Footsteps to Follow

The footsteps of great men have lead the way and we are left alone to follow them. Some have left prints so deep in the sand that they look like mini lakes to those of us standing on the shore and looking forward. How can anyone possibly fill the shoes that left steps imprinted so deep?

The answer is, no one can. Great men never intended for someone to walk directly in their footsteps. They merely hoped that by leaving a mark behind, others may head in the same direction and forge their own paths somewhat parallel.

This does not mean great men never had faults, doubts, or struggles. It just means even when they were brought to their knees they still moved forward. Grief can be strong enough, even for a stranger, that it may feel as if your feet were cut from underneath you. Keep moving forward anyway. It is what those we grieve for did, and what we must do if we want our paths to remain parallel.

Leonard Nimoy, you will be missed.

Leonard Nimoy

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Labor Day

gear-408364_640This Monday begins a new month and also marks a turning point in history. In the United States, during the industrial revolution, work weeks were often 12 hours shifts, 7 days a week. Children, barely more than toddlers, were working in factories and mines instead of playing games. No kindergarten for these kiddies. The whole family had to work to make sure mouths were fed. Working conditions, especially if you were poor or new to the country, surpassed dangerous and sometimes were just plain deadly.

Labor Unions began to form and began protesting the poor working conditions. In 1867 the government signed into effect a law regulating working hours for federal employees and Illinois workers, changing their shifts to an 8 hour day.  May 1, 1886 there was a movement to include the rest of the nation.

The thing is, they never actually enforced the law. A shorter work day and better pay work-384745_640sounded great to overworked, underpaid employees. So union banners were taken up and the peaceful protest marches began.  Some employers feared a “workers revolution” so they quickly signed on for shorter work days.

May 4, 1886 a rally was organized in Haymarket Square to protest the shooting of striking workers by the Chicago police the day before. The turn out was less than what was expected and the speakers either didn’t arrive or were late. Rain began falling toward the end of the rally which sent some of those who had hung around scurrying for home.That was when the police showed up to disperse the rest and chaos erupted. Someone from the crowd threw a bomb, shooting began which led to the deaths of seven policemen and four workers.

No one was sure who brought a bomb to a peaceful rally, but blood had been spilled so someone had to answer for it. Eight men, (*Cough, Cough, scapegoats) were rounded up and charged. Seven of the men were sentenced to death and the last one was give 15 years in prison.

matchstick-20237_640More strikes and more rallies happened over the next eight years, but it wasn’t until the American Railway Union began a boycott of Pullman railway cars and brought the nation to a stand still, that notice was finally taken.  Pullman Palace Car Company, maker of railway cars, had cut hours and fire union representatives. The workers went on strike and the boycott began. Things got so bad, troops had to be brought in. Which, of course, outraged many and started a wave of riots in Chicago.

In 1894 Labor Day became a Federal Holiday.  So now, on the first Monday in September, we sit around the barbeque with our friends and family enjoying the holiday.  Kids don’t have to go to school and the banks are closed so everyone can have a day off.  (If we aren’t scheduled to work.)

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day

Some heroes fought wars and came home.  Some are still fighting. Some served during peace time and help maintain the weapons of war until they were needed again.  Some fought and fell.  All should be remembered and honored.  But today we honor those who gave their lives to protect ideals, dreams, and freedoms.  Thank You for your sacrifice.

grandpa                                               (My Grandpa. He was a WWII Veteran.)

 

Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy passed away yesterday.  The world has lost another great writer.  And yet there are still footsteps in the sand for us to follow.

For those of us who put ink on a page, the work that is left behind by the wordsmiths that shuffle off this mortal coil ahead of us should be read as sign posts.  Each book you’ve read, each story you’ve enjoyed that triggered the “wish I could write like that” twinge,  those are sign posts leading onward saying: Here lie dreams.  Follow them.  Share them.  Cause others to dream.

Or ,if you prefer, Hunt for your own Red October.

A moment of silence

I ask for a moment of silence today to consider the life of a person I have never met.  For the past few years I have listened to Kidd Kraddick in the morning.  When I got up early to take my children to school, when I left work in the wee hours of the morning, his was a familiar voice I started or ended my day with.

Just a voice on the radio, but a voice that made me smile or laugh out loud.  A voice to me but a face to others.  A blessing to all the seriously ill children and their families whom he raised money to take to Disney World.  A father and a friend to those who were close to him.  My heart goes out to them all.

Kidd Kraddick passed away Saturday during a charity golf tournament to raise money for Kidd’s Kids.  He will be missed, by those who knew and loved him and by those who only knew the sound of his voice.

Manuscripts and Funerals

My Uncle died and I recently finished the second draft of my fantasy novel. (Then sent it out to my beta readers.)  These two things seem to have nothing in common but that is not true.   Both left me in the ditch of depression. treat-cat-depression-200X200

I should be elated that I finished my second draft and I was…for about 15minutes.  Then the realization set in that now I have to wait an unknown number of weeks for my readers to get around to reading my book and give me feed back.  Then I have to write the same story all over again for the third time and maybe a fourth.Mooch-in-the-Morning

My Uncle died.  I should be sad because I will never get to see him again on this side of the pearly gates.  I cried. I hurt. I loved my uncle and I will miss him.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and passed away on Valentine’s Day.  But the first thing I thought when I got the news was, what a perfect day it was for him to die.

705222_10200181674694881_1743337557_oYou see my Aunt and Uncle were married for many, many years.  They had three children together.  The oldest two provided them with grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Their youngest, my cousin Samantha, was my best friend growing up.  She died in 2000 from Cystic Fibrosis.   Then a year few years after Sam died their house burned down and they lost everything.  Pictures, clothes, pets. Everything but each other.   Neighbors, family, and their community helped them out and they rebuilt their lives.  Then they found out my Aunt was dieing from lung cancer.  She lived a couple of years before she finally passed away.  (Her sister died a month late from the same thing.)      So my Uncle lost his youngest daughter, his home, and his wife and still continued on.

Do to a learning disability, he never learned to read.  If anyone sent him a letter or a card nic and dannyhe had to take it to a neighbor to get them to read it to him. His eldest daughter made him his own phone book with pictures of the people he knew next to their telephone numbers.  He lived alone with a little dog for company.  So when he passed away on Valentine’s Day, I thought it was fitting, kind of like he was going to be with my Aunt.

Anyway the depression ditch is not a fun place to be.  I haven’t wanted to do anything and I really haven’t felt like writing.   I finally sat down and started working on stuff today, after over a week of inactivity.  (It wasn’t only this blog I’ve ignored but all writing.)

Pirate_Captain_by_AdoCThe reason I started working today is because I got tired of dreaming about pirates.  Yeah you read that right, pirates.  Before I hit my downward slump I was beginning to piece together the second book in my fantasy series. (There will eventually be three books….or one really long book with three parts…)  The first quarter of the second book is supposed to take place on a pirate ship.

The first two or three days I had no problems….well the depression, but no problems that make me think of writing as a sort of mental illness.  After about day three pirates started 1upsshowing up in my dreams and nightmares.  After I dreamed of fighting off pirates from the back of a UPS truck, and then last night in a movie theater, I decided my brain was trying to tell me to get back to work.   So I did.

I am really tired right now. It is surprising how worn out you can get from sitting in one place and putting words on a page.  It has been slow going.  Trudging down one word after the other.  I feel a little out of shape.  I did manage a fair amount of work though.  Tomorrow I will get up and do it again. And again the next day, and the next.  Because even though sometimes in life you end up in the ditch, it doesn’t mean you have to stay there.267710_515834385094643_1564799925_n

Grief and Thanks

It has been a really rough week.  My aunt passed away this week, which makes the fourth family member I’ve lost in the past two months. I’ve not felt much like writing so my nano novel may not be finished this November.

The same day my aunt passed, someone else whom I had met not too long ago was killed in an accident.  I can’t exactly refer to her as a friend because I didn’t know her quite that well but she was a dear acquaintance with promises of friendship.  She was a kind person with a strong spirit and her presence in this world will be greatly missed.

My aunt had cancer. We knew her time was short, but when it came to an end we were all crushed even though it was expected. She was an inspiration to our family, a strong woman who raised four strong men.  Her sons continue to show that strength that she passed on to them, even now.  I know she is proud of them.

Work was a nightmare this week.  Part of that was the fact I was just trying to hold it all together until my day off and part was because someone thought a pre-Thanksgiving sale was a great idea.  Our work load was double what it normally is, including two trucks.

However, despite all that has gone on, I can’t help but be thankful for what I do have.  The time I did get to spend with those loved ones that have passed. The time I have with those still here.  The ability to hug my children. Friends that are always there no matter what.  I have so very very many things to be thankful for that if I listed them all here this post would go on forever.

Thank you all for stopping by this blog and reading. I would like to encourage you to write down some of the things you are thankful for as well. It doesn’t have to be where the entire world can see, just on a slip of paper somewhere.  If you want, you can even just post a comment here.  The important thing is taking that moment to stop and consider what you have and take a moment to cherish it.