Old Things


Waiting for the pet store to open this morning, I stopped in at the coffee shop next door.   It’s an old building even though it’s only been a coffee shop for a few years, and so the shop has the look of a place that’s been around for years.  Old linoleum floors, chipped paint on the walls, a little on the shabby side–nothing shiny, nothing new.  It’s small but usually busy, people sitting alone or in pairs, reading the newspaper, doing crossword puzzles, talking quietly.

I found myself thinking how much I liked it.  Not just the coffee (which is very good), but the whole vibe of the place.   I think I especially liked the fact that it didn’t seem all that shiny or new.   It seemed very much like a part of the neighborhood.  A continuation of its history, even if the place itself hasn’t been around all that long.

More and more I like older things.  We live in an old house, we just bought an old piano.  Old can be good.  Even when it’s shabby.  Maybe I just have more of a history myself, so I appreciate it in everything around me.


About the author

Tom Howard

Tom Howard is the author of Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press, 2019).

He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fierce Pretty Things won the 2018 Blue Light Books Fiction Prize, and his individual stories have won the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction, the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Fiction, the Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest, the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, the Innovative Short Fiction Prize, the Willow Springs Ficiton Prize, the Rash Award in Fiction, and the Robert J. DeMott Award for Short Prose.

He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.

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By Tom Howard


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