Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy the eclectic collection of short stories and essays. They are all very close to my heart, in whichever genre. I always welcome comments and feedback. Once again, I hope you enjoy my site. Thank you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A New Life

  • inspired by the song "Life's a Dance" by John Michael Montgomery
Arriving at college it was a new world.  In high school, Adam had enjoyed parties with his friends, but this was a completely different experience.  The freedom that leaving home offered was somewhat intimidating.  Yet, he approached it with a very positive perspective. 

He was more than seven hundred miles from home and he was placed in the position of living with young college students who he had never met. 

The first night at the dorms, after his parents had dropped him off, Adam sat in his apartment silently for a moment as he cast his eyes on people who he had just met.  He had always been quick to make friends; however, this was far different.  He was now placed in the precarious position of living with people he had never known.

A week came and passed.  His acclimation into the new environment evolved very well.   Classes were not to begin for a few more days and during the past week he, his roommates, and his neighbors had shared in the trivial festivities that define college life.

The first night at the dorms he and his roommates went to the dining commons together to enjoy a hamburger and fries.  There was also a soda fountain there and the food was excellent.  They sat together and engaged in frivolous conversation that served as a brief introduction.

A month into college life he was quick to acclimate himself to college life.  Adam took to his class schedule and studying diligently.  The weekend parties were enjoyed by all.  Although he had not found a girlfriend, he had met many girls that he was beginning to know very well.  

The music would play as a soundtrack that highlighted the freedom  that college life allowed.   Beer flowed freely.  Some of his friends, who he had only met a month ago, enjoyed the festivities in to extreme level; partaking in drinking in an attempt to experience the highest level of inebriation that they could reach.  Although he had only known them a month, he already considered many of them to be good friends.  He enjoyed his friendships, yet chose to take it slow and not drink to the point of losing his senses.

From the perspective of an eighteen-year old kid barely out of high school, this experience could have been frightening.  However, his outlook on life enabled him to look upon the situation with perspective.   The girls were plentiful and the beer flowed freely.  Every morning he would wake up early and prepare himself for a new day.  Each morning he enjoyed coffee.  Sometimes he would eat breakfast with one or more of his roommates, sometimes alone, and sometimes with  one of the girls at the school he had recently met.  The two of them were slowly becoming close.

Even the academics at the prestigious college, which could have been very daunting, were approached confidently allowing him to succeed at this very high level of schooling.  In high school the populace of the school was somewhere around sixteen hundred.  Here in college the student body numbered closer to fifteen thousand.  In addition, the schedule of classes was different every day; usually three times a week for each class instead of the standard five as it was in high school.  The structure was also more gauged to quality instruction than a heavy workload which would burden the student’s time.

Three months into college life and he read his posted grades on the University website.  He had taken 4 classes.  He had received a top grade of an A minus in his history class.  In addition, he had received a B plus, a B minus, and a B.  He was pleased in his academic adjustment into college life.

To celebrate the end of finals, the dorms threw a cluster of parties in unison.  He and his roommates cleared their apartment of furniture, got a keg of Samuel Adams Beer, and invited a few dozen of their closest friends to join in on the celebrations.  The music that they played was a collection of classic rock including Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. 

The party was enjoyed by all.  Instead of drinking heavily, Adam took the opportunity for mild celebration and to socialize with a large number of friends that he had made in his three months at the dorms. 

It was not a dance party, although everybody enjoyed the music.  Mostly it could be described by undefinable drunkenness and revelry.  He and Alison took the opportunity to share in conversation.  Much of Adam’s time at the party was spent on the balcony slowly consuming his beer.  Alison had approached him earlier in the night and they had stuck close to one another throughout most of the party. 

The hours passed and the mild drunkenness of many of the college patrons transformed into heavy intoxication.  The party was enjoyed by all; even those he chose to be very conservative in their party-goings.   It was about midnight now and Alison asked Adam to walk her back to her apartment.  There was a large collection of college students living at this particular dorm and the dorm encompassed a large area.  However, it was about midnight now and many of the parties had ended.  There was still some music in the background, but most in the crowd had already gone to bed from a night of heavy drinking.

The two of them walked leisurely to her apartment.  It was a cool night in the late fall.  The music that they overheard served as a backdrop to what had otherwise been an inconsequential night.  They arrived at her apartment after a brief walk.  They had been spending quite a lot of time together and they were beginning to know each other very well. 

Alison turned to face him before retiring after the party.  She looked at Adam wishing him a good night.  After a moment’s hesitation, they shared in a kiss to which neither one of them knew would lead.  They promised to meet each other for breakfast in the morning.  Adam walked back to his apartment pleasantly surprised on how the night had ended.  While he walked away the music in the background played and he looked positively ahead towards tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Dinner at Aunt Abigail's House

  • inspired by the song "That's what I love about Sundays" by Craig Morgan
After church on Sundays the family and all the cousins gathered at their Old Aunt Abigail’s house for a Sunday dinner.  They congregated in the enormous backyard of what used to be a southern plantation.  Aunt Abigail laboriously barbequed chicken for the entire extended family, which numbered around three dozen.  She made coleslaw and macaroni salad to add to the meal.  To complete the dinner she served corn on the cob.

The early days of Summer were the most suited for the celebrations.  The children played in the yard while the adults gathered for familiar conversation.  The vastness of the plantation comprised more than ten acres.  Giant cottonwood trees marked most of the landscape.  On the largest tree hung a swing on which the children took turns in the adventure.   They swung up and around, immensely enjoying the light-hearted activity.

As the children played, the adults engaged in their own trivial happenings.   The newly married talked about their children and the older members of the group talked about the days when they were young.

Aunt Abigail was ready to serve the dinner.  It was almost five o’clock and the children were famished from a long day of church and play.  The adults also eagerly awaited the meal, prepared as if by a chef.  The adults sat together at a table where they would continue the niceties of the day of which they always enjoyed.  Some of the older children brought the plates to the adults and to the other children filled with barbequed chicken, coleslaw, macaroni salad, and corn on the cob.   With a long day’s hunger they all began their meals, savoring every bite.

Today, as with every other Sunday, the adults sat with the adults as the children sat with the children.  The sun was lowering in the sky.  It was not near sunset, but the fiery image in the sky was highlighted with prolific colors.

Still in their Sunday best the adults continued their conversation.  The children had put on their play-clothes after church as to not stain and tear them.

Baseball season underlined the conversation among the men.  “What do you think the Brave’s chances are this year?” one asked.

Another ventured on the same subject.  “I hate to say it, but I think the Met’s are going to take it all.”

The women shared their own conversation.  They talked mostly about their kids.  There had been two new babies born into the family who their mothers adored.  They talked about when their cousin Marian was finally going to get married.  However, it wasn’t the conversation that was important; it was the weekly tradition of the family gathering that they cherished.

The men continued their conversation.  The school football team had made it to the county playoffs this year and they wondered how they would do this year.  There was a young promising quarterback on the team for which they all had high expectations.  He had been a junior last year and they all waited to see how he would perform as a senior.

“I’d like to see them win county and make it to state,” Abigail’s husband said.

In a small town like this football served as the main pastime and topic for conversation among the men.  The entire town would travel around the outlying areas and would root for their team every game.

The children talked and played while they ate.  There were children of all ages, from those barely past the years of being toddlers to those ready to graduate high school.  As they ate, the older children would look over the younger children and assist in the job of child care. 

Every Sunday, it was not a spectacular event, but it was a precious tradition.  The family, which had lived in this town for more than a hundred years, had always celebrated the occasion which brought joy.  In recent years they would meet at church and then gather at Old Aunt Abigail’s house.

As the year’s past there was much laughter and many tears.  The old passed away making room for a new generation and children were born.  But, the Sunday gatherings in which they shared time with each other and all the family were treasured memories for them all.  It was a time for them to rejoice in what it means to be a family and to inundate in the familiar love that they felt for one another.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not a tear to shed

  • inspired by the song "Paint me a Birmingham" by Tracy Lawrence 
He sat and watched the waves break against the shore.  He was not a heavy drinker; however, he took this opportunity to reflect on his life that he felt had hit a standstill since his break-up.  Lighting up a cigarette, he contemplated a relationship gone amiss.   The music played in the background highlighting the somber mood in which he was engulfed.

It began five months ago and ended abruptly after three short weeks.  Her beauty was undeniable.   But, that was not that which had drawn him to her.  It was the traits of a confident and demure woman that had begun the attraction.  When he was with her he felt at ease and as if nothing could possibly waver the bliss and tranquility he felt.

A large wave crashed against the shore.  He took another sip of his beer and lit another cigarette.  It was near dusk and the sun was beginning to set into the ocean.  The cool summer breeze refreshed his senses. 

Alone, he sat at a mostly empty bar staring at the direction of the ocean and contemplating recent events.  Not one to overly indulge in alcohol, he slowly finished his first beer.  He sat alone and watched the beach-goers pass by. 

The waitress returned to his table.  A young man sitting in solitude at this bar was rare, but she did not think much of it.  He gazed out into the ocean with a guise of indifference.  There were a few other patrons at the bar, but he chose to sit alone.  The waitress briefly glanced at him as she approached his table.  Her only thought was to wonder what caused a man to sit alone in such seclusion.  Usually the regulars at the bar would come with their friends and enjoy light-hearted camaraderie.

She asked him if he would like her to bring him another beer.  Without a sound, he motioned towards his glass asking for another.  Walking away she glanced at him, not considering a man alone in a location usually reserved for merriment.

Remembering their first meeting, he was sitting at a coffee shop reading a book and enjoying a warm espresso.  It was a small place across town reserved for those interested in light conversation and a mellow atmosphere.  As he read his book, he noticed her looking in his direction.  She smiled at him in a most modest manner.  It was not usually a venue for meeting people; however he walked up to her and asked if he could join her.

He felt an immediate connection with her, conversing with ease and feeling complete assurance. 

They had dated for only a few weeks, but during those three weeks he felt carefree with confidence that what he felt for her was true.

The waitress returned to his table with his beer.  He thanked her as he set another dollar beer on the table. 

The sun had nearly sunk entirely into the ocean.  The cool summer breeze chaffed against his skin.  As he took a few more sips out of his beer he lit another cigarette. 

Without recourse for solace, he began to regress in remembrance of what for a short time had been perfection.  Upon contemplation all he could feel was regret.

He finished his beer and placed another dollar on the table.  He looked at the stars in the sky and walked home on the brisk summer night.  Tomorrow he would work, while attempting to bury the painful memories of what he knew meant to him more than it should.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Family's Hope

  • inspired by the song "The Impossible" by Joe Nichols

“Watch out!” Steve yelled.  “It’s about to fall.”

Monty looked up, but it was too late.  The rafter that had been suspended by the crane fell from twenty feet up and trapped Monty.  Hanging precariously fifty feet above, was a steel beam in danger of plummeting to the ground.

Pinned underneath the rafter, Monty was unable to move.  He was not seriously injured, just trapped.

The steel beam was suspended above in danger of plunging to the ground and hitting Monty.  Monty could not carry himself from harm’s way.  The much larger beam would surely crush the life out of him.

From across the yard, Steve leaped into a Bobcat.  He would be able to lift Monty, who was pinned between a wedge of wood and the rafter, and bring him to safety.  He elevated Monty, along with his entrenchment, from the site of the accident as the steel beam suspended above was falling.  The beam fell on top of the Bobcat, breaking through the roof and landing on Steve’s legs.  Monty walked away with little more than a scare, but both of Steve’s legs were badly broken.   One had a clean break just below the hip.  Blood gushed from the wound and the broken bone protruded from his flesh. 

The other workers ran to Steve’s aid.

“I can’t feel my legs!” Steve cried out in anguish.  They immediately brought him to a hospital, but it was believed that it might be too late to return function to his legs.  It was thought that he may even loose them entirely.

Over a month had passed since the horrible incident.  With his youngest daughter’s wedding five months away, he would not be able to lead her down the aisle.  Bound by a wheelchair at this time, he would be forced to watch from those among the church.

“Therapy will get you nowhere” the doctor assured him.  “It is possible that you may be able to walk with crutches.”

Steve and his wife, Lara, were both very religious.  Their faith in God was unwavering.  They believed that, with fortitude and persistence, that Steve would walk again.  The precious dream of walking his daughter down the aisle was unshakable. 

The doctor recommended therapy that, but he pledged to Steve and Lara that it was hopeless.  Yet, they believed that God helps those who help themselves and with unflinching determination he engaged in the therapy.

Daily, he underwent his regiment of therapy.  Steadfastly, although painfully, he forced the tortuous exercise that would liberate him from his crippled condition.  He visited the therapeutic wing of the hospital and held himself up by his shoulders as he slowly staggered down the short passageway.  Three months into the therapy and he was able to place some of the burden of his weight on his legs, but he carried the vastness of it with his arms.        

“You don’t have to try so hard,” his wife pleaded as she wept from the suffering the rehabilitation was causing.  “Your daughter knows that you love her.  Being at the wedding will be enough for her.  You don’t have to put yourself through all of this.”

His determination was steadfast.  With each day he grew stronger.  One day, waking up in the morning, rising to sit in his wheelchair and make his way to breakfast; a pivotal advancement in his recovery occurred.  He felt a strange sensation in his legs where, for months, he had felt nothing.  Tingling, as if oxygen was being infused into his muscles, alerted him that a recovery might be possible.  He immediately informed his wife of the news.

After months of rehabilitation tears filled her eyes as she shared the same realization that their persistence and prayers might finally be answered.  

The wedding was upon them, only a couple of weeks away.  By this time, Steve was mostly carrying himself around on crutches.  The bulk of his weight was carried by his arms and the crutches, but complete feeling had now returned to his legs.

His daughter, Jessica, about to marry her longtime fiancĂ©, Alex, had shared her mother’s sentiment during her father’s entire recovery.  The pain the injury had inflicted also struck her emotions brutally.  “You don’t have to do it,” she pleaded to her father.  “All that matters to me is that you are there.”

On the day of her wedding, his father assured her he would not only be there, but he would provide his daughter with the right of passage owed to her.  “I will give you the wedding you deserve,” he said.  “I don’t know if you know this, but this day is as important to me as it is to you.”

Her wedding day arrived and their family and friends gathered.  She was dressed in a white gown and her groom in his tuxedo waited at the front of the church for her.  Her father who had been walking with only a cane, at times, for the past week insisted that would not be enough.  The wedding procession began.  However painful, he put aside his cane and walked his daughter down the aisle to meet her groom and begin her new life.

The emotions overtook his wife and she cried not only for her daughter, but also for herself and for her husband.  With steadfast determination, Steve was able to give his daughter the wedding of which they all dreamed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Day in the Bahamas

He awoke to a crisp spring morning.  The clean ocean air invigorated his senses.  He rose early from his slumbers.  As he enjoyed his morning cigarette the aroma of his fresh, brewing coffee welcomed a new day. 

After showering, he went back to the balcony to enjoy another cigarette.  With The Beatles Abbey Road album playing in unison to the tranquil atmosphere of the spring morning, he drank a cup of coffee, relishing it with another cigarette.

For breakfast he made himself an egg sandwich on an English muffin.  On the side he had homemade hash browns with four slices of avocado.  A glass of orange juice and another cup of coffee completed his meal.

Accompanied by a mass of young college students, he walked towards the home room of his philosophy class.  The friendly aura of the day seemed to be shared by all.  He walked towards his class, immersed in the beauty of the college co-eds that surrounded him.  Halfway through the walk, he noticed an attractive, young blonde college girl.  She, as was most of the campus, was probably in her early twenties.  He gazed upon her briefly, appreciating her soft, long blonde hair and her perfectly toned body accented by a halter top and a tight pair of cut-off jeans.  A girl of such beauty coming into view was not rare in this college setting, but he savored each occasion.

He continued through campus to his classroom.  He sat down about five minutes before class was to begin.  The conversation which was led by the professor was always fascinating.   That is why he chose to study the subject of philosophy.

The professor started the class discussion.  The topic of the class was the philosophers of The Renaissance.   The argument by Descartes on “I think, therefore I am” was the topic for today’s class. 

The professor began his lecture, but he always welcomed participation from his students.  After beginning the lecture, briefly restating Descartes’ thoughts, a large collection of the students joined in. 

One student, not highly enamored by what he considered to be the trite nature of Descartes’ argument volunteered.  In a polished and scholarly manor he stated, “The problem with the philosophy of Descartes is that the nature of his synopsis doesn’t amount to anything substantial.   Through the course of his argument he does little to enlighten his readers about anything intriguing or even interesting at all.  It is simply an exercise in rhetorical discourse.”

The professor, not distressed with the disinterest of his student’s protest, said, “Your argument is completely valid.  However, this is characteristic of the philosophers of The Renaissance.  They do not intend to provoke thought on pressing moral or political issues; rather, they attempt to exercise the intellect wherever it may lead.”

A young college co-ed, in her fourth year of education and a major in philosophy contributed to the conversation.  “Descartes, as espoused in his similar discussion of ‘what makes a ball of wax a ball of wax,’ participated in the same intellectual exercise.   Through challenging the intellect, liberation of the mind can be achieved.”

The class was fascinating and it stimulated Jonathan much more than most of his other classes did.  The classroom discussion ended an hour and a half after it began and the students dispersed to whichever was their next destination.   As he walked away he marveled at the intelligence of those attending college with him.

He did not have any more classes today, so he went about to the chores of the rest of his day.  Once again, he enjoyed the beauty of the college co-eds and felt exhilarated when one caught his eye and smiled in his direction.

As typical on a Monday, he stopped by the library on his way home from class to take in a couple hours of studying.  Although he enjoyed the trivialities of college life, he managed to maintain the focus on his education.  The day was uneventful.  It was spent by time in the library studying and by the forty-five minutes he spent at the coffee shop catching up on reading in his medieval history class.

The day was now over and another night in the college town which transformed itself into a resort every evening was ready to begin. 

He went back to his apartment after a mostly solitary day.  He showered and put on clean clothes to meet up with his friends.  Although he lived alone, his friends were plentiful.  He was friends with his neighbors as well as with a large gathering of other college students.  On many afternoons he shared a couple of beers with his neighbors in light-hearted camaraderie.  Tonight he would meet with a collection of his friends and they would test their fortunes on picking up college girls at a local bar.

Two of Jonathan’s good friends, Brian and Justin, met up with him at his apartment for a pre-party before a night of revelry which was about to begin.  From the wide selection of Jonathan’s CD’s, he chose a Credence Clearwater Revival CD.  They all stood on the balcony enjoying cigarettes and premium Budweiser lager.  After shot-gunning their third beer, they made their way half a mile through the small college town to their favorite bar.

The exercise in which they engaged brought excitement simply in light of the beauty of the college girls by which they were surrounded.  They picked out a table and began sharing a pitcher of beer as they submerged themselves in the atmosphere of the billiards club.

Instead of making a rash attempt to pick up a particular girl, the friends knew it best to let the evening evolve into what it would.  After a few more beers, Jonathan, Brian, and Justin went to the back patio to light up a cigarette.

Upon entering the patio, Jonathan saw a girl that he had seen a week before and immediately walked up to her as she gazed in his direction.  She was the one to initiate the conversation, “Can I have a cigarette?”  She asked him with a semi-sarcastic smirk on her face.

He happily obliged.  After a few minutes of conversation, Jonathan invited her and her friends to meet them at the pool table.  Brian and Justin were perfectly happy with this turn of events because it brought them into the cusp with the girl’s three friends.

The night went along as all nights did.  They all drank, but began to slow down after their fourth or fifth beer.  The night of frivolity was not lost upon them and Jonathan and Brian each went home with a girl’s phone number promising to meet up with them later in the week.

College life in this town was like a day in The Bahamas.  A day in The Bahamas is always a nice distraction from college living.