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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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!

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!

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.

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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Jonathan Livingston Seagull(s)…Perhaps?

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A comment. Seagulls remind me of my mother. Even though most people see them as the birds who clean up garbage on the beach, my mother saw their beauty. When I was a very young adult, she showed me their beauty in the series of short stories published by Richard Bach about a seagull who seeks life outside the typical and flies off to seek self-actualization.

Our family took a trip shortly after that to Isle Royale National Park in the northern part of Lake Superior in Michigan. A seagull spent the week we were there sitting on the window seal of my mother’s motel room. No one else’s room. Just her’s. It was the time she was heavy into reading the “Jonathan” stories and books. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’ll let you decide.

I read the Jonathan stories even now. They help a non-conformist like me. Try them on for yourself! You can read about them here,

 

Thank you Priceless Joy for the wonderful prompt!

Photo Credit to wildverbs

Love and War – #sundayphotofictioner

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It was 1943 and World War II was raging. His Destroyer Escort had docked in New York City after a long stint in the Atlantic. She was a girl from Appalachia who had left home for the first time. She had traveled on the train to the City to meet him, her new husband, when his ship docked. They had three weeks together to look forward to. He had rented a tiny apartment.

It was her first time out of the hills of Kentucky. The bright lights of the City astonished her. Her husband and his Navy buddies pooled their money and decided to treat their wives, who had spent months not knowing if they were dead or alive. They bought tickets to see The Rockettes.

She thought the show was the best she’d ever seen. Afterwards, clutching her new husband’s hand, they all went to a club and danced the jitterbug. She was star struck.

They knew their happiness was fleeting. The ship would soon pull out again to go back to war. They returned to their apartment and made the most of their time together, knowing it might never happen again.

 

Thanks to Susan and #sundayphotofictioners for the prompt!

Photo credit to Susan Spaulding

Crossing – #writephoto

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They approached the old bridge silently, hand in hand. They had taken this trip together, knowing it would probably be the last time either would be able to travel this far. It was one of their favorite places. They both had a lot on their minds. He was experiencing the first wave of dementia, caused by another illness. It only cropped up occasionally. It was apparent in his map-reading and directional skills. He was depressed, morose. He knew he would never pass this way again.

An illness was not plaguing her. She was concerned about him. She was also concerned about her age, her level of fatigue. She couldn’t do what she used to do. She was terribly fatigued from this trip and had become increasingly introspective. She wondered where you crossed from middle age to being old. Everyone liked to quip that age was only a state of mind. If they could feel how she felt right now, they would know better.

She also liked to think, most days, that the crossing was in your head and she felt young almost every day. Maybe 30. Some days even younger. That was in her head. When she looked in the mirror, she wondered who was looking back at her. Surely that couldn’t be her. Someone must be standing behind her. Some days, her body failed her and she knew she couldn’t be the 30 years of age she felt in her head. She must be that chronological age number that she hated so badly. When she felt like that, she felt guilty. Many didn’t ever have the opportunity to live as long as she had.

She wondered if, in today’s world of modern medicine, the crossing occurred at 50? Maybe 60? 70? Older? Perhaps it was specific to the person. The same mysterious feeling that always arose grabbed her. She was determined that her crossing had not yet occurred. She was still middle-aged, not old. She was going to fight the forces in her body that told her otherwise. She was going to keep her mind sharp and healthy.

She had to do this. For herself and her husband next to her. He could no longer do it for himself. As women have done for eons, she had to do it for both of them. She would stay young. Her crossing would not occur until the last second of her life.

 

Thank you to Sue Vincent for this incredible prompt.