German class started at 8 a.m. I hated it! The old building seemed an appropriate place to learn this old European guttural language. Even the architecture suggested a dark and troubled time.
It took two years of German classes to receive my degree. It was that or take the equivalent number of hours in mathematics. My instructor for the entire two years was Herr Blumenthal. He stood an unimpressive five foot one, always smoked a pipe, and wore had the same tweed jacket for the entire two years.
My days started with the same words “Guten Morgen Herr James!”
The sound of distant thunder could be heard on the deserted powdery playground.
Snow prints littered the scene.
In the early light of day everything was deadly silent. Deadly was indeed the proper word to describe what happened. Deadly because the technology of that world went spinning out of control and now nothing remains.
One could imagine the fun the children had running without a childly care of what tomorrow would bring. The parents sitting on park benches watching with parental pride the little ones who one day would rule the world.
But that was yesterday. That world does not exist.
Footprints are all that remain of that world.
After all, it was just an experiment.
The next one we create will be a better place to inhabit. Let’s rethink that evolution thing again.
The great James Tower, located at 1 Lake Front Drive, in Homosassa Florida, is a 4-story, mixed-use Skyscraper that just came on the market. James Tower served as the headquarters for the James Gang. Additionally, it housed the penthouse condominium residence of the building’s namesake and developer, Rusty James, who was a real estate businessman and part time thief when the tower was developed. Several members of the James family also live, or have resided, in the building. The tower stands on a plot where the Crab Shack was formerly located.
He did the math in his head. It was just over 60 years ago that he carrier her over the threshold in an overpriced semi-clean motel in San Mateo, California.
Then their respective careers took off resulting in them being transferred numerous times. After retiring they spent a good part of each year traveling abroad. A dozen years ago they had travelled to China. She was past 70 then and still feisty and lovely in her own way.
Now her memory is failing. Her once beautiful dark hair is now nothing but white wisps. She can’t walk, and can’t stand up without help. Every little move can result in another fall and the possibility of more broken bones. She sleeps most of the day. Now she seems halfway gone mentally.
Modern medicine has kept her alive despite the fact she has expressed her desire to die. She is surrounded by teams of doctors and nurses, medical students, respiratory therapists and countless other health care providers. She is too weak, and too meek to protest.
My fear is someday we will look back and say: “What in the hell were we thinking?”
I live 85 miles northwest of Orland, Florida. Irma is taking dead aim at us. Being inland we do not have to worry about storm surge, but winds will be a major concern. We are taking all precautions.
In his mind, he could not picture what this area would look like if their predictions came through. It was so peaceful now.
“Wind gust up to 135 miles per hour, with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. Residents are ordered to leave the area immediately. Not tomorrow, not in a couple of hours, but NOW”, the governor’s statement blasted from the television.
He had already made up his mind to stay. He was too old he told himself to just up and move. To where he asked himself? No family reached out with welcome arms offering refuge.
The only highway into the island was now shut off by the State Police. The passing police cruiser warned that if he stayed they would not be able to rescue him.
***** ***** *****
“This is Troy Bridges, television 5 news reporting. One of the victims of recent hurricane Irma was found in front of his television today. Apparently, he made no attempt to leave the area. Efforts are underway to contact family members.”
He had attended the hiking course just last week. It was part of his plan to get more active this year. The instructor had supplied maps of some nearby trails. Along with the maps he was told he should buy a compass, a walking stick, and a small light backpack.
He had dressed warmly for his early morning walk. It was still quite cold when he began his walk at around 8 a.m. The rolling hills around this part of the state were still wet from some overnight rain showers.
He slipped his new backpack on which contained a small tube of insect repellant, some lip balm, and breakfast bars. He slipped the leather band on his brand new walking stick around his wrist.
He found the first trail making, which was a blue painted arrow on a tree after about a half mile.
For the next forty-five minutes the ground covering became very thick and even using his new walking stick he still stumble a few times. Twenty minutes later in deep brush and not ever finding another trail marking he admitted to himself he was in deep trouble.
Turing around he pushed his walking stick in the ground and he felt it hit something that felt unusual. Looking down he saw that his walking stick had gone right through the right eye socket of a half buried skull.
We writers, as we work our way deeper into our craft, learn to drop more and more personal clues. Like burglars who secretly wish to be caught, we leave our fingerprints on broken locks, our voiceprints in bugged rooms, our footprints in the wet concrete.
Photo taken in Frankfort Michigan on a trip to my high school reunion.