In the season of miracles, Kristan chose this as her Best-of-Blogs. It originally appeared on October 18, 2010.
Those last fifteen minutes must’ve been the longest. Compressed in a chute, you are leaving the place that had been your refuge but was almost your grave. For the first time in more than two months, you are completely alone, away from the men who possibly saved your life, who kept you going, the only people on earth who can understand what you’ve endured. For sixty-nine days, you’ve been in an uncertain stand-off with death, and now…now, you only have fifteen minutes to go. Fifteen minutes until the rest of your life.
From the second the disaster occurred and for sixteen days thereafter, the families of the Chilean miners had nothing but hope. That’s a long time. Imagine the prayers, the bargaining, the rationalizations of just how it really was possible that your husband, your father, your brother, your son had survived. It could happen, sure. But the hours passed. The days crept by. The third day…the fifth…the tenth…the fifteenth…the sixteenth. The families must have been told to prepare for the worst. Imagine picturing your husband, your son, dead and alone, a half mile beneath your feet.
And then, on the seventeenth day, the miracle. The note said, “We are well and in the shelter…The 33.” Chile—heck, the entire world—was joyfully stunned. A mountain fell on those miners, they were trapped a half mile underground, and they were still alive. All of them.
The immediate question was how to get them out? Even one rescue would be miraculous…but thirty-three? The messages from the miners were heart-wrenching: “We ask that you rescue us as quickly as possible, and that you don’t abandon us,” the shift foreman said. “Don’t leave us alone.” The answer from Chile’s President Pinera: “You will not be left alone. You have not been alone. The entire country is with you all.”
Indeed, the entire world was with them. And in this day of war and suspicion, of bickering political parties and Internet bullying, how often does the world come together? Chilean flags were flown around the world, candles were put in windows, prayer vigils were held. The families of the miners moved to the work site, Camp Esperanza—Hope—to wait together. The oldest miner, married for 30 years, learned that his wife was camping half a mile above him. Concerned, he urged her to go home. Her response: “I’ll leave here when you do.”
For weeks and then months, the world waited. A tiny tunnel was drilled, supplies were lowered…food, water, air. A camera allowed us to see those ghostly images of the unexpectedly cheerful miners, singing Elvis Presley songs, asking the score on soccer matches, sending messages to their families. One watched, via fiberoptic cable, his wife giving birth to their daughter.
But how would they get out? The initial estimates for their rescue was Christmas Eve, but thanks to a Pennsylvania-based company, the drilling went better than expected. Still agonizingly slow, still difficult, drilling through virgin rock. Would the tunnel hold? What if the capsule twisted while en route? Would the winch operate, would the cables snap? It would be the deepest rescue ever attempted…and it would be attempted thirty-three times.
On October 13th, the world held its breath. And then, one by one, they were strapped into the capsule called Phoenix—the bird that rises from the ashes. The President of Chile was there, the First Lady, the rescue workers, doctors, EMTs, and of course, the families—wives, parents, children, grandchildren. As the first miner came into the sunlight, church bells rang throughout Chile. Children were sent home from school. The world wept with unadulterated joy. Each man was given a Chilean flag inscribed with their names, and they wore shirts that on the front said, “Thank you, God” and underneath, “Because nothing is impossible with God.” On the back, the shirts read “In whose hands are the depths of earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also.”
Over and over, the capsule descended into darkness and rose into light. “Welcome back to life,” was the greeting they received. One miner hugged his wife, then fell to his knees to offer thanks. Another kissed his wife and asked, “How’s the dog?” Some ran to the rescue workers and greeted them in elation; others held their children and cried. All were greeted by the President. All were taken to the hospital, where they watched and cheered as their fellow survivors ascended.
Every one of them was rescued flawlessly. Everyone was healthy. Every single one.
Before Oprah and Larry King, before the book deals and movie rights, before October 13th becomes a Chilean national holiday, those miners were alone in the dark. The families were told that this would likely be a recovery mission, not a rescue. After all, even if the miners had reached the shelter, there was only enough food for two days. And half a mile beneath the surface of the earth, the miners had to at least consider the thought that the world up there figured them for a lost cause. One day after the disaster without a sign from above. Three days. Seven. Ten. Fifteen.
But somehow, instead of despair, those above and those below chose hope, and theirs is a lesson in unity, in perseverance, in courage and faith. But it’s also a lesson in love.
There was a second note found on that seventeenth day, something more personal. It was from the oldest member of the group, the one whose wife waited with such steadfast and unswerving hope. This note said: “I haven’t stopped thinking about all of you for a single moment. I love you, and I will see you soon, and we will be happy ever after.”
Dios los bendiga a todos, Los 33! Viva Chile!
Several of the Jaunty Quills were in San Antonio last week for the Romance Writers of America conference. We thought you’d like to see some photos from the conference (at the bottom of the page, there’s a legend telling about each photo).
1. Cindy and Nancy with former Jaunty Emily McKay at the Harlequin Party.
2. Cindy and Nora Roberts.
3. The gorgeous decorations at the Harlequin party.
4. Friday was Cindy’s birthday. Harlequin threw a big party just for her. Shhh! Don’t tell her they the party was for everyone.
5. The annual Jaunty Quills breakfast.
6. Kristan and Alexander Rodriguez.
7. Nancy at the Harlequin authors book signing (signing Cindy’s birthday card).
8. Kristan at the Harlequin authors book signing.
9. Nancy and Kathy before the workshop they presented.
10. Nancy, Jane Porter, and Kathy at the Harlequin party.
11. Raeanne Thayne, Nancy, and Kristan.
12. Cindy, Nancy, Kathy and Harlequin editor Susan Litman at the Harlequin party.
13. Harlequin editor Patience Bloom and Cindy at the Harlequin party.
14. Nancy and Kathy.
15. Robyn at the RWA Literacy signing.
16. Shana looking beautiful before her publisher’s party.
17. Shana and Mia before the Golden Heart and Rita awards.
18. Shana at the RWA Literacy signing.
19. Nancy at the RWA Literacy book signing.
20. Nancy, Kathy, and Mary Louise Wells realize former Jaunty Terri Brisbin was on their flight home.
21. Kristan, Gail Kirkpatrick Chianese, Virginia Kantra, and Jesse.
…and the Jaunty Quills are celebrating! Today we’ve compiled our favorite drink recipes for your pleasure. If you’re looking for a cocktail to mix up tonight, try one of these.
Cindy Kirk’s Crazy Coyote Margarita
½ tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 ½ ounces Coyote Gold margarita mix
1. Use a cocktail shaker to mix together 1/2 tsp. of granulated sugar, 3 tbsp. of fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces of Coyote Gold margarita mix, and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds.
2. Rub a slice of lime along the rim of a margarita glass. Turn the glass upside down and coat the rim with salt from a plate.
3. Pour the margarita mixture through a strainer into the salt-rimmed margarita glass. Add a lime wedge to the rim.
Vanessa Kelly’s Kir Royale
One of my favorite Christmas drinks is a Kir Royale, which is basically a champagne cocktail. The Kir Royale is a dash of creme de cassis topped off with champagne!
Nancy Robards Thompson’s Classic Manhattan
2 ounces bourbon (or if you want a slightly sweeter drink, use one ounce of traditional bourbon and one ounce of honey bourbon)
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Kathleen O’Brien’s Max’s Hot Apple Pie Cocktail
This was created by Max Scherff at The Fairmont in San Francisco.
3/4 ounce(s) Stoli Vanilla Vodka
1 1/2 ounce(s) Butterscotch Schnapps
4 ounce(s) apple cider
1 ounce(s) whipped cream
1 cinnamon stick
Cinnamon powder, for garnish.
Combine spirits and cider, steaming until warm. Add cinnamon stick to footed mug and pour in liquid. Top with whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon powder.
Kristan Higgins’s St. Germaine Martini
1 and a half parts vodka
1 part St-Germaine
1 half part lemon juice
Combine, shake gently, add a splash of vanilla seltzer water. Supremely delicious!
Katherine Garbera’s Sorbet and Champagne Cocktail
1 tsp. sorbet (perhaps raspberry or passion fruit)
Chilled champagne or Prosecco
Scoop sorbet into a champagne flute. Fill with chilled Champagne or Prosecco; stir.
Robyn’s no whiz behind a bar, but she does love eggnog with a little kick of rum. Good choice, Robyn!
Mia Marlowe’s Hot Wassail (for the kids too!)
This is a seriously easy recipe that makes the house smell like Christmas. Here’s what you need:
1 QT Apple Juice
1 QT Cranberry Juice
Pour the juice into a 5 quart pot and heat on low setting. Stick the orange with cloves. (This is a great project for kids. They love poking the cloves into the orange in fun patterns!) You can leave the orange whole or cut it into quarters. Float the cloved orange and the cinnamon sticks in the juice. Let it simmer till you’re ready to serve!
If you prefer the vino…
Jesse Hayworth with our wine selection.
I’m more of a wine girl, and love to celebrate with a Benefit Wine.
They taste good—though I’ve been known to enjoy Cardboardeaux (aka boxed wine), so take that for what it’s worth—have cool labels, and ~30% of the sale price goes to the charity you select.
Shana’s Sparkling Cider
I usually celebrate by toasting with my daughter and a glass of sparkling grape juice. However you choose to celebrate, we hope it’s a wonderful beginning to 2014!
Something strange must happen to mothers of young children. I remember Kristan Higgins talking about how when her kids were young and how excited she was when a cute actor was on Sesame Street. She’d call her girlfriends to make sure they were watching.
At the time, my daughter was too young to watch Sesame Street, and I think I chalked it up to another one of those weird but funny things Kristan Higgins does.
After four years of watching children’s shows and movies almost exclusively, I think they have messed with my head. I’ve noticed I have crushes on fictional heroes—and not fictional heroes like Jamie from Outlander or Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series. Heroes like Flynn Ryder from Tangled.
Here he is.
He’s funny! How could you not like that? And he’s a thief who ends up reforming. That’s the stuff romance novels are made of, right? Bad boy hero meets the heroine and changes to be a better man.
And then there’s Terence from Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.
He’s a great friend to Tinker Bell. I could totally see a Young Adult novel where the best friend Terence ends up winning the fairy heroine.
And I can’t forget Nod from Epic. He’s cute and a warrior. How we do love our sexy warriors in romance novels.
Do you have any crushes on fictional guys—cartoon or otherwise? And if you, like me love Flynn, check out my All Flynn Pinterest board.
Congratulations to our own Kristan Higgins! THE BEST MAN is a New York Times, USA TODAY and Amazon bestseller!
Cheers and confetti all around!