Thursday, December 24, 2009

The last day of (not much) work before the holiday break. . .

There weren't a lot of us around the office yesterday. Those of us who came in were, I think it's fair to say, focused on getting done what needed to be done, and then getting out of there for the next 10 days! This means you'll just be hearing Sara Prince and Dan Easley on WMRA for a week or so--voices you haven't heard for a while.

Frankly, I need a break--from tasks, from deadlines, from fundraising (you, too, on that one, right?). What I, however, do not need a break from is daily contact with the WMRA community. How did I ever come to rest amidst such beautiful country, among such interesting people?

Take Kieran Tang (pictured left), who's in the first grade. He came by the WMRA studio recently with his mother, Eva Robertson. Eva, who's a fine writer and blogger, was there to record a Civic Soapbox. Kieran was there to see how radio worked.

After our recording session, we three took a look at the current WMRA art exhibit of work done by students from Harrisonburg and Eastern Mennonite high schools. Kieran made a lot of astute comments on the artwork, particularly the pictures.

"Do you draw?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he said.

"If you ever feel like it," I said, "I'd love to have one of your pictures."

"Okay," he said.

Yesterday when I got back from the gym there was a gift bag and a note sitting on my desk. Inside the bag was a rolled-up picture  The note was from Kieran. It said: Here is my picture. It was hard to do.

I unrolled the picture. It was remarkable, fully filled in with bright, beautiful Crayola colors. The image was of a head, very striking and compelling.  I plan on framing it and hanging it in my office, right there with Charlie's photographs and the page proof from my essay in the New York Times Magazine.

Yesterday I also got a visit from Becky Martinez, an old WMRA intern and boss of WXJM, the JMU student radio station. As an undergrad, Becky interned at NPR on the arts desk and, after graduation, worked at NPR on a variety of the shows for close to two years. When she wasn't working, she babysat Scott Simon's kids.

About six months ago, Becky moved back to be the roving reporter for the Staunton News Leader. She stops by to visit from time to time, bringing coffee and journalistic chat. Yesterday's chat was about Virginia's courting of Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln biopic (starring Liam Neeson) and about tiny girls with pink guns shooting bears. Becky's writing about both subjects for the paper.

Oh yes, we also chatted about today's piece (lead story on the front page, no less) about some of  Staunton's beleaguered local shops.

As if that weren't enough community enrichment of my life for one day, yesterday I also got to have lunch with Chuck Slott (whom many of you will remember as WMRA's long-time classical music announcer), semi-retired writer and reporter, Chris Edwards, and Bob Bersson, activist, artist, and musician. Bob had been to the recent J Street Congress, which was convened around the idea that the "security and future of Israel as the democratic home of the Jewish people depend on rapidly achieving a two-state solution and regional comprehensive peace."

Bob had also recently visited Israel and could talk first-hand about the shocking treatment of Arabs there, both behind the West Bank barrier and in general society.We had a long lunch, learning, exchanging views, asking and answering questions.

Is this the community to live in or what ? Happy holidays to me! And happy holidays to you. May we live long and prosper as fellow WMRAers!

NOTE: One more blog post tomorrow on a very interesting student at St. Anne's-Belfield School who wrote tomorrow's Civic Soapbox.

And then, no posts until January 4th. Even bloggers need occasional breaks.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Martha, for this tribute and also for the message! Kieran was delighted. We're both touched that you want to frame it and give it such a special place in your life.

    I will miss your blog over the holiday, but fully understand your need for some real R&R. You sure deserve it! Warmest wishes for a lovely Christmas and happy new year! Hugs, Eva xo