When I saw that the St. Paddy’s Day parades have been canceled this year, my Irish heart sagged. I can still hear the pipes and drums, and the screaming crowds in the greatest St Paddy’s Day parade I’ve ever seen. Loud and raucous, coming down 5th Avenue in New York City. Oh how we applauded the Irishmen, the firemen, the police, as they marched in their sexy kilts! They were all our heroes! It was a few years after 9/11 and my dearest friend, Rita Clay Estrada and I were there on writing business. But we made memories for a lifetime!
We went for a writing conference but that quickly took a back seat to the adventures of New York City. Everything was oh my, over the top! And we wanted to see it all!
We had never experienced such excellent restaurant service. The waiters and waitresses were the friendliest ever and made us feel special with every dish they delivered. Finally, we caught on that they were actors, waiting for their big break or hoping we had some influence in their business. That has to be harder than selling a book. We walked away with several PR packets, hearts heavy because we just couldn’t tell them we had almost no influence in anything.
We took a tour of The NBC studios where they showed a brief history of the early shows. I’m talking about the earliest TV shows ever. Since Rita & I are of a certain age, we remembered every single one with tears and laughter.... while our much younger tour group watched quietly. Was it really like that? Eventually we realized that they were staring at us in amazement. You remember that stuff? And we proudly said, "Yes, we do."
We went to the back entrance of One Rock Center, the one with the statue of Atlas holding up the world. On the ceiling is a huge mural of manual laborers, quite graphic and impressive. But the best part, if you stand on one side of the room, the workers painted on the ceiling face one way, but from the other side, they face the opposite way! Quite the artist to create such an optical illusion! We were intrigued! So much that when a couple came in, we pointed it out to them. They smiled and nodded. But Rita insisted that they share her enthusiasm, come with her to the other side of the room and see for themselves. She took the woman gently by the arm and motioned to the man. Yes, she did. You have to see this! You’ll always remember it.
And I’m sure they will.
Of course, we had to see the Twin Towers location. At that time, it was just cleaned up, two vacant holes scared into our history and memories. More tears.
On St. Paddy’s Day, we squeezed into a place along 5th Ave., across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where we had been the night before and lit a few candles. It proved to be the best spot to watch because the bands stopped to play for the cardinals who blocked a section of the sidewalk for their own observations. Bagpipes echoed all around the city, but soon we realized that they were headed for us! Loud and raw and OMG wonderful! We cheered them on with tears and applause. These were our heroes, handsome in their stocky kilts, our Irish fighters who saved so many lives and lost so many of their own on 9/11.
Afterword, we had a bite and a beer at a nearby Irish pub. It was packed with happy Irish lovers. I bought a cap from a fine young man who was selling them for his precinct. I still have it. It says simply, IRISH. Yes, on that day we were all a little bit Irish.
Can you hear the pipes and drums? When I recall that day, I can. They’re seared into my memory. I still want to make it to Chicago, Boston, and of course, Dublin. I hear they have great St. Paddy’s Day parades. But it’ll have to be in another year.
I've been to Ireland twice and fell head over hills at the rugged beauty of the island, the music, culture, and mostly, the people. So, I wrote a few books about Irish hearts. They’re all on sale at www.marytateengels.com, this month! Hope you enjoy!
Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I’ll admit, I love to travel. But I think we’ve finally overdone it. Since October we have been to Northern Italy, Connecticut, Utah, Florida, and had a week’s worth of family guests here, in the desert. Loved all of it… well, mostly.
I’ve learned a lot about the fabulous places we’ve been but also about myself. I call it 'finding myself.' Finding what I love, what I admire, and where I want to be. Or not. When I travel, even abroad, I always imagine 'What would it be like to live here?' or 'How about a month here?' Many places get a big thumbs up but, nothing replaces my own room with a desert view. I’ve been in Arizona too long to appreciate multiple gray, drizzly, cold days. Give me sunshine and I revive.
I can appreciate the beauty of a first snow or a majestic snow-covered Utah mountain, but I don't have to stand in it. Or shovel it. What I miss most are water features from ocean waves to bubbling creeks and autumn colors. Both of these can be fixed by traveling.
I have really missed my writing because through all of this, I haven’t written a word on my WIP (work in progress). Yes, I have an unfinished manuscript – a writer's biggest regret. And yes, my Main Characters are speaking to me, day and night. So, I’m ready to take my own best writing advice and BIC HOK. Butt in Chair; Hands on Keys.
That means get busy, get on with it, get R done! What about you? Do you postpone doing things you love? Or trying new things? I'm working on balance in my life and a renewed mindset to live my best life. Remember, the days are long, but the years are short. So, get R done – follow your dreams!
My featured books this month may be purchased at www.marytateengels.com
ROGUE DIAMOND-featured and discounted this month
She is an exchange teacher in Mexico who is a victim in a baby-trafficking scheme. She will hire, or bribe, anyone to help her find her stolen baby. But she doesn’t expect to fall in love with the rogue she hires.
A MAN TO REMEMBER
She is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy California family, in Mexico on a mission for her father. She becomes involved with a soldier of fortune from Texas and Howdy Partner! Let the adventures begin! Her mission soon becomes getting them both out of there safely. Falling in love is a bonus!
Mary Tate Engels, author
These two books about love have very different circumstances. One is a new life and love. The other is a bridge from tragedy to love. Please read and if you enjoyed it, I would Love for you to leave a review. They are both on sale for a limited time for only 99 cents each. My happy holiday gifts to you!
Excerpt from OUR TIME TO LOVE
… a bridge to love, a tribute to all our heroes
The pumpkin pie was in the oven.
Neal tossed the Mail on the table. "Smells wonderful. Remember, I don't send bills out in December. They know what they owe. No need to remind them."
"You're offering amnesty in Dec? How will we place orders for meds?" She picked through the mail. "What's this? Something from the Miami Dolphins? Maybe they're making a donation to the clinic."
"Yeah, sure. Just toss it."
"But you're a fan. Don't you want to know what they're up to?"
"I'm not interested."
She ripped the envelope open. "Well I am. Look Neal, it's a letter addressed to you."
He turned away.
She was quiet, reading. "It's for you, Neal. They want... "
"I know. We've been through this before."
"But it's an honor. A hero's honor for saving lives that night."
"I'm no hero. I didn't save the most important person in my life."
"You saved the most important person in Derrick Swift's life. To him you're a hero."
"Yeah, well... Maria's family would disagree."
"Derrick Swift is the most decorated quarterback in Dolphin's history. Even I know his name. His pregnant wife was there that night. They both lived, mother and baby. That's something to celebrate."
Neal started to walk out.
"I think you should go back. Let them thank you. Show their gratitude. It's important to them."
Neal stopped at the door. "No."
"Have you ever been back?"
"Hell no! And it's not going to happen." Neal grabbed a jacket and headed outside to jog.
Gwyn turned to look out the window. Red leaves drifting. Bare limbs. Evergreens standing firm and strong. Was this where their love was going? Drifting away...
Or standing firm? Would they always be dogged by this tragedy? She knew one thing, if he didn't resolve this, it would always be there. Dogging them both.
The oven buzzed and she remembered the Pumpkin Pie. She pulled it out and set it on the counter. It didn't look like her mama's pie. A little taste revealed the problem. Salt instead of sugar! She opened the back door and flung the pie outside, hard as she could. She yelled in frustration.
Two grazing deer lifted their heads. Who is this crazy, screaming person? Then they bounded away.
… a new view of the West
She is aggressive, but not too much. He is tough, but not too much. Both are too passionate to stay apart.
"You are the damnedest female I've ever met."
"I wanted to see what it would feel like to kiss you. I've thought about it a long time." Kyla felt her throat closing up and wondered if it was possible to choke to death over a simple kiss.
"Nice touch," Kyla replied after a moment's consideration.
"I've never known a woman like you." Griff shook his head.
"You've never had a woman kiss you?" She touched his lips lightly with one finger.
"I've never had a woman make the first move before."
"That's too bad. You've been missing out."
Suddenly Griff’s powerful hands grasped her forearms, whipping her around to face him. "You want to know what it's like to really kiss me, Kyla? That wasn't anything." His lips captured hers and she leaned into the kiss, enjoying it thoroughly. This was what she wanted all along.