Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Dragon with Blue Eyes

Throughout the years after it was performed and published, there has been widespread speculation as to what inspired the words to the song about “The Dragon with Blue Eyes”. When asked, the group gave their answers and for the most part, both the media and the public were satisfied. However, now that it is safe to do so, having been sworn to secrecy before, I will relate to you another version as was told me so many years ago.
It all started when Kendra was between the ages of 4 and 5. She was alone in her room playing with her dollhouse and dolls and soon after got tired of them. “Why can’t you be different? I wish you were a special friend who could talk to me and have fun with me.”
These words were spoken almost on a daily basis and everyday she put her toys away and lay down for a nap.  One afternoon, while napping, she had the most wonderful dream. She dreamt she had been given a magic dragon with blue eyes and because he was only little, he could not shoot out billows of smoke or fire. Instead, all he could do was puff tiny blue clouds of smoke so Kendra named him Bluff. But, the one thing Bluff could do to Kendra’s amazement was talk. They became instant friends and everyday when Kendra played with her other toys; she always included Bluff and always offered him the best desserts. They were inseparable.
What no one knew then or knows even now is that Kendra was an adopted child, her parents having died in a car accident. Her new parents hardly ever bothered with her or gave her affection for they were only interested in the monthly checks Kendra received. Their idea of love was to buy Kendra toys and keep her in her room except to eat, use the bathroom or take a bath before bedtime. Bluff, however, came from somewhere else as he was never bought by her adoptive parents; not that they ever noticed or cared what toys she actually owned.
As her dream continued, Kendra and Bluff would wake up together, play, laugh, sing and talk all day long until it was time for bed. Kendra would hug and kiss Bluff good night and he would puff out tiny smoke hearts to her.
In her dream, a whole year went by and Kendra had to go to school. She cried when she was told that Bluff couldn’t go with her. Each day before school, Kendra hugged Bluff and kissed him and told him he was her best friend forever. After school she would race up the stairs and snatch him up and hug him tightly and they would play till bed time.
Slowly though, Kendra began to make friends at school and when school let out, they would get home and meet outside to play. Before long, her time with Bluff became increasingly shorter and she didn’t rush in to hug him as she had before starting school.
Bluff became less and less talkative and would only listen as Kendra exclaimed all the fun she had with her new friends.  Over and over she promised to spend more time with him and over and over, she broke her promise. Not once did she notice the stained furrow in Bluff’s cheeks where he had shed tears so often. Not once did she realize he was heart-broken because he had lost his best friend; nor did Kendra notice right away when one day he was gone, never to return again.
Kendra woke up and wiped the tears from her eyes that she had cried when, in the dream, she had noticed that Bluff was gone. She looked around her room hoping to see Bluff, her magic dragon with the blue eyes, but he was nowhere to be seen. For days, months and years, she wished with all her heart that Bluff would be real and come to her but he didn’t.
She wanted to remember him forever, for he had been her best friend in the entire world until she had forgotten him for others. She vowed never to do such a thing again and swore she would find a way for the entire world to know him. She did just that when she put the idea into her friends’ minds.
The very first night they sang “The Dragon with Blue Eyes”, Kendra dedicated it to a very dear and special friend and she cried.
  Chelle Munroe©
  December 29, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Personal Essay

 This Christmas brought back a flood of memories, some very similar and others somewhat different. It also revived memories that covered the whole spectrum, that is, the full gamut of feelings from very happy to very sad and everything in between.
 While listening to Christmas songs, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to slip back to those days of childhood when everything seemed so simple. It was a period of life that afforded an innocence unlike I have ever known since. A time when the bond with my brothers was strong and friendships abounded so that there was never a time when there was no one to play with, be they boys or girls, for family was family and friends were friends and that’s all that mattered.
The wonderful and colorful moments of childhood seemed to be magical and never-ending, yet, the opposite was true and I learned the pain of separation when friends moved away, some never to be heard from again. It was a time when staying in doors on sunny days was almost never heard of or practiced. We didn’t need electronics to keep us busy because there were just too many games to play with brothers or too many friends to play them with as well.
Imagination wasn’t something handed to us on a DVD, it was created by us. Nor did we have to have the latest gimmick to have fun because we used the simplest things we could find to fit our needs. Cardboard boxes provided more scenarios than most kids today can imagine and we were content to use them, changing their uses as they got beat up, bent or soggy from rain.
Family life was just that, family and life. I had the good fortune of growing up in a large family. I am the second oldest child and had the honor of passing down many of the games and ideas to my younger siblings. When it rained and we couldn’t go out, we had each other to play with and the day passed by just as quickly with just as much fun as any other day. Not to say that we didn’t have our bickering, because we did.
Many warm memories come to mind, yet for me, I also have the painful memories of being confused, isolated and most of all invisible because of how I felt. I was different and didn’t completely know how or why, just that I was. I was invisible because no one could see me for who I really was inside. Everyone, including my parents, could only see the physical me and because the times were so innocence, no one would have understood my situation anyway. When I tried to speak about it, I was given a light whack and told never to mention it again --- and so I didn’t. And how could I have explained to them what I didn’t even understand myself.
It is so easy to long for the days of yesteryear, yet so happy that times have evolved in many ways. Yes, there are many things I remember that had been forgotten but there are also many things I have remembered that I wish I had forgotten and let go of many years ago.
 This year, I received a call from one of my brothers inviting me out to lunch. I went as my true self, as Chelle, and when I arrived at the restaurant I spotted two of my brothers and my nephew. One of my brothers had not seen me as Chelle before and I know the moment had to have been completely awkward for him; but to his credit, he greeted me and didn’t seem to let my appearance come in between us. For me, this was a Christmas gift beyond what words could ever express and I can only hope that this will be the beginning of acceptance of me for who I am. I had all I could do to keep from crying joyous tears because for the first time, I truly felt that I am not alone. Today, I have a complete and wonderful understanding of myself. Today, I am no longer invisible!
Now I will have even more memories and I am thankful for them all, good or bad, because they have all helped me to be who I am today and that is something for me to remember always.    

  Chelle Munroe©
  December 26, 2013


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oh the Joy

Oh yes, Christmas shopping!  Now that’s not as easy as some may think.  Between deciding on what to buy; checking and comparing prices; figuring the right sizes, colors and shapes, it can be a real nightmare.  And that’s all before you take one step out of the house.
Not to forget fighting the crowds; waiting in traffic jams; and those never-ending check-out lines where you always seem to find the trainee who, at least when you get there, can’t quite master how to get the register working properly. Then, when she finally figures it out, the line supervisor appears, takes the drawer and closes the register and you have to wait for the replacement cashier to take over; and her whole demeanor expresses an attitude like you’re the only reason she had to get out of bed and comb her hair that day.
After all this, your patience is really put to the test because the first item she picks up won’t scan correctly and there’s no price tag on it, so a price check has to be made.  Deep down inside, you know the person who finally makes their way to the front for your item could care less if they ever get back or not and by their appearance, you doubt they could find the right line again anyway.
But you take a breath and don’t get discouraged.  After all, it’s Christmas and you’re a veteran at this.  Instead, you swallow hard, only clench your fists a couple times and even manage a smile that quickly disintegrates when you see the demon look on the cashier’s face as she holds another item up for a price check in the same department as the first.  A sinking feeling grinds in your stomach as you realize the bulk of your carriage is filled with what could be “misfit items”, all from the same department where apparently, the sales clerk who was pricing them was sucked up into the Bermuda Triangle days before.
Amazingly, you don’t panic and systematically go through your items and breathe a deep sigh of relief that they’re all priced.  Five items later, the computer rings up a price that is $5.00 over the price tag and you question it.  The people behind you get fidgety and tiny beads of sweat break out on their foreheads when the cashier calls for the supervisor, who seems to have built in radar that detects problems and she rushes to get busy, avoiding your cashier like the plague.
Somehow though, the miracle of the Christmas Season takes place and the supervisor makes it over, corrects the overpricing and the rest of your merchandise goes through without mishap.  Now you’re at the end and the two items being checked for a price have since vanished and to top it off, you’re having difficulty remembering what the heck they were and if they were important or not.  So you wait.  And wait. And wait.  Finally you say, “Hey, that’s it.  Just forget ‘em.”  Suddenly, as if hiding till you’ve reached this state, the clerk shows up with the two items that went back.  At this point, it doesn’t matter if you recognize them or not.  You decide to take them.  You also make a wise decision when you choose to avoid all hassles and pay in cash.
You hand the wad of money to the cashier and she stares at you with sickly green eyes.  You wonder what’s wrong until you hear those fighting words; the ones that send goose bumps up your spine and curl your hair so tight it makes a fresh perm look relaxed --- “This line is for charge only.”  One word and one word only comes to your mind and races to your lips and at the last possible second, you clamp your mouth shut before you scream – “KILL!”.
As you stuff and jam the money back into your wallet, all the while mumbling incoherently, you try deciding on which card is the lesser evil to use.  Some guy behind you mutters something sarcastic and you slowly, purposefully glare at him with an icy stare that would send chills up Godzilla’s back while a thousand thoughts forge their way into your brain, none of them with “good will towards men” or the “Christmas Spirit” in mind.  Your eyes lock with his so that all your thoughts transfer to him and he realizes the seething rage within you is far more powerful than he can handle, so he cowers down and begins poking around at the stupid little items hung on the pegboard near the register.
You make a last-ditch attempt at being civilized when you face the cashier again.  With teeth gritted, you force your mouth to resemble a smile, all the while fuming with anger and frustration.  Inside, you suspect that the cashier only sees a frothing, sneering animal that reminds her of a rabid wolf about to lunge and rip her throat apart should she say the wrong thing.
Having worn yourself to a frazzle, you leave the store and head for a place to eat to revitalize your body.  Your mind is still somewhat scrambled and you aimlessly wander into one of the restaurants where you’re like a robot shuffling along in line for about 20 minutes before
realizing you’re in the “dead zone” ---the halfway point. 
It’s too late to go anywhere else as that would mean more traffic lines; a longer wait at the next restaurant; then battling traffic on the return trip.
Worst of all is playing like the Indians circling the parking lot like they did the wagon trains, over and over again, looking for a parking space.
 You scan the tables and get a rude awakening by discovering that at least 65% of the people haven’t received their food yet.
Practically brain dead, you wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Finally, you get to sit down.  Your waitress is excellent.  She brings you a glass of water and before she can give you a menu, the manager tells her to take her break.  In the next 10 minutes, seemingly twenty people pass your table, none of them being the waitress taking care of your section.  Once again, however, the miracle occurs and you get to order and eat.  Then the miracle ends.  You spend another 20 minutes waiting to pay so you can get out of there and you set your bags down to give your arms a rest without noticing someone has spilled a drink and no one has cleaned it up.
At last, you pay the bill and make a mad dash out of there to the car to put the packages in the trunk.  Except -- the bag that was sitting in the spilled drink rips and your purchases fall out, white blouse first so that the wet spot soaks up the oil residues on the ground and is immediately ruined with little to no chance of returning it or getting it cleaned.
Oh yes, how I remember the joys of Christmas shopping and the cheery, merry way we feel towards one another at those precious moments.

Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!

Chelle Munroe©
December 24, 2013

Phobic Justice

It was right around this time of year when Nadine was out Christmas shopping that she witnessed a brazen robbery. She was in Rindall’s Jewelry Emporium hoping to find a pair of earrings for Louise, her best friend. This was her last hope for the day and with her schedule, Nadine knew she wouldn’t be able to get out shopping again before Christmas Day.
In the middle of deciding between two pairs of gold earrings, a man came into the store and, at first, she didn’t pay too much attention to him, but when she glanced in the mirror and saw his features in the opposite mirror, she couldn’t help think that he looked like a sinister stranger. At the thought, she felt a twinge of guilt wash over her for being judgmental without knowing the person. She averted her attention back to the earrings.
Not more than a moment or two later, the quiet atmosphere was shattered by complete bedlam when the man bolted for the door. The saleslady ran after him shouting, “Thief! Thief! Someone call the police!”
Inside the store, the manager pushed the alarm button and the saleslady attending to Nadine grabbed the tray of merchandise and locked it up in the case. Nadine froze in place, fearful that if she moved, they would mistake her as an accomplice to the heist and trying to leave.
The police appeared almost instantaneously and spread out over the area as people pointed the way in which the thief had run. Other officers stayed on the scene and began questioning the store personnel. One of the officers took a statement from Nadine and just by the nature of the questions he asked, she could tell they were related to finding out if she knew the man. She learned that the man had stolen a ring valued at $5,000.
Because they were not sure what they were dealing with regarding the thief, they would not let Nadine leave the store explaining it was for her safety she remain there. At first, she thought about protesting but then when she settled down, she was thankful to be where she was out of danger.
With the police officers in the store, the saleslady asked if it would be okay to continue with the sale to Nadine and they agreed, which pleased Nadine being as it helped to distract her from nervously waiting for something to happen. She didn’t know if it was due to her being genuinely undecided or from the need to pass the time that she was stalling making a final decision. She decided on the gold dangle earrings with the diamond-accent engraving.
They were at the register when some police officers came into the store announcing they had caught the man. From what Nadine was able to garner from the conversation, the man had run into an abandoned building and went into the cellar to hide. The police would have missed him hiding in a cubby hole if it hadn’t been for some spiders crawling on the man’s face and neck, causing him to scramble out into the open.
Apparently, the guy suffered from a true case of arachnophobia. His fear of spiders was so overwhelming it was worth it to him to risk spending time in jail than staying where he was.
Later that evening when home, Nadine reflected on the events of the day and was thankful that through it all no one was hurt. She wondered what circumstances were involved to have caused the man to try something so brazen. Of course, she had no way of ever finding out the true reasons but felt saddened by the fact that such things happened everyday. It made her realize how fortunate she was to have the life she did. She settled back with her cup of hot chocolate and listened to the Christmas music softly playing in the background, knowing this Christmas would have more meaning to it than she had ever realized.

  Chelle Munroe©
   December 21, 2013


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Holiday for Remembering

One year, wanting change in my life, I decided to travel down South for the holiday season.  Now, in spite of my not being a world traveler and coming from New England, I know I really don’t live in a vacuum.  In fact, I like to think of myself as being fairly knowledgeable about the many facets of lifestyles. I honestly didn’t believe that there was any one particular circumstance that could surprise or shock me.  How wrong I was!
Feeling somewhat adventurous, I chose to explore the back hills of West Virginia and Tennessee.  Needless to say, I ventured onto one of those old country mountain roads and got myself so twisted up I didn’t know if I was coming or going.  After an hour of aimlessly wandering around, I had to accept defeat and admit to myself I was lost.
I didn’t get discouraged because, after all, I was exploring and it was supposed to be an adventure.  At least I kept trying to convince myself to that way of thinking.  It was at this point I spotted a dirt road that had all the indications of having been traveled quite a bit so I took a deep breath and turned onto it.  As the road meandered up through the woods, I began to question my sanity thinking that at any moment I would be mistaken for an IRS agent and shot by moonshiners.
I have to tell you that this line of thinking can be detrimental to one’s mental stability, especially for a person who has an active imagination to begin with.  Before I could stop myself from letting my thoughts get frantically out of control, I had conjured up a whole scenario that would have made the movie “Deliverance” seem like a “boys will be boys” boy scout movie. As you can imagine, within moments, I had worked myself into a rampant paranoid state.  I was convinced I was going to die.
              Just as I was about to shift the car into reverse and try to back down the road, I entered a clearing and an old shack appeared.  I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I could make a u-turn and get the heck out of there.  Not to be.
Halfway into the u-turn, someone came out of the shack carrying a rifle and waved for me to stop. At the sight of the gun, my mind went into pure chaos and all hell broke out inside the car.  My heart beat against my chest so hard I thought it was going to explode; my body immediately broke out with a cold clammy sweat; my hand shook so damn violently it knocked the gear shift lever into neutral which stopped the car from moving; my foot pressed so hard on the gas pedal it caused the engine to roar like one of the rockets NASA sends to the moon; and a scream that would have scared the crap out of a banshee erupted from my mouth.
The person holding the rifle stepped to the front of my car and stopped.  Once I calmed down, I was able to see more clearly and I know without a doubt that my jaw dropped open.  Before me stood a hairy, six-foot man wearing a polka-dot dress; clod-hopper boots; with a scruffy beard and what appeared to be long yellow hair fashioned from a scraggly-looking mop head.
He motioned with the rifle barrel for me to get out of the car and I did.  I thought for sure I was going to get shot right then and there.  Instead, he stepped around to the side of the car and stuck his big, beefy, calloused hand out to shake mine.
I nervously placed my small hand in his and watched as it got swallowed up by his thick fingers.  I waited for the mighty squeeze and the crunch of breaking bones but it didn’t come and I must admit that I was actually amazed by the tender, gentle way he shook my hand. “Name’s Glen, but you can call me Glenda.”  When I looked up, I was greeted by a big speckled-toothed grin.
I couldn’t help but smile at the sight and I believe the big fella took it as a friendly gesture because he lowered the gun.  In a deep-husky voice said, “C’mon inside, coffee’s on the stove.”
He took two steps, stopped and glanced up toward the roof and bellowed, “Granny, c’mon down we got ourselves a visitor.”
He must have noticed the shocked expression on my face and simply said, “She’s been up there all mornin’ cleanin’ that dang chimney. If tweren’t for feedin’ ol’ Jeb, she’d be up there all dang day. Well, never you mind, she’ll be down right quick.  She loves havin’ visitors.”
The inside of the house was dark and the only light besides the little bit coming in through the windows was from a kerosene lamp on the small wooden table. Before I could take another step into the house, a large, fat pig came running from the darkness and was headed right for me.  I let out a yelp and jumped to the side just in time to avoid being knocked out the door.
Glenda whacked it on the nose with the butt of the rifle.  “Get in you’re corner, ya crazy damn ol’ pig.”
He turned to me. “You okay?”
I nodded I was while keeping my eyes on the pig.
“This here’s Jebediah but we call ‘im Jeb lessin’ he gets too crazy, then we call him a lot of other names.  Granny does most o’ that bein’ as I’m tryin’ ta be a lady an’ all.”
Just then, Granny stepped into the house.  “I see ya met ol’ Jeb, and…..” she paused and with a sarcastic tone, continued, “Gl-e-n-d-a.  He thinks he’s a transmutant.  Got the crazy notion from watchin’ some guy named Ponvict on the T.V. box in town.”
                Glenda plunked the coffee mugs down hard on the table.  “It’s not transmutant. It’s transgender.  I keep tellin’ ya that.  And it’s not Ponvict.  It’s Povich ---- Maury Povich.”
“Don’t make a dang bit o’ difference what his name is, he’s got ya dancin’ and prancin’ round like a Mary Jane.”
Glenda huffed.  “I ain’t prancin’ and I ain’t a Mary Jane.  Sides, we got us a visitor and twoudn’t be polite ta argue in front of ‘er.”
Granny wrinkled her face at him and shook her head from side to side, then turned to me.  “Would ya like a biscuit with ya coffee, Miss?”
I realized at that point, I hadn’t introduced myself.  Not sure what they’d do if I didn’t, I blurted, “Teresa Miller, but you can just call me Terry.”
I took the biscuit and surprisingly, both it and the coffee were real tasty.  We talked for a bit more and then I said I had to get going and asked if they could direct me on which way to go so I could get back to the main road.  With the directions in mind, I bid my farewell and headed out of there as fast as I could.
A half-hour later, I made a right onto a road that turned out to be paved for the first 100 yards only and then changed to a dirt road.  Panic immediately swept over me as I could only think of it being Déjà vu. I was in no condition to deal with another Redneck transgender person or an attacking pig or whatever else lurked up ahead and jammed on the brakes. 
  I shifted into reverse and practically gunned the car back down the road with surprising accuracy. Not long after, I spotted a sign that directed me to the highway, but instead of continuing South, I  followed the route North. I remember thinking at the time that maybe a holiday in New England  wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

Chelle Munroe©
December 18, 2013     



Friday, December 6, 2013

One’s Perception

Personal Essay

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to prepare for Christmas. Of course, the retailers across the country began with “Black Friday”, which actually started this year on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Whether we agree with that policy or not, we have all come to understand that when an economy has struggled such as this one has, retail stores will do everything they can to turn a profit for the year. For some, it is the make or break season so it makes it difficult to decipher between what is survival and what is greed.
For me, being Catholic, this is the Advent Season which is the religious way for me to prepare for Christmas. It is something that I look forward to with eagerness each year because it serves to center me on Christ’s birth. There were times in my life, however, when I wasn’t so eager to celebrate this event. In fact, I found just about every excuse in the book to justify why I didn’t practice my faith as my parents and schooling had taught me to do. With that in mind, it made it difficult for me to decipher when I had legitimate excuses for staying away from church and when I was being selfish with my time. Yet, when Christmas day arrived, I was into it big time even though there were some Christmas mornings when I felt the emptiness of not having that closeness of Christ in my heart yet instead of going to church, I chose to stay home celebrating.
 Whether it is buying gifts and decorations, practicing one’s faith or both, it all comes down to preparation and we each have our own perception as to what and how we prepare. Speaking for myself, I find that my Christmas season takes on much more meaning when I incorporate my faith than those years when I left my religious beliefs aside. But each person has to find his or her way to prepare themselves for Christmas because they may not perceive the holiday as I do.
With that in mind, I have settled into believing that what is most important to me is not just preparing for the season, but to live it as well, that is, in the way I treat others. I sincerely try to do that all year long but especially so at Christmas and have now developed another question for myself: “Why can’t I treat others with the same sincerity, eagerness, willingness and love that I offer so freely at Christmas?”
Oddly enough, I haven’t actually found a reason why I don’t or can’t do just that and have decided that this Advent season would be a good time for me to reflect and to contemplate on that very thing. I know from past experiences, it sounds fantastic on the surface and that putting it into action in my everyday life will be a challenge but I believe that it would not only make my contact with others all the more pleasant for them, it would also give me that joy as well.
Who knows, it is very possible that at some point in time I could touch someone’s heart and they will in turn do the same and it could spread. This is by no means a new concept as it has been something that mankind has strived for since the beginning of civilization but that doesn’t matter because this is my life; my time; my chance to make my life and those with whom I come in contact with a little bit better by the way I treat them.
So it all boils down to how I perceive the way in which I will prepare my heart for the upcoming Christmas Season and what I will bring with me when I celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas morning.
  Chelle Munroe©
  December 6, 2013