Teaming up for youngsters

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal

January 16, 2009

While the Memphis Grizzlies may have their struggles on the court lately, they have handily won over some Memphians in need and the people working to help them.

In addition to a toy drive benefiting the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association Toy Store over the holidays, the canned-food drive for the Memphis Food Bank, and more than $21 million given to local organizations since its inception, the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is helping programs to serve Memphis youth.

The foundation’s Team Up program supports 35 organizations that are part of a Memphis mentoring partnership … (read more)


The Perfect Meal

Story for edible Memphis magazine

Winter 2009

The essence of tradition can be found as much in smell, taste and muscle memory as it can in any written history. At the age of 13, amid learning of algebra and girls, I was taught my family’s recipe for ravioli.

The Zanone family has been making ravioli from scratch since further back than anyone recalls. However, we know that around the late 1930s, Charles Francis and Rosalie Cerisola Zanone were making the dish for family in their tiny home in north Memphis. They made small batches for special occasions because the work was labor-intensive and refrigeration was poor.

In the late 1960s, my great-grandparents Charlie and Catherine Zanone, along with their daughter and her husband, Jean and Bill Hollahan, opened Zanone’s Restaurant in Frayser, selling ravioli, both hot and frozen, by the pound for a take-out meal …


Custom cabinet shop honored for hiring, training disabled employee

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal

January 9, 2009

At Worx of Wood, a high-end custom cabinet and millwork shop in Cordova, men with earplugs cut and hammer among splintered wood, pre-stained doors and unassembled mantelpieces; it’s a possibly dangerous landscape for even the most alert carpenter.

But Gene Roberson, who is deaf and developmentally challenged, moves through it with the facility of an old pro.

Roberson has worked for owner Ron Morrison and his partners for three years, sweeping sawdust, cleaning restrooms, catching ripped boards off the saw and, occasionally, assembling drawers … (read more)


Dad fails to impress with video game skill

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

January 8, 2009

In an effort to impress and connect with my children, I recently sat down to play a video game with them. We don’t have the Xbox or the Wii or Nintendo or whatever it is the kids are playing these days. We’re bad parents, forcing books and basic cable on our offspring. Or, if we’re lucky, farming them out to their 21st century friends for a sleepover and endless night of gaming.

The game that we played was a Christmas gift and is a single joystick that plugs directly into the television. It’s a Spider-Man game, and I have claimed the high score for myself … (read more)


Lausanne teacher moves to inspire kids’ exercise habits for a lifetime

Health & Fitness story for The Commercial Appeal

January 8, 2009

While most kids were getting virtual workouts in living rooms across the city via their Wii video games, the first-graders at Lausanne Collegiate School were taking a figurative walk to Washington.

Starting in September, Leslie Brahm’s first-grade physical-education students walked and ran one day per week to accumulate the number of miles required to make it to the nation’s capital. They also helped log collective miles toward their goal by walking after school with their parents … (read more)


Weighty win: Hospital helps churches build healthier congregations

Corporate giving story for The Commercial Appeal

January 2, 2009

Baptist Memorial Health Care has three objectives: preach, teach and heal.

These themes are stressed throughout the organization, but nowhere more clearly than in the 20 to 30 community health fairs Baptist supports every year.

Since health fairs are often the only chance for people with no health insurance to see a doctor, churches in the area contact BMHC about hosting the events for their communities … (read more)


Jan. 1 prods us to ponder changes for ourselves, those dearest to us

Lifestyle story for The Commercial Appeal

January 1, 2009

Almost 427 years ago, Pope Gregory XIII set Jan. 1 as the beginning of our 365-day year when he signed off on the papal bull that gave us the Gregorian calendar.

The first of January can be a fresh start, a grownup do-over. It can be the clean slate on which resolutions are written, the clean plate off which black-eyed peas are eaten.

Father Tom Condon, pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Downtown, says, “The holidays are times of heightened awareness of blessings or things we might need to change.” Many people see a change in themselves as individuals as the first step in making the world better, Condon says … (read more)


For these health associates, caring knows no limits

Corporate Giving story for The Commercial Appeal

December 26, 2008

We all expect a hospital to be there when we need it — when a bone is broken, a car is crashed, there is heart trouble or labor begins.

But what about when you are unable to feed your cow?

Mitch Graves, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Affiliated Divisions, along with 780 employees — known as associates — do what they can to carry out MLH’s mission to take care of the entire community they serve … (read more)


Memories of childhood are bright at Christmas

“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal

December 25, 2008

As a small child I received one of those plastic, green inchworm riding toys for Christmas one year. It’s the wheeled conveyance with a little yellow hat and saddle on its middle hump for sitting.

The story goes that I was given this gift, played with it for a day, deemed too young for it by my mother, and it was put back in the attic for the next year. So there are faded photos from the early 1970s of me with my inchworm, and then more photos from one year later with the very same toy.

My mom recycled before recycling was fashionable … (read more)


Nutcrackers bring life to his holidays

Lifestyle cover story and photos for The Commercial Appeal

December 25, 2008

In the fantasy world of the “The Nutcracker” ballet, a wooden nutcracker comes to life to defend young Clara from the Mouse King and his army.

In the work-a-day world of Billy Ray Morris of Oakland, Tenn., a truck driver for Pepsi America for 23 years, more than 200 nutcrackers bring life to his home this time of year.

The nutcracker collection fills the home he shares with his wife, Judith, 50, and 78-year-old mother, Billie, both of whom help him set up the displays around Thanksgiving each year. The process can take three days … (read more)