November 3, 1981 Dear Dad,
Your retirement from the Denver Post has been present to me for weeks now. I want to write to you about what your work has meant to me since I was a small girl. I tell all the people who are important to me, "My father is a sportswriter. He loves his work. He is good at it, and he passed on to me the center of my feeling about work as a way of living at least as much as making a living." Your pleasure in words has been central to your work. I saw you enjoy words. You showed your children words as tools to sculpt fuller lives. I read your stories for years, and I learned a daily, reliable craft to tell important stories. Your work taught me that "writing a story" is a very fine way to "make a living." I saw you consistently insist on writing about the parts of people you could affirm, not because you hid sordid things, but because you allowed people their beauty. I think that is why you loved the game story best. I saw you chronicle dramas, rituals, feats, skills, mindful bodies in motion. In sportswriting, you penned stories that made living bigger, expansive, generous.
I remember going to the old Denver Bears Stadium in the 1950s when Bill and the other boys were bat and ball boys. I regretted not being able to be a bat boy in the same way I regretted not being able to be a Jesuit, so I heard my dolls' confessions in my closet with the sliding doors and said Mass for them on my dresser. I have changed since then from a junior Catholic theologian to a much less innocent feminist scribbler, from a parochial school basketball forward, to a writer of her own game stories. You gave me the same skills you gave my brothers, Bill and Rick. You taught us all to score about the same time we learned to read.1 That night in 1958 when you and the Rocky Mountain News scribe Chet Nelson asked me how I had scored a contested baseball play on which you couldn't agree, and then used my scoring, you gave me something precious: you recognized me in your work. You gave me your regard.
My father is a sportswriter.
Bodies in the making, indeed. This chapter is a note of a sportswriter's daughter. It is writing that I must do, because it's about a legacy, an inheritance in the flesh. To come to accept the body's unmaking, I need to re-member its becoming. I need to recognize all the members, animate and inanimate, that make up the knot of a particular life, my father, Frank Outten Haraway's life.
My husband, Rusten, and I have been privileged to accompany our aging parents in the last months and years of their lives. On September 29, 2005, my brothers and I held my father while he died, alert and present, in our hands. We held him during the process of his no longer being there. This was not a process uniquely of his no longer being present as a soul, or a mind, or a person, or an interior, or a subject. No, as his body cooled, his body was no longer there. The corpse is not the body. Rather, the body is always in-the-making; it is always a vital entanglement of heterogeneous scales, times, and kinds of beings webbed into fleshly presence, always a becoming, always constituted in relating. The corpse's consignment to the earth as ashes is, I think, a recognition that, in death, it is not simply the person or the soul who goes. That knotted thing we call the body has left; it is undone. My father is undone, and that is why I must re-member him. I and all those who lived entangled with him become his flesh; we are kin to the dead because their bodies have touched us. The body of my father is the body that I knew as his daughter. I inherit in the flesh, in material troping, tripping, that joins text and body in what I call material semiosis and semiotic materiality.
Mine is a looping set of stories of the generations; my story is about inheriting the craft of writing looping, braided stories, stories of the game. Born in 1916, my father was a sportswriter for the Denver Post for forty-four years. After retiring from the paper in 1981, he continued to work in the Denver sports world, as the baseball official scorer for the National League for the Colorado Rockies and as part of the statistics crews for Denver Nuggets basketball and Broncos football. His last working game was in September 2004, when he was eighty-seven years old. Writing his own epitaph, he lived and died as a sportswriter, or as he put it, as a fan who got paid to do what he loved.
I try to be something of a sportswoman; we will come back to that. In the university, I too am paid to do what I love. In this chapter, I write about the inheritance of being a journalist's daughter, a sportswriter's daughter, about my effort to gain the father's regard, to gain his approval, to somehow have his writing be about my sport, my game. I write out of a child's need in order to honor an ongoing adult love.
I'm a heterosexual daughter, more or less, of a relentlessly heterosexual father, a girl child who never had her father's heterosexual gaze. His was a deliberate withholding of the gaze of potential incest, I now think. I both loathed and envied his gender-conventional sexualization of other women and girls. My husband's sister Suze and I talk together about our fathers, who could not look at their daughters as beautiful physically because they dared not. But I had my father's regard in another, life-giving, bodily way: I had his respect. This is a different specular economy of generational passage, no less corporeal and no less full of desire and lure, no less leery of the law, no less in the game, but in an economy that leads the daughter to remember in joy and grief. This kind of look has made my body what it is in life as a writer and as a woman playing a sport. I want to take us, take me, through part of this legacy.
Consider "regard" and "respect" a bit longer. I am drawn by the tones of this kind of active looking at/regard (both as verb, respecere, and as respectus) that I sought and experienced with and from my father.2 The specific relationality in this kind of regard holds my attention: to have regard for, to see differently, to esteem, to look back, to hold in regard, to hold in seeing, to be touched by another's regard, to heed, to take care of. This kind of regard aims to release and be released in oxymoronic, necessary, autonomy-in-relation. Autonomy as the fruit of and inside relation. Autonomy as trans-acting. Quite the opposite of the gaze/look usually studied in cultural theory! And certainly not the fruit of the gaze of incest.
In recent speaking and writing on companion species, I have tried to live inside the many tones of regard/respect/seeing each other/looking back at/meeting/optic-haptic encounter. Species and respect are in optic/ haptic/affective/cognitive touch: they are at table together; they are messmates, companions, in company, cum panis. I also love the oxymoron inherent in "species"—always both logical type and relentlessly particular, always tied to specere and yearning/looking toward respecere. "Species" includes animal and human as categories, and much more besides; and we would be ill advised to assume which categories are in play and shaping one another in flesh and logic in constitutive encounterings.
In all those senses, I see the regard I am trying to think and feel as part of something not proper to either humanism or posthumanism. Companion species—coshapings all the way down, in all sorts of temporalities and corporealities—is my awkward term for a not-humanism in which species of all sorts are in question. For me, even when we speak only of people, the animal/human/living/nonliving category separations fray inside the kind of encountering worthy of regard. The ethical regard that I am trying to speak and write can be experienced across many sorts of species differences.3 The lovely part is that we can know only by looking and by looking back. Respecere.
For the last few years, I have been writing under the sign of companion species, perhaps partly to tweak my colleagues' sense of proper species behavior. They have been remarkably patient; indeed, they understand that "companion species" does not mean smallish animals treated like indulged children-in-fur-coats (or in fins or feathers) in late imperial societies. Companion species is a permanently undecidable category, a category-in-question that insists on the relation as the smallest unit of being and of analysis. By species I mean, with thanks to Karen Barad's theory of agential realism and intra-action, a kind of intra-ontics/intra-antics that does not predetermine the status of the species as artifact, machine, landscape, organism, or human being.4 Singular and plural, species resonate with the tones of logical types, of the relentlessly specific, of stamped coin, of the real presence in the Catholic Eucharist, of Darwinian kinds, of sf aliens, and of much else. Species, like the body, are internally oxy-moronic, full of their own others, full of messmates, of companions.
Every species is a multispecies crowd. Human exceptionalism is what companion species cannot abide. In the face of companion species, human exceptionalism shows itself to be the specter that damns the body to illusion, to reproduction of the same, to incest, and so makes remembering impossible. Under the material-semiotic sign of companion species, I am interested in the ontics and antics of significant otherness, in the ongoing making of the partners through the making itself, in the making of bodied lives in the game. Partners do not preexist their relating; the partners are precisely what come out of the inter- and intra-relating of fleshly, significant, semiotic-material being. This is the ontological choreography that Charis Thompson writes about.5 I'm telling a looping story of figuration, of ontics, of bodies in the making, of play in which all the messmates are not human.
Indeed, perhaps this is the daughter's knowledge, which is made possible by the kind of regard/respect her father gave—the knowledge that we have never been human and so are not caught in that cyclopean trap of mind and matter, action and passion, actor and instrument. Because we have never been the philosopher's human, we are bodies in braided, ontic, and antic relatings.
And so, we write the game story. In this account, the messmates with my father—the constitutive companion species knots that get my attention—are not myself or any other organism, but a pair of crutches and two wheelchairs. These were his partners in the game of living well.
When he was sixteen months old, my father fell and injured his hip. Tuberculosis set in. It subsided, only to return with a vengeance in 1921, when he slipped on an oiled floor. Tuberculosis lodged in the upper leg, knee, and hip bones, in a period when there was no treatment. We get this version of the history of the body from a tenth-grade school assignment, "The Autobiography of Frank Haraway," which we found after Dad's death in his orderly, but still packrat-inspired, files.6 His own father had moved to Colorado Springs from Tennessee and Mississippi (the state line actually ran through the family house) in order to heal from pulmonary tuberculosis in a Rocky Mountain spa town that makes me recall The Magic Mountain. My father's childhood tuberculosis meant that from an early age he could not move without excruciating pain. He spent the ages of eight to about eleven in bed in a full-length body cast from his chest to his knees, not able to attend school and so learning with a private tutor. Not expected to live, he nonetheless eventually healed. But, the hip joints were permanently calcified, and he was left rigid with no plane of motion, no ability to bend, from the hips. He could not separate his legs in any direction. (This fact made me curious in my adolescent years about how my parents pulled off feats of conception—ordinary epistemophilia, with a twist. There was more than a little joking in our house about these matters.)
My father's father had money until a few years into the Depression. My grandfather was a sports promoter as well as the owner of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Colorado. A businessman and community figure, he brought sports figures to Denver such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who came to Dad's house and signed a baseball for him while he was still confined to bed. My grandfather and his industrialist colleagues founded the white men's basketball leagues that preceded professional basketball as we now know it. The players for BF Goodrich, Akron Goodyear, Piggly Wiggly, and other midwestern and western industrial basketball teams were all white men destined to be middle-level managers. The bodily practices of racialization come in many forms, not least the braiding of family, sports, and business. My father was a sportswriter; that is part of how I am white; it is part of the game story. Race and money are part of how my father became a sportswriter.
My grandfather gave Dad a wheelchair as soon as he was able to get out of his bed and body cast, so he could go to the old Merchant's Park and watch the ballgames. But he was not just a spectator. From his wheelchair, in his typical semirecumbent seated posture dictated by his unaccommodating hips, Dad played baseball in the neighborhood. I have a picture of him and his younger brother, Jack, at about twelve and thirteen years old, both wearing characteristic pajama-mimic baseball pants, clutching bottles of Coke. Dad is in his wheelchair, flashing his trademark, gap-toothed smile, which showed up years later in the sports page cartoons drawn by Bob Bowie at the beginning of baseball spring training. Another photo shows my pimply-faced father swinging the bat with rather elegant athletic form. Dad was known in the neighborhood, I am told, as a good player, or at least a popular one. That wheelchair was in a companion-species relation to the boy; the whole body was organic flesh as well as wood and metal; the player was on wheels, grinning. Yet, perhaps not always grinning. At the end of a neighborhood game, so the family story goes, when their ancient baseball fell apart definitively and for the last time, the other kids persuaded Dad to bring out his Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig autographed treasure. Sure, Dad thought, we only have one out to go. Dad watched the batter hit the ball past the fielder's outreached glove. The ball rolled down the urban gutter into the sewers, where it continues to fertilize narratives of loss and nostalgia—and narratives of the dramatic plays in a game.
When he graduated from Randall, the private high school he attended in his wheelchair, Dad got his crutches and galloped off to Denver University, where he became student sports editor of the DU Clarion. His track career at DU was cut short after an unauthorized race with a broken-legged football player, who was temporarily locomoting with crutches, a race that was set up by the other athletes on the track around the football field, starting gun and all. With his trusty cherrywood crutches under his armpits, swinging in long arcs, my father won the race handily, but his opponent fell and broke his other leg, prompting the coach to warn Dad off any further competitive exploits. These crutches belong corporeally in a life built out of relational, enabling objectifications, of coming into being through meldings with the physicality of the wheelchair, the bed, the cast, the crutches, all of which produced a vital, living, achieving sportswriter.
Bob Bowie's Denver Post cartoon of Frank Haraway arriving for Bears baseball spring training in the 1950s. From Haraway family archives.
Aided by his crutches, Dad developed a sense of balance that sustained him without the "sticks," as he called them, while standing and taking tiny steps using his partly flexible knees. That way, with unreturn-able serves—in later years, mostly made illegal—and enviable timing, he won three straight Colorado State Table Tennis Championships in the 1930s.7 If you've ever watched table tennis, you know it's a sport that requires covering a lot of ground with your legs, which was exactly what my father could not do. He won because of hand-eye coordination, balance, guts, upper-body strength, mind-body inventiveness, and desire— and because of his living in relationship to his own physicality in a way that never for a minute considered either denial or immobility (i.e., living outside the body) as a viable option.
To be in a companion-species relationship was the viable way of life. He was lucky to have a concatenated series of partners, including the wheelchair, the crutches, and the attention and resources of his parents
Frank Haraway and his younger brother, Jack, playing baseball about 1929. From Haraway family archives.
Frank Haraway and other men playing wheelchair basketball during halftime at a professional basketball game that Haraway was covering for the Denver Post about 1960. From Haraway family archives.
and friends.8 The vitality came from living with regard to all those partners. Another photo that spilled out of Dad's files, one we put near his casket at the mortuary, eloquently makes this point. The photographer caught Dad unawares from behind in the late afternoon during batting practice before the game. Dad is in the third-base coaching box, looking toward the pitcher's mound. It's hard to be sure, but he looks to be about forty years old, and he's wearing a his typical checkered sports shirt. At first, it just seems he's standing relaxed on crutches in a slightly A-frame position. Then you see that he has his knees bent at a ninety-degree angle, with the soles of his shoes facing the camera. He is standing relaxed on his crutches all right, still and calm and utterly airborne.
My father lived his adult life, with his crutches, at speed. What I remember as a little girl was running down the block to keep up, not
walking with someone less abled. Still, I need to return to walking for a while to understand better how modifying bodies work. Early on, I noticed that my two brothers, both my older brother, Bill, and my younger brother, Rick, neither of whom had hip disorders of any kind, walked a lot like my father. They still do, if you know what to look for. They literally embodied the gait of this man. This fact was not much remarked in the family; after all, it was normal for sons to be like their father, wasn't it? Theirs was a mimetic looping through the storied, masculine bodies of fathers and sons, which at no point was regarded as mimicking disability or any sort of oddity. The term disability didn't enter the family, not because there was denial about the need for crutches, but because these objects were normal parts of paternal equipment, all meanings intended. Certainly, they were part of the reproductive apparatus that shaped the bodies of my brothers.
This shared gait was about coming into cognizance of, in regard to, our father's body in a life-shaping way. In a sense, Dad's crutches sym-biotically infused the bodies of all the family. My brothers and I would, naturally, borrow his crutches to try them out and see how fast we could go. We all did things like that, but only my brothers literally walked my father's walk. I did not have my father's gait; I had his way with language. My brothers did too, actually—Bill, as a financial adviser, in the idiom and lineage of our businessman grandfather; and Rick, as a social worker and peace and justice worker, in the vulgate of our mother, Dorothy Maguire, which was influenced by her Catholic formation and in which what later came to be called the "preference for the poor" was both doctrine and life-affirming bread. Trembling when she had to give her much-practiced treasurer's reports to the PTA, Mom shunned verbal public performance, but she knew the word was made flesh in taking people's needs and pain to her own heart. Laughing, she and I played with Latin words when I pestered her with my worries that it might be a sin to use sacred language in an overly serious, speculative child's fantasies. She was eloquent with good advice for me, even though I knew her own mind-body, in the vice grip of belief, was blasted by the minefields of Catholic contradiction and unspeakable yearning in the teeth of doctrine. She had the more speculative, self-analytical consciousness in our family but not the tools for expression. In i960 she died of a heart attack, on a Monday morning in October after we had all left for school and work. I think my father never had any idea about her entrapment, but he did know her gift. I also think the physicality through which I came into relationship with my father, through which I won his regard, was through the sensuality of words and the acts of writing. We talked about, punned on, played with, and ate words for dinner; they were our food, too, even while we ate from my mother's mind-body, in her cooking and in her loneliness and barely acknowledged physical vulnerability.
In his eighties, Dad needed his crutches more and more for getting around, even in the house. Then, he started falling. He fell hard in January 2005 and broke his hip. Because of the extensive scarifying calcification from the childhood tuberculosis, there was no way to use a pin, or an external stabilization device, or anything else to hold the separated bones together so that they could heal well enough to give him half a chance to walk or even stand again. So, out of bed for decades, he lived his last eight months mostly back in bed, again in poorly relieved pain, relearning how to be mobile without legs. His bone-deep regard for people did not fail him. He flirted mercilessly with the nurses, Claudia and Lori, and the massage therapist, Tracy, with the same cheerful heterosexual self-confidence that plagued my feminist soul and roused my latent envy. He also formed gentle, trusting bonds with male caretakers—John, the blond Denver kid, and Lucky, the immigrant from Ghana—unaided by the specular and verbal devices of flirtation and across gulfs of race, class, and intimate bodily dependency. I thought the women who cared for him became his friends in spite of, not because of, his flirting; they knew that another kind of regard was operating even more powerfully, if less articulately. They still call my family, the men and the women call, to see how we are doing.
In the last months, Dad acquired a talented cyborg wheelchair that was radically different from the 1920s chariot I see in the old photos. The ad brochure promised everything but flight. Dad developed an affectionate, joking relationship with Drew, the kind and able wheelchair salesman. The physical therapist, Shawna, set up orange traffic cones in a line for him in the hallway of the rehab center, the one we called Rocky Road, so that he could practice navigating without taking down fellow dubiously ambulatory residents. It didn't take us long to up the limits on his liability insurance. Semi-recumbent, he had to pass Shawna's driving test with this chip-implanted, overachieving chair, which he never for a minute trusted but of which he was rather proud, even though he couldn't get into it or out of it on his own. This chair never quite became a beloved significant other. This partner was overwhelmingly about loss from which there would be no exit. It was a much fancier chair than the one of his youth, but it no longer signified getting well and going to the games. This chair, this transaction between wary companion species, was about the practice of dying. Even so, the chair assisted this process with companions of many species, both the apparatuses and the people, in a way that continued to stimulate a sportswriter's eye for the vitality of movement in the world.
The apparatus of companion species included satellite installations and a new television set to watch the games, as well as phone calls and visits with friends and colleagues to continue his professional relationship with, and lifelong pleasure in, sports. Brother Rick and his wife, Roberta, even got him into a van and to a baseball game once, to the National League press box named for him; but it was too hard, too painful, to do again. His partners of many species included all the means that he and we could imagine for staying in the game as long as he could.
And then he couldn't. He came down with pneumonia and decided not to treat it. He decided to go, because he judged that in any meaningful sense, he could stay in the game no longer. His game story was filed. Indeed, on his desk we found a stickie with the logo of the "morning fish wrapper," that is, the Rocky Mountain News, the rival newspaper, stuck in a plastic photo cube, on which he had penciled his last game story for us to savor: "When the good Lord decides I can no longer go to the games I love so much, I just want to be remembered as a happy man who loved his family, who loved people, and as a sports fan who got paid for writing what he saw." We worried for a while that we should have cremated his crutches with his remains; they belonged together; they were one vital body; both should go. Instead, Rick took the crutches home and put them in his living room, where they link us all to our ancestors, those companion species in other kinds of ontic and antic time.
My father was not a particularly self-reflective person; he didn't theorize these matters. As far as I could tell—and to my shame, I never tired of trying to recast him into the mold I wanted him to fit, from praying for his conversion to Catholicism when I was little to trying to get him to read books and analyze everything under the sun when I was older—he didn't reflect on these ramifying mimeses, these looping stories of mind-bodies coming to presence in the world through engaging companion species. I think his relationship to his work and to his life was to write the game stories and to be in the game. He never wanted to be a columnist or run the sports department of a big-city newspaper. He certainly never wanted to tell the stories about the commercial, social, and political apparatus that makes professional sports possible. He was not reflective about what it might mean for a man with rigid hips to spend a good part of his adult life whacking the bums of football players in locker rooms, though my first husband earnestly asked him about that more than once. Jaye was gay and extremely interested in homosocial physicality of both sexual and nonsexual kinds. He kept trying to get Dad to think about what the hell was going on and to think through his own multiple bodily relationships with men. These were not Dad's ways of being. These were his children's problems and tasks. He was a man who wrote the game story, and stayed in the game, and whose regard as a father I have not stopped needing.
Because of that need, in respect and with regard to all the players, I end this story, which has taken us through beds, casts, wheelchairs, crutches, and back to chairs, with another game story. As a woman in her fifties, I started playing a demanding sport with a member of another species a few years ago—with a dog, the dog of my heart, Cayenne, a Klingon warrior princess who was bred to be a working Australian shepherd. Her speed and athletic talent are off the scales, but her partner, if eager and fit, is all too weighed down with modest talent and immoderate years. The sport is called agility, a game made up of twenty or so obstacles on a hundred-foot by hundred-foot course, in patterns set out by a diabolical judge, who evaluates the dog-human teams for speed and accuracy of performance.
Playing that sport with Cayenne, now at the Masters level, after thousands of hours of joint work and play, I recognize the looping ontics and antics, the partnerships-in-the-making that transform the bodies of the players in the doing itself. Agility is a team sport; both players make each other up in the flesh. Their principal task is to learn to be in the same game, to learn to see each other, to move as someone new of whom neither can be alone. To do that with a member of another biological species is not the same thing as doing it with a cheating, language-wielding, hom-inid partner. Cayenne and I must communicate throughout our being, and language in the orthodox linguist's sense is mostly in the way. The highs that Cayenne and I experience come from focused, trained, responsive, conjoined movement at speed—from coursing together in mind-body through the patterns for the whole time, when the times in question range from twenty-five to fifty seconds, depending on the game. Speed alone is not enough; unfocused by each other's transforming regard, speed is chaos for us both. You can tell by all the penalties the judge assesses. The intensity that we both love is finely differentiated from the panic that destroys us. The "zone" for us is about speed, for sure, but speed organically braided in a joint, subject-transforming dance that makes the really good runs "slow"; that is, we see and feel each other, see each other's eyes, feel each other's moving bodies. Not a wild dash, but trained regard.
From the time we started training for agility competition, true to my reforming zeal, I tried to get my aged father to be able to see what this sport is; even after he broke his hip, he got no pass. It's not baseball, basketball, or football; it's not boxing, hockey, tennis, or golf. It's not even dog or horse racing. All of those sports he had had to write about at least once for a living; all of those were legible to a man of his generation, race, and class. No, I insisted, this time you learn agility, the sport of middle-aged women and their talented dogs, which will someday occupy the prime-time Monday night TV slot, which is now making do with that man-breaking sport called football. I showed him diagrams of international-level Masters courses, explained what's involved technically, played videos of the USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) Nationals when he was wild with pain and hallucinating on opiates, and wrote him accounts of Cayenne's and my variously comic and tragic exploits. He could not die; he was a sportswriter; he was my father. I wanted his regard; I wanted his approval; I wanted him to get it. I did not think he was watching or listening, except to murmur cheerful encouragement in a paternal tone, along the lines of "It's nice to have something you enjoy so much." This sport was off the radar for a sportswriter of his formation.
Then, in the summer of 2005, when he was out of the rehab center, into his own room in an enhanced-care residential facility, and beginning to experience a lot less pain, just for fun I sent him a video of Cayenne and me running some courses at an AKC trial. I said, ""This is what we did last weekend; this is what a bunch of the other players did; this is what the game looks like." He wrote me back a game story, crafted with all of his considerable professional skill.9 He analyzed the runs; he took apart the coherencies and incoherencies. He saw in detail what was at stake, how the canine and human players moved, what worked and did not work. He wrote the game story as if he were a scout for a Major League Baseball team. He not only got it, he got it at the same professional level that he got the events that he was paid for, and he wrote it to me and Cayenne. He gave me—gave us—his regard. It's how he made a living.
TWO CODAS: GRIEF, MEMORY, AND STORY
I. August 25, 2004
Amazing! That was my first reaction upon seeing my (almost) 60-year-old daughter running with her young, high-spirited, lightning-fast pooch in highly-skilled competition. I marveled at the split-second timing required for you and Cayenne to communicate with each other. Yes, I noticed an occasional brief breakdown, quickly remedied as you resumed your run. Honestly, I was impressed. Little did I know when you cuddled up in my arms as a toddler that you would be running a dog in competition at the age of 60! I replayed the video several times and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The die is cast. I am working on the Broncos' stats crew Friday night. Wish me luck.
Much love, Dad
That game was the last one Dad worked. He died a year later.
When I wrote "A Note of a Sportswriter's Daughter: Companion Species," I remembered this letter as if it had been written in August 2005, not 2004. I remembered more detail on the runs than there was. Only after finishing the paper did I dig the letter out of my files to add quotes from Dad and find the dates for a footnote. Then I understood more than I wanted to know about how grief reworks truth to tell another truth. Fiercely accurate, I remembered the love in this letter. But I redid time, and time chastened me. I learned again that the line between fiction and fact in family stories goes through the living room. The documenting practices of scholarship slice the heart, but they cannot undo the story. "Bodies in the Making: Transgressions and Transformations"—that is what stories chronicle. Stories re-member.
II. After the Game: "Somewhere off Thirty-fourth Street" Filed by a sportswriter's daughter, December ii, 2005
In the season of recalling miracles on Thirty-fourth Street, Kris Kringle must take a back seat to a marvel that happened closer to home. It happened to Cayenne and me in California's decidedly nonmetropolitan Central Valley. Such a marvel will never happen again. Maybe I dreamed it. I hesitate to tell you in case I wake up. Maybe I'll write again later. No, I must check to see if reality holds. Here goes . . .
Cayenne and I received four perfect qualifying scores out of four runs (ExB Std, ExA JWW) at the Sacramento Dog Training Club's AKC trial at Rancho Murieta Friday and Saturday.
There, I said it. The sun is still shining, and so I'll risk telling you the rest. If the earth shakes, I'll stop.
Only international competitor Sharon Freilich's Rip, among all the Excellent Class dogs of both A and B sections, was faster than we were in three of the runs. In the "Jumpers with Weaves" run on Saturday, we were less than 0.5 seconds behind Sharon and Rip. Oh my. Now I will wake up for sure.
Recklessly, I forge on.
In the remaining run, an ExB Standard, we were fifth, behind a bunch of scruffy big-name border collies, including both of Sharon's dogs (Rip and Cirque). Three seconds separated the second- and fifth-place dogs. If Cayenne had not wanted to discuss the latest scandal of the Bush administration while I was earnestly suggesting a down on the pause table, we might have been first and definitely second. So, we took two first places in our ExA JWW and a second in our other ExB Standard (behind Rip, or did I already mention that?), all with tight turns, serious focus, weaves to use in a teaching video, and blazing times. (I will not mention, although perhaps this is the reason the sun is still shining and the earth not shaking, our less-than-perfect start line holds.)
Am I happy? Is Cayenne a Klingon warrior princess? Oh yes. How do I know? Because the sun is still shining.
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Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.