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.”

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#SoCS – 5/26/18 – Appalachia: Memorial Day

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and that’s an important holiday in Appalachia. It’s a holiday that honors lost loved ones, whether they were lost in war or died of natural causes, in this region of the U.S. In Appalachia, it’s a weekend where families reunite, have large meals together, and decorate the graves of their deceased relatives with flowers. Across Appalachia, Memorial Day is most often called Decoration Day.

When I was growing up, and even now, the family would congregate where most of the relatives were buried. In my case, that was at my grandparent’s home in Magoffin County, Kentucky. Every nuclear family within the extended family would bring beautiful flowers to decorate each grave. Often, that would involve going to three or four cemeteries.

Memorial Day at the cemetery was also a social occasion. Families who seldom saw each other would have a chance to talk and catch up while decorating the graves.

After decorating the graves, everyone would go to my grandmother’s house for a large meal and a visit with each other afterward. It was one of the most important family holidays of the year.

We still honor our lost loved ones in Appalachia in much the same way. Families are smaller. There are fewer large family meals. Instead of meals in grandma’s kitchen, they are often prepared on the grill. You will still find people hunting flowers a few days before the Memorial Day weekend to decorate gravesites. They will still enjoy visiting with family and friends in the cemeteries. It’s getting more difficult to find children who know what “Decoration Day” really means and who it honors.

Song Lyric Sunday – 9/24/2017 – Louie, Louie

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We’re all adults here, right? Right! Except we really don’t have to be! The theme for today’s Song Lyric Sunday is rules. I’m approaching the theme from a little different angle. This particular song, “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen seemed to break all the rules for its time in history. Written by Richard Berry in 1957, it was song by a young man as a rock n roll song. He had brand new braces on his teeth and the lyrics weren’t at all clear. The public was scandalized. A FBI investigation ensued. The song tops the charts as the number one censored song of all time so yes, it broke all the rules. It was the “bad boy” song of more than one generation.

By the way, the REAL lyrics are below.

Lyrics to Louie, Louie by Richard Berry

The Kingsmen

Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.
Louie Louie, oh baby, me gotta go.
A fine little girl, she waits for me.
Me catch the ship across the sea.
I sailed the ship all alone.
I never think I’ll make it home.
Louie Louie, me gotta go.
Three nights and days we sailed the sea.
Me think of girl constantly.
On the ship, I dream she there.
I smell the rose in her hair.
Louie Louie, me gotta go.
Me see Jamaican moon above.
It won’t be long me see me love.
Me take her in my arms and then
I tell her I never leave again.
Louie Louie, oh baby, I said we gotta go

Song Lyric Sunday – Dark Lady

The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is fortune telling/predicting the future. I’m not choosing the obvious song this week. Instead, I’m choosing a song sung by Cher, who sang quite a bit of gypsy music. This song was one of her best. It was written and composed by John Durrill.

Dark Lady (1974)

Cher

The fortune queen of New Orleans,
Was brushing her cat in her black limousine
On the backseat were scratches from
The marks of men her fortune she had won
Couldn’t see through the tinted glass,
She said “home James” and he hit the gas
I followed her to some darkened room,
She took my money, she said “I’ll be with you soon”
Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles one by one
Danced to her gypsy music till her brew was done
Dark lady played back magic till the clock struck on the twelve
She told me more about me than I knew myself
She dealt two cards, a queen and a three
And mumbled some words that were so strange to me
Then she turned up a two-eyed jack,
My eyes saw red but the card still stayed black
She said the man you love is secretly true

 

#SoCS – 9/16/2017 – Gratitude

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Gratitude is an emotion I don’t think I express often enough. Tonight, I feel gratitude, but a range of other emotions as well. I’m grateful that I’ve been lucky enough to find out that my little home in South Florida only sustained minor damage from Hurricane Irma. There was some minor outside wind damage. Nothing that isn’t fixable. I hope there isn’t any damage on the inside. It, according to a friend and neighbor, doesn’t seem to have had any roof leaks. I think I dodged a bullet where some, where I live, weren’t so lucky. The infrastructure on my island is having a little more trouble getting up and going. The National Guard has been called in to help folks out with issues like food, water, and ice, along with getting the power and water back on.  This is on one little island off the Florida Coast. Extrapolate that to the entire State of Florida, very little of which was spared. When we can go back is anyone’s guess.

Along with grateful, I’m also puzzled. I’m hearing very little news coverage of the cleanup and fixup efforts in Florida and Texas. Considering that Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey affected something close to 15 million Texans and Floridians, not counting us snowbirds, I don’t quite understand this. Where is the national news coverage? Cities in Florida were devastated. We all know about Houston. The Florida Keys are a news story themselves. If I’m missing something, including the right news coverage, someone please point me in the right direction. I watch very little television and almost no frivolous television, so maybe I am missing the coverage I would like to see.

I’m also sad tonight. I have heard some disparage others who have second homes in South Florida that they either lost or that sustained damage. Maybe that seems like excess to some folks, or conspicuous consumption, but as someone who has a very small and modest second home there, I would like to say a word about it. I worked very very hard for many years in order to be able to afford to live in Florida during a few winter months each year. It took a lot of education and even more years of hard work. I’m sure I’m speaking for many people with second homes in another state. Others could have worked as hard as I did and reaped the same rewards. It is unnecessary and cruel to celebrate loss of property for people who spent their whole lives working for it. Rant over.

#MarquessaChallenge – At First Sight

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It only happened to Rachel once. Maybe because, after that one time, she never let it happen again. If it had happened again, she hadn’t recognized it. She had walked into his office that one day, the day she’ll never forget. His desk faced the right wall. The door was open. He was at his desk, looking down, reading something. She reached in to knock at the open door which swung open to the right. As she knocked, he turned toward her.

She had to keep herself from gasping when his eyes met hers. They were laughing eyes. Dark, dark brown in color. Mesmerizing. They grabbed her eyes and held them.

He said, “Can I help you?”

Rachel couldn’t speak. She had forgotten why she had come to his office.

She mumbled, “Sorry, wrong office.” Then she fled down the hall. Back to her own office. She was breathless when she sat down at her desk. She knew his name. She quickly remembered why she had gone to see him. She couldn’t go back, but she had to. He was going to be her professor in a class this semester.

Rachel was a research assistant at the University of South Florida. She was pursuing her Ph.D in Computer Science and Technology. Peter Fitzgerald was an Associate Professor in the Department and her professor in an upcoming class. Rachel felt like she’s just been hit by a train. Could you really fall in love at first sight? Rachel was far too sensible to think that. It was just a moment. Everyone had moments now and then. It would pass and the next time she saw him, he would be just another man on the street.

What Rachel didn’t know is that Peter had felt the lightning bolt as well. He wondered who that girl was. Was she an undergraduate student? A graduate student? He had to find her. See her again. He walked around through the halls of the Technology Building, but he didn’t see her anywhere.

Early that afternoon, Rachel had Peter’s class. She dreaded it. How would she face him after fleeing his office. She slipped in from the back as he was calling roll. After class, he walked up to her.

“You didn’t get here in time for roll call,” he said.

“I’m sorry, Professor Fitzgerald.”

“Please follow me to my office to fill out some information for me.”

Suddenly, Rachel realized she was daydreaming. That day had been so long ago. Rachel couldn’t imagine why it had popped into her mind while she was driving down the road in South Florida. She hadn’t thought of Peter in many months, although he did pop into her head from time to time. She was successful in shoving him out of her head these days. She was happy with her life. When she did think of Peter, she usually thought of the end of their relationship. Today, instead, she had thought of that very first day.

The Glory Days. They had certainly had them. For years. The last time she saw him, those brown eyes didn’t sparkle any more. He said he was happy, but his demeanor and his eyes said something different. He had settled. Settled for what made him content at the moment. That was all right with Rachel. He wasn’t hers to save or care for.

Only one thing made Rachel sad now. She wished she could have emotionally let him go sooner. She would have lived a happier life. Instead, she had waited and hoped that one day, they would be together. But, it was not to be. She’d had relationships. Lots of them. She’d even been married. No one had ever touched her heart and soul like Peter. Now she wondered if it was because she never gave anyone else the chance. It was probably too late now.

Rachel remembered the day when Peter looked at her, after they made love, and said, “In your eyes, I’ve found the missing pieces.”

She felt bound to him then. That was right before he left her forever.

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#fictionfriday is brought to us by Simply Marquessa

He’s Toast

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April was up at 5 a.m., fixing Keith’s breakfast. Eggs and toast. Marriage didn’t seem good to April. He never made her feel loved. She tried all kinds of things to endear herself to him. This morning, she had even cut little heart shapes out of his toast.

Keith walked into the breakfast room and sat down without speaking. She served his breakfast. He started to eat and looked at the pieces of toast.

“April,” he said, “if all the bread has holes in it, take it back to the store.”

April threw the skillet on the floor and walked out.

 

Photo Credit Kelvin M. Knight

Pretty Terrible

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Marianne has been in with the doctors a long time. That’s what Marianne’s husband, Joseph, was thinking as he sat in the hospital waiting room. He noticed the flowers. Pretty. He hated hospitals. He’d just focus on the flowers while he waited on Marianne.

“Excuse me. Mr. Hayworth?”

Joseph jumped. He’d nodded off, staring at those flowers.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hayworth. Your wife has a collapsed lung. We accidentally caused it to collapse at the end of the procedure. She has to stay until it resolves. She’s in Room 412.”

Joseph was still trying to wake up. He jumped up, thanked the doctor, and shook his hand. The doctor left and walked quickly down the hall.

“Now what?” Joseph thought.

He walked over to the flowers, snatched them out of the pots, and started walking quickly to Room 412 to see Marianne.

140 words

Photo Credit Shivamt25

Song Lyric Sunday – 9/10/17 – You’re So Vain

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The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is revenge/vengeance. This is the first song I thought of:

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon
Lyrics
You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?
Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and
You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain

Lyrics by Metrolyrics

#SoCS – 9/9/2017 – Motive

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What a bad time for me to write a stream of consciousness blog post! There is only one thing streaming through my consciousness and that is the situation in Florida and the Caribbean islands due to #HurricaneIrma. I suppose my motive for writing this post at all is a bit of catharsis. You see, the hurricane is about to come roaring up through the Florida peninsula, clinging to the Gulf Coast, and I own property on a barrier island off the Gulf Coast. Chances are, nothing will be left after being touched by a Category 5 hurricane.

My own property isn’t my only motive in writing this blog post. I also want to call attention to the 5.6 million people who have had to be evacuated out of Florida. That is a huge number of evacuees for me to wrap my mind around. There is going to be massive property damage in Florida and many of these people may not be able to go home for a while. Just like the people of the U.S. have helped the people of Houston after Hurricane Harvey, please help the displaced people of Florida who are victims of Hurricane Irma.

Now to continue to sit, wait, and watch the Weather Channel (and the weather online). It’s a bit like watching a train wreck and not being able to look away.