March 2016

6 articles in March 2016

Prologue to Jacob Evans
Jjacob Evans is a completed collection of thirty-seven short stories. This unique collection begins with the birth of Jacob Evans and ends with his death. Individually, everything from heart-warming (romance/spiritual) to bone-chilling (suspense/macabre), can be found – each standing firmly on its own. Collectively, however, these thirty-seven glimpses of life become a simple story of one man’s journey, with all the complexities that make such a trip worthwhile. The collection is woven by the history of reappearing characters please allow me to introduce Jacob Evans.

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The other day at school I was advised by my administration that I should keep my political views to myself. Since the present political cycle is the oddest and most interesting of my life this request will be very difficult to obey. But, also since I am getting older and retirement is less than a year away I thought it best to listen to myself and be damned to all who want to control my thoughts.
As I watched my colleagues, remove all of their students work in order to eliminate competition that has become the antithesis of modern education, and throw out racially-mixed wall decorations and political posters,  that they had used for the past decade in order to produce a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning, because everything had to become socially manilla, my mind’s eye took an inevitable turn. 
I imagined a school that was made up entirely of stainless steel. The halls were shiny, sterile, and cold while the floors and ceilings had few demarcations to determine where the walls began and the floors and ceiling ended. The rooms had doors made of steel while the windows in the doors had to be clear because no paper was allowed in our new stainless steel world. 

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There I stood at the end of my driveway looking out into my front yard from my garage for the first time since late November. Obviously I’ve looked at my yard before but concentrating on its appearance was now important because I was pretty sure the last of the snow had fallen. This meant the snows of winter would no longer disguise the debris that found its way onto my property. Before walking on my lawn I tested the ground to make sure it was dry enough so my feet wouldn’t make indentations that would probably mean the death of my lawn mower.

The first thing I did was pick-up all the cigarette butts that ended up on the peripheral of where my property ends and the road begins. I could never figure out why people throw something out the windows of their cars they know will never disintegrate. Hell, I could never figure out why people throw any type of garbage out of their cars and into the road. I wonder if they think some magical force would make their garbage disappear?

This year I counted 86 cigarette butts thrown on my lawn. I looked up at my house and wondered where the sign was hidden that advertised how my property was one large ashtray. Or did my property have some sort of a magnetic attraction for the plastic in the filters of the butts, so all of the discarded butts in the western world ended up on my property. Continue Reading →

A publisher from Great Britain answered my complaints, via e-mail, about how I couldn’t believe the present elections in the US, by welcoming me to the wonderful world of the, “AOP”. When I questioned his response he told me that an “AOP” was an angry old pensioner. Since I am retiring this year all I could do was agree. An “AOP” in the States is simply considered a curmudgeon. A curmudgeon?

In the heat of many political discussions concerning how our society has become obsessed with today’s political environment, my brother-in-law stopped my argument with that single word. A curmudgeon is a simple phrase that made all the onlookers of our squabble stare and agree that my newest of titles was the one that fit me best.

Sensing success he didn’t stop there. He added the adjectives pessimistic and simplistic to the noun curmudgeon. I then wondered if I was destined to be known forever-after as a pessimistic and simplistic curmudgeon.

On the way home, I kept asking my wife how a man, whose earliest memory of politics had to do with donning a white shirt and thin black tie so I could emulate my belief in Jack Kennedy’s New Frontier, be called a curmudgeon?

How could I be called such a name? How could a man, whose history evolved with the concept of the Great Society, be reduced to such a, well, simplistic description?

The End.
It took all my life to reach the status of AOP by Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine.
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“Yes you can voice your opinion as long as it’s done in a civil manner.”
I have to admit I was in a bit of shock when I read this letter concerning an upcoming meeting, of an association which I was told my neighborhood was part of.  My original question concerned if I could voice my thoughts and opinions concerning the association. I didn’t know of anyone who thought I couldn’t do this in a “civil” manner. At least I thought I didn’t.
I asked my wife if anyone considered me uncivil. She told me that I sometimes used a tone in my conversations, or letters, that led people to believe that I was aggressive and sarcastic. How can ‘tone’ overwhelm what is being discussed? How can it even be projected into a written letter or e-mail?  To answer this I found my old dilapidated Webster’s Dictionary, to understand what ‘tone’ is supposed to be. Webster states that it is: “An individual way of speaking or writing.” If the concept of tone has to do with the individual, how can it be determined as being passive or aggressive?

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Ii just got back from seeing a wonder of my Maker. It is the beautiful Forest Park in my neighborhood. I ride along on my electric cart, gazing at the wonders that surround me. The trees reach so high they seem to be reaching for the Hand of God.

All about me, as I ride down a planned path, are wonderful shrubs, hiding the cottontails from view.
Look! There is a red squirrel, he must be gathering his nuts and food for winter. There is a rose garden in the park. Oh! What a fragrance it produces.

People are playing their games on the well-kept grass and lovers are on the benches, kissing. What a joy it is to go for a summer’s evening ride in my park. The winters are cold here in the northwest. It rains a lot but I can wait for spring and summer to arrive.

I look out my window, and, when it looks all right, I will ride in my park once more. It may be my last ride. You never know what God has in store for you!

I would like to say goodbye to the trees and shrubbery, and the green grass. Also the birds on the wing, the cottontails, and the squirrels that cross my path before I leave this beautiful park. Thank you, the men and women that made it possible.

But mostly, thank you God!

The End.
My Park by Don Fraser

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