Merry is a Hobbit with ink in her veins. Frodo learned that she spent most of her professional career in the newspaper business, and it was clear that she had been very good at what she did. Merry shared in a Pulitzer Prize won by her employer at the time, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi. Frodo got to touch the Pulitzer. George W. Bush would think that he was talking about a juke box.
Merry has inherited retinitis pigmentosa, and she is losing her vision. The same thing happened to her father, and it is now happening to her son. It caused her to retire very early, and to apply for Social Security Disability.
Frodo met Merry on the Internet, at the Forum of MoveOn.org, and he was verily impressed by the structure of what she wrote, as well as the passion in her words. Since they shared upbringing in the same part of Middle Earth their interests and stories were familiar. Frodo told Sam about what he had learned and, since Merry did not live too far from the Shire, Sam suggested that he ask Merry if they could come and visit. It was a good day. Frodo and Sam visited a community they had not seen before, and they shared barbeque and sweet tea with their new friend. They talked about Faulkner and football, they discussed Emmett Till and the Highlander Center, and they jointly passed judgment on the failures of George W. Bush.
Merry's vision has worsened. Apparently the strain from a computer screen was exacerbating the problem, so Merry had to disconnect herself from her new-found friends on the Internet. She asked all of her correspondents not to forget her, and to write her letters whenever possible. Some do, some others call from time-to-time, but, she confides, that isn't as much fun as a letter. Some others just have a lot of other things to do, and that is, indeed, understandable.
If you're reading Frodo now, and you have a few extra minutes, and you recognize the name of B.J Trotter in this chronicle, do us both a favor and drop her a line. As the folks at MoveOn are fond of saying, "Thank you, for all that you do."