The aroma of the oranges stopped me. The clamor and stink of the crowded market swirled around me, but the oranges smelled fresh and safely clean. I piled several in my hands.

I turned to see what caused a bump from behind me. A tiny flyspeck of a boy snatched my wallet and ran. I scattered oranges everywhere and ran after him. He led me down a narrow alley, his small body disappearing behind everything between us. I quickly . . .

Stupid mistake

You don’t have to be young to make a stupid mistake, but it helps. Youth doesn’t comprehend danger or consequences. Maybe there’s an evolutionary reason for that. Maybe if young people were cautious and mature, no progress would ever be made, nothing new would ever be tried.

A lot of young people have been injured or even killed doing stupid things. How can that be a valuable trait? As a person, I take a personal approach to stupid mistakes, especially those made by my own children, who I am trying to protect from harm. But in evolutionary terms, do individual stupid mistakes matter? Do individuals matter . . .


I was brewing a new pot of coffee with my back to the counter, but I heard the creaking leather of his belt as he sat down. I caught my breath. My neck felt hot. I prayed I wasn’t blushing.

Eyes down, I turned around. I could see his strong chest, that shiny badge over his pocket, the heavy belt around his waist. I wouldn’t look in his eyes. Every time I looked in his eyes I dropped something. My whole check was going to cover broken dishes. I absolutely would not look at him.

My order pad out, I stared at it, ready to write. What’ll it be today? I said. He was grinning, I knew it, even though I wouldn’t look.


Momma sat me down here
And I gotta be still
While the reverend up there
Flap his arms all over
Like a big old crow
Gotta have me some church

Lotsa ladies standin in the choir
Where Miss Louella singin bout Jeeesus
She sing loud and wobbly
Her mouth big as a cave
Sound like and old screech owl
Gotta have me some church

Jamie-boy he sittin
A couple rows down
He wiggle his ears to say hello
So his momma don’t pinch him
For for gawkin around
Gotta have me some church

My favorite

Today’s topic: My favorite. My first 50 words . . .

My favorite ice cream no longer exists. Burgundy Cherry from Baskin Robbins. The closest thing you can find these days is Cherry Garcia at Ben and Jerry’s.

When I was a kid we went to the creamery for ice cream. You could smell it coming a block away. After you left, your clothes smelled of moldy milk all day long. They also sold ice cream at . . .


Today’s topic: hike. My first 50 words . . .

My favorite fall hike is along Sandia Crest to a spectacular view of a stand of aspen. We’d almost reached the viewpoint when I smelled it. The unmistakable aroma of death. My steps slowed. Behind me, Jeni muttered, Do you smell that?

Within a few yards, we could hear the flies.

It will be a bear or a coyote, I said. We peered over a sharp drop off and saw a woman’s body. She sprawled face down, her left leg at an awkward angle. A knife stuck . . .

Inns and Suites

Today’s topic: inns and suites. My first 50 words . . .

I followed her to the South Valley Inns and Suites. She headed straight to the building farthest from the highway and parked outside room 412. She scampered to the door her silly high heeled shoes and disappeared into the room. I recognized the black SUV parked next to her car. It belongs to my sister Pam.

I dropped the baseball bat I’d been clutching and stared at the SUV. It really was Pam’s. What did that mean? I couldn’t think. I pulled into a parking slot and grabbed the bat again . . .

I wonder

Today’s topic: I wonder. My first 50 words . . .

I wonder if she still likes lima beans. Does she still pay avid attention to the international news from Eastern Europe? Can she still write a powerful sentence? Did she navigate the perils of drugs and alcohol during her adolescence and make it through to adulthood still able to take advantage of her potential?

There have been many ten-year-old people in my life, passing by year after year. They blur after a while. But some stand out. Like scruffy, blonde haired . . .


Today’s topic: breeze. My first 50 words . . .

Breeze is a great name for a piece of software. It sounds light and refreshing, like something you’d enjoy on a spring day. My first experience with Breeze was, in fact, a pleasant one.

The software lets you share your voice, image and the files in your presentation with remote viewers. It also creates a chat window for questions and feedback as the presentation is going on.

With technology like this, you could take a class at Harvard while living in Ordway, Colorado. . . .


Topic of the day: sweetheart. My first 50 words . . .

Honey, you came to the right place, he said. He waved his young and nicely sculpted arm toward the array of used vehicles in the lot outside the window. I have a sweetheart of a deal for you. The perfect car for what you need.

He stood up and moved toward the door. I followed. I generally didn’t respond favorably to men who called me honey, but I decided to reserve judgement until I saw what the sweetheart deal amounted to. . . .