Valentine Shorts As Charlotte Kent. Fiction Non-Fiction. River's Edge Cozy Mystery Series. Niki Edgar Mysteries, etc. Christmas Shoppe Magic Series. Christmas Shorts Valentine Shorts. My Sexy Chef Stories. Romance Shorts. Fiction Cramped Quarters Fiction. Christmas Shorts. Proudly powered by WordPress. Luckily, the Empress Hotel was actually within sight, and my companion and I made our way there. From the warm greeting you receive upon your arrival to their famous cream tea to the fine dining to the lounge on the concierge floor, my stay there was wonderful and one I hope to repeat someday soon.
Our tour bus did arrive at the hotel, slid along ice-covered roads and dropped us off at the welcome center. Next time I visit Victoria, I plan to do so in the spring. Upon our return, we found Seattle bracing for yet another round of the white stuff. The dozen roses had still failed to appear, even though the tracking number with which I had been provided clearly documented their arrival in Seattle two days before.
Blessed with plenty of food and full power, the television became our best friend as my new daughter-in-law and I discovered a shared love for both Jane Austen and Colin Firth. As his mother, I almost felt sorry for him. Years later, when our roles were almost reversed, he delighted in our watching together Maigret mysteries filmed in this language without using the subtitles, his memory still sharp.
Although not a trained musician himself, Dad loved classical music and bought season tickets each year to the symphony concerts held in our town. Mother preferred a good theater excursion, so often I accompanied my father, dressed in my Sunday school finest, told as we left the house together each time that he hoped I would remember to act as nice as I looked because everyone could always strive to do better. He produced environmental impact studies for Nuclear Regulatory and testified when permissions to build nuclear power plants were being requested. He flew in helicopters over the Mojave Desert and went down uranium mine shafts.
He wore a badge each day to the Oak Ridge National Labs that tracked the radiation to which he was being exposed — these badges proving years later that his work had indeed resulted in the cancers that would kill him. When Dad agreed to drive to Louisiana and lecture during the turbulent civil rights era, his cohort and friend locked him in the Student Union building to keep him safe, although my father was never quite sure from whom, everyone having welcomed him warmly.
He was not able to ever successfully tutor me, completely unable to accept that his verbal offspring could not easily understand either chemistry or physics. Years later, though, retired and sometimes bored, he read and reread Chocolate Can Kill , using his technical writing skills to help me make it the best manuscript it could be. How long would it take for one to be able to act this way? One never knew as the minutes stretched. Struck mute, I would nod my head in the affirmative, slinking to my room in shame once released, hoping that if I would stay out of sight for a while my misconduct would be forgotten, and miraculously, when I would allow myself back into the world as I knew it, it always had been.
Now that Dad is gone, looking back at all the things he accomplished and all that he did, the real wonder to me is that, somehow, he managed to remain throughout the fifty plus years we had together the larger-than-life Daddy I revered so much as a little girl — untarnished and undiminished. Also available in print and for NOOK!
After my husband died, I was filled with a need to do two things — memorialize him in some way and find a way to make good come from the bad that had surrounded my losing him. It took me a while, but one day I finally saw the elephant that had been standing in the room all along. His memory would live on both in my heart and through the two sons that we had produced as a result of our love. Additionally, I recognized there were plenty of small kindnesses that I could reach out and do in his honor, unbeknownst to the recipient of such random acts. Now all that was left was the harder of my two needs.
How could I make good come of his death and my grief? Fate has a way of catching us unawares and in ways that we least expect.
The year was , and I was trying to refinance my house, interest rates having gone down. One interminable wait followed another as I was passed along to the one person who could clear the way for my loan, and as I waited, I read through the Birmingham News until I reached the want ads. Now understand, at the time I owned and managed a tri-state medical outsourcing business, and I was in the process of successfully flipping a five store retail chain.
The last thing I needed was a job, but when you have the soul of a writer, you will read anything. And so, my eyes traveled down the columns of alphabetical listings until they landed on the one that read:. Family Services Counselor — Work with families as they deal with the loss of a loved one. Here was my answer, I thought. I would pay it forward. Five days later, I began working at an historic cemetery in a less than safe neighborhood.
Back before time, I had majored in history, and the life stories reflected in the burial books that recorded more than a century fascinated me.
Then I met with my first widow. She was fifteen years younger than me with a five-year-old son clinging to her leg as she tried to pick out a grave for the man she had loved, who one minute had been alive and the next minute had been dead, struck down by a drunk driver. We were different ages, different religions, and different ethnic backgrounds, but grief for a lost loved one united us.
Two months later, I added managing a cemetery to my already full work calendar, and as I worked with even more widows and helped them achieve healing, a few more checks on the plus side appeared. Three months later, I took on five more cemeteries and funeral homes as a district manager, and a full row of checks appeared. Each new family I counseled, each new widow who touched my life had their own story. Slowly, these accumulated in a journal I kept until they numbered over stories of love, loss and recovery. One day I woke up and knew that, while the scales never would be balanced, my work at the cemeteries was completed.
You can still pause for a few minutes on this special day and remember those you have lost, touch base with them where they reside in your heart and keep their memories alive. Best wishes to you, your friends and your families — those who are still with you and those who are already gone. The bad news not too many days ago was that I had to go to the dentist. Barely had I been taken back and seated in the chair for my cleaning, when my dentist, Dr. Having delivered a brief preamble, he popped his gloved fingers into my mouth and began rummaging around as he talked.
Floss moved my tongue this way and that, checking for lost objects, I presumed, hoping against hope that he might find the Holy Grail, which everyone knows has completely disappeared. Once again, I produced a series of guttural noises, somehow managing to indicate an answer in the affirmative.
Floss, who had been examining each tooth in my head with great care, now gave me a brief respite. Having chosen a particularly sharp looking tool, Dr. Floss once again bent to his work. Since the only two things I could see from my reclined position were Dr. Floss gave a small, deprecating shrug, his face taking on a look of total humility before he left Ms. Brush alone with me to do her duty. A short while later, my now being all cleaned, polished and sparkling white, imagine my surprise when Dr.
Floss once again popped into the small procedure room — a second meeting never previously having been on our agenda. With amazing sleight of hand, he now grabbed my purse and headed with me in tow to the checkout counter. This, liking poetry, I gladly read and found to be quite beautiful — well constructed, stark and evocative. My insurance having been filed and my next appointment having been made, Dr.
Floss started to open the door to the waiting room for me, but then halted my progress as he leaned in my direction. Pleased to have finally made my escape, I sat quietly in my car for a few minutes, reviewing this particular trip to the dentist. On the plus side, Dr. Floss had been too absorbed in our conversation to notice the somewhat sensitive spot on tooth On the negative side, A Man for Susan would now require a complete rewrite, if it were to accommodate successfully a normally shy, dark-haired, dark-eyed, forty-something, dentally-inclined alpha male.
On balance, I had to admit, rewriting an entire full-length novel seemed a small price to pay for having saved tooth 14 from the drill.
It really does keep the dentist away! You know the holiday — the one on which almost everyone the world over, regardless of their personal heritage, pins on a shamrock and claims to be Irish. But then, I take a look around, and what do my eyes alight upon but green beer. Not to be outdone by their New Yorker cousins, Chicagoans even dye their river green, just to help everyone get in the spirit. Cast alongside these two super powers of the annual St. In an effort to appear less crazy than some of the other St. Next I progress to the Three Priests.
Saturday morning comes along, and I switch to Celtic Thunder — some of the best housecleaning music around. Talk about a match made in Heaven! Yep, you guessed it! Because of my well known addiction, I will eat my way through a fair amount of Irish chocolate — much more creamy than our American chocolates. You really should give it a try. Okay, I admit it. I have been known to layer my home with what my family laughingly refers to as Christmas World.
Not so much, which is strange when you understand that I am addicted to chocolate. I was in the Fourth Grade, and my nemesis was a blond-haired, freckled-faced boy named Tom. Tom was smart, neat and clean, and except for one thing, there was nothing wrong with him. Everywhere I went, he was there. Rain, snow, sleet or hail, he waited each morning at the end of our street to walk with me to school, and each afternoon, no matter how much I dallied, he trudged along beside me on my way home. Looking back on it, I now realize that he was probably lonely.
His mother and father both worked, and he was an only child. I imagine he spent many hours by himself, because most of the boys in our class lived further away, but at the time, I felt no sympathy.
She lives in the Washington, D. You were born in the same year that the original film version of The Secret Garden debuted. As I had done a couple of years ago in You Know You Are Older , I decided to sit down and, once again, analyze what was making me feel so much older. Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo. I'll stick it in here," which made the story line disjointed. A diagnosis is difficult to determine, and yet, I feel the pain — unrelenting, claiming me.
He was ruining my pleasure. I tried to discuss the situation with my mother — a disaster. I was her eldest, and I had proven myself eligible. Garnering her support of my rejection of his shy, totally appropriate advances was a non-starter. Having skipped the Second Grade, I was only the age of a Third Grader, and this was a much more innocent time.
Each of us was to bring a shoe box to school, which we would then decorate. Too young to connect the dots, I looked forward to the arts and crafts activity. My girlfriends and I spent a happy hour spreading Mucilage on fragile white dollies and red and pink construction paper hearts, which we then applied in decorative patterns on our shoe boxes. How decorative they had become. Innocently, I lined mine up on the deep window sill along the back of our schoolroom along with the others.
After Sunday dinner, Mother and I worked together, separating the tiny store-bought valentines from their sheets.
With great care, I signed each one of them in the new cursive script my classmates and I had practiced each day after lunch in our classroom, although I distinctly recall having done so in pencil instead of with a fountain pen that might blot one and spoil it. Monday arrived bright and sunny with a chill in the air, but there was no hint whatsoever of the disaster to come. Halfway there I was joined by two of my friends, and we chatted quite gaily. As we approached the doorway, one of the boys known for his merciless teasing stepped forward.
Having been there before, my girlfriends and I merely ignored him, continuing on to our classroom. Propped against the window pane behind my box was a large heart-shaped box of chocolates and an oversized valentine, next to which stood my nemesis, Tom — a huge grin on his face. Thank goodness that I had been well schooled in good manners. Somehow I got through the day — the whispers and giggles, the teasing and taunting. I even managed to stay embedded in a circle of my girlfriends, thus managing to avoid Tom. Left to himself, he struck up a conversation with a shy, quiet girl, who told him how wonderful he was to have thought of such a lovely gift.
From then on, he waited at the end of her street to walk to school each and every morning, joined her at the state university and, afterward graduation, they were married. Remove FREE.
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Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Annie Acorn is the pseudonym of a prolific, internationally published author, whose readership recognizes her mainly for. Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries Book 1) and millions of other books are available for instant access. view Kindle eBook | view Audible audiobook.
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