Are We Almost There?

by Anonymous

“Are we almost there? Are we almost there?”

said a dying girl as she drew near home.

“Are those our poplar trees that rear

their forms so high ‘gainst the heavens blue dome?”


Then she talked of her flowers and she thought of the wall

where the cool waters dashed over the large white stone.

And she thought it would soothe like a fairy spell

could she drink of that fount after her fever was o’er.


And oft did she ask “Are we almost there?”

Still her voice grew faint and her flushed cheek pale.

And they strove to soothe her with useless care

as her sighs escaped on the evening gale.


While yet so young and her bloom grew less

they had borne her far away to a kindlier time.

For she would not tell it was only distress,

that had gathered life’s roses in its sweet young time.


And she had looked where they bade her look

at many a ruin and many a shrine,

at the sculptured niche and the shady nook,

and watched from high places the ruins’ decline.


And in secret she sighed for a quaint spot

where she oft had played in childhood’s hour.

Though shrub or floweret marked it not,

it was dearer to her than the gayest bower.


They swiftly more swiftly they hurried her on.

But these anxious hearts felt a child despair.

For when the light of that eye was gone,

And the quick beats stopped, she was almost there.


(After the poem, my handwritten copy states, “Copied by Philena D. Baily, Lisbon, Iowa 1856” and “Susannah Z. Bassett, Linn Grove, Linn County, Iowa:” The notation after the poem states “ This piece is written about: A young lady who had visited the south for her health but finding that she hourly grew worse her friends hurried her home. On the journey she was very much exhausted and continually inquired, “Are we almost there?” She died just before reaching home. A friend who accompanied her wrote the song.” The poet friend was unidentified in this note.

I found the poem in a collection of my Aunt Delores Hart’s research. I believe my aunt copied it during her research in Linn County, Iowa while looking for her great-grandmother Elmeda Bassett’s genealogy. Elmeda had a sister named Susanna Zerna Bassett. Perhaps Susanna was the unidentified friend who wrote the poem. My copy contained fold lines and water stains. After sitting in a binder for years while we moved and moved, the writing is now difficult to read. Unfortunately, I waited too long  to find it again. My dear aunt had died several years ago so I cannot ask her more about it.. Hopefully, I’ve appropriately preserved the anonymous friend’s sentiment in this typed copy.)



Most, if not all, my life I’ve believed in reincarnation.

Here is a poem I wrote when sixteen years old.


Past is present, and future came. First is second, the third’s a game.

Restoration to a new dawn, visions of what was are not gone.

Present, future, and past is done. Second is third and first is spun.

Who are you and what do you do? I’m nobody now that I’m through.

Future – now; renewal – begun. Third – infinity; past – rerun.

I am here and I didn’t fall. I’ve come back to seek my call.

– written in 1966 (reprinted from Pastiche of Poetry, Volume II and introduces Past Lives Before Now.)

Newly released prose New Age book Past Lives Before Now reports on twenty-three of my past lives recalled through dreams, déjà vu, visions, and regressions.




Past Lives Before Now

I know. The title sounds a bit redundant. I wanted to call my latest release simply “Before Now.” Someone beat me to it! Besides this way, the reader knows right up front that my book is about reincarnation.

Here’s a picture of the cover. I used a painting by Darragh Hodges she calls “The Beauty and Wisdom Within.” I met Darragh a few years ago at Dr. Mitzi Collins’ Tri-Cities Holistic Health Expo at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray, TN. Darragh asked me a few questions and my birthdate for horoscope clues. She said the painting of her impression of my soul would be ready the next day at the Expo. When she showed it to me, I thought it was amazing! I felt so beautiful knowing she thought this was a portrait of my soul!  I’m so happy Darragh gave me permission to use her artwork for my book.

The painting has moved with me to different locations several times. I always wrapped it carefully. Now that my graphic artist Kimberly McCarron and I finalized the cover for my book, I’ll have it properly framed to hang on my office wall.


Don’t you think it’s a perfect picture for my latest book about my past life regressions?

My contact information:

More of Darragh’s beautiful artwork will appear on her new website

Jury Duty

by Rose Klix

I had recently moved from another state back to my parents’ house. They had sold my childhood home to Mom’s sister and her husband. My aunt brought mail addressed to me. The letter called me for jury duty.

I wasn’t working and needed spending money. “Mom, do I still qualify?” She served on several juries over the years and worked at the polling place during elections. I trusted her answer.

“Mainly, you need to be a citizen of the area. You are from here.”

We agreed I sort of qualified. I stifled my own guilt and decided I would be a good juror.

The letter instructed the jurors to call in each day of the month long term. We would be told whether or not to report to the courthouse. If told not to report, we didn’t get paid. If told to report the courthouse was crowded with potential jurors. We were divided into teams of twenty people, Even if I wasn’t selected as a juror, I could be selected as an alternate and still required to sit in on the trial.

First Trial

The accusation was murder. The court predicted the trial to last three weeks. A murder trial sounded really interesting. I enjoy court TV drama. I didn’t know the details of why the white female was accused. I hadn’t heard anything about the case on the news since I’d been out of state. I sat with several others on my team in the jury box during voir dire to determine if we had any prejudices.

“Have you ever been around crazy people?” The defense attorney asked the jurors.

I said, “Yes, I’ve worked at the Veterans Administration.” He didn’t ask for further clarification. What I meant was that we often knew exactly when the moon was full because of the behavior of the veterans who applied for benefits that day. I also occasionally needed to deliver records to a locked ward.

An attorney’s standard question asked, “Have you had any unsatisfactory run-ins with police?”

One middle aged white lady juror said, “Yes. I was jogging and a man flashed me. The police didn’t do anything, because I couldn’t identify his face.” Everyone in the courtroom laughed. The judge banged his gavel.

Another standard question asked “Is there any reason you cannot serve on the jury?” A white construction worker said, “This is our busy time. I’ve already asked to be excused from jury duty.” He wasn’t excused, but also wasn’t selected.

For the murder case the accused pled temporary insanity. I suspect I wasn’t selected, because of my answer about my experience around crazy people.

Second Trial

The next opportunity was for an illegal drug case. I again heard the female juror telling her flasher story. It was still a little bit funny. Everyone in the courtroom who hadn’t heard about the incident before laughed. The same construction worker again asked to be excused. Again neither of them was selected that day.

The defense attorney asked each of us, “Do you understand entrapment?” I thought I did.

The accused red-headed young man had been involved in drug sales some time before the incident in question. I’ll call him Red. A previous acquaintance of Red’s asked him for the product. I’ll call him Shifty. Red explained to Shifty that he currently had a wife and family and was no longer in the drug business. Shifty pressured until Red gave him a contact’s phone number. Shifty wasn’t satisfied. Then Red got him the product. The police arrested Red for selling illegal drugs. During the trial we learned Shifty had been arrested for “paper hanging” (check fraud). The police detective had made a deal with Shifty to find a drug dealer in exchange for dropping the check fraud charges.

When our jury deliberated, I didn’t really see that entrapment applied. To paraphrase an old detective show, “He did the crime; he should do the time.”

I voted guilty. This held up the decision several times. I listened to all the other jurors over and over again say it was entrapment.

I said, “But Red sold Shifty the drugs. Red is guilty.”

The other jurors demonized the “paper hanger.” One man said, “Shifty was guilty of check fraud. He had to pull down someone else in order to save himself.”

I wasn’t sympathetic to Shifty’s plight. In fact I hoped he would also serve his time.

The other jurors glorified Red and his new family. I wasn’t moved by Red’s wife and baby sitting in the gallery behind him. One lady said, “The kid got his act together before Shifty pulled him back into crime. Red wouldn’t have dealt again otherwise.”

I agreed Shifty was guilty of check fraud. I didn’t think it was right to let Shifty off and punish Red. Shifty also should be the one being punished. But Shifty wasn’t on trial.

Then, I repeated the prosecution’s final remarks, “Red still had the phone number of the contact. If he wasn’t going to be dealing again, why keep the number?”

The other jurors just shook their heads.

I know it didn’t matter that I didn’t like the defense attorney’s cocky attitude throughout the trial.

I told my fellow jurors, “Red chose to do the crime.”

Everyone else was convinced Red was entrapped to do a crime he otherwise would not have done. One man said, “That’s the definition of entrapment in case you weren’t listening, little lady.”

The head juror asked the bailiff for a dinner break. The bailiff gave us the judge’s instructions to not talk about the trial outside the jury room. The bailiff escorted us to a private section of the cafeteria and gave us vouchers for food. I sat with two ladies of the jury. We visited with small talk, but mostly sat quietly. I felt stabbing stares from the other jurors.

I contemplated about being in the minority. I doubted his innocence. I knew we weren’t to say he was innocent. The question was whether he was “guilty” or “not guilty by reason of entrapment.” The answer wasn’t black and white.

That week I learned about the seriousness of jury duty. We affected lives: his life and his family’s lives. Judging others’ actions is not easy. We walked back to the jury room.

I felt worn down. I voted “not guilty by reason of entrapment.” When the head juror read the verdict, I watched Red, his wife and baby smile and hug. The defense attorney had a gloating smile when he shook the prosecutor’s hand.

I’m still not sure we were right. Hopefully, the young man learned his lesson and knows not to allow anyone to influence him to break the law again.

Later I received a letter from the defense attorney thanking the jury for the verdict. He wanted to know specifics of the deliberations. I threw the letter away. That was privileged information. I just wanted to put it behind me. If other jurors told him I held up the vote, then so be it.

Third Trial

Next was a Sioux Indian woman accused of driving under the influence (DUI). Plus she didn’t have a driver’s license.

Again the same two jurors’ stories came up. I really wearied of them, especially the jogging woman and the flasher. I failed to see the humor and why that was pertinent to the question of having an unsatisfactory run-in with police. I felt sorry for the construction worker, but thought he should have given up asking to be excused. That request obviously wasn’t working, unless his plan was to not be seated. Not being chosen for a trial got him excused for the rest of the day.

The accused’s defense was that she was not driving even though she was in the driver’s seat. The trial got rather boring with the drawn out lab results showing her alcohol levels above the legal limit and the custody of the specimen. The witnesses saw her in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition. Her defense attorney brought in witnesses who had been with her in the car. They testified she was not the driver. The original driver didn’t want another DUI, so he climbed over her and pushed her into the driver’s seat before the policeman stopped them The policeman stated he saw the car shimmying before he approached the window. She hadn’t brought her driver’s license or didn’t have one.

The prosecutor showed that she was in a position in the car to be driving, was intoxicated, and didn’t have a license. All of the car’s occupants were intoxicated. If the police hadn’t arrested her, she or one of them would have driven. The car was not impounded. No one addressed how the others exited the scene. The jury voted guilty immediately and she was scheduled for sentencing. Perhaps she will chose her friends more wisely in the future.

Fourth Trial

Another drunken driving incident was brought to court. I wanted to choke the lady juror who told her jogging story once again. I also was really tired of the construction man’s whining about not going to work.

I realized between this trial and the last one that the lab work testimony was really boring, but necessary. He demonstrated who handled the specimen, where it went, and all to show the blood definitely belonged to the accused.

It was such a slam dunk of a trial that I wondered why they even bothered to bring it to court. What a waste of everyone’s time – including the construction worker. I don’t even remember the details of the defense. The first vote pronounced him guilty.

During that time I witnessed a court system in action. These trials were not nearly as glamorous as court TV. I suspect they probably represent ninety-five percent of trials.

Thankfully, my jury duty month ended. Much later I met a circuit court judge who suffered from narcolepsy. I certainly understand how hard it could be to stay awake during many trials. Perhaps I should have told the court I technically was not a resident.

Junior Red Cross Volunteer, Rapid City, SD

By Rose Klix

In 1964, when fourteen, I joined this volunteer organization. I didn’t find any photograph of me in my uniform. Here’s a web link for the mannequin pictures of the pinafore and Gray Lady uniform.

We dressed with a white blouse under the blue-and-white pinstriped pinafore. Often people mistook us for “candy stripers,” because of their similar pinstriped red and white pinafores. However, their duties included icky stuff like cleaning out bed pans and making beds. Even though my service was much more pleasant, I learned definitely not to pursue nursing as my career. Our adult Gray Lady manager said the nurses termed their cap as their pride. I proudly wore my cap and pinafore.

Our manager assigned us to various locations for our volunteer time. For my first assignment, I reported to St. John’s McNamara Hospital, later converted to a nursing school and then to a nursing home.

I loved walking to St. John’s because the building sat only a couple of blocks from my house and I didn’t need a ride. As a Junior Red Cross volunteer, I reported to the front counter. Sometimes I’d be assigned to greet visitors at a small desk with a Gray Lady. I would answer questions as to a patient’s room number and whether or not they were allowed visitors.

One day a Gray Lady didn’t see me wave at a visitor who bypassed our desk. She did grin and tell me, “I went to school with him. We called him “Piggie.”

I said, “I know. He’s my grandpa, Orion Swinehart.” She stopped smiling, seemed embarrassed, and sent me on my break. My great-aunt Maude worked as a cook. I often visited with her.

One of the nuns showed me how to operate their switchboard. She insisted, “Remember which way to push the switch. You want to ring the room, not deafen the caller.” I got mixed up and turned it the opposite direction. The supervisory nun put a stop to any further instructions to me and perhaps other girls. I was not destined to be a telephone operator.

I loved to take mail or flowers to the patients’ rooms to cheer them up. Even though shy, I enjoyed these talks with patients. Unless the nurses posted a notice on the door to not give liquids, I filled up their water pitchers or helped them sip from straws.

St. John’s denied teenagers access to the maternity ward where mothers labored behind a door with limited access. Policies banned us from seeing or hearing any birth pain suffering. I visited the nursery’s viewing window to see the beautiful babies.

My brother’s best friend suffered a motorcycle accident. He was recovering from surgery for a pin and plate in his leg. I cried when I saw him. I brought him bachelor buttons from my garden, an appropriate flower. He always bragged about his latest girlfriends. That day I realized he would never reciprocate my crush. Instead we “adopted” each other as brother and sister.

Next assignment took me to Bennett-Clarkson Memorial Hospital which is now a mental health facility. The hospital sat about two miles west from where I lived. Mom or Dad drove me there. I again brought mail around to visit with patients. Dad’s co-worker had an accident. I often visited with this paraplegic’s wife. As a family we’d been invited to their home on occasions and both families kept in touch over the years. I personally felt their tragedy, because it seemed too close to my own family.

I sat with a paralyzed young man. He laid on a revolving bed with huge bars, trapeze and traction hooks. I left the room while they turned him over. With only a towel draped over his private parts, I wondered how it stayed on while they flipped his “bed” over. Another day the medical team moved his hospital bed outside. They gave me no clue how I could help this young man. He seemed to be very angry with the world and wouldn’t talk with me. He told me, “Light my cigarette.” The wind blew out the match. I’d never lit anyone’s cigarette before, not even my Dad’s. The boy firmly said, “Cup your hand over the flame.” That worked. I’ve often wondered if the Vietnam War caused his injuries.

Another day I spoon-fed a man with badly burned hands wrapped in white mittens. He said, ‘Mash the peas so they don’t roll all over.” He looked miserable and helpless.

I disliked taking the patients’ urine specimens to the laboratory. However, the assignment allowed me an excuse to go up and down on the elevator. I often pretended I was the elevator operator. I’d punch in the floor numbers for those entering the elevator.

I made the unfortunate mistake of wearing seamed nylons. I’d probably bought them on sale at Woolworth’s; more stylish seamless ones cost more. I overheard a couple of interns laughing and pointing at my crooked seams. The same young men also got on the elevator with me. One turned off the light and put his arm around me. The other one turned on the light in time to see me pull away. I didn’t like their mocking attitude.

I also served a short time at a nursing home converted from the old Donaldson’s Department Store building. One day the secretary told me to go around to the residents and write down their birthdays. It served as busy work, but gave me an excuse to talk to them. I asked one lady who looked at least 70. She gave me a confused look and then said, “I turned 40 last birthday.” Because I spoke softly, most of the residents could not hear me. When I’d raise my voice, I sounded angry. This frustrated all of us in that setting.

My manager assigned me to the Mother Butler Center, a charitable medical facility. The nun nurse didn’t know what to do with my volunteer skills other than to assign me to dust her closet filled with pill bottles.

Too bad I didn’t journal this, because now I don’t remember the names of any of the Gray Ladies or the nuns with whom I “worked.” My volunteer service taught me much about people and medical work from a novice standpoint. I hope I brightened a few patients in my rounds.

Thanksgiving Gatherings

by Rose Klix

My parents chose to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with Dad’s family. A family member would volunteer to host the event at their home. This required that person to roast the turkey. Others would volunteer for essential items, side dishes and desserts. Of his six siblings, Dad’s only brother and four sisters usually lived in Rapid City, South Dakota. This event also included all my available cousins. The host home served dinner around 1:00 pm.

Once I overheard an aunt and cousin discussing the pies they’d brought. One said, “The pumpkin looks like baby diarrhea.” The other giggled and said, “My cat licked the meringue on the lemon pie. Don’t tell anyone.” I didn’t eat those pies that year.

Another year, my aunt had volunteered to roast a goose. I looked forward to trying this new dish. Everyone exclaimed they were very hungry, but she hadn’t arrived yet. Dad called her phone and said, “Is your goose cooked yet?” That brought giggles. She promised to arrive soon. She did, but the goose meat was quite greasy and no one asked for an encore.

Mom always made her dinner rolls. She thawed out bread dough and let it rise, then punched it down to rise again. She pulled off a piece, rolled it in a ball and shaped it in her fist to be pushed up in the circle between her index finger and thumb. She left them to rise again and then baked them. They were fluffy, often requested, especially when hot at our house.

I longed to eat a turkey drumstick, but often others beat me to them. If she was hostess Mom dried the wishbone for Jim and me to pull apart. Jim usually got the largest half and his wish. I liked cleaning up, because I could sneak a few more nibbles from the dark meat.


Jim, Freda, Leo, Thurman, JosieTom Sultz, Myrtle, Freda, Leo and Josie

 While we finished dinner and dishes, many set up to play penny ante poker. They played a variety of games most of which used wild cards and rules known only to those participants. Once or twice I participated but couldn’t keep up with them. Mom and one of Dad’s sisters often played Scrabble. They knew words I couldn’t spell or define. When Trivia became a popular board game, Mom challenged anyone to play. She could be stumped with the Sports category. When she played for the last points, we chose Sports to continue the game, or another one if we wanted the game to end.

Ol’ Yeller played at Elks Theatre every Thanksgiving during my growing up years. It was tradition for us grandchildren. I bought the VHS tape of Ol’ Yeller and played it a few times during my adult years. It was a tear jerker. When I was a teenager in 1964, I said to Grandma Rose, “You’d like Elvis Presley. He’d be a wonderful boyfriend for you.” She smiled and we all enjoyed “Roustabout.”

Favorite Thanksgiving Memory 1973

Erik Thanksgiving

My son Erik was two-and-a-half years old. He loved to eat. We called him Tubby Tiger, because he always was a little paunchy. He sat at one end of a children’s table. He’d devoured turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, seven layer salad, Jell-O with pineapple, and who knows what else. He wiped a smear of whipped cream across his mouth. As I cleared the table I watched him sit and sigh. He’d smile, sigh, and look at the leftover food and sigh again and again. Maybe he thought, “I wish my belly could hold more.” Could be he was just satisfied. I’ll never know. That was his last Thanksgiving with us.

Mitchell, South Dakota 1976

Just before Thanksgiving my first husband and son Scott moved to Super Center Apartments in Mitchell, South Dakota. I hadn’t finished unpacking, but looked in the local newspaper. I read an ad for a farm-raised tom turkey. That sounded like just the right thing for our first Thanksgiving in this semi-rural community. I called the number and arranged for the farmer’s wife to deliver to us. When she arrived, the turkey was wrapped in newspapers. Although startled at seeing it transported this way, I paid her for the turkey and refrigerated it. My Betty Crocker cookbook was in one of the dozens of boxes. Mom was not a scratch type of cook. I called the Home Extension Office and asked, “How long do I cook a 20 pound turkey?” She said, “Look at the package.” I explained, “It didn’t come in a package.” I explained the situation to her. She asked another person in the office. I remembered that the directions usually said so many minutes per pound, but neither one of them knew the answer to the formula. I called Mom and explained my dilemma. She said she would call my aunt who was roasting the turkey that Thanksgiving. She called back with the minutes per pound and oven temperature from my aunt’s turkey package. I successfully roasted our turkey and we enjoyed our meal.

Greece 1991

I accompanied my ex-husband to be stationed at Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece. I’d yelled into the poor connection telephone booth to wish my parents a happy holiday. I missed them most during holiday celebrations. We made reservations for the Thanksgiving Feast. The Officer’s Club was beautifully decorated with fall colored streamers, mums in the vases, holiday tablecloth and napkins. We served ourselves at the buffet table to all the traditional holiday dishes. We sat at a table spread for just the two of us. Tears tumbled from my eyes. I’d never been so lonely before.

We’d made friends with the young man who managed the butcher shop next door to us. I’d bought a can of pumpkin and a frozen pie crust. I made a pumpkin pie and presented it to him. He didn’t know what pumpkins were. I learned pumpkins are not a normal vegetable grown or eaten in Greece. I explained to him and his sister who was visiting his shop that this was our traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Instead of taking the pie home, he and his sister dug in to eat it with their fingers. They loved it and she asked for the recipe. I explained I followed the directions on the can label. I didn’t promise to buy them a can at the commissary. But I enjoyed sharing the pie with them.

Glen Burnie, Maryland 1998

My parents traveled from South Dakota to our home in Maryland. I proudly spread the table with all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings. I felt it was my thank you present to show appreciation to my parents and to introduce my soon to be husband our traditional holiday. I slightly modified the menu to include Tofurkey, because he’d convinced me that vegan was a healthier diet with this soy based product. We toasted with apple cider and enjoyed the company.

Morristown, Tennessee 2014

Rose, Rob Kim, and Scott 1999

I miss seeing all my relatives, many of whom have passed away. This year I looked forward to sharing the festivity with my son Scott and his wife. At least we now live in the same state. No one will need to drive the two hours we are apart. We decided on meeting about halfway at an O’Charley’s restaurant. I looked forward to a turkey dinner and maybe pecan pie. We’re making new traditions about eating out for the holiday – less: work, leftovers, and clean-up. I’m still thankful for all our blessings of food and family (not in that order).

Happy Thanksgiving to You – Don’t get as stuffed as the turkey!