Friday, October 23, 2009

Marine Band wows Porterville

Photo by Jennifer Servantes
Several members of The President’s Own, the United States Marine Band, line up across the stage as they played “Semper Fidelis” – the Marine Corps march – before a packed auditorium Wednesday night at the Frank “Buck” Shaffer Theater. The band, under the direction of Col. Michael J. Colburn, received numerous standing ovations throughout their performance.
CLICK HERE for story

Monday, October 19, 2009

Way to go Granite Hills and Strathmore High School Bands

Photo by Esther Avila

Congratulations Granite Hills High and Strathmore High bands.

Here are some of the results of the 2009 Visalia "Music in Motion" Band Review - Saturday, October 17, 2009

Granite Hills High School:
Parade: First, majorette team ; Field competition: First, class D
Strathmore High:
Parade: Second, solo majorette, Third - military drum major
Parade: Second place, class E
Exeter High:
Parade: First, class C

Check out the full story: Friday, October 23, in the Southern Sierra Messenger

I will post the story here later - so you may want to check back in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, here are some of the results:

Majorette Team - Granite Hills High School, Porterville
Solo Majorette - Fowler High School, first place; Strathmore High Shool, second place
Percussion - Buchanan High, first; Tulare Western, Tulare, second; El Diamante, Visalia, third.
Drum Major - Military: Fowler, first; Sierra, second; Strathmore High, third.
Drum Major - Open: Tulare Western
Drum Major - Mace: Golden West, first; Hanford West, second; Edison, third.
Identification category: Buchanan, first; Fowler, second; Tulare West, third.
Flags: Fowler, first; Tulare Union, second; Mission Oak, third.

Parade - Bands:
Class E: Riverdale, 1; Strathmore, 2; Sierra High School, 3.
Class D: Mission Oaks, 1; Edison, 2; Orosi, 3.
Class C: Exeter, 1; Mt. Whitney, Visalia, 2.
Class B: Golden West, Visalia, 1; Tulare Western, 2; Tulare Union, 3.
Class A: Fowler, 1; El Diamante, Visalia, 2; Buchanan, 3.

Parade Music Sweepstakes: Hanford West
Grand Sweepstakes Parade: Hanford West

FIELD: Results below won first, second, and third respectively.
Field Auxilliary - Buchanan High School, El Diamante, Golden West.
Percussion - El Diamante, Buchanan, Tulare Western
Class D - Granite Hills, Orosi, Edison.
Class C - Exeter, Woodlake, Mt. Whitney.
Class B - Golden West, Tulare Western, Hanford West
Class A - Buchanan, Redwood

Field Music - El Diamante
Field Showmanship - Buchanan
Field Sweepstakes - El Diamante
Grand Sweepstakes - El Diamante

I will post middle school results in a couple of days.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fabulous Studio Band - Seattle, WA - June 2009

Fabulous Studio Band plays for appreciative Seattle audience
June 15, 2009 9:44 PM

(Photos by Esther Avila)
SEATTLE — Porterville’s Fabulous Studio Band continued to entertain young and old alike Monday afternoon when they performed at the Seattle Center in Seattle during the seventh day of their three-state Pacific Northwest tour.
The band, under the direction of Jim Kusserow, left Porterville June 9.
“This band has performed all over the place. They’ve performed in just about every U.S. Air Force base you can think of, before the U.S. Senate, the White House and Hawaii,” Kusserow said to the crowd gathered at the food court of the Seattle Center House. “We travel a lot, always at no cost to the students.”
The audience responded favorably by cheering, whistling and clapping heartily as the band opened with “I Remember Basie” and continued with “Hello Dolly,” “Georgia on my Mind” — featuring Clark Keele on tenor sax — and “It’s Almost like being in Love,” a number which featured George Andrade on trombone and Kusserow on trumpet.
Ernie and Kathy Lassman of Seattle said they could not resist getting up to dance as the band played “Moonlight Serenade.”
“We have heard a lot of big-band music and we must say, this band is great,” Ernie Lassman said. “They are top notch. We have enjoyed listening to them.”
But big-band music was not all the band played. They also treated the audience to a few contemporary numbers from Chicago; K.C. and the Sunshine Band; and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Sitting in the audience was the McMaster family from Porterville.
“Today is my birthday,” Dawn McMaster said. “What a great way to spend my birthday. We flew into Seattle yesterday and met up with the band in Port Angeles.”
The tour is the family’s last opportunity to see her two sons, Kyle and Kory McMaster, perform with the band, she said. The boys, recent graduates of Porterville High and Porterville College, are heading to Azusa Pacific University in the fall.
Also in the audience was a young woman with two children. The three tapped their feet and danced in their seats as the band played.
“I’m their nanny,” said Shanda Gimbel of Seattle. “We were having lunch here and the music started and the children started dancing like crazy. This was great. I loved it. Big band is still a timeless sound and it is evident that it appeals to all ages. We all loved it.”
The Fabulous Studio Band continues its tour with a performance in Everett, Wash.
All photos by Esther Avila

Fabulous Studio Band - Everett, WA - June 2009

Fabulous Studio Band continues Pacific NW trip
Tour: Oregon, Washington residents treated to band sound.
June 18, 2009 10:05 AM


(photos by Esther Avila)

EVERETT, Wash. — Members of the Fabulous Studio Band are on their way home from their three-state, 2,869-mile Pacific Northwest tour. They are scheduled to return Friday evening.
The band left Porterville on June 9, and has played in numerous venues in Oregon and Washington.
Tuesday evening they kicked off a summer concert series for the city of Everett, Wash.
With the harbor as their backdrop, the band entertained a large crowd with their big-band and contemporary numbers.
“I was walking by and saw them setting up and I just had to stop,” said Larry Wold of Everett. “I enjoy the big band sound. This group sounds pretty good.”
Estelle and Charles Spaulding of Mill Creek, Ore., said they attended because they heard that big-band music was on the schedule.
“It is our first time here. We enjoy concerts like these — and being out here in front of the waterfront — you can’t beat that.”
It was a sentiment expressed by several in attendance. While some dined or enjoyed a drink from restaurant patios, others brought lawn chairs and blankets and sat on the lawn.
Jordan Donato, 2, could not sit still. The toddler hit the dance floor every time the band played.
“She has always liked to dance. I don’t think she can resist it,” said her mother, 23-year-old Alexandra Donato. “We come often — whenever my mom invites me. I’m enjoying this. It is different from what I usually listen to, but it’s lovely.”
As the band continued to play big-band hits, couples danced. Judging by the hearty applause, they loved it.
“We play all over the country,” said band leader Jim Kusserow. “And next June, some of these kids will be playing at Carnegie Hall when we take the band to New York.”
George Sandia, 62, of Everett, applauded and cheered as the band played “New York, New York.”
“They play so well,” Sandia said. “I can see them playing at big cities. But I’m glad they came here — and are playing for us.”
After its Everett performance, the band performed Wednesday evening in Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island.
“What we are trying to do, besides keeping the big band sound alive and let people across America know that there are still bands out there performing this music, is recreate what it was like for a traveling big band — letting the kids know what is like to be in a performing big band, whether just traveling up and down the state or across the country,” Kusserow said. “Some of these kids might have aspirations to perform. This gives them a little cross section of all it takes. They learn to work together. Everyone has a job and everything gets done.”
Pianist Jerika Hayes and Suzy Napieralski, who plays clarinet and saxophone, agreed. It was the first band tour for both.
“Setting up has been easy,” Hayes, a junior at Porterville High School, said. “It has been a real unique experience. I wouldn’t say it has been hectic though. Everything has worked out perfect — like a well-oiled machine. We have always had enough time for our performances.”
It was not all work, however. The band’s members had plenty of time for sightseeing.
Band members sand boarded at the sand dunes in Florence, Ore., toured a music and sci-fi museum, visited a rainforest in Olympic National Park, and toured through Forks, Ore. — home to the popular “Twilight” books.
“I was able to tour a lot with [former band director, the late] Buck Shaffer and I am merely trying to pass on the great experience I had,” Kusserow said. “It has been a great reward for me to do so. It has been a great trip.”

Music in Porterville - Fabulous Studio Band and Sierra Vocal Arts - June 2009

Music in Porterville

By Esther Avila
Southern Sierra Messenger

There is no doubt about it – Porterville is a musical town, not only during the school year but year round. The music is everywhere – with elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as community groups, local bands and individuals performing with choirs, orchestras and bands.

One does not have to look far to find it, either. It is as close as the center of town.
“Music on Main Street” – sponsored by the City of Porterville and the Porterville Chamber of Commerce – continues at 6:30 tonight with Duggin’s Citrus Express taking center stage at Centennial Park. The concerts, which run every Friday night through the end of June, are free and open to the public. Centennial Park is located directly in front of City Hall on Main Street.
I also find it heart-warming that local musicians, such as the Fabulous Studio Band and the Sierra Vocal Arts Ensemble, are currently on tour – sharing their music with the world.
(photo by Esther Avila)
The Fabulous Studio Band, under the direction of Jim Kusserow, left Porterville Tuesday morning. The band is performing in Portland, Oregon tonight and Saturday night before continuing towards Seattle, and Whidbey Island in Washington. They will log more than 2,800 miles as they perform at numerous venues during their 10-day North West Pacific tour.
A small group gathered to see the musicians off. Among them was Dawn McMaster, mother of Kyle and Kory McMaster, recent graduates of Porterville College and Porterville High School.
“This is the last time they will be playing with the band,” McMaster said. “It has been an amazing experience for them. They have grown so much, in music, and as young men. They won’t be here next year. This is it. Both are attending Azusa Pacific next year. Both are majoring in music.”

The Sierra Vocal Arts Ensemble is also on tour. The community choir, celebrating their 20th season, left Thursday and will be visiting and performing in some of the most beautiful and historic cathedrals and churches of the world – London, Salisbury, Stratford-upon-Avon and Cambridge. They will also participate in a workshop with English composer John Rutter.
“There will be something for everyone. There is so much history within the area where we will be traveling that one can’t see it all,” said Fred Knutson, the ensemble’s founding conductor. “I do know that for many of our singers, having the opportunity to have a choral workshop led by internationally renowned composer John Rutter, will be the highlight.”
This is the ensemble’s first extended tour, said Sara Guinn of Hanson Travel Ideas of Porterville. Other than performances in Modesto, the choir has performed only in the Porterville area.
Guinn has arranged for the ensemble to visit many historically important sites, including Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Winston Churchill’s burial site, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, and numerous museums and historic churches.
“We will be performing in some of the most beautiful and historic venues in the world. Salisbury Cathedral was built within a period of 38 years beginning in 1220,” Knutson said. “Imagine something built in the 1200’s that is as beautiful and functional today as when it was built. So much of the music we perform was composed for beautiful buildings much like that cathedral, it brings a singer so close to the original performance sound, which we rarely get to experience in our modern church buildings. Probably the most exciting part will be experiencing so much that’s new with the great friends I have in the Sierra Vocal Arts Ensemble. They are a dynamic group of people and I know that it will be fun to ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ with them.”

Yes - I am still writing.

I started writing for Exeter Sun Gazette and for Southern Sierra Messenger - and I did freelance a couple of band stories for the Porterville Recorder.

Southern Sierra Messenger has been wonderful. I actually got my own column with them and my editor (not me) named my column "Esther Avila's Porterville."

My column has my memories about a Porterville moment and comments about a current situation, festival, or person from Porterville.

I've talked about meeting Buck Shaffer when I was 4-years old, the old kiddie wading pool at Murry Park, first day of school jitters, the fire pits at Taco Bell, ...... and other such memories.

I love having my own column.

I've also been writing all of the copy for a special publication for an upcoming apple festival. I've written a dozen stories and will spend most of the week as a photographer.

I love my job.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Update: September Skies

September 2009

“Now do you believe me?”

“No. I don’t. I mean, look at the sky. It’s almost perfect. Perfect blue September skies,” Hannah said, as she rubbed her arms.

She felt chills and she was sure she was trying to convince herself of something. Of what exactly, she wasn't quite sure.

She was glad Douglas didn’t notice. He was still looking up.
But suddenly he looked at her, his eyes serious as they locked on hers.

He had come to visit and had just spent the past hour explaining it all to her.

“Exactly. That’s the point. This isn’t 1970 anymore. Look around you. Something is not right. You can’t deny that.”

Truth was, she didn’t want to see it. She didn’t want to believe it. It was the kind of day that she remembered as a child – a day spent running barefoot through green grass, a day filled with sunshine and laughter. Days of laying on he grass, looking up at the contrails left by jets – wondering where people were going. She liked to make up stories in her head and occasionally traveled to far away exotic places with them.

The contrails – they were as fun to watch as watching the clouds – white, fluffy ones that looked like puppies chasing butterflies and bunnies hopping through rolling hills.

That memory was fading and it scared her. Whenever the sky looked blue, it was easier to believe that those days still existed. There was a certain tranquility about it.

But then the blue disappeared. It was gradual. Not everyone noticed. They were too busy.

For months, word was officially out – the chemtrails were real. And they had several reasons for existing. Most were composed of barium and aluminum oxide and used for the purpose of attempting to affect the climate by reflecting sunlight in the atmosphere. The result would reduce the world temperature and counteract the greenhouse effect.

But some people were not convinced that was their sole purpose. Some believed that the high-altitude spraying was done to affect human beings in populated areas. Others proposed a different chemical composition -- and a purpose unknown to the general public.

“That’s Douglas,” Hannah had thought to herself.

But whatever the reason, and whatever they were, the chemtrails in the prior months had been different and once someone learned to recognize them, they were simple to differentiate from normal contrails.

The chemtrails were thicker and extended across the sky – laid down in varying patterns of Xs, tic-tac-toe grids, cross-hatched and parallel lines. And instead of dissipating into the atmosphere, they expanded and within the hour would open into wispy formations, creating fake cirrus-type clouds.

As strange as days may have been, they remained basically normal – until September 10 of 2008. Then things changed.

That was when the “Big Band” collider – Large Hadron Collider – was fired up in Geneva, Switzerrland, and for the first time proton beams had circulated in the LHC’s main ring.

On September 19, the operations were halted due to what scientists said was a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets.

At least, that was what was reported.

But many believed that was not the case, and the operations continued as 10,000 of the world’s best scientists and engineers collaborated.

It was confirmed when it caused a nuclear reaction in the center of a supermassive star, causing it to collapse upon itself.

The explosion formed what people had feared – a black hole with a gravity pull so strong it sent scientists scrambling to work together to find answers. They worked together and found the answer to keeping the hole from pulling the world into itself. But not before the darkness had engulfed three fourths of the world’s sky.

And just like that, the sky – or most of it – was gone.

For two weeks the sky had been dark. Gray at first. Gradually turning darker as more and more people held candlelight vigils in parks, churches, and street corners.

“It’s like the eye of a hurricane, isn’t it?” she finally said.

It was calm. And pretty. For a little while anyway. The storm had come through and settled. Or so a few people thought. The smart ones knew it was only a reprise. It wouldn’t last.

“End times” and “the end of the world” – people everywhere were preaching as they searched for answers.

But answers weren’t coming and people were panicking. Oh sure, they had said it before and had panicked before. It was a cycle. They got used to it and they moved on.

This time it was different and even Hannah couldn’t deny it – to herself. To others, she would.

And just as suddenly, a small blue patch appeared against the black sky. And it did not take long for the chemtrails to return.

“It will turn all blue again,” she said. “All of it.”

Douglas looked sadly at her. He wasn’t mad at her for not believing. He knew she was confused. A lot of people were.

“No,” he shook his head. “It won’t. You can’t live with blinders on.”

Hannah knew he was right. She just wouldn’t admit it. And Douglas knew she knew it. Or he thought she did. But every now and then, he wondered. What if she really didn’t know. What if she had really blocked it out. Was that possible?

“Yes. It will,” she said, interrupting his thoughts.

Sometimes you have to believe. When no one else does. You have to believe, she thought. Isn’t that how she survived all these years. Isn’t that what she had been telling herself?

Douglas looked sad as he placed his hands on her shoulders. He pulled her close and wished it weren’t so – but it was. He could feel her heart beating fast. She was scared, that he knew.

He kissed her head before gently turning her around.

“Look. Please,” he said. “Does that look normal to you?”

Hannah knew he was right but she wouldn’t dare admit it.

(This is still only an excerpt - and I recopied this story here because the other had links attached and I did not want to disable those.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer's not over - traveling continues

August - from Yuma, Az to Portland, Oregon

Well, since summer was not over, I continued to travel. Jennifer, Marisa and I went to Yuma, Arizona.... 10 hour drive. Fun. We got caught in a nasty sand storm as we arrived. I did some research for my novel and we visited Richard - we stayed on base. I also visited some interesting sights - a hummingbird garden in the desert, a camel farm and interesting grave yards.

We left and drove all the way to Oregon -with a stop in Visalia to drop off Jennifer and pick up Catherine. We spent the night in Redding and then spent the next day exploring waterfalls in the Shasta Mountains. (pic is of Catherine at Sweet Briar Falls) Breathtaking beautiful. It was a perfect day.....from there, off to McMinnville for the annual LaMotte/Flores garden party - a perfect end to summer.
(pic: Catherine under one of the arbours at the party - as the sun went in, hundreds of twinkling lights came on.)

What fun!
What a summer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toasting to a Fresh Start


Entry #150

Toasting to a Fresh Start

April looked around her new bedroom. It was perfect.

“Everything had to be white. That’s what I told him,” she told her best friend Nicky as she let herself fall on top of the white down’s comforter on her white wrought iron bed.

Across the small room, lit candles reflected two sad faces off the mirror of a white dresser.

“I still can’t believe you said yes? You don’t love him,” Nicky said. “It’s not too late. Call your parents. Tell them you want to go home.”

“I have no family,” April answered quietly as she looked at long-stem white roses adorning the bedside table. “They threw me out. He saved me. I owe him this.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to marry him.”

Nicky tried to talk some last minute sense into her friend. In a few hours it would be too late. The wedding was scheduled for morning.

April looked at her maid of honor – her only real friend – the only person who really knew her.

Removing a bottle of wine from under the bed, April poured red wine into a single goblet.

“Some things have to be red,” April said, sharing the wine with Nicky who sobbed quietly.

“Don’t cry, my love. I’m not going to marry Jack,” April said, brushing her wine-tasting, arsenic-covered lips against Nicky’s. “Don’t be scared. In vino veritas. No one can ever separate us again.”


laughingwolf said...
quite the twist! :)
wrath999 said...

Laurel said...
Romantic! Except...poor Jack!
JR's Thumbprints said...
I had a gut instinct that these two were more than friends.
Beth Harar said...
I missed major clues and was caught by surprise. Nice ending.
Mona said...
I didn't see that coming! That is a great entry!
September said...
Thank you. I meant for the all-white to help take the eyes away from the few small hints that they might be more than friends. And I loved the contrast of the red wine against an all-white background. It's one of those things where you go back and read and see it was there all along. :) Thanks guys.
Deb S said...
Poor Juliet and Juliet:-)
Nice job.
quin browne said...
ohhhhh, clever.
Catvibe said...
Hi Esther! :-) I loved the all white setting with the glass of red. I totally saw that in my head as I was reading. Sad ending! Left me wondering why it had to be that way, why couldn't they just be together, living? Aw.
aditi said...
I was caught off guard, but then I think I knew it!
pjd said...
Deb S, two in a row! Great line.

It is terribly selfish of April to determine her friend's fate like that. I would agree with the Juliet & Juliet thing if both Juliets had a choice in the matter, but only one decided for both. It kind of gets me a little peeved. No wonder April doesn't have any other friends and her parents kicked her out. Selfish little thing.
BernardL said...
April's a bit shortsighted.
Leah said...
This sounds to me like the preface of a novel. I want to know what happens (and what happened)...maybe Nicky fights back somehow or has an antidote. Or maybe this is the end of the story...good job.
Patsy said...
Loved the contrast of the white room and red wine - very visual.
Aniket said...
lol @ Deb S.

People are surely finding their funny bone towards the end here. :)

I liked this one. Kiss of death. My most preferred choice of death. :D
JaneyV said...
Poor Jack too. To think the poor sod went and paid for the white room for the perfect suicide/murder.

April's quite the selfish cow. ;0)
Chris Eldin said...
Oh!! This is really well-written, on so many levels. Great characterizations, great twist! LOVE it!!
September said...
Thank you for the nice comments. And, PJD - I am glad the story "peeved" you off. That means you got into it. Yes, she was a little selfish. I originally had a couple more graphs in there where Nicki suggests tainting the wine but the word count stood at 285. I had to cut it down and finally settled for this simpler way.
jason evans said...
She owed him. That stings. But it's real. People do much out of a sense of obligation.

Welcome to The Forties Club!
Jaye Wells said...
Nice use of color and a great twist. Good job!

Long time, no write - too busy traveling

So much has happened this year and I have not written in my blog much - my apologies to myself as much as to others for that. Let's see if I can catch people up.....

January - I lost my dream job. Odd that I call it that. But to me, it was. I loved writing for my home paper and still miss it alot. But, like dozens of others who have been laid off from the newspaper business, I had no choice but to move on. I chose to do so by traveling.
Jennifer and Richard
Mardi Gras Festival - near Louisiana

Marisa in Mississippi

Marisa in Alabama
@ Hardees - Meridian, Mississippi
Had never seen/been to one

February - Mississippi and Alabama - Spent Valentines Day in Mississippi. I loved the area. A whole week in Mississippi, Alabama (including a drive to Cuba, AL) and Louisiana. It was fun. I remember stopping in Alabama and seeing a little red-headed, freckled-face, bare-footed boy riding his bicycle down a narrow road. A brown dog ran after him. I loved it. So Norman Rockwell like. 

March 2009 - Ten days in New York City

March - Spring Break with my daughter Catherine in New York City. I finally had a dream come true - I ice skated in Central Park - a dream of mine since I was in 7th grade. (and saw it on "Love Story")
April - San Francisco - 4-day band trip with Jennifer.

Marisa at Disney's
California Adventure
May - Disneyland & California Adventure

Catherine at Forks, Washington
"Twilight Tour"
June - Pacific NW - following and writing about the Fabulous Studio Band (Seattle and in Everett, WA) With side trips to Whidbey Island The San Juan Islands is one of my favorite all-time places. Forks and Port Angeles in Washington and the "Twilight Tour."

Richard and Jennifer
Atlantic Beach, NC

July - I am currently writing this from North Carolina - where I am spending a week with Jennifer at Cherry Point MCAS - Havelock, NC

I really love this area. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The Outerbanks - absolutely breathtaking. We went to the aquarium and took a small charter boat to see the wild mustangs and collect shells at Shackleford Banks - something I will never forget.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waiting on a Miracle

I am very excited and honored to learn that I earned an Honorable Mention - and I made it into the "Forties Club" - with this story I submitted into Clarity of Night's recent contest. (Members of the Clarity of Night Forties Club are entries scoring 40 or higher out of 45 possible points.) For those of you who missed my story, here it is:
Entry #125
Waiting on a Miracle
by Esther Avila

Jack watched the television, his mouth open at the scene unfolding at Fashion Point Mall -- police tape, metal, skin, and chaos.

“Unbelievable!” he said to himself as the phone rang.

“Hey, are you watching the news?” Kyle asked. “Can you believe it?”

Just the day before, Jack and Kyle met for dinner -- and a few drinks.

“Stop being such a baby. If I were in that wheelchair, I wouldn’t be such a whiner,” Kyle had said.“I dare you to spend the whole evening in a wheelchair.”

The deal was on. Heading to the mall, Kyle obtained a chair and proceeded to maneuver around the shops.

“Nothing to it,” he said. “I bet my grandma could do this blindfolded.”

“Tell me that after you take the stairs.”

Kyle headed to the escalator, ignoring the warning: Strollers and Wheelchairs Prohibited.

“Don’t do it Kyle. I was kidding.”

Too late.Jack felt helpless as he watched his best friend tumble to the bottom of the stairs.

Laughing, Kyle stood, thankful for the beers that cushioned the fall.

A concerned crowd had gathered around him.“I can walk,” Kyle yelled as he stood and pushed away the chair. “It’s a miracle!”

Jack’s attention turned back to the pretty reporter on the news.

“…..two people are in critical condition and four others in serious condition after they rolled their wheelchairs down the escalator, apparently looking for a miracle. A man in his mid 20s was miraculously healed yesterday …..”


McKoala said...
Appreciated your twist!
January 15, 2009 12:23 AM

kunal said...
good ending .. riveting in a way.
January 15, 2009 1:01 AM

Lena said...
that was some good twist. but somehow it is good that people still believe in miracles, even though it does not work out always. Well written!
January 15, 2009 1:36 AM

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...
Ha ha!That was a good read,and relieving too :)
January 15, 2009 3:35 AM

K.Lawson Gilbert said...
Unique take. Good writing skills - I like the way the story unfolded. (Kyle needs an attitude adjustment- lol)
January 15, 2009 7:14 AM

Scott said...
Things just work out for some people! I loved your take on the picture; this was a fun-to-read piece.
January 15, 2009 7:35 AM

laughingwolf said...
nice twist :)
January 15, 2009 7:45 AM

Aerin said...
oh, my gosh. such a great story - LOVE this
January 15, 2009 8:35 AM

wrath999 said...
Cool and enjoyable tale
January 15, 2009 9:08 AM

RiverSoul said...
Loved the macabre twist...Heh! Heh! Server them right for blindly believing everything they see.:DDo read my story too.:)#86.:)
January 15, 2009 9:26 AM

peggy said...
what a twisty ending. good job!
January 15, 2009 12:18 PM

BernardL said...
Ouch! Well done.
January 15, 2009 1:11 PM

Aine said...
Oh!! Fabulous! And, sadly, so true to human nature. You had me on the edge of my seat until the scene was revealed.Loved it!!:)
January 15, 2009 4:23 PM

Patsy said...
I wasn't expecting that.
January 15, 2009 4:55 PM

Jaye Wells said...
Loved the punch line. Thanks for the laugh.
January 15, 2009 5:24 PM

Anonymous said...
Wicked! Loved it.John McAuley
January 15, 2009 7:11 PM

bluesugarpoet said...
Nice twist at the end - completely unexpected! - jana
January 15, 2009 9:50 PM

Catvibe said...
I really love the ending!
January 16, 2009 10:52 AM

BrownPhantom said...
Nothing prepared me for the end. Very fuuny :).-Prashant Dhanke
January 16, 2009 12:16 PM

iLL Man said...
Never be shy of a sick joke........... =DMinimal fuss in the telling and the gag came out of nowhere. Nicely done.Ewen.
January 16, 2009 8:44 PM

pjd said...
Like everyone else, I love the brilliant twist. The buildup really sells it.
January 17, 2009 1:53 AM

Senorita said...
LOL...great writing... loved the end :)
January 17, 2009 11:32 AM

September said...
Thank you for reading it and commenting. It sure was fun writing it. I got the idea after my daughter tripped on one and jokingly said the same thing after standing up (though not on stairs)and being a news reporter, I had to throw one into the story. :)I've enjoyed reading all of the other stories too. I am almost done too. There sure were a lot of them. Thanks again.
January 17, 2009 10:55 PM

sawan said...
Esther, tht was a grt grt story and a grt msg too..
January 18, 2009 12:56 PM

Terry said...
Esther, such inspired writing! I could really see your characters, and I loved the line, "...thankful for the beers that cushioned the fall." I've dated this idiot. Fun read with an outrageous twist.
January 18, 2009 3:23 PM

Geraldine said...
Naughty but nice. Tres interesting take on this photo prompt!
January 18, 2009 11:20 PM

September said...
Sawan, Terry and Geraldine - Aww...You guys warmed my heart and made me smile. Thank you so much for the kind and uplifting comments.
January 19, 2009 3:22 AM

ceedy said...
Nice story...and a good message...What the heck take a chance will ya.....
January 19, 2009 12:05 PM

Sarah Hina said...
I loved this one, Esther! Such a natural unfolding of events, making the twist that much more memorable. You did so much right with this joke gone wrong. :) Expertly written, with convincing characters and dialogue. The desire to believe can lead people to do crazy things. Well done!
January 19, 2009 2:11 PM

September said...
Ceedy and Sarah, thank you so very much for your comments. They mean a lot to me.Everyone: Well, I read every single story in the contest - all 125 of them, and some of them I read two to three times. I also commented on each and every one.Wonderful little contests Jason runs. They are fun to write, and even more fun to read and learn.
January 20, 2009 2:40 AM

Terry said...
Thanks for giving us another wonderful example of how it's done! Congratulations on placing so highly in this talented little pond.
January 20, 2009 12:52 PM

jason evans (contest official) said...
Congratulations on the honorable mention!Great job with pacing, entertainment value, technical skill, storytelling, and voice! And welcome to the Forties Club!!Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest.
January 20, 2009 11:01 PM

September said...
Oh Terry - You're too kind. Thank you.Jason: Thank you for all of the hours you put into this. Your contests and comments are greatly appreciated and have encouraged me to take a leap of faith. I write newspaper articles but my heart and soul wants to move towards short stories again - and I want to continue with my novel once more...thank you for re-firing me up.
January 21, 2009 12:23 PM