Category Archives: terrorism

Patriots’ Day: Solidarity


There is a quotation being volleyed about called, “The Slurry Walls of Life.” I

received it twice now. Once, from someone far away, but a U.S. citizen, and the

second time I read this was in our September church newsletter. Neither time

was an author given credit. This upsets me, almost like I am ‘pirating’ someone’s

thoughts. If you happen to see this, with an author attached, please let me know!

I hope these words will hold something meaningful to give to you,  a few days

ahead of  the actual Patriots’ Day.  This quote comes exactly as I received it, no

editing or changes made.


I think on the actual day of 9/11/14, I will be silent. . .


“As horrific as 9/11 was, it could’ve been even worse if not for a 30 year old

engineering feat. Reaching some 70 feet underground, a 3 foot thick concrete

structure called a ‘slurry wall’ surrounded the base of the World Trade Center

complex. Designed to prevent the Hudson River from flooding the basement,

this wall prevented New York’s subway system from flooding and countless

additional people from dying on September 11, 2001.


A ‘slurry wall’ is constructed by pouring a thick, goopy mixture of powdered

clay and water into a deep, narrow trench. The solution coats the sides,

preventing water and soil from collapsing the trench. Pipes are then inserted

through the slurry, and concrete is pumped into the trench, pushing the slurry

up and out.


At the World Trade Center, the concrete formed such a strong wall that even

two airplanes and the falling towers didn’t fracture it. Part of the ‘slurry wall’

stands at the 9/11 Memorial site, a symbol of resilience.


Sometimes God uses life’s ‘slurry’ to make us stronger than we ever thought

possible. We might wish something yucky hadn’t happened- – until we discover

it was part of what sustained us, making us resilient and enabling us to rise out

of the destruction and death to an awe-inspiring new life.”

(Author Unknown)


This much I could research, that the original ‘slurry walls’ construction, under

the World Trade Center, were supervised by a man named, Arturo Lamberto

Ressi di Cervia. This building supervisor passed away at age 72 in August, 2013.

He lived almost 12 years past that day of sadness, to see this job become the

base of the Memorial. The construction workers need to feel satisfaction in their

awesome work on the ‘slurry walls.’


Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia’s professional crew poured the walls of support

that survived the crashes. Construction supervisor, Mr. di Cervia, must have

felt a little better that his workers’ wall held back further destruction and may

have prevented more deaths.  Although, it is nearly impossible to be proud of

your accomplishments, in the midst of death and sorrow.  Acknowledgment

to the crew only seems ‘right’ to do, as to ALL the workers who came to the

rescue of the ones injured, helping to unbury the living and the ones who died

on this horrific day. Rescue dogs wore themselves out, helping to find so many

‘buried’ people.


There is a fine article (not containing the above quotation) from a man named,

David W. Dunlap, written about the construction of the ‘slurry walls.’ Dunlap’s

article was published on 9/11/13/ in the New York Times:

“Looking to a Wall that Limited the Devastation of the World Trade Center.”


Musical Legend: Mavis Staples


Wishing an early “Happy Birthday to Mavis Staples!” Her birthday will be

July 10, 1939. Wow! In her 75th year of singing a rich and still fresh

combination of blues, soul, folksong anthems, and Gospel music, she

just put out another album in 2013!

Way to go, Mavis Staples!

Mavis’ newest album is titled, “One True Vine.” I learned more about

her personal journey through her life and also, a definite proposal

and romance I had no idea existed! You may not guess which famous

singer asked her “Pop’s” for permission to have her hand in marriage!

Mavis’ “Pop” put together the family singing act called, “The Staple

Singers” long ago, while she was at the tender, young age of 8 years

old! While the Peace Movement and Civil Rights Movement were the

ones who ‘took her there,’ the popular song, “I’ll Take You There,” was

what got the group on the top of music charts!

Listening to the lyrics, knowing it was originally a gospel song that

was intended for the listener to believe in going to a place called

“Heaven,” makes it even more spiritual and inspiring.

During the sixties, being on stage with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King,

Jr. made her inspired and gave her so much encouragement for the

world. Her life was spent traveling around to big cities, performing and

feeling the wave of love and hope rising amongst African Americans.

On an interview with CBS Saturday Morning, (5/17/14), Mavis said that

being around MLK, Jr. was to feel ‘unbelievable joy.’ To be in his ‘presence’

brought her so much meaning to her life.

During this timely period in the United States, there was another

young ‘mover and shaker’ in the music industry. Mavis spent a lot of

time with that curly haired, good looking Bob Dylan.

There came a time, Mavis recounted that,

“Bobby told my Pops, ‘I want to marry Mavis.'”

Pops responded,

“‘Don’t tell me, tell Mavis!'”

While grinning happily, telling the interviewer this love story,

he asked with some excitement,

“What did you say to Bob?”

She reflected, smiling and said,

Well, remember I was very young, so I told him, ‘Let’s wait awhile.'”

She went on to say (the essence of this moment being the real meaning

in her words, paraphrased here):

She wondered what changes her life would have had, how marrying Bob

Dylan would have impacted her life and then used a phrase that I will

tell you the interviewer had to ask her to repeat and explain.

Mavis wondered what it would have been like to make ‘chrome-crushers’

with Bobby.

The words meant, children or babies with him. She was pondering this

and looking happy, still. She felt that she had been attractive, I

forget if she called herself a ‘fox’ or what, but he was definitely

someone she had love for and a huge crush on, too!

Mavis says that her life was spent ‘coming at it with her heart.’

When Mavis Staples won her first Grammy, she remembered that her

Pops had said not to worry about that but they were (basically)

singing for the Lord and “to reach people.” It was a great piece

of philosophy, not to worry about your awards in life, just what

actions you do and how it effects people.

At the 55th Grammy Award ceremony in February, 2013, Mavis Staples

won the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, looking very

stunning and vibrant. If you punch in her name and Grammy 2013, you

will see her the way she still looks. So beautiful inside and out!

She performed, by the way, in a tribute to Levon Helm, with the ‘likes’

of Elton John, Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons that fantastic

evening show to remember!

Mavis laughed, saying that she did, “Buy a stand for that Grammy,”


The upbeat tone in her speaking and singing voice wins you over,

despite her vocal range not being as wide as I am sure it was in her

‘heyday!’ She has two songs that were very special to me.

I have sometimes, like many people do, worried about my appearance

and this song, “I Like the Things About Me,” including her comments

in the song disparaging her hair and her lips. She uses this verse,

“I like the things about me, that I once despised…”

“There was a time I wished my hair was fine…”

“There was a time I wished my lips were thin…”

In the end, the message was similar to today’s artist, Lady Gaga’s.

Mavis’ lifetime of having racial hurdles to overcome, make her

simple songs even more powerful. And timeless…

“Love yourself.”

(The essence of the lyrics was she came to the point in her life,

when she could accept ‘the me that I am.’)

The lively and pretty song, “Freedom’s Highway,” still has a world

wide application. As she mentioned the children (girls who were

kidnapped in Nigeria) and ‘everywhere looking at America to see what

we will do.’

“March each and every day,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around.

There is just one thing,

I can’t understand, my friend.

Why some folk think freedom

Was not designed for all men,

Yes, I think I voted for the right man,

Said we would overcome.”

She repeated that ‘the whole world is wondering why America

is not stepping in to help those girls.’

Mavis Staples’ songs to look up on Youtube and listen to are:

“You Are Not Alone,” (2010)

“Eyes on the Prize,” (2007)

“One True Vine” (2013).

I was uplifted by Mavis’ energy and her loving nature shown in the

interview this Saturday morning. I needed only to see her face, to

remember that, not too long ago, Grammy Awards Show.

Where I had really listened to Mavis Staples’ singing and messages.

Adding to everyone’s loving voices raised in tribute to Levon Helm.

(If you were a fan of “The Band,” you were listening to his drumming

and percussion skills.)

Now go out, sing dance and march to the music!

Conundrums in Life


I think having been raised mainly during our

country’s seventies period of civil disobedience,

fighting for civil and women’s rights, I tend to

question authority. Having spent some time in my

life, generally acting like a ‘hippie,’ I tend to

not do well under authoritative bosses.

Our boss, held a big meeting about safety last week.

We convened in the largest ‘conference’ room with

both heavy bulk and the bin order fillers together.

This is rare, since we all have divergent focuses

and different ‘dangers’ attached to our jobs. We

also, traditionally during the past five years of

my employment, been ‘at odds’ with one another.

My safety concerns are protecting my body from

lifting and pushing hampers on lines or pushing

a cart filled with hampers. I also am not too

crazy when they stock things far above my head

that are heavier than ten pounds. I am fine,

using my ‘lifting pose’ with my legs apart and

using their muscles to heave fifty pounds up

onto the rollers or onto a cart, from waist-high

shelving or lower.

As we entered the room, we had lined up, written our

names on lined sheets with complicated information

that I noticed some of the employees needed to check

their name tags for. Two forms of identification,

which include a four digit number, mine is easy to

remember: 2347 and then, a longer ‘code’ which is

367650. The second one, sometimes with six numbers

catches some of our simpler minded people or older

ones. That ‘job’ completed, we sat on metal folding

chairs with a pencil and a ditto. Some use their legs

to answer the questions before we even watch any type

of movie. I laughed and elbowed my friend, Tammy,

because as soon as the lights went out, one of the

older guys leaned back and fell promptly asleep!

His name is Vincent and I always call him, “Vince”

or his whole name, but there are some who call him

“Vinnie” which always makes me giggle, thinking of

Vinnie Barbarino. Yes, that tells you what kind

of silly stuff I used to watch; “Welcome Back,

Kotter.” (John Travolta was cute in those days!)

That made me ‘wax nostalgic,’ for a few moments.

Nothing like the lights going out, to get you


Then, the different crises situations were played

out, like if someone would somehow pass the guards

and have a weapon, what we were supposed to do.

Then, if someone’s mood or attitude had recently

changed, we were told to mention this to our

supervisor, as this is “suspicious behavior.”

Anyway, you can imagine the variety of about 35

minutes of such situational choices and procedures

were shown in this safety movie to us.

When we were finished, there was time to fill out

and complete your questionnaire. Our boss asked us

if we had any concerns or safety issues.

Since practically everyone likes to take time away

from work, a deluge of inane comments and questions

began. I raised my hand, since one of the examples

given of “terrorism” was for an infiltrator, within

the work force, to get in an area where combustibles

were stored. Possibly then, due to anger or depression,

catch the explosive materials on fire.

I had a question,

“Why has there been a black garbage bag covering our

exit sign in the ‘bomb shelter?’

(This is the all concrete room, where pallet riders

pick up cases of aerosol paints and other flammable

car products below where I sometimes am placed. This

area above the riding equipment area is called the

‘Aerosol Room.’) I mentioned that Nick and Corey,

heavy bulk men, had also noticed this. It also has a

sign that says, “Do not use this exit” anymore.

“How, if there is a fire or an explosion will we

make it to the front, where the door is, or the back

of the building, where the docks are?”

The manager smiled and jotted this down, saying,

“We will check on this and thank you for bringing

this up.”

Another person raised their hand and asked,

“When are they going to move the carbuerators

and other heavy things from the top shelf in

the Mezzanine? That should be considered a

‘safety issue’ since they could fall on our

heads or strain our back and shoulders.”

The manager again smiled, nodded his head,


“This has been brought up before and I will

refer the question, in an email memo, to the

cycle count and stocking people. Are there any

more questions?”

I gave you the only two that were pertinent to

my life, that were not just plain ‘stupid.’

A conundrum, typically, has a puzzle or a twist.

It is sometimes a complicated problem. I have

something more to tell you.

I decided on last Friday, racing around on our

half day, trying to beat Melvin and Tammy in

our best “TGIF” attitude, to write down on a

piece of paper, any products that I had to

climb the attached ladder on my cart to the

top and grab a heavy or awkwardly sized item.

I turned in about twenty products in a neatly

printed list, with their location numbers to

my boss. He told me he was going to pass it

on to his boss’ boss, Ted.

Yesterday, Ted came up to me, telling me that

many of my locations did seem to have heavy

products but they were not going out too often.

This meant, he said, that their frequency of

outgoing products did not meet the demand of

moving them. I asked if they could be moved to

the floor or second shelf level instead of the

sixth shelf. I could not (honestly) understand

why it mattered how often they went out, if

they were too heavy to hold above your head,

while climbing back down the cart’s ladder.

He also followed me to an area that I told

him and gave him two more items, that were

dangerous. They were metal couplings with

‘nipples’ on each end, looked like little

mufflers. I said that the way they were

stocked they were dangerous, as you needed

to pull them forward in bin boxes, which

given a little extra tug, come crashing

on your head!

I got dramatic,

“They are like missiles, Ted! I can see

eyes gored out or head injuries.”

This morning, Thursday, Ted came to our

morning start-up meeting, where we get our

numbers for the day, how many hours we will

working and perform our warm-up exercises.

While we were doing exercises, Ted told us,

“You are NOT to give me any more lists of

items, that were not dangerous due to low

frequency of picking.”

Several of my tablemates rolled their eyes,

raised their eyebrows or otherwise indicated

they knew he was talking about me and worried

how I would react. I was quiet at lunch and I

was silent as I drove to the library and here

is my rant:

Why ask us for our opinions if you don’t want

to know the questions! And you don’t really

want to fix the problems!

Wonder whether that dummy took the black garbage

bag off the EXIT sign yet, if the door is fixed

and we have a proper exit in case of espionage?

Ha! Wouldn’t it serve him right if I called the

Fire Inspector?!