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28 December 2013

Texas Trash

"Texas Trash" -- my gift to pass on to the world, but it comes with a story...

A large roaster containing one completed batch of Texas Trash.
This recipe has been around since before I was born and is a Giles family staple. It is NOT your typical "Chex Mix" recipe and I have never found anything like it anywhere else.

My Grandmother, Vida Gray Giles, (born a farm girl in Bastrop, raised in Nacogdoches, transformed into a "Flapper" and finished as a gentle and most loving dear lady anyone would ever meet) was the granddaughter of a Texas Ranger in the Texas Revolution.

That is Gran, nearest the camera.
She was the epitome of strong, kind, and smart Texas women. I do not think she invented this recipe, but she may have named it.

"Gran" always made a batch of Texas Trash for the family visits to Nacogdoches; and with RC Cola or Dr. Pepper for the kids, sweet (mint) tea and beer for the adults, the Trash was the perfect snack for relaxing and catching up. It was a standard for watching football. I also am under the impression that every Bridge Table in East Texas had a bowl of it at center.

When my brother and I were in college, the arrival of a shoebox in the mail, posted from Nacogdoches, meant we had received a half-batch, each, as a "care package." We were lucky if we could make it last more than a few days-- especially with roommates.

I did not keep statistics but I believe there was a correlation between eating Texas Trash while watching football games. Texas Aggie, Texas Longhorn, and Dallas Cowboy victories may be a result of the Giles family tradition. We are not claiming credit-- just saying, "Maybe."

Gran passed in 1994, and my mother kept the recipe alive, but it has now become a very rare treat, and an occasion for reminiscing. So, on the day before Thanksgiving, I asked my mother to direct and observe as I baked up a full batch. The image is of the results.

Since it was perfect, I can now pass it on.

To get your attention, you will need a half cup of BACON DRIPPINGS!

Yep, that means you have to fry (and presumably eat) a lot of bacon. It is just a win-win scenario.

[Frying between 12 and 16 strips of bacon should produce just about 1/2 cup of bacon drippings.  No need to strain, or clarify, but let the sediments settle in the bottom of a container for best results.]

Now for the recipe:

* 1 pound of butter (margarine is okay), melted.
* 1/2 cup bacon drippings, melted.
* 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce.
* 2 teaspoons garlic salt.
* 2 teaspoons onion salt.
* 3 TABLEspoons chili powder.
* 1 Box Life cereal (the necessary sweetness).
* 1 Box Rice Chex cereal.
* 1 Box Corn Chex cereal.
* 3/4 Box Cheerios (those boxes are really big).
* ~10 or 12 ounces of roasted peanuts (we toss in a can of Planters Peanuts).

* Optional:  Pretzels, most use the thin stick kind.  I consider them mere "filler."  Pecans (instead of peanuts)-- my favorite and in the original version my grandmother made, but that was when we could pick them off the ground and shell them ourselves.  I have grown fond of the peanuts as a substitute.  Some throw in a box of Wheat Chex, but others find they absorb too much of the tangier flavors.  I like them.

Everything you need, except that box of Life cereal,
should be the regular kind and not cinnamon; and
I substituted a generic brand I trust for Cheerios.
* Melt the four sticks of margarine in the microwave, and then pour into a pot. Add the bacon drippings to that pot and heat on stove until all the drippings are liquefied with the butter. Then add Worcestershire Sauce, garlic salt, and onion salt, stirring until well mixed. It is sort of a flour-less roux, and looks like a roux.

* In a large (really big--see picture) roaster, mix the cereals and peanuts, and then carefully stir cereal up from the bottom as you pour over the "roux" so that it is all evenly mixed.

I used a large, flexible, and flat spatula so I could be sure to get all of the cereal off the bottom and bring it up.

If you don't have such a huge roaster, you may wish to do this in batches which fit what you have-- perhaps mixing the ingredients and then splitting (before combining the roux with the cereal-- mixing those only when baking).

Now we are ready to bake.

* Preheated at 300 degrees, bake, uncovered, for 60-75 minutes, stirring all contents from the bottom up, and from the sides in, every 15 minutes. You'll want that spatula I described and similar to the one pictured.

* You can start eating as soon as it cools enough to not burn your mouth.  If it seems "stale" then it isn't done.  Stir and bake for another fifteen minutes.  Sometimes one hour is sufficient, otherwise 75 minutes should do.

My Mom and I scooped a bowlful, each, and then sat and drank her Sweet Mint Tea as we got caught up. That repeated several times over the next two days, and this morning, I filled seven large zip-lock baggies with what was left. I ate most of one bag on the train home, gave three to my brother when he picked me up from the station.

Now that I know I do not have to ration the three bags I still have, I was feeling generous.

27 July 2013

Discussion of Literature (Facebook Style)

Well, he tried.

23 June 2013

Stories wih Birds

I'm jaded, and I know it.  I sometimes find myself not wanting to be around people. 

I like getting away to the woods, but being a city boy, that does not happen often.  Fortunately, my workplace is set between two parks, one with a creek.  We have lots of trees and lots of birds, and so for a few minutes a day, I walk over to one park, sit under a tree and enjoy the birds.

I have two favorite kinds of common birds.  Mockingbirds and Grackles.

They don't eat up people's gardens,
don't nest in corncribs,
they don't do one thing
but sing their hearts out for us.
That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

When I was eight years old, my father had a pool built in our backyard.  It was huge: forty feet long and twenty feet long, and just over eight feet deep.  It became my sanctuary for five months out of every year.  I would put on a stack of albums (we still used vinyl in those days), set the switches to the patio speakers, and then would float, swim, glide and dive for hours-- often with friends-- until dinner time.

I tan very easily and quickly, and I got very dark.  My father had Addison's Disease, and such deep tanning is a symptom (see pictures of John F. Kennedy, also an Addisonian, and note his constant tan) so the doctors periodically tested me for signs of having that disease, but I'm good.  I once heard my mother comment to her friend that I could "get a tan standing in front of an open refrigerator door."

My own version of that is, "Once we got the pool, I became the first person of color in our suburban neighborhood."

After dinner, I was usually back in the pool-- observing that silly "forty-five minute" rule my mother enforced upon us.  In the evenings, I usually had the pool and backyard to myself.  I suppose it was the summer of 1969 that I realized something wonderful about Mockingbirds and sunsets.

As the sun sets, Mockingbirds will find a high spot so that they can catch the last few rays of the sun, and once there, they will sing all the songs they have learned (and made up) into one long (fifteen minutes or so) beautiful song.  It was like a daily "mix-tape" being played out from the TV antenna on top of our chimney above our two-story house.  I suppose I had forgotten to turn the stereo on, or perhaps the family was watching TV in the den, but at any rate, one wonderful evening, I heard the Mockingbird.  I climbed up on a barely inflated raft and floated in the vesper light, looking up at that little grey bird with the white racing stripe on each wing, and marveled.

It was beautiful.  I took the Mockingbird sunset ritual to be my own, and stopped swimming to simply float each evening when the Mockingbird took his aerial stage.

If you live where Mockingbird are plentiful, you may know them for their aggressive defense of the nest if they have either eggs or young in them.  Have you ever had a Mockingbird swoop down at your head?  They will do it again and again if you are too near the tree where they have their nest.

I cannot remember whether it was my mother or her mother that once told me that the Mockingbirds are tying to get some of your hair with which to line their nests, but I do not think that is true.  They may pluck your hair as they swoop down on you, but that is to send you scurrying away, not for resources.

I have a few Mockingbirds that "know me."  At first, they would swoop down to warn me that I was trespassing.  But they have also seen me stop and sit down and watch them while listening to their songs, and then seen me get up and leave when they stop.  We watch each other, now, used to each other, and confident neither is a threat.  Last week, I was headed to my usual place-- a sidewalk under several old trees, and set down.  The Mockingbird in charge of patrolling that part of the sidewalk, flew past at a near, but not aggressive, distance and took a position facing me on a low branch about ten feet before me.

He (or she-- I cannot tell them apart) perched and looked down on me for a few moments.  I often speak to them when no one else is around, and said, "Well, good afternoon."  The bird watched me, and then looked around and tweeted.  It flew over to a cable holding up a backstop net behind the soccer field to keep errant balls from smacking pedestrians on the sidewalk.  Again, it turned to face me-- about ten feet away-- and began to sing.  The bird looked at me most of the time, and I sat there, sipping a Dr. Pepper and lit a cigar.

It was a wonderful performance, but they all are.  Was it really just for me?  I think so.  Here is why:

Wild crows can recognise individual human faces...

The article suggests other animals can do the same, and I know it is true.  My Mockingbird knew me.  And while the linked article is about holding grudges, it works the other way, too.  When I finish a loaf of bread,  I always bring the heels for the birds near where I work.  That is only about twice a month, but they know me, and some seem to even know my car.

Two years ago this October, I started work at the place between the parks.  It is a school associated with the Church.  There is no Church building, it is just a feeder for a prep school.  I am an ordained priest, but am not the Chaplain there.  Maybe I should be, but I took a job there which had nothing to do with the priesthood simply because I had been out in the world making a secular living for about eight years and a friend called me up one day about the job opening.

My friend is a beautiful woman in her late thirties, I think, and a extraordinarily talented singer-song-writer.  When I met her through mutual friends, I soon learned that she had been the lead vocalist for a popular Punk Rock band in Austin before I moved here.  I like music, and I like Punk Rock music, especially since I heard The Clash on Saturday Night Live.  But that has nothing to do about birds.

Here it is anyway (I cannot embed it here): The Clash, SNL appearance.

A Backstory

Austin is a music town, and many of my friends are musicians, song-writers, roadies, mixer/sound-check specialists (what do you call them?), and such.  I have another friend who was making really good money going to the various music festival in Austin, and around the country, driving bands and roadies from their hotels to the music venues and back again, plus being available to show them the town-- good places to eat and or drink-- particularly the local places and not one where tourists would interfere.  I asked a few question about hat work and filed that away as a possible means of making extra cash, since I still had a Commercial License (meaning that I can drive big vehicles with air-brakes, and even buses full of passengers) from a moonlighting job I took a dozen years ago.

Well, the big ACL (Austin City Limits) music festival was about to invade this mostly college-town and my singer-songwriter, one-time Punk Rocker friend happened to be making a living working for a temp agency, and put out the word on Facebook that she needed drivers.  I texted her that I had a CDL, and she got me a few "gigs," but not in the music industry.  It was kind of fun work for not much more than spare change, but I got to drive Cobras, Jaguars, and other really neat cars for a car auction company.

I had gotten to know my friend better by always attending any public performance she had.  She did not advertise to her friends, but I saw her several times a week at work, and always asked, so kept up with her shows.  She is terribly timid for a performer, and and so humble that she does not really believe that others are truly moved and awed by her music.  She was trying out some new pieces mixed with some older ones in one of  my favorite intimate music venues in town.  Most of the patrons are in bands and looking for songs to include in their own act, and sometimes looking for talent to join their acts.  I, however, went just because I got to hear great music no one else was hearing.

Image stolen from
Before she went on, she liked to sit, smoke and chatter at a quiet table out of the way, and I enjoyed that as much as the performances.  Once she is on stage, the music overwhelms with its power of notes and meaningful lyrics and people moving with the rhythm.   I like that my other talented friends advertise their shows, and so all of our mutual friends will move heaven and earth to be there.  We love to hear our friends perform, and love even more that fact that it has brought us all together for beer, conversation, and sometimes pool playing, afterwards.

But Dee, I will call her, found it easier to perform to really small crowds when she was solo and as a result, several bands cover her songs but she was less well known than her songs.  Once she was so lost in her own music that about five songs into an hour-long set she stopped and paused between songs and then admitted into the mic, "I have forgotten where I was."  The audience smiled and waited and then she horrified me by looking out where  I was seated in the back and saying my name and adding, "What have I not played?"

It is not like I was prepared for that.  I was lost in the music. too.  But grace intervened and I called back, something like, "One about rolling over, one about the desert, one about the superman--" 

"Yeah!  That's it.  Thanks!"  There was a lot of laughter at my stuttering surprise (and that I could answer!) as she launched into her next song.

That really doesn't have anything to do with birds, either, but it gets there; and I'm just telling a story here as it comes to me.

So, Dee and I get to know each other, and she knows I am a priest who went out of the Church to make my way in the world outside and finding it brutal and much different than I expected.  I used to live in that world, but I seem to have lost my ability to cope with it on its own terms.  One day...

One day, I get a text message from Dee saying, "Call me!  I have the perfect job for you."

The church school was looking for someone to drive their athletic teams to practices and competitions.  She knew it would be perfect because bus drivers make more than clergy (yeah, they really do) and because I would be in a church environment more or less separated from the ugly world outside.  She gave me a phone number and I called, made an appointment for that afternoon, and walked out of the interview with the job-- all in the same day.

So, I end up loving the place and the others who work there.  Driving is driving, and I work out character and plot developments in my mind while I drive.  I really do not like any children except for my own, so I ignore the teenagers on the bus, and engage my mind in driving while my subconscious works on dialogue.  It worked for me, and I would come home ready to write, where I also had another job that had nothing to do with writing.

After a year, the lady for whom I worked in my main job, died-- it was not a surprise, but it was awful none the less.  At the same time, as if on cue, my church-school driving job went from temporary to full time employee.

My hours began at 5:30 each morning, at which time I would begin preparing a bus for departure to pick up a few children at one campus and take them to the main campus.  Most people would never guess, but we do not just jump in a commercial vehicle and fire it up to drive off.  We pop the big hoods which swing forward to expose the huge diesel motor, climb up and check all the fluids, ensure the belts are in good shape, before we even start the motor.

"Spill your coffee?"  I may be asked.

"No, bus juice."

Then we wait until the motor's compressor charges up the air-brakes (twin tanks to 120 pounds each), check all of the gazillion lights and gauges inside and outside, check each tire, including the inner ones on the back, check leaf springs, air-lines, doors, windows, emergency exits, hatches, and fire extinguisher-- all to be entered into a report (log) which notes day, time, mileage and the results of the pre-trip inspection.  When we are done, and assuming nothing is wrong with the machine, we can release the brake and roll out.

At first, all of that took most of the time I had in the morning, but I got faster at it, and worked out a pattern that usually gave me at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get a cup of coffee and smoke a few puffs from a cigar.  That allowed for a private schedule change that was very important me.

You see, priests in my tradition follow a Benedictine rule of work, prayer and study.  You do all three each day if you can.  I start my day with a very formalized traditional thing called the "Office" which is also known as the "service of Morning Prayer."  There is also an Evening Prayer done at sunset each day.  Most people do not know priests do these, anymore than people know that professional drivers do what they do-- it just happens unseen.

I can usually do the Daily Office in about fifteen to twenty minutes and so, after preparing the bus, I sat down under the bus-yard's parking lot lamp and did my work of prayer.  I never counted (and I am not going to start now) but it is about twenty pages of prayer and scripture readings each morning.

But birds!  Where are the birds in this part of the story?

Okay, now I can get back to birds. 

While checking the outside of the vehicle, the back of the parking lot is lined with large old trees.  When I first started, every morning I would startle a dove that nested in one of those trees as I went around checking things in the dark with a flashlight.  That sudden movement over my head and rustling in the nest would startle me as well.  To solve this, I learned to cut my light and walk very quietly.  I do not think much about doves.  They are not very smart, and so have little, if any, character; but all the more reason to not scare one-- they have enough trouble remembering the breathe.

I would like to buy a clue, Pat.

As the days grew longer again, the sky was beginning to brighten as I sat there with cigar and coffee, cross-legged (they used to say, "Indian Style", but now people think it as the "Lotus position") doing my  other work-- my spiritual work.  By then, the only other sentient creatures aware of my presence were used to me.  All of them were birds.

By the time-change in the Spring, the birds were up and flitting about for breakfast while I prayed.  I speak while praying, usually, but in a soft and quiet voice.  I once heard it described as, "Just loud enough for the Angels to hear."  The birds heard me too, but they were not competing.  Grackles would walk around comically in the grass and on the asphalt and watch and listen to me.  Mockingbirds would fly about very quickly grabbing small insects in flight for themselves and their young.

But when I finished-- always when I finished-- the birds would begin their calls.  It did not matter where the Sun was in the sky, they did their business quietly until I finished.  I had become part of their morning ritual.

Likewise, when Christmas break had come (we had work to do-- we took down decorations at the school, changed air-filters in each of the classrooms, and such) I would still go out for morning coffee, cigar and prayer, but on the far side of campus from the buses and into the park across the street by the creek.  It was cold, but I was dressed for it.

Smart and polite company.

The second time I did this, I noticed about a dozen Grackles sitting on a power-line running parallel to the sidewalk I crossed on my way into the park.  They were all facing the rising Sun, up just high enough to be in the warming rays, and they were all watching me.  That amused me and I laughed, smiled, and spoke to them, "Good morning" as I passed beneath them.  I went down the hill because I could see a sunny spot between some trees where I could catch the warmth (such that it was) and see the water flowing.

I sat down (Yoga-like, Indian-style, cross-legged, or whatever-- it is just how I sit-- always have) and lit my cigar.  Immediately the twelve Grackles came swooping down the short hill and landed in a semi-circle in front of me.  They began hunting bugs in the grass, and making quiet sounds to one another.  I thought they wanted food and set my coffee down to show my hands were empty except for the cigar and said, "I have nothing for you."

I talk to inanimate objects as well.  For an example, and most recently, to my microwave oven.  When my coffee is reheated, it always plays the first three notes of the transitional part of the Blue Danube-- the notes that come right after the dramatic, Bum-bum-bum! and go Bah! Bah! Baaah!.  It is only one note, played three times, but it is the Blue Danube.  I often say, "Thank you" as I open the door and walk off with my coffee whistling the Blue Danube (which has nothing to do with birds). 

Which reminds me... At work we have an elevator which only services two floors.  The building only has two floors.    When I get on, and the door closes, I smirk and say, "Really?  You need me to push a button in case you might be confused?  Just go to the other floor.  How difficult is that?"  Despite my chastising condescension, the elevator waits until I push the correct button.  It is a silly game.  I don't like that elevator.  Anyway...

The Grackles stayed anyway (despite my not having any food for them-- in case you forgot where I was going), just hanging out with me as if I were one of their flock.  That was the first time, but it was an instant routine-- or ritual.  The birds would wait for me at the wire above sidewalk and then join me beside the creek.  It is impossible not to notice their company.  They did not get a thing out of it, but did it anyway.  Interesting.

Because I appreciated their company so much, it was when school started back up that I started binging my bread scraps every week and a half or so (I do not count pages of books and I do not track how long a loaf of bread lasts me) to the birds in the parking lot, but not by the creek because I didn't go there anymore.

They watched as I tore the bread into pieces small enough for them to handle and to fly while holding in their beaks, but all waited patiently until I was done, and then moved in, calmly, to get a piece.  I was with two other co-workers-- my favorites.  We were getting ready to take a bus in for its annual inspection and looking for anything that might need repair while it was in the shop.  They were already in the bus going through different parts of it, and when I finished distributing the bread I climbed in and took a seat midway down the aisle.

Just as one said, "I think the birds are happy with what you brought" a mid-sized Grackle came flying up to very window I was nearest and fluttered before the window like a hummingbird, looking at me.  It held that hover for as long as it could, struggling mightily, since, as a rule, Grackles do not hover; but this one did.

We all laughed and I said, "You're welcome" because there was no doubt in our minds why that bird had come to my window.

I'm a dog person really.  

I grew up with dogs.  My Dad was, thank God, a dog person of the first order.  My first dog I do not remember.  His name was Caboose, and he was a long-haired mutt of medium size.  Stories about me and that dog were told for years, and how sad I was when he "ran away" (parent code for "hit by a car and died"  at least I think.  My big brother, having read the first draft of this seemed crushed at my supposition.  I asked him to ask our Mom, but he insists on the "ran away" story, so we'll go with that ).

My Dad soon got us a new dog.  He got it for himself, but I was there the night he picked out Snicklefritz from the litter and was a delighted and utterly surprised four year old following the dachshund puppy down the sidewalk to our car.  Snick died when I was seventeen and my Dad and I took turns with the shovel and both cried (out of sight of Mom) as we stood there.  I had made the casket and Dad selected what else to put in it.  My brother was away in college.

When our Dad died almost three years ago (or is it four?), by brother said to me, "Snick and Dad are finally back together."  He is right.  I am sure of it.
This is not a bird,
but I had a dog like this one,
except my dog had a beer belly and his tail was always up.

When I went to college, a dog was out-of-the-question as they were not allowed where I lived and I really didn't have time to be the kind of dog owner I needed to be.  But I went to a big party where this parakeet was flying around freely in that large main room.  I was quite taken by this and ended up playing with it-- previously having no idea parakeets could be tame and playful.  The bird had many toys, and would play with them, or perch on my finger.

I knew that I needed a pet-- someone to excuse my tendency to talk to myself (and this was before I owned a microwave of my own) so I went to a pet store and picked out a baby parakeet.  I named him Blue Max (after the movie about the World War I flying medal of the same name) but called him Max for short.  Fortunately, he was blue in color, so the full name made since, and besides, I have always gone by my own middle name.  I suppose, had he been green or yellow, most of my friends who knew his full name would have privately held that Max was probably a bit melancholy, which was not like Max at all.

Besides avocado, Max had a bit of a gambling habit.

From day one, Max lived in a cage home which is where he slept (with a towel over it) and eat, and of course, where he pooped, but his cage door was always open, and he had free run of wherever I lived.  He flew from room to room, but once in the room where he wanted to be, he walked everywhere.  Like a dog, he celebrated when I would come home from work at night.  He would tweet while flying about the room excitedly and wait until I set down my briefcase and took my place on the couch.  Then he would fly to the back of the couch and hop up on my shoulder and tell me all about his day.

Some parakeets can talk, but Max was not like that.  He thought he talked and made talking-like sounds, but it was not words.  Not knowing that, he would make talk-like sounds into my ear for several minutes and then get lost in preening himself and the longish hair I wore behind my ears and sometimes fall asleep there.  He was probably tired from whatever he had been doing all day, which he tried to tell me about, but which I will never know.  It sounded exciting, so it probably was.

Summers, when I was home from school, my parents took a liking to Max.  My father had a ritual of fixing a heavily iced down Bourbon and Coke when he got home from work.  In my absence (I got home from work, last), Max had learned to greet my father much like he did me, but since my father had little hair, did not preen by father.  Instead, he explored this odd smelling drink in my father's hand.  He took a sip, and the rest is history.  I would arrive home to find my father greeting me but not my bird.  Max was too drunk to fly.  

Despite the drinking problem, Max was very well mannered unless I was serving guacamole.  The bird was nuts about avocado and nothing got between Max and his avocado.  I was home for Christmas break and the whole family was gathered for dinner.  They all liked Max, and he flew free in their home as well.  This is when we learned he was a junky.  The main course was probably brisket (I mean, we are Texans, after all) but we had guacamole on tostadas as the "salad."

Another birdless side-story, strikes me:  We ate a lot of brisket, and my mother made a great one.  I think it is when she went back to college for another degree that we started getting even more brisket, beginning on Sunday night, and then as left overs to reheat and sandwiches for the days following.  It was less work for her.  No one wanted to complain, but variety, not the brisekt, was lacking.

So, one Sunday night my brother leaned across the table to me and whispered, "On the first day of brisket."  I was not sure what he mant, but when dinner was served, he looked at me, counted down silently using his fingers and mouthing, "Three, Two, One"  and intoned (to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas), "On the first day of brisket..." My Dad had joined in and Dada and I paused after "my true love gave to me" but by brother had created a verse-- which I no longer can remember.  Okay, back to the bird.

The Guacamole Incident.

Max landed on my shoulder, as was typical, but marched purposely down my sleeve, over my plate and up to my wrist which was holding the tostada.  He then took a beak-full of guacamole before I could shoo him away.  When I did try to shoo him, he simply flutter to one of the other plates at table and landed smack in the middle of the guacamole.  We all had green parakeet tracks up and down our arms-- signs of a dangerous habit.

As one would expect, the addiction had a tragic end:  heart disease, doing tricks for avocado products, and such.

Years later, he was found cold and still in the bottom of his cage, green smears on his beloved mirror and avocado skins littering the floor.

I did have more dogs, but none of their stories involve birds. 

Again, my brother intervenes and wants me to include the story about how our dachshund allegedly ate our neighbor friend's chicken.  That chicken was our friend's pet and I felt terrible about it.  I hope they catch the dog who actually did it.  I have never felt comfortable with the suspicion placed, unjustly, on our sweet, feather-faced dog.

Well, at least that story had a bird in it, briefly; and even if it was fateful and tragical.  But, really, my brother is not normally such a buzz-kill.

14 February 2013

Missed Opportunity (Happy Valentines)

It was six years ago on Valentines Day. 

She was my pretty and soulful "spiritual friend" and co-worker.  She stopped by my office at quitting time, and suggested we take our two shredded hearts out for a drink.

Walking along the busy sidewalk, we stopped before a shop window and looked at a t-shirt design mocking Valentines Day.  Wordlessly, she took my hand, and we walked along knowing the other understood. 

I look back on this day with such regret of missed opportunities; and I, with a bitter-sweet hope, like to think she does, too.

What could have been... What I should have done... How things might be different if only...

Yes. I know, now.

I should have bought that shirt.

09 February 2013


I woke this morning to loud noises outside my bedroom window. I then watched two men with a tow-truck repossessing a neighbor's car. I worried that there would be a confrontation. There was not. I imagined my neighbor sitting up in his or her own bed watching, quietly resolved that there was nothing left to do.

Earlier this week, I came home from work and stopped in the parking lot thinking I heard a cry. After a few moments, hearing nothing, I continue toward the steps of my apartment and heard it again, louder, and could identify the neighbor's unit. "Oh God, NO! Oh, please! You can't do this! Why are you doing this?!" Heart wrenching words.

Had he caught the love of his life with another? Had his computer just crashed as he was leveling-up on a video game? I don't know my neighbors, yet, so I could not judge-- but hoped for the latter as I went up to my place.

Monday, I have to dig up my own loss. The loss of my two children which coincided with the loss of my work, my home, everything I had ever owned, my hopes, my dreams, and my marriage. It might have been a house-fire which only I survived, so complete was the destruction and I sometimes describe it that way as a metaphor.

About fifteen years ago, on a rainy Fourth of July, I helped fight a house fire with garden hoses because the only firetruck was stuck in a parade ten miles away. When the mother emerged from the house, I asked, "Where are the children?" She said she thought they were in the back bedroom. Two of us tried to get to the back bedroom from inside, but were driven back by flames, and the lack of air did not allow for second tries.

I went around back, outside, and after several attempts to break out the window to that room which was just above my head, I watched in horror as the curtains roiled against the glass in black smoke and red flame. The children, I soon learned, were safe at the house next door. The horror, however, was real... and foreshadowing.

I only FEEL the loss of my children now. Periodically, I go to court to protest, but now I go as a stranger to my children with nothing to regain -- except my own voice. My children do not remember me. I go only for me.

I have these boxes -- haunted boxes. In some are records of all the efforts I made trying to locate my children, regain, and maintain contact with them only to find them disappearing again. I have to go through these this weekend and the memories threaten when I open them.

In other boxes, there are toys and keepsakes my children asked me to keep safe for them when we were still in each other's lives. I am afraid of those boxes-- they hurt. I cannot tell the difference between which boxes only threaten and which boxes stab upon opening, until I remove the lid and look inside.

When I was a child, the scariest and worst words from the Bible were these:
And he said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life."

I cannot imagine an UGLIER expression for the need of hope than those words-- except, perhaps, describing a house fire in which everyone and everything is lost.

As a child, I feared that those words could foreshadow my own life, and I cannot understand why I feared those words-- even now.  Yet, I was right to fear them.

22 January 2013

Tragedy: Columbia

[Originally posted July 25, 2012, re-posted, now, as the tenth anniversary of the tragedy approaches.]

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia, Mission STS-107, broke apart over Texas killing the crew of seven astronauts after sixteen days in space.  The disaster was precipitated by damage to the left wing sustained on launch from a piece of foam insulation falling from the external fuel tank and striking the leading edge of that wing.

A cracked or dislodged ceramic tile or cracked leading edge of reinforced carbon-carbon of the left wing allowed the hot gasses experienced by spacecraft during reentry to either shear or melt-through portions of the wing structure, ultimately causing a total breakup of the spacecraft.

The crew of seven were Rick Husband, Commander; William McCool, Pilot; Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander; David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 1; Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 2; Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Mission Specialist 4; and Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist 1.

The events with commentary. 

    Times are listed in Houston, Texas (Mission Control) time.
    FDL = Flight Director's Loop, with time indexed
    OBV = On-Board Video, with time indexed
    (see "Resources" section, below)

07:41:29 (FDL 1:10/ OBV 2:29) “Yep.

On the Flight Director’s Loop (FDL) is heard, but not transcribed, a short voiced, “Yep” or “Yip.”  Due to the very few transmissions received from the shuttle in its last hour, some had wondered if this may have been an expression of surprise by one of the crew.  However,  both William McCool and Kalpana “KC” Chawla use the term, “Yep,” frequently.  

It is not clear if McCool (the only person aboard the shuttle, other than Husband, who would be heard on the FD loop) had uttered the word and inadvertently keyed his mic; but, at this point in the flight, it is clear from the video and from flight data that nothing unusual is taking place.  In fact, Entry Interface (EI) has not yet begun, so the spacecraft is not undergoing any stress or heating.

07:44:09 (FDL 3:50/ OBV 5:09) Entry Interface.  The shuttle first enters the Earth’s atmosphere at about Mach 25 and 400,000 feet in altitude.  Nothing on either recording signifies this technical fact.  It is mentioned, here, because it is the first moment in which the vehicle begins to make contact with the atmosphere.

07:49:00 (FDL 17:39) The portion of the on-board video released by NASA to the public ends here.

Some, mistakenly, believe that the video “breaks-up” at this point coincident with the shuttle breaking up. The shuttle is flying normally and the cabin is unaffected by whatever damage may have begun. The crew was above the Pacific Ocean, about 260,000 feet up, traveling at Mach 24.56.

Whether there is any usable video after this point is not clear.

07:49:47 (FDL 18:28) “Roll ‘em right.
This unidentified voice (probably in Houston) may be making mention of the first right hand roll of the shuttle which was initiated fifteen seconds prior to this comment.   As the craft slows, it commences an “S-turn” maneuver: rolling right, then left, then back right, to bleed off speed.

07:49:49 (FDL 18:30) “?-dis-eleven
“Eleven” being the only full word heard, this voice is unidentified and immediately follows the different voice mentioned above. The phrase is abrupt and perhaps emphatic, but there is no evidence from the telemetry that those on board the shuttle might have any cause for either stress or alarm. The shuttle is not yet five minutes into the entry-interface (EI) and the first indication of trouble with the left wing (the four failed hydraulic transponders) does not begin for another three minutes and ten seconds.

Note that this is less than one minute after the released (but not necessariuly full) version of the on-board video ends, which gives cause for consideration. It is almost nine minutes before any communication with the astronauts is heard again.

A possibility:  When the external pressure reached 2 pounds per square foot (Qbar) the wing control surfaces become activated as they then can become useful for controlling the shuttle as it enters the atmosphere. At 10 psf, the roll jets are deactivated as they are no longer needed. This threshold was reached moments before this transmission.  It is possible that a NASA engineer inadvertently keyed a mic while discussing this phase of the descent with another, perhaps referring to the current telemetry indicating eleven psf.

07:52:59 Four hydraulic transducers wired in common along the leading edge of the left wing, just where the foam insulation struck the wing at launch, begin to fail—all four go “off-scale-low” (OSL) within about 30 seconds.

In hindsight, the sensor wiring was sheared by the plasma encroachment due to a broken or missing ceramic tile which served as the shuttle's heat shield during re-entry.  At the time, Mission Control was assuming that the sensors had simply been knocked loose by the foam impact incident during launch.  The sensors failures occurred as follows:
  • 07:52:59
  • 07:53:10
  • 07:53:11
  • 07:53:32
07:53:28 The shuttle crosses the coast over California. The group responsible for monitoring and diagnosing the shuttle telemetry, MMACS (pronounced, "macks"), is concerned about the new data. Meanwhile, and unknown to Houston, video from television and amateur recordings indicate signs of debris falling from the shuttle:

(See Notes concerning Video and Photo Evidence below this section).
  • 07:53:46 Debris #1
  • 07:53:48 Debris #2
  • 07:53:56 Debris #3
  • 07:54:02 Debris #4
  • 07:54:09 Debris #5
07:54:24: (FDL 22:49) MMACS calls the Flight Director and says, “FYI, I just lost four separate, uh, temperature transducers on the left side of the vehicle-- the hydraulic return temperatures. Two of them on system one, and one each on systems two and three.

As MMACS and the Flight Director discuss the transducer failures.  The commonality is quickly determined to be in the position of the wiring of these sensors, all on the leading edge of the left wing.   Mission Control is also checking for other signs that the shuttle may be in danger. Its flight characteristics are normal, but other data is beginning to show that the flight control surfaces are having to work harder than usual to keep the shuttle on course, and that some sensors are indicating temperatures slightly higher than expected.

While Houston remains unaware of the video evidence of debris trailing behind the shuttle, the situation is quickly degrading as it passes over Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and into Texas.  Several amateurs and local television stations in those states videotape the shuttle as it passes overhead:

  • 07:54:33 A bright flash is seen on video taken of the shuttle.
  • 07:54:36 Debris #6 (one of the two brightest debris events, and so probably more significant)
  • 07:55:05 Debris #7
  • 07:55:23 Debris #8
  • 07:55:26 Debris #9
  • 07:55:27 Debris #10
  • 07:55:37 Debris #11
  • 07:55:45 Debris #12

  •  07:55:49 The shuttle now enters sunlight, dawn.  More local video records continued damage:
  • 07:55:56 Debris #13
  • 07:55:58 Debris #14 (the second of two bright, and so probably large, debris events)
  • 07:56:10 Debris #15
  • 07:57:24 Debris #16
  • 07:57:54 Flare 1 (Photographed by personnel at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM)
  • 07:58:00 Flare 2 (From the same armature photo set as above.  This is the final piece of external evidence prior to LOS and until the video of the main break up near Dallas, Texas)
07:58:38 Shuttle tire pressure sensors begin to fail.

07:58:40 MMACS begins to report the tire sensor failures it has received from telemetry.

07:58:44 (FDL 27:10) “and, uh, Houst—” Four seconds prior to this, Husband and/or McCool would have seen a fault indication from the Backup Flight System (BFS) concerning the Tire Pressure. 

Some have transcribed this as "Feelin' the heat." Most transcripts render this otherwise, usually as, “and, uh, Houst—“ and as a broken, or interrupted, transmission. It has been noted that it does not make sense to start a sentence with a conjunction, yet the transcript shows that Husband does this often, “and, uh, Houston” is almost certainly the correct transcription of what was being said. The voice is calm, the conjunction, “and” suggests the intent to pass information or to ask a question.

07:59:02 (FDL 27:39) MMACS calls the Flight Director with the new information about tire pressure, “We just lost, uh, tire… pressure on left outboard and left inboard, both tires.

07:59:09 (FDL 27:46) CAPCOM calls Columbia to state that Houston can see that astronauts have a BFS Fault warning on the shuttle's console. “And Columbia, Houston, we see your tire pressure message and we did not copy your last."  Mission Control is also acknowledging receiving a partial voice transmission.  "Did not copy your last" would be expected to provoke the astronaut to repeat the previous transmission.

07:59:16 (FDL 27:53) “Roger, and uh—“ These are the last words received from the shuttle.  Ten seconds earlier, an on-board indication that the left landing gear was in the deployed, "down and locked," position had been seen by the astronauts.  This is probably an electrical malfunction from damaged sensors as the "up-lock" indicator remained on.  The "down-locked" indication is the most likely message content intended by the astronaut when the transmission was interrupted.

Communication is often intermittent during this stage of re-entry, so it is not clear if the transmission was interrupted by events taking place on board the shuttle or due to the more prosaic reasons.  There is no indication of stress in the voice.  In saying "Roger," the astronaut is stating that he understood the previous message.

THE LIVES OF THE CREW are lost sometime in the next ninety seconds.  Loud alarms sounded within the crew compartment, the interior lighting went dark, the shuttle began to tumble, rapidly, end over end as McCool worked controls until the cabin tore open. 

That McCool was working the controls, a detail released by NASA, might reasonably be interpreted as the result of having recovered more of the on-board video than has been released; however, NASA has hard evidence of this detail.  Specifically, the control panel before McCool's seat was found on the ground in Texas.  The manual switches were mechanically held in their last position (a feature of the switches to prevent accidentally bumping) and the switch settings clearly show that the astronaut was attempting to restart failed Auxiliary Power Units (APU).

While the suits the astronauts wear could protect them from the explosive-decompression, none had the visor down and sealed at break-up.  Furthermore, the pressure suits were unable to provide protection when exposed to the same forces which caused the shuttle to disintegrate.  It is believed that all seven were unconscious within six seconds of the cabin breach and probably dead prior to the cabin break up.

Steve Douglass photo from Amarillo, Texas.
Note the irregular track.

Over the next few seconds, detailed below, Mission Control is trying to find commonality between other data of concern, as other sensors are displaying erratic or unexpected data.

07:59:30 Altitude 200,676 feet, Mach 18.6. Last telemetry before loss of signal (LOS). Communications, expected to be bad, are worse than expected.  Reconstructing the final data, all telemetry from the left wing sensors failed at about this moment.

07:59:37 LOC (Loss of Control).  The hydraulic lines which powered the wing's control surfaces were severed.  Based on recovered data, the shuttle was still on autopilot, one astronaut bumped the control stick and quickly entered the key sequence to reinstate autopilot.  The crew cabin still retained normal pressure, and power and lighting (including instrumentation) were still available.

07:59:46 The Columbia is beginning to twist out of control about forty miles west of Fort Worth.

07:59:46 (revised from 08:00:04) Debris A (first major section of shuttle breaks away-- believed to be the left OMS Pod Cover).

08:00:02 (rev. from 08:00:17) Debris B (probably a portion of the left wing)

08:00:03 (rev. from 08:00:20) Debris C (another portion of left wing)

08:00:04 Last data (partial and corrupted) received from shuttle telemetry.

08:00:05 (rev. from 08:00:18) onset of Main Body Break up.

08:00:40 Crew Cabin break-up.  At main body break up (above) crew cabin began to separate from the rear portion of the shuttle.  The analysis of the data and the recovered debris suggest that the cabin was probably breached at about this time, first with small leaks and then with more catastrophic holes.  None of the crew had their helmet visors down, so the effect, on the astronauts, of depressurization was nearly immediate, and bringing about unconsciousness or death-- no longer breathing.

As mentioned above, the console which had been before Shuttle Pilot McCool's seat was found and the switch positions noted.  The switches are mechanically locked in position.  While none of the astronauts had time to complete the task of lowering their visor to seal their suits (indicating how quickly the depressurization incapacitated them), McCool had reset the switches from the last known position so as to attempt a restart of the two Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) which had failed at the main body break-up.

Review of the data strongly suggests that the astronauts' lives were lost instantaneously, due to the violent forces of the tumbling and break-up of the vehicle-- much like in a high-speed automobile accident in which unconsciousness and death are effectively simultaneous.

While the ground had been aware of the potential damage to the left wing at launch, the crew was not informed of this.  Consequently, while Mission Control was more prepared to fear the worst as the sensors began to show abnormal readings, it was only the last 90 seconds in which the crew could have begun to suspect a catastrophic problem might be developing, and based on McCool's attempts to restart the power unit during that time, the crew seemed to believe that they could recover from the failures up until the moment of unconsciousness.

AT MISSION CONTROL, unable to reach Columbia, radars are set to scan, but fail to lock.  Attempts to raise the crew using UHF are met by silence.

The eye-witness and video reports are beginning to come in to local television stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Word of a broadcast made by WFAA TV in Dallas on behalf of CNN reaches Mission Control Manager, Phil  Engelhauf (11:51 into video to right).  The video, described to him, clearly shows that the Shuttle is in pieces.  It has broken up.

Engelhauf looks to his right and sees astronaut and Deputy Director of Flight Crew operations, Ellen Ochoa.  He tells her the shuttle has broken up over Dallas.  Her face shows agony.
Engelhauf then stands and tells Flight Director LeRoy Cain the same news. After a brief discussion, the Flight Director turns away, to refocus the Mission Control Center.

08:03:34 The last pieces of the shuttle impacts the ground.  Sonic booms left by debris having dropped from the main body long before the final break up are heard in areas as far west as Fort Worth, Texas, and debris rains down in a path ranging from there to western Louisiana.**

08:12:32  (FDL 41:13)  Cain says, “GC, flight, Lock the doors.” That statement was understood by all those present.  The mission was no longer about saving lives, but about saving data. The expression is as figurative as it is literal.  Mission Control is in lock-down, no persons, data, or communication is to come in or to go out except between Mission Control and recovery forces.



Several resources were used in this study of the events of the final hour of the Columbia and her crew.  The focus was to present a narrative of events with a passing acknowledgment of the existence of several popular, but factually incorrect, assertions found on the Internet.
Source data and links (all times in Central Standard Time):
FD Loop  07:31:19 to 08:29:52
Interspacenews transcript 07:32:34 to 08:30:05
On Board Video  07:39:00 to 07:49:00 (see transcript)

Time stamps are approximate, and adjusted from other estimates to known timing of specific events.

Video and Photo Evidence

Amateurs and various agencies provided images of the Shuttle's Reentry which were analyzed for clues as to the timing and severity of visual anomalies. Each video or still image source is given a serial identification code as EOC2-4-00##.  Important video evidence of reentry debris are as follows:

EOC2-4-0064 07:53:13 - 07:54:17 (Lionel Machado, Fairfield, CA)
EOC2-4-0055 07:53:38 - 07:54:51 (Jay Lawson, Sparks, NV)
EOC2-4-0034 07:54:04 - 07:54:45 (Reno, NV)
EOC2-4-0056 07:53:28 - 07:54:29 (Rick Baldridge, Mt. Hamilton, CA)
EOC2-4-0009B 07:54:17 - 07:55:13 (John Sanford, Springville, CA) *
EOC2-4-0030 07:54:37 - 07:56:06 (Paul Adams, Las Vegas, NV)
EOC2-4-0017 07:54:45 - 07:57:30 (Chris Valentine, North of Flagstaff, AZ, seen above)
EOC2-4-0028 07:55:05 - 07:56:02 (St. George, UT)
EOC2-4-0021 07:55:13 - 07:56:16 (St. George, UT)
EOC2-4-0005 07:55:18 - 07:56:10 (Ivins, UT)
EOC2-4-0050 07:55:31 - 07:55:55 (St. George, UT)
EOC2-4-0018 07:59:41 - 08:00:05 (Bob Butsch, WFAA, Duncanville, TX, seen above)
EOC2-4-0024 07:59:42 - 08:00:17 (McNew, Arlington, TX)

EOC2-4-0025 08:00:21 - 08:01:19 (Camp Swift, TX)
RV2  08:00:26 - 08:01:19 (Apache Helicopter video, Ft. Hood, TX)


Chris Valentine compiled most of the above and produced an excellent video entitled, Columbia Reentry Reconstruction.    Besides portions of videos contained elsewhere in this article, including Mr. Valentine's own, it contains clips of the following videos which cannot be found anywhere else on the web: Mt. Hamilton, CA; Sparks, NV; Las Vegas, NV, Irvins, NV; at least one of the three from St. George, UT; Kirtland AFB, NM; and what may be the Camp Swift, TX, video:

Alternates: The WFAA/TV broadcast, EOC2-4-0018. Short version of McNew, EOC2-4-0024.


* The significant time adjustments stem from an oft reproduced error in an early NASA report.
* Several good sources for the Scott Lieberman image taken from Tyler, Texas:, and  and this interview...
YouTube video


** Editor's note:

At 08:00:02, Columbia passed over my home in Alvarado, Texas, thirty miles south of downtown Fort Worth.  Two to four minutes after passing, the ground rumbled and overlapping sonic booms were heard as many pieces of lower-flying debris passed overhead at multiples of the speed of sound.  Calculations suggest that any debris passing near overhead would have been in free-fall for at least two minutes-- that is, probably debris from (or after) the "07:59:30" event. (last update, 21-Jun-2013)

-- W. Crews Giles, copyright 2012, 2013, all rights reserved.

15 January 2013

Colors of the dream.

A man sits in a jail and writes a letter using the margins of newspapers and scraps of other paper.  As he scrawls out the letter, the man quotes Augustine, Aquinas, Buber, Tillich, and T. S. Eliot. Each of those would have a powerful influence on my own life, but to quote them from jail?  This is no ordinary man.  He would argue that point, but the man was a gift to us.  His passion was contagious, and he lived that passion.

My Martin Luther King story:

A child of the sixties, or seventies, I was too young to understand the civil rights movement until I was about seven or eight-- and by that time, much of the most dramatic aspects had run their course.  The schools integrated without my notice-- my schools anyway.  My father's black business associates at IBM lived in our neighborhood and visited our house.   My favorite classmate in French class was a pretty black girl, and neither of had a clue that some did not like our friendship.

In 1974, I entered my Sophomore year in Richardson High School as a typically awkward blend of terribly shy and yet extroverted.  I would throw myself into passions and interests, but when in mundane social settings, I would tend to be quiet and reserved.

My mother and my Speech Class instructor, Mrs. McClure, conspired against me-- in my presence-- and I was powerless to do anything about it.

On Parents Night, my mother dragged me along to accompany her, and meet with each of my teachers as did many of the other parents of incoming students.   I did well in that class, despite the stark terror of having to periodically stand before two or three classes brought in to add to the torment as I gave an oral presentation at a podium.

Mrs. McClure was a pretty, blonde, twenty-something, with a smoky voice.  She had written and choreographed a presentation based upon several Martin Luther King speeches and needed at least a dozen students to agree to participate in a yet-to-be-booked debut.  Despite my humble, "You can get many others better than me" objections, my mother and Mrs. McClure drafted me into the performance.

By that time in the semester, I was already realizing I liked public speaking.  My first taste of it had been in seventh grade when we had to write a story and deliver it before the class.  I knew my story was good, but I was in agony before being called up to read it before the class.  When I did, I changed.  The others loved my story and suddenly I was one of the "cool" people in school.  Go figure.

Anyway, I showed up at the rehearsals and may have been the only sophomore in the group-- all older, taller (including the girls) and all with more experience.  Many had been in school plays and such.  I was NOT in my element, but persevered.

The performance was booked, and we gathered in the school parking lot one Wednesday evening just before sunset.  Before piling-in the cars to caravan to the Elementary School Auditorium-- our venue-- Mrs. McClure came clean with us.

"I am dating this man who has a son in Boy Scouts.  He was appalled to find that the Scout Troop was all white-- no blacks even though that High School was about twenty percent minority.  He mentioned this to some of the other fathers and said he had never heard so many racist remarks in all his life.

"Well, we talked about it, and I came up with this idea.  I wrote this little play just so that we could maybe make a difference for those kids-- maybe even some of the adults.  Let them hear the words of hope and promise and take it to heart?

"Well, anyway, I decided I need to tell you the back-story because this could be very serious.  What I mean is that by-and-large, the audience is going to be hostile to what I have asked you to do.  I don't know, but some may walk out, they may yell ugly things.  I simply do not know what to expect.  What I want of you is to continue no matter what happens just as we have rehearsed.  If they hate you-- it is the message they cannot hear-- not your performance.  Also, I now need to ask you if you think you can do that.  I should have told you this before, but I am telling you now, and if you want to back out-- that might even be the wise thing to do."

Everyone, of course, was willing to go ahead.  When "nigger jokes" were told, my crowd had always found them distasteful and hateful and did not participate.  Such jokes never received a laugh, but usually received criticism of the teller.  In Texas, I never saw racism with anymore force than a whimper.  It was not part of my culture.  It did exist, but it was never near me.

I sat cross-legged in the back of Mrs. McClure's old Suburban (those were ranch vehicles in those days, not luxury SUV's) with three pretty schoolmates, while others packed the rear and front seats.  Still others were in other cars going with us.  We rehearsed all the way.

We arrived, prepared ourselves behind the curtain on the stage, took our places, waited for the curtain to open and, when they did, stared into the lime lights.  The instant we began, we moved to our marks in constant and fluid motion, no one messed up a line, and the one act performance was over too soon for many of us-- we had fun.

I saw some angry looks, and a few fathers collected their sons (three, maybe as many as five out of perhaps two hundred) and walked out with words being uttered I could not make out-- but angry words they were.  We pressed on without a hitch throughout.   The curtain closed when done.

At first there was enthusiastic applause.  That quickly died to about 60% continuing, somehow muted as about 40% held their hands still in their laps.  There was discussion we could not hear among the boys.   The curtain re-opened just after Mrs. McClure beamed with pride at us, and then joined us for a bow.

We joined hands in a single line across the stage and bowed together.  We watched with interest the boys stony-faced glares mixed with smiling and applauding boys.  The applause grew and the peer pressure of those applauding had more force than the peer pressure of those resentful.  That applause was for Doctor King.

Applause is also due to Mrs. McClure.  God bless her bleeding heart.

WCG+ 16-Jan-2012