Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Mama jostled us. It must have been around 5 a.m.. Joseph grunted. His bony knee impaled my side. I deliberately fanned the blankets as I rolled off the bunk. Joseph’s grunt became a growl. He never was a morning person.

“Come see, boys! Come see!”

Mama’s voice was electrified. She’d been awake for hours already. Watching, shivering, hoping to catch a glimpse of The Lady, as she called it, welcoming us to our new home.

“The Lady, she is there. Come see, David. Get your brother.”

“Mama, it’s just a statue,” Joseph scoffed.

“No, my son, she is Lady Liberty.”


Friday Fictioneer hostess with the mostest, Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields, challenges writers to make every word count. Check out the flash fiction for this week’s prompt here.

I’ve used Statue of Liberty photos I’ve taken in other posts, but never from the perspective of an immigrant. Many of my ancestors were native to America. So, it hasn’t occurred to me to put myself in the shoes of someone arriving through Ellis Island. Must be all that schoolin’ makin’ me see things from a different point of view.

I love this country with its magnificent landscapes and rugged, ragged history. I love that we are part of a great experiment with time enough left to achieve remarkable results. I love its balmy places, its blustery places, the rarefied air of its sacred places and the faces, oh the many different shades of faces, whose blood, sweat, and tears unite us and keep us ever clinging to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

35 thoughts on “Coming To America

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I cannot imagine making a voyage like that unless I believed there was something truly amazing waiting for me on the other side. What a fantastic feeling it must have been for them to make that journey.

  1. Honie,
    What a wonderful moment to capture in a story! I wish I would have thought of it. I enjoyed all your pictures. It is a reminder of all the many different landscapes this country offers, so expansive with so much variety. Thanks for sharing those.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Amy, your kind compliments made my day. Thanks!!

      1. Cool! It was my pleasure, Honie.

  2. Wonderful piece, and I love the photos you included… so expansive and bright.

  3. denmother says:

    I can only imagine the excitement of first seeing that symbol of freedom. You captured it well with the mother and her children.

  4. Such a hopeful piece, it is almost a shame to call it fiction. You remind us of what there is to love about this great land of ours with both your words and your marvelous photos. Thank you.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Aw, Val you changed your pic. How sweet. Is that you?
      I am reminded often that there is a lot to love. I hope I never forget.

  5. Dear Honie,

    What a tenderly written up close and personal story. So much said in few worlds. I could hear Mama’s voice, a reverent whisper. We do take for granted what we have, don’t we? I can imagine my grandparents in her place. Lovely piece.



    1. Honie Briggs says:

      It can be a challenge to remember to be grateful every day.
      Peace to you,

  6. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Honie,

    What a lovely story. I was right there with them, watching Lady Liberty appear over the horizon. Loved your photos and reflections. Thanks for writing this piece.



    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Mothers and sons. Nothing makes a better story than that. It’s interesting to consider how different it is for mothers today trying to bring their children to a better life.
      Gratefully Documented,

  7. Penny L Howe says:

    An excellent short story Honie. I like the narrative. It was almost as if they were bringing a taste of what America, their future home, would become with them adding to the mix! Love, hope and promise. And your amazing photographs! Totally awesome! I’ve just spent a little time pausing to look at each one. They are all wonderful. I love America too! 🙂

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Who knows who those brothers grew up to be. Thank you for your kind remarks about the photos. Each are from other posts and each holds very special meaning for me.

      1. Penny L Howe says:

        It really shows too Honie! Those are photos just filled with love! 🙂

  8. artsifrtsy says:

    ‘Merica is a pretty amazing place! Love that shot of the mail boxes and the first one of the stone house – it reminds me a bit of my place. Ooo look, it’s me with a sammich! I loved the story – and your shot of the lady too.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      ‘Tis, ’tis. The shot of the mailboxes is from Santa Fe. I took it, along with many other awesome shots which should have been included in this post, on a weekend trip I took to New Mexico with our daughter just after she got married. We had a terrific time and it is one of the reasons why I love this country. Women are free to go anywhere we want, enjoy every awesome part of this great nation, and for the most part do it with relative ease. The Native American population there has to draw lottery numbers each week to see who will be allowed to sell their wares at the Palace of the Governors. Can you believe that? Men and women whose ancestors protected the land entrusted to them must take turns earning a living for themselves and their families.

      One thing that is more than a little disheartening, is that the freedom to come and go as we please without harassment seems to get chiseled away more and more each time we (as a nation state) find ourselves in global conflicts. Those who would prey on fear and create a threat where there is none know exactly what they are doing. We should be smarter than that. That’s my opinion. There’s another thing I love about this country, and it is worth noting here. Our opinions matter and we can express them freely without fear of reprisal. At least for now…

      The shot of you, Lorri, is one that clearly represents another thing that makes this country and awesome place to live. Two people, unknown to one another, connected by an act of fearlessness, a mutual appreciation for beauty and good deli, reached out to share that appreciation, albeit in a public place under supervision, and make a friend just as Native Americans once did. Oh, thanks for not giving me smallpox or stealing my sandwich or forcing me to leave my home so you could break it up and sell it for pennies on the dollar to infidels. 😉

      This comment is becoming its own post. I don’t care, every word counts here. Plus it’s my blog dammit! The stone house is in Texas, and the stone church is in Colorado on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park. I love that place. Thank goodness someone in the past had the foresight to preserve it for future generations.

      1. artsifrtsy says:

        I feel that way about our country too! I can go where I please with just a little intrusion from the TSA. I met someone at Crater Lake who was from the Netherlands – he said that visiting America was like visiting 50 unique countries in Europe with a lot less hassle.

        I was at a presentation last summer about the Navajo women and how widows live in such poverty on the res. How they lose their ability to earn once they lose their husbands – their lives can be very meager. It’s crazy that they cannot make a living without winning the lottery – a noble people deserve better.

        It never occurred to me to bring small-pox laden blankets or to steal your home – probably because of my Cherokee ancestors who have no beards. In retrospect I think it was the right decision – I like you and hate to think of giving you small pox, besides I wouldn’t have a clue about where to get small pox. It is one of the very cool things about blogging – the connections – and meeting you and your Loyal Follower was a treat. You both are awesome and you showed me a part of Dallas that I never knew existed.

        I have written more in the comments on this post that I have on my own blog in the last month – so thanks for getting me out of my slump. I love stone houses with hay rakes in front and Rocky Mountain National Park rocks – hence the name. It’s an awesome place and the loop is worth every mile. Well done NPS!

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Maybe Chief No Beard and Woman of Many Words got married and we are fourth cousins twice removed. HA!
          In all seriousness, My great, great, great, great, great-grandmother (that’s five greats) was Nahomtima, which means “she who seeks and gives.” She was Pushmataha’s sister. Of the Choctaw Kusha. Pushmataha means “he has won all the honors of his race.” A good friend of mine who does genealogy research traced this for me. I’m about as ‘Merican as they come.

          1. artsifrtsy says:

            That is so cool and so wonderful that you know it – I have always wanted to trace mine. My great Great Grandma married a full blooded Cherokee in Arkansas – I have found his family on the Dawes Rolls – but no Native names – he was William Pyeatt. He passed up the opportunity for headrights in Oklahoma, preferring to live as a white man. My mother’s family is littered with Cherokees from North Carolina – the ones who did not take the Trail of Tears. I have done our family tree to complete our family Bible and can get pretty far back on every branch except the Pyeatts. Everyone else has been here since before 1720 – I’m a ‘Merican Mutt.

  9. tedstrutz says:

    A nice story with fabulous All-American photos to illustrate. I like to come to your page, for the first thing I see is your invigorating photo. I see an inquisitive mind and your stories usually reflect that.

    I would kill for a Fried Bologna Sandwich right now!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Ted, I ate so many bologna sandwiches as a kid, if I never have another it will be alright with me. That and deviled ham. GAAAHHH! Thanks for the kind words.

  10. Brigitte says:

    Nice short, Honie. Sometimes I think we take for granted what we have in our great country. Then I’ll see something on the news and think, yeah I’ve got very good, indeed!

    Hope you’re well. Take care.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      It’s nice to see you, Brigitte. Yeah, let’s hope some rouge faction doesn’t try to teach us just how good we have it. I am baffled at how often we (as a nation state) seem to bungle opportunities to step back and actually mind our business. Frankly I’m not interested in pumping money into the world economy just to see it pissed away on war.

  11. helenmidgley says:

    So much hope in such a little piece, your gallery was great 🙂

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Thanks Helen. I have so many photos loaded on here and it seems a shame to let them sit in posts nobody read. Recycled for your viewing pleasure. 😉

  12. A lovely story that says it all for those who left for America in hope of sanctuary.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Hope is a powerful thing, isn’t it? It makes us do amazing things!

  13. Nice picture gallery to go with your beautiful story. I really enjoyed the first paragraph’s homey-ness and I share your love for our country.


    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Thanks Janet. I should probably spend some time getting all of my photos uploaded to my real gallery. You can check it out here:

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