High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60-$40
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the Waynes Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM $55 reserved
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $30 reserved/ $10 children
Carrollton, GA Luncheon
Garrison Keillor will join guests for a casual Luncheon in the Lobby of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, where he will talk about how it all began and where he thinks he is going. Tickets: $45
Garrison Keillor Tonight with opener Debi Smith comes to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $45.00.
by Martin Steingesser
… awoke to rain
around 2:30 this morning
thinking of you, because I’d said
only a few days before, this
is what I wanted, to lie with you in the dark
listening how rain sounds
in the tree beside my window,
on the sill, against the glass, damp
cool air on my face. I am loving
fresh smells, light flashes in the
black window, love how you are here
when you’re not, knowing we will
lie close, nothing between us; and maybe
it will be still, as now, the longing
that carries us
into each other’s arms
asleep, neither speaking
least it all too soon turn to morning, which
it does. Rain softens, low thunder, a car
“This Longing” by Martin Steingesser, from Brothers of Morning. © Deerbrook Edition, 2002. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It is the 101st birthday of Henrietta Lacks, born in 1920 in Roanoke, VA. Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer who died at age 31 from cervical cancer, but whose cells continue to be used in medical research. While she underwent treatment at the then-segregated Johns Hopkins University in 1950, a sample of her cancer cells was sent to the lab of a prominent cancer researcher named George Gey. Unlike other patients’ cells, which quickly died, those from Lacks not only stayed alive but doubled every 20 to 24 hours. They were the only human cells to grow outside the body. Gey had never seen such a thing. In the decades that followed, the so-called HeLa cells (named for the first two letters of Lacks’ first and last names) were used by pharmaceutical companies, cosmetics companies, and the military. They were vital in development of the polio and HPV vaccines, in vitro fertilization, and cancer treatments. Lacks’ identity was shared publicly; researchers even gave her medical records to the media. But neither Lacks nor her family were asked for consent and none of the money made from the work found its way back to them. A 2010 book by Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, exposed the story. Since then a biotech firm, a private funder of biotech research, and other donors have given unspecified sums of money to a foundation in Lacks’ name; the foundation awards grants to those who have unknowingly been part of medical research, and some of Lacks’ descendants have gotten them. In 2018 Johns Hopkins has said it plans to name a new building after Lacks, with construction expected to be completed in 2022.
Today is the birthday of Maria Mitchell (books by this author), the first acknowledged female astronomer, born in 1818 on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. Although the American essayist Hannah Crocker explained that same year in her Observations on the Real Rights of Women that it was then a woman’s “province to soothe the turbulent passions of men … to shine in the domestic circle” and that “it would be improper, and physically very incorrect, for the female character to claim the statesman’s birth or ascend the rostrum to gain the loud applause of men,” Maria Mitchell’s Quaker parents believed that girls should have the same access to education and the same chance to aspire to high goals as boys, and they raised all 10 of their children as equals.
Maria’s early interest in science and the stars came from her father, a dedicated amateur astronomer who shared with all his children what he saw as physical evidence of God in the natural world, although Maria was the only child interested enough to learn the mathematics of astronomy. She would later say, in a quote recorded in NASA’s profile of her, that we should “not look at the stars as bright spots only [but] try to take in the vastness of the universe,” because “every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God.”
By age 12 Maria was assisting her father with his astronomical observations and data and just five years later opened and ran her own school for girls, training them in the sciences and math. In 1838 she became the librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum and began spending her evenings in an observatory her father had built atop the town’s bank.
On October 1, 1848, a crisp, clear autumn evening, Maria focused her father’s telescope on a distant star. The light was faint and blurry, and Maria suddenly realized she was looking not at a star, but a comet; she recorded its coordinates, and when she saw the next night that the fuzzy light had moved, she was sure. Maria shared her discovery with her father, who wrote to the Harvard Observatory, who in turn passed her name on to the king of Denmark who had pledged a gold medal to the first person to discover a comet so distant that it could only be seen through a telescope. Maria was awarded the medal the following year and the comet became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”
Mitchell’s list of firsts is impressive: She’d made the first American comet sighting; in 1848 she was the first woman appointed to the American Association for the Advancement of Science; in 1853 she became the first woman to earn an advanced degree; and in 1865 she became the first woman appointed to the faculty of the newly founded Vassar Female College as their astronomy professor and the head of their observatory, making her the first female astronomy professor in American history.
Mitchell also became a devoted anti-slavery activist and suffragist, with friends such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and helped found the American Association for the Advancement of Women. In her Life, Letters, and Journals, Maria declares that:
No woman should say, ‘I am but a woman!’ But a woman! What more can you ask to be? Born a woman — born with the average brain of humanity — born with more than the average heart — if you are mortal, what higher destiny could you have? No matter where you are nor what you are, you are a power.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®