Smiles

Smiles are a great way to show enjoyment of humorous moments, but they do much more. They greet, encourage, and motivate. They comfort, calm, and reassure. They allow people to see the humanity of the one smiling. They can be an image of love. My smiles come as naturally as breathing so I’ve never given them much thought until now—when I’ve lost the ability to share them. In these COVID-19 days, other than when I’m walking alone in the neighborhood, my smile is covered, hidden under fabric designed to keep my germs to myself and the germs of others, away.  At the grocery store, I recognize no one and no one recognizes me, though I’m surely seeing the same grocery workers I’ve encountered on a weekly basis for years. Thankfully, since most other customers are...

Squirreling Around

Okay. I admit it. I feed the squirrels in my back yard. Since I like the little rodents, some of my friends think I’m nuts.             One neighbor keeps a trap in his yard and removes any captured squirrels to woods many miles away. They get in his attic, so he’s trying to stop the partying that awakens him in the middle of the night. He’s tried repairing his home to keep them from gaining entry, but they still find a way. Smart little critters.             Another friend—this one lives in a rural community—shoots the squirrels in her back yard. She’s already passed the hundred mark. The squirrels get into the motor of her F-150 pickup...

The Perfect Submission

Many thanks for your submission. Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for us. We are sorry to write that we do not feel your project is suitable for our list. Regrettably, we are unable to accept your manuscript for publication. I am so full of stories I could burst, yet I can’t seem to choose the right words, or place them in a format that anyone wants to read. Do you ever wonder how many different ways there are to say Rejected? Enough to wallpaper a small room, in my case. I sometimes feel like the practice dummy for a boss who wants to fire an employee. The only difference is that with rejection notices, I don’t have to worry about getting spit in my eye. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with good words. I have an extensive vocabulary and could probably win a...

Adventuring

I don’t know why I feel the urge to do something adventurous when milestone birthdays come around. But sixty-five is here and I decided I wanted to get more out of it than Medicare. Ziplining was my choice and my husband joined me in the adventure recently while in the North Carolina mountains. Highlands Aerial Park was great but it wasn’t the big rush I expected—not like skydiving five years ago. I guess stepping out of an airplane at 14,500 feet was a bit more dangerous.  I wanted a real challenge. So I got a new tattoo. The tattoos on my back have been with me for years and since I can’t see them, I forget about them. I decided I wanted one I could see, one that would call something important to mind every time I looked at it. I...

Find my stories online!

You can find more of my stories on the following websites: www.howtopackforchurchcamp.com www.potatosoupjournal.com www.tacobellquarterly.org. (look under Essays) www.storyhouse.org

Honest Answers

I wrote the following five years ago but never posted it on my blog. It’s about time, I’d say, as I’m about to hit the age 65 milestone! And I DID jump out of that airplane! I have always measured my words carefully, thinking through everything I want to say before I open my mouth.  After all, I don’t want to be misunderstood and I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.  Everyone knows that the “sticks and stones” rhyme is far from true; words hurt much more than a fist in the face. So, I’ve been surprised by my recent tendency to answer questions quickly, without forethought.   The first time came on a trip to Montana when my daughter’s in-laws asked what was on my bucket list.  Now, I’ve never...

The Non-Outdoorsman

He doesn’t much care for the outdoors, that husband of mine. His aversion is largely due to allergies, as he seems to have a negative response to any green, growing thing. Two hours of yard work will put him out of commission for the rest of the day while his head tries to sort out the histamines and congestion that have incapacitated him. Allergy meds help, but George is averse to taking pills of any kind. If he feels badly enough, though, he will occasionally take Allegra or Claritin. “I took drugs yesterday,” he said after an hour of spreading mulch, “and I felt so much better than I feel today.” “What does that tell you?” I said, in hopes he would acknowledge the benefit of using some help on a regular basis. “Bubble boy should not go outside.” Like I said,...