Is Bias always Bias?

If you live in the United States of America, you know what happened. If you don’t, let me recap.

This is our current sitting president, Donald J. Trump.


image credit

Some people like him. Some people loathe him.

This is Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She is the president’s press secretary.


image by Flora Thevoux

Some people love her. Some people loathe her.

Recently, Sarah went with her family to dine at The Red Hen Restaurant.

When discovered who she was, the management politely asked her to leave.


Why? Because they hated who she represents. They hated her ideals and her defense of Trump.

Now here’s the opinion part.

I am not a fan of our president. In fact, I can’t wait for the day he leaves office. I hate his disregard of our global community and his arrogant, self serving ways. Not to mention his lack his moral and ethical standing.

I am also not a fan of a person who chooses to defend him. But, unfortunately, it’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders job.

But here’s the deal. How many people have been denied service because of their ethnicity, their religious beliefs, their sexual preferences? Too many.

Historically, denying service to those we don’t agree with has been proven wrong. It defies our civil liberties.

If you are a conservative Republican racist, heed those words. But not just because SHS was booted out of a restaurant. Apply it to all people.

If you are a card-carrying liberal, do the same.

After decades of discrimination, current anti-discrimation laws say you cannot refuse service based on race, color, religion or national origin. Other than that, a restaurant can refuse service to anyone. HOWEVER, they must be consistent. For example, No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service must apply to everyone. Therefore, in The Red Hen’s case, it would only have been “appropriate” to ask Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave if they had a “No Trump Supporters Served” policy.

Yes, discrimination is discrimination. Let’s stand taller than our hate.

If I owned The Red Hen, I would have allowed her family to eat in my establishment. But, no doubt, I would pulled Ms. Huckabee Sanders aside and asked her a few pointed questions.

But if the president himself knocked on the door to my private home? I’d double lock the doors and close the shades.


– Carolyn Dennis-Willingham


Learning Why I Wander

I wonder why I wander

in this forest thick sans light

how the birds can fly above it all

peering down upon this “sight.”

What must they think of us below –

– this self-discovery mass –

who struggle dusk to dawn each day

to fly a life first class?

But I will not give up this path

dark or light, while restless

for awed discovery of things unknown

makes this wanderer breathless.


My Art 005




Keeping An Eye Out

The human course, it often baffles –

the politics, ego, discord –

who wants the giveaways of maniacs?

No, they can keep their judgement raffles.

But if something makes our bellies churn

the core, an apple rotten,

then curious it makes our eye

perhaps, it’s then, we learn.

Back Off, Jack 2

painting by CD-W


The Peach Stand

Sweat puddles and drips down to her seven-year-old feet

like the ice cream will soon do.

A sweltering Texas summer.

Grandpa grins through his cigar, proud of his summer income.

Peaches in boxes and sacks.

Peaches in crates

lined up on tables beneath his covered stand.

A pocketknife cuts off a slice of sweet fruit

and extends toward a willing customer.

Grandpa smiles again, pleased with the satisfaction on the consumer’s juiced face.

The ancient Black man, mouth empty of teeth, dismounts his horse.

Grandpa readies a fresh peach. “Afternoon, Washington.”

Washington nods, mumbles, shows his gums.

Grandpa adds another peach to his hand. “Take these for your ride to town.”

The man smacks his curved-in lips together,

up and down, up and down,

a toothless man’s “thank you.”

The walk-in cooler an instant relief.

But the bushels of peaches offer no jokes,

no grins,

no Grandpa conversations.

Outside, parched again, she accepts the quarter and returns Grandpa’s smile.

A short walk toward the small diner.

The lady in a pink uniform and matching hat says, “Vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?”


The ice cream, scooped. The cone, topped with a pink, cold delight.

Fifty steps back to the peach stand.

Fifty steps back to Grandpa.

The ice cream drips and threatens to disappear.

But the heat is no match for Grandpa’s disposition.

His smile and character remains solid, strong, and real.


Peach stand

(photo of Grandpa taken in the early sixties)





Before Amber Alerts

She was told how fun it would be to watch the parade in small town Fredericksburg, Texas. “Exciting for a four-year-old.”

“Look at that float!” “Carolyn, do you see the clown?”

No. All she saw was the backsides of wiggly people in front of her. The tall, thin man’s suspenders holding up the back of his pants. Arms that pointed to the sky holding miniature American flags.

But she could see behind her – from the grassy field all the way up to the sky.

And there it was. Something she could lay eyes on. Something she found curious and exciting.

She let go of the hem of her grandmother’s, hand-sewn, polka-dot house dress and began to run.

How did he get up there?

Would the man hurt himself when landed?

She continued on, her eyes following the man’s decent from the sky.

The pokey grass would not deter her. Nor the buzzing of summer wasps around her head. The near collisions with jumping grasshoppers were not a distraction.

The man was getting closer.

Panting, yet familiar voices frantically called her name.

When her parents and sister caught up to her, Carolyn pointed to the man.

They were right.

Exciting for a four-year-old.

me parachute

Maybe Tomorrow

She chokes on the water and knows what she needs. A concession stand with vending machines.

A flimsy cup no bigger than the size of her small hand drops to the tray and is filled with soda, carbonated water, and ice. A Bruce’s fried pie (lemon or apple, please). An ice-cream sandwich melts instant chocolate on her fingers.

She musters up courage and waits in line for the high dive. Children chatter with excitement, with anticipation. But Sparky Carolyn stays quiet in her nervousness. Perhaps she’s not so sparky after all.

It’s her turn. She makes it up the tall ladder. Her toes rest on the end of the board.

She looks down. It’s a long way to the water.

“Hurry up!” Someone yells.

I’ll go down too far. I’ll run out of air on the way back up.

She backs up and returns to the ladder. Children sigh at having to move aside. She reaches the safety of the flat, hot concrete.

Tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow.

Back in the safety of the three-feet depth, she rejoins her friends. She sips tea and eats crumpets under water like a queen. The three girls resurface and giggle at their immense creativity.

“Don’t worry. One day you’ll wake up to find they’ve grown.”

She looks at her friend, then down at her own flat chest.

Tomorrow. Maybe it will happen tomorrow.


nw pool

“Me” at Northwest Pool in Austin, Texas. (1950-60’s)


No longer publishing writing prompts?

How am I supposed to find inspiration without my word guide? I mean, how can I truly think up a word all on my own? After all, words are scarce and hard to come by. I rarely see them, barely speak them.

I have to think that way otherwise words haunt me. Words jab me, beg me to choose them, taunt me with how to use them and how to employ them to serve in my sentences.

And then there are the letters and the endless possibilities of aligning them to create a noun, verb, adverb …


Words exhaust me.


Which is why it’s easier to have a writing prompt.

No longer publishing writing prompts?

Here is my writing prompt: Disgruntled

Who’s in?


This is Mary Jane.

mary jane in skivvies


She is a paper doll created by Milton Bradley Co. in the 1950’s.

This is me, created by Mom and Dad in the 1950’s.


This is Paper Doll Me created by, well, me a few days ago.

 Me in skivviesWhy a paper doll? Why here? Why now?

So, this isn’t my brain on drugs. This is my brain “memory sparking”. I think I’ll call her  “Paper Doll Sparky”. Maybe “P.D. Sparky” for short. Or “Sparky” for shorter.



I can tell by looking at her that me, I mean Sparky, and Mary Jane wouldn’t have had a lot in common back then. Not that you should judge someone by appearance but she looks like Miss Goody Two-Shoes. I bet she followed all the rules and never once tried to do something new, challenging or creative.

Too bad, so sad.

I bet she never once hid in a gutter, yelled at her mother, or grew to get caught by the principal for smoking cigarettes in the girls bathroom in middle school (we called it Junior High back then).

In fact, she looks just like Lori, the tattle tale girl who ratted me out for lying to my mother when I was five.

So, I stole, I mean borrowed, some of Mary Jane’s clothes. They are mine now and Sparky can wear them for better purposes than to have mundane tea parties with preppy little girls who never climb trees or scrape their knees.

But don’t let the clothes fool you. Wearing one of Mary Jane’s prim and proper dresses won’t take the girl out of her true skin. (Besides, she’s made out of cardboard).

She’s packing up now, getting ready to see what kind of troubles her memories will stir up.  As Dad used to say, “Time to separate the sheep from the goats.”



You comin’?

me green dress.png

To be continued …