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.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Awaking before Dawn

  •         Inspired by the song “The Secret of Life” by Faith Hill

Awakening this morning before dawn, life brought with it hope.  In it, he had newborn ambition to create a life that would replace the broken one that had recently ended.

No more booze, no more cigarettes; he awoke this morning to a freshly brewed cup of coffee with cream and sugar.

The morning light began to rise over the horizon.  The clouds in the distance showed colors of red and purple.  Joseph poured himself a cup of coffee.  The morning air that he enjoyed with his coffee shivered his skin, but with feelings of life and vitality.

The sun was still below the horizon.  It was in the early morning hours and his family would not be up for another two.  He had to go to work; he would have to be there at 7:00.  He sipped his coffee while the chill rejuvenated his senses.  He enjoyed the tranquility in the morning hours which he spent alone.   

As was typical, he would make breakfast for himself this morning.  He did not want to go to work with an empty stomach, so, with the ease of a masterful chef, he fried and egg.  He made a sandwich with the egg and a slice of cheese.  A glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal completed the meal.

After breakfast, he went about his morning routine.  He cleaned the dishes, shaved, brushed his teeth, showered, and put on clean work clothes.

Not too typical of an exciting life, but it brought with it the joy he cherished every day.

Joseph got into his car and drove to work.  He had been out of work for five years as a recovering alcoholic, but he had managed to keep this job at the bagel shop as an assistant manager for the last seven months.  Things in Joseph’s life were finally going in the right direction.

Traffic was not bad this morning in a small suburban town on the outskirts of San Diego.  As he drove, a song came on the radio.

“The sun shines on the ground and the grass is oh so green.  My heart is filled, and I got the will, and I really don’t feel so mean.”

It was a rather older song by VanMorison, but it inspired his soul.

Joseph arrived at work.   There to greet him were his manager and three of the early shift workers.  The smell of fresh bagels permeated the air.  Shelly, Emily, and Tom, as well as George, the manager, wished him “good mornings.” 

The monotony of life did not bother Joseph.  The routine in which Shelly and Emily eagerly awaited him with a smile brought to him simple joy.   Moreover, his friendships with Tom and with George were not as superficial as had been the friendships at the bar.

Although the work entailed at such a job did not challenge him in any way, the social outlets that it enabled caused him to smile in his soul.

Greeting him this morning, Shelly smiled and talked about a television show she had seen last night.  He had a few years on most everybody there, but the friendships he made were, in some way, very real.

Blake Shelton was great on ‘TheVoice’ last night,” she said, thinly disguising the crush the 18-year old girl had on the singer.

“I thought the 49ers were going to take the Super Bowl this year,” Tom offered.

While they all went about the opening duties involved in working at a small bakery, Tom and Joseph continued to discuss football and the Super Bowl.    

“I was for Green Bay all year,” I thought they were going to win it all,” Joseph told Tom.

George broke in as the two young girls meandered into their own conversation, “My team is the Steeler’s,” he shared.  “They always have been, but they haven’t done much for a few years.”

“They always have a good team though,” Joseph said.

Although the conversation was trite, it served to build profound friendships.

When he arrived at work this morning, Joseph was met by smiles from Shelly and Emily.   Although they were both younger than he, the smiles on their faces and the joy in their hearts invoked similar emotions in Joseph.  Both, despite their youth, were very beautiful.  He was not looking for any kind of a relationship any time soon in his life, but the palpable emotions of joy that he felt warmed his heart. 

While they worked, the conversation evolved on its own volition.  An hour after he got to work, the customers started to file in.  The simple tasks of pouring coffee and toasting bagels were repetitive, but he embraced his duties from a precious outlook that somehow brought meaning.  With a friendly demeanor, he welcomed each customer.  With courtesy, he prepared every order.

Working on his feet for an 8 hour shift, it brought with it the appreciation simply to be alive.

It was his lunch break now.  A couple of the other workers had come in for the morning rush.  Joseph enjoyed a garlic bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese and a tomato.  With it, he had a cup of coffee. 

Sitting in the back of the store, Shelly and Joseph shared their lunch break.  Her pretty smile and liberated manner allowed Joseph to enjoy the conversation with no prospect of anything growing from it.  Her usual smile was all he needed to bring the love in to his life that had been missing through his many years of alcoholism.

Joseph finished his eight hour shift.  On his way home, he would visit a coffee shop.  Sitting and reading the book by Steven King, Salem’s Lot,' he enjoyed a cup of coffee.  Although the coffee shop was full of patrons, he sat in solitude enjoying his coffee and his book.  The gothic nature of the story, not reflecting his own newfound optimism in life, allowed him to delve deep into another world.

Joseph finished his coffee and drove home.  Tomorrow would be a new day bringing with it freedom and enchantment.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I would like to thank Jeannette Andersen
for nominating me for the 

Her blog can be found at:

I have worked with her on many occasions.  Her work is excellent.  Take a look.

Here are the rules of the award:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers to the award.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

7 things about me:

  1. I have an eclectic collection of short stories and essays on my webpage.
  2. I enjoy singing.
  3. I love country music.
  4. I enjoy a good steak dinner.
  5. I enjoy the philosophy of Kierkegaard and Frederick Nietzsche.
  6. I begin every morning with a fresh cup of coffee.
  7. I am a die-hard fan of the 5 time Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys.

15 Bloggers You Should Check Out:

  1. Dennis De Rose (http://www.thebookmarketingnetwork.com)
  2. Jessica Kuzmier (http://jkuzmier.com/blog/info/welcome.htm)
  3. Marta Merajver (http://asmsgbooks.wordpress.com)
  4. Elizabeth Merchant (http://charmaineelizabeth.blogspot.com)
  5. Kathleen Pooler (http://krpooler.com)
  6. Elmarie Porthouse (http://www.e-novelist.com)
  7. Betsy Riley (http://brwas.com/wordpress)
  8. Peggy Strack (http://pstrack.blogspot.com)
  9. Peggi Tustan (http://peggitustan.blogspot.com)
  10. Raani York (http://raanihyork.wordpress.com)
  11. Sandra Tyler (http://www.awriterweavestale.com)
  12. Arlee Bird (http://tossingitout.blogspot.com)
  13. Elisabeht Zguta (http://elisabethzguta.blogspot.com)
  14. Edna Bell-Pearson (http://www.bell-pearson.com)
  15. Ronnie Dauber (http://ronniedauber.com)

I would like to once again thank Jeanette Andersen for nominating me for this award.

Thank you and good luck for you all with your writing.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On the Porch Sipping Sweet Tea

  •  Inspired by the song “Song for the Life “ by Alan Jackson

Jon Gardner sat on his front porch.  In his late eighties, he had been retired for many years and had spent a typical day such as he did today.

Puffy white clouds scattered across the sky.  Leaves of orange and brown filled the trees in his yard.  It hadn’t been stormy lately, but he could expect it within the next week.

Every morning he awoke before the sun.  He still drank coffee in the mornings, but in the restful afternoons, he would sip sweet tea and look upon his lustrously landscaped yard.

Today he got up as 5:30 in the early morning and made himself a cup of coffee.  He walked into his kitchen after getting out of bed, boiled water, and mixed it with instant decaf coffee.  It was cold this morning and he looked upon the frost on the window, timid about facing the daunting day.  Not to worry, it would warm up later today and he would be able to spend the afternoon in his usual fashion.

Jon’s wife had died five years back.  It had been a painful time in his life, she had been sick for a few years.  They had been married since they were both in their early twenties and he had been unable to envision a life without her by his side.  Yet, his fortitude allowed him to go on.

He sat on his porch today, sipping sweet tea he had made the day before.  His life of solitude brought with it, peace.

He could remember, despite his years, the day of his wedding and his beautiful young wife, Jessica.  It was more than sixty years ago, but he could remember it with clarity of sight.  The memory often brought tears to his eyes as he sat on his front porch.  On an early spring afternoon, he had stood at the front of the church which was filled to capacity with friends and family.  His best man and best friend, Thomas, stood next to him. 

The music began to play and his beautiful wife, wearing a long, white wedding gown, walked arm and arm down the aisle with her father as he prepared to give her away to marriage.

It was a long time ago, yet he remembered it clearly.  They had spent their honeymoon on Long Island along the eastern shoreline.

He thought of the many years with his wife as he sat enjoying this early autumn afternoon.  He took another sip of his sweet tea.  Yesterday, in the early afternoon, he had put a jug of water mixed with sugar and tea on the ledge and let it brew in the sun for hours.

Memories, once again, began to take hold of his thoughts.  Their first child, a son named David, had been born a year and a half after they were married.  David had long since been married himself.  He had his own children who had their own children, which now made Jon a great-grandfather.

David was Jon and Jessica’s first of three children.  Michael and Tammy were his other children and they had also been married for many years.

As Jon sat, memories continued to run through his mind.  He took another sip of his sweet tea.  He remembered one particular Christmas.  It was only one of the many that he spent with his three children and his wife.  They were all in their early childhood and Jon and Jessica were in their early thirties.  It was the early 1960’s and along with the many toys and dolls given as gifts to their children, Jon and Jessica bought a color television for the family.

The Christmas tree was in the living room, highly adorned with decorations.  After the individual gifts were given to each member of the family, Jon went into the garage where he rolled in a brand-new color television which had been kept secret from the children. 

It brought joy and happiness to his family for many years.

Other memories crossed Jon’s mind.  All of his children and grandchildren lived close, but he chose to live alone.  They would visit him on many different occasions.  Holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, would be spent with get-togethers which included the entire family.  However, this early autumn morning was spent alone with Jon contemplating his past. 

Once again, he thought of the day of his wedding as he looked up into the sky and at the foliage in the front yard.  He stood at the front of the church with his best man as Jessica and her father walked down the aisle.  A veil covered her face, but it could not conceal her beauty. 

The preacher announced, “I now pronounce you Man and Wife, you may kiss the bride.”

He looked to the front row on noticed Jessica’s mother attempting to hide her tears.  Jon lifted Jessica’s veil and softly kissed his new bride with warmth and love.

Jon sat in the yard and took another sip of sweat tea.  His eyes grew misty.  The memories were those of joy, not of pain.  As an old man, he had lived a complete life with nothing now but wonderful memories to cherish.

Jon took another sip of sweet tea.  He thought to himself, “Looks like it is going to rain later this week.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

One Chapter Over, One Begun

  • inspired by the song "The Blues Man" by Alan Jackson

They walked together barefoot on the beach.  Without worry Michael knew this was right.  Hand in hand they walked, the freedom he felt unchained the emotions in his heart that had long been buried.  Jennifer looked over her left shoulder smiling upon him with sentiments that were true.  The waves crashed in from the ocean and the tide advanced to wet their feet between their toes.  The footprints on the wet shore served as a symbol to the feelings of togetherness that warmed Michael’s heart with passion infused with tender care.

Three short years ago he sat alone in his apartment.  The romanticisms that had been driven from his spirit had only left a longing for solitude and self-sustained despair.  He had started drinking four years before and it now epitomized a meaningless existence. His life of the past had been drowned by the solitary nightly ritual which had evolved to desolation and anguish.   His past life served only as a reminder to the wretchedness that now encumbered his life-blood. 

He awoke one morning horrendously spewing from the bottle of whiskey he had partaken in the night before.  Blood as well as bile filled the toilet as he unwaveringly awaited his next drink.  Last night he had watched an old movie that he haphazardly found on cable while he imbibed each painstaking swig of whiskey straight from the bottle.  As his inebriation grew, he smoked cigarette after cigarette.  His thoughts quickly succumbed to oblivion.

Three years ago Michael, typical to his second-nature, awoke to his sickness compounded from an extra hefty dose of alcohol the night before.  After his early morning consummation; he showered, shaved, brushed his teeth, and put on clean clothes.

Typical to a Saturday morning, he drove his car to a nearby coffee shop for a cup of the remedy that would mildly alleviate the magnitude of his hangover.  She stood in line in front of him.  Such an attractive young woman had no business smiling at him, yet she did. 

It was she who initiated the conversation.  “I believe I have seen you in here before,” she innocuously stated. 

With the brightness of an early Spring morning only accentuating the pain from last night’s drinking, he responded with the requisite conversation.  “I come in here most mornings.”

He could remember her from last week.  He could not remember which day, but he remembered her air of sincerity which enhanced her moderate beauty.

She spoke as if she had no expectations and he tried to overcome the awkwardness of an inconsequential meeting.

After a few short words of introductions, she ordered her coffee and looked his way.  She said to him, modestly, “I will probably see you in here again.  I notice that we both come here most mornings.”  Before he could answer she said, “My name is Jennifer, what’s yours?”

He responded without nuances, “My name is Michael.”  As she walked out the door, she turned back and offered him a warm smile.

He went back to his apartment after finishing his coffee and a few cigarettes.  On an early morning such as this it was conventional to begin an early day of drinking.  He poured himself vodka with tomato juice and a heavy prescription of Tabasco Sauce.  He once again yielded to his drunkenness and an early night of sleep.  However, as he drank and watched the television, he thought of her genuine smile and it somehow brought tenderness to his heart.

The next week they came across each other on several occasions.  At first it was a few words of “hello,” but the attachment that he felt for her grew with each meeting.  Finally, a couple of weeks after their first introductions, he managed to ask her out on a date.

He invited, “Would you like to see a movie with me next Friday?”  It was a clich├ęd and unconfidently proposed request, but she demurely accepted.  They exchanged phone numbers with the expectation of him picking her up at her apartment sometime after 7:00 on Friday later that week.

He awoke that Friday morning with no significant aspirations, but he still managed for the first time in years to skip the morning ritual of alcoholism in favor of a few cups of coffee and a barrage of cigarettes.

He picked her up at 7:00 later that night with complete sobriety and a night of guarded expectations.  It was a prospect for a budding relationship which had been lacking in his life for longer than he cared to remember.

He knocked on her apartment door.  She was wearing a heavy dress of cotton and she was primed for a night of growth in a relationship that she had also been lacking.

She smiled at him.  The feeling that struck his heart was beginning to feel real.  He walked her to his car, innocently opening her door before he let himself him.  She reached across to unlock his door.  She was impressed with the gentlemanly gesture which was not typical in a city such as this.  He was also vaguely impressed with her gesture which was somehow sincere.

Awkward silence accompanied their first date.  They listened to music that was playing on the radio and began to settle in with each other.  Small talk evolved from stillness.  She spoke to him of her days at college.  She told him, “I studied sociology in college with a minor in communications.”

He continued the conversation.  “I went to college at Cal State Los Angeles, too.  I studied political science, but haven’t done much with it since.”

“Where do you work?” she asked him as the ice was slowly breaking from the point of uncomfortable silence.

“I am a communications consultant for Citibank Financial Service,” he stated to thinly disguise the fact that he answered phone calls all day.

They continued talking with one another for a short time.  They did not talk about anything of any importance, but the chill of a new meeting began to fade.  They arrived at the theater, sat close, and enjoyed the film together.

“I would like to see you again,” he told her as he dropped her off at her apartment at the end of that night.  

In an unpretentious manner and the affectionate gesture of a smile, she responded, “That would be very nice.”

Their meetings transformed into once a week, then transformed to twice a week, and finally transformed to nightly interaction including the prolific phone calls that they shared with each other.  As their relationship grew, his drinking began to subside.

Their love strengthened and gave him the courage to overcome the nightly habit of excessive inebriation that had controlled his life. 

It was not from any active inciting from Jennifer that he was able to quit his drinking.  When they met he had always managed to keep himself sober.  He did not mention his days of drinking to her, but he finally had found something strong enough to make him quit his pursuit of misery defined by such behavior.   His days and nights of drinking faded into the past.  The warmth of love that Michael felt for Jennifer transformed his once decaying life into one of joy.

They walked along the beach.  It was almost dusk now and the Sun was beginning to sink into the ocean.  Their footprints crossed across the wet sand on the beach.  They held each other’s hands and enjoyed a tranquil, peaceful moment of harmony. 

His past days of alcoholism were gone.  He held her close and asked, “Jennifer, will you marry me?”

She smiled at him as tears welled up in her eyes.  She kissed him gently and said, “Michael, I will marry you.”

The Sun crept into the ocean as the waves broke against the rocks.  As Michael drove Jennifer back to her apartment a smile filled both their hearts.  A long-lasting love had brought the strength to his life that Michael needed.  The desperate struggle of darkness was all but forgotten.  He would now live his life with the clarity of thought only possible for a man who has realized a fulfilled life.