Inspiring Moment: Driftwood on the Waterfront

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson

Lost Summer Romance: This Wonderful Surprise

Written by Barry A. Popkin on July 16, 2012

Before the days of my wife Randee, I went to this doctor’s office for some medical problem. The streets were crowded as cars were piled tight next to each other blocks up the street in Elmhurst, Queens.

I could not find a parking spot. So I parked in the doctor’s private driveway. As I was in the waiting room this young good looking nurse comes in complaining that someone took her parking spot.

I was called into the doctor’s office and was waiting to be attended to.

Here comes this complaining woman into the room to do my pre-physical. She sees me and–boy, oh, boy–do I see her!

She gives me a big smile and after she takes my blood pressure, my heart starts to go wild. She is gorgeous and standing really close to me with this big smile. Shortly she leaves, and the doctor comes in.

I am befuddled, as now I don’t know how I ascended to heaven, as I stutter to the doctor trying to remember why I came.

Half hour later I am back in the office, when Angie (my receptionist) tells me I have a call.

I answer the phone with my learned business manner and find out it is the nurse’s girlfriend that I just met in the doctor’s office. Her girlfriend says to me, “Do you remember the lady nurse that just attended you?”

I say coyly, “Sure.”

Her girlfriend says, “She wants to know if you would go out with her?”

My heart starts to accelerate as I do not believe this is actually happening. Thank god this was not one of my stupid moments, and I immediately said, “I would love to.”

Her girlfriend laughs and says, “She will call you right back,” and hangs up.

I am sitting there stunned. I say to myself, “How did I get this lucky.” One minute, two minutes go by, and I am about to cry, as now I realized this was probably a prank.

Then Angie (my receptionist) says, as she looked at me sort of jealously, “Barry, you have another phone call.”

I pick up the phone and it’s her. Her name is Linda and we agree to meet at the diner that is right on the border line of Queens’s Village and Bayside at 8 p.m.

It’s summertime, and after eating we go out to Jones beach and have a wondrous time walking on the boardwalk, then laying on a blanket on the cool, happily desolate night beach.

Then we sneak into the huge Jones Beach pool that was closed for the night. We are now swimming half-naked, as we have no swimming suits. Next we lay on the lounge chairs outside the pool on the top outside balcony.

It’s unreal, but somehow very real, between us.

We are both grown-up, mature individuals in our late-20s, and the night is warm and goes on wonderfully to morning light.

Please let it be known that we did not do the horizontal Rumba that night; as it was not required since everything was perfectly right.

It was magical, and we stayed together for the next year, as so much love would appear.

How could I be so lucky? This woman was so attentive to me, and every time I looked at her she was smiling back at me with love.

Linda and I were inseparable. We were really in love, but not that lost love of exotic wanting that leads to confusion and worry.

We just wanted to be with each other, never asking for anything at this moment, just wanting to be near each other.

We went everywhere together in that summer of bliss. We always found ourselves off to some great adventure in the Hamptons, Montauk, Lido, Long, and Jones Beach: Soon to Fire Island and other exotic, peaceful, natural wonderlands.

This summer was going by fast,  but fast in love.

Editor’s Note: Barry A. Popkin is the author of four books in multiple genres including military history and family biography. They include: “My Year in Vietnam,” “The Savior The Prophet The War,” “Worlds Collide,” and “The Death of God in New York City.” All are available on his website.

Read Part II of Lost Summer Romance: This Wonderful Surprise, on Thursday, July 19.

Inspiring Moment: Fiesta Ware Girl photo

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson

Lost Summer Love: Souls that Pass in the Night

Written by Karen Moller on July 12, 2012

The possibility that I might one day meet the man of my dreams took an unexpected and optimistic turn the night of the Redentore, a popular July festival held in the Bacino di San Marco, in Venice.

My girlfriend Emily suggested that we brave the crowds and take my boat out into the bay to watch the fireworks.

Dressed in her usual style–a light-blue, faded-cotton pair of dungarees and tee shirt–Emily arrived with food and half a dozen friends in tow, notably a man called Alain (who exhibited regularly in her New York gallery) and his part-time girlfriend.

She introduced him as an avant-garde American writer and eminent creator of Visual Poetry, a movement parallel to Fluxus which explored dimensions of language.

Alain’s face lit up with a glow of curiosity as he set down the bottles of Prosecco he was carrying and took my hand.

The charge was electric. Alive, every bit alive, was my first thought.

My second was the realization that few instances would ever match that moment of watching the sky reflected in the hazel green of his eyes and sensing the wild openness that beckoned me into his world like some kind of destiny.

Like an echo of my own thoughts he seemed to say, “Come with me. Let’s climb symbolic mountains and let life flow through our mutual desires.”

It was a moment of often longed for and much missed. Not only did we have many friends in common, but we had grown up with a similar love of the written word and a curiosity for the same kind of art.

We sat talking in close companionship as Emily drove the boat through the terrifying traffic in the Bacino do San Marco.

Unfortunately, that moment was not to last. It was soon shattered by Alain’s girlfriend’s screeching jealously from where she sat with other friends in the front of the boat.

When it seemed she was about to fling herself into the water, Emily whispered dismissively to Alain, “Go and do your duty.”

I watched as he made his way to the other end of the boat, his silhouette dark against the bright lights of the fireworks, my head filled with the thought, If he were my soul mate, the world would make more sense.

I turned to Emily and asked bluntly, “Why don’t I have a man like that?”

“Well, probably because men like that are afraid of independent women.”

Alain, she explained, had been married for many years to a mother figure, 22 years his senior, from whom he was emotionally unable to separate.

Now he spent a few months a year in Italy with a troubled, uneducated, young provincial girl, a kind of daughter figure to him.

“He’s in two unfortunate relationships that are both already over. He just doesn’t know how to finish either story,” her tone making it evident that she disliked both women and thought them unworthy of Alain.

An innocent lost in the decorum of trying to do the right thing, I thought trying to understand.

He seemed to sparkle like a firefly, and yet, at times, his light blinked on and off, as if he was suffering from some kind of complicated injury.

I tried to think no more about him, but I could never forget the feeling that he was the soul mate that life had destined for me.

Editor’s Note: Karen Moller, who resides in Paris, France, became famous as one of Swinging London’s key fashion designers. In the 1970s, she established a world-wide reputation for her textile designs. In the 1980s, she opened Trend Union, the Paris styling office that is now the virtual bible from which the major design companies begin their collections. Karen is also the author of  “Technicolor Dreamin’: The 1960’s Rainbow and Beyond,” and “In Her Own Fashion.” Thanks for sharing  your compelling lost-love memory, Karen. 

Inspiring Moment: Church Dance Performance

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson


Inspiring Moment: Fallen Statue photo

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson

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Letter to Dad: Why Do We Wait Until It’s Too Late?

Written by Carol-Ann Hamilton on July 9, 2012

Carol-Ann Hamilton and her father

Though the premise of this website is, “If I had five more minutes to spend with a departed loved one,” I did take the opportunity to recently write and mail a three-page letter to my declining 89-year-old father to express what we have meant to one another across the years.

This, so as to not leave regrets over what should have been said before he passes.

Why do we wait until it’s too late? While deeply personal, I hope my heart-felt outpouring brings memories for others.

Excerpted, here is my Top-10 List, based on five decades-plus as my parents’ only child.

1. I profoundly internalize that you and Mommy wanted me. Many unfortunate children cannot say they were cherished by their parents as I was. It is clear you both loved me right from birth.

2. Despite the fact that funds were tight for a number of years, you demonstrated a sense of honour second-to-none in always trying to make things nice. You provided. More than one father shirks his responsibility. Not you!

3. Putting out your back creating my sandbox is forever etched in my consciousness. Remember how often we played Frisbees, shot basketballs, and played baseball catch?

4. The trips we took – big and small – were quite amazing in retrospect. I recently pulled out my old photo albums and relished the pictures, particularly those from eastern Canada and the southern United States.

5. Something I REALLY respect was standing by your hospital bed as you brought yourself back single-handedly from death’s doorstep. The strength and determination that took! You have my un-ending admiration for your sheer grit.

6. I further cannot thank you enough for the turning-point dialogue we shared about the difficult parts of my growing-up years. You took ownership like a man for the damaging impact that anguished time generated. I have long ago realized many of the factors that led up to that despaired period for you and Mommy. I assure you, I am complete with it as you go to your grave. May you be, also.

7. While previously mentioned, it bears repeating that we have performed yeoman’s service together since we lost her in April 2010. For both of us, it may have been one of the most grueling periods during the long life chapter we have been father and daughter. My prayer is that you have benefitted throughout.

8. I most certainly feel that way when I consider the value of what you have contributed to me in thoughtfulness across time. We have frequently kidded I must now owe you something like $1,689,234 when we add up your generosity plus priceless love.

9. Then, we come to the countless conversations in which you have amply demonstrated you “get it.” You have imparted your lessons well. Your stewardship of justice, integrity, principle, courage, and excellence shall reside permanently within me.

10. Last, but not least, I have so often felt SEEN and HEARD by you as the child and woman I Really Am that I have frankly lost count.

To recognize someone in their Essence is quite possibly one of the greatest gifts you can accord.

Whew! What more is there to say?

Not much! I believe I have expressed what is in my deepest core.

So you can to your grave in quietude and rest that you did your very best.

Trust me. I shall voyage well for the long duration of my journey henceforth.

You have left things in my capable hands, and I will attend to everything with fitting aplomb.

I will be more than fine in every possible regard.

All this to say, thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for being my father.

I love you very much, Daddy.

Your ever-lasting daughter,

Carol-Ann Patricia

Editor’s Note: This touching letter was written by Carol-Ann Hamilton, a Principal at Spirit Unlimited & Changing Leadership in Toronto. Carol-Ann is the author of or contributor to six leadership, entrepreneurial, and self-help books. Her seventh book, “Coping with Un-cope-able Parents: LOVING ACTION for Eldercare will be published later on this year.

More stories from: Featured Story,With My Dad,With You

Inspiring Moment: Great Seattle Ferris Wheel

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson

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Poem to Ponder: Fresh

Written by Naomi Shihab Nye on July 5, 2012


By Naomi Shihab Nye 


To move



Needing to be

Nowhere else.


Wanting nothing

From any store.


To lift something

You already had


And set it down in

A new place.


Awakened eye

Seeing freshly.


What does that do to

The old blood moving through


Its channels?


More stories from: Featured Poem,Featured Story

Inspiring Moment: Trapeze Artist

Written by Braiden Rex-Johnson


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