Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Dispatch from Nashville: On Our Former Mayor, Megan Barry


Photo by Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Here’s a Bacon poem for the sadness of today. In time there will be a far better country song or novel. In the meanwhile, here’s this. I’ve been thinking about what we owe each other. And the journeys we’re on.

Things You Say To A Friend

I grew to like our mayor –

And I hate the way her story – for the moment – ends.

I cannot tell you what the better ending might have been.

I wish I were a friend who knew she traveled with a certain man. And when.

I hope I would have had the nerve to ask her – “Is this right for you and him?”

I wish I were an ally who knew she traveled with a certain man. And when.

I hope I would have looked her in the eye and said – “You’re playing with fire, and things cannot end well, and they will end.”

I wonder – if I worked for her – if I might have found the courage to ask – “Will this be worth it, in days to come, in darker days, perhaps, when now is then?” 

I’m lonely

she might have said

I’m happy

she might have said

For the first time in a thousand years –

I’m living life –

For the first time in a thousand, thousand years –

In my own skin.


And then

We’d end up here today.


And yet she might have said – 

Thank you, friend.

*      *      *



Into the woods

And down the dell,

The path is straight,

I know it well.

Into the woods,

And who can tell

What’s waiting on the journey?

Into the woods

To bring some bread

To Granny who

Is sick in bed.

Never can tell

What lies ahead.

For all that I know,

She’s already dead.

But into the woods,

Into the woods,

Into the woods

To Grandmother’s house

And home before dark.



Into the woods,

Without delay,

But careful not

To lose the way.

Into the woods,

Who knows what may

Be lurking on the journey?

Into the woods

To get the thing

That makes it worth

The journeying.

into the woods-



To see the King-



To sell the cow-



To make the potion-



To see-

To sell-

To get-

To bring-

To make-

To live-

To go to the Festival-!

Into the woods!

Into the woods!

Into the woods,

Then out of the woods,

And home before dark!



  1. very good, Jennifer, and thought-FULL.

  2. Thank you for that reflection. I am no where near this issue but it applies just the same to other situations that we all deal with with in our daily lives.

  3. Very well said! xoxo

  4. Jennifer, we would all benefit from having a friend like you. Someone to challenge us when we risk burning our lives down to the ground without considering the consequences. Many of us have reduced parts of ourselves to ashes from time to time. For most of us, though, it fades into the memory bank’s dead letter file where most of our worst experiences generally land.

  5. Well said, Jennifer.

  6. It’s such a sad day, and yet I don’t know how it could have ended otherwise. I’ve been heartened by many of the comments of Nashvillians letting Megan know that they appreciated her service and support her as she moves forward. It’s easier to do that when we’re reminded of our own flawed humanity. Your commentary is an excellent reflection of that.

  7. Thank you, Jennifer. Well written!

    • I’ve been so worked up about this situation… I’ve written several other things but always managed to keep them to myself. Finally decided to let one out. Thank you so much for kind words. I’m not sure it’s good but it’s something. Xo

  8. We are mindful of the many who have suffered and are suffering a loss. May a large community of those who care for others help each other through sad times.

  9. Jennifer, I am deeply moved by this offering that so resonates with the sadness I feel. I appreciate your way of not simply blaming and judging her, but instead inviting all of us to take responsibility for each other and to care for each other. We have lost touch with the wisdom that “it takes a village,” not just to raise a child but to be a human. I find that I can easily hold this space for someone I admired, respected and supported. But can I hold that same space for the national level politicians whose words, deeds and actions I strongly disagree with? It is hard to hold a space of non-judgment when we have a rigidly fixed viewpoint about someone or something. I find that the more I can lean in with curiosity and an open heart, the more I am able to find compassion for the human condition and all of the suffering we endure. I’m thinking of Brene Brown’s advice to “Dare Greatly.” How can I be brave and honest with myself and with those in my sphere of influence today?

    • I love everything about your comment, Mary. Thank you for sharing your gentle words of encouragement with us all. Curiosity and an open heart: yes. Not just for those we already agree with. Xo

  10. Jennifer: You have offered a word of grace, tempered with the sadness and compassion that so many feel. Thanks, Jennifer, for a lovely word, and one that holds wisdom and warning for us all. You are brave to wade in with words that “speak the truth in love”, to borrow a phrase from Ephesians. It is never an easy thing to do.
    Peace and Hope,

  11. Thank you Jennifer. You offered compassion and empathy and also reminded us of our responsibilities as “true friends.” Brene Brown poses the question – Do you think everyone is doing the best they can? In most cases, yes, I do. In some capacity, our former mayor was lonely, unhappy, and searching for something. Hopefully, this is a tremendous (larger so being in the public eye – yikes!) learning experience and she will move forward with strength and clarification. I don’t condone her behavior, but I do believe most deserve a second chance.

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