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Date Posted: 13:05:38 07/04/15 Sat
Author: Bonnie Barry
Subject: Re: Gracious & Intelligent
In reply to: Kathleen 's message, "Gracious & Intelligent" on 08:35:21 07/04/15 Sat

Thank you Kathy. You have always been one of the most gracious and intelligent people I know, and I applaud your decades of effort in keeping our class together and communicating.

I had not looked at the forum for a long time, but a convergence of events prompted a return. The first was the eulogy delivered by President Obama at the funeral of Sen. Clementa Pinckney. I was brought to tears by the President’s grace, dignity and humanity. No matter what your political views, find the speech on CNN or YouTube. It’s worth your time.

The second was a gathering of some girlfriends where, with a little help from several bottles of wine, we got into one of those philosophical discussions that reminded me of teenage pajama parties and the passionate idealism of youth. One of the friends brought up the concept of “White Fragility.” I had not heard the term before so had to Google it when I got home. You might find it enlightening too.

Finally, I attended a monthly meeting of the residents in my over 55 retirement community. Several controversial issues dissolved the meeting into angry name-calling and unreasonable criticism. Speaking with a neighbor, I asked, “Why are they being so mean-spirited and curmudgeonly?” She replied, “They are suffering pains of old age – both physical and emotional – and striking out is the only way they can ease the pain and feel in control."

All of these events led me to thinking about the loss of polite conversation and civil discourse; concepts that I remember learning from teachers like Muriel Ketcham. I was reminded of the forum and there was Dave Schickel’s thought-provoking question. I believe that when we stop learning, we stop living, so I wrote a reply. My hope being that some of my seven decade old classmates will choose to offer some more polite conversation and some new ideas to investigate. If not, that’s ok too…I would also enjoy hearing how your tomatoes are doing this year.

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