Grandpa’s Pasta Sauce

I need a break from Tag and will offer two flash pieces as respite.

The first is Grandpa’s Pasta Sauce, written spur-of-the-moment for a class I took on creative non-fiction writing. We were given five minutes to come up with something based on a real event and humanize it. I read this piece when called upon and the teacher wanted to know if I really just made it up on the spot or had worked on it long and hard and offered it for comment.

Her specific question was, “Are you really that good or is that something you’ve been working on for a while?”

I offered it was just a good day for me.

This demurecation upset Susan greatly. “Why can’t you own you’re a good writer?”

That honest, simple question set off a storm of self-analysis, all to the good.

But you tell me what you think.


Grandpa’s Pasta Sauce

Grandpa cooked pasta sauce so hot your eyes watered when you walked into his kitchen. His fingers reddened as he crushed dried red peppers into the sizzling olive oil, the garlic, onions, and green pepper already skittling across the cast iron pan.

Next came tomato paste. A whole can that he practically cracked open like an egg because he’d been a dirt farmer all of his life and his forearms were veined like rivers running to the sea and his hands calloused like the earth itself after a dry summer’s harvest.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Sunset at the Red Arrow Grille

Let me know what you think about this one. I share a first reader’s comments at the end of the piece.


Sunset at the Red Arrow Grille

Angie watched the old couple take booth 7. They sat on either side of the table, reached across and held hands.

She smiled. Limited income. Probably just got their checks. This is their big time out this month. Make ‘em smile. “Hi. I’m Angie. I’ll be helping you today. What can I start you with?”

The old couple smiled. They kept one hand out to each other.

The old man looked up, nodded. “Coffee. Extra cream, please.”

The old woman’s eyes smiled as she looked up. “Do you have ice tea?”

“Sweetened or unsweetened?”

“Unsweetened. I’ve got my own sugar right here.” The old woman patted the old man’s hand.

“Aw,” he said.

“Aw,” she said.

Angie returned with their drinks. The menus remained unopened on the table.

The old woman tipped a sugar packet into her tea and swirled it with her straw. “We know what we want.”

“Go ahead.”

“I’d like some homemade macaroni-and-cheese. Do you have that?”

Angie nodded, wrote the woman’s order, and looked at the old man.

“A meatloaf plate. Got one?”

“Sure do.”

The old man dumped two creamers in his coffee. “Met in a diner. Years ago. Saw your sign, stopped in.”

The old woman squeezed his hand. “Yes. Diners always have good, simple, stick to the ribs food. We have a long way ahead of us and don’t want to stop until we get there. That’s why we pulled in here.”

“Where you folks going?”

He sipped his coffee. “Reservoir. One town over.”

Angie drove a mental map. “That’s not far, is it?”

The old woman pointed out the window. “We want to be there at sunset, when the sun’s going over those mountains. All the colors of the mountains and setting sun reflect off the water.”


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Recovery Triptych: The Stone in God’s Sling

Recap from Recovery Triptych: The EchoRecovery Triptych took shape 9 Feb 1990. Originally I conceived only the first section, The Echo. I shared it with a critique group and was told I shouldn’t submit anything to the group containing such vulgarity and violence (see Writers Groups – Critiquing Methods – Ruled to Death, third bullet). I remember thinking at the time, “You think this has vulgarity and violence? You’ve had a protected life, huh?”

The triptych’s three parts are:

  1. The Echo
  2. Welcome to My Sandbox
  3. The Stone in God’s Sling

Here for the first time in slightly over thirty years, starting two Mondays ago and concluding here, Recovery Triptych.

It is precisely because a child’s feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
– Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

The Stone in God’s Sling

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Recovery Triptych: Welcome to My Sandbox

Recap from Recovery Triptych: The EchoRecovery Triptych took shape 9 Feb 1990. Originally I conceived only the first section, The Echo. I shared it with a critique group and was told I shouldn’t submit anything to the group containing such vulgarity and violence (see Writers Groups – Critiquing Methods – Ruled to Death, third bullet). I remember thinking at the time, “You think this has vulgarity and violence? You’ve had a protected life, huh?”

The triptych’s three parts are:

  1. The Echo
  2. Welcome to My Sandbox
  3. The Stone in God’s Sling

Here for the first time in slightly over thirty years, starting last Monday and continuing next Monday, Recovery Triptych.

It is precisely because a child’s feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
– Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

Welcome to My Sandbox

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Recovery Triptych: The Echo

Recovery Triptych took shape 9 Feb 1990. Originally I conceived only this section, The Echo. I shared it with a critique group and was told I shouldn’t submit anything to the group containing such vulgarity and violence (see Writers Groups – Critiquing Methods – Ruled to Death, third bullet). I remember thinking at the time, “You think this has vulgarity and violence? You’ve had a protected life, huh?”

The triptych’s three parts are:

  1. The Echo
  2. Welcome to My Sandbox
  3. The Stone in God’s Sling

Here for the first time in slightly over thirty years and continuing over the next three Mondays, Recovery Triptych.

It is precisely because a child’s feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
– Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

The Echo

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!