Birth Announcement

OK, for those of us that have some aberrant fear of publishing, Yahoooooooooo!  I climbed over the wall, and will soon have a victory chalice in my greedy little hand.

Our book entitled “Dark Journey Through Time” is a collaboration with a wild and wooly mystery author in the bush of Australia:  Bruce Cooke.  He is the king of what ifs?   We managed to write this mystery novel together and then far apart:   two continents apart to be exact.  We wrote and skyped and exhausted MS word docs.  Usually when Bruce was writing, I was fast asleep and vice versa.  17 hour differences are not for the undaunted.  But tell you what?  it was a grand experience.

I’ll let you know when the “book” is truly birthed and on line.  The publisher is Caliburn press.   Its a cracking good mystery of parallel lives, shootem ups, a crooked man running for president, Nazis, and unspeakably courageous heroines.  It is also a story of redemption and reconciliation of a family torn apart in dark times.

 

 

 

Free at Last

On a day much like today, with sun shining on a playing field of thousands, an enlightened black minister rose to the podium.

Did he have an elegant speech writer? Maybe, or most likely he wrote it in the back seat as he was being driven to the mall that day .

It became immortal and so did he.

On this day,  Let freedom ring.  On this day, may we remember the quote:

“Thank God Almighty Free At Last”.   

It is so easy to move on swiftly to one’s work day, one’s Starbuck ritual and forget the past but this memory I hold sacred.   So many forward thinking liberals accepted their assignments knowing that their lives were in peril.

“It’s part of the biz”, one might say.  Again, one might query: “But WHY?”   They ignored the potentials of their walk, and just proceeded forward.

Decades have passed since that day of history and yet annually I bow my head to remember.

“Freedom” this elusive term, was won at a price.  Many lives were lost in  pursuit of this elusive “Freedom”.  I, for one, will never take for granted what it took AND takes to keep that freedom ringing.

We far too easily move on to new and exciting avenues.

Bellowing politicians shout of new presidents.

As our first black president turns toward his own new destiny, may we pause, yes, one and all, including the bellowing white folks on podiums and remember:  Thank God Almighty Free At Last.

To Martin Luther King, I say thank you for the courage and guts it took to follow through with a mission.

You lost your life in the process but gained eternity and created a legacy. I won’t let my grandchildren forget the gift you gave.  You didn’t turn away and say, “That’s to hard.  It will never happen.  I won’t be popular with a lot  of folks.   You just kept walking, and those who walked beside you held the Vision with you, and indeed they do NOW.

It is in this moment that I bow my head in silence for their courage and for our loss, but the gain of an entire world.  They showed up.

Thank God Almighty…..free at last.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Things Not to do Shopping for the Holidays and a Reminder His Revenge is on Sale

Hideously accurate, my friend. I used to buy a truck load of Amaryllis bulbs and confuse the shop addicted. They had to add water and stare at a slow growing plant for 6 to 10 weeks. priceless

Fiction Favorites

The reminder first.

His Revenge front final

As a reminder beginning at 12:00 am PST (6:00 am GMT) on November 30th (Today) until 12:00 pm PST (6:00 pm GMT) on December 1stHis Revenge will be on sale for $0.99 in the US and £0.99 in the UK. This event is a thirty-six-hour sale for the US and UK markets and is in support of CYBER Monday. If you want to read His Revenge, for a limited time it is available for less than what you would pay for a hot dog at the gas station. (And better for you)

Funny-cartoon-Christmas-shopping

Ten Things Not to do While Shopping for the Holidays

The inspiration for this list is some years of watching the same kinds of mistakes made during this festive time.

10 While shopping for the holidays do not think other shoppers are out to get you. If you do, at best you…

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It Came upon a Midnight Clear

I travel the world and remember Christmas Eves where I   was all alone, family in the US, and still the opportunity of  loving kindness reigned.

Austria, Salzburg, Snow Storm, Dec. 24 1995

I got off a whacky tourist bus that had taken us to  somewhere on the ice where only the Austrians could sing  Silent Night holy Night. As I got off the bus, completely  alone, and lost, it was 8PM and the streets were dark. I  stopped an older woman and asked directions.  She gave  them to me and then started to cry.

I asked if I could help.  She told me that her family had not  invited her for Christmas.  I smiled, now tearing up myself.  I said, I left my family to be here and I am all alone as well.  We hugged and held that hug in the snow for a long time.  EVERY Christmas eve, I return to that snowstorm in Austria and she is there with me.

 

Nicaragua: Dec. 24, post Hurricane Mitch, 1997?

I was in country to document the aftermath of the Hurricane as well as bring toys and medicines that were NOT being  delivered officially.  My friend, Maria, had taken me to  where the refugees were staying.  In that moment, I  recognized the parents of kids, and they were the ones I had known in 1965 when I had actually worked in their village  below the volcano, Postulate..

They were humble and asked me to bring toys. I went back  and got all the toys that weren’t already given away.  When Maria and I returned to the compound, we noticed a young  woman sitting in dumb shock in a chair.  I asked what had  happened and Maria said, she was in the mud slide at  Poseltega and lost all 5 children, her parents and her brother. In that moment, I was left without words. I asked  Maria: Please translate for me; I do not want to say this  incorrectly. So I took the woman’s hands and said: There is no way I can possibly go to the depths of your grief, but I can promise you that I will pray for you and your family every  time I think of you.  She suddenly burst into sobs from  dumb grief.  Maria came around and we sandwiched this  gentle woman in our arms. A pilot friend had given me a  tickle me Elmo toy as I left. I handed her the toy and in 30  minutes, I came back to check on her. She was surrounded  by kids and smiling as she pushed the button on the paw of Elmo.

I often wonder how she is, and sense she has gone on with her life and hopefully has a new family. Practical as I am, I  would have brought her batteries for Elmo. In Spanish:  La Vida Continua. Not one Christmas eve since, have I not  taken her quietly in my arms.

 

Nicaragua:  Dec 24, post Hurricane Mitch, 1997?

I had gone to Nicaragua to do Operation Toy Box. I was  unceremoniously dumped off at a house in the hills.  As I  opened the door of the tiny house, no one was there at the moment, but the room was filled with glowing lights and  Silent Night Holy Night was playing in Spanish from some  speakers.

When the family returned, we sat to eat dinner. NO ONE  spoke English.  The host said:  in Spanish, Geri, please say  the grace.  I stumbled to try to conjugate my verbs correctly, and then when I finished he said, in Spanish:  Close your  eyes. I did. We bless your family. Now, open your eyes. This is YOUR family before you now.

 

Tanzania Dec 24 2010

I had done some documentary work in Uganda and flew to  Tanzania to be with a friend of the UN.

She is not known for her high practical skills so I was placed in charge of going to the market with her maid to buy things for dinner.  At 5PM, high officials of the UN Tribunal for  Rwanda were due to arrive.  The tree was not trimmed.   Presents weren’t wrapped and dogs were not put away.

Apparently the dogs had nipped the husband of the  Pakistani head of that org, and so we had to put them (the pups) in lock up. I jammed them quickly into the back  bedroom, barking merrily, as the car arrived with the  diplomats.

As we all decorated the tree together, I could not help but  wonder if that was a true path to world peace.  My friend  may not be highly practical but she is the Queen of mixing  cultures happily.

Tanzania Dec. 24 2010

A friend in Arusha got a call at midnight.  His and our close  friend John, the Leopard Man, had been found dead in his  room.   Lupo quickly dressed and drove to Leopard man’s  home.  He washed his dear friend and then carried him to  the land rover.  By 2AM, he was at the hospital parking lot.

He told me that with all the shenanigans on this particular  evening, a dead person was not exactly priority.

Lupo paused to light a cigarette and a car pulled up quickly  next to him.  A woman in full blown child birth was in the  back seat.  Again, not exactly a priority at this time.  He  helped deliver the baby and thought:  Heck, I just lost my  best friend in the world, and he’s here in the back of the  land rover. And then he smiled:  Leopard Man would love  the irony:  going out and making room for a new soul, this baby we had just delivered.

Wherever you are, Be blessed this Christmas, my friend.  Be blessed.

 

Rear View Mirror

Now, firmly entrenched in my “semi” retirement years,

the moldy oldy strains of “What’s it all about Alfy? play

on a poorly tuned concertina. Could I have done more?

Did I do enough? Should I have taken a different path?

As I sit on a cold winter morning under a fluffy electric

throw on my sacred chez lounge and tightly shut my eyes,

I hear: Enough! Good Enough! No one died. All are fed

and the sun will still rise.

One daughter wanted me to be Indira Gandhi. The other

expected Betty Crocker. While trying to satisfy both

orders, I had to settle for divorced mom, no soccer, three

jobs, night school and still be the Betty Indira hybrid.

In the end, the score was 0-0. I gave up both images

and took the middle road: a mix of Irma Bombeck

and Mother Teresa.

It’s laughable looking back and gauging all the muddling

and striving to be a better parent, balancing a career,

and somewhat languishing sex life and suddenly, they

were out of the nest and I was 50 with an octagenarian

mom on board. Caregiving became 24/7 as I saddled

up to do High Noon with greedy relatives racing

toward an imagined legacy.