Constance Alexander: Frank X Walker brings Medgar Evers back from the grave with “Unghosting”

Summer days when I was nine, between endless games of hopscotch and hide-and-seek, I tried to finish at least a book a day. My quest was to score the most points in my local library’s vacation reading club, and that summer “Little Women” slowed me down. Probably the biggest book I had ever read, it was also the first one that made me cry. In the chapter entitled, “The Valley of the Shadow”...

Constance Alexander: Murray Art Guild’s ‘Interwoven’ brings little pieces together for sense of community

Whether by chance or choice, in joy and sorrow, by accident or design, communities are made up of interconnected lives. As a reminder of that interdependence, Debi Henry Danielson, Executive Director of the Murray Art Guild (MAG), likes finding ways to invite people who do not think of themselves as artists to create individual pieces that will eventually blend into a larger design. MAG’s current...

Constance Alexander: Governor’s Award for the Arts recipients should be allowed public ceremony

In 2014, as the recipient of a Governor’s Award in the Arts for my work in the Media, I participated in a public ceremony at the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda, honoring me and eight others who were – according to the press release from July 9, 2014 – “…chosen for their significant contributions to the arts in the Commonwealth, across the country and around the globe.” The formal awards ceremony...

Constance Alexander: In both fact and fiction, emotional toll of Alzheimer’s is overwhelming

Ben has that memory thing. He forgets the name, but he knows it’s normal to be able to remember his childhood but not yesterday. Sometimes he cannot call his wife’s name or the name of the daughter who is walking beside him. Words get dammed up inside him. He knows he should not feel bad about these things, but he does. Ben is one of the main characters of “Stars Go Blue,” a novel by Laura...

Constance Alexander: Local papers, increasingly rare crucibles of truth, add value to community news

For as long as I could remember, Daddy worked for a newspaper. His first job was as a newsboy on the streets of St. John, in New Brunswick, Canada. He remembered hawking the daily headlines on busy city streets in all kinds of weather. In winter, he swore the snow was so deep, he had to leave home via an upstairs window and snowshoe downtown to get his papers. Daddy was still an adolescent when his...

Constance Alexander: Embracing poetry a good start to evaluating our values, beliefs on diversity

“Those Winter Sundays“ begins with a description of a father who gets up early, even on the day of rest. He gets dressed “in the blueblack cold,” his cracked hands aching from the weekday work he does to make a living; nevertheless, he still makes sure the house is warmed for the still-sleeping family. His child wakes to the sound of, “the cold splintering, breaking,” and half-heartedly...

Constance Alexander: When ethics go south, God’s still on his side? But public support may be wavering

When ethics go south, God’s still on his side It’s a free country. Of course it is. People can change their minds lickety-split. No harm no foul, but there are downsides. A definitive 180 turn might indicate a wavering moral compass, a lack of discernment between right and wrong, thus creating an impression of impulsiveness, indecision, or just plain arrogance. Take, for example, Jeff Hoover, the...

Constance Alexander: Carol Larson’s Tall Girl series affirms therapeutic process of creating art

Carol A. Larson defines her creative work as textile art, not quilting. Instead of using her name, she titles her website live2dye. And despite some gory and tragic details, she sees her life as a story of healing, courage and acceptance. Here’s the backstory in Carol’s own words: “When I was 17 years old and 78.5 inches long, I was surgically shortened six inches with the intention of giving...

Constance Alexander: Healthcare costs, lack of compassion in Washington darken last days of 2017

My first interview with Theresa was published December 21, 2000. That story recounted her history: Thirteen years after she successfully battled breast cancer, she was diagnosed with ovarian. Since her bout with breast cancer earned her the dubious distinction of having a “pre-existing condition,” she simply could not afford health insurance. Ovarian cancer demanded a grueling – and costly —...

Constance Alexander: Hygge — a warm Danish word — can be found close to home at Red Bug Yarn

That comfy, cozy feeling of being home by the fireside on a cold winter’s day — called hygge in Danish and Gemütlichkeit in German – had no direct translation to English until Red Bug Yarn & Gifts relocated to South Sixth Street in Murray. Those who venture into the quaint shop, whether they enter with a specific purchase in mind or just drop in for a casual look-see, feel the ambiance...

Constance Alexander: ‘Tis the season to celebrate simple gifts, the ones we cherish most

From the North Pole to South, coast to coast, and border to border, 2017 has had its ups and downs. Violence blazes in far reaches of the globe, and millions can be vaporized with the flick of a finger. Voices worldwide are raised in dissent and disharmony. Hardly a joyful noise, the result is cacophony. Closer to home, debates about a library addition, a payroll tax, and the state pension fiasco have...

Constance Alexander: From fit to spry in the blink of an eye — but assuring you, Paul McCartney lives

Two good habits, maybe three, are all I can boast: Wearing a seat belt, not smoking, and maintaining a regular regimen of jogging. Since these practices are part of my routine, I don’t think about them much. Up until last Friday, in fact, I considered myself reasonably fit. But now that has changed. Please let me explain. It was an annual wellness visit, and I was chatting with the health care professional...

Constance Alexander: ‘Kennedy Comes to Kentucky’ exhibit explores JFK’s visit to western part of state

The trees were almost bare and mornings had slipped into a seasonal chill, but that day was warm and sunny, a sweet burst of sweater weather in late November. At lunchtime, we walked outside, chatting with friends about the upcoming weekend, the senior play, and festivities leading up to the annual homecoming football game on Thanksgiving. When the bell rang, it was on to Mr. Abrahamson’s U.S. History...

Constance Alexander: Celebrating many happy Thanksgiving memories, past, present and future

I remember the year my sister dropped the turkey on the kitchen floor, as she was transferring it from roasting pan to platter. We invoked the 3-second rule and swore each other to secrecy, so my mother never found out. Whew! Making the gravy was always my least favorite part of the traditional meal preparation. No matter how careful you were to stir properly, lumps of flour lurked at the bottom of...

Constance Alexander: ‘Music Alive’ program offers hope to Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers alike

More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 15 million are providing unpaid care for them. Total up the cost, and it is estimated that the 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care and assistance to those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia contribute a whopping $230.1 billion to the nation. If those numbers are not enough to get your attention, get a load of this: •...

Constance Alexander: When it comes to end-of-life decisions, it’s important for patients to have control

When my mother hit her mid-80s, she told me – in no uncertain terms – that if she was diagnosed with cancer, that was it. She did not want to live out her last days suffering through debilitating treatment. “Enough’s enough,” she said in a determined, no-nonsense tone. Mother never had to make that choice, but if she had, I hope my family could have been as resilient and supportive as the...

Constance Alexander: Sexual harassment, assault are rampant, but “Me too” starts with one voice

When I posted a “Me Too” invitation on my Facebook page last week, the replies about women’s experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and rape were overwhelming. From Main Street to Madison Avenue, the voices are legion. Most had been taught that girls are meant to be seen and not heard. That is why one of my responders, only 10 at the time, was shocked and confused when a stranger put his...

Constance Alexander: Marshall County native Gilliard Ross provides vivid images of Murray’s past

According to the nursery rhyme that begins, “Monday’s child is fair of face,” the baby born on Friday is “loving and giving.” And while Mother Goose’s predictions have been wrong countless times, she was absolutely right when it came to Gillard Ross, born in Marshall County Ky., nearly one hundred years ago on Friday, April 12, 1918. Better known to people in Calloway County as Popeye,...

Constance Alexander: Cancer no longer a word that must be spoken in a whisper or with shame

When I was in fifth grade, my mother had cancer. The three older children in the family were already out of the house – two in college, and the oldest married with one little girl. Still at home, my sister Jeanne and I were left to tread the tides that churned up daily turmoil and intermittent confusion about what it meant for a family to contend with serious illness. After all these years, it is...

Constance Alexander: Early cancer detection, affordable health care matter to all women

She stood on the porch of her trailer, hugging herself against the autumn chill. The scarf coiled around her head, turban-like, was splashed with purple, fuchsia, and rivers of green. Her hands fluttered to straighten the scarf and check the swell of its silken knot, as I pulled into the gravel drive. “You found me,” she called. Her directions had listed a few landmarks on a winding country road...