Tag Archives: God

Birth Control and Other Things

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English: Cong, Co. Mayo: 'The Quiet Man' Cotta...

English: Cong, Co. Mayo: ‘The Quiet Man’ Cottage. This is the actual cottage used in the film, ‘THE QUIET MAN’, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to start out with the other things in today’s blog.  In my last post I wrote about my squatter, ED. I want to give you an update. Ed has finally got the message he doesn’t live here anymore. A friend of his helped move him out and put his stuff in storage. It took a week after that for him to stop coming to the house and just walking in. We finally got the police involved and social services. He told the police how mad he was about us “taking his mailbox down.” I feel so bad for Ed, but there is nothing I can do.

My house is all painted and it looks good. My furniture will be arriving from Texas this next week. I’ll be so glad to have my “things about me, again.” I think that line came from a John Wayne Movie. Do you know which one? I will post it at the end of the blog.

I was reading this morning about how the Catholic Bishops were talking about women and birth control. First of all let me tell you, I am Catholic, not a cradle one, but converted. If I’m asked what religion I am I tell them I am a Pentecostal Catholic. So I do have some different view from the church.

I very much believe in birth-control for women. I do believe the bible is the inspired word of God, but I know it was written by men of the early church, who’s world was nothing like ours.  Men ruled at that time and still feel they have to now (In the church). I am not a subservient woman, and I believe I have the same rights as any man. I may not have the same strengths but I do have different ones. I believe that any woman should be able to choose to use birth control.

If you would like to read the article I read, I am giving you the link.  http://www.nationalmemo.com/catholic-leaders-must-dial-down-the-rhetoric/2/

Oh yes, the answer to the John Wayne question is “The Quiet Man.” When Maureen O’Hara was giving John Wayne a good talking to about her dowry, she told him of having her things about her.  Did you guess it right?  Until next time stay safe and happy.

Living By Example

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I believe that man is born inherently good. We are born with all of the goodness that God can bestow on one human being. How many cruel and evil babies have you seen? What you see is a miracle of God at its best. A perfect little human.

That child enters this world with nothing but trust, and remains that way until their brain has matured enough to begin seeing the world around them. What a child learns are what we as a human race teach them. Do you think that a child wakes up one morning thinking, “you know when I am seventeen, I’m going to be selling dope, and I might even rob a liquor store. I think for kicks I’ll shoot the person who’s there.”

What do you think this child learned while his mind was developing? Were mom and dad both working in order to take care of the family? Maybe the child was a latchkey kid who sat in front of the television for hours watching humans kill, beat and rape other humans. Laugh at others misfortune. It could have also been a case of a one-parent family where the child felt abandoned. There are multitudes of possible reasons. Bottom line is they learn by example.

This child may not have received any guidance from his/her parents, because they received none from theirs. How can a young adult make good choices concerning their life if their main role models didn’t teach and guide them. It makes it very easy to take guidance from other kids who don’t have guidance from their parents either.

We live an “anything goes” life style. Parents do their thing and kids do theirs. My parents were firm believers in the spare the rod spoil the child mentality. Their parenting skills came from what they saw and lived as children. My parenting skills were learned the same way. I believe I was a better parent than mine were, and my children are better at parenting than I am. I blame parents when kids are disrespectful, foul-mouthed or when they get into trouble. I know sometimes parents can’t control what is going on, but where were they when morals, values, right and wrong should have been taught.

I believe the majority of parents do the best they can concerning their children. What kind of favor are we doing future generations by not teaching children how to behave in public or at home for that matter?

I have two grown children who turned out well in spite of me. Do I have regrets about their raising? You bet I do. I wish I could do it over again, but that’s not possible. I have to live with my mistakes. I wish every household could be like the thirty minute shows in the 50’ and 60’s such as “My Three Sons, or Father Knows Best, and Leave It To Beaver. Wouldn’t our world be wonderful? We’d have perfect households with terrific kids who would talk to their parents about anything. They made mistakes, but not bad ones. Everything ended on a positive note.

Have we as a society created a future society with an attitude of “I’ll do what I want, when I want and I don’t care what happens to you.” It is a very scary thought to me what my grandchildren will have to deal with. How do you feel about it?

I Won, Yippee, I won

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Photo of ice-covered mailbox in Spotsylvania C...

Photo of ice-covered mailbox in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA. February 14, 2007. Photograph taken by Joy Schoenberger with a Pentax K100D Digital SLR camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m posting my 200 word flash fiction piece which won me $55.00. It’s the first  writing contest I have won, so I’m tickled. I have to admit it does make my ego feel good, even though I know it’s not really a big deal.  I wonder what it is that makes winning a contest so enjoyable? Is it the recognition of your work? I think these little ego boosts are good for a writer. Writing is a hard profession, due to all the other great stories out there in the publishing world. I’ve had my three seconds of bowing and patting myself on the back, now I have to get back to the real world and writing my book.
I hope you enjoy my 200 word story.
***
The Rent
The forecastt for the day is cold with a winter storm warning. I don’t want to get out of my nice warm bed, but I know I have to. There are many errands to run, and I have to do them before the storm hits.
Why Mrs. Flannigan has me pay my rent in person, I’ll never understand. It would be easier if I put it in the mail with my monthly bills. There isn’t any use crying and whining about it. That’s the way it is.
I back my car from the drive for the ten-mile trip to Mrs. Flannigan’s. My phone is in my purse for an emergency. The sleet and freezing rain are  already falling. The radio announcer tells everyone to stay off the roads. I’m not the smartest person, because I’m driving. I can’t drive fast because of poor visibility.  My hands are gripping the  wheel and my knuckles are white. Relax, Sally, you can do this.
The bridge over the lake is icy. What is that idiot doing? He’s going too fast. I’m in the middle of the bridge. I can’t scoot over. No, oh God help me.
Paper reads: Trucker and young woman join fatality toll.

I Found It

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The day I found it, I knew beyond any doubt, He was real. That profound piece of knowledge is shown to me repeatedly through my life.

I am a mother of two children, now grown. I’ve been an RN for thirty-two years. Before I became a nurse, I spent years trying to survive and take care of my two young children as a single mom. I lived on food stamps and in public housing, and I hated every minute of it.

I’d always wanted to be a nurse and in fact started college right out of high school. I decided at that point I wanted my man, and put love above my education. I was married to my children’s father for nine years. He decided he wanted to play. I’m a selfish woman, I don’t share well. My marriage ended.

I was living in Vernon, Texas when my marriage crumbled, and my family was in Oklahoma. Everything about my world crumbled around me. I didn’t have a job, I had two small children, and I was an emotional wreck. I wasn’t dealing with my failed marriage well. I had my children wanting their father, and my family telling me the children needed their daddy. I actually swallowed my pride and asked my husband to move back home. I met him at the door, when he moved back. He gave me a kiss and I knew with that kiss something was missing. His being home lasted four days. He couldn’t stay away from his play toy. There was too much pain to handle. I packed up and moved back home to McAlester.

The subsidized housing we lived in was not bad, but the neighborhood could get rough. At that point, in time, which was in the mid 1970’s I, felt as if I were the only white-skinned person in the complex. My apartment was broken into a couple of times and once I made the mistake of leaving my month’s food stamps on the end table. They disappeared.

I rejoiced when I received a five-dollar increase in my welfare check. Every five dollars in my pocket helped. The rejoicing didn’t last long. The housing authority raised my rent by six dollars a month. It was a losing battle. There was no way to win.

We never had enough money to buy the non-food items we needed, such as laundry soap, toilet paper, and dishwashing soap. Times got so bad that my children would go to a service station and steal toilet paper for us to use.

Towards the end of the month, we would run out of food. Weekends and summer were the hardest, because the kids didn’t get their breakfast and lunch at school. I was blessed enough to have a mom and dad who let me and the kids come to their house for supper when we needed to. I felt like a failure from beginning to end. I couldn’t do anything right. I was supposed to have stayed married, and raised my kids with both a mother and a father. Instead, I felt like a moocher, even though I know they didn’t feel that way. The guilt I felt was eating me up.

I finally got enough of my mind back that I decided to go back to college and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I couldn’t continue to let my children live the way they were living. My mom was so supportive. She encouraged me every chance she got. She wanted me to get the education she’d always wanted for me. I had to be able to take care of my children and myself.

My uncle teased me about not needing an education, because I now had two diplomas, Allan and Stephanie. He’d tried to talk me out of quitting school to marry my kids father, but of course being young and in love I didn’t listen.

Using Pell Grants, I moved to Wilburton and began college at Eastern Oklahoma State College. I made application to their nursing program and was accepted. The two-year program, which I took three to complete, was tough. I took all of my prerequisites one year and did nursing the next two years.

The kids and I lived in a two-bedroom house trailer on campus for the first year. I had a car but didn’t drive much except to go back home to see mom and dad. Mom would usually give me money for the gasoline. The problem of living in Wilburton and being in school, I no longer qualified for food stamps, because I received too much money from the Pell Grant.

We still had to eat and pay bills, so I took a part-time job at a local nursing home working as an aide. Since my family owned nursing homes, I was well qualified. I’d done everything from cooking in the kitchen to the laundry room. The down side to the job, it didn’t pay much more than minimum wage, and I had to pay for day care. It didn’t leave me much money. I worked whenever I could.

Through God’s grace, we made it through the first year. Due to almost freezing to death in that trailer, I found a walk-up apartment I could afford to rent. The kids’ day care was down the road from us about a block, and I could drop them off on my way to class without having to drive out of my way.

My second year of nursing school was the toughest. I couldn’t work many hours because of my clinical schedule for school. It got to the point one time when there wasn’t even milk for the kids in the refrigerator. I had nothing. I cried and I prayed and cried some more. I’d finally cried all the tears I could and I needed comfort.

Something made me pick up my Bible and I began reading in my favorite book of Isaiah. I felt comforted, as I always did. After my divorce, I slept with the Bible close to me. God was my comfort and my strength. When I turned, the page, what I saw astounded me. I began crying all over again, except this time with joy.

Stuck inside my Bible was a crisp, new ten-dollar bill. I didn’t put it there, which made it a miracle for me. It would let me buy food until my payday from work rolled around in a couple of days. I fell on my knees and began praising God. I knew then I didn’t have anything to worry about because He was with me. You know what, He still is. I worry very little because I know God has my back. I have failed him many times, but He has never failed me.

Times remained hard while I was in school, but I received my nursing license and my world turned around. I know I made it through with God’s help and the help of my family.

 

 

Good Friday

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As  Christian’s, today is the day we call Good Friday.  It is the day chosen to observe the cruisifiction of our Lord, Jesus Christ. When I was growing up I couldn’t grasp the concept of why it was called Good Friday when it represented a man being nailed to a cross and tortured until he died.  In my young eyes, there was nothing good about that. I knew killing was wrong so why did we celebrate a man dying.

Now in my later years I praise God every day for sending his son to this earth to die for my sins, so I can sit at the right hand of my father and praise him. I wrote a poem this morning called Easter Holiday which I would like to share with you.  I hope each one of you have a wonderful Holiday remembering our Lord and Savior.  Blessings to you and yours.

Easter Holiday

Easter holiday celebrated

Remember our Lord’s sacrifice

Taking the sins of mankind

While hanging on the cross

Forgive them Father

Last words spoken

Forgiveness

For all

SAVED

How To Blow your Top

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Today I’m a nurse and want to do a little teaching.  What did you think when you read my title? Did you think about getting so mad you wanted to blow up?  Well today we are going to chat about when you actually blow your top because you have ignored your blood pressure.

We all have a blood pressure. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be walking around.  If any of you have ever had low blood pressure you know it sometimes makes you feel as if your legs weigh 500 pounds apiece and you can barely drag along. When your blood pressure is high in the first stages, it also makes you barely drag around.  Your head can feel light as if it’s not on your body, or you could have a non-ending headache.  Sometimes they are really bad but most of the time they’re aggravation  to you. I venture to guess that a majority of time these little things are ignored until bigger problems begin.  This seems to happen more with men than woman since they don’t like going to the doctor’s office.

I know a young man now that is in his mid 20’s, smokes, and his blood pressure is consistently above 140 systolic (top number) and 100 for the diastolic (low number).  He has been told many times what is happening to his body but he chooses to ignore it since he doesn’t feel any different. The sad thing is I know this handsome young man is a walking time bomb.

For you who may not know about what the blood pressure actually is, I will explain it the best I can.  The top number of the blood pressure is the Systolic pressure.  What it represents is the amount of pressure that is put against the vessels when the heart pumps it out.  The Diastolic pressure is the amount of pressure that remains in the vessels when the heart is resting between beats.

Because his pressures are high all the time his vessels throughout his body, but especially in the brain, are under constant pressure which stretches and thins them.  At some point in the future without the hand of God touching him he will rupture a vessel.  All it will take is a pressure higher than normal and he will literally blow his top.  It can happen anywhere in the brain. I’m sure all of you have seen people who have had strokes.  There are those that are so severe that they can no longer walk or speak and most of the time end up with a g-tube into the stomach for feeding. There are others who are paralyzed on one side or blind. All depending where the vessel ruptured. It’s not a pretty picture, but it happens to far to many of us, both male and female.

I know everyone has heard that salt is one of the biggest contributors to hypertension, and so is smoking. Having constant stress in your life is another big factor.  Then there are those that it doesn’t matter what they do and how good their lifestyle is their blood pressure is out of site.  Even children are having problems with their blood pressure and that has to do with the food we are feeding them.

I for one  do not want to be one of those people who have a stroke.  I have all the risk factors, I’m overweight, I eat too much processed food, and the list could go on forever.  Do yourself a favor and go to webmd.com or any other medical program on the web and read about the symptoms of hypertension and how you can control it. Have your blood pressure checked often and if it is above 140 for the top number and higher than 85 for the bottom number, talk to your doctor. It could save you and your family a lot of sorrow.

To Each His Own (Short Story)

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I missed my deadline yesterday, but I have a good excuse. I was painting all day.  I’m painting a house I’m moving out of in a couple of months.  We just bought a new home in Sapulpa and it is gorgeous.  Out in the country with a cellar on the back porch.  Anyway, I thought I would post a short story today that’s not really that short.  I hope you like it.  Enjoy the read and let me know what you think.

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She walked to the edge of a small lake. She didn’t notice the color of the water, or that it didn’t reflect the blue sky above her. Her mind focused on how she and Bill spoke to each other the last time she saw him. She didn’t feel upset, or unhappy, just very content. I should talk to him and let him know why I left. His life wasn’t for me.

Bill was so handsome. He stood six-foot tall in his stocking feet, almost platinum hair with striking blue eyes.  Her inner core melted every time he gave her one of his sultry looks. His eyebrows were soft brown with long brown eyelashes. Between his eyebrows, platinum hair and his Jesus eyes, she knew he was always going to have girls chasing after him, and she would have to deal with it.

He’d been born and raised on a farm about five miles outside of Harvestonville, Nebraska and Joanie was a city girl from Chicago. She met him in Chicago fresh off the farm. He was attending the Cattlemen’s National Convention as a delegate from Nebraska. Joanie worked as a cleaning maid in the hotel where he stayed. A smile touched her lips for a second, as she remembered their first meeting.

“Excuse me sir, I didn’t know you had returned. I’ll be out of here in just a minute. I’m almost done.”

“You don’t have to hurry on my account. What ‘s your name?”

“My name is Joan, but my friends call me Joanie.”

“All right, Joanie, you can count me as one of your friends. Would you like to get a cup of coffee or a drink when you get off work?”

“You want me to have coffee, with you?”

“Yep, I sure do. Will you join me? What time do you get off?”

“I get off at 3:00 PM, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on the invitation. My mom is picking me up today, so I can’t stay late. How about a rain check?”

“I’m leaving day after tomorrow”, Bill said. “Let’s plan on having coffee tomorrow.”

Joanie thought for a minute about how nice it would be to have coffee with such a handsome man. “Okay, I’ll meet you in the coffee shop on 5th floor at 3:15.” She gathered up her cleaning supplies and headed out the door.

“Good-by Joanie, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Bill yelled as she shut the door behind her.

That was the beginning. One cup of coffee and Joanie’s world was never the same again.

***

Bill left Joanie, the day after their coffee date, which went on for fourteen hours. He had to catch his flight to return home. Joan didn’t think she would ever see him again. As soon as Bill’s plane landed, he called to tell Joanie how much their coffee date meant to him.

“I miss you, and I’ll find a way for us to be together. That is, if that is what you want to Joanie. I felt as if I had met the person holding my heart.”

“Bill, I’m in Chicago and you live in Nebraska. A relationship won’t work long distance, and you know that as well as I do. We talked about it and we both agreed it wouldn’t work.”

“I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to find a way to make it work, Joanie. Give me a few days and I’ll come up with a plan.”

Joanie went through her days as usual, but Bill was always on her mind. She’d wonder what he was doing or what kind of a plan he’d come up with. She’d already made up her mind she would do whatever he planned. What kind of life do I have? I’m thirty-four years old, living with my mother, with no bright prospects for my future. 

Thirty days passed without a word from Bill. Joanie thought he’d changed his mind. I knew it was too good to be true. I’m never going to leave this hotel and mama. I thought the Lord had finally sent something good into my life.

After enough time passed, she kept Bill out of her thinking most of the time. The hardest part was at night after she went to bed. Her mind was full of questions and she couldn’t shut it down. She’d finally reach for her Bible and start reading. Once she started reading it was as if God reached into her mind and calmed it, letting her sleep.

The following Saturday morning, Joanie was doing the dishes. Looking out the kitchen window, she watched the cardinals, and bright yellow finches at the bird feeders. It gave her peace to watch the bright colors flit around and hear them sing their songs as they wait for space at the feed ports.

The doorbell rang a couple of times. I wonder who that is, she thought. Her mom had gone to see her Aunt Jerry so she knew she’d have to get the door. She dried her hands on the dish towel and went to the door. When she opened the door, she couldn’t move or speak for a few seconds.

“Bill, what are you doing here?”

“I told you the last time we talked I’d figure out a way for us to be together.”

Yes you did, but I haven’t heard a word from you since that conversation. I’d given up on you ever contacting me, much less showing up at my door”.

“Are you going to ask me inside?”

“I’m sorry, please come in.” She opened the door wide enough for him to come in. He bent down and kissed her on the cheek as he stepped by her.

“Come into the living room and have a seat. Would you like something to drink?”

“Do you have any coffee made?”

“No, but it won’t take me a minute to get you a cup. We’ve got one of those Krups coffee makers that does one cup at a time.”

Joanie went to the kitchen and made his coffee. She put it on a tray and carried it back into the room. “Here’s your coffee, Bill, just the way you like it, with cream and sugar.”

A smile spread across Joanie’s face as she thought about how they had the love of coffee in common.

“Remember I told you I had my own cattle ranch in the country.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“I want you to come back to Nebraska with me and share my home with me.”

“Bill, are you asking me to marry you?”

“Yah, I guess I am. We’ll get you back there and settled, and then we’ll talk about a wedding. What do you think?”

“I think you’ve made me the happiest woman in Chicago. The only down side is telling my mother. Maybe we could tell her together this evening.”

“I think you should tell her yourself tonight, without having someone she doesn’t know around. I have me a room at a hotel not too far from here to stay. Can we leave tomorrow?”

“You want me to leave tomorrow. What about my job?”
“Honey, don’t worry about your job. You’re not going to be needing the job. You won’t ever need a job again. Just call someone and tell them you won’t be back.”

“All right Bill, I’ll leave with you tomorrow. I’m so excited to see my new home, and for us to start our life together.”

Joanie and Bill sat and talked about an hour making their plans. Bill got up and said he needed to go to the hotel so he could check in. They would be leaving about six in the morning, so Joanie had a lot to do before then. They walked to the door hand in hand, and Bill bent down and softly kissed Joanie’s lips. She thought she would explode with happiness, but she kept everything in check. Bill left and she headed for the attic to get her trunk and a couple of suitcases.

She was so busy packing her belongings she didn’t hear Mom come through the front door. Her mother stood at her bedroom door watching her pack her things in the trunk.

“What are you doing, Joanie?”

“Oh Mom, I didn’t hear you come in.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m packing my things.”

“I can see that, but why?”

“I’m going to Nebraska with Bill in the morning. He came back for me Mama and I’m going. This is a chance for me to make a wonderful life for him and me.”

“Don’t do this, Joanie. You haven’t known this man long enough to know what kind of a man he is.”

Her mom began to cry. Joanie went to her, put her arms around her, and kissed her cheek. “Please don’t worry mom, I’m going to be fine. Bill and I have talked for many hours and we both want the same things out of life. He’s a Christian and he told me he’d be right beside me in church every Sunday. He’s a decent man mama. I feel so lucky to have finally found someone to love, and who loves me back. I just know God sent him to me.

“Please, honey, I’m begging you not to leave with this man.”

“Mama, I’m going and that’s final. Please don’t make this harder on both of us than it has to be. You know I love you and nothing will ever change that.”

“Don’t you think it’s funny he hasn’t made an attempt to meet your mother or other family members?”

“He’s just shy mama, but you will get to meet him in the morning before we leave. I know you’re going to like him.”

Joanie’s mother opened her mouth to say something, but turned around and left the bedroom. Her heart was heavy with sadness, but she was angry with Joanie for being so naive. She went into the kitchen to fix herself a cup of coffee. Her agitation kept her walking the kitchen in circles. She felt like a wild animal pacing around a cage. I have to think of something to stop her from leaving with that man. I know something isn’t right, but what can I do.

Joanie’s mother’s bedroom door closed with a bang. Joanie thought, I know she’s upset with me, but at least she has gone to bed. Maybe in the morning she’ll feel better about me leaving with Bill. I think a mother should be happy her daughter has found happiness. Joanie kept herself busy for another hour getting her things together. She placed everything in the dining room for easy access to the front door. She didn’t want anything to delay the departure in the morning.

Walking back to her room, Joanie thought she would look in at her mother. Usually her snoring was shaking the rafters of the house, but she didn’t hear a sound. She opened her mother’s door a crack where she could see her mother’s form turned on her side away from the door. I hope she rests well. Maybe I can get her to come to Nebraska after we get settled. That way she won’t be alone for very long. Joanie pulled the door closed and walked back to her room and climbed in bed.

She had a tough time going to sleep because she was excited about the morning. She was ready to get on with her new life. When her eyes finally closed, she slept soundly and peaceful. The night went by very fast. It seems as if she just closed her eyes and the alarm was sounding. She jumped from her bed and hurriedly took a shower and got dressed.

She needed some coffee. She knew her mother would want to see her off so she went to her mother’s door and knocked. She listened and didn’t hear a response, so she knocked louder. She finally opened the door and looked in. Her mother was still on her right side, facing away from the door. Joanie walked over and touched her mother’s shoulder, or what she thought was her shoulder. What is going on? Where are you mom? The bed was empty except for some rolled pillows to make it look as if someone was asleep in the bed.

***

Joanie’s mother, Irene, decided she would handle this situation. She fixed her bed so it looked as if she was there sound asleep. She exited her room through the double doors to the deck in her back yard. It’s a good thing Joanie told me he was staying close by because there is only one hotel that is close. I’m going to have a talk with that fellow.

Irene walked to the hotel, a couple of blocks from her house. She walked with determination in each step and thought about what she was going to say. She’d brought her checkbook, just in case money was needed.

“Can I help you?” The desk clerk asked.

“Yes, sir, you certainly can. I need the room number of a Mr. Bill Douglas.”

“I’m sorry; we are not allowed to give out room numbers without permission from the guest. I can call his room and see if he would like to see you.”

“Ok, go ahead and give him a call. Just tell him Joanie’s mother is here to see him.”

The desk clerk called Bill’s number. Bill picked up the phone on the first ring. “Hello” who did you say was here? Sure, let her come up. Thanks.”

“Ma’am, he’s in room 702. The elevator is to your left and behind the screen wall.”

“Thank you.” Irene turned and made her way to the elevator, while she continued bolstering her courage with each step she took. Arriving at Bill’s room, she found him standing in the door waiting on her arrival.

“So you’re Joanie’s mother.”

“Yes, I’m Irene Jackson. Can we talk for a few minutes?”

“Sure, come on in and take a seat in that desk chair. I’m going to lie back on the bed and take it easy while were having our little talk. You start since you made the trip here to see me.”

“Fair enough. First off, Joanie doesn’t know I’m here. I needed to talk to you and I don’t want Joanie involved.”

“Excuse me, but I think she’s already involved. We are supposed to leave here in a few hours headed back to Nebraska.”

“That’s why I’m here. I don’t want Joanie going with you. She belongs here in Chicago with her family. She has never been out of this city and to take off to live in another state, on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere won’t make her happy.”

“What makes you think you know what will make Joanie happy?”

“Look, I’m her mother and I know her better than any other human on this earth, especially you. You’ve only spent a few hours with her. I’ve been with her, her entire life. What will it take for you to leave her in the morning and not come by my house?”

“Are you trying to bribe me lady?” Bill laughed while looking straight into Irene’s eyes. There’s something about his eyes that bothered her. She couldn’t stand to look him straight in the eye. How much are you willing to give me to leave your daughter alone.”

“I’ll give you everything I’ve got in the bank. Will you leave her alone for $100,000.00? Irene took her checkbook out and wrote the check for entire amount. She got up and walked towards the bed.”

“Wait a minute; I never said I wanted your money. I want Joanie to go with me tomorrow. I have big plans for her and me.”

“I’m going to do everything I can to stop you from leaving with my daughter. So don’t be surprised if you are detained a bit.”

“You can’t stop me.”

“Just watch me. I’ll have you so tangled up with the police, I guarantee you will be held in jail for a while. I have friends and I can pull in a few favors.” Irene looked at Bill’s face and saw a menacing smile on his lips. She had a chill run up her spine.

“You’ll have to excuse me a couple of minutes. I have to pause for the cause.” Bill got off the bed and walked into the bathroom. Irene sat with her back to the bathroom door, looking out the big picture window at the bright lights of Chicago. She heard Bill come out of the bathroom. The next thing she knew there was a small rope around her neck cutting off her air. Her last thought was of her love for her daughter.

At 6 AM, standing by the front door, waiting on Bill to arrive. Joanie kept wondering why her mother left during the night. She rationalized she left because she didn’t want to say goodbye to me. That note I left for her might help ease her pain a little. I’ll be sure and call just as soon as I get to the ranch.

Bill pulled up and Joanie threw the door open and ran out to meet Bill on the front walk. “I’m so glad to see you here. I have my things ready, but there is one small thing.”

“What’s that”, Bill asked

“My mom left last night and hasn’t returned home. I wanted to say goodbye to her.”

“Honey, she probably left because she couldn’t stand the thought of saying goodbye. I wouldn’t worry about her. I’m sure she is in a cozy spot, dealing with your leaving, the best way she can. Let’s get your stuff loaded and get on the road.”

“Ok, I know you’re right, but it’s just hard-driving off without seeing her. I’ll be fine and I’ll call her as soon as we get to the farm.”

Bill was quiet during the trip back to Nebraska. Joanie would try to engage him in conversation but he would just smile and not say anything.  “Bill, why won’t you talk to me? Tell me about the ranch?”

“I don’t talk much and as far as the ranch goes, you’ll see it when we get there.”

Joanie gave Bill a long look, but he didn’t react to her stare. She finally gave up, and laid her head back on the seat to take a nap.

 ***

“Wake up, Joan, we’re here. You had a long nap. Take a look at your new home.”

Joan woke easily but remained groggy. “I didn’t think we were that close when I went to sleep.” Joan looked around for her new house. “Where’s the house?”

“You see that mound over there next to the big oak tree.”

“Yes, I see it.”

“That’s our house. It’s a dug out. We won’t have to stay in it but a couple of years. By then I should have us a house built.”

“Bill, you didn’t tell me I would be living in a hole in the ground.”

“I told you from the very beginning when we talked, I was a naturalist. We’ll grow what we are going to eat and live like my ancestors did when they first came here from Germany.”

“I don’t know that I can do this.”

“Sure, you can. I’ll teach you how to be a real pioneering woman. There is a community of us here.  Down the road about three miles is the store and gas station. We’re in the process of building the combination school/church house now. On Sundays, we go to a different place each week for services. This next Sunday you can meet all the neighbors. I didn’t tell any of them about you, so you will be a big surprise.”

Joanie got out of the truck and walked to her new home. What have I gotten myself into? He didn’t tell me anything about all this. I guess I made an assumption I shouldn’t have.” The land was beautiful, with big pecan trees all around. There was a barn built about a city block away. The water well was in front of the dugout. There was a large area, off to the right, where the ground was broken up. It was away from the trees, and was partially fenced.

Bill hurried past Joanie and opened the wood slat door that let the light into the dugout. Joanie couldn’t believe her eyes. There were five stone steps leading down to a plank floor. There was a small wood stove sitting in the middle of the room with a stove-pipe running from the stove through the roof. As far as furnishing went, there was a full size bed and one chair and no table. There were stacked plastic crates containing a few dishes, Bill’s clothes and supplies.

“Welcome to your new home, Joanie. Isn’t this great. It won’t take you long to love it as much as I do.”

“Where is the nearest large town?”

“Well, let me think. Norfolk is about fifty miles north of us. I guess it is the biggest.”

“Is there a hotel there?”

“Sure, why?”

“I can’t live like this. I’m not like you. Please take me to the hotel and I’ll go back home.”

“You said you loved me and wanted to be with me. Where we live shouldn’t matter.”

“It does matter, Bill. I haven’t been out of Chicago and this is 1992, not 1842. This isn’t the life I want. This is my fault not yours. I made some assumptions about our life together, and I shouldn’t have. Please forgive me, and take me to Norfolk.”

“I’m not taking you anywhere. You’re staying here with me.” Bill glaringly looked at Joanie and set the suitcases out-of-the-way. “Are you coming inside with me?”

“No, I’m not. Please take me to Norfolk, or I’ll walk.”

“You don’t even know where you are, how can you walk?”

“I’ll put two feet on that dirt road and take off.”

“You are going to leave me before you spend one night here.”

“Yes, I am. As I said before, I can’t live this kind of life. You may like it but I don’t.”

Bill walked around behind Joanie; she didn’t turn to see what he was doing. He put a small rope around her throat and started cutting off her air. “No one will miss you Joan. I told you no one here knew you were coming, and your mother will be waiting on you when you get to where you’re going.”

***

Joanie heard footsteps behind her. She turned knowing it wouldn’t be Bill, but she wasn’t afraid. A man in a long robe and sandals, with a pleasant smile on his face and the clearest blue eyes, stood before her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Where am I going?”

“You’re going to see your mama, and the rest of your family. There will be many there to greet you upon your arrival. You do remember what happened don’t you.”

“Yes, I remember but it doesn’t matter now. I feel too good for anything to matter.”

“You made some poor choices in your life on earth, but you lived a good life loving our Father and trusting him. Now you are going to live with him, as he promised you.”

“What about Bill?”

“Bill will answer to our Father in his own time. I’m surprised he even crossed your mind. Take hold of my hand. Your new home waits.

It’s Short Story Day (The Red Shoes)

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This short story is nonfiction, and I didn’t write it for sympathy. I wrote it because I wanted to share a taste of what it’s like to live with the disease of alcoholism. It affects millions every day all over the world.  It’s been around since man began making wine many thousands years ago.

Alcohol is as addictive as the meth being manufactured today, except it’s legal. We all know prohibition didn’t work and as far as I can tell the war on drugs isn’t working either.  What is the answer?

I hope you like my story of  The Red Shoes.

I had reached my limit. Leaving was the only option I had. Standing up from the chair, I looked at mama and walked into my bedroom. Retrieving my coat from the closet, a headscarf and the new pair of red loafers mama bought me when we went to town that morning. I didn’t know what to do, but I couldn’t stay at the house any longer. I may have only been twelve years old, but I knew he would hurt me if I stayed.

There was snow and ice on the back steps. When I stepped out, down I went to the ground. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt in the fall. Picking myself up, I began walking down the road. Where could I go? If I went to Bob and Eva’s, he might find me there. I decided to go to my Uncle Charles’s house, on the mountain. It was about four miles north west of where we lived, up in the hills.

We lived fifteen miles west of McAlester on Highway 270 at a community called Cabiness. We ran a small country grocery store and Texaco gas station, called Blevins Grocery. My parents purchased the place before we left California. Returning to the area where mom and dad were born and raised was important, especially for my mother.

The one room store was actually the front room of the house. It had been converted to a store long before my parents bought it. The house now had one bedroom and kitchen, living room and a closed in back porch with a large window that pulled out and up, and hooked to the ceiling. That’s where mom and dad slept. My room was in the middle of the house without windows. It had two doors, one going to the living room and the other to the back porch.

There was a well and pump house sitting on the west side of the house. That water well was the catalyst for my problem. The well was terrible. The water smelled like sulphur, and tasted rotten. It didn’t furnish enough water to run the household. If you did the dishes, you couldn’t take a shower, or if you flushed the commode you couldn’t do the dishes. It was a constant struggle. I would usually go to Bob and Eva’s house to take my bath and do my homework. I would spend the night there at least once a week.

The store and station opened at 6 am and closed at 9 pm. This particular evening we were slow closing. Dad just returned home from spending time at a bar in McAlester. He was in the living room sitting on the piano bench watching me like a hawk. My cousin rang the bell to let us know someone needed gas. I went out and pumped the gas, and while I was talking to Eva, we decided I would ask mom if I could go home with them to spend the night. I asked mom if I could go home with Bob and Eva, and she agreed. I began to gather my clothes and schoolbooks.

”What are you doing, Shirley”? My dad yelled.

I walked into the living room and told him “I am getting my stuff together to go spend the night with Bob and Eva so I can do my homework and take a bath”.

“You sit down in that chair because you’re not going anywhere.”

“Daddy, mama told me I could go”.

“I don’t give a damn what your mother said, you are not going. You go tell them to go on and then get your butt back in here.”

I walked out to their truck and told them daddy wasn’t going to let me go with them. I was angry, but I knew not to say anything more to dad. When I walked back into the living room, he told me to sit down in the chair. I was angry and hurt. I sat very still and quit, while he tried to pick a fight with me. When I didn’t respond he started yelling at me. There was a pair of pliers sitting on the piano I’d left there earlier in the day from doing something that I don’t remember now. The next thing I knew he picked up the pliers and threw them at my head. God was protecting me because he missed by about one and a half inches, knocking a hole in the wall. That’s when I knew I had to get away from him.

Since I decided to go to my uncle’s house, I began walking down the dirt road behind our house. It would take me up the mountain. I had my headscarf wrapped around my head, and was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I never wore socks, and I didn’t even think about my feet when I left the house. I’d walked about two miles when I stepped in an ice covered hole of water. I knew my feet would freeze if I didn’t do something. I took off my headscarf and using my teeth to start a tear, I managed to rip the scarf in two. I put a half in each one of my new, red shoes to help keep my feet warm. I continued walking down the middle of the road. If a car came down the road, I ran into the woods and hid until it passed. I wasn’t going to let him find me. I didn’t have any intention of ever returning to that house.

I finally made it to the top of the mountain. It was after 11:00 when I knocked on Charles’s door. My Aunt Jerry opened the door after I identified myself.

“What are you doing here this late? Where’s your mama?” Jerry asked.

I told her the story while I sat wrapped in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot tea. “Jerry, where is Charles? I can’t live there anymore. I want to stay here.”

“Charles hasn’t come in from town. I guess he had a date tonight, but I know you will be able to stay here as long as you need to.”

We heard the truck drive up to the front of the house. Jerry told me to go to the barn and hide in the hay. I took off out the back door towards the barn. I was almost there when Jerry yelled, telling me it wasn’t daddy, and to come back to the house.

When I got back in the house, there sat mama with a neighbor of ours, Donnie Elliott. Mama began to cry. “I tracked you in the snow. I knew you would either come here or go to Bob’s house. I want you to come home.”

“I’m not coming back to that house. I hate him; he is not going to hurt me. I’ve begged you to make him leave, and you wouldn’t, so now I’ve left and I’m not going back. I’m going to stay here, and if I can’t stay here then I’m going to go back to California and stay with Jim and Bobbie.”

“Please, honey, come back home. I promise you, it will be different, and he won’t be there. Come with me now and spend the night with Donnie. You can stay with her until he leaves the house tomorrow.”

Donnie sat there nodding her head up and down as mama talked. I loved my mama, and I couldn’t bear watching her cry and listening to her begging me to come back home.

“All right, mama, I’ll come home if he’s not there.” I got my coat and put on my new red, now wet and covered in mud, shoes. Jerry had given me a pair of socks, so my feet wouldn’t freeze off. Donnie lived about a half mile from us on the dirt road behind the store building. Mama promised me again that daddy would be gone the next morning.

She kept her word, and he was gone. I came home, and I was happy with my life for once. I could bring a girlfriend to the house and not be afraid of what dad would say or do. It was a peaceful time for me. Mom didn’t do so well, but that is another story.

Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible disease. It doesn’t just destroy the one drinking, but his or her family as well. It took many years for me to forgive my father, but I did. He is 85 years old now, and mama is gone. He doesn’t remember a thing about the trauma he caused his family. He and mom reconciled a year later after he had stopped drinking. That lasted a year and then it started over. That doesn’t matter now. He is a good man with a good heart and I can say I love him very much. He is and always will be my daddy. I survived and so did he.

Adam Did It

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Adam tasting the forbidden fruit. Fresco from ...
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Why does life have to seem so hard?  It appears, we go from one battle to another.  I  can’t say life is bad because it isn’t.  It’s just a struggle, more at times than other times.  I know it’s not just me, because I have been around long enough to know everyone has their struggles, and their problems that seem insurmountable at times.  I was once naïve enough to think there really were household’s like Ward Cleaver’s home, or Donna Reed’s.  I think it was a dream everyone wished they could have.  It would have been nice to have all the problems solved in a thirty minute time span.
Some of my struggles are so mundane I can’t even remember them.  Some are so painful I couldn’t forget them if I tried.  I can put them out of my mind for a while, but they are always there.  Maybe they are there as life’s lessons.  I have to say, I didn’t like those particular home work assignments when I had to go through them.  I have to say in all fairness, I would not be who I am if I had not gotten through them.
I have heard people say “Eve did this to me. She caused all the problems by eating the piece of fruit which God told her not to eat.”   So I question myself, did Eve really do this to me?  I think not. I now believe she had the help of her man Adam.
God’s word tells us man fell, not just woman.  So today if I am going to blame anyone, I am going to put it all on Adam’s back.  When we marry and take a life partner, we are seen as one.  Except of course when it’s convenient, or politically correct to make sure we are separate sexes.
We are made as one but life happens because of two.  Even with science, it takes two.  It takes an egg and a sperm put together to create life.  I know in the creation, us poor misguided women were taken from a man. Clay was put around a rib bone, and woman was created.  Something like that anyway.  I know Eve was created by God, no matter which way he did it.
Adam was instructed by God not to eat the fruit from the tree of “Good and Evil,” as well as Eve.  I have never figured out why this turned out to be totally Eve’s fault when they both knew the plan, and they knew the consequences if they did eat the fruit.  The bottom line, they both had the same job description.
Eve is wandering around in this gorgeous garden without a care in the world and hears this voice, which we believe is male, (go figure), enticing her to eat the fruit from the tree of life.  What does she do? She   calls her man, “Come here honey, there is this thing that keeps talking to me, and trying to make me do something I know I shouldn’t, (sound familiar).  Tell me what you think, please.”
The best I can remember, Adam comes over to the tree and says, ”Hum, let me have a bite of that fruit. It looks really good.”  He didn’t say, no sweetness you can’t have that, or he doesn’t take it, and throw it away.   He just eats it with her, and now we have troubles.
So from my way of thinking, I am now totally convinced that Adam is the one who is at true fault.  He did not do his job as head of household.  He ignored God when he knew he shouldn’t.  He failed to protect his woman.  So now I know why I can officially blame the male species for what goes wrong in this world, and I will continue to tell them they are at fault.  It was not Eve, it was Adam.

The Four Letter Word

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san diego chargers

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I was reading an article today about a man who is suing the city of San Diego for the right to yell profanities at sporting events.  Apparently he was thrown out of a Chargers game for the use of the four letter word, which violated his freedom of speech.  Apparently the NFL has a ban on the use of profanity by the fans.

First off, why isn’t he suing the NFL since it’s their rule, but secondly and most important to me is the fact that the word has become so prevalent in use, that some people don’t have a problem with it.  I was raised being taught that was the filthyest word that could come out of someone’s mouth.  I saw my father knocked out of a kitchen chair one night by my uncle, because Dad was drinking and let that word pass his lips.  My Uncle laid him out because he said it in front of me.  The time was the mid 1950’s. That made an impression on a very young girl.  You know I never heard it again pass my dad’s lips.

My children were raised not to use that language around me or any of the family.  What my son said out of my earshot I do not know.  He is now 41 years old and curses with the best of them, but he does not use that word around me.  He knows I would be all over him. I used to be really shocked when I heard it in use, but not any more. It is so common  in speech and the written word, I guess I adapted.  I’m still greatly offended but I don’t flinch anymore.

Why should I have to listen to someone when I go to a public place because they was not taught the basics of good behavior in public.  Let me know how you feel about it.  Do you think the man in San Diego has a case, or should it be thrown out? (I know it won’t be, but I can hope.)