WINGSPREAD E-zine for September, 2020

“Spreading your wings in a perplexing world”

September, 2020                                   James Hurd    

Please forward, share this E-zine with anyone. Thank you.


  • New story
  • Puzzler of the month
  • Writer’s Corner
  • How to purchase Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying
  • Wingspread E-zine subscription information


New story: Cook County Hospital

A forlorn young woman walked toward them as she carried some dirt and a small plant in the chalice of her cupped hands, crying, looking like a poster child for the human condition. Thin and slightly built, she wore open sandals and only a light windbreaker against the cold. “What’s wrong?” Sean asked.

 “God just gave me this gift, the most precious gift in the world—the Tree of Life. [She held up the small plant cradled in her dirty hands.] And now it’s dying.” She raised her supplicant eyes to him. “I don’t know where to plant it, how to water it, how to care for it. The world’s so cruel and I am so sick. If this plant dies, I die with it; the whole world dies. Please help me!” . . .

To read more, click here:

Monthly Puzzler

(provided by Jerry Galloway)

My friend had purchased a piece of slate to put into the floor in the hearth in front of his fireplace. The slate was 3/4 of an inch thick, by 10 inches wide, by 48 inches long, and weighed on the order of 175 pounds. He had cut a hole in the oak floor that was the same size as the piece of slate.

He had to plunk it right there, and get his fingers out of the way as fast as possible!

The depth of the hole was exactly 3/4 of an inch, the same as the slate. And, of course, there was the subfloor underneath. When he put one end of the slate into the hole in the floor, he realized that he would have to drop the other end to get the slate into the hole. He realized that if he dropped the brittle slate, even half an inch, it would break.

Not only that, but it wouldn’t go in the hole, anyway. There was so little clearance that he couldn’t even use that thin fishing line to lower the end of the slate. So he sat there for the longest time, drinking beers and pondering this dilemma.

After his 5th or 6th trip to the kitchen, he returned with something that solved the problem in an elegant fashion.

What did he find there that allowed him to lower the slate into the hole without risk of breaking it?

All who solve this puzzle correctly will have their names posted in this newsletter!

Last week’s Answer: 

Recall, the challenge was to draw something on a paper that would not appear larger under a magnifying glass.

The “other thing” drawn was an angle, drawn with two lines. So, for example, if I drew a thirty-six degree angle, the angle would not be bigger using the magnifying glass.

Buy James Hurd’s Wingspread: A Memoir of Faith and Flying.  How childhood (Fundamentalist) faith led to mission bush-piloting in South America—and Barbara. Buy it here:  (or order it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) 

See pics here related to Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying:

Follow “james hurd” on Facebook, or “@hurdjp” on Twitter

Writers’ Corner

Word of the Month:  PARAPROSDOKIANS

Refers to a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. (Winston Churchill loved these). Here are some examples:

  • Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  • Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  • In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive more than once.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • Where there’s a will, there are relatives.

Book of the month: Caribbean by James Michener, 1989. A rich historical-fictional cruise through the kaleidoscope of dozens of Caribbean islands, from Cuba to Barbados, from before the time of Columbus until the 1980s. Sea battles. Notorious characters. Gold, silver, and sugar. Michener traveled three years in the Caribbean and consulted 400 books for this novel. (I know; it’s depressing to think about all that research! ☹)

Watch for my upcoming novel: East Into Unbelief (provisional title). There comes a time to either embrace the faith of your childhood, or walk away from it. Sean McIntosh tried to walk away—and almost succeeded.

Being Jesus’s disciple wasn’t always easy

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