New Horizons Writers’ Group – February 2015

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Gary Alan Rose

One day as we drove home and turned onto our street, we had to swerve a bit to get by a truck and trailer with its construction crew. As soon as we passed, our eyes focused on an ensuing dilemma ahead. A miniature dog was being closely followed right down the middle of the street by an elderly woman on a bicycle. We slowed to observe, then stopped the car to help her corral the little tyke.

When I cautiously approached the dog, it immediately did a 180 degree turn and headed back towards the bicyclist. She hopped off her bike, bending down to catch it, only to fall flat on her posterior. A car coming toward the critter caused it to turn once again in a direct path to us. The shifty little pooch zigged, zagged and blew past me, also escaping the young construction crew I mentioned. When it encountered those fellows, it changed course once more up the middle of the street going past our house, out of sight around the corner. Well, I tried and it’s time for lunch.

That’s when I gave up on the rescue bid, figuring if the young guys couldn’t be successful, I had even less of a chance. We got in the car and proceeded into our garage. However, my wife yells at me to look outside, “There he goes again down the middle of the street!” My thought was that sooner or later the pint-sized dog would be run over.

The golf car – that was the answer. I zipped out of the garage and soon came along side the frantic dog. It came to mind that my best chance for success was to get him out of the street and cornered in a door entry way or some boxed-in situation. Maneuvering the little guy gradually to the curb, like a sheepdog herding in a direction, my plan worked. The tiny dog was panting so hard from the exertion, he seemed glad to stop, but continued to shiver frightfully, eyes dilated, in his little red vest. I managed to calm him somewhat and even able to pet his small head, but he retreated when I tried to pick him up. That’s when my wife came with a towel to envelop him. She carried him to our house with me slowly following behind in the golf car. Once in the garage, we placed the panicked pooch in our large cat carrier along with the towel which seemed to calm it somewhat.

Next, we called the Sun Lakes Patrol to notify them of our capture. By the way, the lady on the bike was not the owner; just another volunteer to rescue the dog. Okay, now I’m really hungry.

Since there was no identifying tag, we became concerned as to the owner’s whereabouts, and the possibility of an overnight guest. You see, we are cat owners. Our 18 year old cat (92 in human years) has been our spoiled princess since her brother passed away a few years ago. She would literally have a hissy fit if we brought the dog inside. However, our fears soon subsided. The owner had contacted Sun Lakes Patrol, who gave her our phone number and address. Hold off on lunch again.

The lady owner was very happy to retrieve her little doggy whose name was Peanut, well-suited for its miniature size. Before leaving, Peanut, now calmed, allowed us to pet him. She said he had never ran away before, and after the harrowing experience that day, it was safe to say there would not soon be a repeat performance. As pet owners, we were relieved to see the lady put Peanut in her car as she thanked us for our effort. We were just happy for the outcome.

Lunch was delayed, but well worth the time, the day we saved Peanut.

Mr. Bean meets the Coffee Machine

Carol Mitchell-Gears

For as long as I can remember I have started the day with coffee. I wake in the morning with a wonderful thought of a new day, a quiet house, a cup of coffee and the morning paper. I enjoy this time of day so much I have been known to stretch this ritual into hours and love every minute of it.

While living in Europe I had the privilege of tasting French coffee. The flavor so wonderful it was addictive. There was coffee in Russia. Turkish coffee so strong you could easily call it horrid, but to my pallet it was delicious. While in England, well, I really don’t recall any cups of coffee. And at home in the USA it’s good old Folgers, and excellent espresso.

Loving espresso coffee so much I let it be known to my family I would like an espresso machine. They were in shock because for years I preached never give me any kitchen related gifts. They either create work or produced stress.

That Christmas I was gifted with a Krups Espresso Machine. I was truly pleased. When I opened the box to examine Mr. Krups I found he was smart looking, compact about 10”x10”, black in color with shiny chrome. Then I noticed a silver label on his side. It read, “Caution read all instructions before using.” And on the top was another label, “Caution do not open this lid when under pressure. And do not remove filter holder when under pressure. Read all instructions.” Well, after reading both labels I put Mr. Krups back in his box. I was feeling a bit uneasy. You know – Not liking machines and all.

That night I took Mr. Krups to bed with me. I found the instructions book tucked down inside the box. For sure I would read the instruction book and be ready in the morning to make my first cup of espresso. The anticipation was wonderful.

As I began reading the do’s and don’ts and warnings, like watch for scalding steam, be sure to release pressure. Turn this knob and don’t turn that one. I was so scared I put the instruction book back in the box and went to sleep.

In the morning I woke with my usual excitement to start the day, and proceeded but with a cup of Folger’s.

I repeated the same procedure the following night and the next until time marched on. Weeks passed and I was still intimidated by Mr. Krups. He was still in his box on my bedside table.

On occasion I would get a question from the family. Don’t you like our gift to you? When will you try it? All the questions could not get me to bring Mr. Krups to the kitchen and out of the box. But I did agree to read the instructions one more time.

That night I had a little chat with myself. Okay I said, I’ll read the instruction book one more time step by step. But soon I was in a sweat. I am thinking if I don’t turn the correct knob at the correct time the pressure will build up and the machine could explode. At that very moment I had a terrible vision of a mature well dressed TV news reporter saying, “At approximately 2:00 p.m. today our local airport reports a strange object on radar system. Police and FBI trace the accidental launching to a local housewife. It appears she failed to turn the relief valve in her new espresso machine causing such great pressure to built it just blasted through the kitchen roof and was launched into space. Housewife was questioned; she was not taken into custody.”

I hate to tell you how long Mr. Krups sat on my bedside table. I even stopped looking at him.

Laura and Lisa came weekly to clean the house. They knew my kitchen shortcomings and my fear of machines. Bless them. One day I came home from work and in the kitchen, sitting on the counter was Mr. Krups, with a note that said, “It is time Carol, it’s time.” The box was missing, also the one and only instruction book. I felt a bit of panic and then said What the hell, if they have enough confidence in me to toss the box and instruction book, I’ll give it a try.

Coffee, water milk, I had read the instructions so many times I knew each step by heart. Mr. Krups is plugged in, milk in jug. Water in the water cavity, coffee in the filter holder. Now tightly close all lids and valves. Holding my breath I push the on button and wait. Soon the hissing starts, now turn the valve, release the pressure into the jug of milk. So far so good. Holding my breath I see this rich brown coffee flow into the glass pot, with an aroma to kill for. Oh wonderful I sighed. I did it. With a smile I poured a small cup for myself, added the hot milk and a tad of brown sugar. Sitting down I put the cup to my lips. I realize this is great coffee.

I lifted my cup high and said to myself, Thank you Laura and Lisa.

Between the Toes

Marilyn K Holt

I look out at Loon Lake

above me the tree leaves

do the “dapple dance”

Sitting in the chaise lounge

he placed for me in the sand

I see my toes – they

too are part of this scene

Sighting between them I scan

the lake for him – his

silver full hair

A thought comes —

“what if he dies?”

Ah – but there he is, and only his head

as my right toe cradles him – hair wet

now flat and platinum – smiling he sees me and

grows larger, emerging —

I wait for him by the

shore, as always