|REVIEW STORE: Did you enjoy Alan's short story? Please tell him so. We know he will
appreciate your feedback. CLICK HERE to write a review of "Beads".
NEW REVIEWS: Thank you, Alan, for such a courageous writing at a time when we need it
most. It is certain that your mother is one of your most prized possessions. Along side your wife
and son. Truly, an anthem for all mothers. And one that needs to be read again and again. You
got it right about those airplanes too. They are like battleships. Please keep your hat on; I'm
coming to Gallager's for breakfast! *****__Captain Apple Jack.
I just couldn't stop reading this story. I read it many times. And every time I had good thoughts
about my mother and how she managed my life so perfectly for me until I was ready to be on my
own. This story made me love my mother again and again. I can see why it won the "Best Message"
award. Thank you so much, Alan.*****__Su Chang-Wu.
Strong words in a piece well-written. Through the trials of life, the projects, we struggle to
remain good, keep going, and our parents are the ones usually forcing us to stand up. And we
need to realize that these days, we need to stay true to ourselves and those around us, keeping
us from drifting away. Also, we need to remember that Big Brother is always watching.
****__Melissa R. Mendelson.
Such a loving tribute to your mother, Alan. I was fascinated by the long list of do's she taught
you, particularly when there must have been so many don’ts where you grew up. For many, a
great accomplishment to survive at all, but to be so successful as you is really the thrust of this
story. Congratulations on becoming the man you are. Yes, this a loving tribute to your mother,
but between the lines I can feel how very proud she must be of you! Thank you, Alan, for your
courage and your compassion. *****__Barbara A. Sabo.
A most surprising read. The setting made it even more compelling for the reader. I could not tell
if your mother was right there beside you on the plane or waiting for your arrival back at the
projects. Either way, she surely would be happy to welcome home a son as strong and loving as
you. A beautiful tribute to all mothers. Nicely done author. We look forward to many more soon.
*****__Jean Ann Morgan.
Well Sarge I guess you will be surprised to read this. I found out about “Beads” from Ethel and
where to go to dis you. But after reading the story and the reviews, I can see you are as good a
leader at writing as you were in the army. It's a great story that some might not believe, but I
do. Say "Yo" to Mama Galloway for me next time. Your good friend and fellow soldier. You know
where to find me if you ever need me. Gumbo, Brother! *****__Private Jacob Brown.
Very nice. You are right, Mr. Galloway . . . accountability for oneself does/should start close to home,
in fact, in the home. In these times of too easy temptation, your short would serve well as a reminder,
just a reminder, to what we all should strive for . . . daily. Sad that, for most, life these days won't
slow down long enough to get back to brotherhood basics. Thank you for the reminder. ****__F. W.
A REVIEW: "Beads": Two thumbs up Alan! Your story deserves more than the award already given.
In fact I recommend it for TV broadcasting across the world, so that they may understand the true
meaning of being a good citizen. This writer will travel far. *****__Chika Victor Onyenezi.
|Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
By Alan V. Galloway
September 15, 2016
Rated -G- by the Author
A father explains the meaning of good citizenship to his son.
At 33,000 feet up, aboard a “commuter” airplane, with air pockets buffeting him too often, in an
economy seat that had set him back $749.40, (never mind the additional $1,498.80 for Ethel and
Adam two rows back), with no room for his feet, he was easily admonished by the way things used
to be. Ashes to ashes, life is circular; so here he was on the way to visit his mother for what might
be their last Thanksgiving together. His father, Robert Galloway, having died in Vietnam.
Looking out the window at a seamless, ominous sky, agitated by the grind of the two small
Rolls Royce engines, which were chocking their way through the turbulent muck, he was surveying
the time from his birth to now; forced to focus, because of his current immense discomfort, on all
the good times in between. Wondering, if someday, Adam ever asked him if he had been a good
citizen would he be able to tell him, “Yes.” When extreme lightening exploded outside his window
seat, shocking him and the small woman seated beside him. The ensuing cascade of thunder making
her tremble externally and him seize up internally. That’s when he first saw the rosary beads.
Returning to the question at hand, he knew that the training he had received while in the military,
and then serving his country in combat, was right up there with being a good citizen. Something Adam
and most of America’s sons might never be required to experience. A great loss to understanding,
male bonding and being just maybe a little more grown up earlier, than today's men, he thought.
Lightening flashed again, very near the wing this time, and the plane dropped a few hundred
feet then right back up again. The engines actually whining now. Making the white haired woman
grab his forearm for comfort. “It’s all right, little mother,” he whispered, covering her hand with
his, “we’re in good hands.”
"I don’t like the bumps,” she said, “I’m afraid the plane is going to break apart.”
“These planes are built like battleships; not even a direct hit can bring one down.” She seemed
to relax a little with that hopeful piece of information.
Getting out of the projects (those vertical prisons of brick and mortar) of his Philadelphia thug was
worth an A+ too. Momma running all of my interferences there, he thought. And at school too where
he did all right but could have done better according to her. Then, following his time in
the Marines, using his pay to graduate from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.
Oh yes, and marrying Ethel. Yeah, that too.
Lightening flashed and then a thunderous crescendo buffeted the plane. He looked to his left.
"Little Mother” was doing all right now. Half way through the beads it looked like. No puncture
wounds in his arm this time. He could not help but stare. For, seated beside him was the best answer
for Adam. Musing, he felt he would be able to tell his son the following:
Momma taught me the true meaning of good citizenship; he would offer with conviction. From her I
learned that citizenship meant more than just being a member of a state or nation. Especially,
a state or nation with a form of government to which one owes allegiance by birth in exchange for
everything one should be doing for oneself. (He’d probably have to explain George Orwell’s 1984
with that beginning.*) But there was much more:
It meant being a decent person and treating parents, brothers and sisters, friends and associates as
decent people. It meant having an abiding love for country and being grateful for the opportunity to
serve when called. It meant loving and being loved in a faithful manner. It meant being able to receive
with grace whatever blessings might come to one and taking the time to give something back in
recognition of those blessings. It meant telling the truth, being accountable for one’s actions, and
standing alongside those whose burdens were,or might become, heavier than ours. It meant
understanding, developing one’s personal standard for, and then adhering to the difference between
right and wrong. It meant trying to live a moral life and recognizing and trying to stop immorality
whenever confronted by it.
He was certain he would be able to go on and on enumerating the lessons of good citizenship
that his mother had taught him. Suffice it to say that, after a long accounting, it all boiled down to
something pretty simple. It meant just doing the decent thing.
The plane was descending through the clouds now. Still rocking and rolling a little, but on the
way to safety. Out of the storm. “You see,” he’d say, “Momma never gave me anything in writing
to live my life by like what I am trying to explain to you. Rather, she gave something much more
delicate and enduring. She gave her life as an example, from the moment I was born to right now.
Right here with you. Do you understand, Adam?”
For, even now, he thought, assessing the small woman next to him, whenever he was in his mother’s
presence, no matter how old he might have become, she was very adept at reclaiming him as her
child. “Yo ma, we’re home,” he’d shout crossing the threshold to that place where he would always
be just nine years old.
“We are going to land safely aren’t we little mother?” he said, noticing she had reached the
Glory Be To God bead. “Thank you for your prayers.”
~ ~ ~
* [In 1984, WINSTON SMITH is a low-ranking member of the ruling Party in London, in
the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, even his own home, the Party watches him
through telescreens; everywhere he looks he sees the face of the Party's seemingly omniscient
leader, a figure known only as Big Brother.
The Party controls all needs in Oceania, even the people's history and language. Currently, the Party
is forcing the implementation of an invented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent
political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it. Even thinking rebellious thoughts is illegal.
Such "thought crime" is, in fact, the worst of all crimes.]
©2016 Alan V. Galloway [All Rights Reserved]