Category Archives: MINI TALES

So Liz Answered Ms. Angelou

So Liz Wrote  [after reading Maya Angelou’s Every Woman Should Know]

A woman should see from her mirrored reflection

That her path in life was her rightful direction.

A woman should have peace with her heart’s decisions

Knowing full well she’s entitled to revisions.

A woman should  love the soul mates in her life

Knowing full well they are the basis of her strife.

A woman should find peace on the her path of rocks

Because the pain of treading were doorways, not blocks.

A woman should acknowledge her strengths and approaches

For others in doubt are enemies, not friends and coaches.

A woman should walk hand in hand with the Trinity

And know she is blessed beyond infinity.

A woman will find peace through relations with girlfriends

Because all women acknowledge we arrive at the same ends.

 
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Cringe ~ A Five Hundred Word Challenge from Eva

            33 delightfully wasted words: Different puns come to mind in relation to the word cringe. They were not really acceptable for my beloved teacher. Eva, I merrily present only two: Cringo Starr and cringebility.            

Of all the diverse components of human actions on Planet Earth which make me cringe, every last one of them deal with behaviors of human beings as they treat self, family, neighbors, nation, world. Each cringe area would certainly loose my wrath for pages of ranting. Which should I choose?

Then a thought blazed through my being. Surely there is a form of human behavior that encompasses all the evil entertainment of the human family. A flash of insight came to me about the most insensitive group of related behaviors which denigrates the human condition on all levels.

No, not tattooed flesh, which is body art and personal graffiti. Nor body rings, though I must admit rings on private parts is nauseating.

High on my Cringe List are women who have their nails sculpted to impossible lengths designed to make fingers totally useless. Often real or false jewels are glued on. Furthermore, nails are then painted in geometric designs, and/or doused with jewels. Some painted designs are even related to the devilish genre and other evil arts. An especially offensive behavior accompanies this artistic aberration: fluttering of fingers.

The royal wedding at the end of April brought out a plethora of disgusting fashion seen at malls, social events, and other places around the world: jagged, uneven hemlines. I believe women are saying I am above you because my hemline is custom made. When the skirt is accompanied by a ghastly, loosely flapping, off the shoulder top whose upper part is somewhere on the wearer’s lower arm, or a sheer top sans bra underneath … ugh. Then topped off, so to speak, with boots ending at the knee, thigh, or pubic area, their couture is complete. Cringe?  I become ill. Believe me, those hats worn at the wedding, which admittedly were bizarre, are nothing compared to the above delineated fashions which I consider a concerted move to drive prostitutes off the streets.

None of these crazes, however, reach what I consider the nadir of current fashion – the current haute monde related to the perversion of stiletto heels and their associative activities. The stilettos are worn with formal and informal wear. If you want to see ugly, misshapen leg bones, see any fashion-related magazine. Women teeter and sway. From the rear, they remind me of an old saying from my teen years, Her rear end looks like two tomcats fighting each other. However, the worst part is to see a woman coming head on to you in stiletto heels. Cringe is not a strong enough word. I do not fear for my life, but for my stomach contents.

What in heaven’s name is coming next?

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Bratwurst, Brains, and Balls ~ Gourmet Eating From My Childhood


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Only the names have been changed to protect …the guilty.

                Recently, I paid a first visit to a new ophthalmologist, who shall remain nameless. We discovered we were of overlapping Eastern and mid-European backgrounds. To our delight, we shared a great many cultural and familial experiences, not the least of which encompassed the foods – especially the meats – we consumed at mealtimes.

                Our mothers happened to be extremely educated women with a modernistic point of view in many areas, ranging from culture through sports through politics through nutrition. Some of these views were radical and eventually fell out of favor after the end of World War II. However, the doctor and I received a unique outlook on life through the women we loved. To this day, we still adhere to some of their philosophies which embodied humanism and human rights.

                Our mothers shared another trait, which brought tears of laughter to our eyes: they were not  particularly decent cooks, especially after they arrived in this country and couldn’t quite adjust to American measurements, American processing of vegetables, sugar, flour, coffee, and butter. Nor could they, as modern refugees, adjust to American processing of meats.

                I still remember from the age of eight a shocked conversation amongst my two grandmothers and mother. “You will not believe they throw away all the good parts!” exclaimed Oma Mausi.

The other two nodded agreement. “Why, when I asked for the testicles of the bull, the butcher dropped his knife and demanded to know why,” snorted Oma Feld. “He dropped his knife onto the sawdust!”

“How about the time I returned a tongue full of small buckshot and demanded a refund?” was mom’s contribution.

The three women shook their heads in disbelief.

Upon hearing this, Dr. H. laughed heartily. After we discovered neither of our mothers was a particularly good cook, we reminisced about consuming the weekly required liver dinner. Our mothers believed it was “good medicine”. Frankly, it was pure torture. “It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered liver can be quite delicious,” mused the good doctor.

But his thoughts did not stop there. He added, “And she lied to me. Mama told me if I didn’t eat the liver, she would force me to have weekly ‘and painful’ iron injections”.

With a perceptible shudder, I travelled back in time to the same situation in my own life and exclaimed, “I thought she meant actual ‘iron filings’!”

Briefly, we embarked on a gourmet culinary trip into the past, speaking fondly of the offal / organ meats from pork, beef, calf, lamb, sheep, goat, chicken, duck, goose. Offal/organ meats are mostly the internal “workings” of these animals, but also included hooves, bones, tendons, intestines, brains.  Pigeons, by the way, were not too small to produce sumptuous meals. The birds – up to thirty at a time, were de-feathered, cleaned out in one fell swoop, and then baked in a pie. No, blackbirds were not on our family menu.      

After I came home from the doctor’s office, I checked the internet about these so-called so-called awful (!) offal foods, also known as organ meats. They are, in this enlightened day and age, considered gourmet. Oh, the fond memories of those marvelous, cholesterol-laden, virus carriers!

Within our family circle, we regularly consumed the animals mentioned above. Cooked tongue, liver, skin, kidneys, tripe and other sweetbreads, hooves, and ears were de rigueur, as were soups concocted from the selfsame ingredients.  Though my own mother’s cooking abilities were, shall I say, “open to discussion”, my Jewish grandmothers, uncles, aunts, and assorted European cousins were superb chefs. My favorite uncle was indeed a master chef. Some family members considered themselves “an American”, and looked down on our culinary habits. In no uncertain terms, they emphatically said they would never eat “those sweetbread foods!”

More on sweetbreads further on in this essay.

The rest of the family happily set up ethnic food treats which they prepared with such delicious gusto. On occasional special occasions such as weddings, new births, birthdays, funerals, and even divorces, the family often ate at gourmet cultural restaurants specializing in delectable by-products, including brains. During the meal, the family dug in with gusto. American friends, who were often invited to join us, would look ill, especially when the waiters, with great flourish, minutely identified the dishes. A large platter holding the head of a sheep cracked open to exhibit a cooked brain was greeted by clapping and approbation by us. On the other hand, visitors often ran from the table, clutching their napkins over their mouths. They would return, if at all, gray and quiet.

What else did we regularly consume at home with such gusto?  My Good Uncle Chef, as I shall call him, regularly presented me with open-face pork-lard-slathered sandwiches on thickly sliced pumpernickel bread for a mid-morning snack. It took hours to consume this gourmet meal. Until the horrified school principal stepped in and forbade it, this was my preferred lunch which I brought wrapped in newspaper was brought to school.

Lunch and dinner was prepared by his wife, and we were always served treats such as fried skin, known as cracklings, and sweetbreads. All this, mind you, in addition to stews, sauerkraut dishes, and mushrooms prepared with cholesterol laden ingredients, including sausages. Did I mention unlaid fowl eggs, taken from butchered birds, which were cooked, sliced, and drizzled with finely chopped onion butter?

Speaking of sausages, we would all bring home the intestines of various animals from the butcher shops, wash and clean them, then stuff with  animal blood and ground / chopped meat and spices. These varied sausages, including bratwurst, were consumed with gusto.

Cooked bones served as appetizers, snacks, and/or dessert were all the rage. The beef and pork bones were sawed into fist-size pieces, then boiled until the marrow was fully cooked and set. Ox bones and ox tails were also regular fare at daily meals. We spent hours sucking the delicious bone marrow out. Tendons are considered hopeless by some European cultures – however, cooked tendons’ flavor lasts hours longer than chewing gum.

No, sweetbreads are not bread. They are glands and/or inner layers of organs. My relatives would jovially clean, slice, and then cook these pieces of calf, lamb and sheep, pork, as well as birds (chicken, pigeon, duck, or goose). I am highly amused to see Perdue now selling roasting chickens at a gourmet price / treat. As Uncle Chef explained, “They are nothing more than old, fat hens who can no longer lay eggs. “Their skin is fried in chicken fat, allowed to cool, then crunchily eaten.”

Oh, yes we can.

Time-honored fried dishes included throat, gullet, or neck. No body part was ignored. It was cleaned carefully, cooked in a variety of various animal fats, and served with pride.

An especial treat was heart, deep fried in the fat cut from under the skin of a particular animal. Similarly cooked stomach, glands, and testicles were presented with flare, and consumed with gusto. My uncle had a broad sense of humor and used to regale us at those meals with off-color stories about male body parts he called scrotalgrams ~ his pun was based on the word telegrams.

Alas! Good health demands we no longer sit around an animal’s head and scoop out cooked portions of its brain with silver spoons. Nor do we scramble eggs and brains into an unbelievable delicious omelet.

Today, at the age of seventy-seven, I am, in essence, a vegetarian. Chia seeds are my highest source of protein. My doctor approves whole-heartedly. This is the good Doctor P, whose office is near my apartment, and can see me heading for Dunkin Donuts down the road. Haven’t been in there for two years.

One can not but wonder if the few extra years added to our lifespan are worth the price of being healthy?

Ironically, with the exception of the Americanized Cuisine relatives, all of us lived to a ripe old age. Most of the holdouts died before age fifty. The doctors often explain to we, the survivors, “The American diet is toxic.”

I suggest you do your own research online to check out Organ Meats or Offal Foods. Fat, lard, fried skin, fried intestines pork cracklings,  sweetbreads or ris are culinary names for the thymus (throat, gullet, or neck sweetbread) or the pancreas (heart, stomach, or belly sweetbread) especially of the calf (ris de veau) and lamb (ris d’agneau) (although beef and pork sweetbreads are also eaten).Various other glands used as food are also called ‘sweetbreads’, including the parotid gland (“cheek” or “ear” sweetbread), the sublingual glands (“tongue” sweetbreads or “throat bread”), and testicles (cf. Rocky Mountain oyster). The “heart” sweetbreads are more spherical in shape, and surrounded symmetrically by the “throat” sweetbreads, which are more cylindrical in shape.   By the way, cooked and sucked bone marrow – chewing on tendons – better than chewing gum…

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Chatter – Poem In Three Acts ~ I do not like bullies.

 

 

 
CHATTER: A CHARACTER STUDY IN THREE ACTS

Wilma speaks – – – Rosalie listens and says nothing.

 

PROLOGUE

So what’s new?

Haven’t seen you now for eons!

My heavens

Did you get deeper face lines?

 

ACT 1

How providential we

Both need garden supplies

You know Home Depot is heaven

You’re quiet

You’re distant

You’re unfocused

Haven’t changed much though

You look much older.

 

ACT 2

Your nose seems different

Almost looks broken.

Isn’t it difficult to plant

The seeds with a tremulous hand?

That’s a new one for you. I always

Thought you were secure

They’re paging your maiden name?

Is husband gone?

 

ACT 3

She runs with a limp and

Snorts like a damn horse.

She’s so silent thank God she doesn’t call.

 

EPILOGUE

Where’s the damn phone?

            I wonder if she’s on meds?

Wait till

The girls hear this!

 

 

 

 

 

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ZIPLOC BAGS ~ I can prove it’s in my genes.

 

© by Oma Liz, 2011

Around 1970 or so I discovered the infamous Ziploc Bags. Perhaps embraced would be a more accurate word.
            Until then I had stored leftovers in Saran Wrap or aluminum foil, but never in wax paper. You remember them. Wax paper was totally unforgiving with bends, bumps, and modern art forms. Saran Wrap stuck to everything including itself. We knew that a yard of Saran Wrap would physically attack us and still might possibly cover a banana. Aluminum foil was my wrap of choice. Its peccadilloes were ignored in favor of flexibility, ease of tearing, and reuse. And I made aluminum bags to hold odds and ends.
            Then I bought my first box of Ziploc Bags. I was in heaven. Everything from turkey drumsticks to sewing supplies could be stored in them without trouble. Load the bag, press out the air, zip it shut. Case, as they say: closed. Aluminum foil became my cooking ally, but Ziploc Bags became my lifestyle.
            Their flexibility is truly awesome. From dead animals meant for dissection, through teenagers’ leftover makeup to Lego Blocks, writing implements, jewelry, safety pins, medications, toiletries, and so on, Ziploc Bags provided the answer. As a photographer, I was able to sort, store, and transport all varieties of photographic paraphernalia during outings. Then, after the slides and photographs were developed, they could be stored safely during trips. Now, DVD’s and flash drives are stored in the Ziploc fashion.
          Much to my principal’s amusement during the teaching years, I passed my passion to fellow teachers and their students. Many children were able to gain control of the Lilliputian pieces of their lives in those bags.  
          Collection of samples from the natural world, from seeds through rock/minerals in the field, my Ziplocs are there to assist me.  A Ziploc can even keep me safe from poison ivy. I turned the bag inside out to use as a glove, then inverted and sealed it.
            In the days when our children were young, we tent camped. Nearly everything from food to tent stakes to toys to writing and camera equipment and science tools, all sizes of bits and pieces – eventually ended up its own Ziploc. Not even dirty laundry was exempt. Many an incredible person in remote Laundromats stared in amazement when we started to dump dirty clothes into the washers from the gallon size bags. But, almost to a (wo)man, were so intrigued, they told us they would enter into the Ziploc world.
            As time went by, the children grew up and went their own ways, but the camping never quite ended for my husband and me. We began to fly to vacation areas throughout the United States, either tenting or motelling after we landed. Somehow I had figured out that one can expel air from a Ziploc Bag by leaving a small half inch gap in an otherwise sealed zip. The clothing within the bag was either rolled or sat on, the air was expelled, and packing no longer took up incredible amounts of space.
            Our grown children don’t seem to have inherited the Ziploc DNA.
            As my financial picture improved through the years, I finally graduated from my single carry-all to various styles, sizes, and colors of handbags. Moving the necessities of life became a pleasure because switching handbags meant simply taking a set of bags out and dumping it into another. It’s a practice I used quite a bit.
            The list goes on endlessly. Life had become so much easier.
            In 2004, through an incredible coincidence, some relatives in Australia and I found each other after believing we had died in WWII. So, in 2006, I travelled to Oz, as the natives call it, to see all five generations of them. They have also visited me here in the USA since then.
            Immediately after I arrived, we went to visit cousin Gertie. My Gertie and I hadn’t seen each other for seventy years. She prepared a huge family feast for us, and we women scurried around following her commands. Some things never change. She always was in charge. I love it. At one point I needed to store some small food items and asked Gertie , “Do you have a Ziploc Bag?”
            Without turning around, she jerked a thumb over her shoulder and said, “That drawer in the middle. The big drawer.”
            It was full of Ziploc Bags of every size and weight. You have to remember that the five generations present at the get-together not only looked alike, but we had the same reddish tinged hair, misshapen ears and toes, large peasant hands, poor sense of balance, weight problems, hearty laugh, sense of humor, love of travelling and exploring, and the same preferences in clothing and food. Interestingly enough, we all exhibited various degrees of the mental outlooks that have been in our family for generations. Not only that, but we are all outspoken for human rights and have no problem being vocal when those rights are threatened.
            But, Ziploc Bags? What a coincidence. It turned out all five generations used them. Even the then 3 year old walked around carrying her toys in them. We all agreed that there must be a gene for Ziploc Bags.
            But the Ziploc story does not end in Australia. Several years ago, my grandson was going to karate and couldn’t find his green belt. He finally had to attend to class without it. Daughter Barbara and I turned the house inside out. We looked everywhere. No belt. She checked her car. No green belt. I check my auto. No green belt. Both of us finally remembered that I had been the last to hold it, and had commented about how neatly it could be folded into a fairly small space.
            Just before bedtime the three of us again turned the place inside out. We had seen it several days previously and now we knew I had put it “somewhere”.
            As my grandson lay in bed later that evening, I was reading him a bedtime story. Unexpectedly, daughter walked into the room. She merrily told us she found it hanging in a Ziploc on a low peg rack in the kitchen, in plain sight. “Just where you had put it, mom. In plain sight.”
            I said to her, “Ghosts of Edgar Allen Poe’s Purloined Letter. You remember him. He lived in Philadelphia for six years.”
          After my grandson was asleep, my daughter, still laughing, told me the rest of her story: “Mom, I wasn’t laughing about Poe. I was laughing at myself. You see, since I knew you were the last person to handle the karate belt, I thought you must have put it neatly into a Ziploc Bag. And, being well aware of your fetish, I was looking for the Ziploc Bag containing the belt. I looked in the drawers where you store the boxes of different sizes. I then checked in the first aid box, the kitchen cabinets, even in your luggage, hoping to find elusive belt in what I knew would be Ziploc. The belt was not in the several dozen that you are using throughout the house. Then I glanced at the peg board. There it was.”
            Ziploc Bags. It’s in my DNA.

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UFO ~ Incident #1 ~ 1966 – After all this time, I still think it was a real UFO

            In 1962, my husband and I moved our growing family to Ramapo Valley Road in Oakland, NJ. Our home, an expanded Cape Cod, complete with in-ground basement, ground floor, and an unfinished attic, was nestled into a somewhat steep piece of land; the hillside going from East to West. This meant the entire, east-facing front of the house, with its extra bedroom extension built atop the garage, was visible from the street.
          From the inside of our home, we could look east and north through our front windows. It was a delight to see an unparalleled viewpoint of the lines of the undulating Ramapo Mountains, some four miles distant. Behind the first line, but not visible to the eye, the Wanaque Reservoir was nestled. It is the largest of a series of reservoirs in northern New Jersey, with a capacity of thirty million gallons. It soon became a favorite destination of ours.
          With great appreciation of the skies’ cycle, we also often watched noteworthy sunrises and moonrises peeking out from the eastern continuum. Those heavenly bodies crept slowly toward the zenith in preparation for their ride through the skies. On the other hand, the lower western sky was blocked by the slope of the hill rising to a hillock, in back of our property.
          By 1965, our family consisted of four children and more room was needed. Within a year, we moved farther northeast to Oak Ridge/West Milford, NJ.
          Life in Oakland, this then remote and sparsely settled area of northern New Jersey was an adventure. Our explorations enabled us to find a dozen or so abandoned farmhouses and their rampantly-wild flower/vegetable gardens. Some of the locations had been abandoned within the past hundred years; some within the past forty. Another dozen or so cellar holes with buried treasures such as tools, utensils, and sometimes furniture were hidden in the woods. These places became a source mine for useful objects, tools, and plants.
          In addition, we through the diversity of the four season, checking out the area’s wealth of hills, fields, walking trails, edible plants, watercourses, night skies, and huge reservoirs which still supply the lower parts of the state with drinking water.
          The largest reservoir nearby was the aforementioned Wanaque Reservoir. A winding, often one-lane road marked the margins of its steep sides. Swimming and boating were prohibited. Fishing was permitted. And, after we settled in to the community, so was bird watching. For safety reasons, the rules were strictly enforced by constant patrol of officers from surrounding towns and hamlets. They knew we and our friends spent a great deal of time looking for and admiring water birds, amongst them the Bald Eagle. We received a great deal of good-natured ribbing about our hobby. On the other hand, our knowledge of the scientific world was greatly admired, and we were considered an accurate source of information.
          Around ten pm on the evening of October 11,1966, the town of Wanaquepolice captain and one of his officers were making their rounds.  At that time of the year, the reservoir was already covered by ice about two/three inches thick. As they carefully negotiated the double curve of Deadman’s Curve, an incredibly bright light from the sky illuminated everything to daylight. There was no noise. and their patrol car momentarily went dead.
          As they looked out at the reservoir, they could see a huge circular hole, with perhaps a fifty foot diameter, which had melted the ice. Looking up, they saw a huge, white fireball which suddenly darted away into space. Frantically, they were able to start the patrol car, and, as their radio spluttered into a veritable explosion of calls, they drove a half mile further on to assess and handle the situation. Those calls were coming in from all over the region about the bright lights of the object flying low over the hills.
          This account was told to me by the two men involved, when friend Bob arranged me to meet them a week or so later.
          There are dozens of accounts of the incidents and its aftermath. – Yet, a week later, another UFO appeared! To me, the most accurate rendition is found on the following website: http://www.andras-nagy.com/ufo02/05.htm .
          The next morning, news of the incident spread through radio and newspapers and phone calls. We wondered what had happened, because neither of us had a belief in aliens. So, neither my husband nor I were agitated. Friend Bob called. “I’m taking you guys out to see the hole! It’s a b-i-g one!”
          “Karl, nothing untoward happened last night!” I told him after talking to Bob. “I was up around one this morning to take care of one of the children, and the only fiery ball I saw was the full moon setting over” pointing to a low hill in the Ramapo Chain, “there by Lois’ house in the dell.”
           “Full moon? Setting, Liz? You sure?”
          “Yes of course.” Said with irritation. “After about five minutes, I got the baby back to sleep and looked at the mountains again. The moon had set.”
          Karl walked over to the window. I followed. “Show me where.” He said.
           I pointed. “Right there! Right above the hill where Lois lives.”
          He cleared his throat. “That’s due north. Since when does the moon set due north? Liz, the moon wasn’t full tonight. It’s not due to be full until Halloween.”
          We looked at each other, totally speechless. Then we made a beeline to the phone to call Bob. We made a date to see the ice hole on Saturday morning, some five days later.
          The ensuing media frenzy escalated into national news. Sightings of other UFO’s in the area went on for a week. Even though later news accounts denied an official investigation, federal officials were all over the area with instruments, cameras, and even rowboats. Official vehicles from the Air Force, Army, FAA, and other federal agencies were racing back and forth on Ramapo Valley Road for days. Eventually an official announcement was made there was nothing unusual in the area.
          We did see the hole on Saturday. It was an extraordinary. A fifty-foot diameter circle of water in the midst of the ice!
          There is an impressive postscript to this narrative.
          After Karl went to work on October 17th, I walked down with the children to Lois’ house to tell her the news. Lois was a highly educated woman and a professional news writer. I told her the whole story, and she pooh-poohed the whole. We listened to the radio and even drove to town to pick up some newspapers. Still, she was more than skeptical.
          The children played as we sat at her round glass table in the yard. Lois made me tell my story several times more. She asked several pointed questions. The setting of the “moon” amused her.
          Then she snorted. “Liz, be intelligent. UFO’s don’t exist. It is mass hysteria. It’s a perfectly lovely October day today. “Why, I got up this morning and watched the sun rise through the low clouds. It was so beautiful! The clouds turned it to a silvery, metallic color. It’s fall, so it rose rapidly, of course, but I couldn’t watch because Harold was waiting for his breakfast.”
          A light went off in my brain. “Where were you standing, Lois?”
          “There.” pointing at the kitchen window. “Why?”
          I looked at her a moment, then whispered. “Lois, that’s due west.”
          “Right! The sun…” and then she faltered. “The sun rises in the East. The moon sets in the West. They are not rapid movers. Oh my Lord!”
          We sat there, holding each other hands, saying nothing. The children played unconcernedly on.

Postscript: On 08/28/2011, friend Skip sent me this email after reading the above post:  I have a listing of the full moons gathered from the Naval Observatory;  after reading with interest your first UFO encounter at Wanaque I can confirm the October full moon was on: 1966 Oct 29 10:01  Sat

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UFO ~ Incident #2 ~ 1979 – – – True story but it was NOT a UFO.

          When we moved to Oak Ridge/West Milford, NJ, we once again choose a Cape Cod home. Unlike our earlier one, this home’s attic had four rooms, two for storage and two for bedrooms. Like the home in Oakland, it too, was nestled into a rather steep hill. The cellar was just three inches below soil level, consequently, the whole area was above ground and had plenty of windows for light.
          Our wooded property abutted the City of Newark Watershed lands, and afforded us alternative access to the Pequannock River, extensive forests and fields, and several cellar holes where homes had once existed.
          In the house, our master bedroom was on the third floor, and provided us a westerly bird’s eye view of the forested lands. Because of our higher level, we were able to see most of the sky. Star watching from one’s bed, with a glass of wine and a good book nearby was certainly the lap of luxury.
          Starting in 1969 and continuing through the 1970’s, reports of UFO’s were rampant throughout the world. Even Jimmy Carter admitted to seeing one! We ignored the brouhaha. Both of us were ardent science fiction readers – please notice the word, fiction.
          Late one evening, we were about to turn off the lights around eleven. After lights out, we would wait a few minutes for our eyes to become accustomed to the darkness. Then we could watch the sky for awhile.
           Abruptly an object, obviously larger than an airliner, arose slowly from the distant tree line, several miles away. It lifted straight up, and then hung there, as if thinking. “OMG!” came from both of us in unison.
           Our binoculars were in our nightstands, and we focused on the thing. Because of the window screens made our view fuzzy, we thought it had a triangular shape, the point in front. Suddenly a half dozen powerful beams of lights started flashing from the UFO. It started moving toward us.
           “Turn off the lights!” we told each other.
           No sooner had we done so, but the UFO, now only a half mile away, turned off its lights and stopped in midair.
           After a long minute, the thing suddenly picked up speed and raced over the house. We leaped from bed and ran downstairs to look out the front door. Nothing was to be seen.
            After returning upstairs, we drank several glasses of wine before falling asleep.
           No news reports were heard the next day. What was going on?
           Without further ado, the next morning, after dropping Karl off at work, I visited the West Milford police station and told my story to the chief and the mayor, both of whom were friends of mine, what had occurred.
           They looked at each other, and the chief said, “Shall we scare her to death?”
           “Naw,” replied the mayor. “Let’s tell the truth, even though it kills me.”
           It seems that there was an experimental, top-secret airport in Dover, about two dozen miles directly west of our town. “They have all sort of weird planes coming out of there,” said the mayor smiling at me. Both of us have had jobs there from time to time. The lights going off were just a coincidence.”                      What a relief! I immediately let Karl know what was going on. For the next few months we saw several more flights.
           Eventually, ten years later, we were able to identify it as a B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, known for its silence and its maneuverability.
            So, not a UFO, but an IFO, it turned out to be!

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