This weekend, my dear friend R. will be saying a final, final farewell to her daddy. The first time she said goodbye to him was in 2000 when he was buried. Today, the Piasecki CH-21 Shawnee helicopter that he lovingly rebuilt and restored is taking its final flight from its home hangar to the Arkansas Air and Military Museum at Fayetteville (AR) Drake Field. The story of this beautiful bird is recounted here so I’ll let you read about it there.
This weekend has been a long time coming for R. Since the day her daddy died, the aircraft has been a quiet comfort for her, a way in which she was able to keep her daddy close after his untimely passing. Its presence in an airport hangar where she often entertains large social and/or political gatherings (there’s one this evening) has been a frequent reminder of the man whose love and passion went into the rebuilding process. Now that the helicopter is gone from the hangar, there’s going to be a huge void no matter how many other aircraft she manages to cram into its spot.Continue reading “Fly Away”→
As a child, I remember listening to radio dramas with my dad. We listened to The Shadow and The Green Hornet mostly. I guess the dramas were appealing for me because I had a vivid imagination and could easily picture the scenes in my mind … and usually, the scary parts weren’t so scary that I couldn’t handle them, as long as my daddy was right there with me. According to one source, The Shadow didn’t leave the air until December of 1954. When we were listening, I’m not sure we were hearing the original broadcasts or replays from a later time. (Perhaps only the Shadow knows?)
Thinking about today’s 76th anniversary of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast, I was drawn back to those childhood memories. I’ve often imagined what it must have been like to hear the Orson Welles broadcast in 1938 and to imagine – just imagine – it could be real! I know it’s possible (even probable) the hysteria was not as widespread as some accounts made it out to be. Nevertheless, because the drama seemed utterly believable to many, for me that original Sunday night broadcast would have been much scarier than either The Shadow or The Green Hornet! Continue reading “Martian Invasion”→
As a long-time user of Microsoft products, I remember the bad old days. I recall a time when MS Word was a stand-alone product. It was one of the first pieces of software I installed on my Windows 3 computer (maybe 1991 or 1992?) and the software was called Word for Windows. Going from a plain text screen to What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) was a huge step forward, but it was only a word processor. When I needed something fancier for a brochure or newsletter, I had to devise work-arounds to make the word processor emulate desktop publishing functions as best I could. (This was before Aldus Pagemaker became available.)
As far as my own writing manuscripts (whether poetry or prose), I only needed Word … but every so often, I’d be temporarily lured away by another product hoping its advertised promises might actually exceed my passing-fair experience with Word (now part of the MS Office package). No matter what product I tried, I always came back. In some respects, my search for another word processor was a never-ending quest. My familiarity with Word is so ingrained, I’ve remained a consistent user … though not always a fan.
This week, though, I’ve wandered off the Microsoft reservation once again – and this time, I may have found a winner!
When it comes to visiting the dentist, there’s no denying I’m a white-knuckle patient. I think the root of my discomfort in the dental chair is due to my early experiences. I distinctly remember sitting in the dentist’s chair as a child and watching my dentist hold a cigarette in his mouth (yes, as he worked on my teeth) and the ashes at the end of the cigarette grew alarmingly lengthier with each moment. Since he was perched with his face directly above mine, I felt quite sure those ashes would fall from the cigarette and land straight in my gaping, open mouth!
Whenever I have my dental checkups or other dental work needing to be done, this visual image isn’t far from my mind. Thankfully today, dentists rarely smoke and would never do so while caring for patients. I suppose this shows just how far we’ve come from the days when I was a little girl … again, thankfully! Continue reading “Tooth Dismay”→
Lately, I’ve been wondering, when did it become okay to kill children? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, I know at least 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States. Yes, they were “legal” based on the standard instituted through the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. Nevertheless, women who sought abortions used to drive to neighboring towns to obtain abortions; they didn’t stand on Main Street with signs and brag about having killed their unborn children.
A woman who had an abortion acknowledged there was a natural stigma about it, supposedly an admission that the procedure was the “only” choice rather than the “preferred” choice. Even politicians adopted the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Why rare? Because of its moral component! Because having an abortion was thought to be a BAD choice (albeit in their minds a necessary choice, nonetheless)!
I haven’t heard the “safe, legal and rare” (SL&R) mantra in a long time. I think, in part, the phrase fell out of favor because there were those who recognized this specific phraseology carried a negative inference (specifically, the moral component) … and God forbid, any woman who has an abortion should feel shame (or moral condemnation) for taking the life of her unborn babe! Continue reading “Rebranding Despicable”→
During the last couple months, I’ve been studying The Book of Job. This amazing narrative with extended poetic passages provides us with details from the life of a “man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.” Most observers cite a similar theme for the book: Why do the righteous suffer? I would agree that this is certainly the common template from Job’s (man’s) point of view.
I’ve studied the book a number of times over the years. This time, I wanted to reflect a little deeper and try to go beyond my normal understanding of the book. As I dove into the first chapter, I noticed a sheet of note paper from a long-ago study of the book. I had written on the paper, “I alone escaped …” a phrase that’s repeated three times in the span of three verses in chapter 1 (verses 15, 16 and 17)! When I originally wrote the phrase down, I knew I intended to use it one day. Continue reading “Book of Job / 1”→
Imagine with me that you’re flying in a Learjet on your way to your next job. You’ve had a hectic morning preparing for your trip and rushing off to the airport, so once you get settled on the aircraft and the plane is in the air, you close your eyes for a quick nap. This scenario (or something like it … remember, we’re imagining) took place fifteen years ago this day.
The tragic death of golfer Payne Stewart and five of his associates occurred when they lost consciousness in a depressurized cabin and fell asleep, ninety minutes before the aircraft crashed when its fuel ran out. Because Stewart hailed from Missouri (my home state) and because he clearly loved golf and life, I considered him a breath of fresh air in the early years when I was learning the sport. Some people called him a showboat … his throwback (but colorful) clothing set him apart. Was it flamboyant (as some commentators described it)? Maybe, but I would have preferred the word memorable. In an era of ordinary polo shirts and khakis as the standard golfing garb, Stewart dressed splendidly so people would not confuse him with his contemporaries Davis Love III or Nick Price or Hal Sutton. Continue reading “Finding Home”→
The Fall colors in Arkansas are among the best anywhere (in my view). With the surrounding hills showing off their brilliant orange and yellow, stunning reds and deep burgundy, the landscape is a pallet of warmth and coziness. In fact, Fall Foliage Vacations are recommended about this time every year. The courtroom where I spent the better part of the last two days has windows that look out on Mount Sequoyah, one of the purported seven hills in our town. Over the last week and a half, temperatures here have been showing fewer extremes, ranging between seventies in the daylight hours and fifties during the nights. We’ve even had a few nights already where the temps have dipped to the forties … which usually makes the Friday Night high school football fans happy.
A woman wants to be told she’s beautiful to someone. I don’t think this is simply a 21st (or 20th) century phenomenon. When I read details from Genesis 2:18-24, it’s clear how Adam felt about Eve. Imagine Adam looking at the gift Almighty God had set before him! He was so full of excitement, he couldn’t contain himself! (He might have been doing back-flips.) “Bone of my bone,” he says, “Flesh of my flesh!” In essence, he was saying to Eve, “You’re beautiful!“Likewise, Eve surely basked in the admiration Adam showered upon her. Even though she was the only female on the planet, every word of adoration Adam verbalized to her was an intoxicating music to her ears. She didn’t need daisies and the loves-me, loves-me-not method. There was no doubt in her mind that Adam loved her, he adored her. She was everything he could have imagined and the feelings were mutual.
When I left the house this morning, I knew I’d be sitting in a courtroom. Toward the end of the day, I found myself in an unenviable position … sitting in the witness chair being questioned by three attorneys and fielding additional directions from the presiding judge! (So glad none of them were wearing the white powdered wigs I’ve seen in movies like the one below … I’d have found it hard not to laugh!)
I have never enjoyed being the center of attention … oh, okay, maybe in my younger years but those days are long gone! I’m much more comfortable sitting on a bench behind the railing, watching the events play out as if on a television or movie screen. That’s pretty much how the morning went before lunch (9 a.m. to noon). I’m an election official in my county and the issue before us related to election procedures. The issue was straightforward and I expected to be only an onlooker, but my name on the complaint was reason enough to be present.
It’s funny, too, because I was so confident I’d be an onlooker, I had brought an electronic device so I could sit in the background and work on my poetry! It’s not as if the hearing required my full attention; I’m able to multi-task. I had the beginnings of a whimsical poem rolling through my brain already. All I needed was a bit of time … There once was a courtroom in town, Where lawyers and judges came down … too bad I didn’t have time to finish it! Continue reading “Court Jest”→