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How I Was Schooled Tonight by A Snarky Bus Driver

Bird:

Due to being traumatized this morning by a Snarky Bus Driver, I’m sticking with one story for both sites. I need to spend some time rebuilding my self-esteem… ;-) — Bird

Originally posted on Everyone Has A Story...:

bus of the undead hdr

bus of the undead hdr (Photo credit: eschipul)

This bus looked better, and frankly, happier than the ones I saw tonight.

I just spent the last two hours at the downtown Tulsa bus station. My, how the mighty have fallen!!

When I was about 9, my stepfather, who was a school teacher/coach would drive buses for the summer, and we’d all pack up like we were going on vacation and ride with him all over the United States. I was always excited when we would first start off, and then within an hour, I was ready to be finished with the trip….Boring!…. Mom always made me take several books, knowing I was going to have to keep busy or my brain would melt. Smart woman.

Buses back then were newer, and the fact that you could use the bathroom at the back…

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The Time When I Got Angry At God

Due to a lack of time today, I thought I would repost one of the stories I’ve already written at my other site. I hope you like it. — Bird

Re-posted from Everyone Has A Story:

I’ve always been able to pinpoint exactly who I was angry at. When my parents got divorced when I was six, I was angry at my mom. When she remarried a guy totally the opposite of my dad, I was mad at her and the new guy. When the perpetrator destroyed my innocence, I was mad at him. When I kept making decisions as a young adult that I knew were really, really self-destructive, I was mad at myself. I don’t have a problem knowing who I’m angry at. I own it.

But through all of life’s hurts, I never once got angry at God. It would be fair to say that I understood the concept of free will from a really early age, and didn’t blame God for what people did that hurt me. Until the Motorcycle Accident.

On June 11, 2005, I was involved in a really bad motorcycle accident. A group of us were

Bird, 2005

travelling down one of Oklahoma’s country highways when a van turned left in front of us. I was on the first bike that hit. It was a fluke that I was on this bike, as I usually never rode with anyone but my husband. But on this day, because I wanted to get pictures of him driving his bike, I was riding in the front with a friend….Two bikes hit the van, and three bikes were “laid down”, which means they basically slid on their sides to avoid impact. My husband, who had been bringing up the rear, was the only one who didn’t crash. Instead, he had the poor misfortune of watching his wife and friends all get hurt.

When the bike I was on hit the van, it catapulted me towards the top of the van, and the frame broke all of my ribs….all of them. Some were broken in more than one place. The broken ribs, in turn, punctured both of my lungs in several places. Needless to say, I was dying, and rather quickly. But, as luck would have it, two off duty paramedics happened to be at the convenience store right there, and had seen the whole thing happen. This is in the middle of nowhere at a tiny, franchised Joe’s Convenience Store kind of gas station. Talk about God hedging my bets! (You Rule, God!) They rushed out, and kept both me and another woman hurt really badly (Rose), alive until the helicopters and ambulances arrived.

My body was really torn up. On top of the lungs and ribs, I broke my collar bone, fractured my neck, bruised my heart, lacerated my liver, and fractured my spine and pelvis. And I was in a coma….thank God! I woke up twice briefly that day just long enough to pull the ventilator that was helping me breathe out each time, thus damaging my larynx. And soon after all of this, I developed ARDS and pneumonia in both lungs. I was dying. The whole experience of being in a coma was terrifying…I wish there was a better word for it, but words can’t express the confusion and terror….

Everything I just wrote had to be told to me by other people, because what I remember is something a lot darker. I was caught in hallucinations. It has long been debated that there are several levels of consciousness between life and death, and I agree. I just want to skip all of those next time and go straight from being alive to being dead. Just saying, God…

I still don’t like to talk too much about what my brain thought was going on. I will say that for the first few weeks, it was nothing good. I was caught in rooms with no doors and no windows, with strange red-lipped women. I was going to be killed by a terrorist cell. Some nurse was trying to rape me…It goes on and on. Had it gone on much longer, I would have probably just gone on and died. It would have been preferable.

While I was caught in Dante‘s head, my husband was not pleased with the doctors taking care of me. And when Don isn’t pleased, he can be a very big pain in the butt. Three times they had taken him into the family room and told him to get my affairs in order. And three times, I just kept hanging on. Don had basically parceled out our three teenagers, and all but blew off his job. Medication couldn’t keep my blood pressure from soaring to dangerous heights, but his voice could. So, he rarely left the hospital — for months.

Three weeks into this whole ordeal, Don had had enough. He and a friend went on a quest and found out that the top pulminologist in Oklahoma lived right here in Tulsa. Her name was Dr. Grace Kennedy. That is another long story, but for times’ sake, lets just say that Don sweet talked her into taking my case, bullied the hospital into giving her rights to practice there, and threatened my team of doctors if they didn’t “invite” her to lead my case.

Dr. Kennedy, after visiting me once, decided to take a risk. She told my husband that all that movement I was making might not be pain; instead, it might be a reaction to morphine. She changed up everything — my bed, my antibiotics, and THANK GOD — my pain medication. She put me on Demerol instead. Immediately, I began to heal. Turns out, I was allergic to morphine and all those horrible hallucinations were being caused by that medicine. Every time I would twitch or moan, the nurses would give me more, launching me straight back into hell.

I have a few vague memories of coming to, but it is really hard for me to separate what really happened during that hospital stay and what happened in my head. Until one morning, a really loud voice said, “CATHERINE, WAKE UP!!” And I was awake. I mean, really, really awake. One, because the voice was really loud. And two, because only my dad calls me “Catherine”. It has always only been used when I was in trouble.

I was alone in the room for a minute, and I realized I was in a hospital room. Just then, a female doctor walked in. (Another miracle. How often do you actually catch a doctor in your room??) She seemed startled that I was awake. I motioned to her that I needed something to write on, and she handed me a pad of paper and a pen. I wrote one word, “thirsty”. She explained I couldn’t drink being on a breathing machine. I wrote a second word, “out”. This is another long story, but in the end, they took me off the breathing machine that very hour, and after several months, my numbers stayed where they were supposed to be. They didn’t drop even one point. Remind me to tell you about the moment my husband came in after that…It is just the most romantic story ever…

But I digress. One really significant thing changed about me the day I woke up. I realized I was angry. No, the word “angry” just isn’t graphic enough. I was pissed off. And I was having trouble understanding why.

The anger was just building and building. I was released from the hospital about a week later. I was supposed to stay on oxygen and cart around this tube of air…yeah, I don’t think so. I was a 37 year old woman…too young to be doing that. I tried going back to work, but lo and behold! I transverse numbers now..This is unacceptable for a bookkeeper. My life had been permanently interrupted.

I didn’t talk to God much those days. This is odd behavior for me. I chat with Him all day long. Well, I mean, He doesn’t chat back, but as you’ve probably guessed by now, I am a talker. That was my first clue back then that there was a problem.

Finally, I had to mentally set myself down and examine my feelings. You can’t begin to fix what you won’t acknowledge. And I admitted to myself that I was mad at God. Why? You aren’t going to believe this one….

It wasn’t because I was hurt so badly, or because my hallucinations scared me to death, or that my poor children had all been farmed out for months to people that were relative strangers to me. Oh no. Nothing that noble, or even understandable. I was pissed that God didn’t allow me to see Him or His angels during a near-death experience. My spirit didn’t get to hover over my body, and I felt like it was the least He could have done for me. Seriously.

Have you ever had to have a conversation with your God that you know is just about one of the stupidest conversations you will ever have??? Well, I did. I told Him I needed help getting over my anger. I thanked Him for what He had done for me and my family, and then I tried to explain to Him why I had wanted that so much, as dumb as it may sound.

You know what? He understood. He showed me that it was okay to be honest with Him and with myself. He can handle me being mad at Him. He showed me that there will be a time that I will be in His presence, but that had He given me a glimpse, I might have stopped living here on earth doing my job, and pined instead for what I had seen. He assured me that some people need the “push” that comes from seeing the other side, but for someone like me, who didn’t need that, it could have worked against His purposes for me. And lastly, He let me know that even this accident would be used to reveal His glory. I felt like He was thanking me for going through it.

It is the one time I have ever been angry at God. I doubt anything could make me angry at Him again. But should I ever feel that way again, I can take my concerns and disappointments straight to Him. He isn’t offended by my anger. He can take it!

Thank you again, Jesus!!

– Cathie


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And the Second Post: The Time I Burnt Down A Truck I Was Test Driving

Published on: Mar 18, 2012 @ 8:57 on Everyone Has A Story -

birdmartin.wordpress.com

“One of the things I am learning as I write these little excerpts from my life is that this is one really good way to stop trying to “be” anything other than yourself.

I have run in a lot of circles. I went to Christian schools and public schools. I have friends — I’m talking realfriends that range from atheists all the way up to pastors, and everything in between. My best friend has changed sides so many times, I honestly don’t know what she believes at this moment. And she is still my very best friend in the whole world. My kids love the Lord, but they cuss like sailors sometimes…as I’m sure people are going to notice

Ok. This isn't a truck, and the little girl should be a little boy, and it isn't on fire, but pretend it was. I have a really good pix of it on my original post, but I got kind of freaked out about copyrighting, so I am using one of my own pictures. Since I've started blogging, I'm getting better at keeping a photographic record of my adventures so I don't get sued...

from some of their posts on this site. Actually, my son who is busy composing a story for this blog is the one who cusses the least in this family…go figure. And now I find out that some of the motorcycle family I’m in read it too, along with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. And after being initially alarmed, I had to laugh. There simply are lessons in everything. It is just better to stop worrying what other people think of you, and just let it all hang out. It is definitely a lot less work.

So, that all being said, let me share one of my finest moments.

When the kids were little, Don was asked to go to Laredo and “clean up” a distressed restaurant there. He is gifted at managing restaurants, and over the years, we had moved from restaurant to restaurant all over Texas. He’d get them profitable again, and then we’d move on to the next one.

At this time, we’d pretty much stayed in San Antonio for quite a bit of time, and I had landed a really, really good job. So, since the company estimated it would only take Don 6 months to clean up this restaurant, we chose to live separately so I could hang on to my job. We’d travel once a week or so to see each other, but it wasn’t ideal for our kind of relationship at all. My kids were acting out…they have to have their dad around, and I don’t know that we’d built up enough trust in each other at that time to be completely okay with this. So, since he seemed to have put roots down in Laredo, we agreed on one of my visits to see him that I needed to go ahead and move back home with him.

Problem was we both drove tiny cars, and there was no money to move. When companies moved us around, they always paid for the moves. But that wasn’t the case this time. Don, being the charming guy that he is, went to a car salesman friend of his and explained the situation. The guy, named Sam (not his real name), suggested that since it was mainly clothes and small stuff, that we “test drive” one of the big pick-up trucks for the weekend. We were assured this was a common occurrence, and that the extra miles on the truck wouldn’t matter, because it was already slightly used. Sounded perfect.

So, the next morning my little 6-year-old son and I head off to San Antonio to get our stuff. We sang and talked, and talked and sang all the way down there. It was great because we’re both tone-deaf so we couldn’t tell we really sucked — we had a blast. It didn’t take all that long to get our stuff together, and the next morning we were headed back towards our new life.

I have been able to overcome some serious vices over the years, but the bane of my existence is smoking cigarettes. I haven’t mastered that one yet. There are just some things that my brain can’t do without having a stupid cigarette in my hand. Here’s my list of cigarette must-haves:

Wake up – smoke a cigarette

Drink coffee – smoke a cigarette

Talk on the phone – smoke a cigarette

Drive – smoke a cigarette

Get ready for bed – smoke a cigarette

There are many other cigarette times in between, but these are MUST haves…I’ve tried quitting, but that is a post for another day. Suffice it to say, I haven’t given up — I’ve just remained a complete failure in this area.

So, I’m happily speeding my little boy and I down the highway, windows open, flicking cigarette butts out the window as needed, because we wouldn’t want to return the truck with a dirty ashtray, when Dj freaks out. One, or possibly more, cigarettes had caught our stuff on fire in the back of the truck I was supposedly test driving, and I had a pretty awesome fire going on.

There are too many failures in this story. First, yes, I was smoking around my son. Second, I was Messing with Texas by throwing them out the window. Third, I obviously wasn’t paying much attention to anything around me, because I didn’t just see some smoke; it was a full-fledged fire going on over the rolling gas tank I was driving. There are so many more, but you get it…

I pulled the truck over to the side of the highway, scooped up my boy, and we stood what I would determine a safe distance from the inferno, and waited. We didn’t own cell phones and there used to be almost nothing between San Antonio and Laredo except for one small prison town that only the truly brave would ever stop at. And we’d already passed through that town awhile ago. I watched the truck begin to melt, and I knew — I’m getting another divorce.

As luck would have it, people started pulling over, and while the women began to collect over by me, their fire-bug husbands started “playing” with the fire, pulling burning boxes and quilts out of the back of the truck and stomping out the fire with their feet. Now, I’ve had a flat tire on this same route, and only AAA would come to my aid. No one else that time would stop. But, hey, start a rolling bonfire, and everybody is your friend….

One of the less-than-amused wives had a cell phone, and she called 911 and let me borrow it to call my husband. My husband is….passionate. So, I was actually happy to be delivering this news to him on a phone at least 60 miles away. It meant I had about an hour to live.

The conversation went a little like this:

Don: Hello?

Me: Don, I started a fire in the truck, and it’s burning up. I’m sorry.

Don: That’s not funny. When are you getting here?

Me: I’m not kidding. I really burnt down the truck, and all our stuff in it.

Don: Seriously, stop it. I’m not in the mood to play around…

Me: I’m not playing around. I need you to come get me.

Don: You’d better be kidding.

Me: I’m not. Are you coming?

Ok. I have to stop here, because the rest was pretty disturbing.

After the fire had been put out, all the firebugs and their wives split, and DJ and I were left with the Texas State Trooper that had taken our report. He was really trying to be serious and professional, but he couldn’t help laughing at me. A lot. Insultingly, a lot. He packed me and Dj into his car, saying he couldn’t leave us by this truck until my husband showed up, so we’d ride with him for a while and we’d check back for Don occasionally. Okay, that part was actually pretty fun for us. He told us all kinds of story as we chased speeders down the road going over 100 miles an hour at times — and he never missed a beat telling his story…It was way cool. But anyways…

Finally, Don and my girls showed up. After inspecting the melted truck, Don tried turning it on, and lo and behold! the thing still drove just fine. We all headed back to Laredo — me in my Mercury Topaz and Don in a lump that might have been a truck once upon a time.

And for Tickled Plum: We left the burnt remnants of our worldly possessions right there on the side of the highway for someone else to clean up. That one is for you, Tickled….

Sam wasn’t as freaked as you’d think he’d be. Instead, he gave us an address in Mexico, and told us to get it fixed before we brought it back — he’d cover for us for the extra time.

Viva la Mexico!! The place we took the truck had it looking like a brand new vehicle, exactly the same as before I destroyed it, all in 2 days, for $300! We returned the truck to Sam, and nothing ever came of the incident again. Cool.

My point with this story is just that there are going to be aspects of my life that are going to appall someone I know — more so with some, while others will be able to relate. But this is just a true story. I am what I am.

– Bird”

Note: I have about a million really bizarre things that have either happened to me, or that I’ve caused to happen to someone else. This one just kind of sums up the levels of politically incorrect, rather careless, undeniably selfish, and still rather humorous behaviors that cause mishaps that I’ve had to explain to someone…usually my husband, who really hates two things: spending money and having people know our private lives. As you can see, I routinely do things he hates, but he loves me, and since this family has no problems laughing at ourselves, he’s given me the nod to blog..As long as one day in the future it brings home a paycheck. :-) Hey, he didn’t give me any specific times, now did he?? It’s been almost a year now, and I finally have people that aren’t related to me actually reading and encouraging me with their comments, so I honestly don’t care about the paycheck. The comments and “Likes” make me feel happy, worthwhile, and they give me a feeling of acceptance that not one of my paychecks all 25 years I was in the workforce ever did. So, hopefully, as long as I can keep pawning Don’s power tools, generators, and power washers out of the garage to pay the bills (because all my jewelry is already gone now) and Don keeps slaving away for the Man, I can keep pursuing my dream to be a writer. Thanks for reading my contribution.

Also, I added the Tickled Plum part because her comment about leaving her backseat on the side of the road makes me laugh every time I read it…It occurred to me after I read her story that I had left all those burnt boxes, quilts, microwaves, etc. right there on the side of the highway. I know. I suck.

 

– Cathie


38 Comments

Disclaimer: I’m God’s Worst Child EVER

Me and Santa Claus at Tulsa Toy Run 2012. I have three pix that I like of myself. I'm using two on this post, and the other is my gravatar. Hence, the Santa Claus picture in March.

Hi, my name is Catherine, but people just call me Bird, or Cathie if you must. I appreciate the invitation and opportunity to contribute to this blog. I love to write, which in turn, has me posting two, sometimes three different posts on my own blog site daily (mainly when I get revved up), which is probably not much fun for my followers. So, I am really stoked about getting to write on two sites, instead of just my one. I just love collaborations.

I thought I would start out with two of my posts already published that kind of explain who I am, and how I think — This is important if you are a Christian that is really a holy person, because I am not holy, and I seriously don’t want to offend people, especially my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ. But I am finished being anything but what I am.  I am the wife of a guy in a notorious motorcycle club; I’ve been divorced once, I lived with my present husband for 10 of our 20 years together before I actually married him at a  justice of the peace; I’ve never had a real wedding in a church; I have three kids from two men, one with no father on the birth certificate because we weren’t married, and I wasn’t going to share her with him, and another one that was on the way before his father and I actually went on our third date, much less got married….AND none of which are biologically my husband’s kids, but they are his kids just the same (and will fight anyone who says otherwise) He raised them since they were toddlers, and he is every bit as much their father as I am their mother.

…In other words, I’m God‘s Worst Child Ever. Because I was a real Christian doing all this stuff.  I knew better. My conscience worked just fine back then, and it still does today. I have been molested and addicted (which can be convenient excuses for a person like me), neglected and frankly, for most of my life now, really, really loved…which has balanced me out to a workable kind of Christian who is loved unconditionally be quite a few Christians as well as even more non-Christians. I guess my life is a cautionary tale with a happy ending, and people tend to accept me the just the way I am, warts and all. Plus, my stupid mistakes probably make other people feel better about the not so stupid ones they had made. I’ve been in the trenches. I’m still here, manning my own little post. And I do have some street cred when it comes to really crappy things happening to us in this life. But you have to chart your own course…It’s your life, and you are the one who has to live in it…

I called the post below -The Motorcycle Club: ( written by me and posted on my personal site March 3, 2012 in answer to a rather snotty comment (in person, not on my blog) from someone who was a leading authority in her group on just who I was supposed to be..right after her motorcycle club boyfriend broke up with her…) The back story probably should have been included in the original post, as it is rather ironic, and kind of shows you the motivation behind her statement, but whatever…I’ve posted it here.

This is me at the Tulsa Toys For Tots Bike Run 2012. I love to take pictures, but I really hate having mine taken. Hence, the goofy smile. Please note the cigarette: you'll rarely find a picture without me holding one...I think they wait to take it until I light up....Oh, and yes. I still smoke cigarettes, and I have been drunk once during 2012. I probably will never be "holy" until I die.

“As anyone can probably tell from my pictures, my husband belongs to a well-known motorcycle club. I don’t write much about this in my posts because frankly, I don’t think about it much. But, it is probably worth a minute to clarify where this culture and my Christian beliefs come together.

I once had a proclaimed Christian tell me that because I was part of this 1% culture, she could not in good conscience hang out with me anymore. This “Christian” opinion always angers me to no end. And I always refer back to Matthew 9:10-13.

“Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘ Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?’ But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘ It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice”, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'”

I was understandably nervous when my husband first began to associate with what the world would consider “undesirables”, but as I got to know each of these people, I had a powerful compassion on them. I also had to put aside preconceived opinions that I’d gathered from television, internet, and books. I had to open my mind up to the possibility that I had ended up here for a reason, and Jesus thought that His work was more important than what the Christian community around here thought.

This is my husband, Don. He is a biker, not a criminal. Don't believe everything you hear on tv, the internet, or other news media. Oh, And Thanks, Gangland, for telling everyone that I am a prostitute and/or stripper...Oh please. I know hundreds of these people, and I think I've met maybe 2 girls that said they were strippers. Most of us women work in offices, retail, administration, or are simply at-home mothers. Just my little caption rant!

As with any large group of people, there are going to be the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, just from the ones I know on a personal basis, I see that God hasn’t written off these men and women. Evidently, God isn’t bound by our social standards, and I have come to feel that He has put my husband and I here for a purpose.

Where in the Bible does Jesus say we are to only associate with those who already know Him? What purpose would that serve? If you insulate your whole existence away from those who are dying, who do you save? And what is your worth in this kingdom? Isn’t that a little like hiding your light under a bush?

My brother is a pastor of a church, and he recently wrote a book that I sincerely love. It isn’t because it is a masterpiece of wordplay. It is because in it, he chronicles the building of his church by fighting Satan in a real world setting. He talks about getting out in the real world and stealing from Satan what belongs to God. His church doesn’t put on a pious, religious front. They instead, are warriors, pillaging from Satan’s camp using every method they can think of. There aren’t great discussions on whether or not viewing Harry Potter is going to make everyone into a witch; there is a restaurant operated for the sole purpose of getting to know the people they hope to lead to the Lord. He talks about websites set up as the first taste of any church. He is fighting fire with fire.

From the time my babies were small, I’ve tried to impart to them the understanding that living a Christian life is choosing to be a soldier. The enemy doesn’t fight fair. It is a bloody, exhausting, but satisfying existence. Jesus has us here for a purpose — and working up enough faith to own mansions, labeling yourself a god (creepy, and blasphemous), and be healed of every hiccup isn’t it. We’re in a battle for souls, and everything in our lives are circulating around that. And if you, as a Christian, are leading a quiet, uneventful, rich life going to church, eating potato salad as you pat your righteous self on the back, attending seminars with other like-minded brothers and sisters, and nothing is ever going wrong for you — well, then you have been neutralized by the enemy. However, if you find yourself in the Valley of the Shadow of Death on a pretty consistent basis, then you are probably a threat, and you should be happy that at least you aren’t wasting away the talents God gave you. I find the most dangerous Christians in the world these days, emotionally exhausted, but spiritually powerful. Sometimes, you can almost see them lying in a crumpled, bloody pile with a big smile on their face. There is nothing like defeating the enemy! And the true warriors always untangle themselves, stand up, brush off the dust, bind up their wounds, and jump right back into the battle.

I am a Christian. My battlefields are no more or less important than anyone else’s. If the proclaimed Christian community has objections to my orders, they can take it up with our commander — Jesus Christ.

Ride it like ya stole it!!!

– Cathie M. (or Bird) whichever you prefer…

 


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Time Does Fly

It seems these days that I am looking back more often than forward.  This afternoon, after the Mariner’s game was rained out, my thoughts turned to our mother.  She was born on the hard-scrabble plains of the Oklahoma pan-handle, in 1910.  She and her sisters walked a distance to a one-room schoolhouse.  When they went to town, they rode in a buckboard wagon behind a team of horses.  She was something of a show-off: she would climb the ladder of the windmill and swing from the platform while her older sister screamed for her to come down before she fell.  Her mother had a serious heart problem which took her life while Mother was quite young.  However, each night before bed, their home had to be spic-and-span: if her mother died during the night she did not want neighbors or relatives to see their home in anything but perfect condition.

The family was quite poor.  Mother’s father was a part-time and not too successful farmer.  He augmented the family income as a traveling salesman.  The mother of one of Mother’s classmates owned a clothing store.  The store had a beautiful winter coat: blue with a black velvet collar.  Mother anxiously waited for her father to return from his latest sales trip.  When he arrived, he brought her a new winter coat.  He was so proud that he’d found one he could afford: it was brown and very plain.  Mother loved him very much and nothing was ever said about the beautiful blue coat.

Through her own efforts she graduated from nursing school and became a registered nurse.  When she married, the one wedding gift they received was a tablecloth.  She lost two children.  Her oldest daughter died of cancer at the age of nineteen.  She lost a second male child through miscarriage.  She lived through the Great Depression, World Wars One and Two, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam.  She lived to see us land men on the moon.  She lived to witness the Columbine school massacre.  She died just short of the age of ninety; and one year short of 9/11/2001.

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