Stories

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“An unexpected relationship will become permanent.”

Tthe message from inside the fortune cookie stared me in the face and I stared back, first at the broken cookie then at the scroll-type message within, and finally at the man seated opposite me on the table. Was it an omen, a premonition, or a warning for what lay ahead?

There were so many thoughts cramped up in my head in that instant of a second, that I was truly able to appreciate Bill Gates’ phrase “at the speed of thought”. It was the first time that we were out together and he looked terribly handsome as he sat there chuckling at what his fortune cookie said, completely oblivious to my state of mind at the time.

I’ve always been a superstitious person. I have a lucky pen, a money plant that I never dare to neglect, and a set routine that I never defer from, but treating a fortune cookie as a message from God was a bit much, even for me. For the moment I relegated the incident to the back of my mind and joined in his laughter.

As we sat in his car in the parking lot, just below my apartment, we chatted easily, neither of us wanting to break the momentum of a lovely evening by saying goodbye. I had the urge to lean over and kiss him on his cheek. I had the urge, but not the nerve. For all technical reasons, it was not a date. We were just two friends, out to dinner and I had no intention of spoiling that.

By the next afternoon, I knew I was falling in love, because I had completely lost my appetite and my interest in anyone or anything else. It had certainly been unexpected. Yet it was neither a relationship, nor did it have any chance of becoming permanent. What struck me with a jolt was that I wanted it to be. Continue Reading →

Iit was the first part of December and the frozen ground was covered with snow. My little girl said to me, ‘Daddy can we have that tree we saw on our hike through the woods last summer, for our Christmas tree?

My little girl had a bad accident in the autumn and the doctors had said that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Wanting to do all I could to please my precious child, I began getting things ready to do my chores, in order to get an early start next morning. I forked some hay into a pile to feed the cows and horses, I also set a bucket aside with some grain in it, to feed it to my saddle-horse. I then filled a pan with slop, to feed the pigs. This was all so that I could go and look for the tree that my daughter wanted.

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Fifteen years just isn’t enough. Today we live in a nation that has the possibility of having a President Trump or Clinton. Working through my first six decades our political and social atmosphere is now undermined by partisan policies.

I believe this is all in response to when our nation was changed fifteen years ago on what was a normal September in a normal time of our nation’s history. I still remember that day in my class with my students; that day when all of our histories changed, that day I spend most of my life trying to not only understand, but to also believe. This is article did appear fifteen years ago. I believe it has more relevance today.

I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t express what I was feeling in words. I knew everyone of those people who were condemned to die. I didn’t know their faces or their names but I knew them all. They were husbands and wives of families working to make the people they were responsible for safe and comfortable.

They were the children of families whose hard work and perseverance made their families proud. They were the grandparents who were almost ready to live out their lives doing something they had dreamed they could do. Continue Reading →

Ii was hanging out the washing in the back garden, as I infrequently do, when a woman who was walking down the road strolled into the garden and stopped for a chat about the weather, the state of the nation and such matters. In those days the garden was unfenced, you see, but not any more.

Staring at her in some amazement I wondered if this was just a localized way of introducing oneself to new people, or was it – I suspiciously conjectured – simply a short cut habitually taken? After a couple of minutes of one-sided idle chit-chat over the washing line, during which my growing annoyance was camouflaged by inane grinning, she continued diagonally through next door’s garden and casually left the premises via a small gap in their leylandii hedging.

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Wwith only dark glasses and a scarf to disguise her, she quickly scurried through the side door of her hotel. Always careful enough each year to follow different streets, she darted off only after she was positively certain that no one was watching her. She was even cautious enough each year to start from a different hotel as well.

She would stride down different streets that were usually teeming with tourists. Like a busy bee bouncing from flower to flower, she would dive in and out of little shops, while at the same time cleverly changing her appearance from time to time, by adding different scarves or sunglasses, or sometimes even changing her dress. Always looking over her shoulder she insured that no one was following her. Her moves were well co-ordinated: quickly through front doors and out back ones leading to allies and side streets, as she skillfully made her serpentine route towards the docks.

This year would not be different, as she started off with a taxi down Victoria Street followed by a brisk walk through St. Thomas Circle and on to the market streets of St. Crois that were sweltering in the tropical heat. Always stopping to look behind to be sure that no one was following, she quickly disappeared in an out of shops and back door of restaurants. After many hours of this, and only when she was absolutely certain that no one was trailing her, would she even attempt to approach the docks.

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Iit is lonely out here on the range! There is no one to talk to except my horse, and the cactus. The ramrod of the 4d Ranch sent me out here to gather up strays that might have wandered off from the herd.

The boss and his family were going to lose the 4d if something wasn’t done quickly. I had found a few doggies, but that wasn’t enough to help save the ranch and, to make matters worse, the boss’s son had become a drunkard. Every night he would go to Zeke’s bar in town, and drink all of his father’s money away. If anyone said anything to him, he would want to fight. Most of the time he would win but when it looked like he wouldn’t, he would draw his gun. Luckily he didn’t shoot anybody, but often he came close to it.

He would come home to the ranch and stumble in the door; call his sister names and demand that she fix him something to eat. After he ate, he would lay on the sofa, in the parlor, and fall asleep. He would always tell his little sister: “Ever since Ma died, you have been Pa’s favorite, he is gonna leave you everything, but not if I can help it.” He muttered this while he was passing out.

What his pa and sister didn’t know was that he had made a deal with Zeke. They would gather up some rustlers, and have them rustle the herd of the 4d. Zeke would sell the rustled cattle and split the money with Ben, Zeke’s son. In the end, Zeke would buy the 4d Ranch and give Ben enough acres to start a ranch of his own. Continue Reading →

The past few weeks have been difficult to watch or understand. My wife and I watch a lot of news and with the election finally closing in we especially attempt to understand what our nation will look like in the immediate future. The murders of innocent men and police officers have been especially hard to observe. It is obvious we live in a kind of Utopia called York, Maine but still feel sadness for the families of those that have been so affected.

I felt it snap as it left my hand. A little tingle in my shoulder was felt as the horseshoe flew away. As soon as I felt this seemingly little discomfort I knew that within the next few hours I would be popping Advil like a six-year-old would pop candy. The feeling also showed me that the summer of discomfort was about to begin.

The game of horseshoes has never been associated with any type of sport injury. That is unless you observe the many backyard and beach competitions that take place during all of the summer months. These are usually associated with a lot of yelling and making fun of where this horseshoe landed or why a certain relative or friend never experienced the concept of a “ringer”.

Some of the other horse-shoe related injuries include the pesky thumb blister that never heals until the last horseshoe is thrown on Labor Day weekend. The shin knob is another popular injury in that it begins after an older uncle’s horseshoe flies out of the pit and directly onto your shin.The color and size are the most interesting parts of this particular injury in that its deep purple sheen never fades away and the horseshoe shaped swell becomes a permanent part of one’s leg. Continue Reading →

My wife was annoyed with me the other day. I was sent to my closet to get rid of items that I no longer wore. These included t-shirts, sweat-shirts, pants, jeans, shorts, hats, and every other thing I have covered my body with, for the past 50 or so years.

H.G. Wells should have known, that if one could find a time-machine in this universe, all one had to do was look in an old man’s closet. As always, my wife was right. When I opened my closet it looked like it was filled with a solid block of multi-colored cloth. There was not a space either hanging or on the shelf that could fit another item. How the shelf didn’t fall, because of the massive weight of sweatshirts and sweaters, is above and beyond my comprehension.

Shoes and old worn-out sneakers covered the floor of the closet that I assumed had a rug over it. I assumed this because there was a possibility that the shoes could have been on top of even older sweaters. I decided to start at the top and work my way down.  When I reached and grabbed what I thought was a single sweatshirt the entire contents of the shelf came tumbling down. How I survived the avalanche is above and beyond my comprehension. Continue Reading →

I am now retired, so what do I do? I have to admit it’s a strange feeling. I’ve worked full time since I was 15. It wasn’t legal to hold a job at 15 but back then one had to. I am now 67, which means I’ve been working for 52 years.

I think this is the reason why I am upset with Governor LePage of Maine when he described the large percentage of people on government support in the State of Maine. He included those of us on social security. I am not on government support. I am getting some of the money I paid out for 52 years.

Advice, opinions, and suggestions came days before I retired from people who have already retired and from people who have not retired yet but knew of people who had retired. To put it in a nutshell everyone advised me to stay active and basically not retire.

This made little sense to me because I was under the concept that one wanted to retire and thus have some time to do things they didn’t have time to do before. I was also warned retirement meant the beginning of poor health because I wouldn’t be moving as much as I did when I worked. I was also cautioned to keep my mind active and multi-task as much as possible to keep my mind vigorous. This particular warning unnerved me the most. Continue Reading →