A Little Pride in Joy

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     They met in June. She was working in the back of the General Store, rinsing out old mason jars to be used for pickling and storing preserves and jams. The sweltering heat of the Georgia sun was unforgiving; dime-sized sweat drops fell from her forehead and raced down her back. Her thin cotton top clung to her body as she finished her task and walked back inside. The General Store had been in Charlotte’s family since the establishment of the small town back in the late 1890s. Her father had handed the reins to Peter when they married and her father had fallen ill. For over twenty years, she and Peter worked side by side, her handling most of the clerical work and manning the front of the store, while Peter took to...

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Palm Sunday

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The only thing staining my palms is Sharpie ink. A hypocrite who loves liturgy and science isn’t likely to bleed for her faith, though I watched that movie last night on cable, the one with Gabriel Byrne as the sexy priest and Patricia Arquette as the unduly afflicted, and I stare at my palms all through church willing them to bleed something other than a grocery list, thinking how good it would feel to be a saint, thinking how I need to write milk on my hand before I...

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The Former Quarterback’s Club...

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     On December 9th, 2011, the New People’s bank at the Norton Commons (a shopping center with stores like Maurice’s popular enough two years ago to bless Wise and Norton Virginia with their presence, a couple of gift shops, a Radio Shack, and a Burke’s outlet) was robbed by the father of two guys I used to ride the bus with. He walked in wearing a blue surgical mask, a black hoodie, black pants, and sunglasses, and pointed a gun at the cashier, who then proceeded to put a large sum of money in his duffel bag. He then escaped on a red bicycle. They found that bike in the neighborhood where I used to go to church and where my stepfather grew up and where his father had a sporting goods store...

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Who’s Reading Whom?

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Mrs. Hope isn’t down on River Street—the tourists’ hub—even though a psychic could probably make a good living downtown amidst tipsy tourists looking to experience Savannah through candy shops, souvenir stores, and the open container law. Getting your fortune told, for most, has that fleeting vacation charm, like getting henna tattoos or caricatures drawn of yourself. We’re intrigued by psychics in the same way that we’re intrigued by the guy at the carnival who can guess anyone’s weight, so you can usually find them wherever people flock to spend a little time outside of their routine rationale. But, maybe Mrs. Hope can predict better than I can her prime location. Instead of downtown, she works out of a house much farther south than tourists venture. It’s past where the art school students linger and...

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Silent Night

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  The little white church was even brighter and whiter under a moonlit starry night and an icy coat of frost that sparkled like diamond dust. A soft fog was feeling its way down the mountain, and it was bringing with it a harder chill to the valley floor. The gathering inside the church was large. It was Christmas, and so the pews swelled with the regulars and the two-timers -- folks who attended at Christmas and Easter. It never bothered Pastor Jud to see the two-timers come. They made the collection plates a bit heavier, and their voices filled the little church with carols, hymns and hallelujahs. As folks settled in and the murmurs softened to silence, Pastor Jud stood and stepped to the pulpit. Having grown up in this little place, he...

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