Claire stood before me shaking, tears streaming down her face as she screamed, “He touched me, and I didn’t want him to!  I was 13 years old! He told me he loved me, that he would never hurt me, but he touched me when I didn’t want him to.  ‘It’s not sex,’ he said.  ‘Relax,’ he said.  I just lay there and cried.  It was awful, Mom!  On the dock, late at night.  I didn’t know what to do.”

I sat there, still.  Tears filling my eyes, while question crashed through every corner of my mind.  Where was I?  When was this?  How could this have happened?  Why wasn’t I paying closer attention?  What should I say?  What could I say that would make this hurt go away?

Claire continued between sobs, snot running from her already red nose, blotches gathering on her smooth, clear skin.  I was dumbstruck.  “Finally, he finished and I went home.  I saw you that night.  You asked me about being out so late.  I said I was fine and you believed me!”

Why wouldn’t I believe her?  She and Tim had been inseparable since she was nine years old.  He worshipped her and she seemed to worship him right back.  I truly believed that he would lay down his life for Claire.  Why on earth would I think that he could hurt her?  I tried, in vain, to muster a response, but I had nothing.  Nothing but shock, denial, and guilt.  How could I have let this happen?

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Gentle sway

Sun warming

Wind whispering

Breeze tickling

Sunlight dappling leaves

Waves licking

Sails rippling

Coffee brewing

Bacon sizzling

“Come on in, breakfast is ready!”

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“And we are nearly ready to go.  The sisters have assumed their positions around the pot, each with cup in hand.  We have Oreo Cookie cup, New Orleans Jazz Fest cup, and rounding it out, there is 70s Flower Child mug.  It looks like a great day for coffee, don’t you think, Skip?”

“I do think so, Bob.  The participants are gathered around the Mr. Coffee, and all eyes are on the pot.  And these eyes are not pretty, Bob.  We have Oreo Cookie cup with the blood shot, red, swollen eyes of way too much fun last night.  Next to her, we have Jazz Fest, and these eyes are flying at half mast this morning.  Not sure how competitive this one is going to be able to be at this hour.  Flower Child looks like the perkiest of the bunch.  She seems rested and relaxed.  Those two other cups are going to have a run for their money with Flower Child in the mix.”

“Well, Skip, looks can be deceiving.  I never underestimate a tired, hungover woman when coffee is involved.  I remember once… Wait!  It looks like… Yes, the drip has stopped.  The drip has stopped, and we are off to the races!”

“Flower Child reaches out toward the pot as the last sputter of drip empties into its 12 cup receptacle.  It’s Flower Child at the start, but wait!  Here comes Oreo Cookie with a shockingly quick box out!  Flower Child crashes loudly against the cabinets.  Jazz Fest seems dazed by all of the ruckus and leans against the counter to gather herself. Flower Child attempts to recapture her position, but it is too late.  Oreo Cookie has swept in and grabbed that first cup of liquid sanity. It looks like Oreo Cookie is our winner, Bob.”

“Hold on, Skip.  There seems to be a commotion coming from the kitchen.  Oreo Cookie has taken that first, delicious sip.  Her face is screwed up in horror. What could possibly be happening down there?  It appears that Oreo Cookie is yelling something.  Let’s see if we can make it out.”

“All right.  Which one of you A**holes made decaf?!”

This is a great activity from Teacher Write.  Phil Bildner recommended using dialogue bubbles and pictures to find character voice and Tamara Letter outlined a plan using Googledocs.

This little guy lives in the creek where it empties into Torch Lake next to our dock.  Can you hear his voice?

 

Dialogue Bubbles for Voice

Oh what a difference a year makes. Today marks what would have been my parents’ 64th wedding anniversary. Sadly, Dad died in February. He is here in spirit and we are loving Mom a little bit extra today.

MacKay-Logue

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Sixty-three years. Sixty –three years of, “Yes, Dear,” and “No, Dear,” and “I’m sorry,” and “I love you.” Sixty-three years of travel, and adventure, and family. Sixty-three years of couplehood, of shared friends, of individual pursuits. Sixty-three years of learning the steps that make up the dance of a successful marriage.

To witness first hand how that dance evolves over time is truly a blessing. Yesterday, I traveled cross-country with my parents to help them get to their summer home on Torch Lake, in Michigan. They no longer travel alone, despite 50+ years of traveling around the world, to places near and far. My sister had made all of the arrangements, which were quite involved, in advance. Wheelchair service had to be set up, in advance, and all paperwork and reservations were printed and tucked carefully into my bag by that sister.

Mom and Dad were ready to go when…

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“Come on!  It’s right up here, past the clay bank,” Tommy shouted over his shoulder as the rest of us scampered behind on the trail.

“Gramma said that her name is Emily,” said Betz.

“I don’t see why we have to go down there.  What if she’s weird.   Then we have to pretend to be friends with a weird girl all summer,” Laura grumbled pulling up the rear.

“I’ll bet she’s nice.  Gramma says she’s our age.  We might really like her,” I chimed in.

“Nice try.  I doubt it.  I’ll bet she’s super weird and she’ll mess everything up.”

“Lighten up, Laura,” Betz said as we entered the clearing past the clay bank. “There’s the house.  Fancy, huh?”

We all looked in wonder at the A-framed structure rising up before us.  It was a far cry from our little cottage and certainly different from the sleeping cabin that Grampa ‘Kay built in 1940. That’s where we kids slept all summer.

“They have carpet!” Betz marveled gesturing toward the remnants left alongside the house.

“Shag,” whispered Tommy. We were accustomed to linoleum flooring.  Practical because of the beach sand and pine needles that hitchhiked on our bare feet to invade the floor of the cottage. Gramma waged a constant battle against the assault.

“OK, let’s get this over with,” Laura said walking up to the side door.  The front of the house was one giant window facing the lake, so the side door seemed like the right place to knock.  And knock, she did, with the rest of us crowding behind her.

A surly teen opened the door.  “Ya?” she said one hand on her hip.

“Can Emily come out and play?” Betz asked.

“There’s no Emily here,” replied the girl, and she abruptly turned and closed the door.  We stood in astonished silence on the porch.  Maybe Gramma was wrong.  Maybe there was no girl our age in the A-frame.

“Well, that’s just great,” Laura said sarcastically.  “Now what?”
“Back to the cottage for lunch, I guess.” I said heading back down the trail.  The others turned to follow me.

“Hey!” We all turned in unison toward the voice.  “I’m Amy.  Where you guys just at my house looking for me?”

Little did we know, that this moment would change our summers at the lake forever.

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The Power of One

The world, it seems broken.  
But what can be done?
Don't underestimate the power of One.

One can acknowledge the problems we see.
They aren't about them,
they're You and they're Me.

One can decide to reach out and connect,
with those who are different
 from what we expect.

By learning from others,
their truths and their tears, 
One can cast away prejudice, judgement, and fears.

One can build bridges between you and I.
It may not be easy,
but shouldn't we try?

It's not about cops
and it's not about color.
It's mostly about us not trusting each other.

Trusting's a risk that we all need to take.
Are you One to take risks
for humanity's sake?

If you are, please come join me.
I'm One, and I'm ready.
To stand for what's right, I'll be strong. I'll be steady.

Your One plus my One, makes two, that's a start.
It may be imperfect 
but it comes from the heart.

Together we'll model how it could be done, 
so don't underestimate
the power of One.