Miryam Howard returns to the mission: entering our contest!

(The mission statement of A Word with You Press?  Putting Gravitas on a Lo-Carb Diet…or do you find that a little hard to swallow?)


What contest sponsored by A Word with You Press would be complete without an entry from our favorite Miryam Howard?

Miryam flew in just before midnight last Friday, leading a small flock of last-minute entries into our contest: A Dozen Roses from a Single Thorn: A Valentine’s Day Love Story.  After Miryam’s Story, I still have the second entries from Tara Hoger, Tara Valentina, and Laura Girardeau. I will post these on Tuesday, not Monday, as originally planned to give each story sufficient air time on the site for people to leave comments.  And then Kristine Rose Grant will choose our winners! If you sent in a story that did not get posted, please send me an email and I will fix it!

In the meantime, here is a story from one of my favorite people.

On A Train to Capistrano

by Miryam Meier-Howard


I boarded the 6 am commuter train from Los Angeles to Capistrano. An old girlfriend and I had reconnected after many years, and were meeting for coffee. We used to attend private girls school together through high school and were the best of friends. I looked forward to seeing Capistrano again, as well as seeing my friend who had moved there. Visions of Sunday family rides and walking hand in hand with my gramma through the old mission were such fond memories. The migrating swallows, which were famous for returning each year, always held a magical curiosity to me; as a child, I thought they had some secret aviary power and could possibly read my mind. I was never completely at ease in their presence, yet was drawn to them and would toss them crumbs from our picnic lunch.

People quickly filled the seats one by one, mostly business-like in appearance. Several spontaneously opening their lap tops, prepping for a meeting that demanded their genius. Their minds focused, uninterruptible to the outside world.

A plump middle aged gentleman spoke on his cell phone with oversized headphones, causing his own voice to exceed in volume beyond social etiquette. I assessed after a short time that he must be a scoundrel of some kind… probably making a shady deal with someone. He was given to nervous laughter and soon this behavior became quite annoying. One can tell the difference between laughing in earnest, or laughing out of stupidity for lack of anything better to say. Along with his poor manners, and personality disorders, his socks didn’t match, which sealed the deal in my eyes; this one couldn’t be trusted.

A young woman, looking to be in her late twenties, assessed her options and chose the last remaining window seat. She sat with her legs crossed and a gigantic designer hand bag plopped on her lap. She quickly fixed her interest on starring out the window, perhaps to avoid conversation with strangers. After observing her for awhile, I determined that she was actually peering curiously at her own reflection, as if she was searching for something hidden. She had a wild mass of flaming red hair, (reminding me of my grand daughter) which fell in long tight curls to her shoulders. She continually twirled a stand of hair around her finger, as if nervously contemplating some far away memory that had lain dormant within her heart and now was yearning for attention.

A few stops along the way and most all of the seats were filled. A young mother with three children finally drowned out the scoundrel’s voice.  She had twin boys, looking about 5, and a small infant wrapped in a pink crocheted blanket which she held tightly to her breast. The boys were amazingly cute I thought, and when I attempted a smile their way, the one stuck his tongue out at me and the other socked his brother in the stomach to show off.

I had heard somewhere that riding the train was a great way to meet interesting people, but it was only a rumor. The art of conversation did not ride with me this day.

I disembarked in Capistrano and my friend called my name when she saw me. Why had we lost contact for so long I thought? I am learning that friendship is a special and cherished kind of love. I will hold tight to it. I will return like the swallow.


10 thoughts on “Miryam Howard returns to the mission: entering our contest!

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Scenes in life between visits with a friend years apart felt like a lucid dream of streaming colors, impressions and hued drifts of passing strangers. The comparison of the brief encounter with a life’s friendship gave deeper meaning to the Capistrano meetup with the symbol lovingly given as the swallows moved me very much. Beautiful, lyrical swirl of impressionistic sightings while waiting for the stability which endures. I am very impressed and appreciative of your talent Miryam. You are an incredible story teller.

    • Miryam says:

      By golly …. You got it! Sometimes I think the world is a wild bowl of impressions coaxing us into a much bigger purpose! Like appetizers before the main course…
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. I certainly appreciate your insights.

      • KYLE Katz says:

        Parisianne definitely has a pulse on words and how they paint a picture. What a talent. Thorn should have her the team officially.

  2. Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    First off: welcome back to the playground <3

    Ever is our lives now. The train, a huge representative of human progress has managed to turn us into zombies. Our desire for bigger, better, faster has robbed us of our humanity. When you reconnect with your best friend again, in the daylight, you return to what makes us human.

    And speaking of reconnecting, we should have a coffee date when we can!!!

    • Miryam says:

      So true Stef…..
      Lots of “zombies” out there! It becomes more of a challenge to have moments of humane sharing…. Turning strangers into humans… But let’s keep trying!
      Yes… Coffee time! Message me.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    The writer’s plague- people watching. Like underarm odor, we all check it. (Am I’m such a socialite or what.) Difference is the sensitivity of you, radar sharp, civil to the core, comfortable living in the love for humanity. That train can take me anywhere, that friend is so lucky.

  4. KYLE Katz says:

    I haven’t taken the train anywhere for such a long time and now have no desire to. I felt as if I were on the inside of your eyeballs, filtering out the noise, allowing me to see the drastic change we have taken, shutting out the world and each other. Its sad that we miss so much of the human experience. I actually drive to Capistrano on my solo trips to just be with me. Thank you for taking me on this ride. I was with you from beginning to end. Great writing!

    • Miryam says:

      Thanks for reading my late entry Kyle… I enjoy the details of people I meet. I’ll loan you my eyeballs anytime! Blessings!

  5. Kristine Rose Grant says:

    Miryam, I think Parisianne offered such a luminous commentary…that I simply cannot top it and defer to her. I bow to you, Ms Parisianne, for your very well put sentiments. Thank you.

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