To my delight, Veeka got a trophy the day she graduated from first grade for making A’s and B’s.
Considering how her year started out, this is a big accomplishment for her. To celebrate, she and I are doing some traveling, the first port-of-call being north central Arkansas and a place called Fairfield Bay. A kind friend let me use her time share there, so we have had several nights in the Ozarks, a part of the country I’ve not seen before. Our first morning there, we hopped aboard a boat to Sugarloaf Island, which is shaped like a bread loaf. We hiked about the trails there and Veeka did pretty well clambering about, albeit with some complaining about the bugs. The next day, we visited the caverns at Blanchard Springs, then dropped by a dulcimer shop so she could see what one looked like (hard to find those in Jackson, Tenn.) and then wandered through the Ozark Folk Center, which is filled with people doing handicrafts the way they were done a century ago in those parts.
Today, I was driving north when I crossed the Buffalo River and remembered someone telling me on Facebook to try floating down it. One thing led to another and by 1:30 pm, Veeka and I were set up in a canoe, thanks to a canoeing company at the Gilbert General Store. They dropped us off at Tyler State Park and we floated/rowed like crazy for five miles to the pick-up point. Or rather I rowed and Veeka complained about the work, the bugs, whatever. The weather was super pleasant and lots of people were on the river but the wind was against us and our canoe kept on turning around so that sometimes we’d enter the rapids backwards which didn’t appeal much to me. The water was very refreshing and after awhile, Veeka got the hang of it and she never dropped the oar once. The banks of the river were rather pretty and it only took us 3 hours to go 5 miles, which I thought was quite an accomplishment.
In the midst of all this, I had a very quiet birthday. I also had a huge article in More magazine about women who want to become Catholic priests. I got the assignment last fall and spent two weekends in San Diego, then Louisville researching it, then many, many hours working over various drafts. I described much of my editing working blow by blow to the young women in my magazine and feature reporting class this past spring. Unfortunately, More has not posted it online as of yet, so I cannot link to it, but it was in the May issue. I got to know a lot of women in this movement plus the arguments for and against why/why not on women’s ordination. This having been a fait accompli for several decades in most Protestant denominations, it felt a bit odd to be writing about this in 2012-2013 as still being an issue, but it is a live one that the Vatican is willing to punish severely. Women who are ordained in this fashion are excommunicated quickly and the church rates them as equal to priests who sexually abuse young children. That is, the same Latin phrase is used for both groups; a label that angered many of the women I interviewed. It was not super easy to get church sources on this. Many didn’t want to talk about it or did not get back to me, so I had to work the few sources I had.