25: My Turn
by Samantha Taylor
After the 100 Day mark, things were markedly different in the world. The “peace fad” had grown to the point where
everyone you knew had heard of the goal of a worldwide day of peace on January
1. You saw reminders about it and the countdown
everywhere -- on clothes, on the cartons of almost every product; on billboards;
on the cover of each morning’s newspaper; on your electric bill; stamped on most
envelopes; next to the network’s logo at the corner of your TV screen and as part
of most every news program.
Even if there were still many people who weren’t “excited” about the campaign,
you could see they had at least accepted it. They
may not have felt that it would “change the world” and wouldn’t think of going
out of their way to spread the idea, but felt, “Why not?” and wouldn’t hesitate
to admit that it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing for the world to try to get
along, even if it was just for a day.
100 day mark was a turning point for me, as well.
I was never “against” the idea, but I must admit I did resent it, at first.
After all, the original One Day In Peace campaign was the starting point
for the strain between Artie and me. Of
course I always thought it was a great idea. But,
it was Artie’s obsession with it, at the expense of being with his family that
drove us apart.
Of course, all that year, I had been warming up to it.
The kids were really excited about it -- they got to check in
with their Dad every day practically -- even if it was only
on email or on the phone. And
they were doing an amazing job with their Kindness Kids Network
and BetterWorld Clubs -- proving that kids can do a lot to help
us adults learn about things that matter.
I was having fun helping the kids, and I guess I really liked Artie’s team. I had always thought the most of Merle and Maya
and it was great to see them each find someone special. It did feel good to be working with them again,
in my small way, with the little East-coast errands I’d take care of for the Campaign
from time to time. And that amazing kid,
Jimmy -- he’s a sweetie-pie. We loved to
kid around together, and he seemed to get along really well with Mel.
I could almost see them together... maybe in about ten years, of course. And he was like a great big brother for Henry,
there’s Jesse. I don’t know what to say
about Jesse. Right from the start I went
out of my way to be nice. I didn’t want to hate her just because I could see the
way Artie looked at her. After all, if
Artie and I couldn’t work out, he should have someone. With Artie back in the kids’ lives, I began
to realize that I still really did care for him. But by then I really liked Jesse and didn’t
think I could hate her even if I had wanted to.
I had my chance with Artie. It didn’t
work out with us, but maybe it would work out for them.
And there they were out on the road singing together.
Artie and I used to sound so nice when we sang together. I did miss that. I did miss him. But Jesse was really sweet, too. Well, you can see that my heart was a mess.
It actually made it worse to know that nothing romantic was happening between
them. If they were romantically linked,
I would have to deal with it, one way or the other. But they weren’t. Jesse made it clear, all the time. And most of the time I would counter with an
assurance that Artie and I had had our chance to work it out. It’s like Jess and I were competing to see who
could be the bigger martyr. And we both
knew it. I knew it couldn’t last that way
forever. Something would give, eventually. But somehow it kept on.
my turning point at the 100 day mark had nothing to do with Artie or Jesse at
all. I was just really touched by the way
the world seemed to pull together. Seeing
all those world leaders talking to each other -- it really made you feel there
might be hope for us after all. After
that I found myself volunteering to help out with the One Day In Peace campaign
whenever I could, finding ways to work together with the kids.
Even more importantly, I was so inspired that I started writing songs to
try to capture the feelings of hope for a more peaceful world that were bubbling
in me. As they flowed out, I could almost feel myself
singing with Artie again. I really did
Maybe I expressed my joy at rediscovering my voice a little too much a
little to often to Jesse when we checked in over the next few weeks, because,
coincidentally, when the Peace Troupe arrived in Pennsylvania, Jesse suddenly
“You’ve got to come on tour with us, please, Sam,” she hoarsely pleaded.
The kids were insistent. “It’ll be great, Mom.
Grandma and Grandpa can stay with us, and on the weekends they can drive
us to see you and Daddy performing together while you’re in the tri-state area.”
Grandma and Grandpa seemed to be in on the conspiracy, too, because they
seemed to be all ready for an extended visit at a moment’s notice. Before the sun had set, I was in the car heading
for Pennsylvania. The next day I was up
on the stage with Artie.
I’d forgotten how it felt to perform in front of an audience. I’d forgotten how it felt to have Artie by my
side. Both experiences were wonderful.
was early October. By early November, when
the Peace Bus Tour was performing at its last Peace Festival before going on hiatus
for a few weeks, I was still with the One Day In Peace Troupe. Things had greatly changed over that month.
Jesse’s laryngitis had cleared up almost immediately, but Jimmy just had
to have her back on Peacetopia for a new Thanksgiving initiative they were planning.
Even though at the time it was almost two months away, she had to get back
right away. As we hugged each other, I
whispered a heartfelt “thank you,” acknowledging that she had won the ‘Martyrdom
Within a week, Artie and I were reconciled, and we felt more in love than
we had ever been.
During the month of November we were just an ordinary New Jersey family. I couldn’t believe it, but Artie agreed to take
a “vacation from peace” and just concentrate on being at peace with his family
until after Thanksgiving. Except for a
daily call to Jimmy, we were completely out of the “save the world” campaign.
And things were moving along in the world just fine without us.
Thanksgiving grew closer, we did get a little antsy knowing that the rest of the
gang was busily coordinating a huge campaign with the Thanksgiving Foundation
and the Feed The World Campaign, but somehow Artie’s attention stayed put on family
life. Thanksgiving Day arrived, and truly
the world had a lot to be thankful for that year. We were feeling very thankful ourselves until
later that evening when the terrible story broke that wrenched our hearts.
We were watching the start of the evening news as we always did (it really
was inspiring each evening to hear the featured “Make a Better World” story) when
they flashed a picture of Jesse. We listened
unbelievingly as the announcer declared that it had just been discovered that
Jesse Gold of the One Day In Peace Campaign was really Jessica Martin, the niece
of the late Lord Reginald Martin III, the CEO of Global Missiles Unlimited, the
world’s largest missile defense contractor. The camera cut to a scene of reporters clamoring
around a Rolls Royce as a handsome British gentleman covered his face with his
“Troy Michaels, acting CEO of Global Missiles in Surrey England, had no
comment for reporters today when asked why the sole heir of Lord Martin’s estate
was a leader in one of the January 1 Peace campaigns.”
The camera then cut to a concert scene, but the audience was booing. “Lady
Martin was booed off the stage today while performing at the gala Thanksgiving
celebration in Texas...”
were in shock. “We better call Jimmy and
see how everyone is,” Artie finally said.
Suddenly we didn’t feel very thankful, just very confused.
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25 | Ch 26 | Ch 27 | Ch
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