America has its fair share of problems.

America has its fair share of mistakes.

America has its pouty days of political upheaval, and the he-saids, she-saids, and they-saids can certainly bog us down. I know I’ve been steering clear of all things news-related recently.

But it’s still the best country on the planet. I’d not want to live anywhere else.

To freely stroll leaf-caked sidewalks, the crispy footsteps frightening undecisive squirrels from their hidey holes.


When Hayes takes his elderly father on a day pass to a ballpark, he knew the task would prove challenging. The drought and a lack of understanding turn the challenge into an ordeal that will reveal more than Hayes bargained for.

I reach into the back of the tiny closet in room 402 of The Pines Assisted Living Resort and tug on the only piece of luggage my father owns. It’s sad, really. Once a world traveler, only the best of high-end cases and carry-ons would suit him. But for the final leg of his journey, we’d kept only this one piece, which is refusing to come into the light of day.

“God didn’t make a deal with you, Pop,” I say to him. He glares at me from the vinyl-covered recliner where he waits for his aide.

When I was a kid, I’d looked forward to Dad arriving home after one of his business trips. I’d wait out on the sidewalk in the summers or draped over the back of the sofa staring out the picture window during the winters with my red plastic-handled safety scissors in eager anticipation of cutting off the airport luggage tags to add to my scrapbook collection. Places I’d never been to, and likely would never see in my lifetime. Dad would describe these mystical cities in great detail over Mom’s standard welcome-home meal of meatloaf, fried potatoes, and homemade applesauce.

In my eight-year-old brain, these were mysterious lands filled with the grandest of dragons and knights and damsels in distress.

But really, they were the destinations my engineer father traveled to “to better the world with sustainable solutions for agriculture and aquatic needs.” Whatever that meant. I’m still not entirely clear. By the time I was ten, I’d memorized all the state-side airport codes. LAX, Los Angles. LGA, LaGuardia in New York City. BNA — my favorite and closest to our rural Tennessee home an hour’s drive from Nashville.

My four sisters and I were well cared for, well fed, and possibly even loved, though Mom’s gears were permanently stuck in single-motherhood survival mode as Dad was gone forty-eight weeks out of the year and many weekends. Several years in a row he was home long enough to create another child for her to care for.

Maybe he didn’t want her to be lonely.


Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on the first week of every

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Copyright © 2019 by B.A. Paul
All work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All work published on this site, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Beth's passion for writing started in grade school with an epic outer space adventure scribbled on 158 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper with not-sharp-enough pencils. That manuscript was lost in a basement flood.

Thirty years, marriage, two kids and several dogs later, she's garnered enough story fodder to resurrect her passion—and this time she backs up her work!

She currently resides in Indiana with her family and a couple of meowing fur babies who enjoy walking across her keyboard.