SHORT STORY FRIDAY: Sundays in the Mountains

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.”

American short story writer and novelist, Flannery O’Connor, was born on this day in 1925 (d. 1964)

Today is Short Story Friday. You get a story today because of my naturally acquired stubborn streak.

The story is not ready for public consumption. But as the saying goes “done is better than perfect.”

I’m not so sure. This story does not go where I want it to go. But I am determined to get to my goal of thirty-one stories which will become part of a collection I hope to publish later this year.

This story will be a part of that project. But don’t be surprised if it returns in a form you don’t recognize

The Write Side Shop

based on today’s post.

I’m being a little vulnerable here. This is not my best work.

But it’s work. And it’s progress.

And it’s here.


As my brother and I walked with our mother down the steps of the small brick church building we saw the clouds that had rolled in during Sunday School.

“Will we still go?” my brother asked. “It looks like rain.”

“We will still go,” my mother reassured him. “A drive in the mountains can be wonderful, even in the rain.”

It was a Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoons were for drives in the mountains.

My father no longer went to church with us on Sunday mornings. I do not remember when he stopped going. But sometime after that he started taking us on Sunday drives through the mountains.

Perhaps he found God in the woods and not in a building.

At home my brother and I quickly changed out of our church clothes while Mother packed up the picnic lunch she had risen early to prepare before church.

The gray October sky met the gold and red of the mountains as we pulled out of the driveway in my father’s red International Scout. It was the only type of vehicle I ever knew him to own.

With my father behind the wheel, my brother would ride shotgun. In his early teens, this is how he would learn to drive.

I sat next to my mother on the bench in the back. There were no seatbelts.

Off the main highway a winding two lane road took us to the mountains where there might be a road, or more likely a logging trail.

Usually, the roads we took were clear. Usually.

If not, my father would likely find a way through anyway. At the last sign of paved road, we stop for my father and brother to put the vehicle into four-wheel drive.

Then we were off through the trees.

Up the hill we went.

We drove and drove until at last we reached the clearing.

Mother spread the picnic out on the tailgate and we ate.

Food was somehow always better in the mountains. I don’t know if it was the fresh air, or the fact that Mother had packed our favorite foods.
Or perhaps it was just the time with family.

After lunch we walked.

A pond. Formed by a small dam.

The only way to the other side was across the dam where the water was flowing.

I slipped and one leg was wet up to the knees.

My feet were cold and wet the remainder of the day.

But it didn’t matter.

Soon we walked back to the Scout and piled in for more driving.

Up the mountains to spectacular views.

“Look, there on the horizon,” my father said, “that’s where our house is.”

He handed me his binoculars, but I could never see the house.

It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see our home. I was surrounded by home.

As he drove, my father would tell us stories of growing up and traveling through these mountains.

“We didn’t have a vehicle, sometimes I would borrow the family horse. But most of the time I walked and walked.”

But soon, as the sun began to set and the skies to darken, my father would stop talking.

My brother and I would want to ask questions, but we were shushed by our mother.

It was many years later when I began to understand why the silence was important. As we drove through the mountains, my father was recapturing his youth. Recapturing something that he thought he had lost.

He drove through his beloved mountains, thinking of his own father, cursed with dementia, bedridden in his final days.

Our last ride in the mountains was almost sixty years ago. I am certain that my father’s red International Scout was relegated to a junkyard not long after our last trip.

My grandfather passed and my father stopped taking us to the mountains on Sunday afternoons.
In the occasional snowstorm, he would drag my brother with him, and they would take the Scout to the mountains once more. On more than one occasion when the snow and the incline provide to be more than the Scout could handle, they would walk together out of the mountains and to find a friendly house with a phone. My mother and I would drive to meet them.

The mountains brought my father healing.

The mountains brought my father peace.

And when I return to those hills, I understand.


If you know, you know…


Poll: More voters blame Biden, not Russia or oil companies, for soaring gas prices
The Washington Times
Roughly 39% of respondents said President Biden was responsible, compared to about 21% who said it was the fault of a U.S. ban on Russian energy imports and fewer than 18% who said it was the fault of oil and gas companies. Less than 10% blamed supply chain disruptions, 8.5% said COVID-19 and just under 5% were unsure. Read More.

Oh, So That’s Where COVID Relief Money Went
“Thanks to a sudden $140 million cash infusion, officials in Broward County, Florida, recently broke ground on a high-end hotel that will have views of the Atlantic Ocean and an 11,000-square-foot spa,” the Associated Press Reports. “In New York, Dutchess County pledged $12 million for renovations of a minor league baseball stadium to meet requirements the New York Yankees set for their farm teams.” Read More.

House Democrats warn of blue-state revolt in November
The Washington Times
Rep. Jahana Hayes, a two-term Connecticut Democrat, recently told supporters that if they did not take races like hers seriously, they would be in for a rude wake-up call in November. Read More.

The Cancel-Culture Consultant Lacey Leone McLaughlin is hand-holding anxious Hollywood execs afraid of their young assistants.
New York Magazine Intelligencer
After Harvey Weinstein’s fall set off a purge of the entertainment industry’s notorious sexual predators, Me Too morphed into Mean Too. Abusive titans like Scott Rudin and Joss Whedon and Ellen DeGeneres and Sharon Waxman were suddenly called to account for clearly unreasonable, sometimes reprehensible behavior that had been an open secret for years. Read More.


1901 – Ed Begley, American actor (d. 1970)
1928 – Jim Lovell, American captain, pilot, and astronaut
1934 – Gloria Steinem, American feminist activist, co-founded the Women’s Media Center[17]
1938 – Hoyt Axton, American singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1999)
1942 – Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2018)
1947 – Elton John, English singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor





The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26


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