Safe House

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They couldn’t keep the homeless out of the old house. They weren’t really the homeless, but the hobos. Those who were homeless on purpose. They seemed to like to congregate in the old house for a night, a few days, a year. No one seemed to know why the hobos were determined to squat in the old house, but they knew they weren’t inclined to leave.

Her husband was selling the house and property. She wasn’t in favor of the sale. It was all she had of her family’s legacy to her. They argued about it, but he wanted to sell it to a buyer who would renovate it. She wanted to renovate it herself, but that seemed out of the question. He wasn’t having much luck.

The hobos wondered who left the food every morning. It was there when they awakened. A veritable feast. Why would they leave the old house when they had manna from heaven? A man kept bringing people to see the house and they had to scatter. They left the house in poor condition, hoping no one would buy it.

That was why she did it and it was working.

Photo Credit C.E. Ayr

 

Conflagration – #writephoto

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They had been looking forward to their camping trip to the national park. The two of them hadn’t taken a vacation together in a long time. This time together was long-awaited. They both enjoyed the forest, the outdoors, the wildlife, the hiking, all the things they would get to do in the wilderness area of the park. They set up their camp with excitement that afternoon while planning their activities for the evening and the next day.

He went fishing in the river that ran nearby and actually caught fish for their dinner. They were both thrilled. They had brought vegetables from home to complete their meal. They were grilling their food over the campfire when they first noticed the smoke. At first they thought it was just smoke from the campfires of other people. Then they saw a herd of deer and even a black bear and her cubs run past them. He became concerned. There was a low cacophony rumbling in the forest.

Quite suddenly, there were people running by them, screaming at them to leave, to run, that a conflagration was heading toward them. They picked up a few necessities and got in their car.

When they got out on the road, they quickly saw they couldn’t escape by driving. The  cars were backed up for miles. They could see the glow of blaze behind them and could tell it was getting closer. It was time to abandon the car.

They felt like they had run, along with everyone else in the same tourist town, for miles. She fell to her knees over a lump in the terrain. When he stooped to pull her up, they both heard a grunt and they thought she had fallen over a person. They started frantically searching the ground and found the body….of a large pot-bellied pig. He was digging himself as deep into the ground as he could. They knew they couldn’t help him and jumped up and ran on. The fire was practically licking at their heels.

When it was all over, they had reached safety, but not everyone had and not every animal in the beautiful park had escaped. Later, they found that the pig was a family pet that knew to burrow into the ground. He’d been rescued and was recovering at the nearest veterinary hospital. It would take longer, much longer, for the national park to recover from the fire that the young boys let get out of control. Some families would never recover from the loss of their loved ones at all.

Dedicated to the victims of the fire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016

#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.

Appalachia: Pearl Harbor – #100WW

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The news ran up and down Burning Fork and Birch Branch roads in Magoffin County, Kentucky faster than the water in the creeks. The family ran into the house to turn on the radio, their only means of communication with the outside world. The address by the President of the United States was playing. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the U.S. had entered World War II.

The young man from Michigan enlisted in the Navy. He was to be sent to Kentucky where his fate would intertwine with that Appalachian family because of this Great War.

100 words

Picture credit to @Bikurgurl

Turrets – #writephoto

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How did he ever convince her to visit this God forsaken castle in Turkey, of all places, Rebecca wondered to herself as she and Patrick stumbled down the crumbling, stone steps in the portion of the medieval castle that was still standing.

This trip to Europe had been filled with difficulties. Patrick was determined to make this one last stop in Turkey and she saw no reason, cultural or otherwise, for it. The ruins weren’t particularly noteworthy. The tour group was small. The surrounding area contained little of historical significance. It was also completely off their tour route. She didn’t understand why they were there and Patrick seemed unable and unwilling to explain. He’d hardly even spoken to her as they toured the ruins.

He was walking far ahead of her down the steps when she felt herself stumble. There was nothing to grab onto. She started to tumble down the stairs and landed at the bottom. The remaining two people behind her rushed to her, but she assured them she was fine. They wandered off.

She wasn’t fine. She’d turned her ankle and as she tried to get up, she found she couldn’t put her weight on it. By then, the two other tour group members were gone and she was alone. She called out for Patrick, but after waiting a few minutes, it was clear he didn’t know yet that she’d been left behind.

Rebecca suddenly heard a woman laugh, an evil-sounding laugh. She looked up and on the stair rail stood a creature. A female-looking creature with piercing blue eyes and a long black robe. Rebecca started scooting across the floor away from it.

The creature spoke and said, “My name is Ramona and I am the Dark Fairy.” Then it just tapped its toe on the stair rail.

”I’d make you my pet, but it would be more fun to make that man you’re with my pet.”

Rebecca finally found her voice and said, “What are you talking about?”

”Don’t you know anything? Dark fairies make humans their pets and the humans do our biding.”

Rebecca felt herself jerked up, her ankle painless, and the Dark Fairy fluttered beside her.

”Now get up. We’re going after that gentleman friend of yours. He’s been trying to do you harm.”

#SoCS – 5/19/18 – Stories of #Appalachia – The Postman and the Dog

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Up until I was in my 20s, my uncle lived deep into the Birch Branch hollow  (pronounced “holler” in the eastern Kentucky dialect). He lived in a cabin and with him lived his female Doberman Pinscher, Gertrude. For awhile, he also had a male Doberman Pinscher named Sue, after Roger Miller’s song, “A Boy Named Sue.”

But this story is about Gertrude. My uncle was a postal service worker in Magoffin County, Kentucky. He delivered mail and Gertrude accompanied him. Mail carriers in rural areas tend to drive slowly between stops and my uncle certainly did. One reason he drove slowly is because of where Gertrude rode in/on the station wagon that he drove. She rode on top of it. My uncle and Gertrude were something of a legend in Magoffin County because this was quite a sight to passers-by.

My uncle passed away in 1974 and left poor Gertrude behind. She was old then and very bonded to him. She lived the last years of her life on my cousin’s porch, in a cushy dog house, undoubtedly grieving for my uncle. She was bonded and there was little to do for her although my cousin certainly tried.

A man and his dog.

#Avenue – #writephoto

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Against her own will, she takes a different route than usual for her morning walk. It is bright and sunny outside. One of the first sunny days after a brutal winter. It seems that the weather has jumped from the dead of winter right into summer. It even seems hot. She vows to cut her morning walk a little short.

Then she sees a tree-lined avenue to her right. Its beauty astounds her. Her feet take her toward the avenue and she spots park benches all along the way. She craves the shade-lined portion of the avenue. She sits on one of the benches. Recently, she hasn’t enjoyed the sun. She feels the sun reveals too much about her. The tired face, the slumped posture, the aging. Those are private things. She doesn’t want anyone to look too closely. They might figure her out.

Beyond the shade is the wondrous sunny part of the avenue. It’s lined with cherry-blossoms. The scent wafts toward her and is sweet. People are meandering along the sunny avenue admiring the cherry trees. She doesn’t feel she has a right to the cherry blossoms, to the sunny portion of the avenue. That is for the young, the people with life ahead of them. Those who still have hopes and dreams. Not someone like her. Someone whose hopes and dreams have been stolen away.

She sits and enjoys the shade for a while. She pulls herself up and starts for home. That’s where she belongs. Behind the draperies. Where the sun doesn’t shine.

Thanks to Sue Vincent

#weekendcoffeeshare – 5/12/18

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Good morning! Please pull up a chair here on my patio for #weekendcoffeeshare. I’m so glad to see all of you. On the bar, you’ll find a selection of coffees and teas. I hope one of them will strike your fancy this morning. The guy from the local bakery delivered two dozen scones since he knew I was having guests. Please help yourself!

First, I’m anxious to read your #weekendcoffeeshare posts. I’d love to know what all of you are doing and how your week has been. How is your writing coming along? Life in general?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve spent the weekend doing many things. I’ve used this week to try to wrap up some writing projects. I’ve been pretty successful with completing them. I knew that, beginning yesterday, my time would be taken up by other things.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about those “other things.” I have been wanting and looking for a Cardigan Welsh Corgi puppy for 10 months now. I wanted one from a specific breeder, or at least one that had her blood lines. Finally, the little fellow came home with me yesterday! His name is Tucker and you can see his picture above. It’s hard to take a picture of a nine-month old puppy because they are constantly on the move. For his young age, he is doing amazingly well when you consider that he was just taken from his littermates and mother. This is such a good breed for a family dog that I’m just overwhelmed that I have the privilege of having this young fellow. He will be such a wonderful companion. At this age, a lot of training is required, so I’ll be busy!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about our very strange weather. Two weeks ago, it still felt like the dead of winter here in the Ohio Valley. I live on a mountain only forty miles south of the river. We had about three days of spring and now it is full-blown summer. Yesterday was 90F degrees here!

Thanks so much for having coffee with me this morning. I have to get back to the puppy!

 

Thanks to  electricali. for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

Disappear

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He had warned him. He had told him he had a short time to get the hell out of his sight. To get away from the apartment. He watched him walk along, slouching, slowly. He felt like he was mocking him. If he didn’t disappear from view soon, he would go down there and make him disappear. He would be sure he never hurt anyone again.

That miserable man had hurt his sister. Not physically, but in a worse way. He had figured out she came from money and had conned her out of some of her inheritance before he figured out what was going on. When he confronted his sister and insisted she cut off the money and see if he still stayed with her, his romantic fervor started to die.

Finally, he found him at her apartment, trying to twist her arm for money. He sent him on his way and gave him a time limit. As he watched him, he glanced at his watch and knew his time was almost up.

*Photo Credit to Enisa

174 words

#weekendcoffeeshare – 5/5/18

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I want to welcome all of you to #weekendcoffeeshare! If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you to please pull up a chair. I have a selection of coffees for you, from a traditional breakfast mix to more exotic coffees. Try my hot cinnamon spice tea or just plain black or green tea if you wish. I’m very glad you’re here!

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask how your week has been? Has your weather been as crazy as ours here in the Ohio Valley in the U.S.? It seems like we went from the dead of winter to July within the space of a few days! We had a freeze one night and within a couple of days, it was 88 degrees. There were no green leaves on the trees and everything burst out in buds and leaves all at once. I’m sure the plants don’t quite know what’s going on. One of my tasks for today, in between rain showers, is to take a look at my flower bed and see what made it through our very long, cold, and snowy winter. It snowed more here than in the city less than 100 miles west of us.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that today is the Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race of them all. Those of us here in Kentucky really enjoy it and I usually keep up with the horses. This year, life has gotten in the way and I’m not as schooled on the horses as usual. I will still enjoy the race and hope to get up-to-date before the race begins in the late afternoon.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I have started writing on my novel again after a long break and I’m really enjoying it. I gained some perspective about it during my break after doing some reading and thinking. I’m changing some things, improving other things, and I’m more satisfied with the direction it’s taking now. I hope your writing is going well.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that my exciting news is that I’m waiting on my new puppy. I won’t yet have he/she when I write the next #weekendcoffeeshare, but two weeks from now, he/she should be home with me and will be about 10 or 11 weeks old. I’m very excited!

Thanks for having coffee with me and I look forward to seeing you next weekend!