Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Doctor Delay

            Yesterday, I went with a friend to her doctor’s appointment in Monroeville. It was her first visit to the doctor and to the facility, so we were unsure of exactly where on the campus that she was supposed to be. She was told to arrive fifteen minutes early and was concerned that we wouldn’t be there in time. Her appointment time was eleven a.m. and we just made it inside the waiting area at eleven. By the time she gave the receptionist all of the information, it was twenty minutes later. She sat beside me to finish her medical history form.
            She needn’t have worried. The doctor was running late. He was detained in surgery, either by an emergency or a more complicated case than he thought. The small waiting area became crowded and restless. I wrote a few things on my pad that I carry, but soon that became tiring and I began to talk to others around me. The gentleman and his wife who sat closest were from Monroeville, Pennsylvania and had a business selling items to gift shops. As we talked I mentioned I was a writer and author, giving him my business card. He noticed that I had a BlogSpot and began to read some of my entries. When I told him that I’d written three books, he asked and I wrote their titles on the back of the card.
            Once they were called in to see the physician, I began to chat with others. An older woman worked at a business located in Scottdale, Pennsylvania. Another group of women drove from Somerset, Pennsylvania, and a younger man drove from Ohio.
            A woman and her niece who had surgery and Muscular Dystrophy entered and sat beside of us. As we talked, the niece was a nurse as I was. I found that the aunt was being treated by a physician with whom I worked at Frick Hospital many years age. He worked the emergency department there, but had since struck out on his own as an acupuncturist. I gave her two of my cards and asked her to give the doctor one at her next visit.
            Soon, the patients in the waiting area thinned and by one p.m. my friend made her way into the physician. When she came back, she had some good news. She wouldn’t need surgery, but that also carried some bad news. There was no immediate relief from her back pain. She would need to try something else.
            By the time we left the office, I had depleted all of my business cards, and hope that I gained a few more readers.

Monday, October 26, 2015


            I am exhausted after spending three days reading and rereading my last manuscript for editing. I spent a minimum of five hours per day looking for misspellings, missed words, missed of deletions of punctuation, and changes of wording to clarify what I actually wanted to say. Each time I do this, I am given more respect to English teachers and the “Grammar Nazis” out there, especially my niece, Becky Ritenour. God bless you all. Now, if one of you don’t have enough to do and want to volunteer to help me with editing…. Just kidding, I have a small inkling of the amount of work that you do.
            I have sore legs and a sore shoulder from hunching over my desk and the computer keyboard. I may try to do a last mowing of my yard today to walk out the inactivity with which I have abused my body in the past four days.

            Every time that I think I will have some time to relax, read, or write, something always intrudes. Either a friend needs some help, meetings, or other “necessary” events pop up or have been scheduled in the past. I hold my planner close because my mind could never remember all of the information tucked inside and I still miss things because I forget to peruse its pages.
            I forget birthdays and anniversaries on a regular basis, but then again, I was never good about sending cards. My wife handled all of that when she was alive and the head of social events. She also handled our money. (I almost typed, my money, but there are those who would not appreciate yours, mine, and ours in a marriage, unless I am talking about underwear. I don’t do lace very well.)

            I will keep this post short. I am tired of sitting and looking at mu computer screen. Take care all.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Late Blog

            I am so sorry that I am late posting on my blog spot. I couldn’t stand sitting at my computer any longer. I needed some fresh air. My bivouac on my computer started yesterday when my editor sent me the entire book to proof read, correct, and make any revisions that I felt necessary before it was sent to the publisher.
            My first attempt was to correct the stories that I had already written and then sent them back to her. It wasn’t what she wanted. My next attempt was to make comments on computer driven post-it notes in the margin of the text. I probably spent almost ten hours trying both projects, but when I tried to send the posted corrections, the computer told me that an unknown error had occurred and that I was unable to send the manuscript. I tried several times before the open screen of text went blank and I became too frustrated to even think of doing any more and went to bed, shortly thereafter.
            I emailed my editor and she suggested that I go line by line, marking page number and line number as well as spelling out the corrections needed. This involved another labor intensive search and correct of misspells, omitted words, errors in dialogue, or and word changes that I felt were necessary.
            I spent eight hours yesterday, only to be thwarted and five hours today. Back at home, after going out for some groceries, I found an e-mail from my publisher. Thank God that she said it was something that she could use.

            I have another book in the making. It is almost halfway written, but after the last two days, I am not sure if I want to continue. I’m going to put it on the back burner for awhile and concentrate on some poetry and shorter stories.

            The writers of the Mount Pleasant Writers Group that meets in the Mt. Pleasant Library every first and third Thursday evening at five thirty p.m. have placed on display in the library’s lobby several Halloween stories for the patrons to enjoy. Stop by to read our submissions and drop in on our meetings for writers, wanna-be writers, and for those who like to see what we are all about.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


            I post things on my blog and on my Facebook account because I want to share many of my thoughts. Some of these are of memories, some are political, and some are of patriotism. If I offend anyone, please excuse my sharing of what I deem correct or funny. I don’t do this because I hate anyone. I do it because I want to share my opinion only. I don’t speak for God, because I fall woefully short and am only a sinner, saved by grace. I don’t speak for the people who are in office. I only try to remind them why they are there. Not to rule me, but to represent those people who placed them there. Not to pilfer and waste the hard earned monies of the tax payers.

            I try to point out things that I find offensive, because the freedom of speech hasn’t been entirely found null and void, although, everyday it is being infringed upon. I want to see out troops and veterans treated with the respect and honor that they deserve. I want to see the Supreme Court and the Commander-in-Chief become strong entities, standing up for America and not disassembling it by tearing out the foundation of the Constitution.
            It offends me that the freedom of religion, unless it is Islam, is being pulled apart and disrespected in all areas of America. Schools, the military, even in the churches, there are those who feel God is passé and not worthy of respect and praise. Like those people who turned their back on God, including His chosen people of Israel, He will tolerate only so much, then rain down judgment. If you don’t believe this, read the Bible.

            I am rambling and my thoughts are jumbled as to why I am writing this certain blog. So I will close for now, hoping that you can glean some of the things I am trying to share and why the things tumble out of my warped mind.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Approaching the Finish Line

The end of the book is nearing. I have been working feverishly with my editor to review and prepare my last set of stories for publication. It is another collection of tales written from the viewpoint of the retired Pittsburgh homicide detective and past cases that he and his partner solved around the Christmas holidays. It will be titled The Twelve Murders of Christmas.
The theme of Christmas stories came from the first tale that I wrote. Tommy and his wife, Cora are older and never had children. The prospect of ever having children, shy of a miracle, was poor. They were awakened by an odd sound and found an abandoned baby on their porch. It was a long journey, but Tommy and Cora decided to try to adopt the baby. That is where the story’s name was realized and the decision to write the rest of the book with murders that occurred between Thanksgiving and the New Year celebrations. The name of the tale is What Child is This? All of the following titles have names like Jingle Belles, Murder Under the Mistletoe, and Grandma Got Run Over…
There are a total of thirteen stories, twelve of which are the murders that he and his old partner Duffy solved. The crimes occurred around the holidays over their years of working together and the tales describe the clues that they followed to find the motive for the deaths and names of the murderers.
I am still struggling on the dedication. I have already named my parents, my children, and my editor. I am very much tempted to dedicate this new book to all of my teachers and not just to my English teachers, but to all, from kindergarten through my years of college.
I do want to relay an amusing story that occurred last week. I went inside of my local bank. One of the employees asked about new book. I thought that she was talking about this new release. When I started to describe it, she said, “Not that book, what happened to Tommy’s brother?”
 I sold my first book to them. In it, Tommy’s younger brother was abducted from their home. It wasn’t purposefully written that way, but apparently they wanted to know the answer. While I was writing my second book, Tommy addressed and solved the disappearance, nearly fifty years later. Their prodding caused me to write the ending to the kidnapping. I hadn’t mentioned that book was published and now they wanted it. The teller said the entire bank enjoyed, read my book, and passed it on to another bank. I said that I had the sequel in my car. They bought it, immediately.

Friday, October 16, 2015

In the Darkness

At times I am affected by the extended darkness of the winter season. It seems to be worse as I age. When I was a kid, darkness was just an interruption of daylight and playtime. Daylight was a time to go to school, a time to meet with friends, and a time to ride bikes and sleds. Daylight seemed too short, but the darkness of nighttime was a chance to recharge the batteries, rest, and sleep. If the darkness wasn’t welcomed, it was accepted as a respite of a busy day.
Later in my life, as I worked as a nurse in a local hospital, the darkness of the night shift became interminably long. Weariness and lack of sleep often made the night shift more and more intrusive on my psyche. The biggest insult was when I worked the afternoon shift and my relief called in sick. When I couldn’t find someone to relieve me, (Ha ha) as a supervisor, I was forced to do a double through the night. There were times that I was awake from seven a.m. until the next day. Often it was eight a.m. by the time I drove home and got into bed. A short sleep and then back in for the next afternoon shift. That intrusion would wear me out.
Waking up in the darkness, now that I am older can be depressing. Not enough that I would consider killing myself, but it does start the day on a down feeling. When I was stationed in Iceland, their winter nighttime and darkness lasted over twenty hours. The suicide rate and alcohol consumption would rise dramatically. Mankind was not made to live in darkness. Men were designed to live in the light. Now I will explain the opposite side of the coin. When I was in Iceland, summertime, daylight lasted almost 24 hours. People with kids would put aluminum foil on the bedroom windows so the children would sleep. Often, we would talk or play cards, not paying attention and it would be 3 a.m. before we hit the sack. We needed to get up at 5:30 to get ready for work and that would wear on the body as well. Daylight, all of the time can also create problems, I just wish I could wake up with a bit of light peeping in my bedroom window.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Things Change

Yesterday, as I was changing the cotton sheets and bedding over to the flannels I began to think about the changes of the season. Outside, the leaves are changing from their summer greens to the bright hues of autumn: gold, red, yellow, orange, and crimson. They become stained glass in appearance at a distance. The skies above change from clear cerulean blue to gray and blaze as if on fire as the sun rises and sets. Clouds scoot across sky’s canvass in fluffy to wispy clusters or can collect, hide, and cover the heavens with their constantly changing shapes.
When I wake, I notice the changes in my body. A joke I heard reflects the way I feel many mornings. “I don’t have a problem rolling out of bed every morning, but getting up off the floor is definitely a problem.” Sometimes I feel the aches and pains that appear from sleeping in an odd position or from the work the day before. Disease entities also have limited what I can do and how I feel. Diseases change the image of my body, too.
One day is sunny, one day is gray. Soon, white flakes will change the appearance of the area. Icy lace and snow turbans will change the bare trees that have been stripped of their brown leaves, into a land of fairy castles and white walled forts.
Even things that are dead change. They decay, rot, and return to the earth. They become nutrients for the growing things in the coming spring. Buds turn into leaves and flowers. Blossoms turn into fruit. Bees change the nectar into honey.
There are more changes to come in my life, even if it isn’t here on Earth, but in the great beyond. This old body will fall away and all of the worldly concerns will be no more. Pain and sorrows will no longer be remembered. Joy and happiness will be the fare for eternity. One thing that has not and will not change is God’s love.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Nothing More Than Feelings

            I couldn’t feel more stiff if someone dipped me into a vat of starch and allowed me to dry. That channeled my thoughts into the myriad of feelings and emotions that have pressed close over the past two weeks. My daughter Anna’s wedding ceremony was Saturday the third of October. All of the preparation and decoration was a drain. She did most of the selection and collection of each item that she wanted, but the transportation of those items I was pressed into helping.
            At least three vehicle loads of decorations and candy for the candy bar were ferried to the church and to the next-door reception hall. Thursday was the festooning of sunflowers and fall foliage in the hall. Lights needed hung and final placement tables and chairs. I was up and down a ladder so many times, I quickly lost track of the number and almost lost feeling in my legs and feet.
            Later, we were joined by my daughter Amanda and her husband Eric. They pitched in to help. The hardest part was later in the evening, when we had to pull apart one hundred pounds of pork for the reception meal. They had been slowly roasting all day, removed a few hours earlier to cool. Some of the meat wasn’t very cool and singed fingers, ever through vinyl gloves made fingers tingle. It was after midnight, before a drowsy feeling overcame my body’s tiredness.
            My sense of weariness was stretched even more over the next day of decorating and then the day of the wedding. Through it all, I managed to keep my emotions in check. There was so much to do and see that all went well to have a break-down. Sunday and Monday after I had a short sense of relief, but then I began the labor intensive task of moving all of the boxes and containers of the wedding’s remnants back home. I did one car load per day. I was tired, but there was more to come.

            Following the week of revival meetings and removal of the wedding accoutrements, I went to a book signing and reading. That ended with a deflated feeling. Only a few stopped by the small hall and no one sold any books.
            Yesterday, I went to church. I was so exhausted, I could barely stay awake. I have lost the sense of worship, not because I am bored, but because I was tired and that bothered me. As far as I know, I didn’t snore with the head bobs. Home in the empty house, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed out to a writers meeting. It is a chance to hear what other people are writing and to be among friends.
            My house that has been a home for me, my wife Cindy, and my children, Amanda, Andrew, and Anna is now just that. It is a house that only holds just me, the cat and memories.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wondering if It’s Too Late

            With all that I have to do today, I wonder if it’s too late to clone myself? But then again, how would I stand myself. I know my foibles and my mistakes and I do know that I wouldn’t want them all over again. I know that there are traits that I have that are offensive to others and probably, I would be offended if I had to be close to me, too. I like to tease and joke to make people smile, but I am sure that I have pushed that too far at times.
            I know that I have good traits and that was brought out in the nearly forty years of helping to care for the sick and injured as a naval corpsman and then as a nurse. Being close to the sick, the ones in pain, and those who are dying, either softens the heart or kills the compassion of those around them. I still have kept that tenderness of heart.
            It has also given a warped sense of humor. As compensation to things others would find offensive, I see the lighter side. Body fluids are something to be dealt with. I can see the funny side of things, where many folk see horror or gloom. It’s not that I don’t understand their pain and suffering, because I do. Humor has become a defense mechanism that allows nurses to put a bit of distance between their works and allows them not to burn out. It gives some space between reality and their soul. If this wasn’t so, more nurses would burn out and there would be many less of us to care for those in need.
            This wasn’t the reason that I started to write this post. I went down a completely different stream. I meant to write about the many things that are expected of me today and wished others would do some of the things for me. This morning, I need to help the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department with their buckwheat and sausage festival. I’ve volunteered to work at whatever they needed for about forty years. I started out washing dishes when the ladies shaped the sausage by hand then fried the meat in cast iron skillets over small gas fired burners. I fried the buckwheat cakes to a lacy brown memory making cake. For the last twenty years or more, I have fried sausage. No longer do we use skillets, but spread the sausage out on twelve griddles that are 24 by 20 inches to cook to perfection.
            I have a writer’s meeting in Latrobe at one p.m. and will in most likelihood, not make it there. Today is the last night of our revival meetings at my church, Mt. Zion Independent Baptist Church. It’s located at the top of Kreinbrook Hill road, Acme, Pennsylvania. I do plan to be there when the doors open tonight.
            My day, today is full and tomorrow isn’t much better. There is a book signing and local authors will be there to read as well. It will at the Energy Connection in North Huntingdon at150 Robbins Station Road (just off Route 30 at Jacktown Hill.) The time will be from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. We will have our books on sale and the prices will be better than if you would buy them on Amazon. Christmas is creeping ever closer and books can be a great gift.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween is creeping up on us, so I decided to share a poem that I wrote several years ago.

Aesop Speaks Through Cats, Rats and Bats

Aesop writes his famous fables. He writes his morals clear.

On a more virtuous path he attempts to help us steer

He uses men and animals intentions to convey

To animate these sayings and animals to portray

He uses some of the lowly creatures like snakes and frogs

Animals like ants, grasshoppers, fish, pigs, and even dogs

To explain these morals he includes crows and mice and cats

Morals easy for people to see in bulls and bats

Wolves, deer, eagles, foxes and other creatures tame and wild

Wander through his stories written to educate a child

Monkeys, asses, goats, lambs, camels scamper across his pages

Using common beasts, he lures the common man and sages

If on a cold October night you need something to read

 Aesop can be scary for an immoral world to read.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yesterday’s Luncheon

            Several times now, I have been invited and have gone to eat lunch at different places with fellow employees of Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Yesterday, it was at a local restaurant, Brady’s. The area where we sat had huge windows that overlooked several small ponds and of course, ducks. The view is part of the appeal to revisit and select from an extensive menu of delicious food.
            This isn’t an ad for the restaurant, but the setting that allowed us to relax and the large room where we were seated was quiet and we were able to laugh and share stories without disturbing other diners. It was great reuniting with people with whom you worked over the many years. The stories that we shared reminded others of stories that they would share. Some had forgotten things that happened or hadn’t heard about certain things that happened. It was if the funny things happened yesterday.

            Most of the things we shared were the happy or funny things that we encountered. A few sad moments crept in when we talked about some that we knew who were ill, but for the most part, it was a joyful reunion. Some of these folks, I worked more closely as a nurse, while others, were people that I worked with as a house supervisor and not side by side.

            After we had eaten our meals, we shared how many years we worked at the hospital, how many grandchildren and some with great-grandchildren. We explained what we were doing to keep ourselves busy and amused since we said goodbye to Frick.
            Many of these wonderful nurses, clerks, housekeeping, dietary, radiology people were still involved with caring for others: grandchildren, mothers, etc. These people who cared for the sick and injured for a salary are still continuing that legacy because of the type of kind souls that they are. It did my heart good to know that they are still the people with whom I once shared my life and pray that they each have a long and fulfilling life. God bless each and everyone.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Time to Recuperate

            The wedding is over. It was beautiful, the ceremony and my daughter Anna. She has a wonderful husband James Prinkey and I pray only happiness for them. There were two days of setting everything up. The decorations in the church and the reception area: tables chairs, lights, flowers, centerpieces, and signage. I was up and down ladders, stairs, and emotions; usually it was anxiousness to be sure that all was done.
            On the day of the wedding, just prior to the ceremony, I was back and forth showing the women from the Saltlick Women’s Auxiliary where things were located in the kitchen, where and what Anna wanted to be done with the food and appetizers. After the service, I walked through the guests, talking and trying to divide myself in many directions. It was necessary to help those who had to leave early to get into line for food and to be sure that they had everything they needed to enjoy the day. I didn’t have time to be emotional and allow the tears to stream. That occurred the next day. Only the cat Willow and I left in the house.

            There are only a pile of items to be gathered and stored from the reception hall. Memories of the day boxed and in storage (probably at my house.) The photos from the photographer will be collected and made into albums. Flowers dried, become mementoes of a ceremony in uniting two families and two lives.
            I must say this I am glad that this is the last wedding that I will be this deeply involved in setting up. I am sore all over and my knees are protesting loudly, followed by my lower back aching. Some tenderness across the shoulders add insult to injury, but the smile on my daughter’s face makes it worthwhile.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

So Tired

            Have you ever been so weary and tired that you aren’t sleepy? That is me right now. All day long I have been helping my daughter get ready for her big day on Saturday. Her wedding day is almost here. We hung lights, background sheets, and other various and sundry decorations at the reception area. Tables will need tablecloths and table settings put in place tomorrow, as well as decorating the church.

            Late this evening, we pulled the pork roasts apart in preparation for food to be served at the reception. Tables were placed to be ready for an influx of guests: a layout of cookies, candies, and hors’doeuvres to keep them occupied until photos are taken. Once the bridal party arrives back at the reception hall, they will be treated to several offerings of food, salad, and desserts.

            There will be a small wedding cake, but a mélange of flavored cupcakes to tantalize all comers. Flavors will include caramel apple, pumpkin with cream cheese icing, apple chip, and others.

            The decorations are of burlap and lace. She wanted them to reflect her husband’s choices and yet her add an infusion of femininity. Sunflowers are her favorite and will feature proximately amid the colored leaves and flowers displayed in rustic containers. Mason jars and wooden buckets will grace the altar and the tables in the reception hall.

            Finally, the sandman is wandering around me, tossing sand in my eyes. I am winding down and need to get some rest before another full day of work and the rehearsal of the wedding at the church. All must be ready by that time, other than the cooking of the food for the reception. Alas, that is another day, but it will be handled, for the most part by others.