On this bright, calm September 15, America’s grief and loss of September 11, 2001, hovers over me. Born in a country with a Constitution devoted to individual liberty, and men and women who continue to sacrifice their lives to protect these freedoms, I consider the reality of mankind’s capacity to destroy human beings who did them no personal harm.

I remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Fourteen-years old at the time, the public murder of our President shocked me and my family and our neighbors. In retrospect, this was my first example of the invisible web of politics, greed, and crime. I couldn’t comprehend then that we live in a broken world. But my soul knew it, and I wept for Jacqueline Kennedy and her children.

I’ve grown to cherish our freedom of speech and the press, our right to a fair trial in a court of law, land ownership, and without fear of arrest, encouraging my neighbor to trust in God. Yet, I see and hear a growing number of Americans hostile to these principles.

The nineteen Al-Qaeda suicide hijackers of four planes who killed 3,000 Americans, are obvious terrorists with intent to kill. One thing I’ve come to observe since our daughter’s and unborn grandchild’s deaths by illicit drugs is this: drug dealers and users live under the radar amongst us as neighbors, co-workers, the young man who dates our daughter. The young woman who dates our son.

Until his trial, my husband and I had never met the drug dealer who provided our daughter enough alcohol to kill her when combined with cocaine. After eight years of drug use and rehabilitation, our terror reached a climax when the heart of our former track and cross-country champion stopped beating.

Almost two years later, the judge of his case found the drug dealer guilty with a five-year jail sentence. Without warning, as now, the man’s name comes to mind and the same sense of terror shivers through me as when a sister called with the tragic news.

So I pray for peace of mind and heart for myself, my husband, and two surviving daughters who also suffer lifelong anguish of losing a daughter and sister. Again, I determine to forgive our misled daughter and the drug dealer for this tragedy, and trust God to convert these losses into gain as only He can do.

I throw back the covers to this luscious day, dress in comfy writing clothes, and walk downhill to the hens and bees. Hungry for breakfast, I gather six eggs and say, “Thanks, girls! You’re the best!” and turn their straw bedding.

Then, the bee hive. Oh, I can smell honey! Today’s the day to suit up with Grandpa Floyd’s smoker and open the hive.

Dear Reader, I find warfare going on between honeybees, yellow jackets, and wasps on the weed-cloth beneath the hive’s entrance. I stomp on several yellow jackets until the invaders disperse.

Beware, honeybees tolerate no terrorists in their hive. Neither do I.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com