Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Question Is

The other morning when I awoke, I had the strangest inkling to do something different.  I pondered my options for a few minutes but couldn’t come up with anything definitive.  After a few more moments passed and still no answer, I had to ask myself: The question is….?
I kept repeating that line over and over and finally hit the jackpot and settled on: The question is, should I bake or microwave my fingers?  As you can imagine, that is not as simple a question to answer as one would first think.  I mean, after all, it makes a huge difference if one is going to bake their fingers or microwave them.
Having baked my fingers before, I knew the agony involved and the painstaking waiting for them to cook fully without burning them.  I had never attempted microwaving them and just the thought of sticking my fingers in there and pressing the buttons without any full knowledge of what would happen kind of turned me off.  I have heard of others who microwaved their fingers and the horror stories they shared about the results. 
They spoke about burning them until the top layers bubbled up and practically melted to the sides; while others mentioned how they seemed to build up a smell that wasn’t at all enticing.  Still, others said that even when they didn’t burn them, it was hard to tell when they had had enough cooking time and how the microwave had turned the insides to a squishy mushy consistency. I’m not certain, but I honestly don’t believe I heard anyone say they had reached any level of success microwaving their fingers.
Normally, I would shy away from doing something where everyone I knew had failed, but this dilemma intrigued me and I found myself sincerely debating on the issue of whether to bake my fingers or microwave them.  Both methods sounded okay, but I like my fingers to be just right.  For that matter, who doesn’t?  Thinking about it, I believed no one wanted to have their fingers burnt, or deformed or turned to mush.  Nor did I think anyone would want their fingers crunchy.  Needless to say, I spent the next twenty minutes or so debating this problem.
Then, a simple yet brilliant solution came to mind and I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it right away --- I could try both avenues and then compare the results.  The only problem with that however, was the fact that I had some experience baking my fingers and none at all with microwaving them.  The question then morphed into how I could handicap the microwaved versions because it seemed only right that I couldn’t make head to head comparisons when I already had experience in one area and not the other.  It was bad enough that I didn’t have a whole heckuva lot of experience baking them without adding new dimensions to the process.
But, I finally pulled myself from the bed, had my breakfast and then set about experimenting with my fingers.  Once into the process, I started to become like the mad scientist thinking of different ways I could prepare my fingers to be cooked.  I decided to try some plain; some with frosting; some half-frosted, half-plain; some with filling and frosted and a wide variety of flavors.  I even tried putting peanut butter on my fingers first but once the heat reached them, the peanut butter melted and I was left with a mess and I have to tell you that super heated peanut butter burns like hell when it comes in contact with your fingers.
When all was said and done, I had successfully baked three fingers and microwaved three and the difference between the two pretty much equaled out in preparation time, cook time, and with the taste and texture.  The mess, however, was another story and I’ve decided that when I get another brainstorm like the one I had that day, I already know the outcome….Don’t answer the question.
   Chelle Munroe©
   September 29, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

That First Time

“What are you staring at?” she asked with an attitude like she wanted to fist-fight right there in the restaurant.
At first, I was shocked into silence but when I found my voice I answered with as much attitude as she had given. “Certainly not you, I was checking out the book sticking out of your pocketbook.”
She pulled the small book with a plain, unmarked cover from her purse and tossed it on the counter, almost knocking my cup of coffee over. “Now you can have a better look,” she spat.
I pushed the book back at her with enough force to let her know I wasn’t going to cower down to her defiance. “I could care less what’s in it. I was just looking at it. What’s your problem anyway?”
She stood up and pushed her long auburn hair from her face. “You wanna know what my problem is? Step outside and I’ll show ya.”
She was much younger than myself but I wasn’t going to let her push me around or intimidate like some punk chick from the corner. I got up. “Lead on,” I motioned toward the door.
The only other patrons in the place at the time was a young couple sitting in a booth in the back of the restaurant and either they didn’t hear what was going on or could have cared less.
I followed the girl out of the restaurant making sure to keep just enough distance between in the event she tried to sucker punch me or kick.
She proceeded around the corner to the near empty parking lot and turned to face me. The sun was shining directly into her face. I watched while she pulled a pair of glasses from her pocket and put them on.  At first, I thought they were regular glasses until she lifted her head. They were similar to the Air Force glasses; the mirrored sunglasses that reflect a clear blue sky. Only these were reflecting an image of myself.
She lowered her bag to the ground and took a stance. “Let’s do it.”
I just stared at her. I knew what she meant but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bust her butt a little.  “Let’s do it? What the hell is that? Are you asking me to have sex with you or something?”
She screwed her face up. “No! I’m not…I’m not asking you for no damn sex. “What? What are you some kind of dyke or something?”
“Oh, so now you’re interested in me,” I remarked.
“Interested in you!; are you crazy!  Why the hell would I be interested in your ugly butt for?”
I smiled.  “So you are hinting for sex.”
“Well, you must be being that you already checked my butt out to make a decision that it was ugly.”
She put her hands down. “For your information, I wasn’t checking your butt out. It’s just an expression, just like when I said, let’s do it.”
“Oh yeah”, I smirked. “So what is it that we’re supposed to be doing anyway?”
She slid her fingers in her hair and pushed it back from her face and started laughing. “You’re crazy, you know that? Did you escape from a nut house or something?”
I chuckled knowing the tension between us had been diffused. “No, I didn’t escape from a nut house but why don’t we go in and get a fresh start over coffee. What do you say?”
She leaned and picked up her pocketbook. “Might as well, besides, I don’t want to get accused of beating up on some old lady.”
I laughed. “I’ll give you the fact that I’m older, but that’s all I’ll give you.”
She came up to me. “You are one brassy broad, I’ll say that.”
The diner was empty when we went back inside so we sat in the booth in the back where the young couple had been seated. The fellow behind the counter came over to take our order. Having heard the exchange at the counter minutes before, he gave a puzzled look, and then smiled.
My name’s Gina,” I said and stuck my hand out.
She took my hand and smiled, “I’m Dori”.                 
Our coffees and snacks came and as we ate and drank our coffee, we chatted about many things; the majority of the conversation revolved around her.  I learned she had been thrown out of her house when she was sixteen and had spent time in the Juvenile System until she turned 18. 
Dori continued telling me how she had lived on the streets for a number of years, staying in shelters and eating at the soup kitchens as often as she could.  She also admitted having gotten into drugs and some alcohol, but emphasized she never once drifted into prostitution even though the pimps offered her good money to do it.
After a while, she reached down and took the red covered book from her pocketbook and placed it on the table.  I could tell by the way she gently caressed the cover that it had special meaning to her and waited patiently for her to tell me about it.
Dori leaned back and looked at me. The glimmer of tears were brimming her lids. When she spoke, it was with a feeling of reverence in her voice.
 “The book is my journal. It’s mostly all notes but I know the stories that go with them. I’m hoping to go back to school someday and maybe learn how to write a book about my life.”
She laughed quietly. “School, who am I kidding? I’ll never make it to college.”
“Did you graduate from high school?” I asked as tenderly as possible.
She smiled weakly and a tear trickled down her cheek. “I got my G.E.D. the year after I got raped. Nice, huh?”
“You can still do it,” I encouraged her,
“Yeah; how? I don’t have money or a place to live or clothes to go to school.  Forget it it’s just a stupid dream anyway.”
Call it impulse, foolishness, or whatever you want to; all I know is that something deep inside me said this was an opportunity to make a difference in this girl’s life. I reached out and placed my hand on her wrist. “I have a spare room. You could come live with me.”
She chuckled and her chocolate brown eyes twinkled. “You sure you’re not a dyke?”
I couldn’t help laughing myself. “I assure you, I’m not a dyke. Besides, I could use some help cleaning the place and cooking and helping with chores. After all, you did say I was an old lady.”
“What about money?” she asked withdrawing her hand from the table.
“We can go to the school and apply for a scholarship.  I’ll help you.”
She turned her head slightly and looked at me quizzically.  “Why would you want to help me, especially after I wanted to beat you down?”
“Because I think it’s time you had a good break in your life. What do you say?”
She hesitated.
“Well, if you don’t want to you don’t have to. It’s your life, your dream.”
She touched the book. “You aren’t jerking me around? You’re being straight up with me?”
“I give you my word I’m being straight up with you. That’s the only guarantee I can give you.”
She lifted the book from the table and handed it to me. It slipped from my hand and when I lifted it, the back cover was up. On the cover was a hand-drawn picture of what looked to be a spider’s egg sack.
“Is this what I think it is?” I asked. “Is it a spider’s egg sack?”
She nodded. “It’s a reminder to me that spider’s are poisonous and there a lot of them out there. Just like there are a lot of bad people out there who will hurt you when they can.”
That was twelve years ago. Dori finished college and is now a very successful therapist, helping many young people overcome the abuse of families, drugs and whatever else life has thrown at them.  She no longer lives with me having married a wonderful fellow, who teaches, but they still come around and we celebrate all the occasions the way a loving family should.
   Chelle Munroe©
   September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Village and Home

It was a beautiful crisp day in October and I decided to stroll through the village with my Bassett Hound Nixon. As we ambled along the cobblestone street, we passed a number of little shops offering a variety of hand-made crafts or paintings by local artists.
Sprinkled in amongst the shops were people’s homes, most of them having been built in the 1700’s. They were old but they had character that was both warm and friendly. I had moved to the village a number of years before after I had accidentally taken a wrong turn one day and discovered its existence. The quaint atmosphere and the genuine friendliness of everyone bore its way into my heart and it has lived there ever since.
At the end of the street, we headed onto the path leading to the sandy beach. The fresh salt air filled my nostrils and I breathed in deeply. There is something about the ocean that is like nothing else in the world and I felt blessed to be enjoying it all. Casually sauntering along, Nixon all at once got excited and started pulling hard on the leash. At first, I didn’t see what had him all riled up but then I spotted a gosling up past the high tide mark just before the marsh grass. Closer inspection revealed it was gnawing on a piece of watermelon apparently dropped by one of the many people who visited the area.
Nixon pulled and pulled with all his might hoping to get free or close enough to get at the gosling but I held fast like an anchor. I kept moving forward but he kept tugging and struggling to get back to the bird. I had all I could do to keep my patience with him. Watching Nixon’s determination, I couldn’t help equating his actions to that of a psycho attempting desperately to break free from captivity.
He finally relinquished and the rest of the walk was relaxing and enjoyable. By the time we reached the point, it was late afternoon and we were just in time to witness one of the most colorful sunsets nature could provide. We remained until it was almost dark, and then headed for home.
Back on the street, I marveled as I always did at all the lights glimmering in the windows of all the buildings and I felt a true sense of belonging.
Knowing we were headed for home, Nixon settled into a leisurely walk and showed no signs of interest in anything. He knew once we reached home, he would be treated with a nice meal, a couple treats and a long nap on the shaggy rug in the living room while I dozed in my favorite chair.
  Chelle Munroe©
  September 23, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thank You

     I thank all of you who have taken the time to stop in and visit as your time here to spend with me is greatly appreciated. Without you, the reader, these writings would only be meaningless words on paper.

     I also apologize to those of you who have read the postings and left comments because unbeknownst to me, the comments were not being saved and I was not being notified about them leaving me with the presumption that no comments had been made. I believe that glitch has been remedied so if you feel as though you would like to comment on a piece, please feel free to do so.

Lastly, I am sorry to say that I have not been able to get the blog to notify you when I have published a new post. Again, I thought everyone was being notified, only to discover that they are not. With that being said, I ask that you please check this site every two days as it is my utmost desire to post something every other day. I will also try to make it a point to notify you when I post something new.

Again I thank you for your support and for helping me to realize a dream I have had for so many years, that is, to create something that will touch someone's heart and maybe put a smile on their lips.

Chelle Munroe(c)
September 21, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Noble Samurai

      A very sensible Samurai got drunk on Saki one day and decided to wander down to the local beach.  Once there, he squatted so he could write his signature in the sand.
     However, because he was so intoxicated, he lost his balance, fell over and couldn’t get up.  The more this mighty warrior tried to get up, the worse his predicament became. After countless attempts, he finally closed his eyes and drifted into a drunken stupor.
     Some time later, he opened his eyes and noticed a beautiful woman coming toward him. He marveled at her two-piece swimsuit and wondered how such a vision of beauty could be coming to succor him.
     When close enough, she leaned over him and he was confused because one of her eyes sparkled like a blue sapphire while the other was shaped like a square black onyx.
     He watched and waited for her to help him up and didn’t notice that she had started to surround his body with mounds of sand. It wasn’t until she began covering him with the heavy wet sand that he realized she wasn’t assisting him at all, but burying him alive.
     The Samurai’s instincts took hold and he made an effort to free himself only to discover that his arms and legs were locked under the weighted sand. He fought to will himself free to no avail. When he yelled for help,  all he heard was a sickening gurgle escape his lips and he realized there had been no beautiful woman at all only the tide rising and before long he would drown.
     He closed his eyes, ready to accept his fate; after all, he was a noble Samurai Warrior. He opened his eyes once more and observed that he was bound in his own clothing and that his mouth was filled with spittle, gurgling in the back of his throat.  Reality set in and he was thankful for being alive and thankful no one had seen him in his embarrassing inebriated state.

Chelle Munroe©                                                                                                                             September 20, 2013

One Day

     It was a beautiful spring day so Milly decided to go to Taylor's Lane, a fantastic stretch of coastline in Little Compton, Rhode Island. She enjoyed listening to the tranquil sound of the waves gently caressing the beach or sometimes rolling in with a thunderous show of might where they captured the tiny stones and shells before dragging them with a somewhat musical clickety clacking protest back into the sea. She also loved the smell of the crisp, clean salt air because of the soothing, relaxing way it made her feel.
     Once relaxed, it was customary for her to ponder the different aspects of her life and how they were the important building blocks that helped to make and shape her personality and character. She did this for no other reason but to try to examine herself in order to improve herself and the relationships in her life because she believed that family and friends were to be treasured. She also believed that to increase the friends she already had, she had to be attractive. Not attractive in the physical sense, but in the heart; the spirit; and the way she treated others.
     It wasn't always easy to do as she sometimes struggled with something, tossing it back and forth in her mind in an effort to find a solution. This was especially true when she had to admit her faults and accept the fact that she wasn't the perfect person she was so eagerly striving to be. But Milly was also wise enough to know it was impossible to be perfect. Oddly enough, she often found solace and excitement in knowing she wasn't perfect because it made her equal with everyone else. Being equal was comforting and affirming because she neither wanted to be above or below anyone else. Still, even knowing she could not or would not ever achieve perfection, she disliked the fact that she had flaws.
     As the seagulls would cry out their excitement or dislike about what was taking place in their world,  Milly would seriously concentrate on ways to strengthen her character so she could be the kind of person others would respect and look up to.
     On a number of occasions, she felt she had to tread lightly on what she deemed to be hallowed grounds -- that is -- about the way she dressed and her penchant for shopping. It was hallowed territory because she loved to shop and prided herself in the way she looked. She was well aware that she bordered on being vain because of it, but each time the subject entered her mind, she justified her actions based upon the compliments she always received from her peers  Besides, there was nothing wrong with enjoying a compliment and feeling good about oneself, especially being a woman.
     It was common practice that when she finished her discernment, she would count the number of friends she had and knew in her heart that she was on the right road. It was a road that her mother had started her on as a child which was reinforced by her Catholic upbringing and education. She had a good foundation to reflect upon and she always had the memory of her Mom to help guide her to be the lady she wanted to be and was becoming.
Chelle Munroe©
 September 19, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Lost My

I once had a black and blue kazoo
All pretty and shiny like new
And when I had nothing else to do
I would play a merry tune on my kazoo

I took my kazoo everywhere I went
Some days I’d play till I was spent
Easy to maintain it never cost a cent
One time it even helped to pay my rent

To the zoo I traveled one summer day
And on a wooden bench I sat down to play
Not long after a handsome gent came my way
“You play very nice”, he took the time to say

He joined me on the bench and we had a talk
Until a gaggle of geese nearby began to squawk
Then up in the sky we saw a hawk
And the gent asked if I’d like to walk

We stopped for lunch our hunger to sate
He said, “I’d like to know you, my name’s Nate”
Then the gent he asked me for a date
I said, “No thank you, I have to go it’s getting late”

When I got home I was feeling blue
Reached into my purse for my kazoo
It wasn’t there, I cried boo hoo
Then dumped everything out as women do

I felt my pockets both left and right
But my kazoo was nowhere in sight
I tried and tried with all my might
But I could not sleep a wink that night

Next morning I ran to the zoo real early
My hair all flat no longer curly
And I did my best to not sound surly
When an attendant asked, “Can I help you girly?”

Resolute to find it, that was my chore
I traced my steps from the day before
I searched and searched and searched some more
Till a dreaded feeling seeped deep into my core

On the bench I gave a sigh
I softly asked, “Why God, why oh why?”
Tears trickled as I began to cry
I paid no mind to the passersby

A soft voice said, “Why so blue?
Tears are not becoming of you”
I responded, “I lost my kazoo
It was like a friend true and true”

“Let it go, just let it be”
He said sitting down next to me
It was then that I could see
He was the same gent smiling happily

We looked here and there and all around
But my kazoo was not to be found
Somewhere I had lost it on the ground
And no longer would I hear its sound

What happened next is too strange to be true
He moved his foot and scraped against my kazoo
Stuck in the soft black dirt it no longer looked new
And just then overhead a beautiful hawk flew

Stuffed with dirt it was mute when I blew
I shook it real hard but the dirt was like glue
Handing me a twig, I took it and said, “What shall I do?”
He smiled and said, “Stick it up your kazoo”

Chelle Munroe©
September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fire and Rain

                       I’m not quite sure how to express this, in fact, I’m almost embarrassed to even mention it out loud but what happened to me one day needs to be told. Well, at least I think it does. In any event, let me get to it before I lose your interest altogether.
     Two years ago, I was at the beach and it started to rain, which wasn’t unusual except that it was only raining where I stood. When I moved, the rain followed me and I started for my car.  As I approached the vehicle, I noticed a pole with a hose attached and couldn’t recall having seen it there when I first parked. Above the pole was a small sign with the words:  “Fire Hose, to stop the rain, just point the nozzle toward the cloud and squeeze the handle”.  Naturally, like most people, I looked around to see if it was a hoax, but not seeing anyone or anything that resembled a set-up, I allowed my curiosity to see what would happen.
     With hose in hand, I pointed it toward the cloud and squeezed the handle.  To my utter surprise, flaming balls shot out of the nozzle and burst into the cloud. I let go of the handle and cautiously studied the opening of the nozzle. Then I walked over to the pole but couldn’t see any connections and when I tried to lift it, I couldn’t.  It was still raining on me so I pointed the nozzle upwards and once again squeezed the handle.  Sure enough, balls of fire shot out of the end like a machine gun.  There was a lot of steam and hissing as they hit the cloud and I could see they were drying it up.  After a few minutes, the rain stopped and so did the fire.  No matter how tightly I squeezed the handle, I couldn’t get the hose to produce any more fire balls.
     Needless to say, my eyes darted from one spot to another to see if someone was lurking in the bushes having a great laugh at my expense. I even walked over to a few of them to physically inspect them, only to discover there was no one there nor were there any hidden cameras.  My mind switched gears and I realized I must have been dreaming because it was impossible for a cloud to rain on one individual and equally impossible for a hose connected to nothing to produce spheres of fire.  I figured if I got back into the car I’d wake up and everything would be okay.  Twenty minutes or so went by and nothing seemed to have changed.  Not sure what to do, I climbed back out of the car and when I looked to the spot where the pole and hose were, they were gone.
    Relieved I was awake; I strolled back to the water’s edge and sucked in the wonderfully refreshing salt-air.  A minute or two later, it started to rain again and when I glanced upwards, I noticed that it was just one little cloud hanging over my body.  Instantaneously, I spun around and immediately spotted the pole with the hose attached.  Although I knew what was going to happen, I felt compelled to grab the hose and aim it toward the cloud where rapid balls of fire sprayed and dried it up.
     Then, for whatever reason, I grabbed one of the balls of fire before it went completely out. To my disbelief, it didn’t burn at all. More surprisingly, it had a jellylike substance rather than a gaseous one.  I threw it to the ground, hopped into my car and drove away.
                 At home, I went to bed and fell asleep.  When I awoke, I lazily glanced at the clock.  It was then that I knew I had been sleeping and the strange occurrences at the beach had never happened except in my dream.  Getting up, I left the house, got into my car and automatically drove to the beach feeling somewhat foolish I might add that I had to prove to myself it couldn’t have happened for real.  It was dark out by the time I reached my destination and as soon as I stepped from the car, it started to rain. I couldn’t believe it.  I reached into the car, snatched up my flashlight and pointed it to where the pole had been earlier.  To my dismay it reflected the beam of light back at me.  I jumped into the car, spun it around and sped out of there as fast as I could.  As far as I know, the individual rain cloud and the fire hose are still there as I have never returned to find out.                                                                                                                                 Chelle Munroe© 
September 15, 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Last Entry

Looking out my kitchen window at the swirling snow blanketing the area, I had to smile because according to the latest weather report, the storm was supposed to have ended three hours earlier.  If there is one thing I have learned to be consistent with weather forecasters, it’s their ability to accurately be inaccurate with their forecasts.
Not to be daunted by the inclement weather, I made a cup of tea and pulled one of my journals from the shelf.  When I was certain I was comfortable, I opened it to my last entry.  I can’t explain it, but for whatever the reason, it was a place I frequented often and I always started the same way -- letting myself be transported back in time.
In the summer of 1967, a powerful tornado ripped through the state of Illinois destroying most everything in its path.  Lake Zurich, however, was directly in its path and suffered major destruction. It didn’t take long for the news to spread and almost immediately, rescue crews and volunteers from all over made their way to help out in whatever capacity they could.  I was one of them.
Arriving on the scene, I realized that I had by no means prepared myself for such massive damage and the number of people scurrying about, either an injured victim of the storm or a medical person trying to get the more seriously injured.  A small parking area had been set up along with some tents and tables and I was given instructions where to go to learn what needed to be done.
Making my way through what was to become a makeshift hospital and around all kinds of debris, I found the coordinator.  There was no doubt that he was seasoned to such catastrophes, yet when he spoke to me, it was with heavy sadness in his voice.
“Take one of those poles with the hook on the end, a whistle, one of the notebooks and pens and a canvas bag and make your way beyond that large pile of rubble across the way and begin sifting through the wreckage for papers, letters, and photos; anything with information that might help us find out who lived there. Be certain to jot down anything that will help us to locate what area you found it.  Oh yeah, if you come across any bodies, don’t touch them; blow the whistle and wait for someone to come.  Let’s pray you don’t find any.”
I just looked at him with what I’m sure was a horrified look in my eyes, then walked away hoping I wouldn’t find any bodies.  I shivered at the thought of it.
As I rounded the large mound of debris, a tall man approached and directed me to an area away from where others were already sifting and sorting through piles of wreckage.  I reached the spot assigned to me and stood for a moment absorbing the sight before me.  The only thing left mostly intact, was the bottom of the fireplace; the rest of the house having been destroyed or whisked away in the tornado.  It’s difficult to actually describe what I was feeling because my thoughts were swirling about as fast as the winds that had demolished the town.
I set about my chore pulling away broken boards and bricks in an attempt to have a clear working area where I could easily maneuver.  Two hours passed before I took my first break.  The sun had broken through the clouds and it was so strange sitting on a pile of rubble looking at the bright sunshine glittering on the shards of glass scattered all over the place.
To my right, I spotted a green broken bottle with a piece of paper sticking out from under it.  I picked up the bottle and snatched up the paper.  I turned the paper over and found myself staring at a young blond haired woman in a red blouse and black skirt and a little girl with curly blond hair in a pink dress. I quickly made my notations in the notebook and sat back down.
Looking at the bottle and the picture, I didn’t want to think about the family who lived here and what might have happened to them.  Instead, I tried to imagine that the photo had been placed in the bottle and set out to sea where it was found and maybe placed on the mantel over the fireplace as a conversation piece.
As I started looking around, I couldn’t help think how ironic it was the way things had landed next to each other. To my right, I spotted a fishing rod and upon closer examination, I noticed a pair of fishnet stockings dangling from one of the eyes on the pole. To the right of the fireplace beneath a small section of wall a partially deflated basketball had come to rest against an oxygen tank.  When I lifted the tank I couldn’t help smiling at a dirty red and white sign tucked under a board with the words, “NO SMOKING”.
I continued working my way through the mangled mess, logging all the information in the notebook and saving all the documents I found, whether they looked important or not.  A fairly good distance from the fireplace, in an area I figured had been another room, I found a silver guitar pick. If it hadn’t been reflecting the sunlight so brightly, I might have missed it.  Not far from the pick, I noticed what looked to be a pair of baby shoes and reached for them.  They wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t see a way of freeing them from the splintered heavy beam.
I made a note in the book and continued to move what I could, when I came across an old rusty hand saw.  I grabbed it up and made my way back to the pair of shoes where I proceeded to work on the beam.  Surprisingly, the saw, although rusty, chewed its way through the wood fairly easily and half an hour later, I was holding the tiny pair of shoes in my hand.
Holding that tiny pair of shoes. I wondered if they belonged to the little girl and if the guitar pick was hers as well.  The more I pondered these things, the more I started to feel the sick empty feeling of what might have happened to her and her family.  What was their life like?  How long had they lived there?  These were just a couple questions that gnawed at me.  I tried desperately to shut my mind down and not dwell on the family, but I couldn’t seem to close the door all the way and the mental picture of the girl and her mother pushed their way in and planted themselves in my thoughts.
I sat down on the rubble and cried.  I don’t know how long I sat there crying, but I didn’t stop until I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice saying, “C’mon son, call it a day.  You’ve done enough here.”
I followed him through the temporary tent city and wondered if any of the storm victims being treated were the family who lived in the house I had worked.  Before I could find out, I was in the main tent and had to go through what I had found, the nature of the scene and many other questions that had to be answered.
As with every other time, my hands began to tremble and my eyes filled with tears as I read the last entry in on the page.  Mrs. Joanna Lindenstar and her daughter Krystal Ann had been found buried under a heavy section of wall that had been the master bedroom.  Mr. Lindenstar had been killed in Viet Nam the year before.
I closed the journal and place it back on the shelf.  After that entry, I stopped keeping a journal.  The impact from that one day I had volunteered in 1967 is still having its effects on my life to this very day.  That day drove home the point of just how precious life is and how I should never take it for granted that someone will always be there just because they are young.
Every so often I still find myself questioning, “Why?  Why did a whole family, a young family, have to be wiped out as the Lindenstar family had been?”  Naturally, I don’t get the answers and I know I never will and I have come to realize that maybe they keep coming back to remind me of how I should live my life, that is,  to always treat others as though it will be the last time we share our lives.
Chelle Munroe©
September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013


   Jaline was amazed how Sun Hills had changed.  Fifteen years and three gold records later, she was returning home.  Her younger brother Kevin agreed to take care of her till the end; a terrible burden she’d placed on him, but she was frightened to die alone.

    In spite of her success and absence, she had lived for her family.  Soon she’d be gone forever.  She took comfort knowing her assets were transferred to Kevin and smiled that her last song honoring her family would be released upon her burial.

   Then sighing deeply, Jaline steered toward home and her final gig.

Chelle Munroe©
September 11, 2013

The Wonders of Modern Technology

Is it any wonder that we accomplish anything in our lives with all the modern tools we have at our disposal --- namely modern technology?  Inasmuch as these devices are made with the intention of helping us to accomplish more and doing so at a faster rate, they are also an elaborate distraction that interferes with our lives in more ways than one.
Take for instance the television.  Now we have all, at one time or other, enjoyed a program, a movie, a sporting event or the news.  That aspect, in and of itself, is not a bad thing as we should all enjoy having a form of entertainment in our lives.  For those who have small children, the television is an ideal or close to ideal babysitter.  Many a mother would not get anything accomplished if it weren’t for the kids being distracted by the children’s programs.
 However, there a many mothers and fathers whose lives are wrapped around the t.v. schedule.  They develop an addiction to the soap operas or reality shows and seem to not be able to function if they should, God forbid, miss an episode of their favorite sitcom.  There are many who not only spend their days watching the soaps but then spend countless minutes rehashing the programs with their friends as if they were discussing the neighbors next door. While all this is going on, they are idle.  In other words, they fritter away their hours and let everything else pile up to another time, which usually results in the next phase --- complaining about all that has to be done around the house.
But compared to the other technological advances, the television is now a rung lower on the ladder of technological addictions.  The computer has since replaced the television and has easily become the dominant delinquent in stealing people’s time.  It is also widely responsible for making a good part of society antisocial.  As if that isn’t bad enough, cell phones, i-pads and other mobile devices are vying to be the top dog for consuming people’s money and time; just observe teens in our midst.  Instead of using the phones to talk to friends, they use them to text or play games.  They could care less about what’s going on around them.  Live interactive skills among young people has deteriorated dramatically with all the advancements, yet modern science and big business keeps pressing forward with new devices to capture the attention of the populace. 
These new gadgets are being produced at such a rate that before a person can master the one device, a new one is already making headlines and grabbing at people’s hard earned money.  They are pricey to say the least.  Peer pressure has also reached new heights because it not only affects the young, but adults as well.  It is the new “keeping up with the Jones’s” attitude. Internet services, telephone companies and computer software developers are behind this new way of thinking.  They promote and promulgate situations that inundate people’s lives to the point where they have to have what the neighbors have or better and, because kids are so up on the new wave of technology, they are the ones parents are turning to when advice or help is needed in purchasing or operating the new merchandise.
In spite of the modern technological revolution and the resulting societal evolution, the human race can no longer live without them.  Man has, for better or worse, created a sense of latent independent dependency, meaning that each individual or segment of society has separated themselves from the rest of society while at the same time being very connected to them because of the need to extract the necessary information or goods to survive or satisfy a need, most all of it accomplished without personal interaction.
It is a world of instantaneous connection while at the same time only connecting to information floating around on air waves and radio signals.  It is a digitalized complexity of which cannot be extricated from nor severed because life as it is now known and accepted would come to an abrupt halt.  Without being able to type in a question, many people would lack the necessary skills to approach another person, especially from a different age group, to ask a question and would only get frustrated at the lack of speed and information another person could disseminate. If this seems absurd, try calling a place of business and note the number of machine choices you have to go through before you can speak to a live person, if at all.  Modern technology --- you have to love it ---- what else is there!                                                                                          Chelle Munroe©                                                                                                                            Sept. 10, 2013

A Morning in December

                                                             I venture into
snowy woods
to gather laurel
for old-fashioned wreaths
My breath
catches in my throat
from the crisp
frigid air
that’s stilled
as if in fear
of shattering
into infinite
glimmering crystals
if stirred
Whispers of sunlight
new fallen snow
disguise the path
that guides me
to nature’s opulence
of ravaging
the virginal white carpet
like some rake-hell
from long ago
invades my thoughts
Quietness reigns
except for the soft
submissive groans
of compacting snow
beneath my feet
Through misty breath
that seems to sparkle
and crackle
in the arctic veil
I enjoy the sparrows
flitting about
in igloo bushes
Crows unseen
announce to the world
my trespassing
while a pair of blue jays
vehemently squawk
their objections
to my presence
As I move
the chorus of protests
fades into soft chatter
and again I’m left
with the sounds
of my feet
spoiling the pristine
gift of nature
In the dense wintry woods
I find my bounty
and begin to harvest
until hands hurt
from bitter cold
and the snap
of frozen branches
against my fingers
take their toll
Steaming coffee
from the thermos
warms me
from the inside out
and in that moment
of contentment
I hear the faint
rustle of leaves
and spot a fluffy rabbit
eating red berries
under the bush
On hind legs
the rabbit sits
in the peacefulness
and I’m filled
with pure bliss
                    Chelle Munroe©
                          September 8, 2013

In Need

Dear Jacque,

It has been some time since I last wrote to you and I must apologize for having delayed this correspondence for such a period of time.  I’m sure, however, that you are well aware of the traumatic dilemma I have had to deal with in these past months.  The pain and grief I have had to suffer and endure has been overwhelming and were it not for my knowledge of the truth, I would have succumbed to the relentless and life draining pressures a while ago.
There is no way, my dear friend, for me to explain all the details to you but I trust in your staunch friendship with me that you will once again be a strength for me to lean upon.  Often times, I have wondered how I would gather the courage to face all the trials and tribulations that have been forced upon me, yet I do somehow survive and become stronger each day.  I have now come to the belief that my ability to do so came from the knowledge that I have friends such as yourself who will be there for me in my time of need and who also share the truth about what actually happened.
Needless to say, because of the notoriety that has been aroused by all the publicity, I have lost a number of what can now be considered Fair-Weather Friends.  I must admit that I am neither surprised nor shocked by their sudden disappearance but I am somewhat disappointed for having allowed myself to have been so lax in my selections of them and for having permitted them to be part of my life.  This will of course be corrected in the future.
With that in mind, I know beyond doubt that I can count on you to do me a favor during this dreadful time I am experiencing.  Due to the circumstances involved, all of my assets have been frozen and I am completely without funds and need to borrow some money until this ordeal can be resolved.  I have contacted others besides yourself who can help so that the financial burden is not placed upon any one individual.  I need to raise $10,000 by the end of July to avoid being destitute; something my attorney keeps reminding me of every other day.  Any amount you can forward to me will be greatly appreciated, naturally, the more the better my chances of raising the full amount and avoiding going to jail.  It is with utmost sincerity my dear Jacque that you will come to my aid as soon as possible so that I will not have to face another day of dread. Please be the true friend I have always known you to be.
Lizzie Borden
Chelle Munroe©
September 7, 2013

What A Life!


I can’t believe 12 years have passed since I first began traversing the galaxy.  During that time, I have visited nine planets and, to be quite honest with you, it is beginning to take its toll.  I never realized just how much it showed until one morning when I was on my way out the door I glimpsed myself in the full-length mirror.  The person staring back was a complete stranger.  At some point in time or maybe gradually over a period of time, I don’t know which, I had metamorphosed into ….I’m not sure what I had become.  I moved to the mirror and studied the image.  After 10 minutes of intense scrutiny, I concluded that my appearance was not influenced by one of the alien cultures I had engaged, but more like I was a hodgepodge of all of them.  The fact is I looked a complete mess, but I had a meeting to attend and didn’t have time to --- I can’t say change because I didn’t want to risk looking worse than I did, which was realistically possible being I no longer had any idea what the hell I owned for clothes.
On the way to the meeting, I settled on being content with what I was wearing because I no longer had an interest in PBRT, better known as Physically Based Ray Tracing; a graphical interface program that was actually obsolete almost as quickly as it was developed.  ISAG, that is, InterSpace Advanced Graphics, the newest experts in the field, had developed IDI, Infinite Dimensional Imaging that was supposed to be the ultimate in designing digital graphics.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that one of the reasons I had lost my desire to be a part of the industry was the damn acronyms.  Everything had an acronym and when the technology changed, so did the acronym so I would have to spend hours looking things up so I could understand what the heck people were talking about.  It got to be so bad that at one point, I suffered with migraine headaches.  After countless sessions with medical experts, not to forget all the money it cost, they finally determined it was from the stress created by all the damn aggravation I went through trying to update my mind to the acronyms.  The amazing part of this dilemma was that they had no clue as to the source of the problem and would still be guessing if it had not been for the information I had supplied them with after my visit with Weezie.
Weezie is an old fortune teller who’s been reading palms out of her run-down shack for over one-hundred years or more.  Of course, that’s an exaggeration, or at least I think so.  Whether or not it’s true doesn’t matter because she’s been around for a helluva lot of years and she has a steady flow of loyal patrons, all wanting to hear about their future.  So now you’re probably wondering if I’m one of those faithful customers desperately seeking to discover what nature holds in store for me.  I’m not.  I’ve been friends with Weezie from the moment I saved her from being beaten and robbed by thugs; so much for telling the future.
One night when all of the seekers where gone, Weezie and I sat at her wobbly table drinking the Balneuvien wine I had smuggled from the planet Balneuvia in the CatsPaw Galaxy and talking about the headaches some of her customers gave her with their repetitive questions.  I told her she didn’t know what a headache was until she had one of mine.  When she asked how often I got them, I blurted about as often as I had a new list to study.  Aha! That’s the same look she had on her face when she connected the dots.  That’s how I discovered the source of the migraines.  Well, I’d love to chat some more but Weezie and I polished off the Balneuvien Wine and I have to get another bottle.  I’ll catch up with you next time around.
Chelle Munroe©
September 12, 2013