SoCS – 8/18/2018

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A few days ago, I got in my attic and started sorting through my mother’s things. She’s been gone eighteen years, so I thought it time, and past time, to dispose of her belongings. I should tell you that it was, perhaps, the worst decision I’ve ever made! If you’re wondering why, let me tell you my story.

It’s always emotional, I’m sure, to have to dispose of your parents’ things when they are gone. My mother clearly kept every piece of paper, card, picture, and letter that she had ever had. All the way back to before World War II. What I found was actually a treasure trove for a writer. Letters between she and my dad when he was fighting in WWII. A scrapbook she kept with newspaper clippings about the war. Letters from all my family, both sides, during wartime. The newspaper from the day the war was over. I’m currently writing a little historical fiction and now I have at least some of my primary research, but it was tough to read about that young, wartime couple who later became my mom and dad.

Then there were the pictures. Thousands of pictures. My mother had seven siblings, so on my maternal side, I have a lot of cousins. Most of the pictures that were not of me were of her brothers and sisters and my cousins, up to about the age of ten. It was a huge job, and an emotional one, to go through all those pictures and separate them cousin by cousin. I’m not yet finished. I’m determined to return those pictures to my cousins so they can share them with their own children, even though I’m not in touch with most of them any more.

Next was the really hard stuff. I think my mother had saved every drawing I’d ever made as a child, every report card, every single thing relevant to me as I”d gone through school. It broke my heart and made me cry.

I still have two large boxes to go through. No idea yet what’s in them and I’m almost afraid to open them. I hope to finish this task this week. I feel like I’ve just viewed my mother’s entire life, a little like a Peeping Tom, and have seen her most private possessions.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

*The picture above is of my grandparents house and farm in Appalachia. I found it in my mother’s pictures.

**Thanks to Linda Hill for the Stream of Consciousness prompt!

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Respect

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All the children worked in the garden. It was hard, back-breaking work, especially since the crows had descended, picking everything clean. When Abigail’s brothers talked to their father, the farmer, about the crow problem, he discussed possible solutions with them. When Abigail mentioned it to her father, she felt the back of his hand and heard him say that she was just lazy.

”It isn’t fair,” Abigail said to Frank, her oldest brother. “He talks to you like you’re a human being. To him, I’m just a slave.” Frank just laughed and told her she was just a girl. Abigail had heard that all of her life. She worked as hard as any boy or man.

They had tried a scarecrow in the garden. A pitiful, spindly thing that wouldn’t scare anything away. Abigail knew that scarecrows worked in the neighbors’ gardens. She went to work building a female scarecrow with all the accoutrements.

Her father and brothers laughed at her creation. They said she wouldn’t work. That Abigail was stupid.

Suddenly, their problem with the crows stopped. Abigail’s scarecrow was scaring them away. Her father didn’t acknowledge her, but looked at her with a new respect in his eyes.

 

200 words

*In remembrance of Aretha Franklin. When I first heard this song, it was likely the first time I’d ever heard the word “respect” associated with women. She had an effect on an entire generation.

*Thanks to sundayphotofictioner for the great prompt and to Anurag Bakhshi for the photo prompt.

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#weekendcoffeeshare -7/18/2018

 

Good morning! Welcome to my #weekendcoffeeshare! Grab a cup of coffee or tea off the kitchen island. I believe there is also decaf of both there and some green tea. Help yourself to whatever your pleasure is and join me in my study.

I hope all of you are well and happy and getting along well with your writing projects. I’m proceeding with my novella and have had time to do some writing this week. I am working on the characters right now, fleshing them out, making them interesting. Do you use Scrivener? I am using it for my character studies as it seems really convenient for that, but I use Microsoft Word for my actual manuscript. This is the first time I’ve used Scrivener, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Do any of you have experience with that program?

I’ve also spent the week following the story about the environmental devastation in Florida. If you’re in the U.S., I’m sure you’ve heard about it. If you’re not, you may not. In short, the Gulf Coast of the Florida peninsula is being devastated by chemical runoff from the sugar cane operation around Lake Okachoobee. There was already a red tide on the Gulf Coast. Now, the runoff has caused a blue-green algae bloom that has caused a massive fish kill. Hundreds of sea turtles have been killed, which breaks my heart. Thousands of fish. This will impact the people of the Gulf Coast and their jobs for years to come.

We have a small place in Florida right in the middle of this runoff. We don’t think we can even go back except to get our belongings. Even then, it will be dangerous to our health. Tourism will be dead in Florida this coming winter which will destroy their economy. It’s very sad and unnecessary. I’m a bit of a political activist, so I’ve been involved in this during the week. A picture of the blue-green algae slime that is so toxic is below this post.

I’m also involved in trying to tame my wild puppy, Tucker! He’s so sweet, but completely out of hand at 5.5 months old. I’ve had five corgis in my life, but never a corgi with his temperament. I told my husband that his needs are above my pay grade! Together with his breeder, we’re trying to find a professional trainer for him. Not only will that be good for me, it will be good for Tucker. I have to be trained as well. I have to learn the secrets to controlling him and he has to learn to control himself. Herding dogs, like Tucker, are alphas by nature. After he’s trained, I want to involve him in something fun for him. I’m going to enter him in herding trials and let him do what comes naturally to him.

Environmental issues and character studies for my novella have been at the top of my list this week, along with dog training, of course. What have you been doing this week?

*Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

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The Comet Hale-Bopp

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They found the darkest possible spot, that night in the spring of 1997. A flat rock on a mountain top called Lochegee. They had to climb and up they went, right at dusk.

They sat and waited for this much hailed comet. They heard voices and a group of college students joined them. It seemed like a magical, almost spiritual, time, knowing the comet had been visible 4,200 years ago.

They all saw its blue-white brilliance at the same time, right above the horizon.

When they climbed down, it was in silence, knowing they had witnessed a rare and wondrous sight.

 

*Thanks to Charli Mills and the Carrot Ranch for the prompt!

The Writer

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”You can tell I left here in a hurry last night,” she thought to herself as she attempted to clean up the mess on her desk.

“At least I took my laptop out of the filth,” she thought as she wondered why she had put a liquor bottle on her desk. She must have really been desperate.

She was on the third draft of her third novel. It had been a late night. The door swung open and there stood her agent.

”I have news,” he cried. “Your second novel has just been accepted by the publisher.”

She fainted.

 

 

99 words

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff for the prompt and Yvette Prior for the photo!

 

 

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/11/2018

Hello everyone! I’d like to invite you to have coffee with me after dinner tonight. I’m running late this weekend, but after dinner coffee might be fun for a change. I appreciate all of you attending my #weekendcoffeeshare tonight! There is a selection of coffee on the bar. There is also tea such as Earl Grey and Paris. Please help yourself.

if we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve had a difficult week, so please forgive me if I’m not my usual self. One of my former classmates and forever friends passed away and his visitation and services were this week. He was a special, unique man and he will be greatly missed by many. I had known him since we started kindergarten together at four years old and we then went through twelve years of school together. I’m sad tonight.

I’m having some behavioral issues with my five-month old puppy. It is disturbing and upsetting, having never dealt with such issues before with a puppy. I’m hoping, as he gets older, they will resolve themselves, but I’m working with him a great deal now.

I have embarked on a huge job. I am going through all my photos and the photos from my mother. I’m going to try to get the photos of other family members back to them and the photos of my own family in some semblance of order. I know, I know. It’s a big job, but it’s time to do it. It won’t be done overnight, I assure you!

I’ve done a good bit of writing this week. Sometimes, when life gets hard, I escape into my writing. That’s the story of this week.

A brief line from one of my favorite poems. I wish I could live like this:

”I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief”

—from “The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

I’d love to hear about your week!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare.

 

Summer – #writephoto

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Summer was not her favorite season. She preferred fall and even winter. Here she was, in the dog days of summer, looking at a meadow that stretched out before her. She pulled over to the shoulder of the narrow, two-lane road in her car, got out and started walking. It was hot. She didn’t enjoy the weather, but the meadow reminded her of a long ago and far away meadow where she and her husband had once picnicked.

That day, that picnic, came back to her in living color detail. How long had it been? 35 years? 40 years? It had been a lovely day. Her husband had squashed down the beautiful white flowers and laid down a tablecloth. The flowers in that long-ago meadow had been a combination of milkweed, yarrow, and wild indigo. The white flowers in this beautiful meadow looked to be the same. This was a little bit of deja vu for her. She stepped from the shoulder of the road into the meadow and sat down on a little rise at the edge of the road with the flowers tickling her ankles.

She’d been carrying the picnic basket that day. He’d been carrying the drinks. She could hear the tinkle of their laughter as they walked through the meadow that long-ago day. They were just married. Newlyweds. So very much in love. They sat down on the bright blue cloth and spread out some French bread, cheese, grapes, and a vintage white wine. She had brought two wine glasses. The sun beat down on their heads as they ate, laughed, and talked and became drowsy. The smell of the flowers was as intoxicating as the wine.

She felt tears well up in her eyes. They didn’t have any baggage back then, but that changed. A popular thing to say currently was that people needed to unpack their baggage. How did you unpack your memory? Forget the events of 40 years? She thought that saying was silly. Their’s was a life fully lived, both together and apart. They were always happier together, but they had spent significant amounts of time apart. The first time her choice, the second time his. That had led to a very odd history for them as a couple.

Until recently, she didn’t think there was a chance they could live together for the rest of their lives. She thought their relationship was over and only the dregs remained. She didn’t know quite what either would do. They weren’t young anymore.

Then, life happens as it will and he started to become engaged in their marriage again. She was suspicious at first and didn’t believe it was real. He started to seem more himself, that boy she had picnicked with that summer day. She became hopeful. It had been so long since she had seen that boy that she had almost forgotten him. Gradually, she became convinced. He did seem to be that boy but with the wisdom and fatigue of age. She started to let down her guard.

As she looks at the familiar meadow with the white flowers, she remains hopeful, but still not sure. Will she live the rest of her life unsure? Perhaps. He may feel the same. She’s decided it’s worth the risk although this time, if it doesn’t work, it’s too late for them both. There isn’t enough of life left to start over, together or apart. They will each be alone.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the excellent photo prompt!

The Fawn

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She watched him when he was a fawn. Come summer, he grew spikes. A young buck. He was unafraid of her. He grew accustomed to her apples. He came to the porch and snatched the food from her hand. She grew to love him that winter. She was alone.

The next summer, he was a four-point buck. He came to the porch. She tried to make him go away, fearful he was too accustomed to people.

It’s been ten years. An old buck comes to the porch. He takes the apples. She knows by his eyes that it’s him.

 

*Thanks to Charli Mills and the Carrot Ranch for this prompt that is so very appropriate.

The Prisoner

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She doesn’t want them watching her. She has secrets. Secrets that could spell the end of her. She’s tried everything to insure her privacy.  She has instructed her crew to plant the tall grass. Maybe this will deter them and their prying eyes.

They want to destroy her. They are jealous of her. All the people buzzing around her door. All wanting a piece of her. She won’t have it any longer. The tall grass will make her home look uninhabited, run down.

Why does she have to go to these lengths? She knows who the prisoner will be – herself.

 

Thanks to Rochelle and Friday Fictioneers and to Ronda del Boccia for the photo prompt.

The Yellow Tent

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It was fall. She and her friend were going on a weekend camping trip. They pitched their small, camo-colored pup tent in the woods.

Their first morning, she started to awaken. It was still dark, but a beam of sunlight seemed to be shining into their tent. She opened her eyes and their drab tent was yellow from that sunbeam.

As she went outside, she heard a loud, booming gunshot and felt a bullet whizzing by her ear. The hunter ran up to her and said, “Thank goodness your tent is yellow! I would have accidentally shot you otherwise.”

 

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