Message in a ….Suitcase?

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It was twenty years ago. I was shopping the antique stores looking for unique things to furnish my house. In one store, hidden in a corner, was a leather suitcase. An old one with straps around it. I pulled it out and decided I loved it.

As I was cleaning it up, I felt a bump and heard a crunch under the inside liner. I worked the one-page note out the edge of the liner. Dated 1945, it said, “Meet me by the hickory tree. If you aren’t there, I’ll know you didn’t mean it.” It was a man’s writing.

 

Thanks to Charli at the Carrot Ranch for the prompt and photo!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/28/2018

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Good morning to all! Thank you for joining me, virtually today, for our #weekendcoffeeshare. I raise my teacup to you and hope you are enjoying a good strong cup of coffee or tea right along with me. I’m waking up at a remote location. I feel like I’m sitting at the top of the world, but I’m not. I am in the Great Smoky Mountains at a place, dear to all Tennessee lovers, called Rocky Top. Had you driven up here in an RV, pulling a car, with a 4.5 month old puppy looking out the windows crying, you would know why I feel like I’m at the top of the world this morning!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that to get to the RV campground here requires climbing up a mountain around a series of hairpen curves, no small feat for the RV that is towing. I wasn’t driving. Nope, not me. No way. It was scary as hell anyway. Just ask my puppy, whose eyes were as big as saucers. This campground is at Norris, Tennessee where Norris Dam and Lake are. My husband came here to fish. I joined him to try to socialize Tucker, the puppy, because I knew there would be plenty of people and dogs at the campground. What I forgot about were the bears. Yes, the black bear is prevalent in the park and I have just what they are looking for – a puppy. Going outdoors after dark is a bit perilous.

Other than being scared to death of the roads and the bear, it’s been a great trip so far. Lunch today in a fab little cafe in the town of Norris. The dam, which is awesome, was built back in the 1930’s and the Tennessee Valley Authority, who built the dam, provided housing in the form of an actual little town for its workers. Norris is one of only two such towns left. It is quaint and beautiful.

So far, Tucker has been walked to death. He has had a crash course in leash training, other dogs, and strange people. He has received an A+ in people skills, a C in leash training, and a failing grade in other dogs. That should tell you about the last two days of my life. He rides in the car like a champ. A pouting champ, but a champ nonetheless. The RV is too much for him and he hides in his crate. We’re expecting a lot of a puppy not yet five months old.

We’re here a few more days before we head home which is only a few short hours away.

Needless to say, making time for writing has suffered this past week. I have gotten a little work done on my novella and very little blogging done.

Before I close, I have to mention sports for a moment. I want to apologize to all my fellow UK Wildcats fans! Why? Because we are at ROCKY TOP. They will understand.

I’d love to hear about all of you! Wish me luck in the wilds of the Smoky Mountains!

 

*Photo Credit to Wikipedia

The Demise of Civilization

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The street looks peaceful doesn’t it? Palm trees, white fences, boys on bicycles going to school this morning. Could be almost any street in Florida. It’s not almost any street. It’s my street.

I live here alone. A 55-year-old lady. Retired. Trying to make ends meet on a small pension and my savings. I’m not nearly old enough yet to quality for social security. I had to retire early because of my vision. I’m legally blind. I’m also scared.

This used to be a wonderful place to live. I knew all the neighbors. We had a nice community. Then the hurricanes came and people moved away. I can’t afford to move.

My neighbors moved and some left their houses empty. Squatters moved in. Those boys on the bicycles? At night, they are part of a gang. They terrorize us by going up and down the street and stealing everything they can find. They spray paint our houses. The police have tried to catch them with no luck.

I don’t have anyone to help me. My family is gone now. What do people like me do? No money to go to a safer place. Is there a safer place?

 

Photo Credit to C. E. Ayr

Thanks Susan and SundayPhotoFictioners for the prompt!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/21/2018

Oh, please come in, grab a beverage, and find a seat! I’m so sorry we had to meet in the coffee shop today instead of at my house! I’m having company today and tonight.

Thank you so much for dropping by my #weekendcoffeeshare today. Wasn’t that storm we had last night terrible? We didn’t get the worst of it here. About 70 miles to the west, in the city where many of my friends live, they got hit pretty hard. Lots of downed trees, power lines down, people trapped in cars. Several of my friends were without power or any services for many hours. At least the storm brought a cold front in with it and the weather is so much more pleasant today. The humidity is lower and so is the temperature.

I’m very proud of my 4.5 month old puppy, Tucker. He was a real trooper during the storm. There was big thunder and lightning. Tucker did lay close to me, but he was not fearful. When he first came to live with me, I played ball with him during storms. It seems to have helped him cope now.

Now for Tucker update for the week. His newest accomplishment is that he learned to be comfortable in his harness and his seat belt harness in the car. You can see him in the picture above. He is started to look around, look out the windows, just be comfortable in the car in general. I’m proud of him! Now if he’d only stop chewing on my hands and being a holy terror in my house! One step at a time, I guess! 🙂

My writing is going slowly right now. After all, it’s summer. I have a puppy to train and we are about to take a little vacation. In fact, next Saturday, I’ll write my weekendcoffeeshare from on the road in our RV! I’ll keep you in suspense until then. I have gotten some work done on my historical World War II novella this week, but not as much as I’d like.

Some sad news. I think I’ve mentioned before that I went to an unusual high school. It was located on a college campus and was a private, teacher training school. I went lock-step through twelve grades with the same 28 kids, give or take. Most of us are still close. We grew up much like siblings. One of the boys in our class is quite ill and may not make it. One of the other people in the class, a girlfriend, is driving here today to visit him. She is my company for the evening.

That’s all from northeastern Kentucky today. Thanks for joining me for coffee! I hope all of you are meeting your writing goals, but that you’re also having fun this summer!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

The Blueberry Pickin’

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“I hate picking blueberries.”

”Magnus, Ma said we have to get enough for a pie. Come on,” David insisted.

As they walked the path to the lake, they ran into a young lady. She called herself Fannie. She said she was at the fort to visit her sister.

Fannie grabbed David’s bucket and ran ahead. She said she’d help pick blueberries. The boys ran after her. They picked blueberries for a time. Fannie got farther away from them. The boys called for her. She didn’t come back.

A group of men searched for her all night. Fannie was gone.

 

Thanks to Charli and the #carrotranch for this wonderful prompt. This flash fiction story is based on the legend of Fannie Hooe and Fort Wilkins which is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It lies in Copper Country, the Keweenaw Peninsula, in the UP. Visit the carrotranch to read the legend.

Determination

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While the old man watched the sun rise over the city, he heard the old woman stir. He quickly left his sunrise and went to her. She was still sleeping. She was ill. Worse, for days, he had been able to tell she had lost hope.

They had come to this city to find the medicine she needed to survive. He was determined. He had loved her for 50 years. She was too sick to feel much at all.

He walked back to the window. It was a new day. New hope. More determination. He would prevail for his sweetheart.

 

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting #FridayFictioneers and Dale Rogerson for the photo

 

The Broken Fence

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Every morning when she took her walk, she passed beside an old, weathered board fence. It didn’t seem to hold anything. No horses, no other livestock, not even a house. Every third or fourth board was missing.

She didn’t know why she came this way. She thought of her family each time she saw that old fence. The family that didn’t want her anymore. The family that was gone, that had left her alone. The family that didn’t care now.

Her feelings for them were gone. They’d slipped away like the wind slipped through the gaps in the fence.

 

 

 

Carrot Ranch prompt:

July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.

Hemingway and the Sea – #SoCS

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The “Old Man and the Sea.” One of my favorite books by my favorite classical author.

This isn’t a book review. Far from it. Who could review Hemingway? I wouldn’t presume to do so. I’ve re-read “The Old Man and the Sea” recently and I just want to make a few comments about the book and about Hemingway.

One reason I like Hemingway as a classical author is because of his writing style. It is concise, succinct, and spare. He writes in short, declarative sentences. There is nothing flowery about his writing, unlike some of his contemporaries. He keeps many of the adverbs and a large number of the adjectives out of his writing. That lets the reader see the real story. The succinct story.

The book is, quite simply, about an old fisherman and his struggle with his last big fish. Most readers will draw the conclusion that the book is about a man’s struggle to prove himself one last time, in his old age. Hemingway didn’t feel the need to clutter up his story with descriptive adverbs and adjectives. He just wrote the story clearly and sparely. It’s classified as a novella, a form of literature which is back in style in publishing today.

His writing style must have worked. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

weekendcoffeeshare – 7/12/2018

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Hello! Come on in and share coffee with me! I have both iced coffee and regular coffee for you since it’s so hot here. I also have tea, which is what I drink. Just help yourself. It’s on the kitchen island.

So glad you could all join me today for #weekendcoffeeshare! It’s been a busy week for me and I’m sure it has been for all of you too. I’ve had a lot of non-writing things I’ve had to do at home. Hubby and I have done some work on our home. I recently got a new puppy. I’ve mentioned him before in another weekendcoffeeshare post. Tucker is now 4.5 months old. He’s a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and big for his age. Twenty pounds already! He’s a wild and crazy guy and since he’s a member of the herding group of dogs, he thinks I’m a cow or a sheep, I think. He nips at my heels to keep me in line and he thinks my arms are chew toys. I have the scars to prove it!

Tucker and I are in training mode. He can now walk on his leash although he doesn’t like it much yet. We’ve started obedience commands. He learns quickly, but he thinks it’s stupid when I go over and over them. He is learning to ride in the car, outside his crate, and ride quietly in his car harness. So there have been some victories! He’s a rascal! You can see his latest picture below.

I’m in a transition period with my writing. I’m in the middle of one book and have started a novella. I’m also working on a memoir and have done some outlining for a non-fiction book. I have plenty to keep me busy. It may sound like I’m spread too thin, but I don’t think I am. I hope to have the novel and the novella done by year’s end. The memoir and non-fiction book are in the beginning stages.

When I say I’m in a transition period with writing, I mean that I’m finding myself interested in new genres and different topics. I’m thinking about serializing a novella or novel. As far as genres go, I’m still pondering.

Hubby, Tucker, and I are taking a short trip in a couple of weeks. I call it “Tucker’s trip” because we decided it would be good for him for the purpose of socialization. He needs to be around more people and dogs than he has access to when he is just with me on top of this mountain. We will only be gone for a week.

Tell me what you have been doing and your plans for the weekend and upcoming week!

Thanks to eclectic ali for the prompt!

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Wishes – #writephoto

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There was an old tree, crooked and bent after all these years, at the back of their property. It was obscured from view if you were in the house or yard by the jungle-like growth of the taller hardwood trees and vigorous undergrowth. In the winter, it couldn’t be seen from the house since it was over a small bank and near the 40-foot dropoff down to the creek. She never came back here. He considered it his tree. His wishing tree.

When he looked at his wishing tree now, it looked like it was decorated for the holidays with all the colorful pieces of cloth attached to the branches. It was a wild area. He was sure people occasionally hiked down the creek bed below when it was dry. They must have wondered about the old tree with the colorful cloth. They probably thought children tied the cloth to the branches or some eccentric old person. Children didn’t do it. He was getting old, but he didn’t think he was eccentric. He’d had many wishes over the years, all having to do to with her.

Maybe his expectations of her had been too high. Maybe he’d never given her a chance. They came from very different worlds. He had started at the bottom of the old tree, hanging his colorful fabric for each wish. The branches were covered all the way to the top. So many wishes. Too many expectations.

Things were better now. He had realized his expectations had been too high. He had finally let her live her life. After all they’d been through with each other, it was a miracle, but she seemed to be responding to his efforts. They laughed together now. She seemed to enjoy being with him. She smiled at him for the first time in years. They weren’t young anymore. Maybe they had just needed the wisdom that age brings. He felt the beginnings of happiness for the first time in so long.

He had a feeling he wouldn’t need his wishing tree in the future unless it was for wishes for the two of them. He knew what wish every piece of cloth represented. Smiling, he started at the bottom and began to remove them. She was his wish come true.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for providing this wonderful writing prompt.