Congratulations to Bernie who won $125 for his winning entry!
My 105e Ford Anglia
by Bernie H., Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
If you lived in the UK in the 1960'sand 70's, you might have heard of the 105e Ford Anglia? Harry Potter fans will recall that the father of Harry's friend, Ron Weasley, also owned one.
One slight difference between Mr. Weasley's 105e and mine is that his could fly.
In 1966, my second-hand, high-mileage, rickety Ford old cost me ten pounds. I borrowed another pound to buy the previous owner a pint of Tetley's beer and a bag of salted potato chips to seal the deal. That pound I borrowed cost me another two pounds in interest one week later.
Changing the oil, the filter and buying third-party insurance, cost another five pounds, so the car owed me the grand total of eighteen pounds altogether.
I am the first to admit, there were a few small faults with the car, but nothing, as they say, is insurmountable. The scratch marks on the windscreen were so deep someone had once asked me if Tyrannosaurus Rex had attacked the car while it was parked.
I know the driver's side carpet was threadbare, and you could see the road passing by through the rust holes in the floor pan, but, if the brakes had worked properly, the body work that flapped about at speeds over 30 mph could have been a greater problem.
True, the grinding of the synchromesh on the manual gear box meant you had to stop the car occasionally to change gears, and it did put your teeth on edge sometimes. However, on a more positive note, the woman who helped me to bump-start the car one night, after the battery went flat, later became my wife.
It's hard to believe I eventually sold that 105e for thirty-five pounds to a man in a pub in Hereford.
Congratulations to Rachel who won $125 for her winning entry!
by Rachel R., Sachse, Texas
Great, big beautiful things can fill in the cracks that people cause in hearts – never
On a Tuesday in the summer 2014, I walked behind my office building to sob. I can still
feel the concrete parking building against my back as I slid down, cradling my arms.
Truth be told, I was crying about being stood up the previous weekend by a date. There
are no words that quite capture the humiliation one can feel from that scenario, so I
won’t even try.
Shrunken and sobbing, a construction worker from across the street saw me. I watched
as he went for the cooler in his trailer and pulled out a red can. He walked over to me,
handed it over, told me it was going to get better and to try to pray about it. Then he
walked back across the street.
I don’t drink soda, but I drank that Coke.
It has stayed with me for four years. He gave me his cold beverage in the
overwhelming Dallas heat and he was working a physically demanding job. But he gave
it to me while saying nothing inappropriate or trying to parlay a gesture into getting my
My self-pity resurged two days later. I headed out to eat lunch so that I could sob in
quiet. The manager of the restaurant saw me crying over my spinach salad and brought
me a lemon tart. She, too, told me things were going to get better.
I laughingly refer to this as the week “I got free stuff”. But really, it was the week that
showed me that kindness isn’t always the grand gesture. It’s about doing what you
can, with what you have. Just because something is small in value doesn't mean it's not
Congratulations to Jelisha who won $250 for her entry!
DATE DOWN THE TOILET...
by Jelisha G., Brooklyn, N.Y.
(Check out more of Jelisha's writing on her blog: www.letsunpacktherapy.com/blog)
“We need to talk.” Jason says an hour into our date, having barely touched my home cooked lasagna.
My mind raced with what he could possibly have to tell me. Did he have a warrant for his arrest? Was he going to ask me for gas money? Did he have hair on his back?
I had met “Marine345” on an online dating site two weeks prior. I was already convinced that we were indeed soul mates before he had even made the hour long drive to my campus apartment.
Aside from bracing myself for Jason’s confession, my belly was doing cartwheels and flips like a gymnast. I didn’t know if it was anxiety OR if the lasagna meat was perhaps undercooked. Understand that the latter was very likely as I was far from a cook, known to burn oatmeal and undercook rice.
I surrender to the fact that I am legitimately ill. In the midst of my nausea, I hang onto scattered key words that seem somewhat important, “.... a baby on the way....it was a fling ........really like you...she says it’s definitely mine......paternity test........maybe go on Maury....”
I can’t even process the absurdity of what he is saying because I am so overcome by the fiesta in my stomach.
Oh my God. Please No. I’m going to heave. I HATE throwing up, like worse than I hate peas.
There is no time to warn him as I stand to run towards the bathroom. He rises with concern blocking me...to his demise. Subsequently, I projectile-vomited onto his white collared shirt.
I heard the slam of my front door as I kneeled over the toilet letting go of my future with Jason, including my unknown desired role of a stepmother. All of my dreams went down the toilet. Literally.
Congratulations to Ellen who won $250 for her entry!
FIFTEEN SANTA CLAUSES...
by Ellen O., Brookfield, CT
(Check out more of Ellen's writing on her blog: ellenodblog.com)
Somewhere along the journey, it became very complicated. The other day a friend
shared something she had read, “In your lifetime, the average person gets 10 really
good Christmases.” How is it even factored? How does one gauge what qualifies as
a really good Christmas?
Fifteen Santa Clauses...
The Christmases of my childhood are good in memory. The lists, baking, cousins,
grandparents, and the soft glow of a candle in your window as you fell asleep each
Fifteen Santa Clauses...
The best Christmases of my life are easy to pinpoint. Being in love at Christmas is
wonderful. However, the best Christmases are seen through the magic of your own
children’s eyes, waking at dawn because the excitement can’t be contained.
Chaotic gift opening followed by Christmas outfits donned to take your place in a
pew. It is only then that you remember that all the hub-bub is about a child born in
a manger, centuries ago.
Fifteen Santa Clauses...
The day before Christmas this year, my ambivalence settled in. I felt harried when I
met three friends for lunch. When the check arrived, I felt the tap on my shoulder
to move along. I had things to do and wanted this mildly disappointing Christmas
season to be tucked away.
From the corner of my eye, I saw a stream of Santa Clauses. I did a double take as,
one after the other, they entered the restaurant.
“You guys, check out the Santa’s! We need to have our picture taken with them!”
I raced to the bar, where each Saint Nicholas was filling up. I found an especially
friendly Santa face and said, “Hello! Would you do me a huge favor and have your
picture taken with my friends and me?”
Multiple affirmative nods of white-wigged heads followed. My Santa gave his
approval in an authentic British accent. I smiled and said: “It’s a Dickensian
Christmas right here in Newtown, Connecticut!”
We gathered outside and found ourselves enveloped in a sea of red and white.
That spirit I had been missing had arrived by way of a crowd of Santa’s who picked
this time and this place to enter my space. As we extricated ourselves from the
scene, a Santa named Bob asked me to share the pictures by text. He put his
number in my phone and said, “We’re Sandy Hook parents. We’ve been doing this
thing for three years. Some of us lost our children.”
I was dumbfounded, put my hand on his shoulder, and said the only thing I could
think of, “I am so sorry.”
His eyes locked on mine, “Live your life. It can be changed in an instant.”
I was unexpectedly alone this Christmas Eve. A year ago, that would have undone
me. Tonight, I sat on my deck, and drank a beer with my loyal Labrador beside me,
and said a prayer for those Santa’s.
Fifteen perspective-adjusting Santa Clauses felt like the work of the Holy Spirit.
There were two winners for this contest. Congratulations to Lucille and Susan who each won $125!
HERE COMES THE GROOM
by Lucille B., Oakland, California
(See more of Lucille's novels and stories on www.authorsden.com/lucillebellucci )
The sun shone brilliantly on the guests and flower-twined pergola in Tilden Park where we waited for the groom to take his place at the front. But where was he? All our necks craned toward the clubhouse. The best man wasn’t up front, either.
Then they both emerged from the clubhouse, staggering drunk and giggling. The groom’s father stood up. He marched toward them and took the groom by the ear and hauled him up the aisle. No one laughed but the organist hit a few clunkers.
Some of Lucille's published works:
THE JOKE WAS ON US
by Susan E., Creve Coeur, Missouri
He ripped the back seam of his tuxedo, their priest never showed up, they found a replacement priest who didn’t know their names, this Man and this Woman wed in holy matrimony, car trouble forced them to the side of the highway on the way to the reception, the bustle of her gown torn in the receiving line by an overzealously hugging relative, a lost marriage certificate, and a tumble on the dance floor during the first dance. Promises of no pranks on their April Fool’s Day wedding upheld by family and friends. Still going strong after 29 years.