Attention has turned to basketball in St. Louis as the college game's "March madness" tournament time begins. All eyes are on a top-flight St. Louis Billikens team and an exciting Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis.
But St. Louis has become a hot place for high school basketball as well, and several Catholic school programs are at the top of the list as state playoffs begin.
When Mary Margaret Gefre's boyfriend drove her to the train station in their small North Dakota town, the 19-year-old farm girl didn't tell him where she was headed on that brisk December day, clutching a small bag containing a rosary, her childhood prayer book, a few dresses and a pair of shoes.
She was bound for a cloistered convent in St. Paul, Minn. She was going to become a nun.
Today, at age 84, she marks the passage of that heart-wrenching winter by three feast days.
Crane Creek was the rambling stream that ran behind our Iowa home when I was a child. Its swelling water would rush mightily in the spring and flood the basements, except ours -- thanks to the sump pump the board of trustees included in the building plan of the new parsonage.
I was all packed and ready to go. I arrived at the airport two hours ahead of time and presented my passport to the agent at the Delta counter. I was booked on a flight to Rome for a few days' "R & R" and to attend the consistory where Pope Francis would create 19 new cardinals.
"I'm afraid we have a problem," the ticket agent said. "Your passport expires April 13."
"But that's 7 weeks from now," I answered. "I'll be back long before then."
In our business, language matters. Writers often agonize over the right noun or eloquent phrase. Editors review stories to ensure language is precise and intentional. Readers form ideas and opinions by comprehending (or not) the language in stories.
The air was cold, the moon full, the wind biting as I stood in the backyard waiting for the dogs to do their nightly business. First the smaller, brown one; she likes to sniff and explore. Then the taller, younger one -- the energetic Australian shepherd who likes to run quickly to the end of the leash, back and forth.
All I could think about was my mom, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was facing high-risk surgery, and my dad, who clearly was concerned. We had to wait to have so many questions answered.