Yet to be published; on 2d edit

This is a story of growing up on a farm in rural Virginia during the nineteen-fifties and sixties as one of the six children of Marine Corps veterans.

It starts when Second Lieutenant, Elizabeth Anne Delp, Annie, from a wealthy Pittsburgh family, is on a flight with Ace Marine Fighter pilot, Joe Foss, to New Orleans to give a recruitment speech. Major Waldon Pete Snyder, Pete, a mixed blood Native American from a ranch in Oklahoma, is piloting the flight.

Put off at Pete’s pointed scowl at the miniscule cigarette burn on her uniform that not even her superior officer had noticed, Annie vows to have nothing to do with the conceited jerk.

But when D-Day arrives, how can she refuse his request for a lift in her little red convertible to join the jubilant celebrations erupting all over the nation’s capital? As they Texas-two-step across the dance floor to the big band sounds of Count Basie, Annie discovers they’re perfect dance partners. He’s not such a jerk after all.

Her parents, disappointed when they find Annie is engaged to an “Okie” of dubious background, hire a detective who uncovers a secret that almost derails the engagement.

Despite setbacks, they marry and leave the Marines, Pete to fly for Capital Airlines, and Annie to become the first woman to enroll at the prestigious George Mason Law school in Washington, DC.

When her pregnancy puts an end to law school, Annie postpones her dream of following in her father’s footsteps as a corporate lawyer to settle for life as a housewife. She soon finds winning the title of Master Potato Peeler while on KP-Duty in the Marines doesn’t make up for the deficiencies of her privileged upbringing.

For Pete, it’s hard to hide his shock when Annie doesn’t know how to boil water. One eyeball roll after another, the strain deepens between them.

Three children later, with a fourth on the way, Pete gets an unsolicited, surprise offer on the house he’s been building on his time off for the burgeoning family. Annie convinces him to sell and purchase a farm. A month after the fourth child arrives, they move from Metropolitan DC to a hundred and ninety-one acre farm in rural Virginia.

Annie’s visions of a bucolic story-book life in the country meet with reality: too many children, too much to do, and too little time. Although juggling housework, farm chores, and keeping us kids in line is an enormous challenge, both parents’ Marine Corps officer training equip them well for the task. They forge the household into a team of troopers, with rotating chore lists, the sins of the one punishing the all, and threats of severe infractions going up the chain of command for more stern measures.

After the births of the fifth and sixth children, Mom goes into a coma while Dad is away flying for United Airlines. When she comes out of it and visits a doctor, she finds she has diabetes. Her inability to control her blood sugars and the resulting drastic mood swings challenges both her and the family dynamics.

Determined not to let the disease control her life, she takes on the first of a long stream of fights to protect the next door National Manassas Battlefield Park from encroaching development. Her activism later earns her national acclaim as “Stonewall Annie” and the “Angel of Manassas.”

When the youngest two are barely out of toddler-hood, Mom embarks on a summer camping trip with the six of us, Dad flying standby to join us during his two weeks off. We camp our way through state parks on the way to California to visit Dad’s relatives.

On the third camping trip, Dad’s mother, our Grandma Jo, joins us on the way back from California to the farm. While sewing clothes for my freshman year of college, she relays to me the family oral history of our Cherokee/Creek heritage and her Grandfather Watts. After surviving the Trail of Tears, he arrived in Oklahoma Territory an orphan at the age of twelve, to later become a councilman and lawyer for the Cherokee Nation.

Through her wisdom, serenity, and kindness, Jo helps me understand my parents and prepares me for the next chapter in my life.

Although this is based on a true story, I have exercised creative license in embellishing the details and the tales passed down to me. Also, where I deemed appropriate or forgot them, I changed some characters’ names and the dates of some events.

by Eric Cockrell

I do not fear….
Armagadden, not the end,
not soldiers wearing masks,

not the plague, not nuclear disaster….
not prisons, not persecution,
not being labeled or hated.

not losing it all,
not guns, not drugs, nor
one world order…..

but i do fear….
not living all that i can live,
not giving all that i can give,

not matching beliefs with action,
not seeing all people as people,
not doing what i know is right….

not standing when i should stand,
not saying what i should say….
not writing the words i’m given…. 

Click on image to see the book on Amazon

A fabulous tapestry of fictional history interwoven with southern gothic fantasy. On a plantation in middle Georgia, Hooter, a young bondsman with a deformed hand, tries to teach his fellow slaves to read the Bible, a crime punishable by severe flogging. With the larger than life characters of Hooter; his girlfriend Sarah, a servant at the plantation house; his best friend Legs, a dwarf; and his wonderful, wise Granny; it’s a wild ride of torture, hatred, murder, consuming lust, shame, guilt, gut-wrenching fear, romantic love, and finally, spiritual ecstasy and compassion. The author’s uncanny imagination and colorful writing style make the tale a joy to read. 

Lance Levens grew up in Macon, Georgia. He is a member of my writers’ group in Savannah, GA.


Sunrise over Thunderbolt

Under a blanket of earth,
an origami enfolding inwards upon myself,
in unconscious bliss, I nestle in winter’s silent shell.

Changes in the earth awaken me, fuzzy,
before I slip back into dreamless sleep.

When the next daylight beckons longer and warmer,
I awake more conscious before darkness lulls me again.

Today’s morning rays shine directly upon me.
As they pierce through my shell, a tiny crack opens.

A ray of brilliant white light beams in,
igniting each cell and every strand of DNA with vibrating promise,
poising me on the brink of potentiality.

Universe breathes its prana, life force, into the crack.
I breathe out, announcing my presence to Universe.
Universe welcomes me, bathes me in her warm, healing glow.

Minuscule movements within my shell sound cracking noises.
The hologram that is me unveils chrysalis layers of its origami folds,
sprouting fingers and toes, arms and legs.
A sturdy stalk shoots upwards, lifting me into a seated position.

Slow first movements, then long, luxurious stretches,
I emerge from my shell and leave it behind.

Stretching, elongating my spine,
I lift my head upward to receive the light,
a flower, smiling into the sun.

© 2020 Leona Patrick, all rights reserved

You can find a four and a half minute podcast of a Yoga Nidra based on this poem by clicking on the Guided Meditations Page on the menu above.

Photo by Naveen Annam on

Mind of mine, where do you go?
Stop your silly meanderings to and fro.
Cease your aimless wanderings,
your crazed contradictions,
and rest for awhile.

Rest in the mandala,
find peace at the core,
the lyrics of a tune,
waves lapping on the shore.

Centering, centering,
spiraling down.
At the center of the hurricane,
truth can be found.

Let go of wasteful fears
that enough is not enough,
delusions that stuff is made of stuff
other than stuff,
and the assumption
that Nothing is Nothing.

In striving to make
Nothing into something more,
in my fruitless haste,
I had opened up the door
to faulty assumptions
that much to my dismay,
led me to reject Nothing.
I threw Nothing away.

But persistence and I were determined to win.
We went back to the mat and we tried it again.
It took awhile, but we centered back down.
Nothing stared back and here’s what we found
in the the words of Nothing:

Forget your contradictions.
Say “Yes” to your soul.
Don’t shred your dreams
before you reach your goal.

Don’t try to make something out of me.
I am you, who you are meant to be.
Your attempts to control me
only come to naught.

Surrender fickle ego
and empty every thought.
Make room for me
to manifest through you.
Claim the glory of your Nothingness
and you will know that this is true.

I stared squarely into the maw of Nothing: I confronted the void.
Suddenly Love surrounded me like I never before knew it could.

Mind tries again to fool me,
jealous little hack.
But to my silly little mind,
I now speak back:

Cease your silly meanderings,
you crazed little mind,
and in silence claim the glory
that in simple being you will find.

© 2020, All rights reserved, Patricia Leone