Back to the Skies


Twenty-four hours from now I depart ATL for the final leg of what my friend Rhonda has affectionately labeled my “Senior Sneakers Tour.”  There really haven’t been many sneakers involved (other than my own), but there has been a wide array of seniors.  It was my Covid promise to myself:  As soon as I was fully vaccinated, I wanted to make a special effort to immediately go and visit significant seniors in my life who I worried I might not get to see again when the pandemic struck.  I’ve spent time with my dad in St. Louis.  Was able to see a bunch of my favorite Aquinas Institute faculty/board from when I was a student there.  I drove to Sinsinawa, WI to enjoy hamburgers with my first dean and great mentor, Sr. Diane Kennedy.  I made a brief stop in Kalamazoo, MI to see Carol Smith, the most gracious overseer of the archives at Kalamazoo College who shepherded me through three years of work study and all the drama of college life.  And now, I’m off to northern Montana to visit Sr. Kathleen Kane and Fr. Pete Guthneck, who hosted me for eleven summers of CGS courses and taught me to eat antelope and buffalo and all sorts of other fun things.  It has all been such a blessing and I expect this trip will be also.

It has been strange to be on the road again.  I rather forgot how to pack in the last 15 months and am finding the idea of flying somewhere again a bit anxiety-producing.  But it has also been good to download a bunch of podcasts and stick a bunch of new books into my kindle and get ready to embrace the “friendly skies.” (Still true??)  Here are a few things I’ve been listening to / reading that you might also find interesting:

  • A three-part Invisibilia podcast series on the important role that local journalism plays within the larger quest for “living truth.”  How does bad information lead us to make bad choices?  You can find the first episode here and go from there.
  • A recent book from Ignatius Press called Real Philosophy for Real People: Tools for Truthful Living.  It might be a little hardcore for someone who has never had a philosophy course before, but makes lots of tough content quite accessible.  I’m only half way through but enjoying it.
  • One of the most nuanced, intelligent articles on Catholic schools and DEI efforts: “Should Catholic Schools Teach Critical Race Theory?” from America Magazine. This has been the hottest topic of the year for so many educators in a year that was already hot.  The article helped me get clarity and perspective.

Obviously, if you are someone who likes to sleep on long flights, none of these will be for you.  But, if you are looking for something intellectually stimulating to pass hours while confined to a small, upright seat… these will make the hours fly and your mind buzz.