A dated Polaroid sits in a stack on my bookshelf: Faded and poorly lit, it shows my college friends gathered around my grandmother’s old kitchen table, a Led Zeppelin poster in the background and feast laid before us.
I could picture the moment before pulling the photo from between images of the Detroit skyline and a country, two-lane road.
My roommates and I hosted a pre-holiday “Friendsgiving” during our upperclassman years, inviting everyone to bring a dish to The Capitol, our little white house on the hill. Cullen made the turkey. I mostly tried to stay out of the way.
We scattered after graduation, staying in Ohio or moving to the likes of Salt Lake City, Austin and New York. The Big Apple Bobcats have carried on our short-lived, pre-holiday tradition and were kind enough to invite us out-of-towners to the gathering on Facebook. Miss y’all.
I instead spent my Thanksgiving with family in central Oregon, where my aunt cooked an extraordinary meal, my cousins’ dog scarfed a bit of the apple pie and I helped hang Christmas lights. I’m lucky to have family within a few hours’ drive.
Heading into the holidays, I got to thinking about how my life trajectory might have changed, had I attended a different university. If I enrolled at Indiana, let’s say, would I still be covering sports, as I had at the time? Would I have met some of my best friends in the dorms and at the student paper? Would I have landed in Portland, post-graduation?
Your guess is as good as mine. But I’m thankful things have fallen into place as they have and feel lucky to call this place my home. I’m thankful, too, for memories like the one preserved on that old Polaroid. Those enduring friendships — and the relationships I’ve forged here — are surely richer than I deserve.
Happy holidays, folks.
I didn’t know exactly what to do while waiting on the final game of the World Series, so I woke up early on Wednesday and went to church. The priest at the cavernous, ornate Holy Name Cathedral didn’t mention the Cubs during the homily, but his talk about suffering and faith resonated with those who came to celebrate All Souls’ Day. Yes, Game 7 was played on the same day as the annual Catholic holiday to remember and celebrate the dead, and pray for their safe passage from purgatory into heaven. You can’t make this stuff up.
— ESPN, on the aftermath of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series win (amazing work on a tight deadline)
Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had killed 14 people that day and injured more than 20 others before dying in a shootout with police. They had also orphaned their own 6-month-old daughter. Now that baby had become a toddler who was just beginning to walk, and she was still living in foster care under the official custody of San Bernardino County.
— The Washington Post, on the orphaned toddler of the San Bernardino killers and her aunt and uncle’s quest to adopt her
“A lot of his belongings come from the U.S., so chances are this might not have been his first time trying to cross,” Stern said, and then they were interrupted by the sound of a ringing telephone.
Ramos looked toward the landline, but it was silent. “Is that my cell?” Stern asked him. It wasn’t. “Is it yours?” she asked. Ramos shook his head.
They both looked toward the sound and the counter that held the backpack, where the dead man’s phone was ringing.
— The Washington Post, on migrants trying to cross into the U.S.
As expected, there was no other media, just a half-dozen massive hammer throwers—guys named Kruger and Rudy with big beards and bellies—and a scattering of husky family, friends, and coaches looking on with pride and amazement as each man entered the little circle and gave the 16-pound hammer a grunting swing.
“I don’t know much about the hammer, to be honest,” said Jon, taking notes on the sideline. “But I think that’s pretty much par for the course here.”
After it was over, team LetsRun went for tacos. “Nobody writes detailed hammer and steeple recaps,” RoJo boasted, “except us.”
— Outside Magazine, on controversial running outlet letsrun.com
I read the controversial “Go Set a Watchman,” by the late Harper Lee, this month. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” — if only for the sentences scattered throughout the book that made me smile and think back to Lee’s original literary classic. Otherwise, I took the novel as an unfinished product with a narration style that’s confusing at times.
I’ve reported this month about anti-Donald Trump protests in Portland. One hundred twenty protesters have been arrested in the demonstrations, during which some protesters destroyed and vandalized property. Portland police declared one of the protests a riot. One protester was shot during a march.
As always, thanks for reading.