Body and Mind
The rural people of Calabria, in southern Italy, live an unusually long time. The average global lifespan is about seventy-two years, but the residents of this sunny, mountainous peninsula often live into their nineties and beyond — and they suffer less from ailments like dementia and heart disease that typically affect the elderly.
That word, competence, came to me after my six-year struggle; it came as an alternative, if not an outright escape hatch, to the daily grind of despair.
My sister Nell and I were standing on the banks of the Duvallis River, waiting for a man to float down it.
Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. She wasn’t looking to make history; she only wanted to run. But in 1967 the marathon was closed to women. So she entered as “K.V. Switzer” and ran in disguise for four miles until the race director, Jock Semple, jumped off the press truck and shouted, “Get the hell out of my race!” The picture of him trying to rip the number off her chest made headlines.
We’ve been married nearly forty years, but we are still learning from my parents what love looks like: How it moves. All the shapes it takes. Though my parents can no longer care for themselves, they care for each other.