What ho, Jeeves!

What a week it’s been already! Between the broken truck battery and the sewer alarm and the centipede and the tarantula and the overflowing gas tank and…well, allow me to transition to the good stuff. I had a wonderful bike ride down the River Trail on Sunday afternoon, from the Big Dam Bridge area to downtown LR. Made it 14.17 miles and promptly set myself down on the asphalt in the shade of my poor sun-beaten Jeeves (the ’96 Maxima).

Due to broken truck, I’ve had some very nice times with mom in the car, taking her to and from work. This means going to bed later and getting up earlier, but it’s been nice to decompress together after work. Also, because I was at my work an hour early this morning I took a pleasant walk over to the Subway in Medical Towers 1, got a delicioscious breakfast-sandwich-related food-product, chatted with the cheery manager, walked back to the clinic and ate it while doing my Bible reading.

It was highly entertaining to sit on the couch in the corner of the break room and surprise other early people out of their very wits as they came in for coffee.

I am also about 6 chapters into a delightful book: An Army in Skirts by Frances DeBra Brown. She was in the WAC during WWII; she became a draftsman and a three stripe sergeant, even helping to draft the plans for D-Day! The book is a collection of her letters home throughout the war, including many sketches and photos. So far, as I read it, she is a feisty and humorous young woman who believes firmly that her soul is not her own, therefore that even though the work and lifestyle are difficult she “will make a good job of it.” Mrs. Brown currently lives in Mississippi…she’s in her 90s and wrote the book fifteen years ago, published in 2008. I recommend it!

This weekend is my mom’s birthday (we’re climbing Pinnacle), the IFO picnic, Share ‘n Swap, a play at Becca’s school, and somewhere in the midst of all that I hope to make time to clean the car and show  it to a potential buyer. Oh, and clean my room and bathroom. Some things shouldn’t be put off for too long, hehe . . .

Another thing: I’ve discovered that having Firefly and Monty Python soundboards on one’s phone is simultaneously hugely entertaining and positively dangerous.

I hope you folks (all two of you) are having pleasantly eventful weeks!

There is a shocking overabundance of adverbs in this post.

Peace, love, and Mal’s brown jacket,




In honor of 9/11 

(first posted in 2010)

Tuesday night, I watched a half hour of “Inside 9/11”.  Aside from the much-needed reminders provided by the footage itself, the program brought back my own memories of 9/11/2001.

Age 16, I was at home that morning getting ready for a Geometry class at the local community college. I saw my dad from across the living room, standing with his hand over his mouth and  looking at the small office television. He had us turn on the main tv, but after a few minutes of watching smoke billow from the Towers, I had to tear myself away and go to class. Based on the time difference, I believe what we saw was not live, but either way I did not know until returning after class that the towers had also fallen, or that two other planes had been hijacked and crashed. We kept FoxNews on almost continually over the next few days, feeling the hope for survivors in the rubble fade with every hour that passed.

Back to the program two nights ago…I’d like to share with you two sections of it that were deeply moving. Reminders that, however maimed, the image of God in mankind is still powerfully in place.
I expected interviews with survivors, of course. I did NOT expect to hear from survivors who were on the same floor of the WTC as the jet impact site.  I didn’t think anyone from the immediate vicinity could have survived.  A man named Stanley had walked out of his office to send a fax; he felt and heard the impact, and saw the wing of the jet slice through his office down the hall. Later, his skin blackened with smoke and his body half-buried in rubble, he was pounding on a solid surface in front of him and shouting for help. Brian, a guy on the floor above which was collapsing down toward Stanley’s floor, heard him. When he got to where he heard the voice better, he talked Stanley through getting himself out from under the rubble…but in order to actually help him out, Stanley had to get  up to him. There was nothing on which to climb, so the only thing for it was to jump. Below is their account of the words that passed between them:

Brian: “You’ll have to jump!”
Stanley: “I think it’s too high.”
Brian: “You can do it!”
Stanley: “I don’t think so.”
Brian: “You must do this! Think about your family! You must!”

Brian, in interview: “I had never met this man but he was the only voice I could hear above the roars of the fire, and I felt this immense urgency to get him out.”
Stanley jumped twice, and on the second jump Brian managed to lean down far enough to grab him under one arm, get a grip and pull him up.
Stanley, in interview: “It was far too high for me to jump, and far too low for him to lean. But he kept saying “You must! You must!” So I did. He pulled me up onto him, and there I was on top of this guy who had saved me. I grabbed his head and kissed it.”
Brian, in interview: “He kissed my head and I was like, ‘I’m Brian!’  He said, ‘I’m Stanley.’   I said, ‘Well Stanley, let’s get out of here!'”

Second story: 

Loui Lesci, in his 60’s I think, was the most humble and articulate man being interviewed.  He described how he was huddled in an office near the impact floor with a dozen others. With extreme humility, almost as though he were ashamed of himself for hiding, he spoke of a voice he heard calling out along the hall for survivors–“Is there anyone alive here?!!”  He found out later that this young man had been going down floor by floor, finding survivors among the dead, then directing and even carrying them to Stairwell C, the only stairwell not in flames.  Loui Lesci and his fellows had just opened a window to relieve their lungs  from the acrid black smoke pouring into the room, only to be burned by tiny bits of hot metal blowing in from the outside. At the sound of the voice, Loui shouted back that there were about a dozen people with him. “Come with me!” the voice said.  Loui recounts:

“We just followed. We thought we were dead anyway. But here comes this guy, so that’s what you do, you follow. I don’t know, I guess that’s the difference between heroes and guys like me. I don’t know what makes a hero. Maybe it’s one person who is just so scared and so frightened, that he hits a point where he says ‘Alright, this is gonna happen to me but there’s no way I’m going to let it happen to anybody else‘.  He took us to the stairwell and we started to make our way down.  We’re going down, and right next to us these firemen are going up. One of them passed me and looked right into my eyes as I looked into his. His face was set, he was climbing the stairs fast as he could. And I thought, There he goes, he has no idea what kind of hell he’s running up to but he’s not missing a god—- step. I know exactly where I’m going, and I’m stumbling I just thought that was . . . magnificent.”

Hear Here…

Let us draw Twain’s “curtain of charity” over the amount of time that has passed since my last post.

Some things have changed around here: Becca has moved home, Mom is working as an LPN again, Dad is now a Farmer’s Insurance agent (call him!), and somehow summer is almost over. There is one tree in our neighborhood that is a vivid yellow, and bits of red have popped up in a few spots. I can hardly wait for the fall colors to really come out!

Last night when I got home, I looked up and saw so many more stars than usual. The moon is waning right now but I didn’t realize it was already getting dark enough to see so much! The stars always remind me of Shakespeare’s description in “The Merchant of Venice”:

“Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There is not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings.
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.”