On the porch.                

By Henry Dumas

September 25, 2022

The assignment: Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to something that isn’t human, such as an animal or object. Write a scene or story that includes anthropomorphism.

            That evening, Steven and his girlfriend sat together on a wooden swing on the front porch, watching the sunset over the mountains as the last moment of daylight disappeared. They both wondered what the next few days would bring, and they hoped for a good outcome.

Continue reading On the porch.                

How I spent my summer vacation.

By Henry Dumas

September 11, 2022

Assignment: Write about that happened in your life since our last meeting in June

 I wish I had something interesting to write about, like traveling to far off galaxies or meeting a beautiful, older, busty alien female that needs to be rescued from evil green skinned androids. I could write about riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after. 

Continue reading “How I spent my summer vacation.”

An Airplane’s Orchestra

The airplane’s landing gear drops, kerplunk         

All passengers, as if on cue, jump.             

As it descends to the landing strip,          

nervous passengers tighten their grip.   

The wheels hit the ground, a loud thump they make       

and screech as the pilot pumps the brakes.

A chorus of cell phones when turned on,

chromatic dings creating a song.

Seat belts unfastened, click, click, click, click,

adding percussion to the mix.

Overhead bins opened with a bang,

add unique sounds to the strain.

Passengers head to the exit, quick, quick,

toward destinations they all had picked.

A Deck of Playing Cards with Attitude

My brothers, sisters in law, nephews, and I gathered one Saturday night for a rousing evening of playing games.

One game required several decks of cards, so we opened new packs and threw them in the mix and the game began.

We had neglected to remove an information card from each deck and simply tossed them aside and kept playing.

At the end of one round, I read the card. I re-read it. I read it aloud. It contained the following script:

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Thanks very much for playing car brand playing cards, these cards are made of worldly best paper which is imported from German and it deal specially with exquisite procedure. We believe that you will feel the special softness, flatness, and folder-proof when you playing it. Its feel and quality is obviously larruping.

Everyone stared, then looked incredulously at me, and then started laughing.

We speculated as to which country produced the cards. Couldn’t the manufacturer find someone who could speak and write the English language? We think we figured out the overall message but had differing ideas on some of the phrases. Of course, that is a lawyer’s delight-to argue differing meanings of the same written word. And three of us are attorneys, so we spent far more time on this than necessary.

For instance, what on earth is “worldly best paper?”

A dictionary defines “worldly” as relating to, or devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs or possessing or displaying significant experience and knowledge about life and the world.

Could it have meant “made of the world’s best paper?” Or is the paper a material thing of the earth and not a spiritual thing? How can paper be capable of either? I guess it could be from the earth if the paper is made of the wood from trees, which have their roots in the earth. Was the writer using personification? Based on the poor grammar throughout the card, I think not.

And that worldly best paper is imported from German. Does it mean imported from Germany? Or imported from a German paper manufacturer? That does not necessarily mean the paper was produced in Germany. Or is the producer/manufacturer of the worldly best paper named German?

That worldly best paper, imported from German, it deal especially with exquisite procedure. What is it? Is it the German manufacturer who produces the cards with exquisite procedure? Could it mean imported from Germany? Or is “it” the way cards are dealt in play, that is, does the manufacturer deal cards with exquisite procedure?

Which led us to wonder what exactly is an exquisite procedure? The dictionary defines exquisite as “of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry; extraordinarily fine or admirable; consummate; or intense; acute, or keen, as pleasure or pain, of rare excellence of production or execution, as works of art or workmanship.” We examined the cards, and all agreed the cards looked like any other cards, we could not ascertain any exceptional differences.

We decided at this point another round of adult beverages would be in order.

We tried to picture an exquisite procedure on many levels, such as a surgical procedure, written procedures for employees to follow, directions for filing court documents, computer manuals, electrical engineer’s schematic circuit designs, recipes, and on and on. We failed to identify any procedure as “exquisite.”

Next, we tackled the phrase We believe that you will feel the special softness, flatness, and folder-proof when you playing it.

What is “folder-proof?” There are fire-proof folders, water-proof folders, accordion folders, manilla folders but we could not find anything remotely to folder-proof. Are the cards designed to not being able to be placed in a folder? We thought it refers to the fact that the cards are sturdy and do not fold easily. Conducting our own quality testing, we felt the cards to see if we felt any special softness, flatness, and folder-proof qualities. OK, now we were really getting a kick out of how do you feel whether or not a card is folder-proof? So, we bent one. It bent like any other card. But we also ran our fingers over the cards with many oohs and aahs as we noted the special softness.

We almost reached hysteria as we read the final sentence- Its feel and quality is obviously larruping. Seriously? Skipping the obvious subject and verb error, we concentrated on the word larruping. We had to look it up in a dictionary. It means very or exceedingly. As we examined the cards, we all agreed that it was obvious the cards were larruping, even to the most casual observer. How could we not find otherwise?

We continued to play that evening, occasionally pausing to comment on the special softness of the cards. Who would have thought a deck of cards would provide such larruping entertainment? Plus, we all learned a new word.

While we had different opinions on the meaning of several phrases, we all agreed the manufacturer should have quit after Thanks very much for playing car brand playing cards.

Old man wisdom

July 31, 2022 / Henry Dumas

By Henry Dumas

As you may expect, I filled my life with things I wouldn’t do again, as well as things I wish I had done. These are the consequences of never really growing up. There are things in my life for which I would appreciate a magic make over. The problem with magic makeovers is they’re a gamble. If you change something, you don’t really know how it will work out. If you can honestly say there’s no possible way, it could have been worse than it was. You have a lot more faith in your ability not to screw up again than I have.

              Ultimately, I believe we can see our regrets as positive experiences. If you are happy now, or if you are mildly content, consider that both the good and stupid things you did brought you here.

Once upon a time

July 29, 2022 / Henry Dumas

By Henry Dumas

The assignment: Take an old fairy tale and reset it in modern times and in your hometown. 

            Once upon a time in a far-off land called West Jordan, Utah, there lived three fairies.

            Elfie, Lucy and Sadie buzzed around the garden, protecting it from unwanted pests. They weren’t beautiful like Tinker Bell with her long blond hair, blue eyes, and skinny body. They looked more like bumble bees; short, fat and a little frumpy.  

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My life in a song

July 4, 2022

By Henry Dumas

The assignment: If each decade of your life was represented by a pop song, what would each one be? And why?

               Nineteen forty-nine to nineteen sixty. Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys by Waylon Jennings. Life was always an adventure playing cowboys and Indians with my next-door neighbor and nephew, Tim. An old tree grew up the side of their garage at the back of their yard. We thought we were invincible supermen, because we could climb the tree, get on the roof and our mothers couldn’t climb up the tree or make us get down when it was time for lunch or baths.

Continue reading “My life in a song”

Turnabout Is Fair Play

June 4, 2022.

By Henry Dumas

 “You look like crap; do you still want to go duck hunting?” Steven asked.

“I worked a double shift at the warehouse. Came home and fell asleep on the couch with my clothes on. Now I’m standing here at two a.m. What do you expect?” Robert scowled.

“Have you packed everything you need? I hope there’s room in the jeep for all your stuff?” Steven replied.

Robert stood in front of Steven, blurry eyed, loaded down with hunting gear, looking like a pack mule. He held his hand in front of his face, counting fingers and naming items. “I have my gun, shells, lunch, and my dog.” He tossed his equipment on the back seat of the jeep.

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By Pam Crawford

Having arrived in North Dakota mid-March, we immediately started looking for a warm place to live. Being creatures of habit, we migrated to the same neighborhood we settled on in the past few years. We scoped out the area while perched atop of a huge silver maple tree in front of what we considered a quiet house except for a very tall young man who would come and go occasionally.

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Deciding this was the spot, we proceeded to build our nest in the crook of a drainpipe on the edge of the backyard patio. It was covered with roof overhang-the perfect spot. I laid my eggs and sat on them day and night.

Life was good until there was quite the racket coming from the house. Lights came on, windows flew open, doors slammed, people were moving about, and then we heard a baby crying. The owners had returned early from Arizona, mumbling something about COVID and an adoption.

We were getting nervous, thinking our position would be compromised. To my pleasant surprise, they left us alone. Occasionally I caught glimpses of them watching us with binoculars at the patio door. They came into the back yard, which made me extremely apprehensive, but we seemed to be accepted, even though we were trespassing.

Sometimes I caught a glimpse of the tiny grandson when they carried him to the window to check on us. Maybe that is the reason they did not shoo us away because we had in common the responsibility of feeding and caring for babies.

Soon one of the eggs hatched and the people grew even more attentive. They tip-toed around us, watching me feed the baby. Then came the day when my baby bird could fly and off we went, never to return to the nest.

One day on our daily sweep through the yard I heard the woman ask the man what birds do all day, wondered why we never returned to the nest, and what it was like to not have a home base. She was concerned about our baby and if he had survived.

A few days later, as we flew by an open window, we heard the woman playing her guitar. We landed on the fence outside the window and listened, swaying with the music. She stopped and looked out at us. I flapped a wing and we left. I think she knew it was us and was relieved to know we were doing well.

What If

Topic:  What if

By Larry Meath

(The actual topic was “If Only” but failure to read carefully combined with old age resulted in the following poem.

It happened so suddenly

My ears had quit ringing

As I stepped onto the deck

And the birds had stopped singing.

It struck me as odd

That those sounds so sweet

Were replaced by the roars

Of only cars on the street.

I stepped back inside

And spotting my guitar,

I plucked an old tune

But the sounds were bizarre.

Instead of a melody

Or chords that were soothing,

The only sounds to be heard

Were cacophonous and bruising.

Now in a panic

I searched on the dial

For a musical station

And sounds less vile.

But all I could find

As I searched out in vain

Were the rantings of people

And news filled with pain.

“What’s happened to the music?”

I screamed out aloud.

The world has gone crazy

Sounds are wrapped in a shroud.

No matter my efforts

The results were the same:

The music was gone.

Was I going insane?

But as quickly as it started

I realized no harm

As I sleepily reached out

And turned off my alarm.