Daysong Graphics
Phipps and The Jay

Phipps didn’t mind the sparrows. They asked little of him as he scattered a few crumbs and peanuts. Their twittering wasn’t hard on his ears, for he liked the peace and quiet of the small house he occupied on the back of his daughter’s property.

A large Stellar’s Jay sailed into Phipps’s peaceful patio one day, announcing his arrival with a few well-chosen squawks. The bird had a game leg that he tucked up under his wing when he wasn’t hopping around bothering the sparrows. A seasoned veteran of many fights, he held the other birds at a respectful distance. Phipps named him Old Crip.

Phipps and the crippled bird had one thing in common, they each had a crippled leg. A childhood bout with polio had afflicted Phipps’s right leg. At times he found it difficult to walk, for the right foot would fold on him. He reluctantly used a brace and walker.

The real trouble began when Phipps decided he was tired of having the jay disturb his morning ritual. Phipps liked to read his paper in peace, fortified with a cup his “Texas Brew,” which for the uninitiated he called coffee.

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A Time To Love

Nick McGovern was heading down Broadway when he noticed her. Hair ash blond, frame slight, shoulders slumped. Her sky-blue eyes mesmerized him. They were the saddest he’d ever seen. At Broadway and Vesey Street, she stood and stared down Vesey, where it intersected with Church Street—and then Nick understood. That wasn’t just any place she couldn’t bear to go—ahead was Ground Zero.

The grief on her face drew him toward her. “Excuse me?” he said softly.

She jumped.

“May I help you?”

“My Ground Zero.”

He nodded in sympathy. “I lost my wife on 9-11.”

Surprise flickered in her eyes.

“Believe me, visiting this place and talking about it hasn’t come easy. It’s something that’s taken lots of practice—and a little therapy.” If she thought he was kooky for seeing a psychologist after his wife’s death, so be it.

“My counselor’s been nagging me to get here, but I kept putting it off. I didn’t want to come alone, but I also didn’t want a friend or family member watching me. Today is Terrence’s thirtieth birthday, though. I couldn’t stay away anymore.”

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ACFW Book Of The Year

(To come...)