housecall providers

Hospice Volunteering – Not Always What You Expect

This is a story I wrote about my experience volunteering for Housecall Providers, a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon that provides both primary care visits and hospice in the patient’s home.  The story was published this week in the quarterly newsletter that goes out to all of their donors.


My phone chimes and the pop-up notice displays simply… Jean, reminding me that it’s time to get on the road. I hardly need the prodding, for Wednesday has quickly become my favorite day of the week. When I enter Adella’s Adult Foster Home, the women she cares for are sitting around the dining table in the cozy, warm common area, finishing up their breakfast. I am always struck by how perfectly kept this home is, how comfortable all its residents appear, and how welcoming Adella is to me. All of my preconceived notions about care facilities were quickly forgotten when I began visiting Jean. “Miss Jean, Chris is here!” Adella says with an enthusiastic smile and then quickly gets Jean settled back in her room for our visit.

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Flash Fiction

Old Sparky

Friday Fictioneers is a writing challenge hosted by the talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Writers from near and far use the photo prompt provided to create a 100 word piece of fiction. Click the frog below this post to add your own story and check out everyone’s submissions.


Copyright Ted Strutz

“Don’t plug the damn thing in!” Riley screamed as he jumped out of the contraption nearly fumbling the instruction manual, and, truth be told, almost soiling his uniform.

Right now he missed Old Sparky, so easy to use and plenty of life left in him.

“Oh, sorry Boss” was all that his very own Barney Fife could say as he stood there daydreaming with the cord still too close to the juice for Riley’s liking. “Put that down. We aren’t there yet!”. “Once we’re ready to practice, I’ll let you know”.

“Boss, will I get to say ‘Dead man walking’?”

Flash Fiction

Ignorance and Bliss

This was written for Monday’s Finish the Story challenge. 100-150 word limit starting with “She was unaware she was being watched..” and using the photo prompt for inspiration.


Copyright – Barbara W. Beacham

She was unaware she was being watched, no coveted, by those fierce, golden orbs. That which would end her, hidden and waiting. It was probably for the best. Given an option of knowing or not knowing she always said she would choose the former and did. Always safe in the certain. Ignorance of what would be finally allowed her to live fully, even if briefly. Terror and the stabbing pain of her organs trying to win the race could have been the last thing she felt. Instead, as she navigated her way through the final minutes of beats and breath without a compass, nothing but bliss.

Flash Fiction

Remember When

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge.  200ish words of fiction based on the photo prompt:




Nostalgia immediately stirred her senses, making her happy and sad all at once. Her mouth watered as the tang of fresh baked sourdough hit her taste buds, reminding her of the warm little shop that used to be just a short bicycle ride from her home. Her toes wiggled, remembering how the cold edge of the shoehorn tickled her heal as it guided her foot into those loafers she coveted as a 6th grader. What ever happened to that nice man in his suit and tie who, after helping her on with the shoes, had watched her walk back and forth across his store, confirming that the fit was just right? Her eyes stung as she remembered shopping with her mother. The plan they followed didn’t begin and end with a single massive purveyor staffed with strangers. It required more thoughtfulness. “Mr. Selby sponsors your brother’s baseball team, so we’ll get the potroast at his butcher shop” her mother would tell her as they developed their route. Community and connectedness mattered more to her mother than the time it took to make multiple stops. As she stepped into that bookstore and smelled it’s glorious mustiness she thought “Sorry Amazon, we’re through.”

Virginia Woof

Why I Love Virginia Woof and Outside In

He’s long and lean with sinewy muscles that contract and ripple as he runs his abbreviated routes. Golden hair with swirls of black accents give him an exotic look. When he arrives the place becomes electric with happy, anxious energy. He’s greeted with a boisterous “Neil!”, much like the portly accountant Norm was whenever he planted himself in his regular spot at the far corner of the bar in the television show “Cheers”. He excites the crowd as he prances in, towering over all of them and grinning big under a nose that can’t help but lead the way. He’s Neil the brindle Greyhound, one of about 40 dogs that spend their weekdays at Virginia Woof Dog Daycare while their people toil away in the city. Continue reading


Making Connections on the Bus

“I found these on the sidewalk” he said through alcohol saturated breath as he proudly showed off the cellophane wrapped bundle of carnations with their tips glowing hues of red and yellow. “Nice” I replied, hoping that would be the end of it and went back to frying my brain with social media. He wasn’t done. “They’re usually $8.99 at 7-Eleven” he continued. “Do you think she’ll like them?” I barely heard him ask the question and I didn’t answer it, but something compelled me to put away the iphone and give him my attention. I never learned his name, but within just 15 minutes as we swayed, squeaked, and pinged through the many stops leading to mine along the #12 route, I connected with him more than I could have possibly imagined.

I agreed with him when he stated how cold it was and that he should probably get a new pair of gloves. He had lost his at some point, most likely at a friend’s place, but he wasn’t sure. I celebrated with him when he told me that had won $614 playing Keno. I commiserated with him when he taught me that “anything over $600 requires that you find a way to Salem in order to claim it”. I laughed with him when he told me that the lottery officials took his photo, complete with a desert oasis backdrop, for their “winner’s circle” marketing campaign and it was now posted in the bar where he had won. “You wouldn’t believe how many people hit me up for money after that! It was gone fast.” I smiled with him as he reminisced about how he and the love of his life had run off to Las Vegas to get hitched and then enjoyed “a great life together” living in SW Portland. I said “I’m so sorry” when he shared that his wife, who had been an emergency room nurse, died at the age of 49 due to complications from the diabetes she had suffered since childhood. I touched his arm and said “it’s ok” as he apologized profusely for his tears. I just listened as he told me he had fallen into a battle with alcohol and then homelessness after her death.

When my stop came, I stood, put my hand on his shoulder and said “Take it easy”. He grabbed my hand and replied “God bless you. Thank you for listening to me”. As the bus pulled away and I made my way up the street, I started to cry. I cried for him, his wife, and because of what I wish I would have said “Yeah, I think she’ll like them”.

Flash Fiction


Every Friday writers from near and far are challenged to create a 100 word fiction story from a photo prompt. If you’d like to join in the fun, get all the details here: Friday Fictioneers. Click the frog at the end of my post to see other stories from this week’s challenge and to add your own.

antique boat

Copyright – Georgia Koch

Deep cracks in sun crisped lips now constantly taunted him with the tickle of moisture. His tongue couldn’t stay away from them no matter how many times it returned only their metallic disappointment. His bones ached as the weathered hardwood that would most certainly become his coffin dented and dispersed his increasingly tender and unresponsive flesh. He knew that he had earned this. How many days or weeks had it been since he abandoned them along with his integrity and solemn oath? The vast,shoreless blue surrounding him provided no answer. It only whispered over and over “down with the ship”.

Flash Fiction

Memory Surfer

Entry for Micro Bookends 1.14 challenge.  The story must be between 90 and 110 words, start with peace,end with prize and incorporate the photo prompt.

microbookends 1.14

Photo credit: Aaron Gilson

(110 words)

“Peace? “How can you possibly believe she is at peace?” I ask my relatives of the extended kind, interrupting their analysis of the mental waves that the body they once knew as a cousin was riding. What their limited appearances didn’t allow them to know is that the ebb into limbs with less dramatic angles and a quieter mind is always followed by a dramatic and painful flow back to the shore of her new normal. The caregiver who now needs constant care.  The mother who is now the child. The life of the party who is now the wallflower. Being swept out to sea for good, that’s her prize.