For all of my years as a newspaper reporter, I believed almost every record, memo, phone log and scribble on a piece of note paper in any government office should be open to the public.
When we sold our house and moved to a smaller place, I was surprised by how many cookbooks we had to pack and haul across town. We didn't have as many cookbooks as we had photo albums, not by a long shot. Nancy had been shooting pictures since probably high school, for sure from the time she enrolled at St. Catherine's in St. Paul. She had a small camera, and she used it, with good judgment and to good effect. Over the years of our marriage, I built several shelves to hold the growing number of albums.
I'm no Bible scholar, not even a serious student of the Good Book, but as Easter Sunday nears I find myself considering in the context of current events a familiar Scripture passage I first read long ago. I thought of the passage the other evening as I reflected on the events of Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and faculty were shot to death that day, victims of a gunman who walked into the building and began firing a rifle. One of the victims was a 15-year-old — just a kid — named Peter Wang.
I've been a fan of the weekly television program "60 Minutes'' for decades, so it wasn't unusual that I had that program on the screen last Sunday evening. I didn't tune in specifically to see Anderson Cooper interview adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. I'd have been watching, anyway, whatever the topic. That hour of television has been as much a Sunday evening tradition around our home as popcorn and cheese and slices of apple, and traditions don't come much stronger than our Sunday evening popcorn.
I heard the other day about an active-shooter drill at a school in the Twin Cities, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.
We had just crossed Minnechaduza Creek on Highway 83 this side of Valentine, Nebraska, when the passenger in the car lamented her lack of restraint in choosing foods during our long travel day home from Colorado. She eyed the last couple of nuggets of breaded chicken bits in the cardboard container and shook her head. "I haven't had a single healthy thing to eat this entire day,'' she said.
It's St. Patrick's Day, a day set aside to celebrate a fifth-century missionary and everything else Irish, and my saintly McManus-clan mother always made sure her family did that.
We are in the middle of Sunshine Week, the seven-day period once each year when newspaper people focus extra attention on the importance of open government, the First Amendment and a free press.
From my wife's room on the seventh floor of the University of Colorado Hospital, we could see Pike's Peak, sharp and snow-covered, jutting above other peaks on the stretch of Rocky Mountains that seemed to disappear behind the corner of the inpatient building.
On the farm, we had a back porch where we stored odds and ends and oddities that didn't belong in the kitchen, living room, pantry, bedroom or bathroom. The washing machine, a white beast of a tub with black agitator blades and a wicked-looking wringer, sat on the porch. My mom spent hours wringing moisture out of shirts and pants and socks and underwear before heading to the clothesline with a heavy basket of damp laundry and a bag of wooden clothespins. The clothesline was a convenient 20 steps from the porch door.