A Most Memorable Night


If you are a reader of my blog, you know a bit about me. My love for music. My love for dancing. My love for writing while working as a professional photojournalist. My passion for singing and karaoke, and simply being on stage.

Last night was a most memorable night for me. To quote my dad, ‘a night to record in Strolling in Memories Gardens.’ So here, for all the world to read, is  my most memorable night and occasion.

Saturday, September 24, 2011 was the night for the Back Porch Opera Extravaganza, and what a night it was! Earlier in the week, I posted a comment on Facebook about the dress rehearsal before the show. A most special friend from high school sent a message to me, wanting to know more details. We conversed and she and a friend decided to come to Charleston, to see the show and reconnect with me.

Who would ever suspect a distant friend from many years ago would travel from Georgia to Charleston, just to see me and listen to me singing!

Arriving at the show, we met at the front door, embracing so tightly, I did not want to let her or Pauline go! I suppose the hugs were to replace the lost years of our friendship. Giggling like school girls, we entered the building. I do believe I completely forgot my husband was with me — for a moment. The chatter in the room was silent for me. All I listened to was Darlene and Pauline and of course, my rambling excitement!

Sitting at our table I elaborated a bit about my unhappy childhood, how difficult my life was with my mother while sharing tidbits of my determination to get away from those memories. I inhaled, exhaled, fighting back tears. I did not want my mascara or glitter to smear before the show! “Those bitter memories could either destroy me, or build me. I chose for them to build me into the person I am today.” We continued talking, occasionally eating a bite of food and before long, it was time for the show!

As for the show, I do believe it was one of the best. Not only did we have a bunch of talented singers who performed like professionals with years experience, we had an amazing roar of audience participation! There were many standing ovations, much laughter, applause — whistles and lots of screaming fans within the audience!

Truly a night to remember. Today, Darlene and Pauline are driving back to Georgia. I awoke to a bright and almost blinding sunshine. Now, the clouds have returned, although in my heart, sunshine keeps me warm and toasty.

How is it a ‘lint head’ who grew up in a textile mill society is blessed to have such great devoted and loving friends who go out of their way just to reconnect? I am so blessed!

A Writer’s Perspective


Daily, I find myself staring at a computer screen, writing queries to magazines,
following up with outstanding queries, composing notes from trips taken, and so
on. When I am not doing those chores, I am researching – unlike many writers,
not always on the Internet.

Once while on a trip with other travel writers, I heard a writer who was assigned to write a guidebook state, “all of my research is done on the Internet.”

That intrigued me. I was frantically working on a guidebook at that time. Noting the amount of time I had devoted to that project, the additional research trips,
interviews, phone conversations and e-mails invested, I was quickly seeing that
I was not even making minimum wage with the project. I listened more to the conversation and finally spoke up.

“How is it you do all the research for a guidebook via the Internet? You must live
in the area you’re writing about.”

She giggled. “Nope. Never been there, but the editor contacted me and the amount of time a research trip would take is not worth my time. And so, I just look online and when I find something, I write it.”

I was flabbergasted! “Straight from the Internet?”

“Yep.”

How do you confirm everything?”

Again, she laughed. “I don’t. And if you’re asking about stores, boutiques, and all
those things, I just make ‘em up.”

“Guidebooks aren’t fiction,” I reminded her.

She fluffed her shoulder length strawberry hair, turned and walked away.

Maybe I’m from the old school. I research everything, not just on the Internet.

Remembrance of 9-11


The week of 9-11 is a week to reminisce and be thankful.
Thankful of life, family, friends, loved ones you knew and loved ones you’ve
lost. Sunday, 9-11-11, is a significant day in history and in humanity. On this
date, exactly ten years ago, family members kissed, saying goodbye, making
plans for the evening, after a hard day of work. Perhaps some of these precious
people had dinner reservations, celebrations, or a simple family time at home.
It was a beautiful day in New York City, and other cities. America was kissed
with the brilliance of sunshine, blue skies and another gorgeous day. All of
that changed in the blink of an eye as a terrorist drove U.S. planes into the
Twin Towers.

Imagine this.

You work in the Twin Towers as a receptionist, or an
administrative assistant, busy at your desk, answering phones, taking messages,
organizing another day at the office. You glance out the window to see the
beauty of the skyline, but something is different. You see a bird. No. This
image is too big to be a bird. Sunlight gleams as the moving object gets
closer, and suddenly you realize this is not a bird! A plane. You struggle to
think. You must be dreaming. A plane cannot fly this close to the Twin Towers.
It wouldn’t be safe. The phone at your desk is ringing, but you ignore it for
just a moment. The image of the plane is moving closer. Closer. CLOSER. For a
brief moment you can see the shapes of bodies inside the plane as you realize
the plane is about to hit the World Trade Center. You inhale. Exhale. You blink
your eyes for the last time.

POOF.

After the terrorist’s attacks on the World Trade Center, the
Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania, I had this dream many, many times. Living
in South Carolina, I wished I could be closer, so I could do something. I chose
to pray, write and contribute donations. My heart broke, and I wasn’t alone
with this pain. For weeks, America mourned and prayed. We spoke to strangers.
We attended church and we realized that in the blink of an eye, life can
change.

This is the week of remembrance for 9-11-01; the tenth
anniversary of how quickly America changed. Much has been written about those
moments as we recognized the planes flying into the World Trade Center were not
a ‘pilot error’ but an attack on America. An attack on freedom. An attack on
peace. Many, many lives were lost, and now, we are at war, although in all
reality, we were under attack and at war the very moment the attacks occurred.

I still remember that date, that moment. Still grieving over
the loss of my father in 1999, I had slept in a bit on that morning. My husband
phoned to see if I was OK. “Yes,” I said, sipping the first of several cups of
freshly brewed coffee. “I’m trying to wake up.”

“Have you heard about the World Trade Center?” My husband
asked.

“No. I haven’t turned the TV on.”

“Turn it on.”

Listening to Matt Lauer of the Today Show, my heart broke. “Oh
My God!” I said to my husband. Is this an attack on America?”

“We’re not certain,” my husband replied.

We hung up and moments later, the second attack occurred. I
was breathless. Shocked. Unable to believe that this could happen in America.

Now, ten years later, our world has changed. Still, I ache
as I dream about the images of people rushing down stairs. Making phone calls
to loved ones. Jumping out of buildings, knowing they will not survive. A
friend phoned me later in the day. She had a friend in New York, at the Twin Towers.
Her friend was eight-months pregnant, just like she was. “I don’t want to bring
a baby into this world now,” she said. “It isn’t right. My friend made a phone
call to her husband, saying she loved him and she and their baby would be fine.
She told him she was jumping out the window.”

For weeks, I was glued to the TV, watching the images repeatedly.
Seeing people flying in the air, jumping to their deaths. Hearing stories of
missing loved ones. Seeing pictures of loved ones who would never be found
again.

“It isn’t fair,” I said. Repeatedly. I cried an ocean of
tears for people I did not know. The grief was unbearable.

Our lives changed significantly after 9-11. I hope that we
will take the time to make every day special, to share our love with our
families and humankind, and we will realize how quickly life can change – in the
blink of an eye. Life is short, let us all make the most of each moment we
have.

In remembrance of 9-11. We will never forget.

Why Is It Men Still Have the Tendency???


OK! Here I go again! Stepping on my soapbox before I walk, before I do Zumba, and before I get relaxed! I simply must get a few things off of my chest!

Here Goes!

Last night while rehearsing for the upcoming show for an organization I shall not name, I noticed something that disturbs me. Is it not the Twenty-first century in 2011? Do women really have equal rights? Well, if you watch the observations of some men, I dare say not!

During my rehearsal and the rehearsal of my best friend, we had lots of bright lights in our eyes. No problem. We have to get accustomed to the bright lights if we are on stage. After our rehearsal, I noticed that every time a male talent got on stage to perform the flash of a camera was an additional light. No problem. I felt certain that women would get their fair share. The scenario continued. Each time a woman performed, no flash. Each time a male performed — FLASH!

Since I am a member of several non-profit organizations, and the editor to a few, I know a lot about the political structure and how favoritism exists. Nevertheless, the more I observed this action, the more offended I became.

My husband noticed, so he inquired. While it is true I do not like to be photographed, I still believe in the rights of women to be treated equally. A few minutes later, a tap on my shoulder and a suggestion that ‘he didn’t mean to offend me.’ I wasn’t offended – just curious as to WHY only men were being photographed.

Looks like the squeaky wheel gets the oil — AGAIN! When rehearsals were over, all the ‘women who wanted to be photographed,’ and ‘those who didn’t get their photograph taken,’ were requested to approach the stage. Of course, my friend and I approached.

Today, in the mail I received another incident of how we women are still not considered the equal. A publication from one of the non-profit organizations I am a member of arrived in the mail. Flipping thru the mail, I almost trashed it thinking it was another unsolicited piece of junk mail. It wasn’t! This publication has been soliciting this format for at least over one year now. This is the first time in many months that I’ve actually taken the time to read it, since it is so small it screams out to me, ‘another piece of junk mail. I’m so small I’m not important!’ The MALE version of this organization publishes a magazine format magazine. Such a subliminal message! Just when will the world recognize ALL PEOPLE ARE EQUAL, REGARDLESS OF RACE, SEX, GENDER, RELIGION AND ON AND ON.

Off my soapbox and back to work — writing! Stay tuned!