Archive for: September 2017

I’ll Fly Away



by Sadie Cracker

I’m standing in my kitchen making spaghetti for the third time this week and humming, “Traveling Kind” by Emmylou Harris. Four soccer games, a school diorama project, my full time job, kitchen cleaning has rendered any energy I might have for a Rachel Ray style dinner moot.  Suddenly, Johnny runs into the kitchen with his small hands clasped around something. “Mommy look what I found.” He said.

“What is it?” I said.

He opens his small, still fat, baby hands. At seven he’s so hopeful and excited about everything — a life untainted by all the disappointment and I’m afraid of what’s in his hands and that it’s something aweful and I’m gonna have to tell him to get rid of it.

“His name is Maxwell.” said Johnny.

And inside his hands sits a small brown frog that is no bigger than a quarter. “I’m gonna keep Maxwell.” He said. “He’s gonna be with me forever.”

I’m gonna let him down right now. All the hope in his face is gonna fall when I say the one thing I need to:

“Buddy, we can’t keep Maxwell.” I put my ear down near his small hands. “Maxwell just told me he has to be free. He needs to be outside and he needs to live his life. He’ll never be happy if we keep him inside.”

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

“It’s true. If you love Maxwell you gotta let him go find a river, or a blade of grass, and you just have to believe that you might see him again because he’ll remember how kind and tender you were with him and how much you cared about what he needed.” I said.

“Or he won’t.” said Johnny.

“And that’s okay too.” I said.


It’s Thursday night and Ladies Night and revamped old hymn night at Bear’s Biker bar in Coma and the publisher of Coma News Daily told me if I write one more story about, “playing dumb songs in a bar full of drunk locals” he won’t publish it. But it’s also Mother’s Day weekend and I once again reminded him that I’m a mom who works a full time job, raises kids, takes care of an ailing father, and that he is really doing a service to the female community by letting me have a voice in the paper.

“Just don’t be depressing.” He said. “Stop talking about love and realities. No one wants to read real stuff anymore especially when it’s written by a 40 year old woman.”

And Charlie, a local motorcycle enthusiast and the Coma Librarian, is up on stage playing, “Let Him Fly” by  Patty Griffin and it’s funny to hear him belt it out so strong and I look at the beer in front of me and giggle to hear Charlie, “I’m gonna let him fly. I’m gonna let him fly.”


Bear, the local 30 year old skate rat punk and owner of the bar, is playing Go Fish with my Dad, Stan Bargemeyer, at the other side of the bar.

“Do you have a five.”

“Go fish, buddy.” said Stan.

“What?! How is that possible?? You just showed me your hand and you had a 5??” said Bear.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy.” said Stan. And Stan, who remembered to put on his pants tonight and struggles in his Alzheimer’s, shows  Bear all of his cards.

“That’s a five.” said Bear.

“No buddy. That’s a six.”

“I’m gonna let him fly, ” sings Charlie. “I’m gonna let him fly.”

I’m waiting for Jack. Jack is late and it’s okay because tonight is the last night I’ll see him for quite some time. I thought after Michael died and left me alone that I wouldn’t love someone again. I was okay with being alone, it was lonely, but it was my pain. And as long as I was alone I knew I wouldn’t hurt again. Then Marybell posted my picture in local Paneara’s and somehow Jack appeared in my life.

But tonight he’s leaving for LA. He accepted a teaching position at UCLA and California is not the same as Coma.

“You could come with me.” said Jack.

“I can’t. I need to stay here and take care of my Dad. I need to stay here and take care of my kids.” I said.

“But you could come if you wanted to.” He said.

“You could stay if you wanted to.” I said.

“You could visit.” He said.

“You’re gonna be so busy.” I said. “With all those 20 year old coeds who think you are so amazing because you are successful.”

And I look at his face and all the lines of age and the beautiful way his entire forehead crinkles when he thinks about something and I’m old enough to no longer believe in fairy tales. I’m old enough to know that this life isn’t always fair.

“You gotta let Maxwell go, Johnny.” I said.

And up onstage Charlie sings “Mary” by Patty Griffin and promises that the next song will be “I’ll Fly Away” which is the first song I learned to play on the banjo. I remember my grandma in her apron in the kitchen making a pie for my grandfather from scratch and humming “I’ll Fly Away” and it’s hard to remember how beautiful a moment like that is when you see someone just so grateful to love another human being.

“Sadie Cracker. Sadie Cracker. Come up here and sing with me.” said Charlie.

I shake my head, no. “I’m waiting for someone.” and Charlie laughs. It’s only my father, Bear, Charlie, and me in this bar.

“Just come up here and sing.” He said.

So I pick up my acoustic guitar and walk to the stage.

“What are you gonna play?” said Charlie.

“I think,’ a love that will never grow old’ by Emmylou Harris.” I said.

“Good choice.”

And I strum the guitar three times and start to sing. My father is still at the end of the bar fighting with Bear about a 5 card.

‘Go to sleep may your sweet dreams come true

Just lay back in my arms for one more night

I’ve this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes

Saying this one’s the love of our lives…’

And the door opens and I see Jack standing there with his scratchy beard and great hair. I see him standing there and I know I will miss him so much.

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

‘I know a love that will never grow old’  I sing. I sing it loud because I want to believe in it. I don’t want to give up on that.




Advice Guy: Does House Flooding Kill Fleas?

By Bob Smith-Smith

Welcome to my inaugural home repair advice column! Got a leaky sink or a squeaky door that needs fixing? Well then hopefully my experience will help you address it without all those nasty repair bills.

Our first letter comes from local resident Micah Horncraft.

Dear Advice Guy,

I wonder if you have any idea whether flooding a house will kill off a flea infestation?

Please, this is a serious question.

Several months ago, my dog or cat (I’m not pointing fingers, even though it was probably my wife’s damn cat) brought fleas into the house. Before we knew it, our entire house was a biting, scratching torture zone.

We tried everything: a range of powders, ointments, elixirs, chemicals, acids, vacuuming, vacuuming, and vacuuming and of course a series of hexes and charms.

Short story, nothing worked. Turns out every time you kill off a few thousand of these buggers, a thousand more eggs hatch and take their place within hours.

Then, a couple weeks ago a pipe burst in the wall and submerged most of our first floor. Obviously I assumed we had a poltergeist trying to drive us from our home. But then it occurred to me: maybe a flood was exactly what we needed to drive the flea armies from our home?

So what do think, AG? After the flood waters recede will we be pest-free?

–Fleas Have Invaded My Nightmares


The short answer is no.

Although fleas are susceptible to drowning they also are capable of seeking higher ground when water appears—as they move to your dog’s head when you wash him.

One way to tell if your fleas found and clung to floating debris—imagine miniature life rafts—is to think about the day of your flood. Did you have “My Heart Will Go On” stuck in your head for no apparent reason? If so, that may have been because little fleas were re-enacting the “Titanic” love scene of floating lovers all over your flooded house. And as soon as the flood subsided, those little buggers went right back to making more little buggers.

My advice: burn it down, take the insurance money, and start over in a new house. The fleas always win.

That’s all for this week folks. Join me next week when I advise a local resident who suspects he home may house a furry varmint. Spoiler alert: He actually has multiple types of rodent and marsupial infestations going on. Until then!

Opinion: Who Will Get My Frisbee Down?

Johnny Cracker

The following are the views of a Coma resident. Coma News Daily does not endorse these views.

My Frisbee is stuck on the roof.

I don’t know how it got there but it might have been aliens.

My brother and I really like this Frisbee. It’s blue and has yellow lines on it and a hole in the middle. But even though it has a hole it still goes really high and far. I don’t know if the hole makes it harder to aim than a normal Frisbee but sometimes it doesn’t go where we want it to when we throw it.

But we definitely did not throw it onto our roof. Maybe it was a werewolf that put it up there?

My mom said if we lost another Frisbee on the roof she wasn’t going to buy us a new one. But we have no idea how it got up there. I mean it!

If you have a ladder or a helicopter we could probably get it down. It would have to be a tall ladder and you can’t be afraid of heights. And you probably need to be strong enough to carry the ladder to our house. But after that it should be really easy to go way up there and climb onto the roof and throw the Frisbee down. You could probably throw down the other balls and stuff, like a bunch of sticks someone else probably threw up there to get the Frisbee down.

See? Easy. Some come over to our house as soon as you can help us out because the rain is probably bad for the Frisbee and it’s been raining a lot.

Have a great day!

Johnny Cracker is 10-year-old lifelong resident of Coma.