Why I Cry

They cannot know

why tears well up in my eyes

as I gaze at the little Hispanic boy

getting his hair cut for Easter Sunday.

The two mothers, sisters I think,

chatter in their staccato Spanish

while their four children look on.

The two youngest stand like sentinels,

watching their brother get his haircut.

The boy of about seven, sits regally in the chair

as the stylist combs and coifs

his short, jet black hair.

When she is finished,

he jumps from the chair, beaming.

"Muy guapo!" I say.

The mother turns to me and asks if I speak Spanish.

"A little," I say. "Happy Easter."

"Thank you," she says, leaving.

They can not know why I cry.



Excerpts from License to Kill

     ~~“If anyone hurts my kids or mother,” Jess told Mary the day before the hearing, “I become like a barracuda or pit bull. I won’t let go. They’ll have to kill me first before they can take my teeth out of their leg.”



     The root of the ogre's evil was a physical one: sleep apnea, which had plagued him all of his life. He was too poor or too ignorant to go to the doctor until he had medical insurance in his 50s, about the time Jess met him.

     This malady turned a man into a monster. As soon as he got his sleep machine, he became gentle as a lamb. Unfortunately, he sealed his fate with his eldest son by never admitting to or apologizing for what he had done. H. Jerry bravely and generously forgave him before he died.


   The first memory Jess had of Geoffrey was in 1998, early in his ministry at First Swedish Baptist Church. Someone had entered the church and pulled a gun on him. After that incident, he instituted training for all of the ushers in his version of self-defense: they would storm the sanctuary and tackle the gunman, to save him.


     Francis had been paying off the police for years to get away with his favorite pastime: drugging and raping white women.



     Excerpts from Beneath the Volcano



         Most of what she had experienced for the past nearly four decades she had either forgotten or tried to forget. She now wanted to remember it, to get it down and try to make sense of it.


        Lee was the antithesis of what Jess desired in a man: he was a total jock/sports addict, had no career aspirations, and had never been anywhere.  His need for alcohol alarmed her and his high-pitch cackle of a laugh annoyed her.


            The irony of the phenomena this wet weather was attributed to, El Nino, the currents in the Pacific off the coast of Peru, which translated, means baby boy, was not lost on Jess.

       God had it planned all along to warn of further retribution for what had been done  to her beloved Peruvian son, on whose birthday God was sending another flood.



Excerpts from Warrior for God

      Jess reached into the moving box, not knowing what she would unwrap next. It was truly Christmas for her, just as God had planned;  she was swimming in brown cardboard. Carefully, she unwrapped the small rectangular item to find the Bible she had given her mother. Jess was reminded  of Jessie in every hymn she heard on the radio. And now this. She remembered the last sad Christmas Eve she spent with her mother in the home run by her cousin, Debra.

      Jess had another revelation as she lovingly held the leather Bible in her hand, with her mother's name inscribed on the cover.  Jess now knew what her mother knew: that Debra would have done anything to keep Jess from freeing her mother. Because then the older woman would have no longer been afraid  to reveal  the truth of Debra's actions.