Monthly Archives: October 2014

Welcome to the New Wild West!



Acrid smoke rising

Broken glass underfoot

Machine guns watching

My children smile at fate.

5 October 1993  – Moscow, Russia


Expectations are elusive creatures often mimicking chameleons in the sand of our hopes and dreams.

I remember when we first broke the news to our children that we were moving to Russia. Claire embraced the opportunity with all the joy and hope an eight year old could muster calling it the “opportunity of lifetime.” Christopher at age eleven took the opposite view, openly weeping in deep grief at the loss of all he held dear as if every dream he’d owned  instantly transformed into a smashed picture on the floor of his life.

Claire expected the best. Christopher expected the worst. It was both.

The-October-3-RiotOpposite worlds collided on a bridge overlooking the burned out White House in the dawn of the first morning after the failed Coup attempt. The children’s smiles belie an uneasy calm just outside the camera’s eye as several dozen heavily armed Russian soldiers glare at me immortalizing the improbable moment.   This is, after all, the morning after the White House siege. People died here.

The crunch of broken glass underfoot in the uncanny silence stamped the sea change emerging in my mind.

We were holding on for dear life to our lofty dreams of the life we had known but thoughts at that moment on that day became a blur of “somewhere over the rainbow” expectations mixed with jarring realities of machine guns, tanks, broken glass, and charred landscapes. We felt like Dorothy came along side to give a most accurate summary.

 Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Say ‘goodbye’ to the insular cushions provided by our circles of seeming protection from harsh realities in life and instead feel the intensity at the danger and rawness of life in the new Wild West.

Hang on tight, kids.

We’re going for quite the roller coaster ride.

© Barbara LaTondresse – 5 October 1993 – all rights reserved



Quote and image  courtesy of:

Cold Choices



Seems like yesterday I emerged intact from a long, hard winter hibernation, opened the back door, and inhaled the beautiful fragrance of spring lilacs. Not today.

Today the leaves are falling, the pumpkins are ripe, and the apples are crisp. Folks in Minnesota are closing up the cabins, finding the down comforters, and buying the firewood. Instead of lilacs we smell bonfires.

Winter is just around the corner.

Fall is my favorite season. Not because winter is coming. I don’t like the thought of ice and snow and the deep freeze of it all. I like it because for one golden moment Time seems to stand still. It seems to say—

Sit with me one glorious hour and as you sit, think.

Drink in the dazzling beauties of the falling leaves and as you reflect on the glory and grandeur of the majesty of this radiance, as you drink it in, let it remind you to ponder what’s just ahead, around the corner.

Get ready. It’s a cue.

Put away the summer clothes. Get out the snow blower. Patch the cracks in the window frames.

Winter is coming.

Am I ready?



when all October stands

hush, morning

every tree beguiles

the leaf imprint

slow dawns

orange, pink, blue

crimson mercy of my soul


Sunshine floods

make the Day dawn less brief than it would be if you had taken that road

toward the east or south

the road not taken

so you can see

the pink, blue red grace and stay with it

sit with it

watch it bless

while it sets its feet

in the soul of your saved mind

and makes it



toward Narnia


© Barbara LaTondresse – 18 October 1999 – all rights reserved


Don’t Get Scared Now

3 October 1993 – Somewhere in the sky between Paris and Moscow.

don't get scared now“Don’t get scared now.”

Kevin McCallister and I have something in common. Both of us have faced fear.

3 October 1993. Our family was Russia-bound on a small Air France jet plane somewhere in the air between Paris and Moscow. America and everything we had known and loved in life was not even in the rear view mirror anymore. We had said our tearful goodbyes that morning. Home seemed light years away as the jet raced across the sky.

The losses weighed me down. The known was gone. In its place was only the new. The unfamiliar. The foreign. I was in a fog.

My family was peacefully sleeping in the three seats across the aisle from me. I couldn’t sleep so I became acquainted with the petite, attractive, thirtyish New York newspaper reporter seated next to me who had been in Paris to cover the farmer’s strike. Her job took her to hot spots in the world, she said. Since she spoke five languages including Russian fluently and had instincts as to how to get to the front of the action with stealth and ingenuity, she was often on her way to danger.

I had to ask the obvious, clearly ominous question: “Why are you going to Moscow?”

yeltsinShe told me of the dire predictions of bloody confrontation possible on Monday, October 4, the deadline Yeltsin gave the Parliamentary forces to leave the White House. She was on her way to cover Monday’s story, one she saw as an inevitable bloody battle. “If Yeltsin wins, Russia will probably be OK. If not, anarchy will break loose.”

The growing reality that we would be in Moscow on October 4 disturbed my thoughts as we traveled closer to the scene on our plane destined for the eye of the storm. It was like swallowing a huge wad of bubble gum that slowly made its way down to my stomach and then sat there growing into a heavy lump of clay I felt each time I moved.

You didn’t bring us here to die, did you, God?

The lead bubble gum grew in my stomach and I prayed for the Lord to give me peace. It’s one thing to put yourself in a dangerous situation. It’s quite another to also bring your children there.

Our eyes met. “God be with you, Liesl.” She didn’t respond. Lost in thought.

We landed with a rush downward and jarring brake thuds; touchdown. She gave me her phone number and told me to call her if we got into trouble.. She would report our story and help us. Somehow, that was not a comforting thought.

Liesl was one of the first off the plane. She disappeared into the crowd and didn’t turn back.

She’s a brave lady, I thought.

So am I.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hamerstein II

When you walk through a storm

Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk
You’ll never walk alone


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