A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2013

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail carriers, six clerks, a post master and a supervisor. Forest Grove is a town of about 20,000 people twenty-five miles west of Portland near the Coastal Mountain Range. Our community is largely agricultural with a private university in the middle of town. Our ordinary work day began at 7:00 am with jovial bantering and friendly conversation while we prepared our mail for delivery - but not on 9/11. We were not allowed to play a radio, so on that day each of us wore the headphones we kept stashed in our lockers and worked silently through one grim news report after another. Tuesdays were always busy days in the Forest Grove post office. We had at least one extra mail piece that went to every address. Typically, we would be whining and complaining about the added work. Today, our gripes and complaints would have seemed petty, rude and calloused. We worked silently, but not unemotionally.

            I remember telling my supervisor, a Christian, that “St. Peter is going to need extra help at the gate this morning.” He looked at me puzzled, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. The silence on the workroom floor was deafening.  The only conversation was that required to get the mail delivered. Two and a half hours after arriving for work I was ready to take my mail to the street for delivery on my route.

            If I thought the post office was quiet, it was boisterous compared to the streets of Forest Grove. My route, a ten mile walk, included a small section of businesses and a large residential area in the Clark Historical District. The houses were built in the early 1900’s and occupied by long term upper middle income and upper income inhabitants who care about life, each other and their mail carrier. In Forest Grove, large trees of many varieties shade the houses in the summer. On September 11, their leaves were just beginning to change, perhaps a reflection of the change that was taking place in each of us as the day’s events unfolded before us. With every step of the ten- mile trek, I felt the weight of this nation’s distress.

            In the few short hours that had passed between the attack on the World Trade Center and the time I began mail delivery, the yards of Forest Grove had been draped in American Flags. Some were huge, resembling the size of our country’s pain, some small, some handmade, each symbolic of our unity as Americans. Then there was the hush, not the sound of peace and quiet but the sound of disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the entire city had somehow lost its voice.

            I made my way through the despondent neighborhoods stepping around flags and yard signs, being careful not to rub against Old Glory or approach her in any disrespectful way. Occasionally, a customer would come to the door…”Have you heard?” “Come in for a minute and watch this news brief.” I would step inside a house that was only dimly lit or only lit by the TV screen.  Then I would go back out into the shrouded neighborhood that used to be full of life and joy. On 9/11 it was a neighborhood in mourning, clothed in black and shades of the darkest gray. There were no Republicans or Democrats, no liberals or conservatives, just grieving Americans. An attack on New York was an attack on us all.

            At the end of the work day, I went to my own home to share my disbelief, fears and regrets with my family. We spent the evening keeping up with the constantly unfolding details of the attack as revealed on the internet. The street I live on was just as still as the ones I had walked during the day. If Forest Grove was typical of towns across the country, America was mute.

            For days after 9/11, I could feel the United States of America grieve. I inhaled the heaviness and exhaled the sorrow. As I walked from porch to porch, I was reminded of the houses on the east coast that would never again feel like home because someone had lost their life in an attack on our freedom. Bumper stickers proclaimed our patriotism. Emotional renderings of the weeping eagle adorned shop windows and countertops. Still, America had lost her voice. The silence continued until I wondered if I would ever again hear the sounds of life on my streets. My streets - these were my street. My streets were lined with my houses. My people lived in my houses on my streets. My people were suffering as if they had lost one of their own. How long, I wondered, would the stillness continue?  

            Two and a half weeks - I never heard a sound. The blanket of despair hung heavily over the heart and hearts of Forest Grove. I walked one hundred and twenty miles in the hollowness of my route. Then one day, when I had almost given up hope of ever hearing it again, from way down the street - perhaps two blocks away or more, it was so rare by now, that I was startled by its unfamiliarity, I heard two women, neighbors, laugh. I felt the spark of life rekindle within me.

            America had begun to heal. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought, because America is resilient.

            We will never forget the losses we suffered on 9/11, and we may never again let our guard down, but we know that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Joy comes from God. He wants us to live joyfully.

            In the twelve years that have passed since 9/11, 2001, I have retired from the U.S. Postal Services. I have stood at Ground Zero and felt the loss burn through my soul. America has found her voice. I can hear it!


 

Thoughts about Daddy

June 15, 2013
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


Continue reading...
 

This and That

June 8, 2013

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


Continue reading...
 

Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
Continue reading...
 

Rounding Up (or down)

May 3, 2013
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
Continue reading...
 

Bad Backs

April 19, 2013
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
Continue reading...
 

Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

April 10, 2013
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
Continue reading...
 

Observations and Ramifications

March 27, 2013
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
Continue reading...
 

Bullies and a Change of Heart

March 23, 2013
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
Continue reading...
 

Good News and Bad Bugs

March 22, 2013
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
Continue reading...
 

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2013

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail carriers, six clerks, a post master and a supervisor. Forest Grove is a town of about 20,000 people twenty-five miles west of Portland near the Coastal Mountain Range. Our community is largely agricultural with a private university in the middle of town. Our ordinary work day began at 7:00 am with jovial bantering and friendly conversation while we prepared our mail for delivery - but not on 9/11. We were not allowed to play a radio, so on that day each of us wore the headphones we kept stashed in our lockers and worked silently through one grim news report after another. Tuesdays were always busy days in the Forest Grove post office. We had at least one extra mail piece that went to every address. Typically, we would be whining and complaining about the added work. Today, our gripes and complaints would have seemed petty, rude and calloused. We worked silently, but not unemotionally.

            I remember telling my supervisor, a Christian, that “St. Peter is going to need extra help at the gate this morning.” He looked at me puzzled, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. The silence on the workroom floor was deafening.  The only conversation was that required to get the mail delivered. Two and a half hours after arriving for work I was ready to take my mail to the street for delivery on my route.

            If I thought the post office was quiet, it was boisterous compared to the streets of Forest Grove. My route, a ten mile walk, included a small section of businesses and a large residential area in the Clark Historical District. The houses were built in the early 1900’s and occupied by long term upper middle income and upper income inhabitants who care about life, each other and their mail carrier. In Forest Grove, large trees of many varieties shade the houses in the summer. On September 11, their leaves were just beginning to change, perhaps a reflection of the change that was taking place in each of us as the day’s events unfolded before us. With every step of the ten- mile trek, I felt the weight of this nation’s distress.

            In the few short hours that had passed between the attack on the World Trade Center and the time I began mail delivery, the yards of Forest Grove had been draped in American Flags. Some were huge, resembling the size of our country’s pain, some small, some handmade, each symbolic of our unity as Americans. Then there was the hush, not the sound of peace and quiet but the sound of disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the entire city had somehow lost its voice.

            I made my way through the despondent neighborhoods stepping around flags and yard signs, being careful not to rub against Old Glory or approach her in any disrespectful way. Occasionally, a customer would come to the door…”Have you heard?” “Come in for a minute and watch this news brief.” I would step inside a house that was only dimly lit or only lit by the TV screen.  Then I would go back out into the shrouded neighborhood that used to be full of life and joy. On 9/11 it was a neighborhood in mourning, clothed in black and shades of the darkest gray. There were no Republicans or Democrats, no liberals or conservatives, just grieving Americans. An attack on New York was an attack on us all.

            At the end of the work day, I went to my own home to share my disbelief, fears and regrets with my family. We spent the evening keeping up with the constantly unfolding details of the attack as revealed on the internet. The street I live on was just as still as the ones I had walked during the day. If Forest Grove was typical of towns across the country, America was mute.

            For days after 9/11, I could feel the United States of America grieve. I inhaled the heaviness and exhaled the sorrow. As I walked from porch to porch, I was reminded of the houses on the east coast that would never again feel like home because someone had lost their life in an attack on our freedom. Bumper stickers proclaimed our patriotism. Emotional renderings of the weeping eagle adorned shop windows and countertops. Still, America had lost her voice. The silence continued until I wondered if I would ever again hear the sounds of life on my streets. My streets - these were my street. My streets were lined with my houses. My people lived in my houses on my streets. My people were suffering as if they had lost one of their own. How long, I wondered, would the stillness continue?  

            Two and a half weeks - I never heard a sound. The blanket of despair hung heavily over the heart and hearts of Forest Grove. I walked one hundred and twenty miles in the hollowness of my route. Then one day, when I had almost given up hope of ever hearing it again, from way down the street - perhaps two blocks away or more, it was so rare by now, that I was startled by its unfamiliarity, I heard two women, neighbors, laugh. I felt the spark of life rekindle within me.

            America had begun to heal. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought, because America is resilient.

            We will never forget the losses we suffered on 9/11, and we may never again let our guard down, but we know that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Joy comes from God. He wants us to live joyfully.

            In the twelve years that have passed since 9/11, 2001, I have retired from the U.S. Postal Services. I have stood at Ground Zero and felt the loss burn through my soul. America has found her voice. I can hear it!


 

Thoughts about Daddy

June 15, 2013
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


Continue reading...
 

This and That

June 8, 2013

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


Continue reading...
 

Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
Continue reading...
 

Rounding Up (or down)

May 3, 2013
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
Continue reading...
 

Bad Backs

April 19, 2013
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
Continue reading...
 

Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

April 10, 2013
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
Continue reading...
 

Observations and Ramifications

March 27, 2013
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
Continue reading...
 

Bullies and a Change of Heart

March 23, 2013
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
Continue reading...
 

Good News and Bad Bugs

March 22, 2013
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
Continue reading...
 

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2013

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail carriers, six clerks, a post master and a supervisor. Forest Grove is a town of about 20,000 people twenty-five miles west of Portland near the Coastal Mountain Range. Our community is largely agricultural with a private university in the middle of town. Our ordinary work day began at 7:00 am with jovial bantering and friendly conversation while we prepared our mail for delivery - but not on 9/11. We were not allowed to play a radio, so on that day each of us wore the headphones we kept stashed in our lockers and worked silently through one grim news report after another. Tuesdays were always busy days in the Forest Grove post office. We had at least one extra mail piece that went to every address. Typically, we would be whining and complaining about the added work. Today, our gripes and complaints would have seemed petty, rude and calloused. We worked silently, but not unemotionally.

            I remember telling my supervisor, a Christian, that “St. Peter is going to need extra help at the gate this morning.” He looked at me puzzled, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. The silence on the workroom floor was deafening.  The only conversation was that required to get the mail delivered. Two and a half hours after arriving for work I was ready to take my mail to the street for delivery on my route.

            If I thought the post office was quiet, it was boisterous compared to the streets of Forest Grove. My route, a ten mile walk, included a small section of businesses and a large residential area in the Clark Historical District. The houses were built in the early 1900’s and occupied by long term upper middle income and upper income inhabitants who care about life, each other and their mail carrier. In Forest Grove, large trees of many varieties shade the houses in the summer. On September 11, their leaves were just beginning to change, perhaps a reflection of the change that was taking place in each of us as the day’s events unfolded before us. With every step of the ten- mile trek, I felt the weight of this nation’s distress.

            In the few short hours that had passed between the attack on the World Trade Center and the time I began mail delivery, the yards of Forest Grove had been draped in American Flags. Some were huge, resembling the size of our country’s pain, some small, some handmade, each symbolic of our unity as Americans. Then there was the hush, not the sound of peace and quiet but the sound of disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the entire city had somehow lost its voice.

            I made my way through the despondent neighborhoods stepping around flags and yard signs, being careful not to rub against Old Glory or approach her in any disrespectful way. Occasionally, a customer would come to the door…”Have you heard?” “Come in for a minute and watch this news brief.” I would step inside a house that was only dimly lit or only lit by the TV screen.  Then I would go back out into the shrouded neighborhood that used to be full of life and joy. On 9/11 it was a neighborhood in mourning, clothed in black and shades of the darkest gray. There were no Republicans or Democrats, no liberals or conservatives, just grieving Americans. An attack on New York was an attack on us all.

            At the end of the work day, I went to my own home to share my disbelief, fears and regrets with my family. We spent the evening keeping up with the constantly unfolding details of the attack as revealed on the internet. The street I live on was just as still as the ones I had walked during the day. If Forest Grove was typical of towns across the country, America was mute.

            For days after 9/11, I could feel the United States of America grieve. I inhaled the heaviness and exhaled the sorrow. As I walked from porch to porch, I was reminded of the houses on the east coast that would never again feel like home because someone had lost their life in an attack on our freedom. Bumper stickers proclaimed our patriotism. Emotional renderings of the weeping eagle adorned shop windows and countertops. Still, America had lost her voice. The silence continued until I wondered if I would ever again hear the sounds of life on my streets. My streets - these were my street. My streets were lined with my houses. My people lived in my houses on my streets. My people were suffering as if they had lost one of their own. How long, I wondered, would the stillness continue?  

            Two and a half weeks - I never heard a sound. The blanket of despair hung heavily over the heart and hearts of Forest Grove. I walked one hundred and twenty miles in the hollowness of my route. Then one day, when I had almost given up hope of ever hearing it again, from way down the street - perhaps two blocks away or more, it was so rare by now, that I was startled by its unfamiliarity, I heard two women, neighbors, laugh. I felt the spark of life rekindle within me.

            America had begun to heal. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought, because America is resilient.

            We will never forget the losses we suffered on 9/11, and we may never again let our guard down, but we know that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Joy comes from God. He wants us to live joyfully.

            In the twelve years that have passed since 9/11, 2001, I have retired from the U.S. Postal Services. I have stood at Ground Zero and felt the loss burn through my soul. America has found her voice. I can hear it!


 

Thoughts about Daddy

June 15, 2013
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


Continue reading...
 

This and That

June 8, 2013

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


Continue reading...
 

Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
Continue reading...
 

Rounding Up (or down)

May 3, 2013
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
Continue reading...
 

Bad Backs

April 19, 2013
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
Continue reading...
 

Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

April 10, 2013
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
Continue reading...
 

Observations and Ramifications

March 27, 2013
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
Continue reading...
 

Bullies and a Change of Heart

March 23, 2013
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
Continue reading...
 

Good News and Bad Bugs

March 22, 2013
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
Continue reading...
 

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2013

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail carriers, six clerks, a post master and a supervisor. Forest Grove is a town of about 20,000 people twenty-five miles west of Portland near the Coastal Mountain Range. Our community is largely agricultural with a private university in the middle of town. Our ordinary work day began at 7:00 am with jovial bantering and friendly conversation while we prepared our mail for delivery - but not on 9/11. We were not allowed to play a radio, so on that day each of us wore the headphones we kept stashed in our lockers and worked silently through one grim news report after another. Tuesdays were always busy days in the Forest Grove post office. We had at least one extra mail piece that went to every address. Typically, we would be whining and complaining about the added work. Today, our gripes and complaints would have seemed petty, rude and calloused. We worked silently, but not unemotionally.

            I remember telling my supervisor, a Christian, that “St. Peter is going to need extra help at the gate this morning.” He looked at me puzzled, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. The silence on the workroom floor was deafening.  The only conversation was that required to get the mail delivered. Two and a half hours after arriving for work I was ready to take my mail to the street for delivery on my route.

            If I thought the post office was quiet, it was boisterous compared to the streets of Forest Grove. My route, a ten mile walk, included a small section of businesses and a large residential area in the Clark Historical District. The houses were built in the early 1900’s and occupied by long term upper middle income and upper income inhabitants who care about life, each other and their mail carrier. In Forest Grove, large trees of many varieties shade the houses in the summer. On September 11, their leaves were just beginning to change, perhaps a reflection of the change that was taking place in each of us as the day’s events unfolded before us. With every step of the ten- mile trek, I felt the weight of this nation’s distress.

            In the few short hours that had passed between the attack on the World Trade Center and the time I began mail delivery, the yards of Forest Grove had been draped in American Flags. Some were huge, resembling the size of our country’s pain, some small, some handmade, each symbolic of our unity as Americans. Then there was the hush, not the sound of peace and quiet but the sound of disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the entire city had somehow lost its voice.

            I made my way through the despondent neighborhoods stepping around flags and yard signs, being careful not to rub against Old Glory or approach her in any disrespectful way. Occasionally, a customer would come to the door…”Have you heard?” “Come in for a minute and watch this news brief.” I would step inside a house that was only dimly lit or only lit by the TV screen.  Then I would go back out into the shrouded neighborhood that used to be full of life and joy. On 9/11 it was a neighborhood in mourning, clothed in black and shades of the darkest gray. There were no Republicans or Democrats, no liberals or conservatives, just grieving Americans. An attack on New York was an attack on us all.

            At the end of the work day, I went to my own home to share my disbelief, fears and regrets with my family. We spent the evening keeping up with the constantly unfolding details of the attack as revealed on the internet. The street I live on was just as still as the ones I had walked during the day. If Forest Grove was typical of towns across the country, America was mute.

            For days after 9/11, I could feel the United States of America grieve. I inhaled the heaviness and exhaled the sorrow. As I walked from porch to porch, I was reminded of the houses on the east coast that would never again feel like home because someone had lost their life in an attack on our freedom. Bumper stickers proclaimed our patriotism. Emotional renderings of the weeping eagle adorned shop windows and countertops. Still, America had lost her voice. The silence continued until I wondered if I would ever again hear the sounds of life on my streets. My streets - these were my street. My streets were lined with my houses. My people lived in my houses on my streets. My people were suffering as if they had lost one of their own. How long, I wondered, would the stillness continue?  

            Two and a half weeks - I never heard a sound. The blanket of despair hung heavily over the heart and hearts of Forest Grove. I walked one hundred and twenty miles in the hollowness of my route. Then one day, when I had almost given up hope of ever hearing it again, from way down the street - perhaps two blocks away or more, it was so rare by now, that I was startled by its unfamiliarity, I heard two women, neighbors, laugh. I felt the spark of life rekindle within me.

            America had begun to heal. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought, because America is resilient.

            We will never forget the losses we suffered on 9/11, and we may never again let our guard down, but we know that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Joy comes from God. He wants us to live joyfully.

            In the twelve years that have passed since 9/11, 2001, I have retired from the U.S. Postal Services. I have stood at Ground Zero and felt the loss burn through my soul. America has found her voice. I can hear it!


 

Thoughts about Daddy

June 15, 2013
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


Continue reading...
 

This and That

June 8, 2013

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


Continue reading...
 

Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
Continue reading...
 

Rounding Up (or down)

May 3, 2013
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
Continue reading...
 

Bad Backs

April 19, 2013
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
Continue reading...
 

Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

April 10, 2013
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
Continue reading...
 

Observations and Ramifications

March 27, 2013
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
Continue reading...
 

Bullies and a Change of Heart

March 23, 2013
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
Continue reading...
 

Good News and Bad Bugs

March 22, 2013
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
Continue reading...
 

A Mail Carrier Remembers 9/11

September 11, 2013

            On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, most of us here on the Pacific coast, left our homes before we knew America was under attack. Some of us with longer commutes heard the news on our car radios. Others, like me who lived just a few blocks from the post office, didn’t know anything was amiss in the United States until my co-workers; unusually sullen and reserved, began arriving and talking.

            In the small Forest Grove post office, our staff included fifteen mail carriers, six clerks, a post master and a supervisor. Forest Grove is a town of about 20,000 people twenty-five miles west of Portland near the Coastal Mountain Range. Our community is largely agricultural with a private university in the middle of town. Our ordinary work day began at 7:00 am with jovial bantering and friendly conversation while we prepared our mail for delivery - but not on 9/11. We were not allowed to play a radio, so on that day each of us wore the headphones we kept stashed in our lockers and worked silently through one grim news report after another. Tuesdays were always busy days in the Forest Grove post office. We had at least one extra mail piece that went to every address. Typically, we would be whining and complaining about the added work. Today, our gripes and complaints would have seemed petty, rude and calloused. We worked silently, but not unemotionally.

            I remember telling my supervisor, a Christian, that “St. Peter is going to need extra help at the gate this morning.” He looked at me puzzled, as if he didn’t know what I was talking about. The silence on the workroom floor was deafening.  The only conversation was that required to get the mail delivered. Two and a half hours after arriving for work I was ready to take my mail to the street for delivery on my route.

            If I thought the post office was quiet, it was boisterous compared to the streets of Forest Grove. My route, a ten mile walk, included a small section of businesses and a large residential area in the Clark Historical District. The houses were built in the early 1900’s and occupied by long term upper middle income and upper income inhabitants who care about life, each other and their mail carrier. In Forest Grove, large trees of many varieties shade the houses in the summer. On September 11, their leaves were just beginning to change, perhaps a reflection of the change that was taking place in each of us as the day’s events unfolded before us. With every step of the ten- mile trek, I felt the weight of this nation’s distress.

            In the few short hours that had passed between the attack on the World Trade Center and the time I began mail delivery, the yards of Forest Grove had been draped in American Flags. Some were huge, resembling the size of our country’s pain, some small, some handmade, each symbolic of our unity as Americans. Then there was the hush, not the sound of peace and quiet but the sound of disbelief and sorrow. It was as if the entire city had somehow lost its voice.

            I made my way through the despondent neighborhoods stepping around flags and yard signs, being careful not to rub against Old Glory or approach her in any disrespectful way. Occasionally, a customer would come to the door…”Have you heard?” “Come in for a minute and watch this news brief.” I would step inside a house that was only dimly lit or only lit by the TV screen.  Then I would go back out into the shrouded neighborhood that used to be full of life and joy. On 9/11 it was a neighborhood in mourning, clothed in black and shades of the darkest gray. There were no Republicans or Democrats, no liberals or conservatives, just grieving Americans. An attack on New York was an attack on us all.

            At the end of the work day, I went to my own home to share my disbelief, fears and regrets with my family. We spent the evening keeping up with the constantly unfolding details of the attack as revealed on the internet. The street I live on was just as still as the ones I had walked during the day. If Forest Grove was typical of towns across the country, America was mute.

            For days after 9/11, I could feel the United States of America grieve. I inhaled the heaviness and exhaled the sorrow. As I walked from porch to porch, I was reminded of the houses on the east coast that would never again feel like home because someone had lost their life in an attack on our freedom. Bumper stickers proclaimed our patriotism. Emotional renderings of the weeping eagle adorned shop windows and countertops. Still, America had lost her voice. The silence continued until I wondered if I would ever again hear the sounds of life on my streets. My streets - these were my street. My streets were lined with my houses. My people lived in my houses on my streets. My people were suffering as if they had lost one of their own. How long, I wondered, would the stillness continue?  

            Two and a half weeks - I never heard a sound. The blanket of despair hung heavily over the heart and hearts of Forest Grove. I walked one hundred and twenty miles in the hollowness of my route. Then one day, when I had almost given up hope of ever hearing it again, from way down the street - perhaps two blocks away or more, it was so rare by now, that I was startled by its unfamiliarity, I heard two women, neighbors, laugh. I felt the spark of life rekindle within me.

            America had begun to heal. It wouldn’t be long now, I thought, because America is resilient.

            We will never forget the losses we suffered on 9/11, and we may never again let our guard down, but we know that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. Joy comes from God. He wants us to live joyfully.

            In the twelve years that have passed since 9/11, 2001, I have retired from the U.S. Postal Services. I have stood at Ground Zero and felt the loss burn through my soul. America has found her voice. I can hear it!


 

Thoughts about Daddy

June 15, 2013
My dad and great granddaughter, Kamille

    I don’t do this often, but yesterday I went to Willamette National Cemetery to visit my dad’s gravesite. Doug and I were in the area for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop by. I know Daddy’s not there, just the old physical shell that housed his spirit, his personality, the man who was my daddy for sixty years - who will always be my "daddy." 

    Willamette National Cemetery is the burial site for thousands of military vete...


Continue reading...
 

This and That

June 8, 2013

            Doug and I and Kurtis had a speedy, but wonderful trip to Placerville. We went to present a copy of When God Makes Lemonade to Tom, Kurtis’ pediatric physical therapist of thirty years ago. “The Little Biker That Could” is published in that collection of inspirational stories and tells how Tom taught Kurtis to ride a “two-wheeler.” We had a great reunion with Tom and enjoyed meeting his wife Tina.



            As a bonus, before heading back to Oregon, we had breakfast w...


Continue reading...
 

Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
    I've never been a big fan of Mother's Day. We made a big deal of it when I was a kid. Daddy always made sure my sister and I bought an appropriate gift for Mother. We also always had a corsage for her to wear to church - red or pink flowers before my grandmother died, white after. I guess even as a child I felt some ambivalence about the day. I always tried to please my mother. At a very early age, I decided not to ever hurt her or do anything to disappoint her or make her cry. But Mother...
Continue reading...
 

Rounding Up (or down)

May 3, 2013
 My husband rounds-up. If you ask him how old he is he tells you the next age that would be evenly divisable by ten. So when he was sixty-one he claimed to be seventy. Lots of things about Doug don't make much sense, so don't ask me why he does this, but I suppose people think he really looks good for his age. Me, on the other hand, I've always been just fine with whatever age I find myself at. And, yes, I am a couple years older than Doug.

Age is one thing, but height and weight are another ...
Continue reading...
 

Bad Backs

April 19, 2013
I will probably never be allowed to forget that while I was in Colorado attending the "Writing for the Soul" conference, my husband, Doug, fell and herniated a disc in his back. My being home would not have changed the reality one bit, but, oh well.., I did have a very good time, so I am willing to shoulder a little misplaced blame. I will not, however, accept any guilt. 

So, after eight weeks of unfathomable pain, Doug has had his disc removed and is now comfortably pain free, at home.

Doug is...
Continue reading...
 

Grieving for My "Kidney Friends"

April 10, 2013
I have two women friends of long-standing - women I raised my children with. The three of us have four children, no twins, that our forty years old. I call these women, "My Kidney Friends," because I believe we care enough for each to give up one of our kidneys should one of us need it. We have laughed, cried, prayed, cooked, dieted, worked, played, cleaned, and worshiped together. We have rafted a class IV river and pulled enough weeds to earn the fees for the rafting trip. These women were ...
Continue reading...
 

Observations and Ramifications

March 27, 2013
I was running errands yesterday and while I waited at a red light Kurtis walked across the intersection. He doesn't recognize our new car yet, so did not see me watching him. He is such a handsome young man - as attractive as any male model you would find on a magazine cover. But he limps,...badly. It is his unusual gait that sets him apart. When Kurtis' abusive father hit him over the head with a chair, a large portion of his brain on the right side was damaged and did not send growth messag...
Continue reading...
 

Bullies and a Change of Heart

March 23, 2013
I enjoyed my monthly lunch with my sister, Amy, yesterday. It is always pleasant to revisit our past and to look at the things our adult children have accomplished, the challenges they have overcome and to champion them on as they continue to face obstacles in their lives. I had the privilege of meeting Amy's new puppy, Tytan. He promises to provide future fodder for my column "Out of the Ark." 
  

Amy is older than me by five years. I have always depended on her counsel. When we were growing u...
Continue reading...
 

Good News and Bad Bugs

March 22, 2013
I received word today that the author's copies of the new edition of the God Makes Lemonade books will be delivered anyday. My contribution to this book "The Little Biker That Could," was my first attempt at writing. It has been a long wait getting it published. It is a delightful story about Tom, a wonderful physical therapist, teaching my son, Kurtis, to ride a bicycle. Kurtis essentially only has one functional leg and teaching him to ride was no simple task. I hope to be able to take Kurt...
Continue reading...
 
 
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