Cloister Commentary, Day 106: Best-Laid Schemes

Yesterday was the first day I’ve felt relatively myself in two weeks. My body and mind still compelled me to take a nap, but I find when I obey them I’m better off. I also read 10 pages of a book without stopping, so that too was a good sign.

I was thwarted in my second attempt to get my dad’s truck licensed over to me; the DMV had what I am sure is a well-deserved early day off for the 4th. I guess I’m in a toot so I can get my old red-orange, bumper-stickered ’93 (or is it ’92) Ford Splash sold. It’ll be nice to once again be able to drive inconspicuously.

In preparation for today, I revisited Frederick Douglass’ 1852 4th of July address. I’d bought my dad David W. Blight’s outstanding Douglass biography for Father’s Day, and after having a great discussion about race and white privilege the afternoon before his eventually fatal accident, I had a feeling he’d love it. “The best-laid scheme o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley….

More on that speech. Dr. Mark Lomax II is a force.

Facebook deservedly gets a bad rap at times, but I’m thankful it allows me to stay connected to important figures from my past. In the early evening, my former student Joseph Kenney and I had a terrific Messenger chat about his new podcast (“It’s a Rap”), Columbia’s racial history, books, Scarface, Hickman’s radio station, and much more. Joe was an athlete, scholar, and a presence any teacher would welcome: passionate, outspoken, funny, curious, and challenging. One day I hope I can see him again in person; I might show up on one of his future podcasts.

Nicole did an amazing job replicating one of Mom’s dishes (in fact, the first home-cooked meal Jane and I ate after Dad’s passing). If you’ve not had a chicken breast baked with a crust of Parmesan and Panko, or petite taters baked in olive oil and fresh rosemary, I highly recommend it.

Streaming for Strivers:

When I think of Joe Kenney, I think of ‘Face.

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