Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ski like the wind

Andrew and I were up shortly after 4 a.m. today. The bus carrying mostly varsity members of the MPHS ski team was to leave at 6, for an invitational meet at Treetops.
Andrew was invited to that meet. He's on the "B" team, but an invitational is an invitational.
As he left, I told him, "Ski like the wind!"
Go Oilers!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Amazing singing

I've heard Katherine say it before, and she said it again: "We sound amazing."
Truly, the Michigan State Honors Choir did sound amazing during its performance Saturday at Devos Hall in Grand Rapids.
For Katherine, it was her second straight year as an alto in the choir comprised of some of the best seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade singers in the state. The performance was tight, well-rehearsed, and I just closed my eyes and let the harmonies wash over me.
It also was a great time to get together with the part of the family in Grand Rapids. Fuzzy and Annie made it to the show, along with Ethan, who lives with Fuzzy and whom Katherine likes.
Dinner at the Olive Garden followed the event; Katherine asked along her friend Christiana. She's "like a fairy-tale queen," in Kissy Missy's description.
It's worth noting that 15 Mount Pleasant students tried out for the honors choir -- and all 15 of them were selected.
What an experience.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Murder at the Morning Sun

One of my colleagues was murdered by her husband in front of the
newspaper office this week.
I've held off writing anything personal about it for a couple of days,
trying to gather my thoughts and make sense of it all. Of course, I

Her name was Mary Babb, a sales representative for the Morning Sun.
She was a good one, hard working, smart, a good account manager. But
she'd married a guy, Tom, who turned into an abuser.
There's a history of abuse. He once held a knife to her throat. He was
out on bond facing charges of felonious assault, criminal sexual
conduct (involving a gun), domestic violence and felony firearms. Mary
was afraid of him, and when the chance came for her to get out, she
left him and took their son, Sam, age 3.
Tom wouldn't let go. On Tuesday afternoon, he was waiting for her in
the newspaper parking lot in his truck. When she came in from seeing
clients, he rammed her SUV, pushed it more than 100 feet and flipped
it over.

As she hung from her seat belt, he got out of his truck, and shot her
twice, point-blank, with a 20-gauge shotgun. He got back in his truck
and went to see his mama.
He's in jail now, and I would be amazed if he ever gets out. Michigan
mandates life in prison for first-degree murder, and that's what this
looks like to me.
I wrote her profile in the paper; that's one of the things I do very
well. The feedback I got was that many people couldn't finish the
story through their tears. Now, it's time for me to cry.
I don't know what's going to happen to Sam.
Tom, trying to manipulate the system, had filed for custody of his
son. Obviously, it's not going to happen now, and Tom probably
wouldn't have gotten custody in any case, given the history of
This enraged, psycho killer never should have been on the street. Yet
I'm sure, in his own mind and the stories he'd tell anyone who would
listen, he was the good guy, the wronged husband, the unwillingly
single dad who couldn't see his kid.
Clearly, that all was crap, but somebody would have listened to Tom
before he killed Mary. And events like this give power to false
accusations of abuse.
Ultimately, I have to believe truth wins out. But it's a battle, and
people are hurt, destroyed, even killed in that battle.
For the sake of my own kids, for the sake of kids like Sam, I have to
keep the faith. It just isn't easy.