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A Very Special Favor

Dale Fehringer


© Copyright 2014 by Dale Fehringer 


Photo of William Saroyan's grave.

Thirty-two years ago Bob Damir faced a dilemma when his friend, William Saroyan, died. An unusual request was included in Saroyan’s will, which Bob had been asked to fulfill. Bob wanted to do this favor for his friend, but it would be quite an imposition.

William Saroyan (or “Bill” as Bob knew him) was a popular author in the 1930’s and 1940’s; at the time one of the best-known writers in the world....


Positives and Negatives


Geary Smith

© Copyright 2014 by Geary Smith 


Photo of a girl's legs in cowboy boots.

I don’t like this at all,” said Somer.  “This is crazy.”

Somer tied her snow boots, pulled up her coat sleeve, and adjusted her wool cap that

covered her eyes.

We did not have to shovel snow back home in Texas,” said Somer.  “This is crazy to
shovel snow just to get out of your driveway.”...


So You Want To Lead A Band

 Dick Miller 


© Copyright 2014 by  Dick Miller 

Photo of a band and high school conductor.

I was a Physics and General Science teacher in a large New York City high school: large in enrollment, small in facility. In fact, it was the same school I attended some years before (but that’s another story). The school was overcrowded, so some students (and teachers) started as early as 7:00 AM, while others stayed as late as 4:00 PM. I was on one of the later shifts.

I took advantage of that late schedule by coming in early to rehearse with the school band. I’m a trombone player, and this was a good opportunity to keep in practice. The band had only one euphonium player (the tenor voice of the tuba family), which reads the same music as a trombone, so my contribution was welcome....


We Do Not Choose
Mental Illness and
We Do Not Choose Addiction

Sara Berelsman

© Copyright 2014 by  Sara Berelsman         


Image of a red button with HELP on it.

We do not choose mental illness and we do not choose addiction.

If you think otherwise, then get on your knees right now and thank God, because you have never experienced the true horror that is addiction. You have never suffered through mental illness. You are one of those people who happened to be born with a “normal” brain. Many times I’ve been jealous of you, but I’m not anymore. These are the cards I was dealt. I often think that God just took the stack of cards and flicked them out onto the population, and is then sitting back, watching crazy situation after crazy situation unfold. God has one hell of a sense of humor....


Elmer's Tune  

A Homage To My Father 

Richard Franklin Bishop


© Copyright 2014 by Richard Franklin  Bishop      

Newspaper photo.

It’s now been 96 ½ years since my Father, Elmer Jewell Bishop, “joined-up” with the U. S. Army for service in the latter years of WW I. Although, in his case, it was somewhat different since he volunteered by enlisting in Company “B” of the 3rd Illinois National Guard, a State organization....


We Won!

 Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2014 by  Dick Miller 

Offical signaling touchdown.

Texans certainly take their football very seriously. I know, because I married one....


Barney's Nose for Trouble

James Sclater

© Copyright 2012 by  James Sclater


Photo of a great dane.

The Cosgrove sisters lived next to us in a big sprawling one-story house with a great hall running down the middle of it the urban version of a dogtrot house. Each lady had her own bedroom, but there was only one bathroom for the entire group. Jeannie, a former schoolteacher, was the oldest, followed by Vidalia, Gussie, Roberta, and Penny. None had ever married; they seemed quite content to dote on the children of relatives living in Modelle....


The Accidental Tuba Player

 Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2014 by  Dick Miller 

Photo of a brass tuba.

I’ve never had a tuba lesson in my life, but I’ve enjoyed playing the instrument for more than 40 years. It all began by accident.

I was playing bass trombone in the South Shore Community Band on Staten Island, New York. We were rehearsing in preparation for one of our two annual fund-raiser concerts when our only tuba player announced that he was retiring and moving to Florida. There didn’t seem to be a ready replacement, so the band director, Charlie Stieg, asked if anyone in the band knew anyone who could take on the role with the concert approaching. One of the scheduled numbers was “Victory at Sea,” which had a prominent tuba part....


Amulet of Nekhbet

Jordan Elizabeth Mierik

© Copyright 2014 by Jordan Elizabeth Mierik


View of a street scene.

In 1920, Emma made the decision to accompany her archeologist husband on an expedition to Ancient Egypt.  Unfortunately for her, it was far worse than she’d been warned.  Bored and irritable, Emma hung around her neck an amulet dedicated to Nehkbet, the Egyptian vulture goddess.  It certainly was a pretty bauble, but it also sucked her away into a void, from which her descendents have been trying to retrieve her....


Just Call Me Mr. Kotter

 Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2014 by  Dick Miller 

Photo of some of the caracters from the TV show.

You may recall the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, starring comedian Gabe Kaplan. It aired in the late 1970s and is notable for bringing a young John Travolta to national attention. The premise is that Kaplan, playing Mr. Kotter, returns to teach at the high school he himself attended. He winds up with a class of misfits, nicknamed “sweat hogs” in the show, of whom little is expected except, perhaps, from Mr. Kotter.

So, in fact, did I....


The Subway

L. Rehfuss

© Copyright 2014 by  L. Rehfuss   


Photo of a subway token.

It's 5:55pm, and he's where he has stood every night since I started taking the subway one year ago. His job is to watch tokens enter a small machine in front of him or glance at monthly subway passes being flashed before his eyes. The purpose for this seemingly tedious assignment is to move people through the turnstiles quickly....



The Dog Who Would Rather Work Than Play

 Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2014 by  Dick Miller 


Photo of Flo.

After we had to have our beloved dog Buddy put down, and after our period of grieving passed, my wife Mega and I realized that we missed the companionship that only a dog can offer and started our search....


A Salute From The Black Aces

William Wayne Weems

© 2014 by William Wayne Weems


Photo of a school safety patrol badge.

Here is a Tennessee tale from the mid-1950's. At the time of this account there was a road intersection on the South side of Nashville called "Five Points". It was and is a complex interchange for ordinary city streets, and the source of a depressing number of traffic accidents.



Sara Berelsman

© Copyright 2014 by  Sara Berelsman           



Photo of balloons rising above trees.

“Faith” is defined by the dictionary as, “Firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” I’ve always struggled with my faith. It’s unfailingly been difficult for me to do, or believe in, anything without a logical reason or evidence behind it. I think I might have believed in God when I was younger. That belief disappeared when I went to college. I regained that belief when I gave birth to my first child. My convictions had evolved, however. Still, I couldn’t gaze upon the tiny face of my perfect baby, count all her little fingers and toes, or hold her close to me and feel her heart beating without thinking this was a miracle. This had to be a miracle. Did I have any logical evidence behind it? No. I still don’t. Yet I believed. I still believe…that she is a miracle. Nothing that flawless could come together and form the miniature person who came out of me without some kind of divine intervention. That is just my belief....

Nine Months

Janelle Knippen

© Copyright 2014 by Janelle Knippen


Photo of a calendar page for January 2008.

Nine months, which doesn't seem like a long amount of time when you compare it to the average life expectancy of 78.7 years in the United States.  In other cases nine months can seem like forever when you are carrying one of God's little miracles inside of you anxiously awaiting their arrival into this temporary home on Earth.  I guess the length of nine months depends on the individual and the situation that a person is dealing with.....

Stage Fright

 Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2013 by  Dick Miller 

Photo of an empty stage with a microphone.

When I was young, my family had a summer cottage near a lake in the Pocono mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. Evening social activities centered around the Pavilion, an old barn of a wooden multi-purpose building. The basement housed admission to the beach, changing rooms and lockers, a repair shop, and, in the winter, rental boat storage. The first floor, where most of the daily activity occurred, had pinball machines, ping pong tables, a pool table, a jukebox with a small dance floor, a snack bar, a souvenir stand, a tiny grocery store, restrooms, and a porch with benches that overlooked the beach and the small lake. The upstairs was a wide-open space with a stage that held events as varied as Bingo games and one-night stands by some of the last of the big-band era names like Les Brown and the Andrews Sisters....


Pay Forward

Iris Stewart

© Copyright 2013 by  Iris Stewart


Photo of a briefcase full of money.

Everything can be justified and we all deserve. Perhaps in confirming our justification in an undeserving world, we begin to lose ourselves, the part that controls our conscience. My job required ethics, but I was the wrong person for the job. I had lost the gene for compassion, perhaps I never owned it. Ultimately, greed and my lack of empathy will destroy others in my path and many innocents will pay the price!  
Just as the door opens, the insect flies up my nose. I'm forced to remain still giving little sniffs as I feel it travel to my brain. My target, the woman in the pink dress, walks to the car. Thankfully, after a bit of fumbling and a fresh application of lipstick, she drives off....


Broken China

Iris Stewart

© Copyright 2013 by  Iris Stewart


Photo of broken china and a key.

A pure love that they had for each other. Paul was her soul mate. She loved him with a passion and he had passionately returned the love...’ For Rena love was everything, valued even more than her life. When betrayal threatens to take it all away, Rena is forced to re- examine all she believed in! She will learn that Love has many shades. But will it be too late? Or can a loyalty beyond barriers save her!...

Stumpy: Dealing with Amputation


Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2013 by  Dick Miller


Photo of a child with no arms in a wrestling match.

In 2001, I developed an infection that worked its way into the bones of my left foot. In spite of a series of strong intravenous antibiotic treatments, it became obvious that amputation was the wise course of action. At that time, my wife related to me the following story.

The Story of Stumpy

Once upon a time, a little boy was born. He was a beautiful little boy, except, instead of regular arms, he had stumps. When most people saw him, they were aghast. But his mother loved him very much. She named him Sam, but she called him Stumpy. ...


The Loves of Miss Lil

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2013 by Dale Fehringer 


Photo of Lillie Hitchcock.

Everyone who has spent time in San Francisco is familiar with Coit Tower, the distinctive landmark at the top of Telegraph Hill. But few people know about the loves of the woman who made it possible. It started in 1843 when Elizabeth (Lillie) Hitchcock was born in West Point, New York to Martha and Charles Hitchcock. When Lillie was eight, her father, an army surgeon, was transferred to San Francisco. In those days, San Francisco was a bawdy gold-rush town inhabited by wild and reckless men, and Lillie fell in love with it!...

The Persnickety Prize


Geary Smith

© Copyright 2013 by Geary Smith 


Photo of an official NBA basketball.

Spell, Persnickety,” said Somer’s teacher, Ms. Jackson. “Spell Persnickety and you will be the winner of the class spelling bee.”

Can I please have the definition?” asked Somer.“Persnickety means to be fussy about small details, or requiring great precision.”...


Millionaire for a Minute

Dick Miller   

© Copyright 2013 by  Dick Miller


Photo of a Wyoming based oil company stock certificate.

My ex-wife, Maureen, had been kind enough to store a box of photo albums and such for me when I was forced to sell my house and move out quickly while I recuperated from leg amputation surgery. My current wife, Mega (she and Maureen are great friends) was already overwhelmed with other details of getting the house ready for sale and moving herself, so Maureen’s kind offer was welcome.

Recently, Maureen told us that it was her turn to clean out and, since Mega and I were settled into an apartment of our own, she wanted to bring over the box of photos. Maureen and her husband Larry came over and we spent a pleasant evening chatting and catching up on events of the past few months since we had seen one another. We gave them the grand tour of our new apartment, which has a terrific view overlooking a wetlands with its constantly changing display of natural wonders.

The following day I set to looking through the box. It contained some things I expected, and some surprises....

Suprises?  What kind?  

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