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Excerpt & Giveaway: The Rebirth of Hope by Sau Le Hudecek

THE REBIRTH OF HOPE
My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen
by
Sau Le Hudecek
  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Date of Publication: June 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
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Born in a demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and American soldier, Sau Le arrived in the United States as a young woman with only twenty dollars in her pocket. Though bullied and abused since childhood, she nevertheless came to her new homeland armed with courage and determined to build a decent life for herself, her infant son, and her traumatized mother. This is the story of how she overcame every conceivable hurdle—significant culture shock, a daunting language barrier, serious illness, heartbreak, and betrayal—to become a landlord, a successful business owner, a joyous wife and mom, and a woman blessed with generous, loyal friends. She describes an arduous journey, both physical and emotional, from a place of terror and utter despair to a life overflowing with love and prosperity. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, something Sau Le thought she’d lost long ago in the minefields of Vietnam. Her goal is both to uplift and to remind everyone born on American soil that anything in this land is possible for those willing to put dedication, faith, and passion to work.
Praise for The Rebirth of Hope:
“Sau Le has an innate abundance of beauty, wisdom, loyalty and dignity which led her to overcome unbelievable challenges and fully realize her dream in America. Thus proving once again that adversity builds character. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Dan Jenkins, bestselling author of Semi-Tough

“Sau Le lifted her head and walked through years of hard work and determination, inspiring other women along the way! Every word of her personal journey was written to remind all of us!” 
—Robin Sanders, Sanders Travel Agency

“An inspiring story of a Vietnam refugee’s journey to achieve the ‘American Dream.’ This book is a lesson for everyone.” 
—Martin C. Bowen, financial executive

“To have written this remarkable story is one more example of the focus and tenacity that Sau Le Hudecek has shown in achieving her previous goals. You will remember this gripping tale of resilience and courage.” 
—Gail Williamson Rawl

“A truly inspirational story of a fearless person who overcame unbelievable odds to make a better life and obtain the ‘American dream.’” 
—Janie Beggs
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Excerpt from The Rebirth of Hope

 

We talked about my family and my readiness to be in America. I wanted to answer everything correctly.

And then the interviewer asked a question I didn’t expect, one that would reveal a new dimension in the world of my self-esteem, a part of me that would soon open in a way I would have never imagined.

“I hope you do not mind if I ask you an unusual question,” the American interviewer asked me, communicating easily and politely in Vietnamese.

“I do not mind,” I replied. I wasn’t about to complicate my interview if I could help it. He was free to ask whatever he needed to know, as far as I was concerned. And who was I to say what is an unusual question? None of this was usual to me.

“I am curious why you wear white makeup? Your skin is more of a brown color. It seems odd that you would wear white makeup on skin that is darker.”

I stared at him for a moment, not comprehending the question at first. And then I realized he thought I had a choice. So I answered, “This is the only color of makeup we have in my town and in my salon. I do not have any way to acquire any other color makeup. There is no makeup for my skin color.”

He paused, and smiled. And then he said something I will never forget: “Where you’re going, you won’t have to wear the white makeup anymore.”

He was telling me I was going to America, where I would find the right makeup for my face. The candle in my heart flamed brighter.

After this interview, my life changed forever. From this moment on, my family and I were essentially wards of the United States, although we still lived in Dam Sen. Everything, from room and board to all transportation for our numerous appointments, was funded by the United States government. Before this moment, my family and I had to work hard just to scrape by. Now this far-away place, this country that was still a stranger to me, was taking care of us.

We would leave Vietnam in November 1992.

 

Sau Le Hudecek owns a successful salon in Fort Worth, Texas, while still serving her own elite clientele.  In 1993, she arrived in the United States at the age of 22 and was sworn in as a citizen in 2001. She lives with her family in Granbury enjoying the sunsets from their home on the lake.



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  June 7-June 16, 2017
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Author Interview
6/8
Review
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6/10
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Author Interview: Bending Angels by Jack H. Emmott

BENDING ANGELS
Living Messengers of God’s Love
by
By Jack H. Emmott
  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Faith
Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
Date of Publication: January 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 176

Struck by polio at age six, Jack H. Emmott began learning the difficult spiritual lessons embodied in paralysis, shivering loneliness, and dark despair. Fortunately, Jack had help― people of all ages he calls his “Bending Angels,” those who have spread their wings of love and inspiration to walk the journey of faith as the devastated little boy became one of Houston’s celebrated attorneys, a loyal husband, and a devoted dad. Each chapter of this book will relate the story of a Bending Angel―from Brownie, the pup, to Mr. Ochoa, the baseball coach who understood how much of a heart it takes to win and how much of a soul it takes to lose your most precious dream. This book will inspire and uplift you as Jack H. Emmott, a life-long Christian, shares his spiritual wisdom and lessons learned.




CLICK TO RECEIVE A WEEKLY PRAYER EMAIL FROM JACK EMMOTT
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PRAISE FOR BENDING ANGELS:
“The power of ‘Let go and let God’ is personified in this inspiring story. Also, that we are given guidance in the most unsuspected forms when we but look, and that a flood of grace is behind every surrender. What a joy.”
Lindsay Wagner, actress, author
“With gentle humor and no small amount of faith, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love tells the story of Jack Emmott’s life and of the angels who have appeared in his life, just when he needed them the most. 
Do I believe in angels? Absolutely.
Was Jack himself an angel to me during the darkest period of my life?  Absolutely.”
Debbie Adams, Past President, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Houston/Galveston;
Chair, Advisory Council UTHealth School
of NursingTrustee, St. Edward’s University
Bending Angel is a beautiful inspiring book about faith and prayer and the angels that surround us. Jack shared his life journey of trusting in God and drawing strength that was needed to help him. I learned a great deal from this book and have thought about it over and over again since I read it.” 
Amazon reviewer
“If only I could get through a chapter without crying…very moving and touching stories.”
Amazon reviewer

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AuthorInterview

Jack Emmott is interviewed about Bending Angels on radio station KSBJ. (3 minutes)

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Click to listen to the radio interview.

Author Jack H. Emmott contracted polio at the age of six.  Before polio, he knelt at his bedside with his mother Lucile and said evening prayers.  With paralysis, Jack could no longer kneel.  But he could still pray to God for guidance, comfort and healing.  The grace and love of God transformed all the bad from polio and paralysis into good.  Jack is a life-long Christian and successful family lawyer in Houston, Texas.  He is married to his wife of over forty years, Dorothy, who works alongside him in his calling.  Jack is father to two children and grandfather to three grandchildren.
Jack is the author of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love by (Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2016) a memoir of the living angels that touched his life.  He wrote Prayerful Passages:  Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation and Divorce (Outskirts Press, 2016) to help couples in struggling marriages ask God’s help through prayer for the same guidance, comfort and healing he has received from our Almighty Father for over sixty years following polio.


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6-May
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7-May
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8-May
Review
9-May
Author Interview
10-May
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12-May
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13-May
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14-May
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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours
presents
RACING FORWARD
by

Mica Mosbacher

 
Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella. Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.
 
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Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)

Review

I’m embarrassed to say that I went into this one not having a clue who either Mica Mosbacher or her husband were. Maybe if I watched the Simpsons (gotta read the book to know what I mean by that) growing up… I approach memoirs by people I don’t know with caution, but my visor came up within the first page. Mosbacher is a great writer and you can really tell she has a background in journalism (she puts in relevant pop culture tidbits here and there to keep you interested). I was impressed with her personal and professional drive, as well as her ability to keep me from thinking of her as a gold digger. I don’t know what the high society pages in Houston said about her, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always nice. Either way, you know she made it out alive and continues to thrive. I was thrown by the cover of this book because the racing bit takes up very little space. (I actually thought she was some famous race car driver that I never heard of. Hmm…) And to be honest, that little bit was what underwhelmed me the most. Older woman having a mid- to late-life crisis buys a Ferrari (she’s kinda loaded because of her late husband) and gets into racing made me pause (although the cause it supports is AWESOME). But I thought her greatest achievements were as a supportive wife to a terminally ill husband, a caring mother, and a political fundraiser.

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.


She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of


Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet

Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.

 

 

 

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Review: I Hate Pinatas by Heather Maloy

I HATE PINATAS
Surviving Life’s Unexpected Surprises
A Memoir
 
by 
Heather Maloy
Review
If you’re sensitive to crude humor or language, power through the introduction of this memoir. I swear, it’s worth it. Maloy’s style might put off some, but her writing takes on a professional tone from the moment she describes the ultrasound that pinpoints her unborn child’s heart deficiency. Her work as a court reporter has undoubtedly served her well in remembering the technical and medical jargon, as well as the progression of family events. Certain scenarios are written with an almost clinical precision, but there are still those wonderful nuggets of her personality injected here and there. For the record, I think she uses profanity at appropriate moments.
I came away with understanding a little more of what my friends with dangerous health issues might go through. Also, I got teary eyed over the pain of her baby, I often simultaneously pumped my fist in the air (in my head, at least) for Maloy’s strength. This woman is my spirit animal.
 
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I Hate Pinatas by Heather Maloy

I HATE PINATAS
Surviving Life’s Unexpected Surprises
A Memoir
 
by 
Heather Maloy
Heart surgery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. This is what Heather Maloy learned first-hand when her son, Colman, was diagnosed in utero with a combination of congenital heart defects which are fatal without surgical intervention. I Hate Piñatas is a compelling story of hope and strength that vacillates between heartbreaking and outrageously funny as Maloy takes you through what three heart surgeries in three years looked like for one family. 
 
Author’s Note: I Hate Piñatas is not an inspirational book, but rather a true and honest account of what we went through as a family. In my quest to keep it real, there are curse words contained within the story. However, it’s my hope that this book will leave you feeling inspired.
 
 
 
BUY LINKS:
 
 
Awards won by I HATE PINATAS
  • 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards’ Gold Medalist – Best Adult Non-Fiction E-Book
  • Honorable Mention in the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival
  • 2015 Indie Excellence Awards’ Finalist – Memoir.
Kirkus Review
 
Maloy bares her heart (and sometimes her teeth) in an honest debut that’s both snarky and sweet.
It’s hard to imagine that a memoir about a baby with a rare heart defect could make readers laugh. But that’s what “Crazy Heart Mama” Maloy’s blunt South Texas voice does. Sometimes her irreverent humor feels more like whistling in the dark; e.g., when first finding out that something could be wrong with her baby, she sadly wonders if he’ll be a “bobblehead.” Other times, her gritty humor is a pressure valve releasing stress, albeit in a juvenile way, such as when she felt like telling her mother-in-law to “go eat a giant bag of dicks.” And there are a few startling admissions; for example, when sick baby Colman wouldn’t sleep, she almost called him a “little fucker.” But honesty is the beauty of Maloy’s to-the-point voice. What sleep-deprived mom hasn’t fantasized—even with a healthy baby—about handing her screaming bundle of poop to somebody else for eight hours? The fact is that when Colman was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and a leaky valve, Maloy rolled up her sleeves and became his biggest advocate. Describing Colman’s condition as being born with “half a heart,” Maloy adroitly details the excruciating choices she and her husband had to make. None of the options were good. The author’s brusque voice may make some readers flinch—at times, even her family thought she was cold—but there’s no doubt that she dearly loves her son. Whether it was caring for Colman’s bloody hernia, being covered in projectile vomit, or waiting through surgery during which her baby would be clinically dead, Maloy’s well-written, heart-rending story spares no detail.
A heartbreaking, inspirational account.
 
 
Heather Maloy works full-time as a court reporter in district court and writes sporadically on her blog, Crazy Heart Mama. 
 
She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, three boys, and their dog Buster, who doesn’t seem to mind that none of his people are dog people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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On Writing by Stephen King

I haven’t posted in a really long time so I’m just going to bring up a book that I’ve been meaning to review forever. So one of my many plans for the future is to write a novel. Or many novels if I can get published in the first place. And while I have some ideas spinning around in my head that might not ever hit the page, I wanted to read something that will help me when I eventually get there. I attended the Denver Publishing Institute back in 2005(?) and learned a lot, but not everything. While “On Writing” isn’t a manual, I appreciate that it’s an honest look into the process and journey of a great author. To be completely honest, I think I’ve only ever ready “Misery,” and that was because my cousin had a dusty, creased paperback on the shelf and I was curious. I think that I was pretty traumatized (from that one book and a few Mary Higgins Clark novels) to the point that I never read those kinds of books again. Sad, I know. But I enjoyed several of the movies, so I think it’s safe to assume the books are even better since they usually are.

The man has a great sense of humor and an even greater wife for being supportive of his endeavors. He goes by the ol’ “write at a set time each day and don’t stop until you hit x amount of pages/words.” Even a horrific accident can’t stop him from finishing something, although he wanted to many times. If you want to write something, pick this up (and Strunk and White, as King is eager to point out several times). If you are curious at all about the struggles that a writer goes through, read this. Or if you are just a Stephen King fan, this is a good one too. Just be warned, this isn’t a quick how-to of any kind. King just gives you a peek into the random string of thoughts that often gave birth to a bestselling novel and movie.

As soon as I have a few days to concentrate, I plan to complete the assignment below from the author. If you do it, tell him I sent you. It’s the least you can do since I typed the whole damn thing up.

Your job is to write five or six pages of unplotted narration concerning this fossil. Put another way, I want you to dig for the bones and see what they look like. I think you may be quite surprised and delighted with the results. Ready? Here we go.

Everyone is familiar with the basic details of the following story; with small variations, it seems to pop up in the Police Beat section of metropolitan daily papers every other week or so. A woman – call her Jane – marries a man who is bright, witty, and pulsing with sexual magnetism. We’ll call the guy Dick; it’s the world’s most Freudian name. Unfortunately, Dick has a dark side. He’s short-tempered, a control freak, perhaps even (you’ll find this out as he speaks and acts) a paranoid. Jane tries mightily to overlook Dick’s faults and make the marriage work (why she tries so hard is something you will also find out; she will come onstage and tell you). They have a child, and for awhile things seem better. Then, when the little girl is three or so, the abuse and the jealous tirades begin again. The abuse is verbal at first, then physical. Dick is convinced that Jane is sleeping with someone, perhaps someone from her job. Is it someone specific? I don’t know and don’t care. Eventually Dick may tell you who he suspects. If he does, we’ll both know, won’t we?

At last poor Jane can’t take it anymore. She divorces the schmuck and gets custody of their daughter, Little Nell. Dick begins to stalk her. Jane responds by getting a restraining order, a document about as useful as a parasol in a hurricane, as many abused women will tell you. Finally, after an incident which you will write in vivid and scary detail – a public beating, perhaps – Richard the Schmuck is arrested and jailed. All of this is back story. How you work it in – and how much of it you work in – is up to you. In any case, it’s not the situation. What follows is the situation.

One day shortly after Dick’s incarceration in the city jail, Jane picks up Little Nell at the daycare center and ferries her to a friend’s house for a birthday part. Jane then takes herself home, looking forward to two or three hours’ unaccustomed peace and quiet. Perhaps, she thinks, I’ll taka a nap. It’s a house she’s going to, even though she’s a young working woman – the situation sort of demands it. How she came by this house and why she has the afternoon off are things the story will tell you and which will look neatly plotted if you come up with good reasons (perhaps the house belongs to her parents; perhaps she’s house-sitting; perhaps another thing entirely).

Something pings at her, just below the level of consciousness, as she lets herself in, something that makes her uneasy. She can’t isolate it and tells herself it’s just nerves, a little fallout from her five years of hell with Mr. Congeniality. What else could it be? Dick is under lock and key, after all.

Before taking her nap, Jane decides to have a cup of herbal tea and watch the news. (Can you use that pot of boiling water on the stove later on? Perhaps, perhaps.) The lead item on Action News at Three is a shocker: that morning, three men escaped from the city jail, killing a guard in the process. Two of the three bad guys were recaptured almost at once, but the third is still at large. None of the prisoners are identified by name (not in this newscast, at least), but Jane, sitting in her empty house (which you will now have plausibly explained), knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of them was Dick. She knows because she has finally identified that ping of unease she felt in the foyer. It was the smell, faint and fading, of Vitalis hair-tonic. Dick’s hair-tonic. Jane sits in her chair, her muscles lax with fright, unable to get up. And as she hears Dick’s footfalls begin to descend the stairs, she thinks: Only Dick would make sure he had hair-tonic, even in jail. She must get up, must run, but she can’t move…

It’s a pretty good story, yes? I think so, but not exactly unique. As I’ve already pointed out, ESTRANGED HUBBY BEATS UP (OR MURDERS) EX WIFE makes the paper every other week, sad but true. What I want you to do in this exercise is change the sexes of the antagonist and protagonist before beginning to work out the situation in your narrative – make the ex-wife the stalker, in other words (perhaps it’s a mental institution she’s escaped instead of the city jail), the husband the victim. Narrate this without plotting – let the situation and that one unexpected inversion carry you along. I predict you will succeed swimmingly… if, that is, you are honest about how your characters speak and behave. Honesty in storytelling makes up for a great many stylistic faults, as the work of wooden-prose writers like Theodore Dreiser and Ayn Rand shows, but lying is the great unrepairable fault. Liars prosper, no question about it, but only in the grand sweep of things, never down in the jungles of actual composition, where you must take your objective one bloody word at a time. If you begin to lie about what you know and feel while you’re down there, everything falls down.

When you finish your exercise, drop me a line at www.stephenking.com and tell me how it worked for you. I can’t promise to vet every reply, but I can promise to read at least some of your adventures with great interest. I’m curious to know what kind of fossil you dig up, and how much of it you are able to retrieve from the ground intact.

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