Life is all about

learning.


In addition to attending 12 years of public schools, learning from books and actually graduating from; none can refuse to attend classes in this school and not one person can graduate from; it is called
the "School of Hard Knocks," and is known as "life"

What are Outliers?

I heard the word “outliers” on an English TV series that took place in the mid to late 1700s. New words are heard by people and many can get the general idea of the meaning by the way they were used in the sentence. I have grown fond of the words that I had never heard. The meaning of the words seems to change with the passing of time; the same as it does in our day. The archaic use of the words seems romantic to my ears and so after I find out the meaning for surety, I try to use them in sentences mixed with todays language.

Some people look at me as if they heard something strange but familiar, and wonder if this is a word they should know. There are many words that are archaic in these types of shows and I love them. I keep a record of the ones that I have heard and try to use them in my writing. I often wonder why the words have changed as I think that the older meaning of the words are far more accurate than today’s meanings of those words that have been changed. Take for instance, gay. Do you remember when gay meant happy, a light hearted mood, ecstatic but now it has changed into something that is a big disappointment to those of us that grew up in the days of being carefree and gay.

Outliers is a word that while it has changed a little to fit mathematical equations, still stands with the same meaning from the 1700s. Some synonyms of outliers are deviated, anomaly, oddity, abnormality, unconformity, departure, and any other word that means something that stands apart from the rest of society, or a person or group who do not conform with accepted norms or rules.

I see outliers as having not a single group of people but many groups. Hence the word outliers and this particular group within the group of outliers are thieves. They are a group of people who do vile things. They steal hearts and leave still others broken hearted and broke with debt that must be paid by someone, and it is always the poor person with a broken heart. Males and females alike have left an invisible trail of tears while the scammers line their pockets with money.

Perhaps there were five others at the same time being taken for all their money too or maybe it was fifty others. Does it really matter? Are the acts of these people any less despicable because there may or may not have been others? Does it matter if they dress nicely or are clean shaven and have every hair in place? Does it matter if they are polite or if they are just learning how, or are good at what they do? No, they still do vile things with intention.

In any case, the next story is about a particular group of outliers and far more than just a shady bunch they are.

Outliers

This is an article I wrote because he always said that I could write and he was my biggest fan. He called me one morning and could hardly think of what to say. I blew his mind when he read the first story that turned out to be a series of articles where he was the man to the rescue. He seemed to genuinely love my writings and I did believe him, but now I wonder about that too. He did make a fool of me, and I do accept responsibility for that. Now I wish that he was forced to take responsibility for his actions. I know that he was not only lying and stealing from me, but he was working on others he was scamming and probably still is. He doesn’t care for me or any of the others either. He doesn’t care what your health or your financial state is or what you have given up to send him money.

This is only one of the thousands of stories of the ones that have been scammed.

There really is nothing about belonging to this particular group of outliers that is worth mentioning or bragging about except for the fact that they are thieves in the vilest sense of the word. I must add my voice to the growing number of men and women who have unwittingly supported this particular group of outliers. The outliers within this group are vicious in light of their ability to hook women so they can convince these women of their faithful and undying love in the shortest possible amount of time.


My own curiosity led me into the troubled waters with one who has mastered the art of scamming. This is where my own lack of self-worth snapped shut the trap that has held me captive for two years while he has fed me continuously a special diet mixed with lies and poisonous words of love. Even now I struggle to break free from this life of poison that is filled with incredibly soft-spoken words of love. This continuous diet of love and lies puts a person in a dilemma. While these opposing views did trouble me, he did a lot of good for me emotionally. Hence the dilemma.


It began on Instagram. It wasn’t long at all when he contacted me with some friendly words which were actually a welcome hook that he cast out to catch widows from that vast ocean of women who are divorced or widowed, and it was me who took the bait this time. I say this time because there is no way he is an amateur but this man has cast his hook plenty of times before. For he is a polished criminal who has taken plenty of time to study people, especially women. He has learned how to listen to them, read them very carefully, and then write his own ticket for his desired wages.


He and hundreds of others like him know just from listening to what is said what women want and need to hear. It appeared to me that he knew me better than many people who have known me for years. He knew exactly what I needed to hear, and then he simply sweetened my life with his poisonous words and I was his. Even though I put my trust in him, I had nagging doubts about him being real from the beginning. I also listened intently to each thing he said, and many of the things he told me I checked out myself. I caught him in several lies but made excuses for him and told myself that he must have meant or said something different. With his words of love I became disoriented beyond the point of being able to distinguish the truth from the lies and I could not say with any certainty which of his words were true, or which of his words were false. Yet I listened intently to what he said too and gained as much knowledge of him as he did of me.


Any woman who has been scammed can probably identify and acknowledge some of the same feelings whether they voice it or not. "He just swept me off of my feet. He picked me up out of the deep black hole I had seen before, he dusted me off, he stood me on my feet, and then on a pedestal and convincingly offered me exclusive devotion, and undying love for an eternity. He built me up and he told me things I needed to hear. He told me I was beautiful, intelligent, valuable, and to be honored. He brought me hope, self-confidence, knowledge and understanding of myself. He made me believe that I was worthy of being loved, a woman whose life mattered." What woman would not fall in love with a man that made her feel so special? I personally am not ashamed of how I basked in those badly needed words of love at a time that I needed them. (The dilemma)


This is a two-edged sword to say the least. Life plays tug of war with our hearts. Elation is in one direction and disappointment in the other. Trying to recover from this heart-breaking trauma we feel as if it is two steps forward (he stole from me)) and back three (but he loves me) and it continues until we finally see them for what they really are. They are vile thieves who have no conscience.


They are COWARDS in every sense of the word and YES I said cowards. They hide behind those poisonous words of love and do not even deny what you accuse them of. They are evasive when you ask them questions while they try to change the subject. When they do decide to give an answer because you keep asking until they do give an answer which is vague. Their words are empty leaving your questions unanswered which just adds insult to injury. Then they wonder why you don’t trust them and they even act indignant at any suggestion that they’ve not been anything but honest with you.


He did sweep me off my feet and that was no secret; for my love for him was obvious to those few that knew about him. He has a thick accent and was supposed to have been born in the US but he said that his accent was because his family lived in Switzerland for the first ten years of his life. I kept on listening to the things he said, and when I found something a little out of the ordinary such as strange wording of his sentences, things he didn’t know about the states, things that didn’t sound quite right, or things I knew were an out-right lie I put them either in my journal or wrote a story that he would never see, but they were always in the back of my mind. Each time we have had a fight, it’s been the same one. I believe he is scamming me. I believed it yesterday, I believe it today, and I will still believe it tomorrow. You may wonder if I knew these things, why did I stay so long? (For two years and four months) And why did I let him rob me of so much? ($25,103)


It was his words filled with poison. It was his wonderful words I’ve never heard coming from any man and directed at me before not even from my late husband of thirty years. His words are pure poison. Any woman who has been taken in the same way will probably say the same thing. "His words have never been spoken to me before and in such a manner. They made me feel good, better than I've ever felt. They gave me confidence in myself that I was a person that was loveable. I wasn’t just an old lady, he made me feel alive and young again he made me feel as if I were a valuable woman."


I am most to be pitied that I needed such a man to make me see worth in myself. He made me feel good and robbed me while he was doing that.


It’s OK. He was right when he told me that I let him make me fall in love with him and he was right when he said that I also gave him permission to sweep me off my feet, lest he wouldn’t have been able to so. He wasn’t holding a gun to my head. In a way he is right, but I do have to say that he knew I would be easy to fool.


For some unknown reason I believe that in some ways he did look out and protect me from some things, but I do see through those ploys too. While he did protect me from certain things, each one of them served his own selfish purpose of making his desired wages.

I don’t think that he realized exactly how good we were for each other. In some ways my writing built him up in ways that he needed too. I only let him push me so far and then I would push back. He knew how far he could push me and he stopped immediately and backed off. He was always respectful but hated to hear me cry. We never hung up on each other no matter how bad the fight got. We both gained something from this relationship We both grew some. (the dilemma)


He wanted us to talk because he knew something was wrong, he always knew. When we began to talk, it all came out again. Everything I had been thinking about for the past couple of years. It had been building up inside and again I could no longer keep silent. I said a lot of things. I told him that his accent was Nigerian, (they can't pronounce cucumber or rooster), and that he lives there. I reminded him that I’ve had shadows of doubt that nagged at me almost all the time. It’s all coming back to me. The very first fight we had was because of me feeling he was scamming me. I believe this was the 5th fight we’ve had about this. I told him I no longer believed his stories. I said a lot of things; at least this time I said them to him, not on the internet. The words I spoke to him were the truth and I’m truly not sorry I said them because it disheartens me that I am still caught within the dilemma.


I get angry at myself for being tangled within this mess where common sense and feelings happen to be the very dilemma that all their victims suffer. While I suspected all along that he was stealing from me I did feel that it was only money that he took from me; Even as I am writing this, my mind is telling me that he just takes people’s money, cares nothing for them, feels no shame and will show no remorse when he is caught.


I really don't owe him a thing and neither do you. He or she doesn't care for you or about you in any way. Not only do scammers not care about you, but they do not care how you get the money. They just want you to keep on sending it. They are good at what they do and what is it that they do? They make women fall in love with them and shortly begin to ask money from them through many excuses. I did and I still do believe that cares for me in some way and could not fake it but they can and do, and that is something I know in my heart because I can act convincingly too, I’ve done it many times in my past. Even common sense has continually told me that if I can act convincingly so can others and many do.

Post Script middle of Feb, 2021


Well, I am no longer in that dilemma for I have walked away clean and free of him. I have my dignity, my sanity and I may be broke, but not broken-hearted.

Butterflies are Vicious

As I was reviewing a video that I had taken about 10 years ago at the butterfly museum in Branson, MO, something was wrong inside that one video, but I couldn’t see what it was yet but, something bothered me about that video. I put it away when I was tired of looking at it and decided that I must have been imagining that something was wrong.


The next day I took it out again and began to look again. When I couldn’t decide if there was something wrong or not I grew weary of looking at it again, and put it away, yet it still bothered me. I wanted to look at it real closely this time because I know I saw something that was out of place in that video and I was going to find it this time. I slowed the video down to a crawl. There it was, something appeared that didn’t look like it belonged in those frames. Now I know I had found something.


I put the video on the computer into an editing program and began looking frame by frame and when I found it, I stopped and stared at it and couldn’t figure out what it was. I took me a while to figure it out….


In one of these photos there is something that doesn’t look like it belongs, it looks totally out of place. When you find it, try to figure it out. What is this thing? Where does it belong? How many butterflies are there in that picture?


I have other shots that show butterflies and there are sign of brutality in there too. Find the shot that shows the viciousness and I will stick on another shot that shows the answer as to what that thing is, how many butterflies there are in the shot.


After you find the answers, look at the other butterflies and notice where the signs are in those shots. These are very revealing as to butterflies temperament.


Picture This

I could see that there was a very thin stream of blue threading that ran through the bright green dress she was wearing. I could see that not many would try to match a blue hat with this dress; but strangely the blue hat brought out the blue threading very nicely. As I watched her walk confidently past me I notice that she was smiling and nodding at every passerby. I watched that confident figure wearing the bright green dress and blue hat enter into that new upscale shop on the corner and I admitted to myself I knew she had class when she walked past me! What a combination to wear yet she did it. While I was waiting for the bus to arrive, I watched for her to exit the shop with a package or two but she didn't.


I was curious as to what this mysterious woman who wore this bright green dress with one streak of blue threading and did I see that right; with a blue hat? The blue hat with the mustard yellow accent scarf wrapped around the hat not just anyone could pass off as stylish but she had the type of bubbly personality that could pull it off as high fashion. Since I was still waiting, I thought that I would take the short walk to the corner and see if she was still in there.


If I missed the bus I knew that there would be another arriving soon so I took the walk; by now I didn’t care if I missed the bus. Lo and behold; I should have guessed it by her smiling eyes and friendly face that she was the proprietor of this new upscale shop. I decided that I needed a new outfit and on my way home this afternoon I’m going to stop by there. I wondered what colors she would dress me in; and all afternoon I daydreamed about this interaction that was going to take place. I imagined watching her while she searched my face for the personality she saw there in my eyes and what colors she would see me in.


I got off the bus a block before and walked to the shop. As I entered the upscale shop the mysterious woman who matched the unmatchable outfit watched me walk by and said that she would be right with me. The woman handed a lady back some change and turned toward me. She asked me what she could help me with. Ah-ha, I knew she would ask me that. I told her I needed a new outfit for a dance my husband and I were going to that night but I wasn’t sure what to get. As her eyes searched my face to get a feel for my personality, she asked a few questions. When I answered two questions she continued talking as she held up different outfits to match my face and hair. She grabbed an age appropriate dress and asked me to try it on. When I came out of the dressing room, she smiled with approval of her choice for me. She handed me a hat and said to try that on. I did and when I looked in the mirror I saw something I never would have put on and it looked strangely unique yet fashionable on me. She matched the unmatchable again. Going out the door with my package she assured me that my husband would just love it. She was right; my husband did love me in my new outfit, a blue dress with a bright green hat. Who would have thought?

Just Imagine


Lately I was asked to imagine that I was a house. In detail, tell what kind of house I would be and why. This is what I came up with. I have not been asked that kind of question in a very long time. It was fun to use my imagination. What kind of house would you be?



I am a three level, five bedroom house boasting a large master suite with a sitting area, full bath with double sinks, large shower having a built in bench; appealing three sided body shower jets and hand held shower head, and shows off a relaxing jetted tub for two, and large walk-in closet on the first floor.


I love to show a formal living room with a picture window to let in the natural light while I visit with friends, plus a formal dining room which also has a picture window and a beautiful glass chandelier to light up the room and serve my guests. Still on the main level I also love to highlight my open floor plan that includes an eat-in kitchen with plenty of counter space, lots of cabinets for all my kitchen appliances, with an adequate butler’s pantry, the den or family room and of course I have a powder room, a private office, and one surprise to be announced. On the second level I have three more bedrooms and a full bath. Bedrooms on the second floor are all at least 14x14 with two windows and a skylight in each room, this level also has a secret.


The fifth bedroom is another master suite in my lower level walk-out. Also on this level is a laundry room with plenty of space for a washer and dryer, a utility sink, a table for folding clothes, cabinets for storing laundry products, a rack for hanging clothes, and an ironing board that folds into the wall. This is where the surprise ends; right here in the corner is the laundry chute for family members to conveniently toss dirty laundry into from each level and it ends in this high traffic major lower level room. Once the laundry is clean, ironed and folded it is loaded into the dumbwaiter and the elevator stops at each floor. When the waiter is empty of the laundry of the first stop, the person that empties the waiter pushes the button to the next floor. When the dumbwaiter is empty, the last person sends it back down to the laundry room.


The lower level also holds an exercise room with equipment. A TV/activity room occupies some of the space along with another 1/2 bath. I also house three large closets each for storing either extra canned goods, cleaning products, or paper goods. A huge deck flows just outside the eat-in kitchen and I love to show off my finesse by giving guests a smooth stone path to the fenced-in swimming pool area. I also sport a small cottage in the pool area with a full bath, two dressing rooms, and a snack bar.


I am not a house, I’m a home. I have finesse because that is the way my personal architect designed and built me himself. I am designed with a delicate mix of formal and informal. He is considerate; so with me in his heart and mind I was built for absolute comfort and the ability to age gracefully. He gave great thought as to how I could function and my abilities. So, to make a long story short, I am a show-off with my own architect and would be a two-story home with a walkout basement, a laundry chute with a dumbwaiter in the laundry room, and a showy display of a swimming area.


Sing


Every time I sing there is an earthquake; I’ve seen the birds disappear, the trees shiver, and people cover their ears with a look of terror in their eyes. I don't understand why an earthquake happens when I sing. No matter, I love music.

A song can make you feel as if you are floating on a cloud but it could also make you feel as if your heart is about to break. Sometimes songs can make you feel empowered, as if you can accomplish anything. Sometimes a song can just plain make you feel sad.


Now I have heard the expression, "...couldn't carry a tune in a bucket." I’ve always wondered what that meant. Oh well, it doesn't matter. When I was in grade school I sang in the chorus in school, and I sang in the church choir when I was in grade school too. One time I even sang a solo in church. I was too soft, so the choir director motioned for me to sing louder. I thought I was doing great.


The choir director kept motioning me to sing louder. There must have been another earthquake for the louder I sang, the more people in the church began to stir. At the end of my solo, I was singing so proudly, and I ended with a smile from ear to ear. When I looked up from my music sheet and took a peek around the corner of the organ; I saw that all the seats in the church were empty. Then I looked over at the door where the minister was holding the door open for the choir director; and she was galloping out the door. It must be another earthquake I thought to myself. When I got outside, everyone was standing there just looking horrified and staring at me. I just had to ask; “What; was it something I said?”

Melancholy


I like the word melancholy in place of words such as, sadness, dejected, gloomy, miserable, glum, despondent, and unhappy. These and other words may be listed in one of the thesauruses that help us to use different words that have similar meanings; therefore making our writing sound a little more intelligent and build our vocabulary. When I write a sentence using the word melancholy, I don’t feel gloomy, dejected or despondent.


Sometimes we use a word in a sentence that we believe we know the meaning of, and we may be using the word correctly and have that exact meaning in mind. Have you ever picked up a dictionary in addition to the thesaurus? There are many times, we may find the word that fits the exact feeling behind the word that author chose to use.

A-round About Zing


The word today is “zing.” Take away the obvious synonyms which are repetitive of the synonyms of “zing” and these are “vitality”, “energy”, “vigor”, “verve”, “animation”, “vivacity”, and “vivaciousness” which is just another form of the word “vivacity”. Take these away and let’s see what is left of the synonyms of zing after the repetitive synonyms of zing have been eliminated.


First; let’s salvage some of the synonyms of zing which are not repeated and they are “dynamism” which we will talk about later. (Remember we took away the repetitive synonyms that just repeat the same words to describe the word ZING) and “punch” is the other non-repetitive synonym. With that out of the way, let’s take one of the repetitive synonyms which I eliminated but now I’m going to give the repetitive synonym “vitality” back to this lesson which also has its’ own repetitive synonyms and these are “liveliness”, “energy”, “vivacity”, “vigor”, “animation”, and “verve”.


Along with the repetitive synonyms of “vitality” the non-repetitive synonyms include but are not limited to “strength”, “life”, “get-up-and-go”, “buoyance”, “joie de vivre”, (which by the way means “joy of living”. It’s French) The word “dynamism” is not repetitive as a synonym of zing, but I repeated it just to give the meaning of it and that is “vigorously active, forceful, and energizing quality”, especially as the hallmark of somebody’s personality or approach to a task. “Punch” is a non-repetitive synonym of zing and I believe that it is self-explanatory.


Now, to continue with the synonyms of “zing”; another repetitive synonym is the synonym “vivacity”. If you’ll try and remember that “vivacity” and “vivaciousness” I crossed off entirely since “vivaciousness” is a repetitive synonym of the word “zing” and is also repetitive because “vivaciousness”, if you’ll remember, is only another form of the word “vivacity”. But since you mentioned it, its’ repetitive synonyms are “liveliness”, “animation”, “verve”, “energy”, “vivaciousness”, and “vitality”. Did anyone get the meaning of “verve”?


The unrepeated synonyms of “vivacity” which I shouldn’t even have in here since “vivacity” and “vivaciousness” are just different tenses of the same word and the unrepeated synonyms of “vivacity” are: “high-spiritedness”, “exuberance”, “cheerfulness”, “live”, “chirpiness”, and “sparkle”. I just love the words, “exuberance” and “chirpiness” don’t you?


Hang in there we are almost done with this lesson. Now, that only leaves one non-repetitive synonym of “zing” and that is the word “dynamism” and this only has 3 synonyms repeated under it. Those words are, “vitality”, “vigor” and “energy”. The ones that are not repeated synonyms I especially love and those synonyms are “zip”, “drive”, and “enthusiasm” and get this; to round it all off the last synonym is “ZING”.


Wasn't that just A-Round about Zing?

Mighty


The first thing people might say when they hear the word "mighty" is the mighty Oak tree. It is beautiful, huge, and strong. This is probably the first thing people think of when they hear the word mighty.


Mighty can be a complicated word. For instance, if I said that superman was a mighty man who had great strength beyond that of any other person it would be a reality of TV, someone’s imagination. Isn’t that true for all the youngsters who watch the cartoons and shows that have been on? This is their view of the word “mighty.”


Others may think of Santa Clause as a mighty person that is real. He must be real because he delivers gifts all over the world in one night. I would agree that if any person could do that in just one night he would be a mighty person. He would be mighty even if forgot one house. He would be mighty because he knew all the children, what they wanted, and where they live. Children idolize him and make him into a hero.


Enormous could refer to a statue. Take the Lincoln Memorial, which is huge. No man could lift it by himself, yet people come from miles just to see the Lincoln Memorial and admire it. Perhaps it reminds them of all the things that President Lincoln accomplished during his time of the presidency. It could be that they came to reflect his entire life. From the poor farmer family and rose to the presidency. Those deeds he did in real life may make Abraham Lincoln a hero to some and others may have tried to follow his pattern, his personality, his step into politics. Intellectually he was a mighty man.


I actually shudder to think of the definitions I have read in one dictionary. I can picture the children running out the door screaming all the way home to be comforted by their mother.


When I hear the word mighty I always think of only one personage that I would ever consider huge, gigantic, unmovable, unstoppable, tremendous in power, but is so gentle and lovable that everyone man woman and child looks up to Him, worships Him, hopes in Him, and prays to Him. His title is God, but more than 20 million know him by His own personal name, “Jehovah.”

Lives Are a Saga


Birth is a constant and death is a constant. These two constants happen in every one’s life. As soon as birth takes place that constant has ended. Now it becomes intermittent and irregular. When that part ends, then the other constant is in place, death.


Intermittent and irregular things happen to all of us between the constants of birth and death and that is called life. There have been many things that have happened to all of us. Many of them were good, and those are the memories that should be the only things in the forefront of our minds. Unfortunately, there were also the many tragedies that happen in all of our lives and people think they should just forget them; as it were, out of sight out of mind.


Wouldn’t that be nice if they were wrapped in neat little packages of good and bad? If that were the case then life would be good. The intermittent cycles of life would be in neat and self-contained packs. Life isn’t like that though. The bad things in life are not ever wrapped in neat little packages. Unfortunately, the bad always contaminates the good and the owner spends a lifetime trying to clean up the contamination.


That is what makes everyone’s life a saga. Each of us could write a story about our own lives. They would all be different, very interesting, and no two stories would end the same. At the same time, that other constant is the end of the line for everyone, and isn’t that the end of everyone’s story?

Lurch


There was a time I was shy and it was in the childhood years. The feelings within me were too much for me to bear alone, but alone I did bear them. I was only five or six years old. It’s truly strange that they were so severe that I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. I wanted to die but I didn’t know how to do that. If I could just disappear, I would have been happy. I never could do that either.


Therefore, I grew up despite my inadequacies. Along the way, there were far too many bumps, I thought. When I grew up and look back at my child hood there were some good times, and there were a few times that I did shine in my own right. Remembering an assignment that we had to do on the spur of the moment, the teacher asked us all how we would act if we found a mouse in our slipper when we got out of bed. The teacher called on each of us in no particular order. She usually called on me last and this time was no different. Each student did nothing but yawned, stretched, put their slippers on, ran and screamed. I am so glad that I was last because I thought the way they were all doing the same thing was stupid.


When finally my turn came around I yawned too, but I also wiped the sleep from my eyes, stretched, and yawned again. I then picked up one slipper put it on and put my foot back on the floor. I then slipped my other foot into the other slipper made a puzzled face wiggled my foot, and then I picked up my slipper, looked in it shook it then screamed and threw it on the floor. My teacher applauded me and said that what I did would happen in a real situation. You had to look to see what it was first. She praised me in front of the class. I did shine inside and out.


This class was on public speaking and I loved it. Another time I shimmered was on an assignment of comedy. We were all to write on a funny way something was invented. I told my dad I was stuck and didn’t know what to write about. My dad said he had an idea. I could write on how the twist was invented. I asked what he meant he said maybe an ice cube had somehow fallen down into a ladies dress. I thought about that and since it was freezing cold while it was melting, she turned one way and then other just trying to get the ice cube out of her dress. It finally fell out but not before the kids started doing this new dance.


They started calling it the twist and from now on, the twist has been a big hit.

The other kids in the class loved it and the teacher was howling. Of course, I acted like what she might be doing. All were laughing so much. I walked to my seat and had to pass the teacher. I remember her asking me if I had thought of that myself. I had to admit that my dad came up with the idea, but I wrote the story. She had an A in her book, but she marked it down to a B-. I still gleamed that day, so there was another shimmer in my life. I’m sure there were other times I sparkled too. I just can’t think of them right now.


Somehow as time went on, I grew from a shy child that could hardly speak above a whisper, to a woman who could voice her opinion in a loving way. It was time, circumstances, and effort that brought me out of my shell and blossom into a writer that is able, as are many others, to put down thoughts that are understood and heartfelt.

The flying fork


When my step dad came into the picture, I was about 11 years old. There were five of us kids, four girls and one boy. My older sister was eight years older than I was and she had just left home the year before when she turned 18. She joined the W.A.C.S to get out and away from home.


Jack asked us if he could marry our mom which I was very impressed with and the four of us said yes even though my brother didn't fall in love with him like the rest of us did. He came from money, but drank it all in his early years. He was broke and just out of jail when he met my mom. They met at an AA meeting and he fell in love with her.


We weren't sure what to call him after they married 2 months later. Our new stepfather thought that it would be appropriate to call him daddy-Jack since our biological father was still alive and had visiting rights. It wasn't long before I dropped the Jack and just called him daddy. Not long after that my sisters did the same, but my brother just always called him Jack. Ronnie only approved of them marrying after he observed how well he treated mom and how happy she was now.


Ronnie was older and remembers the fights, the screaming, the pushing and shoving that went on between my father and mother. I was only six when they separated and remember some fighting, but he remembered a lot more. The house was now quiet with the only fighting that went on was between us kids which were quite normal.


Since my daddy had money when he was a kid, he was raised with impeccable manners. We on the other hand, were very inept and crude in ours. His manners followed Emily Post, and ours was sort of fashioned after the three stooges. He was not too impressed the way we reached in front of everyone to get what we wanted. He just watched us for a while and didn't say anything.


One day came along that he could no longer stand it. He could no longer bite his tongue even though he wanted to give us time to adjust.to him being a part of our family. He talked about what was polite and not polite and started with the things that bothered him the most. I guess that chewing with our mouth open and talking with food in our mouths was the first thing he tackled. The correction came by way of verbal reminders. It didn't take long to get these bad habits almost all under control when I got a big surprise one day.


I reached for the pot roast which was sitting in front of my sister who was sitting next to me at the dinner table. When I reached for the dish, I got stabbed with a fork. Well, that was a strange thing to do and it shocked me, and don't even mention the pain on the back of my hand. I pulled my hand back and glared at daddy-Jack. I couldn't help but wonder why he just did that. The twins started to laugh.


I just glared at him. He finally asked me if I knew why he did that. I said "NO" with tears in my eyes. He said that Emily Post, the leading authority on manners, says that reaching in front of someone is very bad manners. I asked "How else can I get it without picking the dish up myself?" He then said these foreign words to me that I will never forget. He said, "You ask someone to pass the 'whatever it is you want'" "From now on if anybody forgets to do that, the fork will be on the move again."


The only thing I could think to say as I rubbed the back of my hand, with tears still in my eyes was,” Okay Jack, next time I will ask someone to pass me the 'whatever.'" I never got stuck in the back of my hand again, and soon after started calling him daddy once again.


He was a wonderful father to us and thought of us as his own children. We were his family and we came first. He always told his secretary that if one of his family members’ calls and wants to talk to him he told her to always put the call through to him even if he was in a meeting. I remember many times coming home from school and if he was there, we'd always go into his study and talk. I couldn't talk to my mother, but I could always talk to my daddy and tell him anything because he understood, he didn't judge me, and he just listened.


I was forever worrying that the man I thought of as my father would die not knowing how much I really loved him. On his dying bed, he called me to come close he wanted to talk to me. When I leaned over, he begged me not to ever forget him. I started to cry and told him I was always afraid he would die without knowing how much I loved him. We both cried and laughed at the same time as I told him that of course I wouldn't forget him as long as I was alive. That was the last time I saw him, he died the next day before I could get back to the hospital.


I now think fondly of the fork that stabbed the back of my hand. I cried for weeks when daddy died and the flying fork will forever remain a memory.

Underestimate

Why would you want to do that? I underestimated myself all the time until I took a good look at the word and then a good look at myself. Using the thesaurus, I found the first word listed was "under value" I didn't know myself at all. Here I was plugging along and just going through the motions of life. I never stopped to think that I had any value at all. Until I got off “my little pity pot" and took an honest look at myself;


1. Yes, I had faults, so does every one else

2. I just had no energy and I didn't care if I made a difference in anybody else's life

3. I've never felt I was worth anything at all. OK I told myself..


It's time to get off the pity pot and get some positive juices going. The reasons above are now things of the past. First of all, I am a person who is a giving person, I love people and it makes me happy to give to others. I know that I make them happy because they always tell me how glad they are when I stopped in and visit them, or bring them something to eat when they're sick.

Then there are all those years that I contributed to society by working, paying taxes then there is the fact that I have talent in some things. I love photography, and I have a knack for writing. It doesn't matter, stories, diaries, resumes, etc. I found that when I looked at life through the eyes of an objective person, I have a lot of worth.


So, let's all get off of our "little pity pots" and take a good look at ourselves. I will never underestimate myself again and I bet you won't either.