Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
This piece is re-blogged each 911 so that we never forget that most infamous day in the history of our country. And that we remember the innocent lives taken in a split second through the cowardly maniacal acts of terrorists bent on overcoming not just this country but the world. We can mourn those we lost but we cannot bring them back--we do owe them our allegiance to see that this tragedy, beyond descriptive words never happens again. We can vow to do all in our power to stop the killing of innocent children, women and men all over the world. The tyranny will not stop until the free world stops it. How many more children and innocent people will be beheaded, tortured and mutilated?
This story is a fictional account of what might have happened on that day but the characters and places are real. The events that happened are real. Let's make a pledge this 911 to make it be the last of its kind forever!
The Meal Uneaten
The watch hanging from Ian’s belt loop under his white chef jacket read 8:15. The morning rush was in full swing. Patrons sat in the sunlit posh restaurant—some drummed their fingers with impatience, others read the Wall Street Journal. Many seemed barely awake, sipping coffee for a caffeine jolt.
Ian had worked the kitchen all morning, his third day on the job as a Sous Chef to the Head Chef. He had survived the breakfast rush; bagels with cream cheese and lox for the rushed, Quiche Lorraine for the ones too important to punch a time card. Still, most would be heading to their various jobs, many on the 104th floor below the restaurant. The conference room, a floor below the restaurant, on the 106th floor was catering a breakfast to the Waters Financial Technology Congress, serving seventy-one guests.
Ian was preparing for the lunch entrée special; a new recipe Chef Mike would be offering to the lunch crowd--numbering hundreds. Ian worked quickly, with dozens of cooks helping to prep the ingredients. It was a gourmet delight – an aromatic concoction of bow tie pasta swimming in a rich white cream sauce, consisting of sweet herbed butter, heavy cream, white wine and an imported parmesan cheese. Large shrimp lightly sautéed in the sauce were placed on top, sprinkled with crumbled Greek feta cheese, sweet basil and freshly ground black pepper. Parsley sprigs added décor to the plate along with a few strips of fresh grilled red pepper. Chef Mike was confident of his creative cuisine. He was not of his new Sous Chef and often hovered over him, making Ian nervous. He was glad Chef Mike would not be coming in to work until the noon rush. This entrée could not be made completely in advance and the chef wanted a few made up to insure the recipe was followed to the letter. He had a fine reputation to maintain.
As customers rose to go to their perspective jobs; many glancing out of the rows of large windows overlooking the panoramic business district of Manhattan and the
East River, the dining room was set up for
the lunch rush.
Ian had Chef Mike’s creation ready to be sampled as soon as he arrived for his shift. He was afraid his job depended on how well he had prepared the dish. Still, he had done his best and felt confident it would suit the perfectionist chef.
Blinding light and roaring noise shut out his world. Fire and smoke filled the entire 107th floor, screams of panicked customers and workers alike died out quickly as they were overcome by suffocation and burns. The delectable shrimp and bowtie pasta entrée was destroyed along with most of the kitchen. Neither Ian nor Chef Mike would ever know if it met the chef’s high standards. His new recipe would go uneaten, along with all the meals scheduled for that luncheon meal. Windows on the World,
’s noted and
loved restaurant was destroyed. It was 8:55
and the 104th floor was incinerated.
People on other floors were spared the direct impact of the first passenger jet, Flight 11 that slammed into the first tower of the
on September 11,
2001. The ones on the top floor, along
with the people in the restaurant were trapped. There was no way down. Many ran up the staircases to the top 111th
floor and climbed onto the rooftop hoping to be rescued. Ian ran with them. He helped the few people alive make it to the
roof. Helicopters tried in vain to
reach them but black billowing smoke prevented this, as well as bursts of
flame. People succumbed to the heat and
smoke and died. Others chose to jump off
the top of the building, rather than burn to death. Ian was one of them. World Trade
As he jumped, his thoughts were of his wife and their new-born baby girl. It was such a beautiful day that they had planned a picnic in
Park when his shift ended. Before Ian reached the ground, his
spirit left his body. He saw his body
splatter on the street below. He watched
as financial wizards, secretaries, businessmen, maintenance workers, became one
in the futile effort to escape the building.
He saw a second plane hit the second tower, taking more lives in an
instant. This plane hit closer to the
top of the second tower giving more time for people below those floors to get
out. Many made it, many more did
not. Ian’s spirit drifted through the
first tower, watching frantic people calling on their cell phones for help—some
realizing their plight cried and said goodbye to their loved ones.
911 operators, unaware of the gravity of the situation, gave wrong advice to many who called--advising them to remain inside until help came. Help, that was unable to reach most of them. Most of the ones who survived had ignored that advice and hurried to escape the building.
The second tower imploded almost without warning at 10:05 A.M., through time held no meaning for Ian. Thousands of lives were crushed into rubble. The ambulances and hospitals set up triages for the injured. Most beds lay empty, as few made it out of the towers alive. Except for the ones lucky enough to have escaped before the first tower imploded at 10:30, there were few patients to help. Ian observed the nearly 3000 souls wandering lost throughout the ruins. Many did not yet realize that they were dead.
The shock waves of horror extended past
its neighboring boroughs, rippled across the country, impacted the world. Manhattan had been attacked by
cowardly terrorists on her own soil. New
York City wept, Mayor Giuliani wept, the free world wept. And Ian wept. America
The Chef’s new entrée in the Windows on the World would go uneaten, never sampled for its flavor. There would be many uneaten meals that day and for many days to follow. Terror, death and inconceivable destruction had taken away the appetite of the City, the nation—most of the world. It left a bitter taste in the mouths of all those who lost loved ones and those who grieved with them.
Ian glanced through the rubble and saw his chef uniform buried beneath the debris. It held a quickly scribbled note of love to his wife and newly born baby. He hoped it would be found and given to her. He also hoped that she would tell his baby girl about her father—so that his memory would live on, even if he could not. Ian sensed that this most infamous day would never be forgotten. He wished for new twin towers to be erected for all the lost lives destroyed this day, taken so brutally. And maybe a new restaurant and new offices restored—not to replace those lost but to honor them. Perhaps there would be a new chef with an untried recipe that would be eaten and enjoyed. If that day arrived, it would signify healing in a shocked and saddened nation—a new beginning.
Ian turned to see a horde of people of all ages and occupations gathering together. He looked up and a bright, warm light spread across the sky. He saw arms outstretched to embrace those who walked toward the brightness. He joined them.
Seventy-three employees in the restaurant died that day, all seventy-one in the conference room and an unknown number of patrons. Remnants from the Windows on the World restaurant rubble included: a dinner spoon, soup bowl, salad plate, dessert plate and coffee cup. Also found was a table lamp, champagne flute, bottle of champagne, grill scraper—and a chef’s uniform.
Author’s note: The terrorists had counted on taking out from 30,000 to 50,000 lives that earth shattering morning. Their timing was a little off and many people had not yet entered the building. However, due to the toxins in the debris, such as mercury and asbestos, many of those who spent days, weeks and even years searching Ground Zero for body parts are now dying a slow and agonizing death due to cancers of the throat, lung and esophagus. Many more will die in the ensuing years—among them, families and small children whose homes were filled with this debris; which they were told to clean up themselves. The repercussions of disease from toxins spread to Staten Island, when they helicoptered the remains to the
Staten Island dump. The dump blew the toxins across the
seventeen-mile- long Island and many are dying of quickly striking and fatal
cancers. It is conceivable that the total count of those lost on 911 will reach
30,000 to 50,000 after all. Damn the terrorists!
Sunday, September 6, 2015
A Most Laborious DayIt’s 1979. We're in a recession and feeling it the hardest in our country home. My six kids are old enough that I can leave them home alone. At least that's what I tell myself. I find a job as a morning prep person and night dinner cook in the small town’s favorite Italian restaurant.I'm not a morning person. The rooster next door crows at 6:30 AM, waking the neighborhood dogs. That's my alarm clock. Rousing the kids who sleep through the racket, I get them moving, dressed and breakfasted as I gulp down my third cup of coffee. They all pile into the local school bus and go off to their various schools.I get to work at 8:30 AM and begin making mountains of meatballs as ‘Aunt Mary,’ the mother of the restaurant's owner, stirs a huge cauldron of red sauce and rolls out sheets of pasta dough. Hours later we've made hundreds of homemade ravioli and rolled so many meatballs that my hands are cramping. It's 2:30 PM. I leave to get home in time for the 3:30 PM bus and onslaught of starving kids rushing through the front door. They head for the fridge and snacks laid out on a table, while telling me all about their day at the same time. I've learned to listen to all of them at once, a gift that may come in handy one day — or not.
It's Friday, one of the three or four nights that I work as a cook at the restaurant. Homework gets done or so they tell me, chores when I can catch them, pets cared for, and last night's tuna casserole set out for dinner. I'm off to work again at 5 PM. The summer heat registers 95° in the kitchen of the restaurant and it feels like 110° or more. I'm dressed in short shorts, tank top and flip flop sandals like the other cooks. Massive vats of boiling water for pasta and sauce simmer as the Fryers and range emanate even more heat. God is good. Tonight I get to work the salad bar and scrub huge pots and pans.The bartender/owner brings me a mandolin to slice the salad veggies. I prefer a knife but he's the boss. Within minutes, I manage to slice off the tips of three fingers on my left hand – not completely off but hanging and bleeding all over the wood cutting board and vegetables. The grill cook rushes to get our boss, Donnie, and after appraising the situation, he leaves and returns with a roll of black electrical tape. Whatever works, I think, and struggle to carefully place the tips of my fingers back on and tape them with my right hand. The pain is fierce.Donnie pops in to tell me to switch places with the Gopher cook so I don't bleed on the food. I realize then that he’s not sending me home. The dinner rush hits and I'm soon busy working the microwaves, getting food out of the huge walk-in, and setting up plates. That's the job of a gopher.Wild storms strike the area, breaking the heat wave and slowing business. Donnie
sticks his head into the kitchen. “It slowing down, Micki. You can go home now." The man is all heart. I grab my purse, say goodbye to the cooks and dash out the back of the kitchen to where my car is parked. The storms have slowed to a few rumbles and flashes of ground lightning as the rain tapers off to a fine drizzle.
Home looks really good — a deception of course. I walk in to find eight-year-old Nicole crying on the couch. The heat made her sick and triggered a migraine. “I told you girls not to let her out in the sun," I snapped at her two younger sisters.“She got away from us," Noelle says, looking upset.But 15-year-old Kelly has a bigger problem, forecast by wracking sobs. She's holding Puff, my oldest daughter, Kim’s, white rabbit;, he doesn't too healthy.“It’s my entire fault," Kelly sniffles." I left him outside in the storm. Kim is going to kill me."I figure the poor little guy was either traumatized or struck by lightning. He begins screening, which rabbit’s do before dying. I try pouring whiskey down his throat and then warm tea but he lets out a final shriek and dies in my arms. 16-year-old Dante suggests laying him out on a table in the basement until we can bury him the next day. Kim comes home from her date and that scene isn't pleasant. She stomps up to her room and slams the door. Mike ambles in a little later on and we all sit on the long red velvet sectional couch watching TV until my husband walks in. The recession makes it necessary for him to work five hours away in New Jersey and come home only on weekends.We are a sorry lot that greets him with our tales of woe. First thing he does is rip off the black tape on my fingers, removing the tips that I had secured so well with the tape. I refuse to scream from the pain as he pours salt on the wounds but tell myself that it's good that I won't have fingerprints left on those fingers when I strangle him in his sleep. I sip on some scotch and water — not a very good year — to ease the pain and tension from this laboriously horrible day.
Friday, September 4, 2015
The Bird With The Broken Wing
By D. L. Richardson
Ben, Rachael and Jet have one thing in common. They are all at a rehab center to get their emotional scars healed – some embedded so deeply within their psyches that this may never happen. Jet comes from a home with a domineering wealthy but tightfisted father, and a mother afraid to stand up to him; not that Jet does either. Now after what Jet tried to do, she's in a place where two people will listen . . . And finds that she has nothing to say. Even her journal remains blank.
Ben thinks enlisting in the armed forces was a good way to avoid his problems at home. Now he zones out, trying to avoid his demons, wandering about like a robot, staring at past horrors only he can see. Rachael is an angelic 14-year-old who seems stable enough and is into helping them. She too is wounded more than she's willing to admit. What has life done to these three young people?
As Jet and Ben grow closer, even sharing their feelings, they begin to notice that this supposedly psyche center is not quite normal. They admit seeing ghostly white shadows darting about but no people, feeling full but never eating or bathing. Forgetfulness? Or a scientific experimental project? And there's no sense of time passing. No visitors, no doctors. Is it bad memories torturing them both, keeping them tipping closer into insanity?
Meanwhile Rachael is obsessed with fixing her broken companions as she convinces herself this nightmare will come to an end. She deludes herself — she's just as fragile, hovering near her own breaking point. It's as if each of the three is being made to suffer rather than get well in a rehab hospital that feels more like Purgatory.
Neale shows up, saying his father runs this place and sent him to observe it. The others are wary, but then nothing is normal in this place of horrors. Neale is as strange and different as Rachael. Yet he exudes a confidence which has a calming effect on the others.
Author D. L. Richardson writes an intriguing YA paranormal/spiritual novel which will captivate both YA and adult readers. Her characters are typical young people, likable at times, annoying and exasperating at others. Jet has no patience and a smart mouth, Ben, a temper and rage that rear up without warning. Rachael, while loving, feels resentment under her motherly attitude, as she begins to wonder where she really is and why. The author paces the story steadily, keeping one guessing as her plot culminates to an unpredictable, yet satisfying ending.
This speculative fiction novel is similar to ‘Lovely Bones,’ by Alice Sebold due to its twists and turns that evoke emotional trauma. Readers will long remember this excellent book and may want to check out the author's other works, ‘Little Red Gem,’ ‘Feedback,’ ‘Curious,’ a three book collection, as well as other book collections written by this uniquely talented author.
Micki Peluso, author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang
This book was presented to me by the author for review
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
September 2, 1981 marks the anniversary of the day you left us for Heaven's Realm. It has been over thirty years yet it feels like yesterday. Noelle, you are missed. I feel your presence still and know you are watching over your family, including the nephews and nieces you did not live to see. Yet, you spoke to most of them or appeared to them when they were toddlers and kept watch over them all. You came to your father as he lay trying to sleep while I was dying in the hospital of massive heart attacks. You smiled that smile only you possess, and gave him the thumbs up. He knew then that I would live--and I have for 19 more years.
The best gift you could have given us was having your oldest sister, Kimber. deliver her first child on the day you passed on, two years later. How horrified we all were at first. I remember that Kimber sobbed. Soon we realized what a wonderful gift it was and how special. For now we celebrate the birthday of your nephew, Ian, instead of mourning your loss. That's the way you would have wanted it. Still. we all think of you around this time each year, not realizing why until we remember that terrible time when all the laughter, love and music you wove into the fabric of our lives---stopped.
Noelle, you remain in our hearts and the hearts of all who loved you this day and every day until the day we meet again. Perhaps for you it is just a blink of an eye--for us, a lifetime.
What Manner of Woman
What manner of woman would you have become
Child of mine, love of my life
Would you have been the beauty that shone
Through the throes of puberty
Retaining a lively wit and comic antics
Long since lost, yet still mourned
Would your quick intelligent mind
Grow ever brighter, tempered by maturity,
Enhancing both beauty and ardor
for those who loved you
What manner of man would you have chosen to love
Who would have loved you in return
Would your children be so fortunate
To be as you were, so nearly perfect
Full of life, intensity and naive trust
What manner of woman would you have become
Child of mine, love of my life
As the scars on my soul fade slowly
But refuse to fully heal
I can only wonder
I yearn for you
Each star that twinkles in the night
Reminds me of you
The setting sun in shimmering hues
Reminds me of you
Tiny flowers spring from their beds
In memory of you
Each new born thing and budding leaves
Is life renewed
Your spirit flits with the fireflies
And makes me smile
Reminding me that no one dies
And I cry a while
As long as the sun remembers to rise
You are alive
Each night the moon is in its skies
You haven't died
. . . AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG
Friday, August 21, 2015
I was so impressed this piece that Pat was kind enough to allow me to reblog it on my blog so I can share it with all my followers. I also share my own viewpoint on her words at the bottom of this timely piece.
Viewpoint: Will We Ever Learn? By Patricia Garcia
Viewpoint: Will We Ever Learn?
1933- Signs of discontent, distrust, and jealousy arose in Europe, no longer hiding behind the smiling face of tolerance. The burdens placed upon the German people through the Treaty of Versailles, after losing theFirst World War caused anger and frustration to smother beneath the surface. Hunger, inflation, rising costs, and joblessness created clusters of dissatisfied people who grumbled.
That the Treaty of Versailles, with its failure to reach an agreement on reparation and Article 231, (the War-Guilt Clause), would play a leading role in starting the second world war, only a few people considered possible. One of the few was Economist John Maynard Keyes, who thought the ordinances set down in theVersailles Treaty too harsh. Keyes considered that treaties overlooking the food, fuel, and finance would exacerbate the situation. 1 Keyes was right. For many Germans, to this day, the Treaty of Versailles broke their necks while humiliating and stripping them of their pride.
This year, 2015, that same wind blows, not in Germany but Greece; not because of war, but because of the economic collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the United States, in 2008; which led to the Great Recession. The corrosive nature of that recession has put Greece in the begging role and subjects them to the hands of non-compromising politicians, whose main concerns are securing their own country’s safety, instead of the welfare of their sister nation, Greece.2
Soup lines, homeless sleeping on streets, beggars pushing carts, begging, while the initial instigators of their presence crisis discuss how to repay a debt that began with the negligence to institute proper controls, just as the Treaty of Versailles neglected to devise a method that would ensure that the German people survive with their self-esteem intact.
The Greek debt must be paid, but does this mean humiliating the Greek working class who has no millions stashed away in bank accounts in Luxembourg or Switzerland or on the Cayman Islands.
The question should not be whether or not the Greeks pay their debt, but whether they will be allowed to pay it back with dignity and room to breathe. History has shown us repeatedly that when the feet of those who have much hold down the feet of those who have little rebellion comes. Will history repeat itself, once again?
Will we ever learn?