Hurricane Andrew

Neil Cosentino

On August 24, 1992, my Florida Civil Air Patrol (CAP) hurricane mission started with a midnight telephone call from Florida CAP headquarters. They needed a pilot as soon as possible to fly to Homestead. I took off solo around one a.m. from Vandenberg airport, now Tampa Executive Airport (VDF) and flew near the red lines direct from Tampa to Lantana Airport. Our trusty 310 Squadron Cessna 172 purred all the way – it was good karma – not one rough engine sound. That always seems to happen at night over that pitch black hole called the Everglades.

I arrived just before sunrise and after refueling, getting a cup of fresh coffee and a fast but very simple briefing, I took off at dawn for Homestead.  Read more

Stormy Travel

Jan Vaupel

The weather that affected my life most recently happened on April 7th on my flight out of Tampa in a lightning-and-thunder filled rainstorm.

I am flying American, not my usual standby, Southwest. I love Southwest. I have their credit card and like their offbeat humor. But I change because my Coast Guard son is flying in from Cali and we want to meet up in Richmond at 4:15 p.m., then drive to Gloucester, our final destination.  On Southwest, I would get in at 11:50 p.m., an unseemly hour, so I find an alternate flight on Black Friday.  Perhaps that should have been a sign. It’s American Airlines, one way, for a great price.

I’m in line outside TIA. I’ve just checked my bag when the lady behind me asks, “Did you hear our flight’s been delayed two hours?”

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On Cloud Nine: The Calm Before the Storm

Marilyn Myerson

August ushers in the most active weeks of Florida’s annual hurricane season. Unstable tropical climate conditions triggered by warming seas have spiked record storm frequency and intensity over the last decade. We think it fitting to present a five-week series pertaining to weather and climate while you anxiously track the NOAA hurricane maps. A recent challenge issued to the members of the Imaginative Writing Crew yielded several stories on this topic, a new memoir marks the twentieth anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, and a mixed media report on the latest climate research will wrap things up at the end of the month.

We begin with Marilyn Myerson’s On Cloud Nine: The Calm Before the Storm –Editors 

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Three Odes to Women

Morrey Grymes
Bruce Zimmerman
Peter Terzian


Poetry has the unique capacity to capture our deepest thoughts, whether they be the experience of mounting grief, tender remembrance or even a flight of fancy. With economy, rhythm and the taste of language on the palate, our three contributors present an array of emotions in Three Odes to Women. –Editors

The Overturn of Roe v. Wade

 

Sign for International Women’s Day 4. Original public domain image from Flickr

The Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade created a huge amount of controversy in our society. We were interested in the opinions of our readers on this hot topic, so we invited you to submit your reactions in the hope that we could prepare a special edition. These are the responses that we received. –Editors
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The Crafting of Mjollnir

Al Carlson

We all know about Thor, the Norse God of Thunder. Big guy. Very strong.  Ruggedly handsome.  More than a little vain.  Not always the sharpest knife in the drawer.  But good hearted. We also know that he wields a powerful hammer called Mjollnir. But few know how he acquired Mjollnir nor what Loki, God of Mischief, had to do with its coming into his hands.

I thought the story deserved telling, but it needed its own voice.  Fortunately, I found Bragi Varrenson, skald for a short time to Harald Hardrada, High King of Norway. So, fill your horn with mead, grab a steaming chunk of beef from the firepit, sit back on your bench, and let Bragi tell you how Loki’s mischief brought Thor his hammer.    Read more

Life in the Fast Lane: Sun City Center Style

Don Menzel

Three years ago, Kay and I, along with our family luv “Emmy dog,” left Tampa with a new 4-wheel drive Jeep and hit the trail to the Rocky Mountains, settling in Loveland, Colorado. (Yes, there is a Loveland in the U.S.A.—actually two with Ohio the home of another.)

Excited about living on the “Front Range” in Northern Colorado, we were certain we had found our “forever home.” Alas, three years later, we purchased a small house in Sun City Center, Florida, where sun & fun gush galore. Of course, getting there on I-75 heading south from Tampa is a challenge with 90 mph bumper-to-bumper traffic that turns into “How slow can you go?” when you get off the Interstate.

So, what’s it like living in the fast lane in Sun City? That’s the tale I am going to share with you.

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Favorite Memory of Mom

Ray Ann Favata

My favorite memory of Mom was her ability to produce beautiful wearable items sewn by her hands and heart. She was a good seamstress. Not great, because she could not design and cut out a garment without a pattern like the contestants on Project Runway. She was good because she could purchase a Simplicity (her favorite) pattern, select the fabric and create an outfit anyone would be proud to wear.

She mastered the pinch-pleated skirt. It was always made from a colorful printed fabric rescued from the bargain basement at the local Woolworth 5 and 10¢ Store. Imagine, with just two yards at 25 cents a yard, I had a skirt for a few dollars.

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Two Artists in Residence

Judy K. Patterson
M.A. Sinnhuber

This week we have chosen to highlight the artwork of two talented female artists, Judy K. Patterson and M.A. Sinnhuber. The vibrant colors and unique design quality of their work is showcased in two separate slideshows for your viewing pleasure. But before you get to that, enjoy Judy’s heartfelt portrait of her life as an artist. A brief excerpt follows here. Click the icon for the complete story and the artists’ galleries. –Editors

…Now, being So Old and excited to be entering a new and hopeful stage of life that requires new questions, new answers and a quiet courage, I continue my quest for meaning, identity, possibilities and self-realization. I’m finding excitement in being So Old; it’s a fierce ride with an acceleration of time left.  I am a little ashamed of my years, afraid my independence will decrease as I get older.  Aiming as high as I can, I weave the tapestry of life in my artwork….
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Gratitude

Marilyn Myerson

Xerploo and Zanyplex were relaxing in a secluded greenery bower. They were of the opinion that the gardens on planet P-56 were much more lush and the breezes sweeter but here they were, currently assigned as celestial guardians to Earth. Given the relatively immature character of this planet, their work was cut out for them and they dare not rest for long.

Their mission was to maintain the existence of this orb, which daily seemed under threat from secular and religious discord. Our guardians believed…   

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