As I write this it is eight minutes to Wednesday and I have no idea where Tuesday went. It was so nicely planned: get up and out early, pick up the turducken, order oysters for dressing, come home and put away the three dozen CDs that haven't seen the inside of a case since Memorial Day. But as someone said, life is what happens when you're making other plans: One of my daughter's friends, with whom she works as a server at a truly cool restaurant here in Austin, overcelebrated the end of the previous evening's shift and stayed over at our place. She also overslept. Since I was already up, I was commandeered to drive the five miles that would deliver her to her bus back to San Marcos -- about 30 miles away.
Only slightly annoyed, I opted to wait with her for the bus. While we waited we talked. Turns out she was born in Kenya to activist parents who were academics. Long story short, their activism cost them their lives. Opposition party paramilitary bullies broke into their home four years ago and murdered her father. The family emotionally regrouped only to have their mother murdered (initially only injured, the gendarmes finished the job as she lay in the hospital awaiting treatment). I went about the rest of my chores in a kind of emotional fog, finding myself once again amazed at man's capacity for visiting cruelty on his fellow man. I needed to lie down.
I almost napped through the first night of Hanukah. Arriving after the candle had been lit, I visited with folks I see only once a year despite the fact that we annually vow to stay in touch. I thought about my friend Molly Ivins and how she would have loved this young woman from Kenya. She's incredibly bright, clearly resilient, and now an orphan.
I have been asked how Molly influenced my life over our two-decade-long friendship. I now realize there were little ways. For instance: Molly had real blood nieces and nephews but numerous adopted ones. She had no children of her own. I now have a half-dozen "daughters" in addition to my own. I thought about Molly's "Orphans and Strays" Christmas dinners, where people who otherwise had no Christmas invitations had an assured place at her table. My new Kenyan-born "daughter" will be one of two young women whose parents died too soon. They will be among several of her friends who otherwise have no place to go. They are my gifts this year.
Am I doing it in Molly's memory? Maybe.
Meanwhile I need to keep track of Wednesday.