Bio, Blog, Love, The Bigger Picture

Notes on a Friendship

Mrs. Elsie Gene Adams (ninety-six years old) and Clay Rivers (fifty-five years old), White Plains, New York; circa 2016.

The following is a reflection on the sixty-two-year friendship between the late Mrs. Elsie Gene Adams and Mr. Clay Rivers. This memorial was given by Mr. Rivers at Grace Episcopal Church, White Plains, New York, on January 27, 2024, at the request of Mrs. Adams’ daughters.

Joan, Jeanette, Cynthia, and Eris, family members, Father Moronta, Grace Episcopal parishioners, friends, and guests—greetings. It’s an honor to be with you today to reflect on our beloved Elsie Gene Adams.

I so wanted to share neat little packaged anecdotes that would hopefully make you smile and bring you, at the very least, a hint of comfort, but I can’t. I am bereft, unmoored, and floundering on storm-tossed waves of sadness and grief. The loss is unspeakable, as no words give meaning to my sorrow. I am a man come undone.

Mrs. Adams was both a second mother and third grandmother to me. Most importantly, she understood me better than anyone else ever has. She was—hands down—my best friend.

I miss her deeply.

The Bigger Picture

Home Town Takeover: A Little Reno, A Little Inclusion, A Lot of Love

Ben and Erin Napier, hosts of HGTV’s Home Town Takeover.

HGTV’s new “it” couple and hosts of the smash Home Town, Ben and Erin Napier, are back in a new limited series, Home Town Takeover (HGTV, Sundays, 8:00 p.m. ET/PT). This time around, the Napiers are using their home renovation talents to breathe life into the floundering small town of Wetumpka, Alabama, as seen in the Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney film, Big Fish. And if you’re not careful, you may just pick up a thing or two about inclusion and community along the way.

Home renovation shows are nothing new. HGTV has perfected the art of combining likable hosts, adventures in house hunting and home repair, and the requisite “unforeseen” bump in the road to create the enviable HGTV happy endings we’ve come to expect. But Home Town Takeover takes these familiar pieces and turns them into something bigger and more meaningful than the sum of its parts.

The Bigger Picture

This is Why We Do

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

An Open Letter to an Our Human Family Reader

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your thoughtful and gracious letter regarding the efforts of the Our Human Family writers and editorial staff. I’m sure you didn’t know the email address to which you submitted your letter would lead back to me.

The Bigger Picture

The Top 5 Worst Approaches to Managing Life’s Challenges

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
–Albert Einstein

Humans. We’re reactive by nature. Give me a puppy, a sweet potato pie, a lump of gold, or a month-long vacation in France, and I’ll give you a positive reaction every time. A boa constrictor, lima beans, a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking, or a fresh parking ticket will produce a reaction somewhere along the negative end of the emotional spectrum.

The Bigger Picture

Racism is a Bad Look for Anyone (Especially If You’re the Star of a Top TV Network Sitcom)

Roseanna Barr by Vera Anderson, Getty Images.

I’ll keep this short.

Roseanne Barr. What hasn’t been said about her? How about this? She’s thoughtful, well-grounded, humble, and socially aware. Or perhaps, she has an unparalleled sense of nuance in areas of race, equality, and social justice. No? What about this then? She’s a pioneer at finding new frontiers that unite all Americans.

The Bigger Picture

“Oh, Behave!” –Austin Powers

A few days ago a rather unfortunate scene played out on Twitter over what appears to have began as a misunderstanding rooted in cultural differences and semantics. But it goes to show that words, cultural biases and differences, and intentions matter more than we thinkI was mentioned in the original Shonda Rhimes thread on Saturday and have watched the flurry of tweets fly in. I’d like to share a little insight that might unravel this situation. This isn’t “man-splaining” or anything of the sort. I’m just a guy who likes seeing people get along.

The Bigger Picture

I Had to Say it Again

THE NEWS OF PRINCESS Diana’s death hit me like a brick in the face.

I know exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was up watching late night TV in my tiny Studio City apartment when the news anchor read the announcement that Princess Diana had been killed in a Paris car crash. I found it ironic that the most photographed woman in history, who shared the same name as the Roman goddess of the hunt, was herself hunted.