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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Slip Slidin' Away

Where am I? I know, I know. It was rude of me to go away and not tell anyone where I was going or when I would be back. I sincerely apologize. So many of you are like extensions of my family. I certainly know better than to run off all willy-nilly without so much as a phone call or quick post or a quick comment at your blog. My mother already called to yell at me for not updating. When I explained that life was taking over, she didn't really seem to care.

I really don't know where to start. There has been so much going on over the last few days. I can't offer many details because some things just don't have an ending yet. Life is like that, you know.

I'll begin with the fundraiser. Holy shit people, we are up to $65,000. This dinky ass little town has come out in full force to help the American Red Cross efforts.

I talked to some of the business owners and the principal at my kids' school and all agreed to carry the fundraiser through the end of September. In the beginning of October, we are beginning a new fundraiser. The money raised from that one will go to the school rebuilding efforts.

I got an exciting e-mail. It seems the editors at the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, are interested in one of my stories. I sent the story in an e-mail and immediately received an automated response. I liked the wording of the response, "Please be patient. It can take up to three years before your material is chosen for a specific book. So remember, no news is good news." Most of you know me as Lois Lane. But my real sign-in name is No_Newz. The reason why I picked that name is because that's one of my favorite mottos. Here's to hoping that's a sign.

Oh Life. (Yes, capital L was intended there.) I told you guys last week that I wished I could adopt a family or two from the Gulf Coast Region. My name was added to a list of families helping families. So far, no one wants to live out in the middle of nowhere. But as a result of being on that list, something weird happened. I stopped at a place I'd never been to before to fill up my gas tank. While paying, I heard someone call my name. I looked over my shoulder. It was someone who used to read my humor column when it was in their local paper. Someone I'd never met but recognized me from my photo that ran with my column.

She said she saw my name on the list and immediately thought of a couple she knew of. They are staying at a nursing home in a neighboring town. She told me their story would make a great one. She pointed me in the right direction.

I was in that town for a whole other reason. I heard through the grapevine that the newspaper was going under. I wanted to stop in and see the people I used to work with to find out if it was true. The thought of that paper, the oldest in that county, being gone, really bothered me. I was part of its history. The person who told me the paper wasn't going to be around anymore said, "It hasn't been the same since you left." Although, those were really nice words to hear, the idea of it being gone was just sad.

I went to see the couple instead of going to the newsroom.

They are amazing. Both served in the US Military. Both are war heroes. Purple Heart included. With no family, no place to go, they wound up in Illinois. They lost everything except each other. Both are much too young to be in a nursing home and they want to fend for themselves again. Although they don't want to "impose" on my family, they appreciated the offer and intend to stay put for a while.

Their story wrote itself. I planned to send it to the Associated Press. They've bought a few stories from me. But this one was big. History in the making. I sent it to Life Magazine instead. Soon after the automated response came, a real live person, an editor, e-mailed me back. They are interested.

I've been published before. Lots of times, in lots of places. Something about Life is just bigger. Larger than Life if you will. Anyhow, I'm excited and have been working feverishly on finishing that project. I'll meet with the couple again, take photos and make sure all of the facts I have are accurate. I can't wait to see them again.

Again, I am sincerely sorry for not being more attentive here. I would like to have a couple of volunteers to fill in for me in times when I am overwhelmed. You can either e-mail (subject line: guest blogger) or you can leave a comment below. I don't expect to go missing again, any time soon, but it would be really nice to have a plan B, if nothing else, to keep my mom from yelling at me. I hate when she does that.