Her name was Joyce Almeida. An 18-year-old student, she was killed instantly by one shot through her lung. Joyce had been on the edge of the downtown crowd with her parents, who had fled for cover behind their car and at first failed to notice Joyce’s soundless collapse onto the pavement. One man in uniform, though, was seen at the exact same time, on horseback, galloping away but firing behind him in all directions at the crowd of mostly civilian men, women and children.

A sadly familiar story today. I was stunned to discover it, reported in a familiar script…


The Chauvin verdict, and other observations . . .

Twelve of our fellow citizens quietly did their civic duty in Minneapolis. Beginning March 29 and ending April 20 they listened to more details of a terrible crime than most of us could handle. They debated among themselves for what had to have been one very long day before delivering the verdict that former police officer Derek Chauvin was guilty of murder.

Sometimes the system works.

I would not have traded jobs with one of those jurors for any 5 minutes of the weeks they gave up to be good citizens, but I appreciate them beyond measure. And I am…


Congratulations to you on so many levels. That "one day at a time" thing really works, too. I've been alcohol-free for 35+ years, and it's more liberating every day. Lovely drinks like ginger beer (it's non-alcoholic) & coconut water keep me happy, and often bemused by people who think they're just "buzzed." Keep on being kind & forgiving to yourself and you're going to be fine. Thanks for this good piece.


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One more strange thing during the dark days of Pandemia was my sense, much of the time outdoors, that I may have been the only person in San Francisco without a dog. Crossing the dog play area while doing my par course thing at Mountain Lake Park, skirting the similar space in Lafayette Park, or walking along any of San Francisco Bay’s limitless varieties of woods and beaches — I have felt acutely dog-less. Despite having had and loved a long list of family canines; I am currently without. And in recent times that has seemed particularly unseemly.

“You want…


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Recommendation

Someone you know has just lost a spouse, a parent, a child? A friend is going through a difficult divorce? Perhaps you know a family member of one of the 550,000+ Americans who have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic upended our lives?

You need this book.

Dana Lacy Amarisa, who spent decades as a marketing writer in the tech world, was long empathetic with fellow humans in all of the above categories. As it happened, in those same years she suffered unimaginable losses herself. It was definitely the hard way to learn, and the long way to edit…


Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

“We’re calling about your claim,” the pleasant voice said; “about the hit-and-run collision you were involved in on March 17.” This is a really bad way to start your day. While I was still catching my breath the pleasant voice mentioned my car rear-ending the other car but then leaving the scene of the crime.

I knew, of course, that I’d not been in any collisions recently — the last being over a year ago when a 16-wheeler turned right from the center lane as I was turning right from the turn lane. The 16-wheeler won that one. But as…


Photo by Daniel Salcius on Unsplash

On moving from a four-story, century-old Edwardian into a 1600-sq-ft condo eight years ago I wrote a lengthy feature for the local newspaper (The New Fillmore, May 13, 2013) titled “Lessons Learned from Downsizing.” It drew editorial applause and a bunch of affirmative comments. But it seems not to have sunk in all that well.

I am back in the downsizing business. This time around it is partly a matter of trying to get organized, but despite the donating/tossing/selling/shredding activities of 2013 I am once again (or still) overwhelmed with Stuff. You don’t have to be a Marie Kondo drop-out…


So, yeah, there are always things to grumble about. But I say, Thanks. We can't change habits and practices overnight or save the planet tomorrow, but every thoughtful essay (this is one) helps us focus on potential ways to make tiny, useful changes.


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“There is no greater agony,” wrote Maya Angelou, “than bearing an untold story inside you.” Over the past, agonizing year, more than a few of us tackled our inner agony by telling our stories. Not for fame or fortune, just for the joy of telling that untold story.

Everybody has a story. This is an argument for storytelling, along with a few suggestions about how to tell your own.

I have just finished (you might have figured something like this was coming) a collection of stories for my children and grandchildren, thanks to the help and persistence of an interesting…


Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

The mysterious saga of a Transient Global Amnesia attack

Weird Times and Guardian Angels

“I don’t know where I am,” I said. “I don’t recognize this place.”

“Well, you did get here. Where’s your car? Did you drive?”

“I don’t know how I got here.” And since I also didn’t know where I came from or where I lived, it was not going to be easy to get home.

My short-term memory had totally, inexplicably vanished.

Thus began an essay I wrote in July of 2018, after experiencing one of the strangest episodes of my very long life. Spoiler alert: it turned out to be not that uncommon, among…

FranMorelandJohns

Lifelong newspaper & magazine writer, author, blogger at franjohns.net, agitator for justice, kindness & interfaith understanding.

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