Apr 272017

Room by Emma Donoghue
Narrated by: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 13, 2010

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

What I Thought:
Wow! This book kept me in it’s grasp from start to finish. I didn’t want to stop listening for a minute.

I can’t imagine being held captive like that. For Ma, the horror was being in Room. To Jack, it was all he knew. Ma made sure he had as normal a childhood as he could. Teaching him, making sure he got excersise, playing games, watching tv. But she wanted to get them out of there. When she planned their escape, I was scared for Jack. I didn’t know if he could do it. But he did! Then I wondered if he’d be able to lead the police to Room, and he did!

They were finally free, but that’s when the truth hit Jack. Everything he thought was only in tv or Room, was actually out in the world too. And there was so much more out there. He saw and felt the sun for the first time. He talked to someone other than Ma for the first time. He saw a real dog, tree, cars….

This book was amazing. I thought it ended too abrubtly, and was wanting more. I wanted to know how Ma and Jack did in the following years. Still, I loved this book. It was so sad, but had a few funny parts. It shows that there is always hope. There was one part concerning Ma that shocked me. I still struggle with it. If you haven’t read this book, you’re missing a good one. I’m glad I listened to the audio version. All the narrators did a great job.

I loved ROOM!

Apr 262017

Hosted by Kathy @ BermudaOnion

1.  Caerphilly
This was one of the ingredients in a recipe posted @ Honey From Rock. I’d never heard of it so I looked it up.

Caerphilly is a hard, crumbly white cheese that originated in the area around the town of Caerphilly, Wales. It is thought to have been created to provide food for the local coal miners.


2. Serviceberry
I saw this word @ Beth Fish Reads in her Stacked Up Book Thoughts post.

Serviceberry is rare in that it offers interest in every season. It kicks off in spring with beautiful white flowers, which develop into tasty purple berries that attract birds in early summer. Or harvest the berries and use them to make delicious jams, jellies, and pies. The plant’s bright green or bluish green leaves turn stunning shades of red and orange in fall, and its silvery bark offers winter appeal. You can grow serviceberry as a large shrub or small tree.

Apr 252017

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

Last week I worked 3 days on a different shift, so even though it was the same amount of hours, I didn’t get as many steps as on my usual shift 🙁

I could have walked on my treadmill to make the steps up, but I didn’t. Instead, I added some time to my strength training workouts.

Goals for April:
daily: deep breathing, prayer, stretching, 80 oz. water
Tai Chi/ Qi Gong once a week each
strength training 4 times a week

Do Yoga With Me Starting over due to back trouble the last few weeks

Steps Last Week:
Tuesday~ 4/18: 5,205 steps
Wednesday~ 4/19: 8,911 steps
Thursday ~ 4/20: 5,067 steps
Friday ~ 4/14: 21: 5,613 steps
Saturday ~ 4/22: 7,324 steps
Sunday ~ 4/23: 7,836 steps
Monday ~ 4/24: 6,114

Strength Training: 
Tuesday~ 4/18: 150 minutes
Wednesday~ 4/19: 150 minutes
Thursday ~ 4/20: 180 minutes
Friday ~ 4/21: 180 minutes
Saturday ~ 4/22: 180 minutes
Sunday ~ 4/23: 150 minutes
Monday ~ 4/24: 180 minutes

On The Menu 
Tuesday: Clean Eating Sheet Pan Mexican Chicken Dinner

Wednesday: Crock Pot Spicy Cabbage and Sausage

Thursday: Steak, Baked Potato, Broccoli

Friday: Low Carb Beef Burritos

Saturday: eating out

Sunday: Baked Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Chops w/fried rice

Monday: Bunless Hamburger with Sweet Potato Fries

How’d your exercise go last week?

Apr 232017

Sunday Reflections

A hot and beautiful day

I don’t know what I’m going to do this week, I have Tuesday thru Friday off…and that I really need to catch up on the book reviews I need to post

That I have Tuesday thru Friday off

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Lots of movies I dvr’d

This summer isn’t as humid as the last few summers

I can still get by with just a few hours of sleep

Lots of walking and strength training, some tai-chi

In The Kitchen…
Eating out today

Today’s To-Do List…
I already did my shift at work, so I’ll be reading and watching tv

One of my favorite things:
Tomatoes, could eat them at every meal

Pin It & Do It…
Crock Pot Spicy Cabbage & Sausage (I’m using chorizo)

Looking forward to…
Going to the beach

A Favorite Bible Verse…
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Psalms 12:6

A favorite quote…
“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”
Morris West

From the camera….

Apr 212017


Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk


Hosted @ Freda’s Voice

His awkwardness had fallen away as he warmed up to his own argument, and he summed up with the satisfied smile of a debate-society champ. It was impossible to tell how sincere he’d been about any of this.

Hosted @ Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is: Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished the book? I’d keep reading because I think it’s important to know all sides of things. The exception would be if I felt the author was trying to convince me to change my mind to their way of thinking, especially my religious beliefs.


Hosted @ Rose City Reader

There once was a girl named Phoebe Snow. She wore only white and helt tight to a violet corsage, an emblem of modesty. She was not retiring, though, and her life spun out as a series of journeys through mountain tunnels carved from poetry. I never saw her do anything besides boarding, riding, or disembarking a train, immaculate always, captivating conductors, enchanting other passengers.

Apr 182017

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

Last week I took a few extra rest days hoping my back would completely stop hurting and it helped. This week I’m going to play catch up.

Goals for April:
daily: deep breathing, prayer, stretching, 80 oz. water
Tai Chi/ Qi Gong once a week each
strength training 4 times a week

Do Yoga With Me

Steps Last Week:
Tuesday~ 4/11: rest day
Wednesday~ 4/12: 7,632 steps
Thursday ~ 4/13: rest day
Friday ~ 4/14: 10,rest day
Saturday ~ 4/15: 10,889 steps
Sunday ~ 4/16: 7,411 steps
Monday ~ 4/17: rest day

Cardio/Strength Training: 
Tuesday~ 4/11: rest day
Wednesday~ 4/12: 120 minutes
Thursday ~ 4/13: rest day
Friday ~ 4/14: 90 rest day
Saturday ~ 4/15: 60 minutes
Sunday ~ 4/16: 90 minutes
Monday ~ 4/17: rest day

On The Menu 
Tuesday: 15 Bean Soup w/Smoked Sausage
Wednesday: left over soup
Thursday: Clean Eating Sweet Potatoes & Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
Friday: Hamburgers & fries
Saturday: Chinese take out
Sunday: ?
Monday: Chorizo Sausage with Cabbage, Onions, and Peppers

How’d your exercise go last week?

Apr 162017

Sunday Reflections

Right now it’s 70°  but it’s supposed to get up to 85°

It’s time for a little beach therapy

For my Mitsubishi Mirage, I love it

Lilian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees, tonight @ 8:00, CBS

It would stop being so cold at night

You need to rid yourself of people who have a negative effect on you

Doing ok, my back is a little better

In The Kitchen…
Trying a new soup this week, and a few favorite recipes

Today’s To-Do List…
I have to work tonight

One of my favorite things:
In the last few months I’ve become addicted to audio books

Pin It & Do It…
Something similar to this wall plaque

Looking forward to…
Going to Silver Springs, I haven’t been in years

A Favorite Bible Verse…
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths
Proverbs 3:6

A favorite quote…
Be careful with your words, they can be forgiven, but never forgotten

From the camera….

Apr 152017

I saw this recipe @ House Of Yumm and since I love grilled cheese and all the ingredients used in it, I decided to try it. The only thing different I did  was use slices of Colby Jack cheese instead of shredded Monterey Jack.

2 slices of bread
3 slices of pineapple, fresh or canned
3 slices canadian bacon
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
oregano and parsley

Butter one side of each slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley and oregano to taste

On non buttered side of bread place the shredded cheese, then the canadian bacon, pineapple, and top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing up

Cook sandwich on stove top on a griddle or frying pan

Once bread is toasted on one side flip the sandwich to toast the other side

Cook on a low heat to allow the cheese to melt while the bread is toasting

What I Thought
This sandwich was so good! I’ve never added oregano and parsley to the bread when making grilled cheese, and I loved the flavor it added. Quick and simple, and very yummy, I’ll be making this again!

Weekend Cooking

Souper Sunday

Apr 142017

Novel Destinations


Hosted @ Freda’s Voice

William Sydney Porter was accused of embezzling money from an Austin bank where he worked as a teller, went on the lam to Honduras, and returned to face charges after receiving the news that his young wife was dying. Convicted of the crime, Porter spent three years in an Ohio prison, where he occupied his time writing and adopted the pseudonym O. Henry.

Hosted @ Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question is: When you feature a book in your posts, do you include a book cover? Yes, I always include a book cover for every book I post about, and I add a link to the book, usually GoodReads.


Hosted @ Rose City Reader

What conditions are necessary for the creation of works of art?” Virginia Woolf pondered in A Room Of One’s Own. For Henry David Thoreau, it was the primitive surroundings of a one room cabin stripped of all but the necessities.

Apr 122017

Hosted by Kathy @ BermudaOnion

I saw this word on the tv of the pump I was using at the Shell gas station.
It was the word of the day.

1: marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable
2: deserving of shame or infamy : despicable
3: humiliating, degrading an ignominious defeat

ignominiously adverb
ignominiousness noun

Apr 112017

Ashes by Steven Manchester

Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life and death has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other s company. It s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he s left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.

At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, ASHES puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal.

What I Thought:
This is the third book I’ve read by this author and like the other two, I loved it.

The story is sad because of the way the boys were raised, but there is is humor too. Also, a meeting that Jason and Tom had with someone brought a change to the story. I loved that part! The meeting brought a warmth to the book and a new way of looking at things for both Jason and Tom.

I love stories about relationships and this book was full of them. Jason and Tom were great characters. They both had flaws and issues of their own, as well as a badly marred relationship, but being stuck in a car together for days could have only turned out one of two ways, and I’m glad it turned out the way it did.

A quick read, and a very good book!

Apr 112017

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I haven’t been able to do as much as I wanted to do this past week. I’ve done good on my steps and strength training, but I’ve had a kink in my back on the lower right side that’s had me slightly bent over and not being able to stand straight. I almost called out of work a few days but didn’t. It’s starting to feel better today so hopefully in a day or two I can do more.

Goals for April:
daily: deep breathing, prayer, stretching, 80 oz. water
Tai Chi/ Qi Gong once a week each
strength training 4 times a week

Do Yoga With Me

Steps Last Week:
Tuesday~ 4/4: rest day
Wednesday~ 4/5: 7,674 steps
Thursday ~ 4/6: 9,125 steps
Friday ~ 4/7: 10,474 steps
Saturday ~ 4/8: 9,396 steps
Sunday ~ 4/9: 7,834 steps
Monday ~ 4/10: 8,327 steps

Cardio/Strength Training: 
Tuesday~ 4/4: rest day
Wednesday~ 4/5: 90 minutes
Thursday ~ 4/6: 90 minutes
Friday ~ 4/7: 90 minutes
Saturday ~ 4/8: 90 minutes
Sunday ~ 4/9: 90 minutes
Monday ~ 4/10: 90 minutes

On The Menu 
Tuesday: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Baked Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Chops
Thursday: Chicken & Sausage 15 Bean Soup
Friday: leftover soup
Saturday: eating out
Sunday: eating out
Monday: Chorizo Sausage with Cabbage, Onions, and Peppers

How’d your exercise go last week?

Apr 062017

She Reads is back with 2 selections for Spring:

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner
Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always.

They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

Apr 042017

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog
Goals for April:
daily: deep breathing, prayer, stretching, 80 oz. water
Tai Chi/ Qi Gong once a week each
strength training 4 times a week

I recently found a great site, Do Yoga With Me, that has free videos for yoga, meditation, deep breathing, stretching/flexibility etc., and decided to do a few of the courses this month.

Tuesday~ 3/28: rest day
Wednesday~ 3/29: 8,894 steps
Thursday ~ 3/30: rest day
Friday ~ 3/31: 8,262 steps
Saturday ~ 4/1: 7,571 steps
Sunday ~ 4/2: 5,382 steps
Monday ~ 4/3: rest day

Cardio/Strength Training: 
Tuesday~ 3/28: rest day
Wednesday~ 3/29: 60 minutes
Thursday ~ 3/30: rest day
Friday ~ 3/31: 90 minutes
Saturday ~ 4/1: 90 minutes
Sunday ~ 4/2: 120 minutes
Monday ~ 4/3: rest day

On The Menu
Tuesday: Chicken and veggies
Wednesday: Chorizo Sausage with Cabbage, Onions, and Peppers
Thursday: Baked Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Chops
Friday: Enchiladas
Saturday: ?
Sunday: ?
Monday: Hawaiian Grilled Cheese

Mar 282017

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Written by: Solomon Northup
Narrated by: Louis Gossett, Jr.
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-06-13
Publisher: Audible Studios

Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.

Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.

Twelve Years a Slave is soon to be a major motion picture, starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.

What I Thought:
This was very hard to listen to. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to someone to be born into slavery. But imagine being born free, and then as a married adult with children, being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Some of the things Solomon and the other slaves had to endure at the hands of their master, and that they were forced to do to other slaves, were so horrible that I literally cringed. This was the first time I heard of a slave owner forcing a slave to harm another slave. What Solomon was forced to do to a female slave was shocking. No, it wasn’t sexual.

I can’t wrap my head around how someone could treat another human being that way.

I teared up many times during this book, especially when Solomon was finally rescued. I’m sure there were parts in the book that told of some of good times the slaves had, but honestly I don’t remember any specific thing. The torture the slaves endured is what I remember.

The audiobook I read was narrated by Louis Gossett, Jr. and I thought he did a good job, but his voice was so deep that at times the last word or two of a sentence was hard to understand.

This book will stay with me for a very long time.

Mar 282017

Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog
It’s been exactly a month since I posted a Readers Workout. First I had modem problems and then I transferred my blog’s domain and had a few problems with the transfer, but with the help of my son Jeremy my blog is back and I’m a happy blogger again!

I’ve been doing good with my walking etc., but didn’t keep track of anything other than my walking and cardio. I’ll start tracking everything else after I make new goals for April.

Tuesday~ 3/21: 7,194 steps
Wednesday~ 3/22: 9,182 steps
Thursday ~ 3/23: 8,372 steps
Friday ~ 3/24: 11,371 steps
Saturday ~ 3/25: rest day
Sunday ~ 3/26: 8,197 steps
Monday ~ 3/27: 7,605 steps

Cardio/Strength Training: 
Tuesday~ 3/21: 90 minuets
Wednesday~ 3/22: 90 minuets
Thursday ~ 3/23: 120 minuets
Friday ~ 3/24: 60 minuets
Saturday ~ 3/25: rest day
Sunday ~ 3/26: 120 minuets
Monday ~ 3/27: 120 minuets

On The Menu
Tuesday: Fish and veggies
Wednesday: Campbell’s Sauces Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Thursday: Taco Salad
Friday: Left over Taco Salad
Saturday: ?
Sunday: ?
Monday: Stacked Enchiladas (my mom’s recipe)

Mar 042017


I love soup and this is one from my cookbook

Gooseberry Patch 101 Soups, Salads, & Sandwiches

This was so easy to make, it only took a few minutes to get the ingredients in the pot and it was done in about 15 min. I didn’t eat cornbread with it like Katie French ,the woman who sent the recipe to Gooseberry Patch, recommended. I used croutons instead, and was very happy with that decision. This recipe will go into my rotation to be made every so often. It is really good!

unnamed (1)

unnamed (2)

Se that soup cup? I bought 4 at Publix  and wish I’d bought more. I love them! They’re oven, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher safe and have lids.

This counts toward my Pin It & Do It: Food challenge

Weekend Cooking

Souper Sundays

Feb 282017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I met all my goals for February except Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong (imagine that). Since I’m having trouble with it, I decided to be a little more structured for  March, which means I’ve specified certain workouts for certain days. Hopefully this will get me on track.

Goals For March:
Do every day
Deep breathing:
80 oz. water:

Sunday is rest day
Monday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Tuesday- Strength Training:
Wednesday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Thursday: Strength Training:
Friday- Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong:
Saturday- Strength Training:

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 2/21: 9,702 steps
Wednesday~ 2/22: 7,128 steps
Thursday ~ 2/23: didn’t track
Friday ~ 2/24: 8,130 steps
Saturday ~ 2/25: 10,588 steps
Sunday ~ 2/26: 8,508 steps
Monday ~ 2/27: didn’t track

On The Menu
Tuesday: Chicken Corn Chowder recipe (my Gooseberry Patch cookbook)
Wednesday: Corned Beef & Cabbage
Thursday: Taco Salad
Friday: ?
Saturday: ?
Sunday: Chinese
Monday: Cucumber Black Bean Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

Feb 272017


A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-12-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: Hope.

What I Thought:
Wow! This book had me from the first paragraph. It would be scary enough to be left in a place you’re not really familiar with, but on top of that his brother never comes back to get him. He can’t tell anyone anything that will help them find his family, and then he sets out on a journey that was scary for me as a reader, so I can’t even imagine what it was like for Saroo at the age of 5. Finally, after one horrible experience after another, Saroo is taken to a place where people help him find a family that wants to adopt him. Now, although he’s safe with people who care for him, he still has memories of his mom, brothers and sister, and wonders how they are, if they are looking for him, and if he’ll ever see them again.

Although he adjusts really well with his new family, those thoughts never leave him and he starts another journey to see if he can find them. Finally, he does and takes a trip back to India and sees his birth mom and siblings.

This is one of those books that I didn’t want to stop listening to for even a minute. I clung to every word, wanting to hear what happened next.

The book is narrated by Vikas Adam, and he did a great job. Very easy to listen too.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie The Lion (hopefully tomorrow) based on the book. If you haven’t read this yet, I 100% recommend it!

Feb 232017

The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.

The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy. by Tom Rinaldi

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition (September 6, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594206775
ISBN-13: 978-1594206771

What would you do in the last hour of your life?

The story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage

One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles’s parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles’s mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs. After leading them down, the young man turned around. “I’m going back up,” was all he said.

The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.

Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.

What I Thought:
I was really excited to read this book but the first half wasn’t what I was expecting. It told of Welles life, from school, his friends, his family, things he did growing up, just about every aspect of his life leading up to 911. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in his life’s story, I just thought it gave too many details.

Then it got to the morning of 911 and what happened, told by the people that were in the tower with him, and survived, because of him.

The images that the words put in your head are horrendous. I can not even imagine being in that situation. And for him to have the state of mind to do whatever he could to lead as many people as he could to safety is amazing. He could have gotten out many times over, but he stayed and directed them to safety.

I won’t go into the details of what everyone went through, but I can tell you that Welles was a true hero, over and over, that day.

This is one book that will stay with me for a very long time.