Six vignettes

1. Playing the piano again

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Photo by the author (Fingers of Grace Watkins)

She was 90
when I took this picture
of her ancient finger

pointing to the word “There” —
as if to show me
where she was going

I had beckoned her to sit
at the out-of-tune piano
to show her a song she had loved

She shuffled over and sat —
lifting her eyes from keys to song
as if trying to recall some faded prowess

Then slowly
lifted a hand
and suspended it above the keys

as if to see
if the old muscle memory
would return

but it just hovered there like a…


An open letter to some fellow white evangelical Christians

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The Ouroboros (Wikipedia Common Domain)

Recently we seem to be living in alternative realities — you and I — like being on the inside of an atom in which particles appear to be in two places at the same time, alternative facts present themselves, two presidents have been elected, and a democratic God has anointed one, while a republican God has anointed another.

“Don’t tread on me!” was our motto as English colonists. But over the past four years The Ouroboros — a powerful serpent devouring itself — seems to be replacing the eagle as our national symbol.

When I arrived here as an immigrant…


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Photo by author (Grace Watkins at 90)

Vignette of a matriarch #6


Forgetting we are created in God’s Image

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Photo by Simon Berger (Unsplash)

Nine years ago I watched my father — a college professor with two Ph.D. degrees — die the the slow death of Alzheimer’s.

Like my father, I too became a professor (but with only one doctorate degree). And watching him die this slowly and painfully has filled me with a dread of this disease. I would much rather die of cancer, Ebola, the Black Plague, or better yet, on the battlefield for some great cause, gurgling out my final epitaph with a mind vividly aware of my body’s passing.

So when I struggle to remember my students’ names, or a…

Mark C Watney

English Professor at Sterling College KS.

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