The Everyday Witch

Perhaps you know of a witch nearby

The Everyday Witch

The sky closes early now, there is a wind whipped up in the evening and starry yellow leaves stick on darkened wet sidewalks.

It is time for an autumn story.

A Halloween story.

Only, this one is real…

She turns off all the lights in her one-bedroom apartment, turns off the tv and radio, so all the sound there is in the world is the popping of the fire and the sploosh of rain on the window.  Which is left open to invite the moon.

She is a witch.  An Everyday Witch.  Perhaps you know of one yourself.

The Everyday Witch casts spells and boils potions.

Tonight, she throws a clump of dried sage on her fire to scrub the dark forms out of her house.

Then, not satisfied sage is enough, she tosses in a jar of oregano and basil from her cupboard. For good measure.

And what about the ingredients for her potions?  Her incantations, tinctures and cosmic revelings?

A good thesaurus.  Words.  Poems.

By her fire, muttering and sometimes cursing, she creates poetry of permission.

Permission to breath fully, openly, and make motion of things to dark to utter out loud.

The dark forms come to her mind, and the fire shoots up blue, purple, lavendar and orange flowerettes that bloom against her cheek and cause a rush of warmth that reminds her of the days when she was not a witch, but a princess.

Yes, there was once a trailing gown of creamed silk, with the promises of the prince flushing her cheeks and causing imaginings too good to be true.

The prince, upon making  his promises,  quickly turned into a dark form.  Dressed in perfect Ralph Lauren suits and saying all the Right Things in front of his public, but in private, eeking out a terror and malice and doom that only the princess could satiate by rolling over and playing dead.

But she did not play dead for long.

The prince became an ex-husband who abused and threatened, and stole their child away with lies and con artistry, which is possible if you buy the right suit.

And the princess became a witch.  An Everyday Witch…

Back now to the mesmer of the fire and the story of this chilly and  wildly winded night..

Dark forms.  Domestic violence.  Custody con jobs.  Sociopaths. Childhood molestation. Family betrayal. Homeless and sick in spirit and body, mind and heart, turning to drink to abate the frozen fears of the night that never leaves…

But wait…There is a witch, and a witch knows how to handle Dark Forms… The witch casts sage upon the burning wood, and it softens the haunting blows of the past.  She writes her potions as poems and rolls them up into empty beer bottles to cast them upon the future tide. An entire basement full of beer and wine and olive oil bottles with scrolls of potions poems inside.

There are potions of.. what?  Did the author say, ‘permission’?

Permission to reject what your family told you about yourself all those years ago.

Permission to be free from the traps of the Ralph Lauren Sociopaths.

Permission to give life out of the ashes of unbearable loss.

Permission to not only duck a bully, but run and run to pastures that only you can harvest.

Permission to sell your talent, not your body, to buy seeds that grow the imagination and skills of young persons.

Permission to walk away with dignified presence.

Permission to keep yourself for yourself.

Permission to start again, and again, and again.

Permission to watch words become reality, and fires glow and tender your most dear loves and ambitions with the fruits of your pain and with granulated grace.

So, this Halloween, when you spot an open window, and catch a wiff of a cedar and sage burning fireplace, stop and look into it. If it is a true witch sitting there, she will not mind, but welcome you in.

The dance of the flames, the dance of the living with all its perils, and the dance of words.

Listen to the mutterings and incantations and rhythm of the poetry of life coming into its own.

You might need permission someday, too.



Rebirth, In Honor of Domestic Violence Month


Okay, all you women of domestic violence, childhood abuse, unjust child custody battles — trauma will change us.  It is a core platform that makes, breaks, and the reforms personality.

So let it transform you in a way that reaps you some rewards.

I used to take long walks  in a neighborhood nature areas while waiting for my son at school..  At one end of the trail, there was an algae pond surrounded by brambles and deadwood.  One day I stood looking at it, trying to see the redeeming value in it. Then,  — WOOOSH!!!

A giant old Blue Heron unfolded its wings like unfolding a heavy tent or tarp, and rose out of the dry tree limbs like a silent stunning helicopter.

I had no idea that Heron was there.  He made no notice of himself.  Until he levitated out of, above, and beyond the useless scrubs. And that Heron made me wonder…

What wisdom will levitate our Selves out of the brambles of injustice, pain, loss and abuse?

Trauma will change us.  That is irrevocable.  But, we get to say how.  And that can also be irrevocable.

Without being victims to it, we can adopt a posture of surrender, curiosity, acceptance of that which will rise.

It is a strong woman who can keep her will and at the same time speak the language of the  curious.

Curious instead of demanding.  Accepting instead of angry. Creative instead of crisis.

If you have been violated as a child, brainwashed into negative patterns of relating and behaving, if you have lost a child to a manipulative ex, or that ex’s lawyer, if you have been alone on the streets then you will know there is a rising voice that bubbles up in the dead of the darkness and mush of crisis that says, “But….”

“But… — what??”

Trauma can only change so much.

It only  has so much sway.

We get to finish the sentence.  “But,…what??”

This is our rebirthing.  Our coming forward through the dead wood time.

“But, I don’t deserve this!… But, this can’t be my life… But, I didn’t do anything wrong!.. But, I don’t want this!!”

This is the signal that things are changing.  We are no longer willing to sacrifice our Self to someone else’s manipulation.

We get to say who we are, not nobody else does..

Keep your will, your determination, your agenda of goals and dreams.  It may be a hot meal, a safe house, a friend, a job, an income, respect from your boss — whatever it is, keep your will.

And at the same time, grab onto grace.

The grace of curiosity.

Instead of grasping what cannot be, desperately enforcing the  agenda that cannot be ours,  take a position of open wonder.

What will my crisis yield?  Where will it take me on the inside? How will I change, and allow myself to be changed from this?  What will I become?

And then, wait…Watch.. and see how you transform.  What your new life has become.

This is the adventure of Self, and trauma has beaten us into but thank the stars we have it because we are free.  And some, like our abusers, are still trapped.

Be brave.  What is up ahead might be something new and different.  But know that if it feels awkward and hard,  you are probably doing it right.

Allow a rebirth.  And allow yourself the gifts and needs of the newborn.

Is this too preachy?  Too lofty?  This is not said from the choir loft…My Blue Heron is real.  I’ve lived this road, and you can, too.

Understanding of your story, expression of your pain, and then working the skills to ask how and what instead of running into the same old walls over and over again.

Sisters, you are stronger than you know, and you might find the person on  the other end, who comes out the other side, who rises above the branches, in your own wisdom, with your own special grace,  is someone you respect and might even like being around.


We can’t find our express humanity in a sound-byte. We have to have prose.


Literacy is a relationship. It changes personality and how we live life.


Read to your children, your dog, your neighbor.


Get to write things down.


Text with a little zest.





Monty’s Love Poems to the Pixies of The Midnight Garden

Monty Falls In Love With The Pixies  (His his heart is easily taken..)

(Heidi’s note:   Monty is deeply and madly in love with the pixies of The Midnight Garden.  He has taken to writing love poems to them and sending them out by moonlight post.  I have his permission to use his poems here, in hopes more pixies out there are going online).


Pixie pie,

Light in my eye,

Giggle at my window:

Makes a happy fellow.


Twilight wanderer,

Knee deep in red roses,

Wading through the wake

Of your scented hair,

Floating above me

In wild rushes,

Swept up in its net,

A willing prisoner

Am I.


Parishoner, here,

Knocking at your monastic door,

Only to find a party

Pruned in vineyards of happiness,

Harvesting memories

Of the celebration

Of our hello.


Tony Bennet knew it.

Fly me to the moon.

Nat King Cole told it.

Nature Boy.

What song shall be crooned

To the tune

Of your crooked finger

Wagging like a tail,

Towing me out the window

With a promise of picnic kisses.


A pixie picnic is full of glee,

‘Specially prepared just for me.

The pixies tango

To the mayo

In salads of the heart Shire

And meats of desire.

When they tease my ears

With promises of creamers

And sprinkle me with crumbs

Of bacon and buns,

My paws go weak and mild

And my kisses go mad and wild.


Oh Morning Away! Away!

Out with the new day!

I haven’t finished my say

On my night love’s lay.

The midnight garden may

Take me still, when old and gray.


Purple robes of night

Promise sequels

Of the heart.


And, Heidi’s poem of the original “In My Midnight Garden,”  that started the whole love poem thing…


In My Midnight Garden

In the bookmarked spaces

Between mind and night,

I see angels dancing

On their pinheads.

There is a lily of the dark

Who tosses her gild

Into the valley of

Voices surrendered.

A realm of muted stories

Given over the futility of light

And a sometime knowlege

Of undoing.

That there would be

A watering time,

A cello moaning on the hillside,

A tea set full of moonshine

Here to picnic in the garden of night.

Summer grasses find their spring,

And all the stars wear flowing dresses

Splashing barefeet in the Milky Way.

The trying gives in

To the silent sigh

That no more can be done

To save the day.

Black and purple skies knock

At my window

And pixies peep in and laugh

At my furrowed brow.

“Stop lollygaggying in tears!”

They giggle and scold,

And point me toward the party

In the garden of night.

Out of all the surrender

Of us sleeping babes

Frightfully fitted into

Constellations of grief

The garden grows,

The picnic jig has begun

And through portals of dying

The flowers of sleep send their petals upward.




Frank The Corner Man

Frank The Corner Man


I never caught his real name.

To me, in my mind, I always called him Frank.  Somehow it was an intrusion to ask him straight up, “What is your name?”

I think he was a man devoted to his privacy,  ardent about his independence.

If this were the 1920’s, Frank would have been called a “hobo,” and riding the rails on the tops of swagging box cars firing up a cup of joe.

But this is 2012, in NW Washington State.  We don’t do hobos here. We have services.

I met Frank a long while back, on the corner, with a hand-printed cardboard sign that read “Vietnam Vet, anything helps, God Bless.”

At first, walking down that frantic stretch of road and intersection to get to the art supply store, service dog pulling me along like a motivational mantra on cement, Frank melted into the background. I was consumed with my self, my own anxiety, my own agenda, to get to the art supply store and back.

Over time, with repetition, Frank and I made eye contact, and he said hello to my dog.

I did not give him money.  Being from a former life in social services, I was trained not to do so, but to render phone numbers and bus routes to shelters and service agencies who were funded to provide for the homeless.

But Frank had an economy going. And he knew it.

This particular intersection happened to be rated the Number One busiest and most congested and stalled-out interaction in the city.  To Frank’s benefit.  Cars had to wait 4.5 minutes for the light to turn in their favor, and then, they might not make it and have to wait another round.

All that time, sitting in a car, looking at Frank with his sign on the street corner. Hidden away behind the bushes of his full, unkempt gray beard and piercing eyes. Dollars got handed out rolled-down windiws.  Frank stacked ’em up and rolled them  into a tube sock.

And he asked how my dog was doing.

One day he called to me, “tomorrow is another day!  Always remember, there’s another day..”

And then one day, he was hunched in the bushes behind the sidewalk. He waved to me and with a great push got up to greet me.

“Just taking a break,” he said, grin under a tobacco stained mustache and still having his original teeth somehow,  “I broke my hip.  Takin’ it slow today.”

It seemed ridiculous to offer platitudes.  And help to get services. Scuttlebutt had it that he lived in a tent across the main semi-highway, and routinely got chased out by cops and had to relocate, but never breaking the law or getting arrested. Just a tent, and relocation.

Something about him smacked of “been there, done that. Dont’ preach to the choir, honey.”

But Frank was not the kind of guy to say that out loud.

There are implicit rules among the homeless that denies anyone the right to gain status over another to teach, correct, or help or pretend you know of a better way.

Sometimes independence trumps the controls of beaurocracy.

But humanity remains.

So I brought him beer. He told me once he wouldn’t refuse it.

And when I saw his frame, his skinny thin frame — from smoking too much over a lifetime  — skinny gaunt frame become haunched and crooked with a side-step from that broken hip, I knew that the man with the leathery ravines where crow’s eyes used to be was not long for this world.

The piercing eyes were vague and watery around the edges of the whites.

So I brought him beer.

One day the temperature reached 101  degrees — August — and I came across  him  on a different sidewalk, myself walking home from the store, bag full of cold beer for me and frozen Chinese for my service dog.

He was haunched and scrabbling across the cement. “How’s your dog?” he grimaced a pain-laden smile. The kind of smile your soul has on reserve, but the crunched muscles of your throbbing body won’t deliver.

“He is hot,” I said, and pulled his backpack over toward my end and shifted beer cans into it.

Stuffed in as many as I could. I knew he needed it.

“You know you have to drink water too,” I said, “wether you want it or not. Beer will get you through the night, but won’t hydrate you. Where you going?”

“I’m sleeping there tonight,” he pointed in the direction where, if you go three blocks over, there are some vacant fields.

“I know how to get you services, and a clean bed, ” I said, “But I won’t push it on you. You will tell me if you want me to arrange a shelter bed and services for you?” I pleaded,  dignified, but still, a plead.

“Oh services don’t help,” he brushed me off, “They don’t do much good and I’m doin’ fine.”

But the next day, a Sunday, when I brought Frank a Tupperware box full of fresh tuna casserole, he was not fine. I called the paramedics to the corner of West 112th and Thorson Avenue.

The next three days, my service dog and I sat by his hospital bed, and in the waiting room, while the IV dripped morphine into Frank’s perishing body.

Cancer had its final say in the matter. No one knew. No one could have known. Frank was just a corner man, waiting for the stop light and hoping the police wouldn’t take away his night tent.

I prodded the doctors and nurses and the social worker. Family? Children? Next of kin? Who will bury this gentleman? Who will send him on his way? Is there a religion? Anyone to say a prayer of a certain denomination?

Not a clue.

Brush off.

I poured two fingers of contraband Jack Daniels into the decaf coffee on Frank’s breakfast tray.

“How’s your dog?” he meagerly and eagerly put the cup to his cracked, scabby lips.

“He’s right here, doing good,” I said and pointed to the floor where my dog was standing guard over both of us.

“You’ll need to keep the bottle,” he mused. “The cops are kicking me outta here today.”

And today it was.

No one was called, no one was able to find a family member to call.

I sat outside the morgue room, waiting for the County hearse.

“Who will see the body to the grave site?” I asked.

The charge nurse  was terse, not in the mood for a Hallmark moment from some stray do-gooder sentimentalist.

“The driver,” she said.

When the driver showed up, and the greenish-black bag was hoisted into the back of the coroner’s public service hearse, I said, “STOP.”

They looked at me. My dog looked at me.

“I am riding with him,” I said. “To the grave site.”

“No, honey, you can’t do that, you’re not family, you’re not next of kin.”

“Then get the doctor,” I said. Plainly. “It is his orders that count.  I want to hear it from him.”

When the doctor showed up, tipping his eyebrows into “what the hell is this woman doing, getting me down here — away from my patients ???”

I tucked the leftovers of Jack Daniel deeper into my coat pocket, and said, “This gentleman is somebody’s son.  Somewhere out there, dead by now,  he has a mother, good or bad, a  mother.  But a mother is universal. And I happen to also be a mother. For today, I will be this man’s mother, and I will weep for him as a mother would, and I will escort him to his grave.”

…..Well, after a second round of negotiation about having a service dog travel in the back of hearse, we made it to the cemetery, Frank –obligingly —  in tow.

Then Frank was lowered into his pauper’s grave, anonymous, just a number for a headstone. I never caught his real name.

My dog lowered his stance to a chin-down on the grass.

I recited the Lord’s prayer.

And then, as the back hoe dumped heaps of dusty summer dirt into the hole, I sang,

“Abide with me, ’tis  eventide,

The day is past and gone….

The shadows of the light are gone.

The day is fast and done…”

And then, because time permitted,

“God be with you till we meet again..

In His hands hold upright you,

By his side He will guide you..

God be with you till we meet again…”

I had not had my wits about me earlier and did not think to snag any flowers from the gift shop or bouquet to put in the earth with Frank.

So I poured the last of the Jack Daniels over the dirt, crossed myself, and said to my dog, “We go now.”

And we turned and walked toward the bus stop.

Frank the Corner Man was somebody’s son.

And I am somebody’s mother.

It’s A Good Day For A Murder

What the dog knows

For four days now I have staring at this set of fireplace pokers. So has the dog. And he knows something. But wait, I have to back up before I can get to that.

I haven’t been able to do anything else but stare at this black iron equipment.  Been laid up and chained by pain to this recliner chair, in front of the fireplace.  Because that is where the chair is.

Four days ago my dog chased a cat down the steps and I went with him, tethered to the leash, all 250 pounds of me plus gravity beating my left side against the cement steps

She looked so sweet at first

So there is a tide of pain on my left side that leaves me immobile, nauseous, and in an indoor prison of this tiny apartment.  It has only been with the aid and comfort of a noxious indoor smog of profanity and cursing that I have been able to transport myself from bed to this chair.

By the second day, dog had acclimatized to this cussing and going potty on pee mats.

He has relaxed and adjusted to the isolated life on an invalid.

But he hasn’t gone stir crazy like me.  He has noticed something in the aloneness, the solitary din. And it has enchanted him.

And it has come from the fireplace pokers.

Wait.  What you have to know is that I brought in this fireplace set just a day before the big crash.

I found them on a dog walk. A neighbor had thrown them in the garbage dumpster area.  And they looked good. In fine shape.  I didn’t meet this neighbor, she was hidden trying to hurl a home office computer table into the bin, as well.  I waited and came back later.   I took in the discarded ironworks.

It is July, and hot.  There is no need to play with the fireplace, so I just let it sit and wait for winter

But now it is there, in front of me and the dog, and the dog has taken a peculiar interest in it. There is nothing else to do.

He sniffs, and sits staring at it, receiving knowledge on a dog plain that I can’t grasp.  everyone in a while he makes a deep throated growl, and his tail wiggles, and ears twitch upward. Eyes fully rounded, intensely gazing at the iron prongs and brush.

So I too, start to listen.  Perhaps it will keep the nausea at bay if I can distract myself into what the fireplace pokers are telling us.

And then, it starts to come to me.

These pokers had been used a murder weapons. I’ll be there could be a CSI microscopic trace DNA evidence on these pokers that would reveal a homicide. And that lady at the trash bin was the guilty party.  That’s why she was throwing them out.

And now I am housing the discarded evidence.

Now, my mind is no luminol device, but as I sit here staring at the pokers along with my dog, they speak to me. I can hear the stories embedded the iron.

Just molecules of  voices, but there it is. The dog knows it, and now so do I.

That nice neighbor lady had been married for 31 years to a deeply convicted Mormon Bishop, completely pious and so righteous he himself could have ushered in the Second Coming.

He was a smiling grinning dentist who had the blow-dried hair of a surfer and the handshake of a used car salesman.  He carried a thick set of scriptures with him wherever he went, and beamed happiness and contentment to all he came in contact with.

But while he was out making perfect religious time share sales for slots in heaven, at home, when the pressed white shirt and preppy tie came off, he was a beast.

For 31 years he had controlled her every move, every facial expression, every perception, every attitude, every remark.  Correcting her nuances into the Right and Correct patterns that would align with God’s Plan.

And in bed, at night, he insisted she play the role of his sainted mother.

And at breakfast, if the toast was whole wheat, he flung the plate against the wall and told her next time it would land on her skull.

And, by the way, his allergies were acting up, could she stop by the pharmacy to get a refill on nasal spray. And have that tire looked at. Where do go all day while I am at work, the way you deflate the tires you are going to make me go broke, where do you go, Nebraska??

But to his parishioners and pretty young newbie dental hygenists he was hero.

Nobody knew.

Except the kids. They knew. 5 of them, all grown up now. And busy Doing The Right Things.

Which was why husband and wife had moved temporarily to this apartment complex.  They had sold their big house with the rec room and tennis court and flowered deck and his den with built in bookcases of religious books.  They were waiting for their new home, a much smaller ranch cottage, complete with nursery for the grandchildren,  to finish being built.

And in the night, on Monday of last week, after calling on a member who was ill, and required some prophecy, and then interviewing a single mother who had asked for a food box (which he denied based on her admitting to a coffee habit), he came home to conduct a family spiritual assessment.

But his blood sugar problems had gotten the best of him, and as he prayed for the druggie who had made an emergency call for a toothache and requested Vicadin, he caught of glimpse of his wife in the kitchen.

Again. Once again. Why in 31 years could she not get this right.  The milk was skim milk. Blue milk.  And she had added it to the scalloped potatoes. She knew he needed Whole milk.

He saw the yellow label on the milk carton and knew what she had done. And she had done it to spite him.  To undermine his authority. To laugh at him, mock him.  She was not the wife he was promised in the Temple. She was not pure. She did not respect him. She did not honor his priesthood authority.

And, most likely, she had not been, after all, a virgin when they married. He had suspected for years.

Lying slut imperfect blemished whore of a woman who bore his children, his legacy, his possessions from a womb of sin and malice.

Malice against God, malice against him.

And, then, from over the kitchen counter.  Quietly, demurely, with the half lowered eyes that had become her way of life, she saw his lips go rigid. She saw his eyes go steel and the boyish eager freckled cheeks go magenta with rage.

“One minute, dear, I have to check on the dryer,” and she patted his shoulder with trimmed nails and china white skin, still comforting and babying after all these years.

She walked behind him while he growled, and in a flash, her strength suddenly came to her.  The strength she had never had. The promise, the permission, the clarity and free will and knowledge of what it is like to truly breathe all came to her and she surged with power, her limbs liberated, and she grasped the fireplace poker. In one, two, three pointed, purposeful, poignant blows he was spurting red onto his open scriptures.

Well, that’s why this fireplace poker set was being thrown out.

Who knows what happened to the body.

The eldest son had visited her later that Monday night, with a rented truck. He had always been a realist at heart, and dutiful, and somewhat smarter than the rest. Who knows.

But what is known, is that today my left arm can type.  And dog has taken up rest in the bed. I think the pain is gone, enough to walk him, and perhaps  sit in the hot tub and soak out the rest.

Stomach is settled, and there are children’s summer yelps coming over from the playground. I have opened the window.

This has been a good day for a murder.

Heidi D. Hansen,

In The Jailhouse Now

The Nature of the Heart Needs no License


By request, the story of the Big Break..


My guy, “E” was 10.  We fished. We made a lifestyle of rigging poles and lines for this and that type of fishing and roamed far and wide for sage advice and hand-made fly.


We lived for a time nearby a huge sprawling wildlife park, which included a man-made fishing lake and also  a protected salmon run river and all its offshoots and creeks.


My guy and me made a study of this area.


At his age, he could fish for free. I was too cheap to pay for my own fishing license.  Here in the NW, if an adult even looks at an unlicensed pole, it is the end…So I knew I was taking a risk.


In one corner of this wildland, we found a sculpted crevice of rapids (not deep, it was a creek, but a rolling creek) sunk down below a steep embankment. There was an island of rocks in the middle, perfect for casting a line  in a circle all around it.


We brought yard clippers to form a tunnel in the blackberry bushes and brush to make a trail to the prized spot, and had to slide down the embankment on our bums to get to it.


But once we were there, it was Shangri-la.  We were hidden from view, shrouded in the bubbling waters swarming around mossy rocks, shimmering shafts of currents, and fish that hopped on board the minute a shrimp-on-a-hook landed in the water.


We visited this spot many times.  It was our own secret fishing spot, and though the yield was not legendary, the hours and hours of hooking bait, re-hooking, and promises that this would be “the cast” filled a lifetime.


E was 10, and knew little of Life.  I, however, knew that our time, and our luck, was limited.  We were, after all, poaching.


One July morning, after all the fireworks in the ‘hood had been exhausted, we rode our bikes to fish. Loaded with poles rigged for shark, beluga whale, and ancient Sturgeon, we tunneled our way down the embankment to our hidden trove.


I could feel this day was somehow different, but kept it to myself.


We cast in, we caught. As usual, it was relegated to me to knock the little trout unconscious and slide them into the Fred Meyer baggie.


It got hot early on, and the warmed water bottles and granola bars wouldn’t cut it. I sent E up the hill to the snack bar to get a hot and sizzling cheeseburger and shake to tie him over.


But I also noticed something else, something I kept to myself.


Up above, on the edge of our little ravine, a group of prison inmates on work release were weed-whacking the summer overgrowth of brush. Not only orange vests, they had cell phones too.


They saw me. In an illegal segment of protected river way. I knew the call to the park supervisor was just an orange vest away.


Sure enough, my diligent fellow came rushing back, before his burger was done cooking,  peering over the embankment, through the bushes and vines, calling out, “Mom! Drop the pole!! The Game Warden is here!!”


I smiled and beamed up at him, being motherly and unearthly and  above it all, reassuring, and at peace with the world, and said, “oh it’s ok, hun, no worries, just get your lunch.”


“No, really, Mom, the Game Warden is here, and he’s pointing his finger towards our area. I think he menas US!”


Ok. Drop the pole and pack up. It’s moving day.


Within minutes, we had our gear in hand and were scrambling up the embankment to our bikes.


The Fred Meyer baggie of contraband fish was quickly lashed to the handlebar of my bike.  All 5 inches of fish.  We rode up the path toward the exit.


The Game Warden was there in the middle of the path, but lo and behold, he was ticketing another party.  The guilty man in plaid shirt was arguing the ticket, and pointing to us, cussing, and saying “Why are you giving me a ticket when you let them go?? What about THEM??” and pointed to me and E, gliding by on our bikes, baggie of illegal fish swaying to and fro in the wind.


I remarked to E, in between clenched teeth as we pedalled past, “Just smile. Ride and smile.  Just ride and smile.”


We got past.


We got to the boundary of the park, into city road territory. Down to the Highway, and a stop light where we could catch a breath.


And then we busted out. Laughing and laughing, and broke into song without a thought of it between us. Both of us. Together, same song, same gusto.


The song was a no-brainer. It just fit. And we both knew it at the same time.


“In The Jail House Now,” from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”


We rode home, we sang the song, we rode, and sang the song. We looked at each other, burbled up a laugh, and sang the song.


Nothing else needed to be said.  It was a classic summer day.




Heidi D. Hansen,