In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 17, 2007 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

Ecclesiastes on a bicycle

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LITTLE ROCK — The old boy walked his bike out the front door in the morning light and realized: The weather's turned cool. He felt it, but he couldn't believe it, not at first. It had been hot, hot, for so long. The way it is every summer in these latitudes. So that "Hot enough for ya?" is by now almost a standard greeting during the summer months.

What a relief: October, real October, had finally arrived.

A little late, maybe, but all the more welcome for that. October in Arkansas would give Heaven a run for its money — and then some.

The sun shone off the leaves, which hadn't really begun to turn yet, although little leaves from the pin oak in the front yard were already making their appearance in the oddest corners around the house. How they did it, how they managed to get in such numbers and in so many places so early … it was a mystery to him. Every fall. He didn't mind picking them up, not yet. They were still a minor novelty — a welcome sign the seasons would indeed turn in these parts. For a while there, he'd begun to doubt if fall would ever arrive.

He knew it'd been fall for some time up in the northwestern corner of the state: Fayetteville/Rogers/Bentonville/Lowell — aka The Midwest. Fall may still not have come to the southern reaches of Arkansas: Texarkana/El Dorado/Lake Village — aka the True South.

He'd driven through Lake Village just the other day, and in the midday sun the heat still shimmered off the new/old plantation house that was being restored at Lakeport. It rose just off the highway like a throwback to the 1859, when the original house had been built just in time for the ruination called The War.

Those who built it could not have foreseen the devastation shortly to come.

In the late 1850s, cotton was bringing an average 11.4 cents a pound, the highest it had been since the boom years of the 1830s. Optimism was as endemic along these swampy banks of the Mississippi as malaria. Old Man River flowed past the plantation like a super-highway to New Orleans and the world's markets. All good things beckoned, at least for the cotton aristocracy. Cotton was king and its kingdom swelled with pride.

The high, two-story house set in the midst of the cotton fields is testament to the Delta's long-ago prosperity and promise of more, with its 17 high-ceilinged rooms, two-story portico in front, tapered white columns, eleven-foot-high wood-paneled doors, all supported by great cypress beams from the adjacent wetlands, complete with 26-foot-long entry hall. … Lakeport could have been used as a setting for "Gone With the Wind."

How could its master, the good Lycurgus Johnson, have foreseen what the near, disastrous future would bring?

By the time the surrender was signed at Appomattox, the countryside had been torn apart by guerrilla warfare, and those who returned from the various fronts would find little but desolation. The tax rolls from 1855 to 1865 tell the sad story: from pride and plenty to almost nothing to declare. But now, with the grand house being restored, you can almost see the ghosts taking in the last, lost hopeful air of a long-ago summer in the year 1859 ….

But today fall had finally arrived up here in Little Rock. Just this mornng. Little Rock is right on the cusp between Mountain and Delta South. Here fall is so new every day would be new for a while. He breathed deep. And shivered. He set the bike outside and went back for a jacket, the first time he'd had to wear one this season. It felt good.

All was perfection and yet … it wasn't. He should have been delighted. And he was, but only in an abstract way, the way you are when you know how you're supposed to feel but don't, not really, not all the way through. He was resentful. He actually missed the heat, the heat he'd been complaining about for months. Since August. Even September seemed stifling this year. Now the heat was gone and … he missed it.

It took him a moment to realize why. It wasn't the coming of fall he resented, it certainly wasn't the heat of summer he missed — goodness, no — it was the passage of time. The sun shone, but for a moment mortality had cast its shadow. The beauty of the physical world in its new aspect only brought it home. How he was going to miss all this. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die….

Once he put the feeling into words, it was gone. Resolved. He understood, and to understand is to accept. Now he was free to enjoy the brisk air, the good feel of the jacket on his back, the old neighborhood all new again in the cool air.

All the oh-so-important things he had to do today, which had so pressed on his mind when he'd got up, were no longer of any moment. They fell into place. Ecclesiastes had it right from first to last: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity. … Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.

And off he peddled into golden fall. It had finally got here. It was definitely, finally, whole-heartedly October in Arkansas. Heaven had arrived.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.