Through a Glass Darkly: Newsrooms are living creatures

Newsrooms have always been living creatures, but their sounds, smells and habits have changed. When I started writing for small-town newspapers while in high school almost 50 years ago, newsrooms smelled of cigarettes, cigars and paste. The odor of ink permeated everything. Bigger papers had the same comforting smells and sounds. The rapid rattle of … Continue reading →

“Through a Glass Darkly” column for June 19, 2013

When I started school in the mid-1950s the accents of my classmates and teachers seemed strange. The prayers that came over the intercom each morning were as foreign as some of the food in the cafeteria. Though only about 60 miles from Baton Rouge, where I was born, parts of living in Labadieville were … Continue reading →

Spend some time with the birds

The little blue heron stands as still as a stick. Eyes intent on something beneath patches of duckweed, it strikes suddenly and withdraws a wiggling bream. For a full minute the bird wrestles with a fish that appears too big to swallow. Nearby a limb falls. The heron flies off … Continue reading →

“Through a Glass Darkly” column for April 10, 2013

When IBM announced a couple of weeks ago that it will open a software development center at The Advocate’s old site downtown, talk focused on the economic prospects. For me, those thoughts were secondary as I imagined a pair of tall buildings on that special spot along the Mississippi River. My first thought was about … Continue reading →

TV interest sparked by lack of set

We had the cement pond, Barney with one bullet that he had to keep in his pocket and Hoss with his big white hat. Television hasn’t played much of a role in my life for years, but there was a time when it did. Maybe that was because I was … Continue reading →

“Through a Glass Darkly” column for March 6, 2013

While on a business trip in Texas last week, my daughter was given the option of having dinner at a Cajun restaurant. Sarah declined. That showed Louisiana wisdom. How many Bayou State residents have ever been satisfied with “Cajun” food served outside our borders? The happier reason that Sarah decided … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Jan. 16, 2013 

Lately I’ve been taking time-travel trips to Asia. Time travel isn’t as difficult as physicists would have you believe. It only takes a good historical novel, and, for me, a pair of reading glasses. I’m particular about the vehicle in which I travel. The book needs not only to tell … Continue reading →

“Through a Glass Darkly” column for Jan. 9, 2013

When I was a boy I started a stamp collection. I did it during one of those seemingly endless summers children enjoy before adolescence. As fondly as I remember those summers, they could get boring. Had there been computers, video games, cellphones with texting, DVDs, VCRs or even a television in our house, I may have … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Dec. 26, 2012

The questions of whom from the past you would like to entertain and what you would ask them have long been fun to ponder. I’ve often enjoyed the game with others and even alone while driving or on nights when sleep evades. At those times, a lot of names run through my mind, including people like … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Dec. 19, 2012

Lurene Legge Loofbourrow was different than my mother in lots of ways, but they shared a common generation and role. My wife Mary’s mom and mine grew up without electricity, survived the Great Depression and embraced the lifestyle changes that followed World War II. They were stay-at-home moms who sewed family clothes, cooked family … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Dec. 5, 2012

Tales of greed, innocence and eventual justice endeared generations to Charles Dickens. Though Dickens would not have recognized the setting, he would have appreciated the characters I watched on a recent airline flight. The tale began with an angry woman and an amiable flight attendant; but, as with many Dickens … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Nov. 28, 2012

I shuffled behind my parents with complete disinterest until we got to the toy store. Window shopping was a favorite pastime for my mother. Different from the regular shopping for necessities, it was a family affair that occurred while stores were closed in the evenings or on Sunday afternoons. … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Nov. 21, 2012

It’s been a long time since I heard applause in a movie theater. “Lincoln” drew that response in at least one Baton Rouge theater as the credits began to roll last weekend. As awkward as it is for people to clap after a movie, when neither actors nor others involved in the production can … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Nov. 14, 2012

The first time I remember eating in a restaurant was in Donaldsonville, while traveling with my father. I had ham and Swiss on toast. The chef cut it diagonally, which I thought was neat. Every time my dad's work took us to Donaldsonville, I wanted to eat there and always got the same thing. In ways I haven't changed much from that … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Nov. 7, 2012

Entering a mega store I’m often confounded at not being able to find the item I’m seeking or anyone who seems to care whether I find it or not. It makes me long for the hardware store that once operated just down the road from my home. There Joe, the owner, pointed me immediately to what I … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Oct. 31, 2012

Fall’s chill crept in during the night to surprise me with a morning shiver. Stealthy Autumn usually arrives like that — a visitor that doesn’t call ahead, but knocks on your door at midnight. Maybe I just didn’t check my messages to know she was coming. One sign that should have allerted me to fall’s … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Oct. 10, 2012

Frankie wasn’t on the job when the burglars came. She had taken one of her periodic breaks to slip into the woods to chase a rabbit or tree a squirrel. Our neighbor, Kim Spillers, proved not only more alert than Frankie, but just as brave and even more tenacious than … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Sept. 26, 2012

Pressing the button on the clothes dryer Saturday afternoon only brought a screeching sound. Aggravated, I stretched phone wire between a tree and a couple of plant hooks on the house. It wasn’t until I began to hang the clothes that I started to smile. I had plenty of clothes-hanging experience from my … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Sept. 19, 2012

For those of us who live beyond the limits of cities or even spots in the road that call themselves communities, hurricanes bring strange visitors. The strange visitors aren’t the aunts and in-laws city dwellers might get overnight during a storm. When winds start blowing down trees and water … Continue reading →

“Through A Glass Darkly” column for Sept. 5, 2012

The darkest of hurricane clouds are lined brightly by the people beneath them. Having covered countless hurricanes as an adult and lived through others with the eyes of a child, one thing I’ve always seen is the goodness storms brings out in people. For every person who loots, throngs open their doors to others. For … Continue reading →

Through a Glass Darkly for Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012

Standing in front of a classroom when you can tell the students have locked into a lecture is an exhilarating experience. Hearing them articulate comments or questions that let you know their minds have been stimulated is even more satisfying. Seeing students then apply what they have learned is … Continue reading →