Waiting at the VA Clinic

Old men.
Waiting for the doctor.
Telling stories.
Remembering Iraq.
Comparing experiences.
Comparing diagnoses.
Swapping acronyms.
Waiting.

High tech checkin.
Scan your ID card.
Verify your birthday.
All medical files have been digitized.
Waiting for benefits.
Smiling at the receptionist.
Appreciating kindness.
Thinking about military service.

Feeling less out of place today.
When you’re 23 at the VA and you’re surrounded by WWII and Vietnam veterans, you kind of stick out.
I’m older now.
I’m not skinny any more.
I need to reduce my cholesterol.
My vision isn’t what it used to be.

Listening to the stories.
The stories in the waiting room.
The tales of the dead.
Bodies in Iraq.
Severed limbs
Burned in a pile
Chemical defoliants
Dropped by aircraft flying high above
Designed to peel back the jungle canopy
Peeling back years of vitality and health now
The unintended consequences
The science of warfare
Manifested now in the clinic
Waiting.
Listening.
Remembering.
Thinking.

Waiting at the VA clinic.

Snowflake Book Series Website Moved

Rachel: The old domain we’d bought for your first Snowflake eBook (MeetSnowFlake.com) expires tomorrow. Since we decided not to keep that domain, I moved the entire website and made a few small updates/changes to it. The new address is a “sub-domain” of your main website. You can find it on snowflake.rachelfryer.com. If you publish another Snowflake book, like you were talking about over Christmas break, you can publish/link it there also if you want.

I also remembered I setup a Twitter account for your Snowflake book series, it’s @MeetSnowflake. I posted about the new site address and made some changes in the Twitter profile. If you want logins to both the site and this Twitter account I can make/give you those. 🙂

I think you should write and illustrate a new Snowflake book by yourself, and we should publish it to iTunes together. 🙂

Student Blogs to Check Out

Here are two student blogs to check out. First, “Escondido Adopt a Doggy Bloggy” by Page. Jo-Ann Fox’s daughter is working to “help dogs find forever homes.”

Second, “Reflections of a First Grader” by Yael Varga. In her latest post she’s asking for help learning more about Minecraft!

Great work by young bloggers!

My Favorite Person Essay

         Do you have that person in your life that makes you smile? That one lucky guy is my dad. I love him so much. He helps me with my homework. He loves to sing with me, and loves to cook with me. I love him and couldn’t imagine my life without him.

 

My dad is a teacher. He is very good at math, English, especially writing. Whenever I’m struggling with anything I can always go to him. Math isn’t my brightest subject. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but sometimes I need help. My father of all trades is always there to help.

 

Dads are usually like their sons right? Well my dad and I are very similar. We both love to sing. My favorite part about long car trips, is plugging in the phone and singing along to songs. We both share a love of music. Our dream is to play the guitar by the fire while singing familiar songs.

 

Cooking is a loved thing in my family. Everyone loves to eat. You can’t have food without chefs. That’s where my dad comes in. He’s the breakfast king. Anything you want he can make it! One of my favorites is homemade doughnuts and foil dinners,(or hobo dinners.) These are some of our family’s favorites. The best part is preparing together and bonding as a family.

 

From cooking, to singing, to helping me with my homework, my favorite person is definitely my dad!

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I always like fall
best
you can eat juicy lobster
from Atlantic waters
and peppermint bark
and blueberries
and sea salt and vinegar chips
and lots of
seafood
and hot chocolate
and maple syrup
at the town square
and walk to
the bonfire
outside
at the christmas
village
and go to Starbucks with
Zoë Sprankle
and sip carefully
and laugh constantly
all the time
not just when you hear a joke

Sarah Fryer

Character Essay

Strolling through the open doorway of the classroom, he made his way to the back. Weaving in and out of desks, he only stopped to pick up a random pencil someone earlier had left, not even noticing that it was pink. even while slouching with his backpack slung lazily behind one arm he would stand out from the crowd.

He is Asian, yet he towers above everyone like a skyscraper in a farm town. You can pick him out from his stocky build, tan skin and cropped black, Asian hair. He also has his always present red jacket zipped up all the way so that you rarely see his shirt. It is ripped half way around the right sleeve and has not left his back since we started school even in the hot Oklahoma summer. His light-brown backpack that he’s had since elementary school looks even more beat up.

As he tosses it on the ground next to a desk, his last two colored pencils tumble out. He sits down heavily in the old wooden desk that does not have enough leg room and proceeds to lay his head down with his forearms covering his face still grasping the pink pencil that he had grabbed not a moment ago. He continues to sit like this for awhile until I walk in, only the second person to enter the classroom, and open the heavy door.

Immediately his head popped up, quick as a fly, and grabs a textbook on the desk next to him proceeding to open it to a random page and pretend like he had been reading it the whole entire time. I laugh and joke with him on how he thought I was the teacher while making my way back to him. In response to my joke he just flipped his hair to the side by looking to the side and uttered a very dramatic, “Well.” This was usually his way of responding to my jokes whenever he couldn’t come up with a response.

He has been getting better at putting up more of a fight ever since he joined me in our debate class. That’s another thing we share, love for arguing, and we love to practice whenever we’re together, even if I win most of the time. He’s also been getting better at chess since I started playing him even, when no one at school can repeatedly best me.

But, probably one of the best things I like about him is that he will never back down from a challenge and will never give up no matter what happens. Just recently he went up and challenged our best debater, a senior, to a match. He knew he didn’t have much of a chance but he still stood up there and did his best to prove himself, and he did an awesome job. From all of this I know, that Phu Tran is my best friend.

Playing Minecraft

The Fire

This is a poem I wrote for my English class:

The Fire

The Fire

There was a fire ban that year

But the carless campers left

Leaving smoldering remains behind

The fire that ate the forest

 

Wind whispered wordlessly in the trees

The fire was given new life

Like a new small heartbeat

The fire that ate the forest

 

The fire lit the dry grass

It was gathering in strength

Like a lion preparing to strike

The fire that ate the forest

 

The fire now reached the trees

 It was a wild beast let free

Grey smoke billowed up to the sky

The fire that ate the forest

 

Campers couldn’t escape the wild flames

Sirens soon sounded on dirt roads

People evacuated their homes

The fire that ate the forest

 

Old oaks fell to their knees

Trees were consumed by flames

The heat was a blacksmith’s forge

The fire that ate the forest

 

Rescue men were left helpless

The fire covered the forest

Everyone did not escape

The fire that ate the forest

 

The fire burned bright in the sky

Smoke blocked the stars at night

Flames seemed to laugh evilly

The fire that ate the forest

 

 

The fire burned on still

Feasting on what ever it touched

Held back only from a river

The fire that ate the forest

 

The fire slowly reseeded

Rescue workers were gaining ground

Blessed rain started to fall

The fire that ate the forest

 

The roars finally abated

Land was left scorched

Flames had licked every tree clean

The fire that ate the forest

 

New grass began to grow

Trees again grew tall

Animals began to return

The fire that gave life

Yellow Cards

A nice thing that my church does is we have a concept called yellow cards. What you do is you get a yellow card and write either an encouraging word to ….. or write on the prayer chain. Also in the bulletin they have a special section just for the people who need prayer. I write about one yellow card a week.

One of the people that was in the bulletin multiple times was Kent Wilson. He is a very kind man. He used to help my mother in JAM, a program we do at our church for preschoolers. But he injured his back. It all went downhill from there. He got very sick and was not doing well. So every Sunday I would write a yellow card just for Kent.

But sadly Mr. Kent died. I got very emotional, that I kept on crying and crying. But what got me to stop crying was well I just thought well I know that Mr. Kent is in paradise, and I know he’s loving it! A few weeks later at Gathering (a weekly Wednesday night fellowship dinner) Mr. Kent’s wife walked up to me and said, “All of your notes that you sent Kent just touched his heart and my family and I really appreciate that.” That touched my heart. Every time I think about Kent I burst into tears.

Since that happened I write yellow cards constantly. Just for Kent.

Burial Practices

This is a project I did for English:

Burial Practices

We will always remember past kings or great heroes whether they had a great temples or not. The Inca had a very religious burial practices and afterlife. Like the kings of Egypt, important Incas were mummified and typically buried with their rare objects and provisions that would be needed for the journey to the afterlife. Their long list of burial possessions even included, on some occasions, freshly sacrificed humans, for slaves to serve them in the afterlife.1 If an Inca, rich or poor, had been a good Inca, the warmth of the Sun awaited. Bad Incas got an eternity or more in the cold, damp earth. There would not have been many “bad” Incas, since prisons were unheard-of and there was no need for thieving in a society of plenty. 2

Egyptian kings were the only people who could afford a pyramid. It took hundreds of slaves and rock to build a pyramid. When the Egyptian civilization was just starting out they built labyrinths underground, but as the years went by they got bigger and higher off of the ground. The pyramids have stood for thousands of years, although slightly diminished. The tombs use to have lots of jewels and riches to be taken into the afterlife, but over thousands of years many have been looted and are now empty. There are many different building styles of the pyramids including the step pyramid and the true pyramid.3

In The Lord of the Rings there are many different examples of burial customs. Like the deep pit/tomb that Rohan sends their past kings into. Also the closed rooms/tomb that Gondor puts their past kings into. But for the common soldier death in battle was honored. The wining army usually burns the dead of the losing army and buries their own dead. Sometimes if hast is great, and you have few casualties then you do what you can, and float them down a river like in chapter 5, of book 2 .

Footnotes:

  1. Inca Burial Etiquette – http://latinamericanhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/inca_burial_etiquette
  2. Ibid
  3. Overview of Pyramid Construction – http://www.touregypt.net/construction/
1 2