Whether you've had a loved one go to battle or simply get a lump in your throat when you hear "America the Beautiful," you'll appreciate the heartfelt stories and poems in this wonderful new Silver Boomer book.
I've never thought of myself as particularly patriotic...I'm not a flag waver or a soapbox screamer. But I'm thrilled that three of my stories appear in this book, which is inspired by the impending tenth anniversary of 9/11. "Suds and Solace" directly addresses the fear I felt when my husband and I flew to Germany for Oktoberfest just ten days after the destruction of the Twin Towers. "A Taxing Topic" describes why I don't moan and groan on income tax day, and why I believe it's a universal obligation to pay for the protection our military provides.
But my favorite is "Foote Notes for My Father," which recounts the pride my dad had in being the oldest enlisted man on his ship, the USS Foote, which was torpedoed in the Solomons in WWII.
My father led a life of adventure. He operated a dancing school in Utah in the '30s. He ran The Beige Room at San Francisco's intersection of Bay and Powell in the late '40s and early '50s, a nightclub featuring female impersonators. He threw fabulous parties on the houseboat that he built himself and moored at Oakland's Jack London Square. He exhibited his meticulously restored 1946 Lincoln Continental at shows from Disneyland to Silverado. Yet, oddly enough, the only two stories I've written about him relate to his service in WWII.
"Daddy and Raggedy Ann" which will appear shortly in both Bernie S. Seigel's A Book of Miracles and in Fighting the Fear tells of his visits to me at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles where I languished with double pneumonia in 1941, just as he prepared to ship out with the Foote.
I hope it's clear that I admire my dad for his humor, his generous spirit and his ability to befriend everybody he met. But there's something more...he was a remarkable story teller. One of his friends recently told me he'd pay any price to spend an evening listening to a conversation between Al Burgess and Mark Twain. Yep...that Mark Twain, noted as one of the world's most entertaining raconteurs. Al Burgess would have held his own in that imaginary exchange and the two would have entertained one another well into the wee hours.
When I wrote "Foote Notes" I included a brief prose poem my dad wrote. Al Burgess secretly always wanted to be a writer, he once confided. Well...now that The Harsh and The Heart: Celebrating the Military has appeared, he's a published one.
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