Wow. I'm completely disgusted with the smear campaign against Miranda ("A Death in the Family," March 8). You all should be ashamed of yourselves. What do you think your comments are gonna do? Other than cowardly stating opinions that are none of our business?
You are not only bashing a very kindhearted person, you are also bashing what she does. Do any of you care that she employs over 100 people, including farming families and their kids? You dare to assault, without knowing its consequences on all of us, and our livelihoods. You can have your thoughts as much as you want, but in the long run, all you are doing is tearing at the fabric of us all.
I don't like a lot of things people do, but I have the decency not to bash them with inconsiderate, cowardly ideas that won't change anything. We all need your care, compassion and support at this time, not your juvenile, bullshit ideas on someone you are mad at. Anger is what got us here at this point, and I personally shall let that anger rest with Mike. In other words ... if you don't have something nice to say, then you should shut the fuck up. Miranda is the not the issue, and has more pain to deal with than you do about this. Please, people, let it rest. Go hug a kitten or something, and leave your coldhearted opinions inside you, where they belong. Not where we, as a family mourning, can see them. Once again, SHAME on all of you for continuing to try to hurt us, as we are all still hurting so much. Together.
You wanna continue this childish act? You can come talk to me personally, if you can stop being a li'l coward. Just sayin'. I would love to see how that goes for you.
Manager of Burger Up
William Gay remembered
William Gay wrote scenes like impressionists paint on canvas ("Celebrating William Gay," March 1). Little bits of sensory cues dot his every sentence. Each small pattern is a miniature work of art in and of itself. Together, they put you inside cabin kitchens and ramshackle juke joints and gas stations next to wide places in dusty roads, among the hard workers and hard drinkers and steel-hearted villains and a parade of clever natives who live among the hills and hollows of a rural world that had not yet been homogenized into the strip-center chain-store sameness that drones through the South and all of America these days.
When I read good literature, I keep a highlighter nearby so I can mark passages that touch me in ways that make me want to reread them when I have time. When I read the work of William Gay, many pages would wind up with more yellow on them than white. Hardly a passage would go by that didn't contain a line that made me say to myself, "I should print that off, put it in a frame and hang it on my wall."
I wrote William a letter in the winter of 2008. I had stumbled onto his books and I wanted him to know how much his work meant to me. I was 59 at the time, and was thoroughly inspired by so many aspects of his work, not the least of which was that he was 55 before he had gotten anything published. I wrote the letter and figured that would be that.
Around six weeks later, he called me on the phone. I could hardly believe my ears. I was so nervous and so honored, I kept calling him sir, and he kept telling me that I didn't need to do that, that we were pretty much the same age. It embarrassed him.
We talked for more than an hour, and the conversation turned to Faulkner at some point. William, in his deep, slow voice, was sharing some thoughts about a story titled "The Bar." I wanted him to see me as someone who knew his way around a library, so as William spoke, I would say "uh-huh" and indicate with other verbal gestures that I understood everything he was trying to convey. In truth, I was frantically pulling one Faulkner book after another from my shelves, and with the phone jammed between my ear and shoulder, flipping through them trying to find a story about a tavern, or maybe someone trying to get a law degree. I finally confessed that I had not read "The Bar." And as I spoke the words, the truth revealed itself to William and me at the same time. Being from Kansas, it had taken me a while to figure out that often when a guy from the hills of Tennessee said "bar," he was referring to the large, furry mammals that hibernate in the winter and are known to like honey.
I drove down to see him that same spring. His publisher, David Poindexter, described sitting in that cabin with William as very much like going to church. I can't say it better than that. I will always treasure that day, along with a time or two we hung out together in Oxford and the many phone conversations we had over the past four years.
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