Miscellany-the Many MEanings of a Dollar Bill; Fiction-A New Year's Eve Double Date; Blast from Past

Coming as a New Year's Treat-The Best Short Story Ever Written
To Be Published Monday 1/2/06

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Take out a one dollar bill. The one dollar bill you're looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design.

This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it.

It is actually material.

We've all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know.

It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.

If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal.

On the top you will see the scales for a balanced budget.

In the center you have a carpenter's square, a tool used for an even cut.

Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury.

That's all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know.

If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles.

Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States.

The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal.

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It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.

If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark.

This country was just beginning.

We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization.

The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished.

Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity.

It was Franklin's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

"IN GOD WE TRUST" is on this currency.The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, "God has favored our undertaking."

The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, "a new order has begun."

At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral for 1776.

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States.

It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery, and is the centerpiece of most hero's monuments.

Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States, and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.

The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons:

First, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above it.

Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England.

Alo, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own.

At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor.

We were coming together as one nation.

In the Eagle's beak you will read, "E PLURIBUS UNUM", meaning, "one nation from many people."

Above the Eagle, you have thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away.

Again, we were coming together as one.

Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace.

The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number.

This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor.

But think a bout this:

13 original colonies,

13 signers of the Declaration of Independence,

13 stripes on our flag,

13 steps on the Pyramid,

13 letters in the Latin above,

13 letters in "E Pluribus Unum,"

13 stars above the Eagle,

13 bars on that shield,

13 leaves on the olive branch,

13 fruits, and if you look closely,

13 arrows.

And, for minorities: the 13th Amendment.

I always ask people, "Why don't you know this?" Your children don't know this, and their history teachers don't know this.

Too many veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade.

Many veterans remember coming home to an America that didn't care.

Too many veterans never came home at all.

Share this page with someone, so they can learn what is on the back of the UNITED STATES ONE DOLLAR BILL, and what it stands for...

Otherwise, they will probably never know...


Guarding the Unknown Soldiers

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30." Other requirements of the guard:

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them.

We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve.

Peace is watching a sunset and knowing who to thank


An Ode to America~

We rarely get a chance to see another country's editorial about the USA.

Read this excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper. The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title "C"ntarea Americii, meaning "Ode To America") in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei.

"The Daily Event" or "News of the Day".

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs. Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart.

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Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.

After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing.

On every occasion, they started singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!" I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.

What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace.

I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion...Only freedom can work such miracles.

Cornel Nistorescu


The Goose In the Driveway

“Pat,” my husband shout-whispered. “Come here a minute.”

I slipped on my shoes and went to the front porch where he stood waiting.

“Seems we have a goose in the driveway.”

I followed husband’s pointing finger with my gaze. There, at the end of the driveway and by the mailbox, stood one of those resin geese that adorn various and sundry lots and gardens across the land. This goose had a piece of wood placed firmly upon his “feet” and a garland of berries around his neck. It was obviously placed there with the wooden anchor that he not move with the wind or rumble of passing cars. The neck garland reinforced what we knew.

Someone had placed this handsome fellow at the foot of our driveway and he was definitely meant to be a gift.

There was no identification on who gave the gift.

In fact, through this date, we have no idea who left the goose.

Earlier that morning, the Saturday before Christmas eve, the dogs did bark with a startle. They sleep by the bedroom window and are privy to what goes on right outside. I was sound asleep and didn’t know if I was dreaming or what. But I think I heard the slam of a car door. I certainly knew the dogs were seeing or hearing something out front. The dogs do bark at such as mail trucks, visitors to neighbors, children walking home from school. The Fedex man is an especially reviled vehicle as the dogs see it. Soon enough they stopped barking. I figured perhaps a neighbor had a visitor or was walking to their car.

Evidently we did have a visitor that morning and the visitor left the goose.

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If ever a gift could bring peace on earth and goodwill to man, it has to be this goose. For I don’t know who left it. Or why. But I must now be polite to everyone I meet in that, well how do I know THIS isn’t the goose gift giver?

So if whoever left the goose is reading this, thank you very much. The inhabitants of my neighborhood would know that I love resin lawn animals and have a yard full of them. There’s monkeys climbing ropes on the porch, herons peeking above the dried astilbe in the center lawn garden. A giraffe looks out from inside of a whiskey barrel. I suspect the gift giver was someone in the community. Surely if my family or a friend they would have left a note or notified me, right?

The goose will be added to the resin menagerie and will always mystify.

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A New Year's Eve Double Date

I was through with men; drop dead, honest-to-God, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, through with men. I still liked men, mind you....very much. I still had some hope that there might be a man out there for me. But for New Year's Eve, 1994, and as a result of my resolution for 1995-I was definitely through with men.
It was time to reconnoiter, I had decided, as regards the men issue. In 1995, I had resolved, I was definitely going to seriously scrutinize that sign over my head that said "Weirdos stop here." For the three semi-serious relationships that I had with the males of my species in 1994 all ended up as disasters to have me examining my judgement of people, men in particular.
So when my friend Danielle called me about ten days before New Year's Eve and invited me to her drop-dead, neato New Year's party in a ski cabin located on a mountain near Aspen, I accepted eagerly, with no compunction for my total lack of any sort of date object. I was through with men and since this party would start in one year and end in the year of my resolution, I figured this was the perfect occasion to begin to be through with men. I accepted Danielle's kind offer, told her I would be dateless, then explained that I was through with men.
Danielle chuckled and informed me she would be taking bets on how long this resolution would last.
"Maybe I'll get all the stews to start up a little pool to see how long Marianne Josephine Grabinski will remain through with men," my friend and stewardess on the same airline with which I labored, said.
"You just go right on and do that, because I will be flying out to your mountain for a New Year's party followed by a day of skiing, unfettered and unencumbered by any man. And you know what" I continued, "I simply do not care and am not worried about it. No man is sure better that the ones I have been getting lately. You'll see.....this lady is through with men."

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Danielle was still chuckling as she hung up the phone. But I vowed that she would see. Marianne Josephine Grabinski was through with men, at least for one year. Little did I know that this New Year's eve party would be the occasion that I would finally meet the man of my dreams. And I would have TWO to chose from.

"So, I heard you were going to Danielle's little party," Eileen said in that gossipy way of the female. "I also heard," Eileen said, as she poured more coffee for the pilots, "that you were through with men. Could it possibly be?"
I busily arranged the Danish on the platters and pretended to be nonchalant. "You heard right, Eileen my good buddy. I am through with men. I can't believe you are even surprised. Or have you forgotten my last boyfriend, the charismatic Al, who stole everyone's wallet while pretending to be a magician. Or let's not forget the wonderful Ray, the drug dealer. Yup...this lady ain't bothering with any male type of beings until she figures out what is going wrong."
Eileen giggled, wished me luck, and carried the coffee to the pilots. I followed behind with my tray of Danish.
I was quite sure that Eileen remembered my former boyfriends, not to mention the pilot who ended up to be very married and very determined to stay that way.

New Year's eve, as well as New Year's day, were the happening holidays for airline personnel. While almost everyone in America had somewhere to go on Thanksgiving and Christmas, there was very little travel on the New Year's holidays. Many airline personnel postponed their Christmases until the New Year span, just to be insured of being with their families. For myself, I intended to hop a flight to Colorado the day before New Year's Eve, spend a quiet evening at the airline hotel, then have a rollicking New Year's Eve followed by a day of shushing down what Danielle assured me was a wonderful slope. When my co-workers, many of whom would be in attendance at Danielle's party, saw me without a man, then they would believe. Marianne Josephine Grabinski was through with men.

I couldn't believe my eyes when the hotel van dropped me off at the base of the mountain on which sat the little ski lodge that Danielle had obtained from a pilot for New Year's eve party use. The setting was spooky as all get out; a large mountain looming directly up from the curving road. What looked to be a rather ancient ski lift was rigged up, ostensibly to carry residents up the mountain to their lodges or to ski.
Danielle had given me instructions earlier in the day. "Just hop on a chair, push the button on the pole, and you will be delivered directly to the door of the lodge. When you hop off, push the button to stop it. It's the only way up."
I looked up at the mountain then surveyed the raggedy ski lift. This equipment had most definitely seen better days. I lugged my skis and pole to the lift chair adjacent to the button pole and pondered the wisdom of this trip.
"Hey, wait up!"
I heard a male voice call from somewhere, and turned to ascertain the source. A tall man was struggling up the little incline to the lift chair, dragging skis and poles behind him.
"I guess you are going up the mountain to the party?" the voice's owner said, huffing and puffing from his recent jog.
The fellow required some serious scrutiny.
He was a little over 6' tall, I judged. A shock of wheat-colored hair fell to completely cover one eye . His other eye was a very deep brown. Since I was through with men, I cut my appraisal short.
This guy, I thought, was no doubt an axe murderer and here I was at the base of this spooky mountain about to ride up with him on a rusty ski lift to some lodge in the sky.
There was, however, just he and I, and I had to consider my options.

"I wonder where all the other party people are?" I asked my breathless buddy. "Seems to me there should be other people here ready to go up."
"Beats me. I'm a co-pilot with National airlines, and I didn't know about the party until this morning. Caught the first flight from Philadelphia to get here. But, hey, this must be the right place cause you and I are here, right?"
Both of us studied the lift chair, then decided to jump on. Only I heard yet another male voice in the distance.
"Wait up!" the voice shouted.
Walking up the incline was yet another handsome male, calling for me to wait.
This particular fellow was wearing no ski apparel and carried no poles or skis.
"Wear you party clothes under your ski gear. And bring your poles and skis!" Danielle had exclaimed during her instructions. "Cause we will be sleeping over in the lodge then spend the next day...skiing!"
"You going to the New Year's party?" my Philadelphian called to the man loping up the slope. He wore a pair of jeans, a button-down shirt covered with a burgundy sweater, and a pair of tennis shoes. I could have smacked my city of brotherly love friend. Suppose this guy was the axe murderer?
The fellow finally reached the chair lift and introduced himself as Jack Roberts. My Philadelphia friend, who had introduced himself as Chad Rubinski, asked Mr. Roberts just where were his skis
"I don't ski, man," the Roberts fellow answered. Again, it was incumbent upon me to perform some serious female scrutiny. He was also over 6' tall, about 35 years old, I estimated. His hair was cropped close to his head in the manner of the then popular George Clooney of ER. He certainly had a set of interesting eyes.
They were cobalt blue and sparkled like...well like George Clooney's of ER. His chin was very square, resolute, I thought.
"I just came for the party. No skiing for me."

I was a little annoyed with Danielle, who did not warn me of this spooky setup. And where were the other people? Last I heard, there were over forty people expected. It was 9 o'clock, the time Danielle said to head up on the lift. Then again, I reasoned, maybe they will arrive in dribs and drabs, .just as had my two male companions. If we waited much longer, more would probably show.
Our trio observed the lift chair, and figured three of us could ride up together. If Jack had ski gear with him, we would not have fit. As it was, I felt better riding up with the two of them.
Chad reached over to push the button. The three of us had snuggled, a bit tightly I thought, into the lift chair. We held our breath that after the effort the thing wouldn't work. The lift began to move. Not that it was the safest transport in the world. The thing creaked and wheezed and bounced as it struggled up the mountain. I almost decided to jump off while I could without death, when it stopped.
Chad, Jack and myself sat in the lift chair and surveyed the quiet mountain. There were no lights visible that would indicate cabins or lodges or any human life. We all looked down. We were almost a hundred feet in the air, Chad estimated. To jump, even with a snow cushion, would not be wise.
Jack reached inside his sweater and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He lit one up, and stretched his arm around the lift chair back directly behind me. He crossed his legs and shifted himself to comfort in his lift chair corner.
"Ain't this a fine mess," he said, exhaling a cloud of smoke. I figured a cigarette to be in order, and pulled out my own pack of smokes.
" Do you guys have to smoke?" Chad whined, pulling his head away from the smoke clouds.
Strike one against Chad, I thought. Doesn't like smokers.

"I don't know what to suggest here guys," Chad said, looking at the drop below and surveying the mountain in front. "We could just wait until someone else comes to get on the lift. Should be a crowd of people here soon, I would think."
It was obvious to me there wasn't any other choice. We couldn't jump. A pole, with spikes to climb down, was about fifty feet in front of us. In a life or death situation, I surmised, we could hang on the wire and go hand-over-hand to the pole and climb down to safety. It was dangerous though. The wire was covered with ice. We would just have to wait. I looked at my watch. It was ten after nine. There should have been loads of people about.
To make conversation, I thought I would quiz these fellows as to their occupations and hobbies. Chad I already knew to be a co-pilot with my own airline. I asked Jack what he did to earn a living. I figured there had to be an airline connection some how.
"I'm a mechanic, " Jack responded to my query. Ah, a mechanic. Airline mechanics make good money. And were stationed in one place. Good for families and wives. Although Chad, my co-pilot buddy made a handsome living too. He had a strike against him with the cigarettes already. Other than that, it was neck in neck.
" I wonder why nobody's here yet," Jack shouted in frustration.
Almost forty five minutes had passed since the lift stopped, and no one had showed up yet. The cold was getting serious, even with my ski clothes. Jack, I knew, had to be very cold. I had to admire his stamina. Not once did he complain.
Chad once again surveyed the surround and once again pronounced it hopeless.
Jack was getting to be positively jumpy. His lips were starting to turn a slight blue, and he was shivering.
"We are going to have to get help," he announced with a resolve that matched his chin.
I was impressed, very impressed. For by this time, I saw that as the case also. Another hour in that cold, I wasn’t sure we could make it. Jack definitely had a problem with his lack of warm clothes.

"I'm going to go hand-over-hand on the wire, get to the pole and climb down," Jack finally announced. "I'll get out to the road and flag down some help or I'll walk until I find help. You two just stay put. You should be okay for a while with your warm clothes."
Chad nodded solemnly, content to let Jack take the risk.
Jack climbed out of the chair lift, shaking the thing silly and scaring both me and the spineless Chad half to death. He managed to walk hand-over-hand over the icy wire and reached the pole safely. He placed his foot on the first spike on the pole and it held his weight safely. Slowly and carefully, Jack climbed down the pole. About five spikes down, a spike broke. Jack lost his grip and fell to the ground.
Other than a quick yelp of surprise, Chad and I did not hear another sound. Furiously we yelled to Jack on the ground below. He did not answer. Chad and I both leaned as far out of the chair as we could, beseeching an answer from Jack, or at least to see if he was all right. We could see nothing from our angle and through the wispy fog below.
"We have to help him, " I finally said.
"I know Marianne," Chad said quietly but made no move.
In desperation and fear, I reached right out and slapped the quiet Chad directly across the face.
"Listen to me! We have to get out of this chair. Jack is down there below, with a broken back or concussion. He needs help quick. And we have to get down sooner or later anyway...."
"I hear you Marianne," Chad answered in a monotone to my hysteria. "But I need to think this through."
I finally decided that I would get down off that thing myself. Chad, baby, I thought, of all the disgusting men I have encountered in this last disgusting year, you are the worst.

"Wait, Marianne," Chad grabbed me in my clumsy attempt to exit the lift. "It's not safe. How are you going to climb down the pole? You saw what happened to Jack. What on earth good would it to do for another one of us to get killed or seriously hurt? Hold on!" Chad shouted, then forced me back into the chair as I tried to exit upon hearing his stupid speech.
"I'm serious Marianne." Chad said through clenched teeth as he pinned me back down onto the chair, forcing me still with the full weight of his body. I stopped struggling. Please don't let me find out this guy is now some kind of rapist and will take advantage of me in this vulnerable position. Although it was so cold and the chair so wobbly I couldn't imagine any kind of lust thing going on in Chad's mind, much less rape on this swinging lift chair.
"Look," Chad began, as I sat up but remained still. "I have a plan. Listen. Our watches are wrong."
I straightened my ski jacket, then paused to consider. He was right! Colorado was two hours earlier in the time zone than from where Chad and I had come. It wasn't 10:25pm, as our watches indicated. It was 8:25pm. You'd think two airline people would have been more careful.
I said just this to Chad, who laughed along with me. He shook that shock of wheat hair out of his eyes, and I found myself gazing into two of the deepest and handsomest brown eyes I had seen in some time. Even Chad stopped his laughter with a thoughtful gaze into my own eyes. My stomach did some weird kind of flip-flop that had nothing to do with the fear I should have been feeling.

No! I pushed Mr. Chad away, firmly and with resolution. I was through. Through. And even if I wasn't, this Chad guy had already proven himself as unsuitable and without the bother of an awkward first date.
"But what about Jack?" I said, after Chad advised that the best thing to do was for us to wait.
"Here's the choice," Chad stated, "we try to get down to help Jack, whereby one of us falls, .just like Jack, and be of no help to him. Or we wait about twenty more minutes until someone shows up. I think it wise to wait."

Okay, so it made sense. This Chad guy still was a coward in my book, but his plan was sound. I would give it a half hour. After that, I told Chad, I was climbing down.
Exactly fifteen minutes later, the first guest arrived.
"Call the police!" Chad shouted as a man and a woman climbed up the incline, ostensibly to ride the lift to the party, only to find two people dangling on a broken chair lift. "Tell them to bring rescue equipment, and tell them that there may be an escaped prisoner badly injured. Make sure they check if there were any prison escapes recently."
I was so excited to see other humans, I almost didn't hear Chad's words. As they registered, I turned to look at him, my eyes filled with questions.
"Sssshhh," Chad commanded. The man and woman acknowledged Chad's instructions and ran back down the incline to seek help.
"I got suspicious of the guy when he put his arm around the back of the chair lift, " Chad was explaining to my mute and shocked self.
"His undershirt had prison numbers on it. When he shifted, I caught a glimpse of it where it stuck out from his shirt. It didn't register that they were prison numbers, just grey letters. At first I thought they were for laundry."
I was still quiet at Chad's explanations. Could we really have been on a ski lift with an escaped prisoner?
"Then I got to thinking why he didn't have any ski equipment. His explanation could have been right, but this with the prison numbers on the t-shirt, well. Then there was his haircut."
"Why didn't you say something?"
"First, I couldn't say anything while he was on the chair. Besides, I wasn't sure. It wasn't until he started to hand-walk the wire that I was fairly certain my suspicions were correct. I definitely saw a gun sticking out of his pants pocket."
"Well, why didn't you tell me then?" I asked in the ten minutes before help finally arrived.

"You were hysterical enough! If my first plan didn't work, and you insisted on climbing down, then I was going to tell you. I realized the time problem almost right away, but didn't want to say anything in front of this Jack guy. HE was operating under the right time, remember. Only he didn't know what time the party was to start. With us stuck with him on that ski lift, I figured it was best to have him believe people would be coming soon. I was quite glad when he decided to climb down, although I was pretty sure he would not send any kind of help. In fact, I don't think Jack is even down by that pole. I think he survived the fall and just took off."

The next few hours were chaos. The snow on that spooky mountain reflected the red, blue and yellow lights of the various rescue equipment and police cars.
They did find Jack, whose real name was Stanford Williams and was indeed, a recent escapee from nearby Waltherford prison. Mr. Williams did have a badly sprained ankle but had managed to hobble over to a nearby copse of woods. When our rescuers called the police as instructed by Chad and told them of Chad's suspicions that an escapee was nearby, the police came right up to the mountain. There had been a recent escape from the prison and the police were instantly alerted when our rescue call came through.
Danielle was beside herself over the incident and in tears over our possible danger. Although, she reminded both Chad and I, had we had the correct time we would not have met up with our prisoner friend, who just happened to consider the whole thing an opportunity for who could guess what.
"I don't know what he was planning," the crusty Colorado detective told Chad and I to our speculation. "Criminals don't reveal what they already did, much less what they plan to do. Most likely he was going to try and get some hostages, maybe even you two when you got up the mountain. Whatever was his plan, it wasn't a good one. The best thing that could have happened was that lift breaking."

We did have a little New Year's party that night, and managed to get it started a few minutes before midnight, Colorado time. At the stroke of midnight, I kissed the man who owned the deep brown eyes and who I had earlier thought to be a coward.
Chad pulled away, fumbled in his pocket, and pulled out a packet of mints. With a smile he stuck a mint in my mouth, then proceeded to kiss me again. We did things with that mint that I would have thought impossible.
I made a “new” New Year's resolution. I decided it was time for me to quit smoking.

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Seems Like Ages Ago

And yet last year, at this time, President Bush’s inauguration was in full swing. It might well have been the last happy time for the President. Soon to follow would be earthquakes, hurricanes, insurgents all the while accompanied by the donkey Dems serving as Greek chorus and finger-pointers in the background.

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