A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

22 January 2012

Driven to Tears

Every time I go into Montgomery, I see Eric...every time I drive up to Maxwell Air Force Base I see Joe and "Momma". Oh, I've never spoken to any of them...but I wonder about them every single time I pass by -- and I wonder how many other people do as well.

I don't know anything about these people yet they touch me...they've even brought me to tears...in fact, I'm crying right now.

"How can some people I've never met and know nothing about bring about such emotion in me?" you might be asking yourself...in fact, it might sound like it makes no sense whatsoever; but to me...and undoubtedly to some others, it does.

You see, I "see" Eric on the median strip of Eastern Boulevard; I assume proudly displaying some type of medal he won. I've never stopped my car to go up close enough to make out what it is...and, again, I've wondered -- about it -- and him. I "see" Joe and "Momma" on the Northern Boulevard, up a couple miles on the right after I merge onto it from Route 231.

I've never really "seen" them...what I see are what many people see every day: Roadside Memorials.

You know, you've seen them (not necessarily Eric, Joe and "Momma", but countless others like them)...roadside testimonials, erected by caring individuals, to signify where their loved ones lost their lives. Sometimes they are well kept up...other times, they fall into a state of disrepair...the cross' paint eroding at the edges and the faded flowers hanging by only a fragile thread; this "fragile thread" is...really all that separates us from their fate.

I've read, years ago, about some states or counties considering banning these markers. "They're too difficult to mow around" and "They're distractions"...were only a couple of the excuses the townships made in their defense...and while I can understand a huge mowing machine trying to delicately negotiate around them, it seems they do. I sense an immense reverence for them -- and for every worker out there who has taken the extra time to meticulously mow around these, I thank you.

There is also debate as to whether these are really distractions or do they, even for a very short while, make drivers take note and slow down...realizing the precious loss of life could easily be their own. A barely audible "There but for the grace of God, go I." mumbled under some passersby's breath -- or do people blindly pass them by...just a blur...a tiny, insignificant billboard they mindlessly catch out the corner of their eye?

I'd like to think they don't. I'd like to think they pause to remember someone they never got the opportunity...to remember.

And to Eric, Joe, "Momma" and all the others I've passed by over the years, I might not ever know you or your stories, but...you are definitely not forgotten.


  1. You've got me crying now Mariann. You are a lovely human being and I hope that someday I will get to meet you.

  2. Thank you, Kenny...altho I didn't mean to make you cry.

    I am always touched by these...and wonder if the ones that get shabby are just because the family moved away, or were from out of town...or if they just decided it was time to let go of them.

  3. Debbie Connelly22 January, 2012 22:41

    I often wonder the same thing. As for KAiLiE and I we take the time to find out who, how old or any details we can about the folks that lost their lives on the road. There is one we pass often and see a young lady and a young boy. Sitting on the side of the road often. They sit a talk to the picture by the cross. Assuming it is their loved one. As for my daughter Krystle she has a friend who was young and made a bad choice in life. Sadly to say she was almost at home and hit a tree in the middle of the road. Her friends and baby boy put a cross by the tree. Every time my daughter passes she will blow her a kiss. So as for my family and I too would like to thank the guy who mowed and allowed the crosses to stand tall and realize its just as important as our flag we fly to remember.

  4. Debbie - Eric is in too dangerous a place. I'd have to park on the side of the interstate or at a car dealership and walk across a few lanes of traffic to see more details. His cross is adorned with a medal of some sort and it has been there for years. I feel like I know him in a way...in a very, sad way - and I've been contemplating this blog for years, but each time I attempt it, I've stopped. Yesterday, I think the words came out of my head okay, not brilliantly, but I think I managed to say what's been in my heart for years.

    I am saddened to hear about your daughter's friend. Such sadness on the side of the road...I wish we were built better, but we are so incredibly delicate when you think about it.

  5. I live near a particularly treacherous highway and there are several markers along the road. Being a small, rural community, I can pretty much recall when each one went up and the stories behind the people who died. I'm glad they are there. It's important to remember.

  6. You make it really hard to have HAPPY THOUGHTS....

  7. I often wonder about the people who place the flowers and such. It must take a certain amount of bravery to drive there, get out of the car, arrange them just so, and all while other folks are driving by staring. I wonder about how long they will continue to do so, what the cut-off point is for grief for one person as compared to another...

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  9. I see quite a few of those too, one alongside the freeway that was for a family of 4, one that's on the way to where I camp out in the summer and fall with friends that was for 3 Oregon Institute of Technology students who rolled their Jeep and died in the spot where the memorial is, one within walking distance of my work that was for a woman killed by a drug dealer, and numerous others.