Doing Laundry on a Farm in the Fifties
Grandma Gretchen’s in her rocker and she has something to say.
She tells a visitor, a young man from the city, if he plans to write a book about life on a farm in the Fifties, he likely has a lot to learn. She knows about that life because she was there. She says he needs to know about the little things as well as the big things if the book is going to be accurate.
For example, she says for him to understand that culture, he needs to know how laundry was done back then.… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: New Short Fiction”
Response to a Letter Recently Received
Fiction by Donal Mahoney
Your life as explained in your letter recently received is very difficult to read. It’s been 40 years since we last saw each other or talked. Most of your problems I knew nothing about. Bits and pieces I somehow became aware of over the years. One of your brothers or sisters may have mentioned something they had heard at Christmas or on Father’s Day, but they were as much in the dark as I was. We didn’t know where you were.
The cancer, of course, runs on my side of the family since it was colonic cancer that killed my mother at age 59.… |To be Continued “The Letter”
Patsy Foley Was Roly-Poly in 1947
It may have been the devil himself who prompted the kids in my schoolyard back in 1947 to chant “Patsy Foley’s roly-poly from eating too much ravioli.”
At first, no one could remember who started the chant. Patsy, a sweet and ample child, was in the third grade. As happenstance would have it, I was in that same third grade, infamous already as the only boy wearing spectacles in our class. After I got the glasses, I had three schoolyard fights in three days to prove to Larry Moore, Billy Gallagher and Fred Ham that I hadn’t changed a bit.… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: The Deli on Granville”
Paddy Murphy’s Wake
The priest had been there earlier and the rosary was said and relatives and friends in single file were offering condolences. “Sorry for your troubles,” one by one they said, bending over Maggie Murphy, the widow silent in her rocker, a foot or so from Paddy, resplendent in his casket, the two of them much closer now than they had ever been.
A silent guest of honor, Paddy now had nothing more to say, waked in aspic, if you will, in front of his gothic fireplace.
The moon was full this starless night and the hour was getting late and still the widow hadn’t wept.… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: Paddy Murphy's Wake”
THE NEW HIRE
This would be Hampton Davie’s third academic job in as many hard years since he’d got his Ph.D. in poetry at Winston. He started out prestigiously enough, teaching the introduction to American poetry and a seminar on Wallace Stevens at Bisby University, but that had not worked out. He’d quickly got another position, a little farther down the rankings, at Rolling Rock, but that, too, had dissolved in his hands. Now, he was at Button College, determined to hold on.
He had always loved the campus at Winston, with its old period stone buildings and the ivy on the walls.… |To be Continued “Charles Tarlton: The New Hire”
Behind the Barn with Carol Ann
Back in 1957, kissing Carol Ann behind the barn in the middle of a windswept field of Goldenrod with a sudden deer watching was something special, let me tell you. Back then, bobby sox and big barrettes and ponytails were everywhere.
Like many farmers, Carol Ann’s father had a console radio in the living room, and every Saturday night the family would gather ‘round with bowls of ice cream and listen to The Grand Ole Opry. It was beamed “all the way” from Nashville I was told more than once since I was from Chicago and sometimes wore a tie so how could I know.… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: Behind the Barn With Carol Ann”
It’s Almost Sunday Morning
In the summer of 1956, any Saturday at midnight, especially when the moon was out and the stars were bright, you would be able to see Grandma Groth sitting on her front-porch swing waiting for her son, Clarence, a bachelor at 53, to make it home from the Blind Man’s Pub. He would have spent another evening quaffing steins of Heineken’s.
Many times that summer before I went away to college, I’d be strolling home at midnight from another pub, just steps behind staggering Clarence. But unlike Clarence, I’d be sober so I’d always let him walk ahead of me and I’d listen to him hum “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: It's Almost Sunday Morning”