just too, too many words

Lizzie has a dog. I am crazy in love with him. Jennifer's dog had three puppies back in August, and she gave us one. A Pomeranian / Rat Terrier mix. I didn't know until one of the home school moms came over for a play date that he's a designer hybrid. She said, "Oh, wow! You have one of those designer hybrids!" What? He's a mutt. Turns out he's a Pomerat, a designer hybrid. All I know is I am deeply attached to him, and he has absolutely got to stop running cars. I've seen him almost get killed a couple of times. Every time I come home, I look for his little body in the road before I turn into the driveway. He has a name, but I've called him Pup Pup from the start. It made Lizzie mad initially, but now the whole family, including her, calls him Pup Pup.

These are possibly--no, definitely--the best chocolate-covered graham crackers I've ever had in my life.

I just don't have any get-up-and-go. I know it has to be some sort of imbalance; I know I should go to the doctor. I know. I'm reading Beth Moore's new Stepping Up, a study of the psalms of ascent. I don't normally like her stuff--I don't like her writing style--but the content of this is good. I just tune out her voice, and listen to God's. In all my years of Bible study, I never knew there were psalms of ascent. Check it out for yourself; google it. This may be what gets me out of the mire, please God.

You just don't leave something you loved with all your heart, soul, and mind for twenty years and not grieve. It has finally hit me, and I can't seem to throw it off. The anger is gone--mostly--but the sorrow is overwhelming.

News . . .news. . . .news. . ..What has happened since I wrote last. . . A lot, really. Almost too much to attempt to catch up on. Daddy had surgery for prostate cancer. Mama had two more shoulder surgeries, the latest one a replacement. She's in a lot of pain, which is not likely to get better for a while.

Lizzie has stopped accusing me every day of taking her away from her friends. She only accuses me a couple of times a week now. I don't have a defense, so I don't usually say anything. I stand dumb before my accuser. I worry about it. A lot. I wonder about the lasting effects it will have on her. On a good note, she and I are having some very rich times in our morning Bible study. I do not believe inteaching children doctrinal stands--hold your cards and letters, please--because I think if you fill them with the word of God, they can draw their own conclusions. I'm not saying they don't need some guidance if they're way off, but in my experience they don't usually get way off. It's simple, really. Love, faith, obedience. I read the biblical accounts to her, chronologically, of course, and she is very astute about getting to the core of what's happening. She has made some profound observations about Abel, Noah, Joseph, the children of Israel. She ponders the events in the Garden of Eden perhaps too much--she becomes very disturbed about this at times--but perhaps not too much, after all. I just will trust God to direct her thoughts. She understands faith and obedience in a deep way that is certainly not lived out in her own life with her parents. She is strong-willed and disobedient, to put it frankly, and I yearn for the day when her understandings, her heart, her head, her hands, her tongue, are all in one accord. She listens in disbelief to accounts of disobedience, lack of faith, lack of trust, strife, etc., and derisively scoffs at the lack of discernment evident in the accounts, but she doesn't make any connection between herself and the infidels. Come quickly to her, Lord Jesus.

I will not get another bold brew, though I want one. I will not get another pack of chocolate-covered graham crackers, though I want one. I will never have any energy, I will never get out of this hole, if I don't stop living on sugar and caffeine. I long for the day when my understandings, my heart, my head, my hands, and my tongue are all in one accord. Until then, there will be no peace for me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thank Goodness I'm Not in New York

I'm supposed to be in New York City this morning, but thank goodness I'm not. I've got the Piggly Wiggly sales paper right here in front of me, and it's downright frightening to think of the sales I'd have missed if I'd gotten on that plane yesterday. Right this very minute, instead of making my grocery list, I'd be fighting crowds in the Javits Center. Who needs that? Not me. Much better to be perusing this paper. . .whoa! five pounds of flour for ninety-eight cents. That's gotta' be a good deal. Better write that down. Hmm. . . Better get some of these cocktail smokies for two dollars. I could set 'em out tonight to munch on while I'm being thankful I'm not at the Crowne Plaza in Times Square at that pesky Writing Project social. I wonder if two dollars is a good price for four pounds of sugar. Stove Top stuffing for ninety-nine cents. . .do people really feed boxed stuffing to their families on Thanksgiving? Surely not. Of course, I'm of the mindset that you can't beat cornbread dressing. They'll probably serve stuffing at the Scholastic Thanksgiving dinner Saturday night. I'm sure glad I don't have to sit through that. Let's see. . .they've got Honey Comb and Honey Bunches of Oats for two dollars a box. Is that a good price? Reckon what they'll be serving tomorrow morning at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the reunion breakfast? Probably stale pastries and weak coffee. I sure dodged a bullet with that one. 'Course, it would've been nice to see the old gang from Boston, but. . .omigosh! cream of mushroom soup is only eighty-nine cents! Thank goodness I'm not in New York.