Drawing Conclusions


As I prepared to switch off the television for the night, I decided to flip through the channels one more time. I paused on The Weather Channel because there was something familiar about the woman wearing the U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commanders’ uniform.

It took me a couple of minutes of watching to recognize and old classmate from both Margaret Keating School and Del Norte High. My mind jumped back nearly 25 years and to the last time I had seen her.

We were walking towards each other on a side street in Eureka. I knew her in an instant as we had also taught summer school together at Margaret Keating in the year 1977.

I even have a beautiful ink drawing she rendered for me from back then.

She said to me, “My Tom, you’ve gained weight!”

It was her way of telling me I was no longer the stick figure she knew. I agreed with her as we stopped to chat.

Then in a close up, everything was confirmed by the name tag over her right breast pocket: Ben-Iesau. It was Cheri Ben-Iesau!

I got so excited that I woke the entire household up.

The Weather Channel show was “Storm Stories.” Cheri and a Captain with the New Orleans Police Department teamed up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to rescue an elderly dog and later found it a good home.

Three things about all this: I never thought of Cheri as being military material, so shame on me for making such a brutal judgment about her, and secondly; it is a small world after all. Finally, I am so damned proud of Cheri that I fear my heart might burst with pride.

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