Monday, January 22, 2007

A day of activism in San Francisco

We left early Saturday morning to participate in the 3rd annual West Coast Walk for Life. My oldest daughter participated the first year and enjoyed her inaugural attempt at political activism. As a child of the 60’s, I tried to explain to my child of the 90’s that she might encounter some opposition to her activism, but if she truly believed in her cause then she would derive a great amount of satisfaction from having stood up for her beliefs. The only advice we could give her for the first year was to be peaceful, even when those protesting against her confronted her. While it may not be politically correct to admit it; as a family we’ve always tried to support the notion that from the moment of conception to natural death, a person’s life is a sacred gift, even in crisis, disability and suffering, that each person has inherent value and that like all rights, the fundamental right to life is the foundation for all others. We respect those who disagree with us.

This year our family was able to venture to the event. This West Coast Walk is considered the bookend March to the Washington DC event which is held annually every January. Like all Washington marches, the March for Life draws more people every year from all over the country. I wasn’t too surprise when I met a nurse and her husband who had flown in from the Virgin Islands to participate because they felt the weather here would be much better than the usual freezing weather conditions that the Washington marchers endure. She looked to be about my mother’s age and we talked about nursing students who enter the profession in the middle of their lives. She is someone I would love to stay in touch with as a mentor. I hope we become fast friends.

The day was unusually gorgeous for a winter day in San Francisco. The sun greeted us at the start of the walk and seemed to hang around to warm the 35,000 or so walkers as they made the five mile trek from Justin Herman Plaza to the Marina. It was an upbeat occasion that started off with many dynamic speakers, including speakers representing Democrats for Life, the Black Genocide, the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the Lutherans for Life and nurses for Life. There were also two exceptional speakers who represented a group called “Silent No More”, a group of post abortive women. These women were incredible speakers who talked of their own experiences and each delivered a powerful message of hope to the thousands of people assembled. There was a very moving presentation in the middle honoring a Napa couple who had delivered their two anacephalic children despite pressures to terminate them before birth. The Gianna Molla award was presented to them honoring them for their faith, dignity and courage in the face of a terrible trial of losing two children to anacephaly. While the walkers waited to make their trek along the embarcadero and marina, friendships formed, people connected and old friends found each other while they walked with their groups, their signs and their families.

I would encourage families to adopt a cause and embrace it together, no matter what your political beliefs may be. Like other Walks we’ve participated in for the Arthritis Foundation, Diabetes and Breast Cancer, this particular day in San Francisco was a special occasion, one that will remain with us as an important day in which we all stood up together as a family and walked for Life.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Must have really been something...

It was like a huge hang over. I gathered up the Christmas tree plates, Christmas cards and Christmas lights and started the pack up. It hurt, like a tired achy hurt. It came so fast and now it’s gone. “Bummer”, I thought as I dragged the manger scene off the lawn into the garage where J.D. will take them on their final lap up to the attic, “the Kings just got here and now Christmas is over”. I wonder what the 1000 mile journey home was like 2000 years ago when the real kings came to worship the newborn King. Must have really been something…

We had a few “go backs” that needed to be returned to the stores because of sizing issues, but for the most part, everything fit, and everyone was happy. I could hardly stomach the thought that what was now on sale for 70 percent was essentially 70% marked up in the first place. I never remember 70% sales when I was kid. Some items were supposedly marked down 75%. Really. Even the shoppers looked hung over. To imagine the 'Super Sale' people lined up outside the store doors before the pre-dawn hours with their pup tents and sleeping bags…must have really been something…

Now that the kids are plugged into their iPods (it’s never been so quiet in our car I swear) and now that the December/January birthdays have passed me by, it’s back to school for everyone (including me). This semester it’s Anatomy and Physiology. I ordered my school books early and discovered that we will be dissecting a cat. As the mother of three children and a few animals, this ought to really be something. As a person who gets attached to things, I will be naming my cat something dignified and respectful since it has given it’s life for science. Suggestions are welcome. Last month was incredibly busy with my teenager and I both studying for final exams. I’d like to formally acknowledge that had it not been for St. Joseph of Cupertino, I would not have made it through my final in Sociology. He’s the Saint from Italy who made his priesthood being tested on the only preposition he knew. Let’s just say he wasn’t the best student in the world, but he was a great saint. Can you imagine not knowing seven years of theology and going before your examiners who questioned you on the only piece of scripture you ever memorized? Must have really been something..

My favorite soldier in Tikrit is home for a few weeks and nearly missed a roadside bomb two days before his leave began. As his family welcomed him home at Sacramento International Monday night, I’m sure they grabbed him hard and fast and were all sleeping a little easier that night knowing he was stateside. I can see Michael coming down the escalator in his Army dress. Must have really been something…

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at or on the web at