Category Archives: Words

COME HITHER, DEAR READER…

Excerpt from — Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the Bloody Fifth in Philadelphia:

Smith pulled a large white monogrammed square from his breast pocket and dabbed his broad face. “This damn August heat! How about a drink, Dave?”                                                                                Sure, why not.”                                                                            Lemonade, or something stronger, perhaps?”                                   As strong as you’ve got, sounds good.”                                            Tom Smith stood at the golden oak credenza across the room from his desk where several bottles of liquor, a silver ice bucket, and crystal glasses sat at the ready.                                                  Scotch?”                                                                                                 Fine.”                                                                                                  Dave leaned back and closed his eyes as he listened to ice clinking into glasses and the splashing of the Scotch as it hit the cubes. He’d been drinking one thing or another every day for the past couple of months, and today would be no different. Direct from the bottle or in crystal, made no difference. Blurring his senses was all that mattered.

If you’d like to read more . . . https://www.amazon.com/Bosses-Blackjacks-Bloody-Fifth-Philadelphia/dp/1523349093

THE WAYWARD WIND

It’s a windy fall day . . .

The kind of day where the last of the dry, dead leaves are ripped from the trees and are tossed high in the air, and tumbled over and over before they come to rest on the brown, crisp, dying lawns of the suburbs.

Raking occupied the last three weekends. Too soon.

But—the current windy day (one of the last of its kind this autumn) has decided to conduct one more performance by rustling the uppermost leafy branches of its arboreal orchestra.

The sky provides a bright blue curtain behind the pine, maple, oak, and dogwood musicians.

I watch and listen again to the wind as it takes its last gasp of warmth before winter.

For some reason, I always hear a balalaika playing “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago.

That is the magic of the wind.

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NOT SO LONG AGO . . .

Little Rock Voters Vote to Close Public Schools

Moments In Civil Rights History

On September 27th, 1958, a vote was held, with an overwhelming outcome, to keep the schools of Little Rock, Arkansas closed rather than integrate them. In September 1957, nine Black students known as the Little Rock Nine entered Central High School and were met by angry Protesters. Known as The Lost Year, high schools in the city remained closed for the entire 1958-59 academic term.

It is hard for me to comprehend that this happened less than sixty years ago.

There is an election coming up where one of the candidates wants to “Make America Great Again.”

The, “Again” part is what upsets me. Is this what he means? I remember the fire hoses and the dogs, and the people dragged beaten and bloody through the streets. Those images flashed across our TV screens almost every night when I was young. 

It’s disturbing to see and hear white supremacist groups brazenly supporting a presidential candidate “again” in this country. Many of us thought their time had passed—and we were all the better for it.

THAT AWKWARD STAGE

It is almost autumn in the northeastern United States. Two more days.

There are no more bright green leaves splashing against the hot summer skies.

There are only tired, slowly drying, brownish remnants drooping from transitioning boughs.

There are no beautiful crimson, orange and yellow leaves speckling the trees. Not yet.

Nature is at one of its awkward stages. The in-between time. The time between fond remembrance and eager anticipation.

I hate this time of year. It’s like being eleven again. Not good. Not old enough to have a boyfriend or girlfriend—but too old to play doctor with any friend.

C’mon, nature. Get on with it. Fall!

 

TEARS ON THE WINDSHIELD

It’s August, and parents all over the country are crying.

Some are crying tears of joy…finally summer is over and the kids are heading back to school.

Some are crying tears of fear…their “babies” are heading off to Kindergarten.

But the most all-encompassing tears are being shed by parents of young adults who are moving into dorms in preparation for their first year of college. — Their tears cascade over their cheeks in an unexpected gush of joy, pride, anxiety, anger, awe, and yes . . . fear.

Joy for their offspring, as they see their beaming smile while they unpack in the closet posing as their new home.

Pride for producing such an obvious genius compared to all the other losers wandering the halls, unable to find their assigned rooms.

Anxiety about all the sage advice they worry they may have forgotten to impart . . . oh, and about that unusual looking character covered in tattoos and piercings who was part of the welcoming committee for their child’s dorm.

Anger due to frustration with the roommate’s parents, who insist their child must take the lower bunk because of ‘back issues.’

Awe, as they take the campus tour given by their brilliant child, who remembers the name and location of each building after only visiting the campus once before . . . six months ago.

And finally —

Tears of Fear,  as they slump into the front seat of the family car, preparing for that emptied-soul, heartbroken, lonely trip home, and then wrench their necks as they try to get one more glimpse of their “baby,”  . . . which raises the fear they may have to visit the chiropractor at the college medical facility before they can hope to be able to drive back home . . . where they will be able to cry, sniffle, and wail noisily, without embarrassing their very own newly-minted college freshman!

 

 

Photo Credit: Sue Panzone Rosica, Belmont University, Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BABE IN THE WOODS

I have a confession to make . . .

I’m freaking out a bit.

You see, I’ve agreed to be one of several authors at a  local venue next week for a book signing! What the hell was I thinking?

I have personally witnessed book signings (by others) about four times in my entire life. Two of those times were for my indie author husband, where my participation involved ironing the table covers and making sure there were cookies for his “fans.” Not exactly activities I could include on my resume as “book signing experience.”

What I do know:

Bring 10,000 copies of my book, “Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the ‘Bloody Fifth’ in Philadelphia”                                                                  Wait a minute . . . did I say 10,000? . . .  I meant 10.

Bring a pen (that works). On second thought —better bring two.

Bring a table cover (freshly ironed, of course)

Bring the clever(?) bookmarks I spent hours designing and re-designing to give away to anyone who gets within three miles of my table. (I do know how to make paper airplanes!)

Bring business cards — to make it easy for reps from those big publishing houses and movie moguls to contact me day or night! (Think positive…think positive…think positive)

Bring a stiff upper lip —so I don’t dissolve into a puddle of disappointment if no one shows up — or worse, if people show up, but no one buys my book…or, God forbid, doesn’t even talk to me.

Oh damn! I almost forgot —bring cookies!

 

Seriously folks . . . if any of you, Dear Readers, have  helpful  advice to get me through this horror show called “A Book Signing,” I will be checking back every day for the next week to read your comments.

It’s so weird — I keep hearing Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” in my head. Sorry to leave you with that ear-worm!

 

TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Sometimes when writing, you are required to go back to some point in time in your own past to recall a scent, a touch, an emotion, or perhaps a scene, in order to convey an experience your readers can relate to.

When you do that, it can be difficult to relive a moment that evokes the gut-wrenching pain of an emotionally draining event. There are also the memories of embarrassment or shame that somehow have to become a series of words forming sentences on a page, which draw your readers into another world.

In reality, it’s a black and white sketchbook of word-pictures drawn from the author’s most intimate life experiences.

This grueling process could explain the far-away stare emanating from that dreamer, whose morning beverage is getting cold next to their laptop perched upon the corner table, in the coffee shop where you stop every day on your way to work.

Don’t try to disturb them. You can’t. They won’t hear you. They are not in this world. They are creating new ones for you to enjoy.

(Featured image:  Memory Extraction Spell – Harry Potter)

 

TWITTER? . . . I’VE GOT YOUR TWEETS RIGHT HERE!

AS A “BACK YARD BIRDER” TWITTER HAS A VERY DIFFERENT MEANING FOR ME!

FATHER’S DAY WAS YESTERDAY AND SUMMER ARRIVES TODAY!

TO MARK BOTH OF THESE IMPORTANT DATES ON THE CALENDAR—I DECIDED TO SHARE SOME SPECIAL “TWEETS!” Pour yourself a cool refreshing lemonade, iced tea, or something a little stronger, perhaps? And please do enjoy!

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“Don’t worry, Junior—it’s just a camera!”
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“C’mon, Dad—Ya can’t miss it!”

 

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“Told ya!”
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“Everybody outta da pool!”
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“Did somebody say, ‘Tweet?'”

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TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME!

Baseball season is upon us!

To celebrate this “National Pastime” I’ve decided to share an excerpt from my book—

“Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the ‘Bloody Fifth’ in Philadelphia.” http://tinyurl.com/j4qbpsz

(From Chapter Twenty – 1916)

Out in the crisp air of the sixteenth of April, after leaving the station early that afternoon, Dave forgot the morning’s row and felt a bit like his old self. He began to whistle “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” as he waited for Howard and Johnny on the corner outside of Baker Bowl, the ballpark on Huntingdon Avenue.

“How’re ya doin’ Davey,” Johnny greeted him with his usual enthusiasm. “Damn, look at this crowd. They’re even up on the roofs! Lucky for us you got them tickets. Where’s Howard? Not here yet?”

“No, but I hope he gets here soon. The owners are going to give presents to the players for winning the pennant last year, and I don’t want to miss it,” Dave said.

He spotted Howard trying his best to rush through the crowd.

“Here he comes, Johnny. Over here, Howard!”

Howard spotted Dave, and waved back with both arms.

“Shit…I forgot how bad that limp of his is,” Johnny said. “Come to think of it, I don’t remember the last time I saw him.”

Howard’s broad face shone with anticipation and perspiration when he met up with them.

“Hello, Johnny! How’re you doing, Dave?”

They joined the large throng entering the ball field.

As they took their seats, the announcer on the field started naming the players as they entered, each one to louder and louder cheers. Grover Cleveland Alexander, the Phillies’ star pitcher, appeared last. Dave and his two friends joined the other rooters as they stood to give the pitcher his well-deserved ovation.

Everyone sat down again, anticipating the start of the formal ceremony. The owners presented each of the Pennant-winning players of 1915 with a monogrammed gold watch. At the end, the crowd stood again and cheered.

To start the opening game of the season, Mayor Thomas B. Smith threw out the first ball, which got picked up by the catcher who tossed it to Alexander. The Phillies’ twenty-nine-year-old right-handed pitcher’s uniform hung like a potato sack on his slim six-foot-one-inch frame and his cap looked like it belonged to a child, but he didn’t take notice. He curled into his windup and let fly.

“Can’t they afford to get their players uniforms that fit?” asked Howard. “He looks like hell!”

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Grover Cleveland Alexander, Phillies star pitcher, 1916 “Old Low and Away”

“Who gives a shit how he looks as long as he beats the Giants?” Johnny replied.

About that time, a beer hawker came through the bleachers to where the friends were seated.

“Over here—three!” Dave called.

As he passed the beers to the other two, he said, “Beating these bums’ll be no problem—they were dead last, last season.”

In the first inning, however, the “bums” made a game of it thanks to a wild throw by the normally steady shortstop, Dave “Beauty” Bancroft, which allowed two Giants to score.

“Son of a bitch! What the hell are ya doin’?” Johnny yelled.

“Take it easy. Here, have some peanuts.”

“I’d like some more.” Howard reached into the sack Dave held, and grabbed a handful. He brushed peanut shell fibers from the front of his shirt. “Wish this damn wind would settle down. I think it’s throwing their game off.”

“It ain’t the wind—they just stink,” Johnny replied.

The Phillies answered with one run in the first, and two in the second. Johnny calmed down.

The Giants managed another run in the third inning. Johnny and Howard both cursed.

In the fifth inning, Dave worried Johnny would have a heart attack. Alexander tossed a rare hanging curve to Fred “Bonehead” Merkle, who smashed it 272 feet over the right field wall.

Johnny’s face turned purple. Howard held his head between his hands and moaned. Dave ordered three more beers and some more peanuts from the hawkers.

The sixth inning saw both teams score, bringing them to a tie at four each.

By the ninth inning, the tension became so great the three friends were not talking. They were leaning forward on their elbows with their beers gripped tight.

Then it happened. Ninth inning, Phillies up, with two outs. Stock, the third sacker, grabbed a free pass, stole second, and scored after a passed ball and a wild pitch. Final score: Phillies—5–4.

It all happened in a flash. Johnny and Howard and Dave stood in place in shock, along with about 21,000 other rooters. Then, as if on cue, they all began to cheer and laugh and hug and spill beer over each other.

“Damn, Davey…that was the best baseball game I ever seen!” Johnny said. “Thanks a lot for bringin’ me along.”

“Yeah, Dave. That was great!”

“Nothing like a ballgame with your buddies,” Dave said. “Let’s get the hell outta here. I’m starved.”