95th Anniversary of the Dolomite #3 Mine Explosion in Pleasant Grove, Alabama


History is rich and powerful. There is something so empowering about knowing what happened almost a century ago.  These people in this small community lost so much. There is more yet to tell. I hope you will contact me if you know anyone that was injured or fatally injured during this explosion.

November 22, 1922

Pleasant Grove is a small community on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. The people that settled there in the late 1800’s were farmers by trade. In 1916, Woodward Iron and Coal Company opened a mine in the community and became the employer of most of the men in the area.

It was Wednesday, a chilly damp November morning when the miners left their homes and headed off to the Woodward #3 mine. November 22, 1922. True it started as all mornings began in this small farming and mining community between Bessemer and Birmingham Alabama. Children watched their fathers and older brothers leaving for work at the Woodward # 3 mine just as they did every other morning. Children would run alongside their fathers as they drove the truck to work with their lunch buckets and containers of milk in hand. Children would make a game of racing the family truck down the dirt drive to the main street. This morning was no different. The younger children went to school, the men went to work.

These men, old and young passed the Methodist church and the town cemetery on their route to the mine. Arriving to start their shift that morning, no one knew that so many would never make it out at the end of the day.


Mining site

An example of the size of an operating coal mine during the same time period.
An example of the size of an operating coal mine during the same time period. 

Work begins 

Everything was normal and work was progressing until the middle of that Wednesday afternoon when there was a freak accident. Three mine cars loaded with coal from deep inside the mines were being hauled to the mine entrance. As they reached the top of the incline there was a break in the cable and all three cars roll back into the entrance of the mine. As they rolled back, they severed an electric cable, which caused a spark. When the spark ignited the coal dust, there was an explosion in the mine opening.

The explosion which was both heard and felt in Birmingham, which is nine miles away. Over 400 miners were inside the mine at the time. The wreckage of the coal cars, the fires, and the poisonous gasses that remained in the mine entrance trapped them inside. The fifty men that were working in and around the mine entrance were immediately killed as the flame shot 1000 feet up and out of the mine and flared 400 more feet across the yard to the Tipple. At this point, no one knew the fate of the others trapped inside.


The three coal cars sliced the electric cable of the tippel which sparked a fire with the coal dust and the gas in the surrounding mine opening.
The three coal cars sliced the electric cable of the tipple which sparked a fire with the coal dust and the gas in the surrounding mine opening. Source

Coal Miner

Over 400 miners were in the mine when the explosion occurred.  Many ended up walking out in Dolomite and slowly making their way back up the hill to Pleasant Grove. their families were insure of their fate as they walked home.
Over 400 miners were in the mine when the explosion occurred. Many ended up walking out in Dolomite and slowly making their way back up the hill to Pleasant Grove. their families were unsure of their fate as they walked home. 

Families respond

The family members heard the explosion from all over the community in western Jefferson County. The noise caused all the women and children to come out of their homes and start heading to the mine. They came on foot, in cars, and trucks. They carried the small children as the older children helped with their brothers and sisters. No one knew what to expect. There was smoke over the mine and they knew that they were going into a situation they had all dreaded and feared. No one at this time knew how bad it was. The entire community raced to the number three mine.

Dolomite coal mine

A pohotograph of the Dolomite portion of the #3 mine. Many men ended up here after walking through the tunnels to safety.
A photograph of the Dolomite portion of the #3 mine. Many men ended up in Dolomite after walking through the tunnels to safety. 

Inside the Mine

The scramble that took place inside the mine made news once survivors came out of the tunnels. The stories told that were then reported in the newspaper about the acts of individuals. One such story told of the Foreman that asked thirty men to remain and help secure the area with canvas and stone to block the “after-damp gas”. One man refused to stay and his body was later found, once the fans had been turned on and the air cleared, just a few feet from the brattice they had built.

Many men were able to escape using the underground tunnels arriving at the other entrance in the neighboring town of Dolomite several miles away. The tunnels had allowed them to escape the gasses which were released by the explosion at the front of the mine.

Men told of stepping into slight niches and blocking themselves in with their own clothing to escape the gas. The rescue of the men trapped inside continued all night with family standing as close to the mine as allowed. Mothers, wives, and children watching as one by one a man would struggle to the top and exit the mine. They would gather the miner close and hurry home relieved that their little family had been spared the fate of the families of those 89 that never made it out.

The Associated Press reported the next day that the vigil went on all night with men struggling to exit the mouth of the mine. Some men appeared leading the wounded out with them. Some of the men that eventually were found dead had gone back to help others. The AP also reported what they called a Joyous Reunion,

“Joyous reunions occasionally relieved the sorrowful scenes. One small girl gave a cry of delight as a grimy miner emerged, his face smoke-blackened and his clothing bearing mute signs of his struggle to reach the surface in safety.

The girl threw herself into his arms and they hurried off. Another aged woman collapsed as she greeted two sons after hours of waiting. The boys, meeting rescuers in the mine on their way out and learning the workings were safe from poisonous gases, had turned back to help in the rescue, keeping their mother in suspense until they reached the surface exhausted.”

This was a community in every sense of the word and everyone felt the effects of that day. These men were family, friends, and co-workers and they were heroes going through a nightmare of unfathomable proportions.

First Methodist Church and cemetery
First Methodist Church and cemetery 

Many of the ones that died are buried in the small Pleasant Grove cemetery. The cemetery that is right outside the entrance to the #3 mine. The cemetery is located directly across the street from the Pleasant Grove Methodist Church. Tombstones that state that men like B.T. Dobbs a thirty-three-year-old man were killed in the Woodward Iron Company’s #3-coalmine explosion November 22, 1922.

Twenty-one-year-old Hershell Warnick and Tom C. Warnick, his thirty-eight-year-old brother both were lost that day.

Young men like Hugh Connell who was just twenty-four and men like fifty-eight-year-old D. A. Busby (Andy) all left families grieving their loss.

There are two Bolton’s, John and Will as well as Marvin and Tim Brown. I have not been able to discover if they were brother, father, and son, or any other relation or even their ages. The news did not carry the same information about the black victims of the explosion as they did for the white. They rarely mentioned their name and gave no tributes or details. I was able to find a list of black victims on the Alabama Mine Accident report online. Doc Byars and Arthur Carlisle are both explosion victims of that day.

The men that were wounded or killed that day touched most of the families in the area known as Pleasant Grove.

Their tombstones stand as a silent tribute to the 89 men, marking the most tragic day in the history of one small farming community in Alabama.


In researching this article, I found that the news of today is much different from the news coverage of the 1920s. The newspaper’s from all over the United States shared the tragedy and yet they gave sparse information about the majority of the dead as they were black. The heroics of those black survivors and victims have not had their story told.  I have already mentioned a few of the dead that did not get their stores told. More names are, John Cheecom, Layman Claudin, Will Coleman, Arthur Davis, F. Davis, Cornelious Dixon, and the list goes on.

I would love to find the family of any of the victims that were black to share the stories have made it down their family line.  You can contact me at vicgoodwin@gmail.com and I would love to share your ancestor’s story.  You can also leave me a comment and I will respond and share the family oral history.

It is a wonderful time we live in today where everyone is just as important as the other especially when tragedy strikes.  I am also on this 95th anniversary paying homage to the almost 60 black miners that did not make it out alive on November 22, 1922.

© 2010 Sojourner McConnell


Do You Know Me? by Harlem: A Featured Writer Guest Post

Dark secrets creep in the night

While others are fast asleep

Thinking no one knows

For if they did, some would oppose

When lust gets the best of you while discovering his distrust after realizing how long the cheese line is for his love located at the neighborhood corner “Candy Shop”.  How loud the volume becomes when the little voice in your head tells you he’s no good but you ignore it, stand in line, and slept with him anyway as you foolishly wait your turn?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

The label on the substandard bottle  🍼  read low quality poison, but you injected the needle into your veins just the same. How eye candy 🍭  blurs the vision leaving the chin of false hope exposed for the knock out punch 🤛 in a third-rate ring . There’s something appealing  about the combination of the one, two sequence from the right hand that never sees the over hand left with an uppercut to follow.  How London Bridge falls down. As you stumble to pick up your pride while laying on the cold canvas in a puddle of 💦 water 💦, you instantly find yourself on your knees scrambling to place back the mouthpiece that fell out your mouth. The glaring lights impair and underline your glossy eyed stupor. You instantly become the proverbial deer 🦌 in headlights. Then you hear the standing 8 count in the distance along with people laughing 😂  in the background. You manage to get to your feet, but it’s too late. Shortly after, the bell 🔔 rings and you discover the party was over after you blew him. He didn’t even offer you a napkin or nut rag to wipe that shit off from the side of your face. So sad, you didn’t get a chance to dance to your favorite song. Meanwhile, someone else holds the belt over their head for all to see. You recall seeing another woman with a familiar coach bag walking in the opposite direction. “I have that same bag”, you said to yourself.  Everything is a little blurry and you’ve become light headed and dizzy. All that’s left after the smoke 💨  clears is a breath mint, food stamps, section 8, and a good looking child which only remind you of, “Him”.  Let the story of shame and the games some of us play, begin. So, I’ll ask you this one question. Do you know me?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Yes, girlfriend I’m a liar, a cheat and I steal. It’s all within the organize crime family manual. I lie to you to gain your trust quickly because there’s no time to waste. You know the drill, stick and move. Like a thief in the night I need to be in and out as quickly in a jiffyas possible. No time for cuddling. I must maintain my swag. I’ll never be loyal to you. Trust me when I tell you. I’m cheating on you right now, but I don’t view it as cheating because I’m willy nilly with it. Get it? It has a mind of its own. The ultimate goal is to steal your heart, revolutionize your mind and ravish your body before I move on to the next red dot. Excuse me, did you say something? Oh, I didn’t think so…

 I already know I’m trifling but it sure feels good laying up in your bed while you’re at work. Let me blaze this blunt first before I holla at you. Really though. Lol, who’s the fool? You know how I get down and you know how I roll. Do you know me? Let me reintroduce myself. I’m full of potential which only means; nothing is happening right now. But, I’m trying real hard to get with you because, after all, you got it going on. Meanwhile, Its been two months and I’m still waiting for a call back for a job interview. From behind you seem to have a bright future. However, that hot & spicy 🌶 onion roll says, it all. Such amazing soup coolers you have my dear. Lips like grade A suction cups. I have plans for me and you.  Sweet hallelujah. Hair flowin’, blowin’ in the air. Toe’s glowin’ too. Skin tight. You must be related to spice. Smellin’ like alpine white. Sweet sexy chocolate. Uh!, Jeans faded, so tight they look like they’ve been painted on your body. Look at you girl, ballin’ and postin’ hard in the paint. Dunkin’ on everybody. You keep the race tight like a marathon in Sierra Leone. If you play your cards right I’d just might make you my wife. Sike! You’re cute but not cute enough. Besides, I already have a dog 🐶 (Ruff).

That’s right, you do know me.  I’m that fine brutha equip with a golden tongue and a hidden agenda. Trust me, I walk with protection, now. I prefer casual sex with little to no commitment. I can’t have any strings attached. That would only make me feel like a caged puppet. I only do relationships when I have to.  Just so you know, I live at home with my mother so don’t judge me. Let god do that. I have my own ride but she pays for the insurance. I drive mom-dukes car when mine is out of gas or in the shop. You feel me? I eat her food and I run up her cable bill ordering shit. I kill the electric, gas and phone bill but you know how I do. I got that prepaid though. Call me after 9:00pm. You heard? I’ll pay her back as soon as I can scrape up the money, maybe. No worries babe.

But I’m sayin’ though. So what if I like to play video games. I’m home right? I mean, it ain’t like I’m running in the streets. Look, I work hard all day chatting online and watchin’ booty twerks gone wild on worldstarhiphop.com.  You remember how you met me right? I’m on your buddy list. I.M. me. I’m that guy you can’t wait to show me off to your girlfriends. Little do you know I’ll sleep with them as soon as you turn your back or start acting funny. Which ever comes first. Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m laughing at you. Trust me, that’s my word. Holla at your boy, Ma! I’m the catch of the day and you would be a fool to throw me away. Muah! I love you boo. Listen, why you be trippin’? I don’t know nothing about any lip-gloss and I don’t be drivin’ no other girl in your ride. Shit gets a little foggy when your lips be moving and flappin’ so fast. Bring it down a thousand. I don’t be hearing anything when you’re like that. You need to stop hangin’ out with your no man having, hot dog water smelling girlfriend, Keisha. Don’t let nobody come between us.  Can I get the car keys real quick?

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Hold up. Did I mention that I don’t pay rent cause I’m saving up for some rims and some brand new pair of tims? Why you asking about if I got any kids? Do you plan to help me with them? Or are you trying to figure out how much money is not coming into your household? I mean… What I meant to say, I did mention my kids? Yeah, that’s it. Baby girl, I got those but don’t worry cause you’ll never see them. You’ll never see them because I don’t see them because when I look 👀  at them they remind me of their mother and another failed relationship. I’m not a moma’s boy but I do have some rules. There’s three other women ahead of you and you’ll have to respect my stance. There’s my grandmother, my mother and my daughter. They are my lifeline and my priority. You come after them. So respect the order. Real quick, not to change the subject, so you already know I’ll be staying forever with the baby momma drama, and you’ll understand why I don’t have any money to take you out. I mean, you know why babe, right?  Child support. Lol. I mean, I would if I could. Damn, I can’t believe they take out money when you’re on unemployment, but you’ll still love me anyway, won’t you? Give Daddy a kiss. Muah! “A WET ONE.” It’s just me and you boo against the world. You be my Bonnie and I’ll by your Clyde. You be my partner in crime as we paint this town in slime.  Together we’re gonna get through this. So stay true to this.

Do you know me? I’m fine. I’m handsome and you have to deal with my shit because the line is long to get to my love, and guess what, I know it. Hey, a relationship is 50/50 not 100/100 cause I gotta hold back 50 just in case you be actin’ funny and I have to break out. (Cloud bubble to self… Neva give a chick your last especially if she steps out of pocket).

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

Hey Ma! How you doing? I’m that  unclear grainy and shallow type of a guy you love to fall in love with and hate to lose, just because I look good and I throw it down very well in the bedroom. I may not bring much to the table but I know you will jump over 10 good men to get to me. I’ll jump over two flat chested, no butt having, sorry to be you type of woman for some double D’s and a big ole fruitylicous bubble butt. It’s not complicated. All I need is a heartbeat. A dude has to live, babe. Look ma no hands. I normally don’t do cute. I don’t need any competition in the mirror or in the bathroom. I hate a woman that stays in the shower longer than me. That’s why I like’em ugly. Low self esteem kind of ugly. You know the ones that always doubt themselves. They just happy I come home. All I have to do is spin her, bend her and get all up in her and they happier than two pigs in a sack. I can tell an ugly woman, “I going to the moon” and she’ll give me enough money to get there and back. Plus, she’ll have a dinner plate sitting in the microwave when I get back. Can’t do that with a chick who thinks, she’s cute.

Did I mention that I’m tall and muscular? That’s right. You know me. I got that good hair, good skin and we are going to make some fine babies. Did I mention I have a deep dimple plus I got them crazy waves in my hair for days? They be spinning baby. Keep your surf board on deck and be ready to catch the wave.  So, hold on tight cause I’m gonna make your body feel right. Make your shit sing a sweet symphony, girl. Look 👀 Ma, no hands. Just know the ride will get a little rough every now and again. When I’m bored 😐 I’ll flip you over and do anal. Flash back babe from when I was on vacation at the county jail. Feel my pain. But you still like my tattoos though, right? Yep, but anyway, we’re going to have fun making those babies too. I’m that no good for nothing, nevea havin shit, bouncing from woman to woman like a carousel type of a guy. Trust me. You don’t even have a chance when I wear my hair in dreds. If you’re dumb enough to fuck with me I’m smart enough to take advantage of your stupidity. I mean kindness, love ❤️.  I got mommy issues. My mother wasn’t there for me so why in the hell would I trust you? Nah, I’m leaving you with nothing but a Public Assistance check. Could you buy me some cigarettes babe? My unemployment check is a little late. I’ll pay you back. Well, at least let me hold your EBT card. Oh, by the way, I will be sleeping over for the night but I have to be out before the sun comes up. You know how I do boo; job interview and I just know you’ll understand. Hey, tomorrow we can take your car and go to the movies. I got you on the popcorn, extra butta.


A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?

One more thing my mother been trippin’ lately and she wants me to move out so I am looking for someone to replace her. I mean, someone to fill in and know their roll, play their position, stay in their lane and don’t be going through my shit when I’m not home. Keep your mouth off of my toothbrush because it ain’t that kind of party.  Seriously, that shit is not sexy.  Make sure you always over communicate. I don’t like surprises. No, but on the real, Just don’t play yourself like mom-dukes did.  I need someone with a better attitude; one that will not sweat me for every little thing. I need a chick. I mean, I need a woman, (yeah, that’s right) that will let me do me; you know watch the game whenever and wherever, have fight parties and come home when I come the fuck home. No surprises, that will only get you canceled (Nino Brown Style).

You only wake up when you’re no longer sitting on cloud 9 and the horse blinders finally fall off. Not until after the sun burst into flames and the stars and moon collide. Don’t pretend you’re not dwelling in the lion’s den for a chance to win at love. Once your feet finally touch the ground firmly and you appear to be wide awake, only then will you be able to truly move forward. Baby girl, if this is your man then you deserve everything you get in order to grow up. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re wiser. You should want more out of life. Upgrade yourself from a boy and introduce yourself to a man. Do you want your son to grow to be this poor excuse of a man? Do you wish this type of this so-called man on top of your precious daughter? Why are you with him? Break the cycle my sweet. Look in the mirror and make the adjustments. The choice is yours. Neva eva give or trust your heart with a person whom is looking for a dinner plate to go. Think about it. Your skin should prickle in horror each and every time he looks at you and smiles.

If you are this man then pest control should be called on your behalf. I know who you are and all you pretend to be, ambling through the park in the dark. On the real homie, you’re not a man. You’re simply a sad playboy. Now, unfurl your mind and recite these words with me, “A man accepts responsibility across the board. He takes care of his family internally, externally and he gives back to his community.” It’s difficult to perform damage control behind you and your type. If this is not you then I am sure you know this dude who is not yet a man. He’s part of the reason why she’s the way that she is, doing it all on her own. She represents the F.T. Cubes of the world. Full time parent, full time job/career and full time student. “Man She’s Fine” To think about it there are women whom aren’t women that fit this build as well. You two are meant for each other. Holla at your boy.

A Diary of A Single Man: Do You Know Me?


Heaven is at the foot of Mother…


I’m a divorcee, loving father, cook, chess player, concierge, passionate public servant, basketball coach, Executive Assistant, Final Cut Pro & Avid tape editor who stumbled into the music business working for a well-known entertainment cable company for 11 years. 5 years in the music department and 6 years in the news department. The experience was life changing and it made me want to project a voice and create a platform to influence and convey a particular point of view. To simply deliver and revolutionize digital media programming and change the way the world view people of colour and how Black people view themselves.

An Unexpected Opportunity by Mary Lynn Jarvis: A Featured Fun Guest Post

I was nearing the end of The Widow’s Walk League, my fourth Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery, when it felt like someone tapped me on the shoulder. I looked, but no one was there. The next day the same thing happened again. When the sensation returned on the third day, I spun toward the empty space above my right shoulder and yelled, “Leave me alone. I’m trying to finish my book.”

A disembodied voice replied, “Write fast. I’m eighty-three years old so who knows how much time I have left. I have a story to tell and I want you to write it down.”

For me, writing mysteries is a disciplined affair. I need a timeline so I can remember who knew-what-when. Even though I know the storyline, an outline to help me give the reader clues without giving away the identity of the murderer is helpful. And I don’t have my protagonist do all the talking; I write in third person. But it was clear, if I was going to let the voice in my head speak, all that was going to change.

When I finished The Widow’s Walk League, I stared at a blank computer screen. I had no outline and no idea what I was going to write. It was my turn to speak. “OK, I’m listening. Who are you and what do you have to say?”

Writing Mags and the AARP Gang” was an adventure. I’d get up every day not knowing where the story was going and anxious to find out what would happen next. I’ll let Mags tell you a bit of her story starting with the first words she said to me: “My name is Margaret Sybil Broadly Benson, née Spencer, but you can call me Mags.

“You took so long getting back to me, I thought you forgot about me. I’m not complaining, though. In my eighty-three years I’ve learned there are advantages to being overlooked. Sometimes people make assumptions about the elderly; imagine they know how we think, what we’re capable of, and more importantly what we aren’t capable of. Take me and the AARP Gang, for example. Our mobile home park was about to be foreclosed and we were about to be kicked out of our homes, all political and underhanded what was going on…oh, don’t get me started. Bottom line is it was assumed that at our ages we wouldn’t have any fight left; that we’d just be nice little old ladies and gents and go off quietly to live with family.

“What people didn’t realize is we were already a family and that after a lifetime of living and reaching our eighties, none of us were quitters. No wonder we decided to rob the bank that held our note and pay off our mortgage with the proceeds. We liked the irony of that, besides, the bank was within walking distance, which was handy because most of us don’t drive any longer.

“We devised a masterful plan that made the most of our assets. My cohorts disguised themselves as old people (yes, I know we are all already old people, but they still needed disguises) making the most of the unobtrusiveness of age, while I used my rather formidable-if-never-used-on-stage acting talents to become our distraction, keeping people’s eyes busy so they wouldn’t see what was going on behind their backs.

“I was doing my award-worthy impression of a dear old lady who had lost her wallet and pleading with the people in the bank to help me find it when Melvin, who managed to bring along a rifle that none of us knew he had, got upset with a teller, brandished it, lost his balance, and fired the weapon, accidentally shooting one of the overhead fire sprinklers. That happenstance caused all the other sprinklers to spurt in sympathy and automatically call the fire department. Oh, my! So much for our carefully rehearsed plan.

“Did we get away with it you ask? Well, I am writing from home instead of from a jail cell, but it took quite a bit of complicated maneuvering, a whole novel’s worth, in fact, to get from being soggy in the bank to where I am today. Melvin—oh, he’s a hard man to control—in drag didn’t help my case much, not to mention all the trouble Batty Betty with her early onset Alzheimer’s caused what with remembering exactly what she should have forgotten.”

You can read the whole story about Mags and her colorful friends in Mags and the AARP Gang.

Find Megs on Amazon

Learn more about Nancy Lynn Jarvis from her Amazon author page.

A Father’s Day After Thought by Harlem: A Featured Writer Guest Post.

When you’ve paid over $200,000 in child support and have little to nothing to show from it.

Dad with a lowercase “d” has been placed inside a bottle and put out of sight on a dusty shelf. The unimaginable and excruciating pain that’s felt after a unharmonic relationship has failed, crashed and burned. Another one sadly bites the dust. A fatherless home in search of and in need of a replacement. As the sunset fades to black, a new reality sets in and the process begins of picking up the scattered pieces shattered across the living room and kitchen floor. Another cold dinner plate thrown against a freshly painted wall. The efforts we make, and the different steps we’re forced to take before the white towel is thrown inside the ring. After it’s all said and done we continue to try one more time, before our final call.

How the menu is never filling and the traditional relationship lasting for 50+ years finds its resting place in the graveyard next to a tombstone labeled, “retirement plan”.

Here behind this gate lie’s the stagnant and dormant abyss.  There’s no story here pointing the finger, placing the blame onto someone else.  You will not find this test subject cursing others for his short comings in life. Nor will you find a complaint number, filed. No unresolved issues about an oversize sweater or a cheap tie received. There isn’t an accusation found, just a mere candid observation rarely televised by your local network stations.


I shrink, separate myself from others so I can think. One paycheck for three households serve a disasterous outcome on catastrophic portions. Do the math, her cut, my hole in the wall and if I decide to date, let’s just forget about it. I cram to relate. I Overstand why, some men lie. They lie because they fear the other person will make a final decision for the both of them. How the closing of the candy shop leads to the infamous search for a new lollipop.  To discover how it all translates. The new woman who tries to be in my life pops the question. Do I have a job? Do I have any children and do I take care of them? What she’s really asking is, “How much money is not coming into her household.” Why do women ask about a mans children? Do you plan to help me with them? Is it that important to know what’s left after 17%? Shame on you if you do.

A court order has stripped me from being head of household which is something I can’t control. I’m a man made to become a mouse. For a rat with one hole is a poor rat. 

Child support has become the new welfare. Now I wear the proverbial pink skirt. Call me by my new name; “A Bitch” minus the pumps. I grit my teeth, stay steadily on my grind and contemplate on what I can control, and create in total darkness. For I isolate myself, as my iPhone, iPad and iMac become my blog studio. My bedroom is used as a think tank. I lay in the middle of my empty, lonely king size bed developing concepts and creating characters in a world of my own. No distractions. No complications. The flat screen is rarely used. The blank screen reflect my hearts expression. Another closed chapter. It’s time to bury the hatchet, move on and not take life for granted.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

How a beautiful flower blossoms in a dark room without any light. From the mixture of organic remains to the blacker the blueberry to the very acid is the soil. Who’s in control? To the abstract principle of territory of a particular nation. The foundation remains black in origin. Dark matter always quite the noise and silence the chatter. Some people have the nerve to say, “Why does it matter?” 


Beloved, life is everlasting; continuous. You can see it if you know how. You can even hold it in your hands. It’s warm to the touch and it gives off light. You’ll discover it has a little weight to it, if you hold it right.  All light surrounds itself around darkness. You are a vessel of sound in the mist of darkness; a shadow which reflects a house of light and insight.

Darkness is a closed door, a lingering illness filled with suffering. It’s damp and lonely. It’s also a cold unforgiving, miserable wind which forever twist and bends.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

How two people can come to together to procreate and over a period of time find themselves unable to relate.


Balancing The Scales:

 When one works two full time jobs to keep his head above running water while holding his breath with a punctured lung, during a raging storm.

The domino effect and the overall countless total which lies ahead.

From the lives which are lost, to the healing during and thereafter the recovery mission to the part we all partake.

The Paragon Effect:

Behold the awesome weight and the responsibility of a person who’s regarded to be a perfect example of a particular quality of substance. 

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

The feeling of being boxed in and trapped.

How life tapers off at the core. 

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought

The six story flat was well below the quality of substandard. Voices in the dark can be heard casually talking in the background.  Meanwhile, the jingle jangling sound of keys hitting against each other echo throughout the 4th floor hallway by an oversize pest control serviceman whom was last seen yesterday with a toothbrush tucked in between his cheek and tongue, while he willy nilly down a flight of stairs not too swiftly but in a jiffy eating sweet & spicy 🌶  chicken 🍗 wings with his partner, Billy who shimmered in a stink of sweat. It was reported he had tripped and missed the last three steps falling flat on his face breaking his nose and chipping a tooth. Black don’t crack until you smoke it. People had mentioned seeing him last week ambling stumbling through the streets, talking strangely to himself and acting awkward in an bumbling manner.  

Over time the texture of a picture on the wall in the hallway became grainy and unclear. A woman screams from a distance. The volume of the static from the television became an unbearable symphony, played off key. Sunny days of yesterday are now shades of grey on a very foggy day. Death has its own distinctive fragrance, something one can’t easily wash off. Christmas and birthdays aren’t like they use to be. A big beautiful ice cream cake with candles melting as unwrapped gifts are found under a swinging body hanging from a steel pipe on the wall. Like a child plucked from a grim foster home the image of it all reflected complete hopelessness. The sight of it would make your skin prickle in horror.  As his stiff body swing from left to right his stress is relieved; chest is no longer tight. The loop-knot tethered around his neck indicated there were restrictions to his struggle. The overwhelming weight of the body made his neck and head spin like a wheel on a carousel. It eventually popped off causing blood to spray on the walls, then splatter on the cake and gifts below once his body hit the floor. Filthy rodents who snack, on their freshly delivered assorted edible arrangementssniff then scurry while other varmints dash and scamper in the dark. The neighbors cat has its feast.


Like a flame to a pot of water which evaporates, I can see his spirit levitate and sail away. The sight of it all made my entire body cringe because it seemed like an awful waste of good cake. Maybe he could’ve exchanged the gifts if he didn’t like them. Why do people judge and meddle into others affairs? Who knows what goes through a person’s mind on the day they decide to end it all? Perhaps, they felt too old to continue to play a role in this kind of caper. He simply became another lonely soul of a passenger desperately seeking to get off at the next stop from life instead of returning to the savage life he once lived. 

They discovered in the right, inside pocket of his tailored made sports coat, a feather of a vintage quill pen encased inside a glass case for safe keeping. Before the auction it was rumored to sell at 2.5 million. Investors say it will go for more now the owner is deceased. I wonder if his children will resurface and claim what they think belong them. I ponder more about the cold hearted greedy people who didn’t call nor came around when he was alive. Who’s to know the things we collect would later accumulate value. Who’s to know he didn’t want to face the truth of knowing you’re only worth something when you’re dead.

Hymns echo in the chamber songs heard recited in the background. Members of his family organized and arranged a closed casket funeral. There, it was mentioned and unfurled he once possessed a unique force of character with a level of determination to be modeled. His mannerism complimented his style, and nerve to match. His moxie best defined his overall swag.


There’s a book out there created to paint the illusion of a particular historical story. It’s the greatest story ever told, a guide which attracts the ignorant and the sick at heart like a magnet. Does anyone know the title of this book?

It’s a scripture used to control sheep; the weak. It’s a manual a whole person doesn’t need, at all.

A Diary of A Single Man: A Father’s Day After Thought


Heaven is at the foot of Mother…


Meet Harlem:


I’m a divorcee, loving father, cook, chess player, concierge, passionate public servant, basketball coach, Executive Assistant, Final Cut Pro & Avid tape editor who stumbled into the music business working for a well-known entertainment cable company for 11 years. 5 years in the music department and 6 years in the news department. The experience was life changing and it made me want to project a voice and create a platform to influence and convey a particular point of view. To simply deliver and revolutionize digital media programming and change the way the world view people of colour and how Black people view themselves.

Sick writer is at a loss for words

You might have noticed I have been relying on guest posts for the last few weeks. I have been battling an infection that will not stop giving me trouble. It began on a Tuesday almost three weeks ago and has progressed to me jotting down my will on bedside stationary.

Sure I might be a bit of a dramatic baby at this point but I was so over being sick two weekends ago.  Finally my daughter said enough go to the urgent care. I waited one more day and Wednesday I was in such intense pain I willingly went.  A bacterial infection, ulcers and a creature that likes to drill holes is the diagnosis.

They called or faxed over the prescription and my insurance company promptly denied it.

After two more days of crying on the phone to the pharmacist, the insurance company and the urgent care, the receptionist at the urgent care tells me,”Oh wait they didn’t fax over the right prescription.”  I will have the nurse call you.

The nurse never called.

Friday I called the pharmacy to see if by some chance they had my prescription ready and they did!

Finally, I felt like I might survive this painful illness and nausea.

Sunday morning after a painful and queasy weekend I began to admit I was getting worse not better.

I called the urgent care and asked how long would I continue to get worse before getting better? After getting enough information to locate me in the system she says “Are you taking all your medicine as prescribed. I assured her I am. She then asks if I am allergic to any of the two antibiotics and stomach repair cocktail. I don’t know These clinical names of these rheee drugs. ” Uumm. I have no clue, what’s in them?  I am allergic to penicillin. That’s all I know.”

She says, “What?” Your taking amoxicillin. You don’t need to be taking amoxicillin if your allergic! Let me get you to the nurse.”

Hold nusic entertains me not at all as I wait and wait and wait. Receptionist returns and says I will have her call you. ”  instead about thirty minutes later the pharmacy  calls. ‘Stop taking all medicines and pick up these new prescriptions.”

An hour later the urgent care care receptionist calls and says.”The doctor is pretty sure this is an allergic reaction.”All I can hear with the roar of high blood pressure in my ears is my ever so annoyed brain as it screams,  “Ya think? ”

I’ll be back posting as soon as possible.  I hope that they got it right this time and an end is in sight.

It is sadly too early to tell,


The Empty Chair by Phyllis Entis: A Featured Fun Guest Post.

The Empty Chair

It was always his chair, the deep-cushioned recliner with the pop-up foot rest that dominated one corner of the room. He did everything in that chair. Well, not quite everything. But it was his reading chair, his talking chair, his TV-watching chair, his snacking chair, and his snoozing chair. The recliner followed Mom and Dad from house to house, from living room to living room. It shed its upholstery periodically and grew a new covering, like a reptile shedding its skin and emerging glistening and freshly clad. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always a part of home. A part of him.

The chair didn’t empty suddenly. The process was a gradual one – a subtle stealing away. Nor did the chair empty in any physical sense. Dad still sat in it; he just didn’t inhabit it anymore. The conversations faded first as Alzheimer’s insinuated itself into and through his brain. Reading was next to go; although he kept up the habit of holding a newspaper or book, he never turned the pages. As the months and years marked the infiltration of the leading edge of his illness, he would stare blankly at the TV screen, his book or magazine held forgotten – often upside down – in his hands. Eventually, even the pretense of reading vanished along with his memories, his laughter, his love of life and his awareness of his wife and family.

The chair is gone now. It broke down soon after Dad died. He and it had grown old together, had grown tired together. The chair mourned the loss of the familiar contours of his body and refused to form a relationship with anyone else. Mom had the chair removed, and the corner where it once stood remained empty for a long time.

When Mom moved to her new apartment, she purchased a new chair – one without Dad’s imprint. Mom’s chair was her throne. She sat in it to watch TV, to nap, to snack on her tea and muffin, and to bask in the joy of receiving visitors. Especially family. She would sit proudly, the center of attention, trading quips, puns and jokes with anyone who would listen. But not anymore. Mom’s chair is empty now. We lost her last month, just six weeks after she celebrated her 93rd birthday surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She and Dad are back together again, sitting peacefully side-by-side as they used to do. Holding hands, trading stories, and basking in their mutual love.


Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection. Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.
Phyllis Entis
Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden

You can learn even more about Phyllis, her books and her other writing at Gone Writing.

Follow Phyllis and see all her books listed at her Amazon Author Page.

Two Minutes Forty Seconds Equals One Awe Inspiring Day In Kentucky

If anyone mentions Kelly, Kentucky, you might shake your head and say, “I got nothing.” But for me, August 21, 2017, became a moment of spiritual connection with the universe, a moment with history, and a memory with my daughter and granddaughter I would not trade for anything. 8-21 4

Leaving home Sunday afternoon for the 3 hour trip to South Western Kentucky to camp out under the stars before attending the spot for 100% totality for the solar eclipse that made the United States gather together in friendship with no negative thoughts and no political agenda. The three-hour trip was nice and went by at a quick pace. Only a few stops for gasoline, drinks and a potty break, meant we were right on time. While driving toward the house we were camping outside of, we noticed a few interesting features near the corn and tobacco fields. There is a “Share the Road” sign, but it is the most adorable sign I have ever seen.

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We arrived with enough light to put up the tent and blow up the air mattresses. I admit the air mattresses were a selling point for me. Hips that sleep on a hard ground hurt at my age.

After the mooing cow, howling coyote, and hooting owl quieted down we all grabbed some sleep. A very early morning wake up call by the most cheerful bird ever, meant I had a little time on my hands for my morning relaxation, meditation, and quiet. To me, meditation is scrolling through mail reading blogs. I never learned that “clear your mind” technique.

By nine o’clock everyone was ready to go to the park and attend the Little Green Man Festival.

After leaving the camp site, we ran across some of the “Natural monuments and visitors” in place for the event.  Just a few blocks from the mooing midnight insomniac cow and hooting owl, the festival was laid out for human and canine entertainment.

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Once we arrived at the park,  we began to see the familiar theme that celebrates the local history of the Kelly Kentucky Invasion.  An event that occurred on, August 21, 1955, and has been told and retold throughout the years.  There is a book written by the Taylor Family. Plus several episodes on Discovery channel and other space questioning networks.  The Taylor family members claimed to have encountered at least one and as many as fifteen little silverish men with a green glow and yellow eyes.

Games filled the square such as the hamster ball where children and adults alike were climbing inside and attempting to spin an air filled ball. Bobbing on top of the pool over the water like a hamster wheel. Fun areas of bouncy houses for the kids and even the popular harnessed bungee jumping opportunity, everyone was eating, playing, and laughing as we waited for the designated time. 11:56 AM was when the very first bite was taken out of the top right corner of the Sun by our own small Moon.

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Everyone began to claim a chair under the tents so that they could fight off a little of the 93-degree day. With bottles of water and the scent of sunscreen, we crept out of the edges of the tent to see how the moon was progressing. On and on it moved as the children grabbed a quick last ride and one last bounce.

When the countdown began that we were five minutes from the totality, every person grabbed a spot on the grass, looking up, eclipse glasses perched on the nose.  One man wore a welders helmet, I only felt bad for him as he had to be burning up.

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Then the magic moment happened. The Moon slipped in front of the Sun and there for one brief breathtaking moment, the diamond ring appeared then utter beauty. A black circle with a dancing halo surrounding it. A burning ball of gas we could safely admire for the next two minutes.

At that time glasses came off and stunned people spun round and round looking at everything at once.  The two planets winking in the sky reminding us that they hide there during the daylight hours all the time, just one brief blink away.

Clapping that had begun at the sight of the diamond ring was abruptly silenced. It was completely silent. No one spoke. Children gripped their eclipse glasses which they had until a moment before been so afraid to look without, in order not to be permanently blinded by a careless glance.

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Children laid back on the ground as photos were taken of the complete 380-degree sunset colored horizon.  This was why it was so important to make that trip. This is the thing, you didn’t expect to see.  The air was now almost ten degrees cooler. It felt good, damp hair began to cool in the breeze and for two minutes and forty seconds everyone had a look of awe on their faces, big burly men, dainty women, cool teenagers in designer clothes, and cosplay girls, all stood together feeling the tranquility of the moment.

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Then a wink, a blink, and the command, “Put on your glasses, now!”

Twilight began to move off as the afternoon sun began to once again heat the earth with that eons old promise to shine and protect us and give us a habitable environment to call home.  Yes, the moon was still creeping across the front of that glowing orb, but the magic still enveloped us. We all felt connected. We all shared that moment. It was magical.

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The minutes had ticked by and we were now ready to move back into the real world. The world of massive traffic jams, five miles an hour treks home. the magic was disbursing.  But there was still a hint of joy. A total stranger won an Eclipse car and we all cheered like he was our baby brother winning. There was still a newness to the event. We had shared a moment. For that two minutes and forty seconds, we were all changed.

Now we needed to return to our lives at home. The schools would be back in session, the boss would expect us to clock in, the hurried drivers would cut off each other and grumble about the traffic. But one thing remained when we all got off on various exits, we stood in line, for the restrooms, the counter to order dinner, or a tall bottle of water to cool off from the heated day, we stood in a line, spoke of what we had seen, and laughed. We smiled, we shared and we felt a kinsmanship with the other 3 million people that were packed onto a two lane parkway heading Nort South East and West.  We all were heading home separately, after one awe inspiring day together.


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When I said we laughed, I meant it. We laughed when Angie found the line between EST and CST on the Parkway in Kentucky.  My daughter is a comedian. We laughed for miles.

What did you see? Where did you go? How did you find humanity? Share with me, I truly am interested!