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Freelance writer of plays/short stories/poetry/narrative non-fiction; lover of humor, chocolate, pratfalls, my children and husband (in no particular order..).

For those of us no longer in touch with our biological father.

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Everywhere I go, I keep seeing my father.

Coming out of the yoga class I can finally attend now, he walks beside me, makes a joke about how I entered class late and smiles, eyes twinkling while I laugh. “Caught me.”

He drives past in the car for which I stop short before crossing the street. He does not see me, even though he glances out his car window, eyes exact watery-blue. I recognize them everywhere. In another life, they were safety to me.

Whole Foods produce aisle, I spot him with such startling clarity I have an impulse to abandon cart and run. But he’s not there.

A fall from grace in a high school gym and the world as she knows it disappears.

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An auburn question mark ponytail with a life of its own. Foreshadowing. Exactly what Ms. Lange of AP English might call that perky ponytail had she the emotional bandwith to remember what it is to be young. Not just a device in a story. Perhaps divine intervention. Or the universe laughing. (If you’re more Buddhist in your leanings.)

Likely just the plain out of the blue fickle fuck you of high school. You know what I’m talking about no matter which side of the hall you inhabited. No matter where you sat at lunch. The top and the bottom can…

Each of these happenings loosely based on entirely true events.

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1.) Get pregnant and immediate unrelenting morning sickness that abates only if your husband hears your voicemail within a 20-minute window and drops everything to haul ass and makes it home within an hour or the smell of requested meal will make you throw up and require a new order altogether. (VM message: “Jack’s Burger House double cheese no lettuce/extra mustard!” He enters the house and throws you the bag wiping sweat from his brow while you gag and sprint to the bathroom. …

Food service or something menial and greasy if at all possible.

Photo by William Enrico Jr Quijano on Unsplash

You want your child to get a job, of course, because you don’t want him or her to be an insufferable entitled incompetent ass, but we agree on that already. If not, I feel the chasm between us is such a vast and ceaseless ocean we will never meet in the middle. Stop reading immediately.

For those who get that performing some degrading task for a piteous wage is a teenage rite of passage necessary to earn a spot among the wise and humble of humanity, keep reading.

I share the hijinks of my first summer job circa 1985, how…

I’ve never spoke of this to a soul, except now I guess I’m telling whoever reads this article. With my luck, this is the one that goes viral.

Hint: Don’t be so impatient. The set-up is worth it.


A neon-colored vest with POLICE in white letters over the regular dark security getup. Hands beckon forward authoritatively or held in a STOP! -you’re-not-going-anywhere-yet! position. Rain or shine, snow or wind, in the thick of it, directing school parking, in charge of which SUV goes where, and I imagine — though of course I’m speculating — this part of the job is thankless. Parents driving poorly, distracted by phone, kid, dog, life, and/or take-your-pick-combination.

As Covid-19 cases decrease, Covid Phrase Fatigue (CPF), a condition I just made up, continues to grip the nation.

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I know what you’re thinking. And no, I am NOT just being over-sensitive. Shut up, okay?! Listen. Some of the covid-centric words and phrases don’t offend me. As in “flatten the curve,” “social distance,” or “herd immunity.” These terms seem necessary to define and describe the overall madness of the last year and almost a half now. An attempt to communicate on the reality in which we find ourselves.

However, some folks are what I call linguistically lazy.

They cannot be bothered to wrestle various forms of content and relevant information to form logical conclusions. Unable to consider multiple channels, to analyze, to synthesize and shape cohesive possibilities. Fuck…

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder can render small things BIG.

Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

Attention: Erin’s Keys, iPhone, and Glasses,

Consider yourselves on NOTICE. Don’t try the innocent act because I heard every word. I don’t say much, but I hear EVERYTHING. Those little powwows the 3 of you have while she’s wrangling kids? I captured each word of the last one and will “accidentally” play it for her if my demands aren’t met. Don’t test me. I’ll have no choice but to involve Amazon. Transcript below. Back off. Her kid’s last day of school is tomorrow; you know she gets weepy, even more irrational, and decidedly more forgetful. …

The greatest charge for human beings is remembering we are responsible for each other.

Courtesy of Erin Ryan Burdette’s iPhone.

Shot 2. Final Moderna vaccine.

9 AM arrival Allen Police Department. Whip along the drive-through-get-your-shot-assembly line. Past orange cones and helpful people with official clipboards. Pull in last stop and get my vaccine. Done.

Park and wait 15 minutes to ensure no feeling symptomatic before pulling back into traffic. I feel fine, even oddly rested.

Cruising through the rest of my day, I’m like, AWESOME! I don’t feel anything! No fatigue, no nothing!

Thank you. so much for including my story in Be Open!! What a great thing to happen upon in the middle of a crazy-stress Monday;). Seriously, you made my day! Love the spirit of your publication, just joined, and can't wait to read more of these essays.

PART TEN. Feeling a little freaked out by possible Moderna vaccine reaction?

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash


April 8, I arrived perky early, one might even say excited(!) to the Allen Police Department to get my first Moderna vaccine. It was so entertaining to be at a police station and not be in any trouble, you know? (kidding, mom, husband …I’ll talk to the rest of you later).

One stop shop — don’t even exit your car! Like the Chikfila line. Sure, I got lost briefly on my way there, but that’s almost to be expected. Ask literally anyone who knows me.

Found the line by my assigned time, drove through the I must admit well set…

Erin Ryan Burdette

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