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A Manual for Surviving Life


Ellie S. Thomas


© Copyright 2015 by  Ellie S. Thomas



Photo of a girl holding blackberries.

It was hot and dusty in Sennetsville in the summer. People often remarked incredulously that they'd forgotten it could get so hot so far North. The priest mopped his sweaty brow as he labored his way through the mass, unrelieved in his long black cassock, the fans reluctantly churning the air in futile circles. The unrepentent sat on their porches fanning themselves; dogs sought the shade and collapsed in panting, heaving humps of fur. Children, feeling the humid weather, quarreled incessantly and flies settled on bare flesh, where they bit with a vengeance.

"Gonna rain," the old timers announced, dentures sliding back and forth as they nodded to each other....



Nicole Van Zyl

© Copyright 2015 by Nicole Van Zyl


Drawing of "missionary preaching to the African natives."

This is a story about my great, great, great, great grandparents and their hazardous journey to Linyanti to set up a mission station among the Mokololo tribe.This is their story.

In 1860,a tragedy occurred in Linyanti,Central Africa,when a group of missionaries and their families journeyed to Linyanti to set up a mission station among the Mokololo tribe....



Emily Hart

© Copyright 2015 by Emily Hart   


Naiad, by Gustave Dore.

The "miracle rain"  --that's what they called it.  Every news story reporting the unexpected downpour used that phrase, or some variation -- answer to prayer, act of God.  One meteorologist choked up and said "I never believed in miracles before this."  Firefighters, their faces streaked with rain and soot and tears of joy and relief jumped in the mud like children, laughing and hugging each other and the reporters and mugging for the camera crew who laughed and cried along with them. . . .


Valley of the Moon

Nicole Van Zyl

© Copyright 2015 by Nicole Van Zyl


Photo of the moon.

Mary was a shy little girl.She was only five years old.She was very pretty with curly blond hair and blue eyes.She was sitting in her room playing with her dolls.She was feeling very nervous today because her mommy is taking her to the dentist.It was the first time that she was going to the dentist,and she did not know what to expect....


The Trip of a Lifetime

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of an African woman with a baby on her back.

An updraft seized the plane and I clutched the baby closer. She seemed to have adhered to me by sweat, which was just as well, as there was no safe baby harness or cot aboard the DC-3 that was the flagship of Swazi Air.

Across the aisle almost-three-year-old Bethany sat beside her father, giving him a running commentary about the passing weather, of which there seemed to be entirely too much. Every now and then she threw up into an inadequately waxed paper bag.

I tried to distract my twitching nerves by remembering Osa Johnson's "I Married Adventure," one of my favourite books. She’d married a man with an itchy foot and gone travelling the world with him when she was only 16. Surely a mature 28-year-old mother of two would be able to survive whatever Africa had to offer.
Lightning flashed in the clouds ahead. Wondering what I had let myself in for, I shut my eyes and pretended I was at the Topsfield Fair on the roller coaster. Now if only I could pretend that I had enjoyed that experience, perhaps I'd live through this one….


A Treasure by the Sea    


Lane Dooling

© Copyright 2015 by Lane Dooling

Photo of aLa Jolla cove.

. . .For many of us, there is a childhood destination that will forever remain a safe haven – an almost magical place; or at least I thought it was a matter of geography for many years. For my family and relatives, it was our annual vacation to La Jolla, California. This wonderful city (pronounced La Hoya) is considered the “Jewel of the Coast” and it only takes on long, breathtaking glance from the cove to understand why as the salty sea air tickles your nose, and the white foamy waves crash over the rocks stretching for miles along the exquisite San Diego coast....



Celebrating Life on the Hawaiian Islands

Birgit Starmanns

© Copyright 2015 by Birgit Starmanns


Photo of a crowd of people waiting to go through security check.

Travel often reveals a side of your friends that are surprising. And sometimes that surprise is not a good one. I have learned to choose my travel companions wisely....


Divine Connections

Shivaji K. Moitra 


© Copyright 2015 by Shivaji K. Moitra 


Photo of Indian children.

The seaside town of Digha on the Bay of Bengal drew thousands of middle-class and budget tourists during the summer and winter months who descended upon the popular holiday destination every weekend for some unrestrained fun and sublime peace.

Having been posted at the idyllic place on government service I considered myself fortunate to be on a paid holiday. I was young and single and I loved the sea....


A Hog Claim

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2015 by Gene Fletcher


Photo of a Florida feral hog.

Our family hog claim was scattered over thousands of acres of wilderness. The hogs were mostly razorbacks, descendants from the hogs brought to Florida by the Spanish invaders. They were generally black in color with some occasional differences....



Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2015 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of branding irons in a fire.

This story is about men who still did the work of a cowman in the traditional way before technology changed the world.

According to family legend, the history of my Fletcher family in Florida begins around 1840 when "Billy R."(William Rete) Fletcher moved to North Florida from Georgia. Billy R.'s Grandson and namesake was my grandfather, William Rete Fletcher, known to one and all as Rete. There were a number of stories about Billy R. that were told and retold around the fireplace and at family gatherings. My grandfather, Rete, told my personal favorite....



Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2015 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of segregated cafe.

The time was the 1950's. The place was a small town in the Deep South that was still segregated by law, tradition and custom. Under this system, it was not possible for a black man or woman to climb the social or economic ladders. Will was one of those men.....


It's Time To Make Plans


Onie Grosshans 


© Copyright 2006 by Onie Grosshans

Photo of EMTs loading an ambulance.

The last day of Phil’s life Vivian watched from the edge of the darken driveway as Phil settled his overweight, six-foot frame behind the wheel of his SUV. She heard the engine rev up, saw the headlights flash on, but the SUV didn’t move. It was a cold March night and neither Vivian’s sweater nor her fuzzy slippers were meant for being outside very long....


Home Again             


Judith Nakken 


© Copyright 2015 by Judith Nakken    


Photo of a meadowlark singing.

I left the pheasant capital of the world without seeing one. I didn’t hear a meadowlark, either, one of the items on my bucket list, although I slept five nights at Aggie’s. Her splendid old farmhouse is several miles southwest of Iroquois, South Dakota, now population 266, and would be surrounded by pheasants and meadowlarks, were there any.
I did experience 100 degree heat with 80% humidity (we had only dry heat when I was a girl there on the prairie) and one of Dakota’s knock-down, drag-out thunderstorms. Two rain days abated the heat so that Sunday and Monday, the last days in the state, were reasonably cool. . . .


Alice Marble

The Queen of Swat

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Alice Marble.

The next time you explore San Francisco, you might want to spend a few minutes at the Alice Marble Tennis Courts on top of Russian Hill, less than a block from Lombard Street. Standing there, it’s possible to enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz. And it’s there you can reflect on the remarkable story of a San Franciscan named Alice Marble who was a world-famous tennis champion, World War II spy, tuberculosis survivor, and civil rights advocate....

Home Viewings

HC Hsu

© Copyright 2015 bu HC Hsu


Photo of the Dala Lama.


It finally rained a little yesterday. It's strange, I never seem to see the rain. It becomes something else. I usually see only wet sidewalks, streets, the moistened-over gravel, only a dab of a shade darker than when it is dry, it seems like. A cloudy gray puddle fills up a pothole. The sky is the same color of gray. My sand tinted car is parked outside, in my driveway, ensconced under tiny, sparkling droplets of dew, and when I open the driver's side door and try to get in, my right leg always steps in the grass in the lawn next to the concrete driveway, the cold, rough, wet blades of the sea green St Augustine grass pawing at my calf. Then I know it had rained. From these traces, signs, keepsakes of the storm....


Trekking in Nepal

June Calender

© Copyright 2015 by June Calender

Napalese woman winnowing grain.

Many scenes, a shifting kaleidoscope of memories have played through my thoughts in April as I heard about the tragedy of earthquakes and avalanches that killed so many people and devastated so many homes in Nepal. Only personal memories can give a sharp edge to news of such events in other parts of the world.....


Green Cheese

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a section of a green cheese round.

"Well, here's the keys, although you don't need to worry about theft, no serious burglar would bother to stop on Barth. Good luck." Hefting his rucksack, the outgoing agent of Interworld Development Corporation went out of the door as if headed for the last lifeboat on the Mohorovičić.

Watching him go, Tom Barley thought he'd never relieved another agent who seemed so…relieved .  He wondered briefly if the reason were personal or job-related. It certainly couldn't be due to the weather: mid-morning on Barth was as pleasant as any place he'd ever been, neither as hot as New Alang nor as windy as Boreas. Perhaps Garrett had family problems back on Earth; it was never easy trying to maintain long-distance relationships, which was why most IDC agents were single....


The Elephant Child Arrives

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of an auto accident.

Some families have a knack for turning normal events into high drama; some can only manage farce. Our family usually produces a hybrid. In March 1998 we had a weekend one would not willingly repeat, although it has become progressively more entertaining as time goes on.

Shortly before midnight on the Friday my elder daughter Bethany went into labour while visiting us for the weekend. Her brother Eamon said he’d drive her to the hospital but not without me, because “I don’t want to see anything icky.”. . .


Go See Cal

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Cal with his "tiger."

If you want a car or truck, go see Cal.

If you want to save a buck, go see Cal.

Give a new car to your wife,

She will love you all your life.

Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal.

Anyone who lived in California in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s is probably familiar with that TV ad jingle, which was sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Behind the ads was a car dealer named Cal Worthington, typically dressed in a cowboy hat. Worthington’s ads always started with the line, “Hi, I’m Cal and this is my dog, Spot.”...


Naresh Dreams of Paris

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Watercolor painting of Varanasi by Naresh.

We wanted a small landscape painting from a street artist in India, as an inexpensive reminder of our trip. It was our last day, so the pressure was on to find one. When we left our hotel in Varanasi that morning, a local tour guide was in front, waiting for a client. We asked him if he knew anywhere we could buy an inexpensive painting of the city. He said his brother was an art student in town....



Mausumi Phukan Baruah 

© Copyright 2015 by Mausumi Phukan Baruah


Photo of a pretty Indian girl laughing.

I also love you sweet heart” Tonuj whispered before disconnecting the line. He felt the urgent need of smoking to release his tension. Alone in darkness, he sat for hours. Then suddenly he decided “enough is enough, I cannot lie forever”. He felt relaxed. He thought “Tomorrow I will disclose my real situation to Neha. I have to be brave”. But the very thought of revealing the truth made him shiver even on that summary night. Tonuj almost cried aloud, “Oh God, give me strength, please save me this time. I promise, I will never make such mistake again in my whole life.”.  . .


It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without Them

Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper

Photo of shelled  pecans.

Moma and I were baking an imaginary cake in the kindergarten’s pint-sized kitchen when Daddy and the boys poked their heads in. “Ready?” Daddy asked with a grin. Moma replied with a little let’s-get-outa-here jig. Soon we were back in the car, skipping out on big peoples’ church to go on a family adventure. We stopped at home just long enough to put on our play clothes then drove to the grove of pecan trees out north of town....

The Black Days

Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper

Old ad for Valium.

It was March when the black days came—long, hollow days when nothing major had changed in my life, and yet a shift in perspective had left me inconsolable. My mind was on an endless loop. What do I do now? I can’t escape. I’ll never escape. I can’t see out. I can’t see in. It’s too black…too black....

The Season of Cats, Embroidery, and Blackberry Jam

Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper  

It was supposed to be a day trip. We wanted to experience the legendary Napa Valley to sample some of the native grape. Sample we did! After several winery stops, we ended up at the Rutherford. “Let’s find a place here,” I whispered. Will smiled and squeezed my hand.

Suddenly, a tall, elegant woman waltzed up. “Hello,” her voice was breathy and low. “I couldn’t help but overhear. If you take Lakoya Road straight up the mountain, you’ll come to some rustic cabins. Ask for Moo and Del. Tell them Samantha sent you.” Then, she was swept away by the well-heeled crowd....

The Million Dollar Bride

Kay Harper 

© Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper

Photo of a woman with a valuable necklace and ear rings.

Beverly Hills, California – 1991

LA is like no other place on earth. Notoriety is like a tornado in that town. If its force shifts your way, you’re in for a mighty big wind.

I’m sorry, Ms. Harper, they’re not quite ready for you. Would you follow me, please?” The receptionist had a raspy, little girl voice, and her pigtails were in on the charade. She was in great shape for a gal whose face looked like she was pushing sixty. I couldn’t keep up with her as she jogged down the hall....


James Bassett

© Copyright 2015 by James Bassett


Photo of Roger.

They told me his name was Scannello, however one might spell that.  Likewise, however one might say that repeatedly throughout the day or say it right after ‘sit’.  This is a dog.  “Sit, Scannello” does not come trippingly off the tongue.  Everything that moves your mouth has to think about it.  And when you’re talking “dog”, new, strange, unknown “dog” talk, it has to be quick and easy....


Play the Ball,

Don't Let It Play You

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl
Photo of a Voit basketball and box.

I did not set out to win, to earn, a scholarship to play hoop in college, to be awarded one.

It just turned out that way.

I first started out playing hoop to gain approval. That I now know.

My earliest basketball memory dates back to my fifth or sixth Christmas, when my favorite uncle, dubbed “Unkie Bob” by my two younger sisters and me, gave me a basketball as a present. After I ripped through the wrapping paper I discovered a bright red, square cardboard box. And nestled inside it swaddled with white tissue paper lay a bright orange basketball, emblazoned with one word, “Voit.”...


Août in Paris,* a travelogue

Kristin K. Fouquet 


© Copyright 2015 by Kristin K. Fouquet 

*August in Paris

Kristin on her balcony in Paris.

In 2012, my beloved grandmother, Emma, a.k.a. Maw Maw, died. We had a special relationship. I admired her creativity and thriftiness. When her estate was settled in 2013, I decided to put that money toward something extravagant rather than frugal. I traveled alone to Paris, France in August. This was not simply a pleasure trip. I hadn’t been there in 28 years and it was essential for me to return at some point to exorcise old demons. I hoped she would approve. It was a time of great reflection; I pondered my humanity and mortality. Separation anxiety from my family, lack of learning the language adequately, fear of crowds, and a foot injury had me, at times, wondering if I had made a mistake in going. This travelogue was emailed nightly to my husband, Errol, and my best friend, Jim. It might not be entertaining in parts, but it is honest.....


Every Mother Has  a Story 

Pearl Watley Mitchell

© Copyright 2015 by Pearl Watley Mitchell


Photo of a handmade quilt.

Fannie Lee (Quinley) Watley – that was her name and she was one of the most precious human beings who ever walked this Earth. This is her memoir. She was my mother – and the mother of nine other children, eight boys and one girl, all with the same father, my Daddy. I was the oldest girl and my sister fell into third place. There was a brother between us, but after that, the boys all went down in age like door steps. She literally spent her life raising her children, with a lot of good loving help from Daddy....




Nancy Massand 


© Copyright 2015 by Nancy Massand

Montage of an ethnically diverse group of children.

When our children were in high school our family shared our home with a succession of foreign students who were enrolled in the ESL program where I teach. The following story is about our first "child" and the issues she faced as a young girl living far from her home and family. Through many tears and laughter as well, she overcame heartbreaking difficulties as she adjusted to her new life in the States. Though she is married now, when she writes she still calls us her American mom and dad....


Odds and Ends

How I Titled My Book

Richard Bishop   

© Copyright 2015 by Richard Bishop 


Photo of Michael Bolton's Soul Provider album cover.

I am always astounded when I find that the written word alone is capable of arousing bitter-sweet sentiments (an ache from the past) to float up from the hidden pages of your memory and openly haunt you. Probably the most poignant words I have ever read (or heard) are at the beginning of a book (and are spoken aloud by the Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep as the very first lines in the subsequent Movie) “Out Of Africa”, by Isak Dinesen....


A Flood Survival Story

Or,  How I Stopped Being Bored

Barbara Turner

© Copyright 2015   by Barbara Turner


Photo of heavy rain coming off a gutter.

The last week of Apr 2010 was the most fun week I have had in years. I had agreed to host two artists from Berlin who needed a host family in Nashville. Thomas and Robert turned out to be interesting, fun and we trucked all over Nashville, with me trying to show these doubters from Germany that America was a great place. Of course, my memories of Germany are 40 years old and not that great and I wanted them to love my new country.


Clara Turns 100

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Clara Joyner.

Some people can inspire us just by being who they are.

Clara Joyner was pulling weeds outside in 90-degree heat when Patty and I called on her. She quickly gave it up, came inside, and entertained us.

We’ve known Clara for years, and we’ve grown used to her spryness and her refusal to grow old. She is a small woman, less than five feet tall, and a little stooped, but she carries herself with pride and walks with the vigor of people half her age. She always wears a dress, and her clothes are fresh and clean. Her short, white hair is thin from chemotherapy, but it is clean and combed. Her brown eyes sparkle, and they reflect a lifetime of accomplishment and satisfaction. She smiles broadly and with confidence. We had to talk a little louder than normal so she could pick up what we said, but she doesn’t wear hearing aids. She doesn’t use a cane or walker, either, and she doesn’t take any medicine. Clara is recovering from breast cancer, and she was going to the doctor every six months for check-ups after she finished her chemo, but now her physician says her she only needs to come back if something goes wrong. So she carries on, and each morning she bounces out of bed and finds a reason to be happy....


Three Stories

Steve Alexander

© Copyright 2015 by Steve Alexander 


Photo of a baby eating toilet paper.

Kung Fu

This story is true. I think it's important to know that at the start because it wouldn't be believable as fiction. It takes place in Sydney, Australia. I was teaching a Chinese man, James Kung, computer programming on a Prime computer in preparation for him to join our company.

Although James understood English fairly well, he was uncomfortable with his ability to speak it. The Kung family had come to Australia from China via Taiwan, and had been in Sydney only a short time. For this reason, when we met for tutoring sessions, James would bring along the whole family. There was Mary Kung (wife), Eva (#1 daughter), Anita (#2 daughter), Teresa (#3 daughter), and Kathy (#4 daughter). I think the theory was that if one head was good, more were better – sort of group think. The sessions were interesting, to say the least, with my talking English and Mary and the four girls all jabbering to James in Chinese....


Death on the Move

Donal Buchanan

© Copyright 2015 by Donal Buchanan


Photo of a woman in a convertible using a CB radio.

Ok, I'm through.” The Medical Examiner stood up creakily. His dew-soaked trousers were a crumpled mess. The pasty-gray color of his face could have resulted from the inadequate lighting provided by police flashlights and a distant street light. He joined the circle of four policemen and one detective around the headless nude body lying in the grass. In the darkness near the road another detective was trying to lose the contents of an already dry stomach. An occasional car whirred by on the highway....


Poor Emily

Karen Radford Treanor 
© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor
Photo of a kitten.

Everybody felt sorry for Emily Jensen: what a life she led, married to that drunken lout. Of course, she never said anything but the whole town knew how he treated her. How many times can a person fall down the cellar stairs, for mercy sakes? Life wasn’t easy for anyone in this small New England town with its poor stony soil and its fiercely changeable weather. But everybody felt sorry for poor Emily; even if there wasn't anything they could do to help....



Gabriella Cisneros

© Copyright 2015 by Gabriella Cisneros

Photo of an airplane against a full moon.

This piece is made up of two stories from two different times in my life, but together they give one larger lesson about self-acceptance and beauty. Both stories examine beauty as in "physical" or "surface" beauty of humans that we often work for, but this concept is juxtaposed with the examination of the universal idea of the natural beauty of the earth....


Notes from a Leftie

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of President Obama signing bill.

In 2009, I got more of a kick watching the new American President sign his first official document than many people. It wasn’t for any of the reasons that pleased others--first black president; one of the youngest presidents; Democrat; a well-travelled man; a new broom: all those things are no doubt worthy reasons to be pleased—no, it was the way he grabbed the pen in his left hand. A southpaw, a molly-duker, a leftie: at last, we dextrally–challenged people of the world had a poster child!...


A Mother's Tears

A story about drugs, hate, control, and fear for a child

Pen Name - Oldie Goldie

© Copyright 2014 by Brandi N. Astle


Photo of a woman cowering before a man.

 The first time I actually let somebody come into my mother’s house after I got home from Washington, they were in complete shock. We had guns and baseball bats by every door (I also had a baseball bat in my car) and the house was always on lockdown. Our house is still like this, but not as bad. I still have flashbacks of being strangled, or of him throwing me over a couch. I still have terrible nightmares of being held against my will in Alaska, or being thrown on his bed so he can have his way with me. I don’t think these memories will ever go away, even though I wish I could completely forget them. My daughter is just starting to like people who wear baseball caps. Even though all this abuse only happened when she was a few months old, she is almost 3 now and she still remembers certain things. I don’t trust people other than my family, and I’m not sure if I will ever fully trust anybody again....


You Know You've Been A Substitute Teacher Too Long When...

Patricia M. Snell

© Copyright 2015 by Patricia M. Snell

Photo of a notice on the substitute teacher's lounge.

What do children want to be when they grow up? No one ever says they want to be a substitute teacher, but I have made a career out of being a sub. I’ve been working as a stand-in for teachers for nearly 30 years. Here are some whimsical signs it may be time to call it quits....


Stephen King and the 

Writer's Toolbox

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer



Photo of an old tool box.

Most of us know Stephen King for his haunting horror stories and science fiction. But King has also written non-fiction, and in his book, On Writing, King tells his readers how he came to the craft of writing, what he knows about it now, and how it’s done.

Stephen King didn’t want to go back to work. He was in pain, unable to bend his right knee, and restricted to a walker. Five weeks earlier, in June of 1999, Bryan Smith, a loner with a terrible driving record, reached behind him while driving and steered his minivan into King, who was out for his daily walk. The crash smashed King’s head into Smith’s windshield and threw King over the van and into a ditch. The impact cut a huge gash in King’s head, punctured his lung, broke his right leg in nine places, shattered his right knee, fractured his right hip and pelvis, broke four ribs, and chipped his spine in eight places. King survived, but he suffered. He faced five surgeries, three weeks in a hospital, massive pain, and a nearly-unimaginable recovery.

Now, more than a month after the crash King sat in his home in a wheelchair, facing a temporary writing station that had been set up by his wife, Tabby.

That first writing session lasted an hour and forty minutes; after which King was exhausted and dripping with sweat. There was no inspiration that afternoon, only undaunted determination and the hope that things would eventually get better....


The New David

Carol Kloskowski


© Copyright 2015 by Carol Kloskowski

Photo of a young boy on crutches.

I cleared the house of my five noisy children and began making supper, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was worried about my six-year-old son, David. My husband had taking him to see an orthopedic specialist.

A month ago, David had complained about a pain in his right leg. One morning I found him crawling around in his bedroom because his leg hurt terribly when he tried to stand. I immediately made the appointment with the doctor for him.

Now, at home while the rest of my children played outside, I cooked supper and watched the clock anxiously awaiting their return....


Climbing Little Round Top with Paul

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Original painting by Dale Gallon.

Original painting © by Dale Gallon.

My friend Paul Meuse passed away last month, but not before he had one more tour of the Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg. It was his passion, and he followed his passion with courage!

It had already been quite a trip! Paul and I had flown across country from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. on our way to tour Civil War battlefields. Paul is a Civil War expert and he had done this trip many times, but not recently. His Parkinson’s was getting pretty bad, and he wanted to make one more journey to view the battlefields and re-live the history that was made there....


The Iceman Doesn't Stop
Here Any More

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of an iceman delivering ice.

One day my grandmother acquired a refrigerator. Its arrival highlighted something I’d never given much thought to: until then she’d had an icebox. I had known, of course, that it
was an icebox—but I’d never really considered that most other people in the city had long since traded their passive coolers for electrically-powered ones....


A Thanksgiving to Remember

Sheila Bunting

© Copyright 2014 by Sheila Bunting


Photo of a Thankgiving turkey.

It was a windy and rainy day in Hatfield, a little town in Massachusetts. On Winter’s Lane lived the Hall family. Jack was your typical seven year old with lots of energy and a very vivid imagination. The town of Hatfield was  small and quiet and people there are very friendly....


64 Years, 8 Months, and 15 Days

Patricia M. Snell

© Copyright 2015 by Patricia M. Snell

Photo of moon rising over Canadian island.

My mother’s lifespan has been on my mind as I approach the age she reached on the day of her passing. She lived a shortened life, but it was a full life.

In 1992, when my mother passed away, she was exactly 64 years, 8 months, and 15 days old. I have been thinking about her lifespan as I approach the age of 64 yeas, 8 months, and 15 days. It doesn’t seem like a very long time to live, but my mother saw more in her life than many people see in a long lifetime....


Will Rogers Entertained 
With Words

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Will Rogers.

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”

 --Will Rogers

Will Rogers, who developed into one of America’s favorite celebrities in the 1920’s and 1930’s, didn’t start off well. He fought with his father, dropped out of school after the 10th grade, and went from one venture to another, trying to find something he was good at. As much as he disliked school and studying, he probably had no idea he would wind up entertaining the country with his words....


Binkie Saves The Day


Ellie S. Thomas


© Copyright 2015 by  Ellie S. Thomas



Photo of a woman holding a little girl's hand.

Afterward, it would have been difficult to say just where it all began. Who would have thought that such a small quest as searching for one's relatives could plunge a person into a web of intrigue and crime that destroyed some reputations, made others, and involved so many people? In questioning whether it was all worth it or not, she had to admit, it had brought her Paul, hadn't it? Plus a family of wonderful people, and friends of sterling quality. What more could one want?

Surprisingly enough, small Binkie was likely the catalyst the morning she spied the fair head bent over a table in the library window where Marilyn was busy at work....

1 of 2 Groups

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl


Student at green board with math problem.

In high school, or so it seemed to me, all of the students could be put into 1 of 2 groups: those who were really good at math, the 1’s who were whizzes at it actually, that it just came to ever so naturally, effortlessly: always, all the impossibly right answers, right away, and with such an air of sprezzatura as well; and then there were those who just never got it at all. No matter what.

I was in that 2nd group....



Brendan O'Brien

© Copyright 2015 by Brendan O'Brien


Photo of a rainbow over a Christian shrine.

        No matter how hard I try, light floods through my closed eyelids. I hear the faint sounds of conversations and floorboards creaking overhead. I strive to see my God’s face in rags and hear His voice in the blare of sirens. It is only now as the pen falls from my hand upon an open notebook that I realize the silence swarming me.

            I long for God to see me fall on my knees in worship, to hear my silent yearnings for strength and faith and self-confidence as I face the struggles of everyday life. I long for Him to know the smile that plays at my lips as I reflect on the blessing of living, to feel the air that fills my lungs as I praise His name. I wish for Him to wipe away the tear that wells in my eye as I fathom the pain He endured to save me from sin. But mostly, I long for Him to know the doubt that has now risen from my certainty and threatens to replace my belief....


Seeking a Lion's Historian

Brendan O'Brien

© Copyright 2015 by Brendan O'Brien

Photo of two hunters with a dead lion.

  The ocean water stretches on for days, onward and upward until intermingling with the pale blue sky. But teasing them apart proves impossible, with the beginning of one easily mistaken for the edge of the other. The relative stillness of waves and absence of clouds betray nothing of the passages they once observed. A stone castle hovers over the horizon, perched high above surrounding sandbars and small fishing boats. The chatter of seagulls and villagers are mere whispers amidst the crash of waves on the rocks below, the only sounds of the world beyond to breach this fortress. No words escape the stone block or gentle breeze or uninhibited sun, but they know.

 The horrors of the past are palpable in a place like this. The blood has dried on the walls and the chains have ceased to rattle, but the castle speaks nonetheless. Whatever Ghana’s future, it would inevitably be linked to the centuries-old happenings of Cape Coast Castle....


We've All Had Our Lauras...

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2015 by Carl Winderl


Photo of teenagers slow dancing.

. . . and we have all been Laura. To someone. To perhaps several someone’s.

And I was to one someone in particular, in high school, during my senior year. Unbeknown to me, for she never told me face-to-face, or otherwise: to Carol Campbell I was her ‘Laura,’ in a manner of speaking.

But before Carol Campbell, or during the time I was Laura to Carol, I already was a Laura to Cindy Greco and Julie Rivers, and I suppose also to Lynn Van Ness....


Michael Lacey Says Good-bye

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer



Painting of Michael Lacey.

Imagine how hard it must have been for our ancestors to say good-bye when they left home for America. They were facing hardship, loneliness, and knew they would probably never see their families again. This is Michael Lacey’s story.

On the shore of Ireland, in 1878, an 18-year-old named Michael Lacey is about to board a ship and sail to the United States.  He stands on the dock with his parents.  It’s cold and he’s nervous, but he doesn’t want to get emotional.  He hugs his siblings and shakes hands with his father, promising to write.  Then, all that is left to do is to kiss his mother, and that's when Michael loses it. He blinks back tears and tries to keep his voice from breaking as he tells her he loves her.  Being away from his mother will be the hardest part of all....


A Half-Empty Mayonnaise Jar

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2014 by Carl Winderl


Photo of a jar half full of coins.

A half-empty mayonnaise jar sits on the top of my chest of drawers in my bedroom. In it, about to the halfway point, coins nestle together and up against the glass.

Taped to the glass, on the outside, a small rectangular piece of white notebook paper with blue lines bears one hand-printed word: “Mom.”...


Good People

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2015 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Dale's father in his Marine uniform.

Nelson Mandela once said “the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” If that’s true, my father was a brave man.

My father loved the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). He was proud of his overseas service during World War II; and, to him, the VFW stood for country, the flag, and a belief that the U.S. is great....


Ghost Trilogy

Lisa Rehfuss

© Copyright 2015 by  Lisa Rehfuss

Photo of a horse barn on fire.

After narrowing down a lifetime of ghost stories to these three, I wasn't able to choose
which one
to share with you.  These are true stories with witnesses ready to confirm
events as reported....

Seen From The Road


Ellie S. Thomas

© Copyright 2015 by  Ellie S. Thomas


New England rural road.

If you're an outdoor person, and you're avid for nature, then it's hard to beat living in the country. We didn't exactly live in the country because our home was on a busy highway and when we were advised to walk for our health's sake, we felt it wouldn't be beneficial to walk along that particular route where our lives would be endangered by speeding vehicles and we'd be breathing noxious fumes. It so happened that there were other, more remote roads, all over the place and we took advantage of their isolation whenever we were able to for our constitutionals. Little did we realize how attached we'd become to these forays, the secret vistas, the wild, (and domestic,) life found along their reaches, and all the other things that make life meaningful for people such as ourselves....



Robert Flournoy


© Copyright 2011 by Robert Flournoy



Photo of a dead squirrel.

It is a hard thing for people now to understand living in a 1000 square foot house in the middle of a sea of cotton and corn, with the nearest paved road 5 miles away. Or how a 4 and 1/2 foot 10 year old child could get lost in 11 foot tall corn. Only a call from the farm house porch kept him from walking in the wrong direction, the sound of his uncle's voice giving him saving orientation. And who was to know that the "cotton dust" used so liberally on that corn would not only kill all of the birds, but would eventually cause the leukemia that would take his grandmother's life before its dioxin was discovered to be deadly....


Dispatches from the Trenches

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2015  by Karen Radfird Treanor

Photo of Harley, the kitten.

We have recently moved from Western Australia to Tasmania, which involved preparing our former home for sale. Murphy’s Law at once came into force and things went wrong in the plans to have a quick and smooth transition from one side of this big dry island to the other. August found us indulging in a pastime that goes back into the dim mists of our family’s history: plumbing the depths of the septic system and drain....


Miles From Home
Jerry Vilhotti 

© Copyright 2015 by Jerry Vilhotti                                                     


     Photo of facing (chest game) Knights--one black and one white.

"Perdón. Does the midnight train to Nuevo Laredo stop here? We just came a hundred miles busing from San Mig-” 

Johnny was going to tell the man they had traveled hundreds of miles of back country with many many passengers carrying chickens with them....


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