We moved house in 2019, just at the springing of spring. There was untold renovation work to be done, but we managed to get a small garden into the ground. There were enough tomatoes and cucumbers to put back, although to my shame, I over-salted my bread-and-butter pickles to the point of inedibility. This year, though, was to be the year. My in-laws gifted us their old tiller, and my wife and I laid out ideas for the plot: six hundred square feet, well situated in the best sun, while leaving the kids plenty of yard to play in. We would array appropriate companion plants and multifarious heirloom varietals. We would work in herbs and well-timed cold-hardy vegetables in a potager able to withstand the soggy, chill winter. Yet, it was not to be so.Read More ›
I’ve tried for years to write a poem about an onion. I’ve had little success, but the effort is quite apropos, as I owe a lot to this little bulb. I know some people don’t like the onion. It is the weep-maker, the Jeremiah of vegetables. Readers of Robert Farrar Capon will perhaps have a little more sympathy (see The Supper of the Lamb), but for me, it is the gateway through which I must often go.Read More ›
The world is different now. We’re hunkering down. Thus far, for us Whipples, the price of that is small. I know it’s not small for everyone. The Psalms make a lot more sense these days. Our prayer is for doctors and scientists, now more than ever. In the meantime, the Spirit has been teaching me things I had forgotten.Read More ›
Every time I see a plane, my heart breaks a little.Read More ›
There are a number of quarries in and around Knoxville where lanky, dusty men used to blast marble out of the hills before the Depression. In fact, if you read the odd town-centric indie publication here or there, you’ll eventually dig your way into a vein of prose in which some loafered, office-bound journalist will wax poetic about the geological intricacies of East Tennessee’s pink marble. We should all dream so big.Read More ›
First things first: spoiler alert. This is going to get messy, because I got messy.Read More ›
One of the difficulties I have with the Scriptures is my inability to see where the jokes are hidden. Jokes are cultural, and I’m neither Jewish nor several thousand years old, so even if the context is explained to me, I’m still sort of in the dark. After all, nothing makes a good joke die of ennui like having some fusty-lipped academic tell you why you ought to chuckle.Read More ›
Jess Ray’s music defied the conventions of debut releases. She seemed, with 2015’s Sentimental Creatures, to have leapt right into her stride. Now, this year’s Parallels + Meridians jumps equally as far ahead of its excellent predecessors.Read More ›
[Editor’s note: We’ve decided to take the last few days of 2018 to repost some of our favorite pieces of writing that showed up on the blog this year. The second piece we’re sharing is “Awkward Saint Crazy” by Adam Whipple, in which he earnestly and skillfully asks how the Church can best engage with mental illness.]
Near the end of his life, Pope John Paul II was seated on his chair at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. He was in his eighties and suffering from Parkinson’s. He had trouble sitting up straight, and even holding up his head was a chore. Yet there he was, in front of hundreds of parishioners and visitors who filled the cathedral to capacity. Thousands, indeed millions more watched him on television outside in the square and around the world. He looked tired and rather glum—not an office-holder of stature, but an old man hunched by the many failings of his body.
I can’t remember the first time I met Arthur Alligood, but early on in our relationship, I nailed a catfish to his dad’s back fence.
My two youngest children sit together on the floor in a bedroom. They spend their days playing beside each other with a myriad of toys, co-imagining worlds filled with talking construction equipment, neon-hued horses, and plot lines that range from pedestrian to strange and violent, often within seconds. It’s fun to stand around the corner and listen to them, but invariably, I have to intervene and referee a dispute.
Kind words, and kind hands, I say. We share our things.