Almost every day I put our American flag out at dawn and take it down at dusk. I often think of my dad and our neighbor Mr. Ford. I was very young when I first noticed Mr. Ford, early in the morning, raising the American flag on his tall flagpole. I watched as he pulled that flag higher and higher until it was waving high in the sky. He secured it tight and then stood back and saluted. At dusk I would see him go outside, and slowly lower the flag, fold it neatly and go inside. I remember asking my dad why Mr. Ford did this every day, weather permitting.
News and Blog
The place I first heard of the upcoming total solar eclipse (coming closer every day!) was on Earth and Sky. http://earthsky.org/ In fact, I subscribe to their posts and get them every day. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen me repost some of their things. I’ve always been fascinated by what’s up there in the sky—and by what’s down here on the earth.
The 24 authors who contributed to DAY OF THE DARK, our short story anthology of eclipse-based stories, decided to give some of the proceeds to charity. Guess what I chose? You’re right, Earth and Sky! Two others chose that, too. We’re a varied group, so we have a lot of different interests. Here are the charities that will benefit from our sales:
I like to say that these donations are going to these great causes in the spirit of light and life: Earth and Sky, Petconnect Rescue, Natural Resources Defense Council, Science Center in Finland, DonorsChoose.org, Friends of Goldendale Observatory, Friends of the Earth, Morehead Planetarium, Texas Museum of Science and Techonology, DAPCEP.org for STEM education for future astronomers and scientists in Detroit, and personal friends in need.
Here are teasers for 4 more stories, coming out July 21st, a month before the total solar eclipse in North America, from Wildside Press.
One activity that I enjoyed with my mother was to take evening walks. It was a time for me to tell her about my accomplishments and disappointments. It was a type of therapy for me and I believe it was for my mother also. She didn’t work outside of the home, and didn’t drive a car, so ‘getting out’ was something I believe she looked forward to.
Much about Walter Murray Stone is a mystery. He was a smallish but stern man who was easily riled. He was born in Oliver Springs, a small town about 25 miles west of Knoxville in east Tennessee in 1897. He had an older brother Richard who lived in Oliver Springs and a younger sister Jean who lived in Ohio. His father was William E. Stone; his mother was Mary Ann Francis. Except for the above meager information, nothing else is known about his parents or his siblings for he was never heard to speak a single word about them.
Actually this is not a totally accurate statement for one fact is known about his brother. Richard and a friend were killed by a train under mysterious circumstances as they stood talking one morning on the railroad tracks in Oliver Springs. They failed to respond to the sounds of the approaching train until it was too late. No one knows why.
In 1923, Walter met, under unknown circumstances, and married Mary Almeda Caldwell, a kindhearted and thoroughly religious woman, also from Oliver Springs and from a fairly well-off and educated family. Three of her six siblings became secondary school teachers. Her father Johnce Cranston Caldwell owned substantial acreage in the small community of Galloway and was highly respected in the area.
It would be hard to find a husband or wife with less in common. Most people from her church and her family considered their marriage to be a poor match, and Walter made little effort to interact with his wife’s family even though they lived close by in Galloway. Mary was as calm and patient as he was harsh and unsocial. She was as trusting as he was suspicious. The Caldwells were strong supporters of the small Galloway Baptist Church and her faith was simple but unwavering; he, on the other hand, rarely went to church with her and showed little interest in matters of religion. He was also given to bouts of drinking with his brother Richard.
Most people agreed that Walter was hard to get to know. He was socially awkward and tended to regale those he met with stories about something he had done better than someone else while making little effort to get to know his listener. He was never heard to pay a compliment to anyone, even his long suffering wife. Once when Mary tried on a new shade of red lipstick, Walter declared that her mouth reminded him of the ass end of a blue jay that had been eating poke berries. He had not completed high school and was not a proficient reader; that fact may have contributed to his suspicious nature.
The other day I was thinking about our front porch in Montague, Michigan. Growing up it was used as a gathering place where people were welcomed, listened to, encouraged to share, and I believe, felt loved. I never really understood the significance of all of this until mom and dad were gone, and I could no longer sit on that front porch.
Our library in Montague, MI was above the firehouse. I was happy to know I could go there and check out fun books to read. We didn’t have a television so our activities were simple. Reading became an important part of our lives.
One day my father said he had a surprise for me. “I want to show you something, Adele. I’m going to take you to a place where there are many books! We’re going to go to Grossman’s.” (Grossman’s was a very popular department store in Muskegon, MI).
He cried out “God, please help me understand!” as he lay in bed that night. How could someone be so heartless, throwing away a member of the human family like garbage, leaving her in a field to freeze, starve or become an animal’s next meal? Dave Hickman had never witnessed such evil before. As his body trembled in response to the memories of that day, the questions wouldn’t stop.
It’s a Wonderful life? A Christmas Story
By Wayne Zurl
Few people want to work a four-to-twelve shift on Christmas night.
My wife had made an early dinner the night before and we opened our presents on Christmas Eve, satisfying our holiday spirit. And working Christmas day paid double time and a half. That’s no humbug.
My partner, Louie, had just split up with his wife and it wasn’t his turn to have the kids.
So, he and I sat drinking Dunkin Donuts’ coffee watching the stop light at Station Road and Montauk Highway. There were no cars, much less violators lurking about on December 25th.
It was warm that year, about fifty degrees. I took the pile liner out of my leather jacket before I left home. The heat generated by the big 383 Plymouth engine and sent through the thin firewalls made the interior of the police car too warm for a jacket. We tossed them into the back seat with our brief cases.
And we drank more coffee.
“We haven’t heard shit on the radio for almost twenty minutes,” I said.
“If we could find another human being I’d run them for warrants,” Lou suggested, “just to keep the dispatcher awake.”