Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Chaper 3 The Cold Sank Into Their Bones


What happens when twelve family members, most between the ages of 16 and 24 are accused of being hooligans? It started...many years ago...

Read chapter one, where the hijinks began by clicking here: Chapter One
Then on to Hooligans in chapter two by clicking here: Chapter Two


CHAPTER 3




Photo by Mary Vee
Flying across the world with ten first time air travelers was much like containing crowds for the winning team at a sporting event. The travel time, including lay overs, would consume twenty-five tedious hours. The first leg, Detroit to New York and was not nearly long enough for Dud to rest after the boarding pass incident. Thank God they had to wear seatbelts.

In some cases, passengers landing in New York City had to find a way to get from LaGuardia to Kennedy in time to meet their international flight. Anyone who has traveled in NYC, even if during horse and buggy days, knew getting the earth to stop turning might be easier.

The patients who had so graciously planned this trip for their beloved doctor understood the NYC traffic plight. To prevent the impending catastrophe, they hired a helicopter to pick up the family from LaGuardia and fly them to Kennedy. Long black blades whipped overhead, propelling ten hooligans plus he and his wife around the tip of the Chrysler building on through a maze of skyscrapers. The spectacular view wowed his brood, transforming them into the curious and amazed.

Like the Pied Piper, he led his family through Kennedy’s tunnels to the next gate, handed out boarding passes at the very last second, and watched each one enter the second plane, this one bound for Denmark. Dud drew a blindfold over his eyes after buckling his seatbelt and slept the entire flight. What the rest of the family did—he didn’t want to know.

He woke to a steaming hot towelette served by the flight attendant. The rousing heat and the strong cup of coffee prepared him for a family meeting in the Copenhagen airport. He was serious. Everyone would abide by his strict rules to stay close during the next three hours for their safety

The only significant sightseeing adventure the teens found at this first visit to Denmark was a vending machine full of Danish Danish. Their camera shutters clicked. “I’m starved.” They eyed the pastry delights. “Real Danish Danish!” Their coins tumbled into the machine and out popped a plastic wrapped Danish that tasted like sweet cardboard. They read the label and found the pastry had, in fact, been made in the US.

At the appointed time, Dud pressed his family into the smallest of all their planes. They squeezed into itty, bitty seats with barely enough leg room aboard the Aeroflot airline. The hooligans turned cranky, tired from the journey and not in the mood to deal with gruff flight attendants who only served ginger ale. Their final destination was a mere skip over the Baltic Sea, and once high enough, they would be able to view Lithuania but not have authorization to land there.

Moscow served as the port of entry for the Soviet Union and was located nearly six hundred miles beyond his childhood country. Also, crews from Copenhagen could not fly into Russia. The plane landed in Helsinki where no passenger was allowed to disembark and sat for sixty long, boring, uncomfortable minutes before a Soviet pilot and crew boarded and set coarse for Moscow.

Contrary to the teens, the five-month-old baby had tolerated the journey very well. The airline provided a bassinet that hung, suspended above passenger’s seats. She seemed to like the motion and only cried when hungry. Soviet women on the plane, all donning scarfs over their heads and tied under their chins, ogled over the little one resting. They talked and pointed in their native language. Dud translated some of their words. All kind. They mostly expressed a great desire to hold the infant.

The long journey wore on the other family members. Their quiet was a medicine that only partially helped Dud’s uneasiness. They were about to land in Moscow. A communist country that had no problems displaying brute force. If one of the family misbehaved in a suspicious manner, he could encounter some serious trouble.

There would be KGB at the airport, this he knew for a fact. He rubbed his forehead, hoping his children and their spouses heeded his warnings not to bring religious jewelry, a Bible, a photo, anything religious or they could be taken for interrogation.

The weight of his entire family fell on him. He herded his charges, barking orders, keeping them close as they climbed down the ladder onto the tarmac in -25 degree temperatures and icy winds. His daughter held her baby close with a blanket over the little one’s face. The distance to the door was about a hundred frigid yards.

They’d barely left the dark shadows of the plane when a group of Soviet women swarmed his daughter and grandbaby. Their chatter cackled wild and unintelligible. One scooped the baby from his daughter and marched toward the door at least eighty yards away. His daughter and the rest of the family pushed forward, concerned where they would take the infant. His children called out in English. The women’s continued babble in Russian and urgent steps to the airport door showed they not only didn’t understand the American’s but didn’t care.

Dud could speak Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, German, and English fluently, but at this exhausting moment, the women’s words jumbled in his head.

Faster and faster he and his family walked, remaining close to the Soviet women, uncertain what would happen inside the terminal. The women singled out his daughter, enveloped her, and pushed her far ahead, separating her and the baby from the rest of the family. The glass doors opened and the ten barged inside, calling to their sister. A few feet beyond, the women lavished kisses on the child, passing her from one to the next before finally handing the baby back to her mother.

The incident stirred such an uproar not only with the ten but now also his wife. Their confusion escalated when a voice spoke over the loudspeaker in Russian. His warnings about the KGB frightened them, and in truth, him as well. “Hurry. Grab all the suitcases and bring them here.” They spread out through the area searching for their luggage, then stampeded to the meeting location. The pile of suitcases leaned on each other, tumbling to the floor. “Take them to this checkpoint.” Dud pointed. “Line up with your suitcase. Hurry.” His panic grew when a soldier in uniform edged near them.

The teens responded with utter pandemonium. Rather than following guidelines learned in kindergarten such as: take turns, one at a time, slow down, you’ll all get there if you wait, and be quiet, they barreled into the checkpoint, crowding each other and hoisting their suitcase onto the counter.

The security guard in soldier uniform shouted at them. The unruliness caused him to widen his eyes and step back, and when observing the massive number of suitcases lumped into his workstation, he waved his arms like a traffic cop. The translation seemed to be: move, move, move on and take your belongings. He never opened a single one.

Dud led his family, each dragging their luggage through the lobby and out the front door of the airport. He didn’t savor the air or breathe a sigh of relief.

After a long and tiring flight, the twelve stood on Soviet soil in Moscow.

And for the first time, his family saw Soviet Russia. 

...The cold sinking into their bones didn’t come from the temperatures.

The story continues...

It's a 20 - 20 year 
It may be a roller coaster or smooth sailing. 
Hold on! 
There's no looking back. No hindsight.


If you're looking for some great reads whether drama, mystery, or fantasy visit my Amazon page where you will find the perfect read. Ebooks are on sale.





Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm



Christmas is Mary Vee's favorite holiday. She loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Maryis an award-winning author and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Chapter 2. Hooliganism In The Airport


What happens when twelve family members, most between the ages of 16 and 24 are accused of being hooligans in an airport? It started...many years ago...

Scroll down to read chapter one, where the hijinks began.


CHAPTER 2


Photo by Mary Vee

The following moments in the airport must have been the inspiration for the opening of Home Alone. The family collage contained a myriad of ages from five months to twenty-four years plus an overwhelmed patriarch and a matriarch who knew to stay out of his way at this moment. 

Although the packing limit allowed each person to take one suitcase, the chaotic moment resembled a failed football scrimmage after the whistle blew. The whys and wheres had not been explained, or maybe they had been, but the thrill blocked the tribe’s ears, especially since all, except two, had never flown on a plane, much less visited a foreign country.

The patriarch was affectionately called Dud, even when he was in a frantic, sour mood.  His suit coat pockets bulged with government documents, itineraries, boarding passes, and possibly other documents. He held onto the details like a treasure map about to be stolen. 

The poor man dealt with such a range of emotions. Airport security. Questions repeated for the thirtieth time. His own excitement to see his childhood home. He was about to take this brood of hooligans to a communist country to visit his family whom he hadn’t seen in forty years. “There will be no hooliganism,” he shouted. His reddened face served as a gong, stilling the chaos…for a moment.

He’d heard his mother and two brothers had survived Siberia, learning only remnants of their story. The news both broke his heart and warmed his spirit. Hardships that would later be shared with his family at the dining room table in the quasi quiet of his own American home. 

He led the family through the airport terminals in a day before TSA herded people into cattle lines, squeezing through invasive security scans before releasing them into the terminal. En masse they walked to the gate for those flying to Laguardia. He spoke the first of many last minute reminders. “Stay together. No hooliganism.” Any other words were promptly disregarded. From the stack of boarding passes he distributed the first set and sat in one of the seats, and closed his eyes to the embarrassing behavior of his teens until the time came for boarding.

At the call of the attendant, the twelve stood in line. Softly, near the back of the family group, one of the teens whispered his panic, “I don’t know where my boarding pass is. I can’t find it.”

Word passed up the line until reaching Dud. He scrambled with the eleven out of line, searching like hens pecking the ground for food. It wasn’t in the boy’s pocket. It wasn’t on the floor near where he sat. Where had he walked in such a short time? The search bled beyond the gate.

A woman’s voice blared over the loudspeaker cutting through the din. “Passengers with boarding passes for Laguardia should board immediately. There was no time for beads of sweat, wide eyes or gasps. Dud shifted into solution mode. The same one as when death knocked on his patient’s door and the crash cart rolled in. In the main walkway, a boarding pass released from a man’s shoe. He walked on, leaving the soiled paper behind.

Dud barged through the jungle and scooped up the paper disregarding the dirt soiling his new suit. The pass allowed one passenger on his flight, but it wasn’t his son’s. He pressed it into his son’s hand and ordered the group to get back in line.

The scanner dinged twelve times.

Twelve seatbelts clicked.

Unlike the home alone scene, there was no first class or champaign reward for a patriarch who successfully herded his family onto a Christmas vacation flight, leaving no one at home.


The story continues...

It's a 20 - 20 year 
It may be a roller coaster or smooth sailing. 
Hold on! 
There's no looking back. No hindsight.


If you're looking for some great reads whether drama, mystery, or fantasy visit my Amazon page where you will find the perfect read. Ebooks are on sale.





Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm



Christmas is Mary Vee's favorite holiday. She loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Maryis an award-winning author and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Chapter One The American Citizen


Happy New Year

This year starts with a tale, one that may last the year, I'm not sure. But I think you will really enjoy it. AND if you do, please invite others to read this story as well.


Where Good Memories Are Kept

It started once upon a time. Dud began his story this way because at times you, reader, might find portions of this tale highly impossible. But in full disclosure, this 1970's story was proven true. Not in a history book or even in a diary. The words had been hidden in the secret place where good memories are kept to cherish.



Two months had passed since Jane and her husband said their wedding vows. They had the typical basic apartment furniture, a dining room table, recycled chairs, a hand-me-down sofa, and a bedroom set. The kitchen cupboard contained the usual minimal married-couple-in-college ingredients. On this crisp October day, they longed for a delicious big meal, no dessert required. 

This was not the first time they'd popped in at his parents' house for supper. His mother's European style made from scratch using only the best ingredients cooking guaranteed it wasn't the last. She sat in her living room winged back chair, as was her custom in the late afternoon. Jane greeted her and expected the usual chat updating family happenings and threads from European life long ago. "Jane." The woman fiddled with her necklace. “What would you think about a trip to Lithuania?”

Impossible came to mind. At the time, Lithuania, a small country on the Baltic Sea, belonged to the Soviet Union. Any US flight bound for the country had to first fly five hundred extra miles east to check-in at Moscow and receive permission before traveling back west to Lithuania. It would never happen.  

She hardly knew her mother-in-law after only two months. Did this woman tease? Would she expect to be taken seriously even when suggesting preposterous ideas? Jane gave a safe answer. “When?”

“The whole family might be able to go this Christmas. I was wondering if you wanted to join us? Naturally, you're invited.” Her mother-in-law seemed serious. 

Deep down, Jane knew this trip was impossible. "Yes. I would love to go." The enormous cost for twelve family members alone made the idea laughable. Besides the money, three of family members didn’t have U.S. citizenship and a fourth had US government clearance, making all four ineligible to enter Soviet Moscow.

At times unrealistic ideas turned into what-if dreams. Not this one. The insurmountable logistics squelched those dreams. 

Days passed. They visited his parents again, excited for yet again another delicious supper. Jane's mother-in-law greeted her from the living-room. “Come. Sit with me. I have news. It seems your father-in-law’s patients have firmly decided to send the family on the trip. They are grateful for what he has done and discovered he hasn’t seen his mother and brothers in forty years. They also want the entire family to go, meet his family, and see his childhood home. We’ll travel to Lithuania and spend the week of Christmas there then fly to Germany and visit my family for the week of New Year. What do you think?”

Surely she'd considered all the problems. Although these patients would divide the immense cost, three family members still had passport issues. To make matters worse, her husband was a citizen of no country. He was born to a German mother and Lithuanian father on an American military base in France. None of the countries had granted him naturalized citizenship. Paperwork for this process took months for easy cases, sometimes years to complete.

The idea was impossible.

Yet.

One patient's spouse had an important connection. 

So driven to send Jane's new family on the trip of a lifetime, she made calls, set up appointments, called in favors, met with her contacts, monitoring the issue every day until two family members became citizens, leaving Jane's husband as the last.

On a warm and cloudy November day, Jane took the afternoon off work. She and her husband drove to the courthouse. They entered a judge’s private chambers and within minutes, her husband raised his right hand, repeated the oath, and became an American citizen.  

With one month left to departure, Jane finally told her boss about the unbelievable trip she and her new family would take.


The story continues...

You never know what 2020 might bring into your life. 
It may be a roller coaster or smooth sailing. 
Ready?


If you're looking for some great reads whether drama, mystery, or fantasy visit my Amazon page where you will find the perfect read. Ebooks are on sale.



~Mary Vee
Photo by Mary Vee




Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm



Christmas is Mary Vee's favorite holiday. She loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Maryis an award-winning author and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter



Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A Gift of Worth

Little Sable Lighthouse, Photo by Mary Vee





We have a gift of worth. 
What we do when someone tries to take it away from us is up to us.















Blue Ridge Parkway, Photo by Mary Vee



My characters are thrown into difficult situations, often ones they cannot solve immediately or alone. While dealing with the crisis, their self worth comes into question. Doubts form. The characters dwell on the doubts and allow their strong wall of worth to gradually crumble. The story then takes them through this time.


Israel, near Jordan, Photo by Mary Vee







What draws us to stories is connecting with the character in some way. We are searching for hope.

This story came to my mind:
Israel, near Jerusalem, Photo by Mary Vee











There once was a servant standing on a hill.


Beyond the valleys surrounding him was a ring of tall hills. 

In the valley below, soldiers threatened his life and the life of his master. He became frightened and saw no way for them to survive. 






From the top of Masada, Photo by Mary Vee

The master, though, stood calm. He placed his hand on the servant's shoulder and told him not to worry. But the servant saw no escape. No defense. The soldiers would come and kill them.

The master closed his eyes and whispered a prayer then said to his servant, "Look at the hills around us. What do you see?"








Cloud photo by Mary Vee






The servant forced himself to look away from the threatening soldiers up to the hills. There, on every hilltop, stood an army of angels. Bright. And with swords. Ready to protect him and his master.












Stand strong in your trials.
 You have a great worth.



Merry Christmas!

I have three Christmas book ideas for you. 
These stories also make great gifts. 
And--during the holidays the ebook version is on sale. 


Book link: Click Here
December is a great time to read!