Debbie’s Run

Steve Friedman, (thanks, Harry Hall):

They are sitting together at a round oak table in a sun-soaked living room on a mountain ridge in Ukiah, California, surrounded by fir trees and hiking trails. It’s late spring, and they are an hour from the Pacific Ocean, 45 minutes from Mendocino National Forest, and nearly 500 miles from the place where they first changed each other’s lives. Forty years ago, when she was just 16 and sometimes running 10 or 12 miles a day, he helped her accomplish something no female high school runner had ever done before, and none has done since.

He’s 73 now, retired. She’s 57, living on psychiatric disability.

All Is Insanity

Dan Zak: LOS ANGELES — The gowns swish up to the gate. Checkpoint Charlize, let’s call it.

“Not on the list, sorry,” says a pert Vanity Fair staffer, checking her papers as black town cars creep along barricaded Sunset Boulevard in the police state that is Hollywood on Oscar night.

A brunette in a beaded emerald gown turns her head sharply to her companion, a dirty blonde in a red scaly dress who insists they’re on the list.

“The name,” the blonde says, “is B-A-R — ”

“Not on it. So sorry.”

The gowns seem spun around by this rejection. Somewhere beyond the barricades there is a world they long to see. They won’t be seeing it tonight.

Us? We’re on the list. ’Scuse us, ladies.

Job Board

Passing this along from our friend:

Company: The Pacific Northwest Inlander
Position: News Reporter at successful weekly
Location: Spokane, Washington St.
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires: March 17, 2013
Job ID: 1469159

We’re looking for a tenacious and accurate NEWS REPORTER who loves chasing stories, cracking skulls, breaking news, combing through documents and writing magazine-style narratives. Bonus, if you have experience covering government and politics.

Why work for the Pacific Northwest Inlander? Because we’re better than ever. (With the highest market penetration of any weekly in the country, we can’t seem to print enough papers. … We’re at 50,000+ at the moment.) And because we value the right things: narrative, original ideas, truth-telling and getting out of the office to dig up compelling, important stories. Also, with some 600,000 people between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the metro area offers many of the advantages of the city (arts, culture, vibrant downtowns), in addition to mountains, rivers, lakes and all the outdoor recreation they afford.

This is a salaried position with benefits. Send a CV, cover letter and your five best work samples to Editor Jacob Fries at jacobf@inlander.com. Put “news reporter” in the subject line. NO PHONE CALLS.

Siblings Discover Dad’s Scout Sex Abuse, Remember Their Own

Nigel Duara: On opposite sides of the world, the brother and sister sat transfixed before their computers, reading a stranger’s account of long-ago secrets and deeply buried sins.

The memo was just four pages long, about an incident in 1963 at a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. A Scout executive had gotten drunk during an overnight outing, then was discovered gambling with a group of boys. But there was more.

The brother and sister read on — about how this man “was observed molesting an Explorer Scout sitting at his side.” About how he was admitted, voluntarily, to a mental hospital. They read about an investigation that determined he had tried to molest another Scout. It found that this man’s “problem,” as the document called it, had apparently existed for decades.

Eleven Hours In Room 407

Tim Botos: Still inside his mom’s womb, Austin Gerstenslager began a journey to his birth and medically certain death.

A half-dozen nurses and assistants wheeled mom and unborn out of Room 407 at Aultman Hospital’s birth center. The bed glided across glossy tiled floors, en route to an emergency cesarean section. It was shortly before noon on Aug. 18, a Saturday.

Tears slid down Keri Gerstenslager’s cheeks. She watched a blur of hallway lights above. She passed the nurse’s station on the left. Her bed took a sharp left. It zipped past elevators. Then a hard right turn. She was whisked through a set of double doors, and into an operating room.

It was 14 weeks before her due date. Even worse, her water had broken six weeks earlier, which causes a fetus to develop even slower.

Saving Grace

Kevin Pang: It was the most important night of his career. Curtis Duffy hovered over plates inside the gleaming white kitchen of his new restaurant, Grace. Head down, with the poker face that was the 37-year-old’s default demeanor, he arranged long celery curls, ricotta and fried sunchokes into a three-dimensional wreath resembling the architecture of Antoni Gaudi.

The lock on the glass front door was unbolted, and the first customers walked through.

Finally. The restaurant was supposed to have opened in March. It was now December. The equipment that arrived broken, the delays, the cost overruns — all of it had turned many of his nights sleepless. But so did the pressures of high expectations. Curtis had worked his way up through the finest restaurants in Chicago — Charlie Trotter’s, Trio, Alinea — and earned four-star reviews under his name at Avenues in The Peninsula hotel on the Magnificent Mile. But this restaurant, Grace, was his.

What would customers think? How would food critics react? What if the restaurant was a failure? The hypotheticals lingered, but on this December night, the what-ifs became secondary.

He was mostly anxious about the 9:30 p.m. reservation.

It was booked for Ruth Snider. In many respects, she was the woman who had saved Curtis. She steered him at a time his life felt aimless, back when he stole from supermarkets and bullied kids in his neighborhood. She kept an eye on him during his travails, through family turmoil … before and after the murder. They cried on the phone with each other.

Faded

Andrew Meacham: TAMPA — Tiffany Messingham wanted to get her first-grade students thinking about how the sun works.

How does it change things?

So in November, the bubbly teacher at Lee Elementary School of Technology and World Studies started an experiment. She directed her students to cut outlines of their hands on turquoise construction paper.

The students wrote their names on the palm prints and taped them to classroom windows, where they would absorb the light.

What will happen to the paper over time, she asked them. Make a prediction.

Asses To Kick

Wright Thompson: CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Five weeks before his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan sits behind his desk, overlooking a parking garage in downtown Charlotte. The cell phone in front of him buzzes with potential trades and league proposals about placing ads on jerseys. A rival wants his best players and wants to give him nothing in return. Jordan bristles. He holds a Cuban cigar in his hand. Smoking is allowed.

“Well, s—, being as I own the building,” he says, laughing.