Sun Lakes Writers’ Group


Ruby Regina Witcraft

There is no one more appreciative of her freedom than this daughter of freedom loving, and immigrant-Italian parents. Their love of the freedom they were presented with upon receiving their citizenship papers was never forgotten and most often memorialized in daily conversation.

They rarely mentioned their lives in the old country.

It was just something they chose to push into the memory of family and hardship that they actually escaped from for the freedom that America offered. They realistically knew that the streets were not really paved in gold, as they were frequently told, but only to live a life free of restrictions and a chance to succeed in making a living. Very basic and simple needs that we take for granted. They never did.

Naturedly, these feelings, through osmosis, sifted down to two very well-fed children. We practically lived in our family-owned restaurant and, to a kid, food was an example of freedom.

I don’t remember when I actually learned to appreciate freedom, but it seemed to come on in small bits and pieces. In school when we sang “God Bless America,” there was a stirring in my body or when watching the flag flutter during a Fourth of July parade. Feeling grateful that we were able to do these small blessings and not be afraid.

A far cry from that naive little girl who thought that food, although still important to her, was the be-all and end-all to freedom.

Father and Son

Lee Murray

The old man sat looking out the window of his third-floor room at Crestview retirement home. As darkness descended over the countryside, Gus Walters felt a familiar gloom overtaking his thoughts. Meals were being served in the restaurant downstairs but he wasn’t hungry so he ignored the message on his phone.

Father’s Day was the very next day and Gus was dreading it. He’d had a falling out with his only son over five years ago and they hadn’t spoken since.

He knew he’d said some harsh things and tried to apologize first by letter, then by phone but neither was acknowledged. Finally, after numerous tries, he gave up. The days went by, then weeks, ultimately years with no contact. Father’s Day was always painful because it reminded him of the day he should be celebrating with his son, but wasn’t.

If only he could’ve learned to express to Mark how much he loved him but he just couldn’t find the words. Gus’ own father was a taciturn man, never having much time for his son growing up, offering few words of praise or encouragement. So, Gus learned to withdraw and keep his emotions in check just like his dad did.

The argument between him and his son started out as a little family spat that quickly took on a life of his own. Gus had a short fuse and it didn’t take much to set him off. He said some very hurtful things and as he found out, once things are said, there’s no taking them back. Now he was paying the price and he’d give anything to see his son again.

Early afternoon on Father’s Day, there was a knock on the door. Gus opened it and there stood his son Mark with Kevin, his grandson.

“Hi Dad. Happy Father’s Day,” Mark said, smiling.

“Hi son. What a nice surprise. And look at this boy Kevin, how much he’s grown.”

Mark remembered his dad liked single malt scotch so he brought a bottle for him. Gus opened it up and poured a couple glasses for each of them.

Gus wasn’t about to let this opportunity go by without making things right.

“Mark, I’m sorry about what I said. Real sorry. I just want you to know how proud I am of you and I know I’ve done a lousy job of saying it. I’m as proud of you as a father could ever be and I just want you to know that.”

Mark got tears in his eyes as his dad expressed emotions he’d rarely, if ever heard before.

“Thanks Dad. That means a lot. Guess I got used to never hearing those words from you and wondered if you felt that way at all.”

“If you only knew,” thought Gus.

The three of them walked over to the park and had a wonderful afternoon catching up. Gus so enjoyed seeing his grandson and pushing him on the swings, something he too enjoyed when he was a kid.

He wished he could freeze the moment in time forever.

Grandpa Gus had so missed his little grandson and spent as much time as he could talking to him, marveling at how much he’d grown up in the five or so years since they’d been together.

He bought them all lunch at the Crestview restaurant and ordered Kevin a huge ice cream sundae with extra cherries much to his grandson’s delight.

When it came time for Mark and Kevin to leave, Gus was the one who was teary eyed.

He said, “I just want you both to know that seeing you today meant more to me than you’ll ever know.”

He reached out to his son and grandson and hugged them tight “I love you both.”

“I love you too Dad. We’ll be back soon. What a great day this was.”

As they turned and walked away, Gus stood at the door watching the two of them with tears flowing down his face. Just before the elevator door closed, Mark got a glimpse of his father choking back emotion. He went back to his dad and gave him a huge hug.

Gus smiled. “Goodbye Mark. Take care of that little boy of yours. He looks just like you son.”

“I will Dad.”

Gus watched the two of them drive away, sad at all the days missed but so thankful for how much this day meant.

Two days later, the administrator called Mark, saying his father had passed away from a massive heart attack.

Mark was devastated at hearing of his father’s death and realization and regret was sinking in that he’d let five years go by without seeing his dad. Time he could never, ever get back.

While going through his dad’s personal effects, he saw that his father had saved and collected all of Mark’s awards, school pictures, report cards, letters of commendation, all his achievements over the years that Mark thought had long since disappeared. Mark broke down and sobbed because it was then he knew just how important he was to his father and how important his father was to him.


Joan Berger

It’s about someone who thinks back to when she was a young child. About having fun as a child, even though her family struggled to make ends meet. She had siblings to play with and sometimes fight with. A life that has been both happy and sad, and empty and full.

She spent a lot of time worrying about things she had no control over. It wasn’t until she got older that she understood the reason. She used to tell her mother, “When I grow up I will buy you a big house, and you won’t have to work anymore.”

At that time, it seemed the years went by very slowly. Each year seemed like an eternity. She couldn’t wait for each birthday so she would be old enough to have a life of her own.

She used to dream that she would be famous. She loved to sing and dance, and wanted to be on the stage someday, even though she didn’t have any talent to speak of. She never considered a career in business or medicine since she was expected to get a job right after high school so she could contribute money to her family.

She remembers how things used to be, how time passed more quickly once she got married and had her own family. She loved taking care of their first apartment. It was in an old building, and they were the youngest couple living there. They had help furnishing it, and looked like it came out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Once their children came along, time passed even faster. The best and hardest years were when they were babies until they graduated from college. If only they could freeze time during those years, but then they wouldn’t see them become the grownups they are now.

There is just the two of them now. She still worries about the future. They don’t see their kids as much, but they are still very much a part of their lives. The worst part of getting old is that time seems to go so fast. When she was young, she couldn’t understand what it would be like to be old. Now she knows no matter how you feel there is still so much in life to enjoy.