Category Archives: nonfiction

Alan Fletcher – Sioux Me: Stories from the Reservation

Alan Fletcher was a Family Doctor/Surgeon on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana from 1962 to 1966. Sioux Me is a collection of stories about his experiences during that time, mainly with the Sioux Indians.

One day at the end of morning rounds, Betty asked me to check on an old Indian lady in the nursing home.

“What’s wrong with her?” I asked.

“Oh, you go in there and she’ll tell you.” Betty said with a straight face.

So I breezed into the room, putting on my best cheerful and professional manner and said, “Well now, old friend, what seems to be the problem?”

She looked at me carefully for a long time, as if deciding whether or not to talk to this condescending youngster, and then answered slowly, in a firm clear voice, “I’m going to die tonight.”

That was the last thing I expected to hear, and it rocked me back on my heels for a moment.

“Why do you say that?” I asked in a less breezy tone. She answered deliberately, as if talking kindly to a child, “Because the three people in white came to see me last night, and they said I must go with them tonight, so I have time to say goodbye to my friends today. ”

She did not seem agitated or disturbed, just calmly resigned and matter of fact.

I turned to Betty, who seemed as undisturbed as the old lady, and said “Old people often get confused at night, especially if they are not in their own homes. I expect it was some nurse in white who was checking her during the night. ”

“I expect that’s what it was, doctor.” she agreed without much conviction.

In any case, I was sufficiently rattled that I gave the old lady a thorough examination including an E.K.G which was normal except for a mild bundle branch block, not an unusual tracing for her age.

“Just a bad dream, Grandma,” I said.

She looked at me and said nothing, but simply smiled at me with an endearing lack of teeth. In the middle of the night, I received a phone call. The old lady had died peacefully in her sleep. Next morning, when I saw Betty, she smiled knowingly at me.

“You’ve seen this before, haven’t you?” I asked her.

She acknowledged that she had.

“Why didn’t you tell me about it then?” I asked.

“Because I knew you would laugh at me, until you saw it for yourself” she said.

Over the following years, I had almost identical experiences which involved the people in white appearing to Indian patients

I am not a skeptic anymore.

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Lori M. Hobson: Momma Sayings and Life Reflections

From her book Momma Sayings and Life Reflections:

What does success look like to you? How do you define it? Is it writing a book, building a business or making a certain amount of money? Clearly success looks different to different people. Equally clear is that success looks quite different from the inside than it looks from the outside. Those of us who are working to build something for ourselves and our children can relate to the long hours, setbacks and disappointments. We know what it took to get that house, that car, those clothes, etc.

When you pursue your dreams you may expect to encounter certain obstacles. Things like lack of financing, time or support. When you are a member of a minority group (this includes females), you expect to meet people who don’t believe in you because of who or what you are.

There is one thing that goes with the territory that could easily blindside you. That thing is haters. A hater is a person who cannot handle your success. He or she is bothered by the fact that you have been blessed. A hater is someone who wants what you have but doesn’t want to or can’t do what is necessary to get it. Unfortunately they are quite often the people who are closest to you.

One of the things that I learned about myself years ago was that I have a ‘light’ that people find attractive. Most of the time people are attracted to my light and they want to talk to me, be in my presence, ask me questions, etc. It’s great and it makes me a good friend, counselor, speaker and trainer.

However there is a small percentage of people who are also attracted to my light but want to put it out. When I realized this, I tried (to no avail) to hide my light so people wouldn’t try to hurt me. It didn’t take long to figure out that it is impossible to hide your light, especially from those who are most intimidated by it.

In the message Our Greatest Fear, Marianne Williamson says in part, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” My interpretation of Marianne’s comments is that you should be who you really are always. Don’t attempt to hide your light and don’t let haters put it out.

A friend and mentor once told me that the difference between a star and a superstar is motivation and perseverance. When people hate on you it means that you are doing something right. The next time you encounter a hater tell them, you don’t hate me because I think I’m all that, you hate me because you think I’m all that. Look them in the eye and tell them to BRING IT!

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Nelson Farley and Ghosts

One of Nelson Farley’s hobbies is ghostbusting. There have probably been more ghosts in his house than in any haunted house; but most of them weren’t haunting, just visiting. This hobby inspired the license plates on his two Cadillac Sevilles: GOSBUSTR on the yellow ’83, and GSTBSTR on the blue ’85.

In the early 1990’s, my girlfriend’s son, Eric, taped a documentary on ghosts for me. One incident involved the Cabot, an American pocket carrier during World War II.

After the war, San Diego used the Cabot as a floating museum. One young woman, after touring this museum, reported that it was haunted by a young American sailor.

During a battle in 1942, the Cabot was hit by a kamikaze. The Cabot returned to service after repairs and finished out the war. It appeared the museum’s ghost died in the kamikaze attack.

By the time I got Eric’s tape, I had been educated by owners of haunted houses: leave their ghosts undisturbed. But I could still sit in my Hilton home on Hopkins Street and do what needed doing. The procedure is simple: I pray and then alter my state of consciousness by meditation. I ask my guides to bring me the haunting soul so I can talk to him. The talk is based on the summary of the law which Jesus cited as the two greatest commandments: You are to love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. Those are three requirements really: love God, neighbor and self, I then explain why haunting is a hindrance to each of the three. It is important to first acknowledge the soul’s predicament, as best you know it. It is also helpful to remind them this is an invitation, and not a command. At the end, I ask them to look around for whomever they want as a guide and to go to the light with them, and then I bless them on their way.

As I finished my discourse, I saw the starboard side of a carrier with about two hundred men looking over the side at me. Many of these men were manning antiaircraft guns. They were smiling, but I was offended. ‘”Why were you hiding? I would have been there for you, too!” They didn’t reply, although I believe they understood. I did not understand: They were not hiding but welcoming their friend home from the war.

As I came out of meditation to the awareness of my room, I saw another man standing in the doorway to my small room. He was about 5′ 10″, and might have weighed 145 pounds if dripping wet. He wore a pilots’ uniform, complete with goggles, but no parachute. Only one country in World War II did not equip their pilots with parachutes, “Would you-please do for me what you just did for him?” He was shy and polite; not a warrior on a deadly mission, but a likable young man. I would, but first I asked my guides to see if there were any more like him. When I finished this second séance, I saw a second pilot. This one was short, stocky, confident, and seemed very much in charge of the situation. Certainly, this was the guide. He had three Zeros, in the early-war gray; and a second young pilot just as tall and skinny as the first. The slim one opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came forth: he was speechless. The message was clear though, and I liked it. The last thing I saw was the three warbirds flying off to their spiritual destination.

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Wil LaVeist and Unemployment

Fired Up: How To Win When You Lose Your Job

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

– Joseph

To go to work one morning only to be fired without a clue by the afternoon can be as depressing as any other loss – even the death of a loved one. This is because in America what we do for a living is often intimately tied to who we are. When someone you meet asks, “So, what do you do for a living?” How do you answer when you’ve just lost your job? But like any other major crisis where you’ve been rejected, being terminated can be the defining moment that actually launches you to your true destiny. Fired Up is an intimate account that shows in raw detail how to climb out of a personal crisis.

Fired Up: How To Win When You Lose Your Job offers a concrete plan for coping and climbing back from any crisis, only in this case it’s a blindsiding firing. After being terminated, you will likely go through the various stages of grief, such as denial and anger, before reaching acceptance and hopefully forgiveness. I went through most of the stages, but got stuck at anger. In Fired Up I share the steps I took to cope, recover and eventually forgive, enabling me to move on toward my true career destiny, which, by the way, is what true success is really about. More than 1.5 million jobs were lost in the U.S. in 2008. Those aren’t just statistics, but actually people, some with children in college, or elderly parents they are caring for, or mortgages to pay. Many of them, like me, didn’t see the firing coming. Of course not all terminations are unfair or financially devastating. In fact, many are simply necessary, nothing personal and just business. But when you’re fired without warning, your life can be turned upside down and inside out. Fired Up helps employers realize that being humane when letting people go is better for business, and employees to understand that shock may be just what was needed for them to become who they were truly intended to be.

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Barbara Drucker Smith Reminisces


In the 1930’s there was a sign at the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach that read, “No dogs or Jews allowed.” In 1942, I was in the second grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Newport News, Virginia. One day in early December, I started singing a Christmas Carol in class along with my classmates. My teacher stopped the singing and reminded me in a loud voice how inappropriate for me to be singing Christmas Carols. I stopped singing, flushed with embarrassment to be spotted singing and to be singled out for it in front of my peers. I knew why she did this as she was Jewish and so was I.

A six-year-old classmate asked me to go with her to a service. I did and it was in a tent crammed with people. Taking center stage was a loud-voiced man giving a continuous damnation and hellfire sermon. When people were asked to come forward, my friend tried her best to drag me to the front to accept Jesus as my savior so that I would be saved. But I repeatedly refused which left her confused and me mortified at even being in the situation.

Another six-year-old friend invited me to go swimming at the James River Country Club.  I ran to get ready. Mother stopped me and said that the club is restricted. Jews are not welcome as members. I wanted to go anyway, but I did not go. Later in my teens, this same girl needed a ride to her tennis date at the same club. I drove her there wearing a
slack outfit. She was in a short white tennis outfit. As I let her out I felt left out knowing that I was not allowed or welcome to play on those courts.

One December, I got out of my first grade class and started walking home. An older boy started throwing stones at me and screaming “Jew, where are your horns”. I ran as fast as my feet would go and blocks later I no longer heard his voice so I looked around, saw no one, and slowed down to a trot. When I got to the curb near my home, I sat down. A car screeched to a halt just missing a dog by a hair. I put my hands in my lap and started crying partially for the dog being saved but mostly for my hurt feelings at the insults, stone throwing, chase, and overt prejudice of the older boy. I later learned that Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses in Italy does have horns. Michelangelo mistook the Hebrew word that means both sacred light and horns. The Hebrew text reads Moses’s head is surrounded by sacred light.

As a teen, I developed a camaraderie with a non-Jewish boy interested in folk music. He would play his guitar for hours on my front porch and I would sing the folk songs. He asked me out to go on a movie date. My parents refused to let me interdate. I was heartbroken. He felt hurt and could not understand why I wouldn’t go with him. This shows that prejudice is a two-way street. We ended up going to an every-Saturday-night ritual of musicians and artists that gathered at the home of a musical couple so that we could be part of a group that enjoyed music. We both took piano lessons from the same teacher. Eventually, our friendship petered out and we went our separate ways.

When I went to College, there was a quota system at many of the prestigious colleges … At my College only 10 per cent of the freshman class could be Jews.


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