By Angie Brown, Guest Author

I was finishing after-supper chores one day, when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a little girl, about nine years old, with an impish grin on her face. “Can I use your phone?” she asked. “Sure,” I replied, realizing that she was one of the children who had recently moved in next door. The next day, about the same time, she came again. This time, she said, “I came to visit.” After explaining that I couldn’t visit right then, she left. This did not discourage her. The third time, she came to use the phone again. I sensed this was going to be a daily routine, so I said, “only in emergencies.”

A few days later, she burst into the kitchen without knocking. Holding up her hand, she said, “An emergency; do you have a band-aid?” I promptly got one, as I could see a small trickle of red oozing out of the palm of her hand. I fastened the band-aid on the cut. She thanked me, gave me a slight hug and left. Her conversations were always short and sweet.

I didn’t see her again until several days later. She was on her way to our back door, but before I could get there, I saw her mother following and taking her by the hand, and ushering her back home. That told me she was coming over without permission. She was like a puppy or kitten, always returning after interruptions in between. By this time, I had much love and compassion for Daisy. It was the quiet way she had of appearing out of nowhere, plus the smile on her, usually soiled, face that got to me.

We were having our evening meal on the porch one day, when she emerged again, this time with a gray and white kitten to show us. I asked her how many they had. She said, “Tons and tons.” Skipping away, she came back with a dish of ice cream and a spoon and sat down at the table to eat it. Believing that she wanted to eat with us, I offered her a muffin, which she gladly accepted. Upon finishing that and her ice cream, she left.

Later, while I was in the garden, she called me to come over and see her kittens. Her two sisters and three brothers were also waiting as I walked over. They directed me to an unused vehicle in the yard. There, on the inside, were many cats. “Tons,” as she said, of all shapes and sizes. That explained why I was seeing so many cats in the neighborhood lately! They were climbing over the seats and the instruments. The children were having the joy that only an animal pet can bring. Babbling all at once, the children proceeded to tell me which kittens belonged to which mothers.

A few months later, when I told Daisy we were moving, she seemed disappointed. She sat quietly for a moment, and I knew she was thinking. Then off she scampered. As she returned and handed me a single, pink rosebud, the loving expression on her face revealed it all: “Thank you for being my friend.”

(For more  short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

Little Things

Little Things

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

Ants, spiders, ground beetles – these are things that came to mind when I was seated in the back yard reading a book. Looking up to absorb the words in the book, I noticed a gust of wind blowing a pile of leaves from under the hickory tree. The breeze sent them towards me. Airborne, they gracefully fell all around me. Momentarily, I sensed my dwelling place was in the circle of leaves. This is when I thought of the little creatures in the nooks and crannies under weeds and grasses.

I left my seat and walked over to where the wild flowers grew. I sat down on the ground, observing the roots and stems of plants. Almost immediately, I saw an ant zigzagging over the terrain of the rough ground, his tiny feet carrying him swiftly. I kept my sight focused on him so I could see where he was going.

Shortly, he was met by another ant. It looked like they communicated. Then one went one way and the other one the opposite way. They all look alike, so I wasn’t sure which one I had started with. I picked one out and resumed following him. I wondered if they ever get tired or need a nap like a cat does. Would he be headed for an ant hill? I was not aware of one in the area. Surely, he would stop soon. But on he went.

Now I began to see a few more ants. My intellect told me of a possible place where they may all be detailing from. Sure enough, as I got closer to my house, many more were seen. I followed the swarm right up to the bricks at my back door. I pried one of the bricks out and discovered a nice nest of hundreds of eggs ready to hatch.

That was the end of my nature study, as I hurried in for the can of Raid!

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)


Who’s Guilty?

Who’s Guilty?

by Guest Author, Angie Brown

Mr. Callahan, a physical education teacher, was standing below the upper hallway talking to other teachers when a large piece of chalk hit him directly on the top of his balding head, with such force as to bring tears to his eyes. With a shocked look on his face, Mr. Callahan raced up the stairs, passing pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, the school’s top student, who was on her way down the stairs. As he reached the top of the stairs, he confronted a group of boys milling around in the hallway. These students had assembled in the upper hallway and were waiting for classes to start.

“Who dropped that chalk?” he roared. No one answered. Yanking a note pad out of his coat pocket, he said, “I want names.”  Hurriedly, he wrote: Frederick, Finley, Cassidy, Holson and Green.  “I want you fellows in the Principal’s Office after classes.  Every one of you,” he ordered.  The bell rang and the students began filing into their respective classrooms.

One of the group, Rob Finley, a druggist’s son, spoke up first, “I guess we’re in for trouble.”  The town lawyer’s son, Sam Frederick, had thoughts a little more serious, saying “I sure don’t want any black marks against me.  I’m gunning for a scholarship.” John Cassidy, the well-fed lad whose parents operated a local restaurant, had a more optimistic feeling.  “It can’t be all that bad”, he said, “You know how Callahan makes mountains out of mole hills.” Eric Holson was a preacher’s kid and was rather worried.  He said nothing, but when he related the incident to his parents, his father promptly gave him one of his sermons. The farm boy, Russ Green, didn’t like being detained, but, as he was one of the group, he had to go along. Needless to say, the boys weren’t anxious for classes to dismiss.

After school, the boys seated themselves in the Principal’s Office and the door was closed.  The Principal, Mr. Bigalo, said, “I have here a report from Mr. Callahan that someone deliberately dropped a large piece of chalk on his head this afternoon.  I ask the guilty one to step forward.”  There was shuffling of feet, but no admission. The Principal continued, “Gentlemen, you may not think this is a serious matter, but dropping even a small item like a piece of chalk on a person’s bald head can be a painful experience.  There is tremendous force there, as was proven by Mr. Callahan’s reaction.  We’re not going to let it happen again.” Still, there was no response. The boys were kept waiting about an hour.  Finally, Mr. Bigalo said, “Tomorrow you will all come again, and every day, until the culprit is found.  You may go.” The boys left, grumbling to each other on their way out.

Now, just prior to the incident, pretty Miss Gertie Levelle, arms bulging with books and paraphernalia, had walked to the end of the upper hallway and adjusted her load on the top of the railing. On her way to the Home Economics Room for her sewing class on the first floor, she was hurrying down the stairs with a better grip on her belongings, when Mr. Callahan came running up the stairs to confront the boys. During the sewing class, after cutting out her cloth, Gertie was ready to mark her corduroy fabric.  As she spread it out, she looked around for her marker, but couldn’t locate it anywhere. “Miss Jordan,” Gertie said, “may I borrow your chalk.  I seem to have lost mine.  It was a brand new piece, too.” Miss Jordan was about to open her desk drawer when she suddenly stopped, thought for a moment and said, “Gertie, I think I know where we can find your new chalk.  Let’s go see Mr. Bigalo.”

And the moral of the story is…things aren’t always as they seem.

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE.)

I Remember When

stuck behind a cabbage truck

I Remember When

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

During the Great Depression, from 1923 to 1930, we had some of the worst and some of the best times of our lives.  My parents came from Poland in 1910 and settled in a small town in Western New York State called Olean.  Father found work on the Pennsylvania Railroad.  He never had a car, and he walked five miles to work and five miles back each day.  There were 10 of us children.  Polish was spoken at home, but when we started school, we soon picked up the English language.  In fact, my favorite subjects in school were English and spelling.

I recall my father spending many evenings mending our shoes.  He purchased shoemaker’s lasts in different sizes.  The shoe to be mended was laid on the last and the worn sole pulled off.  Then, tracing the bottom of the shoe on a new piece of leather, he cut out the right size.  After that, the sole was tacked onto the bottom of the shoe with special nails and properly nailed on, so that the nails would not go through the top part of the shoe.  With that done, he then trimmed the excess leather and instructed us to stain the edges of the new leather to match the rest of the shoe. He usually had a row of shoes to mend.  The repaired shoes were rather thick and clumsy at first, but we quickly broke them in and the shoes were serviceable for a long time. It met our needs.

On another occasion, a farmer friend stopped in front of our house to visit with my father, who was outside.  He had a load of cabbages in his truck to deliver for sale up town in Olean.  During the conversation, he mentioned that he would sell them for a penny a head.  My father perked up his ears and asked how many he had.  His reply was, “I have 100 heads.”  My father did some quick thinking, and the cabbages were carried into our cellar – all 100 heads — at a penny apiece.  We never ran out of the sauerkraut in the barrel in our storage shed that year!  We had a variety of ways to use sauerkraut, with kielbasa, pork chops and corned beef sandwiches.  To this day, I am very fond of cabbage.

Life today is certainly very different, but cabbage is still a staple.

(for more short stories by Angie, click HERE)