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Publisher Richard Loller's 
Fishing and Farming Journal
For Year 2020
Index to All Journal Years

Latest News! January 9, 2021

News From Our Writers

2021-2022 Contests 
New Rules now posted

Contest Judging
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All Contest Winners
(Check the competition)
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(The Winners Circle is a contest category limited to previous first prize winners)

Scroll down for the most recent stories
A Portrait

Laura Elizabeth Horgan

© Copyright 2021 by Laura Elizabeth Horgan

Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash
                                    Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

. . . .The people I knew worthy of a tale barely had two pennies to rub together to make a third. But they knew how to put together a good time like it was nothing more than a cocktail. I drank them up, intoxicated and drunk on the lives and doings of the people around me who seemed to be all in, all the time. I rode on their coat tails and enjoyed the view. . . .


Fifth Grade

Etti Hazan

© Copyright 2021 by Etti Hazan

Photo of a a little girl with a big pack.

Last fall, my daughter turned 10 and began attending the fifth grade, mask and all.

In Italy, where I grew up, fifth grade is a big deal because it marks the end of elementary school. Students who complete ‘quinta elementaretake a test to qualify for middle school. . . .


Fear and Fire

Etti Hazan

© Copyright 2021 by Etti Hazan

Photo of a grease fire in a pan.

I had neither seen nor smelled the fire. I knew it had been there, because I had been told about it. The woman had survived, but her cat had not. . . .


A Few Hours in Frankfurt

Etti Hazan

© Copyright 2021 by Etti Hazan

Photo of a plane at Frankfurt airport.

In April of 2005, I flew from JFK to Rome, FCO to join my parents for Passover. The flight itinerary included a stopover at Frankfurt airport.

Frankfurt, Germany - 5:45 AM local time

As our plane touches German ground, I immediately experience a wave of conflicted feelings. This is my first time on German soil. Considering I have just spent over 7 hours on a German airline, with ample space and good in-flight service, my sentiments are kind of ironic.

The feelings more or less dissipate once I enter the actual terminal - after all, airports are in a generic league of their own. My ever-dwindling Yiddish allows me to butcher the German language while purchasing a much needed espresso. . . .



Dodging A Scam

Talara Nolan

© Copyright 2021 by Talara Nolan


Photo of an angry sea.

My story is called Dodging a Scam. It is something that happened to me before I had a daughter. While this sort of thing happens all the time online now a days, back when it happened to me it was not so common. I did meet my then boyfriend online and this is how he tried to get me to marry his brother in order to bring him from Canada. I am grateful that I was able to get out of that situation, as I now have my daughter. . . .


Big Foot, Big Deal

Laurel Hendrickson

© Copyright 2021 by Laurel Hendrickson


Photo of "big foot" footprint.

. . . .Gather round the campfire and let’s freak ourselves out by talking about an Oregon folklore favorite: Bigfoot! Most people have at least one story about something uncanny that they’ve experienced but don’t have a good way to explain. This is the crux of Bigfoot fun- someone heard or saw something strange in the wilderness and a special glee comes from it maybe- just maybe- being Bigfoot. . . .



Eve Levinson

© Copyright 2021 by Eve Levinson

Photo of three rhinos.

This story was part of an incredible month trekking and camping across eastern and southern Africa. We had been on multiple safaris, gone up in a hot air balloon, rafted the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls, yet meeting rhinos in Zimbabwe was truly unforgettable. . . .


Crocodile Tears

Dawn Llewellyn-Price

© Copyright 2021 by Dawn Llewellyn-Price

Photo by Joe McDaniel on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Joe McDaniel on Unsplash

There’s a good road, a not so good road, and a bad road’ Bernard our safari bus driver had warned us as we left Nairobi Hilton, its foyer awash with a great white wave of cricket bags. . . .


A Crow Named Charlie

Shreya Jha

© Copyright 2021 by Shreya Jha

Photo by Simran deep Singh on Unsplash
                  Photo by Simran deep Singh on Unsplash

A for Abtoss, B for Bulbul, C for Crow.’

I learnt to recite the alphabet with the names of birds. Abtoss was my baby word for Albatross, not the easiest word for a child to pronounce. I’m not sure if this is a true recollection or a figment of my memory. Probably the latter. It is a fact though, that birds have been part of my life from almost the beginning. . . .


Encounter with a Young Giraffe

Rachel Friedman

© Copyright 2021 by Rachel Friedman

Photo of a giraffe.

. . . .One of the lovely things about living in Los Angeles is that we’ve got a great zoo. It's not quite as famous as the one in San Diego, but we still have a bird show, a petting zoo, and a secluded area for baby animals. During one memorable period, these baby animals included giraffes. . . .


Swimming With Serpents

Joli Villella

© Copyright 2021 by Joli Villella

Photo of a snake on a tree branch.

Just as the two summers prior, I could feel the excitement bubble over in my stomach chasing away the last tendrils of anxiety, my ever present friend, as each mile carried us further away from civilization and closer towards freedom. I knew the moment I stepped from the packed van and breathed for the first time in a year true nurturing air, all my cares would fade away into nothing as mother nature flooded every sense. This was the healing power of the Buffalo river, the sight of our long awaited adventure. . . .


The Three Snakes

Naputt Thiravorachai

© Copyright 2021 by Naputt Thiravorachai

Photo of a snake.

Over the course of my life I have encountered three different snakes, not to  mention various others. I do not know whether it is a stroke of luck to meet such interesting and exotic animals, or a series of unfortunate encounters. . . .


Jack in the Box

Chloe de Lullington

© Copyright 2021 by Chloe de Lullington

Photo of a jackdaw.

I think the day the jackdaw arrived would have stuck in my mind even if it hadn’t been forever immortalised as the day the jackdaw arrived. The main reason for its notability was simple: Mum was having some Me Time. Mum didn’t do Me Time. A full-time carer for a disabled husband and two primary school-aged children (one of whom – yours truly – also had a chronic illness of her own), she never went anywhere without us. . . .


The Hippo Story

Michaya Marsh

© Copyright 2021 by Michaya Marsh

Photo of a hippo in a glass pool.

My whole life, I have felt intense connections with animals of all types. For hours I would perch on the windowsill to watch and identify the gold finches and black-capped chickadees. If my parents ever lost me, they knew to look outside and find me following a snake or holding a newt. I would wander with the wild hares in Western Washington forests and wade in the icy Pacific ocean to catch a glimpse of the sharks in the waves. My mother quickly called me back out, much to my chagrin. An unquenchable curiosity for all forms of life has filled my whole being for as long as I can remember. . . .


A Regular Guest in the Guest House

Janis Boguzs

© Copyright 2021 by Janis Boguzs

Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash

I adore being close to nature, to get away from the city's rush. Thereby I choose to go to one guest house, owned by my friends and located in the middle of a national park. There can be enjoyed everything there: relaxation beside the sea, late evenings under the stars, all spectre of flora and fauna of nearby forest and the guest house yard itself. . . .


Caught It For My Father

Ellen Urowitz

© Copyright 2021 by Ellen Urowitz

Photo of a white fish.

About twenty years ago. My father was still alive. I don't remember how old. He must have

been fifty five ish. Still working everyday. Never packing a lunch

Always going out for morning coffee afternoon coffee.

I'm sure he's been drinking regular. That's four dollars a day times five.

Wondering why he's short on money. Thank goodness I'm working so I can help out. . . .


Seven Hundred on the Planet

Bettina Gantsweg

© Copyright 2021 by Bettina Gantsweg

Photo of an Uganda gorilla family.

Muggy, hot, sticky. Our group of seven stood at the base of the mountain while bugs swarmed biting naked skin. Excitement stirred within, waiting, waiting to see them. . . .


So Close I Could Hear It Breathing

Lisa Reily

© Copyright 2021 by Lisa Reily

Photo of a Nilgiri langur.
            Nilgiri langur - photo by the author

This is a story about a trip my partner, Ion, and I took to Thekkady, India, to see the beauty and wildlife in Periyar National Park, but we found that nature came to us instead. . . .


My Dad Was A Smoker

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a Lew's dad.                                                        

He sat in a high backed wooden chair that creaked with the slightest move after dinner. Tobacco, in those days was available in packed layers of leaves and fashioned much like a cigarette package and to keep it fresh it was wrapped in cellophane. After carefully cutting the plug into small portions that fit in his pipe, he reached into his front right pocket and extracted a brass colored bullet shaped lighter. The top was removed and with a flick of his calloused thumb it burst into flame. It had to be tipped at just the right angle so it caught the tobacco on fire but he didn’t burn his thumb. The lighter was restored to his pocket. . . .


The Scent of Tiny Flowers

Pamella Laird

© Copyright 2021 by Pamella Laird

Photo by Nikhita Singhal on Unsplash

This story was told to me in the 1950’s by an aunt and uncle who lived in Chertsey, Surrey, UK.  I did actually meet the couple who were close friends of my relatives.  Apart from the horrors and romance of their story I remember particularly how anxious they were that they would care for the dinner dishes to make sure nothing was broken of their now treasured possessions. . . .


The Apple of My Eye

Lois Liu

© Copyright 2021 by Lois Liu

Photo by Khamkhor on Unsplash

. . . .I shot up from my limp state and groggily sat up in bed. While rubbing my pink-tinted hand, I let out a deep yawn. I blinked a few times, as though I was in an unconscious state. Staring out the window of our New York apartment, the branches swished around as the wind anonymously wailed to anyone who listened. The weather outside was like someone who just finished crying, leaving everything in a mess. . . .


The Lost Prophecy

Divine Walker

© Copyright 2021 byDivine Walker

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
                                                           Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

He feels a slight tingling touch on his face as if someone is tickling with a shuddering hand. The shivering cold causes the frost to bite on his feet and hands. He could feel the tingling cold as soon as he woke up. There is a man standing in front of him with a hunching back. . . .


The Senator

Ronald Keely

© Copyright 2021 by Ronald Keely

Photo of a politician.

Richard Blunt prefers to be called Rick. He’s a simple man and lives a simple life and he is, for the most part, content. He’s average height, but he weighs two hundred forty pounds and muscular. He regularly lifts weights and exercises his abs and core. He has a graying beard and his balding head is usually covered with a hat. Around town Rick is known as grumpy and anti-social. He doesn’t have a glowing smiling face because he doesn’t see anything to smile about, but he’s not necessarily grumpy, he just doesn’t like people that much. . . .

Into The Lion's Den

Marjorie Keyantash

© Copyright 2021 by Marjorie Keyantash

Photo of a mountain lion by Wilson Chen.
                 Photo © by Wilson Chen

. . . .“Just stay calm…stay calm,” I kept telling myself as my heart beat out of my chest. I knew what I was supposed to do. From my years of studying big cats I knew the proper protocol for what to do when encountering a mountain lion but I had never had to put it to the test... until now. . . .


Not Perfect

Eileen T. Flaherty

© Copyright 2021 by Eileen T. Flaherty

Claudio Schwarz  @purzlbaum
                                       Claudio Schwarz @purzlbaum

Today and most days when I think about the holidays, whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or the 4th of July, it brings me such joy and makes me smile. We, the Flaherty family, were a small bunch with just the four of us, my mom, dad, brother and me, until my nephews were born. . . .



Christinia Robertson

© Copyright 2021 by Christina Robertson

Photo by Victor Sauca on Unsplash

For that one moment, we were all saved.

I pulled up to the curb and saw my neighbor standing, wrapped in a sweater, outside her house. “Thank god you’re home”, she called as I got out of the car. “I need help.” . . .



Ciaran Doran

© Copyright 2021 by Ciaran Doran

Photo of a crouching cougar.

. . . .A rainy Sunday we headed into the woods after elk. The leaves were down for the year, creating a rustling red and gold carpet so anything within half a mile could hear us coming. Predators would pick us up too if they got downwind. Coyotes are sensitive. A lot of people say there are no wolves left in Missouri but I’ve seen plenty. They might not roam in packs but nomads do cross the state border pretty often. What’s a line on a map to a wolf?

Mountain lions are the rarest of all in the Ozarks. There’ve only been sixty sightings in the past twenty years. That amounts to a mere handful at any time. Since deer are plentiful the cougars don’t go hungry. It’s illegal to kill them though unless they’re directly attacking livestock or a person. . . .


Our Owl Friend

Kay DiVerde

© Copyright 2021 by Kay DiVerde

Photo of a great horned owl.

We were fortunate to have a baby Great Horned Owl who lived in our suburban yard for several weeks. The little guy seemed to find some comfort having us around, and we admired his majestic beauty. . . .


Country Living

James L. Cowles

© Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles

Photo by of a lamp and book.  Courtesy of Dreamstime.

When a young boy, I remember the shock of seeing my Aunt Annie's house lit only by coal oil lamps.  I had never seen such a thing and as I recall, there were only two lamps, requiring a person to carry a lamp from room to room where light was needed.  How could this be, I wondered?  We were from The City of Louisville, where everyone had electricity, but less than one hundred miles from home, my country relatives were not as privileged. . . .


The Raptor

Abram Gabriel

© Copyright 2021 by Abram Gabriel

Photo of a hawk eating rabbit.

Good things that happened this past year of infamy.  2020 will be pivotal just like 1929 or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Or like the Truman years or 1918 or 1945.  Those years will always be associated with certain images in my brain.  I wonder if they are for everyone? . . .


Courageous and Coping in a Time of Crisis

Diane McLeish

© Copyright 2021 by Diane McLeish

Photo of the hotel door.

. . . . I decided to explore the challenges facing a small establishment on Lamu Island lying off Kenya’s north coast. It had recently changed hands and despite being closed to visitors and having no idea of what the future of travel will be, the young managers have been determined to bring the charming but jaded little hotel back to life. Whilst pondering the obstacles they face, I also learnt of the intriguing history of the architect and previous owner of this tranquil little Swahili retreat. . . .


Salt Water, Milk, and a Jaguar Cub

Valerie Anne Burns

© Copyright 2021 by Valerie Anne Burnes

Photo of a baby jaguar at the Memphis Zoo.

Key Biscayne holds my fondest memories as a teenager during the carefree high school days when I had close friends, and a boyfriend. It gave me a connection I hadn’t felt during childhood, and a big part of it was being surrounded by balmy beauty....


Michael Manley- Jamaica's Radical Prime Minister and Non-Aligned Nations Protagonist
Legacy of Democratic Socialism and Solidarity With Black Africa 

Winston Donald

© Copyright 2021 by Winston Donald

Photo of Michael Manley.

Last week Cabinet members for the new Jamaican Conservative government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness was rolled out. The new government will shape and promote polices that befits the economic and social objectives of a debt ridden island state for the next five years. It is the first time that a conservative government has upstaged the Social democratic party, the Peoples National Party, the party that was led by Democratic and Fabian Socialist firebrand Michael Manley who is now turning in his grave at the massive loss at the polls of the People’s National Party of the island nation of Jamaica and its failure to even secure one third of the seats of parliament. . . .


Pie First
The Second Course is Observing Abundant Wildlife in Startling Shapes and Sizes

Marcia McGreevy Lewis

© Copyright 2021 by Marcia McGreevy Lewis

Photo of a manatee.

A determination to scout out the best Key lime pie in Florida morphed into a rewarding quest to observe wildlife I’d never encountered before. This unexpected experience became a double delight. . . .


My Snail Hunting Adventure

Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

© Copyright 2021 by 
Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash
                                Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

The nature, and physical qualities of some creatures can be so deceptive; therefore, making us not to believe that there are more to what they are, and what they can do, than what we originally knew them for. This is the case of some underrated animals, like the snails. . . .


The Unfortunate Hawk

Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

© Copyright 2021 by 
Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

Photo of a hawk.

Who would have thought that a predatory creature that maintains a very far distance altitude in the sky, a raptor whose normal routine is to soar higher even above the tallest trees could be caught with bare hands without the aid of traps, or struck with any sort of weapon specifically designed for it’s hunt? . . .


Critters: Part One and Part Two

Jan Callner

© Copyright 2021 by Jan Callner

Photo of an owl.

A dollop of peanut butter, check. A monster of a rat trap – two heavy-duty jaws that snap with heavy-duty force – check. The spot on the deck where evidence of animal traffickery has been noted, check.

Somebody or something has been nibbling my succulents. Droppings and nut shells litter the space behind the recycling bin. Last year I trapped six fruit rats after discovering one lounging in the grease pan of the grill. I can handle nibbled succulents, but a rat in my grill is intolerable. . . .


A Youth Called Brownskin
The Story of a Troubled Jamaican Adolescent Influenced by the Hard Social Conditions of the Late 1970's to Early 1980's

Winston Donald

© Copyright 2021 by Winston Donald

Photo of Jamican flag with a marijuana leaf.

Gloom and sorrow shrouded the chilly air of the February 1981 morn. The shrubbery wet from the overnight dew , the tall Weeping Willows and lush Guinea grass that lined the roadway to the old Spanish mortar and limestone Baptist church created an idyllic yet somber atmosphere that complemented the majestic structure perched loftily on the apex of the Dry Harbour Mountains in St. Ann, Jamaica. As I climbed the hill to this rural church positioned like the last outpost in the American mountainous west , I became overwhelmed with grief and pulled a white cotton handkerchief from my inner tweed jacket pocket , then mopped my sodden eyes lamenting the loss of a needy but adventurous adolescent friend. . . .



Diane McLeish

© Copyright 2021 by Diane McLeish


This is a story of my encounter and the search for an elusive and very difficult to find wild animal called the Sitatunga antelope in a remote seldom visited national park in Kenya. . . .


Our Reason To Add An Animal Member To Our Family

An Animal Will Teach Respect and Love and also Bring Protection and Joy To Your Family! 

James K. Aumak

© Copyright 2021 by James K. Aumak


Photo of a German shepherd.

 I recently read a letter to the editor, in a local newspaper, regarding a reader that just suffered the loss of her family, a pet/dog due to cancer. I often read several local and State newspapers everyday, as I like to be informed as to what’s going on around me. . . .


Party Crashers

Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2021 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of an Indian house lizard.

This is an account of me landing in a foreign land, where wildlife and ‘party crashers’ shocked my teenage inexperience. Come along for the ride.

On the tarmac, hot air rammed its way past the passengers and assaulted my face. Discordant voices, transcontinental and indecipherable ricocheted off the airport walls. I understood nothing except the gestures of airport security. The Customs check-in line was like herding cattle to slaughter. . . .


I Nearly Called My Baby Robin

Rachel Allen

© Copyright 2021 by Rachel Allen

Photo of robin.

The late February sunshine was stubbornly pushing through the clouds, blazing low in the sky and threatening to blind Graeme as he drove us through the sweeping Brecon Beacons. He’d done his research before we came, and found a walk that promised to be an easy to moderate route through the woods, taking in no fewer than four waterfalls. It sounded like just what we needed, a good dose of nature to shake us up and blow away the cobwebs. . . .


Nature's Path

Christine Law

© Copyright 2021 by Christine Law

Photo by Sue Thomas on Unsplash
                                Photo by Sue Thomas on Unsplash

My early childhood memories come from the age of seven. When the family decided to up sticks moving from Dudley an industrial Black country town to Kingswinford. Kingswinford, a small village on the outskirts of the towns, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge and Dudley. It meant that you had the best of both. Rural and town life style. . . .


Reynard Fox

Christine Law

© Copyright 2021 by Christine Law

Photo by Linnea Sandbakk on Unsplash
               Photo by Linnea Sandbakk on Unsplash

When I first moved from the Midlands to Essex, I was surprised to find how friendly the foxes had become. They would take it upon themselves to follow you along the streets like tame dogs sometimes during the day and mostly at night. People accepted this has the norm. . . .


Two in the Bush

Sam Smith

© Copyright 2021 by Sam Smith

Photo of a boy with a crow.

It was a sunny day in late April. My sister was at after-school swim practice, and I’d made a new friend. . . .


My Children and Other Animals

Alex Byrd Jones

© Copyright 2021 by Alex Byrd Jones

Photo of a gecko on a lamp.

Here in Italy, where I live with my family, the cockroaches are small and crafty things. You almost never see them. They stay well out of sight, and their only desire is to be left alone with those microscopic fragments of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that they might be so lucky to gather here or there. I mean, who could blame them? . . .



Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2021  by Karen Radford Treanor

Two cats by Theophile Alexandre Steinlen.
            Two cats by Theophile Alexandre Steinlen.

A nice older couple stopped at my stall at a recent “Trash and Treasure” market in Margate, Tasmania. The man was carrying a block-mounted poster which caught my eye. It was a large semi-abstract floral with the logo of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston across the lower margin. . . .


The Same, But Different

Zahra Dot

© Copyright 2021 by Zahra Dot

Zahra with a lion cub on her lap.

When I say that I live in South Africa many people have images of me living among wild animals and having lions in my backyard. This is not in any way true. Wild animals and humans are, for the most part, separate.

But there are occasions when these two species are allowed to interact. There are several game reserves and farms where these animals are kept and some even allow limited interaction. This is a story of my interaction with one of these wild creatures....


Be Eager  But Never Forget The Warning

E. L.Teddy

© Copyright 2021 by E. L. Teddy

Photo of a wild boar.

. . . .I was 18 years old and I grew to love pastoral life which I grew to find myself with passion. I was so interested in hunting and so I troubled Dad until he educated me on how to use the gun which I understood faster than expected because it was in the blood to know. . . .


Christmas Yokes

Nnadi Samuel

© Copyright 2021 by Nnadi Samuel

Photo of broken eggs in nest.

Winter comes grey & dusty, like another vagabond experiencing it's hangover on Lagos' belly. Every harmattan finds December eating weird dishes in my head & other Christian homes left in my body. Whatever goes into them becomes a fellowship— a wild synagogue of shrimps hailing a boy not so full of grace. . . .


A Stranger From A Strange Land

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2021 by Kelly Maida

Photo of Kelly.

Did you ever feel different than others? When I was a child I played with lucky rabbits feet and I had lucky charms. My favorite books were on witches and magic. I was also highly intuitive and guessed things about people correctly. I had no idea that I was an empath when I was a child. People around me when I was growing up did not understand why I was so sensitive. People could not understand why we were so different. . . .


Remembering My Brother


Valerie Byron

© Copyright 2021 by Valerie Byron    

Photo of Valerie, her brother and her mother, 1948.

Today I learned that my older brother, Dr. Alan Byron, is seriously ill in hospital on the Isle of Wight in England.  He is eight years older than me and we have never lived together.  As children, he was sent away to boarding school and only came home occasionally on holidays.  When I was twelve and he was twenty, my mother and I immigrated to California and my brother stayed in the UK, having joined the army. . . .


A Saltmarsh Sparrow Named Sal

Susmita Ramani

© Copyright 2021 by Susmita Ramani

Photo of a young saltmarsh sparrow.

For five years, I lived and worked as a lawyer in New York City. In 2003, I took off a few months between jobs, lived on savings, and roamed around the city. Every day, I woke up in my high rise one-bedroom apartment on 34th Street and 9th Ave. with a view of boats on the Hudson, kissed my cats (Max and Oscar) bye for the day, went down the elevator, chatted with the building’s doorman, Lee, then wandered the city with one or more of my many friends who had the flexibility to hang out at random times (who were otherwise actors, dancers, personal trainers, restaurant staff, college students, and so on). . . .


A Tale of Natures Achievement

Anna Boyle

© Copyright 2021 by Anna Boyle

Photo of Jack, the magpie.

The day in question was special. A happy day. Jack was home. Back where he belonged.

Jack had been with us for about six weeks. We had been looking after him. He wasn’t well when he came to us. He also came without a name, so we had to give him an identity. After a couple of days, he was named Jack. His gender was in question too – he could even have been a Jacqueline. But for the purposes of discussions about him at the time, and for this story Jack is ‘he’. Jack was a magpie. . . .


1968 - A Very Bad Year

James Quinn

© Copyright 2021 by James Quinn

Minnesota twins players visit hospital.

My name is Jim, and I want to tell you about a very bad year for my family. I am the youngest of seven children. Five boys, and two girls. I was seven years old. Let’s not forget our busy loving parents, trying their best to keep our little boat from sinking....


Easter Sundays in New Market
When I Was a Girl

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2021 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of Cathy as a child in front of her house.       

One sunny Fall Saturday afternoon approximately 10 years ago, my husband and I took our little granddaughter to visit her great-great-great grandparents' old home place. It was a beautiful day to enjoy being outdoors, and childhood memories flooded my mind as we came up the long driveway that ran along the side of a steep drop off. That reminds me of the day my grandfather scared me when he backed up his car too close to the edge. My brother and I were in the car with him, and I just knew we were about to go sailing off into the trees. . . .


Covid-19 or Not?

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2021 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of a person in a mask.

One morning in November 2020, my husband and I left the house with the intention of going to Publix to get our flu shots and receive a Publix gift card for doing so. There had been road work in the area for a long time and the morning traffic stretched across the bridge that day. Making a quick decision, we decided to turn around and go back to a nearby pharmacy to get our flu shots. We had gone to that same pharmacy for our shots in 2019.

After receiving our flu shots, and I got a pneumonia shot also, we went on back home. Later that night before going to bed my husband and I both felt achy all over like we would with the flu, but we did not think much about it. Neither of us have ever had a reaction to flu shots before, and we get them each year. . . .


Coviditis Diary

Paddy Tanton

© Copyright 2021 by Paddy Tanton

Photo of the common English kingfisher.

I have been keeping a diary since April 2020 entitled ‘Coviditis’ and am sending in four of the weekly entries two from spring to summer and two from winter to spring, each involving encounters with wildlife. . . .


The Hawk and the Hare

Christine Stevenson

© Copyright 2021 by Christine Stevenson

Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash
                     Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash

This story is 100% truth. It was a once in a lifetime moment between me and my overly-active-with-wildlife neighborhood. Large birds from hawks to buzzards hung around my home in South Carolina. It never bothered me until it had a reason to. . . .


No Fishing

Caroline Travis

© Copyright 2021 by Caroline Travis

Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash
                                      Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

I think that’s an osprey,” said Paul, staring ahead into the distance of the deserted coast.

I scanned the sky, but could only see gulls.

There!” said Paul, pointing. When his prize failed to register, he spooned himself in behind me, and with his chin on my shoulder, and his cheek touching mine, he repositioned his finger. “There!”. . .


The Rocking Chair


Ruth Truman

© Copyright 2021 by Ruth Truman
Photo of a rocking chair.

 “Granddad,” I called, “It’s time for the Red River Valley Boys!  Hurry!”

 I turned on the prized console radio and pushed the rocking chair next to it, then ran to wake up my grandfather, still in bed recovering from working all night on the railroad.  It was WWII and he was an inspector, keeping the trains running so the soldiers could get to their assignments.  It was an important job. . . .


Albert Einstein and his Invention

Prakash Rawal

© Copyright 2021 by Prakash Rawal

Photo of Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein was born on March 14 , 1879 in UIM,  Germany.  He was not talkative in his childhood,  and until the three , he didn't talk much . He spent his teenage years in Munich, where his family had an electric equipme business. As a teenager,  he was interested in nature and showed a high level of ability in mathematics and physics. . . .


Wael's Barber Shop

Alan Herman

© Copyright 2021 by Alan Herman

Photo by Carlos Magno on Unsplash.
                          Photo by Carlos Magno on Unsplash

Wael's barber shop is in the Muristan District of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Wael is a Moslem yet he chose to place his barber shop outside the Moslem Quarter, a good business decision.

You see his shop is close to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and he gets heads to reformat among the many visitors to this site, as well as among other visitors, and residents of all the quarters. . . .


Angel Girl

Rich Courage

© Copyright 2021 by Rich Courage

Photo of a girl making snow angel.
                                    Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash

There was this shy yet fiery seventeen year old girl named Liza. Her hair and heart were aflame, free, full, delicate and true. A quiet girl, she expressed herself in art and poetry. Breathtakingly beautiful watercolors and moving words. And I loved her completely for one magical day in nineteen seventy nine. It was the best, most honest, happiest day of my life. Why just a day? I’ll tell you. . . .


Her Voice on the Train to Milan

Alan Herman

© Copyright 2021 by Alan Herman

Man looking out train window.

It was a chilly October after midnight morning. I had walked from my hotel laden with suitcase and backpack through dark streets and across a highway before being welcomed by the lit, warm and quiet waiting room of the Verona railroad station. Only a few people were waiting for the rare east- or west-bound train. . . .


The House That Nature Took

Christine Hand

© Copyright 2020 by Christine Hand

Photo of rainbow lorikeet.

Here, in this leafy suburb of Queensland is the house that we decided would be our forever home. Surrounded by large trees and shrubs, it provides us with the seclusion we desire together with the nearness to all amenities and the city centre. We share it with the local wildlife, crows, bats as large as unfurled umbrellas, the laughing kookaburras, magpies and rainforest birds nesting on the large trees and the miner birds, blue-faced honeyeaters, rainbow lorikeets, peewits and butcher birds on the smaller shrubs. Brush turkeys and blue-tongued lizards rummage and ransack the garden while the smaller garden lizards do comparatively little damage. By nightfall, the possums emerge, some carrying their babies on their back, nipping lithely from branch to branch and stealing the show for us all. At first, they are wary of our colony of six cats, then they decide that as fellow mammals they are part of the larger family. . . .



Francine van den Berg

© Copyright 2020 by Francine van den Berg

Photo of an elephant.

Nanghala is never far from my mind. After all, I owe her my life. If the old girl is still alive, I hope she will owe me hers one day. I met Nanghala in the Eastern Cape. She was a star in an amusement park. She put up a show for visitors three times a day, and in between her stage commitments she would take visitors around the premises. . . .


The Fatigue

Jay Liu

© Copyright 2021 by Jay Liu


Photo of police car in front of house.

Ever since Connie Owens disappeared from the world with a noose on her neck, a perverse sense of guilt and shame settled over me. It wasn’t like I was that close to her or anything, as she had always been that wayward girl sulking in the corner, biting her nails, but on that fateful day in April I had felt it: a sick constricting feeling over my heart, as if someone had grabbed and squeezed it hard. . . .


The Suicidal Pigeons of the I-80

Fernando A. Torres

© Copyright 2020 by Fernando A. Torres

Photo of pigeons near the road.

Is it a Russian roulette of the air? a macabre air race? The thing is that in an act that looks like suicide, pigeons of all color and sizes fly off parallel to the busy freeway to violently died by the speeding cars in a spectacular explosion of feathers. . . .


A Child's Prayer with a Side Order of Peas

Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2021 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of a plate with peas.

When I was barely five, I landed in the hospital with pneumonia. As a child, I didn’t have any concept of how concerned my parents were about my health. I was very ill. Although my parents and older siblings filled me in later about details of this event, my memories are simpler. This is what I remember from a child’s sightline. . . .


Birthdays Behind Bars: Inside the Juvenile Justice System

Stephanie Wilder

© Copyright 2021 by Stephanie Wilder


Photo of prison fence.

After a career of teaching students in prep schools, I longed for a career change. Chance took me to the Juvenile Justice System and I got a job in a juvie facility for teenaged juvenile delinquents. It was indeed a career change, and it was an opportunity for me to step out of my world of privilege and I learned much more than my students did. . . .


Severe Weather Reports

Pavel Filatov

© Copyright 2021 by Pavel Filatov

Photo by ZACHARY PEARSON on Unsplash.
                                          Photo by ZACHARY PEARSON on Unsplash.

For Norman, life had always been somewhat complicated. There had always been one thing or another which prevented him from achieving what he wanted, and no matter how hard he tried, he always seemed to fail. You see, there are two things you should know about Norman. The first is that his whole life he’d dreamt of becoming a weatherman. The allure of standing in front of that green screen, letting the country know about the latest and most important weather conditions was overwhelming for Norman, and he did little else but develop his oratory abilities. The second is that ever since he could remember, Norman hadn’t just been Norman. At no one time did he realize this, but Norman had three very distinct personalities. Obviously, jolly, weather-loving Norman was one of them, and perhaps even the main one. The second liked to call himself Emilio. . . .

Norman’s third personality was a giraffe. . . .



Pavel Filatov

© Copyright 2021 by Pavel Filatov

Photo of monk in monastary.

The man slowly staggered towards the door. The house was large, with intricate designs from the gothic era engraved onto its exterior. Judging by the figure of Jesus with arms spread wide hanging above the door; the man thought that this was a monastery of sorts, a house of God. Even before he looked, he somehow knew that there would be no bell; it was a very old looking house, from a time before such things existed. . . .


Sunday Morning

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a street scene.

Leaving his home he stepped onto the cinder and gravel mixed surface of the three block street where he lived with his parents. The air was warm and dry at nine o’clock this July morning contributing to a crackling sound as he continued to walk. There were no sidewalks in this area south of the Western Pacific railway that was parallel to the street... At a point about 30 yards from home he turned to a path leading through the eight foot high slab fence that separated the activity created in the area of the grain elevators and coal bins beside the railway. Two slabs had mysteriously disappeared at some time allowing a shortcut to the down town region. . . .


Ode to Gleeville - The Town
That Defied Literature

or, The Hamlet That Could Outdo "Hamlet"

or, The Story of Gleeville - A Story Without Conflict

Emmet Kelley

© Copyright 2021 by Emmet Kelley

Photo of identical houses.

     . . . . In normal society, the yes-man is an object of disdain , if not  of ridicule  and  vilification,  from “the William Whyte organization man”  to the blindly loyal supporters of autocrats like Donald Trump. But in Gleeville,  a small town located somewhere in Middle America, the yes-man would fit right in and, indeed, even blossom. For in Gleeville,  there was the community-wide  agreement  of the  general   rule of law of “ agreeing not to disagree”. . . .


Of the Holy Spirit, and Elvis

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2021 by Carl Winderl

Photo of Nixon and Elvis.

Everyone has an “Elvis & me” story, or so it seems. Especially in these glory days of the woeful by-gone past.

And, I have one, too.

Only mine, in the parlance of about every other movie these days, is based on true events. . . .


Self-fulfilling Prophecy and Maria Ritter

Bonnie Crandall

© Copyright 2020 by Bonnie Crandall

Photo of the Dating Game.
Here she came again. Every Sunday she came like clockwork. She was probably in her late sixties, early seventies, under five feet tall, a little round gnome-like person with rough hands, her silver hair pulled back into a severe knotted bun at the nape of her neck with a lined face that spoke of a hard lived life. She spoke with a heavy German accent, and she was closing in for the "kill.". . .


Surviving a Brother's Suicide

Winston Wight

Introduction by David Wight

© Copyright 2021 by Winston Wight

Photo of sunrise by Richard Loller.

At age 18, my elder son Rion enrolled in Cornell University’s School of Architecture with a future full of promise. At age 22, he committed suicide. This story is primarily a letter written by his surviving brother Winston depicting Winston’s search for resolution, healing, and new meaning following his Rion’s death. . . .



David Wight

© Copyright 2021 by David Wight

Photo of a hand placing rose on tombstone.

In 1955, my mother was stricken with polio and hospitalized for a year. I was only four years old at the time and couldn’t grasp how much her illness and disability would impact my entire family and her for the rest of our lives. In 1996, my mother was stricken again, this time with post-polio syndrome. . . .


The Kangaroo and the Pocket

Linda A. Dougherty

© Copyright 2021 by Linda A. Dougherty

Photo of a kangaroo with a baby.

In early May 2018, my life circled in the same holding pattern as it had been since I was diagnosed in October 2015 with follicular type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was exercising, eating a careful diet and taking natural supplements to boost my immune system. Every day I went into a local middle school where I work as a one to one special education aide. Every six months I saw the oncologist, had blood work drawn and we hoped it would stay that way or a miracle would happen. Cancer steals your life in unexpected ways even before it kills, or almost kills you. But, you learn to live with new rhythms in your life.

That warm spring, my special needs student and I were busy reading books about Australia because that what the seventh grade geography class was studying. We read about koalas, wallabies and kangaroos. He was especially fascinated by how tiny newborn kangaroos, the size of a bean, crawl up their mothers fur after birth and nestle into their mother’s pocket for the next six or so months, growing larger and stronger while suckling their mother’s milk. . . .


Humor Is The Best Medicine

Linda A. Dougherty

© Copyright 2021 by Linda A. Dougherty

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash.
                            Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

It came packaged in my DNA direct from my dad, who I incidentally look like, this dogged propensity to go to the mats to right wrongs. After years of being the family bulldog, I’ve decided that I will first try humor as in the old adage, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar." . . .


The Weird Dichotomy


Shivaji K. Moitra 


© Copyright 2021 by Shivaji K. Moitra 


the battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata.

          The battle of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata

India has long been known as the land of Gods and spiritualism. For ages, the mountains, hills and jungles of our country have been the abode of numerous sages and sadhus who practiced penance and meditation in the lap of nature to gain the knowledge of the Gods and to attain spiritual powers. Some of the monks mentioned in the Hindu religious scriptures and epics like Agastya muni, Viswamitra muni, Vasishtha muni, Kapila muni and Valmiki were famed for their immense knowledge and legendary spiritual powers. . . .

More. . .

The Summer Petey Bob Turned Fourteen

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2021 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood

Photo of a huge saw.

Just in case the reader is not familiar with my stories; I am an old retired Aerospace engineer writing true short stories of events that happened in my life for the benefit of my great-great grandchildren.  I want them to have some knowledge of their heritage and of old Pawpaw Bob (that is what my kids and grandkids call me).  My real first name is Paul but I was nick-named Petey Bob growing up. . . .


Babies, Bikes, and Mothers

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2021 by Maureen Moynihan

Photo by girl's bike.

Ever since I was strong enough to carry a baby on my hip without dropping it on its head, I worked. Growing up, I watched the drama of money play out in my own household. My father made most of the money, so he dictated that we ate Toasted Oats instead of Cheerios and wore sneakers without the Nike swoosh as they were a flagrant demonstration of white collar commercialism. . . .



Don Shook

© Copyright 2021 by Don Shook

Photo of a guardian angel in stained glass.

The flatbed truck braked, but still hit the small boy who had suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. Fifty feet away, rose-trimmer in one hand, three-month-old baby under the opposite arm, Dorothy Ann turned at the sound of the squealing brakes and muffled bump. Her eyes widened in horror as her two-year-old son flew through the air, tiny arms flailing like a ruptured windmill before crashing onto unforgiving asphalt. Dorothy Ann’s urgent scream failed. Her heart stopped She stood paralyzed. The baby wailed.

This was my first experience with pain and injury. I can remember neither. . . .


No, Not. . .


Isabel Bearman Bucher   

© Copyright 2021 by Isabel Bearman Bucher 


Photo of a stream.

      My Nonna Angela Irene Giana at age 15

I’m an outdoor girl. In my earliest memories I’m wandering the unknown reaches of the woods, remote shorelines and hollows surrounding my home in Branford, Connecticut. Those were the days when kids were booted outside and told to not come home till sunset. . . .


Quail Hunting in Callahan Florida

Gordon Crenshaw

© Copyright 2020 by Gordon Crenshaw

Photo of quail hunter.

It was the first week in January 2003 when GG joined his hunting buddies Vince Stevens, Wayne Helms and Steve Billmyer in a big quail hunting trip down in Callahan Florida. Callahan is about 10 miles from the Georgia State Line on Highway I-95 just north of Jacksonville. . . .


The Gift of the Magi . . .Kinda

John Bourges

© Copyright 2021 by John Bourges

Photo of two stockings hung on a mantlepiece.

They all stood outside O’Henry’s Steak House on 6th Avenue and 4th street, while one of the bartenders and one of the staff waitresses watched the owner lock up for the night.

Have a good night you two.” He said and sensing that their relationship had grown over the weeks, left it at that, without further comment or remark and headed home. . . .


Susceptible Otherworld

Don Shook

© Copyright 2021 by Don Shook

Photo of a plane taking off.

Annie’s call had not sounded desperate, just serious. “I’m leaving the country and I may not return.”

Startled, Don could only manage a weak, “What? When?”

“No. Today. In a hour. I’m at the airport. Please, meet me here. I must say goodbye in person.” . . .


Everything's Just Ducky At Our Place

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2021  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of two saxony ducklings.

A few years back I went to the street market to get my week's supply of fruit and veg, and what did I see but the Chicken Lady, set up under a shady tree.

She had several cages of chickens and a cage with a dozen or so ducklings: three sooty hybrids, two large Muscovys and some cream and tan ones that I believed to be Saxony ducks. For some time I have wanted to own some of this breed, despite a friend's comment, "Saxonys--aren't they the sort that come to your village to plunder and pillage?" . . .


Ted and Ned

Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo by Wiebrig Krakau on Unsplash
                                 Photo by Wiebrig Krakau on Unsplash                                     

Two old fictitious friends in their seventies and retired for quite a few years struggle to make things happen and create kinships that promote joy in their lives. My intention is to make the story interesting, intense and funny as possible. . . .



Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of prarie falcon.

It was time to go for more grub.

That sounded like an easy endeavour, but it would take the better part of the day and perhaps overnight. The weather wasn’t cooperating and it was beginning to snow. . . .


Educational Excellence

Eugene Pierson

© Copyright 2021 by Eugene Pierson


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
                             Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

We strive for excellence only to be met with failure many times. Certain failures might not be academic ones, but they can be relationship ones, occupational ones, and/or even organizational ones. In the end, our skills will be all that is left of this. My current skills that I earned through LinkedIn Learning include Effective Listening, Microsoft Office 365 Excel, and Bystander Training: From Bystander to Upstander. . . .


The Underdogs


Shivaji K. Moitra 


© Copyright 2018 by Shivaji K. Moitra 


Photo of a mongrel dog.

On the outskirts of the sprawling city of Bangalore where the lush foothills of the Nilgiri range met the rolling plains, the swanky villas of the city’s rich gazed suspiciously over the scattered old colonies of the disadvantaged sections of the society. Away from the city and yet not too far from it, the place on the fringe of the forest offered the working class people both a decent home and the convenience of reaching their places of work in the city. Their meagre earnings couldn’t buy them even a dungeon within the city but they didn’t regret their fate. . . .


Facing the Sunset

Charleine Sell

© Copyright 2021 by Charleine Sell

Photo by Sean Peter on Unsplash
Photo by Sean Peter on Unsplash

When your Grandpa Jack was a young man, he lived for 2 ½ years in another country far away in Africa. One day he was busy preparing for a two-week water project in the bush. He also was expecting a package of work boots from his sister in the USA, and he hoped to get them before he left. The project involved stomping through grass with snakes like deadly cobras and mambas and walking across low streams. Parasites lurking in the water could burrow unseen into his skin and make him sick. The boots would help protect him. . . .


Whispering Wind

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of the full moon (c) 2020 by Richard Loller.
                         Photo (c) 2020 by Richard Loller

The sky was completely clear and the moon shone in splendor such that if I had a novel, I could have read it with the light. It seemed larger than normal over that hillside in Washington State specifically in the western foothills of the Kettle River Range. I estimated that the elevation was near thirty-five hundred feet above sea level. . . .


What To Do When Your Spouse Has Depression

A Personal Story of Survival and God's Grace

Rodney Harrier

  © Copyright 2021 by Rodney Harrier


Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

If you or someone you know has situational depression, this article may help and encourage you. It will also help the person who is suffering. You are not alone!
There are stresses to every marriage. We made it thirty-years, and it had been relatively peaceful and happy. We had good communication. My wife was my best friend…until she got depression—we didn’t know if we would make it to thirty-one. . . .

They Don't Have Christmas in Viet Nam

Fredrick Hudgin

© Copyright 2021 by Fredrick Hudgin

Photo of a Christmas tree orniment.

 This story was written after I returned home from Vietnam in 1971. I still smile, remembering that wonderful night when the war took a peaceful breath and for a moment I was transported away from the combat zone to a place where dreams are made from. . . .



Patricia Sample

© Copyright 2020 by Patricia Sample

Photo of battered wife.

"Please! I'm begging you, think about the kids.  I am your wife!"  I literally begged my husband not to beat me infront of our children.  He didn't listen,  he pinned me in the kitchen up against the counter and started punching me then choked me. I ran to my neighbors house and instead of calling the police  I called his parents. . . .


Ten Pound Note

Duah Francis

© Copyright 2018 by Duah Francis

Photo of the National Spelling Bee logo.

Ten Pound note , something you need to know when I started to cash in paper notes all these niggas turn to hoes to dig inside my hole to fetch my euros . Whoa , how funny it was stepping on the floor with Air Force though our feet were sore even before reaching the store . Every month we made not less than $1000.000 after selling these tanks. Tanks, yes I did mention of that but not meaning tanks but scam that's how we confused the cops. . . .


Gun Trouble

Lew Goddard
Edited by Ann Goddard

© Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a pistol.

And there we stood, Pop and me. Pop had just fumbled in his pocket and found the key to where I would be living, hopefully for a long time. Well, living was the key word because my first impression of the “suite” was not favorable.

Pop was my probation monitor. I don’t know what his real name was but my former inmates and I just called him “Pop.” His name was related to his occupation, because he had the audacity of “popping in’ without notice. He was a monstrosity being over six feet tall and almost as wide, He was not fat. His solid build radiated strength and we all knew how strong he was. . . .


Black Sheep of the Family

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2021 by Kelly Maida

Photo of cartoon panel of Superwoman.

I wanted to share this story with others who feel that they don’t fit in or are misunderstood! You are not alone! We are here to create something different!

We’re you also the odd one out in your family? The one that didn’t really quite fit in? . . .


The Boyfriend

Eileen W. Fisher

© Copyright 2021 by Eileen W. Fisher

Photo of high school sweethearts.

Why do first loves seem to last a lifetime?

It was the summer of ’58. We were members of the Shorehaven Beach Club in the Bronx. I was all of thirteen, a time when having a boyfriend was the be all and end all. . . .


Lofty Ambitions

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2021 by Emily Hart  


Photo of an old barn loft.

Growing up in a small town back in the 50’s and 60’s was certainly different than it is today.  Yet I wonder if children really have changed all that much.  What would today’s children do with a dusty, cobweb festooned barn loft full of junk – if they were lucky enough to find one? . . .


The Deer

and Other Critters in New Market, Alabama

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of white tail deer.

One bright and sunny autumn day, my street got a surprise visit from a big buck. I was at home cleaning when suddenly lots of dogs started barking outside. Looking out the front door, I saw a huge handsome buck in the middle of the road right in front of my house! . . .


Sophia and Her Bear

Kimberly Pepin

© Copyright 2021 by Kimberly Pepin


Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash
                                    Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

One dark night when the wind howls and the trees are going crazy there is this little girl Sophia. She sits in her room wondering if she will ever be good enough to be loved.  Since her parents don't love her. So on this day she packs some clothes and her favorite stuffed bear and as her parents sleep Sophia walks out of the house as fast as she could. . . .


Down and Out

Lew and Anne Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a wreck in snow.

This is a fictional story of what can happen in the winter where there’s snow.  Where, you may never make it home if the roads are covered with snow. Snow will pile up to six feet at times. When the wind blows in a blizzard, if your car is outside it can be totally covered before the storm passes. . . .


The Lampadedromia

Sara Etgen-Baker


© Copyright 2020 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of Sara waiting for the torch.

The dictionary definition of lampadedromia is a race of lighted torches, which took place in ancient Athens on the occasion of ritual feasts in honor of the deities associated with the cult of fire.

This is my account of conquering obesity and how that led to me one day carrying the Olympic torch as it made its way across the United States toward the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2001. . . .


The Poet of Baghdad

Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

© Copyright 2020 by 
Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

Abbâd Harun Al Rachid

Complex among so many other literary genres, poetry is that which reflects essence (nature). It is the beauty of writing using a certain beauty of speech, by the play of sounds, rhythms and images. . . .


Journey With Mother

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2020 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of Downtown Greenville, Texas. in 1950's..

This story is a true account detailing a 1950s train trip I took with my Mother—a trip that shattered my world, exposing me to the ugly truth of segregation, racism, and prejudice.

I stood in front of Union Station for the first time in 1959 hypnotized by her 1916 Beaux-Arts style architecture—elegant cartouches, balustrades, pilasters, arched windows, and pedimented doors. She was a dignified, elegant lady who’d withstood the ravages of time and was a venerable, steadfast, and familiar fixture of the downtown landscape juxtaposed against a burgeoning, streamlined Dallas skyline. But the future was quietly encroaching on her aristocratic, almost sacred ground, and she appeared Janus-faced on that warm July morning. . . .


Pixie Dust and Quilts

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2020 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of a quilt.

This story preserves my memories of my mother and her quilt making as well as my appreciation for her gift of strength, courage, and heroism.

Mother slipped the vintage key into the keyhole turning it ever so slightly until the locking mechanism clicked open. She lifted up the lid to Granny’s heirloom cedar chest. I closed my eyes and sniffed; the air inside it smelled like my grandfather’s cedar cigar box with just a hint of overlying mustiness. And the hinges—stiff as an old man’s arthritic joints—complained as they reluctantly snapped into place. But once open, dust swirled and danced from inside the cedar chest into the cool, dusky air inside Mother’s attic. . . .


A Book of Spells and Magical Enchantments

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2020 by Sara Etgen-Baker

Photo of title page of cookbook.

 This is the story of how I came to own a special children’s cookbook. The story is also a bit nostalgic toward the end as I reflect upon what the cookbook and the memories affiliated with it mean to me.

Mother’s rectangular-shaped kitchen was tiny—no more than 7 feet long and 5 feet wide—which was to be expected since the house itself was small, less than 1,000 square feet. And like most houses built in the early 1950’s, the kitchen was designed primarily for functionality, equipped with only the basics—a moderate-sized refrigerator, a full-size gas range with stove, yet little countertop and storage space. In fact, storage was so sparse that Mother kept her pots and pans in the oven overnight and removed them the next morning when she prepared breakfast. . . .


Teach the Children

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2020 by Maureen Moynihan

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
                                     Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash                          

An hour before surgery, the medical attendant parked my gurney in the hallway as if I was an unwanted sandwich scrap left on a room service tray.

Someone will be right with you,” he said.

Like when?” I asked. . . .


". . . and a Happy New Year"

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash
New Year's Eve 2020 is going to be a very different event for most people in the world. Who could have foreseen on January first of this year that by the end of it we’d have experienced a modern plague which would have damaged the global economy, killed hundreds of thousands of people, and locked up millions more? Who could have foreseen that a defeated President would refuse to accept his loss? Which of our most experimental writers could have thought up the conspiracy theories that have become the daily fodder of millions?

Thinking about how strange this year has been brought to mind many past New Year's Eves. . . .


A Short Story

Robert Flournoy

© Copyright 2019 by Robert Flournoy   

Photo by Suzy Turbenson on Unsplash
                                       Photo by Suzy Turbenson on Unsplash

Paul J. enlisted in the army in 1967. After basic and AIT training, he was sent to Vietnam where he carried a rifle with an infantry platoon in the 1st Air Cavalry.  He participated in 23 aerial combat assaults, 3 of them into hot LZ's. He received five minor wounds, stayed in the field, and eventually became a squad leader because those ahead of him had been killed by hostile fire. . . .


The Heaven of Motherhood  

Hilary Flanery

© Copyright 2020 by Hilary Flanery


Photo of a raccoon.

St. Julian the Hospitaller!!” I screamed on the Emergency Room table.

Poison ivy, Mrs. Flanigan, all over your perineum.” The doctor explained.

My pair of ‘what’?” I asked holding up the paper examination gown against my body.

Your per-i-ne-um, your pos-te-ri-or end!” he repeated.

Poison ivy—on my ... popo?”

Did I say, popo?    

Yes, on your ‘popo.’” He said, washing his hands. . . .


The Box

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a wooden coffin.

It brought back many memories when I mentioned to Gene that I was sending this to you.  Sometimes it seems like yesterday that we arrived in Swaziland—and at other times it seems like somebody else’s story that we half-listened to at some boozy party. . . .


The Worker

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2020 by Maureen Moynihan

Photo of vintage Huffy girl's bike.

Ever since I was strong enough to carry a baby on my hip without dropping it on its head, I worked.  Growing up, I watched the drama of money play out in my household. My father made most of the money so he dictated that we ate bowls of Toasted Oats instead of Cheerios. His power over family purchases was absolute and unquestioned. . . .



Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Maida

Photo of cartoon panel of Superwoman.

I grew up watching cartoons of superheros such as superwoman and wonder woman. I also grew up watching women work  to raise their family while maintaining a job. I always wanted to be like superwoman and be able to handle everything. . . .


Photo of a Lifetime--No Film

Eleanor Dorst

© Copyright 2020 by Eleanor Dorst

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash
                              Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

I am a Canadian woman, who is from the central prairies in Winnipeg, Canada. Winnipeg is a city “ smack dab” in the center of Canada. Population around three quarters of a million. Most Canadians live within an hour of the US border and we never venture much past that boundary especially to the far north. . . .



Frances C. Crenshaw
Sept. 5, 1997

© Copyright 2020 by Gordon Crenshaw
Photo of the church.

The Temple Church that was a large part of my life and the life of my family was on Lucy Road. A brick building set back
under the spreading branches of a tremendous oak tree that shaded part of the parking lot that wasn't paved at that time. . . .


First Flight

Sharon J. Morris

© Copyright 2020 by Sharon J. Morris

Photo of a baby bird.

This story takes place in Irian Jaya, Indonesia when I was in junior high.

My brother, Danny, announced at supper one evening, “I found a nest in the kasbi (cassava) patch with three small eggs in it.”

It was already getting dark, so I decided to wait until the next day to take a peek.

After breakfast, I took the binoculars to the kasbi patch. I found the nest and peeked inside. There were only two eggs! . . .


Red Casket

Susan Bludworth Newton

© Copyright 2020 by Susan Bludworth Newton


Photo of a red casket.

I want a red casket and I want it closed.

Wait, I am rushing ahead. Allow me to start with my credentials. I have attended well over 50 funerals to date. My mother had a large family, so dozens from that pool. She outlived almost everyone she knew, so there are a few more dozen. I worked at an ALS clinic, so eventually - every patient. Throw in a scattering of people more directly connected to me and it might be as high as 70. And yes, I keep count. In a large, Baptist, Texas family, this is not tragic, it’s braggin’ rights. . . .


The Red Rooftop

KC Chan Wing Haw

© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw

Photo of the red rooftop.

At night, darkness falls, natural orange patch of cirrus scatters across the wide abyss sky above the triangular shaped red rooftop and me. Almost every detail in and out of the buildings expresses its architectural history and cultural elements combine its effort to show me what heaven and hell mean. . . .


Royal Gorge: The First Annual Russell Towle Memorial Backpacking Trip into His Favorite Wilderness - the North Fork American River Paradise 

Tom McGuire

© Copyright 2020 by Tom McGuire

Photo of Russell Towle at Wabena Point.
                     Russell Towle at Wabena Point

This is an account of a backpacking journey to the bottom of the Sierra Nevada's Royal Gorge - a cleft in the earth two-thirds as deep as the Grand Canyon. The trip was an opportunity to honor Russell Towle, who was tragically killed in a freak accident the year prior. Russell was famous in the area for his extensive knowledge of Sierra Nevada wilderness, geology, botany and history. . . .


Bird Whisperer: Reflections on the Magnificent Otherness of Avian Beings

Tom McGuire

© Copyright 2020 by Tom McGuire

Photo of Lazuli Bunting.

This story grew out of a day camping on the river several years ago with friends, who noticed my bird-obsessed behavior over the course of several days, but desired a deeper explanation and a more nuanced context for my extreme love and passion for Mother Earth's most fascinating creations. . . .


On The Fence

Karen H. Curran


© Copyright 2020 by Karen H. Curran

Photo of a squirrel.

I got bit by a squirrel. That’s right. A squirrel.

How did I get close enough for that? I don’t typically feed wildlife, but this little animal had been hanging out on our back fence for months. It would sleep sometimes, stretched flat-out on its tummy, and looked so cute. I named it Little Squirrel even though there were often two of them on the fence. They looked exactly alike, interchangeable for me, so I called them both Little Squirrel. . . .


Special Sarah

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of little girl running.
                      Photo by Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash

Thirty-two years ago, we were expecting our second grandchild. There isn’t much in this world that is so spellbinding to grand parents than the birth of a grand child. She was the first child our older daughter bore. She is Sarah. . . .





Steven Hunley


© Copyright 2020 by Steven Hunley


Photo of New York at night.                  

. . .Off we go and I’m all eyes out one window, while Barb is all eyes out the other. This is the first time we’ve been out at night, and it’s quite a display. What can you say about Manhattan? There are streets and buildings and people and more people and they’re all in a rush. Even at midnight somebody is out and about being busy. . . .


The Beach and the Bedpan

Dana Carpenter

© Copyright 2020 by Dana Carpenter

Photo of a woman in wheelchair at the beach.

Being in a wheelchair my whole life has led me into some peculiar situations! Some of the more outrageous ones I like to write out and share with friends. Enjoy! . . .


Take Me With You

KC Chan Wing Haw

© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw

Photo of Wilber and Charlotte from movie.
Kipliard Singh put his hands into his front vest pocket, reached in and took out a notebook. “Yes, Mr Gubert, I have been expecting you this morning.” Turning around and holding one of his hands out.
Gulbert’s wide open eyes did mean some surprise but after all the acclaimed Singh should often see this a routine more often than anything else at anytime of the day. He welcomed both his sudden appearance and shook it. . . .


The Ridges of the Mountains

Naiya Cartwright

© Copyright 2020 by Naiya Cartwright

Photo of Naiya and baby.

Welcome to one of my first pieces of writing. It has been an amazing time writing this story, which has brought back many memories that I wish to remember. My journey in writing started many years ago when I was a child where I developed this story being told here. This story gives an insight into what happened in my journey to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. . . .


Don't Say England and Camp in the Same Sentence

Linda A. Dougherty

© Copyright 2020 by Linda A. Dougherty

Photo of the R-4.

It was the best of vacations it was the worst of vacations- that summer of 1992 when we sardine-packed up our five and seven year old with a conglomerate of stuff into our tiny Renault-4. Optimistically, we put our cock-eyed trust in nine year old tin can on wheels to convey us safely almost two thousand miles up to England and then another two thousand miles back to our home in Marrakech. . . .


Learning About Legacy at the Tower of London

Ashley Weaver

© Copyright 2020 by Ashley Weaver

Photo of Ashley in London.

I was beyond ecstatic when I was finally able to visit the literal and figurative haunts of the country I had read and written about ever since I read “Diary of …” in the fourth grade. Prior to college and the foreboding reality of “becoming an adult”, I followed up on my flight-attendant aunt’s promise to take me anywhere in the world that I wanted to go after graduating from high school. These were the ten days that would shape my future as a historian, author, and eventual world-traveler. . . .


A Fond Camp Memory

Rachel Friedman

© Copyright 2020 by Rachel Friedman

Photo of Zaca Lake.

Here is an uplifting fact for all fellow campers out there: Just because your method of transportation breaks down doesn’t mean that your trip is ruined. I can attest to this personally based on a trip that I went on over ten years ago. When our bus broke down in the middle of a stream on the way to Zaca Lake. . . .


Of Half a Front Tooth and Sunrise on the Beach

Stacey Waithera

© Copyright 2020 by Stacey Waithera

Stacey with friends on the beach.

My friends and I had saved up for a trip to the coast which we were to take after our End of Year exams. Medical School is tough, and we needed to unwind after a long year. We were pretty beat after our final paper but also elated that we had a trip to make. . . .


Adventure in Mexico

Jenny Lee McGinn

© Copyright 2020 by Jenny Lee McGinn

Photo of welcome to Mexico sign.

Ever been to Mexico?

It was an unplanned, completely out of the blue side excursion a few years ago, and I am happy to say that we lived to tell the tale…otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. In fact, it is quite possible if events ended differently, the incident most likely would not have made any front page news, and certainly not in Mexico. . . .


Winning While Losing: Gambling in Thailand

Maggie Dickmann

© Copyright 2020 by Maggie Dickmann

Photo from Koh Tao, Thailand.

One of the best things about traveling is the opportunity to get to know cultures different from your own. However, as much as I enjoy experiencing a new culture, sometimes the stark differences from what I’m used to can become a little overwhelming. It was a religious difference that acted as a catalyst for my spontaneous jaunt into Thailand. . . .


Bad Experiences

Maggie Dickmann

© Copyright 2020 by Maggie Dickmann

Maggie in front of a marker.

Sunburnt, with my hair in salty sea braids, and my damp bathing suit soaking through my clothes, I stood outside the Malaga bus station last week and wondered, How did I let this happen? After all the traveling I’ve done in my life, how did I manage to get stranded less than 100 kilometers from my house?. . .


Sharing the Sinai

Karen Kish

© Copyright 2020 by Karen Kish

Karen and others.

This piece tells the story of our trip to Mt. Sinai during our three years teaching high school at the American International School in Egypt in Cairo. Because we were paying for our son’s college education at the time, and because our salaries in Cairo were very modest, our travel was limited to Egypt and Israel. Our Vermont friends were visiting us for two weeks at the time; it was their first trip outside of North America. Chaotic Cairo is quite the unusual introduction to foreign travel! . . .



Jeromy Wensley

© Copyright 2020 by Jeromy Wensley

Photo of a moos on the road.

My cell phone began ringing: “BBBRING---BBBRING---BBBRING.”

I snagged my cell-phone from the nearby kitchen table and said, "Hello."

A loud, electrified, slightly intoxicated Kyle responded, "Jeromy, I'm having a party at my place tonight; you should take a road trip home? It is going to be fun; besides that, it is only a few hours of driving.” . . .


A Visit To My Village

Ehiaga Benjamin Imhans

© Copyright 2020 by Ehiaga Benjamin Imhans

Photo of a Nigerian village.

This a story of one of my visits to the village, sometime in the year 1997. It was fun to get to meet loved ones who lived most, if not all their lives, in the village. . . .


The Skyscraper's Wonder

Kiyasu Oka

© Copyright 2020 by Kiyasu Oka

<span>Photo by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Rapeepat Rungruangsamrankun</a> on <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>1.
Photo by Rapeepat Rungruangsamrankun on Unsplash

In the heart of Asia lies a multi-island country called Taiwan. Even though the main island of the country is so small, it features some of the world’s most fascinating achievements.

One of its stunning world achievements is the skyscraper known as TAIPEI 101. . . .


Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, Baguio, Phillipines

Jhermayne Ubalde

© Copyright 2020 by Jhermayne Ubalde

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The words glowed in the night air, tiny sparks dancing behind my three year-old eyelids. It was light and dark all at once. It was shivering and it was heat. The scent of burning wax; my mother’s worry lines joining hands; a small wooden cross and a small wooden man with arms spread out in welcome. . . .

Ta Da: Look At Us!


Ellie S. Thomas   

© Copyright 2020 by  Ellie S. Thomas


Photo by Georgiana Simon on Unsplash
                                    Photo by Georgiana Simon on Unsplash

We had not been on vacation in years. Everyone else went on vacations, why couldnt we? Well, to begin with, the costs of transporting one's family were fairly prohibitive, AND then there would be problems designed to not suit everybody such as: where to go, for how long, someone to visit there, etc., etc., still , we decided to have a go at it. If we camped outside in the fresh air, AND if we ate in the same fresh air, everything should be fine, even in today's climate. One problem remained: we had no camping gear! . . .


Great Fun on the Truckee River

Tom Williams

© Copyright 2020 by Tom Williams

Raft on the Truckee River.

When we decided to spend a week in the Lake Tahoe area, my wife, Karen, immediately went to Trip Advisor to see what there was to do. And what did she land on? Truckee River Rafts! I reluctantly agreed to at least consider them. I am not a fan of getting wet, but I figured I could stand it, since she wanted to do it so badly. And when we saw the rafts peacefully floating along the river as we drove by on that first day, I said to myself, “Why not? How hard could it be?”. . .


The Little Rain Dancer

A Retold Tale of the Rainbow


Geary Smith

© Copyright 2020 by Geary Smith 


Photo of a little girl dancing in the rain.

Somer just loves to dance in the rain.

Just let one drop of rain fall and Somer is dancing.  She will dance in the puddles of rain.  She will dance in the front yard when it is raining.  She will dance at school when it is raining.  And, she will dance at the park when it is raining.  Somer just loves to dance in the rain. . . .


The Toast Atop Cullihan's Cairn

Charles T. Faulkner

© Copyright 2020 by
Charles T. Faulkner

Farranmacbride, Glencolumbkille, County Donegal

. . .After considerable effort we made it to the top of the hill, sweaty and tired. Then we saw our destination: a large rock cairn named after a Cullihan which Michael said we had to climb to complete our hike. This we did without a problem after what we had climbed just before. The views were awesome and we found an unsuspected artifact. Inside a plastic bag was an unopened half pint of Jameson whiskey and a note. . . .


Binsar - Land of the Green and Cold Virgin

Aditya Pratap Saha

© Copyright 2020 by Aditya Pratap Saha

Photo of a leapord.

Binsar, once the summer capital of the Chand kingdom that ruled the kumaons is located at an altitude of 2412 meters. It is a small town in Uttarakhand known for the snow-laden Himalayan peaks and shady dense forest. . . .


Land of Eagles

Kelly Keegan

© Copyright 2020 Kelly Keegan

Photo of a wake of red kites.

This piece is an exploration of reconciling my adventurous spirit with the dawning realisation of how ignorant I was to the exciting stories within my own country of birth, Wales, UK. . . .


The Beijing Journal

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2020 by Deon Matzen

Photo of young people at summer palace.

Can a woman who is past middle age, and cancer survivor, who hasn’t had a television for thirty years and has never eaten at MacDonalds, uproot her rural lifestyle and move to Beijing to teach Western Culture and idiomatic English in the largest foreign language university in China? . . .


The Puke in Spain Stays Mainly in the Train (Station)
My Travel Insurance: A Too Tiny Dress and a Daughter Who Speaks Spanish

Anna Maria DiDio
© Copyright 2020 by Anna Maria DiDio

Photo of a Spanish beach.

My daughter finally graduated from college in August 2018. I said finally because the day before we were to leave for the ceremony, we were informed that she did not have enough credits to graduate. She would be able to walk with her class, but no diploma would be awarded until a statistics course was completed. . . .


The Brazzaville - Dubai Journey

Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

© Copyright 2020 by 
Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

Photo of Dubai skyline.

As someone said, life has real pleasure only when you know how to love it; savor it and take care of it. . . .


Running Inter-fear-ence on the California Russian River

Betty Disney

© Copyright 2020 by Betty Disney

Photo of Shan.

I do not have aquaphobia. I'm not afraid of water. Not in faucets, tubs, pools, streams, or lakes. You know…normal water. So when our daughter and her boyfriend suggested we go canoeing on the Russian River in Northern California, it sounded delightful. . . .


Chiloé Magic

Helene Munson

© Copyright 2019 by Helene Munson


Photo of Chiloe Island.

Had it been the tangy taste of the orange-colored sea urchins with fresh lime and cilantro, sold from a wooden harbor cart by a man with long, jet black hair, wearing a coarsely knit wool sweater? Or had it been the carefree frolicking of sea lions accompanying my boat passage across the Chacao Channel, that had seduced me? Or maybe it had been the Brujo Chilote himself, the sorcerer of Chiloé who had put a spell on me? . . .


The Night I Slept in a Hotel Lobby

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Maida

Photo of woman sleeping in hotel lobby.

I will never forget the night I had traveled to New York city with my daughter Kaleigh. She was 20 years old at the time. And I was chosen to be a contestant on a new Television show called the best game show ever. I was nervous going to the city because of all of the traffic. I live in upstate New York but its practically farm land where I am from compared to the city. I booked us tickets for a bus and I did not reserve a hotel because I was told that I would only be there three hours tops so that would give me plenty of time. . . .


By Land and Sea

Marie Barski

© Copyright 2020 by Marie Barski

Photo of a Gaudi building in Barcelona.

It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at the port. I had never been to a port before. We were met by an imposing security gate and guards who meant business. Everything seemed formal and intimidating. There were cranes and ships and people in uniforms, and cars and people without uniforms, and big metal containers. Everyone moved quickly with purpose. We parked our car and walked a distance to meet the ship that would be our home for the next three weeks. . . .


Vacation Economical Any Time of Year:  Attend A Career Conference

Teddy K. Makarow

© Copyright 2020 by Teddy K. Makarow

Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash
                         Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash            

I’ve visited New Orleans three times-- once in the 80’s, once in the 90’s and once in the 2000’s, all before Katrina in 2005. Each time New Orleans was a destination for different reasons and each trip was lovely and exciting. I only wrote about one: the conference in 1991, not because it was the best but just because it was the only one I wrote about. So here it is: the way New Orleans was for me in 1991.
. . .


The Rain in Spain Did Not Stay on the Plain

Jeanette A. Fratto

© Copyright 2020 by Jeanette A. Fratto

Rain in Barcelona.

By the time our bus limped into the driveway of our hotel in Torremolinos, Spain it resembled a MASH unit rather than a tour bus of happy travelers. Almost half the occupants, including my husband, were in various stages of recovery from food poisoning, acquired the night before at our last hotel. . . .


East Meets West



Steven Hunley


© Copyright 2020 by Steven Hunley



Photo Bette Davis.
                    Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage."

A few years ago, we went to Maui, hence...


Leopards of the Moon

Tom Mattson

© Copyright 2020 by Tom Mattson

Photo of Ammapurna in Nepal.

It is a first-person account of being in Nepal during the violent 2006 civil war when the King's brother massacred the King and the entire royal family to seize power in a Shakespearean bloodbath. The story is my journey to navigate through the civil war and finally escape into the Himalayas by climbing to Annapurna. . . .


Our Trip To Mentone, Alabama, High Atop Lookout Mountain

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of waterfall.

A few years ago, we took a trip to Mentone with our friends. Although we have lived in Alabama all our lives, there are so many places we have not visited. Mentone was one of those places, and I am glad we went. I booked a chalet at the Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort, and we were all excited about going. We weren’t going to ski or play golf—just peace and relaxation for a few days. . . .


Just Squeaked Through
My Travels During COVID 19

Pamela Breves

© Copyright 2020 by Pamela Breves

Photo of cathedral cove in New Zealand.

I was fortunate enough to travel to the North Island of New Zealand recently! It was in early March so the Coronavirus hadn’t reached the pandemic stage, or at least to our knowledge, so two of my adult children and I took a chance to visit good friends and attend a wedding. . . .


The Right Place at the Wrong Time


James Sclater


© Copyright 2016 by  James Sclater


Photo of a premature baby in NICU.
. . .As I prepared to leave that morning, I spoke again to my wife about how sorry I was that she couldn’t go with me. She had chosen to remain close to home after having suffered two miscarriages in the past two years. She was then not quite six months pregnant and was trying to be very careful; travel for her was not on the table at that point. . . .



Tom Mattson

© Copyright 2020 by Tom Mattson

Photo of set net fishermen.

It was night. I was taking a ferry up the Inside Passage from Washington State to Alaska. I lay shivering on the deck of the ship, staring out at the black water and stars. I’d skimped on paying for an overpriced room aboard the ship, electing instead for the cheapest option available, which was sleeping outside on the concrete deck under the night sky. . . .


You Are Sitting On It

Francesca Battista

© Copyright 2020 by Francisca Battista

Photo of the river at Melborne.

This is a moment I shared with a lovely old couple of German immigrants during my solo trip across Australia. The memory of their house in the outskirts of Melbourne and their love story brings me a smile even after years. The facts are real, the name of the people have been changed. . . .


Wrong Turn At Rome

Sandra Atkins

© Copyright 2020 by Sandra Atkins

Photo of Mr. Lovcen.

Where are we?” I asked, surprisingly calm considering the news I had just received from my son, Kyle. Before he could respond, another question popped into my head. How does one land in the wrong country? We had flown out of Rome in route to the country of Montenegro. But we had just discovered that we had missed the mark. . . .


A Walk in the Park

Rosalie Robison

© Copyright 2020 by Rosalie Robison

Photo of a tree by Rosalie Robinson.
                Photo © by Rosalie Robison

As I walked through the snowy park down the winding path past black trees against a white background, I heard a door slam to my left. Glancing that way I saw a man medium height with a short black jacket and reddish brown mid length hair. I looked again. A strong resemblance set my mind working even though I had taken a break from writing to go for a walk. . . .


Rasputin Last Seen In Paris

Hank Nadler

© Copyright 2020 by Hank Nadler

Photo of Rasputin.

          While travel can be broadening, travelling alone can leave one feeling quite isolated. It was my first trip to Europe, and driving around the continent, the sights and cultural ambience lived up to expectations. However, except for the occasional hitchhikers, human contact was negligible. Having hitched a bit myself, I was open to young Americans thumbing rides. . . .


Under Siege
A Memoir of Conflict

Lance Mason

© Copyright 2020 by Lance Mason

Gunman and children.

This work recounts a visit I made to the Irish Republic and to Ulster in 1970 as the Troubles, ignited anew in 1969, were building toward Bloody Sunday and the years of turmoil to follow. I had met two young Irish lads in a London pub a few months before, and went to Ireland to fulfill a promise I had made to them, and one to my mother to visit the home of her long-dead parents. The memories persist. . . .


Dr. Perez

Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

© Copyright 2020 by 
Schadrac Junior Ondongo Bongo

Photo of the author.

Javier Ernesto Perez Javier was a child passionate about medicine. Because he thought it was a noble profession, the most beautiful profession in the world he said. There is no more beautiful job than saving lives, and favoring the arrival of a human being on earth. . . .


Walking the Camino

Jack Karolewski

© Copyright 2020 by Jack Karolewski

Photo of Jack.                                 

The Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a walking pilgrimage route that has been traveled by millions of people over the last 900 years. It begins in France and ends in northwest Spain at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St. James the Apostle --- the patron saint of Spain --- are entombed. . . .


Florida Redemption

Jack Karolewski

© Copyright 2020 by Jack Karolewski

Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash
                                  Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

It was a cold, snowy, miserable March in 1972. I was attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. This college town is located about 65 miles west of Chicago, out among vast flat farmlands. Its historic claim to fame is the patented invention of barbed wire by a local, Joseph Glidden, in 1874. DeKalb is also known for its hybrid corn, whose universally-recognized logo is a golden ear of corn with two flying wings. All I wanted to do that gray and windy day was to fly down to sunny, warm Florida over our two-week Spring Break – specifically to see for myself the supposed non-stop college kid party scene in Ft. Lauderdale. . . .


The Train to Harare

Lance Mason

© Copyright 2020 by Lance Mason

Lance and rhino.

This work is a reflection on several trips I have made to Africa, but especially my first in 1988, as I was immigrating to New Zealand, and my second in 1998, on a short-notice visit when my long-time friend and college roommate was charges d'affaires (acting ambassador) following the Al Queda bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi. I have tried to discuss the questions and challenges of post-colonial independence across Africa and across a spectrum of viewpoints, always aware that I am visitor with all the limits that implies. . . .



Rani Jayakumar

© Copyright 2020 by Rani Jayakumar

Village street in India.
Every few years, my family travels to India, particularly Chennai, where my parents grew up. It brings us a chance to reconnect with our heritage and help the children understand their own history and culture. On this particular trip, we spent just long enough to make note of the differences and similarities in ordinary life. . . .


Tales from a South American Stormdrain

Mike Plummer and Tim Foster

© Copyright 2020 by Mike Plummer and Tim foster


Photo by Ryk Porras on Unsplash
                                   Photo by Ryk Porras on Unsplash

A nauseating wave of emotional turmoil swept through me as I hesitantly queued to check in my oversized Karrimor rucksack at Heathrow airport. Here I was, a former junior sales assistant at John Lewis, with career prospects and opportunities that most young people in the early eighties could have only dreamt of, about to embark on an adventure of epic proportions. My plan was to travel around the world, starting off in South America. I felt that if I could survive South America, I could survive anywhere! . . .


Living in Bondage

Eberechukwu Obua

© Copyright 2020 by Eberechukwu Obua

Photo by niu niu on Unsplash
                               Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

Thunder will fire you.”

It’s a popular phrase here. Scientifically incorrect yet carrying the message of an imminent attack from the skies, perfectly.

Is it an insult? A curse upon the heads of my enemies? It’s a powerful polysemy. . . .


Scotland 2017

Gladys Swedak

© Copyright 2020 by Gladys Swedak


Photo of Scottish piper.

I’d been looking forward to this holiday for three years. We were finally on our way to Scotland. The flight I had booked had an eighteen hour layover in Toronto from 12:47 AM to 6pm the next night. We didn’t want to stay at the airport all that time so I went on line as I had for the other bookings I had made in Scotland. I chose an airbandb bed and breakfast and paid with my credit card. . . .


Get Packing

Pk Robbins Walzer

© Copyright 2020 by PK Robbins Walzer


Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
                                      Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

When it comes to tackling packing, I have a long way to go. I don’t mean that my destination is distant. I mean that my skill set is lacking in this department. . . .


Mezcal and Murallas

Ruscena Wiederholt

© Copyright 2020 Ruscena Wiederholt 


Photo of cut mezcal.

Our guide Dari poured a thin stream of liquid into a flimsy gourd cup and handed it to me. We were in a small cement shack, the maestro leaning casually against one of the barrels lining the wall. We were just another group of gringas, giggly ones at that. Like so many he’d seen before, vacationers, Spanish words sliding off our tongues in an awkward, anglophone way. Dari, in careful Spanish, had explained mezcal production all morning. . . .


Near Death in the Gila National Forest

Don Lubov

© Copyright 2020 by Don Lubov


Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash.
                                 Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

So, here I am, waiting by the roadside for my first hitch. The weather is beautiful, and I’m feeling good. Good here means a mixture of fear and excitement. I’ve got 35 pounds of food and gear, and I’m ready to go. Hold on to your hat, that semi is slowing down. . . .


Where Are You Going, Poet?

Daniel de Culla

© Copyright 2020 by Daniel de Culla

Photo of Daniel.
           Photo: Isabel Gomez de Diego

With this bike that’s going nowhere, I’m going to take a walk through the streets of Ampuriabrava, Girona, where I’m spending a few days and, if its tires aren’t punctured, I’ll travel the world any other day. A World that normally has a lot to see and a lot to suffer; but little to gain. A World in the power of some greats, men and women, guarded by thugs, who consider us other lazy, homeless people. . . .


The Masked Bandit of Tygart Lake

Jenny Lee McGinn

© Copyright 2020 by Jenny Lee McGinn

Photo of raccoon on trash can.

A few years ago, we spent a fabulous weekend in rural West Virginia with longtime friends from Ohio. The four of us rented a beautiful cabin together at Tygart Lake State Park near the peak of autumn with full myriad colors beginning to flourish. The structure was small with a rustic feel, yet tastefully decorated with pictures of “lake life” wall hangings and comfortable living room furniture. . . .


Finding Answers in Traveling

Lauren Barrett

© Copyright 2020 by Lauren Barrett

Photo of Lauren.

Pulling up to our Airbnb, I affixed my sea bands to my wrists and did my best to ward off any further nausea. We were here, San Francisco, at the start of our California road trip with the theme being to capture the major league stadiums in our quest to see them all. And instead of jumping for joy at finally arriving at the destination of a much planned and carefully crafted trip, I was cursing the high heavens for being in the throes of morning sickness and food aversion thanks to a much unplanned and not carefully crafted pregnancy. . . .


Lady Thrill Seekers Wanted - Dare to 
Drive an 18-Wheeler

Daria J. Walsh

© Copyright 2020 Daria J. Walsh 


After my divorce in 2013, I thought long and hard about a "backup" plan in case I was ever laid off from my day job as a prospect researcher in the fundraising arena.  I wanted a challenge, and had also grown up next to a neighbor who owned his own flatbed truck and was an independent operator.  He was the spark and inspiration for my own interest in trucking, along with growing up with three brothers.  I loved learning to drive a truck. . . .


A 'Dam Good Time'

Aashana Daru

© Copyright 2020 Aashana Daru 

Photo of bandaged leg.

This is a very real incident that happened to my family and I; 'A 'Dam Good Time' is a short story about a summer vacation to Amsterdam, during which the strangest medical emergency occurs and everything that could go wrong, does. . . .


Divergent Generation X

Patricia Sukore

© Copyright 2020 by Patricia Sukore

The writer's children.

In the olden days, in Nigeria, when children were only supposed to be seen and not heard; their rights were withheld to the extent that their health suffered in effect. This write-up is meant to change the Nigerian narrative as regards "literally" upholding the rights of children. . . .


The Harz Mountains -
Witch Country in Germany


Eva Bell    

© Copyright 2020 by Eva Bell 


Photo of statue of Satan.

A German historian once said that witchcraft is as German as the Hitler phenomenon. Germany was the centre of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. Not many in the 21st Century would claim to believe in witchcraft. But The Harz Mountains still remain a popular tourist destination. . . .


The Long Trip

James L. Cowles

© Copyright 2020 by James L. Cowles

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.
                         Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.

When he said I would need no training, that I, and for that matter, every human being is already trained, I became suspicious. I mean, I thought I would have to spend months in training, maybe over a year. That would certainly seem appropriate. Surely there would be lots of things to learn and then there was conditioning. I would have to be in perfect physical condition, wouldn't I? But, he said no; he said absolutely not! . . .


The Room That Leads Out There

Eunice Oladeji

© Copyright 2020 by Eunice Oladeji

Photo of Kenyan school girls.

Born into a Christian, missionary home, Eunice was barely five years old when she was strapped on a plane along with her sister and parents on their way to Kenya. So, yes, she has traveled outside of her hlme country, Nigeria but that was just for two years and that was a long time ago. However, the memories linger and she would like to share them. . . .


The Streets

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a homeless person.

Snow had begun gathering on the mountain tops back in the first part of September, now in late October my job was finished for the season. During the summer I had spent most of my time at high elevations. Avenues for electrical transmission towers were being prepared and I worked in the forefront helping to clear the forest and anything else that could make it easier for the heavy equipment to install the towers. . . .


Sarah's Story


Valerie Byron


© Copyright 2020 by Valerie Byron    

Photo of Sarah.

This non-fiction account by my late mother, Sarah Byron,  was dictated to me.  It tells the story of her life and sexual awakening in the early 1900’s and her meeting, marriage and divorce with my father. . . .


Jacey Cameron in the Lost State of Franklin
(Excerpt from the book,)

Judith Nakken

© Copyright 2020 by Judith Nakken

Photo of book cover.

 Jacey Cameron is a twelve-year-old girl with a magic Celtic necklace that takes her back in time, to historical times or places little known in her 21st century. In this first book of a trilogy, she whisks timelessly to the almost-14th state of Franklin as Jane, a bond servant to Franklin’s governor. . . .Her adventure and what she learns serves Jacey well when she returns home. . . .



Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of Albie.

All my life, I have had a pet. As a child, my pets were always dogs because my dad was a dog lover and I never had a cat because my parents did not like them. Being an animal lover, and a child, I was not picky and probably would have tried to make a pet out of a skunk if given a chance. . . .


1967 and the Hairpull Challenge

Betsy Shepardson

© Copyright 2020 by Betsy Shepardson

Two girls holding hands.

So, there’s this pressure it seems, to have girlfriends.  A woman must have lots of friends.  Or a best one.  Or a group. Or a gaggle.  Or a “meaningful sisterhood”. . . .


The Drayman

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a dray.

My Father was a Drayman. As long as I can remember my Dad was a hardworking man.

According to Webster a dray is a low cart without sides used for carrying heavy loads. My Dad altered the definition by placing long planks embodied with twelve-inch metal steel bolts that were flattened with two bolts attached to the planks. These metal fasteners were inserted into appropriately located holes in the bed of the dray. In the event of a loose heavy load the one-foot sides kept the load from falling off. . . .


The Autumn Plague
(excerpt from the book)

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of The Autumn Plague book cover.

Would you want to be the scientist who tells the President that 88% of the population will be dead in nine days?  John Callan is the man, and he has worse news to follow: even when the Nanjing Flu’s disease vector is identified, there’s not enough time left to stop it.

How Callan leaves his ivory tower and learns to live in the new and frightening real world is the theme of  “The Autumn Plague”. . . .



An excerpt from Ellie's new book, Seen from the Road

Ellie S. Thomas   

© Copyright 2020 by  Ellie S. Thomas



Photo of a girl holding blackberries.

(If you live where it gets sweltering hot in August, as I do in Nashville, Tennessee, and dream of the climate farther north, you'll enjoy this excerpt from Ellie Thomas's journal of a rural year at her home in the Adirondack Mountains of upper New York State. . . .Richard Loller, publisher.)

August 1 and hot again..we spent the day at the lake where it was blissfully cool. The flowers are all in bloom and little birds are lively there. A bit too lively, really because they decorated D's shirt so he had to go change. We left, reluctantly, at 4 p.m.

I found some elecampane in bloom this morning and picked one blossom. At first, I'd thought it was jerusalem artichoke but a study of the book showed my mistake. I picked a few more bluebells and something we always called wireweed but which I suspect is a member of the spirea family. . . .


Once Upon A Mountain

Linda A. Dougherty

© Copyright 2020 by Linda A. Dougherty

I learned many things during our five and a half years of living in Morocco, and perhaps my year and a half of living in a village in the Imlil Valley forty miles south of Marrakech taught me a valuable lesson- don’t take yourself too seriously. . . .


Physics Test

Jerry Crenshaw

© Copyright 2020 by Jerry Crenshaw

Photo of a test page.

Kent said. “Don’t say nothing when I’m concentrating”. I never had that problem myself.

I was Kent’s roommate at UT in Knoxville while mom was tending his quail business back home. Kent would fly home from Knoxville every other weekend to Memphis. He was majoring in Engineering Physics, “Slide rule Pool”. Engineering Physics (rocket science) as we called it today was probably one of the hardest curriculum at Knoxville. . . .


The Christian Lebanese

Ronny Flatau

© Copyright 2020 by Ronny Flatau


At Janna’s house,with her husband, and grandchildren. July 27, 2018
   At Janna’s house,with her husband, and grandchildren. July 27, 2018

Janna was 16 when she got married, that’s what she told us. By the time we met her, she was already 60. It was a hot summer day in northern Israel and me and my friends were hiking. We were carrying heavy bags, and Janna saw us through her fence. She took pity on us, and so She invited us in, to sit with her over coffee. . . .


Duck Hunting, A Dream Relived

Gordon Crenshaw

© Copyright 2020 by Gordon Crenshaw

Photo of a duck hunter.

For many years I have asked myself, what is the magic that makes a man leave his warm home in the wee hours of the morning in freezing conditions to endure almost unbearable conditions to get a chance to bag his limit of ducks? . . .


The Men I Met Along The Way

Carrie-Jade Williams

© Copyright 2020 by Carrie-Jade Williams

Photo of a woman taking eye test.

It began with the eyes. Like so many love stories. Romeo on his balcony hoping for a glimpse of Juliet’s, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere. The list could go on but this isn’t about all the great loves throughout history. Spoiler alert, this isn’t even about me meeting ‘the one’. But this is still a love story or a testament of sorts, to all the men I met along the way. The ones I loved, the ones I didn’t and the ones who had no idea I even existed. . . .


Remembering Randall Jarrell

Teddy K. Makarow

© Copyright 2020 by Teddy K. Makarow

Photo of Randall Jarrell.            

Randall Jarrell I knew only as a student knows a good teacher. But as I look back to 1960, over more than 50 years ago, to those few short months that I sat with others around his conference table in Writing Workshop I, I can still feel myself there and I know now what I knew then—Mr. Jarrell’s Writing Workshop was the most deeply significant class I have ever taken....


Don't Drink The Koolaid

Linda A. Dougherty

© Copyright 2020 by Linda A. Dougherty

Photo of young Linda.

This is both a catharsis for me and an invitation to my daughters to understand my world which was so different than their own childhood. It is a story of hope too, that we do not have to remain stuck in the past but reconciliation is always within reach if we dare to make the first steps. . . .



Denise E. Fore

© Copyright 2020 by Denise E. Fore

Image of DNA.

I was born the sixth and last child of my parents’ marriage. My parents were divorced a few years later and I spent my childhood visiting my father during school breaks and holidays. I can still feel the joy and nervous anticipation of waiting eagerly for his big gold Chrysler to pull up in our driveway at the end of his five-hundred mile drive to come visit his children. I was his baby girl and like little girls do--I loved my daddy. . . .


A Friend, A Woe

Precious Owuamalam

© Copyright 2020 by Precious Owuamalam

Photo of legs.

Sometimes, no matter how nice you try to be to some people, they would never get to appreciate the good you did for them....


My Childhood with Jorge Robeje

Terence Talagon

© Copyright 2020 by Terence Talagon

Photo of the grandparents.

I’ve been wanting so much to go home to Guimaras; partly because I want to take a break from school, but mostly because I want to see my grandfather. . . .


A Gal with a Goal

Sharon Morris

© Copyright 2020 by Sharon Morris

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash
                              Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash.

“Trippin’ On Lactic Acid” was written in bold white letters on her dark gray t-shirt. Her white mesh ASICS shoes with lavender and gray accents slapped against the black track of the treadmill, set at 3.6 miles per hour, and her short brown hair bounced to the rhythm of the jogging. Margaret gradually increased the incline to 7.5% to prepare her for a 5K race up the side of a mountain in West Virginia, where she and her husband Ken would vacation. . . .


Who's That Lady?

Rolanda T. Pyle

© Copyright 2020 by Rolanda T. Pyle

Photo of Rolanda.

Looking out the window, I could see the snow blanketing the highway and the streets. The limousine was crawling on this trip to and from the cemetery - we had been in this car for seven hours. The burial service was about 15 minutes. . . .


Me, Dad and Seven Shoes

Irene Joseph

© Copyright 2020 by Irene Joseph

Photo of a pair of shoes.

It's magical, how an assortment of fond memories can spring from a pair of shoes from the past! When I think about particular shoes, memories of me and my Dad appear. It is ten years this Christmas that I lost my Dad, and so as a celebration of his life with me, here are seven pairs of shoes, whose memories I'd like to share. . . .


Wolfsheim's Watch

Ceci Hughes

© Copyright 2020 by Ceci Hughes

Cover of The Great Gadsby.

By the time I graduated high school, it was a well-known fact among my classmates that I hated Mrs. Cranston. I guess hate is a strong word, so it’s probably better to say that I strongly disliked Mrs. Cranston. . . .


Mummy, Me, Memories

Iris Leona Marie Cross

© Copyright 2020 by Iris Leona Marie Cross

Photo of Mummy and Iris.

Not knowing what had transpired behind the bedroom door I had slammed shut in a rage still haunts me. All I know is my prophetic words that night had come to pass. “Mark my words mummy, from tomorrow you’re on your own. I’m not putting up with this nonsense anymore.” The next morning, my mother was on her own. She was dead; and I was racked with guilt....


Shape Does Not Define Me

Diana Arriaga

© Copyright 2020 by Diana Arriaga

Photo of an alter with candles.

My hands are stained with despair and calloused with regret, a tattered map of who I am. When I look down, I am standing on sin and dreams. I am living, but my shadow is not. It is my grave, but not my death. This is the beginning. . . .


A Dangerous Welcome

Charlene Duline

© Copyright 2020 by Charlene Duline

Photo of Charlene.

As our caravan of three U.S. Embassy cars rolled through the dark, empty streets of Monrovia, I wondered if this would be the last night of my life. Liberia remained under martial law and a curfew had been announced by Head of State Samuel Doe shortly after he and 27 other soldiers disemboweled President Tolbert and took over the country on April 12, 1980. Doe had declared that no one was allowed on the city streets from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and here was our small caravan of cars moving through the capital city of Monrovia at 4:30 a.m. . . .

Bohemian Fruit Dumplings

Suzanne Caithamer

© Copyright 2020 by Suzanne Caithamer

Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash
          Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

I’ve always thought my mother-in-law was kind of a character, but I never realized how much until I started writing about her. I don’t get to see her much nowadays, as she lives so far away, but she has had a profound impact on my life in many ways. . . .


The John

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan

Photo of bathroom door.
                          Photo by Robert Reader 

Cancer treatment is a voracious consumer of a patient's self image. Sources of unconditional love and acceptance are critical as we grieve the body that we once had. 

It’s easier to get a turtle out of its shell than a husband out of the bathroom. . . .


She Was Only Eighteen, Only Eighteen

Iris Leona Marie Cross

© Copyright 2020 by Iris Leona Marie Cross

Photo of a shirt label.

For a brief period in my life, raging hormones had clouded my moral judgment causing professional boundaries to become blurred. As I recall this episode, I am left to wonder how far the pendulum of intoxicating desire would have swung, were it not for the sobering effect and timely intervention of that bombshell letter? . . .


The Crying Couch

Kim Smyth

© Copyright 2020 by Kim Smyth

Photo of a couch.

My husband has always been what you’d think of as a tough guy, strong, manly, well he’s always been my rock. I’ve come to depend on his quiet strength to lift me up in times of need and to keep me grounded when my body feels like it’s flying apart. Then came the day we found out he had the “C” word and that was the day his strength was truly tested. . . .


Cookie - 1954

Thomas Turman

© Copyright 2020 by Thomas Turman

Photo by André Freitas on Unsplash
                          Photo by André Freitas on Unsplash

I was excited to get the card from the Denver Parks Department that told me to report for work at 5:15 A.M., so I biked down here early. The lone streetlight 25 feet down the road barely lights the shadowy, brooding, one story brick building and dense bushes across the street from where as I wait in the street. I am the first one here, but I’m not really alone because I’m on the south edge of the city zoo. The sounds of the nocturnal animals and birds are scary yet comforting at the same time. I can feel and smell them out there in the cool darkness of the June morning. . . .


How I Wake Up At The Backseat,
Asking God When?

Samuel Nnadi

© Copyright 2020 by Samuel Nnadi

Photo of the author.

Winter comes grey & dusty, like another vagabond experiencing it's hangover on the road's belly. Every harmattan finds December eating weird dishes in my head & other Christian homes left in my body. Whatever goes into them becomes a fellowship-- a wild synagogue of my dreams hailing a Mary that isn't so full of grace. . . .

Chipped Beef on Toast

Hannah Huber

© Copyright 2020 by Hannah Huber

Photo of Hotel Gettysburg.

Some of the most important people in my life I’ve met at the most unexpected places. These people, although some of them have since passed away, have taught me that choosing a less conventional way of living leads to freedom. . . .


Gone Past She Remains

KC Chan Wing Haw

© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw

Photo of Wilber and Charlotte from movie.

This story is about someone whom I miss dearly and still she remains inside me. She inspired me to be a writer.

She. Molly Lee was her name. She had always been a source to ignite independent education, a passionate companion to children and of her own, someone who laughed and joked without tomorrow hinting another strength to come. A lady of smiles that no longer existed in some of us but remained somewhere near her hut of declining memories. . . .


Still Here

Karen H. Curran


© Copyright 2020 by Karen H. Curran

Photo of piano.

I have a regular gig one Sunday a month, playing piano for a worship service at a local assisted living facility. Most residents come in wheelchairs, use walkers, or ride on electric scooters. Many of them fall asleep during the service. I play several hymn arrangements and lead in singing songs; then an elder or pastor from my church reads and teaches from God’s Word. I try to speak with each resident afterwards, but conversation can be difficult since some of them struggle with hearing or cognitive issues. . . .

Snowballs With Syrup

Terry Mulcahy

© Copyright 2020 by Terry Mulcahy

Unknown object.
Old fashioned ice shaver such as Terry and his brother used.

Although I do not remember the exact dates, my parents moved one last time as a family in 1960, when I was about to turn ten. The snowball stand existed for two or three summers between 1961 and 1966. Our parents taught us how to make the sugar syrup. They bought our first set of flavor concentrates to help us get started. We added more as our business took off....


Twenty-five Mother's Days Without Her

Cathy B. Bridges

© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges

Photo of Cathy's mom.

Today is May 27, 2020, and mama has been gone 25 years and 15 days. She passed from this life to a better one on May 12, 1995. That was the Friday before Mother’s Day. I will never forget it. I was working for an optometrist on the other end of town when my dad called with the bad news. Mama had died. . . .


Ghost Meeting

Laura Labno


© Copyright 2020 by Laura Labno

Photo of goldfish in a pond.

She opened the door and there she was. Somewhere in between a blurred eyes-made picture from 8 years earlier and this very moment, registered by the very same eyes. There she was. . . .


Trudy Hunzikar - Mother Courage

Eva Bell    

© Copyright 2020 by Eva Bell 


Photo of mission hospital school of nursing.

Friendships never die. They run through life like an enriching melody. We were friends for seventeen years, and though Trudy has gone to hide among the stars, the courageous life she led can never be forgotten. . . .


Waylaid - Postcard From New York City

Martha Patterson

© Copyright 2020 by Martha Patterson

Photo by Dan Roizer on Unsplash
Photo by Dan Roizer on Unsplash

It was an emerald-green day in Manhattan – the kind of summer afternoon when every bird in the city has a song. I knew how special such a day was, since normally any birdsong there is drowned out by taxis, trucks, and construction work. . . .


Best Laid Plans

Stephanie Whitson

© Copyright 2020 by Stephanie Whitson

Photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash
                                       Photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash

The idea was simple. Pack up our RV and boondock across California and Nevada, continue through until we arrive in Louisiana. We wanted to save money and figured dry camping was the best way to do it, while still being able to travel. As with any best-laid plans, there will always be hiccups. . . .


Hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail
on Vancouver Island

Lillith Foxx

© Copyright 2020 by Lillith Foxx

Photo of Lillith's tent and campsite.

It was an ambitious endeavor for a first-time backpacker. 47 kilometers of wild coastal trail, in under 48 hours. Between the bugs and the bear scares and the beers, we managed to come out the other side alive. I hope you enjoy this adventure. . . .


A Side of Bacon

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan

                                Photo furnished by the author.

Fear is not the worst part of a disease; indifference is.  Compassion matters in medical care. It matters BIG.  A patient will remember every kind thought, prayer, word and card.  They will also will remember what was not there at all. 

The radiation technician executed her duties with the same bored detachment as an express lane cashier; I was yet another item to scan. A box of Fruit Loops. A head of lettuce. A side of bacon. . . .


A Conventional Riot

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2020 by Doug Sherr

Photo of scene from convention demonstration.

A riot exists for itself. It doesn't grow and sustain because of the original outrage; that cause was extinguished in the first hours of the riot. Sometimes the cause changes, but usually there no longer is a cause at all. Here is my memory of one of America's famous riots. . . .


Kismet Interrupted

Don Shook

© Copyright 2020 by Don Shook

Photo of a Liberace.

“Don, Don they love you.” Mari Lynn Henry, Head of ABC Daytime Casting in New York, barely containing her excitement, exclaimed into the other end of the phone. . . .


Three Don't Dance

Don Shook

© Copyright 2020 by Don Shook

Photo of a sign for Mom's Diner.

Guilt consumed me. “My, God, she’s married!” I thought, the effects of the wine worn off. “You’re married!” I said aloud, jumping to my feet.

Toni looked perplexed, then scowled before saying, “So?”. . .


Moving Again

Hal Howland

© Copyright 2020 by Hal Howland

Picture with Robert Frost.
Harold E. Howland, Hal, Robert Frost, Charles Howland, and Elizabeth Howland.
taken at the Howland home near Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1961.

Two or three moves ago, I decided that the single most depressing thing you can do in life is to relocate from one home to another. This of course is a Virgo’s immediate response to the massive but short-lived disruption that a government brat calls business as usual. The most practical lesson I learned from that life of continual uprooting is this: Always hire professional movers. . . .


The Caller

Maureen Moynihan

© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan

Photo credit Quino Al @quinoal
                                 Photo credit Quino Al  @quinoal
My mother calls. She speaks in 24pt Impact Bold font and punctuates each statement with a fantastic sense of urgency.

Maureen!!! This is ya Mutha!!!!The lady who gave you birth!! Backwards!!”. . .


The Visit

James L. Cowles

© Copyright 2020 by James L. Cowles

Photo of hand knocking on a door.

It was a good day. Dad picked up his new bi-focals and could finally read without getting a headache, mom finished sewing my sister Gloria's dress, which she had been working on for at least two weeks and I picked up my brand new cornet and would be taking my first lesson next week. Meanwhile, I had been instructed to practice "buzzing" my lips and trying to get a good tone from my new horn. . . .


Reflections of a Daddyless Daughter

Barbara Brockway

© Copyright 2020 by Barbara Brockway

Photo of Barbara and her family.

My dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease the year I was born. I grew up with the specter of his death over me always, it was something I never not knew, from the way adults cast pitying looks at me, to the lack of money from the mound of medical bills, to his bouts of suffering and the casual talk of his myriad of treatments around our dinner table. . . .


In Case of Emergency, Grab Your Seat

Marnie Devereux

© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux

Photo of a Beech 1900.

This morning we are up before daybreak to catch an early morning flight to Los Angeles. We are attending a wedding in Pasadena and I will be introduced to, and inspected by, Dr Nick’s surrogate family in the US. ‘Don’t worry, they know all about you’ he says cheerfully, as if that will help.

Prescott’s Municipal Airport is tiny. The staff multi-task, especially today as their electronic system has gone down, so everything has to be checked manually. Our little plane is basic, no frills. We are advised in the departure lounge that there is no toilet on board ‘So now would be a good time to go.’ You don’t get that kind of personal care advice at Heathrow. . . .


The American Embassy

Marnie Devereux

© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux

Photo of the American Embassy in London.

So I'm sitting in the waiting room at Taunton railway station, about to embark on the biggest journey of my life. This time tomorrow, I shall know whether or not my visa application has been approved. I haven't slept properly in two weeks, ever since the letter arrived inviting me to the interview at the US Embassy in London. . . .


Upside Down Apple Pie

Marnie Devereux

© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux

Photo of a gold fish.

Of course, it all started long before that. It was just that the 'upside down apple pie' incident was the first time anyone really noticed, apart from me. . . .


Stuffed Cabbage and Knishes

Eileen W. Fisher

© Copyright 2019 by Eileen W. Fisher

Photo of a plate of Knishes.

When I think about my mother, what comes to mind is her reputation as being a great cook. There were no cookbooks in my house, no recipe files; everything was made from scratch. In a generation when most women did not work, many found self-expression in cooking for their families and friends as did my mother. It was her way of expressing love for her family, and friends. It was her way to shine, and to share. . . .


The Journey of 27 Roosters

Lori Hilton Brizius

© Copyright 2020 by Lori Hilton Brizius

Photo by Arib Neko on Unsplash
                     Photo by Arib Neko on Unsplash

Every stray or lost animal has a journey. Every little soul has a story. Working with animals in shelters is never easy, and for almost 30 years I’ve cared for all kinds including domestic, wildlife, farm animals and reptiles. I never imagined that one day a scraggly bunch of roosters would melt my heart. . . .


It Wasn't Funny At The Time

Patricia M. Snell

© Copyright 2020 by Patricia M. Snell

Photo of an injured toe.

My husband never tires of teasing me about the time I ran over him with the lawn mower. He admits he should have given me a quick lesson in how to steer and how to stop. . . .


A Memory of Fox Hill and Grandview

Robert Flournoy

© Copyright 2019 by Robert Flournoy   
Photo of Chesapeake wetlands.

I have often wondered if luck is something that is doled out individually in our lives, some getting more than others, some getting none at all. Looking back, it seems that I was extraordinarily lucky as a boy and later as a young man, surviving experiences that had scant chance of turning out on my side. It was like I was front loaded with a life time of luck, not to last forever, but there in the beginning, when I most needed it. . . .


What If. . .

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo of a man looking in a rear view mirror.

Now I have more time to spend without going to work. I found myself searching back in memory counting the number of times that I could have been injured and possibly die due to the circumstances. Some of the situations were accidental, some were intentional and others just complete stupidity. I must say that I knew the hazards when I employed the actions. . . .


Women and Children First: Paying
for the Crimes of Nazi Germany

Linda Jonasson

© Copyright 2020 by Linda Jonasson

Photo of civilians leaving bombed city.

This essay is based on the life of Elfriede Neumann, my husband's grandmother. 

Winston Churchill once said: "History is written by the victors." My early knowledge of European History came from a Canadian high school textbook. Flipping through its pages, I saw vivid images of Germany’s role in the Second World War: Wehrmacht soldiers goose-stepping down the Champs-Elysees of Paris; Hitler delivering rants to a crowd of helmet-topped heads, their right arms raised at a 45 degree angle; the Luftwaffe bombing London’s glorious St. Paul Cathedral during the Blitz. . . .


The Magic and Majesty of the Middle Ages:
Notre-Dame de Paris

Bill Ranauro

© Copyright 2020 by Bill Ranauro


Photo of Notre-Dame.

In April 1999, I made my first trip to Europe. I was helping three other teachers chaperone forty students on a trip that would take us to Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome over the next two weeks. I was hooked on European travel after visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral on my first day in Paris. . . .


The Secret of My Memories

KC Chan Haw

© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Haw

Photo by Wilber and Charlotte from movie.

This story is about how the world revolves around problems I view them as vital as our current situation may beg us to rethink how our actions can be a contribution to our present act. I am inspired from my recent reading by David Halberstam ‘The Next Century’. . . .


Union Rap

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Union sign.
(Labor sit-in at South Africa Airlines, 1985. I’m on right, with SF Labor Council Assistant Secretary Jeff Greendorfer on left.)

Unions are getting a bad rap these days, often with justification. Corruption and embezzlement in the once-progressive United Auto Workers, individuals in other unions helping themselves to members’ dues for their own personal use, officials bought off by employers – these garner headlines while millions of workers with leadership true to trade union principles remain under increasing pressure to roll back the gains made over decades of struggle. Unions, which created the much-vaunted middle class in the United States, are now at their lowest membership levels since the Robber Baron Capitalism of a century ago. . . .


Why Do We Watch Scary Movies?

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Maida

Photo of horrow movie ad.

Why do we try to scare ourselves? As a small child, I am not sure of how old I was was when I watched scary movies. My first memory of scary shows was chiller theatre. I remember a big hand coming out of the ground. My grandma asked me when I was little why do you like to frighten yourself? . . .


Mothers Day Cards

Betsy Shepardson

© Copyright 2020 by Betsy Shepardson

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
                                Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I was maybe three years sober when I finally reached a point where I could consider buying a Mother’s Day card for my mom. Done enough inventory, looked at my part in the resentments. (plural). Scouring the card racks looking for one that said “Thank you for bringing me to the planet”. Or “Thank you, for trying your best.”  But those Mother’s Day cards, so sappy and sticky, rang nothing short of phoney. . . .


My Comfort in Discomfort: The Effects of Embracing Vulnerability

Genevieve Jaser

© Copyright 2020 by Genevieve Jaser

Photo of a rainbow.

As I prepare to enter into my senior year of college, I was struck with a realization: upon my entry into college, I was happy and excited, but I was met with struggling students, worried peers, and unhappy people. When I arrived at my first-ever college class, I noticed 20 students, like zombies propped up in chairs. Is college really as boring as their faces led me to believe? . . .


Six Little Stories

Mary Murphy

© Copyright 2020 by Mary Murphy

Photo of silver spoons.

A Little Story of the Four, Sterling Silver, Coffee Spoons.

When my father was called up during WWII, the family left Alabama for San Diego, California to be near where he would be stationed. At first, we crowded into a motel; my mother, my dad's mother, my older brother Bobby, my younger brother, Jack, then a toddler, and I. I was around five years old when we moved. . . .


Past The Use By Date?

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of 1982 Encylopedia Brittanica.

Just before the whole world’s door was slammed shut in our faces, we were at the recycling shop in Huonville, Tasmania. The shop is run by the local council, and it’s filled with odd glassware, old furniture, used books, pots without lids and lids without pots, and et cetera. We were poking around in search of something we needed, such as an undiscovered Sheraton sideboard.

In a corner of a back room was a plain white shelving unit of no particular distinction. You know the sort of thing: a low platform made of chipboard with one drawer and two or three open-backed shelves above. “$20 with contents” it said.

The contents comprised a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, including the yearbooks from 1965. . . .


Max Performs for the Last Time,
and the Last Time, and Finally the Last Time

Mark O. J. Esping

© Copyright 2020 by Mark O. J. Esping

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
                    Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Max studied to be an opera singer. He actually preformed as the crocodile in the stage presentation of Peter Pan. Health interrupted his singing career. He started a summer theatre called Broadway RFD, which presented musicals during the summer in Lindsborg Kansas. He played Santa Claus at Macys in New York City. . . .


International Baby Gang

Michelle Paul Imagawa

© Copyright 2020 by Michelle Paul Imagawa

Photo of babies.

I’m a Texas girl—brought up around cows, cactus, bluebonnets, and rattlesnakes. As a child, I expected to grow old in Texas. But it turned out there was a sweet, funny, and handsome Japanese young man at the university I attended in San Antonio. Thirty-plus years on, here I am in Japan. We have 3 children, born and raised here on the island of Kyushu. This is the story of my first baby. . . .



Lori Hilton Brizius

© Copyright 2020 by

Photo of moon over water by Lori.

When I think of all the chapters of my life, all the exciting places I've lived or visited I realize that I was never really alone, yet somehow, my  voice was but a whisper to those closest to me. . . .

Three Hundred Miles

Angela Wright

© Copyright 2020 by Angela Wright

Photo by b a f o r e s t ↟ ↟ on Unsplash
                                                 Photo by b a f o r e s t ↟ ↟ on Unsplash

February, 1987

My brother drowned at Lizard Point in Cornwall during a raging gale. He was thirty. One wild February day, a passing stranger found him face down on a small beach. Paramedics carried his body up the steep path. He was laid out on a slab in a police mortuary, three hundred miles from home. His red Vauxhall Cavalier, a tank of a car, was spread in pieces on the rocks; in the water. . . .



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