Saturday, August 31, 2013


 by Jim Carey

About twenty years ago, my then thirteen-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son began a winter long campaign to add a dog to our family. To make the situation even more challenging for me, they got my wife to join their side.  It wasn’t that I was so much opposed to having a dog; I actually am a real dog person. It was more that I just didn’t think it was the right time to bring more responsibility into our lives.

Needless to say, they gradually wore down my resistance and by late spring Sammi, a golden retriever, had come into our lives. By nature I’m not really much of a rules person, but there was one rule that to me was a big deal. The rule was that whoever was walking the dog absolutely had to pick up whatever dog waste Sammi made. I knew that the best way to end up with angry neighbors was to let your dog poop in their yards and not pick it up. I even went so far as to organize a training session on how to properly use a plastic bag to do the clean-up.

Sammi was, of course, adorable but she also proved to be quite a handful. It sometimes seemed that our little golden liked rules even less than I did. I believe that Sammi thought her rightful place in our family was pack leader. After many sessions of obedience classes and countless gentle corrections Sammi finally calmed down and accepted her place in the family.
I remember one summer afternoon shortly after Sammi’s arrival when my son came out of his room complaining that he was bored. My wife and I held a brief conference and soon Luke was headed out, leash in hand, trying his best to keep up with the dog.

When they returned about thirty minutes later, Luke had a very sheepish look on his face. When we asked him what had happened, Luke told us that despite our reminder, he had forgotten to take a bag along and, of course, Sammi had done her business in a neighbor’s yard. Imagining a confrontation with an angry neighbor, I was ready to go out and clean it up myself when my son proudly pulled his hand from behind his back. His fist was around the top of his white sock which was obviously full. Luke said he hadn’t known what to do at first, but he knew better than to leave the poop behind. Apparently he remembered all my preaching about “the rule” and felt his only recourse was to remove his shoe and use his sock to clean up after the dog.

To say my wife and I were surprised would be a definite understatement. I suspected that she wanted to laugh as much as I did, but we both knew we had to be parents first. We assured Luke that he had done the right thing, although we did suggest a few alternatives should this type of situation ever happen again.

Luke then said that he didn’t think he’d want to wear that sock again and we all agreed it was a good idea to just throw it away. After Luke returned to his room, we both burst out laughing. Even after twenty years this is still one of our favorite Sammi stories!

Jim Carey lives with his wife Janet and their two beloved golden retrievers, Nemo and Molly, in Sheboygan,Wisconsin. A social worker, then a chiropractor by training, writing has been a passion for Jim for the past twenty years. Echoes from Home is the author’s first entry into the world of publishing, and perhaps someday more of the many notebooks hidden away in his basement may make their way to the printed word as well. Jim’s next project will be a collection of short stories based on the Civil War.

Monday, August 26, 2013


By Marilyn Fowler

We’ve all heard the term Second Childhood, and we have our own definition of what that means. It’s used in two ways, either referring to the loss of physical or mental capacities, such as senility and feebleness, or to just having fun acting like a kid again. I prefer the latter, with a sufficiently sound mind and my inner child who wants to get out and play.

To me, children are fascinating. They haven’t yet learned to dwell on regrets from the past and miss today’s blessings. They experience both pain and pleasure in life as we all do, but most seem able to bounce back, live more in the present and savor the good times. And they can change my mood with one of their beautiful smiles.

I remember when my own children were growing up expressing their curiosity, creativity, humor and forgiveness. An old piece of paper became an airplane, or one day they were mad at a playmate, but laughed together the next day without judgment. In winter they flew on the sled, in summer they swam the ocean in the kiddie pool, they read stories and said their prayers, and gave me hugs every day.

Ah, the innocence of childhood. And how wonderful if we could create a second childhood and experience some of the joy we knew as children in spite of some of the pain that may have been there too. But many older folks seem driven to express as mature adults according to an acceptable image. Otherwise would not be proper. But allowing our inner child to express in a second childhood promotes joy and health in our lives. And we do have a choice.
I do silly things once in a while, but now I intend to let my child out more often. Of course, due to physical limitations, I can’t stand on my head or walk five miles to the old swimming hole like I used to. But I can still play music and dance around the house, or play in my yard in the rain, or laugh at myself when I look in the mirror instead of moaning at what I see. And I don’t have to eat brussels sprouts if I don’t want to. Sounds good to me. 

Then when someone shakes their head and says, “You must be in your second childhood,” I’ll grin and say, “Absolutely.”

I wish you the joy of many second childhood shenanigans.


I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating mental health services in five nursing homes, working on in-patient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to the Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog. (
My memoir, Silent Echoes, was published three years ago, and my stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled, When God Spoke To Me. I’m now working on a fictional story, with a video on You Tube (Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Chapter 1) reciting the first chapter in costume using southern dialect.

Friday, August 23, 2013


By Chuck Petterson

One of my motives, albeit small, for moving from the city to the country was to reduce lawn care pressures. Granted, the area I now mow is 15 times larger than the entire lot   we had in the city. However, I figured I didn’t have to worry about how my lawn looked next to my neighbor’s. I have no neighbor east or south and there is 600 feet of meadow between my yard and the neighbor to the north.

Over the past ten years there are periods when I had more yellow than green in my lawn. This year I decided to get rid of the yellow-flowered plants. I studied all the labels for the different herbicides one can buy without a permit. The majority claim to slowly strangle 200 varieties of broadleaf plants most folks find offensive in their lawn.

I bought eight quarts of a popular- brand broad leaf weed killer. I eschewed the option of crabgrass preventer in fear I would end up with more brown than green in a week.

I applied the chemical in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, all local, state, and federal regulations while wearing long-sleeve shirt, long pants, rubber gloves, goggles, muck boots, and self-contained breathing apparatus.

I must have picked just the right week in the growing season. For one week my lawn showed green grass, purple leafed dying dandelions and something else that was dying and I was a happy lawn maintenance person.

I didn’t really notice the other green things that were still healthy, because all I focused on was “not yellow”.

A few days later I started seeing tiny, four-petal, yellow flowers here and there in my otherwise variegated-green lawn.

Thinking I may have missed these candidates, because there were a few dandelions mocking my efforts, I bought a few more quarts of spray and doused the offenders again, following the restrictions for soil load, etc.

That was two weeks ago. The little yellow invaders weren’t fazed a bit. I hit a few of them with some war surplus Agent Orange and that did the trick. But, I have to be precise in applying the defoliant or else I kill the grass I am looking to promote. That takes a lot of time and it is hard to keep track of what has been sprayed and what hasn’t. I need another option.

I am somewhat aggravated that with 200 species of weeds on the list I have one that isn’t!  I did some research. Yeah, 200 species, but some of them aren’t on YOUR property, unless you are reading this in Estonia, the Eastern Caucuses, Australia, or Peru.

I went to the extension service website, searching for the identity of this weed and a possible cure.  Sure enough, Glechoma hederacea is NOT among the 200 weeds on the label of my herbicides. I need to buy a different herbicide and, according to the instructions, apply at night during the new moon in September and then spend the following six Sundays in church praying it worked. All of this depends on whether or not I made the correct identification. By then it will be Thanksgiving and everything will be brown anyway.

I just hope I don’t have to take licensed-applicator training. That will put me off for another year!

Charles (Chuck) Petterson lives with his wife of 43 years in rural Harrison County, Iowa. Following graduation from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chuck enlisted in the Navy. He spent seven and a half years at sea with the Atlantic Submarine Force after two years of training as a nuclear plant operator. He worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a nuclear instructor and field engineer for 18 years. Since 1991 Chuck has been an independent technical writer specializing in proprietary documents for electric utilities and industrial thermal facilities.

Chuck’s creative outlets include playing saxophone in a variety of community concert bands and dance bands. His writing efforts include contributions to a variety of hobby interest publications.  Polar Bear in Parrot Jungle is the first novel length story offered to the public.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Antarctica for Geezers

By Dr. Jeri Fink

Can you hear it? The frozen silence mingles with the cries of Gentoo Penguins?  The wind thunders against icy jagged peaks?
Ruled by wind, weather and ice, it's unlike any place on Earth.
At home, it was a cold winter. Snowstorms battered the northeast and snowbirds fled south to sun, condos, and beaches. My husband and I went south too - through Santiago, Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina to the "end of the world.” 
Not many people go to Antarctica. It's a continent shared by the world - no one owns the land. Every winter, Antarctica is locked in by nearly 120 miles of surrounding ice. Every summer, when the ice breaks up, it becomes a birthplace for seal pups, penguin chicks, tiny krill, and Geezers on expeditions.
    We boarded our ship in Ushuaia. The Linblad/National Geographer Explorer is a tough, ice-class expedition vessel designed to navigate tricky polar waters.
    The facts are impressive: The White Continent contains 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of Earth’s fresh water. At the same time, it’s the largest desert in the world. The mean annual precipitation barely reaches 2 inches a year.
    To see this land of extremes, we paid our “dues” by crossing the infamous Drake Passage, notorious for some of the roughest waters in the world. It was gut-wrenching with 20-foot swells.
Southern white petrels and wandering albatross swooped low overhead, following our progress. There were no other ships in sight.    Suddenly Antarctica burst into view.

    We were greeted with stark, craggy rocks streaked with ice; blindingly white glaciers, and jagged peaks shrouded in low-hanging clouds. The air was so clear and crisp it left us breathless.
    Our first art museum was the endless display of wind-sculptured icebergs.

That was just the beginning. We explored on Zodiacs – small, tough inflatable rubber boats that are the mainstay of Antarctic travel. The Zodiacs hold up to ten people and a driver, zipping through icy waters to offer a seal’s eye view of the sea around us. We saw seals, penguins, whales, and seabirds. Antarctic animals aren’t threatened by blue-coated Geezers so they didn’t bother with us. Of course, there was always a curious critter checking us out, like the playful 30-foot Minke whale or the sleepy Leopard Seal.

Our favorites were the penguins. We’ve seen them in movies, cartoons and zoos. Nothing compares to meeting these comical, compelling critters up close in colonies that number in the hundreds of thousands. Penguins chatter, bicker, and call to their mates in a constant din.  They’re noisy and smelly – known for guano (poop) fumes – and endlessly entertaining. The real show was watching them watch us. They’re not afraid of people. Geezers are great to observe – what’s funnier than people pointing and taking photos of a group of chatty Chinstraps?

We watched parents waddle down to shore and hunt food for their chicks. Parents fill their bellies with fish and krill then return to the nest and fed their rapidly growing babies. Nearby, colorful Orcas (killer whales) swam by in pods, thousand-pound seals napped on ice floes, and noisy birds swooped gracefully overhead. Who ever thought there was so much life at the bottom of the world?

    Antarctica suffers from the same problems as the rest of the world. Global warming, human poaching, illegal whalers, and tourists who ignore international conservation laws. The night before we left the ship, our expedition leader gave us an assignment.
“Become global ambassadors for Antarctica. The white continent needs us.” 
We’ll still working at it.

Dr. Jeri Fink is a proud geezer and the author of hundreds of articles and nineteen published books. Trees Cry For Rain is a gripping historical novel where the past crashes ruthlessly into the present. It can be purchased at and Her new series, Broken, consists of six separate thrillers that follow dramatic, related paths through genealogical time, from the present back to the 15th century. Each novel focuses on psychopaths who lived in the era. Broken launches in Fall, 2013 in the new genre of Baby Boomer Thrillers.

Visit Jeri at her website or email her at

Friday, August 16, 2013

Can Yogi Yield to Yoda?

By H. Kirk Rainer

Returning to Yogi (and life beyond Yellowstone Park), there has been a most interesting development.  Yes indeed, an encounter from a galaxy far, far away.  No; I’m not talking about Marvin the Martian or The Jetsons, but a far more formidable character, chief among the Jedi Knights. Yes, it’s none other than the small but smart, supernatural and strange-speaking Star War’s “Yoda”.   

Yogi is having a close encounter of another kind; one who uses The Force—preferably for good, not bad or evil.  Yogi is not bad or evil, but he does have a credible history of criminal activity:  theft or larceny of lunch baskets.  And with Yellowstone being a national park, such criminal activity could be a federal offense.  So imagine the irony of Boo now fighting crime (with Scobby Doo) while Boo’s bosom buddy is under investigation for committing it (talk about being left holding the [lunch] bag).  

An encounter indeed; for Yoda possesses the power (The Force) to make Yogi’s so-called retirement a rather pleasant one:  his hunger for lunches, his thirst for crime, may be satiated by supernatural
powers so able to extract picnic baskets, lunchboxes and the like with from the unprepared and powerless; and while there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is much merit to the mantra:”The Force be with you”.  
Yogi encounters Yoda.
“Yo-there Yoda, you’re looking very green today.”
With a pensive expression, Yoda crinkles his nose.
“Hungry, you are?” 
“Huh; oh yes, my stomach knows no bounds.  Think of it like—like Space!” 
With a changing expression of annoyance, Yoda asks:
            “’Like Space’, your appetite?” 
            “Yah, you know:  unending in all directions, but fascinating all the same.” 
Yoda, with a tolerance suitable of the being he is. replies:
            “Quite the gift of gab, you have.” 
            “I’m think of myself as gregarious; a friendly fellow with a bit of a quick paw.” 
            “What of me do you think?”      
            “Well, since you ask, I think you should summon The Force and work me up some lunch”

Raising his staff toward a KFC, Yoda concentrates on a 9 piece bucket of traditional chicken.
Yogi, with some awareness and anticipation of what’s levitating his way, remarks: 
            “Now that’s what I call a force for good!  You are the man.”

            “And smarter than the average bear, you are.” 

H. Kirk Rainer was born in Atlanta Georgia, on June 16, 1961; at the present, and for the foreseeable future, he has made his home in Alabama

At this time in his life, Kirk is busy in the general direction of writing; both in training and in practicing this new found endeavor.   At the same time, he continues to ply his skills and education as an industrial engineer.

His writing is largely a reflection of his own experience through post-divorce and non-custodial life (around year 2000). To this purpose, he has gained much support and understanding from such organizations as:  the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (; Alabama Family Rights Association (; Protect Fathers' Right (; and allied resources.

To learn more, please visit  and

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



By Ada Brownell

Only a few days ago Science News featured a study in Hungary that found dogs have long-term memory. I could have saved them the money and the trouble. We had a male poodle named Macho who remembered the vet’s office from the parking lot, even though he hadn’t been there for six months. He dragged the leash the wrong way with his brakes on when I headed for the door.
Macho could detect what was ahead when I started gathering up towels and doggie shampoo. He’d head for the hills--a spot on the couch under a pillow or anywhere, in an attempt to keep from taking a bath.

I haven’t been around many animals, but I’ve seen chickens who could recall how to peck a certain place and receive food, and I’ve seen all sorts of critters, bugs and slimmey things that have memory. Then why, when a human gets old will a name he knows as well as his own escape him?

One day I couldn’t think of the word “pretzel.” I burned my brain going through the alphabet but it wouldn’t come. In the middle of the night I woke and there it was. I had it! Pretzel! No longer was it that little squiggly thing we deep fry and sprinkle with salt or cinnamon and sugar.

Am I developing Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia? How could I tell? But I’ve heard if you can’t remember something important and you know it, you’re probably safe.

One blessing I’ve discovered is being married helps. When we take off in the car, one of us might point and say, “Where are you going? It’s that way.” Or one of us might yell, “Look out!” and prevent an accident.

Sometimes it takes two of us to prepare a meal. But being married comes in handiest when we’re talking. We fill in the blanks for each other when the other person can’t think of a name or word.
When God created marriage, he said “Two shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

I’ve discovered when you’re senior citizens, it takes two to be one.

Note: Emerging evidence from the Alzheimer’s Association Find a chapter near you suggests there are steps we can take to help keep our brain healthier as we age.

 “Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells,” a spokesman wrote.

  • MAYO CLINIC STAFF say we may be able to lower Alzheimer's disease risk by reducing risk for heart disease. Important factors that also may be involved include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, excess weight and diabetes.
  • Mayo Clinic’s experts for those at high risk of dementia encourage physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement and a healthy diet. They also teach memory compensation strategies that help optimize daily function even if brain changes progress. Keeping active — physically, mentally and socially — may make your life more enjoyable and may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult or
Swallowed by LIFE:
Confessions of a Pentecostal:
     Twitter: @adellerella

Monday, August 12, 2013

Perfect Change


When we moved from a city of millions to a rural farming community, I expected change. But not this kind.

Our first week in a town of nine thousand people and three stoplights, we visited the farm and garden supply. At the checkout stand, my city-girl eyes grew two sizes when I saw the counter display. I was used to chewing gum, celebrity magazines, and breath mints. Now I stared at udder salve and chocolate-covered caramel patties in the shape of cow. . . well, you know.
When I let the cats out one morning and a grotesque creature greeted me by waving its claws in the air, I panicked. “There’s a huge insect on our back porch,” I cried to my husband. “Come quick before it attacks our kitties!” As Kevin rubbed sleep from his eyes, his chuckle grew loud, then louder. “That is a crawdad, Jeanette—I learned about them in fourth grade. It must’ve crawled up here from the creek bank after the rain last night. It’s more afraid of your cats than you are of it.”

But we got the shock of our lives two days after Christmas, when Kevin’s car spun out of control on the icy highway and landed in the ditch. A neighbor let him into her house and allowed him to call the towing service, then me. She wasn’t afraid Kev would rob her, and she didn’t make fun of him for setting the cruise control while driving on ice. “Every winter, three or four people land in the ditch on that curve—welcome to the club!”

Our insecure world changes by the minute. Although God promises protection, the changes are not always good. So, when we discovered kindness amidst the cow patties and crawdads, we realized we’d found the perfect change.
“Nutty with a dash of meat” best describes Jeanette Levellie’s speaking, writing and life. She has published hundreds of humor/inspirational columns, articles, greeting cards, and poems. A spunky pastor’s wife, Jeanette is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress to four cats. Her debut humoros devotional book, Two Scoops of Grace withChuckles on Top, released in April, 2012, and is now an Amazon bestseller. Find her mirthful musings on

Friday, August 9, 2013

Imagination - Use It Or Lose It

One thing we geezers did as kids was to use our imaginations. Guess what? It was a great way to prevent early dementia. Studies have recently identified Digital Dementia (DD) as a disease caused by overuse of digital technology during childhood, preventing development of the right brain. This leads to cognitive disabilities which are associated with early onset dementia. DD is a significant problem in South Korea, home of the largest population of Internet users … and a lot of digital gadgets.

Before the microchip age, we geezers were often left with only our imaginations for entertainment. Oh, we found things lying around us to help, but we could entertain ourselves without some gadget glued to our ear.

That leads me to a story about using imagination in a creative way. The father of two guys my buddy and I knew owned the largest second-hand store in Southern Oregon. When he tossed out an old refrigerator for scrap, we scavenged the compressor, powered it with an old lawnmower motor we found, attached a 100-foot garden hose and made a diving suit. We did have to borrow a cutting torch, a 5-gallon bucket, and some various WWII surplus items to complete our design. But, in a single afternoon, we had the compressor jetting air down into the top of the bucket which had been cut to fit over a boy’s shoulders, held on by rubber straps, and fitted with a Plexiglas plate for visibility.

When we went to the river to test our invention, I figured my buddy would wade out and do some preliminary testing in seven feet of water. We had planned for the air pressure from the compressor to fill the entire bucket with air, pushing the water level down to the diver’s neck, so he could breathe. But wearing an old ammunition belt filled with lead weights, my friend walked out onto a dam and jumped into 25 feet of water.

I dove in after him to see how he was faring. When I swam close and peered through the Plexiglas window, the water level was right at his eyebrows. He tilted his head back, but couldn't get his nostrils or mouth above the water line. Our design had a few little problems.

To draw this story to some satisfactory end, he didn't drown. He used his imagination. We both survived our childhood and, well into geezerhood, we’re both still doing brain-straining work.

If you need a little more incentive to use your imagination, try listening to this oldie song on YouTube, called Imagination. It’s done by the Quotations. I think Paul Simon had the same idea in mind when he wrote Kodachrome.

H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who worked as a Research Scientist in Atmospheric Physics. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their seven grandchildren, and where he pursues his love of writing. He is a published author with 8 books under his belt.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stranger in the Graveyard

I suppose meeting a stranger in a graveyard and inviting him to church is not the strangest evangelism story. The man my brother and I saw was young, curious, and even though he followed us into the cemetery that foggy October afternoon, we weren’t spooked.

At first, we ignored him. There was no malice in our behavior; it was simply our way to cope with what we had to put up with each day—being different. Caucasians in an Asian country stand out, and from our birth, we’d gained the attention of the locals. We adapted to that gaijin (foreigner) role, and learned how to carry it, like an actor plays his part.

On this afternoon, we made the trek up the stone steps to the edge of the graveyard. The tombstones were arranged closely together on tiers, like the way tea grows on the mountainside. Japanese cremate their dead and often the burial plots are squeezed near each other. Trees fenced in the area, and although the subdivision we’d just moved to was new, it was obvious that this cemetery had been around a long time. The gray markers were tinted in green moss, the earth around them clumped with decaying leaves and blades of grass. We felt secluded at this location, as though we were in a make-believe world. Wandering around in this world, we never saw another person.

Until that afternoon. That’s when we met the stranger.

He wore a flashy beret which struck me as odd. Old Japanese men wore hats and young kids wore school caps, but the whole little French look on a young man was a bit peculiar. Slung over his left shoulder was a lumpy black camera bag and in his hands was a Nikon. He looked like he belonged on a set for a movie, not in the silent resting spot for the dead.

Perhaps we’d found ourselves the cemetery photographer.

When he approached us, I refrained from pretending I knew no English and that I could only speak French. My fellow missionary kid friend Jo and I once spouted off fake French to try to deter a man wanting to converse with us in English on a train.

Vince had plopped down on a stone in the shape of a Buddha.

Even though my parents’ work included bringing people from the enlightenment of Buddha to the redemptive light of Jesus Christ, I motioned for Vince to stand up and move away from the stone. I always believed disrespect should not be tolerated inside a cemetery.

The young man smiled and said, “Hello. Do you live in Kuzuha?”

His English wasn’t too bad. I said, “Yeah, we do.”

“Where do you go to school?”

“Kyoto International School,” I said.

Vince said little. While I was the talkative one, my brother was subdued.

The conversation continued, with the textbook questions in English until I finally responded in Japanese.

The stranger’s eyes grew wide. “You speak Japanese,” he exclaimed in Japanese.

After that, one thing led to another and this man learned why we were in Japan. Our dad was a pastor.

“Which church?” he asked. “Catholic?”

It seemed that many Japanese associated churches with Catholic.

I told him the church was protestant, gave him name of the language school where the church met and explained that we didn’t have our own sanctuary yet.

When there seemed like there was nothing else to say, I told the man we had to go home now. Vince and I weren’t really finished with our trek among the dead, but it was obvious we wouldn’t be able to amble freely over the ground in seclusion anymore.

In public, we were like characters in a movie and our audience, depending on the time of day, was the commuters on the packed morning train, the shop owners sweeping their front stoops with bamboo brooms, and the drunks teetering home after too many bottles of Asahi beer. With so much fanfare at our presence, there were days I thought of myself as a celebrity. Men and women, even children, acted as though I was not in earshot or couldn’t understand Japanese. But I usually heard every comment. “Here comes the American.” “Isn’t she tall?” “She looks like Princess Diana.” “Look at her blond hair. I would like to touch a strand of it to see how it feels.”

The next Sunday while the small congregation sang a hymn, in walked the man.

When it came time for introductions, held after the nearly two-hour long service, he said his name was Nakayama.

“How did you hear about our church?” my dad asked him in Japanese.

He smiled. “I met your children the other day.”

When Dad asked where, the man said, “In a graveyard.”

He became Vince’s friend. It wasn’t creepy to us even though he was ten years older than my brother. Friendship meant he took Vince out to eat, bought him ice cream and a badminton set. Of course, he practiced his English with Vince, but mostly they spoke in Japanese when out together. He continued to attend our church services.

I'm not sure whatever became of this man but even to this day the story of our encounter continues. It has become part of the remembrances told in our family. “Remember the man you met in the cemetery who came to church?” Mom might say.

We fondly recall that time in our lives, and so many days from our quirky Asian childhood.

~ Alice J. Wisler grew up as missionary kid in Japan in the sixties and seventies. She now writes novels and articles for various publications in Durham, NC. Her first novel, Rain Song, has a Japan connection and is free on Kindle and Nook until the end of this month. Her lastest book is a devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Relfections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood Publishers).

Friday, August 2, 2013


By G. R. Holton

I was sitting here thinking about my getting older and how some things are going on in my life. I am sure every one of us knows someone who is sick with cancer or some other major life threatening disease. It makes me really contemplate how I am spending my time. Nowadays I seem to be wasting a lot of time with Facebook and playing silly computer games and not really getting out there and doing things. I guess what I am really asking is… How do you keep yourself motivated as you get older and can’t do the things you used to do? We all have our attacks of arthritis or breathing issues. But we still need to keep moving or you end up like me gaining more weight than I really need to be carrying.

What motivates you each and every day is the question? Is it just the desire to continue? Is it your children or grandchildren? Or is it something larger? Is it the feeling of something that you have not really completed?

What are some of your hobbies that keep you active and feeling alive? I would love to hear about them and what really keeps you going each day. I know that I have posed a lot of questions, but maybe they are the same that many of us contemplate each and every day.

Born outside Boston, MA in 1962 G. R. Holton began his writing career only five years ago. After spending many a day playing Facebook, he met a movie director that allowed him to read a few screenplays and from that point on he knew that this was his calling. In his short time as a writer he has won three awards including Best Science Fiction from Books and for his Sci/Fi Horror called, “Deep Screams” for 2011.He is happily married and lives at the foot of the Starr Mountains in Etowah, TN. His mom and step-daughter also share the abode with his Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix named Ewok. G. R. Holton has now written six books. He is also a screenwriter with three optioned movies from his novels and two collaborative works with his producer. All of his works are available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, and PDF formats via his website