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November 2005

November 4 * Guest Speaker- Henderson Community College Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Conference, Henderson, Kentucky
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Yours truly winging it at the Phi Theta Kappa Conference in Henderson

This was definitely my strangest speaking engagement all year. Dr. Paul Kasenow emailed me with an invitation to be guest speaker at this event and I was honored that he would think enough of me to ask. I accepted and put together a brand new presentation. I was proud of all the work I put into it and really wanted to speak about Adam Johnson's story as a leadership struggle to tie it to the event. When I got to the dinner all was going well, everyone was wonderful to me. Then, innocently, an announcement was made that some student poetry readings would precede my speech. No problem. The first person got up and gave a terrific, touching reading, and then the next was better, the next was better, and on and on.
       By the time it was my turn to speak, the mood was all wrong for the Civil War. I just couldn't go ahead with my prepared talk, but what was I to do. So, in front of the eager college audience, I tossed my speech and just started talking about wasting time in life- something I had done enough of to know it wasn't advisable. Writing Thunder From a Clear Sky has changed my life. I only regret it hadn't changed it twenty years earlier. I spoke from the heart. Today, I couldn't tell you a thing I said, but everyone seemed grateful for the talk. The reaction after was unbelievable. I hardly said anything about the actual Newburgh story, but almost everyone in the room purchased a book- about forty books in all. These were struggling college students with little money. I spent the rest of the night trying to apologize to Paul, but he made me feel good about it. I still shake my head when I think about it. Sorry Paul, I really do want to talk about Adam Johnson some day.

November 6 * A devastating F3 tornado hits Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana. Twenty six were killed as they slept in their beds. Eight hundred homes were destroyed or damaged.

November 15 * An enormous F4 tornado hits Madisonville, Kentucky. One thousand homes were destroyed or damaged.

November 16 * Guest Speaker- McCollough Library, Evansville, Indiana

As I said before, Glynis Rosendall is my guardian angel when it comes to local library matters. She had her reading group take up Thunder as one of their selections and I wanted to come by when they were done and talk about the book. It was such a relaxing atmosphere that we could have talked all night about the people involved in the drama. Maybe eight or ten people, Glynis, and myself at a table discussing the Civil War and the raid. I hated for it to end, but forty-five minutes disappeared and it was over. I need to do more of these events- it leaves a good feeling.

November 30 * Front page feature newspaper article on Thunder From a Clear Sky appears in the Madisonville, Kentucky, Messenger.