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 During the past two weeks, we’ve been dealing with a pesky squirrel.

Our granddaughter climbed a ladder to staple beautiful blue lights along our front rafter, and then draped several strings around one of the pine trees near the porch.

She and I got going on this before Thanksgiving because things seemed so gloomy. Light is my answer to that, so why not brighten up our corner of the world a little early this year?

 For a week or so, everything was going great. Then suddenly, the tree lights stopped working. Upon investigation, we discovered that some creature had bitten the wires in two.

 Okay, so we put up a second set of strings. They lasted another few days, until…you guessed it:

  We live in a town of 1,000, so the two stores that sell lights were out of blue. Nonplussed, we opted for multi-colored strings. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and, possibly, our phantom harbors a distaste only for the color blue…


            We rather like the effect, and the image created after dark sort of goes with a consistent theme from the past year: things might not go the way you intend. Recollecting on the myriad plans that have gone awry in our nation during 2020, I could rephrase that about a hundred different ways.

You never know what might happen.

Be ready for surprises.

Have a Plan B…and C…etc.

I also could quote a line from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

 Perhaps in ten years, we’ll still look back at 2020 as the year everything seemed to fall apart, but then, we don’t know what lies ahead, do we? We do know that people of past generations have come through some very difficult times, and studying about them reminds me that LIGHT, in any shadowy circumstance, is still the answer.

WWII definitely sent the people living through it into a situation where it seemed their world was falling apart. But they managed to survive in spite of all odds. Check out Until Then, Gail’s inspiring story of the women who persevered among the trials and hardships of war.  

Until Then is available on Amazon.

Until Then

By Gail Kittleson

March 3, 1943

Bethnal Green, London’s East End

Shortly after a quarter past eight, a siren split the air. Marian Williams lifted her sleeping daughter from her bed and darted down the stairs. Her mother and father-in-law, off on air warden duty, had left the front door unlocked.

She hugged her youngest child close. The blackout made the going difficult, but her husband’s instructions echoed in her brain: “Whatever you do, get down inside the station fast as you can.”

She hoped for a spot near the canteen, with access to milk. Uneven light shone over the paved steps. Then she tripped. Her knee hit the concrete, then something bashed her left side. Someone cried out. Another blow scraped her arm on the landing floor. Where was her baby? She attempted to get up, but an even heavier weight slammed her face down. A crushing burden descended, then all went black.

Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.

During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers, who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers.

Dorothy and Marian’s stories converge on a simple, hand stitched handkerchief.

About the Author:

A rural Iowa child, Gail Kittleson appeared at her local library counter every Saturday to haul home a new pile of books. Later, she taught English as a Second Language and college expository writing. Over a ten-year period, writing a memoir led to her addiction to the World War II era. Her World War II fiction, including the Women of the Heartland series, honors this era’s make-do women, and she loves to cheerlead others through facilitating writing workshops/retreats. Gail and her husband enjoy grandchildren and gardening in northern Iowa, and the Mogollon Rim’s beautiful Ponderosa forest during the winter months.

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