Welcome to my short story blog. These posts will be updated as I write new material, and develop new ideas. I don't plan on frequent posts, as this type of material takes longer to develop than my other blog, Travelighter. I welcome comments from you, and hope these are inspirational and enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Captain Ty

                Maine summers were hot and sticky. Miserable and tired of playing alone, Tyler complained to his mother that everyone, except him, was at camp.

              “You should go visit Grandma,” said his mom.

                “Mom, I hate going there. Her house smells. It’s boring.”

                Tyler ran out the door and hiked through the woods toward the ocean. When he reached the rocky coastline, the relief of cool air soared over the bluff.  He made his way north among the rocks, watching the seagulls and inhaling the salt spray from the pounding waves. Coming to a quiet inlet, he climbed down the bluff to sea level. Foundered on rock and mud was an old sailing vessel. Tyler scrambled along the shoreline for a closer look.

                In the low tide, a couple of broken lobster traps lurked in the mud. Splintered wood floated in the murky water. A big hole was cut into her side, the remains of a dock lingered. A tree grew on her foredeck.

                Tyler saw her, a beautiful clipper, sails unfurled, her hull racing across open sea. He saw himself, Captain Ty, legs astride on the bridge, sailing home with his merchant crew. A whale spouted nearby, but he was no whaler. He easily outran a distant pirate ship, his speed no match for them. Her cargo was precious, and he sailed on, racing time and wind. Every great sea captain must have a parrot on his shoulder, and he taught his to say, “Aye, Aye Captain Ty!” The sails tight in the wind, she skimmed the waves on wings.

                His imaginary voyage took him late into the afternoon.  With the incoming tide he realized he must hurry home. He would be in trouble for not going to Grandma’s.

                “Tyler,” said his mom, “Did I ask you to go to Grandma’s?”

                “But I don’t like to go there. It is too hot to sit and watch her doze.”

                “She needs you, Ty. It means a lot to have you visit. You give her something to think about. Tomorrow, I want you to spend the morning there and help her around the house. Do you understand?”

                “Yes, Mom,” Tyler grumbled.

                 The next day, Tyler walked slowly to his grandma’s. He swept the porch, picked strawberries and helped her clean. Tyler told her about the ship. His voice, as he talked, filled the stillness.  When he paused, he noticed she was smiling. He asked, “What’s funny?”

                “Ty, did you know your grandpa sailed? He had a little schooner. He loved the sea, and he loved talking about sailing, just like you are right now. You remind me of him.”

                “Really, Grandma? How far south did he sail? Was he ever caught in a storm? Did you sail with him?” Grandma patiently answered his questions until the morning ebbed into the afternoon. He was from a family of sailors. He hadn’t known. No wonder he loved it. The wind was in his heart and soul.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Change the World


“Jimmy, get up now, or you’ll be late.”

“So what?”

His mom stood outside his door, her arms full of laundry. “So what? So the bus driver will hit the car that would have been a minute later if he hadn't waited for you to cross the street, still fiddling with the arm of your jacket.”

Jim sat up in his bed, rubbed his eyes and scratched the back of his head. “What?”

His mom went on, “While the bus has to wait for you, two boys in the back of the bus start fighting. When you get in the bus, the driver is distracted and doesn’t pay attention at the stop sign. If the bus had been a minute earlier, that car would not have raced through the intersection at the same time as the bus. Because the bus hit the car (no one was hurt, but the radiator and headlights on the bus were smashed), the driver had to pull over to the side of the road and call in for a back-up bus. By the time the back-up bus got there and all you students were unloaded and loaded into the new bus, you arrived at school an hour late. Because you missed the P.E. test, you are not allowed on the baseball team. Because you are not on the baseball team, you will not get a scholarship to college. Because you don’t get a scholarship to college, you have to work through your college years.”

Jim interrupted her. “Really, Mom? All because I am running behind this morning?” He yawned and swung his feet over the side of the bed.

“Everything we do affects everything around us, one way or another,” said his mom. She set his laundry on top of his dresser.

“But you could never prove what might have happened.”

“No, but you can be sure that irresponsibility and negligence have negative effects.”

“Like ripples in a pond,” said Jimmy.

“Exactly. And responsibility also creates a ripple effect. It may not look like much, like being on time, but you can influence or change the world by throwing out good ripples, too.”

Jimmy said, “Let me try. Because I am running late, you are distracted and forget to turn the faucet off in the sink. The sink overflows, ruins the floor and we have it replaced. The extra expense means we have to postpone getting my braces. Which actually doesn’t sound so bad, come to think of it.”

“Okay Jim, you have the idea. You are still running behind this morning.”

“Here’s another one,” said Jim. “Because I am not on the baseball team I decide to play football. Because I am on the football team and can throw well, they make me quarterback. Because I am quarterback I meet the girls on the cheerleading team…”

“Jim…” Mother’s voice strung out a note of irritation.

Jim laughed, got up and walked toward the bathroom.

“Hey Jim,” said his mom.


“We just had a serious conversation, and it’s only five minutes after seven. It’s going to be a good day.”