Category - Stories

A Season of Love

That sign hangs in our center-hall stairway, surrounded by years of family portraits, illustrating how our little family has grown. Our small series of stories begins in the mid-term of my first year in college. I firmly decided that I hated accounting, so I dropped out and went to work full-time as an automobile mechanic. The war in Vietnam was escalating and my draft status would soon become 1A, if I couldn’t maintain my student deferment. I signed up for a few night courses and planned to change my major to Automotive Technology in the fall, when my new draft status would take affect. There was no way to imagine how my life would change in the following year. September arrived...

The Times Of Your Life

Most of life is pretty mundane. Sometimes I find myself scouring my memory, searching for a story of some significant event. I dismiss some memories as being pretty ordinary. Many are not very interesting or comical, at least to the outsider. As the saying goes, sometimes you have to be there to appreciate it. I admire those who write fiction. I have a number of favorites but Louis L’Amore had a talent for spinning a good story. You can easily tell the good guys from the villains. And, his stories draw you into the characters’ lives, making you feel like you’re right there. Fiction is supposed to fire the imagination and stimulate your senses. That’s easy to see...

Thank You for Serving

Wolf Road in Albany has to be the busiest roadway in the entire Capital District. Stopping in the traffic and getting out of your car in that road is almost as dangerous as navigating the bread aisle at the Latham Hannaford the night before another Upstate New York snow storm. Yet, that’s what happened to us. We were threading our way through the traffic on our way to the Mall. Waiting for the light to change, sitting three lanes out in the middle of the road and preparing to turn left onto Sand Creek Road, was when I saw her in my rear-view mirror. The woman in the car behind us had exited her car, right on the double lines, and was walking toward us. I consider myself a fair...

Eh, Vhat You Can Do?

My father-in-law immigrated from Ukraine in 1948. He quickly learned enough English to get a job. He would retain the heavy accent for the rest of his life. He and his young wife would soon settle in Amsterdam, buy a house and raise a family. All with no government assistance whatsoever. For the generation of immigrants that came to America, fleeing the aftereffects of war-torn Eastern Europe and the oppressive Stalin regime, hard work was not a stumbling block but rather a friend to be embraced. The man had an enviable way about him when it came to stress. I believe the reason behind that was the attitude that you made your own success. Rather than worry about being unemployed, he would...

That Heavenly Choir

Howard was quite a guy. He attended our little church of about 150 people, faithfully. He didn’t have much in the way of formal schooling.  He didn’t learn to read until he was an adult, and then by reading his Bible.  He carried that old, tattered leather-bound KJV all the time and loved to read it at every opportunity.  As you might guess, he didn’t have a great job or make a lot of money.  His usual Sunday morning attire was a well-worn suit, necktie and a unmatched flannel shirt.  One thing he understood was what it meant to give to the Lord.  I don’t think he would approve, so I won’t share the details here.  This I can tell you, though, the man had a gift for giving...

Time for a Restart

I had been assigned to Fort Lee, Virginia, an Army Post, for Technical School after basic military training. The old WWII barracks was well maintained, thanks to those of us living there.  We all spent many hours on our hands and knees, scrubbing the bay floors with GI brushes.  Wax was applied with soft cloths and then buffed with handfuls of cotton balls.  You could literally see your face in those 20 year old, dark brown floors. Every footlocker was perfectly aligned with the base of the bunks, no clothes laying around or anything else out of place.  This was not “college dorm” living but a showplace of military discipline. The bunks surrounded the perimeter of the bay...

Who’s At The Door?

The dishwasher was humming away as we settled in to the family room after dinner.  It was summer and twilight had arrived.  All was quiet, so we decided to read for a while.  We both noticed the odd scratching sound at the same time.  Olga assumed that she had locked our cat outside.  The sound started and stopped, the repeated a few minutes later.  She then decided to see if the cat was at the door to the garage. I figured that we must have left the overhead door open when we got home from work.  She proceeded to open the door to let the cat in.  Right on the two steps leading to the inside door, standing on his back legs, was a white skunk with a black stripe on its back.  Having...

Христос воскрес

It all starts early on the Saturday morning before Easter and continues until well after the sun has set.  My Ukrainian wife will begin to prepare the array of goodies that we will enjoy the following day after church. This poses an interesting menagerie of food.  Included are the usual springtime assortment of salads containing my favorite food groups, potatoes and macaroni, but the best part is all that mayonnaise.  Nothing quite compares to that soybean oil and raw egg concoction to add healthy favors to almost anything that’s edible.  None of that low-fat stuff either.  We like the artery-clogging, cholesterol-popping “real” mayonnaise.  I can even tolerate okra...

A Meal Together

I really didn’t have a lot of rules for our sons as they reached their college years and living at home. Now they may disagree with that, but it is my perspective looking back. Our evening mealtime was, perhaps, the most important time of the day for us as a family.  We would eat dinner, then would spend some extended time at the dining room table talking about all sorts of things.  The topics ranged from the day’s events, school, sports, theology and everything in between.  There were some serious things, but mostly we told stories and laughed a lot.  There were plenty of nights that it would go on for an hour or more, depending on homework or other parts of the daily...

Coloring Easter Eggs

From time to time, my wife will invite a group of good friends and family to our house to decorate eggs for Easter.  If it happens to be the first time you’ve been invited to her annual ritual, initially you’ll conjure up visions of women and kids running around the house dipping those hard-boiled white chicken droppings into bowls full of food coloring.  Au contraire.  Olga is Ukrainian and what she has in mind is something quite different.  They call it Pysanky.  For you language buffs, that comes from the verb meaning “to write”.  I have a suspicion that it may also be translated “do not drop”, but I could be mistaken. As we prepare for the...