My family has enjoyed wonderful cats as pets, and invariably when we reminisce, the name of one or the other is remembered or mentioned. Homer, Harry-O, Gratz, Paxton, Alice, Oreo, and Pierre were cats that lived with us the longest, some making themselves so dear, funerals were held. I once wrote a story about a boy who lost his pet rabbit, and his grandmother consoled him by telling him his pet was happy “eating carrots behind the Pearly Gates. “ I think our cats also are behind the Pearly Gates, even though I can visit their gravesites here on earth in our back yard. Each site is marked with a stone. One is by the cherry tree. One is in the flower garden, and another is by a dogwood tree. You get the drift.
The sky was blue and the weather had turned warm. I stood on the deck and looked up into the wide blue sky and noted a tiny, and I do mean tiny, white line. It was a jet, presumably around 42,000 feet above ground, flying, according to where I was standing, from north to south , probably going from Chicago to Atlanta, --who knows. As I watched that tiny white line lengthen across the sky, I wondered what pioneer aviators would think if they could see such a thing.
I sort of know about what I speak because I researched and wrote the biography of pioneer aviator Art Smith, who was born in Fort Wayne and who at the age of 14, decided he would build his own airplane and fly it, even though he had never seen a “flying machine.” And he did just that. (ART SMITH, PIONEER AVIATOR, McFarland & Co, 1983).
By 1915, Art Smith was the main featured attraction at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition. He flew spirals and downward spins, upside-down, and thrilled the crowds with his daring night exhibitions. The Emperor, who admired all things technological, invited Smith to Japan to give a series or flying exhibitions. Art accepted and was the first to fly at night in that country. He was honored and touted around the globe, almost like a pop-star today, and he made lots of money. With the onset of W.W. I, however, the Art Smith story changes. It’s all in aviation history.
The FW Historical Museum has a number of Smith’s medals and artifacts on display. In 1918, a group of flying enthusiasts, led by Howard Hughes’ personal pilot Bob Wearly established the National Airmail Museum at Smith Field. In the Fort Wayne airport terminal building, there is a fine display of Art Smith’s artifacts, and a replica of his “flying machine” hangs where travelers can see and envision how fragile and dangerous flying was in the early days of aviation. I am in possession of many of Art Smith’s original photographs and clippings, having received them from a friend who was a friend of Art Smith’s best friend, Al Wertman. In the future, I will have to make decisions as to where these should go.
It seems that man has wanted to fly since the beginning of time. Leonardo de Vinci, Christina Huygens, Isaac Newton and many other inventive engineers, artists, and scientists contributed to the understanding of “drag” on the surface of an object exposed to the force of air and density. Notables such as George Cayley, Otto Lilienthal, and of course the Wright Brothers made huge contributions to modern aviation. As early as 1860, Great Britain had an Aeronautical Society. Once a person gets hooked, there’s no turning back. Even my good husband did his high school Science Fair project on Daniel Bernoulli’s principles of pressure and velocity. Yes, as an adult, he learned to fly and even became a flight instructor.
Interestingly I sometimes get phone calls from people who are either writing or researching aviation history asking me questions. People presume I am an aviation historian. I hate to disappoint them, but am not, even though I did have the chance to communicate with Charles Lindbergh’s secretary, Jean O. Saunders, who gave me information about his work. I do know a great deal about aviation history, but because I don’t use that information every day, when I am asked a question, I have to go research it myself.
But I digress. Today I am thinking of Art Smith, the brash, adventuresome Hoosier teenager, who one summer watched a buzzard glide on air currents and became inspired to fly, and I am reminded there are other writers who find Art Smith’s story intriguing. Some have written articles and books about Smith. Some give me credit for my work. Some don’t. One person used my words from my biography of Smith, almost verbatim. The article was published in a glossy magazine, and when I read it the article, I was astonished. My words, my research, my work, and not a single credit! An aviation enthusiast and published writer friend of mine noted it, and he too was upset and called the magazine and gave them a “piece of his mind.” Nothing came of it, of course, but I knew and he knew the work was plagiarized. And so the world turns. My motto is to give credit where credit is due.
As the jet aircraft flew high above my world and the tiny white line dissolved, I could not help but wonder about the pilot and the people on that “airship” --who they were, where they had been, and where they were going. They were flying high.
I have always been drawn to words and the cadence of words. Language has rhythm. Accomplished speakers know when to pause, emphasize, or enunciate certain phrases and words. I can never “take to the stage” because I do not memorize well. Lines have to sink into my mind as words I can “see” on a page. But, I do not have photographic memory. During these past few months of covid-19 lockdowns, I have tried to memorize poems, verses, and sayings as well as the “Gettysburg Address. “
Lincoln’s address intrigues me. As most people know, it is comprised of only ten sentences, whereas most of the speeches during those times went on for hours. Lincoln’s brevity makes an impact. As I worked to memorize his lines, I had to focus on adjectives, prepositions, and conjunctions to make the meaning flow. Lincoln’s talk came from his heart, and his words contain a depth of compassion, humility, patriotism, appeal, and historical awareness. His address reveals a tired soul but a demanding sincerity for forgiveness, compromise, and a forward looking national spirit.
I practiced the speech as I walked around the track at our local YMCA. I practiced it as I swam laps in the pool. I practiced it while sitting in the car waiting on someone. Every time I thought I had it down, word for word, something would pop up and I would wonder if I should have said “for which” or “in which” or “from these” or “and from these Honored dead….”
It doesn’t really matter if I get every conjunction in the right place, but I am trying to do so. What gets me is when I mention I am trying to memorize the “Gettysburg Address,” many people will say, “Oh yeah, I memorized that when I was in high school,” or “I learned that when I was twelve.” I am truly impressed and hope young people are still required to memorize the 272 words Lincoln spoke that November 19, 1863 day.
When I read a novel and note the author has a command of the language, I find myself intrigued. Recently I read COLD SASSY TREE (Olive Burns). Will Tweedy, the young main character, says or blurts out, “Boy Howdy” instead of “Gosh” or “Darn,” when he’s amazed or astounded. It has a certain ring to it that is delightfully innocent. My brother sent me the book and when I talked with him, he said, “How did you like that ‘Boy Howdy’?”
I am drawn to the cadence or words. Perhaps that’s why I like to hear the King James Version of the Bible read aloud. I can credit my minister father for that. A few years ago, I attended a Christmas service when an author friend read the narrative parts for a cantata. Her voice carried the meaning and the cadence of the Gospel’s account. Much like lines from a song from the Beetles, Elvis, or Patsy Cline stick, -- think Dolly Parton’s “Jolene, Jolene”--- words resonate and linger in our minds. That from these Honored Dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain --that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. “Boy Howdy!”
I listened to a program about dreams, and I learned a thing or two. Prior to the 14th century, the word “dream” indicated joy or noise or music. After that time, according to research on the matter, the word evolved into meaning a “series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep.” Many people, including Freud, have tried to define and interpret dreams. Certainly some dreams can be a “window into our unconscious mind, “ and if one wishes to learn more, there are numerous books about dreams and what they mean.
In a recent dream, I was traveling with too many maps, and I couldn’t find my way from Philadelphia to New York. In another dream, I unwrapped a package and in a purple envelope found a five dollar bill. When I was thirty years younger than I am now, I had a recurring dream where I would be walking somewhere, perhaps by a stream or creek, and I would spy little gold buttons or coins hidden in the sand, shallows, or under leaves. It always shocked me to find those treasures and I would wake up happy but somewhat dismayed. Dreams, I’m told, depict subconscious anxieties. Some people believe dreams are portents of future events. I don’t know what dreams are made of or why they occur. I just know sometimes they are pleasurable and at other times they are disturbing.
My conscious dream right now is to see Americans back at our normal activities. It has been almost a year since I dressed up and went some special place. The other day, when I put some items in the closet, I saw my husband’s nice suits and jackets hanging there, and it came to me that I have not seen him in a suit, dress coat, or sports coat in what seems like ages. This Covid-19 pandemic mess has thrown a monkey wrench into all our lives. Our routines have changed. Meetings have been cancelled. School is “virtual.” Necessary appointments demand we follow strict rules, rules such as “sit in your car until we call you inside,” etc. Church services have gone to ZOOM. Festivals and reunions have been cancelled. Families have to visit loved ones in nursing homes and retirement homes by standing outside windows. Newspapers are getting slim and dependent on the Associated Press, which certainly isn’t objective. It seems everything has become annoying. People are getting cross and irritable. Okay, what is one to do?
Human nature is resilient and people are inventive.The word “dream” is interesting. It can be used as a noun or a verb, transitive or intransitive. It pretty much lets the dreamer dream dreams. New ways of coping have become the norm. And so I suspect everyone has had thoughts this winter of a time when life is normal and the road to travel is straight and adventurous. May your dreams be rich and golden, inventive, and encouraging. Let it happen. It will happen. Let it happen.
On the second day of January, a friend hosted a festive dinner. It started at four in the afternoon and lasted until twelve midnight. On the way home, snow fell, and the next morning our world was white and wooly. After being closed down for Thanksgiving and Christmas, this event was our holiday delight.
At the party, we got to see our friend’s Christmas tree. He had decorated it with feathers, birds, silver beads, garlands, and real candles. A fire extinguisher was nearby. The tree featured large colorful tropical parrots, red birds, snow birds, pheasant quill feathers, and white marabou plumes. A brown owl was tucked in to watch the scene. Tiny blue lights flickered from deep in the foliage. It was a spectacular sight. The host provided an Asian themed meal, and the food was delicious. It was served in courses that seemed never to stop. Dessert included fruit cake in brandy sauce.
Several people told about a sailing trip they’d taken in the Virgin Islands, from St. Thomas and St. John, and one person added, “It was a miracle. I was expecting all sorts of problems, but everything went perfectly.” Her comment led me to remember a poem in GOOD POEMS as selected by Garrison Keillor. The poem is “Sometimes” by Sheenagh Pugh. I had to check it out the next day.
Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail;
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough , that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
At first I thought Muscadel was misspelled, but it isn’t. I also had to look up Sheenagh Pugh and read what she said about her poem. Interesting. Nevertheless, I like the poem, and I’m sharing it here because the past year has been so divisive, so miserable, and so discouraging. Sometimes we need to think positively, that in the long run of things, people will “face the frost” and “thrive.” Covid-19 will be a memory. The political campaigns will be analyzed and useful to future generations. Sometimes things work out. May that happen. Happy New Year.
The Author Judi Lynn posed questions about my writing of “Swallowtail” for the MURDER THEY WROTE anthology. Her questions were intelligent, perceptive, and insightful, and I enjoyed thinking about them. I will answer them now.
1. You wrote the mystery SWALLOWTAIL for the MURDER THEY WROTE anthology. I know you’d never written a mystery before. What was your biggest concern?
When I was invited to contribute to MURDER THEY WROTE, I felt overwhelmed. I had never written a mystery, and I didn’t know what, who, or how to commit a crime and/or reveal it. I began with a character, Lorraine, and let her sensibilities lead me toward “something.” I tried to follow her discoveries and moods.
2. You’re a literary writer. Characters drive your stories. Do you have a special technique for developing them? How did you create Lorraine Hepplewhite?
Literary fiction is my genre. I think it may be because I come from a large family where personalities, intentions, and deeds regularly got analyzed. Plotting a story is hard for me because as I develop a character, I find he/she doesn’t always want to follow my linear plan. Lorraine Hepplewhite reflects no one I know. Somehow the idea of an innocent but gifted person with few opportunities falling into what some people would call “luck”—marrying well, being well-off financially etc. -- might not be the great result most people would expect. In her new life, Lorraine gets all sorts of opportunities to flourish and she does, but her situation imprisons her as well. Crazy with boredom and loneliness and without emotional support, she experiments with theft—mostly out of curiosity.
3. Lorraine’s mother is unusual, to say the least, and she caught me by surprise. Lorraine’s dead husband’s mother is a bit unusual, too. How did you create them?
Lorraine’s mother is complex. She loves her daughter, but she too is rudderless. Her husband abandoned her, although he provided for her. She is a dreamer and longs to travel and to live fully. She focuses on what is necessary to survive, gets a job and even moves up in her work. After Lorraine leaves home, however, she isn’t emotionally attached. She sends her daughter money or a card from time to time to show that she recognizes her daughter’s life events, but that’s about it.
Lorraine’s mother-in-law, Sybil, also is a figment of my imagination, the idea of a talented artist who has faced so many devastating changes in her life; she closes herself away from everyone to grieve, that is, everyone except her priest. She is emotionally deprived, but eventually accepts Lorraine enough to see her as a friend.
4. Did you have to do research about the prized swallowtail in your story?
Yes, I did a great deal of research about butterflies, and especially the rare swallowtail butterfly. I initially wanted the butterfly to sell for a great deal more money on the black market than it does, but although it is rare and does sell for a lot of money, it wasn’t enough to warrant killing someone for it. What to do? I went over this part of the story many times.
5. Most of the story takes place in the Hepplewhite’s conservatory with the narrow pool. It made a great focal point for the events that happen. Do you love water? Swimming? You made the room come to life
I was given the game of CLUE to consider when I was invited to write a story. I selected the conservatory as my place for the crime because I could put a pool in there and have that work as the place of interest. For Quinton Hepplewhite, the conservatory was a place to be enjoyed; for FM, it posed a challenge to maintain, and for Lorraine it was both a puzzle and a place for escape. Personally I enjoy and swim regularly; therefore I could easily imagine Lorraine swimming back and forth trying to figure out what to do.
6. You also write plays and scripts. How did you get interested in those?
I write plays and scripts because I like to develop characters and consider the drama of their dilemmas. I especially like theater, and I can reveal characters by what they say and how they say it. Writing dialogue seems natural for me.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? Your media links?
I write a blog about once a month, and it is on my website. I am listed in Author Central, and my plays are on New Play Exchange. I am a member of The Dramatist Guild of America.
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
My website is: www.rachelsroberts.com
She did. Yes! When my granddaughter turned five, she insisted all she wanted for her birthday was red pants. Her mother told me her daughter announced “Life would be better with red pants.” I wrote about that wisdom last November.
This past month, Nina turned six. I did not know what she wanted for her birthday, but yesterday while talking with my brother about some books by Sandra Dallas he’d shared with me, out of the blue he asked if my granddaughter ever got her red pants. Yes! I am happy to report Nina got red pants for her birthday. Her mother told me she’d worn them so much they now have a hole in them. She also informed me that this year, her daughter asked for a mermaid’s tail! Goodness! Perhaps life is better with red pants, but most people today wear jeans.
Old dungarees, overalls, and blue jeans have undergone cultural acceptance, and they can make a person look sharp and fashionable. The other day, I went on line to look for jeans. In the event you don’t know: Jeans come in more colors than a person can imagine, and those colors have intriguing designations—from “stonewashed,” “indigo,” “ocean washed,” and “midnight blue,” to every range of tan and beige to “ pink,” “rinsed,” and “red.”
As I searched for jeans, I became interested in the different styles of jeans—high- waisted, mid- range, boot leg, tapered, skinny leg, stretch, straight, and other styles, There are cuts for the flat, the curvy, the tall, and the short person. Jeans can be relaxed or classic. I believe once a person finds the “right” pair of jeans and is happy with the style, he or she should hang on to it for dear life! Trouble is, sometimes a company is sold or the factory is changed, and instead of being made in Malaysia or Texas, so to speak, even with the same number, color, cut, or size, they won’t fit. Alas, the search begins anew.
Perhaps it’s a good thing to be open-minded and try different styles, names, or colors. Sometimes it’s good to change one’s subject or perspective. My brother said I seem always to be writing about the matter of writing, --genres, authors, books, art shows, cultural events-- etc. He wondered if I could write about my family. He suggested an essay about my Aunt Pearl or my Aunt Linnie. I had a bunch of Aunts and some were wonderfully peculiar and delightful. They are dead now, but I am fortunate to have known them. Many had old-fashioned names such as my Aunt Mallie, my Aunt Eupha Lee, and my Aunt Mamie. One of my ancestors was named “Uriel.” Her sister’s name was Theodosia. Theodosia was my mother’s mother. I never knew my grandmother, but I like to think about her and that name of hers.
Why do people name children, pets, or rocks what they do? Here’s one: my dentist husband (now retired), had a patient come in with her daughter. When introduced to the young girl, he was scolded for “not getting it.” The girl’s name was spelled “La--sha.” Her name was “Ladasha.” The “dash” was part of the name, “La--sha.” A person never can tell. Shoes, jeans, names of people, and titles of books… it’s all subjective and delightful. It’s a matter of perspective. Perhaps it’s best to find your own bit of wisdom. So, fill in the blank: “Life is better with ___.” By the way, WHITER THAN SNOW by Sandra Dallas is worth reading. Thank you, James.
Last winter I was invited to write a murder-mystery to be included in an anthology of 7 stories written by 7 different authors writing in 7 different genres. The idea was loosely based on the game of CLUE. As a writer of literary fiction and plays, I had never written a murder/mystery, but I do watch the TV “Colombo” show whenever I can. I accepted the challenge.
During March and April when the Covid-19 lockdown was occurring and no one could operate anything except essential businesses, I tackled the task of “committing murder.” I could barely remember the tenets of the game of CLUE, so I had to look it up. After studying the characters and their weapons and places of crime, I selected my place to be the conservatory. My weapon was to be the lead pipe although I had no idea about the whom, how, or why. I chose my character to be one Lorraine Hepplewhite.
After all, I didn’t want to infringe on any copyright problems. And so I began my story with my character.
Literary fiction focuses on style, depth, and is character-driven. The plot is important, but the narrative dwells on what motivates the character to act the way he or she does within the larger framework of the story. Basically literary fiction explores the human condition.
Sitting at the computer, allowing my fingers to move over the keyboard, I began with Lorraine entering the conservatory. I proceeded to note that there was a large framed display of mounted butterflies near the door. That led me into the story. I followed Lorraine as a character, living in a large house that had a conservatory attached to it. I developed some situations, but I had no idea if she or someone else was going to commit “the” crime. I didn’t really know until the end of the story. I was as fascinated by her motives as anyone reading the mystery might be. When I was finished, I titled my story “Swallowtail.”
MURDER THEY WROTE is an eBook on Kindle. It features D.S. Reisig’s courtroom mystery with Abraham Lincoln as the main character. Science fiction writer C.S. Boyack wrote about a detective who can turn himself into fog and slip in under doors, vents, and cracks to find clues. A Jazzi Zander story by Judy Lynn is a cozy mystery. While Lynn’s characters remodel a house to be auctioned off for a charity fund-raiser, they find a dead person in a closet and solve the murder. Kathy Palm, who writes horror and fantasy, wrote a psychological ghost story. Regency author Julia Donner developed her mystery featuring a garden party where Lord Peregrine and his wife Elizabeth solve a murder. It is a lighthearted and fun story. Mae Clair developed a suspense tale about knight accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday celebration.
The next time I write a murder/mystery, if I ever do, I am going to include details about dahlias…. dahlias as big a dinner plates. My reason is that recently I had some company, and one gentleman brought me ten gorgeous dahlias from his yard. There was a giant yellow one, several red ones, several white ones looking as as soft and white as snow. One vermilion dahlia had tips of yellow at the end of each petal. I was astonished. For some reason having them and looking at them made me want to write a story, one wherein the main character might be fascinated with dahlia plants and might steal some exotic bulbs. I think I could work up a motive for a crime.
I recently received several scam phone calls, one of which nearly frightened me. The caller announced that I had won Publisher’s Clearing House’s first place prize of ten million dollars and a new Mercedes. My initial thought was “wow!” Then of course reality set in. It was a scam, but more than that, I began to think, what if I had won ten million dollars? My husband wasn’t home for me to share the “news” with him, so I indulged myself trying to think of what I could do with the money.
Seriously, some people might have been fooled and replied to the call, but I checked it out. It was a scam. Again, however, I began to wonder, what if I had won? It wasn’t the amount of money that bothered me, it was that I would be receiving a check every single week for the rest of my life. Don’t misunderstand. Having enough money for living and thriving is important, but I’m talking about abundance, and I started to think about that burden. Then I began figuring how to spend it. I could donate a certain monetary gift to each of my friends in every organization to which I belonged … or I could bequeath large amounts to various institutions or worthy causes. But the money would still come pouring in. What to do? I’d pay for friends medical bills, I’d pay for grandchildren’s future educations, I’d send to missions, I’d gift to libraries, hospitals, parks, and schools. I’d do this, I’d do that. It was tedious to think of all the places to contribute and to whom and why without making each think he or she was “beholden to me.” I could maybe buy property, land, a lake or beach place. I could travel. I could do more investing. Of course there would be huge taxes to pay. I would need lawyers, tax consultants, financial advisors; I would need to open new bank accounts. Oh gosh, it was too much. The more I thought about it, the more relieved I was to NOT have won that prize.
I have some wealthy friends, I’ll admit, and some use their money wisely. Some don’t. The “millionaire next door” is a reality in today’s world. I have been blessed, but there are gifts far more valuable than money: health, friends, a wonderful cultural experience, books, music, a good meal, a good meal with a good friend, exercise, an invigorating swim, a church experience, family, a phone call on a lonely day, a verse or proverb that speaks to the soul—these are transient things and yet they mean much. They are invaluable. Yes, I was apprehensive by the idea of having so much money “to do something with,” so I made soup. I often make soup when I’m in a mood.
I really was in a mood, and I needed some music and some good conversation. I needed to hear that my family was well. I needed a quiet moment to relive a good vacation experience, and I needed a good book or poem to read. I needed to go outside and cut bright zinnias to put in an inexpensive vase that had been on my mother’s dresser many years ago—it wasn’t valuable, but it had belonged to my mother. So, I admit, I was happy, sad, thankful, and perplexed. I needed to sort out my emotions. Know what I did? I began to write, and there, I became lost in words, thoughts, deeds, and drama. I relaxed and was myself again.
July passed me by. There was no time for writing, no time for thinking, and no time for anything except visiting with my family, cooking, doing chores, and reading books! I have a stack of books to read, and even more--now that my brother sent me two packages of books with the friendly note, “in case you have time to read.” I love this challenge.
No book I’ve ever read about the Revolutionary War and the founding of America, however, has been as interesting or informative as Irving Stone’s Those Who Love, a book about John and Abigail Adams. I recommend that book, although I admit the language is old-fashioned by today's standards. The unruly climate that now invades our daily politics is nothing like that which happened in Boston during the time of the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, and the Boston Tea Party. John and Abigail Adams were witness to those events, and later John Adams became the second president of the United States. Our founding fathers were not saintly, but they sure were wise when it came to establishing a government that would provide people with liberty and representation.
Having read about Adams, I began to review all the presidents we have had since those times. I’ve memorized the first batch. I’ve lived through (or with) the last batch, but that middle batch starting from James Garfield and going through Wilson seem difficult for me to keep in order. I’m working on it.
To see that my mind isn’t totally muddled, I also practice remembering the 17 Republican candidates that ran in the 2016 election. This year, there were 23 Democrats who threw their hats in the ring, but have most subsequently bowed out. I haven’t committed them to memory, but will try to do so. I recall John Adam’s words, “We live in an age of ferment. The best we can hope for are parcels of calm. I doubt we will ever know truly tranquil years. “ His words give me perspective.
A democracy such as ours is an unruly thing, with wrangling, pushing’s, arguing, and compromising. It’s pure genius, and the finest form of government that ever has existed. The 4th of July is special and should be celebrated. But 4th of July celebrants should be about judicious and not firing off fireworks that damage neighboring structures.
But that’s what happened to us. This past 4th of July, the party next door to our office building, disregarded rules, and now the back side of the building needs costly repairs. Siding has to be replaced, window screens also need to be replaced, then painting has to be done. Their “rockets’ red glare” left residue and pock marks and holes all over the building. The insurance company states the claim as “vandalism.” (I have seen neither hide nor hair of those neighbors since that night and note they’ve kept their curtains closed. Ah, yes, I wish for a confession !) Well-a-day, the good news is that family visited, and I have lots of books to read, and after weeks with no rain and wilting plants and trees, it finally did rain! Life is what we make of it.
Rachel S. Roberts