The ice cream truck: A symbol of summer

July 2021 Prompt

There is nothing that embodies summer as a whole quite like the ice cream truck. Its familiar call weaves though neighborhoods and lures out children and adults alike to savor in this quintessential summer experience. With so many delicious options to choose from, it is no wonder the line can grow to wrap around the block.

What was your go to treat from the ice cream truck back in the day? Or what do you still get now when you answer summer’s official call?

Let us savor the flavor with you in 500 words or less!

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and, Read other responses here

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses you submitted to our June prompt!

By Katt

The day starts with a 2 mile run and several polite “good mornings” to all the other health junkies and dog parents trying to get some fresh air before the humidity really sets in. Closing that exercise ring before 10am is always a good feeling and chases away any potential guilt that may creep in if I don't. 9am is the perfect time to head down to the neighborhood pool with breakfast bar and book in hand. The same group of ladies is always at the pool in the morning. We share reading recommendations and sunscreen until the nannies appear with their rowdy hoards of kids hell bent on ruining our peaceful poolside book club.

I take my place on the couch in the living room around one and try to watch a movie while indulging in my cat's demands to play and once my cat has decided he's done with me, it is time to try to get some writing done. While normally I would be staring at a blank screen counting how many times the cursor blinks before I start writing, today I can actually hit the ground running and get a whole chapter outlined. My productivity can only be halted by a text from one of three people. “Happy Hour @ ____, be there or you're kicked out of the friend group.” Less of a threat, more of a promise. Either way I am going.

It was never peer pressure that makes me go to breweries across the KC metro area 3-4 times a week, but the reminder that I have friends who aren't related to my softball days. Friends that I have by choice, and not out of convenience. Pulling into the gravel parking lot of our usual brewery means the first round is free and our favorite waitress has already put in our food orders. Is this what it feels like to be retired? As a millennial who will probably never get to retire, I will go ahead and assume it is.

“Y'all ain't gotta go home, but you can't stay here,” the waitress says while deconstructing the great beer-amid of Cleveland, MO. Routine dictates we finish the night at my married friends' property. A short hop over state line, some train tracks, and down a dirt road lead to the hobby farm of my dreams. The barn boasts an eclectic collection of craft beers in the sticker covered fridge and none of them are any help to my cornhole game. The only twin size bed I will ever willingly sleep in is made up in the guest room and is calling my name.

Not bad for a Tuesday in June.

We hope everyone had a great time with Anne Kniggendorf! For the rest of June we want to hear all about your perfect summer day. What activities are you participating in? Is there a list of quintessential summer foods you have to have?

Submit your piece here and, Read other responses here

Thanks for all the responses you submitted to our May prompt!

May 2021 Prompt

We've all spent an unusual amount of time in our houses and neighborhoods this year. While these are spaces that we are intimately familiar with, those on the outside may notice details that we do not think about or no longer notice. In 1000 words or less, tell us about your living quarters or neighborhood through the eyes of a visitor.

This prompt is in conjunction with The Past is Prologue: Secret Kansas City program with Anne Kniggendorf on June 10th at 7pm. Anne will choose an entry to be read by the original author at the end of the program. Register for the program here

Submit your piece here and, Read other responses here

Thanks for all the responses you submitted to our April prompt!

By Katt

I know you hear me in there.

The day starts before the sun rises and I need my wet food the second first light creeps through the windows. Yet, the door remains closed. I've been calling for you and knocking quite politely. I have manners and can be patient. I wouldn't be wearing this tuxedo otherwise. BUT I AM HUNGRY HUMAN. Never mind the large one who gave me breakfast an hour ago.

Ah there you are, yes I would enjoy a window seat for today. If you would be so kind as to open the window, there are punkass squirrels in the side yard that need scolding from a superior. Join me, medium-sized human so I may teach you how to protect yourself from the bushy tailed menaces.

“Work”? What is this, work? This is not on my approved list of acceptable activities for the day. Who are these strange humans in your box? Do they also need lessons on dealing with squirrels?

No matter, there do not seem to be any grey terrors pillaging the bird feed. Medium-size human I request belly rubs. I have flopped over under your chair for convenience. You will have to stretch uncomfortably to reach me. I'm waiting.

Fine, you can't ignore me if I am in your line of sight. Or maybe you can. Let me just push these screens out of the way...

HOW WAS I SUPPOSD TO KNOW THEY MOVE SO EASY?! Don't get mad at me, medium-size human. You're the one that put this rainbow machine contraption against the wall. It's only a small dent.

I am going to go take a nap until you get done, wake me so we may play on your lunch break. If you don't, I'll bite your toes a dinner.

April 2021 Prompt

Animal companions of all species have been happy to have their humans home more than usual this past year. They stay by our sides for so much of the day that we can't help but wonder what it is they are thinking about us.

How would your animal companion(s) narrate your day?

Submit your piece here and, Read other responses here

Thanks for all the beautiful responses you submitted to our March prompt!

By Cheryl

My friend Vicky presented Joy as a happy place when we met to do our first sitting practice together. She said she wanted to experience victory through the Joy of living life. Like a strong house with a solid foundation, she embodied Joy. It was a steady stream that she'd made stronger by couching every experience through the lens of Joy. After years of practice, it shone forth from the open windows of her soul. I was astonished. I'd never given Joy a thought. I'd always been close neighbors with Sadness and Surrender. But slowly I took steps closer to her house of Joy by embracing the myriad experiences of my life by flirting with Joy —making eyes at it, longingly sneaking peeks. That journey began 17 years ago. I would say that now, all these years later, I am on the verge of throwing open the windows of my house so that I can wave to her house of Joy from my rooms of Joy. Moving through the difficulties of life focused on Joy does indeed make life richer, if not easier. Maybe one day, I will move right next door and experience many, many more moments of living life through the victory of Joy.

_By Katt _

There is no “one size fits all” happy place in my mind. The happy place I mentally travel to will all depend on what I am trying to escape.

Bad weather? The atrium at Harlaxton College in England. It was always pleasant sitting beneath a canopy of greenery while being served afternoon tea. The English sunshine was rare, but when it peaked out from behind the clouds it turned the atrium into the most popular spot on the manor grounds. A babbling indoor pond with koi entertained the professors' children while the rest of us tried to figure out why iron furniture was only comfortable among tropical plants, tea, and finger sandwiches.

Feelings of inadequacy? A grand hall erected in the confines of my imagination paved with Welsh (NOT Appalachian) slate with a large obsidian throne that rests a top a gilded dais. Complete with a steward to refill my wine glass with Yellow Tail Moscato when necessary. Pillars of granite line the sides with scenes of battles I have won as Queen of this fictional castle and a large black cat to sit on an arm of my throne to stare down the last of my enemies as they beg for mercy, but are only met with the phrase “who's an inadequate ruler now?” as my generals drag them off. If life is going to deal me a harsh hand, I'll give it the same energy back in a safe and controlled environment.

Lonely? A lake house at the Ozarks where my three best friends and I congregate once or twice a summer. There is something about the smell of lake water that puts the body at ease. Combine that with a calm day on the water and just the right amount of ice in the cooler and there is nothing better. I can hear the stories my gal pals tell about life as married women as we all float off the dock on a lily pad trying to keep track of empty beer cans and when we last put on sunscreen. When the screaming mating calls of cicadas reverberate from the shore we know its time to get out to make dinner, but as soon as that is over we head back down to the dock, kick on the submerged lights and get back in the water with a freshly stocked cooler.

We would be here all day if I chose to break down all the options and which specific escapes they serve as, but these seem to be the three I find myself in most and they all serve their purposes well.

March 2021 Prompt

With spring almost on our doorsteps, everyone is dreaming of bluer skies, greener grass, and much warmer weather. The outdoors is an excellent escape for many of us, and some prefer a comfy space indoors where they can be at peace. Whether it be inside or out, please give us a grad tour of your happy place.

In 500 words or less, immerse us in your mental escape. Sight? Smells? Weather? We want to read it all.

Submit your piece here and, Read other responses here

Thanks for all the beautiful responses you submitted to our February prompt!

By Cheryl Morai-Young

When I look directly in the mirror, a ghost of myself looks back. White-haired and pink eyed around the rim, free of make up because it's easier now in pandemic times to not delight and indulge in the little pots of color that could be dipped into and brushed over moisturized eyelids to paint a brighter facade to the world and to myself. The light brown eyes say: I'm tired and weary of this confinement, this plainness of skin — a necessary confinement that keeps me distant and safe. The rest of my face, hidden behind a triple plied, black mask, I can only hope resembles some of what it was before it had to be hidden to keep the virus at bay. The Japanese have a myth that says the face you have now is the face of the person you loved the most in your past life. Maybe with this new old face, incognito and unrecognizable to the world, I was a ninja, who scaled walls at night, freeing coins and jewelry from the wealthy and giving it to the poor. Maybe this disguise made me braver, kinder, more resilient, virtuous even so that I could now when I looked straight on into those tired brown eyes, recognize myself. Who I was, who I will be. And, maybe soon, I will be again. And maybe, now, that's enough.

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