"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 49: FARE THEE WELL, MY OWN TRUE LOVE

September 8, 2014
(Note: Now that we're back on track, here is the latest entry in the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project...)

Jack Ramsey stirred in his hospital bed, opened his eyes and looked up into the face of the beautiful woman who - even though he knew he hadn't deserved it - had promised to love, honor and cherish nearly six decades before. 


It had been a long journey together, and he understood that for him that journey would soon be over. He understood it, but he didn't much like it. It wasn't the leaving that grieved him, but rather the fact that his true love would have to stay behind...


"Something on your mind, sweetheart?" Lisa asked.


Jack smiled up at his wife. "I was just thinking how lucky I've been all these years, having you by my side."


Lisa reached down and brushed a lock of hair off Jack's forehead. "There's no place I would have rather been," she told him, fighting desperately to keep the sadness from her voice. "You know that."


Her husband nodded slightly. "I know," he said. A moment passed before he spoke again. "You're the one person in the world who's ever understood me."


Lisa smiled again. "Oh, you dear, sweet man," she said softly. "No. I really don't. I never have." She bent down and kissed him on the forehead, then on the cheek, then stood up straight again and took his hand in hers. "But that's never mattered. You are who you are. And who you are is the man that I've always loved. And always will."


Jack lay silently for a bit, then gave her hand a gentle squeeze as that boyish grin she fell in love with so many years before slowly crept across his features. "Well," he said playfully, "I guess that will have to do." 


And then he drifted off to sleep one last time...

(Copyright 2014 by John Allen Small)

 

"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 3)

September 5, 2014
And here we have the third and final set of "Spohn Challenge" stories that I was forced to post elsewhere while having issue with this site over the course of the summer. This set brings up up to this week's entry (No. 48), so barring any recurrence of the glitches that gave me such fits, next week we'll be picking up back on schedule as far as the stories being posted here as opposed to on my Facebook wall.

So let's get started, shall we...?

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 45:

LOOKING FOR ...


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"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 2)

September 5, 2014
Here is the second batch of the "Spohn Challenge" entries I wrote and posted on Facebook while I was having technical problems here:

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 42:

A VISIT TO CRIMSON JACK’S


Five years ago, when a fellow named Jackson Talbot first moved into town and opened his Crimson Jack’s Naughty Nighties Emporium over on the west side of town, a few of the women in Jillian’s neighborhood took part in a series of demonstrations organized by a small group of well-meaning litt...


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"A STORY A WEEK": CATCHING UP (PART 1)

September 5, 2014
Well, it seems that the technical problems that have kept me from posting updates since earlier this summer have finally been resolved. So I thought I'd better post the entries I'd written for the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project during that time so they'll all be here in one place. (During the duration I posted each new story on my Facebook wall in order to stay on schedule and not forfeit my participation in the project.) Some of the stories are longer than others, so I'm splitting this upd...
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"For Every Dream That Took Me High..."

June 18, 2014
(Photo: Me at Byrd Park in Kankakee, around 1977 or so.)


I have been a fan of the late Harry Chapin since the first time I heard his brother Tom singing songs that Harry wrote on the ABC-TV program "Make A Wish" when I was a kid back in the early 1970s. A few years later I heard songs like "Cat's In The Cradle" and "WOLD" on the radio, and I was hooked; I was one of those who unashamedly shed a tear when I heard the news of Harry's death about a month and a half after I graduated from high sch...


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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 38 - A MATTER OF CIVIC PRIDE

June 16, 2014
(NOTE: This week's entry is another faux newspaper story...)


From the Sipokni West Dispatch, March 26 2009:


The Brownsberg Town Council has appointed a local resident to help the community overcome what some residents have reportedly described as its “inferiority complex” with regard to nearby larger communities.


Yvonne Gordon, a resident of Brownsberg since 1993, has been named to spearhead a town council initiative aimed at injecting a greater sense of style and sophistication into com...


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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 37: EVELYN GOES SHOPPING

June 9, 2014
(NOTE: Here's another entry in the weekly "Spohn Challenge" project that reads like it should be part of a longer story. As Michael Nesmith once said: Someday, baby, someday...)


“Can I help you, ma’am?”

Evelyn Drake jumped in spite of herself. She hadn’t expected the stockboy to sneak up from behind her like that. Well, maybe he didn’t really “sneak”, exactly; not exactly fair to lay all the blame at his feet, not when she’d been the one whose thoughts had been elsewhere. 

Even s...

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 36: TIME ENOUGH AT LAST?

June 4, 2014
(NOTE: This week's "Spohn Challenge" entry was inspired by a silly April Fool's Day article that ran in my old hometown newspaper years ago when I was a kid. That's why it is written in the form of a newspaper article.)



(From the Eureka Creek (OK) Weekly Pedestrian, May 30, 2014) 


In a move calculated to boost local tourism, industry and retail sales, neighboring Sipokni County may soon be divided into three time zones.


The Sipokni County Board of Commissioners announced the possible convers...


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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 35: THE GREAT SNAKE SCARE

May 29, 2014

(NOTE: This week's entry in the "Spohn Challenge" project is being posted a couple of days later than usual because of our newspaper deadline schedule over the Memorial Day weekend. This particular story, though fictionalized, is based on something that actually happened not long after Melissa and I moved from Illinois to Oklahoma back in the early 1990s.)


How The Missus And I Survived The Great Snake Scare Of 1993
(From The Memoirs Of Carson Trent)


You must understand at the outset that my wife...

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"A STORY A WEEK" NO. 34 - TWO-SENTENCE TRAGEDY

May 19, 2014
(Note: I kind of hate to admit it, but this week's entry came to me in a dream. Must have been that last taco I had for supper the other night...)


As he watched the oncoming pickup truck veer into the wrong lane and careen into the path of his own Volkswagen, a single unhappy realization popped into Brandon Smith’s mind.


“Man, and I really wanted to see that new Star Wars trilogy,” Brandon thought just before the pickup plowed into his Beetle head-on...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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