Friday, January 30, 2015

Annabelle Lee

   By Dean Rea

     I thought I was the last person on Earth, and then I heard a knock on the door.
     “Dang,” I said aloud. “Who could that be?”
     Who expects an intrusion when you’re all alone in the world and when you’re thinking about Annabelle Lee? As I’ve told you repeatedly, I met Annabelle Lee quite by chance while I was in the sixth grade, and we have been friends forever.
     At least that’s the way I remember it.
     I also recall that Annabelle Lee taught me how to kiss. Not the peck-on-the-cheek or slightly-on-the-lips way. I’ll leave the details to your imagination, but we kissed a lot.
     Annabelle Lee also taught me how to dance. Not the hippy-hop stuff. Not the tango. Not the hold-you-lightly-in-my-arms stuff. But the up-close-and-tight kind. You know what I mean. In any event we got well acquainted dancing, talking strolls in the moonlight.
     She also taught me a lot of other stuff, especially about women. I was an only child whose only friends had been boys my age. Annabelle Lee was my age, but with her help I discovered that’s where the similarities between girls and boys ended.
     We liked to take hikes, to ride bikes and to sit and talk about our futures. She wanted to be a nurse. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be, but I said I wanted to be the president of something, which I hoped would impress her.
     Eventually we fell in love. It wasn’t that hold-hands stuff or sit-snugly together stuff. Well, I can’t explain without blushing.
     We had a family and we moved a lot. First to Jefferson City, then to Kansas City and then to…

     And we had a lot of fun playing cards like hearts, pinochle and the game where you use two decks. It’s called…
     Well, I thought I was the last person on Earth, but the knock on the door must be Annabelle Lee coming to surprise me.
     “Come in,” I called. The door opened and a woman dressed in white entered.
     “You’re not Annabelle Lee,” I said disappointingly.
     “No,” she said. “I’m your nurse, and it’s time to take your pills.”

From “A Lifetime of Writing,” a self-published collection of Dean Rea’s writing; cartoon by the late Roy Paul Nelson

Dean Rea is a retired newspaper journalist and university journalism professor. "Confessions of a Professor" is the title of a memoir about his 30-year teaching career that will be published in late January.  He and his wife Lou, who live in Eugene, have explored the back roads of Oregon for more than a half-century. He continues to work as a freelance writer, photographer and editor and teaches two high school writing courses as a private academy. His hobbies are fly fishing and building model airplanes. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

She's Trouible With A Capital T

by Sandra Gurev

Missing not having a dog in our lives for many years, my husband, Jerry, and I decided to check out some eight week old golden retrievers.  Owning a different breed was not an option for us.  Our last golden, Jenny, had all the attributes of her breed: intelligence, sense of humor, friendliness to children and desire to please.

We drove to a small town in New York State in pursuit of a puppy.  The five pups for sale all had winning personalities as they approached us with happy grins and tails awagging.  We chose Sweetpea because of her eyes and expressive face.  She came home with us that day.

A few week's later we realized that we were overdue for a dog obedience class.  Sweetpea had gnawed through the knobs on our new kitchen cabinets and had drawn some blood from my arms and lip through her rough play.  She treated me as she would a litter mate.

Our trainer gave us one private lesson with Sweetpea after I was in tears one day from her aggression.  She put Sweetpea in a "down stay" thirteen times!  It took grabbing Sweetpea by the scruff of her neck and shaking her for her to obey the trainer.  "She's a tough one," she said. 

Besides the group lessons the trainer recommended providing Sweetpea with daily puppy play time to work out her considerable energy.  She advised finding other young dogs in the neighborhood and setting up play dates.  We developed a routine with Liberty, Bear, Cassie, and Edison.  Their owners were amicable to our bringing Sweetpea to their yards for play.  Since they all had invisible fences, for the most part she stayed on their property.


 Sandy Gurev is a wife of fifty-one years and mother of two sons and four grandchildren.  Sandy was an elementary school counselor prior to retiring to Williamsburg, VA nine year's ago from Rochester, NY. Her volunteer work includes providing lunch to cancer patients and fitting women with wigs after they have lost their hair.  Playing competitive duplicate bridge and belonging to two book clubs rounds out her time.  Within the past two years she has written a memoir for her grandchildren and a couple of articles for the American Amateur Press Association. Sandy found that writing helped to reduce her perception of pain while she was awaiting back surgery.