credit: Sasha Williams

I don’t like surprises! But one time, on my 21st birthday, my mother threw me a surprise birthday party.

My aunt Cindy said to me “today, since it is your birthday, we will go and get you a present.”

We left home and went to Gimbels Department store. We looked around and I saw a barrette. It was pretty with gold in it. I told her I wanted that one and she bought it for me.

Then we went to a beauty shop and I tried on a wig. It looked good on me too, so Aunt Cindy also bought that for me. We went home and she opened our door. I went inside and all our friends and family were there with some church friends too.

“Surprise! Surprise!” They all said. All I could think of was ‘I see you at church 2 or 3 days a week, and now you’re at my birthday party?!’

My mother used to make me go to church so much.

-Patty Smith, Vendor/Artist


I was enjoying a nice bike ride.

It was night on dark sidewalk paths

I was moving at a pretty good clip.

The path did veer off a bit,

I didn’t see it that well,

as I was without my glasses.

All of a sudden I wasn’t pedaling anymore.

Surprise —I was swimming!

I went from the sidewalk straight into the canal.

Of course it took me a little while to realize

that the water wasn’t that deep.

I thought I was drowning,

‘till I stood up.

Richard EmbdenVendor/Artist