Friday, April 3, 2020

Today’s fear, quarantine, and  rationing made me think of this fictional story I wrote in 2014.

Just Junk to Some
It was December7, 1941. I can remember sitting on the floor in front of Dad’s Crosley radio with its dark oak cathedral case listening to The Lone Ranger. The program was interrupted by John Daly’s voice announcing, “The Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbor. With no warning at all, we have been invaded. Japan has viciously attacked the United States, killing American citizens on American soil.”
We eventually learned that the unprovoked air attack on Honolulu sank or damaged five battleships, three destroyers, two cruisers, a minelayer, and a target ship. The attack destroyed ninety-two naval planes, seventy-seven army planes, and one hundred fifty-nine other planes were damaged. Two thousand, four hundred and two men were killed and one thousand, two hundred and eighty-two men were injured. America was saddened at the loss of life, but it quickly turned to anger. It was an insult that we couldn’t ignore. Our fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts, and cousins rushed to the recruitment offices to enlist.
We were much too young to join the ranks, but we scoured the neighborhoods with wagons, carts, and even sleds to collect every bit of scrap that we could find, beg, and carry by ourselves. It became our duty to collect everything that we could locate to make our soldiers and sailors safe. We had no money to buy bonds, but our daily excursions kept us busy supplying the recycling center with tires, tin cans, pots, pans, bed springs, and even newspapers. Each morning found us marching up and down the streets and alleys scouting for anything that could make lives of the enemies more difficult and ease the hardships of our brave men and women overseas.
Although we were just kids, in our young minds we just were just as patriotic as the men and women who volunteered for military service. We stayed at home; too young to join, but we were doing what we could to support to our military.
Every evening, we headed for home, tired and covered in dirt and rust. Because moms knew the reason we were coming home dirty, they didn’t often complain. Smiling, they would say, “Get washed up and change before supper.”
In the dim yellow light of the radio dial, we would hover at our parent’s feet listening for any updates and items of news on the war. We waited quietly to hear any tidbit of information about wins and losses. We learned the names of battle sites in Europe; Dunkirk, Normandy, Dresden, Maginot Line, and Asian places like Guadalcanal, Bataan, Corregidor, and Iwo Jima.
Rationing and coupons became an integral part of our civilian lives. It caused each family to tighten belts. Sugar, butter, gasoline, shoes, coffee, meats, cheeses, and tires were just a few of the things that were restricted, but our sacrifices were nothing compared to the sacrifices being made by warriors fighting overseas for freedom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Finish Line
I believe that I have just put the finishing touches to my next book. It’s not quite long enough to be called a novel; it would fall into the novella category. Novella is the term for a little or short novel. I think I completed my last review and it is now in the hands of my dear friend, editor, cover designer, and general fix-my-mistakes and fellow writer, Jan McLaughlin. She is my go to in times of need.
She’s been the designer for the last four of my books. The cover for my mystery book, “Partners for Life” is the fourth in the series of the Tommy Two Shoes Mysteries. Tommy Miner is a retired homicide detective from Pittsburgh that’s now a private eye. The second cover she designed was for “The Walls Came Tumbling Down.” This book shares a speculation of how Rahab the Canaanite harlot met, fell in love, and wed Salmon, a Jewish enemy that helped to destroy her town of Jericho. Offspring from their union were in the line of David the King and Jesus the Messiah. I did find some name mistakes in the text that has to be remedied some day.
My third book cover that Jan did was for my novel called, “Addie.” The story is filled with tenderness and several surprises. A woman who was raised almost completely void of her mother’s love, finds an orphan boy. Her feelings of love begin to blossom when the police find a relative. Addie is left to deal with her unexplored feelings of charity. I try to let my readers feel the emotion and humor with all of my characters. Addie is one of my favorites. It has less action than my other books, but is a very good read.The book I’m now putting the finishing touches is a sequel to “Addie.” I wrote it because several people wanted to know what happened to Ron, Addie’s adopted son. This novella answers that question and introduces Ron’s wife Debra and Addie’s granddaughter Hannah to the growing list of characters.
Jan has designed another great cover for this book called “Hannah’s Messiah.” The people in this tale are caught in a series of births, deaths, love, and sadness, and establishes friendships that are able to cross the lines of age, gender, and economic boundaries. It also deals with how the tender heart of a young girl can affect so many people around her and how those friendships can change lives.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Queens of Clean
I have met three women that could give Mr. Kleen a run for his money. Clean was almost an obsession with each one of them. That habit was nearly to the point that there was nothing in their lives more important than to have a spotless house. I’ve told these stories before. This is only a few.
The first woman I’ll mention is Joan an LPN at Frick Hospital whose habits of home cleanliness extended to her work habits. I’ve shared numerous adventures in my other postings. One tale was her washing her full length white leather coat in her clothes washer. She stood on the top of it to pry the coat from inside. She would kneel on her basement floor and scrub the cracks with a toothbrush or she would clean her house before her cleaning lady would arrive. Joan took her own linens and cleaning supplies when she and her husband would go on vacation. There were multiple incidents that occurred while at work. She thought nothing of placing a dirty child in a sink and scrubbing them clean. Sometimes her acts caused her to be reprimanded.
The other women who I will mention are my aunts: Aunt Estella Strawderman and Aunt Helen Stahl. Aunt Helen had chores for each day of the week: Laundry, ironing, baking, etc. as well as a thorough cleaning of a different room each day. The cleaning would be like a spring cleaning for anyone else. She was a pleasant, jolly woman with a desire to provide the best home for her six children.
One peculiarity she had was her choices in colors. Each room of her house was painted a different color: turquoise, coral, and vibrant green. Her desires for bright colors may have been influenced by Anna Beck, her mother and my grandmother.
My Aunt Estella was unbelievably clean. She worried when people visited her home. The cost of her cleaning supplies rivaled the cost for food. When she washed dishes, she’d dry, then wax her countertops. She laid rag rugs on her scrubbed floors, then covered the rugs with newspapers. When her children visited, arriving with their family on Friday evening and leaving Sunday afternoon she would wait nervously until one minute after midnight to wash their dirty linens. She didn’t want dirty linens in her house but she didn’t dare work on Sunday. After an ice storm, she climbed a ladder to wash her windows, fell, and broke her leg. The compound fracture collected dirt as she crawled for help and she nearly lost her leg. She even waxed her enamel painted front steps making them even more slippery.
These are my queens of clean.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Innocent Blood
In several Bible passages Jehovah God warns and condemns those who spill innocent blood. He actually hates the people who spill innocent blood, going beyond that to say that it is an abomination. What is more innocent than an unborn child? What is more blameless than an infant in the womb, no guilt, no blame, and so pure? The LORD states His loathing of that person in Proverbs 6:16-19. God doesn’t equivocate. He states His position firmly and clearly.
God also states that He will not hold the land guiltless that allows innocent blood to be shed. In Deuteronomy 19:10, He says He will judge the land that allows abortions. The entire nation will be held accountable for that sin. For too long have we Christians have remained silent, even permitting government tax money paid by you and me to promote and to fund this despicable practice.
An infant in the mother’s womb is an entirely separate being from the mother having a brain and nervous system of its own, a separate heart and circulatory system, and having it has its own blood supply. Often, the unborn infant has completely different blood type than the mother. I don’t understand when humanists make the claim that an unborn child is just a blob of cells. God says that life of the flesh is in the blood. He repeats it in Genesis 9:14 and in Leviticus 17:11 and 14. And the unborn definitely has blood supply of its own.
The LORD despises the evil religions that sacrifice their sons and daughters unto devils and shedding their innocent blood. That act polluted their land. Fifty million voices cry out from the blood soaked ground of the United States alone. How long will Jehovah ignore their cries before He holds America accountable and brings judgment? As a “civilized” nation, we call religions that sacrificed children on altars or threw them into volcanoes to appease their gods as barbarians, yet Americans are much worse. We allow people to sacrifice innocent children for convenience; destroying them as they’re being formed.
God says that He knows the infant while it was yet forming in the secret place of the mother’s womb, Psalm 139:15. He echoes this fact in Jeremiah 1:5 and Isaiah 44:2 when He says that He actually knew the child before He formed them in the belly. He forms and shapes the infant in that secret place. He controls the development of the baby saying the child is fearfully, wonderfully, and marvelously made; even when the infant is yet unperfect, undeveloped, and all its members were not yet shaped. Will we end this slaughter? When will God decide to impose His judgment?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Will the Cure Kill the Patient?
With the fear of the corona virus even more rampant than the virus, will the measures to curb the panic inflict more damage than the disease itself? Only time will tell. Curtailing business hours or actually closing businesses will cause a deep chasm that our country and possibly the entire world may take a decade to escape if it can at all. Before the closures, many businesses could ill afford the impact of the forced closures. Many will limp along for awhile after reopening then fail by the governmental sanctions.
Supply chains will be severed. Manufacturing jobs will be lost. Food service employees may never be called back to work. Loss of jobs will limit the ability of people to purchase homes, vehicles, and multiple other items. If Americans don’t curb the desire to live at the same level before the governmental intervention, debt will rise inflating personal deficit and deflating the purchasing power of our currency.
The life savings of the middle class may be eradicated. The level of living for those on a fixed income will sink even lower, forcing them to decide whether to eat, buy medications, heat their homes, or pay their rent or house payments. They will have to choose if they are able to buy gasoline or to insure their home or vehicle. Will they lose their home because of the ever increasing load of taxes or will they fall victim to the rising cost of living?
The fear that the government has induced with their restrictions so far has spurred the panic. It’s limited our freedom to assemble, freedom to pursue happiness, earn our wages, and threatens us with violence or financial penalties if we disregard those intrusions into our lives.
Those incursions into our freedoms are only one step away from martial law. Our American forefathers told England to cease and desist and when they chose to ignore the colonists; our militia trounced them and sent them packing back across the sea. Will it take another war to regain what the fear of the corona virus has taken from us? The government seeks to buy our silence with stimulus payments. To me this smacks of Socialism.
I know that people are fearful, but there is peace; a peace that passes mankind’s understanding. It’s found in a relationship with Christ Jesus. No matter what the world throws at us, those who seek the Savior will have their eternal destination assured. Psalm 23 is but one comforting chapter in the Bible that allays fear and shows how God will care for us.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Splish Splash
Janie was a ward clerk on one of the medical/surgical floor at Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. She had an extremely squeamish stomach and could not tolerate seeing sputum, urine, or any other bodily samples when they were in their clear plastic containers. Most often the specimens were placed on the nursing station’s ledge.
She wanted the containers to be wrapped in a paper towel or she would recall the person who placed it there ato return to the station and cover the specimen. It was then Janie’s job to complete the request form for tests ordered and place it beside the sample heading to the lab.
Resting immediately below the ledge was the intercom system for the floor. Janie was most often the person who used the call box to make announcements for any patient care needed and the room number.
Unknown to the nursing assistant who placed the paper towel covered bottle of urine on the ledge, the container had a crack. As it sat on the ledge the urine began to ooze out and to drip onto the call box. Earlier, Janie saw the sample sitting there and was filling out the request for the urinalysis. When she turned to place the completed chit on the ledge by the sample, she noticed urine dripping onto the electronic call bell system.
First she gagged holding her hand over her mouth, then she leaped to her feet. Her chair kicked back, shooting across the station to bounce off the wall. Because she was gagging, she couldn’t ask for help. Instead, she danced in a circle not knowing what to do. She couldn’t use the call box to summon someone because it was covered in urine. She couldn’t touch it because of its contamination and was also afraid that she would be electrocuted.
Holding her hand to her mouth she gagged again, then darted out into the hallway grabbing the nearest person she could find to rectify the problem. The nursing assistant brought a Styrofoam cup and placed the specimen inside, then toweled off the ledge, but they had to phone housekeeping and maintenance men to clean and check the call bell box before Janie would even look at the intercom system again.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Not Surprised
An older friend of mine said, “If you’re out and about can you grab some things for me. I need toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and peaches.” Immediately, I thought, “Good luck on that.”  But then I thought I wouldn’t need to go out for several days and surely things will start to settle down by then and there should be no problem. I saw a post that said, certain stores would reserve their opening hour at each branch for the elderly. I thought I’d give it a try and see if I could find her requests.
I almost titled this post as “Mission Impossible,” but decided to give it a college try. I stopped at three stores; two were chain companies and one was a local vendor. I wasn’t surprised that the stores were empty of those products. Many bare shelves greeted me. What good is it to allow the elderly in to shop when shelves are bare? Is this a taste of Socialism? When I commented about the missing products, I felt the frustration of the clerk. Perhaps she thought I was another complaining customer. When I mentioned “That’s just crazy, I’m surprised that these people don’t attack the truck drivers making deliveries.”
A disgusted look crossed the clerk’s face and she shared, “I was unpacking a carton of toilet paper. I was attacked by customers who rushed me and took the packages before I could put them on the shelves.”
I commented I was a retired nurse, and I understood. I had to deal with the public as well. Some of them were nearly as crazed as this.
I’m not surprised that people have gotten so fearful and greedy. After the Great Depression, parents tried to give their children things that they never had growing up; things that were too scarce or too expensive. The following generations got used to having what they needed which then evolved into always getting what they wanted,. They often had no respect to the parents who birthed them, loved them, and gave them the things they have.
As Christians, we need to be the salt and light of the world. We need to show to others the love of Christ and not be fearful in this panicked world. We need to reach out to others in distress. Although we Christians are living in this world, we are not to be of this world. Our treasures lie in heaven and not here on earth. All that is not done for the honor and glory of God is but chaff to be blown away or stubble that will be burned, and yes, that includes toilet paper.