No. 39



Table seating assignment at this weekend’s wedding.

September 6, 1975, was a day like any other in San Jose, California. High ’80s, a little smog obscuring the brownish hills.

The day was unlike any other, however, in one respect: That’s the day Lori Rauh became my wife. Thirty-nine years ago.

One year out of college, we got married in a church in the Willow Glen neighborhood; had a reception near Vasona Lake in the Los Gatos Foothills; and honeymooned in Victoria, British Columbia.

This year our anniversary fell on a Saturday, a day of matrimony-related coincidences.

— We attended the wedding of our longtime friends’ daughter at a small, historic church in Portland. We’ve known Phil and Geri Manzano, fellow Bay Area natives, since we all lived in Salem and belonged to the same babysitting co-op. Phil was a reporter at the morning Oregon Statesman and I was a reporter at the afternoon Capital Journal before they merged. We both wound up at The Oregonian and Phil left three years ago to go to work for World Vision, a Christian nonprofit based near Seattle.

Phil Manzano with daughter Ali and the bridal party.

Phil Manzano with daughter Ali and the bridal party.

In the meantime, Phil and Geri’s middle child, Alexandra, grew up, studied broadcast journalism, got a job at The Oregonian (she’s now the social media editor), blossomed into a lovely young woman, and yesterday tied the knot with a splendid young man named Spencer. We were honored to be among the guests.

— Just as we were leaving for the wedding, the day’s snail mail arrived bearing a long-awaited invitation to the October wedding of my best friend Al’s daughter. We’ll be in Santa Barbara in a few weeks to celebrate Nicole and her fiance Andrew.

— Once again, we provided dog-sitting services for our “granddog” Quimby (or, at least, that’s what Lori calls her) so that Simone and Kyndall could attend a friend’s wedding in Central Oregon.

Topping off the weekend, today is the 46th wedding anniversary of Jim and Judi Rauh, Lori’s brother and his wife, who live over the hill in Beaverton.

The Aperol Spritz, something we discovered on our trip to Italy two years ago. Yum.

The Aperol Spritz, a summer cocktail we discovered on our trip to Italy two years ago. Yum.

So what does a couple do to celebrate their XXXIX’th anniversary?

I got up early and cooked breakfast. We attended a morning yoga class. Went for a late morning bike ride. Had a light lunch in the shady grass near the King School Farmers Market. Indulged in a mid-afternoon adult beverage, the Aperol Spritz (recipe here).

Tonight we’ll top it off with dinner at Mediterranean Exploration Company, a new Pearl District restaurant serving Israeli-inspired food.

Next year, the big cuarenta, calls for something special.

Let the voting begin

Badge - 2008 electionAnother year, another success.

Voices of August 4.0 was every bit as interesting and illuminating as the three iterations before it. No wonder I look forward to it every summer with great anticipation.

As usual, we had 31 different writers participate in VOA, an annual guest blogging project inspired by a friend who asked me to contribute a piece to her blog.

As curator and host, I have the privilege of inviting a changing mix of people to the party — friends, relatives, neighbors, past co-workers — and the pleasure of previewing each person’s essay.

Without exception, I am entertained and delighted by each one. I love the variety of topics, the intimacy of the writing and the compelling thoughts that stay with me after reading such thoughtful, and often highly personal, pieces. I love that everyone brings his or her unique perspective to the project and, in doing so, effectively contributes a square to our digital quilt.

Most of all, I love seeing the sense of community among writers (and readers!) reinforced each year. As disparate as the topics may be, people find common experiences among themselves, prompted by ruminations about work, travel, food, health, parenting, music — and much more. The support and feedback offered in comments here on Rough and Rede II and on Facebook are a wonderful testament to the bonds created among regular contributors and the welcoming embrace of new writers.

Now we come to the bonus part: voting for our favorites.

As with previous years, anyone who has written a guest blog or who considers himself/herself a regular reader of VOA can vote for three favorite pieces. We’re not necessarily talking the “best” from a technical writing standpoint. No, I’m talking about whatever resonated with you. What made you laugh or cry? What surprised you or made you see yourself? Who taught you something or made you rethink what you believe?

Please take no more than a week to review the month’s posts here at the VOA 4.0 index page and then send me the titles of your three favorites at

Based on the top vote-getters, we’ll narrow those to a handful and have a second round of voting to determine our favorites.

It goes without saying that as you revisit the body of work, it’s one more opportunity to leave a comment on one or more posts. As human beings, we thrive on feedback.

Deadline to vote: Saturday, Sept. 13.

The Christian doctor who does abortions

Dr. Willie Parker

Dr. Willie Parker


In Mississippi, there is only one clinic where a woman can go if she needs an abortion. The state is trying to close it down. At that clinic, there is a doctor who tends to the needs of these women, and he has to fly in from out of state to do it. There is no shutting him down.

That’s the intro to yet another powerful, in-depth piece in Esquire magazine, titled “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker.”

Written by John H. Richardson, it’s the profile of a man who is “perfectly bald, with a salt-and-pepper goatee, a small gold hoop gleaming in his left ear, and a warm smile on his dark brown face.” Based in Chicago, he is one of two doctors who travel to Mississippi to perform abortions in a state that has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The piece is marvelous in reviewing the politics that got us to this place and in sketching a portrait of a man who dares to perform a service to low-income women — mostly of color — that few doctors are willing to do provide.

Two passages stood out for me.

One describes the 51-year-old Parker, noting that his patients know little about him:

They don’t know that he grew up a few hours away in Birmingham, the second youngest son of a single mother who raised six children on food stamps and welfare, so poor that he taught himself to read by a kerosene lamp and went to the bathroom in an outhouse; that he was born again in his teenage years and did a stint as a boy preacher in Baptist churches; that he became the first black student-body president of a mostly white high school, went on to Harvard and a distinguished career as a college professor and obstetrician who delivered thousands of babies and refused to do abortions.

"We know what happens when abortion is illegal," Parker says. "Women suffer and they die. But when abortion is safe and legal, patient mortality goes virtually to zero."

“We know what happens when abortion is illegal,” Parker says. “Women suffer and they die. But when abortion is safe and legal, patient mortality goes virtually to zero.”

The second describes his conversion, when he decided to give up a lucrative career to become an abortion doctor. He was  reading the literature of civil rights and feminism and…

Eventually he came across the concept of “reproductive justice,” developed by black feminists who argued that the best way to raise women out of poverty is to give them control of their reproductive decisions. Finally, he had his ‘come to Jesus’ moment and the bell rang. This would be his civil-rights struggle. He would serve women in their darkest moment of need. “The protesters say they’re opposed to abortion because they’re Christian,” Parker says. “It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”

Richardson holds back nothing in describing the medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. But neither does he hold back anything in describing the protesters who scream at women as they enter or leave the abortion clinic nor the conservative movement that seeks to impose layers of regulation aiming at making abortions ever more difficult to obtain.

It’s a helluva piece. And Dr. Willie Parker is one helluva human being.

Photographs: Maisie Crow