Posts Tagged With: news

Letters from the Front Line — Day 15

EDITOR’S NOTE: In and effort to entertain the newsroom, another photographer and I (who are now required to work from home) have begun exchanging letters from the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I share them with you so that you may feel the love.

evangeline-maid-flickr-1024x768My Dearest Mr. Daquano,

It has been an entire fortnight since I last saw your smiling face (and somewhat mis-shapen nose), but I feel that I am getting into the rhythm of this quarantine nonsense.

I think of you often. Twice this weekend, as a matter of fact.

I have developed an affinity for the elderly couple outside the wire, and I think, they with me. This Saturday, they worked me like a slave, but I managed to finish all their tasks in time for a nutritious lunch.

You know bread and other staples are scarce at Forward Operating Base Frat House, so I took my excursion as an opportunity to reconnoiter more supplies for the men.

Outside the wire, dried goods stores are filled — shelf after shelf — with all manner of food and drink. Shopping there after documenting the desolate store shelves here was almost like leaving a North Korean grocery and walking right into a Costco two days before Thanksgiving.

DSC_0064

I thought of you again, Sunday, before I began much-needed shop time. It had been too long since my last attempt at lathery.

I set out early to make a bowl to hold the chocolate rations we sometimes get in the Frat House. So high were the shavings I scarcely could find some of my tools. And so thick the sawdust, that when I sneezed this morning, my nose shot a toothpick through the delicate handkerchief you gifted me to remember you by.

Sadly, it no longer holds your intoxicating scent.

If it is not too bold to ask, in your next letter, could you please send one of your sweaty wife-beaters so that I may never forget your most precious aroma.

Warmest Regards,

Sgt. T. Polisher
1st News Division
9th Battalion

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It, news, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Letters from the Front Lines — Day 11

EDITOR’S NOTE: In and effort to entertain the newsroom, another photographer and I (who are now required to work in separate offices) have begun exchanging letters from the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I share them with you so that you may feel the love.

IMG_0692

My Dearest Mr. Daquano,

You were right as usual. The thought of Mr Balboa’s pugilistic prowess in defeating that ugly woman’s husband lifted my spirits enough to carry on.

My apologies for not writing yesterday. So much has happened I scarcely know where to begin.

Firstly, sanitary privileges have been restored! T’was long over-due. The air here had become quite foul. Sadly, there was only water enough that we had to share.

Ranking members Forward Operating Base Frat House were allowed to shower first. That water was recaptured in a washtub from which the rest of the men were allowed to bathe.

I was able to fashion a pair of tweezers out of two spork handles and perform a little maintenance on my longer follicles as well.

Yesterday, I was, once again, outside the wire. Again, it was in the delightful burg 90 minutes southeast.

I spent the better part of the morn ferrying locals to and fro, hither and yon. Various appointments, and obligations needed tending. I was only too happy to break the quarantine here to engage in a little distanced socializing.

The afternoon was filled with physical labour. The sweat of my brow was a paltry sum to see such happiness on the faces of the locals.

So pleased with my work, were they, that they gifted me with something more prized than gold in these times of scarcity.

IMG_0706-1

Bathroom stationary.

3-ply!

Rest assured, I shall put it to good use later this evening.

With warmest regards,

Sgt. T. Polisher
1st News Division
9th Battalion

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It, news, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Letters from the Front Line — Day 8

EDITOR’S NOTE: In and effort to entertain the newsroom, another photographer and I (who are now required to work in separate offices) have begun exchanging letters from the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I share them with you so that you may feel the love.

IMG_0600

My Dearest Mr. Daquano,

By orders of General News, we have had to evacuate Forward Operating Base Frat House.

And by “we,” I mean Private Slappy and I. It is the result of some new-fangled Stay Put order from the governor.

Apparently, Captain Crank, Lance Corporal Houston, and Boot Duhe were trapped inside the facility as the order was given, and are now doomed to live out the rest of their lives is a squalid conference room that smells of stale beer and cheese poofie rations.

Pvt. Slappy and I were lucky to be outside the wire when the order was issued, hence, we are allowed to wander about, as long as we do no work. By the governor’s order, we may only do work while sitting in our respective homes, which these days are the cluttered confines of our separate horseless carriages.

Gen. News also has us using a new contraption which allows us to maintain safe distance when talking to people. He calls it a “boom.” But it’s nothing more than a long stick. I think it’s a clever ruse perpetrated by stick manufacturers to charge outrageous prices for otherwise common apparati. But in times like these, the News Division will spare no expense to deliver information to the public.

I assure you, Pvt. Slappy and I are doing everything within our powers to remain safe and infection free during these most miserable of times.

I do hope the Stay Put Order does not interfere with your Sunday garden parties. It is springtime. The flowers are in bloom and there is no better time to don a hoop skirt and mingle with the other southern belles over mint juleps and pimento sandwiches.

And, if it is not too forward for me to suggest, you are as pretty as pig nipples in your Sunday finery.

And speaking of pig nipples, I hope that Mr. No Hussle has not been a cause of irritation to your delicate temperament.

I know not when I will be released from my duties, but I count the hours until I can see your smiling face again be it in person or in my dreams.

With my deepest regards,

Sgt. T. Polisher
1st News Division
9th Battallion

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It, Not Writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mail Call — Day 4

EDITOR’S NOTE: In and effort to entertain the newsroom, another photographer and I (who are now required to work in separate offices) have begun exchanging letters from the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I share them with you so that you may feel the love.

16-9

He wrote me back! I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl.

Dearest Rick,

Last night my eldest son, Jaelen, AKA “lil Wayne” asked me when Uncle Monkey was coming over again. Fighting back tears I gently took his hand and told him “I’m not sure buddy.”

A sad look happened upon his face as he turned around, cocked one leg up and gave a pretend fart. His shenanigans made me miss you even more.

It’s been quiet in the parking lot. I’ve discovered we have a new homeless person who walks up and down France street speaking loudly and incoherently. Some days I close my eyes and pretend it’s Meeks back from the island. Just to give me a taste of better days.

222959_1024948856867_4568_n

I’m so glad you clarified that it was actually a real cockroach that LCpl Houston killed and not Cpt. Crank, how sad would that be, despite a sure promotion for myself if he were to expire.

I yearn for the good old days when you would ask me to hold your calls, and make wise cracks about Nipsey No Hussle’s Protrusions 😞😞

Until I receive your next letter, you’re in my thoughts and occasional dreams.

Left Eye Daquano
3rd Division
69th Battalion

P.S it took me ten minutes to spell protrusions.

Categories: Fun, Life Or Something Like It, Not Writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Letters from the Front Line — Day 4

EDITOR’S NOTE: In and effort to entertain the newsroom, another photographer and I (who are now required to work in separate offices) have begun exchanging letters from the frontline of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I share them with you so that you may feel the love.Periplaneta_americana_Face_MD_Prince_Georges_county_2014-02-27-15.31.28_ZS_PMax.jpg.860x0_q70_crop-scaleMy Dearest Mr. Daquano,

Your last epistle brightened my spirits tremendously. I am greatly comforted knowing that you will continue to broaden your vocabulary in my absence.

The troops of Forward Operating Base Frat House are in the doldrums, today. Boot Duhe left the remnants of yesterday’s pie uncovered last night. This morning, Lance Corporal Houston found the largest cockroach I have ever seen perched atop a dollop of whipped cream, almost daring the Lance to knock him off.

So large a creature was he, that the terrified Boot Duhe made haste to exit the Mess Hall as if his hair were set ablaze.

Thankfully, in his tryptophan-induced stupor, the vile creature was too slow and dispatched with great ease. The cockroach, that is, not LCpl Houston.

The drudgery of FOB life has set in. Tonight, we plan a covert action against Captain Crank’s liquor cabinet. I cannot get into the specifics of the operation, but suffice it to say it involves a coupon and a crooked hat.

Until next I lay eyes upon you, I remain most sincerely yours,

Sargent T. Polisher
1st News Division
9th Batqallion.

Categories: Fun, news, Not Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Memorial Day With A Twist

DSC_0033.jpgEveryone in my newsroom knows when I get excited about a story, stand back because the show is about to begin.

My boss tapped the send button on her email and watched from behind her computer monitor. I could almost feel her smile as I opened it. The show was going to be epic.

The story had everything I hate. First, it was a Memorial Day story. Don’t get me wrong, the men and women who died to secure our freedom deserve to be honored every day, but when every television station and website in the country is doing the same story, with the same pictures, and the same sound . . . well, I think you get my point.

Admittedly, this story was going to be different. It had no video. Maybe an old black and white photo or two. I was going to have to create the rest out of thin air.

And of course, I would have to shoot it over the weekend

Still, I couldn’t resist.

 

Categories: news | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Losing It

14232489_10208956828370825_7740601966627015887_nRain cascaded off of the hood of my slicker suit, past the eye cup of my camera, and dropped into the shin-deep water under my tripod. I barely noticed the reporter blinking behind water-speckled eyeglasses. It was the boat motoring down what, 12 hours earlier, had been a neighborhood street that had my attention.

An elderly man in a plastic, yellow coat wrapped his arm around a gray-haired woman shivering under an umbrella as they drifted toward me. On the deck, a garbage bag that I assumed held the couple’s only worldly possessions not soon to be underwater. At the aft, a middle-aged man wiped rain from his face as he steered.

I’m actually surprised I remember so much detail; my mind was not on my job. I was thinking about my wife.

I had left her just thirty minuets earlier. I had snugged the blankets around her as I kissed her forehead and left for work. Before leaving, I had checked the neighborhood. The weatherman had said water was on the way. Our neighborhood had survived the great flood of 1983, then the flood of ’91, and Tropical Storm Allison which had put so many others underwater. We would be safe. But how close would the water get?

The Amite River meanders through the dense woods between our neighborhood and the city of Denham Springs, a mile-and-a-half east of our home as the crow flies. At 6:30 that Saturday morning, it was just 80 yards from our back door.

img_4423
It was 7AM when I got the text. “The water is at the door. Paul and Eileen are helping me leave.” I told my wife I was on my way. She told me, “Why? There is nothing you can do. It’s coming too fast.”

Before she left, she took one picture, “I saved the important stuff.” A joke, something to lift my spirits while pushed down my emotions to focus on my job — getting information to a bewildered, waterlogged, and lost community.

Over the next two days, the Amite’s muddy water seeped past our locked doors and made itself at home. It left its mark at five feet, just above the light switches. I shot images of homes
with water to their roofs, newly homeless wading on flooded high ground with garbage bag luggage, reporters interviewing shell-shocked evacuees. I filed reports solo via cell phone. I sat at the anchor desk chatting with viewers about what I had seen. img_4674About what we had lost.

It was an on-air question by my friend, our main anchor Greg Meriweather, that did it. “How can you sit here and be so upbeat and calm when you just saw your house with water almost to the roof, and you realize that, like so many of our viewers, you just lost everything?”

For two days, I had answered anyone who asked, “We are lucky.” It wasn’t a cliche. We were.

My wife, son, and I were safe. Wonderful friends had taken us in and offered us their home for as long as we need it. We got out with two duffle bags of clothes when many had only the clothes on their backs. We were not in a shelter. Our employers had not been flooded. We would not miss a paycheck.

I don’t know where the answer I gave Greg came from that evening, but I talked not about the flood, or our luck, or our community. I talked about my childhood.

About a blue collar neighborhood where people don’t sit around complaining about work that needs to be done. They go out and do it. About faith. Not the kind we practice in church on Sundays, but the example of service lived by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who ran my high school. I talked about lessons. Not not lessons taught in class, but those absorbed growing up in a small town filled with selfless people, that there is always someone more important than me. And lessons yet to be learned, like accepting God’s grace in the form of helping hands from friends and strangers.

I told Greg that what had humbled us most over those two days had not been the scope of the waters or the power of nature. More humbling for my wife and I were the number of people who launched their boats off the interstate to help. They were not marshaled by the police, or requested by the government. The Cajun Navy showed up on its own.
img_4830Boatmen like the middle-aged man in my lens two days earlier had come to help. They did not ask about race, religion, sexual identity. They just put people in their boats and brought them to safety.

Most humbling was the number of friends, family, and total strangers who offered prayers for our safety, our future, and our strength.

One week after the flood waters left our home, my wife, son, and I stood drenched in sweat inside the shell of our home. We looked around at the army of friends and family working pulling sheetrock, ripping out cabinets, and hauling debris to the curb. Greg’s question rolled through my head. “How can you be so upbeat and calm, when you’ve just lost everything.”

This time, a different answer came to mind. We may have lost everything we owned. But we have not lost everything.

 

Categories: Life Or Something Like It, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

the warble

the official blog of Karen Ullo, author

Todd Rossnagel

Sharing stories of transformation in Louisiana

Ubiquitous Bubba's Blog

Books, Characters, Alien Poetry, and Ponderings

Foul Mouthed Hooligans

Stories so good, you'll need to wash your mouth out with soap.

Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

The Life and Times of Nathan Badley...

just like Moby Dick, but shorter and less whale-oriented.

Model Husband

This is not a relationship blog

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

TNcoonass

A Louisiana boy finds a home in Tennessee

baton rouge music studios

225.769.6225 | contact@brmusicstudios.com

R. D. Harless

That's a hot box of cereal

live apartment fire

Confessions of a grey-headed reporter