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The Long Way Home


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 



Photo of a Wrong Way sign.

I was sailing right along on the familiar I-75 between North Georgia and my home in Florida. With limited stops, my ETA was better than it had ever been. Then came the critical point when I thought I was taking a shortcut, only to realize as soon as I exited that I was heading down the wrong road. . . .


The Purloined Paintings

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2019 by Emily Hart  


Photo of a Casey Orr cartoon.

     I have often operated from the premise that it is easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission. When our 4th grade Social Studies lesson mentioned Pulitzer Prize winner political cartoonist Carey Orr I decided it was one of those days.  In our dining room at home hung two original paintings by Uncle Carey.  I was sure  the class would like to see them and certainly Sister (a generic term for all nuns) would be impressed.  I had the feeling my mother might not be so keen on letting me take the paintings to school, so I skipped that pesky getting permission stage and quietly slipped out with the artwork after lunch. . . .


The Spaced Program

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2019 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a working with a spray gun.

In the early 1960s, a friend of mine and I formed a little company to apply lubricant coatings to race car engines and space ships. We borrowed $1500 seed money from his mother and went to work. Despite having little knowledge and no experience to guide us, after four months of 14-hour days we had built a facility that passed the eye of a NASA qualified inspector. Soon after that, my partner started working harder to get rid of me than to build our business. We were trading shouts in a hostile board meeting at our company, Orion Industries, when a call came in for me from Dow Chemical Company. They were giving us the chance to bid on a sub-contract for NASA. This would be our first big project. . . .


Just a Little Change

Edward Hamilton

© Copyright 2019 by Edward Hamilton

Photo of homeless person with sign. (c) 2019 freeart.com.
                                                                                          (c) 2019 freeart.com
. . .That’s when it happened. I was coming out of the slow traffic and entering the faster traffic heading out of the city, when a bum holds out a sign for me to see. The sign was not flashy. It was merely a brown piece of cardboard, barely bigger than a sheet of paper. The words ‘Just a Little Change’ was wrote on it. The words were broken into three lines. ‘Just’ on the first line. ‘a little’ on the second line and ‘Change’ on the third. The words were a half inch thick, wrote in black marker. The first thing I noticed about the sign was the letters were perfect. I could have never written a more perfect letter unless I used a stencil. Then the words hit me. ‘Just a little change’. Why did he word it like that? Why not, ‘I need your change’ or ‘I’m hungry please help’. . . .



James L. Cowles

© Copyright 2019 by James L. Cowles

Photo of man in snow storm.

Winter Storm Goliath had lived up to its name, bringing a huge swath of snow and ice from the West through a large portion of the Plains from Dec. 24 and continuing through Dec. 29th.  Within that area, a historic blizzard buried the southern Plains in heavy snow, whipped by wind gusts as high as 80 mph. This was rare weather for Roswell, New Mexico and a record 18 inches of snow and drifts 10 to 20 feet high made it impossible for most to get out of their houses, but on Christmas Eve, Bryan Richards was not one of them. . . .


The Brigadier

David Lewis Pogson

© Copyright 2019 by David Lewis Pogson

Photo of David's army document.

This story describes characters known to me and events as experienced by me.  The part relating to 1963 is taken from my direct personal involvement. The part relating to 2001 is taken from extensive coverage of events which, whilst not involving me directly, were happening on a daily basis within the locality of my home and work and were well reported in the media.  I became aware of a direct correlation between those early and later events. Other than my own name, I have not given the full names of any character as those individuals would likely be embarrassed by this accolade but anyone wishing to know more can undertake the same research as me via the Internet. This is a tribute to those who saved my life. . . .


The Train

Jeff Howe

© Copyright 2007 by Jeff Howe

Photo of subway train.

Jason stood on the train platform in the lazy light of early evening. Here in the suburbs, the train was above ground, four stretched silverish boxes playing follow-the-leader for all to see and hear. When it approached the city, it would plunge underground to race through tubes of tile and concrete rumbling the sidewalks above.

The platform was darkened from the footsteps of thousands of commuters passing through this station daily. Dingy white concrete pillars which supported the rigid overhead cover were chipped and marked with names and odd symbols in dark brown spray paint. . . .


The Fifty Cent Bible

Judith Nakken

© Copyright 2019 by Judith Nakken

Photo of an old bible.

I bought them, two old, small, brown leather bound bibles tied together with twine, at an antique auction in L.A. County in the autumn of 1958. Only because the antique-buying populace didn’t want them, and they went for the original dollar asked by the struggling auctioneer. As an avowed atheist, I didn’t want them for any reason except that, as an equally avowed book lover, I couldn’t bear to see ancient tomes ignored. They went on a stacked bookshelf in the granny room, the tiny spare bedroom where everything unused reposed at one time or another. . . .


Negro Mens' Beach

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2018 by Kathryn Lynch

Stories About My Dad:

The Haircut
Negro Mens' Beach
Mr. Bagison
Photo of a white man getting a shave from a black barber.

This the second story about my Dad, who taught me the meaning of racial acceptance by his example during the Second World War years. At that time, Americans with dark skin were called “negroes”, not intended to disrespect anyone. . . .

A Letter To The French Docteur Who Monitored My Pulse

Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2019 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of harbor at Nice.

After embarking on a river cruise in Provence, France, I extended my trip to explore on my own. I did my research before I left home and planned my itinerary for Nice. This incident was NOT on my top ten things-to-do list. . . .


Arrival in Lagos, Nigeria

Guy M. Tombs

© Copyright 2019 by Guy M. Tombs


Classroom in Nigeria.

These are first impressions of what was to be a two and a half year stay in Nigeria. There are many more stories to tell.

I am writing now because I wish to set out my first impressions. I am well and have regained some lost sleep. Apparently I shall be posted to Northwestern State, the capital of which is Sokoto. I have heard of its extreme heat. The city is ancient. I believe I can choose to go to the south of the state, to Minna or thereabouts. I shall be teaching at a Teachers’ Training College. There is a dire need for teachers like me in the North. I’ll be teaching English, pretty much as I had thought and so carefully prepared for: English as a Second Language. . . .


My Aunty


Margie Hofman 


© Copyright 2019 by Margie Hofman 


Photo of a german parachuting down.

Aunty, my mother’s sister, lived in a small house with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. One evening in 1943 they all went up the road to join her other sister and her family as they were all nervous of the bombing.

Suddenly they heard the Germans flying towards London and thought “That’s all right, they are going to London direct and will not bother us. BUT, on their way back, they decided to unload the unused bombs on the countryside near the sea. Aunty’s little house got a direct hit. She came home and the house was flattened in a circle. They heard a noise and there was the pet canary still in its cage. . . .


Small Lives

Bill Cox

© Copyright 2018 by Bill Cox

Photo of a nuthatch.
Small lives, fully lived.
Loving kin, battling rivals.
Brilliant lives, shining brightly,
Fighting the dark embrace,
Of the encroaching night. . . .


Bill Price

Don Shook

© Copyright 2019 by Don Shook

Photo of a hand with a pistol.

A .22 caliber revolver pointed two feet from my forehead was no way to greet that beautiful autumn morning. Were it on stage or another "let's pretend" scenario I could have understood. But this, I assumed, was of dead earnest intent by one of my high-school students whose demeanor defied any semblance of normalcy. With his fat finger on the trigger and a surly grin on his face, he stood above my desk threatening to be my last sight on earth. In my previous teaching jobs I thought I had experienced surprising events; but none even started to compare. . . .


Reborn to Die Again

Amanda Pedersen

© Copyright 2019 by Amanda Pedersen

Photo of a wrecked white car.

The engine of my white Mini Cooper sputtered. The winter’s weather was harsh, and the roads weren’t any better. They were slippery, ice strewn. The temperature gage shows fourteen degrees below zero. Wrapped up in my wool coat, the cold didn’t faze me. . . .

A Dream About The Other World

Laura Labno


© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno

Photo of people in a que.

I dreamed a strange dream this night. Of course, all dreams hold strangeness of a kind but this one made me feel in that particularly unpleasant way – It left an aftertaste which made me feel drained. There were lots of plots in it, which I'm not quite able to describe but I remember that there was my dad in it. And he wasn't happy. Maybe it's because I talked with him yesterday, thats why I dreamed him. . . .


Should the Government be Involved in Equal Pay for Women?

(Prepared for debate in 6th grade class)

Zinnia Nichols Loller


© Copyright 2019 by Zinnia Nichols Loller


Chart about pay gap.

The way the pay gap works is through interrupted careers, less working hours due to motherhood, and decreased future earnings. These decreased future earnings come to an average of $419,000 during a lifetime (Cable News Network). That’s a lot. None of these things will change with time, making the gender pay gap something that will never be completely resolved unless we do something. . . .


Slight Panic on the Midwest-Bound Express Train

Xiaochen Su

© Copyright 2019 by Xiaochen Su

Photo of a stalled train.

The interregional express train from Boston bound for Chicago suddenly ground to a halt, jolting me awake as I was napping away on the slow weekday afternoon.

Rubbing my eyes, I stared outside the window for clues to what could have brought the regular long-haul Amtrak service to a halt. The setting sun was painting the sky a glowing red, as the wheat field below, ready for their fall harvest, swayed gently in the wind. No station, no town, not even a dirt path that a truck can drive up to. It was, quite obviously, not a routine stop a train would take to unload passengers. . . .


Just Another Night Shift

Laura Labno


© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno

Photo of concrete wall.

It was a peaceful night shift at the fast food place where I work. Saturday nights tend to get busy at around midnight when all the drunk people come out of the pubs and bars to charge themselves up a little with some oil-soaked chicken and fries. Some occasionally will throw up on the restaurant floor to keep me entertained and others will throw food at the restaurant walls or, in more radical cases, at me. . . .


Grey Lady

Mary Alice Betley

© Copyright 2019 by Mary Alice Betley

Photo of a coyote/dog mix.

Several years ago I taught at a B.I.A. school at Teec Nos Pos, AZ. When I first arrived, I was assigned Apartment #15. As I was moving in, a large collie—type  dog came up to me, acting very friendly but also skittish and frightened. . . .

Spirits In The Night

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

I’m not a believer in ghosts, or spirits wandering among us, or in an afterlife with winged angels flitting around the heavens, but I’ve learned in my 81 years that there is so much we don’t know about everything. We know that we don’t know what most of the human brain is used for. We know that at the moment of death several grams of weight are lost, explained by religion as the soul leaving the body. And I’ve had a few experiences I cannot explain that leave me open to ideas I would have once rejected out of hand. . . .

Snake Hunting in South Carolina

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of rattlesnake.  (c) 2006 by Richard Loller.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus)

Growing up was terrifying during the Cold War Red Scare years, with Dad a Full-Time Functionary of the U.S. Communist Party. Consumed with their politics and the growing repression, there was little time for me, so I learned that if I couldn’t get positive attention, I would find ways to get negative attention. One of those was collecting and keeping snakes. . . .


Raft of Summer

Don Shook

© Copyright 2019 by Don Shook

Photo of a boy with a fish.

It was a strange Texas spring, with dark May mornings and heavy rains. By summer Ten Mile Creek was filled to overflowing…and we knew that somewhere in the murky depths of Bluehole, the Monster awaited…
My feet were stuck. Instinct screamed for me to tear through the undergrowth, up the steep bank and into the adjoining pasture where nothing on two legs- and precious little on four-had a prayer of catching me. Instead, I stood paralyzed, eyes glued on the brushy far side bank of the creek, desperately trying to identify the thrashing that had sent our pulses racing. A quick glance revealed that Pete too was riveted on the opposite shore. . . .

Like Caves Within Caves

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2019 by Emily Hart  



Photo of a nuclear power plant.

    The Atomic Clock ticks on inexorably.  Unless we turn back the hands.  

     The bed is cold as I slide into it.  Chan is rolling the rug tightly against the door.  By the lamplight I can see the shimmering of ice on the window sill.  Earlier I swept up a dusting of gray snow from the floor below the window.  There are drifts of cold throughout the house, like caves within caves. . . .


Gomez the Jungle Dog

Brittany Rohm

© Copyright 2019 by Brittany Rohm


My bright green t-shirt clung to my chest, drenched with sweat and morning rain. Mosquitos buzzed in my ear, distracting me from the others that were biting my exposed skin, long rinsed of its bug spray. The sun, high in the sky, tried to fight its way through the dense jungle. Only rays as thin as knife blades sliced down to the forest floor.

At my feet, trotting in and out of the slivers of sun, was Gomez. Not much bigger than a house cat, and black like the night that hung heavy over this part of Colombia, Gomez fit in well with his surrounds. . . .


The Bears of California


Leslie Soule


© Copyright 2019 by Leslie Soule


Photo of California State Flag.

So there I was, pondering what to write about. I had a weird dream last night, after a long weekend of work, gardening at my friend Tom’s mother’s house in Placerville. In my dream, I wandered my house, and it was full of snakes. I like snakes. But in my dream, there were far too many of them to deal with. I had the problem of trying to find tanks for all of these snakes, and the problem was that there were far too many snakes to deal with, and not enough tanks to house them all. . . .

Celebrating Daddy


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 



Photo of Kay's Daddy.

Father’s Day – June 17, 2018.

Today, I’m honoring my father not only due to the fact that it’s Father’s Day, but because it’s also the 102nd anniversary of his birth! We lost him in his 76th year, but time has not diminished the profound influence he had on the lives of my two older brothers and me. He was an original through and through, and he taught us to be originals, too! . . .


Black Canyon Mountain Lion

Koji A. Dae

  © Copyright 2019 by Koji A. Dae


Photo of a mountain lion.

From 2001-2010 I worked with a conservation corps in southern Arizona. I spent most of that time camping in various parts of the state and completing projects from rain-water harvesting to migrant trash pickup. Some of my fondest memories come from the more backbreaking, wilderness assignments, where we were more likely to encounter wild animals, such as this time near Black Canyon city in central Arizona. . . .


The Easter Bunnies 

Carol Rotta

© Copyright 2019 by Carol Rotta


Photo of a baby rabbit.

The memory of a little girl and the rabbits she and her younger brother received for Easter—and the humorous events that followed.

Two Easter bunnies came to live at our house. Literally. I was seven and my brother, Bunky, was five when our parents gave us each a baby bunny for Easter. How Mother persuaded Daddy to let us have them remains a mystery—he did not like pets of any kind. We didn’t even have a dog! She probably assured him the man at the pet store had guaranteed both rabbits were the same gender. . . .


Notre Dame Cathedral Is Afire Today

N. Barry Carver

© Copyright 2019 by N. Barry Carver

Photo by Barry Carver. (c) 2019.

15 Avril 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral is afire today.

I am, with the world, wallowing in a grief bigger than buildings, or nationalism, or fire, but I am also assailed with personal memories. I've been trying not to think about it, not to watch the images that are coming in from everywhere, but this fire in Paris is breaking my heart. . . .


Stranger In The Club

Luqman Morrison

© Copyright 2019 by Luqman Morrison

Photo of nightclub scene by Lugman.

This is a story about a time in my life when I sold cigarettes in a nightclub.

I will tell you about him. I always remember him, sometimes with wet eyes and some smiles.

There used to be times when the city of Warri would sleep during the day to wake up at night. It is true that Warri used to be a nocturnal city.

There were nightclubs where boys and girls would go to set their bodies on fire and burn nights away. Beats from loud speakers and cigarettes and hemps and gins and many other liquids in fine bottles were the fuel. . . .


Born In Defiance

Ru Otto

© Copyright 2019 by Ru Otto

Photo of a sunset.

This is the first vignette in my ongoing, but as yet unpublished, autobiographical book, Signs of Life. Coming of age in the 40’s and 50’s was hard enough for a girl without the added challenges of poverty, disability, and alcoholism.  But I became like tempered steel in this intense environment, fired to a shining resiliency in the heat of human passions. . . .


My Maisie


Isabel Bearman Bucher

© Copyright 2019 by Isabel Bearman Bucher 


Photo of a group of teachers near Sante Fe.

              “You’re where?” I said into the phone.  “What do you mean you put ten dollars down on a dog!  I don’t want a dog!  What do you mean Bob and I are getting too old and need a companion?  I don’t need a dog.  No.  I don’t care!  Wha ... ?”

              My daughter went on to explain that she’d been looking for a year for us at the Animal Humane place, and finally she’d found one that she knew would work for us both. . . .



Anna G. Joujan 

© Copyright 2019 by Anna G. Joujan 


Photo of a butterfly.

Grief has no sense of decorum. So it did not occur to me to question my actions when I interrupted the chaplain, with his head bowed and hands folded, to place myself in front of my grandfather’s face. As he tugged on the tubes, wildly waving his hands, and craning his neck up while his head turned side to side, I planted my face in front of his. “Hi PaCharley,” I said. Over. And over. I saw his clear blue eyes. I saw him. He saw me. . . .



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