Peter Jennings – Written 3 days after his death 10 years ago

Today is Wednesday, August 10, 2005.  I just finished eating dinner.  I’m a single mother and right now both of my children are not here.  One is working, the other with her boyfriend.  It’s 9:07 pm Central time.  I’m tired but I’m not hungry or thirsty and that is a good thing.  I have a home and I have 2 dogs and 3 cats that keep me company when my children are not here.  I’m exhausted though, because I work allot to keep my children and I here in this home.  But –tonight I don’t miss my children.  Tonight I miss the man that I invited personally into my home 5 nights a week.  I invited him into my home for many reasons, many of them I truly have to remember why I initially invited him here…because he’s been here for so long.  You know, after a while you forget why someone is here but you just feel so good that that person is here…you feel so good that that person makes everything more comfortable…you don’t care why you initially invited that person in.

Peter.  Peter Jennings is his name.  Peter passed away August 7th, 2005.


That ABC guy you know – and my kids know.

But, Peter can’t be here anymore.  It’s not because I don’t invite him anymore though.  I mean, for the last four months I’ve invited him but someone else has shown up.  Hmmm.  I was always wondering if he was okay.  I saw him that last night we all saw him.  He told me that he would be away for a while, but he would be back.  I believed him actually.  I always believed him (well…there were a few times I was mad at him and tried to invite someone else in…but that never worked out) and I always knew he would come back to visit.

Peter did come back tonight…well, almost.  He came back in a different way.  I loved every minute of it because it told everybody what a special man he was (I think most of us knew any way but it was great to be reminded).  Peter almost came back because I heard his voice and felt his presence once again.  But the voice ended and some other voice came on telling me about what a great man he was and what a great voice he had.

I was so proud.  They were all talking about this man that I allowed in my living room every night.  I mean – I allowed him here.  He should feel privileged!  And you know what?  He was privileged and knew he was privileged and never took advantage of the fact the he was always invited here.  He always told me things that I wanted to know and needed to know (even though at times I didn’t know I needed to know them).  Oh I will never miss a man so much.  Who knew I could love a man in this way?  No physical attraction?  What a deal.  And I was never jealous of his wife.  The perfect relationship – mine and his.  Don’t’ you think?  At least from a woman’s point of view.

I’ve been mad at Peter a couple of times in the past 25 years or so.  But – that was only a couple of times.  I just never could find anyone else better them him to tell me the news.  One time I read that he was a real ladies man.  Well…I was really upset  as you can imagine so for a while I didn’t bring anyone home.  But soon realized my insatiable appetite for Peter was over powering and decided to forgive him.  And then there was that time he interviewed Tommy Frank about going to war in Iraq and asking him if we (or America) had enough troops.  I hated that he put Tommy on the spot.  It took me a few days to get over that and I missed some really good news in the mean time.

But you know what – one day and night Peter stayed here for a very long time.  I was so happy he was here because there wasn’t anyone else that could have made me feel better on this horrible day.  I even taped every moment of that day with him.  He made me and my children and I’m sure so many other mothers and children feel as good as they possibly could.  That day was of course:

September 11, 2001

That was a strange day for me anyway.  I woke up and got ready for work and knew I had to take my daughter to school.  She was a sophomore at the time and lived to close to be driven to school in a bus but to far away to walk (2.5 miles) unless she left early.    Anyway…we didn’t have a TV in the living room.  We only had a TV in my sons room…in the back room.  It was a little TV but still worked and had capability to tape shows while I was gone.  I knew I was going to be gone that night because I had to teach a class at a local community college.  But I was addicted to a reality show that was going to show that night at 7:00 and HAD to watch it.  I had NEVER taped this reality show because I had always been home to watch it so I had NEVER had to go down to my sons room (who was already at school) to set the timer on the recorder.

But, I walked down to his room sometime after 7:30 am in the morning and just turned on the TV so I could set the timer to tape my show.  WHAT DO YOU KNOW.  Peter was there.  He was there right in my sons room again…remember he had been there the night before too.  Peter was there that morning.  Within minutes I realized that something major had happened in New York city.  I won’t go into it all but knew that I must get my daughter down to the room to share with her what was going on.  At the time they were still saying a small plane had flown into the building and as my daughter and I were watching ANOTHER plane hit the other building.  THE WORLD TRADE TOWERS.  It hit me.  I knew this was not a mistake.

I won’t go into the whole day but I started taping on VCR, everything on that day.  Peter stayed there THE WHOLE DAY.  I didn’t even go into work that day.  I couldn’t, to much was going on and I had to stay near the TV and near Peter.  I remember sometimes switching to other channels and men that day…but always went back to Peter.




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Handwriting – My Curse of Life

Originally posted on Caroline's Place to Write:

I had an experience in the 4th grade, in Ohio, that I can say changed me and a certain aspect of my life for the rest of my life.  It was pretty devastating to me at the time and really should have never happened.  As most of us grow up, we learned how to handwrite (cursive) in the 3rd and 4th grade.  For me, it was mostly in the 4th grade.  I remember doing hand writing drills in class and learning specifically how to join the letters together so it would all flow so to speak.  I truly was very proud of myself.  To learn how to write in cursive was a major step for any young child I should think.  Well, one day we were having a handwriting test in class, my teacher, Mrs. Bailey directed us as to how the test would work and…

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The Power of an Interlude

Originally posted on Caroline's Place to Write:

It was a VERY busy day at work but I had two young kids at home that were probably starring at an empty refrigerator so there was no question I would have to stop by my trusty HEB store to pick up groceries for the family.  I actually had a lot of groceries to get so I knew I would be going down most of the aisles.  After about the 4th aisle I began to get a strange feeling.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first…I mean it is normal for men to look at women and as a result it was normal for me to realize that a man was looking at me.  Maybe he liked my short skirt or something so at first I didn’t think much of it.  I went on down the 5th and 6th aisle, filling up the grocery cart for…

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Me the Cheat – But Only Once

Me the Cheat – But Only Once.

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Acres of Diamonds


I wrote this several years ago. Enjoy or re-enjoy!

Originally posted on Caroline's Place to Write:

Many years ago, in 1843, a man was born who was to have a profound effect upon many thousands of lives.  His name was Russell Herman Conwell.  He grew up to first be a lawyer, then a newspaper editor and finally a clergyman.  As a clergyman, Dr. Conwell single-handedly raised several million dollars to found Temple University.  He raised this money by speaking to millions across the country, by telling the true story of the “Acres of Diamonds.”  This story touched me greatly when I heard it several years ago and I would like to share it with you now.         

The story was about a young African farmer who had heard several tales about other farmers making millions by discovering diamond mines.  These stories excited the young farmer so much that he couldn’t wait to sell his farm and go prospect for diamonds himself.  He…

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The Day I needed a Squirrel Removal Specialist


To reshare with new friends. Especially Stuart!

Originally posted on Caroline's Place to Write:

Long day at work, couldn’t wait to get home.  Long day means the “busy” and “excitement” did not exist that day.  But then again, usually it’s just the “busy” that exists at work and “excitement” is rarely a part of my vocabulary anymore…especially the particular day this story takes place.  None the less, my drive home was what I would call “Murder on Loop 1” (but I’ll leave that story for another blog) so I guess I could count that for excitement.

My drive home finally ended as I park my car in my driveway – anxious to get inside and relax and watch the news to see what might have transpired during the day.  As I get out of the car I hear my dog, Dante, barking inside the house.  Hmm.  Interesting – he rarely barks let alone while he is in the house alone.  Maybe he heard me get out…

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A Family Reunion surprise

I met Austin exactly one day after Michael Jackson died in 2009.  Yeah, there aren’t very many people I remember the EXACT day I met them!  Umm…. Yeah that Friday in June of 2009 was the day I met Austin because Michael died on Thursday, June 25th.

Let me back up by a few days.  I decided to attend a family reunion that was set to occur in Odessa, Texas in June of 2009.  It wasn’t for my DIRECT family but it was as close as you can get.  My mother’s sister’s kids had been having a family reunion for several years, every year.  Pretty cool.  I was invited that year (as I am often now) because my cousins are awesome and decided…let’s start inviting our other cousins!

I drove from my home base of Austin, Texas on Thursday June 25, 2009.  I didn’t hear about Michael until about the time I was driving into the hotel parking lot I was staying at in Odessa.  Michael Jackson died!  Holy Cow!  I was shocked.  I had to get to my cousin’s house that was hosting the reunion, so I could think about something else.

It was great to see some of my cousins and their kids.  Really great.  Actually my cousin that was hosting the reunion was and still is my favorite cousin (don’t tell anybody).  Her name is Paula and she is the youngest of my Aunt Ernestine and Uncle Tom’s five kids.  Tom and Ernestine have passed away but their kids (of course now adults and all of them have grandkids themselves) do this amazing reunion almost every year….to honor their parents and really to honor each other and everybody in their family.

One of them, my cousin Denise, of course, was at the reunion.  She was sitting in the living room on that Thursday evening of the 25th and said “Austin is going to be here tomorrow. He’s staying in Midland with his Dad.”  I thought to myself, “Who is Austin?” but decided not to say anything.  It didn’t matter really because Denise could read my questioning face. “Austin is my grandson!”  Oh.  Wow.  I thought I knew all the ins and outs of the dynamics of the family, but obviously not.

“Caroline!  You remember Austin!  He was at Dad’s funeral (my Uncle Tom) with Frank!”  Think Think Think.  I still didn’t know who she was talking about it!  “Caroline!  Amy had Austin the year mom died (her Mom being Aunt Ernestine).”  Think Think Think.   I remember Denise’s daughter being pregnant.  She was pretty young when she had Austin, so his grandparents took care of Austin.  Yeah Yeah Yeah…it was coming back.

I just can’t go into detail anymore.  I just have to say that it was a miracle that Austin came into my life.  Austin was only 14 when I met him and he was just a cute shy kid that just sat and listened to everybody at this reunion.  He was a fish out of water but was very blood related to this family.  I was a fish out of water and wasn’t near as blood related to this family as Austin was, but I was able to swim in the water because I knew these people so well.  Austin didn’t know them as well as I did but he tried his best to stay in and above water.  And he did.  He did just fine.  For a 14-year-old he seemed very polished and well-mannered and I was just so very impressed by him.  I could tell that whoever raised him, was doing a great job.

I decided at the reunion that I was going to try to get to know Austin and try to make him feel more comfortable.   I don’t know if I did make him feel more comfortable but we became friends even though there was at least a 30 year difference between us.   I mean…he was my cousin for goodness sake!   I didn’t know at the time but he technically was/is my 1st cousin twice removed.  Yeah, that’s it I think.  Yes, that’s it – I just checked.  My first cousin twice removed.

Austin and Me

Austin and Me – 2013 Downtown Uncorked – Bryan, Texas

Austin and I connected and talked allot and it was great.  I was so happy to get to know him but soon discovered something about him that was very troubling.  We happened to be at one of our reunion events on Saturday, at another home, and Austin suddenly was VERY sick.  I mean VERY sick.  It had come on suddenly.  Long story short…here was a 14-year-old boy suffering from a VERY strong migraine.  It was just horrible.  I felt for him so but I had asked him about it and he said that unfortunately he has them often.  Wow.  I mean no fun.  But Austin handled it okay and it was obvious he was used to dealing with this horrible malady.  He suffered at least one more migraine during that weekend.

Austin and Dawn

Austin and the fantastic woman who who raised him, Dawn

I told myself that I was going to stay in touch with this young man because I felt he was very special and was put on this earth to do good things.  I was proud that he was a part of my extended family and I barely knew him!  Fortunately Austin seemed to like our friendship too and was happy to get know another cousin (even if I was a heck of allot older).  And I couldn’t wait until he could meet my kids too.  They were a bit older than Austin, but I knew it would be another great connection.

Austin and John Ryan

Austin and my son, John Ryan – 2012 – 2nd cousins – I don’t know how many times removed! Mount Bonnell – Austin Texas

I remember when Austin was about 16 or 17 I asked him about college and if he was planning to go. He told me yes and it would most likely be Texas Tech, in Lubbock.  I asked him if he had ever considered Texas A&M in College Station and he said that he hadn’t thought about it much especially after college day at his school and the people representing Texas A&M really didn’t impress him.  I was pretty upset because I knew Austin would be a perfect fit for Texas A&M.  I’d have to work on that later!

Who would ever know that I would become close to one of my first cousins twice removed?!  But I have and it is such a special relationship for me.  Austin is 19 now and you know what?  He is an AGGIE and he LOVES Texas A&M.  (I knew he would, but he just had to figure out that for himself).

Austin had another medical challenge his first year at A&M…his lungs kept on collapsing. Can you imagine?!  He was growing so tall and fast his lungs couldn’t keep up.  This was called Pneumothorax.  He finally had surgery to make sure he’d make it as it was extremely dangerous to have your lungs keep on collapsing!  Fortunately one of the best doctors to do this surgery lived in College Station, Texas!  Oh, and yes, that is where Texas A&M is!

One never knows where a connection will happen.  Don’t ever take for granted someone who you meet.  Get to know them…ask questions…pay attention…listen.  You never know what that person will add to your life, or you to  their lives!  In this case, Austin, my first cousin twice removed, will forever be a favorite person of mine that has added a lot to my life, because I made a point to pay attention and learn about him on that special day after Michael Jackson died in June 2009.

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