Discoveries: A Journey through Life

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Discoveries: A Journey through Life

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Editorial Reviews

James A. Cox
Highly recommended reading for anyone who enjoys a well crafted work of literary skill, Discoveries: A Journey Through Life is an engaging anthology of seventeen original short stories by Shirley Ann Parker about the everyday challenges, joys, and frustrations of the wonder and miracle that is daily life. The tales share common themes of family, friendship, humor, and a sense of wonder in this pleasant and delightful collection. A superb and original story teller, Parker exhibits a gift for evoking both the pleasures and imperfections of ordinary life with an extraordinary imaginative talent.
Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780741407719
  • Publisher: Infinity Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Read an Excerpt

   Hands shoved deep into his pockets, head down, Tim stomped out to the
sidewalk. He rattled a crumpled soda can halfway down the street in
seven good kicks. Then it sailed over Old Man Shever's white picket
fence, right past Old Man Shever himself.
   He ducked behind a tree, but Shever saw him.
   "Sorry," said Tim with a wince.
   Old Man Shever opened the gate, waving Tim inside.
   "Pick it up, Tim. But don't break off any flowers."
   Reaching gingerly into the flowerbed, Tim managed to retrieve the can
without damaging anything. He turned around to find Old Man Shever
staring intently at him.
   Before he could move, a gnarled hand had reached out and lifted his
chin. To Tim's dismay, tears spilled from his eyes.
   "Whole world's comin' apart for you, eh?" asked Shever. "What's
ailin' you?"
   A bony arm went around Tim's shoulders and he was propelled toward
the front door of the house.

  From “Old Man Shever”


   They located the turn-off without difficulty and followed the road
that wound toward the green-grey foothills. Hedge sparrows and
meadowlarks flew up on either side. A red-tailed hawk sailed in
tightening circles over the land, intent on lunch, or at least a snack.
A most handsome pair of loudly scolding magpies escorted them as far as
the next indiscreet grasshopper delicacy.
   The road soon narrowed to one lane and Marge hoped out loud they
wouldn't meet anyone coming downhill.
   "Not half as much as I do," assured Dan. "They'll be on my side."
   A small, battle-scarred road sign stuck out its thumb as they passed
by. Marge read what she could of the bullet-riddled letters. End of . .
. end of something or other. She shrugged. In the boondocks, what could
they be nearing the end of?

   From “Once Upon a Weekend”

   On his ritual morning walk, Barney tramped through the autumn leaves
being briskly piled and recycled by the wind along the sloping shoulder
of the lane.  Even if it had stopped drizzling, he would not dare walk
on the narrow road itself. The countryside and the sleepy village were
changing. Some young maniac, the first of the week, would soon hurtle
around a curve.
   One day, Barney reasoned, he would hear the squeal of tires, the
screech of brakes applied too late, and his bloodied, battered body
would be tossed up over the hedge like Old Harvey's scarecrow that he'd
been dreaming about for weeks. The heartless motorist would speed on his
way, cursing the expense of having to fix the front fender of his shiny
murder machine. He'd be just like the hit-and-run motorist who had
fatally injured Old Harvey. And Barney shuddered at the nightmare he'd
been having over and over.
   Interrupting his thoughts, a horn brayed and Dopplered past. He
barely glimpsed the red sports car, as he fell to his knees from the
draft.
   "Oh, God." He pressed his hand against his heart, then cautiously
patted his arms and legs, finding nothing that hurt worse than usual.

   From “Barney”


   Jessica gave him a look that would have curdled his mother's milk.
Right then he felt like kicking her butt out into the street. He had
heard the office grapevine version of what she thought of him.
   Jessica, it was said, considered Dave supremely egotistical. Just
because he had come in on the new College Hire Speedy Training Program,
he acted like some kind of anointed prince.
   Temperamental older supervisors had left no doubt about what they
thought of such boy wonders, too-whipped through four accounting
sections in less than twelve months, they stayed just long enough in
each to disrupt the entire flow of work.  Old-liners complained bitterly
that they would have to put things back together after Dave moved on. He
often felt as welcome at the company as a toad at a family picnic.

   From “Early Morning Encounter”


   "Why did you come back now, Jim? What can you do?"
   Last night's questions from his sister Elizabeth echoed in his mind
as he paced nervously. Only dimly aware of the books and guns and
Mexican artifacts in the study, he was totally unaware of breaking into
tiny pieces the long stems of dry grass absently carried back from the
summer-brown hills. His morning ride had provided neither answers nor
inspiration, only questions.
   Worse, now he was bewildered by a vision. His ten-year-old gelding
had seen something, someone, that should not have been there, could not
have been there, yet was. And Jim had seen her, too, though she was
three years dead.
   "I'm not crazy! Oro felt what I felt, saw what I saw," he assured
himself.  "But it's impossible."
   As Jim rode along the pathway near the flower garden, placid,
imperturbable Oro had shied away. Something more than the mewing tabby
cat had spooked the palomino; at a walk, Oro often allowed a cat to ride
in front of the saddle, sometimes clinging to his white mane.
   No, it was Jim's mother-his dead mother-who had startled Oro; she was
there by the fountain. Jim had seen only her shimmer that time, but had
he put out his hand, he would have touched her. Of that, he was sure.
Her presence radiated a powerful aura there in her favorite place.

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