Nancy Joan – In Memoriam

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Nancy Joan – In Memoriam

The family called her Nickie. Nancy Joan “Nickie” is the little beauty on the right in the old grainy photo. The little beauty on the left is now my wife, Julie Anne. The handsome fellow in the picture is the father and my sorely missed dear friend and bridge partner.

Nickie, five, and her older sister, Julie Anne, seven, were happy children, always smiling their exquisite smiles and playing with their animals and toys. There were good family genes and a loving environment. The two girls were inseparable and the delights of their doting parents. Nickie’s lovely golden hair and Julie’s brown tresses framed angelic faces devoid of mischief and filled with innocence and wonder. Nickie and Julie were truly the children of God. ‘Old Mike’, a French Briard, and ‘Baby Cat’, a Siamese cat, were always with the girls, and woe be to anyone who approached the girls in a threatening manner.

The family lived on Portland Street in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Bob, the father (in the photo), was an accountant, ably assisted by Isabel, the mother, and he loved his work and performed most of the tedious activities from his home office. Bob was a man of easy temperament who forgave debt of some people for whom he prepared tax statements – not always condoned by Isabel. Isabel was a practical woman and also easily swayed. It was this kind woman with some clairvoyance that Nickie and Julie Anne most clearly mirrored.

All in all, there was the joy of family if not so much money and their emotions were always on an even keel. There was love and kindness in abundance.

There came the sunny Phoenix day when Nickie was to be taken to the dentist. Julie Anne was sick that day with what the family feared might be Valley Fever so she would not be going with her father and Nickie. It was warm and the palm trees stood grand and proud there along the irrigated green grasses and desert. Nickie feared not the dentist visit and joyfully leaned against her father’s right side with her coloring book on her lap. Back in those early days there were no child seats or restraints, and Nickie sat coloring a picture with that delicate angel smile, humming to herself as she exchanged one crayon for another. When she finished her coloring of the picture her smile widened as she showed it to her father… In that split second when Bob looked briefly down at the coloring page, a car sped out into the street, running a stop sign, and t-boned the car on Nickie’s side.

Nickie died instantly. Bob received a severe head injury from which he almost died. The drunk driver who caused the accident was not injured and would only get his license suspended for six months. At the accident scene, the drunk driver was heard to comment: “That makes one less brat in the world.”

Bob recovered from his head injury but would never be able to forgive himself for Nickie’s death. The family would never be the same. Julie Anne mourned heavily her sister’s death but would never lose her angelic nature and that bit of extra wiring adopted from her mother, at times sensing events before they happened. Another child was adopted to hopefully ease some pains, but Bob would carry his devastation for a lifetime. There would come an eventual divorce and added sadness.

Years later, given only a limited time to live because of an anomalous infection, the mother would take a tramp steamer to many stops around the world, go on safari, and fulfill some dreams she always carried within her…her daughter, Julie Anne, now grown, would suggest this adventure to her mother. As fate would have it, Isabel lived well past the predicted time of her death. She is buried in Zimbabwe (once, Rhodesia). Her ex-husband Bob would die years later, his ashes spilled from their urn on The Sea of Cortez in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, a fishing village he loved as a second home.

Occasionally, I look at the old photo albums and listen to the animal stories and fun childhood times of my good wife, Julie Anne. I can attest without equivocation that this lady is the most calming, caring, and angelic person I have ever known. Although Nickie (Nancy Joan) left Julie Anne at an early age, she is always there in the misty fringes of time, her blond curls and beaming smile almost visible in my wife’s eyes. My partner for life has never lost that wondrous uplifting gift of life and child-like quality she shared so many years ago with Nickie.

So, here’s to you, Nancy Joan, sweet Nickie, and to you, Isabel and Bob, with a heart full of thanks for the beautiful years I have shared with a devoted sister and daughter.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 25, 2014

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com

http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (IAN website with my books)

Please leave a comment if so inclined. Best wishes.

(9 blog awards not listed in this post)

Decisions, Decisions!

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 Decisions, Decisions!

Chocolate or Vanilla? Baked potatoes or French Fries? Movie out or Television at home? Go or stay? Read or Write?

Decisions, Decisions!

At times, family and individual decisions are made with ease and nonchalance, simple no-brainer reflexes. These are generally minor decisions quickly acceptable to those concerned. Other decisions, major in their circumstance and consequence, can affect family, friends, neighborhoods, even, nations. The latter encompasses decisions made by leaders and representatives we choose to run our country’s affairs.

History shows us decisions made by world leaders that have meant death for millions of people, created dysfunctional economies, and scarred the souls of so many. As a bewildered child I saw the reflections of Pearl Harbor and World War Two on the faces and in the actions of my broken family. Later I served in the Korean War, became acutely aware of despicable despots and their greedy and selfish decisions that destroyed so many lives and indelibly stamped the ugly memories into millions of minds. Vietnam and all of its horrific death scenes marked another period where insanity ruled, where our young and promising men and women returned to their homes damaged by the atrocities they had seen and of which they had been a part.

Decisions, Decisions!

‘9/11’ happened and the United States felt the incipient scourge of radical Islamic Terrorism on its homeland. The US was stunned and also fully awake to another assault on its great land of opportunity, freedom, and liberty. The entire fabric of our ruling document, The Constitution, was also under assault. The founding fathers wove a delicate and precise fabric based on Judeo-Christian principles, delineating powers within our governing body – the Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch – laying out carefully crafted amendments, including the Bill of Rights. Most among us, scholars and citizenry, believe this document is the very best vision for governing and for the rule of law among a civilized society.

Now, many Conservatives see our current Liberal-ruling government in majority control of both the Executive and The Legislative Branch moving with a secular progressive tide toward a nebulous system that has all the earmarks of Socialism. When a one-party administration builds a constituency on a platform of entitlements and promises, when one party pits class against class and falsely uses race allegations, when one party takes away an individual’s freedom of choice, when one party doles out welfare checks that de-incentivizes people to work, when one party builds a healthcare behemoth that strangles the economy and is but another long stretch of bureaucratic pavement on the road to a ‘strange new world’, when one party creates more regulations and taxes to stifle job growth and entrepreneurs’ business ventures and investments, when one party’s leader promises and does not deliver transparency and solutions to IRS one-sided meddling, eavesdropping, and Benghazi, THEN the framework of our democracy begins seriously to dismantle.

Decision, Decisions!

Change is good! Change should come with the blessing of history’s lessons. Why is it that we can resent so easily the wealthy among us? It is generally those folks who provide jobs for the needy and it is those who pay the major share of taxes so government can hopefully keep us safe, the school doors open, and the pork barrels filled to the rim. Why are we so blithely misled into believing that we should all be equal in all things? Certainly, we are born with equal rights and the opportunities to go as far as our ambition, our intelligence, and the fire in our bellies will take us. Why is it that some of our government leaders eschew their responsibility of truth to the people who hired them? The people we elect work for us, not the other way around. May I repeat that? The people we elect work for us, not the other way around.

So, here I sit, trying to make some sense of our nation’s not so subtle moves toward mediocrity. This I do know: the United States is the greatest nation on earth, the most charitable, the most virtuous, and the most diverse. We are a nation of immigrants, and it is right that we expect all who come to our cities and states to assimilate, learn our language, become Americans, and accept our democratic ideals. To live in freedom and liberty does attach some responsibility to our diverse people. Otherwise, denying our heritage and moving away from those things that have made America great, we move toward division and anarchy.

Yes, I am old and used up, but I care about the direction my country will take in the years ahead. I love my wife, our children, and want the best for them. I am not a man of great wealth, except for the wealth of family and friends, and I do not envy or resent the rich – the vast majority work hard for what they have, provide jobs for many, and give generously to the charities of their choice. I bear no racial hatred as I accept an individual for her/his character and principles. I know that, with each generation, there comes change…my only wish is that the change is based on the pages of history, the lessons we have learned.

I want an honest government that only hides from me that which I should not know for national security’s sake. I want no intrusive government. I want a government that provides a safety net for the elderly, the handicapped, those who truly need the help…we have that safety net and it could be that we need to do more in some areas. I want a fair and sensible immigration plan…secure borders…a plausible timeline for citizenship…illegals must register within six months…workplaces must register illegal workers…no work, no stay in country…seasonal work programs…must assimilate and learn English…do crime, deportation…no welfare until citizenship achieved. I want parents to have choices in sending their children to school. I want the strongest military in the world to preclude any country or any faction from considering a conflict against us.

Decisions, Decisions!

Some decisions can lead to severe conflicts. We want leaders who have war and work experiences. Leaders make decisions based on many factors. Most decisions should be common sense and for the good of the majority. History’s lessons should be a guiding force in all major decision making…causes/effects for the fall of Rome…causes/effects for Hitler’s Germany…causes/effects of Stalinist Russia… History’s lessons!

My humble suggestion is that we do not currently have the right leadership in our country. November, 2014, is an important election time – as is November 2016. We have heard the promises and half-truths of this administration. Do we not all want our freedom and liberty intact without false rhetoric that sounds so eloquent and hopeful but is empty and void of performance?

Yes, our nation is changing, seemingly moving away from those ideals and principles that made us the land of the free and the home of the brave. Arrogant atheists who form their ‘anti-christian’ groups can now post a banner in the Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin which reads: ‘Nobody died for our sins,’ Jesus Christ is a myth.’ We live in a great country that allows free speech so that is their right, their right on Christian occasions, Easter, Christmas, to make their pronouncements. Why is it that these secular progressive thinkers of such ‘supreme thought’ hate so many of our Christian faith? Why do they not turn their venom toward radical Islam extremists? Do they fear that their heads might be chopped off? They likely know that Christians turn the other cheek.

Okay, maybe I say too much. Maybe I anger too many with this kind of honest thought. Yet, it is what my mind and heart speaks to me, and I share it with you for whatever value you might receive from it.

Frankly, I would much prefer writing ‘flash fiction’ or working on my new book, but I do care about my country and feel the need to express my concerns…my ‘right’ as an American.

Decisions, Decisions!

My recently published book, Joe Public’s Political Perspective, carries forth my concise and simple thoughts about government, politics, and some of the issues of our day… Hope you might read it.

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (My main website with bio, blogs, and book reviews) 

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (My IAN – Independent Author Network – with my books)

Please follow me on http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood and http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner 

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Please leave a comment if so inclined. 

 

A Little Boy Searching

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A Little Boy Searching

“Why does a leaf fall off the tree, Daddy?” asked the sandy-haired kid trailing his father as he raked leaves from the ground.

“It’s a leaf’s time to die and fall from the trees, Andy. It’s the season,” the young father responded as he continued to rake the brown crisp fallings.

“But, why, Daddy, do the leaves have to die?” the freckled boy persisted.

The father stopped and leaned against the big oak tree, smiled down at his son and playfully rubbed his fingers through the boy’s hair. “When the weather gets cold these oaks and maples don’t get the energy from the sun they need and the sap in the trees can’t move to nourish the branches…the leaves wither, become brittle, and, with just slight or heavy breezes, they fall to the ground.”

“But some of the trees are green, Daddy?”

“Well, those trees are called evergreen trees. They’re hearty and can withstand the cold weather because of their root design and structure. You will learn about these things in school.” The father again bent and resumed his raking.

“Why don’t we lose our hair, finger nails, toe nails, and stuff like these trees at this time of the year?” the little boy picked up some fallen leaves and crunched them in his tiny hands.

“We’re people, son, not plants and trees. We can survive in the cold months because we have houses that are heated, that give us comfort and warmth. We wear heavy coats, gloves, hats, earmuffs to keep us warm when we’re outside in the cold…you will learn about these things in school.”

“What would happen to the leaves if you just left them on the ground, Daddy?” the boy’s nose was running and he wiped it with his mittens.

The father paused, took a hankie from his back pocket and wiped his son’s nose. “Well, we would have a messy yard and the leaves would blow all over the place, onto the porch, into the street. Most people want neatness around their properties. If we just left the leaves on the ground they would eventually become mulch for the ground, at least those that didn’t blow away… Now, before you ask, mulch is like fertilizer (like, decaying leaves) – it would be good for enriching and insulating the ground, making it healthy.”

“So, you’re just raking the leaves up to have a neat yard, Daddy?” the boy walks in front of his father, kicking at the fallen leaves.

“Yeah, guess that’s about it, plus I enjoy being out here with you. I like doing things around the house. The house and the grounds belong to us, son, and it gives me pride (makes me feel good) to keep our place neat and in good repair. Do you understand?”

“Sure! It’s like me getting a new tricycle. I can make it shiny and feel good that’s it mine.”

“Yeah, that’s about it.”

The leaves were raked into several piles on the ground, and the father and boy put the leaves in gunny sacks for the trash bin.

“Let’s go have a snack, Andy. I believe we worked up an appetite.”

As they walked onto the porch the boy asked one more question: “Do you get tired of me asking so many questions, Daddy?”

The man smiled down again at his son, reached and pulled him into a warm embrace. “Answers don’t come without questions, son. That’s the way we learn. I’m just glad you’re not yet in high school and college…then, I might have some trouble coming up with the answers. I love you, Andy-buddy…you just keep asking your questions.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

http://www.about.me/brchitwood 

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (My books on IAN with Amazon buy sites)

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood and http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner

If so inclined please leave a comment. 

Who Am I?

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Who Am I?

Who am I?

Not a terribly original question, perhaps one that is often asked over the course of one’s life. What got me to thinking about the question are the genres in which I write my books – mystery (some inspired by true events), romance, bio/memoir, political thought. So much of my writing deals with the underbelly of life, the bad elements in our society, the really evil and ugly people who live among us – fictionally or in fact. It must be my admission that at times it bothers me that I focus my writing so much on a salacious news report about someone being sexually assaulted, people being horribly murdered, an awful pedophile hurting or killing our children, or some dark and greedy enterprise. Another aspect relative to the question is my concern that the books I have written are not necessarily going viral.

Don’t mind me. I feel that much of my life has been spent in introspection, analyzing myself as I lie awake in the night, as I drive the open road, as I view television or a sad movie, even in the middle of a conversation. It’s my way of trying to piece together another part that is unknown to me. Maybe in some sort of loose and nebulous nexus I’m creating everyman, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The way I’m built, the crazy DNA I carry inside, does cause me concern. So much emotion and mobility in my early building stages account for the calculus here. I’ve always been drawn to the action, crime, drama, mystery, and suspense of the big screen or tube. My wife loves comedies and musicals, the ‘Hallmark Movies’, and neatly trimmed family adventures. I started out loving cowboy movies, then graduated to the more fast-paced ‘True Lies’ and ‘Jesse Stone’ types. That’s all okay for different likes and dislikes. There’s a spiritual part of me that nudges me now and then to write something wholesome, like a strong Christian story with an uplifting theme for all ages… Hopefully, one day I shall satisfy that nudge.

If you had not noticed, I’m rambling and trying to figure an apt finish to this post.

Here it is.

I’m doing all this word vacillation when it comes down really to this. There is a lot of me in what I write, in the characters I create, and in the plots. There is fun in the penning of my tales, and I experiment with my writing. There are times when I organize a book – in my fashion – and there are times when I simply allow the characters to take me where it is they want to go… This is likely to make a ‘writing purist’ cringe. For me, the process of writing can take any form a person wishes. The readers ultimately will decide whether or not our writing efforts are worthy.

That brings me to the final point of this post.

Writing is enough for me, the process itself…most of the time. Believing I’m under no delusions of grandeur, I truly feel my words are strung together well and tell compelling stories. I get some 5-Star reviews here and there which make me jubilant. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are used daily and perhaps for some, ad nauseam. I admit to a certain ineptness in this digital world, but I’m doing so many things to get people to read my books. Apparently, I’m not doing nor am I capable of doing some of the things I need to be doing. An old man (me) dusted off some manuscripts, rewrote, edited them, wrote several new books along the way, and self-published them. My first ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ (“Probable Cause”) was picked up by a publisher, eventually went out of print – that book is now “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” Book One. There are five ‘Bailey Crane’ books in the series – the original book two manuscript (“Stranger Abduction”) was done on a StarWriter word processor and the manuscript was lost during one of my mobility moments…still not found. Thus, there are five ‘Bailey Crane’ books in lieu of six.

The final point is taking longer than expected.

The mistake was made, I believe, in coming out with so many books in such a short period of time. There were no ‘launching parties’ for the books, no book tours, and there was very little internet plugging. Add to that, I’m no longer a young man who can keep the pace of author book signings, events of one kind or another, or other vital networking avenues. So, the end point is this: my books are good, and I would like to see them in the hands of readers. Yes, writing is enough for me most of the rime, but I do get hungry for reader reaction. Like most authors, I hope for some gratification. My books are bought too infrequently, and I am at a loss to find some magic buttons to push… Of course, I could turn the books over to someone specializing in all phases of marketing, but that of course is costly.

I just finished a KDP giveaway of five of my books for five days (likely, should have been one book instead of five). It looks like some seven hundred total all books were given away during that time, with much tweeting, much Facebook activity, much Goodreads and LinkedIn activity, with my weekly blog announcing the giveaway.

Baring one’s soul is perhaps foolhardy and senseless, but there it is.

What you need to do, kind followers of my blog, other than commiserating, is to start a viral situation with my books…having not the foggiest idea of how you will do that. Do not worry if you fall short of doing either, the commiserating or the viral thing, you will still have me doing a weekly blog, valuing you – and still writing my books, flash fiction, poems, songs, and short stories.

Incidentally, if you have any idea of ‘who I am’ please let me know in the ‘comment’ section.

Here are various links to my books and me.

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

http://www.goo.gl/fuxUA (My books on IAN – Independent Author Network)

http://billyraychitwood.weebly.com (My main website/blog and my books w/some reviews)

Follow me on http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood and http://facebook.com/billyrayscorner (‘fan’ and ‘like’ page w/updates)

https://www.linkedin.com/nhome/

https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com (The origination blog site of all my posts)

After the following proud display of my blog awards, please leave a comment if so inclined.

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