SHORT STORIES II


VALENTINE LOVE
The nursery that had never seen a baby in all the years they had tried for one, she  dragged the old vanity bench from her room to the closet. the old doc had said after the last one lost it was too hard on her body to keep trying.. Climbing upon and reaching to the back of the shelf she pulled out an old paper wrapped box. At one time red but now a faded pink and orange as if from faded sunlight, the doily heart stitched in the center still held. Blowing off the fine film of dust, she stepped carefully from the bench surprised it held while she was on it both being older and she heavier now. Walking over to the cot in the room she sat and gently opened the lid, pieces of the paper flaking off and falling to the thread bare carpet underneath her feet. Tears welled up in her old rheumy eyes as she gazed upon her beloved Jaspers handwriting.
Every card, note, and letter he had ever written was contained in this box she had made when she was but a young girl of ten. Jasper gave her this card right here on Valentine’s Day when she was nine years old. This one when she was thirteen and this one when he proposed, with all the notes through seventy-one years of marriage and this bundle here the letters when he went off to war. Oh how she missed her best friend, husband, companion and lover gone now eleven years and her going to be one hundred one next month, he had been gone twelve years now peacefully in his sleep, she wished she had gone too, for it was just so lonely without him.

She had not thought of these old cards for some time until she had seen the children walking past the house on their way home from school with their little red bags and boxes with hearts. Then she remembered it was Valentine’s Day, their anniversary of eighty –one years she believed; time had done a trick on her memory and especially with arithmetic which she never was any good at anyway, she chuckled to herself.

Ella read the majority of Jaspers cards and letters and as the sun began to set, she opened the old trunk that sat under the window in that room. Taking out a tissue wrapped dress she laid it on the cot with its floor length train and veil as if resting on the pillow. She gazed through rheumy eyes at the yellowing lace remembering and seeing it white as the pure snow and how it flared when they danced that day.
Slipping off her house dress she donned the faded yellow gown surprised it was a near perfect fit she was a little wider in the hip but it did fit. Placing the veil upon her white head she looked in the mirror and time washed away she was eighteen again and Jasper was reaching out his hand standing at the alter smiling.

Newspaper Article.
Ella Rose Ford (nee Jackson) a homemaker of Peach Grove, Georgia found in her home
February 14th,  passed peacefully in her sleep. She was preceded in death
by her husband  Colonel Jasper William Ford of the area.  This would have been the
Fords eighty-first wedding anniversary. No other survivors known.
LOVE
Megan envisioned her life and the way it was going to be from about the age of twelve…she would be a doctor, marry a man she loved, have two children and live in a nice home. She could even see the man of her dreams meeting her in the emergency room, whether he was injured or helping a friend or family member she was not sure only that she knew this would be where she would find her true love, h e would be in the medical field as well.
Only, ten years out of medical school she still had not found “Mr. Right”, she wasn’t even sure she wanted him now if she did find him. She had her home, her dog and her two children; granted she had adopted them but they were still her babies. Lucas and Lydia, twins born to a mother addicted to meth, the streets and dying of Aids. When they came into the world the twins had a pretty rough time, they were delivered by her in the ER as there was no time to move to delivery when the mother came in .  Megan fell in love with those poor helpless babies from the start,
she loved them even more now that they were hers. So who needed a man?
Arriving home she looked for the children but didn’t see them in the front of the house so she went up to shower and change knowing they must be in the kitchen with Patty the all around ‘wife’ she employed to care for the house, meals and most of all the children. As it was nearing Thanksgiving she was sure they were baking or cooking something together. She finished her personals and went looking for her family, right where she expected  she thought as she heard the laughter from the kitchen.
Entering, she sees they have a guest, but the children are hugging, jumping, shouting “your home mama your home” Patty turns from the stove and gives a wide toothy smile; ” welcome home doctor we are just finishing up, dinner will be ready in about fifteen minutes.”
” Ahem” comes a rough voice from the other side of the kitchen, Patty turns embarrassment
evident as she introduces her nephew Mark from Seattle, here looking for work as a carpenter and hope she didn’t mind he came by for a visit and would it be alright for him to stay for dinner?
Megan turned and looked into the deep, soulful hazel eyes, scanned the raven hair, broad shoulders fine physique of a man and instantly fell deep and hard into love or lust she wasn’t sure, she knew only her heart was racing, pounding as never before,  she felt flushed and warm and oh he was fine, fine, fine  kept running through her mind. Her breathing had even become rapid and her body was being drawn to him…
Christmas eve one year later found the house decorated to the hilt with red and white poinsettia everywhere, ribbon and tulle abundantly used, the  tree decorated in the colors she and Mark had chosen…this was the best Christmas she had ever had, this day her wedding day!
COUNTRY LIVING

Bringing the last cup of coffee to her deck on the back of the house, she lights the citronella candle  but sets it under the table,
the smell bothers her but it is necessary to keep mosquitos from having her as a midnight snack. Walking across the deck , down the stairs she
double checks the lock on the gate around the pool, locked but doesn’t hurt to check. She notices as she goes back up the main stairs that
her knees are a little more achy than usual, age and wear  catching up. She sets down and takes a deep cleansing breath of  the country air, the smell of
freshly cut grass,  the oxygen and scent of green leafed trees, lilacs beginning to bloom and fill the air with that unmistakable aroma.

Leaning back taking a sip of her coffee she slips off her shoes and pulls another chair closer to rest her feet. She  listens
to the night sounds, the rustle of small animals as they hide from their predators, the rabbits under the garden shed have learned
to stay in the center so the strays can’t dig out to get them. She listens with eyes half closed and as the sounds of the night begin to soothe her,  nerves and burdens  wash away.

Big fat bullfrogs in the  ol” pond having a midnight snack of mosquito larvae with their burps of “brooaaack” when they need more room,
lightning bugs darting in and out of the trees, playing tag much the way the children did when younger, trying to catch them in jars.
Hearing the fish jump as a big turtle slides into the pond looking for a meal, these are the sounds of serenity for her.

Suddenly she hears coyotes yipping and yapping, howling at the moon a little to close for comfort,  disturbing all the animals from dogs, cattle,  chicken and  sheep.
She rises quietly from the deck chair walking to the back door easing it open so as not to wake anyone, she lifts up her shotgun and makes sure it is loaded.
Hoping she won’t have to use it but she can’t afford to lose anymore stock. Her husband comes out asking ” coyotes again?”  She nods her head and he walks over  lifts her
feet from the chair, sits and begins to rub them for her, ” umm I knew there was a reason I married you ” she laughs. They continue to sit on the deck in the comfortable sounds of night and long term companionship, love for their life and each other evident. She begins to humm then sing her favorite hymn, then like crazy teenagers they belt it out together. Contentment.


CHOICES
Janey waited impatiently for her husband as he was running a little late and dinner was almost ready. Ah there he is the love of her life, Sam. He was slump shouldered and she could tell his knee was bothering him by the limp and drag as he came down the sidewalk.There were seven steps to the front door of their apartment building and eighteen steps down the hall to their world.The smells in the hallway seemed to get worse with each passing tenet and the cooking smells of sausage and cabbage or onions and  peppers seemed a staple.
Janey and Sam had one daughter Samantha Jane she was fifteen and wild as a march hare, no matter what punishment either parent doled out Sammy did as she wanted, and that is what had her mother anxiously awaiting her husband. How she was going to tell him she didn’t know…oh she knew, she just wasn’t sure of his reaction.
Janey took Sam’s lunchbox and jacket handed him a sweet iced tea and told him dinner in fifteen, as he headed in to wash up. Sam was a bus mechanic for the city of St. Louis It was the first job he had after they got married and eighteen years later he was still there toiling everyday for the wages that never seemed quite enough, but the insurance was good and winter months brought overtime. They had thought after Sammy was born to move to the suburbs get a nice little house with a yard maybe a couple more children but the doctors said no more children, then Sam’s mother passed and his dad needed care and the medical bills piled up, when she developed breast cancer and could no longer waitress well it was just one thing after another.

Sam came in the kitchen so quietly she didn’t hear him, but she felt those strong arms around her waist and the nuzzle to her neck, she turned spoon in hand to wrap her arms around his neck and nuzzle back,oh how they loved each other. “Hey, where’s the bug?” he asked referring to Sammy Jane. ” She went to mom’s for dinner” he raised an eyebrow at that then his eyes widen as he saw the german chocolate cake she made for desert. “What..” he started she cut him off ” it’s nothing just felt like baking now sit down before dinner gets cold”. They ate and chatted about his work and her housecleaning business, she now had ten a week so the money was steady and although she had no perks or benefits no one looked at her oddly. The surgeon had botched her double mastectomy all those years ago and the consequence of that and a severe staph infection from the hospital had left her noticeably disfigured.
They finished dinner and went into the living room to watch the news of the day, they had watched about fifteen minutes when Sam asked for coffee and cake,she prepared the desert and loaded a small tray to bring it in  all at once. As she set the tray down on the old scarred trunk they used for a coffee table she asked
“Sam could you turn that off we need to talk?” He clicked the remote looking at her  worriedly then the slice of cake, she handed it to him and he said ” this isn’t good is it ?” and she knew he didn’t mean the cake. Janey shook her head and began to softly cry, Sam reached out for her “what is it Janey girl what? ah come on girl tell me ”  “It’s …it’s  Sammy Jane
she isn’t at my mothers she has run away with that man William down the hall and …and she’s pregnant!” With that Janey began to sob all the harder and Sam went from white as a new sheet to as red as a candied apple. After hours of talking and crying , searching the streets for them they finally went to the police, something had to be done, it wasn’t right that a thirty year old man to impregnate a fifteen your old child and then take her heaven only knew where.
The St. Louis 
police department  said Sammy Jane had to be gone twenty-four hours before they could report her missing. If and when she was found with the fellow then they could press statutory rape charges.
Time passed days, months, then years with no word from Sammy Jane. The worry and searching never stopped, they talked, cried and hung on to one another for strength watching as each grew older, more slump shouldered, grayer, more wrinkled. Each holiday they hoped and prayed, Janey setting more and more candles in the front window hoping Sammy Jane would see her way home with them. Seven years had passed when a retired officer from the department came by to let them know they had found William, he had died from a drug overdose six years ago and buried in the county plots. There was no sign of their daughter or a child anywhere in Missouri or Kansas. This only caused them to fret and worry more
and become angry in between, how could she do this to them, she knew she could come home she knew she was loved and wanted, then they remembered how she didn’t like the rules and hated school and how rebellious she had been. Sam would say some days “maybe it’s best we don’t know Janey my girl, maybe it’s best”
Sam and Janey, went to the market every Saturday morning, had done so for nearly every Saturday morning for twenty-five years, this morning being no different. As they walked from the bus stop to the apartment building they saw a gangly dark haired child of about ten drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.
They maneuvered around her and started up those seven steps to the door when Janey dropped her bag turned and gasped “who ..who are” Then Sammy Jane stepped out from a car parked at the curb, “Momma” she cried then Sam dropped everything snatched up his Janey and his Sammy in one huge bear hug all crying, gulping sobs and words tumbling, when the little girl from the sidewalk asked from below them “are you my nana and papa?” With that the tears started all over again “Momma, Daddy this is your granddaughter Sara Jo “

Hours later after Sara Jo was fed, played out, talked out,  bathed and put to bed did the adults sit down and hear Sammy Jane’s story, William had left her two days after Sara Jo was born, she had a choice to make she could come home and put the burden of another mouth on her parents or she could do something with herself and to give her daughter a life. She spoke with a social worker at the hospital and she helped Sammy Jane with a place to live, food, and school. Sammy  obtained  her diploma when Sara Jo was 4 months old. She worked as a waitress, and cleaned office buildings at night taking the baby with her until she was seventeen when she could enter nursing school which she did.

She thought of her parents often and even had a few friends that kept her informed of their well being she was just too ashamed to come home she told them. Sammy Jane was a beautiful tall woman with her daddy’s raven hair and her momma’s green eyes and Sara Jo looked like her. 
She had been offered a position teaching the nursing students at Barnes Jewish here in St. Louis she knew then the choice was made and she was coming home.
HOLIDAY COOKING
Twenty-four pounder in the refrigerator thawing
A twelve pound ham will wait it’s turn in the freezer
Hubs wondering why he can find nothing and goes to pawing
IN cabinets and fridge in frustration mumbling like an old geezer.
Potatoes need bought, extra milk and butter too
For all the particular people that will be attending this zoo.
One doesn’t like peas, another dislikes onion
This one wants broccoli rice, another green bean casserole
Then there is always the annoying one thinks he’s the fun one
Always in the kitchen under my feet under the guise of “Helping”or a lick
Help me by getting out of my kitchen,  let me cook or I may forget
and give your thick ankle a kick.

This one won’t eat pumpkin pie, that one no gravy
And this one “Don’t touch my gravy with the meat “as I try to serve
Then there is the one that says “sure not as good as—–”
How rude can you be? I graciously listen and do not speak
You will get your comeuppance after dinner at the kitchen sink!!

LORD, help me to prepare this meal with love and thankfulness
for family,  friends and those that have blessed us in all ways.
GOD, give me kind words, thoughts and deeds  for those that interrupt me
when all they want is to spend time with me ( I hope).
FATHER  help me realize time spent making memories is more important
than a meal.
Thank you Lord God for the abundance of blessings.~~Amen


MADDIES CHRISTMAS
“Maddie please put your shoes on” her momma asked again, “we are going to be late.”

Maddie just twisted her red socked toes in the deep carpet and looked at her momma, with her big green eyes “I don’t want to wear this dress momma, so these shoes don’t go.” “Maddie” her mother said in exasperation “what do you mean?” asked Janet  “I want to wear my red and green dress to the party not this black one it’s too hot” Janet looked at her daughter and decided that the battle wasn’t worth it and besides Maddie did have a point it was going to be hot in the black velvet dress. “Alright, go change but be quick about it and leave the red tights and wear your black patent leather shoes.” Maddie quickly went back to her room to change, her momma was so understanding most of the time, and sometimes she got mad at her but not often.  Janet was a bestselling author of several novels and she entertained only once a year, this dinner party was it and Maddie loved it there was so much food and the tree they decorated was so beautiful. Christmas was so important because it was Jesus birthday and she got presents and momma made a birthday cake even if Jesus couldn’t be with them for it, wonder what kind of ice cream he likes, she thought.

“Maddie come, our guests are arriving she heard her mother, just as she skipped out of her room she heard the peal of the doorbell, Esther the housekeeper was opening the door; taking coats and hats with her son helping out tonight. Momma was greeting everyone by name and introducing her but she could never remember the names of everyone, she did know momma’s publisher though, he was very nice, “Hello Mr. Stover” ‘Why hello Miss Maddie, you look very lovely tonight”  “thank you, sir” she said with a small curtsy.

The party was going quite well, and Maddie could see from her spot on the stairs that everyone was having a good time and her momma was being a great hostess, but Maddie could also see she was getting tired.  Mr. Stover came over and asked if he could sit with her a minute, they chatted for a few moments then he asked “What would you like for Christmas Maddie?” She did not hesitate it was what she asked for all year “I want my Daddy to come home.” Mr. Stover nodded his head and replied ” that would be good for all concerned wouldn’t it?” 
Later as the guests were leaving Janet saying her goodbyes and Esther starting to clean up, Maddie made her way to her room to prepare for bed knowing momma would be up soon to tuck her in and cuddle a bit. Sometimes she would let Maddie sleep with her but she knew tonight she would not, when she was so tired she didn’t sleep well and Maddie being in her bed would make it more difficult.
SUNDAYS
The gentle breeze blew the lace from the window
bringing with it the aroma of chicken frying in the kitchen
A cake baking in the old oven,  the sound of the masher
banging the sides of the potato pot, and you knew  gravy
would be made with drippings from the chicken, and the
beans we snapped Saturday morning cooked in a big pot.

Sunday dinner at Gram’s house was the best part of the week
especially after church. Ever notice how hungry you are
after church? Unlike any thing else you do  all week your never
as hungry as after Sunday church.
Family gathered at the table holding hands to pray
breeze blowing the lace  rimmed napkins gently folding back the
corners as we give thanks to the Lord for His Provisions.
Everyone talking at once after the amen, dishes being passed
glasses being filled with sweet tea, silver clinking on plates’
Sitting back in her chair Gram just smiles that contented
smile  and with her napkin pats a tear under her bifocals
Making Memories to Hold In Her Heart.
The old Maytag
The old Maytag wringer was sloshing away with the load of whites, I could smell the lye soap and bleach.
Gram allowed me to sit in the glider and read in between loads until it was time to run them through the wringer
into the rinse tubs. I hated wringing the clothes into those galvanized tubs on their spindly legs and hot water.
It hasn’t been that long since I caught my hair in that wringer I hate my hair too, just so you know, it’s long and stringy thin my head hurts just thinking of that wringer.
I am reading The Hardy Boys hiding it behind a church book I am supposed to be learning a verse from, I already know it and even if I didn’t I can learn things like that in a minute or two. I get straight ‘A’s” and I am in the fifth grade I have never missed a day of school since kindergarten, I always get sick in the summer. I wish I wasn’t so smart the other kids don’t like me because I always know the answers and get ‘A’s’ on everything on top of that I am skinny and short and I have to wear ugly shoes to school, so I get teased and called spider legs, and all my clothes are homemade not store bought like theirs. I try to act dumb but the teachers know I know the answers, ah well just the burden I carry.
I love being out here on the porch, Grandpa enclosed the back porch in screen windows and a wide door  so Gram could wash and iron out here and not have so far to carry the laundry to hang. I can lay here enveloped in the cushions, pushing with my foo,t back and forth, it goes making me sleepy on warm days. I smell the sweet peas on the side fence and all the flowers in Grams garden. Looking up I can see the blue sky,  butterflies flitting , oh and the hummingbirds hovering over the red and orange flowers. Gram has a pet squirrel that lives in the cottonwood tree I hear him chattering looking up, I see the neighbors cat in the cottonwood, that tree is as big around as two or three houses, with branches extending forever it seems. Hmmm  getting sleepy but I hear Gram shuffling towards the porch, my glider time is over until we hang the last sheet then I will be back.
UNFORGETTABLE

Lydia was bustling about in her Grams old kitchen using the recipes Gram had left her
along with the farm, the aroma of pork ribs barbequing, onions, pickles and boiled eggs wafting through

the kitchen was making her hungry but she had no time to eat so she picked as she cooked. . Her sister came in and began to talk about her new boyfriend. Gram had left Liz Beth Gramps old 57 Thunderbird
and his collection of coins, Liz Beth was happy with her treasures as she called them, we were
all prepared for her to rant and froth but she accepted graciously and seemed pleased, they all hoped the new boyfriend wasn’t after her inheritance. 
Lydia continued cooking, wanting to make a cobbler, she took down the can of Crisco finding it had gone 
rancid; she quickly walked out the kitchen door to the pig pen and dumped it. As she returned to the kitchen she remembered the diode was out on the micro so she would have to place the dough for
dessert in the fridge and move on. She was cooking as much as she could today, she didn’t want to be
stuck in the kitchen tomorrow when Jacob was here, Jacob is a friend of her cousin Levi’s and Jacob is the 
definition of salaciousit may sound coarse but that man was worth a flingOf course, Liz Beth had to
comment on the cobbler being Jacobs favorite and how the way to a man’s heart and all that before bouncing out slamming the screen door, with a wink towards her sister.
Lydia finished up in the kitchen and began to prepare for her speech tonight, she was addressing the SOUTHERN CHAPTER OF THE BUSINESS WOMENS ASSOCIATION and her elocution needed work.

The ladies of this group were born with not only a silver spoon but they could cause sugar syrup to coagulate on their tongue, her speech must come off without a hitch.  Later that night after giving her speech and feeling good about it Lydia was homeward bound when her car started sputtering, drat she 
had forgotten to get gas, suddenly lights in her rear-view mirror slowed, her heart began to race and she was just a little frightened. Reaching into her bag she brought out her pistol removing the safety and laid it under her thigh. When the tap on the window came she lowered the window just enough to see that it was Jacob, with a release of her breath she ask “what are you doing here?”

“ I followed you tonight I was going to ask you to go for a drink at Charlie’s but I guess I missed your leaving”  “well, I’m not sure I like you following me, but tonight is okay  because I forgot to get gas, can you give me a lift?”. With that her door was opened he pulled her quickly from the car and into his arms, kissing her with a passion and turning to gentleness then back to passion. Coming up for air  he said “ I have been wanting to do that since the day I met you, now let’s go get some fuel for this old heap and then get to know each other better.” “How does over coffee and blueberry cobbler sound?” He grinned and pulled her in for another kiss.

INHERITANCE
He sat alone staring ahead, moisture in his old rheumy eyes.  His bride looked like she was sleeping, oh how he is missing her, none of the girls had shown up nor had any of the grandchildren. She had always feared just this that she had not made a difference in any of their lives, she tried Lord knew she tried, she gave them everything within her power and they took advantage of her.  His sweet Angelina loved fully but she could lash with her tongue when she felt they had done wrong too, and that is what is keeping them today. fear of her sharp tongue although she could no longer speak.

She had left strict instructions they were to be told only that she wanted to see them if they showed up they would receive an inheritance but if they did not they lost out is the way she would state it.  She had always told the girls come see me while I am still here if you wait until I die you are going to be surprised.

Well she had done it, up and died on him left him alone, the girls won’t come see him either.  Don’t know what is wrong with young people today…busy I guess.  My bride has left me alone in these my final years I always thought I would go first; she was just too young to go yet.  Oh God, I am so scared I haven’t been alone in so long.

As he sat there weeping with grief he heard footsteps, probably the director to tell him he had to leave, he was surprised to smell perfume turning he looked up at Darla and with a sob stood as quickly as his eighty-three year old body would let him to hug her.

She was angry he could feel the aura of her anger sucking up the air of the place and reverberating throughout the room. Through clenched teeth she demanded to know why no one told HER mother was ill.  Before he could answer Denise came clicking in with those high heels she had been wearing since she was sixteen. “Why in the hell was I not told why papa why???”  She looked at Darla and with a woeful voice cried “We have lost our momma Darla we have lost her.”  Darla just stood there tapping her foot and staring at her mother, not a tear being shed just anger radiating out over everyone.  Soon the other three girls showed up and tears and accusations started, Albert sat there hearing but not listening just staring at his bride of forty-eight years, she left him way too early.

He stayed at the cemetery after the service, not wanting to go back to an empty house, oh he knew the house wasn’t empty they were all there every one of them.  Hanging around like a bunch of vultures just waiting to get Angelina’s things, not for memories but for value.  She wasn’t there anymore she was with God leaving him in an empty house, he went home because their friends would be there waiting on him and not knowing what Angelina had instructed her lawyer he had better go home to protect what he could.

Three days later Mr. Jackson of Jackson, Dumont, Riddle, Estate attorney’s arrived at precisely two
o’clock p.m. for the reading of the will.   Albert had finally had to exert his authority over the belongings, to keep them from walking out the door before the will was read.

The girls just kept going through her things “Papa where is momma’s jewelry, where is her silver?”  On and on they went finally he just stopped them by putting a lock knob on the dressing room and bedroom door.
Mr. Jackson sat at the head of the big dining room table Albert had built with his own hands the year
Deidre was born with seven of them then they needed it.   Mr. Jackson began by introducing himself to

each one of the girls and the grandchildren that were there.  “Your mother came to me twenty-one months ago to change her will, she was of sound mind and the changes were witnessed by four people

one of which was Judge Alan Anderson her long time book club friend, let’s get started”

Darla, Denise, Diane, Destiny and Deidre, your mother left this message for you and he picked up

the remote control and clicked.  Their mother came on sitting in the attorney’s office, “Girls, I have loved you all your lives more than you will ever realize.  When each of you were born my heart was so

full of love and I promised each of you that you would never want for anything, I kept that promise a lot of times arguing with your father over the things I gave to you even after you grew up and left home.

When you needed I provided, paying rent, phone, car payments, insurance etc.  things you should have been able to take care of on your own.  In order to do those things I have had to sell my jewelry, my silver, the art work, things I wanted to pass on to each of you as my parents did for me.  Look around the house Darla do you see the table and Jade bowl you wanted?  No, look at the transmission in your car and the new tires.  Denise your three months’ rent and utilities and one year insurance and all those tickets to keep you from going to jail, my grandmothers silver paid for that.  Diane that married man you were dating and had to have all the fancy clothes and apartment for, there is the rest of your father’s
savings and IRA.  Destiny and Deidre your college education that neither of you finished, the partying and damage you caused over the years, well that was the art work and the second mortgage on the house. Your father and I retired with more than two million in our savings accounts, we each had a new car, we had monthly pensions and the house was paid for.  Each of you with the things I mentioned, plus your failed marriages and your children’s insistence that you get for them through us, is your inheritance.
Had any of you bothered to come around, spent time with me on Mother’s day, my Birthday, when I ask you to come help me around the house or just to call and let me know how you were doing….. never enough time for me not a few minutes to spend just talking…. Mr. Jackson I am tired will you have someone drive me?” And with that the screen faded into a blue dot.

All hell broke loose the girls all accusing each other, Albert got up walked out and never looked back.

He went to his car which held his packed suitcases, passport and ticket he was going home. Greece had been in the rearview mirror too long, oh he loved his daughters and grandchildren, but right now he needed to be with family that knew what family was. His sisters and their families had been excited to hear from him and welcoming, perhaps the girls would get it together and some day visit. He stepped on the plane, the steward offered his choice of beverages “Ouzo please”.
THE READER
“throw them away, no one wants old books anymore”

the old woman heard from beneath the window where she stood
how many years has it been since they said the same about me?
she quietly pushed her cart away from the window and down the
sidewalk, only to turn into the alleyway , she would wait by the
big green dumpster until they tossed away the books.she loved to
read to the others where she lived under the bridge. her old books
spoke to her with words of wisdom and adventure, she loved the

feel of the old bindings, the aroma of ink on parchment
and the words, oh she had traveled in air balloons, on trains, in
cars. she dined with Kings and the homeless like herself, she drank
from an old tin cup and loved in a fine home with crystal and china.
she had been queens and fairies and ladies of the south oh the
wonders of the world were hers through old tattered  beaten books.
she would wait here for the adventures to come, because no one
wanted them anymore either.

ANIMAL QUACKERS
Looking through the looking-glass
and what did I see?
A path to a wonderful magical  mystery
I took a dip the water felt fine
through that glass I did climb

coming out the other side
found  on a downhill slide
so slip and slide and tumble I did

came to a stop with a hat like a lid
there were giggles and belly laughter too
for I was in a magical zoo
there were fairies of every size and color
and orange elephants too
orangutans of Chartreuse oooooo
lightning bugs of every hue

Lions with stripes of red and purple
a meerkat with a head of furple
butterflies of polka dots
stripes and checks even one that ask “wot? wot?” 

a hippotamaus  most color of gray
but the pink tutu was beginning to fray
his red Nike sneakers  looked rather mellow
with his ears of mellow yellow
the zebra had no stripes, only a bunch of gripes
as a fairy braided his tail of green and played a cello
a kiwi colored bird came by an odd-looking fellow
he tried to whistle through a thistle

The apes of course were colors of grape
except the one with the peppermint nape
now I wondered aloud how can that be
when a fairy of pink gave me a wink
stick around you’ll see just go to the sink

She spun me round and round
without touching me  til I lost
my hat of a lid and went through
a tunnel on a skid.

there were sights I couldn’t believe
my eyes were beginning to deceive
for there stood Mother Nature in her green
“Welcome to the magical land of mystery,
where your imagination is as tall as the trees”


 

 

 

Come away! O, human child! To the water and the wild With a fairy hand-in-hand, For the world’s more full of weeping Than you can understand.

-W.B.Yeats.-

 
It was m’lady’s night and all must be set right
All the leprechaun’s came out this night
The ladies in waiting did not~ could not wait
For the stars in  heaven must shine upon the gate
While  bathed forest floor in gold dust
Fairies positioned the stars on the gate just so
Ladies in waiting rushed  in silver ‘n gold
The dust placed on each leaf in gentle fold
Soon the mighty trumpets of Elfin Land
heralded  the one of this forest stand
Carriage drawn by two green lizards
Guided by m’ladies resident wizards
Came upon the gate opened by a leprechaun
Gold ‘n silver lights of dust lit as if to warn of the
 stop, green lizards did obey
All silent not a whisper not a “hush”
As  gossamer winged bats ‘n butterflies
From the golden  dust did rise
Opening  door of  m’lady grand
The Mother Nature of this
She looked about and with a nod
Held each dainty foot to a leprechaun
‘N without a sound they did move forward
Behaving properly, not untoward
Removed dainty leather boots with gossamer laces
Mi’Lady bare toes smiled at their shiny faces
She Touched each one  leaving traces
Of her soft gentle touch ‘n with a prance
she began to dance ‘n dance ‘n dance


~~~~~~
Needing to write what is on her mind and in her heart
she takes her tablet and pencils to her secret place
glancing around making sure know one sees, she slips
quickly under the long branches of the willow tree.

Leaning against  the trunk she closes her eyes for
a moment, blowing out a deep breath not realizing
she had been holding it in.
This is her escape from the madness surrounding her
this quiet semi dark, cool shade tree with the smell of
damp earth anchors her spirit each time she comes here

As she begins to write she realizes there is so much
on her mind she can’t sort it out to write it
All she feels is lost, bewildered and tired, oh so tired
her body aches with the tension and worry
How did she get to this point where everyone thinks
she is insane,  do they not realize that if she is, it
is because of them?

They fought over her like a piece of butchers prime rib
between two dogs from the time she was born
She had heard over and over how her mother cried
the day she was told she was pregnant with her, how
she wasn’t wanted!
Oh Mother said she wouldn’t trade her for anything
but she knew she wasn’t wanted not for herself just
another mouth to feed.
all the time Mother said I love you ~ yea right bitch
you never wanted me how could you love me
I hate you so bad  you were never there for me!
How could you not want me ?
I love you momma , momma please let me in
mommy please love me.

YOU WERE ALWAYS WANTED
YOU ARE STILL WANTED

YOU ARE LOVED
YOU WILL ALWAYS BE LOVED
YOU ARE MISSED
PLEASE COME HOME

EMILY ANN
Once upon at time
 there was a little girl by the name of Emily Ann McGuffy
Everyday, Emily Ann would sit in her castle window ( ’cause her Daddy was
King McGuffy of the Isle of McGuff you know) , and peer out over the moat
she would see the many types of birds and butterflies, several would alight
and tell her news of the land.
One day,  Robin Red stopped in the window to chat (gossip truth be told, as she so loved to do)
and to  pull her beak through Emily Ann’s ebony colored hair… just a few
for her nest she explained.

In Robin Reds chatter she informed Emily Ann of a dragon, discovered  in the forest
to the North by Sir John Elton. He had tried to slay the dragon but found he
could not , the dragon had a magical shield covering his scales, 
because of that
no matter how hard a knight might try this dragon could not be harmed, unless
“shhh” said Red Robin “unless you know where his heart is, if you injure his heart
then he  will die.”

Because of that, Emily Ann began plotting…she was going to see this magical dragon
for herself somehow, someway
 Now Emily Ann McGuffy was a very stubborn
eleven and a half year old she was also quite self~sufficient, she would  complete the
task she had set for herself. That night after her mama and daddy had gone to bed,
she made sure the guard in the hall was snoring, she slipped quietly down  the hall~
way on her ballerina slippers having removed the lace and replaced them with
leather straps. She had a canvas satchel  she had fashioned from an old dress
making a pack to carry on her back, taking her Daddy’s suspenders that he wore
at her brothers wedding, she fashioned straps, they had real gold threads so she knew they were strong.
Inside the pack she  had a small jeweled dagger, a change of clothes and a hat so
she could look like a boy by putting her long black as coal hair under it and a set
of her brothers old clothes in the event she needed too.
She made her way down the hallway with none the wiser, she could go out the door
but that may draw attention so her plan was to go out the window in the spinning room.
Throwing the knotted rope she had obtained earlier from the store room over the rock
ledge, then a coverlet from her bed and through the window down the knotted rope and
she was out! Now to get across the moat, she ran quickly and quietly  to the little boat
Daddy gave her for her tenth birthday and rowed to the other side. Quickly, quickly she
ran  on quieted feet in ballerina slippers until she reached the wall surrounding the
castle  going between the guard towers  she began to climb the wall the blocks of rock on
this side staggered for just this reason. She roped down the outer wall and ran across the field
and to the edge of the woods.

Until finally,  all the forests friends she knew by name as they had
been her only friends her whole life, were waiting to show her where the dragon was sleeping
with great loud snoring that echoed throughout she would have never found him on her own.
As she arrived to where he was lying in a copse of  oak trees of brilliant oranges and reds, the
bit of fire the dragon breathed out was keeping him warm, Emily crept closer for she felt a chill
and she wanted to see the magic shield around the dragon. She reached out  to touch him and
one big eye opened slowly then pop! both were wide open and a gasp let out by both, Emily
jumped back from the dragon just knowing she was going to be eaten any second.The dragon
stuttering said “mmmy name is Gggideon, who pppray tell are you and why are you wwaking me up?”
“My name is Emily Ann McGuffy I am sorry I woke you but I have gone through a lot to do so”
She began to tell Gideon of all she had done and he was so impressed with her ingenuity, he decided
to tell her why he was here. “I am impressed with all you have done you are a very smart little girl,
I shall tell you why I am here you see, I heard last year that a raven haired daughter was the only child
of King McGuffy was a very lonely child and had few friends so I came to meet this beauty and  befriend
her  I am a very loyal friend and I will stay by your side and protect you the rest of your life if you will
allow me to, Princess Emily Ann McGuffy!” Giving her a large smile and a wink he waited breathlessly
to hear her response but Emily just gave a small grin then jumped into the dragons short arms and gave
him the biggest hug she had ever given. “Of course we can be friends she cried out” and they lived happily
ever after.

ENGAGEMENT RING
She glanced down at her pinky finger

at the chewing gum wrapper ring

Wondering if he would think it strange

That she still had it or that she wore it….

They were twelve and thirteen that  summer

when he asked her to marry him when they grew up,

and she said yes.

His father transferred  and parting was truly  the

‘sweet sorrow’ that summer. They wrote everyday for

awhile but as happens interests and puppy love wane.

Now she is meeting his train as he comes home to bury both

of his parents. It was a shock to the community

carbon monoxide poisoning the coroner said.

They had only been back since his father retired, he had

not been home for a visit in all that time, too busy his

mother said getting his firm established. He now had

over one hundred attorneys in his firm and was known

world-wide.

She had gone off to college as well but came back when old

Dr. Anderson retired, she was one of three general practitioners in town

and they covered for each other when necessary.

Her heart jumped when she saw him step off he train, he had not

really changed that much, hair a little gray, lines about the eyes.

He reached her in a few long strides, my he was tall.  He hugged her lifting
her long lanky frame

from the platform and kissed her , hard and with fervor.
Coming apart she couldn’t catch her breath, gasping she tried to speak

he did it for her. “Yes, it is still there, you are beautiful, I love you and I still
want to marry you right away if you will have me?” he caught his breath.
“How, how did you come to that conclusion?” she asked “You still wear my ring,”
he said as he lifted her hand and kissed her pinky finger with the gum wrapper
wrapped around it.


BATTERED

she lay against the building..torn battered bruised bleeding. Perplexed as to what happened and where she’s at.
Sure her last memory is visiting the market. Looking around realizing one eye is closed and can’t open, moving the pain is excruciating..every inch of skin and bone screaming. Placing her fingertips into the mortar around the brick she inches her way to her feet..gasping, coughing spitting blood she looks around witth her one good eye wiping sweat from her face only its blood and she can smell it.

There is light at the end of the alley she assumes she is in.  Taking another step she kicks her market bag. Glory be! it’s still here! intuitively she knew her purse was gone and everything in it. grateful she thought to hide her money in her market bag not her purse. She reaches for it but is wracked  with pain , kicking the bag ahead of her she slowly moves toward the light at the end of the alley finally standing in the circle of light from the street lamp. As she stands there looking at her clothes, hands, feet one shoe missing hands covered in cuts and dried blood. Cars pass one honks, a police cruiser drives by makes a u-turn back to her. “Ma’am are you alright who did this to you? What’s your name.?’..she begins to cry and shake.

they both take an arm and start to walk her to the patrol car…ohhhh ohhhh she groans to be touched hurts so badly. ‘my bag my bag’ so the officer goes back for it and gently sets it on her lap she hugs it like it is what it is ..all she has in the world. ‘Medics on the way ma’am can you tell us what happened who did this to you , whats your name?’ she thinks a minute ‘Diane’ her best friend she hasn’t spoke with in 10 years.  ‘Well, Diane what happened?’
Shaking her head blood begins to flow from her head . Suddenly she knows what happened flashes of today come through.She wasn’t mugged he did this he did this ! It wasn’t enough anymore to just punch or slap a..he wanted to kill her .he made it look like a mugging thinking she was either dead or close to it. Glad she had given the phoney name need to make sure he never knows shes still alive. The paramedics arrive and treat what they can load her up and off to hospital.yes yes she is thinking last time you will ever harm me….making her mental list  her will to survive rises and won’t back down as weak as she feels. The Drs look her over and rush her to surgery , the youngest officer stays behind to hear how she makes out and see if she can talk after. ‘man she is a mess he thinks” After six hours the Dr comes out says ‘over 1,000 stitches.. lost a lot of blood she won’t ever be pretty again but she will live.Three weeks later she walks out of the hospital with Brian the young officer has been by her side every moment he could helping her to heal spiritually and physically. He takes her to his home the only place they want to be
they care for each other but will not explore or act on their feelings until they complete the job that must be done.The next day they take a ride across the island in a rented SUV, ‘Diane” with hair cut short due to injuries and dyed. Brian with a long mullet wig to cover his police cut. both dressed semi-hippy-biker. They make purchases together and separate visiting Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes..going through busy lines so as not to draw too much attention to themselves.Thursday morning they wake up in Rose’s (Diane) old home with Tony..on Block Island. Standing at the window hot coffee in hand looking across to Newport knowing she must go alone today to report Tony missing. She came home from her world tour and he was gone left everything here and in the  Chicago flat.
Hasn’t been to the office in days. Yes, that sounds good.
She found the knife he used on her taped to the bottom of his desk drawer did it feel familiar to him as she slid it into his heart?


~~~~~~~~
LEAVING THE AIRPORTS PARKING CIRCLE

SHE HAD TEARS IN HER EYES, SHE KNEW
HE WOULD BE BACK IN A WEEK BUT THAT
DIDN’T STOP HER FROM MISSING HIM. 

HE WENT TO VISIT HIS MOTHER FOR HER
BIRTHDAY EVERY YEAR, HE HADN’T DONE SO
FOR YEARS AND WHEN SHE FOUND HE HADN’T
SEEN HIS MOM IN OVER TEN YEARS, SHE
STARTED INSISTING HE GO. SO SHE MISSED HIM
DUE TO HER OWN INSISTENCE, DIDN’T MAKE IT
ANY  EASIER.
THEY MET AND HAD BEEN TOGETHER
THREE YEARS NOW HE WAS THE LOVE
OF HER LIFE. 

PHONE WAS RINGING WHEN SHE WALKED
THROUGH THE DOOR, ANSWERING
HE SAID “I ALREADY MISS YOU”
HER HEART LEAPT AND A SMILE TOOK
THE PLACE OF HER TEARS. THEY TALKED
UNTIL HIS CONNECTING FLIGHT WAS CALLED.

THAT NIGHT SHE PULLED BACK THE QUILT ON
THE BED AND THERE WAS A NOTE ~~
HE LOVED AND MISSED HER
THE NEST MORNING SHE FOUND MORE NOTES
AND THROUGH OUT THE WEEK CARDS IN HER
CAR AND ARRIVING IN THE MAIL.
SHE RECEIVED THREE ROSES THE SECOND
DAY HE WAS GONE  THE CARD READ
I MISS YOU
THEY TALKED EVERY NIGHT AND SHE SENT
FLOWERS TO HIS MOTHER THANKING
HER FOR RAISING SUCH  A WONDERFUL MAN

THE  THIRD AND FOURTH DAY ROSES WERE
DELIVERED THREE AT A TIME CARDS READING
EITHER I LOVE YOU OR I MISS YOU
SHE WAS SO ANXIOUS FOR HIM TO COME
HOME
ON THE LAST DAY SHE CLEANED AND
WASHED HIS TRUCK FOR HIM
BEGAN THE PREP WORK FOR THEIR DINNER
THAT EVENING
BUTTERFLIES IN HER STOMACH , HEART RAPID
AS SHE  THOUGHT ABOUT SEEING HIM IN A
FEW HOURS. HE PHONED TWICE FROM THE AIRPORT
HE SOUNDED AS ANXIOUS AS SHE
THE THREE RED ROSES DELIVERED COMPLETED A
DOZEN THIS TIME  SHE SAT DOWN WHEN SHE
READ THE CARD ACTUALLY HER LEGS
BUCKLED , FOR IT READ
“MARRY ME?”

 SHE COULDN’T CALL HE WAS 30,000 FEET
IN THE AIR.
SUDDENLY SHE KNEW WHAT TO DO SHE
DROVE TO THE FLORIST AND ENGAGED
THEIR CREATIVITY, THE RESULTS WERE
EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTED.

STANDING AT THE  GATE AS THE OVERHEAD SPEAKER
ANNOUNCED HIS FLIGHT ARRIVAL HER STOMACH
JUMPING ALONG WITH HER HEART
SUDDENLY THERE HE WAS WALKING TOWARDS
HER WITH AN INQUISITIVE WORRIED LOOK ON HIS FACE

SHE HELD UP THE POSTER~BOARD WITH
“YES” SPELLED OUT IN RED ROSES,
HE MOVED VERY QUICKLY THROUGH THE
OTHER PASSENGERS ON THE CONCOURSE
ARRIVING IN FRONT OF HER WITH A “WHOOP”
PICKING HER UP SWINGING HER AROUND AND AROUND
ALL THE WHILE SHOUTING “SHE SAID YES,
SHE SAID YES” THE CROWD BEGAN CLAPPING
AND OFFERING CONGRATULATIONS.
THEY BOTH SMILED SO HARD THE REST
OF THE EVENING AND MADE PLANS FOR
THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. 

 

 
FLOWER GIRL
Standing there watching the most beautiful girl she had ever seen in her shiny white dress with all those pretty beads, she wanted to be that girl.
Even the flowers that made her sneeze looked pretty the way the girl cradled them in her arm. Her Daddy held her other arm as they walked, gosh there were so many people, had she really looked when she was walking down the aisle she would have been more nervous.

Right now she just wanted out of this itchy dress and away from all these flowers and the people. She wanted to be in her shorts or jeans up in the tree reading. She is reading “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” and she had to keep it hid, if Gramma  knew she would box her ears. Ahh, people hurry up do the mushy stuff and let me out of here. She knew she was second cousin to Anita the bride, but she had never met here until this shin-dig, that is why she couldn’t figure out how she got roped into this. Her brothers didn’t have to be here they went fishing with their friends. Wasn’t fair!

Finally everyone was clapping and cheering, it’s almost over yeaa! Then they called for pictures (groan), okay done with that, now just get it over with she’s thinkng.

Finally! finally she is out of there, up the stairs into her shorts  sticking her head under the sink faucet trying to wash out the goop from her hair and off her face. As she dries her face she looks at her nails ..not bad that’s the only good thing about today. She races down the stairs out the veranda door , across the lawn leaping like a young doe so glad to be on her own. Up the tree and into her nook pulling the book out of the knot hole, beginning to read before the page was flattened out.

A shiver runs down her spine with excitement as she reads when suddenly she hears screams from the wedding party, looking out and over towards the tent she sees people running and swatting at something. She climbs out of the tree and walks slowly towards them to see what it is. Oh my sweet aunt Nellie she clasps her hand over her mouth they have let the bees out!

She walks quickly into the fray hearing from others what had happened and how to remedy the situation. Some silly boy opened up the hives and evidently loosed the queen, and by the looks of the little boy with the tears being scolded by his mom and the honey dripping off of him along with a piece of honey comb, he must be the culprit.

She walked over to the hives opened a door and stuck her hand in; bringing it out and holding it high she began opening doors to the other hives. Oh no don’t, others cried out as they were stung already and didn’t want more. She just stood there with arm raised and the open doors soon the bees started coming in going right to the doors.

Eleven year old Emily Darlene saved the wedding by bringing the bees home and away from the guests. Afterward she began receiving gifts from the wedding guests to thank her for her help, eventually going back to her tree and her story, shaking her head at the ignorance of some adults.
THE RIDE
Pulling in the driveway with its broken chipped concrete pad, so tired every bone ached, her head pounding dealing with one hundred

eighty loud, screaming, excited, fighting kids twice a day for pick up and drop off in the bucket of bolts the school district called a bus and now she is home.
Home where three precious babies would greet her with shouts of joy that she was there and one unemployed husband that couldn’t stand the sight of her with her tired sad hazel eyes, her brown stringy shoulder length thinning hair, her body rail thin. Weighing a hundred four pounds after three kids her hips should be wider, she should have stretch marks all she got was a bigger bust which Dave seemed to like but he complained about making love to a board all the while he pounded away on her at night, saying he would get more out of the knot hole in the fence in the yard. How many times she wanted to tell him then do it and leave me the hell alone, knowing she would get the back of his hand or even his fist if she did.
Entering the house the girls ran to hug her squeezing her legs up to her neck, mommys home, mommie I missed you, mommie Darla hit me today. That stopped her in her tracks as she tried moving towards the kitchen to prepare dinner, spaghetti again this week that will thrill David and his wrath will be physical and verbal but he allowed her twenty-five dollars a week to feed the five of them, just once she wished she could handle her own paycheck but she had to hand it to him uncashed, he took it to the bank, paid the bills filled the car with gas and gave her that measly twenty-five dollars for groceries. God forbid she get mail (he kept the box at the end of the drive locked and he the only one with the key) that her mother sent with a few dollars in an envelope he would go off on a tangent about how she never liked him, did she think he wasn’t man enough to take care of his family, what had she told her huh huh? Smack. Yet she stayed for where would she go with three little girls?
Daniella was thirteen, Darla eleven and Davinia eight at the ages to know their father was abusive and controlling and drugs nor alcohol led to his being so it was just his ‘nature’, therefore they stayed away from him as much as possible. Someday she would get out and keep the girls away from him, oh how she loved them and wanted so much better for them afraid it may be too late for Daniella she would think this is the way it’s supposed to be in a marriage but she would talk to her all the time telling her there is better than this, don’t ever settle don’t think you can change a man because you can’t, not all men are like your daddy.

Going to work the next day four-thirty so as to scrape the ice and snow off the rickety bus and trying to get the heater to put out a tad more heat than normal, she was contemplating a plan and she would need help, she could not continue to live this way and expose the girls to the what she knew was going to be abuse towards them, physical she knew would happen soon not just the verbal. She had to get away and what she had in mind might work.
Going in to the supervisor after her morning run she told him she had but a minute but wanted to sign up for special event driving, he was delighted as he had asked her many times before. The only thing was she would need to have her pay divided part on her regular paycheck and the rest on another would that be possible? He told her he would check with accounting but thought that might be possible and he would get her on the schedule as soon as possible.
Her next layover between schools she talked to another driver that had befriended her recognizing the signs but never saying more about it than if she ever wanted to talk or needed help let her know.
Sheila was more than glad to take the girls on the nights she worked driving football players and cheerleaders or day trips when needed.
That night she told Dave about the new part of her job he was not happy with her being gone at night leaving him with the brats but he liked the idea of the extra money. She explained the girls would stay with her friend from work who also had a little girl and it was free and would give him time to watch his sports channels without interruption. This seemed to appease him until they went to bed then he began the old tirade of your not meeting some guy are you, are you sleeping around? then he beat her to make sure no man would want her.
Going to work the next day she knew she had made the right decision.

She packed overnight clothes for the girls and a few extra outfits to be kept in case they need an extra change she told the little ones but she knew Daniella and Darla suspected what was going on. She dropped them at Sheilas Friday evening gave each a hug and told them what time she would pick them up in the morning. Before going to the bus terminal she stopped and called her mother from a pay phone telling her what she was doing and giving her Sheilas address to send any correspondence.
It took more than six months but Joleen finally felt secure enough with the five hundred dollars she had in her private account and the six hundred her mother had been able to send over those months to be able to leave. It was now basketball season and the girls still went to Sheilas, tonight Sheila was driving the team for her and she and the girls would be on the road to as far as their money and car would take them. Arriving at Sheilas to tell her goodbye, Sheila and her husband greeted her, Ron said “Joleen before you go we want you to know that we love the girls and uh uh you too of course, so we want to help you a little more by giving you this” he handed her an envelope with a lump in it the size of the one in her throat, she opened it to find a car key and three hundred dollars, he walked over and opened the garage inside sat an old ford mustang, rusted up and all but a bucket of bolts. Sheila said ” Ron has been working on this car for years restoring it but never got to the body but the engine is the best so is the tranny tires, battery and all are in good shape, take it so Dave can’t find you by the old car, Ron will drive it over to the city park and leave it there with the keys so when Dave finds it he won’t know where or what you have done.” Joleen could do nothing but cry and hug them both.
”Now get on the road, keep in touch at this address I’ll get your mail there it’s Ron’s mothers address and she is more than happy to accept your mail there.”
“Sheila, Ron I don’t know how or why your helping me but I want you to know you are true angels and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Ron  spoke ” When I met Sheila she was in a similar situation but mostly for me it was because my sister was in an abusive relationship and he damn near killed her, he is in prison for what he did to her and I will not allow another woman that I know of to go through something like that again, so get on with you, as he gave her shoulders a squeeze don’t want Dave getting suspicious.”

With that they all transferred the little she had into the mustang packing the girls in between, Ron telling her not to feel bad if she decided to trade the ‘stang in for something bigger to fit them all.
With waves of their hands and cries of goodbyes through tears, Joleen pulled out of the drive and hit the highway.
Ten years later at Davinias high school graduation she held the hands of her two other daughters, one on each side of her giving thanks for all they had been through and how well life had been for all these years, it had been a struggle but she had perservered, now a well-known floral designer, Daniella a registered nurse at the local hospital engaged to a pharmacists she met there, Dharla in college her major accounting. Davinia graduating top of her class, valedictorian and headed with a full boat scholarship wanting to be a pedetrician. She was very proud of the journey and the survival of such but she could not have done it without the help of old dear friends, the grace and mercy of the Lord above. She looked up to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and thanked Him again for leading her life and being a part of it even when she did not know He was there.


MOMMYS MAD
There are no tears on her face , for she knows if mommy sees tears she will hit her again

Mommy she thinks, I didn’t mean to make you mad I tried so hard to be quiet.
I know your friends visit  and sleep in your room at night. You said they don’t like little girls but sometimes when they come out of your room at night they come to mine. 
Mommy , Mommy I cry I don’t like this Mommy it hurts make him stop. but you never come. and he puts his nasty hand on my mouth shhhh he says.  then he slaps me like you do mommy. 
Mommy where’s my Daddy will he hit me too? Mommy does Daddy love me like you say you do?  Mommy I am so afraid I don’t know why you really hate me so, I try so hard to do whats right Mommy please love me just a little and don’t hit me no more. 
I don’t mind when you leave me here alone  even when you tie me to my chair but when I have to wet you get so mad and hit me when you get home. Why Mommy why? 
Mommy I’m a good girl, I know I am , I keep my room clean I make your breakfast and mine, I pick up clothes and toys, I do the dishes and  try to stay out of your way. Mommy why can’t you love me like I love you? 


Mommy please don’t, mommy please stop, I didn’t mean to spill my water  mommy please  ahhhhh mommy plllleeeaasseee 
EMPTY
Her footsteps echo as she walks from room to room
Memories assailing her mind and heart faster than
her brain can comprehend all at once
The tears are streaming down her cheeks in sadness
and loneliness.
After her children were grown and gone she loved and
nurtured this house  as if it were a child.
Now it is empty and the memories, well they reside in her
heart for her to open and remember at anytime.
God lived here too and He will go with her wherever she goes now.
The house is empty, heart is full, memories close.
IT IS DONE
Strolling through the park with it’s leaf strewn paths
winding and wandering among the trees of oak, elm,
linden and more.

Not thinking of anything or anyone in particular just
wandering thoughts enjoying the quiet and the beauty
of nature.

She was aware of her surroundings….
her heart began to race as footsteps
raced behind her. Then they were passing her
now where did that fear come from she thought.

Continuing her stroll along the path until she came
to the lake, where geese and ducks swam waiting for
popcorn or bread tossed by children.

Resting on a  bench and watching the children on the
playground with shouts and screams of joy, Mothers or
nannies nearby to aid if needed.

Time passed without realizing it lost in thought of nothingness
it had been this way since the doctors report. Hard to wrap
your mind around something like this when your alone, not even
a best friend or even a casual girlfriend to call. such is the
solitary life she chose and now, now she knows what all the
years of aloneness cost her in the end.

For that is what it is for her the end, end of a lifetime.
Stage four terminal, forty~four years of life, seems four
is her lucky number, should she play the lotto? If she won
what would she do travel, chase a cure, leave it to who or
what? Cancer research maybe, wouldn’t that be a hoot.

Laid to rest what was left of her cancer ravaged body,
no one but the mortuary attendant and the burial crew
to even say a pray. the doctor attended briefly just long
to say it was a shame  she could have had treatment that
would have given another five to seven years but she refused
said what was done was done. She requested that to be
inscribed on a very small stone her name :
Juliette Edwina Jefferson
May 4th, 1950 ~ May 9th, 1994
“WHAT WAS DONE WAS DONE”


AFTERNOON DELIGHT

A quiet neighborhood bar where the clientele during the day
belonged to the geriatric set.
Come three – four of an afternoon the plant workers stopped for
a cold one as the elders went on home for dinner.
As night approached the clientele became that of fun loving bikers
and wannabes. Hard drinking, hard playing and their hard women.The bartender was young and

infatuated with the one they called Cowboy
although he had an ‘old lady’. She wanted him so badly even though she knew
it was wrong , he had that magnetism, charisma that few have.
He wasn’t really handsome just rough and thin, rangy some might say.
The attraction went both ways and both knew it would not come to
fruition without heavy scheming. She was afraid of her husband, he of his
‘ol lady’ but not fearful enough to consider not meeting for what they both
wanted.The passion seemed to boil every time they laid eyes on one another.
The cheating songs played on the jukebox seemed to make them yearn
for one another even more, and to become even more determined.Finally he found a way, there was a room above the bar that had been a
rental for the former owner but this one used it as storage.
Cowboy told him he needed a place to crash between shifts due to overtime
and the long drive home and back, so he rented the room for twenty-five dollars
for the week.Tuesday afternoon before her shift at six, meeting at three, oh she couldn’t wait
she bathed and powdered, bought new lingerie wore her favorite shirt and jeans.
Her stomach rolled and her mouth was dry when she wrote the note telling
her husband she had errands to run prior to work.Climbing the stairs to the apartment her legs shook, she had never done this before and she was apprehensive but oh she wanted him!He welcomed her with a hug  and a kiss that had them both gasping when finished, they made their way to the bed pulling and tugging clothes , touching and pulling closer in a frenzied state.Finally consummation, he came so quickly she had no idea it had started it seemed. He apologized then
rose from the bed and went into the rest room coming out he started dressing saying thanks babe that was great want to meet tomorrow you can use the shower here if you want.She shook her head as he sauntered through the door , she could her his boots clicking on the  stairs a happy sound it seemed, she looked out the window in time to see him toss his cowboy hat into the air like a conquering hero.
She began to cry as she walked to the shower, that was it she thought, that was it? What a fool I have been! Never again she swore, never again.

~~~~~~
She sat on the cool dew dampened cushion
sipping her coffe as the steam escaped
listening to the quiet of early morn

No longer able to sleep alone
too many years together in that ocean bed
She chuckles.. how after 15 years of a king
he demanded a Queen as he was tired of chasing
her across the bed.

Oh the times they had in their
years together weaving their
families into one, loving all of
the children the same wanting only
the best for all.

His later years were saddened by the way
they forgot them and ‘didn’t care’
his heart grew bitter towards them but
then he’d cry when he missed them so and
couldn’t understand.
Oh Lord what a peaceful morning and here
she is all melancholy missing him after all this time

Remembering when she first noticed his slips in memory
When he became lost 2 miles from home, when he couldn’t
remember his faithful companion anymore. When he couldn’t
remember her anymore. that hurts more than she ever thought
it would.

Won’t be long now they say he slips more and more each day.
He lived his life they way he knew and wanted and she brought
him happiness she knows. Someday she may
write of how ‘The Outlaw stole the Lady’s heart’
MADDIE
Maddie parked her car at the curb and shut the engine off.  She sat and stared at the old two-story brick house, remembering how it looked when
the brick was that deep rich Burgundy red, how the big front porch  covered,  painted  white  was nice to sit under when it rained.
Looking at the big Mulberry tree where she once played with her toys and had dress-up tea parties, the row of boxwoods that was the dividing line between the properties,
so many years have gone by, the bricks now painted white; the porch cover gone and a little overhang above the door painted a garish neon blue. The old cottonwood that stood at the back of the property had given way in a storm years ago, the Chieftain Newspaper came  and took photos as it was determined to be  the oldest tree in town at over two hundred years, a lot of memories were in that old tree and tree house; good memories that made her sad.
She had not been back  home since before her Gram and uncle passed, she didn’t even come back when her father passed just had his ashes sent to her. Her two aunts called saying do you want this or that when they put the house on the market;  but she said no, in her depression she couldn’t think clearly.  Now, now she wished she had paid closer attention, but everyone had died so quickly and within what seemed such a short time of each other. How her grief still clung to her, there is no one left in this town she grew up in that even knows her name or what became of her or her family, so easy it seems once an entire family that lived and loved and fought here can just be gone no blood ties of that family left.  Why did she bother coming back driving over six hundred miles she hasn’t quite figured out only that the joy or peace she sought was not found here,  it’s like feeling homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist.

LAST DAY
Cheri’ woke with the suns brilliance streaming through the east window of her bedroom, stretching,
her heart felt as heavy as her eyelids and every bone in her body had an ache. Groaning she brought herself up from the bed not bothering to straighten the linens, kicking the pillow that fell from the bed out of the way to the powder room.

Shuffling to the kitchen she starts the two cup coffee brewer, that’s all the doctor will allow anymore, humph at her age what is a few cups of coffee  going to hurt she asked him, didn’t much care for his answer the old coot, time for him to retire. Dragging out the toaster and the box of oatmeal, she prepares her breakfast.
When all is ready she sits at the red and chrome dinette table with the vinyl seat covers now torn and tattered, like her, Cheri’ thought, the once bright kitchen gone drab and dirty through her lack of energy and want to; she tried to heavy clean three or four years ago but lacked the energy the pain was also not a good result of the attempt. Now she just doesn’t care anymore and waits impatiently for her life to end. Opening her Bible she reads a chapter, although she can recite it word for word chapter and verse; it has been read, preached and taught to her all sixty-two years of her life.

When finished she places her cup and bowl in the old chipped sink, rinsing them to wash up later at the end of day. Going from the kitchen through the hallway to the sitting room, not seeing or paying attention to the dust that rises from the old carpet with each shuffle she takes, the rugs haven’t seen a vacuüm in years. Reaching the corner built-in cabinet she pulls on the knob and it comes off in her hand. Looking around she sees a letter opener on the end table picking it up she uses it to pry the door open.

Taking out a photo album and a framed one too, she drags her thin stooped shouldered body back to the small kitchen. Settling down she wraps the threadbare faded pink chenille robe about her frail body, she loves this old robe her sons  gave it to her for her fiftieth birthday, twelve years ago, back when life was good and chronic diseases like Fibromyalgia and heart disease had not been diagnosed.
Propping the photo against the condiments in the center of the table she opens the album to journey through the memories of long ago, when she was a wife and a mother of two strapping twin boys to care for.

Now with both boys gone before their time  in a rollover accident three and a half years ago, all she has left was this album of past birthday and Mother’s Day cards. So many photos of the boys playing football, baseball, and wrestling in the front yard; Christmas and Halloween; and with their Dad frolicking in the yard. Lord, how she misses Gene gone now on three years died of a broken heart, but she misses her sons the most.
Beginning to cry, her tears dropping to the photo she has brought to her breast, and on the fragile homemade cards.

She wipes the tears from them with a napkin from the center of the table  rising  to put them back where they belong in their proper place to be brought out another day. A good cry and she felt better some days, today not so much and she had to get ready to go to the bank and to the market.

Today she will make the last payment to the cemetery on the head-stones, she borrowed the money against the house to pay for the boys funerals and their headstone. She had borrowed again when Gene passed and with this payment they can set his stone, she was anxious to see it but as the buses didn’t run outside of city limits it would probably be when they put her in the ground she would get a look then, with her name and date right next to his, then they would all be together again.

Going into the bedroom she makes her bed and prepares for her outing, pinning her waist length heavy hair up in a braided bun and slipping on a pair of jeans and a light sweater, she got cold so easy due to the heart condition she supposed. Going back to her dressing table in the corner she applies a bit of blush and a pale lipstick, grabbing her purse making sure she has keys, glasses and a few bus tokens, she walks through to the kitchen making sure all is off, no sense in coming back to a house burnt down through her forgetfulness.

Shuffling slowly as the pain is very bad today but she has to keep moving, she crosses into the entry and opens the heavy oak door carved so intricately and the beautiful stained glass transom window above it.

She stops for a minute as she locks up to remember how they decided to buy the house based solely on this door and stained glass transom. Laughing she turns shuffling across the wide porch to grab the railing as she steps slowly down the steps to the sidewalk.  Looking down she sees in the concrete two small hand-prints with the names James and John written underneath, then the heart Gene drew in the wet concrete with both their initials and the year inside it. She welled up again and a tear rolled off her cheek. She sees nothing else as she falls face first clutching her heart her, last thought  the love for her beloved Gene and the boys.


NUMBNESS

Memories dart to the corners of the mind
Like bolts of lightening…lighting up
things best forgot.
Like a worm inching through an apple chomping at thoughts and ideas
unearthing the fear, nerves and anxiety.
A little girl so frightened when he spoke her name, or gave that look,
held her hand and scratched her palm, a little girl so scared she wet herself.
Mercifully the blank, empty zone takes over~~numbing memories.
~~~~~
LOVE ME
Falling in  love was so easy
time and again it was easy
to give my heart and body away
each time different each the same
I was clinging, possessive, suffocating
love me, love me, need me, please
love me enough to keep me.
~~~~
PARADE OF SHAME

‘Skinny minny, spider legs, flower sack girl”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,

And yes your words hurt me”

The words echo in my adult head

repeating over time and forever.

Hearing them while tears pour down

down my chapped reddened cheeks.

“Snot nose, snot nose, spider legs has a snot nose” they chant.

Hearing my saddle Oxford’s hit the tile floor of the hallway,

running from the playground to hide in the girl’s bathroom.

Numbing my mind, WHY, what have I ever done to them?

Crushed, self-worth demolished, worthless, these words resounding

through my mind each hour of each day.

Walking the halls to the classroom, walking the parade of shame,

feeling the eyes, feeling the scorn.
****
In this drawer a box worn and tattered
tossed about with my many unseens
Photos, some color most black and white
Of family and friends some happy some serene

Stories of their lives captured forever
In these photos I will always treasure
If only I knew who, what, where and when
I could bring their stories to life again

Should this be the fate of photos today
stories, faces and memories tossed away?
Please take time to make the marks
It takes but a little time to write a name
to the one who’s photo snapped
An age, a place, giving them a bit of fame
Mark them clearly if you can like a map

So your loved ones aren’t lost in a box

stuffed in the drawer full of sox.

***My grandfather Carlos and my Uncle Tim, Texas about 1908-09***
PUBLIC  ANNOUNCEMENT: Mother Nature we all know it does not make you happy to be 3rd in line for running the world after God and His son Jesus, but we are begging you to please quit taking it out on we mere mortals !

I am not sure you realize the effects of your being this upset is having on we mere mortals. We are truly suffering from your day to day tantrums. Those days when the sun shines and the clouds are all fluffy and white; we can look up and smile. But when you throw a temper tantrum these times of a few days of sunshine and warmth then dumping inches of snow, tree and power line breaking, ice snapping, bone chilling cold is just too much.
You see there is this thing called “CABIN FEVER” it is defined as: extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time. You Missy have caused many a heated argument between husbands and wives, children, and other members of multiple households lately. All because you are in some type of snit and are making us pay for your misery!
You have caused illness with colds and flu, achy creaky bones, pneumonia and all sorts of other sicknesses.

All of the calendars say Spring has arrived…Oh I just figured it out you are not upset with third place YOU have lost your glasses again and cannot see the date!!! Ok news flash (please have someone read this to you instead of squenching up your face like that, didn’t your mother ever tell you that your face will freeze like that? No, well if it doesn’t you will at least get more wrinkles and Oil of Olay can only do so much!) It is SPRING wonderful beautiful Spring, you know where you get to shine, painting the grass beautiful shades of green, using oils and acrylics to don flowers their many hues. Tis the time when the birds begin our day with beautiful song, when fruit and nut trees start to bud, when the land can be tilled to plant the wonderful herbs and vegetables you provide.

So please Mother Nature hear this old woman’s plea, find your glasses then give us Spring wonderful beautiful Spring. We all want so badly to throw open windows and let your fresh air in and the dust bunnies out. Thank you for all you do for us and please look harder for those glasses…you do know where your calendar is don’t you?
VALENTINE LOVE

The nursery that had never seen a baby in all the years they had tried for one, she  dragged the old vanity bench from her room to the closet. the old doc had said after the last one lost it was too hard on her body to keep trying.. Climbing upon and reaching to the back of the shelf she pulled out an old paper wrapped box. At one time red but now a faded pink and orange as if from faded sunlight, the doily heart stitched in the center still held. Blowing off the fine film of dust, she stepped carefully from the bench surprised it held while she was on it both being older and she heavier now. Walking over to the cot in the room she sat and gently opened the lid, pieces of the paper flaking off and falling to the thread bare carpet underneath her feet. Tears welled up in her old rheumy eyes as she gazed upon her beloved Jaspers handwriting.
Every card, note, and letter he had ever written was contained in this box she had made when she was but a young girl of ten. Jasper gave her this card right here on Valentine’s Day when she was nine years old. This one when she was thirteen and this one when he proposed, with all the notes through seventy-one years of marriage and this bundle here the letters when he went off to war. Oh how she missed her best friend, husband, companion and lover gone now eleven years and her going to be one hundred one next month, he had been gone twelve years now peacefully in his sleep, she wished she had gone too, for it was just so lonely without him.

She had not thought of these old cards for some time until she had seen the children walking past the house on their way home from school with their little red bags and boxes with hearts. Then she remembered it was Valentine’s Day, their anniversary of eighty –one years she believed; time had done a trick on her memory and especially with arithmetic which she never was any good at anyway, she chuckled to herself.

Ella read the majority of Jaspers cards and letters and as the sun began to set, she opened the old trunk that sat under the window in that room. Taking out a tissue wrapped dress she laid it on the cot with its floor length train and veil as if resting on the pillow. She gazed through rheumy eyes at the yellowing lace remembering and seeing it white as the pure snow and how it flared when they danced that day.
Slipping off her house dress she donned the faded yellow gown surprised it was a near perfect fit she was a little wider in the hip but it did fit. Placing the veil upon her white head she looked in the mirror and time washed away she was eighteen again and Jasper was reaching out his hand standing at the alter smiling.

Newspaper Article.
Ella Rose Ford (nee Jackson) a homemaker of Peach Grove, Georgia found in her home
February 14th,  passed peacefully in her sleep. She was preceded in death
by her husband  Colonel Jasper William Ford of the area.  This would have been the
Fords eighty-first wedding anniversary. No other survivors known.

ENABLER
Misery loves company they say, whoever in the world  ”they” are.
Well I have enough misery for many a lifetime in this one she thought,
ungrateful kids always with the hand out then you don’t see or hear
from them, until the next payday, first of the month they’ll
be bangin’ the door.

Serve them right if I just packed up that old Chevy and went down the road with no forwarding
address.  Ahhh but the grandbabies leaving them would tear her heart out so she just
keeps on doing what she can and doing without for herself.  She can’t explain it to anyone that
asks why she does it, they call her an  ’enabler’ ok I will grant that she says to herself.
Once upon a time she had it all, a good man, career, friends, big showplace home then she became ill and when her
children should have looked out for her they got tied up in their own lives and forgot about her.

So now alone, sick and lonely having to beg for a little help around the old place or pay out of her meager
monthly check, not enough to live on, too much for welfare, not that her pride would let her, starve first she would.
Didn’t trust church people so no help there. Hypocrites all, oh sweet to your face when your in church but talk about you
behind your back and those damn preachers , their hands are out more often than all of her kids combined. Phtt! Three hundred
dollar suits for him and his wife and she going to beauty parlor every week for that fake blond rinse just to look vain up on the pulpit with the preacher.
While how many in their congregation gave their last dollars and eating potaoes all week with little else.
No wonder people steal from one another, can’t survive any other way now a days.

She moved out on the porch to rock for a bit and grumble on and on about her miserable life, she sat there a long time
then got up went inside, peeled a potato and ate it raw …no reason to waste gas trying to cook it she would tell you; but truth
told she hadn’t had the gas on for over a year. No heat, no hot water but she is doing ok if she can just keep electric for lights
if not well she had some old kerosene lamps she had picked up at  an auction many years ago, back in the day when she could afford to  buy that way.

Time for bed she crossed the hall hearing the old wood floors screech like an owl catching a mouse. She had made her bed in the old recliner belonging to her late husband, it was comfortable and smelled like him the arms were bare down to the backing of the faux leather that he always believed real. It was ok if he thought he had a true ‘leather’ recliner. It was broken down now but she couldn’t give up sleeping there, it was the most restful two hours she spent in slumber.

Her youngest son found her looking peacefully asleep two days later, when she  hadn’t answered her phone or the door when he came for the first of the month  check knowing she would give him what he needed . Now the old woman up and died on him, guess he better start looking for something to do for money.
“Son,” asked the EMT ” would you like for us to call other family for you?” ” Naw,” he responded ” let them find out from the paper ” as he walked off down the street with the EMT standing there agape.

Sad ending but so true in many households.
STINGING SALT

Cream skin red from smudged lipstick
Mascaraed tears show on pale cheeks
Bely that once a star of beauty reigned
Tears cried from half-shut swollen eyes
touch bite scarred breast with heat
Stinging open wounds with salt
As she drags her body across the floor
Fingers in pieces as she tries to 9-1-1
He sneaks up to her so close
Grabs a hank of hair……..
Won’t try to call again after all
Bruised gorged eyes now closed
forever.

PRISON
Those four walls, rules, time, disease,
work, school, duties, steel bars, spouses
children
ANYTHING in life can be a prison

Enslaving us by our choices

Television, movies, men,
relationships, women, happiness
children, faith, lies, grief, sadness
bars locked tight in these prisons

So much to entrap us in our prisons
drugs, alcohol, sex, our own homes
hoarding, gluttony, hate even love.

What is your prison? It all is!
You read that correctly,
we are all imprisoned by life
trying to do/be/want better
our circumstances and choices
are up to us, how we react to them
and whether we allow our minds
to lock us  in these things.

Only you have the key to the cell block
of these prisons, the choice is yours.

Copyright 2011-2013 LWC/ myownheart.me
~~~~
A  movie I actually sat down to watch tonight, it was a ‘viewers choice monday movie’ read the guide for Lifetime Movie Network. I didn’t care I just needed oblivion for a while, the hubs is angry today he was reminded that he forgets things which nearly brought blows from him towards our 21-year-old grandson this morning, and it has been hell all day. The alzheimers is getting worse and he is in such denial and my big huggy bear has turned into a grizzly more and more lately. I’m sorry I was going to tell you of this movie titled “Like Dandelion Dust” I don’t know any of the players as I don’t keep up on things like that, anyway it is about a young couple trying to reverse  adoption of their child, a boy, and all that entails, father in prison signature forged .The adoptive parents are very well to do upper elite’ and they are devastated of course. It all comes out in the end  with the child staying with adoptives. A scene in the movie though started me  to thinking, the birth mother has picked a dandelion and told the little boy about the wishes to be made and to blow, of course he wishes to be with the only parents he’s ever known, not his birth parents.  It made me think our lives are like dandelion dust we sprout up quickly with no full head then suddenly we have a beautiful head of yellow shining like the sun and as we sway in the grasses on our stem we get trampled, sprayed with many things, we are plucked, dug out and sometimes burnt. Yet we continue as long as there is a bit of root to sprout again and again until we dry of age and we become gray-headed and now we know we can make it.We learn we are strong and can survive, that our roots go deeper than we ever believed, then as happens in life, someone comes along with a lawnmower and mows us down, then sprays weed killer so that our roots are no more .  Is this not like our cycle of life?
CHRISTMAS EVE
In the darkness of night
Under the stars and moon 
Holiday decor makes us swoon
At the  many windows we see
Flashing lights upon the trees
Fireplaces burning warm and bright
So cozy and warm Christmas Eve night
Mistletoe strategically placed all around
For tomorrow kisses will abound
Family and friends enter the door
Soon paper and ribbons on the floor
Aromas drift through the house
Enticing flavors make mouth water
Soon family and all depart
Leaving presents and feelings of love
That comes from Jesus’ birth 
Our blessing from above. 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Love Story
Megan envisioned her life and the way it was going to be from about the age of twelve…she would be a doctor, marry a man she loved, have two children and live in a nice home. She could even see the man of her dreams meeting her in the emergency room, whether he was injured or helping a friend or family member she was not sure only that she knew this would be where she would find her true love, h e would be in the medical field as well.
Only, ten years out of medical school she still had not found “Mr. Right”, she wasn’t even sure she wanted him now if she did find him. She had her home, her dog and her two children; granted she had adopted them but they were still her babies. Lucas and Lydia, twins born to a mother addicted to meth, the streets and dying of Aids. When they came into the world the twins had a pretty rough time, they were delivered by her in the ER as there was no time to move to delivery when the mother came in .  Megan fell in love with those poor helpless babies from the start,
she loved them even more now that they were hers. So who needed a man?
Arriving home she looked for the children but didn’t see them in the front of the house so she went up to shower and change knowing they must be in the kitchen with Patty the all around ‘wife’ she employed to care for the house, meals and most of all the children. As it was nearing Thanksgiving she was sure they were baking or cooking something together. She finished her personals and went looking for her family, right where she expected  she thought as she heard the laughter from the kitchen.
Entering, she sees they have a guest, but the children are hugging, jumping, shouting “your home mama your home” Patty turns from the stove and gives a wide toothy smile; ” welcome home doctor we are just finishing up, dinner will be ready in about fifteen minutes.”
” Ahem” comes a rough voice from the other side of the kitchen, Patty turns embarrassment
evident as she introduces her nephew Mark from Seattle, here looking for work as a carpenter and hope she didn’t mind he came by for a visit and would it be alright for him to stay for dinner?
Megan turned and looked into the deep, soulful hazel eyes, scanned the raven hair, broad shoulders fine physique of a man and instantly fell deep and hard into love or lust she wasn’t sure, she knew only her heart was racing, pounding as never before,  she felt flushed and warm and oh he was fine, fine, fine  kept running through her mind. Her breathing had even become rapid and her body was being drawn to him…
Christmas eve one year later found the house decorated to the hilt with red and white poinsettia everywhere, ribbon and tulle abundantly used, the  tree decorated in the colors she and Mark had chosen…this was the best Christmas she had ever had, this day her wedding day!

TIS THE SEASON
Tis the season to be jolly so they sing hang mistletoe and holly decorations all aglow people shopping in a flow I sit at home all alone for sins I atone missing kith and kin to hell with that where’s the gin
WINTER FUN
There’s  a  crispiness in the air
Smell of pine and cedar drift
Above clouds of breath
Shrieks of laughter and fun
Peal from the hill, waxed sled runners
Cardboard sleds, hubcaps,even your bottom anything will do
Doesn’t matter the way today,  more snow on the way!

DANCE ON ICE Come play with me in the snow Let’s dance on the ice nice and slow I will kiss your lips to keep them warm Hug you tight to keep you from harm Lets dance on the ice nice and slow With twists and turns and pirouettes I will kiss your lips to keep them warm Hug you tight to keep you from harm

 

CANDLE IN THE WINDOW Placed the candle in the window Hung the wreath upon the door As been done so many times before The wreath to welcome you with it’s crisp scent of cedar The candle to light your way and the loved ones so far away We will visit, laugh , tell the same stories Many this year of you, your life, none boring From up above I hope you can see The love we have for you and your favorite ornament on the tree. Look down from Heaven Beautiful Angel. Let the candle in the window Guide your heart home this year.

HOLIDAY COOKING
Twenty-four pounder in the refrigerator thawing
A twelve pound ham will wait it’s turn in the freezer
Hubs wondering why he can find nothing and goes to pawing
IN cabinets and fridge in frustration mumbling like an old geezer.
Potatoes need bought, extra milk and butter too
For all the particular people that will be attending this zoo.
One doesn’t like peas, another dislikes onion
This one wants broccoli rice, another green bean casserole
Then there is always the annoying one tthinks he’s the fun one
Always in the kitchen under my feet under the guise of “Helping”or a lick
Help me by getting out of my kitchen,  let me cook or I may forget
and give your  ankle a kick.This one won’t eat pumpkin pie, that one no gravy
And this one “Don’t touch my gravy with the meat “as I try to serve
Then there is the one that says sure not as good as—–
How rude can you be? I graciously listen and do not speak
You will get your comeuppance after dinner at the kitchen sink!!LORD, help me to prepare this  meal with love and thankfulness
for family,  friends and those that have blessed us in all ways.
GOD, give me kind words, thoughts and deeds  for those that interrupt me
when all they want is to spend time with me ( I hope).
FATHER  help me realize time spent making memories is more important
than a meal.
Thank you Lord God for the abundance of blessings.~~Amen

THE CHRISTMAS WISH
Oh he hated taking a bath, getting all slicked up but he had to admit he did feel better and definitely smelled better.
Pacing back and forth, hearing the doors open and close with so many going through and not coming back he was beginning to worry about what was happening on the other side.
Once in a while he would hear people saying things like “Oh look at those big eyes or she is sooo cute” but who, what were they talking about?
Soon the noise of the door opening and closing became quieter and not so often, he settled down to take a nap and dozing off began to dream when ‘BANG’ the big door slammed back against the wall… “Come on big boy, someone wants to see you” He began to shake and whine he was afraid to go through that door what if he didn’t come back?
As he was led through the big noisy door he saw a boy of about ten with a huge smile on his face…”See mom that’s Max, the German Shepherd, he’s the one I want he’s my Christmas Wish!

WHAT SHALL YOU GIVE

SEASON of giving fast approaching
WHAT SHALL YOU GIVE
ARE you better at receiving
IS  it all about ‘give me, give me
IS this how you live
OR are you being secretive
GIVING love abundantly

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Msalissbeth stood on the kitchen chair looking straight in the eye of
her father. 
“Daddy please, we can’t miss this year we can’t, 
please Daddy can we go?
“Get your coat and mittens” he said sighing. He had proposed to Penny on top of the old Muelbach Hotel roof on a night like this

just as the lights came on. Now six months had gone by he missed her so badly.

“Daddy don’t cry mommy is the shining -star at the top of the tree, remember that’s where she said she would be, the one with the pink ribbon.” Msalissbeth reached her mitten hand for his and squeezed tight, just as all the lights came on.

WINTER

DRESSED in winters ivory lace
WINTER washes with a hoary frost

JOY

In keeping with the season upon us:

HEARTS COMING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAY
KNOWING THERE IS A TURKEY IN THE OVEN

LOGS ON THE FIRE,  STOCKINGS HUNG
A FRESH CUT TREE IN THE FAMILY ROOM
WET MITTENS, SNOW BOOTS, RED NOSE
MINCE AND PUMPKIN SMELLS
WHISPERS, GIGGLES, RIBBON EVERYWHERE
CHILDREN’S LAUGHTER AND SHOUTS
LITTLE ARMS AROUND THE NECK
HEARING “LUV YOU GRAM”
CAROLING IN THE SQUARE

INVITING THOSE LESS FORTUNATE OR ALONE
TO ENJOY OUR BLESSING. ..BLESSINGS IN RETURN
ADOPTING A FAMILY,  THE ANGEL TREE GIFTS
GIVING FROM OUR HEARTS , COMFORT, LOVE AND
SHELTER WHEN NEEDED TO ALL WE CAN.
CELEBRATING CHRISTS BIRTHDAY ,
THIS GIVES AND IS WHAT JOY IS TO ME

~~~
Poinsettias flowers on mantel
Garland brightly draped with lights
Ribbon draped and curled
Stockings hanging so pretty….EMPTY!!

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A purple gingham apron
On the Second day of Christmas my true love gave to me …
A  Paula Dean apron and mitt
On the Third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A Gordon Ramsey set of knives
On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A Wolfgang Puck cookware set
On the Fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Five Tom Turkeys…live
On the Sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A 20 jar revolving spice rack
On the Seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A Southern Living Cookbook
On the Eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A stainless steel convection oven
On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A stainless steel microwave
On the Tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A dozen Pyrex bake ware set
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
25 pounds of flour, sugar and a rolling pin
On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
NOTHING , I KICKED HIM OUT THE DOOR WITH ALL HIS CRAZY GIFTS
Singing ” All I wanted for Christmas were RESERVATIONS for dinner!”

THE CHRISTMAS WISH

Oh he hated taking a bath, getting all slicked up but he had to admit he did feel better and definitely smelled better.
Pacing back and forth, hearing the doors open and close with so many going through and not coming back he was beginning to worry about what was happening on the other side.
Once in a while he would hear people saying things like “Oh look at those big eyes or she is sooo cute” but who, what were they talking about?
Soon the noise of the door opening and closing became quieter and not so often, he settled down to take a nap and dozing off, began to dream when ‘BANG’ the big door slammed back against the wall… “Come on big boy, someone wants to see you” He began to shake and whine he was afraid to go through that door what if he didn’t come back?
As he was led through the big noisy door he saw a boy of about ten with a huge smile on his face…”See mom that’s Max, the German Shepherd, he’s the one I want, he’s my Christmas Wish!

DEAR SANTA,
It is seventeen days until your visit, and I want you to know I have been good this year, I know, I know, I fell off my diet and I even yelled at a loved one but Santa I have been extra good in other areas, I fed, clothed and housed others, gave my love freely, praised and worshiped the Father daily, sooo what do ya think? Good right?
Okay! Here’s my wish list:
1) a food processor so that I may prepare foods for others more quickly
2) a warm coat and gloves for every homeless person in my area
3) a home for my daughter and g-son
4) enough food on our table to feed strangers
5) my youngest daughter and her family to come home
6) a stop to the unrest in America
7) threats to Israel to cease and desist
8) my hubs to stop being stubborn and see doctors
9) that ALL my blogging poets, writers and friends receive what they need and want
There is more but I do not want to appear too selfish. Oh wait one more I need a reasonably priced plumber that will fix my leaky bath faucet…that drip drip drip drip is making me more daft than I really need to be so please  put this as my tenth wish.
I usually leave those chocolate cookies for you with your milk but I have noticed that Mrs. Claus had to let your pants out a bit and the notch on your belt is really straining so this year I am  leaving you skim milk and sugar free wafers. Let Rudolph know the treats for all the reindeer are on the back deck this year, oh wait that would be the deck off the master so the west deck, I added extra zoom dust to the reindeer feed as there are so many deliveries this year and I know how Mrs. Claus worries when your out too late, this should help the reindeer, as for you moving faster… well maybe you should bring Henry your head elf this year he can zip in and out the chimney or  squeeze through the door easier and faster than you have ever witnessed. Besides, he could do one home while your at another, you would get done quicker and before you know it home in the recliner with one of the elves giving you a foot massage and Mrs. Claus making you a rich chicken soup.
Remember I have been good, hope to see you soon. God bless!!!~~~Len Carver

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
TWAS the night before Jesus came and all through the house, not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care, in hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed, not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear but angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!
The light of His face made me cover my head; it was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth, I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in His hand was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; When He said ” It’s not here” my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love he gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound while all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it ws too late; I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight: oh if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when it comes the last call, we’ll find that the Bible was true after all!
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
The house was decorated with an abundance of lights
Candles sat in the windows waiting for the dark of night
The tree decorated with tinsel and baubles  looking so pretty
Another lighted beacon to guide home our missing beauty
Gone for so many, this great number of years
The family gathered happily,yet inside each a rain of  tears
The greatest of all, the Mother whose broken
In heart and spirit, depression always never forsaken
Come home my child, protect her, she prays each day
Oh God protect her each and every day, guide her way
As she  lights the candles, turns on the lights
Mother counts her missing, how many nights?
CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
1980~ Someone from a local church adopted our family that year, from the tree to the gifts and food. The tree was the largest we had ever had and we had no idea how to make it stand up but I remembered seeing others with a wood criss – cross board nailed to the bottom so off to the garage I went looking for wood and tools. I found a hammer, three really long nails and in a pile of scrap wood and the surprise a nest with six baby mice all pink and squiggly. Thinking I really did not want mice I quickly removed them to a bucket of water and set them outside the walkout door of the garage, continuing my search for just the right pieces of wood to make a stand for this tree, don’t judge me I hate mice!
Eventually I had to settle for one piece approximately 8 inches long about 3 inches wide and  a piece of 2×4 about 10 inches in length. Not knowing what I was doing was a true understatement, but between my oldest daughter and I, we fancied a stand for that tree and if I must say so myself a darn good one.
We had so much fun popping popcorn and stringing it, we had very few  lights but what we had we used by draping very near to the ends and placing aluminum foil around and on the trunk of the tree so the lights would reflect. We braided all the hair ribbons we could find and even tore a few old threadbare nighties into strips  for garland. We ironed leaves from the yard in between wax paper and cut it into shapes of baubles and stars then we did scraps of crayon in the wax paper to spell out Happy Birthday Jesus, still the tree looked pretty barren, but there had been a can of spray snow from years past in the basement so we sprayed the tips of the tree and even the picture window was sprayed with a huge circle to frame the best decorated part of that tree.
This is my favorite Christmas memory as we had just been through an abusive (police involved in his removal) situation with my soon to be ex at the time and we needed the joy and comfort of our love for one another and the celebration of Jesus’ birthday as the start of  healing for us.
I don’t remember what we had as gifts that year not many, I am sure I made something for the girls and they had gifts from the church, my gift was the happiness on the three little faces each night as we sat by that tree with its straggly lights and homemade baubles reading Christmas stories or from our Bible. Oh what I wouldn’t give to have a little bit of that happiness in my life today, just those three shining faces.

~~~~

MEMORIES

Our eyes all wet and teary
Memories  keep us warm
Sentimental yet cheery
Family descends in swarm
Buzzing like bumble bees
Making new precious memories
~~~~

The dime was just laying there on the sidewalk, Sean ran over it with his bike, he  had just got the training wheels off of it and now he was riding like the big kids. Mom said he could ride as long as he stayed out of the street go only on the sidewalk and to stop and move over when people were walking on it. It was hard because he wanted to see how fast he could go, he couldn’t do that on the sidewalk.

But what about the dime, should he pick it up, it didn’t belong to anyone now did it? His Sunday school teacher had said it was a sin to take what didn’t belong to you. But how would anyone know and he was saving for a horn for his bike. Oh what to do, twice he bent down to pick it up but didn’t. Then he remembered, he walked his bike over to the hedge around Mrs. Whites house leaned his bike up against them and put his hands together and bowed his head.

“Dear God, this is Sean McCraig in Akron, Ohio and I need your help if you could. I found this dime on the sidewalk but you already know that don’t you, God okay, what do I do God? Is it okay to take the dime or do I leave it? God if you could talk to me like you talk to mom and dad and the preacher where I can hear you I would know what to do, thank you God. I love you with my whole heart Amen.

Sean walked over to where the dime was lying and just looked down at it, an old man with his dog that he had never seen before walked by and the man said “It’s ok pick it up, it belongs to you now and he reached out to touch Seans
shoulder and a quarter dropped to the sidewalk. “Sir you dropped …..” The man and dog were gone, a voice came to Sean saying “it is yours as well my son.” Sean got the strangest feeling over his whole body like goosebumps and he shivered. Picking up both coins he jumped on his bike racing down the sidewalk to home to tell his mom  that he had seen God and his dog and show her the quarter and dime.

 


transition

The hospital bed was so uncomfortable now
It had been her twenty-four hour spot
For too long , it was uncomfortable and hot
Sheets wrinkled, pillow flat, blankets in a bunch
Not strong enough to turn, or give pillow a punch
Family left her here, getting on with life of their own
A mother, wife, grandmother, sister, aunt but alone
Love professed over and over through the years
Now lying here with an aching heart and tears
A good heart , a good woman, yet alone now
Meeting her savior today, alone, how will they feel, how?
A circle of life complete with faith love and peace
A smile upon the wrinkled leathered face
transition so near no regret no fear
As a silent crystal bead rolls down her cheek
The diamond tear.
WITNESS
DOUBLED FISTS POUNDING FLESH
BRUISES APPEAR CUTS BLEED
WHAT DOES HE WANT… WHAT DOES HE NEED
SHE CAN NOT STAND, TO GET AWAY
HE PICKS HER UP AND HITS AGAIN
THROWS HER ON THE BED, RAPES HER
ZIPS HIS PANTS PUNCHES HER FACE
ONE MORE TIME, TURNS TO LEAVE,
SEES THE SILENT WITNESS. HER
3 YR OLD, HE WALKS OUT, NOT
WORRIED AS HER MOMA
TAKES HER LAST BREATH
 

         THE FENCE ALL SHE EVER WANTED WAS TO BE LEFT ALONE AFTER THE DEATH OF HER HUSBANDSHE WANTED TO WALK AMONG HER MEMORIES, GO BACK IN TIME WITHIN HER MINDREAD HER BIBLE PREPARING FOR HER OWN DEMISE, HOPING GOD’S PLAN WAS SOONSHE DIDN’T WANT ANYMORE CASSEROLES, CAKES OR PIES NO OFFERS OF COFFEE OR TEA.OH, SHE KNEW THEY ALL MEANT WELL, SHE SURVIVED SEVENTY~THREE YEARS ONTHIS EARTH AND DEALT WITH PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. NOW, NOW SHE WANTED TO SITON THE PORCH IN THE EARLY DAWN WITH A TOWEL ON THE CHAIR TO SOAK UP THE DEW AND THE GOOD BOOK  OR HER BOOK OF BIRDS , SHE WOKE THE BIRDS UP MOST MORNS.THE NEIGHBOR TO THE EAST WAS A BUSY BODY HE KNEW EVERY LITTLE THING THAT TOOKPLACE AROUND HERE AND ALWAYS HAD THAT INFORMATION TO IMPART. HE GREETED HEREVERY MORNING WITH A SHOUT OF HELLO AND COULD HE DO ANYTHING FOR HER …HEHEHESMARMY PERVERT WAS HE. THE ONE ACROSS THE ROAD WAS THE ONE POT WONDER COOK,THAT WOMAN DID NOT KNOW HOW TO COOK UNLESS IT WAS ALL TOGETHER AND MUSHY.SO SHE HAD STARTED GATHERING ON HER WALKS BOARDS OF EVERY DESCRIPTION, SIZE,TYPE AND COLOR.  ONE FINE TUESDAY SHE REALIZED SHE HAD ENOUGH, WALKINGTO THE HARDWARE STORE SHE BOUGHT SUPPLIES THAT HER HUSBAND DID NOT HAVE IN THE WOOD~SHOP HE HAD LEFT IN THE GARAGE.NEXT MORNING WOKE THE NEIGHBORS WITH HER POUNDING, SAWING AND SINGINGYES SINGING, FOR SHE WAS FINALLY  GOING TO HAVE THE MORNINGS TO HERSELFAND THE BIRDS.  WHEN SHE HAD FINISHED LATE THAT AFTERNOON ALL THE NOSY NEIGHBORSKNEW SHE HAD BUILT HERSELF A FENCE AND IT HAD NO GATE NO WELCOME SIGN, IT WAS THE UGLIEST THING THEY ALL AGREED.TO CATHERINE SPARROW THAT FENCE WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART SHE HADEVER ENJOYED AND NO, THERE WAS NO GATE FOR SHE DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE NOR DIDSHE WANT ANYONE IN. RECALLING MEMORIES OF HER YEARS WITH HOWARD AND HOWIE JUNIOR BOTH NOW GONE, JUST WAITING FOR HER SHE KNEW. UNTIL THEN SHE WOULD JUST ENJOY HER PRIVACY AND WHEN SHEWAS TALKING TO ONE OR BOTH OF THEM , NO ONE COULD POINT THEIR FINGER TO THEIR TEMPLEAND DRAW CIRCLES WITH THEIR FINGERS. SHE WAS FINALLY HAPPY.RUNAWAY


Huddling in the doorway cold, hungry, hurting
that last john did a job on her, really bad dude
no where to go, no one to help.
Thought leaving home would end sexual abuse
didn’t know then how she would have to live or
what she would have to do to live.
Oh why hadn’t momma believed her and helped her?
glad she had lost that perverts baby, but she had not
felt right since.
“Hey, hey you can’t sleep here” the cop beating his
night stick against the building.
Looking up in fear and pain, the cop gasped at the
look of her face
he immediately called for emt’s this girl needed help
desperately
She was so sick she couldn’t protest any longer
Malnourished, severe infections, so infected she would
have to have a hysterectomy……at the age of fifteen
If she didn’t she would not live.
assigned a case worker he went in front of a judge to
get permission for her to have the surgery, her mother
had denied even having a daughter even after being
told how sick she was.
two weeks later she was placed in foster care, the Mrs.
was sympathetic but she knew that look in the eye of
the Mr.
She was cold but not sick, curled up in that doorway
waiting for the next John one more she could rent a
warm room for the night.

 

 M’LADY

Come away! O, human child!
To the water and the wild With a fairy hand-in-hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping
Than you can understand.

-W.B.Yeats.-

It was m’lady’s night and all must be set right
All the leprechaun’s came out this night
The ladies in waiting did not~ could not wait
For the stars in  heaven must shine upon the gate
While  bathed forest floor in gold dust
Fairies positioned the stars on the gate just so
Ladies in waiting rushed  in silver ‘n gold
The dust placed on each leaf in gentle fold
Soon the mighty trumpets of Elfin Land
heralded  the one of this forest stand
Carriage drawn by two green lizards
Guided by m’ladies resident wizards
Came upon the  gate opened by  a leprechaun
Gold ‘n silver lights of dust lit  as if  to warn of the
 stop, green lizards did obey
All silent not a whisper not a “hush”
As  gossamer winged bats ‘n butterflies
From the golden  dust did rise
Opening  door of  m’lady grand
The Mother Nature of this
She looked about and with a nod
Held each dainty foot to a leprechaun
‘N without a sound they did move forward
Behaving properly, not untoward
Removed dainty leather boots with gossamer laces
Mi’Lady bare toes smiled at their shiny faces
She Touched each one  leaving traces
Of her soft gentle touch ‘n with a prance
‘N she began to dance ‘n dance ‘n dance

****

Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photo Credit: Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy

Walking on the beach and there it was, shhhh can’t tell I was on the beach, that is a ‘punishable offense ‘one of Dad’s stupid rules.  I found it! Terry thought to himself,’’ the original model of the world hahaha.”

 I can fix it I have tools, tape and my laptop, just let them say I am good for nothing now. They won’t be saying that when they live in the “FACILITY” instead of us ‘crazies’, wonder how they will feel taking  those pills, being slapped around given shock treatments bet they won’t like it.

FIRST POSTED

All the toys are in their proper places
Baby dolls with curly hair, teddy bears
with ragged arms, puppy dogs and kittens too.

“Now,” four year old Ashley says to them,
“tomorrow is a big day, mommy said some of
you will get to ride in the car. I get to go too,
but first I have to choose who gets to go”.

This makes the toys feel anxious as they did
not understand  ”a ride in the car” and the unknown
makes little boys, girls and toys very anxious.

“What do you mean?” they asked. Many just
trembled, the toy soldiers  shook so
hard they fell from the shelf to the floor.

“O, no need to be afraid ” Ashley says as she
sets the soldiers back in place. The toy train next
to them gives a small wailing “toot, toot” with
tears in his eyes.
Ashley picks up Teddy and gives him a big hug as
she climbs upon her bed.
“Please don’t be afraid, you will have new children
to play with. Mommy says they are* infortunated*
cause they are poor and it will make them very
happy to have you under their tree on Christmas
morning.”
The toys are still murmuring among themselves
each one wondering “will Ashley pick me?”

“Dollies please don’t spill your tea on the little
girl you go to live with and keep your shoes
and socks on please. Cars and trains remember
not to run on the floors that will scratch, be very
quiet when the Daddy’s sleep no tooting horns
or blowing whistles. Member how red Daddy’s
face got when he took his nap and we woke him?”
she asks giggling. The little toy train and the cars all
beeped their horns or blew their whistles in laughter.

“Teddy, puppies and kittens remember to keep the
monsters away and hug your new mommy or daddy
when they are afraid.”
“Books and movies, don’t grumble when you are
read or watched over and over.”

With that Ashley began to choose her well loved toys to
go to other homes and make other boys and girls happy.
Mommy said it was time she learned that to give  is better
than to receive, whatever that means.  She said to choose
a lot of toys to go because there are many children
without toys.  ”Isn’t that sad?” she asks a Barbie
“we have to do for those less *umfortuited*, mommy said”

Ashley gathered many many toys, she filled two big
boxes giving a hug, kiss or a whisper to each one.
When she was finished she said..
” I love you and if I can I will come visit you, please
don’t be afraid, your new homes may not be like
this home, but mommy says you will be loved
even more now.”

Ashley was tired after all that work so she picked
up Teddy from his pillow on her bed gave him a big hug
and yawned very wide.  Momma peeked in later, then
entered the room and smiled looking into the
boxes each one filled to the brim with the words “jftrd kezd” *
written in bright purple crayon on the sides.
Looking around the room and in the toy box she
realized the size of Ashley’s heart was bigger than the
four year old herself.
She kissed Ashley’s brow and whispered “Merry Christmas
my beautiful girl.” Her heart filled with pride.

* unfortunate*
*unfortunate kids*

PAUL

Paul was a seven year old rough and tumble boy, very much to his mothers chagrin.
She was trying to prepare dinner for her new boss and his wife and Paul was determined
to throw her off schedule and make more messes than she had time to clean up.

He arrived from school wound up tight as a spring in a garage door. He had finally
climbed to the top of the rope in gym class and it was an amazing feat, for Paul
was small for his age and did not have a lot of upper body strength.
They had been riding their bikes  since she had lost her job, more to save money
than building his strength but an added benefit for both, they had grown closer as a
result too.

Tonight he just wouldn’t settle,  he had whizzed by the table just as she had placed the
cloth and fresh flowers catching the corner of the cloth, she moved the table just a few inches
to cover the wet spot; thrown out the broken flowers and  replaced the tablecloth this time
placing a crystal bowl of fruit with a candle in the center as her center piece.

Sue had been looking for a job and after two years  an opening in the ad agency
she had wanted back in her college days opened and she applied. She had
worked a few server jobs, a cashier and a freight ~ stocker but those had all been
temporary positions. Now the boss and his wife wanted to meet to go over the final
paperwork and give her a new account to work on while they traveled Europe. This had
to go well so Paul better act right.  Where was he? “Paul, Paul?”  no answer, she
quickly checked the food and went to look for him.

Sue found him in his room covered in paint, more on him than the walls and the carpet
groaning inside at the mess and expense, then anger “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?”
she practically screamed “and why now Paul , I told you we were having special guests tonight.”
“But mom you said when you got a new job we could paint my room”  he stated. Oh drat she
thought I did say that didn’t I?   “Son, I didn’t mean right away and not this color, where did you get this?”
“From the garage it was the only one there” Sue didn’t remember what they had ever bought that
hideous orange for but there it was, pumpkin orange on the blue wall, her child and the gray carpet.
The doorbell and the oven timer rang at the same time. She threw the dishtowel in her hand at
Paul told him to wipe his face  and hands then answer the door; while she ran to the kitchen.

The next thing she heard was a deep booming laughter and her boss saying “Boy you are a delight”
Velma and Lee Snyder of Snyder Inc. were being entertained by her son in all his mess evidently.
She removed her apron brushed back her hair with one hand and went to greet their guests.

Hello, I see you have met my Picasso,” trying not to show stress as she shook hands with both of her guests.
Ushering them out of the doorway into the living room she offered them drinks , or wine. “Neither ” they both
said at once then laughed at each other. Lee explained that they were both recovering alcoholics 23 years for each.
“But, you go ahead Sue” “Oh no,” Sue said” I don’t drink myself I can’t stomach the stuff, how about a juice or a soda?”

Velma choose a juice and Lee ice water and Paul wanted soda ” No Paul, no soda tonight  here I fixed  an ice water with lemon for you too.”
He took the water reluctantly and a small sip, down it went without a coaster on the  side table. “Paul” Sue whispered he just looked at her and rolled his eyes opening the drawer in the table for a coaster he placed one under his glass and threw the rest like
Frisbees across the room. Mortified Sue trying to stay calm, jumped up apologizing. Both Lee and Velma laughed saying go ahead
take care of dinner we will entertain Paul. “Come on young Picasso show us what masterpiece you have painted” “Who is Picasso and how do you know it’s a masterpiece?” he asked.  “Picasso was a famous painter long before your time young fellow, and it must be a masterpiece since you are wearing so much of it” Velma replied.  After seeing his bedroom, she suggested he take a quick shower before dinner as Lee went to see if he could help Sue.
The meal had gone very well, with Paul quite entertaining to Mrs Snyder,
she seemed enamored of Paul as he was of her and this allowed Sue to
talk to Lee about the office and things she must remember to do while they
were traveling. Having finished the delicious homemade meal and Velma begging
to be the one to put Paul to bed and read him a story. Sue and Lee returned to
the great room to sign off on all the legalities of her contract. Just as they were finishing
Velma called to Lee, he went towards the hall where she was standing, after a few whispers
they both joined Sue in the great room . Sue offered coffee and desert, which they accepted.
she could hear them while she prepared a tray for desert and coffee, speaking in hushed tones.

As she entered they quit talking and she had to admit a small chill went up her spine, paranoia sure why not; she thought to herself they could have been talking about anything, not necessarily her.
After pouring the coffee and slices of German Chocolate Cake passed around, Sue asked if there was any other questions they might have for her. After their answer she wished she had not asked that question. For Velma looked at Lee and  he hung his head a moment then raised it up and spoke ” Sue, I know we don’t know one another very well but we are very pleased with your credentials and know you are right for the agency, and after visiting your home and meeting your son we can see what a struggle it has been and that you are struggling to raise Paul on your own. So, we have discussed it and we would like to add another ten thousand to
your annual salary and increase your commissions to thirty-five  percent”.  Sue , sat there with a look of astonishment and a sputter trying to say something sensible, something that would be coherent to anyone within the sound of her voice, finally she got out a” thank you, I am amazed.”  Trying very hard not to jump up and down and squeal with jubilation.
That is when  Velma nudged Lee, “ask her, ask her”, Lee again hung his head then spoke low and into his chest “there is one condition to these new terms, we would like to take Paul to Europe with us, we will be gone three months and he will get the best of everything while there; we would love it if we could take him.”
Sue could not believe these people “how dare you come here to my home and offer me money for my child for that is what it all boils down too. Why would you want to take a perfect strangers child, my child, what mother in her right mind would allow such a thing. You know what Mr and Mrs Snyder, I don’t like this so  take your little bonus there and the whole darn contract  tear it into pieces and get out of my home. NOW! I wouldn’t work for you for any amount of money! Now get out now!” She knew she was overreacting and cutting her throat but her son would not be a pawn or companion to anyone!
Lee and Velma both tried to talk to her but Sue just kept pushing them to the door. Finally they were gone, she began to clean up the dinner mess and fuming  and shaking at what had just taken place.

Sue finished cleaning and straightening up, rubbing her back as she stooped to pick up the coasters Paul had thrown earlier in the evening. She kept going over and over in her head, how could anyone in their right minds want to take a child they did not know but a few hours, across the continent and for three months, the more she thought about it the more concerned she became.
The next morning she called a sorority sister and left a message, before she took Paul to school and she went to look for another job. She had her heart set on Snider INC.  it would have been ideal and gotten us out  debt and a new home to live in.  Ahhh well, they would get another chance she could just feel it in her bones. Three hours later she had found that Snyder INC. Advertising was a front for baby and child selling to the wealthy that just wanted children as play toys, they were under investigation by the FBI and had at one time been a great ad agency, but the economy went down and somewhere they got messed up in this type of trade. She was very fortunate that she had her head on her shoulders and did not say yes to Paul going with them.

Later that afternoon she arrived home with two hours before Paul was due home, so she started to clean his room a little deeper clean than his seven year old cleaning. She noticed his window was open a crack then she noticed the screen had been cut, immediately she reached for her phone to call the police.  This  didn’t do  a lot of good as nothing was taken and no harm to her son so they could make a report but wouldn’t do much for anyone unless she was making a claim to insurance.

But if it keeps my son safe I will shout it from the rooftop, everyone pretty much knew she had Paul out of wedlock, as his father would have  married the wedding was all planned he just did not  want children and when she told him they had a child already on the way, he then added the crushing blow of not telling her the wedding was off she thought he just needed time to think and she gave it too him but after three days of him not calling back or coming by…she knew the wedding was off and she would do  what was she had to do.
Returning all the wedding gifts, and wishing she could exchange them for baby things, that would have been ideal to be able to do but no such luck, story of her life it seemed. Sue’s mother and father were both deceased and she had one brother last she had heard he was a merchant marine traveling the world. Consequently, she was alone in the world and making her own way, as hard as that is no one, no one was taking her son anywhere without her.
She received a call from the elementary school about an hour before classes let out from Mrs. Chinn the receptionist, “Ms. Parker this is Mrs. Chinn, at Morton Elementary, Paul is fine but his grandparents are here to pick him up and since you did not notify us in writing we need your permission to let him go with them.”  “Mrs. Chinn, listen very carefully to me, I want you to stall those people say you can’t reach me, but keep them there and call the police if they can’t hear you if they can just say yes and I will call them , whatever you do do not let them take Paul, he has no living grandparents!
“Yes, I will try back later to see if  Ms. Parker is in.”

to be continued….

 

She had been on the bus over twenty hours, coming from a small town in Georgia to Colorado where her son was incarcerated. He had been here three years of a twenty- five to life sentence for murder in the second degree, drug possession with intent to sell. She didn’t even know what kind of drugs or who the man was that he killed, she didn’t know anything as he had left home at eighteen and never looked back he called her once on mother’s day six years ago and then a month ago she received a letter asking her to write or come visit. Ruth Ann immediately gathered the information she needed to visit him and received clearance. Now she is here and there is a little hotel across from the prison she will rest at until time to visit. They had sent her all of the particulars the can’s and cannot is what she called them.

Ruth Ann would be glad to get off this bus and have a hot shower she felt so dirty after all this time and all these people.  There was  a young girl no more than twenty or twenty one with hot pink shorts that barely covered her cheeks or her who-hah, her shirt was see through with a spaghetti  strap bra under it  she had those long fake nails blood red and big hooped earrings of gold.  Her hair looked like a foot and a half rat’s nest and she constantly popped her gum even when she slept.   There were several others cut from the same cloth it seems.  There were people from all walks of life older men and women, poor people like her or middle class.  The bus was pulling in and the two men with the spoiled chicken in the brown paper bag passed her and she gagged, oh yes she definitely could not wait to get off this bus.

She waited for the driver to get the luggage compartment open and she was the third person to receive her bag, she moved quickly across the street to the motel.  Arriving at the desk she gave her name Ruth Ann Sheppard, I have a reservation the bored clerk said how long?  2-3 days she said and paid, picking up her key, ice bucket and bag and moving back outside.  She walked down the sidewalk until she came to room nine, setting her bag down to unlock the door the trashy looking girl from the  bus came swinging by “need some help ya’ll?”   “No no” Ruth Ann said.   The girl didn’t leave, “you got two beds in there?” “I don’t know, why?”  “I need someplace to stay while I am here and I spent all my money on my ticket”  “And that is my problem because?”  “Jeez lady just askin you don’t have to be mean” that is when Ruth Ann realized just how tired she was and how she was being judgmental.  “Alright, come in and we will see”.” Thanks, this means so much.”

Entering the room Ruth Ann smelled the stale cigarette smoke and an undercurrent of sex, alcohol and
mold.   There were two beds and she pulled back the bedspread on both, “Don’t sit down yet” she said to the girl.  “What is your name?” she snapped. “Vicky Corbin ma’am”  “I am Ruth Ann not ma’am, I want you to go to the desk and tell that  …never mind you go, I will call and you bring back what he gives you”

Walking to the phone she dialed “O” for the desk, “This is Mrs. Sheppard I am sending someone to

the office now and as quickly as you have never moved before I want two  clean sets of sheets, blankets, bedspreads and cleaning disinfectant so that I can live in this room as a human being not an animal, now be quick about it,” within five minutes Vicky and a housekeeper both arrived.
Between the three they cleaned from top to bottom and it smelled fresh and habitable, she could stay now and be comfortable doing so. Just because it was cheap didn’t mean nasty is the way she felt about it.   After the housekeeper left, Ruth Ann told Vicky to go take a shower and get the filth from her then

she would take hers.  While Vicky was in the shower Ruth Ann lightly stitched her money and credit card to the underneath of the mattress in a linen bag she had made from an old sheet at home, that way if a hand ran over it, it would feel like the sheet pocket.

After her shower Ruth could see that Vicky was a bit older than she originally thought they discussed Vicky’s money situation and dinner, that is when Ruth realized Vicky had been here before and wanted to know her story. At the only café they ordered and Ruth Ann in her most stern school teachers voice

asked her questions. Vicky was twenty-nine and her boyfriend was here on death row this was their last visit as his date was set for tomorrow night. He had a drug charge and a murder charge that they  had hoped to get reduced but all avenues  exhausted, she was a hooker although at one time she had dreams of being a librarian as she loved to read and the smell of all those books in the library.

The next day they walked across the street for their visits, they went to separate lines with the intent to meet back at the gate when time to go.  Ruth Ann had thought of a way to help Vicky if she wanted the help and thought she had a good offer to purpose surprising herself that she really liked this young woman.
Ruth Ann read what to expect to get in to see her son but the instructions and information was not anything like the indignities she suffered this day! Soon she was led along with others to the visiting room, but the guard held her and Vicky back  saying “Not here” He had them follow him through a maze of corridors and locked barred doors. Soon they were at a solid door with a small window at the top and the words printed on it “DEATH ROW”  ‘Wait, there has been some mistake I am here to see my son David Matthew Sheppard” she heard Vicky gasp “you are Dave’s mother?” the guard shushed them and said to Ruth Ann “Ms. Sheppard, he did not want you to know until you were here he is  to be executed at midnight and he wanted to see you one last time.” Ruth looked quizzically at

Vicky  with tears in her eyes and many questions followed as the guard had the door opened and then he was there, her son her only child.  She grabbed hold of him and held on tighter than she knew she could while Vicky stood back crying. They both stayed with him until two hours before his time then the minister came in and counseled him they all said their goodbyes with many tears, and emotionally wrought cries.
When they rolled him in on the gurney and raised the curtain he turned his head looked into her eyes then to Vicky mouthing “I love you” then his eyes back to Ruth Ann and mouthing “I love you, I am

saved it will be good, God is waiting for me.” He continued to look in his mother’s eyes as the poison

entered his system then his eyes closed, the doctor came in and pronounced him dead.

She had his body shipped back home to lay next to his daddy, Vicky came with her and the college money that was for David was usedto send her to the local University.

Ruth Ann researched as much as she could and with Vicky’s skill they put together most of David’s life after he left home. Once she had the story as much as she could she continued to pray for her son
more out of habit, she prayed for Vicky and herself and felt comfort.

A Piece of Your Mind Please

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