Month: January 2020

At Elmo’s Diner, a story of humility and joy

Cam was a familiar sight at Elmo’s Diner on Ninth Street. Most nights, he would come for dinner wearing a nice shirt, sit at one of his familiar spots at the counter, patiently wait to be served and banter with the staff in his characteristic gentle, easy manner. “Cam,” as he was known to Elmo’s staffers, was John Camden Hundley Jr. He died in 2016 at 83 years old. Cam ate at Elmo’s so often, around seven o’clock most nights, the staff at the busy restaurant out of habit would start looking out for his car at his usual parking spot. “Is Cam here yet?” people would start asking. He was supposed to call Elmo’s if he wasn’t going to come. His birthday was in the date book. Although Hundley died in 2016, his death still weighs on the staff, and memories of him are cherished and protected. People are reluctant to be interviewed, for fear the emotions would come to the surface and there would be tears. Chrissy Yuorick, who waited on him often, …

“The Dream of the Earth” by Thomas Berry

When the Catholic priest Thomas Berry died in 2009, obituaries were not sure what to call him. “Cultural historian” was the preferred title. “Theologian” didn’t quite encompass his work, and he had preferred the term “geologian” instead. Born in Greensboro in 1914, Berry studied Asian languages and religions, Native American culture, founded the graduate program on religions at Fordham University, among other studies and work throughout his life — all in the search of a spirituality that combines religion and nature. In “The Great Work,” Berry wrote about his profound spiritual experience at a meadow when he was 11 years old. The experience was the basis for his spiritual development and intellectual thought for the rest of his life. “Whatever preserves and enhances this meadow in the natural cycles of its transformations is good, what is opposed to this meadow or negates it is not good,” he wrote. Berry’s writing is soft yet powerful. It flows, and is difficult to quote and pull from. You end up reading the whole book but not being able …