Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

IWSG, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

This month's question is: Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?

I am often surprised that people seem to like my writing. Sometimes I thinks that's just false-modesty. Other times I'm truly baffled. But always, always, ALWAYS, I'm humbled and honored and grateful for the many kind words.

***
On the 19th of this month I'll be participating in a book blog hop to help Chrys Fey's mom, Elaine Kaye, promote Bad Fairy Strikes Again, her newest addition the the Bad Fairy series! 
Hope you will stop by.

***

With it being spring and all, and birds fledging right and left, 
I thought this would be an appropriate quote.
Riding on a Bird (SM sg929)
You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
Ray Bradbury


***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that after a 3 day stay in the hospital last month
 -- due to Crohn's Disease -- I'm doing well! No surgery required!!
I'm also thankful to Mother Nature for the much needed 6 inches of rain we got at the end of April

What are you thankful for? Have your readers ever surprised you? Have you read any of  Elaine Kaye's books?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IWSG, Wild Swans, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton! 

This month's question isAre you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

I've been working on and off on a book for almost 20 years that is radically different from anything I've ever thought about writing. I mean...writing an historical fantasy about Tibet on the eve of the Chinese invasion is pretty different from my usual tropical settings. I've done tons of research and I'm still very attached to the story, and those few who have read it think it's a good story. But will it ever get published? I don't know... I'm currently stalled out with edits and revising. 

***
I hope everyone had a blessed and happy Easter!
***


April already... Where did March go? 
Oh...got a new roof put on because of damage done to it during the hellacious hail storm of May 2020. 
Got my first COVID vaccine shot - Moderna. 
My sister turned 75, which is just weird... 
And, we lost two greats, Larry McMurtry and Beverly Cleary. But aren't we blessed to have the books they left behind?
Also in March I read Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China...

...the heart-wrenching and horrifying biography by Jung Chang about her, her mother and grandmother who lived through Japanese occupation, WWII, the Chinese civil war, Moa's rise to power and the Cultural Revolution. BLOWN AWAY. I learned a whole lot about what was going on there. I think this is a book high school juniors and/or seniors should read as part of their history classes. I think it's a book everyone should read because how in hot f**k does a leader brainwash and indoctrinate a country of (at the time) nine hundred million people and get them to do the horrific things they did to each other? Because, you see, it wasn't a military force that terrorized the people. It was the people who terrorized the people. It was children who terrorized adults.

"An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history."
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that I didn't grow up in China in the 1960s. Yes, the 60s were tumultuous and unsettling here in US (three assassinations, riots all over the place...) but I'll take that any day over what was happening in China. 
Today I'm also thankful for the rain we had in March. 
Not a lot, not enough, but at least some.
It's dry here, folks.

What are you thankful for? Every take a risk with your writing? Have you read Wild Swans? Do you have favorite McMurtry of Cleary book?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG - Snowvid 2021 - Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

This month's question is: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

I read just about anything, except horror. I don't read much in the way of mysteries, but I do like me an occasional Tony Hillerman or Carl Hiaasen. In fiction I like a good historical romance, some science fiction and fantasy, the classics, literary and humorous novels, the occasional western and, of course, children's lit in all shapes and sizes. In non-fic I enjoy biography, autobiography, true crime, and history, philosophy, and books on religion/spirituality. I also like short story anthologies when I find a good one. In choosing what to read, it's sometimes because I know/like the author. Otherwise, I read the blurb, I check out the first page or two (or first chapter or two), or I ask people who have read the book what they thought. I've always been eclectic in my reading because a good book takes me to different places around the world and universe that I would otherwise never be able to visit personally.
***
Snowvid 2021 
or
The Great Texas Snowmageddon

By now, I'm sure most of you are aware that Texas took it on the chin during the days of February 11 through February 19. I won't get into the politics of why things got so bad for so many. Suffice it to say incompetence, mismanagement, money and greed had a lot to do with the power problems which led to deaths and to an incredible amount of water damage due to burst pipes. Many roads, like the one we live on, have been turned into wash boards.

Hubby and I were extremely blessed (it's almost embarrassing to say) in that we had power and water throughout. Plus we have a gas stove and were fairly well prepared with water and food set aside. (His experiences of winters in Ohio and my experiences of growing up in the Virgin Islands proved beneficial.) I personally know SO MANY people who lost power and water, anywhere from a few hours, to dealing with rolling black outs, to having no power for a few days, to having no power the entire 8 days. Areas just 35 miles northwest of where I live had ice an inch thick with 8 inches of snow. They won't be getting power back until sometime in March because of all the power poles that snapped under the weight of the ice. 

In the aftermath many homes and apartment buildings in my town have water damage and repairs are going to take time. It's a mess...

Let me say for the record, I've been through cold weather here. In December of 1989 we got down to 4 degrees (we got down to 6 with a wind chill of -8). In January of 1985 there was a blizzard that dumped 13 inches of snow. One time we had three ice storms before Thanksgiving. In between those times we've had other snow falls of 2 to 4 inches. We've had other ice storms. And hail storms. What makes this event so different is the duration. All of the others have lasted only 2 to 3 days. Usually it snows and the next day it melts away, even that 13 inches. But this was 8 solid days where the temperature never got above freezing. 

People here mostly have all electric homes. If they have a fireplace it's decorative - for ambiance don't you know. Our homes aren't built or insulated the way they are up north, to hold in heat. They're built to keep them cool in the summer, to wick heat away...

These pictures don't really do it justice, and I know many of you deal with ice and snow all winter long, but this is Texas and it was weird. The spookiest part was how quiet it got with no one out driving around and all we could hear was the trees crackling as the wind blew through their ice coated branches. 


Bird feeder with the first beginnings of a coating of ice.
Yard after the first snow

Sage in second coating of ice.
Two foot long icicle.


Chimenea with 4 inches of snow.
Never, in the 35 years of passing by this low-water crossing almost every day, have I ever even seen ice along it's edges. 
Let alone the whole pond frozen over. 
Granted, it's a shallow pond, but still, it covers a pretty large area and it was ice from bank to bank.
The heart of Texas, battered, but a survivor, like this prickly pear.

Being Thankful

I am extremely thankful and blessed that we came through this unscathed.
I am also extremely thankful for warm days and sunshine.

What are you thankful for? Are you an eclectic reader or do you stick to one or two genres? Or do you read the kinds of stories your write?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

IWSG, Black History Month, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Louise - Fundy Blue, Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!

This month's question is: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Okay, I am totally indebted to many, many people, all of whom I have met through blogging and I would like to think that I've made a few friends. I have been blogging long enough that some of those friends have died or I've seen how lives changed when a family member died.

All that said, I've been terribly flakey for the past year. I don't think I've been the friend to many who have been such wonderful friends to me. I have become a lazy, procrastinating, do-nothing who doesn't even get around to leaving comments on the blogs of those who leave comments here! 

I've really been quite bad about it, and I apologize. I keep telling myself I'll do better next time, but I just can't seem to shake myself out of this rut of my own creation.

Do not feel sorry me. I have only myself to blame.
***
In honor of Black History Month, here are a few Virgin Islanders who have been on the world stage.

First and foremost is:
Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, member of President Biden's COVID task force
Not only was she born and raised on St. Thomas, she graduated from my tiny high school, All Saints Cathedral School. We - all Virgin Islanders and those from my alma mater - couldn't be prouder.



Terence Todman, (1926-2014)  U. S. Ambassador, had quite a distinguished career. Born in St. Thomas, he served in the military in Japan between 1945-49. His ambassadorships were diverse.
Terence Todman and Ronald Reagan
Chad: 1969-72
Guinea: 1972-75
Costa Rica: 1975-77
Spain: 1978-83
Denmark: 1983-89
Argentina: 1989-93

Barbara Christian was born on St. Thomas in 1942 and died in 2000. She was a professor of African-American studies at the University of California at Berkeley and the first African-American to be granted tenure at the university.  She was a pioneer in contemporary American literary feminism.


John Lucien was born on Tortola in the BVI in 1942 but was raised on St. Thomas. He not only had a beautiful voice but was a most excellent jazz bass player. This is someone I knew personally. Unfortunately he left us too soon in 2007.



Alton Adam
s was born on St. Thomas in 1889, before the islands were bought by the U. S. from Denmark. In 1917 he became the first black bandmaster in the United States Navy. He was also a composer and his music was performed by the likes of the John Philips Sousa's band.
AltonAdamsPortrait1922

There are so many others... 
Lt. Ronaqua Russell, the first black woman aviator in the Coast Guard to receive the Air Medal for her bravery in rescuing people during Hurricane Harvey.
Tim Duncan of baskeball fame.
Emile Griffith, boxing champion who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame

Being Thankful
I'm thankful to all my blogging friends who have stuck with me even though I've been extremely flaky and unreliable.

What are you thankful for? Ever heard of any of these Virgin Islanders? Got any suggestions for getting out of this do-nothing slump?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

IWSG, Books-Books and MORE Books, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

This month's question is: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

What prevents me from finishing a book is bad writing, poor editing, over-used tropes/archetypes, and maybe predictability and pretentiousness. If the simplest or most complicated story is well written and can take me away (like a Calgon bath) then I'm all in. 

HAPPY 2021!
and
Happy Three Kings Day!
(AKA The Twelfth Day of Christmas)
7222 Adoración de los Reyes Magos
The Adoration of the Magi by El Greco

May we be the instruments of peace.
It is the 17th day of the Age of Aquarius. 
It never occurred to me when I saw Hair in San Francisco in 1970 and the cast sang, "It is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" that I was actually going to be around to witness it.
What a long strange trip it's been.
***
I didn't post last month because I got locked out of my Google account and couldn't sign-in to my blog. FOUR times I tried and kept getting redirected to the Account Recovery page. Four times I had to wait five days to get recovery verifications. Four times I was redirected to the same page and had to start all over again. It was like being on a mobius strip trip, an endless loop that never went to a new place where I could change my password. But FINALLY, on December 30th, on the fifth try, I ran across one suggestion I hadn't seen before which said to try signing in on a different device. Well, I only recently got my first smart phone. I took a deep breath and by God it worked!

I got pretty stagnate this past year. Didn't do a lick of writing except for my blog. Did a little yard work, but it's been so very dry here (barely 4 inches of rain since June) that there hasn't been much of point. We had a horrible hail storm in May that took out two trees one of which landed on our roof. It's the worst storm I've seen in my 40 years of living here and we're still waiting for repairs to happen. I could go on, but I won't, because I'm absolutely sure of two thing, EVERYone has tales of woe and going on about it won't do a thing to help or change it, but instead will more than likely only make it worse. SO, instead, here's a list of books I read during the confusing, anxious, trying times that were 2020. 


A Singular Hostage - Thalassa Ali
News of the Spirit - Lee Smith
The Last Kind Words Saloon - Larry McMurtry
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Companions of Paradise - Thalassa Ali
American Dirt - Jeanie Cumming
The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom
Dance Hall of the Dead - Tony Hillerman
Borderlands - James Carlos Blake
Finding Emilie - Laurel Corona
Vintage St. John - Valerie Sims 
Dragon Song - Anne McCaffrey
Dragon Singer - Anne McCaffrey
Bitter Trail - Elmer Kelton
Sacred Clowns - Tony Hillerman
Voyagers: The Third Ghost - IWSG
The Book of the Dun Cow - Walter Wangerin (a reread)
Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk
The Book of Merlin - T. H. White (a reread)
The Moon Stone - Wilke Collins
Start Where You Are - Pema Chodron
All the Way to Memphis - Suzanne Hudson
The Eye of Zeitoon - Talbot Mundy
The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson - Nellie Van de Grift Sanchez (Wow!)
Crome Yellow - Aldous Huxley
Olaf the Glorious - Robert Heighton
The Way to Timbuktu - Pat Ryan
The First Eagle - Tony Hillerman
Luck Star and the Pirates of the Asteroids - Isaac Asimov
Kenny and the Dragon - Tony DiTerlizzi
A Thousand Questions - Saadia Feruqui
The Girl Who Sailed the Stars - Matilda Woods
Squirm - Carl Hiaasen
Wishtree - Katherine Applegate
Forever Free - Joe Halderman
City of Islands - Kali Wallace
A Step Away from Paradise - Thomas Shor
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste
Driving Blind - Ray Bradbury


Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful that 2020 is now hindsight. 
I know 2021 won't be easy, but at least I'm hopeful.

What are you thankful for? Did you do much reading in 2020? Did you start a book and not finish it? What are your hopes for 2021?

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

IWSG, Being Thankful.

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts: Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month's question is: Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write.

I have no idea why I write what I write. I know that I started out writing high fantasy, which went nowhere, because I wanted it to be like Tolkien. Then I tried to write like John Steinbeck, which also went nowhere. Then I kind of wanted to be deep and meaningful in the way that Kahlil Gibran is. That, obviously, didn't work either. Finally I took the writing courses through The Institute of Children's Literature and, at least, found my own voice. 

I guess I write what I write because you can take the girl out of the island but you can't take the island out of the girl. It goes back to writing what you know. And what I know is what it was like to be raised on an island in the Caribbean. 

But wait! That doesn't explain this other crazy novel of mine that takes place in Tibet in the 1950s. Go figure.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for not having much to say.
I am reminded of the KISS principal:
Keep It Simple Stupid.

What are you thankful for? To you know why you write what you write? Are you surviving these turbulent times? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG, The Real America, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner! 

This month's question is: When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

I'm not a serious working writer. I'm lazy, a procrastinator, and not very consistent. So, I guess that puts me in the hobby camp. Does that bother me, or make me feel inferior, or make me doubt my writing ability? No.

Okay, that's out of the way, on to other things. 

At the beginning of the year I was excited at the prospect of going home this month to the Virgin Islands to visit my sister, attend my 50th class reunion, and generally hang out of family and friends. I was going to be gone a month. Of course all of that has changed 
 
So, today, I'm going to repost something from three years ago, the last time I got to go home. It's long, so skip it, if you want. It's also kind of a prophetic.

The Real America

I don't use this blog to be political. But in the wake of Charlottesville, I have a story to tell. And this is without a doubt, the longest post I've ever written

Prolog
I grew up in a white minority in the Virgin Islands. In 1955, my sister and I were the first (and only) white kids at the public school on St. John. I was one of six white kids in my high school graduating class. While I was in the islands last month eight of us were able to get together for dinner.
We are a beautiful rainbow.

The older I get the more grateful I am that I was raised in the Virgin Islands and that my family has been in the area over 100 years. My sister still lives on St. Thomas and I have cousins who live on St. JohnSt. Thomas, and Puerto Rico. We are a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural family.

Act I 
Scene I
On August 15th I got to the airport in St. Thomas and learned the plane coming from Atlanta had been delayed, which meant it would arrive late to St. Thomas, which meant it would be late returning to Atlanta, which meant I would miss my connecting flight to San Antonio. The lady who to took care of me at check-in assured me I'd get a flight out of Atlanta the morning of the 16th and that the airline would put me up for the night.

Scene II
There was a most gorgeous sunset as we flew across the ocean and traveled up the Florida coast. The massive clouds were painted golden-yellow with streaks of orange and red while rays of sunlight shot upwards from behind the clouds, a giant fan of light.

Scene III
Coming into Atlanta, off to the southwest, a huge thunder storm was in progress. The clouds were lit up by massive flashes of lighting. It was better than fireworks at Disneyland.

Act II
Scene I
Once on the ground in Atlanta I asked a lady at the gate what I had to do next and was politely told where I had to go and to whom I had to speak. I followed her directions and secured my next day's boarding pass and a voucher for a hotel room and was told how to find the shuttle that would take me to the hotel. "Don't be afraid to ask anyone for help," the lady told me. On the way there, just to make sure, I did ask help from a young woman who walked me to where I needed to go.

Scene II
The shuttle driver took my bag and I, along with others, were loaded into a small bus and taken to the hotel. A handsome young man with a beautiful smile whizzed back and forth behind the counter in a wheel chair, checked us in and give us our room keys. I asked when I needed to get myself to the airport to catch my morning flight. He suggested 6 AM "To be on the safe side. The shuttle leaves every 15 minutes so if you're downstairs by 5:30/quarter to 6 you'll be fine." I was given a large comfortable room and though I had only 5 hours of sleep, it was a good sleep.

Scene III
I left a tip on the bed for the maid and went to drop off the key. The same young man who’d checked me in whizzed out from a side room to greet me with his beautiful smile. “You’re still here?” I asked. He laughed. “I think live here sometimes!” By 5:30 I was waiting for the shuttle to take me to the airport. A few others were waiting as well. A cheery older gentleman soon showed up, greeted us all and loaded our bags. Inside the shuttle soft, smooth jazz was playing.

Act III
Scene I
I had a precheck boarding pass so I got to avoid the long lines through security. Even so, my carry-on was pulled aside after being x-rayed. An older man was training a young man. They had spotted my baggy of sand. Even though they knew it was sand, the older man question the young man on what the procedure was when encountering something like that. The young man politely asked me to refrain from putting my hands anywhere near my bag. He removed the baggy, opened it, tested it and, finding it to be benign, returned it to where he gotten it. He apologized for the inconvenience. I told him I was happy to help with his training. I was then told how to get to my gate.

Scene II
It was, by this time, barely 6 AM. Walking to my gate I stopped at a restaurant, thinking to have breakfast and was told they wouldn't be open until 6:30. I continued on to my gate and outside through the large plate glass windows a brilliant, golden sunrise blazed in the sky. I felt calm and peaceful about everything. Life was good, my journey uneventful despite the delay, and people had been friendly and helpful.

Scene III
There was no one else at the gate when I sat down to wait for the restaurant to open. I didn't think about where I sat, I simply picked a seat. And there, hanging from the ceiling in front of me was a TV screen. Blaring from the screen were horrible images of hate with people screaming horrible words of hate and bigotry. I'd seen some images on facebook, but I hadn't seen any "news" as I'd pretty much been without TV for a month. Something inside me broke. In a flash, tears welled up in my eyes and I began to sob. I couldn't control it. I happen to have a napkin and pressed it to my eyes trying to staunch the flow. But they wouldn't stop coming. How could there be such people? How could they believe as they believed? How could they say such things? Where was the compassion for our fellow humans? How could this be happening in America? My heart was breaking and my soul being torn. In Bob Dylan's words, "Insanity is smashin' up against my soul."

Act IV
Scene I
So there I was, quietly sobbing into a napkin, trying not to cry out loud and make a scene when, from across the other side of the terminal, a woman approached. She stopped about 10 or 15 feel away from me and asked, "Ma'am, are you okay?" I looked up at her and without hesitation said, "No." Pointing at the TV I said through tears, "I don't understand it. It's breaking my heart, my soul is aching. I can't believe this is happening." And so the conversation began. We talked for a good half-hour, about life and how "those people" on the TV were a small minority making a lot a noise. That most of us, and she indicated me, the people working at the airport and the travelers, were just trying to live their lives in peace. She told me she not only worked full time for the airline, but was a nurse and owned a business, that her own family was multi-racial and that "those people" weren't worthy of the ground they walked on. 
Scene II
Did I mention she was a black lady? I told her I'd grown up in the Virgin Islands, in a white minority. That it was a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment that, for the most part, was and is, extraordinarily tolerant and accepting of diversity and that I couldn't wrap my head around the news. She told me a story of how, on the day Trump was elected, a white man felt emboldened to be rude and called her a black fat-assed bitch. This, to an attractive slender woman in her late 30s, early 40s, with long braids pulled together that hung down to her waist. In response to him she looked around and asked the man who he was speaking to? And he said he was talking to her. She then asked what gave him the right to speak to her in that manner. And he said, "Now that Trump's been elected, it's called free speech." After he left she was so shaken she had to move to another department for a few days to calm down. I asked her how she handled it, how she dealt with the hatred. She told me every morning she gets up and thinks rainbows and puts rainbows around people. We talked about so much. Like how she thought we'd already been through this and it was like going backwards in time. How I'd lived through the 60s and the Civil Rights Movement and the riots and it was like going back in time. But finally the moment came when she had to get back to work. I thanked her for talking with me. “I would do the same for anyone I saw in distress.” We hugged, and held each other for several long seconds. I wished her a most blessed day and year and watched her walk away, my life forever changed. As I told my sister, I will not be tolerant of intolerance. (An oxymoron for sure.) I know in my heart, if I see or hear intolerance within my sphere of existence that I will not be able to keep my mouth shut that I will have to speak up and defend what is right. Nazi salutes and intolerance towards human beings different from ourselves is WRONG, PERIOD.

Epilogue
Did I tell you that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I dealt with, from the lady in the St. Thomas airport to the lovely man at the hotel to the flight attendant who greeted me as I boarded the plane to San Antonio, was black? And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, was kind, courteous, helpful, and friendly.


That is the Real America.


Pictures of diversity from other class reunions. 
The smiles on our faces are genuine. We always have a blast when we get together, picking up where we left off, as if we'd been separated only a few days rather than years.



Not long after this post, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Three years later (just last month) my sister FINALLY got a FEMA tarp for her damaged roof. She is still without electricity and continues to wait patiently for the day when materials and contractors will be available so she can get her home repaired.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for diversity.
And for rainbows. 
Let's put rainbows around each other, even those with whom we have a problem.

What are you thankful for?