Jiffy

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Jiffy How funny. When I went to the Daily Post to see what the “word of the day” was, this was a word I never expected to see. The word “jiffy” means a moment, even a second. Like “just give me a moment.”

When I saw the word “jiffy” this morning, I had an immediate flashback of my mother. My mother has been gone for almost 17 years. But, when I saw the word “jiffy,” I could see her standing at her kitchen sink, her back to me, and saying something like, “Supper will be ready in just a jiffy.” My mom is the only person I can ever remember using the word “jiffy” and it’s a good memory for me of her. It was nice, on this Sunday morning, to have a good picture of my mom in my head. That doesn’t happen often enough.

Interesting to me is that this is the colloquial use of the word jiffy. It is an actual unit of measurement in physics, computing, and electronics. It is a measurement of a unit of time in all three disciplines, this word that is very much used in the vernacular in the English language. Who knew?

 

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Magnet

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All of my life, I have been drawn to writing as if it were a magnet. Even on days like today, when life’s burdens are very heavy for me, I only feel like myself if I write something before the day’s end.

My love affair with writing began when I was a child. I got stories published in the Highlights for Children magazine. Writing was interrupted by the other things that children do. I rode horses. But most importantly, I played the piano. I suppose I can count that, in a way, as writing because I wrote scores of music.

Then came lots of academic writing in the form of scholarly papers. Suddenly, twenty years ago, when I was right in the middle of my career as a college professor, I was hired by a brokerage, which will not be named! For several years, I was a journalist for them and wrote breaking news, while continuing my career as a college professor. I was working for this organization on 9/11/2001 when the Twin Towers came down. I had to cover that story and I will never forget it.

Throughout the decade of the 2000’s, I wrote for a variety of organizations and in many capacities. What I wrote is more important than who I wrote for. I wrote in my field of finance as a freelance writer. I wrote magazine articles on a whole variety of subjects. I developed online courses for corporations and their executives.

Then, I discovered blogging. I had become interested in writing fiction. I had always had an interest in fiction, but I had a busy career. I had really had two busy careers, academia and freelance writing. Writing fiction was a luxury I could never afford until I retired. I started trying my hand at fiction and ended up writing a novel, which is what I am doing now.

To all of you who are younger than me and embarking on a writing career, let me tell you one thing. You can make a living freelance writing. It is not necessarily easy but it is possible. You have to be persistent and organized. That is actually more important than talent. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a class in freelance writing to get started off on the right foot.

I think writing was what I was what I was supposed to do with my life because I’m drawn to it like a magnet. If I’m upset, I want to write. If I’m happy, I want to write. If you feel like that, write, and try to make your living doing it!

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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.