Church This Sunday

Church was two counties on two wheels

Church was the silence of morning sunlight

Church was knowing Pastor Richie was at the pulpit as I passed

Church was hay up in the barn

Church was a butterfly down but twenty-five more flying

Church was green grass stretching into the hollers

Church was the songs of birds and new lyrics in my head

Church was the thought of my family at home

Church was the underside of leaves as the wind blew in rain clouds

Church was Rutledge Farm West and its many neighbors

Church was a man on a tractor taking time to wave

Church was knowing the daunting hill I turned on will later be conquered 

Church was the creek bed that cut its way through the hills

Church was observing and reveling in the Lord’s work




The headline read “Flytrap Frolic Scavenger Hunt,”

Like a lost song from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club,

Or the flipside of Prudence, or Norwegian Wood,

I’m Only Sleeping, Nowhere Man, or The Walrus that could.


But a spread of fun pictures instead it was,

From a man with an eye for just such a cause,

And taken as such, probably not his best work,

But from mountains to ocean his lenses still lurk.


Significant to me that the man reemerged,

My brother on-court, this valley he purged,

After coming crucially close to self-destruction,

It gladdens me to tag him resurrected.


So as Sammy the Bearded Dragon knows,

Or snakes called corn and sinful hognose,

A sea of Venus, i.e., Little Pot of Horrors,

His ongoing search, it knows no borders.


We converse by phone every few months,

To catch up, reminisce, regale in the hunt,

To laugh at my screens or his beautiful passes,

Man, he’d put the defense on their asses.


He was workin’ with Bunny, could shoot out the lights,

When Mountaineers were backing off the great White,

The former Black Eagle was ready for flight,

Too bad Coach Stu couldn’t see what was right.


He could thread any needle and drive to the hole,

He was hell on wheels at 55 years old,

Schoolin’ the youngsters both skinny or tall,

When I floated on with him, he’d get me the ball.


They’d look at us both, like we were from Mars,

Scratching their heads, aligning the stars,

They’d ask, “You two played together before?”

“Naw, we’re just lucky,” we’d wink, say no more.




What I’ll Be For You

Author’s note: Changed a few words in the fifth stanza because I didn’t properly convey my meaning. I am blessed with the most wonderful wife and children. Thanks for reading, A.S.

The beauty of a Sunday stroll,

Not through meadows, not by knolls,

But through the preface of our souls,

Combined, as we raise our young.


The day invited outdoor fun,

March kicked off with the warmest sun,

But viewing memories would all but trump,

Invitations just begun.


Forgotten phrasing, remembered touches,

Darling eyelids that can’t stay open,

Rolling balls and baby dolls,

And voices that can’t return.


Halloweens and carving pumpkins,

Juxtaposed by scary somethings,

Laughter that can save this bumpkin,

From heartache yet to come.


Tiny toes imprint the sand,

A picture Momma sees and plans,

Dolphin fins and ceiling fans,

When napping comes so easy.


The interaction between the other,

As they begin to discover,

What’s a sister, what’s a brother,

And what I’ll be for you.


© 2017

Unique Sports Novel, Low Price

In appreciation of the success we’ve had in our first 10 months, The Long Shadow Of Hope, my first novel, is available to read on any electronic device for $1.99 for the next five days. Just download the free Kindle app for other devices. Buy it now and save it for summer! Paperback is available for $13.99. Thank you, sincerely, for all the support. Look for the release of my next novel, The Lost Lantern, in April. Thanks for reading, A.S.

Shadow Copy thumbnail
Read 20 reviews – 18 5-star – of a college football program gone awry – at same page. 


Questions Still Yet To Ponder

From Woodpile at Dusk.JPG

My two little brothers, from a fraternity sense,

A lifetime gone from the daily pretense,

Of growing, posturing, searching, competing,

Of thinking, choosing, studying, completing,

Both giving more than they could possibly take,

Both leaving borders for not-too-far-states,

Yet somehow their stories were always nearby,

Small-town existence leaves a well of close ties,

After thirty-five years, in a space of two months,

Tragedy brings them to the mind’s forefront,

One lost his wife, the other, his daughter,

The worst two fears of a husband or father,

Each with a healthy respect for our Lord,

The healing a bill they both can afford,

That doesn’t soften the pain of departure,

Or answer the questions, still yet to ponder.

copyright 2017

Picture – From The Woodpile At Dusk, 2-15-17 by Andrew Spradling


Hope’s 20th Review: Write What You Know

Author’s Note: Lance Carney is an author in his own “write.” A hospital pharmacist whose protagonist in his novel Ripped Tide: A Daniel O’Dwyer Oak Island Adventure is a – can you believe it? – pharmacist who reluctantly goes undercover to attempt to thwart a drug diversion scheme. Carney’s understated humor – you can hear it in his Amazon bio – makes the book sound like a hoot. It is first on my must-read list. As he points out in his review of The Long Shadow Of Hope concerning my background, writing what you know – using it as the backdrop – adds authenticity to the work.
On a personal note, Lance, a Dunbar, WV, native is a friend and former men’s league basketball comrade who I met through our mutual-amigo, Jody Jividen, one of the three departed souls to whom my book is dedicated, along with Mike Cherry, another shared friend, and Kelly Spradling Simmons.
Thanks for reading and thank you, Lance!  –  A.S.
on February 5, 2017

Lookout Mountain State University’s football team is undefeated and the team and community are riding high. Going into a bye week after seven wins, the future of the team and its star quarterback, Ben Wright, couldn’t be brighter. But lurking just below the big plays, the Top 10 ranking, the Heisman hopeful, the ESPN highlights and chatter, is an unethical snake, playing the system for all it is worth. Pay-offs are made, deals are brokered, innocent players are put at risk and big money rules.

The Long Shadow of Hope is an impressive debut novel by author Andy Spradling. It is much more than a sports story; it has intrigue, murder and romance. Being about a university and football, you almost need a program to keep track of the characters. However, once main players of the mystery are set, the plot begins to develop and the story flows nicely. As a former sportswriter and college administrator, Spradling has had a reserved seat to what goes on behind the scenes. He provides details in this book about a fictional university that only an authentic insider would know. Sports equals big money and greed often leads to ignoring the rules.

So break out the tailgate snacks and sit down with The Long Shadow of Hope; it was an excellent, enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read more The Long Shadow of Hope reviews or order your copy at:

Ode To A Blank Page

Author’s note: Borrowing the most-used title in poetry… thanks for reading. A.S.


At first glance there is a gleam,

A fresh take – potential,

A mountain not yet trampled,

A field allowed to be … itself,

As life flutters about curiously,

Over virgin snow,

Like finely-tuned strings and a long bow,

Hope of growth and development,

Knowledge that the equation starts at zero,

Like invigorating silence allowed to breathe,

And the page is the color of optimism.

Thoughts can be in many places,

Focused or forever floating,

The words can become willful,

Twist and turn like a twig in a rapid,

As frustration pours over the rocks,


It will choose a path,

One can breed a darling,

One can breed contempt,

One can become trapped and entangled.

Until the ride ends,

The answer is unclear,

And may remain unclear,

Ripe for speculation,

And ridicule.


© 2017