I used to eat buggers

Funny how somethings are universal. Some will not admit that they ate buggers and other bazaar things as a kid. Just let a parent ask that same kid to eat their vegetables and they go into immediate rebellion.

I gave my parents fits. For some reason, I would not just go along with any of their demands. My quest was to be my own person. Show them they did not know what they were talking about. I shake my head in this season of my life. My daughter of 10 going on 30 is a precocious, intelligent girl. How does a parent guide such a gift without breaking her spirit. I doubt seriously I could break her spirit she is too much like me. Yet I want her to be safe and still have independence. The internet is one place that scares the crap out of me.

Recently Vanessa started to hang out with a group of kids. Some are goth others are biker imposters. When they come into my home the one rule they vehemently dislike, ‘No closed door rule!’ I hear the language I use when driving. Don’t get me wrong, I truly understand their protest. The problem I have is when I am in the room they seem to be normal rebellious I hate adults, pubescent teenagers. In private when they don’t think I am listening the mantra seems truculent, volatile. I want to say something to Vanessa, yet I do not want her to be pushed into thinking they are right about me.

One Saturday Vanessa asked to go to a party at one of her friend’s

house. This friend I suspect is the leader of this pack of malcontents. Her name is Cheryl. Bruce, Luke, Brenda round out the outcast gaggle.

I asked Vanessa the usual questions: “Are there going to be any adults at the party. No alcohol or drugs.”

Her answer while rolling her eyes was “Yes Cheryl’s older brother Stan will be there and her uncle Clarence will be there. Uncle Clarence is visiting from Utah.”

I reluctantly said yes giving Vanessa a curfew of 11:30. That is a half an hour later than her normal curfew. I wanted her not to suspect that I and her dad will be there at 10 to check on things. She was so glad I trusted her she hugged me.

John and dropped Vanessa off at 6:30. We took this opportunity to have some adult time. First, we went to our favorite restaurant. Nowhere on the menu could you find anything fried. Entrees are braised, Broasted or grilled. We finished eating and was paying our bill when my cell phone rang. It was Vanessa. She said she left the party and was at the corner store waiting to be picked up. I asked her why. She said she was bored with all the complaining everyone was doing about what’s wrong with the world.

I told John what she had said he laughed “Well maybe this was just a phase she got bored with. I wonder what will come next.”

Vanessa was waiting outside the store, we pulled along side where she was standing. While she slid onto the seat I asked: “Is that the same outfit you were wearing when you left the house?”

Vanessa answered: “Yes mom why do you ask?”

I shrugged and said: “I Don’t know maybe I was thinking about the outfit you wore yesterday.”

As we turned onto our street we heard multiple sirens passing just behind us. John looked over at me and said: “Wonder what is so important that 2 police departments are responding?”

Shaking my head I said: “I can’t imagine we live in such a quiet part of town.”

Vanessa hadn’t eaten, I fixed her a sandwich and heated up the leftover soup. She seemed perky and chatty. We talked about her friends which she now described as “Those relationships have been laid to rest.”

As I was cleaning up the kitchen there was a knock at the door. I heard John say: “Yes sir come on in. How can I help?”

 

A male voice said: “Sir do you have a daughter named Vanessa?”

John answered: “Yes sir, she is upstairs.”

I walked into the living room to find John was talking to a man in a suit. He introduced himself as Detective Scarborough.

The Detective then asked: “Has Vanessa been home all night.”

John described in detail how our evening went. All the while the detective listened intently jotting down something in a small notebook.

The detective asked if he could speak with Vanessa. I asked why and added; “Do we need an attorney?”

The detective said: “I don’t believe so mam. There have been multiple homicides at the home where your daughter was seen entering and exiting this evening. We just need to know if she had seen anything out of the ordinary.”

John had gone upstairs to ask Vanessa to come down and speak to the police officer.

The detective asked Vanessa “When you arrived what was everyone doing.”

Vanessa described in detail where everyone was, what the plan was for the party, and why she left early.

John said: “Good God Vanessa I am so glad you decided to leave early.”

I stood there staring at my daughter saying a quiet prayer and “She is only 10.”

The detective asked a question that I had running through my head: “Vanessa have you ever fired a gun before.”

John spoke up: “What the hell are you asking my 10-year-old daughter? Are you suggesting she had anything to do with this horrible event?”

The detective said: “Sir it is routine we ask these sort of questions, no matter the age.”

There was a tap at the door, a police officer in uniform came in. He had a Ziploc bag with a bloody garment in it. He handed it to the detective.

The detective showed Vanessa the contents and asked her “Have you ever seen this sweater before?”

Vanessa shook her head yes and said “ My friend Cheryl borrowed it the other day. She was supposed to return it after she washed it.”

The detective shook his head. There was a knot in my stomach. That was the sweater Vanessa wore to the party. The detective said: “The only reason I am asking is there is GSR on it. Whoever was wearing it this evening fired a gun. The blood is still wet which means , the blood is fresh.”

John looked at me, as he shook his head in disbelief he said: “She is only 10.”

I guess we need an attorney.

Bookstore

In a blink of an eye

Racial profiling seems to be missed used. I wonder sometimes how those who are working to protect us, determine a risk. Profiling is used so often in hard to solve cases. Narrowing down who could have done it and why. Putting anything in order helps us get a perspective. Whether it’s a problem with children or on a higher level, national security. If we were straight with each other we would admit profiling has more pluses than minuses.

I tend to be dramatically kindhearted. At least that’s what my friends say. Friends will sit me down and solemnly try to get me to change. Explaining to me how I need to be more aloof. It’s maddening because I cannot get them to understand, I cannot change who I am. No more than an ossified politician change. I and they are hardened to the core of our demeanor’s.

I feel things intensely. Rarely do I give a cool shrug to those things which are unjust, in need of rescue. A person in need is as important as an animal in need. I do not differentiate between the two.

Until one day my life changed forever. While I was doing my weekly shopping I encountered a man sitting on a curb. He was filthy, smelly, thin and crying. I sat down next to him and handed him a water and a sandwich. He drank the water and scarfed down the sandwich.

I figured he was down on his luck. He turned to me and asked: “Got any more sandwiches?”

I said: “No but if you are still hungry I will take you across the street and buy you a meal.”

He laughed and said: “The way I look they won’t let me in there.”

I explained to him a friend of mine owns the place, we can go through the back door and sit at a table near the emergency exit. He nodded and followed me across the street. My friend saw us coming I could see she was already rolling her eyes.

Sitting at the table far away from regular customers the man ordered steak and eggs, coffee, and piece of apple pie. I ordered a tuna on rye. As we ate I tried to engage him in conversation. He was too busy shoveling the food into his mouth. I was curious as to why he would not tell me his name. Nor anything about himself. I figured he had a right to his privacy.

My girlfriend and her husband own the restaurant. Shelly came over to ask if there was anything else we needed. The man said: “Yes, money, empty your register.”

Neither of us could wrap our heads around what he said. It was so out of place it left us both speechless. Ron, Shelly’s husband overheard the remark. He backed into the kitchen, slowly emerged just as the man pulled a gun and placed it to Shelly’s head. Ron fired one shot. I sat at the table with brain matter on me and on my tuna on rye.

From now on, I will pass by someone sitting on the curb. I will only rescue dogs.

Bookstore

Fall

Fall
Mixed with color and darkness
blusters in rain.
Warmth deceives
As the sun shrinks back
Moon takes its place
illuminating the skies
Till the glistening of snow
shows the moon’s brilliance
Drawing inside under covers
Until that day which melts
The hearts of the weary
When Spring announces
It’s arrival

Short story Complicated Sisters

Complicated Sisters

Complicated sisters by Christine Swiderski

BOOKSTORE

Mornings are my favorite. Waking while it is still dark out. I know it will be light in 45 minutes. The birds beckon the sun, welcoming it before the human eye can see it. Coffee is brewing I start my rounds opening up the blinds to let the warmth of the sun, light the room. Showing the dust settling from life’s movements.

Geese cruise overhead trumpeting their existence. Wild flowers spread their gift upon the field across the street. Squirrels are skittering about the trees with their chatter. Wild Turkeys are bustling through foliage making their way to the cornfield for their morning meal. Too much of society misses out on the simpler things in life. Nature is a level playing field. Only the strong survive.

My sister is staying with me after a fight she had with her boyfriend. She goes through boyfriends as some people go through chewing gum. Once it looses its flavor she spits them out and moves on to the next. I told her once, one day you will try and spit out the wrong one. He will either be the keeper or the creeper.

In the kitchen, I hear the coffee maker sputter the last amount of water as it brewed the black caffeine beverage. My feet made a naked padding sound as I crossed the hardwood floor onto the tiled kitchen floor. After pouring my cup of coffee I looked out of the kitchen window and spotted my neighbor Norton taking his trash out. I wondered about the immense bag he was dragging to the curb. Norton lives alone, he seems to be a loner. He is friendly when I am out in the yard, or if we meet in town. There have been times I had asked for his assistance. He is tall, angular man. Very nice looking. I cannot fathom why a woman has not snatched him up yet. I decided to be nosy. I stepped off the porch onto the dewy wet grass as Norton was dragging out another large bag of garbage. I walked over with an extra cup of coffee in my hand.

Calling out I said: “Norton! I figured you could use a cup of coffee after all the grunt work.”

He turned to me and said: “Jeannie. Thank you. When are you going to call me Carl.”

I smiled and said:”Ha, I don’t know why I don’t. I guess it’s because I don’t know you well enough to do so. Silly really. We have lived next door to each other for a couple of years.”

Carl said: “Okay, fair enough. Why not let me fix you some breakfast.”

I was taken aback at the offer. I accepted. Following him into his house, the back door stepped directly inside the kitchen passing the laundry room and a small bathroom.

Carl motioned for me to sit at the counter. We chatted about the weather as he refilled my coffee. He turned to open the refrigerator, my cell phone rang. I excused myself as I answered it. He nodded.

My sister Melanie was calling wondering where I was. After I told her and hung up I looked up and Carl was looking directly at me. At that moment I realized what striking blue eyes he has. I smiled knowing full well my face was probably registering what my loins wanted.

Carl smiled and said: “I have always found you equable Jeanie. Each time we have come across each other, you are always in a serene mood. Even if it was storming outside. Your demeanor shown as though the sun was out.”

Surprised by this clear sweet compliment, I sat back in the chair and smiled. I thanked him and said: “I have, to be honest, Carl. You are an enigma wrapped in a riddle.”

His laugh was hearty. So delightful it made me laugh. As he tipped his head back to laugh I noticed the slope of his jaw and throat. Realizing if I do not focus on something else I will embarrass myself. Looking away to take in my surroundings I was pleasantly surprised by the clean tidy house. Turning back to Carl I said: “A bachelor who is neat and tidy. You get points for that.”

He turned to look at me over his shoulder while he was cooking the bacon and eggs. I know after breakfast I will stay for desert.

After breakfast, I helped with the clean up. Carl asked if I would like to do some garage sales with him. I told him I could not that I needed to help my sister get settled in her new apartment. He then asked me over for dinner. A simple barbecue. I accepted.

It was a grueling day moving boxes. I left my sisters by 5 pm. I told her I would come by tomorrow to help her unpack and get settled in. She laughed and said: “You better or I will come over to Carl’s house and drag you out of his bed.”

My sister is so forward it makes me laugh sometimes. Once I was home I showered, changed, filled a cooler with ice, beer, wine , Tequila. I could see car putzing around in his garage. I called out the window, “Carl I have some liquid refreshments. Are you interested?”

He called back, “Yes I sure am.”

I laughed and said: “I packed the cooler pretty full I need a hand with it.”

He pulled his charcoal grill out of the garage and jogged over. Instead of a helping hand, he lifted the entire cooler. I wondered what was in those bags that he dragged. I glanced over at the curb, there were flies but not a large amount. Tomorrow Waste Management will dispose of them. Shrugging off my common sense I followed this sexy guy over to his yard. Noticing some lawn chairs I ran over and grabbed 2. We settled in with our first brew. Clinked the beer cans together we chugged the first cold brew. Followed by a shot each of Tequila. Carl said he likes my choice of liquid refreshments.

By the time we finished our steaks and satiated our appetite for each other I passed out on Carl’s bed in a heap of mangled legs and sweat, knowing full well I was going to have a hangover in the morning.

I awoke to my sister throwing stones at the bedroom window calling out: “Olly Olly Oxen Free!” My eyes opened, my heart pounded and Carl was nowhere to be found. Leaning out the window I asked Melanie if she had seen Carl. She laughed and said:”What did you do to him?”

I dressed quickly all the while my head was throbbing. Due to the holiday, the garbage was still at the street. There was a patrol car there, a police officer was talking on his phone. By the time I came outside there were 4 patrol cars. A police officer was walking up to the house. The officer asked me: “Mam do you know anything about the contents of those bags?”

I said: “No sir.” I told him how I saw Carl dragging them to the curb. I also said I did not know where Carl was. I was embarrassed to explain the event of the last couple of days, admitting I did not know Carl all that well. The officer was not forthcoming in regards to the contents of the bags.

It took a month before they caught up with Carl. I had to get special permission to visit him. I needed to know why he killed those 3 women.

He said: “They treated me as though I was disposable. Jeanie I know you would not have treated me that way. I left because I realized I screwed up. I forgot they would not be picking up the garbage till the next day because of the holiday.”

A shiver went through me. I told my sister what he said. She now realizes how lucky she is that her remains were not found at the curb.

Current Ebb

[just a note before you start the story. If you have considered buying one of my books they are currently on sale -20% off. go to my website make your choice Bookstore use code VIP20]

Being young I wonder sometimes why my parents are so angry and negative. Their belief is that most of the younger generation, are mediocre. I wonder if that is typical for their age group? Yet I know when I do certain things I want to just slide through it. Such as a grade or a job. My parents in no uncertain terms believe that there is a prevalent move to mediocrity.

I understand every generation goes through their mantra of what should be happening. They want to leave a strong legacy for those who have come after them.

Am I shrugging off their brave reflections? Or am I understanding the need for society to evolve? Into what? Into something more predatorial with a pervasive wind that ushers in a new era.

Each generation has it’s own Characteristic. I would have loved to have grown up in the 60’s when women were burning their bras. On the surface, it seemed like a fun thing to do. Yet in the end? The women who did this wanted equal rights. Equality! Yet in recent year’s these same women who burnt their bra’s and marched on Washington followed by a gaggle of horny men for free love did not accomplish what they claimed to set out to do. They became the banal love toy of the free love era.

I want to be more relevant. It is difficult to be relevant due to the antagonistic atmosphere. I need to tread lightly when I speak my mind. I wonder how I can achieve something my parents can be proud of.

My first goal if you can count it as a goal is ‘not to get pregnant’ too many of my friends put their lives on hold because of what they call a mistake. Planned parenthood as far as I am concerned is to ‘plan your sex life accordingly’.

My current status is in a relationship. I am really good with that. I do not see me going to college. Many of my friends have degrees and are out of work. In fact, I plan on giving my best girlfriend a job in my salon now that it is open. I wonder can I truly make a difference doing hair? I believe I can. So many men and women speak to their stylists as though they are the bartender. It does not take long to know what goes on in their lives if you listen. I have had young girls mulling over their life choices, only to be set back by indecision. I want to think they take my advice.

I open on Monday’s even when other salons are closed. Yet my salon is doing well I enjoy the work and the people that I come in contact with. I have a new client she is married to a police officer. Sometimes when she comes in she is not as chatty and forthcoming. I get the impression there are problems at home.

I finally asked her: “Monica, what’s wrong sweetheart.”

Tears swelled in her eyes. I leaned close to her and she whispered: “My husband get’s in moods. When he hits, he makes sure no one can see the mark. He tells me to keep my mouth shut. No one would believe me.”

I said: “I believe you Monica. If you need help getting out I can help you.”

I could tell she was forcing back tears. She nodded her head.

I said: “Just enjoy getting your hair done. Today’s highlights are on the house. I will make a few calls. When you leave here you will be safe.”

She nodded again. By the end of the day her husbands commander was assessed of the problem. Monica was tucked away in another county. I felt assured she would be safe. I am glad there were no children. That seems to complicate things when it comes to domestic violence.

I closed up. Called my boyfriend John. Told him what had happened with Monica. He was glad to hear I could help. He was out of town working. John is an attorney. It is rare he has to travel and when he does it’s for only a day or two. John and I chatted for a while. I told him I was going to the store to pick up some groceries for the weekend. We made plans before he left to have an Italian cook off this weekend. It’s always fun when we do this. John is a great cook.

I pulled out of the parking lot turned towards home, the next thing I knew I hit something. My first thought was irrational “Did I hit a deer?” It was dark, I noticed people rushing over. I got out and could not believe my eyes. I passed out!

The next morning

On a scale of 1 to 10 I feel like zero. My legs are wobbly like a fawn trying to get up and moving after being born. I am moving at a snails pace, bundled in a robe. What happened last night was not my fault. None the less it’s a catastrophe pressing against my psyche. As I poured myself some juice I looked out my kitchen window. Several reporters were on my lawn speaking to cameras.

I am sure the headline will be spoken and read: ‘What a horrible thing to happen. Undercover police officer was run over while crossing the street. Megan Gleason stopped to assist. There was nothing anyone could do.”

Those who witnessed the accident said he was crawling across the street. I cannot make since of it. What grown adult would crawl across the street? I need to drown out the droning voices. I turned on my CD player a Beetles song came on ‘Yellow Submarine’ I never could figure out the lyrics. “We all live in a yellow submarine” If I did I would more likely see a whale out my window not reporters.

I know I should eat something. I need a lift to my well being. Nourishment would help yet I cannot seem to muster the energy or decide what to make. With glass in hand I browsed through my refrigerator. I decided curry eggs with sauteed onions would do the trick.

As I finished my eggs there was a knock at my backdoor. I hesitated until I heard a familiar voice call my name. My boyfriend John. I lunged for the door, it flew opened. John stepped in quickly and wrapped his arms around me. He said: “I came as soon as I heard.”

I said: “I am so very glad you are here.”

John urged me to go into the living room with him and sit down. A knot immediately wrapped itself around my intestines. As I sat with him on the sofa John said:” The man who was crawling across the street was an undercover police officer. He was nearly dead before you hit him. The coroner said he was shot and beaten. You did not kill him when you hit him.”

I looked at John and said: “Thank you for telling me, but I am not sure that helps. He is married to Monica my client. There is a part of me that is glad he is gone.”

John looked at me and said: “They say a pipe was used to beat him. They have not recovered the gun that was used. Do you think Monica had anything to do with it?”

This comment stopped me dead. I shook my head lamely.

John said: “Thus far his partner and commander said that he was off last night. They also added that it does not mean he did not take a call from a snitch he trusted only to be jumped.”

I shrugged my shoulders and asked: “Do you think they will find out what happened?”

John said: “Situations like this, many variables, there is a slim chance. Right now, no one has any idea what he was doing there and who he was meeting.”

Jean jacket

His jeans jacket
Gives me the blues
Wrapping it around me
Hoping to infuse
His scent to my soul
Loving him left a hole
His sunglasses
Mirror my hearts tears
Darkening the sun’s stare
Wishing him here
Back from the grave
Causes my heart to cave
This shall pass they say
I hope some day

Life’s country road

Upon this country road
Life kicks up gravel
Sometimes merely pebbles
During those moments
Dust settles yet
Not the problem
Sifting sand of indecision
Creates mountains
Out of mole hills
Tilling the problem
Only creates tripping stones
Not stepping stones
Kick up some dust
Turn the corner
Don’t look back

Working Girl

logo-by-christine-swiderski

Working in the city is tantamount to working in a jungle. Yes, I know you have heard that before. It is a zoo of animalistic personalities. Completely beyond dog eat dog. If a dog came to you ravenous with hunger you would know it.

The real world is a calm sweet smile being friendly and unassuming. All the while that smile masks a fungus breeding within their intentions to nail you to the wall.

A song came on my car radio. A new version of ‘The sound of Silence’ By Disturbed. This rendition resonates with me. The passion poignantly gives each word its precise power.

I wish I could say I have squirreled away enough money to make an exit from this cruel race. My fantasy would include the legendary song ‘Take this job and shove it’ . No, I am stuck in this grinding ever present devouring atmosphere. My hope is, this doesn’t change who I am. I know at this point I have become callous, more skeptical when people tell me they are being honest.

Today my boss told me since we know each other intimately he could grant me a wish occupationally. I laughed and said, “Don’t piss in the wind and tell me it’s raining.”

I am glad he laughed and did not take it personally. I was granted my wish. I needed a change in where I fend off the animals. The company has another office in Michigan. I said yes to this. He laughed and said, “Hope you enjoy the winters.”

I grew up in Florida, moved to Nebraska to get away from the heat. Ended up in Ohio gagging on the smog until the clean act started to compel some companies to be humane.

My rental is in Grosse Point. I have a short commute to Clinton township. Traffic is the same in any metropolitan area. You have to drive as though you are a bandit running from your last caper.

Along Gratiot, there are numerous comedic anomalies. You can find a pigeon being fed by an elderly couple, directly next to them is a man in a cape waiting for a bus. I clicked my tongue a few times when I see young girls dressed scantily, wearing lingerie type clothing as evening wear. Horns honked, their smiles were demure and surprised, giggling their way into their futures force, which will sweep them away into a vast cavern of abuse and neglect.

Today was special only in the sense I sailed through each traffic light. I could not wait to get back to my little-rental house, take off my shoes, strip down to my underwear and open a bottle of wine.

I never let anyone at work know where I live or what I do in my off time. That includes co-workers and clients.

I love jazzy violin music when I wind down. Continually being expected to perform at the top of my game every minute of the day wears me down to the nub of my psyche. I opened my windows letting the family sounds, Barbeque aromas filter in transporting me to a quieter more loving time in my life. The time before the witch and the wardrobe, whisked me away, once I stepped into the world of foster families and social services I lost my soul.

My first family the Foster Father was a coach of a little league team and a Scout Master. It did not take long to find out, not only did he like little boys he liked little girls. I was 12 years old when my elderly parents died. My mother was 50 when she had me. I had no siblings, many of the family members predeceased my parents. There was no other place to go.

Looking back I wonder if I had not spoken out. If I had not told on Mr. Mason and just endured my life. Would it have turned out better? Instead, I spoke out, he got a slap on the wrist I was imported to another world that was more nefarious than anything Mr. Mason could dish out.

This was a Buffet of many appetites. The menu ranged from Boy’s to girls to animals depending upon the clientele. That is how I became savvy in this ever changing world of sex. I decided by the age of 16 I will become the hostess with the most. I want to pick and choose my clientele. I want to make money, eventually stow it away and run to another corner of the universe.

I am almost there, being now a ripe old age of 19. My last boss giving me the genie in the bottle wish while I rubbed his lantern removed me from his prying eyes. He knew me too well. He knew where I would hide my assets. Now I can start fresh, become more integrated into this community and hopefully win my freedom.

Tomorrow is my day off. I only get one day off a week. I chose Friday because that is when many men tell their wives they are working late and troll around for something to snack on. Even in the high end of escort dating, this can be annoying and dangerous. These are the types that invariably get physical. Slap, roll play then they go back to the sweet missionary wifie. These wives would not put up with the harsh treatment. The men know their wives would take a pair of pliers to their favorite pass time and turn them into screaming little boys they really are. I like their remedy, yet I still need the monetary cushion to keep me in the lifestyle I have been accustomed to.

Oh, I relish my day off. Getting home today with its cool damp breeze brought a measure of community I long for. An hour into my lounging euphoria there was a knock at my door. I grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, padded over looking through the peep hole I seen a lady with a big gracious grin on her face. I opened the door not wanting to seem tentative and smiled back with a big, “Hi”

She invited me to the block party. The last party of the season. She explained it is the party the neighbors celebrated back to school. I laughed and said I would be right out. As I mingled many said I looked too young to be living on my own. I told them “I hear that all the time I am 28. My mom still gets carded.” In my heart, I wish that were true.

I met everyone in a whirlwind of introductions. It seemed to me the party started before it hit the streets. Soon it became apparent this was nothing more than an adult nursery without supervision. A rotting seaweed of polite neighborly barrel of wholesomeness that had rotted to the core. The cider wantonness had a bite to it. Play or you would be plagued. How is this atmosphere different from that of foster care?

I cannot wrap my head around what I thought I wanted and what stands before me. Is the world different out there? Or do I have to move to another planet?

Standing Timber

I was taught respect for nature. Or should I say, for the natural? Nature of things can be good or evil. Yet what God created is an organism within its self. Good and evil. For those He created in His image there is a choice. The Garden aspects of His creation is a natural process. That process I was taught to love fear and respect.
I drive a truck. It hauls logs which were cut down as standing timber. Companies buy parcels of standing timber (trees) that need to be thinned out for the health of the rest of the trees. The companies use what we’ve culled for, paper, furniture. Also, some are sold as firewood. Depending upon the health of the wood and the species.
The grandeur of some trees which have been around for decades is impressive. I am in awe of such stature. Yet I well know they need to be treated, culled, trimmed to keep them healthy. When the trees grow too close together they tend to choke each other and stunt the growth of the young. Too often I believe that happens with humans. You cannot pack humans like sardines. Society suffers.
I have been doing this job for decades. In the daily doings of my job, I have met the salt of the earth people who want to get back to the basics. Others who have moved from the big city wanting to get back to basics but do not have a clue what the basics are.
Unless you are used to the woods at night you will be unnerved my the sounds and movement in the woods. A skittering creature as innocuous as a possum. If enough of them were out and about you would think someone rose from the dead and was giving you ice stares.
I have seen the clueless even when told a million times “If there is rain and thunder do not take cover under a tree. They do not realize if you are standing near a tree the electricity literally jumps from the tree to you because humans are better conductors than trees.
I have yet married because I have yet met a woman with common sense. The woods are my life. I am not grizzly Adams, but I love to be out in nature. Most women I have dated think of the woods as part of a vacation, campfire, and marshmallows.
Park Ranger gals are too masculine for me. I do not mind soft and feminine just want them to be flexible. Willing to learn and willing to try.
I am on my way to help out local law enforcement. There is a missing hiker. I know these woods better than anyone.
When the deputy came to speak to the Sheriff he had in his hand a wrinkled wad. The sheriff glanced and immediately passed it to me. Time is of the essence. The stained county integrated state map any local chamber of commerce gives out is accurate to a minimal certainty.
The sheriff handed this off to me saying? “It seems she went into the area from county road 100.”
One glance gave me what I needed to know. I told the Sheriff it is not current with the cutbacks in the parks and recs sector. I immediately went to the spot with the Sheriff’s department near behind me.
I grabbed my gear from the back of the truck. My backpack in place I set out in one direction, the sheriff and deputies set out in the other direction. 20 minutes into my search I slowly came across debris. Torn papers, personal belongings, socks, clothing strewn as if discarded by a disgruntled teenager. I followed the trail of debris to an abandoned campsite. Coals were long cold, the tent was ripped to shreds.
It has been my experience not to just look in a circumference but also look up. In the dark, I could see something hanging from a nearby tree.
I pointed my flashlight, the beam showed legs hanging limp. My gut knotted hoping I did not come upon a suicide.
Taking my backpack off I set out 2 lanterns to give me a clearer view. It showed just enough of a female hanging by a rope tied around her waist. I quickly pulled my harness on, secured the grapple to an adjoining tree. I started my climb up the tree. Once I reached her I checked her pulse. She was still alive. My movements awakened her. In a nearly audible voice, she said: “Help me.” I first called the sheriff told him what I had found. I leaned into her and said, “Are you, Sharon Morgan?”
She said: “Yes.”
I kept talking to her “My name is Justin. I will stay with you until the Paramedics get here. I am afraid to move you. They will use a flat board and slowly place you upon it. Then they will gradually lower you to the ground.”
I gave her some water. She slowly drank. With a clearer voice, she said “Thanks, Tarzan.”
I laughed, she smiled. I said: “Well Jane what brings you here?”
She said: “I needed to get away from the city. Everyone was too busy to go with me. I decided to go it alone. Bears came to visit. I climbed the tree and let them have my stuff.”
I nodded and said: “I am glad you took the time to tie the rope to yourself.”
She said: “I must have fallen asleep. I awoke to the snap of the rope. I think I either broke a rib or cracked it.”
By this time the Sheriff had arrived on the scene with an entourage of professional help. The paramedics were swift and precise. They slowly placed her on the flat board lowered her down to the ground. Once on the ground I went over to her and asked: “Are you single.”
She smiled and said “Yes Tarzan.”
I said, “Okay, Jane do I have permission to come courting?”
She said “Give it your best shot Tarzan.”
I yelled my response as they took her away: “Game on!”
My day off was not until Friday which was 2 days from now. By then she may be in better shape.
When I arrived at the hospital the room was being packed up by a tall brunette. Not Sharon but there was a family resemblance.
I said: “Excuse me I am here to see Sharon can you tell me where to find her.”
The brunette looked up and cried: “In the morgue.”
She repeatedly apologized for being so abrupt. Finally, she calmed herself and said: “I am Trudy, Sharon’s sister. I was supposed to go with her camping. Work called at the last minute and I had to cancel.”
I stood mute. Trudy asked, “What’s your name and how did you know my sister?”
I said: “My name is Justin. I was the first to arrive and found your sister.”
Trudy smiled and said: “Your Tarzan. Trudy was diagnosed with intestinal, and stomach cancer. Her trip was her last wish. She loved camping. We both do. Her intestines and stomach were filled with tumors. The doctors speculate when she fell from the tree, the jolt of the rope and her body hitting the tree caused multiple tumors to burst. Coupled with the broken rib which punctured her left lung she was too weak to fight off the sepsis.”
I helped Trudy carry Sharon’s belongings. I stood in the parking lot and watched Trudy drive off. Numbed by this, I felt guilty when a thought crossed my mind. “I wonder if Trudy is single.”

rain and other things 

This guy visits a lot. I am not allowed to bother him. Momwithoutpaws says he’s her summer pet.

Momwithoutpaws writes for a monthly newspaper.  She always tries to get a copy for her scrap book.  Also she likes to get copies for anyone who contributed to the article. Well this month’s edition went fast. She missed out. So she contacted her editor asking what happened to all the papers?  The editor talked to the owner. Next thing, the editor gave momwithoutpaws the owners email address.  Momwithoutpaws hasn’t met the owner yet. Momwithoutpaws emailed the owner asking him if there were copies available. . He wants to meet her for coffee. He will bring her copies. 

Momwithoutpaws is wondering why the meeting. 

A picture of Riley is in this edition, he’s taking his dadwithoutpaws for a walk