I Will Visit With You by B. B. Wright

Sail Boat in Mist OneToday, I have finally returned. I thought it had only been three years since I was last here but my neighbors, John and Ruth, just told me it’s been eight. They said they had pictures to prove it.

My askance expression must have been the reason that they pressed their point so vehemently. Ruffling their feathers was definitely not in my agenda nor, I must add, was perusing photos I knew too well.

Still, John’s Type A personality pressed the issue forward as he entered his cottage returning in short time with the photo album. He thrust it in my direction. I backed away. Or should I say, rolled away. Not wanting to be rude nor in need of their pity, I mustered a smile and, in the most pleasant way I knew how, suggested that I would gladly look at their photos upon my return from the beach. Though, in all honesty, I possessed no such intention.

More crow-like than human John and Ruth looked down their beaks at me. It was as if they could read my true intention. I would have sworn at that very moment if they had been party to a murder of crows they would have poked my eyes out. Grasping the wheels on either side of my wheelchair I slowly maneuvered onto the flat stone pathway. Still smiling of course, I glanced back and gave them a begrudging but cheery wave and hastily escaped toward the beach, my crutches rattling at my back.

At the path’s end I stopped and locked the wheels. Lifting my legs one at a time I dropped my sandaled feet onto the pristine, plump white sand. Before me, the fresh water of Lake Huron stretched out in either direction and touched the horizon like one vast ocean.

The refreshing coolness of the onshore breeze washed over me. I was mesmerized by the lazy to and fro pendulum of the lapping waves upon the shore, sweeping in and then out again.

But, I know there is a witch beneath the Lake’s rolling surface. She can turn waves from minutes to hours when the gales come slashing. Today, at this moment, she is kind.

Pushing myself up and onto my crutches I take time to catch my breath. The ha-ha-ha-ha of seagulls overhead floods my mind with memories. Thirty meters in front of me, the dock stretches lonely into the water. Punching my walking aids into the sand, I will myself forward. Aft of me, deep, wavy lines through the sand bear witness to my journey.

My boat is shrouded in mist. At the helm, the gossamer image of my friend Tom waves me on; tattooed on his face, as always, was his huge, welcoming smile. Busy at the stern, wearing his Greek fisherman’s hat—he was sensitive about his baldness—Jock glances over his shoulder and nods.

They are no more.

Sadness clouds my very being, my eyes bubble with tears. I think of all the memories I have and all the things we did back then.

Keow the seagulls call. Keow.

My eyes bubble with tears. My mind floods with memories.

The sweet gentle sound of water lapping against the boat’s hull is a gesture from God to my ears. I stop. My heartbeat knits into the tapestry of surrounding, soothing sounds. And, I let them wash through me.

El Niño is responsible for the unseasonably warm weather this time of year, the strongest in fifty years. It occurs when the Trade winds stop moving. Perhaps that is why the Lake is busy with all size of tankers this day.

Ensconced on the deck of my boat—our boat, I sighed in great relief. Much effort was expended by me, a feat worthwhile indeed.

Slurp. Slurp. The boat bobs in the water. And, like a small child in his mother’s arms, I found solace in her cradled rocking.

Why we didn’t turn back that day when the first wave broke over the railing, I do not know. When the rigging screamed out in distress it was too late. The storm was upon us; the witch beneath us was angry and she swallowed us whole.

I do not remember more. I don’t want to remember more.

Memories of my chums lie deep within me; as I breathe so do they.

Why me? Why should I have lived and they not? This is my guilt.

I can only hope the one verse from Amazing Grace, don’t ask me how I remember it,  is true, namely:

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

As time goes by and until the evening tide comes in, I will visit with you, my dear friends, by this dock in the bay watching ships roll by and away again.

Merry Christmas dear friends, I can feel your warmth wrapping around me. Your home-fire, my succor, is a beacon to lead me safely home again.

Author’s Corner: An Interview with Shellie Blum

Shellie newest(1)2Escaping instantaneous death and paralysis from a hangman’s broken neck and shattered jaw endured in a horrific water skiing accident is only part of this unbelievable story as told in her book:
WaterskiGirlWonder_KINDLEYou don’t have to be a water skier to enjoy this inspiring true story told by the first female freestyle water ski ramp jumper in the World.
Absolutely riveting! Once you begin reading it you will find it difficult to put her book down as you follow Shellie on her journey from the Ozarks to Egypt and even the back alleys of Hollywood streets as she perseveres through more than her share of grueling setbacks.

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The Interview

First of all, thank you for consenting to this interview, Shellie.

When I asked you for this interview quite honestly I didn’t know where I would begin. You have accomplished so much. In my mind, your family represents an ideal of achievement, firmly rooted in the motto: Doubt Whom You Will but Never Yourself. It is a motto wrapped around the belief that you always strive to be the best that you can be.

Before we begin the main body of the interview I am compelled to ask the following:
After everything you have accomplished and continue to accomplish, how would you describe Shellie Blum now? In other words, who is Shellie Blum? Who has she become?

A:  I don’t like labels, but if I had to describe myself it would be independent and stubborn. Qualities that have made things more difficult for me but have also helped me. Who is Shellie Blum, well again, if we have to put a label on me, what’s most important to me is being a Mom. Who have I become? Well, hopefully I’m still becoming something. I think it’s important to always be striving towards new things. I’m not really certain what my future holds. Maybe telling my story will open some new doors. If not, I’m perfectly happy being the best Mom I can possibly be.

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Q:  All of your siblings, including you, have middle names. Do those middle names carry significance in your family?

A: I am named with my mom’s middle name. She is Carol Ann, and I am Shellie Ann. My dad was so excited when my older sister came he insisted on naming her Tamara Lynn, after the first female Russian astronaut. My oldest brother is Bradford Thomas because my dad’s nickname and what he went by in life was Tom. My second oldest brother, Brent Joseph has my dad’s true middle name which was Ronald Joseph Blum.

Q: On your site is a photo with the caption: Family Loves Football. What memories are recollected when you look at that photo?

A: Great question…but this is where there may be several times, that I’m gonna’ have to plead the fifth, or say, “It’s in the book!”

Q:  Your father, Ronald Joseph “Tom” Blum, held the prestigious title of “Top Gun” in the Marine Corp. Did this entail a lot of moving about for your family? And, if it did, how did it affect the family and, of course, how did it affect you?

A:  My dad flew off the air craft carriers. We moved around alot, yes, and I guess this attributes to the concept of adaptation. You learn to adapt.

Q:  Did you have a hero growing up? If your answer is yes, please tell us something about why you chose that person as your hero.

A:  I wanted to marry Elvis or John Wayne when I was really young. But then I became super impressed with Larry Bird from the Celtics. I didn’t want to marry him, but I wanted to play basketball like him. My mom has always been my hero and still is.

Q:  How did sports shape your early life? Include your interest in basketball and the 1982-83 Missouri Tigers.

A:  Gotta’ plead the fifth, it’s in the book.

Q:  I noticed that you played trombone in the School of the Osage Indians March Band. Did you play other musical instruments? Who encouraged you? And, how, if at all, did music shape your early life? Do you still play a musical instrument?

AI only played the trombone in band, but we competed in Jazz Band, Concert Band, and I loved the marching band. But I also sang in all the choirs and competed in a sextet. I still sing and act like fool, but my trombone playing days are pretty much over.

Q:  What memories are evoked when you hear “Lake of the Ozarks?”

A:  I get very nostalgic. I miss the “Lake”! But much of this is covered in the book.

Q:  What was the most difficult feat you had to learn (back flip, front flip, helicopter, pyramid, other) and why?

A:  Back Flip, for sure, and again I hate to say this but this is covered in the book.

Q:  As your career developed you had the opportunity to travel to Jordan where you met King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan? Give us some idea of how you felt and what was going in your mind and in your career during that period and what you achieved.

A: This ought to peak people’s interest. I have never been so proud and angry at the same time. “It’s in the book.”

Q:  How were Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cypress Gardens important stepping stones in your career?

A: Six Flags Magic Mountain is where I believe I may have made history by being the first female to land a front flip. Performing them in the ski show forced me to become extremely consistent at them. I didn’t want to let the audience down. Cypress Gardens is and was the pinnacle of my skiing career. There was no better or highly regarded arena to perform in show water skiing than Cypress Gardens. What a shame it is no more!

Q:  No interview would be complete without mentioning your twins: Dashiel Alden and Josie Lynn Lois.
What’s the history behind their names? And, how did the twins save your life?

A:   It’s in the book.

Q:  In your book Waterski Girl Wonder, what was most difficult for you to write and why?

A:  The accident scene was most difficult to write and I think for obvious reasons. When I read those passages I still literally get sick to my stomach.

Q:  What is the most rewarding thing for you now that your book is published? Are there any downsides? If so, explain.

A: To have set a goal and to have completed it. No downsides that I can think of, at least not yet.

Q:  What is the most valuable lesson(s) you have learned?

A:  To try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, (at least to begin with) and to never give up on your goals.

Q:  What is next for you?

A:  I’m thinking I might like to run for political office. I have a bit of a game plan but lots of things have to happen, the pieces of the puzzle have to come together. It may never happen but, if things fall into place, don’t be surprised. I would run as an Independent. It’s not very likely, but I never say never.”

Q:  Is there anything you would like to add that I may have missed?

A:  I can’t think of anything at the moment.

Q:  Where can readers find your book?

A:  Waterski Girl Wonder can be found in the regular places: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc etc.