Category Archives: Stories

Reunion

Where did he go?

Three hours had passed since my dear husband, Andre,  left the house to keep an appointment with our family doctor. The appointment actually was for me but I was having a difficult moment and couldn’t walk so he went without me to get the doc’s signature on paperwork to facilitate a refund of my Delta air ticket thru trip insurance.

I was reaching for my phone to call him when, out of the blue, our son came in the front door. “Mom. Dad asked me to tell you in person that he  was taken by ambulance to the Methodist Hospital ER with a kidney stone attack. He’s there to take a cat scan and get morphine for the pain.”

My husband was in excruciating pain in the Methodist ER. The words echoed in my muddled brain.

I was thankful that my dear son told me in person and was here to help and at the same time I was in shock.  He promised he’d check back as soon as he knew anything, gave me a kiss, and left.

The house got very quiet, like the eerie calm that precedes an intense thunderstorm. I called Methodist Hospital, said I was trying to locate my husband, and asked the lady if they had admitted person by the name of ‘André LaTondresse’.

I could tell by her tone she thought it odd that I didn’t know these things but she, nevertheless, looked up his name and she found him listed in the ER, Room 9. I suppose she was trying to say that’s where I could find him if I came right over.

Pain mingles with foreboding once again as this day brings new trials on top of the old, the preceding ones in a pattern resembling the layers of an archeological dig.

Suddenly, in the midst of this most recent of quiet times when I’m asking, ‘Where are you, God?’, the front door bursts open and a tired, haggard, and somewhat ashen Andre plops into the nearly chair, looks at me, sighs, and says, “I’m home!”

Barbara LaTondresse
11 October 2017

 

 

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A Dark and Stormy Night

It takes a rare breed to live in this Far Side of life where expectations clash often with the harshest of realities. I know.

Take last night for example. It was a seemingly ordinary end to the day: the hubs and me watching WCCO 10 O’clock News in bed. But just as the ‘CCO man began telling us our weather, Andre rose quite suddenly and as he hobbled out of the bedroom I thought I heard him say, “I’m bleeding and I can’t get it to stop! I’m going to call Chris to take me to the ER now!”

 I made my way up and out of bed and at that point noticed the unmistakable trail of blood on the floor out the bedroom door, through the hall, and into the bathroom where Andre was trying to stop the deep red gusher spouting from his leg with a Band-Aid. I said, “Stay here.   You’re dripping blood everywhere.”

Christopher arrived speedily, and as Andre made his way to the car in a drenching rain, thunder lightening everywhere, Charlie Brown’s “dark and stormy night” setting came to life, and I started to chuckle.

It’s 11 o’clock at night. Most of my neighbors are settled in for sleep, but not me.  My husband just left for the ER. I’m not sure when, or if, he’ll be back tonight, and I’m left to find the Swiffer and wet towels to mop up blood. And as the storm intensifies  I’m also gathering a flashlight in the event the lights go out.  

If it pours when it rains, I will be ready.

*****

Note: This story has a happy ending. Christopher’s wife, Ashley, is a nurse practitioner. Chris and Ashley and our little grandson live only a mile or two away. So as the boys headed toward the ER, Ashley suggested they stop at Walgreens instead and pick up the stuff she would need to fix Andre and head to their house instead. Brilliant idea! Dr. Ashley got the situation under control and in a flash, much to my surprise, the boys came home smiling. Apparently Andre scratched open a varicose vein and it exploded creating last night’s chaos, but all’s well that ends well and I’m so glad.


Images courtesy of:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kcNSU1VBG6M/TWzs0R_h1RI/AAAAAAAABuA/aX-XY4x27Yg/s1600/mosquito.gif  

https://68.media.tumblr.com/81c3dc04ee1df449fd919c690ba1b476/tumblr_inline_ol2ph4ZLEk1tn98y1_540.jpg

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/1f/81/39/1f8139ba24ec4f6d21a10a45eef5a754.jpg

Creamed Corn and Me

Welcome to Elgin, IAMy hometown town of 600 in Northeast Iowa had much to be proud of what with its bank, library, furniture store, funeral home, grocery store, hardware store, lumber yard, two gas stations, three car dealers, a doctor, a vet, and a lawyer but the crowning glory was the Elgin Canning Factory which put Elgin on the map to Everywhere because one of the products was Delmonte’s Creamed Corn.

Delmonte Creamed CornEvery summer Elgin grew by about 100 Mexican migrant workers who set up shop in the temporary housing provided for them down by the creek near the canning factory. The migrants picked the asparagus fields by hand and also shelled sweet corn and did other really hard labor stuff nobody else wanted to do but more workers were needed to do all jobs necessary. Folks from town often did double-duty during the summer adding another job handling everything from sorting corn, to mixing ingredients, to manning the canning process, to labeling boxes and other shipping stuff.

cans in boxKids home from college or those new high school grads headed to college in the fall were tapped for the grueling job of taking the cans out of huge iron kettles and filling cardboard boxes with 24 cans time after time after time. The iron kettles were strung along a quarter mile waterway. They were filled with hundreds of boiling hot cans of creamed corn which then took a slow ride down the cold water canal to cool them from the canning area thru the entire stretch of the water bath until the waterway turned a corner in that canal and slowed them down as they entered the warehouse to await unpacking after which the empty carts were pushed around another corner as the motorized trolley sped them back up the adjacent quarter mile loop to get more cans.

Elgin Sweet Corn Canning FactoryThe warehouse room was almost a city block long.   The water canal framed the east wall. Long narrow benches came next, positioned parallel to the canal about a yard from it. Next came pallets: half with empty cardboard boxes and the other half with rapidly growing piles of boxes filled with the still lukewarm cans of creamed corn. The rest of the room consisted of piles of palleted boxes of creamed corn waiting to be loaded into semi-trailer trucks for delivery to Delmonte plants for labeling and distribution.

So as my rite of passage into college life, this first job of mine was not only intended to provide gobs of money for school but also to make me keenly aware of the reason I was going there. I got my father’s message loud and clear that a life of hard labor awaits if you don’t set your sights on a college diploma.

My hands became a bruised, battered, taped patchwork worthy of a prize-fighter. My back ached constantly from being hunched over the iron kettles and low benches as we packed cans two-by-two for hours. I got so tired of standing that I would count the minutes out loud with my partner until the next fifteen minute break.

4th-of-July-Bandana-Flag
We tied colorful bandanas around our heads to keep the sweat out of our eyes and kind of wore them like badges of honor to prove that we were tough Iowa kids able to take the humidity and heat in stride. Oh yes, I got the message.

The town fire siren went off each day at 6AM, 12 Noon, and 6PM to signal when to begin work, when to have lunch, and when to end work, so there was no ambiguity over that stuff. I rode my bike to work, home for lunch, back to work, and home for dinner. But my work day didn’t end then.

ear of cornMost of us at the Factory went back for a night shift (because the work was, after all, seasonal) and labored until midnight when the factory whistle blew to set us free. By that time I was almost too exhausted to pedal home but somehow I did, often just falling into bed and to sleep before I cleaned up.

At the end of the proverbial day you could say I learned my lesson well. I went to college. Got my B.A. Got my M.A. and almost my got doctorate.

creamed-corn-vertical-640And, to this day, if I open a can of creamed corn I know why I went to college.

NOTE: My apologies if this memoir isn’t totally historically accurate. As I get older my memories muddle a bit and so if the resultant story doesn’t perfectly match your recollection, by all means feel free to write your own.

Images courtesy of:

http://www.lostdsm.org/other-iowa-towns

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Canned-Food-Factories-Sweet-Corn-Kernels_60235429602.html

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/creamed_corn

http://www.google.com/search?q=bandanas&espv=2&biw=1141&bih=706&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAsNqt4OvMAhVp0oMKHYYJAMgQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=jSPEm3yUvnOKXM%3A

http://www.elginiowa.org

 

Merry New Year in Narnia

Narnia___The_Lamppost_by_Scedwards

I used to live in Narnia, Clive Staples Lewis’ magical, mysterious, sometimes frighteningly wonderful land somewhere between the lamppost and the castle of Cair Paravel.

Always winter.
Never Christmas.

My former home, Akademgorodok, Russia, carved out of huge, dense evergreen forests. Numerous well-worn paths wind their way thru these forests intersecting and dividing to form a pedestrian walking network. As we trekked these by-ways to and from everywhere soft blankets of new-fallen snow dusted the lanes and forests daily. The downy flakes reflected diamonds and stars, especially in the moonlight at night. Narnia indeed.

For 80 years prior to our coming, Christmas in Russia was forbidden. There were none of what E.B. White calls “Christmas wrappings” cluttering the true meaning of the holiday either because even though January 6 is Russian Orthodox Christmas on the calendar, the celebration was not allowed.

Festivities centered around New Year’s Day & Eve. So when we came to santaMissingNarnia we could not find tinsel or lights or Christmas displays or Christmas tree lots or a bombardment of ads for Christmas deals. No loudspeakers blaring carols or Nativity scenes or Santa at the mall. That part of life in Narnia was actually a pleasant surprise.

Instead, Akademgorodok’s New Year’s celebration centerpiece, two mammoth snowy sliding hills, emerged in the street near the main shopping district, Targovie Trading Center with the entire street blocked off to traffic as dump trucks hauled massive quantities of snow in and bulldozers then pushed the huge mounds, compacting them into two hills–one bunny hill and one large hill.

Wooden platforms built on the tops of the hills comprised the impressive platforms so the kids could easily step up the hills and slide down using pieces of cardboard, flat plastic, or just their own rear ends as sleds. Some of the older kids go down standing up, kind of like downhill skiing without skis. A tangled mass of gleeful, snow-covered revelers smash into one another as everyone slides down into everyone else creating a crowded traffic jam at the bottom. One by one the blissfully wet sliders stand, run up the steps, and slide down again and again.

Meanwhile a huge evergreen tree emerges nearby with a large metal frame and big pine branches intertwined. A crane hoists more branches and men on tall ladders put them in place. Eight-foot wooden panels painted with winter scenes and Siberian folk characters frame one side of the street. Colorful lights dance across the boulevard all along the way to Targovie and huge speakers hung from light poles and kiosks belt out an incessant stream of tacky, inappropriately loud music including Russian Rock, Elvis, the Beach Boys, and tunes from American movies, like the theme songs from “Love Story” and “Sound of Music”. FarSide incarnate to hear “the hills are alive with the sound of music” in the middle of Siberia sung in English at Christmas.

Kids frolicking in worn out snow pants,
frayed wool mittens and
furry Stormy Kromer hats;
Even the family dog sliding down the hill backwards barking,
Parents and grandparents on the slippery sidelines watching,
Teens at the kiosks buying warm Coke,
Dear friends strolling arm in arm toward Targovie to shop,
An old man hawking “New Year’s” trees
from the back of his green Army truck,
Another selling fresh bread
from a fold-up card table on the street
     (frozen, I’ll bet–both the man and the bread),
Fireworks–random eclectic fireworks–light up the sky.

Norman Rockwell children SleddingNorman Rockwell comes to Siberia.

He doesn’t see Santa but maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

Barbara LaTondresse
December 2015


 

Photo courtesy of:

http://www.art.com/gallery/id–a32/norman-rockwell-posters.htm

http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2010/12/santa-stolen-have-you-no-shame-mr-grinch/

 

My Lenten Confection

cookie-monsterGrocery shopping has its charms. Aisles brimming with culinary treasures awaken my inner chef to the possibilities. Sample ladies entice me to devour tasty morsels of chicken Kiev or artisan cheese. The flower market calls me especially in Minnesota’s late winter hibernation to smell and touch the hyacinths and dream of spring.

But grocery shopping also has its temptations, especially if the shopper happens to be forswearing sugar for Lent.

choc chip cookiesOh, the sweet pain as the decadent aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies wafts thru the aisles and draws me toward the bakery counter where I, alas, commit the crime and purchase not one but two delightfully warm gooey gems and with nary a thought of contrition devour them whole on the spot.

Ah, what have I done?

My noble intentions and stout resolution get lost in a sea of remorse as I ponder the weight of my unwise and impulsive decision. I can hide the evidence on the outside but inside I sense an uneasy mix of guilt and failure. I can rationalize that it was only a small offense in the grand scheme of possible crimes, but I am still left with a glaring example of my own imperfection. I have sinned.

The Apostle Paul speaks to this reality in the book of Romans. He says, “My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe. … I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don’t really want to do I find I am always doing….In my mind I am God’s willing servant, but in my own nature I am bound fast, as I say, to the law of sin and death. It is an agonizing situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my sinful nature? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

There’s Hope. Glorious Hope.

The hymn writer Horatio G. Spafford said it best:

my-sins-nailed-to-the-crossMy sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!’

A shlight.showing-open-dooraft of Light emerges thru an open door into the pitch-black room of my guilty soul piercing the darkness, illuminating and transforming all inside by its own radiant Power.

A Way Out. Yes, indeed. Thank God.

My Lenten confection redeemed.

_______________________

Phillips, J. B. “Romans 8:14-20.” The New Testament in Modern English. New York: Harper Collins, 1962. Print.

It Is Well With My Soul lyrics by Horatio G Spafford – 1873 –  found in http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul/

Images courtesy of:

http://www.thehealthblueprint.com/55-fat-loss-secrets/

http://www.handletheheat.com/ultimate-chocolate-chip-cookies/

http://lightloveandpower.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/light.showing-open-door.jpg/

https://heathersjoy.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/itiswell/

 

 

 

 

Light a Candle for Hope!

During the Advent season many of us wrestle with mixed emotions—the warm fuzzies that accompany Christmas decorating, cookie baking, parties, gift giving. Yet, surprisingly, there’s haunting melancholy in the mix. This season reminds us painfully of areas in our own lives in which we are waiting or longing for some kind of healing.

A Light in the darkness. A candle for hope.

In the last three years I’ve received unwelcome gifts accompanying Parkinson’s disease. Last winter I came near death with the downward spiral of untreated symptoms and found myself at the Mayo Clinic on Christmas Eve bannerbride1day. It was on that day, December 24, 2013, that I received the definite Parkinson’s diagnosis and with the ensuing treatments prescribed and in place I began to improve. My new friends include two pills every four hours 24/7/365 to keep the tremors and spasticity at bay, a cane, walker, and, on occasion, a wheelchair.

In this process our church healing services have provided the sacred space for my healing to begin. At first I didn’t know what to expect.

Maybe I would take up my proverbial bed and walk right then and there.  Maybe, like Paul, I would pray three times for the thorn to go away and God would say “No”.  Maybe I would have to die first, like Lazarus, be dead three days, and then rise.

All I knew was that I was broken. I still looked pretty good on the outside, but in my Pleasantville of denial nothing was pleasant inside. I was not coping with the flood of frightening changes. Even though I was under the care of some of the world’s best doctors, I knew they were powerless to perform miracles. I was in pain physically and spiritually and I was drowning on the brink beyond hope.

So at the first service I attended, when the leader, Cheryl, asked Jesus’ question—-“Do you want to be healed?” it almost made me angry.

At first instinct, I thought, of course, I do. Who wouldn’t? Especially me!

At second thought, the question gave me pause to ponder the depth of the implications. I began to see the light of glorious change dawning in the dim distant horizon of my troubled mind but I knew it would cost me.

It wouadventbannermaryld cost me my pride. My denial. My self-bartering. It would demand taking a good look in the mirror and facing my harsh realities head on. It would also demand asking and receiving and listening.

Nevertheless, that night I decided to get out of the boat.

I stepped into the deep water and, wonder of wonders, I started to walk.

As long as I look at Jesus, I’m OK.

He steadies me in the waves and storms and gives me Light in my Darkness.

Light a candle for Hope!


*Images courtesy of Church of the Cross, Hopkins, Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frost Speaks

Moses cartoonDivine tablets. Right there. Up close and personal. I’ll bet Moses didn’t have any trouble figuring out that God speaks.   The Voice from Heaven commanded his attention. He got the message loud and clear.

And he listened.

God used angels with Mary and visions with the Apostle Paul. Samuel, Isaiah and Elijah each heard a voice in a dream. So did Daniel, and Ezekiel, and the Apostle John.

Job listened carefully as a still, small Voice of the Presence of God ministered to him in the midst of trial. David enjoyed that Voice while communing with nature.

Many people choose to believe that God communicates in special ways and only with special people, but I don’t believe it.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning says in Aurora Leigh:

every bush afireEarth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,

And daub their natural faces unaware.

I have ‘taken off my shoes’ at a ‘common bush afire with God’.  Yes, I have.  More than once.  Let me tell you a true story. 

Our first days in Russia filled with drama: witnessing the parliamentary takeover attempt in Moscow live from our hotel room, enduring a 54-hour Trans-Siberian train ride to Novosibirsk, and, then, setting up a temporary home in a small flat before our permanent residence became available.

During this ‘interior camping’ experience, our seventh day in Russia, Andre fell into a four-foot cement window well in the dark on his way back to our flat after taking out the trash.

He somehow managed to get out of the window well and stumble back to the apartment building, climb five flights of stairs, and collapse in front of our apartment door.

All he said was, “Call an ambulance.”

At that time, I spoke no Russian and I didn’t know anything about Russian ambulances, hospitals, diagnostic equipment, or doctors.

I did know how to call our Russian friend, Tatyanna, who called the ambulance and who rode with Andre to the Siberian hospital that dark night. They wouldn’t let me ride along, so I left the kids in the care of another friend and took off for the hospital.

I didn’t have a car and barely knew how to navigate my way to the bus stop, but I did both, paid the fare and found a place to stand near the front left side.

My mind was as foggy as the frosty window I gazed through. Myriads of shocking questions and unknowns crowded together becoming restless and uneasy as my body relentlessly squished itself between two large babushkas, all of us jerking awkwardly toward somewhere with every bumpy turn of that slowly moving bus.

At that moment, I didn’t know how serious Andre’s injuries were.

I did know that he thought he’d probably broken at least four ribs and that he was quite sure he had a punctured lung and maybe other internal bleeding and injuries; so I also knew that I needed to prepare myself mentally.

Maybe he would die?

I prayed to God for a Promise and a Hope.

Our town was carved out of huge, dense evergreen forests. This is the forest primeval, I thought, pondering numerous, heavy thoughts. They weren’t about Longfellow’s Evangeline.

As I watched the deep, dark trees and paths drift by, Robert Frost’s words from Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening came to my mind.

I quoted them to myself from the beginning to the end.

Then I understood.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

God told me thru Robert that Andre would be all right.

And indeed he was.

winter-trail-bench2

 


Cartoon courtesy of:

http://www.catholica.com.au/gc0/ie2/119_ie_030909.php

Poetry courtesy of:

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/barrett/aurora/aurora.html

http://allpoetry.com/Stopping-By-Woods-On-A-Snowy-Evening

http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/books/longfellow/evangeline00.html

Images courtesy of:

http://dailyclosertochrist.com

http://www.rffriends.org

The Goodbyes are Harder Than the Hellos

goodbye to fallDear Leaves,

I know it’s hard to say goodbye, but we must. With 25° weather, you just can’t make it. So, we release you. We will see you next year young and full of life. Thanks for the beautiful fall.

Love,

Your (not so secret) admirer,

Staci

Ah, yes. The ‘goodbyes’ are harder than the ‘hellos’.

My friend’s words ring true as we bid adieu to the most gorgeous Minnesota fall season ever. Some changes, like this one, from a gloriously vibrant kaleidoscope to a barren, frozen landscape, are harder to take because of the even harsher realities that loom in the wings. Ice. Snow. Blizzards. Wind chills.

In the fall of 1993 our family picked up lock, stock, and barrel and moved from our cushy, custom-made sofa-life in the United States of America to a ragtag of ill-fitting, hardened chairs in Akademgorokok, Russia.   We left our jobs. Sold our home and cars. Sorted and disposed or stored most of our possessions. We left kindred and kin.

New language. Culture. Religious background. Government. Weather. Infrastructure. Transportation options. Educational options.  Rules to learn—written and unwritten— about how the system works and the people interact.

We chaffed and squirmed trying to make many a square peg fit into a round hole.

We changed the known for the unknown in every category of our high stakes Jeopardy game and were well aware that the losses would probably outweigh the wins. At least in the short-term scheme of things.

It was at our summer orientation camp in Colorado just before our departure that the stark realities of foreboding change sank in deep and wide. Part of our orientation consisted in various simulations to allow for emotional encounters of the third kind. The most powerful of these was the balloon game.

The children gathered outside our meeting room on a brilliantly sunny afternoon. Not a cloud in the sky. No ill winds blowing or chilly temperatures or dampening rains. Just clear blue sky. Everyone was silent. Waiting for an unknown something to happen.

At that moment several of our orientation leaders appeared seemingly out of nowhere bearing colorful, huge helium filled balloons on strings. The children’s eyes lit up as the leaders gave each child a brightly colored balloon. The delight radiated from young faces.

Once the balloons were all distributed the leader began to talk to the children about the concepts of change, loss, gain—leavings and cleavings–goodbyes and hellos.   It all seemed pretty abstract until the end of the talk when the leader summarized by saying, quite matter of factly, “The ‘goodbyes’ are harder than the ‘hellos’.” He let the words sink in.

Then he gently asked the children, “ Who is willing to let go of their balloon?”

You could have cut the thick air with the proverbial knife. Some said, “No way.” Others began to openly weep. Some hung on tight and looked anxiously at their parents. The minutes seemed like hours.

child releases balloonFinally, one brave, thoughtful child spoke. It was our dear seven year old, Claire Marie, who shocked us all.

“I will let go of my balloon,” she said.

And so she did.

It slowly rose into the air and out of sight. Several more balloons followed.

The lesson became crystal clear. Tears flooded my vision as I held little Claire.

Embrace the pain. The loss. The sadness. The suffering. The holes. These new unseemly friends will come and they are part of the package.

After all, Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25:   “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.“

Lord, help me to let go of my balloon.

_______________

Opening letter and picture courtesy of Staci Carroll, Minneapolis, MN.

Image courtesy of:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1305386/Earths-helium-reserves-run-25-years.html

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the New Wild West!

Chris&ClaireCoupjpeg

 

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

———————–

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Quote and image  courtesy of:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/quotes

http://adst.org/2014/10/yeltsin-under-siege-the-october-1993-constitutional-crisis/

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

___________

Images and quote courtesy of:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099785/quotes