Author Debuts Three Short Stories

My Life in the Three Rs

Who remembers when reading, writing, and arithmetic once made up the public education curriculum? My phonetic Rs are reading, research, and writing. I can’t imagine any serious writer of any merit getting along without them. It’s been that way for me since I committed myself to gainful employment as a writer—first as a newspaper reporter, then as a technical writer, then as a copywriter. And now I’m a pro bono fiction writer. Luckily, I’m retired.

Deathbed Promise

For your reading pleasure, I have posted three short stories. The first one, Deathbed Promise, will appear in a book anthology before the end of this year published by the St. George chapter of the League of Utah Writers. So, where’s the novel you ask? It’s joined the thousands of “proverbial novels in draws” if the authors wrote theirs before computers, or like mine, it rests quietly on my computer hard drive.

Meanwhile, I’ve elected to earn my chops in short fiction. Oh, I’ll continue to write nonfiction, but I’ll spend most of whatever writing I have left in my life writing fiction. In terms of length, a novella falls within short fiction.

A Moment In Time & Santa In OD Green

I said three short stories. A Moment In Time and Santa In OD Green are two and three, respectively. Did I mention I read a lot? Among the books I read are books on history. A 1918 event in history inspired me to write A Moment In Time. Of course, while based on facts, my story is historical fiction.

I wrote Santa In OD Green to submit to a writer’s short prose competition. The prize payouts to winners run $10 up to a whopping $25. Hahaha! Everyone knows fiction writers shouldn’t give up their day jobs. The entry deadline is November 1, 2023. I’ll let you know if I collect any greenbacks.

Deathbed Promise

Reece Adler must fulfill a promise and face the loss of his proxy father, R.J. “Mac” Macauley, an unsung Vietnam War veteran who nurtured Reece to manhood. He struggles with grief until he finds a spiritual message in the promise Mac asks Reece to make.

A Moment In Time

Soldier Reece Adler left his outfit in Germany on a five-day leave to Paris. En route, he visits the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood, where a fierce World War One battle occurred between US Marines and German soldiers. An unexpected stranger shows up and gives Reece an account of what happened on the first day of the battle.

Santa In OD Green

American soldiers stationed in 1968 in the small town of Idar-Oberstein in Germany have their Christmas Eve Party interrupted. They join a search party to find a missing six-year-old boy.

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Honoring Veterans on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, Pause and Reflect on the Fallen

Memorial Day holds a special place in my heart and mind, where I gather my thoughts in a solemn assembly of two classmates who gave “the last full measure of their lives” to the American ideal.

As a child, I thought and played as a child. I spent the day surrounded by family and relatives at a lake cabin or resort. My cousins and I devoured grilled hot dogs smothered in ketchup and mustard and ate dill pickles and potato chips. We threw Frisbees, played catch, fished, hula-hooped, and played whatever other kid activity came to mind.

While we entertained ourselves, my Aunts and Uncles relaxed on lawn chairs or at picnic tables butted end-to-end with red gingham plastic tablecloths. My Uncles enjoyed beers and operated several charcoal grills, and my Aunts set out a banquet of homemade picnic foods. As they relaxed, they talked and talked, poked fun at their follies, and laughed until their sides ached and tears welled up in their eyes. But the show-stopper came when they hula-hooped after a few hours of social drinking. To see woozy grown-ups gyrating put us children in stitches! Of course, we begged them not to stop.

That was my childhood memory of Memorial Day. So if death and taxes are certain (Ben Franklin), then change is inevitable, and in time, Memorial Day took on a solemn face for me and others. Awareness comes in many colors. A wake-up call sounded recently when a combat veteran said those who died in uniform didn’t give up their lives so Americans could get a day off work. When Wayne Champion and Reinhard Schnurrer, two high school classmates, died in combat in the Vietnam War, my Memorial Day memories abandoned me.

Remembering Classmates Killed in Combat

So when Memorial Day approaches, Wayne and Reinhard come to mind. I’ve personalized their memories, which in a broader sense, solemnizes a portion of the day. Others display American Flags or wear a red poppy flower, a symbol of “Remembrance” and hope for a peaceful future, and show support for the Armed Forces.

Wayne and Reinhard graduated in 1966. Sometime after graduation, they enlisted. And after military training, they wound up in Vietnam, where they died in combat. They would never hug their parents again. They would never celebrate their twenty-first birthdays, marry, have children, walk a child down the aisle, see grandchildren, hold them, or bounce them on their knees. They would never celebrate an anniversary. On Memorial Day, they would never again be among Americans who remember those who died on battlefields but be among those so honored.

There are plenty of ways to honor the fallen. Many plant flags at veteran grave sites or visit a national cemetery. Even if you’re busy, set aside a moment at 3 p.m. local time to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. It began in 2000. The Remembrance asks Americans to pause briefly in silence and reflect in their way. Wayne and Reinhard, if you’re listening, I remember you and share your memory with classmates who knew you.

Memorial in Jacksonville, North Carolina, for American servicemen and women who died in the Vietnam War. Rick Graf pays tribute to two high school classmates who died in combat.

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