#MarquessaChallenge – At First Sight

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It only happened to Rachel once. Maybe because, after that one time, she never let it happen again. If it had happened again, she hadn’t recognized it. She had walked into his office that one day, the day she’ll never forget. His desk faced the right wall. The door was open. He was at his desk, looking down, reading something. She reached in to knock at the open door which swung open to the right. As she knocked, he turned toward her.

She had to keep herself from gasping when his eyes met hers. They were laughing eyes. Dark, dark brown in color. Mesmerizing. They grabbed her eyes and held them.

He said, “Can I help you?”

Rachel couldn’t speak. She had forgotten why she had come to his office.

She mumbled, “Sorry, wrong office.” Then she fled down the hall. Back to her own office. She was breathless when she sat down at her desk. She knew his name. She quickly remembered why she had gone to see him. She couldn’t go back, but she had to. He was going to be her professor in a class this semester.

Rachel was a research assistant at the University of South Florida. She was pursuing her Ph.D in Computer Science and Technology. Peter Fitzgerald was an Associate Professor in the Department and her professor in an upcoming class. Rachel felt like she’s just been hit by a train. Could you really fall in love at first sight? Rachel was far too sensible to think that. It was just a moment. Everyone had moments now and then. It would pass and the next time she saw him, he would be just another man on the street.

What Rachel didn’t know is that Peter had felt the lightning bolt as well. He wondered who that girl was. Was she an undergraduate student? A graduate student? He had to find her. See her again. He walked around through the halls of the Technology Building, but he didn’t see her anywhere.

Early that afternoon, Rachel had Peter’s class. She dreaded it. How would she face him after fleeing his office. She slipped in from the back as he was calling roll. After class, he walked up to her.

“You didn’t get here in time for roll call,” he said.

“I’m sorry, Professor Fitzgerald.”

“Please follow me to my office to fill out some information for me.”

Suddenly, Rachel realized she was daydreaming. That day had been so long ago. Rachel couldn’t imagine why it had popped into her mind while she was driving down the road in South Florida. She hadn’t thought of Peter in many months, although he did pop into her head from time to time. She was successful in shoving him out of her head these days. She was happy with her life. When she did think of Peter, she usually thought of the end of their relationship. Today, instead, she had thought of that very first day.

The Glory Days. They had certainly had them. For years. The last time she saw him, those brown eyes didn’t sparkle any more. He said he was happy, but his demeanor and his eyes said something different. He had settled. Settled for what made him content at the moment. That was all right with Rachel. He wasn’t hers to save or care for.

Only one thing made Rachel sad now. She wished she could have emotionally let him go sooner. She would have lived a happier life. Instead, she had waited and hoped that one day, they would be together. But, it was not to be. She’d had relationships. Lots of them. She’d even been married. No one had ever touched her heart and soul like Peter. Now she wondered if it was because she never gave anyone else the chance. It was probably too late now.

Rachel remembered the day when Peter looked at her, after they made love, and said, “In your eyes, I’ve found the missing pieces.”

She felt bound to him then. That was right before he left her forever.

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#fictionfriday is brought to us by Simply Marquessa

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Pretty Terrible

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Marianne has been in with the doctors a long time. That’s what Marianne’s husband, Joseph, was thinking as he sat in the hospital waiting room. He noticed the flowers. Pretty. He hated hospitals. He’d just focus on the flowers while he waited on Marianne.

“Excuse me. Mr. Hayworth?”

Joseph jumped. He’d nodded off, staring at those flowers.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hayworth. Your wife has a collapsed lung. We accidentally caused it to collapse at the end of the procedure. She has to stay until it resolves. She’s in Room 412.”

Joseph was still trying to wake up. He jumped up, thanked the doctor, and shook his hand. The doctor left and walked quickly down the hall.

“Now what?” Joseph thought.

He walked over to the flowers, snatched them out of the pots, and started walking quickly to Room 412 to see Marianne.

140 words

Photo Credit Shivamt25

The Ghost Road

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They were driving the most challenging road they had ever driven. He had altitude sickness. They had been to the Grand Canyon. When they left for Phoenix, they took a wrong turn and ended up on a road that clung to the red rock mountainsides and took breathtaking drops down.

The road straightened out. They knew they shouldn’t turn on a dirt road. Phoenix couldn’t be this way. But they followed the GPS.

Later that night, her cousin called the police to report them missing. They scoured the desert. There was no sign of them. Not ever again.

Photo Credit Danny Bowman

Play Ball!

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David climbed to the top bench of the falling-down bleachers at the old baseball field. When he was a child, he played Little League baseball here with all his buddies. He looked to his left and saw the dugout. It was in disrepair. He could see behind it from  his vantage point. Even the yard was grown up. Who was taking care of this place? No one? He knew the field wasn’t used anymore. Kids today would rather play video games or surf social media on their phones.

David had done well in life. He had an idea. Why not get his buddies together and raise money to repair the field. Try to start up the Little League teams again. He started making phone calls. HIs buddies were interested. They went to work.

The following spring, flyers were up all over the city advertising Little League. On sign-up day, the field was beautiful. There were long lines of young boys anxious to try out for Little League teams. David’s hometown, once again, had a thriving Little League program thanks to David and his friends.

The words, Play Ball, sounded wonderful to them and to the entire town.

Defunding Planned Parenthood and Government Welfare

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When someone mentions the defunding of Planned Parenthood to me, I don’t dignify that comment with a response. The very idea of defunding an organization that has helped so many women is offensive to me. My feelings on this subject has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that some Planned Parenthood’s offer abortions. My feelings have everything to do with how much Planned Parenthood has helped not only women, but men, since its inception.

They offer pap smears that screen for cancer, a variety of birth control methods, including compassionate abortion in some cases, HIV services, LGBT services, services for men, and more.

Planned Parenthood offers general health services for low-income women. Women who are either receiving some sort of government welfare or, if they become pregnant with a child, will have to receive government welfare. Women don’t become pregnant by themselves. If Planned Parenthood is responsive to low income women, they are also assisting the men who are their partners. The men involved in an unplanned pregnancy might also need government welfare. The services that Planned Parenthood offers can keep a couple, not just a woman, off the welfare rolls.

The current Congress and President, as part of the conservative movement in the U.S., has been determined to defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level and turn whatever is left over to the states. This Congress and President also want to severely cut back the Medicaid program, our current version of government welfare. The two initiatives don’t seem to be compatible. Cut Medicaid and Planned Parenthood? Where are women and men who are low-income and possibly out of a job going to get health services, particularly in the face of a pregnancy? Where are low-income women going to get birth control services, along with family planning advice?

Does the conservative government really think that low-income women are just going to stop having children? They have to know that such a scenario is ridiculous. They will keep having children and the welfare rolls will swell. Emergency room visits will also swell as the women will have no health care options.

Does the conservative movement in the U.S. care? My thoughts? They will only care when it starts costing them money. They won’t care about the men and women they are hurting in the process.

Other posts by other bloggers:

Why We Need Planned Parenthood

What Gives White Men the Right to Take Away a Woman’s Right to Basic Health Care?

Coal Mining, Appalachia, and Alternative Industries

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I’ve written several articles on the plight of the Appalachian people and the occupation of coal mining always comes up. Many coal miners cast their vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. They will see no long-term benefit in their chosen occupation. It is a fact that Donald Trump dropped a regulation that stopped coal mine owners from dumping waste water into rivers and streams. It is also a fact that since he became President, a deep mine about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh came online. That mine contains metallurgical coal, not thermal coal and 90 percent of the coal mined in the U.S. is thermal coal. What’s more, this mine, the Acosta mine, was planned in September of 2016, long before Trump’s election. It created about 100 jobs.

Since Donald Trump became President, about 1300 coal mining jobs have been created. Even if he drops coal mining regulation after regulation, it will only stem the tide of the loss of coal mining jobs temporarily. The rise of natural gas as an alternative source of energy has seen to that as has automation.

Donald Trump could do something to help coal miners. He could support retraining of miners and give tax breaks to alternative energy manufacturing corporations if they would locate in coal mining country. Former coal miners need stipends in order to feed their families while they learn new occupations. Firms like wind farms and solar companies could be promised tax breaks if they would locate near where the miners live. Those would be positive things that the President could do for the miners instead of making them empty promises. Alternative energy firms need tax breaks to locate in coal country because geographic access is difficult.

There is one thing that coal miners could do to help themselves. They could relocate. I understand their wish to stay in the place where they are, where their family is. My mother’s family came from Appalachia and I spent 27 years teaching Appalachian young people on a university level. Sometimes, you have to make hard choices and one of them is that you do not sit and starve in place. You learn the lessons of the past when there was an out-migration from Appalachia to find jobs.

Unless the world changes in a way we don’t expect, coal mining is a dying industry. If you are a miner or former miner, don’t die with it. There is something better out there for you.

Trump’s Empty Promises about Coal Mining

The Domestic

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She always rode her bike to her job. She parked in front of the great estate. She had worked for the owner’s for more than 30 years. She helped raise the children who she loved. She cooked and cleaned. She helped take care of the family. They felt like her family.

Mr. Wayne asked to speak with her. Mrs. Wayne was with him. She was crying. They told her they had paid into her social security account for her entire 30 years on the job. They handed her a check. She had never seen so many zeros. Mr. Wayne told her to buy a house, a car, set up a college fund for her grandchildren, anything she wanted. She knew she could do all of it with so much money.

Mrs. Wayne apologized to her. She said she’d always loved her and had never meant to treat her like a domestic. She’d been part of the family. They realized now they hadn’t treated her fairly. Mr. Wayne said he’d take her home.

She asked if she could keep her job. They told her she’d be treated fairly in the future. She thanked them and went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

The Power of Longevity

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When he asked me to go camping, I looked at him as if he were a stranger. We’d been together for more years than I could count. For more years than I wanted to count. Camping? I love nature, but when it comes right down to it, I love nature on day trips. At night, I’m a room service kind of gal.

He wanted us to have a new experience. There was a campfire. That helped. When I left the tent, there was a coyote’s eyes looking at me from the edge of the darkness. I felt safe with him.

Photo Prompt Jan Wayne Fields

 

This Planet Earth

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Watching the solar #eclipse today made me think about this planet Earth, our place in the universe, and how we, as some of the inhabitants of this planet, have affected it.

#Earth is but a tiny dot in a vast universe. Imagine how everything came together here to give us all the ingredients necessary for life. The right atmosphere to breathe, the water to drink, the soil in which to grow our food. Imagine how it is so unlikely that this could have happened. It makes me think that we cannot possibly be alone. Somewhere out there, there must be other life, although maybe not life like us.

What have we, as intelligent human beings, done to our precious atmosphere, water, and soil? We have polluted it beyond measure, almost to the point where it is not useful to us anymore. The Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970. If not for the EPA, I’m not quite sure where planet Earth would be at this point in time. Would it be able to sustain our life? I think it’s doubtful. But it was created and it began to study the concept of pollution.

The EPA determined that the smoke pouring from steel mills and other manufacturing companies was polluting the air. They had to install scrubbers. Sure, it cut into their profits in the short-term. In the long run, it helped save our atmosphere, keep us healthy, and the share price of these corporations did not suffer in the long run. The same is true of the water in which manufacturers and coal companies poured sludge. This is only one of hundreds of examples of how the EPA has protected our environment since 1970. Protecting our environment is protecting us, our health, and our long-term survival on this planet.

There is one irrefutable truth. The EPA doesn’t know what to protect us from without scientific research. That is the backbone of the organization. Unfortunately, our current President does not understand this or does not care. He has slashed scientific research and EPA programs in his 2018 budget by 31%, a steeper cut than for any other governmental organization. Around 3,200 jobs will be lost, just from the EPA, many of them highly trained and valuable scientists. Is this really wise?

I could list the other cuts the President is making to EPA programs that will impact our ability to live on this planet. The Paris Climate Agreement which addresses rising seas levels. An order to expand off-shore drilling. Then, we have such things as dropping the agreement to protect sea turtles and whales from fishing nets. Do we want to live on a planet when the caretakers don’t care about such things?

We have another solar #eclipse in 2024. Unless the EPA is given its money back to protect us from air pollution, we may not be able to see that one for the pollution in the air. It’s good we all enjoyed the 2017 #eclipse.