Winning First Place, Finally

I’ve won second and third place and been a finalist in different writing contests. But that first place has always been elusive.

My husband promised to make me a oak shelf for my first trophy with the first place win.

Guess what? I finally won first place.

On Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 4:28 PM wrote:

Dear Debra,

I am happy to inform you that you have won FIRST PLACE IN CREATIVE NONFICTION in the 2020 Golden Quill Writing Contest for your entry “A Split-Second Revelation”.

Again, congratulations, and thank you for entering. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Contest Director

No trophy. Not with this win.

I guess that means no oak shelf, too.

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Missing months

The last four – five months have been taxing for most and horrible for some people. I fall somewhere in between.

Besides the virus, I’ve been dealing with my husband’s medical issues. Open heart surgery at the best of times is a lot to go through. But when the patient and the loved one can’t see each other, it’s a whole new world.

I was lucky to have a sibling and a few close friends and neighbors to help me get through that month without him. The first few weeks after he got home he needed a lot of help, then less and less. Now, he seems fine. And, I thank God for his recovery.

Bottom line is: I don’t know where the time went. But I know I wasn’t blogging.

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The Nose Lady

There were approximately twenty empty chairs in the room on March 10, 2020 when she sat down. A senior citizen waited at a semi-metropolitan hospital, in a large rectangular almost empty room, behind the privacy barrier, for her husband to check in for his same-day surgery.

The woman observing and listening tried to think of anything other than his surgery. Surprising easily done because a gigantic TV screen, hanging on the wall in front of her, was broadcasting The Today Show, out of New York. There were four newscasters, one was Maria Shiver. They were discussing the Coronavirus. Only the virus.

Suddenly a couple walks in and they sat three and four seats from her, respectively. Not across the room, like she would have. But, within spitting distance.

Out of her right-side vision she saw the woman take her left index finger and plunge it into her left nostril. This is when the wife turned her head in disbelief. Only to see that she had great peripheral vision. Damn.

Oh my God, she was raised in a barn, the observer was thinking as she turns her whole body to her left. Still able to see the TV, but thankfully, not the nose digger. Once again, she focused her attention back to the Coronavirus discussion. “After the break, we will get the latest information on the virus from Dr…”

She never would have believed that the Coronavirus could usurp the fear she had of losing her husband. But it did for a three-minute period.

And then came the sneeze. Yes, the nose digger sneezed.

The listener became the watcher again; she couldn’t help herself; she turned her body back toward the nose lady. Do you think she sneezed into a tissue or her elbow? Hell no.


Fear hit her. Fear for him. Fear of losing him.

The watcher moved as far as possible from the nose lady without exiting the waiting room. She listened to the newscasters that she could no longer see. They no longer usurp her fear, either. That was taken from her with just a…

And she listened to the woman laugh at her for moving after she sneezed. “What?” said the husband.

The wife whispered something to him and then they both laughed.

Raised in a barn.

I’d like to say this isn’t a true story or that I wasn’t the watcher, listener and recipient of  *“…droplets — as many as 40,000 — some of which rocket out at speeds greater than 200 miles per hour”  from an adult who was too rude to comprehend, in a civilized society.


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