Jay's Musing

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Place in the Ornoff Awards

First place winner of the Anita Bloom Ornoff Award is Janet Elaine Smith.

Congratulations, Janet!

He Didn’t Stop at Dancing

His name popped up on several e-writers’ groups, yet he openly admitted that he was not a writer. Before long, watching his posts, it was obvious why he was there. His wife, Anita Bloom Ornoff, had written a book entitled Beyond Dancing. It was obvious that this man adored his wife, but it went far deeper than that. He had taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and he was determined—come hell or high water—that he was going to get that book noticed.
I admit that before long my curiosity was piqued, and I ordered a copy of the book. That was a really smart decision. It was no wonder he was so proud of Anita and her accomplishments. Oh, and lest I forget, the husband’s name was Hal Ornoff. The book was full of one of the most inspirational stories (it was non-fiction) that I have ever read. Anita was mis-treated as a young military volunteer in World War II. What should have been a simple medical treatment ended up costing her—well, almost everything. She was soon confined to a wheelchair, where she spent the rest of her life. Anita loved to dance, but would she ever dance again? The answer was a clear, deafening, resounding "No!" But that didn’t stop her from dancing, even if it was only in her mind. She went on to accomplish great feats, not only for herself, but on behalf of many other paralyzed, crippled, paraplegic or quadriplegic people.
I was working as a marketer for other authors at the time that Hal’s and my paths first crossed. Before long we struck up a deal for me to map out a Personal Marketing Plan for Hal and Anita. Anita was always ready to go to booksignings, to do personal speaking engagements, nothing could daunt her spirit. Nor did it cause Hal a moment’s question as to whether either one of them could handle it. Technical challenges were also met head-on.
I spoke with both Hal and Anita on the phone several times. As I worked primarily with Hal on their marketing program, I soon discovered that we had a lot in common. We were both caregivers for mates who were wheelchair bound. Neither of us were spring chickens, although Hal had about 20 years on me. We laughed one time when he called me "Kid." Although he lived in a southern climate and I lived in the cold north country, we would sometimes compare notes as to if his hot was hotter than my cold was cold.
I was pleased to set up a website for Hal and Anita, to post some reviews of his book, and when he would brazenly tell people on the various groups we both belonged to, I was always glad to lend my vote for the book as well.
But life has never promised to be easy. In January I lost my husband of 42 years. Hal was very gracious and even sent a memorial gift in Ivan’s name to the charity we had run together for over 30 years. There were nights when I cried myself to sleep, as I lay in my bed alone. Hal offered not only condolences, but support. And then the other shoe
dropped, when Anita also went to the great beyond. I hope my words of comfort were of some help to him.
I knew that Ivan would want me to go on with living my life to the fullest measure I could muster. He had told me so in the last few months he had here on earth. I have found happiness in a new home, in a new state, with new people. I am just as sure that Anita would want Hal to do the same. When Hal shared with the members of one of the groups we are on that he had found new meaning in life by volunteering for a charitable organization. I can just see both Anita and Ivan walking in heaven, looking down at us and smiling. And then—ah, yes then—they get to their feet and they dance! While Hal and I remain here below, they are there, and they have gone Beyond Dancing!

Copyright-2008-Janet Elaine Smith

You can purchase Beyond Dancing by Anita Bloom Ornoff at http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Dancing-Veterans-Struggle-Triumph/dp/091015550X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228092492&sr=1-1 and you will feel like you can dance through any hardships life hands you, just as Anita and Hal did.

Anita Bloom Ornoff Award

I am happy to announce that Teri B. Clark is the grand prize winner in the first Anita Bloom Ornoff Award for inspirational short story.

Congratulations, Teri!

The judges were instructed to use only one criteria in making their selection; emotional impact the story made on the reader.
Their decision is final. Teri received her award this week.

Here is her winning entry.

A Tribute To My Grandpa, Archie Mohler

I will always think of my grandpa as a farmer. That is not all my grandpa did, but his strong-willed, loving attitude, and incredible faith kept him grounded in the blessings bestowed upon him and it was through these traits that helped his gardens grow. He had the faith that if he tilled the earth, planted the seed, and tended his garden, that God would provide the rest and the garden would grow.

Grandpa was blessed to have many gardens in his life. Some were of the traditional sort with wax beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. I remember being out in those gardens with him. Feeling the cool, damp earth on my fingers as I pulled weeds, listening to him tell me stories of his youth, explain his faith in Jesus, or imparting words of wisdom based on his immense experience. Then there were the trees – plums and apples in Ohio and oranges and grapefruit in Florida. He taught me to pick the fruit and let me discover what would happen if I insisted on picking it too early. He always had faith that the garden would grow. That faith never wavered. He used his garden to teach. He was always teaching. And he was always sharing – spreading the wealth of his garden to those he loved. Grandpa loved everyone.

Grandpa had more than a traditional garden of fruits and vegetables. He also had the garden of music. He planted the seed in all of his children and grandchildren. He taught each of his children to play an instrument though he had no formal training himself. And they all sang and played together and made beautiful memories. This garden has continued on and on. In me, the seed produced a love for music so deep that I can’t imagine what life would be without it. He used his garden of music to spread happiness to those around him, just as he did his fruits and vegetables.

Then there was his garden of love. Love for Jesus, love for family, love for country. He loved those around him enough to teach them to work, to want to succeed, to never give up, to have pride in their accomplishments, and to learn whatever they needed to learn to succeed. I would have to say that his garden of love was his greatest garden of all.

Gardens came and went during his life, each within its own season. Sometimes the gardens didn’t produce as well as he had hoped, but he never declared them failures. He simply got on his knees and prayed, and then rolled up his sleeves and began again. As it says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” According to his fruits, my grandpa was a master farmer.

I had the privilege of loving Archie Wilson Mohler as Grandpa. And as my grandpa, he taught me many things. I often see, in me and in my children qualities that I know came from him. Through these qualities, my grandpa will live forever.

Anita Bloom Ornoff was an inspiration woman, who like my grandpa, exemplified a positive outlook on life.

Copyright-2008-Teri B. Clark

You can buy Anita’s Book, Beyond Dancing, at Amazon.com.