#213 -Dick Bernard: Have they no shame?

Most of my working career I represented public school teachers in union matters like negotiations and grievance processing. It was a powerful learning experience in realism. Ideals collided with unpleasant realities. Even people on the same side of an issue were frequently in conflict about how to approach the problem. My world was full of […]

#212 – Dick Bernard: "Free Lunch"?

Last week my wife was in conversation with a neighbor down the street. “Georgie” is a good neighbor, a nice person: one of those people you hope will be in your neighborhood. But she’s not one to rely on if you’re in some other neighborhood. She has boundaries. In her sphere, there is only one […]

#216 – Dick Bernard: "Wherever you go, you must find your own Calcutta"

Sunday one of my favorite Catholic Priests, Fr. Joe Gillespie, was recalling a 1994 visit to Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity in Calcutta. At the time, he was a university professor in the United States, and he came by unannounced during a heavy monsoon rain. He knocked on the door and a Nun answered. “Would […]

#215 – Dick Bernard: Believing oUrSelves to death.

I have chosen the blessing (or curse) of receiving and sending lots of e-mails. I have not warmed to the banter that seems to prevail in Facebook, and I will probably never be a part of the 144-character Twitter culture. I like handwritten letters, which are essentially extinct. Open and rational conversation amongst people with […]

#214 – Dick Bernard: Exploring a Cultural Heritage

There was a particularly remarkable moment at the closing program of the Initiatives in French Annual Conference in Bismarck ND July 10. We had been treated to an evening of wonderful music and dance with a French flavor. The performers were Metis, Native American, African, and Caucasian. They performed ancient and modern music from West […]

#211 – Dick Bernard: Creating History, "Fact" vs "Story"

“History: 1) an account of what has happened; narrative; story; tale.” Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1979 edition July 8, about 6 p.m., I arrived at Bismarck ND, where I was to attend a French in America conference. My father was 100% French-Canadian, and I’d just completed a 500 page book on his family’s history, […]

#210 – Dick Bernard: A Farm Freezer, Haiti, the Oil Spill and US

Monday, July 12, was the six month anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and area in Haiti. That same day, I spent a few hours helping my Uncle and Aunt, out at their now-empty North Dakota farm. (They’ve lived in a nearby town for several years – an option they don’t like, but […]

#209 – Richard Bigelow: Thoughts on Attitudes towards Immigration and Immigrants

Mr. Bigelow lives in border country Texas and grew up in rural Colorado. He responds, here, to one of those ubiquitous basically anti-immigrant – if you’re not “white like me” rants that whiz around the internet – anonymous hate speech. “Yes, I have some different thoughts on immigration than those in the letter you sent. […]

#208 – Dick Bernard: The Deer

We had just settled in along the July 4 Parade Route in Afton MN, but I decided to walk back to the car to get rainwear, just in case. It was a short walk up the street, going up hill, and I was on the left side of the street when I noticed something very, […]

#207: Johan van Parys: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Dr. Johan van Parys is Director of Liturgy at Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, and the lead article in the Sunday June 27 church bulletin was this powerful commentary. Thoughts on Forgiveness Paris is one of those magical cities. No matter what time of year one visits, the city has a way of capturing […]