A Lucky Curse

Beware the Ides of March

A loud thump! I woke up quickly, already startled into a sitting position before I opened my eyes. Was the roof coming off? Had someone set off a bomb nearby? Something had definitely gone bump in the night and quite loudly, too. It was, after all, the Ides of March when one must be wary of what might happen.

Soothsayer Warns Caesar

The Ides of March have long been associated with bad luck, a curse. In ancient Rome the Ides of March was a time of settling debts, religious celebration, or feasting. It was also the day that the soothsayer warned Julius Caesar of his impending downfall. And so the soothsayer spoke truly. Caesar was attacked and stabbed to death soon after. Since that time, people have considered March 15 an unlucky day. Continue reading A Lucky Curse

Big Stinky Hole

If you have never been in a stinky outhouse, you haven’t lived. That is you haven’t lived in a rural area where there is no indoor plumbing. Those days are rapidly disappearing as people build modern houses. Actually, they have been disappearing for some time. When I was a very young child, we lived for a couple years in such a place. We had an outside toilet, better known as the outhouse. It was a small building a little way from the dwelling house. It had a slanted roof as is the style of such edifices. A hinged door led to the inside where there was a wooden bench with a hole in it. Beneath the bench, in the ground, was a pit. A big, stinky pit containing feces and urine, which at that age I called pee-pee and poo-poo. To peer into the pit took a whole lot of curiosity accompanied by a measure of bravery.

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Going to Heaven?

“Everyone here going to heaven, raise your hand!” the rather exuberant older woman said as soon as the crowded elevator doors closed. The people on board, including myself, looked everywhere but at her. Then she said it again, “Everyone here going to heaven, raise your hand.” Thankfully, the elevator stopped at her floor, and she got off. The folks who remained in the elevator didn’t speak for meet each other’s eyes.

It seemed obvious going to heaven was very important to her. I wondered later why who was headed to heaven was so important to her. Perhaps in her religion, she was taught that it was her duty to mankind to see that all were “gathered in.” What was her heaven like? I supposed from her demeanor that her heaven was that of the old-time religionist as voiced in “church” songs of the past. She could be expecting “a mansion over the hilltop,” or maybe in her bid for humility she preferred “just a cabin in the corner of Gloryland.” How about “band of angels” and getting to meet her savior face-to-face. Streets of gold? Crystal seas? Whatever it was, the idea excited her. Continue reading Going to Heaven?

The First Magic Story

Dancin’ Fool

“Dancin’ Fool” was the first story that came to me whole and nearly fell on the page by itself. That us why we called magic. The inspiration for the story was, what seemed to me then, an elderly relative at a family reunion.  He danced by himself or with any woman or child who would dance with him. I couldn’t get the image of him out of my mind. A few years later, I was taking a college writing class and needed to write a story. The narrator’s voice came to me as though someone were whispering the story in my ear as I hurriedly scribbled down on a yellow legal pad. Of course, this story is a fabrication of my own imagination and in no way relates to the actual person who inspired it. I know nothing of his personal life. I still think of that old guy from time to time. He’s probably dead now, but on a late summer’s  many years ago, I saw a man full of the joy of living. In a way, he gave me a great gift:

Dancin’ Fool

Some folks might have called him a dancing fool, but Henry liked to dance. He guessed it had started when he was a baby and his folks took him along to play parties, square dances and such. Now as a grandfather he’d come back to the place he grew up for a reunion with all the people he remembered from the old days. It was a time to renew old acquaintances and relive memories.


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