Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend of Loss

This weekend ended beautifully but before reaching the Sunday night finish line, I received three pieces of bad news:

One of my favorite writers died.
Jeffrey Zaslow, staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, was killed when his car lost control on an icy Michigan road last Friday. As a WSJ subscriber, I was an ardent fan of his writing. We even exchanged some emails on the topic of Phyllis Diller after he'd written a brilliant piece about clean comedy. He wrote with such humor and tenderness, it was striking. As a writer, I looked up to him, and as a reader, I appreciated him.

Let's put it this way, when the time came to have their stories told, these people turned to Mr. Zaslow:

Capt. Chesley 'Sulley' Sullenberger (who spoke at Zaslow's funeral) with his book, 'Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters'
Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who famously passed on his life's wisdom to his students before he died of cancer in an online video (14.5 million views, so far) and best-selling book, "The Last Lecture", co-authored by Zaslow

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, co-authored the book, "Gabby" (due out Nov. 15) with Zaslow - it details the long hard fight to recovery after the tragic Tuscon shooting.

Great writers are not easily replaced. Godspeed Jeffrey Zaslow. My heart goes out to his wife and three daughters.


Whitney Houston. 
By now, there's been so much press coverage that there's not much more I can add here except to say that her loss is a real tragedy. Not as much for us (her voice and her sparkle died a long time ago) but for her teenaged daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who lost her mother at the most crucial time in her life.

I am so worried for that young girl.

And yes, this still gives me chills, lip-synced or not.


The Shed burned down. 
"Get Fed at The Shed", a mantra that I live by whenever I visit Mississippi. In fact, during my recent visit over the holidays, I insisted on a visit to The Shed on my final night in town. I remember my nephew, Robbie, looking up at all the dollar bills hanging from the ceiling and said, "If this place burns down, they're going to lose a lot of dollars." Ah, out of the mouths of babes...

My very favorite thing to do in the summer in Mississippi is to ride in my brother's boat through the gorgeous bayou waterways right on up to the tiny pier at The Shed. We hop out and enjoy the best BBQ I've ever had while taking in an awesome outdoor blues show. Then, on the way home in the dark, we scout for alligators. That's down-home fun, is what that is.

Other than my mother's meatloaf, The Shed is the one thing that makes me toss my vegetarianism right out the window. My order never changed: Pulled Pork with a side of beans and potato salad with a cold bottle of Pabst. DEE-LISH!

The owners say they'll be up and running again soon. Sticky fingers crossed. 

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