Winter 1995/96

Colleen,Laurie & Carrie - #11 Cover

cover drawing by Victoria Perry

(a scene from "I Am a Rock")


Table ofContents

full or partial text is availablefor highlighted items





(updated October3, 1997)

© Copyright 1997 Echoes Magazine

All stories, poems, and drawings are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, by copying or by any electronic or mechanical means, without written permission from Echoes Magazine. Individual stories and poems are also copyright by their authors; drawings are copyright by Echoes Magazine and by the artists.


The Cross of Bethany Lutheran

by The Lone Driver

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

The driving snow, like wet bullets, splatters my windshield; the wipers, fat with ice, bang away but can't keep up. My headlights have paled to yellow. The center line is long gone, and the road is disappearing fast. Route 212 north of Red Lodge, Montana, and I'm looking for a place to pull over. Something black floats in the snow before me. Hit the brakes! The shack-on-back slides. Wham! What did I hit?

I zipped up my parka and climbed out of the truck. I waded through the snow, and in the headlights I saw a black wooden mailbox carved in the shape of an old steam engine, the 4 X 4 post snapped off at the bottom. On the post was a neatly lettered sign that read, "Carl Josephson." Back in the woods a porch light came on, and a small brown dog barked at me from the doorway of a cabin. I could barely make out the figure of an old man in a red-and-black plaid coat standing behind the dog. Was he leaning on a cane?

I got back in the truck, pulled into the driveway, shut it down, and carried the mailbox to the cabin. The little dog continued to bark, and the old man shouted, "Shush, Tippy. Get in here and lay down."

I carefully climbed the steps and said, "I hit your mailbox."

"You sure did. Leave it out here and come on in so we can shut the door."

The room was warm, heated by a round wood stove with a flat top. It looked like a large black beer keg with stubby legs. A huge iron tea kettle with a curved spout and big handle sat on the stove. I heard it simmer, a sound that joined the hiss of wet wood burning in the fire box. I started to apologize and explain that I couldn't see where I was going. He cut me off and said was okay, he'd take care of it in the morning.

He pointed to a rocking chair by the stove and told me to sit down. It fit me well, and my fingers soon found the hand-carved ends of the arm rests, matching bear heads done in remarkable detail. . . .

©1995 The Lone Driver

illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe,©1994 Echoes Magazine.


The LoneDriver's stories are a regular feature of Echoes. Someyears ago he gave up his home in suburban New Jersey and took to theroad in a pickup camper, in a continuing search for adventure andknowledge. (You'll find more Lone Driver stories in other back issuesof Echoes.)

[Table of Contents]

looking for Evaristo

drawing by Vicky Perry


by Leora Najera

In the only picture of him,
the only grandfather I've ever known,
He seems vacant, only the carcass of my elder.
Staring into his coal black eyes, I reach for even a glimmer
He refuses to see me, his eyes won't meet my gaze
He insists on looking behind me
Just over my head, to the left of my ear
Somewhere in the past, in the heritage I can't see.
Rummaging through the photo,
His hair, short and lustrous
receding slightly at the part, reveals nothing
His mouth, expressionless
thin lips together uttering not even a simple story
His wrinkles, deep and dark
creasing rivers of time
leading downstream to uncertainty
His skin only shades of gray
a tattered photo renders little
of its richness or pallor.

In his son, I can't see him
In his grandchildren, I can't see him
In this photo, I can't see him.

I've dreamt of him,
he remains yet like the photo
never smiling, never speaking
refusing to tell me who he is.

I want to know your voice
your strained and burdened heart
your tired farming back
your dirty migrant feet
your earthen wrinkled hands
your proud soul
your mestizo name
I want him to tell me
speak to me
sing to me
whisper to me
share with me
embrace with me.

I want him to tell me my Chicano name.

©1995 Leora Najera

Leora Najera attends the Naropa Institute in Boulder,Colorado, and plans to enter their writing and poetics program in1996. She also works full-time as the manager of an espresso bar inLongmont. In Leora's spare time, she raises herbs, writes, and reads.Her current favorite writer is Alice Walker, "whose poetry inspiresme and breaks my heart." (10/95)

You'll find Leora's story "Mi Raza" in Issue6 (January/February 1995) and other poetry inIssue 10 (November/December1995).

[Table of Contents]

I Am a Rock

by Susan Dugan

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

 . . . We walked along the long hot road, wearing our fathers' T-shirts like mini-dresses over our bathing suits, beach towels slung over our shoulders, our Dr. Scholl's sandals smacking the blacktop. Every now and then, Laurie, who had never really mastered walking the Dr. Scholl way, slipped off her shoes and we had to stop while she rearranged her toes around the little hills of molded wood.

We were heading for my house, about three miles away. For a while, Dad and Timmy had stalked us in the Rambler, cracking themselves up thoroughly until a guy behind them started blasting his horn and calling Dad names.

We passed the state hospital for the mentally ill that looked like some old college with its ivy-covered stone buildings and slanty green golf-course lawns. Now and then, we passed a house with an iron sign that read, "George Washington slept here." George Washington definitely got around! It was our town's only joke.

"God, it's hot!" said Laurie, tripping and sliding off her shoes again. She hobbled over to one of several boulders placed in the curve of the road to stop cars from taking the turn too fast and smashing into one of George Washington's bedrooms. Then she collapsed on a boulder, grabbed one foot, and started rubbing.

"We're never gonna get home if we keep stopping," I pointed out.

A horn beeped and there was Matthew Baker. Matthew Baker! At the wheel of his white Mercedes, coasting to a stop beside us. Driving right off some movie screen and smack into our lives.

"Hey," he said, fondling a cigarette. "Wanna lift?". . .

©1995 Susan Dugan

Susan Dugan makes her living as a non-fiction writer, but has beenwriting stories for years.

at the pool

drawing by Vicky Perry

(Cover drawing is also for "I Am a Rock")

[Tableof Contents]

The Skull

by Jerry H. Jenkins

based on an African folk tale
A hunter crouched in scrub to catch
some game, and waiting there he found
an ancient, whitened human skull
beside him, lying on the ground.

He touched the skull and then recoiled
as if it were a thing aflame
because it spoke to him and laughed
and called him by his secret name.

But it appeared to mean no harm
and so the man suppressed his fear.
"How came you to this place?", he asked.
The skull said "Talking brought me here."

Amazed, the hunter sought his chief
and told him of the skull that spoke.
The chief was unconvinced and took
the hunter's story as a joke.

But then, relenting, told a guard
to check on what the hunter said:
"Guard, go hear it speak. If not,
then amputate this liar's head."

The hunter led the guard to where
the skull had chattered like a bird,
but it was silent. All day passed;
the stubborn thing said not a word.

The man's mood, and the day, grew dark.
The peevish guard, impatient, grim,
would give the hunter no more time,
and with a stroke beheaded him.

When the guard was gone, the head
now heard the skull speak firm and clear.
The skull asked "How did you arrive?"
The head sighed "Talking brought me here."


Jerry H. Jenkins served in the Marine Corps for over twenty-sixyears, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, and earned numerousdecorations, including the Legion of Merit. Jerry is now executivedirector of computing at George Mason University in Fairfax,Virginia.

You'll find other poems by Jerry Jenkins in the Issue 6, Issue8 (Memorial Day 1995),Issue 13 (Memorial Day1996), Issue 16, & Issue 17 (MemorialDay 1997).


Any OldWind that Blows

by Donna Walker-Nixon


Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

 . . . I wasn't prepared for the phone call from the Department of Protective Services. "You are the only living relative of Callie Withers?" the lady said to me.

"Yes," I answered. I couldn't imagine what she wanted. I hadn't thought of my sister Callie in quite some time. More than forty years back, my husband Elwin told me he couldn't tolerate my moaning and groaning about her and never to mention her name in his presence again. I didn't like it, but in those days a woman didn't question what her husband said.

. . . .

There was a strange glint in Father's eyes, and Callie was sitting there with her head bowed. "Callie has made her decision," Father said. "This coming week she's going to tell the Perkins boy that she has found a better way and for them to continue their relationship, he has to follow suit."

Claude had always been sweet on Callie, but his father was the Baptist preacher. I had to talk some sense into Father, for Callie's sake. I worked up my courage and said "Let Callie make up her own mind."

"She has," he said, and looked at Callie to back him up.

"Yes, I am following the ways of the true church." She started talking about the resurrection of the faithful who would rule with Christ. Even as a little girl, if Father told her to do something, she never questioned his authority &emdash; not like my brother Carlton, who ran away from home when he was fifteen.

I wanted to cry, because I knew Father would remain in this church just long enough to keep Callie from marrying Claude. Then Father would move to some other religion, but Callie's life would be a shambles. I pushed back the tears and said I had to be getting back to Elwin and the children. I walked the ten miles to our house. . . .


©1995 Donna Walker-Nixon

Donna Walker-Nixon's bio.

You can find excerpts from two of Donna's other stories in ourLibrary: "Junie Dee GetsMarried" (Issue 4) and "Goneto Canada" (Issue 7).

Send an e-mailmessage


EchoesHome Page. .[Table ofContents]. .[Library - allissues]

Pleaselet us know if you run into problems at this site. Webmaster

© Copyright 1995-1996  Echoes Magazine.   All rights reserved.