An Ornament for Christmas


By Wayne Allensworth I had to be careful. The ornaments were wrapped, each one in tissue paper and some of them were very old. I had dropped a couple of them and they shattered. As brittle as dried leaves. Their skins had grown thin as they had grown old. Christmas ornaments collected by my mother over time. So many Santa Claus ornaments, old St. Nick in his jolliest attire, thick beard and...

American Meltdown II: The “Strange Devices” of the New America


By Wayne Allensworth On Veteran’s Day, Tom Piatak reminded us of some veterans who will never be thanked for their service, men who, after heroically performing their duty on the U.S.S. Liberty, have been all but forgotten. None of the hawkish GOP presidential candidates, much less any Democrats, will ever ask for a moment of silence for the men lost, and none have or ever will demand that their...

The Butterfly’s Shadow (September Song)


By Wayne Allensworth I was taking a walk on a cool morning. Fall had finally arrived after a blistering summer. Live oak limbs made a canopy over the path, and their long shadows trailed across me, with little breaks between the limbs where the smoky autumn sun shined through. And then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a butterfly’s shadow tracing its way through the limbs, and I looked up and...

Nice Has Nothing to do With It (Immigration and Assimilation)


By Wayne Allensworth I was strolling around the campus of a major state university not so many years ago. Along the way, I committed what has become a cardinal sin in our brave new globalized world—I noticed something that stood out like a man in a three-piece suit in a 21st century supermarket. What I noticed was that the student body didn’t look very American. I saw lots of representatives of...

American Songbook: Over the Rainbow


By Wayne Allensworth Over the Rainbow…Everybody remembers Judy Garland singing that lovely song in The Wizard of Oz. The song was written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg specifically for Judy to sing in the movie. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. After Toto snaps at Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), Judy as Dorothy wonders if there is any place where there is no trouble. There must...

I Get Lost in My Hometown (Gretchen Peters and Americana music)


By Wayne Allensworth Gretchen Peters is another fine musician you may not have heard of. Born in New York City in 1957, Gretchen Peters found her way to  Nashville in 1988 after living in Boulder Colorado in the 1970s, where she had played in local clubs. She has written songs that became hits for country stars such as Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, and George Strait, as...

Strangers in Our Strange Land


By Wayne Allensworth We are strangers in our strange-and-getting-stranger land. Alienation? That’s not quite what I’m thinking of, though what we see seems alien to any sane mind. The country is, in fact, largely unrecognizable, though flashes of our past appear occasionally in our collective line of sight. Landmarks remain, but they are glimpses of an exhibit at a museum. Unlike Moses, we are...

Eva Cassidy performs “Autumn Leaves”


By Wayne Allensworth Eva Cassidy may be the best singer many of you have never heard of, and she may become the best singer you have ever heard. She died too soon in 1996 at age 33 of melanoma. I was living in the DC area at the time, and Eva frequently performed in clubs around town, but I learned of her too late, after she had passed away. She had just begun to attract attention, and her...

Christina’s World (A Painting Set to Music)


by Wayne Allensworth Christina’s World (Andrew Wyeth) Once upon a time in a world that seems like a galaxy far, far away, I wrote a creative writing piece inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s painting. I was 13 or so, and the paper was for an English class. The teacher liked it and read it aloud to her classes. I can’t remember what I wrote, but that painting made quite an impression on the young me...

Waiting for the Call


By Wayne Allensworth  (Pexels.com) A certain older gentleman of my acquaintance, let’s call him “Mr. K,” is noticeably, steadily declining. He had been hale, hardy, and robust, even after receiving his doctor’s grim diagnosis. Now he appears pale and drawn. The decline has been sudden and swift, but not unexpected. Mr. K, after all, is nearing 93. He suffers from bone cancer, and his once...

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