The Wake Up Call


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Dearest Readers:

During the Christmas season, I am thankful for all that I have. All that I have endured, and all that God has taught me on this wonderful journey called life. Today, I wanted to share an award-winning story I wrote years ago, during the Christmas season where I felt more like Scrooge or the Grinch, instead of who I really am. Sometimes, during the holidays unexpected situations occur where we respond and are changed for the better. The Wake Up Call is such a story and experience for me. Rushing to shop on Black Friday, I learned the true meaning of Christmas. Sharing. Loving. Taking the time to help others. Believing in God and the powers He shares with us every day. I hope you enjoy the story. Merry Christmas!

Arriving in Greensboro, I met Joan at Friendly Shopping Center. I parked the car in the first available spot and headed towards Hecht’s Department Store. I rushed across the congested parking lot waving to Joan standing by the door. The after Thanksgiving sale crowd was anxious for the doors to open, pushing, and shoving to get closer to the entrance. Joan and I moved aside to let an elderly woman in a wheel chair take our spot in line. This year, holiday sales and life in general meant nothing to me. I’d experienced the worst year in my life, watching my father melting away from the toxic poisons of esophageal cancer and chemo-radiation therapy.

“Crowds bother me,” I said. “I hate the rudeness of women when they’re searching for a bargain.” Joan nodded.  I turned my back to the street, noticing the trees decorated with bright lights. With exception of today, I’d forgotten Christmas was less than a month away.

“How are you doing now,” Joan asked.

“Okay,” I said, a little too quickly. “The trees are beautiful this year.”

I blinked several times, my eyes glaring at the spruce trees, melting snow on the ground.

“Just okay, huh,” Joan said. “It’s been six months since he died. If you need to talk, I’m here.”

Tears danced in my eyes. I looked away from her stare.

When the doors opened, I looked over my shoulder. Something caught my eye. Perhaps the uniqueness of the moment, the after effects of stress, combined with my desire to disconnect from life, forced me to see things in a different perspective. Something was lying in the road. Someone probably dropped a jacket, I thought, ignoring my discovery.

“Joan,” I said. “I’ll meet you in ladies wear.”

Curiosity of the image in the road captivated me, so I stepped aside.

I didn’t hear Joan answer me. By now, there were hundreds of shoppers pushing and shoving into Hecht’s.

While shoppers rushed for the early morning bargains, my eyes refused to leave the road. As I moved closer, I recognized the item by the curb wasn’t a jacket, but an elderly gentleman.

“He must be drunk,” I mumbled, moving closer to him. What if he’s dead? I can’t do this. Not again. I dialed 9-1-1 on my cell phone.

My mind rewound, stopping at the memories and heartache of July, 1999. That Tuesday evening in July I was late arriving at Sandpiper Convalescent Center. When I placed my hand on the door of my father’s room, a nurse intercepted me. Nurses were rushing around Dad’s bed.

“Can you get a pulse?” I heard someone say.

“His daughter is here. What should we do?”

Nurse Angie joined me at the doorway. Her eyes locked into mine.

“No, “I screamed. “No! Please God, No!”

Nurse Angie sat me down. She didn’t need to tell me what was going on. I knew the day had arrived, and although oncologist specialists told me in 1997 that I needed to prepare myself, I wasn’t ready to let Dad go. I still needed him in my life. He couldn’t leave me now. Not now.

Nurse Angie whispered. “He’s a DNR. Do you want us to do anything?”

I knew the definition of DNR, and I did not want to disobey my Dad’s orders of do not resuscitate. “I- uh – I can’t override his decision. Not even if it means—.” I couldn’t finish the words. Since childhood, Dad was my lifeline. Always ready to cheer me up. Always ready to teach me things. He and my grandmother taught me about God and prayer. Dad was the provider who taught me to stand up for myself and to speak my mind – but gently. Dad was the one who beamed with a golden halo when I sang in the choir. Dad was the one who encouraged me to reach for the stars. Now, my shining star was getting brighter, only at the cost of losing my helping hand.

“Dear God, give me strength,” I prayed. “Take care of my dad. Use his talents. Let him know I love him.”

A screaming horn brought me back to reality. I stared into the eyes of a driver. “Get the hell out of the way,” the burgundy haired woman shrieked. “I need to turn.”

I walked over to her. She had body piercings in her eyebrow and nose. “I’m sorry to inconvenience you,” I said. “There’s a gentleman unconscious in the road. I’m not moving him until EMS gets here.”

“Yeah, whatever,” she mouthed. “I’m in a hurry.”

“Aren’t we all.”

I kneeled down, touching the elderly gentleman’s forehead, feeling beads of cold sweat. His hair was thin, salt and pepper gray. His face was weathered, hands wrinkled but firm. “Dear God please. Don’t let him die. Not today.” My face lifted to the skyline.

His hands felt like ice. His body was thin. A gray beard covered his face. He wore a gold wedding band . By now, curious shoppers were moving closer to us. Removing my coat, I covered him. A young man with spiked hair removed his leather coat, bundled it into a ball, lifting the gentleman’s head.

“Does he have a pulse?” He asked.

“I didn’t check.”

“It’s okay. I’m a medical student.” He checked for a pulse, nodding yes to me.

The gentleman coughed.

“Sir, what happened?”

“I fell. I’m sick. My wife, Bernice,  wanted to be here early for the sale.”

“Where’s your wife?”

“I don’t know. I drove her here. I let her out by the door. I had chemo this week.”

I warmed his freezing hands with mine. “Chemo,” I muttered, understanding his weakness.

Joan stood next to me, touching my shoulder. “You okay?”

I nodded.

“Cancer,” I said. “You go shopping. I’ll stay with him.”

“Sirens,” someone said. “They’re coming.”

The man squeezed my hand. “Don’t leave me,” he said.

“Your wife. Where’s your wife?”

“She wanted to shop. She’s buying me some fishing tackle.”

“You must like to fish,” I said, hoping he’d remain alert. “Is there someone else we can call?”

“My grandson. Hank. His number’s in my wallet.”

The medical student found his wallet, dialed the number.

When EMS arrived, a pretty older woman joined us. She smiled at me and thanked me. “I’m Bernice. His wife. Thanks for helping him,” she said.

At lunch, I found myself able to talk. A sudden burst of adrenalin had me chatting non-stop about Dad’s terminal illness, forgiveness and death.

“When I was little, I was hit by a car. My Grammy said I was spared for a reason,” I said to Joan, sipping a steaming cup of coffee. “Until today, I never understood what she meant.”

“You really have a way with old people,” she said.

I laughed. “Not until Dad’s illness. I’ve never told you this, but my relationship with my parents wasn’t good. When they divorced, I was angry. Until Dad got sick, I couldn’t forgive them.”

I looked around the crowded restaurant. “Life is so short. So unfair. I guess I never took life and death seriously until Dad died. Now, I try to make the most of each day. I’ve started praying every night. That’s something I didn’t do for many years. I was living in a spinning wheel headed no where, until Dad’s illness.”

I laughed. “Thanks to cancer. I’ve never told you this, but my relationship with my parents wasn’t good. Until Dad got sick, I couldn’t forgive them.”

“Dad’s illness was a wake up call. His faith taught me to step out of that rat race and reach out to others. Two days before he died, I visited him like I always did. I didn’t want him to die without me there. On July 4th he was sitting in his rocking chair, reading the Bible. When he saw me arrive, he raised his voice, asking me what I was doing there. I thought he was angry, so I only stayed a few minutes. I didn’t visit the next day. Now that he’s gone, I realized he was detaching. He knew his days on earth were numbered. Maybe God spoke to him.”

“You were remarkable,” Joan said. The daily visits, the letters you wrote to his family and friends every month. The care you gave him. He was blessed.”

“I was blessed. People come into our lives for a purpose, and God brought Dad back into my life, forcing me to wake up. Rebuilding that relationship gave me the courage I need to live the rest of my life and to make a few changes. Just when we think the door has closed, God opens a window. What more can I ask for?”

My cell phone rang. The medical student shared an updated report about the gentleman in the road. He was stable. Bernice was by his side.

The experience of stopping to help a total stranger during that holiday season opened my eyes and heart to our purpose in life. Each life has a reason for existence. My grandmother always told me to look for rainbows when life gives us detours. As a child, I didn’t understand her wisdom. Now, older and much wiser, I appreciated her words.

When life brings rain, look for the rainbow. Grammy’s wisdom about God, along with my dad’s, was instilled forever inside my heart. This would be a Christmas to remember and cherish.

Merry Christmas!

-30-

Born in Columbus, Georgia, Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a talented, award-winning writer of screenplays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, and over 60 articles for regional and trade publications. Many of her articles have appeared in regional trade and travel magazines, health and beauty web sites, and newspaper publications. She began her writing career as a child, publishing a science fiction story during third grade in Atlanta, Georgia. Her areas of writing expertise include fiction, non-fiction, articles, plays and screenplays. In 2001, she published a complex memoir based on her father’s battle with esophageal cancer. The non-fiction memoir is titled, Condition of Limbo.

As a writer of accomplishment, she works diligently to achieve her goals as a professional screenwriter and playwright. She was selected as a finalist in the teleplay category with her screenplay, the Commish…The Signature Rapist. Additional screenplays were selected as finalist for the Chesterfield Writers’ Film Project and the Goldie Film Awards, Fade In competition, The Writers Network, and America’s Best, The Writers Foundation. In February 2004, she was awarded the Grand Goldie Film Award for her screenplay, Not My Papa.

 

 

 

Living A Normal Day Before Halloween


Dearest Readers:

Now that I can find a bit of humor and laugh again, I have an important message to share.

Sunday, October 22, 2017 started with my husband sleeping in again — like he does on the weekends. I checked on him, just to make certain he was A-OK, just like I do every weekend since his heart surgery, February 4, 1998.

Caring for the dogs, I decided since I had less than four hours sleep again, I would go back to rest while watching TV. Setting the sleep mode, I closed my eyes, hopeful I could sleep. I did not.

About an hour later, something told me to get out of bed. Occasionally, I have these little voices telling me to do something, so I threw back the covers and got up. I turned my curling iron on, ready to style my hair for the day. Opening the door, I saw my husband in the bathroom. His face was covered in something – just what, I could not tell. At first glance I thought he was coloring his hair and the color had slipped down his face, or maybe he was working on a Halloween mask? No. That can’t be.

“What are you doing? You’ve got hair color all over your face.” I said. “You look like something from a horror movie.”

“It’s blood,” he mumbled. “I’m not coloring my hair. I fell and cut my head.”

Grabbing a pile of old towels, I tossed them to him. Thick globs of blood were on the bathroom floor and tile. The bathroom rugs were covered.  The shower curtain had a hand print of blood. The walls, covered with blood. The sink. Blood. Blood everywhere! I had no idea how he cut his head, nor did I know how much blood he lost.

He attempted to stand. “I’m gonna shower, to get this blood off of me.”

He fell back down, fainting.

I rushed to get the cordless phone, calling 9-1-1.

The dispatcher spoke slowly and calmly to me, asking several questions:

  1. Was he awake?
  2. Where is he located?
  3. Is the front door unlocked?
  4. Can you get a cloth and place it on his head?
  5. Is he responding? Are his eyes opened?

I answered all of the questions. When Phil came to, he argued with me for calling 9-1-1.

“I ain’t going with E-M-S to the hospital. All I gotta do is stop this bleeding.” He said, his face and the back of his head covered in blood that had coagulated.

Little did I know after he cut his head, he went back to bed. Yes. Back to bed, with his head on several pillows and BLOOD everywhere. Why didn’t he let me know he cut his head and needed some help? Good question! Sometimes I think men must have their brains attached somewhere else. You can decide where I’m referring to. My husband is a gifted guy. He is self-taught in technology and he can repair computers, but — when it comes to common sense???

The dispatcher remained on the line with me, letting me know the first responders were on their way. Telling my husband to STAY where he was, I went to the front door. The fire truck and EMS drove by. I rushed outside. Phone in my hand and waved to them, letting them know they were passing our home.

Moments later, the paramedics gathered equipment, a gurney and other bags and rushed inside. I shared what I knew about what happened, including that my husband failed to let me know he had injured himself. I stepped aside.

Next, a police officer arrived. By now, neighbors are coming out to see what is going on. I answered questions, remaining outside while the EMT’s worked on Phil. Because the injury was a head trauma, Phil would be transported to MUSC Trauma Team. I gave an EMT a list of his medications. A long list of medications, I might add.

By now, it was after 11:00am. Those of you who know me understand how I ALWAYS wear makeup and have my hair styled EVERY DAY. This day was different. Because I was so tired, I hadn’t styled my hair. My face was completely nude of any makeup. My neighbor, a thoughtful, kind woman, suggested she could do my hair.

“I don’t have time,” I said. “I’m going to MUSC to be with him. People will just have to understand. This isn’t a normal day.”

When they brought Phil out, his head was wrapped with gauze. A neck brace was on his neck. His color was so pale. I was thankful I called 9-1-1. The monster inside my husband could’ve bled to death. A head injury is not something to ignore. After the vehicle carrying my husband to the hospital left, I rushed inside to put my hair up and gather my things. I totally forgot to gather anything for Phil, including his dentures and glasses. Definitely NOT  a normal day! On the way to the hospital, I prayed and prayed that the cut on his head was not as bad as it looked. I was afraid he’d cut from the crown of his head to the back of his head. After all, blood was everywhere, including coagulated blood in his hair, face and clothing. He looked like he had dressed up to be something really gory from a Halloween, or murder movie. ONLY – it wasn’t Halloween! No wonder the police came. They were probably making certain this call was not related to domestic violence. NOT IN THIS HOUSE!

Arriving at E-R, I was told to sit down and someone would come for me. The head trauma team was working on Phil. I sat down, opened a book to read, discovering my eyes were filling with tears. I choked them back. A few minutes later, I was allowed to see Phil. I touched him. Some of the blood had been cleaned up, although his head was still covered with blood. A doctor introduced himself telling me Phil had about a two-inch cut on his head requiring three staples. They were waiting on a room for him to be admitted. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful the cut on his head was not as horrific as it looked.

“I ain’t staying in no hospital tonight. I’m going home,” he said.

I touched him. “You’re staying here. You need to be monitored.”

After a brief discussion, I reminded Phil his bed was covered with blood and he could not rest at home until the bed was changed and disinfected. Reluctantly, he agreed.

After a long day at the hospital, I arrived at home about 7:30pm, knowing I had a lot of cleaning, disinfecting and unexpected laundry to do. Removing the sheets, the top sheet and fitted sheet were stuck together. My neighbor suggested I needed to use hydrogen peroxide to get the blood out. Much to my surprise, it worked! I washed four pillows covered in blood. All of the blood came out. Later, I washed the mattress protector and mattress pad, discovering these items do protect mattresses. Not one spot of blood was on the mattress! At 12:47am, I crawled into bed, exhausted.

Phil was discharged Monday, staying home from work Monday and Tuesday. Today, he says he feels fine. I’ve suggested the word fine did not have his name next to it! Fine, he isn’t.

Hopefully, this weekend will be a better, quieter weekend. I could certainly use the rest and less drama in my life. As for Phil, since he is on blood thinners, he bleeds a bit too easily. I’ve never seen so much blood in my lifetime and pray I never do again. He asked me if I took photos of it. I did not. Just who would want pictures of so much blood?

Last night, we shared Phil’s story at a Halloween party. “But you didn’t dress up,” someone said to me.

I smiled while thinking, well you should’ve seen both of us on Sunday. Phil was a Halloween monster with blood pouring from his head, and I suppose I was the nude-face Barbie!

I will be happy when Halloween is over! I’ve seen enough coagulated blood to last a lifetime!

 

#MeToo


Dearest Readers:

In the news, we continue hearing about the #MeToo epidemic. Many actresses and celebrities are finally coming forward about sexual molestation…sexual harassment…rape…and so on. Many are asking why it has taken them so long to come forward. My response – “You’ve never been a victim. Have you?”

If you read the last post I shared, you will know I was a victim too. No. Not from rape. I fought back hard and was able to fight my great-uncle off. While I’m certain other women fought, some were so horrified they could not fight back.

As a woman in a professional hospitality industry, I would like to share another incident I experienced. At the time, I worked in hospitality. On one occasion, I left my office to speak with someone on the floor below my office. I wore a black and white dress. White belt. Bolero jacket and high heels. Because I always wore heels, everyone who knew me, knew the click, click, clicking of my heels. I passed by the elevator. One of the instructors stopped me, telling me how “gorgeous you look today. Really inviting…” Then, he licked his lips and mumbled “Hmm…Hmm! You look edible today.”

At first, I ignored his comments, continuing to walk to my destination. Moments later, since no one was around and I did not have witnesses, I approached him.

He smiled a derogative smile. “You came back,” he said.

“Yes. I came back. Not to encourage you or express interest in what you were saying to me. I. Came. Back, to tell you from this moment on, you will address me with respect. The way you were looking at me, you were undressing me. I will not tolerate that behavior.”

He attempted to interrupt me, but I put my hand up to let him know I wasn’t finished. “From this day forward, you will not speak to me, or with me. You will look the other way, or you will turn away from me. How dare you to lick your lips and make such rude, suggestive comments to me.”

He moved closer. I pushed him back. “And, Mr. _____, IF you ever get the urge to lick your lips around me again, no doubt suggesting unbecoming ideas, I will press charges against you. What you did was disgusting and I will not tolerate it again. If needed, I will go to H-R to file a sexual harassment complaint.”

He gasped.

“Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” He said.

This instructor never spoke to me again. A few months later a student filed a complaint against him and he was escorted off of the property. The student left the campus, never to return.

I do not know exactly what happened to the student, but I was thankful the instructor would not be nearby again.

Yes. I should’ve filed a complaint, but at the time, my husband was unemployed and I needed the job. Since sexual harassment is such an open topic now, thanks to #MeToo, and the abundance of women coming forward, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not reporting it. I understand why women are hesitant, just like me.

Sexual harassment is not a new occurrence now. Sexual harassment has been happening for many, many years. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report it. While I haven’t stated where I worked at the time, or who the party was who sexually harassed me, I am coming forward to let others know it does happen. Women are made to feel as if we are the ones who caused this ‘epidemic’ to happen. I say, No. On the day it happened to me, I was left feeling scared and abused. I am proud of myself for approaching this disgusting man and letting him know his comments and actions made me uncomfortable. Obviously, he continued to make those off-colored comments to other women.

Some men never learn!

If you are reading this, and it happens to you, please stand up and speak out. Weeks after my incident I did ask our H-R professional what would happen IF someone filed a complaint against another colleague regarding sexual harassment. I was told, “It’s usually a question of He said…She said…IF there were no witnesses around.”

I wasn’t surprised. Today, I am thankful women are speaking up. It is time for us to stop being victims. Hopefully, #MeToo will give us the courage to share these disgusting incidents.

Let us all stand tall #MeToo!

 

Sexual Assault/Molestation – My Story #MeToo


Dearest Readers:

Today I am writing about a topic close to my heart. A secret. Well, not after today’s post.

Listening to many current events, I am finding the courage to come forward about a subject, once closed. Another of those topics considered “a family matter.” Maybe I am finally finding the courage to share these experiences now since the issue is in the news. If you follow current events, I’m certain you’ve heard the accusations regarding Harvey Weinstein. Allegations of molestation…Rape…Sexual assault. And on…and on.

Many of these stories I haven’t read thoroughly. I get angry, and then, I have dreams, actually nightmares. Nightmares I want to toss into the trash, or delete from a keyboard. It is a bit difficult to delete these tragic events from one’s mind, so for many, many years I kept quiet. Never mentioning my sexual assaults.

Last night, I awoke, talking in my sleep. While I do not recall the entire “nightmare” I heard my voice saying “Stop it! Don’t touch me. Let me go! Stop it. STOP IT!”

When I was fifteen-years-old, I was sexually molested. I remember it just like it was yesterday. My parents were in the middle of a bitter, volatile divorce. My mother would tell me to “Never trust a man. They only want you for one reason, and when they’re through with you, they’ll toss you away like yesterday’s trash. That’s just what your daddy is doing to me. Throwing me away. I hate him, and I hate you. See what you’ve done. Your daddy wouldn’t divorce me now if you left us alone. I hate you and Him!”

Yes. It’s true. I caused my parents to divorce, after separating both of them while in a tumultuous fight. Arriving home from school, I heard shouting. My bedroom was across from their room. Leaving my bedroom door open, I listened to them shouting words of hatred to each other. The fight continued for a while, then – silence. I knocked on their door. No one responded, so I opened the door.

My mother was gasping for breath. Her face was blue. My father had his back turned, then he threw a pile of mail at my mother.

“What’s going on?” I said. “I heard the fighting.”

It wasn’t the first time my parents fought. I had served as their referee since I was five-years-old. My mother stumbled to a chair.

I picked up the mail, noticing “Past Due and Final Request” stamped on some of the bills.

“She’s gone and spent money again. Money I don’t have. There’s a letter from an attorney. If I don’t pay these bills, my wages will be garnished.”

I wasn’t surprised. My mother could not handle finances and when she wanted something, she purchased rings, and other items on credit cards.

Suddenly my mother rose from the chair, heading in his direction. She balled her fist, shaking it while cursing him. Dad rushed to her, hitting her. She fell. I rushed to her aid, shouting at my father, telling him he needed to stop hitting her. If he wanted to hit someone, he could hit me. I’ve seen my father’s anger many times, but today was the worst.

I stood between them, hands extended like a referee. “Don’t touch my mother again. If you keep doing this, one of you will kill the other one. Then, you’ll be in jail. One of you needs to leave.”

The next afternoon, I came home from school excited to share I had the lead in a musical. When I walked inside the house, my mother was scantily dressed in a torn, thin gown. Her hair was messy and her eyes were filled with hatred and rage.

She jumped towards me.

“I hope you’re happy now,” she shouted. “You stupid girl. Your daddy’s left and it’s all your fault. He’s divorcing me. You can consider him dead now!”

Three days later, we moved in with our grandparents in Bibb City, the mill village of Columbus, Georgia.

One of my great uncles took a liking to me, always telling me I was pretty and sweet. He invited me to ride with him on his dry cleaning deliveries. He said we’d have a ‘good time.’

Little did I know what his definition of ‘a good time’ really meant.

It was early springtime when I rode with him. He packed a variety of Tom’s snacks and Nehi orange soda for us to enjoy on this warm Saturday. Driving along, he talked about Papa and fishing and music. He knew I loved music. He played musical instruments so he invited me to sing with him at his house.

“You’ll love the music we play,” he said. “Good ole gospel music.”

“I like jazz,” I said, sipping my drink.

Carefully, I watched the directions of his driving. I’ve always been one to look for landmarks on the road. Little did I know how smart this little game of landmarks would become. We rode around to Smith’s Station, Alabama. According to roadmaps, Smith’s Station was exactly ten miles from Columbus, Georgia.

My uncle made a right turn on a dirt road. I glanced around, looking for homes, or maybe a farm. All I saw were dusty, red clay fields and another dirt road. He made another right onto another dirt road. I glanced behind me, noticing the dust from the roads created a thick, red fog.

“There aren’t any homes around here. Where are we going?”

My uncle smiled a devious smile. He reached his right arm over to me. “Come here,” He said. “You need to sit closer to me.”

I did not move. He thrust his arm my way, pulling me to him. My body tightened.

The interior of his truck was dusty. Freshly cleaned clothing hung on one side of the truck, covered with plastic and delivery orders attached. Still, I could see the red fog, now so thick I wasn’t certain anyone could see us.

“Where are we going?”

My uncle grinned. “Just relax. We’re going to pick blackberries.”

All I could see was a dirt road. The fields were freshly planted. I doubted blackberries were ready to pick. Something frightened me.

My uncle turned right again, pulling into a thick pile of brush and leaves. Tall pine trees grew in a line, so tall I felt I could reach the clouds if I climbed them. I wasn’t a tree climber. My uncle parked the truck, turning the motor off.

He laughed a horrifying, wicked laughter I did not like to hear. He pulled me closer to him.

“Stop it,” I said. I don’t want to get close to you.”

“Don’t you miss your daddy?” He asked. “Your mama said you cry for him. Come closer to me. I can be your daddy.”

“No,” I shouted, knowing no one would ever hear me. We were in the middle of a deserted field of red clay and pine trees.

“I want to get to know you better.”

“There are no blackberries around here. You lied to me.”

I remember crying. I was so horrified. Just what was my great uncle planning to do with me?

“I wanna go home,” I said, wiping my tears.

“And I want to know you better. You’re such a pretty girl. Your mama knows how pretty you are. She said I should be closer to you since your daddy left.”

His hands gripped my legs hard, moving up my thigh. He moved his right hand to my chest. I pushed away, but he was strong. Now, he was moving his entire body towards me, getting on top of me.

I screamed again, only I knew no one would hear. If I had any chance to get away from this monster great uncle, I had to fight for myself.

Since I was only 15-years-old and did not have any brothers, I had no idea how to fight, but I did all I could. My mother had never discussed sex with me, or what a girl could do to fight back. My arms were hard to move since he was on top of me. I heard the sound of a zipper, realizing my shorts were loser now. His hands rushed all over my body, moving into my genitals. I bit his arm. He pulled away for only a moment. My right arm was free now, so I moved my hands in the direction of his crotch. I had no idea what I should do, but I remember grabbing his crotch and I squeezed as hard as I could.

He screamed in pain. His body went limp. I pushed him away and I grabbed the door. Rushing outside, I ran as hard as I could. I knew the way home. I could walk. Smith Station and Columbus were only ten miles away. I was suddenly thankful I had strong legs and could walk the distance. The dirt road was almost an open field, so I could not find a place to hide. In the distance, I heard his truck. He was coming after me.

Raised in the Assembly of God Church, my grandmother had taught me to pray. Tears streaming down my face, I ran. When I saw his truck, I darted into a dry field with trees. Just maybe he could not drive his truck into the trees.

“Please, God. Help me. I don’t know what he wants to do with me, but I don’t like it. Please, God. HELP ME!”

My uncle saw me. He stopped the truck, opened the driver’s door and got out.

“You need to come back. We’ve got to pick blackberries.”

“You’re a liar,” I shouted. “I’m not getting back in the truck.”

He laughed. “Just how do you plan to get back home?”

“Walking,” I shouted as loud as I could scream. “I know the way.”

He rushed towards me. I noticed he was moving slower. Just maybe I had hurt him a little bit. Good. He deserves to hurt.

He moved closer to me, and when he did, I kicked him as hard as I could, right between his legs. He fell to the ground. I ran.

“Please God, guide me home. And please don’t let him catch me.”

A bit later, I heard the truck. My uncle gunned the engine, catching me. I looked behind me. The truck was getting so close I panicked, remembering when I was hit by a car at nine-years-old. I stepped to the side of the road. My uncle stopped the truck.

He was holding one of his hands by his crotch, and he moaned as if he was in pain.

“You get in this truck. I’ll take you home.”

“I’m walking,” I said.

My uncle jumped out of the car, picked me up and opened the passenger door. Kicking and screaming, I remember fighting as hard as I could to get free. He threw me in the seat.

“Don’t you move!” He said. “I’m taking you home.”

“I don’t want to be with you. I don’t like you anymore.”

“You just sit still. We’ll be back to your house before you know it.” He drove off, driving as fast as he could.

“If you tell one person I touched you, you’ll be sorry.” He said. “I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

Tears were pouring down my face, and I tried to speak but my words were only garbled. Inhaling, exhaling, and slowly breathing, I calmed myself down, managing to speak.

“If you move one finger over here towards me, you’ll be sorry,” I said. “I know what to do now, and I’ll do it again if I have to. After today, don’t you even speak to me again. I hate you!”

Arriving home, I rushed to my bedroom. My mother asked why I was home so early. I ignored her.

I gathered some clothes and I rushed to the bathroom. I wanted to get the red dust off of myself. Scrubbing my body hard with Ivory soap, I cried and cried until there were no more tears left.

My great uncle came to the house a few days later. When I saw his truck, I rushed away.

Still, to this day, I can still hear his words, “I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

Maybe now, someone will. I was victim at fifteen-years-old. Never did I report his sexual molestations of me. Why? Simple. Back in those days, who would believe a fifteen-year-old? They would say, You were asking for it. You wore shorts and T-shirt and you have a nice chest. You were just asking for it.

No, I wasn’t. In the dark of night while sleeping I still hear his words echoing to me.

“I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

When he died, my mother phoned me, encouraging me to come to his funeral. I remember saying to her, “He can rot in Hell for all I care. He molested me.” That was the first time I shared his attack with anyone.

Regardless who or what a man is, there is no excuse for anyone to molest, rape or sexually assault any child or woman. Even if he is – a deacon in the church.

Now, people are under the impression a woman should always come forward; however, unless you are a victim, you cannot understand why it is so difficult and painful to “come forward.” It takes courage.

Victims are made to feel dirty, cheap, with a lack of self-esteem. I’ll not share how many years it was before I came forward and shared my story about my great uncle. When I did, I was told he had a history of ‘liking young girls.’

Looks like he got away with what he did, at least with me, after all – He was a deacon in the church.DSC_0032_edited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I A “Racist???


Yesterday, I received a news alert about Melania Trump being a ‘racist’ from a librarian. Seems Melania Trump is a racist for donating Dr. Seuss’ books???

Duh? Am I missing something?

Dr. Seuss books are racist???
Let’s look up the definition for racist:
“a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”

Aren’t we hearing “racist” just a bit too much these days?

NFL players say we are racist so they kneel to protest when the National Anthem is played at the beginning of their games. All they are illustrating is their lack of respect for the United States of America.

Every time I’ve seen those images, all I’ve seen are black football players. Oops. Suppose I’ll be called a racist now.

Understand – I AM NOT A RACIST! Years ago, when the South refused to accept people OF ALL COLORS, I broke the unpublished rule at the Armed Services YMCA.

What did I do?

I was a member of the Girls Auxiliary. The YMCA held dances for the soldiers to attend. Soldiers had to pay a cover charge to come inside to the dance.  On one occasion, I danced with a black soldier.

OOOOOHHH! All I did was dance with the soldier, and it wasn’t a “Dirty Dance.” We did not groove, or grind with our bodies. He held me gracefully and we talked. That is all!

A few minutes later, the President of the Armed Services YMCA tapped me on the shoulder, asking me to ‘meet him in his office.’

Several girls noticed, along with many of the soldiers.  I admit it. I was a popular girl at the YMCA.

Entering the President’s office, he asked me to sit down. He thanked me for joining the YMCA as a girl’s auxiliary member. Then, he said: “We have standards and rules here. You broke one of the rules tonight.”

Flabbergasted, I asked: “What did I do?”

He sighed, then he dropped a bomb. “You danced with a black guy. We don’t allow that here.”

“What?” I said. “I broke the rule and danced with a black soldier? Let me get this straight. Didn’t the black soldier have to pay a cover charge to come inside tonight? You allowed him to enter, but as a girl’s auxiliary member I cannot dance with him?”

“We don’t consider it a cover charge. He, along with all soldiers, has to pay a fee to come to the dance.”

“But,” I interrupted, shaking and a bit angry. “You do not permit black girls to join the auxiliary. I was told that a few weeks ago when I inquired. Yet…You allow a soldier, a gentleman who fights for freedom, to come inside to the dance. BUT… Because of his color, he cannot dance with me and I’m supposed to say No when he asks me to dance. Is that what you’re saying?”

“We don’t think of it like that. This is the South. We do things different here.”

“But he’s a soldier. He was respectful and kind to me, and we danced. I don’t understand.”

I jumped from my chair and left his office. By the time I got to the front door, I was in tears. Several soldiers could see I was upset and they knew me, so they followed me out the door.

“What’s going on?” One of the soldiers asked. I noticed the black soldier standing with the group.

“Nothing,” I cried. “I’m okay. I’m leaving.”

The black soldier approached me. “They told you not to dance with a black soldier. Right?”

“Not exactly and I don’t wish to lie. What he said is I danced with a ‘black guy.’ I don’t think he considers you a soldier, just because you’re black.”

A few minutes later, I left, crying all the way home. I could not understand why the color of skin mattered so much to so many people. All I saw was a nice guy with a crooked smile and a pleasant manner. He was a soldier. He wanted to dance. Nothing more.

Two days later, I got a phone call from the President of the Armed Services YMCA. He apologized and wanted me to come back to the dances.

I suppose my popularity with the soldiers made an impression. Little did I know that after I left the dance that night, six soldiers demanded to meet with the President. Apparently they let him know how displeased they were and they also mentioned he was wrong to degrade me for dancing with ‘a black guy.’

I returned to the YMCA a few times after that experience and I still danced with ‘black soldiers.’

What a disgrace? HARDLY!

Since those years, I’ve stood up many times and fought back when I hear people being ‘racist.’ Let’s don’t even discuss some of the words they use, but I stand tall and let them know — color is only skin deep. What lies beneath the skin is a beautiful person with love inside. Beauty and color is only skin deep!

Now, I admit it. I detest football. I’ve seen men get so angry over a football game that they become violent. Did you know domestic violence increases during football season, especially during the Super Bowl. While I might listen to the Super Bowl since my husband likes to watch it, I have a stack of reading material ready so I can read.

This morning while I checked Facebook ever so quickly, I saw a post related to the NFL. A toll-free phone number for Anheuser Busch was posted. 1-800-342-5283, so we could share our thoughts about the infamous NFL athletes. Personally, I think all of those athletes should lose their contracts so they will recognize every act has a repercussion! Just how would they feel after losing all of the money they earn while showing their testosterone levels! As you can see, I have no respect!

It is a disgrace that our soldiers can battle wars and earn very little money, and IF they need veterans benefits after their battles, they must fight tooth and nail just to get what they deserve. Meanwhile, some testosterone overloaded guy shows how great he is at chasing and fighting over an inflated, or deflated, football, earning him millions of dollars.

Oops. But — you might call me a racist now. Believe me. I’m not a racist. I simply believe in the freedoms we have earned simply because soldiers went to Gulf Shores, AL 2008 082war zones to fight for our freedoms. Some of those soldiers did not return alive. Others, are still over there fighting to forget the wars while battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My husband is only one of them!

But – that’s another subject for another time. I am not a racist. I am an American, and I am proud to share the freedoms while standing to honor our United States flag and the National Anthem. I respect our soldiers, regardless of the color of their skin, or their gender. And whenever I see a soldier, I thank him, or her, for their service! Sometimes, I even give them a hug to welcome them home!

Here’s to the United States of America!

Why not call Anheuser Busch 1-800-342-5283 today!

 

Surviving Hurricanes


Dearest Readers:

We survived the wrath of a potential Hurricane Irma. I say potential since she dropped down to a tropical storm when she visited Charleston, SC.

We watched The Weather Channel. I must compliment them on their coverage and I am so thankful we survived. We lost power for less than two hours. Amazing. I would like to thank South Carolina Electric & Gas [SCEIMG_5582G] for that!

My sister and her family who live in a rural, beautiful country area miles from Atlanta, Georgia lost their power and did not get it back until 6:30 last night! I sent them a text congratulating them on joining civilization again! There’s nothing like flipping the light switch and seeing a light come on instantly! Of course, there’s nothing more comforting and cooling than air conditioning! And, who likes cold baths? I do. I learned to like them after 14 days without power after Hurricane Hugo.

Originally, we planned to leave Charleston on Monday morning since the hurricane wasn’t anticipated until Tuesday. I booked a hotel reservation for Monday – Wednesday in Georgia. Only miles from the home of my family. Was I ever thankful we cancelled that reservation on Saturday! The silly Irma did more damage there with electricity than she did here. Whoever thought hurricanes would hit the inlands? I did. I remember Hurricane Hugo and how she tore into Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC. Hurricanes aren’t just for the coastal areas after all!

Today, I was able to return to my Weight Watchers meeting. “I’m checking in,” I said. “But I’m not weighing in today!”

The leader of our meeting, Kathy, simply laughed and shook her head. She probably knew I was only one of the members who would not weigh in today.

Why?

I have no excuse, with exception of a hurricane…fast food – when it was available…junk food… I asked my husband to go to the grocery store once, to get us something to eat. Rule number two of a hurricane [I’ll let you imagine what rule number one is]. Do not send your husband to a grocery store for hurricane foods.

What did he bring home?

Here’s only a brief list:

Blueberry muffins

Bread (we had two loaves sitting on the counter)

Boars Head meats

Cheese

Ice cream

Aren’t we under a hurricane warning? Just what do we do when the power goes out?

“Eat melted ice cream,” I said.

So much for Weight Watchers.

Today, I’ve promised to get myself back on track. Much to my surprise, when I checked e-tools on my iPhone, I discovered I have been super negligent with tracking! Checking back to December, 2016, I discovered I haven’t tracked much at all. I must improve that! Just how can a girl lose weight IF she is negligent?

Today is a new day. The sun is shining beautifully. It is warm, but not too humid. Tomorrow I will work in the yard, picking up the debris of sticks, tree and shrub branches and I shall rake everything into one pile.

Since my dogs LOVE to play with sticks, maybe I can get them to help me collect my debris and place it in my utility cart.

On second thought – maybe not! They love to jump into the piles and chew sticks. I don’t imagine that would be a good idea for their digestive system.

At least tomorrow I’ll get LOTS of exercise tracking with my Fitbit.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’m so thankful we survived!

And now, IF I can find my motivation. Track what I eat, and exercise!