To Leap, Perhaps To Fly

The prompt:
Make a short list of words that describe largeness: grand huge vast biggest humongous
List of words that describe smallness:  tiny  itsy little  slight  minute
Randomly pair the lists:  tiny-grand  huge-slight

What would you write?


            The Grand Canyon spread out before me, and I just stood staring out at the vastness.  Layer upon layer of sandstone painted the vista with vivid reds, oranges and yellows.  I wanted so to take in the wholeness of it, but felt inadequate before the space.

The others had all opted for the guided burro rides down the canyon face to the river below.  I for some reason decided to stay and play the solitary wanderer.  I looked over at the trail crawling down the side.  The riders had disappeared around a corner already.  I walked back to the car, reached in for a couple of bottles of water and my pack, and moved over to the opposite side of the parking lot.  I stepped over the chain that blocked another, narrower path and headed down alone.  The air was dry and cool, and it looked like I was going to have a nice solitary hike.  I kept the canyon wall to my right, and kept my head down to keep the light of the bright sun out of my eyes.  The view might have been insanely scenic, but I saw only dry trail and the thin Colorado River below.

Fifteen minutes into my jaunt, the trail seemed to get a bit narrower.  I noticed that my right shoulder was getting a bit dusty from rubbing up against the wall of rock.  I didn’t realize till then that the trail just kept on going into the distance, but with the odd narrow spot here and there, as though a rock fall from above had taken out a bit of the path and left a one-person-wide cornice over the canyon below.  I slowed and examined the path as far ahead as I could see, and it still looked passable, though narrow.  I looked back then, and saw that with my focus on the path, I had walked through three of the narrows already.  Rather than let the deteriorating trail turn me back, I decided to be the adventurous type and forge on.  I had gotten this far.  how bad could it be?

I walked on, drinking sporadically and stopping to view the canyon.  Leaning back against the red rock wall, I looked out at millions of years of geologic history off in the distance.  The striations on the rock walls reminded me that the sediment was laid along a vast shore over thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of years.  In my speck of a trail, I felt like an ant under a microscope with the Grand Canyon looming over me, wondering at my minuteness.

It felt like forever, but was actually only ninety minutes when I came around a small outcrop on the trail and encountered a full stop.  There before me was sheer cliff face.  The trail had been wiped clean, and there was no more forward in my day.  A rock slide had taken out fifty feet of cliff face, and I could see the bare virgin rock untouched by the weather.

I rested for a while, and took in the whole scenic immenseness that was the Grand Canyon.  With a sigh and gratitude at having seen the scar on the cliff face, I turned back to trek up the canyon wall again to rejoin the group.  I figured that I would be back before they knew I was gone.

At the first narrowing of the trail, knowing that I had come through on the way down, I passed right along the path, left shoulder hugging rock.  The pebbles falling away into the void didn’t scare me.  At the second narrows, I hesitated, rested a b it, and finished off the second bottle of water.  I will admit to a bit of fear, but I walked slowly along the trail, my back to the rocks and my whole self presented to the canyon.  When I got back to the wider part of the trail, I looked behind me and wondered how I ever made it through there on the way down.  I must have been so focused on keeping the sun out of my eyes that it never occurred to me to turn back to safety.

I plugged on, heading steadily up toward the rim.  The sun had shifted across the canyon walls, and I felt bathed in red-orange light.  I came up to the last narrow spot, and froze.  There was no way that I had come through there.  I would have had to jump over one gap, and the trail on either side of it was eighteen inches wide at most.  What had I done?  A sheen of sweat broke out all over my body, chilling me in the shadows of the canyon wall.  I had no choice.

I began by moving up to the edge of the slight lip, and swung the pack off my back.  With a long backhand, I tossed it forward, out and away, and saw it fall onto the narrow trail eight feet in front of me.  With my hand on the rocks, I backed up ten paces, took a few deep breaths, and jogged forward, my eyes focused on the backpack.  At the edge of the gap,  I pushed off, seeing only the pack, and thudded into the trail.  I skidded a bit, and my right foot was off the rock and into air, but I rolled left and hit the wall.  I was safe.

Teton Days

I joined Main Street Writers in the Spring of 2012.  Linda, my Love, had suggested that I should seek out a local writing group if I wanted to do more than just the one piece I had written ( Read that one here  I did a simple Google search, and discovered that there was such a thing as Amherst Writers and Artists (, with affiliates, groups, and a welcoming philosophy of inclusion for new writers.  Looking at their group list led me to Kathy Dunn and Main Street Writers (

I was welcomed by the group, and felt as though I had been adopted into the writing life.  I can’t explain in words the acceptance and encouragement I received.  It was wonderful, and I am sure that I walked around in a daze that first week, just waiting until I could go back and do it all again.

This is the first prompted writing piece I have ever done.  What would you have done with this prompt?


3-22-12  There is a trail leading off into the distance.  Write about it.


I arrived at the drill site after a rather harrowing drive down twenty miles of gravel road.  The road was new, and built just to get the rig onto the location.  The Tetons didn’t have much road, and if you wanted to get into the middle of the wilderness, you had to bring the road with you.

The routine was twelve hours on, twelve hours off for two weeks, then you got a week off.  We worked hard, and the rig was set up to take care of us in comfort.  We were fed every six hours, slept in 4-man dormitory rooms, and had a theater with films brought in each week.

On our week off, my crew headed up to Jackson for skiing and drinking.  I tried it once, found out that falling down a mountain wasn’t for me, and said “See you back at the rig, guys!”

It was late October in the Rockies, and I grabbed my backpack and walked away from the rig for the rest of my time off.  Five days of sleeping outside, hiking, and getting away from the world.

As soon as I turned the corner up into a small valley, the noise and smell of the rig disappeared.  I was on my own in an aspen forest, golden yellow canopy above me and high grass or moss below, and peace all around.

I made five miles the first day, according to the map.  I wasn’t using it to see where I was going, just to see where I was.  As I walked, the sounds of the forest started to come back to me.  The birds recovered from my presence first, and chirped, cawed and called away, ignoring me.  On my way across a tall grass meadow, I heard, then saw three elk at the edge.  They stopped, looked, then dismissed me as no threat and moved on.

I slept on the ground the first night, with the stars above and pitch black all around.  Every once in a while an elk would snort.  I didn’t want or need a tent.  I wanted to see where I was, outside of a cocoon.

In the middle of the night, I awoke slowly and listened carefully.  Five miles away, down the mountain and away, I could see the glow of the rig above the trees, and feel the motors drilling into my mountains.

She Got Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes

2-28-13  List exercise  4 items

  • Things that are old    Pyramids, Mom, big trees, Grandpa
  • Color                            Blue
  • Time of day                Afternoon
  • A barter                      Cookies for new soles on your shoes


“So, what do you think?  Is a couple dozen cookies fair for new soles on my shoes?”  I had been flapping around in my old loafers for a week now, and finally broke down.  The village cobbler was an old guy named Gus, and I had been keeping my shoes going by Gus for about seven years now.

“Well, I suppose the cookies would have to be pretty spectacular for both shoes.  I’d be happy to do one for a couple dozen chocolate chips.  Leather these days, you know.”

“What about I make it three dozen, and throw in some walnuts?”  I was feeling a little bit creative today, but living in a town with a local currency and free barter was just wearing me down.  Maybe if I just offered to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner.  What’s one more mouth when I could pay off all my debts in town with one big blowout of a meal and everyone got invited.

Gus was on a roll. “Do you have any cranberries?  I’d go for three dozen with chocolate chips, walnuts and cranberries!”

“Done,” I said.  “I’ll drop the shoes off this afternoon, and start baking.  Any idea how long it might be?”

Gus got a faraway look in his eyes, like he was imagining those cookies and a tall glass of cold milk.  A sheen had broken out on his forehead.  “Well, Mother’s making supper tonight, so I may have some extra time.  How about tomorrow afternoon?  Does that suit you?”

“That’s fine.  I’ll stop by after work with the cookies.”  I headed out, making a mental note to not forget the shoes.  I chuckled at that bit about Mother.  Everyone in town knew that Gus, at sixty five, still lived at home with his mother who was pushing ninety.  The old bat could still cook.

It was a lovely day, with a clear blue sky.  I headed off to the bookstore, meaning to get it opened and sorted by nine thirty.  Folks usually straggled in on and off through the late morning, and I had some barter writing to do before then.  That Farralon couple wanted a poem for their newborn son.  That should be good for a chicken.

I passed by the travel agency and looked at the posters in the window.  I went by them every day, and never got tired of dreaming of far off places.  I wondered which body part I would have to barter for a trip to the Pyramids.  Had someone mentioned kidney trouble at the last town meeting?  I could spare a lobe of liver for the town alky.  Everyone knew he was a tight old miser who probably had the first penny he ever stole.  It would be mighty satisfying to get him to stick a crowbar in his wallet just because he didn’t know the meaning of the words moderation and temperance.  I sure would like to see those pyramids, and maybe ride on a camel.

The bell above the door dinged as I opened the store.  I brought in a couple of boxes of old books dropped off by folks hoping for a credit.  They always tried, but I hadn’t found a real treasure in ten years.  Not since Old Lady Westerly started going blind and brought in her entire collection of signed Hemingways.  I think she thought they were cookbooks.

I started sorting, and tried to think of who I could get cranberries from.

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

6-13-13   Pick a number  –  63      Add “rings”


Sixty-three gold rings were looped around her neck.  The metal had been beaten so thin and fine that all of the rings together didn’t weigh an ounce.  There was one for each year of her life, and if she had been a younger woman, you would have thought they were a dowry.

Each ring had been formed by her husband and presented to her on her birth anniversary.  The celebration in the tribe was a daylong affair, and the presentation of the ring was the start of a bacchanal of feasting, dance and storytelling.  Halfway through, she would be compelled to stand and tell a story of an important day in her life, or in the life of the People.  There were others in the tribe who were older, but none wiser.  The men revered her, and the women respected her.

Leaders before had been presented cattle, or robes, or a finely carved staff with runes telling the story of the people winding around and around from grip to tip.  When she ascended to Head, her husband had presented a gift of twenty-seven rings, which he had worked long and hard to craft.  They were a gift of love and respect, and the gift was renewed each year.  No one else in the village thought to do this thing.  It was set from the beginning.

This evening, as she stood before the crowd, she looked out at her family and all the other families that called her Head.  They trusted and revered her, and the stories she told were written down and became the lore of the people.  This time, the tale would be a hard one.  She stood, and told of the future.

“The time is coming when we must travel,” she said.   “There is a chill in the air earlier than last year, and the fields have grown tired.  Our tribe has grown in size, but not in strength, and the stillness of our feet has led us down no path of good.  If we are to survive, we must gather what we need.  Every one of us must prepare, old and young.  You have two months to teach the children, and then we move to the coast.  Along the way, we will gather what we must, and when we come to the edge of our world, we will build boats, enough for all and some, for we shall travel for a while, and we will continue to grow in our travels.  We must do this, or die a slow death.  I do not declare this lightly, but do tell you the truth.  We can live, but not here.  This year’s celebration is to start a new time for us, and we can all be glad.”

She sat back down, and beckoned the elders forward.  The others drifted off, some of the celebration taken out of their souls.  Clusters formed, and questions were asked.  The elders did not have to ask.  They trusted her, and as they looked back over the past years, they saw the truth that she had seen first.  They spoke with her, and with each other, and began to plan.

One was a shipwright, and was compelled to tell how long the building would take.  The farming folk were told to gather everything, and leave no seed behind.  Weavers were told to begin the long process of outfitting everyone with the sturdy garments needed for travel, and most of all to cover the feet of every person thrice over, for the travels would be far, and there would be no time to stop and gather new.  The eldest knew the sky, and he was told to draw a map of the trip south.  It was to cover the entire distance from zenith to southern horizon, and as new horizons presented themselves, he would draw more.  The children were to gather the fruits of the field and forest, and dig what there was.  No quarter was to be left, as there would be no returning.

“Strip it bare,” the Head declared.  “The earth will heal itself after we are gone, but we need all that She will give us or it will be harder.”  The others knew then that the faint hopes of returning some time to a comfortable life were folly, and that the world had indeed changed.  The drink was passed as they talked, more than once, and the flagging spirits rose a bit before the night was over.  This would be a great adventure, and all would be part of it.  The tales would be told for years to come, and the grandchildren would remember it well, for they will have lived it, too.

Love you!

4-25-13  Make a short list of words for texture:

Nubbly, hard and flat, striated, silky, gooey, crunchy, abrasive

Start with relationship between people having these textures.


Peter slid into the room, his movements compact and fluid.  You would swear from looking at him that he was on roller skates as he headed for the bar.  His eyes were focused on the neck of the woman in front of him.  He shifted into full stealth mode and stopped an inch from her back.  She sat, unknowing, her own eyes gazing into the martini sitting before her.  His arm curved forward around her, pulling her body back against his.

“Shit!”, she shrieked, as the glass shattered and her salvation flowed across the bar.  Her flying elbow caught him on the temple as he was bending to kiss her behind the ear.  “What the fuck are you trying to do, you prick!?”

Peter picked himself up off the floor and braced himself unsteadily between two stools.  “I just wanted to show you how much I care, sweetie.  Geez, that was some hook.”

“Well, listen,” said his fiancé Bethany, “if you want to sneak up on me, next time give me some warning.  You could have been anyone!  Think next time!”

Peter waved for the bartender and turned back to his love.   “I’m sorry.  You’re right.  I wasn’t thinking.  Maybe we can get a table and I’ll make it up to you.”  He turned back to the waiting bartender and said “One dry martini and a strawberry daiquiri, please.  I’ll be back in a sec.”

The couple moved over to a corner table and Peter pulled out a chair for Bethany.  She accepted the gesture grudgingly.  “Must have been a bad day for her to be so abrasive”, Peter thought to himself.  These words would never pass his lips, especially in front of his love.  She would skin him alive if she heard them.

He turned and slid back over to the bar for their drinks.  “I wish I knew how he did that,” thought Bethany.  It was one of his endearing qualities a year ago.  Now it just creeped her out.  If he was sneaking up on her like that, who else was he sneaking up on?  Had he wrapped those snake arms around another woman?  If he did and she found out, he would wake up dead the next morning.  Should she warn him?  No, just let him find out.  Now, what’s expensive on the menu?

Peter navigated his way back to the table with a little less smooth in his step and a splitting headache.  Maybe he’d feel better with some food in his stomach.  Maybe she’d be a little less grumpy if she had some food in her, too.  He set the martini down in front of her, after letting her see him from ten feet away so his approach wouldn’t startle her again.  Sheesh.

Bethany raised her glass and smiled broadly.  “To us!”  Maybe that would soften his reaction.

“To us,” said Peter.  Why were there two drinks in front of his eyes?  Was that Bethany’s sister sitting next to her?  He drew his drink up to his lips and hit his cheek.  He set the glass down in front of him, stared for a second, and his head fell forward, impaling itself on the stem of his daiquiri glass.  There was no blood, just a stiff shudder, and sudden relaxation of every muscle in his body.  The strawberry slush spread out across the table from under his face.

“Shit!”, thought Bethany for the second time that night.  “Who’s gonna pay for these drinks?  You son of a bitch!”

Take a Badger to Work Day

There are many times when we have a bit of time at the end of a session at Main Street Writers.  Kathy will let us take a break for tea and cookies, then we’ll do a short flash piece.   Note to anyone running a writing group:  Feed the writers.

5-23-13    3 minute writing.  Make a short list of things you don’t want to find in your closet:

A badger

There’s just something that comes to mind when someone brings up a badger.  You certainly don’t want to meet one in a dark alley.  You’d rather not have one in your shorts.  Having one under your bed would give you the willies for the duration of your short sad life.

But who is it that actually came up with the concept of the evil badger?  Maybe they’re really nice, but they all had a bad day.  “Hey, don’t bite my head off!”  Maybe they have bedrooms where they always get up on the wrong side of the bed.  Anyway, tomorrow is “Take a Badger to Work Day”.


6-6-13   Write about a time when you were surprised


“Hey, get out of there!  What do you think you’re doing?  That’s nasty!”

Who was this dipshit telling me what to do?  Had he ever been down on his luck?  He looked well-fed to me.  It’s not like this was his personal dumpster.  I suspect that he hadn’t “claimed it”.

“Fuck off, dipshit” was all I could come up with.

“If you don’t put that down and get out of there, I’ll call the cops, or somebody.”  He obviously hadn’t been living in the Valley for long, or he would have known that dumpster diving is a time honored way to make a living around here.  Maybe he was just trying to con me out of the way so he could get at all of the good stuff.  I had been coming to the Whole Foods dumpsters for years now, and while I’m sure the pickings weren’t as good as browsing through the samples inside, at least I knew it was organic.  Like you know the dumpster outside the Jewish Community Center is going to be kosher.  Some things you can just take for granted.

I popped my head out of the side door and glared at the doofus.  “Listen buddy,”  I said.  “I’m not hurting you.  I’m minding my own business looking for dinner.  There are people all over the country who actually pay to get a chance to do this.  It’s like an adventure for city folks to actually get to live the rough life.  Now if you would, please throw those last two bags in here and go back inside and do your cushy little job and let me do mine, okay?   Hmmm?”

I turned back to digging, and had to duck quickly as a bag came sailing over the edge of the dumpster.  More loot.  I was actually hoping that the dessert department had turned over their stock, but I seem to remember that they did that on Wednesdays, and here it was still the weekend.  Oh, well, dessert could wait.  I had struck pay dirt with a half a roasted chicken.  It was still pretty warm, and I couldn’t help myself.  I hunkered down in a corner on top of an unopened bag and set to work on it.

I had finished the thigh and was just getting ready to suck down a drumstick when I saw blue flashing lights reflected off the walls of my steel bodega.  The little shit had dropped a dime on me.

The lights were brighter on the store side of the dumpster, so I scurried over to the opposite door and quietly slid it open.  The coast was clear, and I slipped out and down to the asphalt, drumstick still in mouth.  I heard the opposite side door slide open and saw the sweep of the flashlight.  As soon as the light disappeared, I snuck around the back of the dumpster and waited for our town’s finest to do a walk around.  By this time, I was right behind the fender of the cop car, and peeked in to see the Dunkin Donuts bag on the seat next to the laptop.  I snagged a chocolate sprinkles, and retreated to the cardboard bin until peace had been restored and I could get back to work.  The cop took another minute of looking around, got back in the car, called it in, and moseyed off, one donut lighter.  I felt good that I had saved the guy from a life of high cholesterol.

I climbed back in and commenced to collecting for tomorrow’s luncheon.  I pondered the difference between lunch, luncheon, and supper, which I knew was more popular in the Midwest.  As I ruminated with a small bunch of grapes, another bag came sailing over the side, and I had to scuttle into the far corner.  Laughing boy was back.

I stuck my head out the side door.  “You know, that wasn’t very nice.  How would you like it if I called the cops on you for harassing a citizen going about his constitutionally protected business?”

The kid just stood there looking googly eyed.  How had the cop missed me?  Were they that clueless?  “You better get out of there, or else!”

“Or else?”  I hopped out with a bag of goodies.  “If that’s the best you can do, I’m not going to hang around.  There’s no challenge here anymore.  See ya in the funny papers, if you even know what they are.  Toodle-oo, screwball.”

I headed home, three days worth of dinner fixing’s over my shoulder.  The kid headed back inside to the safety of bright lights and the comforts of civilization.

Lord, Lord, Lord

3-26-13  The prompt:  Use this poem –

                    Ode to the God of Atheists by Ellen Bass

The god of atheists won’t burn you at the stake
or pry off your fingernails. Nor will it make you
bow or beg, rake your skin with thorns,
or buy gold leaf and stained-glass windows.
It won’t insist you fast or twist
the shape of your sexual hunger.
There are no wars fought for it, no women stoned for it.
You don’t have to veil your face for it
or bloody your knees.
You don’t have to sing.

Read more at:

The hammer was in full swing, heading for the chisel, when the lightning flash pulled my attention away for just a second.  “Goddamn it!” I cried, leaping away from the stone and wrapping my hand in my gut.  I was bent over in agony, looking as though I was punching myself in the stomach, when the thunder arrived.  Through the pain, I heard, clear as a bell, an invisibly spoken “NO.”

That one word had absolutely no power to make my busted hand feel any better.  Through the tears, I looked up toward the door, expecting to see some errant friend who had stopped by just in time to see me make a fool out of myself.  “Good,” I thought, “they can drive me to the hospital.”  I wiped my eyes and looked, but I was alone, me and my busted sculpture and my hand that would soon look like a balloon.  I looked around the room.  It had sounded so real, but perhaps it was a pain-induced hallucination.

I turned back to the stone, and swiped a lop-sided kick at it. “THAT WON’T HELP, IF I MAY BE SO BOLD.  PERHAPS ICE ON THE HAND WOULD SERVE YOU BETTER.”

What the fuck.  I could understand ringing in my ears, but voices?  “Who’s that?” I said in a small voice.  I wasn’t scared yet, but I could see it approaching in the distance.


I sat.  Right in the middle of the garage floor.  I must have finally tripped a breaker, and this was it.  “Well,“ I said, “As long as you’re here, could you fix my busted hand?  It would save me a trip to the Emergency Room.”


The hand, throbbing a second ago, was back.  Being the quick thinker in the family, I immediately threw out the next wish.  “Can I have a million dollars?”


“Well,” I said to God, “it was your fault for distracting me with that lightning bolt.  Don’t you think you owe me something in compensation?”


“So what good are you if you’re not going to keep it up with the miracles?”


It seems that Einstein was right.  God does have a sense of humor.

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

10-25-12         The prompt:   A poem from Robert Zimmerman’s  From Where I Stand


“Hey, buddy.”

I started.  I hadn’t seen the man in the shadows of the doorway.  It was a dark and wet evening, chilly as late fall can be.  There was a hint of snow in the air, a feeling more than anything, that thin scent of winter anticipated.  I had my shoulders hunched, head down into the collar of my long coat, intent on getting home.  It was easy to miss the odd vagrant or two.

“You talking to me?, I asked.

“Yeah.  Can you help out a fella down on his luck?  I ain’t eaten in a couple of days, and there doesn’t seem to be a Mission around these parts.”

I was tempted to walk on, but  I had been in his shoes just a year or two ago.  The war had hit me hard, and the demobilization was an abrupt shock.  Others had gone back to school on the Bill, but I tried to go back to the factory.  That lasted for just a couple of weeks, until the memories and visions started coming back.  I pulled through.

“Would a square meal help?  There’s a diner the next block over.  It’s clean, and warm.  I’ll spring for supper, and you can get a bit drier.”  I felt flush next to my new friend, even though I knew it would be a little tight after a meal out.  I knew what he was going through, and it would help me as much as him.

“Sure.  That’ll be swell.  Name’s Jimmy.  What’s yours?”  He swung into step beside me as we headed off.

“Robert John Alouicios Halligan.  After the nuns.  Sister Alouicious thought it would make a very nice Confirmation name.  I think I was suckered.”  I laughed a bit at the memory, and my step lightened a bit as we walked.  Jimmy was an enthusiastic guest, and began to regale me with stories of the street and the rail yard.  We turned the corner, and saw the diner ahead with its dingy light spilling out onto the sidewalk and a halo around it from the mist.  We picked up steam at the thought of a warm place to sit.

I waved Jimmy ahead of me as I opened the door.  The cook looked up with a frown when he saw my companion, then a bit of confusion as I followed.  It turned to resignation as we sat in a booth.

The waitress slid off one of the stools, came over with her pad flipped open, and said “What’ll yiz have?” in a slurry kind of way.

I looked up and smiled at her.  “Coffee, and two Blue Plate Specials, please.”

She turned to grab a couple of sturdy mugs, and shouted out “Hey Ernie, two blue plates!”

Ernie poked his head out the window, and apparently hadn’t gotten over the surlies.  He scowled as though we didn’t rate a Blue Plate Special, pulled back into the kitchen and started to clatter things around.

“So, Jimmy, what’s the plan?

He looked sheepishly at me.  “No plan, Bob.  I’m just living.”

I knew exactly where he was.

The Slugger

5-10-12  The prompt:     Pick a song from your childhood and use the first lines as the starter, and in the body of the story

30-minute writing, fiction

“Playmate, come out to play with me.  Tell your mother can you come out!  I’ve got the stick from my Ma’s old broom, and we’ll use your ball.  All of the other kids in the gang are waiting down at the lot, except for Stinky and Max, cause they gotta work.”

The vacant lot between the tenements was our kingdom, and ocean, and battlefield, and Dodger Stadium.  We had a blast, cause there were no adults around, except for the old cripple from down the block who came back from the war deaf and shakin’.  He keeps staggering up and down the block, and one day he even walked right in front of the ice wagon and almost got run over by the horse.  He’s harmless, though, and he never bothers us when we’re playin’.  He even smiled at me once.

Today, we had enough for two teams, even if they were small teams.  I decided to be Babe Ruth, even if I am a girl.  He coulda been a girl if he was born one.  And he’d probably be the greatest girl baseball player of all time, too.  So I’m gonna be him.  Teddy, I bet, wants to be Joe DiMaggio.  He’s always spouting off about how Joltin’ Joe is the best, but I know he’s fulla baloney.  I’m the world’s greatest.  Anyone who says I ain’t will get a punch in the kisser.

When I got home, Ma had a whole pile of clothes to iron and fold, so I helped her fold.  I tried to help  her iron once, but she didn’t appreciate it too much. I don’t want anyone to think I’m useless, and throw me in an orphanage.  That would be awful.

I went next door to my friend Dottie’s house, except it ain’t really a house.  It’s a walkup just like I got.  We don’t know anyone who really owns a whole house.  Gee, that would be swell.  So I says to Dottie, her real name is Dorothy, but if I call her that she gets all heated up, and doesn’t play with me.  So I says, grab your coat, and bring your dollies three, and we’ll play like we’re Mrs. Hoffmeier from down the block, and take the kids for a walk to the park, except we can’t really go to the park cause my mother says its too far to go alone, and she’s still busy ironing and folding.

Dottie had her dolls in the carriage, and didn’t we look special strolling up and down the sidewalk like we was something.  The old cripple went by once, and he smiled at the dolls in the carriage, and smiled at us and drooled a bit.

When we got tired of strolling with the children, I told Dottie it was probably time to go home for supper, and I’d see her tomorrow, and maybe we could have an adventure in the park with the children and even go sailing on the ocean.  We’ll climb my apple tree, and watch Tom Mix at the theatre.

I ran home, and Ma had finished folding, so I put clothes away for a while, then just sat with her in the kitchen.  I told her all of the adventures I had with the gang, and how I wanted to be Babe Ruth when I grew up, and how me and Dottie looked so grand as we took the children out for a constitutional.  Ma smiled a lot, and just kept boiling the meat and cabbage for supper.  It’s usually just us, cause Pa has to work so hard, and he doesn’t get home until it’s time for bed, and then he comes in and reads a bit of the newspaper to me and kisses me on the forehead.   Bedtime sure seems to come early when you have a whole day of fun.

Gee, ain’t life just swell.