FREELANCE COLUMNISTRachel Toor
Rachel Toor is a freelance columnist who writes a column titled, "Everything is Copy."
Most Recent Stories
Nov. 1, 2019, 6 p.m.
At my college reunion in May, I caught up with a classmate who had just been appointed chancellor of the largest urban public university system in the country. As we stood under a big tent drinking top-shelf liquor (it costs nearly as much to attend these reunions as it did to go to college there), I told him that I wanted – no, I expected – one thing from him.
Oct. 29, 2019, 4 p.m.
Walking in as a customer in need of coffee, a drink or a bite to eat, you’d be forgiven for not realizing that this is a place forged out of grief, conceived of need.
Oct. 13, 2019, 5 a.m.
A year ago, cracked open by grief, I walked into Temple Beth Shalom to attend Rosh Hashanah services for the first time. I am Jewish only by lineage; sorrow had led me to seek solace anywhere I might find it.
Sept. 14, 2019, 2 p.m.
When I hear a weird noise outdoors, sometimes I’ll look at the Nextdoor website to see if there’s been a shooting in the neighborhood or aliens have landed. Sometimes I’ll browse the site when I need to hire someone to rake my leaves or can no longer bear to look at my own work.
June 30, 2019, 5 a.m.
For a man who traveled the world and ended up back on the farm, it’s all about building and maintaining local community.
June 16, 2019, midnight
Mark Twain said many funny, true, quotable things, but among them was not “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything out it.” He simply repeated the quip of his friend, Charles Dudley Warner. But it’s nonetheless true. Especially during extreme changes in climate, we sure can spend a lot of time talking about something whose outcome we are can affect not at all. Just as some of us can enjoy hours discussing spectator sports. We weigh in with opinions about players and coaches, curse out refs, and bond in good fellowship.
May 19, 2019, midnight
The Holocaust was something I don’t remember not knowing about. The danger of difference is clear to most kids, but I understood that the numbers on great-grandpa Max’s arm had dark meaning.
April 14, 2019, 4 a.m.
It was, I think, simply coincidence that on the anniversary of his death, my interest in college basketball revived. It wasn’t because we shared that passion. Spectator sports held little appeal for him, save, perhaps, il Palio di Sienna, an insane, centuries-old horserace around a Tuscan town square that he was always happy to catch when he visited his father. He pointed out the track as we dined above the piazza last February. He talked about wanting to share that – and so much else – with me on a future visit. He would have sat with me during Duke games, if I’d asked. He would have made insightful comments about what he saw; he noticed things others missed. But if he hadn’t died I may not have needed to start following the team again.
March 24, 2019, midnight
We’re living in a curious time. Even those who profess a commitment to issues of diversity and tolerance slip up in their speech and betray old-fangled ways of thinking. It can be hard to remember that we need to be aware of the unintended consequences of our words.
March 17, 2019, 5 a.m.
At the Sports Creel, Micah and TJ Genteman pay attention. They notice the things that make people individuals, and they find the right equipment, make the right adjustments. Thanks to that attention, their business is celebrating 65 years this week.
Feb. 10, 2019, midnight
I was a small, angular kid. I didn’t think much about my body; when I considered my appearance, I focused on the two front teeth that dominated my face, my life, my dreams.
Jan. 19, 2019, midnight
My motives are no different from those of my finger-wagging friends: They arise out of a desire to help. Or, perhaps more honestly, to give an opinion about the “right” way to do something.
Dec. 16, 2018, midnight
During the mediation, the officer said that while he had a slightly different memory of the exchange, his hasty words didn’t reflect what he’d meant, didn’t represent him. He wanted to tell me who he was: a father, an athlete, a coach, a 20-year member of the force, the product of an inter-racial family, a believer in justice and an admirer of Martin Luther King Jr., whose words about the content of one’s character he often re-read.
Nov. 11, 2018, midnight
Veterinary medicine is expensive, and the doctors must be able to lay out options for clients, give them choices and prices. Dr. Greg Benoit is a small business owner, and he’s got to keep things running and make sure everyone understands that even if something can be done medically, it’s always the owner’s call whether to go ahead. Shaming will not work and is in no one’s best interest.
Oct. 14, 2018, midnight
“I listened to the police officer and in that moment had to decide. Who do I want to be in the world?”
Reconstructed reality: Portland writer Amy Stewart fictionalized the story of the Kopp sisters for her novelSept. 23, 2018, midnight
Spokane is Reading is bringing Portland writer Amy Stewart to town to talk about her novel “Girl Waits With Gun.”
Aug. 19, 2018, 5 a.m.
As a kid, I remember being baffled by the way my grandparents scurried about their Manhattan apartment before the cleaning lady showed up. As a young adult, I couldn’t believe how stressed my mother became while getting ready for her cleaner.
July 22, 2018, midnight
Tell people they get to choose, and then don’t listen to them, and you’re left with citizens who act like pissed off children. Say you trust them with power, and then pull it away like Lucy’s football; unlike Charlie Brown, they’re probably going to get angry.
June 17, 2018, 5 a.m.
Good men, good fathers, know that even if that can’t silence that ugly inner voice, they can choose not to parrot it. They love their children with generosity and forgiveness, though the sharp edges of their boyhood may manifest in ways that catch them unaware.
April 14, 2018, 2 p.m.
All the clichés come home to roost, the stale sentiments finding their marks like characters in a familiar play. There’s old Carpe Diem, lurking in the wings, who reminds that it could all be gone tomorrow, so buy the shoes today even if they’re not on sale. There’s What He Would Have Wanted, who took over as my fingers sent long over-sharing emails to strangers who also loved him. Always standing center stage is But Wait, There’s More – the trips I’d been planning for us in my head, the gifts I’d not yet given him.