Sansing McPherson and Sunni Bond
Sansing McPherson, an Alabama native, taught writing from middle school through college. She joined the Island Writers’ Network in 2002 upon moving to Hilton Head Island from New Jersey. She has served on five editorial boards for IWN’s anthologies and has short stories in each. Her novel, Sweat Sisters, is set in a New Jersey middle school. Kirkus Review praised it and featured it in a March 2017 issue. www.sansingmcpherson.com.
The Summer Solstice—the longest day, the highest arc, the richest sunshine—wedded with the full moon in June 2016. This full moon had an exquisite name—the Strawberry Moon, so called by the Algonquin tribe for the time to harvest strawberries.
Lois was not about to miss it. Summer Solstice always struck an enchanted chord for her of pagan rituals, bonfires, and Thomas Hardy heaths. It also begins the shortening of days, which made her strangely glad and sad together, as if she were about to lose something held dear.
Her husband, Ed, had been in a deep funk lately, and, hoping it would cheer him up, she persuaded him to make the short walk to see the moon rising over Port Royal Sound. Behind them the trees at Dolphin Head point hid the sunset, but the eastern sky was an evening-soft pink and blue. At the mouth of the sound by the Atlantic they spied diamond-bright lights on dredging boats that anchored there at night after renourishing Hilton Head Island’s beaches all day.
As Ed grumbled and swatted no-see-ums—devilish little Lowcountry bloodsuckers—a gleaming edge peeked over the ocean horizon. The moon ascended steadily into a rosy orb directly over the boats.
“I’ve never seen a grander, more brilliant moon,” Lois cried. “It really is strawberry red!” She held her breath, and when she began to breathe again, she felt an endorphin rush.
She glanced at Ed. His normally dour mouth had managed two up-turned corners. “Nice,” he mumbled.
She snapped a dozen photos that, when uploaded, gave her two she could be proud of. She deleted the rest—fuzzy red-orange basketballs above a blurry ocean. For days afterward people posted their own gorgeous photos of the strawberry moon on Facebook.
“Strawberry Moon” © Sansing McPherson (2017) from Ebb & Flow
Sunni Bond is a retired Business and Social Studies teacher who is currently an active genealogical researcher “just for the thrill of the chase” and the joy of helping people connect to their ancestors. She has published non-fiction pieces in MENSA Bulletin and similar publications, and her fiction has appeared in IWN’s Time & Tide and Ebb & Flow.
Another Day, Another Life
It just wasn’t the same any more, Jackson thought. Ever since the old man stopped coming to the games, it just wasn’t the same. Jackson had never said so, had never told him, but he admired that grizzly old guy. What was his name? Oh, yeah, JW. Wonder what the “JW” stood for—he had never said, and Jackson had never asked. Didn’t really seem polite, and it didn’t really matter what his name was anyway.
It hadn’t rained in a month of Sundays on Hilton Head Island, as Jackson’s grandmother was prone to say. The hard clay-packed yard seemed even harder than usual, if that were possible. There were cracks here and there, like old wood exposed too long to a baking sun. The humidity was high too, but it didn’t seem to affect that packed clay.
Jackson didn’t know why he kept coming to the games. He really ought to be looking for a job every day instead of spending his severance pay on the games. His Mama thought he was doing just that, but he had had so many rejections and no offers of a job that he had given up, at least for the time being. Maybe when the Super Wal-Mart came to the Island, he thought, then he’d find a job. Only problem was no one really seemed to know when that was going to be.
The big announcement hit The Island Packet months ago, and it had sounded as though the construction would start immediately. The weeks had gone by and become months, and not one indication of construction was evident around the current Wal-Mart. I need to stop wasting time on whenevers and find something now, Jackson thought. I’m twenty two years old, time to be a man!
Where was everybody else today? Had they changed to a different location and he hadn’t gotten the memo? He’d give it a few more minutes, and then he’d head for home.
Then the cars slowly started arriving. First came Hootie in his low-slung Thunderbird with Chaser riding shotgun. Those two always had money to bet, and Jackson had no idea where it came from, although he had a good idea it hadn’t been gainfully earned. Pete and Mac on their motorcycles were close behind, and bringing up the rear was Harold. All of the arrivals were the younger members of the group, or “the young dudes” as JW had referred to them. Things had been a little uneasy ever since Angus had gotten picked up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms last month. There was something a little strange about that whole occurrence—only Angus had been arrested, and something just didn’t seem right.
“Another Day, Another Life” © Sunni Bond (2017) from Ebb & Flow.