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  • Kelly Marie Dawson
    Posted December 8, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    His name was Isaiah. He was Native American, an artist, and the love of my life. He found me on Facebook back in 2016. I was just attempting to connect with people in the art community. I began creative writing and developing a need to be seen. I was 4 years sober. Finding clarity and newfound freedom within myself. I had decided to change my profile pictures daily of a woman’s naked back. I was honoring the tattoo I was about to put on mine. Isaiah had messaged me to discuss a possible collaboration of a painting he wanted to create. Isaiah was a master painter, specializing in portraits.  He had learned how to paint while being incarcerated for 18 years. I met him two years after being released as a felon. He shared his story with me after a few dates. He wanted to be honest and open with me. I appreciated him for his courage and loved learning with him how to be in this world. 

    Our first date was on Valentine’s day. We met at a local diner for a late breakfast.  It was very crowded and loud. I didn’t mind, as I was intrigued by this young man sitting next to me. He told me about John Singer Sargent, who was one of his mentors. He shared with me on his phone a picture of Madame X. I was intrigued that he wanted to paint this for me. He had to cut our time short, as the order of French toast we had ordered was taking too long to be delivered. We took our food to go and said our farewells and had arranged to meet again for more details.

    He arrived at my apartment. Nervous I could tell. He was 14 years younger than I and not very experienced with conversations. He was very bright, self-taught himself four languages, and was hungry as hell. I was going to cook us dinner. I went to the kitchen to prepare, he joined me and I asked him to help me, He did his best, but I could tell. It never really dawned on me, how much he needed to learn and share in the simple pleasure we so often take for granted. I think that was what attracted me to him was this sense of innocence. But wow, he was so sexy. He was a runner and was strong. He was polite and respectful. I knew I was intrigued but I never imagined how much we would share, we dated for 2 years. I gave up so much to be loved by him. He never ended up painting me, as the photographer lost the zip drive. I guess it wasn’t to be. I loved him fully, but as time would tell we came from different worlds, he was from the reservation in Montana, poor, and had a very challenging childhood. Me a privileged white girl who had seen the world and traveled well. I miss him, he took a part of my heart with him, the hole is slowly mending as I look for love again.

  • John Roche
    Posted December 9, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    In over 40 years’ experience in law enforcement between the Air Force and Civil Service, I can’t tell you how many CPR classes that I sat through. Considering that I needed to certify a minimum of twice a year, the number was up there.
    One of my specialties in the Air Force became (unfortunately) aircraft accidents. With the time allotted, I will only refer to two of the aircraft accidents that I responded to in my career……the first and the last.
    My first was at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa in 1967. I was just entering the chow hall for lunch when I heard a loud boom. I turned toward the flight line and saw a pillar of smoke rising into the sky. I immediately jumped into my Air Police pickup truck and rapidly proceeded to the scene Code 3 (red lights and siren). Within minutes I set up an entry control point for the accident, just off of the runway where the F4C sat nose first into the dirt. It was easy to see that there was no life on the jet. Seconds later, fire-rescue showed up to put out the conflagration.
    This was my first experience to smell the noxious odor of burnt jet fuel and charred human tissue.
    My final accident took place on September 8, 1994, when US Airways Flight 427 went down in Hopewell Twp, around 10 miles west of Pittsburgh International Airport. There was a slight change in scenery from my first accident. It was a beautiful September evening. I was at home running errands. I was off-duty. I had just picked up Chinese food and was at the dry cleaners, when I received the call that a 737 had gone down around 7 PM while on approach to PIT. I immediately went home, put on my fatigues and proceeded to the 911th Airlift Wing, where we assembled a response team to assist the Pennsylvania State Police at the crash site.
    It was an extremely gory scene, of which we were relieved some 16 hours later. 
    But here’s the bottom line of this story. With all of the CPR training that I received in my career, I never had to use it. In the seven accidents that I worked, there were never any survivors.

  • Linda L. Peterson
    Posted December 14, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    The Diagnosis
    “Jen has terminal liver disease.”

    This announcement by her mother knocked me to my knees.

    “Oh my God, not Jen! She was our first beautiful grandchild,

    born on an unseasonably warm March day.

    When her mother went back to work after her birth, her grand-

    pa and I became her full-time babysitters.

    It wasn’t below me to sit on plastic little kid chairs with her,

    pretending to fly in an airplane as we watched Barney together.

    As each of her five siblings came along, we remained close,

    sharing each new adventure.

    We’d hole up in her room for a private chat whenever her

    grandpa and I came for a visit.

    Then there was the bake sale fundraiser for her mission trip

    to California.

    When she returned from that trip, she was a changed girl and

    not for the better.

    She was growing up, taking on different values.

    But we loved her still, praying things would turn out right.

    Later on, with her parents’ divorce, she seemed to flounder.

    She went to school to become a Yoga instructor, later to an art

    school for photography, all the while working as a bartender at

    the local Legion.

    She couldn’t seem to settle on any one thing.

    Then she landed a job she loved.

    But she never felt well, always tired.

    In and out of E.R.s, she was twice diagnosed with pancreatitis.

    Then one night, she was found in the bathroom, incoherent,

    combative, vomiting blood.

    It was at this point she was given this horrible diagnosis
    She now awaits a liver transplant.

    And we wait, day by day, hoping she makes it.

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