Noting Time – 29 Years of 8:03

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Facebook tells me that today is my daughter’s birthday as if I could ever forget.

8:03

It’s been 29 years since I heard a chorus of voices saying  “8:03″ almost in unison. Throughly exhausted by a 52 hour labor, I remember thinking, ” So what if it’s 8:03 ” before realizing a half second later that the medical team were noting her time of birth.

8:03

Her time of birth may have marked the beginning of her life, but in many ways it was the beginning of mine as well, a life where others might come and go, but this little being would be a constant in my thoughts and heart no matter what. It is interesting even now how three little numbers still carry such meaning years after I heard them in the moments when my daughter was taking her first breath.

8:03

Not more than a few days ever pass without me glancing at a clock and noticing the time as 8:03. Call it coincidence if you like, but particularly now that my life is no longer ruled by the clock and my schedule my own, I always feel a bit more connected to my daughter and the memory of her birth day when those numbers pop up.

8:03

Children grab on to your heart as soon as they make their way into the world and no one tells you how difficult it will be to let go after years of hanging on so tightly. These days, I’m better at negotiating this shift in our relationship and while I sometimes stumble, I regain my footing faster now and can avoid the parts of the path that are no longer mine to walk.

8:03

After 29 years, it occurred to me this morning that I’ve been thinking of 8:03 as something that connected us when it really marked the beginning of a life that while linked to mine through love and DNA, was really one separate from me. Funny how 29 years and an openness to change can shift one’s perspective.

8:03

I’m clock watching now as I always do on her birthday waiting for the time to reach 8:03 in Georgia. While I won’t be there to see her blow out any candles or watch her make a wish, with my birthday four days before hers, I’ve got her covered because my birthday wishes have been about her health and happiness for years, 29 to be exact and this year was no different.

So here’s to Miranda, and to a year of having her dreams come true.

Happy Birthday, Miranda (at 8:03 )

Going Bare To Raise Money For Breast Cancer Awareness & Research

Makeup Free E For Cancer Awareness

When I noticed some of my friends were raising money and awareness for breast cancer research on Facebook this morning by posting makeup free selfies, I had a little moan to my husband about how much I dislike things like this because I feel obligated to participate. Friends link to other friends suggesting they post a selfie too and off it goes spreading faster than a forest fire in a California drought.

Sure enough, it didn’t take long for a link to show up in my inbox with my name on it and you can see the result. I only deliberated about a half second  before snapping my makeup free face and posting it. Grumbling aside, my uncle died from breast cancer and I know some women who were left motherless and who lost sisters and aunts due to breast cancer, so if I can help spread the word and raise a little money with 15 minutes of my time and an easy online donation, I’m going to do it.

I still think it’s kind of silly, but it was fun too and it is for a good cause so if a ‘go bare’ request pops up on your Facebook page, I hope you’ll consider it even if you, like me, have to have a little moan about it first.

It must be working because according to this article over 800,000 donations have been received in the last 24 hours.

I know we are all thinking and talking about the big picture with these little selfies we’re posting, but don’t forget to check your own breasts regularly and talk about breast health with your friends and family.

That goes for the men in your life too.

One-Shot & Me

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Becky & Jenny at the One-Shot Cabin

When I was six, my Great-aunt, Wylly Folk St John published her first book, The Secrets Of Hidden Creek.

She was 58.

After Wednesday’s post, you can probably understand why this knowledge is more than a bit comforting to me.

That said, Aunt Wylly wrote for years before publishing her first book. As a journalist for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, she had to constantly meet deadlines and she was paid to write long before she graduated from the University of Georgia where 47 boxes of her writings are archived in the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

She went on to publish eight books, two of which were nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Writers of America award.

My cousin, McKenzie posted a comment on Facebook yesterday where she talked about how she and her young son were reading one of Aunt Wylly’s books at bedtime and how it gave him more insight into who his Grandmother Becky was as a girl, as well as his Great-great-grandmother Wylly.

Aunt Wylly loved using real children as characters in her books so McKenzie’s son is enjoying reading about his grandmother as the teenager she was in 1966 when The Secrets of Hidden Creek was published. Much of the story’s setting and characters are clearly modeled after the real thing. First books often pull in parts of the author’s life and my unfinished novel is no different.

If you’ve followed my blog for long it probably won’t surprise you to learn that there is a character in my book who is modeled in some ways after my aunt and you might also understand why seeing McKenzie’s message on Facebook felt like a little cosmic push especially since I’ve  been so unproductive lately.

Aunt Wylly would probably appreciate my thinking she was sending me a message given her interest in ghosts when she was alive.

The hammock in the first picture figures into the story that McKenzie is reading with her son. It was used on the book jacket in 1966 as you can see from the image below. In addition to Becky and Jenny, their brother, Chuck is in the illustration with them.

Wylly Folk St John

I have some lovely memories of time spent at the cabin with Aunt Wylly and later on with my cousins. And while my daughter doesn’t really remember it, she once had a chance to wrestle for the hammock like her cousins did as characters in Aunt Wylly’s book.

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Miranda & Elizabeth at the One-Shot Cabin 1993

This oft fought for spot had to be replaced more than a few times over the years as the humidity of hot Georgia summers and squirmy children did their damage. One of my favorite memories of Aunt Wylly’s lakeside hideaway, it was always snug like a little cocoon, making a perfect nest to read a book and drift off to sleep. Comforting and safe, it was a place I where could let my guard down during a dangerous time in my life and just be for a while with normal kid worries and daring daydreams.

The seed of storytelling for me may not have been planted at the One-Shot cabin, but it was most certainly nurtured there … in a hammock, on a porch, overlooking a lake, with a secret hidden deep under the water.

Big thanks to McKenzie for helping me aerate my roots a bit. 

A Big Serving Of Hate With A Side Order Of One Person’s Version Of Christian Love – No Friend Of Mine

Some people seem to have lost their minds over the election and not just people like Donald Trump.

My friends and family have remained civil over our political differences of opinion, as should be when people who care about each other disagree.

Some folks however, have gone into total meltdown mode and have been spewing some shocking rubbish.

And the really scary part is they actually believe what they’re saying. Heaven help us if these people have guns because they’ve been whipped up into such a frenzy who knows what they might do in the name of God.

They scare me.

The day after the election I was forced to ‘unfriend’ someone on Facebook. She’s the only person I’ve ever had to exclude from my Facebook life and ironically, for the second time. About a year ago, I don’t remember exactly when, I unfriended her the first time. We’d graduated from the same high school, although years apart and I never knew her. I had approved her request both times based on mutual friends I could see that we had in common. The first time I unfriended her had to do with what I considered to be aggressive over the top hate talk, but it was nothing like what she said on Wednesday after President Obama was re-elected.

I unfriended her quietly the first time and thought no more about her, but the problem was that she came back. After a some months I got a friend request from her and I must have not been paying attention because after seeing her connections to a lot of my high school friends, I accepted her friendship. This is a mistake that will not happen again!

I’ve omitted her name as I have no wish to shame this woman and she probably won’t even know this post has been written, but what would her Christian friends think about her hate filled rant … what about her adult children and her grandchildren?

It might be easy to just dismiss her as unhinged, hope she gets help, and move on, but she’s not alone and that’s the really scary piece to me.

Most of you who’ve read my blog for a while know I have many questions about faith and God and how I feel. I’ve touched on it here before and I’ve been open about my doubting Thomas thoughts about the power of prayer, but I have to admit that lately I find myself whispering a few words that begin with ‘God,’ and end with ‘please, keep him safe,’ because I think President Obama needs some extra protective energy around him, especially now.

I don’t know what you’ve heard, but here’s a look at one person who while no longer in my social circle, is still very much out in the world sharing her message of hate while calling herself a good Christian.

(Internet Image)

This was the comment on Facebook that cause me to unfriend her:
“Obamacare will be the death of America!!! WE see what it has done to other countries and we don’t like it. We like our freedom of choice in doctors. We work hard and we deserve what we want and can pay for. Those living on welfare need to get off their ass and go to work!!!! I’m tired of keeping them up and all the give me programs out there. The US economy did not grow, it’s terrible! The number of people laid off work, loosing their homes, cars etc. If it grew it was the RICH that got richer from it. The news media would like you to think that because they are all corrupt liars! Obama is an EVIL, communist muslim! I doubt very seriously that any of it was legal. Blank panther parties keeping out voteres, maching going down, Am. soldiers votes lost…..blah blah blah!!!!!!! I don’t know where your from Claire but if you live in the US your in for a rude awakening. Wait and see! America is a nation divided …and a nation divided will fall!!!!!! A nation without God is doomed and that is what America has become. America has a disease….That disease is socialism with unlimited federal power and it will take the entire strength and will of the people to overpower it.” SAD SAD day in America….. November 7, 2012 …. the day America died.”
Then she sent messaged me on Thursday with the two comments below that were sent a minute apart.
Elizabeth….. YOU know nothing about me and that is clear to see. You speak not with your lips! It is clear to see that you are the typical Liberal that thinks only his/her way is right. I have seen OBAMACARE first hand with my parents. I know what it exsists of and I have read most of the papers on it. As have my friends. All he wants is to help the elderly die…quick so he doesn’t have to pay for them. You have the right to post what you like but I also have that right as well. Being on FB and posting allows you to say what you please as most people do or defriend them, as I did you. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you or hate you, I choose not to be your friend any longer. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me or not, Obama is clearly NOT a Christian. ( that is NOT why I didn’t vote for him ) Nor was he born here in the USA. Time will reveal that, I only hope and pray that it isn’t to late. Whether he wants evil for us or someone has named him as the person to do the job, evil is upon us.
From what I’ve heard, and I have friends in the UK, the health care system there is a mess! WE don’t want your type of health care~!~~ Most americans, the ones that actually work for a living, do not want OBAMACARE! We want our country to stay the same with the freedom to choose our doctors and type of medical treatment. When you have spent your whole life working at a job and retire with benefits, the president should not be allowed to strip them from you. THAT IS COMMUNISM my friend! Most Americans don’t need welfare, food stamps or free health care. Only the sorry, lazy people need that!
NOT one single person can name anything that Obama has done good for the USA….NOT ONE! The people that voted for him or the ones that one FREE everything….they live in a give me, give me state of mind, constantly demanding freebies, they are lazy and worthless, white, black and any other color!
I personally do not care if the President is black, green, purple or orange or his religious beliefs ( as long as he keeps it to himself) …for without the help of congress and senate the president can’t do anything…but what I do care about is the fact that our President needs to be more concerened with our military, protecting our men in other countries, not vacationing in VEGAS and lieing to cover his ass from NOT being here when this country needs him and OBAMA has not been! He has also proven that in the latest storm on the east coast where he showed his face for TV, and they are still without power, food & water. NO help has been sent in. He is a coward and a lier!!!
Truthfully John I don’t care who is upset with my remark, what bothers me is that you ENGLISH think you know what is best for us in the USA!!! The USA was not founded on Communism or muslim beliefs and we don’t want it forced don’t our throats! If they try there will be another revolution like you have never seen! You need to listen to other news stations or media sources and get ALL the facts before voicing your childish remarks.
Unfortunately there are not a lot of educated people on politics in the USA, they just go vote based on one thing that bothers them like abortion or gay rights. Those are things that need to be addressed but not the sole reason ( which most have proven here on your page ) when voting for a President. They should be more concerened about the happenings of this country and where it is headed. I’m ashamed that Americans are that stupid and uneducated!
My feelings about your comments would be a waste of my breath. I feel you have NO say so in the events of this country since you are now a citizen of the Brits! I don’t count duel citizenship. You can not be loyal to two countries during a time of war, so I don’t understand why they even give that. Makes no sense at all to me.
I wish you nothing but happiness, because I am a good Christian person with a huge heart of gold and would never wish bad on anyone. Hope you new country gives you more happiness than the one you left 🙂
I did not mean to offend you or John, I would never do that and for that I’m sorry. I just want you to know where I’m coming from with this letter.

*************

I did find the smiley face a bit much in light of what she said during her ‘letter’ to let me know where she was coming from.

According to CNN, a lot of unfriending is happening on Facebook post-election, and I wonder if any of you have had a similar experience.

I Hate Bullies!

I hate bullies and I’m willing to bet most of you do too.

We tend to think of bullying as something that occurs with children on the playground or at school events, but what happens when bullies grow up and words become fists designed to demean and devalue your opinions as soon as they leave your mouth.

I recently had a multi-commented exchange with someone on a friend’s Facebook page after I commented on a video she’d posted. The exchange got became heated when I got into a back and forth bit with someone listed as a friend of hers. Even though I discerned fairly quickly that he needed to have the last word, I could not help responding to the misinformation and high-handed way he was twisting the truth to suit his argument.

That he tossed the word ‘Rape’ into what he assumed would be the final death-blow to the exchange was no surprise. Having seen the image below on a website bearing his name, I think I can see what he thinks about women and their role.

The name of his website has been removed from the top of the door. (No need to give him anymore attention by sending you there and there’s so little to see that it would be a waste of your time.)

Name Calling

As you can see below, he defaulted to accusing me of name calling when I identified a list of bad behaviors he shared with a few other people who communicated in the same way.

Bullies like MF always try to deflect in conversations they want to win and will say whatever to put you on the defensive or try shock you into speechlessness. Tossing out comments like ” What’s going to happen to health care when your people finally rape the last wealthy citizen?” tell me all I need to know about him.

And let me say this, if I had been in a name calling mood I could have easily come up with a few ugly and insulting ones beginning with his initials, but you know how I hate to swear on my blog so I’ll leave it to you to fill in the blanks after you read the exchange below.

My friend Kimberly posted a George Carlin video on her Facebook page that sparked the drama below.

  • MF :This one always makes me chuckle. He will go down in history as one of the greatest observers of mankind and the human condition, and I loved him for it. BUT, when I hear this rant, all I can do is smile and say, that rigged, tilted table worked out pretty good for you, George!
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  • EH: I just had a bookstore owner here in Cornwall tell me that one of the biggest problems America had was with the election process. He was amazed by how much money can be ‘donated’ to political campaigns and the impact of all that backscratching later. He moved on to the lack of access for all to health care in the US and why Americans would continue to make snide comments about the British health care system when at least they have access to care. A standout difference for me is that NO ONE loses their house or life here because they cannot afford to pay.
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  • MF: No one here doesn’t have access to health care. It’s a myth I’m happy to disprove for anyone willing to make a “field trip” with me. As for no one losing their house because they cannot afford to pay…How profane! Then why in the world would anyone actually pay!??? Maybe I’ve got it all wrong…I mean Europe is in such great shape these days, who am I to question how things get done over on that side of the pond. The brat riots of the past Summer were a blast to watch on TV. Never get enough of hearing “I want, I want, I want” in those cute accents!
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  • EH: ‎” No one here doesn’t have access to health care. ” You have got to be kidding! There are plenty of people who fall in between and are not able to have proper health care. Don’t make me spell it out. I too could take you on a “field trip” to disprove what you say. And I see I should have said … those with heath insurance who still lose their homes and everything they have because their co-pay or out of pocket costs exceed everything they’ve saved. Good luck to you or someone you love if you ever need more than you have in your bank account. As for the riots to which you refer, you might wish to read this historical account on London rioting going back to 1189 before you try your hand at humor on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_riots_in_LondonSee More
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  • MF: Hilarious. I doubt you could spell much of anything out to me, much less this subject. Believe what you want. If anyone doesn’t get health care in this Country, it’s because they choose not to go. Doctors give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in free care every year to patients they are forced to treat, or lose standing in the hospitals they work out of. If you don’t get treatment here, you simply didn’t go. I know that’s hard for the brainwashed left to get their arms around…We’re such a mean place and all, but that’s reality, and I pray that at some point folks like you will make some effort to educate yourselves instead of watching Michael Moore movies.
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  • MF:  And the list of riots and their reasons is really funnier than the brats of last Summer. I’ll give that one to you. Hilarious stuff you all have destroyed property and killed people over. I mean, from wrestling and hookers, to a gin tax and tailors? Wow! Wish we had TV back then!
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  • BBC(Another commenter) I know someone who has private insurance and has paid on-time for all his life. He has AIDS and they changed his prescription co-pay AFTER he renewed his policy. He has to come up with $6000 up front for 3 months of life-saving medication that he only used to have co-pay $200 a month. He can’t afford his mortgage payment or other bills if he buys the drugs. He and his partner are middle class, pay their bills on time and have been screwed by an insurance company they have been loyal to for years. There is a waiting list for the drug assistance program that he does not qualify for because he has private insurance. Their household makes too much money for medicaid and now he is more than 50 days w/o meds that save his life. He could die. Thank you America for your AWESOME health care… This is what happens when corporations are in charge of who lives and dies. They will choose death if it saves them a buck every time…
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  • MF: And government would naturally do it better, Beth? What does government do better? Where do they operate more efficiently. Your friend’s story is quite sad. He should have read his contract. That’s what a “policy” is. They can’t “change” anything that isn’t in the policy upfront, meaning there was a clause applicable to co-pay changes. Maybe he didn’t read it or understand it, but it was there. Public health care plans around the world operate almost completely free of any contract with citizens, meaning you really are at their mercy…No contract whatsoever.
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  • BBC: Marc, In European countries where they have nationalized healthcare, he would get his meds. Of course he read his contract. They sent him his new policy AFTER he paid to renew by phone after being assured he was renewing the same policy with no changes. Even if he did not, it is wrong for companies to kill their clients out of greed. This isn’t an isolated incident many families who have members are falling through the crack just like this. AND my friend doesn’t give a rats ass about your sympathy – he just wants to li by the live. He has a case to sue but he will likely be gone by then…
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  • EH: ‎@ MF~ It depends on the government now doesn’t it. In the UK my drug co-pay is the equivalent of a one time payment of $165 for the year. That’s for any and all meds I might need. Cost of any doctor visits, MRI, CT scans, or whatever else … zero! @ Beth ~ I’m really sorry about the state of things with your friend. Contrary to what MF says insurance companies do find all kinds of ways to cheat people regardless of what’s in their contract with you. It’s a vile industry and they lie! People should not have to die or go bankrupt because they are ill.
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  • MF: Why would he get his meds in European countries, where they DON’T even approve current U.S. drug treatments for something as “common” as CANCER???

    And I’ve seen the UK plan in action, Elizabeth, it’s no where near what you’re telling us. The waiting list, and number of approved treatments isn’t even in the same ballbark as treatments available in the U.S. But if it’s so good, then Beth’s friend should hop a plane and get treated for free…They do that over there, don’t they? You know, like we do for Mexican citizens here.
    OH!!! And BTW…You all are apparently going broke faster than us! What happens to your plan then? Guess you’ll just have to riot some more…
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  • MF:  ‎”People should not have to die or go bankrupt because they are ill.”
    That statement sums up so much…It really says it all.
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  • EH: M ~ You have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to care in the UK! I live here, you don’t, and I’ve seen the plan in action here as well as in the US. I lived with the US healthcare system for 48 years and worked in it as well so I do know a great deal about it. You’re spouting the same crap people like Limbaugh and Beck do to mislead the masses who are too scared or ignorant to discover the truth on their own. You appear to be cut from the same blowhard bullying cloth of misinformation that L & B come from … as least you share the same communication style. Loud, condescending, and obnoxious, with a total lack of empathy or compassion for others … I think that about describes your approach to difficult topics.
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  • MF: And so what do all those insults make you. Stay brainwashed. Here’s an easy way to “prove” which one of us is right.

    Where does the world turn for health care? Cuba, Venezuela, Great Britain…HA! I’ve been in our system 47 years so I’measy qualified to challenge this myth. As for your English system and the bureaucracy of the government system…An oldie but goodie that shows just how these bureaucrats run a system:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1579010/AandE-patients-left-in-ambulances-for-hours.html
    And you still can’t come up with an answer about being broke. What’s going to happen to health care when your people finally rape the last wealthy citizen? What happens to all that “free” stuff then?
    As I said many times…If ignorance is really bliss, the Left hails from Eden.
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  • EH: No insults, just fact … you showed your colors, I called you on it, simple as that. It’s funny how you can say all that you do in the way that you do and tell me I’m insulting to you! Right! The UK is actually in a much better financial position than the US right now, but it’s not just about US versus UK dollars, most of the world’s economy is in a bad way. I didn’t address it because we were discussing healthcare, the insurance industry, and why you were giving misinformation as if it were a fact. As for your link, I could counter with many from the US including all day waits in the ER’s of America where people died waiting to be seen. No system is perfect, but this one works well most of the time. I can also talk of how I’ve seen air ambulances land in fields in our village to take men in their 80’s to the hospital for a heart attack or a teenage girl who fell off her horse … cost to the patient, nothing. We pay taxes here to support the NHS and it’s not the huge tax numbers that Limbaugh, Beck, and others claim. It’s no more than I ever paid in the US, taxes are just allocated differently in the UK. Medical care is not a big money-making enterprise in the UK, it’s designed to take care of the people, not make them slaves to high premiums and a false sense of security. Now, we’ve cluttered Kimberly’s wall with more than I’d like to admit, so feel free to have the last word. I’m done! My apologies to Kimberly for such a public display in her space.
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    MF: No facts; only arrogance. The first defense of the Left for almost a Century. Play it to someone else. You got called, and your refusals answer all I needed to know. Thanks…It was a kick…Don’t break anyone’s windows while enjoying the weekend.

Funny how he keeps bringing up the recent riots over here. Does he have a point or am I just supposed to shut my mouth and concede defeat because he thinks he’s clever?

When Your Name Is Irene

Bodmin Moor (Click to Enlarge)

Even though we are a long way from the threatening fury of Irene’s arrival, it has been the topic of conversation here. Last night at the pub we shared a table with some friends from the village chatting over the week’s events with, Ian and Irene.

You may remember Irene from the photo below. It was taken at the pub back in January and she’s sitting in exactly the same place as she was last night while we talking about the hurricane that has so many Americans now running for cover.

I know Hurricane Irene has been spreading herself around and she’s caused millions of dollars in damages as she’s blown through the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas in her flight plan.

That Irene and our Irene have nothing in common, but she did share a few of the comments and jokes she’s had to endure since Hurricane Irene made the news.

Irene & Elizabeth

John is the weather watcher in the house. Most days, I barely pay attention to what’s happening weather-wise. That seems to have changed since he gave me Dora and I find myself feeling a bit grumpy lately that the weather has made it so uninviting to ride.

Living in Georgia, I took good weather days for granted. In Cornwall, we have a fair amount of rain and it’s usually not an issue for me, but it’s been cool and wet for the last week and I find that despite a long hot summer in Atlanta, I am not ready for summer to be over here.

Summer Flowers - August 2011

We’ve got a break in the clouds so I’m heading out in a few minutes to squeeze in some exercise and move my moodiness out the door. I’ve got loads to do today and no reason to whinge on about weather and inconvenience when so many are in such a scary situation.

Thank goodness we have ways to track deadly storms and prepare for them. I have friends scattered up and down the eastern coast of the US and I’ll be tracking their movement, watching as they hopefully provide updates on Facebook and Twitter or blog about their experiences with Hurricane Irene.

Here’s hoping you stay safe and dry wherever you are today.

‘Dear Madame’ Chapter 3

Sorry to have been gone for a while. It’s a long story and one I’ll likely share later, but today I’m back with another chapter of ‘Dear Madame’ for you. If you’ve forgotten what happened in the first two chapters, read here and here for chapters 1 and 2 before reading chapter 3 below. Let me know what you think if you feel like sharing and please feel free to pass it on to friends.

Patricia hardly knew what to think about the letter she’d just read. Could there really be a connection between a box of old letters her mother had here in the US and a French one found hidden in chair in England. She’d never heard her mother mention any letters, but clearly she had talked to someone. Well, maybe she hadn’t actually talked to anyone, but glancing from the photocopy she held in her left hand back to the letter she’d just read in her right, it looked as if her mother had certainly made contact with at least one man.

Leaving everything behind but the two letters, Patricia got up from the floor and moved to her study searching the letter for the man’s name as she walked down the hall. She walked quickly past the bathroom even though she’d been dying to go in the few minutes before she came through the front door. She couldn’t decide whether traffic in this city was helping her bladder or hurting it and often joked with her girlfriends that she’d be packing adult diapers in her sample case if they didn’t soon finish the never-ending road work that slowed her commute each day.

Easing into an oversized office chair, she sat down at the desk she had rescued after her parent’s divorce. It was one of those big partners desks for two and she’d grown up hearing them battle each other across it like the courtroom warriors they both wished to be. Unlike the news-making litigators that had inspired their law school dreams, neither had ever tried cases even though they’d argued for years as passionately as if they were before the Supreme Court justices instead of facing each other in the home office of the house where she’d grown up.

They hadn’t separated until Patricia had moved into her dorm at the university and she was glad she hadn’t been there for the final battles over the house and other stuff. She had grown weary of their daily dramas long before they seemed to tire of each other and the idea of separate houses for the holidays made going home more inviting even if home was a place she no longer recognized.

She’d learned early it wasn’t stuff that made a place a home and except for a few things like the desk neither parent had wanted, she tended to travel light during the years before she’d bought her condo.

Leaning forward, Patricia felt the edge of the desk push against her breastbone as she reached around the back of her iMac to find the on switch. She flipped it on with the practiced feel of someone who never left her computer on when she was away during the day. She’d owned it so long it wasn’t good for much more than research or email and she pushed a couple of stacks of paper out of her way readjusting what her Uncle Ed used to call her horizontal filing system. Patricia knew it affected her efficiency to always have to search for things as she did, but she was too tired at the end of the day to decide what to toss and she tended to hold on to more than she should.

While her computer booted up, she reread the letter pulling out the important information. She wondered how her mother had found this man, Trenton Molesworth, and checked her spelling as she typed his name into Google and added Bonhams as an after thought.

Bonhams sounded vaguely familiar to her and she realized why when she pressed the return key on her computer and saw the website come up. While she had remembered that Bonhams was an auction house of some sort, she hadn’t known how many locations there were worldwide and the range of items they offered for sale.

She expected to see Trenton Molesworth listed as someone who provided auction valuations and was surprised when his name came up as the editor of Bonhams Magazine. Patricia clicked on the link that opened into a recent article written by him where he was talking about the 200-year-old love letter and it’s possible significance to a historical event. He went on to say that it was a shame that there was only this one letter as he needed more evidence to support his theory. Ho Ho, she thought, don’t we all wish we had a little more than we do.

Saving the link to the Bonhams article by Molesworth, she quickly googled the words, 200-year-old-love letter and found a translation on the BBC news site.

‘ My dear small love, do not be worried, do you seriously believe I would tell anything to these people, who don’t understand anything about love?

If someone insists that I say something, it will be anything but the dear love acquired by you, which is the great treasure hidden in my heart.

I didn’t tell you to come yesterday because I didn’t have the opportunity, but do come every Tuesday around 5:30, and Fridays as well; I count/hope on you tomorrow.

At the moment I write this letter, I can hear my aunt yelling, who else annoys us all day long, today and tomorrow.

My dear, I cover you with kisses and caresses until… I need you in this moment of desire. I love you.’ *

Patricia read the translation several times and went back through the BBC reporter’s version of the story noting how the letter was discovered and by whom. Afterwards she thought it was certainly sweet, but could not see what made Molesworth think there was more here than just a few tender words between lovers.

Resting her eyes as she thought about what to do next, she brushed back a bit of strawberry blond hair that never seemed to stay put and picked up the photocopy of the letter from her mother that the Trenton fellow had mailed back with his note of interest. As she scanned the letter written in French, she noticed there were notes in the margins and parts of it were circled and highlighted.

It looked as if her mother’s photocopy had brought out the editor in Trenton Molesworth and she caught a word in English that made her look a bit closer at the notes he had scribbled along the edge of the page. Taking a breath, she held it without realizing as she thought about what he was suggesting … did he really believe that something like that might be possible …

* Love letter translation taken from BBC online story about a found 200-year-old Love Letter.