Frosted

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Ruby didn’t understand why things kept disappearing. Her hairbrush. The book she was reading. She hadn’t found either of them. It was only she and Ralph in the house. He wouldn’t take those things. What need would Ralph, her husband have for them? He was as puzzled as she was.

Today, her Christmas cactus was missing. Ruby felt like she was losing her mind. Could it be dementia? She even looked around outdoors and there it was. Covered with frost. She snatched it up, taking it inside. She knew something was very wrong.

As she went inside, she heard Ralph on the phone and stopped when she heard the words “nursing home.” She realized he was talking to his brother about her. They were planning on putting her in a nursing home and Ralph had been setting her up.

She would show him.

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Posted in Flash Fiction

Mother’s Day: Founded in Appalachia

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*This post was first published on Mother’s Day, 2016. I thought I would post it again.

Mother’s Day, an important holiday to many of us, originated in Appalachia. It was founded in 1858 by Ann Jarvis. The founding of Mother’s Day was in response to the need for sanitation for new mothers since the infant mortality rate at that time was so high. Infection spread easily through mining camps and the small communities. Diseases that were prevalent were small pox, tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, typhoid, and diptheria, to name a few.

After the Civil War in 1865, a woman named Julia Ward Howe who was both an author and an activist, wrote the lyrics to the Battle Hymn of the Republic and her husband was responsible for trying to clean up the unsanitary conditions that existed during and after the Civil War in the army camps. More men died in the camps from unsanitary conditions than were killed in the war. Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation which urged all mother’s to leave their homes for one day in June and work for peace in their communities. There existed two versions of Mother’s Day.

In May 1908, Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Anne Jarvis who established the initial version of Mother’s Day, worked tirelessly to see her mother’s vision fulfilled. She enlisted the help of others to get an official day established honoring mothers. In 1912, West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother’s Day. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation declaring the second Sunday in May a national holiday — Mother’s Day. Its symbol became the carnation.

By the 1940s, Anna had soured on Mother’s Day as it was celebrated in modern society, particularly its commercialization. She passed away without ever becoming a mother.

Mother’s Day lives on and we celebrate our mother’s, or their memory, every year…..all thanks to a woman from Appalachia. #mothers day #appalachia

Posted in Uncategorized

Hospitality in the Retail Sector

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I went to a new day spa last week. I really enjoyed my experience there. Part of the reason that I did was their hospitality. Of course, that is supposed to be part of the experience at a day spa. You pay for a period of hospitality and pampering, although some are better than others. I have visited other day spas that were also very hospitable and some that were not. I doubt the ones that were not stayed in business very long since hospitality is part of the business model for day spas.

During and after my visit there, I started thinking about business today and how inhospitable most retail business is to customers. I don’t shop much in brick and mortar stores, preferring to do most of my shopping online. But when I do shop in the brick and mortar stores, it always strikes me how retail stores could do so much better from a profit perspective if they were only hospitable to their customers.

The sales staff in large retail stores certainly never make a move to help the people shopping in their stores. That attitude trickles down to even the smaller, boutique retail shops. Although the smaller shops occasionally help their customers, particularly if asked, I would not call them hospitable. In most stores today, sales staff seems almost non-existent and the staff that does exist seem to prefer to stand around talking to each other instead of helping customers. I’ve even had sales staff tell me that the product I’m looking for is available online but not in their stores, so I would be better served by shopping in their online store.

When I hear that vocalized, I always wonder why there is even a brick and mortar store there? If they don’t have their own products nor the sale staff that wants to sell them, why don’t they move to 100% online? They would save so much money.

I call the current attitude of many retail stores the “Wal-mart Mentality.” Anyone who has read much of what I write knows my issues with Wal-mart. Wal-mart may have provided a low-cost way to shop but trying to find assistance if you are shopping there is impossible. There are not hospitable. It seems that, since Wal-mart came to communities, other retail outlets have adopted their business model of not helping or caring about their customers.

I’m left wondering how much more profit retail businesses would make if they would be more hospitable and helpful to their customers. If they trained their sales staff in courtesy and hospitality, I would guess they would see their profit margins rise.

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Posted in Daily Prompt, Finance

#weekendcoffeeshare 5/13/2017

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It has been a long time since I have hosted a #weekendcoffeeshare and I am so happy to see all of you walking up my driveway this morning! Please come right in. I’ve been excited all week, knowing that I could see my blogging friends today and Jenn and I could serve you some goodies. I can’t wait for us to be able to talk!

Please come to the kitchen island and help yourselves. We have various blends of coffee beginning with Columbian, both regular and decaf. We also have tea, both green and black, and my special favorite, a black flavored tea called Hot Cinnamon that I think is delicious. Help yourselves to some of the pastries. I love the scones we have. We even have a few donuts. The Boston Creme are especially good though I shouldn’t be eating them! Try the cinnamon buns!

When you’re ready, please join us in my writing studio.

Make yourselves comfortable. I’m so glad to see you. I hope everyone has been well and that the writing muse has been with you. I’ve been reading your stuff in our little writing challenges and everyone is so good it blows my mind! I hardly know how to comment.

Up until this week, I haven’t written as much in the writing challenges as I normally do for the last few months. You might have read that I have been busy relocating to South Florida, but only part time. We aren’t staying there in the summer. Really from the end of March until the first of November or thereabouts. It’s just too hot and there is a terrible mosquito problem where we live. One day when we were there, moving into our place, in April, I stepped outside and a helicopter made a pass over our place and dumped mosquito spray on my head! They are fighting what I fear is a losing battle against the zika mosquito and really all mosquitos.

I so love where our tiny little place is in South Florida. We’re on an island in the Gulf and it’s an awesome place with great people. I so look forward to being there in the winter though lack of space where we live makes me feel claustrophobic. It’s a good thing I can be outside most of the time!

The last time we talked, I think I told you about my book. It’s a psychological thriller. I have written about one-third of it. Part of that one-third is part one of the novel. I’m writing it using the three-part model. I had someone read Part 1 and got positive reviews so I am happy about that. I’m into part two and still enjoying writing.

We are now back in Kentucky and I have a good writing atmosphere where we live. We don’t have any plans this summer except to be at home, so I’m actually going to have time to write. I hope to finish the first draft and edit it this summer. Then, go through it and finish the second draft before we leave for Florida very late in the fall. In a few weeks, I’ll be trying to find an agent. If you have an tips for me on finding an agent, I’d love to hear them!

After being in Florida, where there is a terrible drought, Kentucky looks like a jungle. It is so green and lush. There has been a lot of rain. But everything is foliage because of the rain and there hasn’t been much foliage by the flowering plants. The weather report looks like this week will be summer and I’m looking forward to being out in the sun.

I’ve talked too long. I’ll let all of you chat now. Good luck with your writing and I hope to see you next week for another #weekendcoffeeshare!

 

 

 

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Posted in #weekendcoffeeshare

The Corn Maze

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It was the fall of the year. Adele and her husband, Daniel, decided to take a drive in the countryside. They were a retired couple, but they lived in the city. They didn’t get out in the country very much. Even though they were retired, they led busy lives. The countryside was beautiful. They lived where there were lots of hardwood trees and the leaves were changing. Adele and Daniel were driving down a tree-lined lane through trees with leaves that were golden, red, and every color in between. It was beautiful.

On either side of the road, there were farms. Farms that had grown wheat and corn during the preceding summer. Farms that also had beef and dairy cattle and other farm animals. The couple was enjoying seeing the sights. There were farms along the way with pumpkin patches for children. Farms that had grown apples. There were lots of people milling around.

Suddenly, Adele and Daniel passed by a large farm that had grown corn that year and they realized there was something odd about the dried-up cornfield. Adele slowed the car and Daniel asked her to turn into the farm’s driveway. As the turned in, they saw a sign that said Corn Maze. Daniel was excited. He had gone through mazes before and he wanted to go through this one. But he found it odd that no one else was there to go through the maze.

Adele and Daniel got out of the car and followed the signs toward the maze. Suddenly, an old man appeared with a shovel in his hand. He asked what they wanted. Daniel explained that they had seen the sign about the maze and he’d like to go through it. The old man shrugged his shoulders and told him to go ahead. Adele sat down on a nearby bale of hay.

Daniel started through the maze. The maze didn’t look that large and after a half hour, Adele started to get concerned. Daniel had not returned. The old man was over at the side of the maze digging something. She told him of her concern and he just shrugged his shoulders. Another hour passed. Adele was really upset and she confronted the old man and asked him where Daniel was. The old man told her that sometimes, people went in to the maze and didn’t come out. Adele got out her phone and dialed 911.

The police arrived and a search party went into the maze looking for Daniel. More and more police arrived. They had trouble finding each other in the maze. They erected large lights and searched all night. They found no sign of Daniel.

Finally, the Sheriff of the county confronted the old man. The old man said the same thing he had told Adele – that sometimes people went into the maze and didn’t come out. He didn’t know why. Adele could attest to the fact that she could see the old man the entire time Daniel had been gone.

Finally, Adele had to leave. The Sheriff took her home because there was no sign of Daniel. No one could explain his disappearance. The Sheriff asked Adele a lot of questions about their marriage. Were they happy? Would Daniel just walk off? Adele had no reason to think any of that was true. The Sheriff advised her to wait. That Daniel would probably show up.

Back at the farm, the old man was still digging. The police had not noticed that he was digging a grave.

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Posted in Fiction

The Accident

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Sasha drove home from town. As she passed a driveway, she almost crashed her car as something hit her in the driver’s side door. She knew instantly it was a deer. She pulled over and jumped out. There she was, by the car. She had hit hard, destroyed the door, but she was still alive. Sasha loved the deer and fed them daily. She knew she couldn’t move her and she called her neighbor to help. She seemed to have a bad chest injury.

John knew she couldn’t be saved and humanely shot her. Sasha felt her heart break.

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Posted in Challenges

Garden Party

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“Dah-ling,” Veronica bellowed, as Beatrice walked into the rooftop garden above her penthouse apartment. “Is Constance with you?”

“There she is! Oh, Constance, love. Come sit, both of you. The butler will bring another chair.”

“What a beautiful place, Veronica,” Beatrice said.

There was a fine lunch for the women to eat spread out on the table. They talked as they ate.

Veronica remarked that they had to decide on an admissions policy update for their Women’s Club. She suggested that the dues be raised.

Constance said, “Veronica, if we raise the dues that high, we are pricing many women out of the market.”

“Don’t we only want women in the club who are our kind,” asked Veronica. Beatrice got up and walked over to the railing.

Constance also got up and said, “No, if that’s the kind of club this is, I quit.”

“Well, I never!” said Veronica.

Beatrice and Constance walked out.

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Posted in Challenges

Murder and the Bats

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“Inspector, we know he is on a bicycle because we think we saw him on the village road, ” said the mayor of the Southern Parish of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in England.

“He may be trying to get into one of the deep dales between the Three Peaks.”

“That sounds like a good place to hide,” said the Inspector.

“What is his crime, sir?” asked the mayor.

“Murder, Mr. Mayor. He was in a pub fight with a man who disparaged his wife,” remarked the Inspector. “Since Yorkshire Dales was close, we were able to track him here fairly easily. Even though I’m new on the job, I’ve heard it was a good place to hide.”

“There are many caves in those dales. Lots of places for a murderer to hide,” the major reflected.

The suspect’s wife walked in to assist with the search.

“He won’t hide in those caves,” she said. “He is afraid of the bats!”

 

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Posted in Challenges

Song Lyric Sunday: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

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Of course, given my generation, I would choose Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds since the theme this week is a song with precious gemstones in the title.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The Beatles

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you’re gone
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah
Picture yourself…

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Posted in Challenges

#SoCS – 05/06/2017

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I have friendship on my mind today as I have recently made some new friends, revived some old and cherished friendships, and continued some very valued friendships. I’ve also lost some friends. You also never know, until it’s usually too late, when you’re dealing with fake friends.

Friendship is one of the most fulfilling interactions one can have. I feel that friendship is just as important as love or marital relationships. When I decided to live a portion of each year in Florida, I worried about losing friends here in Kentucky. I could only hope that my Kentucky friends would put up with my months’ long absences. I knew that true friends would. I have some old, cherished friends in the Kentucky and Tennessee area. I’ve also been able to revive two important friendships recently. I’m thrilled that both were able to be revived as the two pjeople with whom I’m friends were and are very important to me.

I’ve also lost two friendships. I’m sad about both, but I feel that there were perhaps reasons that the loss of these friendships happened and perhaps it was for the best. Sometimes, people just aren’t meant to be close.

It seems as we get older, we don’t see our friends as much. I know I don’t. Why? In my case, life is too busy and I’m too tired. By the time I finish with each day, I am ready to fall into bed! There are some days I have time and energy to see friends but not every day. I’m still working part-time and taking care of a house. I’m writing a book which is a massive job. Don’t you wonder how we ever had time to work full time? I know I do. I would like to spend time with each and every friend every week, but that is not to be.

I tend to make long-lasting friendships. Friendships that last a lifetime. I don’t boast hundreds of friends. I think if you have a handful of real friends in your entire life, you have been very lucky indeed.

I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to make friends at my stage in life. As you get older, I think you are less open to friendship, probably more suspicious and less accepting. In my new home in Florida, I’ve met really nice people and am starting to make friends. I’m really happy about that.

Do you ever consider the concept of fake friends? People who say they are friends but they are not. People who pretend to be friends but are anything but. People who just want to mine you for information for their gossip and they are not friends at all. Watch out for these people.

I’m thankful for all my friends. My  friends who I’ve had for a lifetime. New friends I’m just starting to get to know. There is one thing about friendship. You have to cultivate it and then shelter it and take care of it like a carefully tended plant if you want it to be successful.

Friendship, to me, is one of the most fulfilling of all relationships.

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Posted in Challenges
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