The old saying is; “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never can hurt me.” I am not so sure about that.
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|Jacob The Runaway Kid
A short story about Jacob who gets physically and mentally abused by his mother and her new boyfriend after his father leaves the family home. His mother then puts Jacob into a children's home with his older sister in Wales. Jacob and his sister runaway on a number of occasions to get back home to Liverpool. His father has no knowledge of his children in the care system but soon finds out.
When you're a janitor, life can get a little routine. When you are a janitor at Area 51, life can be a bit more interesting. When you're a janitor at Area 51 and everything goes wrong, life can get downright terrifying.
|Jesus and Dirt
Life happens. One day at a time. It’s the same for all of us. No one is immune, no one gets extra time, no one gets their days in advance. We all grind along at the same pace. I’m convinced most people wander away from the faith one slow day at a time. There are cataclysmic shifts in churches that do untold damage, driving scores away from the church and the faith. There will be more. But I still believe the daily grind of living by faith, of choosing to live out our faith, wears away more people than church explosions blast away.
It’s a bright September afternoon at about one. My wife Carol and I have just completed a productive four hours of end-of-summer vegetable gardening. We untwined the dying string bean plants from their trellises and shriveling tomato plants from their poles. Believe me you don’t want to untwine twined bean vines. It’s easier to extract a bad tooth from a rabid dog.
As for shriveling tomato plants, it’s a hard thing to observe. No one likes to see a friend shrivel. Shriveling isn’t pretty. Besides that, Carol shelled hundreds of beans while I turned cut up stems into the vegetable beds to improve the soil. And yes. A pound of dirt dove under my finger nails.
Carol is in a celebratory mood. “Let’s go to Northgate Market for some delicious tacos,” she says. “And I also need to stop at Dollar Tree and Joe’s Hardware.”
After the tasty chicken and beef tacos, Carol enters Dollar Tree while I remain in the car listening to the radio. Carol says she will be gone for only a few minutes. I listen to the news. I listen to Trump trashing Clinton. I listen as Clinton bashing Trump. I listen to a musician smashing cymbals in Stravinsky’s The Firebird. I don’t hear the whole symphony, only four of five movements.
Carol FINALLY returns with something bulky in a white plastic bag. I can’t see the contents, but the bag has angular sides indicating some boxes hide within.
“What did you buy?” I ask.
“Well, I didn’t buy a three-ring binder. They didn’t have it. And I didn’t buy the pack of pens because I didn’t like them.”
Who answers a straightforward question that way? My sister never answered a question that way. Other women I’ve known never answered a question that way. I conclude it’s probably not a typical female reply. I’m left puzzled. Very puzzled. You would be too if you got a “Carolism”—wording unique to her.
“I didn’t ask you what you did not buy. I asked you what you bought.”
“I was getting to that.” I detect a note of defensiveness in Carol’s tone.
Innocently, I try again. “So, Sweetie, what did you get?”
“Why do you want to know?” she says, as if I’m probing for the contents of a Top Secret file.
“Just curious. I don’t have an ulterior motive.”
“No. You’re not curious,” Carol says. Her tone turns indignant now.
“For God’s sake. Just wondering what you bought! And you were gone twenty, thirty minutes, you know.” I guess my voice is louder by now. I’m increasingly inquisitive and obviously frustrated.
“Leave God out of it,” Carol says, scolding me.
“And don’t raise your voice at me,” she insists.
“I was just asking about your purchase. I’m not going to report you to the FBI.”
“I suspected you were thinking about turning me in,” she says in all seriousness.
And I’ll have the CIA check her out also.
With her foot on the gas pedal and without even a slight transition, Carol announces, “I’m driving to the hardware store.” She’s really pissed. She still hasn’t told me about the bulky thing in the bag.
“Why are we going there? I don’t remember.”
“You know,” she says, stabbing me with her words.
“You’ll see.” Another stab.
“Can’t you just tell me?”
Then Carol blurts out, “Hair color. You nosy thing, you. You had to know.”
“They don’t sell hair color at Joe’s.” Male that I am, I’m still thinking we’re talking about shopping at the hardware store.
“I bought four boxes at Dollar Tree.”
Finally, one argument and two pages of conversation later, and completely out of context, I finally get the answer to the mystery contents of the plastic bag. It would have been easier to hold a cat still for a nail trimming. Really.