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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!”

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.



 

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Closing the Books

By Susan MacKay-Logue

 

When all my books are balanced,

And my final ledger’s read,

Please celebrate a life well lived.

Don’t cry because I’m dead.

 

St. Peter’s kept a tally

Up on that Pearly Gate,

And found that I’m not wanting.

My goodwill score is great.

 

My debits I gave freely,

In service to mankind.

My altruistic leanings

Were liberal arts aligned.

 

The talents that I shared,

In efforts to give back.

Were clearly well intended.

So this kept me in the black.

 

The life that I created

With the woman that I love

Was a beautiful adventure

That I cherish from above

 

I was always an accountant.

Precise in every way.

But I worked to live,

And that I did, with gusto every day.

 

I’ve friendships in abundance

And a family that I love.

I’ve travelled o’er this glorious world

With grace from God above.

 

The assets that I treasure

live on in you, my friends.

Family, travel, learning,

And a love that has no end.

 

When I’m reconciling my accounts

And I give my life a look,

I intend to thank the Lord above,

When I finally close the books.