Cry of the River Birch

I pass it each day on my walk, the lone river birch planted in the slender strip of grass between street and sidewalk. Too close to the walkway, its branches threaten my face so I move to the furthest edge to avoid being poked in the eye. But I don’t mind. Living things need space to grow. We give a little here and there to live peaceably, to coexist. One morning, I see a branch has been broken, snapped so it no longer reaches the sidewalk. A threat removed. In saving ourselves, we hurt others. And I wonder, is it worth the cost, This price of fear? The birch now bare as if crying its loss, tearful dew falling from the broken limb. A tear I match with my...


There was a red Jeep sitting near the power lines, an out-of-the-way place apart from the houses in the neighborhood. I was walking Prince when I noticed it—and knew to be wary since it was an unfamiliar vehicle. The car’s windows were down and as I drew closer, I could see a guy sitting in the driver’s seat. An alarm rang in my head, telling me to be alert. I held the dog’s leash firmly, positioned him on my side closest to the car, took a deep breath and picked up speed as I began to pass. Then I heard his voice. “Hey, good-looking!” My blood turned to ice and I readied myself to get into defensive stance. The Rape Aggression Defense class (RAD) I took at the local police department taught me to do exactly that. I had practiced for years and now it looked as if...

Mystery Tapper

Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap Hearing the sound, I assume it’s coming from across the street where a neighbor is having carpet installed. But there are no doors or windows open (not surprising, with icicles hanging off the trees), which makes me wonder how I hear it so clearly. Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap There it goes again. From my window overlooking the street, I can finally tell the sound is coming from my front door. Strange for someone to knock rather than ring the bell. Even stranger, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the porch. Tap Tap Tap Tap—Tap Tap My cautious nature makes me hesitate. When have I ever opened the door without first knowing who was there? I take a deep breath, grasp the knob, and pull. The porch is empty. I step outside and look up and down...

The Campout

This story was just published! Go to to find “The Campout” in the March, 2022, issue.

The Beauty of Rocks

Rocks call to me, inanimate though they may be. Perhaps my attraction is their permanence, their ability to stand firm and solidly in place. True, erosion comes with the passage of time, with exposure to weather extremes, and with interference from human hands. But I have no intention of damaging rocks; I only want to enjoy them. Climb, sit on top in the sun, or rest beneath an overhang in the shade. I first appreciated the shelter of a rock at age seven during a hike up Sharp Top Mountain at Peaks of Otter, Virginia, a strenuous one-and-a-half-mile climb. After suffering the heat along the way, I welcomed the shaded opening near the summit. Two gray rocks gaped like the mouth of a gator, though with flat surfaces sans teeth. I stretched out on the lower bed-like...

A Hard Night

After a rough night of little sleep, I dragged myself downstairs to the breakfast table. “I’m exhausted!” I told my husband, George. “I became the star of an action-packed thriller and spent the night fighting a yeti.” He looked at me with raised eyebrows. “An ice chest?” That woke me up. A new perspective for my adventure.


Jockey brand is one of my favorites, underwear, sleepwear, and activewear. It’s comfortable and affordable. After spending a bit at the Jockey outlet in Destin recently, I received an email asking if I wanted to be part of a Jockey Wear test. Hey, if I get a product for free just for purposes of giving feedback, I’m all in. I took their four- to five-minute survey to see if I qualified. First question: Gender. My answer: Female Second question: Age. My answer: Sixty-something. Jockey’s immediate response: Sorry, but unfortunately you do not qualify for this particular wear test from Jockey. Done in five seconds. Apparently, old women are not their target market.