SHORT STORIES I


DV FROM A CHILDS EYES
“Shhhh, shhh please don’t cry it will be over soon. Can you stay quiet while I go get help please? Her sister nods her head yes, keep the baby quiet I will be right back”. She climbs out the window she opened as soon as the fight started. This was becoming a routine and she was getting tired of it, but momma needed help. She ran next door and before she could ring the bell, the door opened and Sally said ” I have already called child now hurry back to your sisters it won’t be long” giving her a quick hug and a little push towards the house. She climbed through the bushes and found her concrete block step momma had put there long ago, good thing she had long legs, her sister couldn’t do this. She looked at her sister and could see she had been crying, she was holding the baby and rocking her so she had gone to sleep. “I had to change her but it isn’t on very good” “That’s alright I will check it for you.” As she checked the pins she listened to her momma and step~ dad fighting he was slapping her or punching her she could hear the flesh against flesh and her mothers cries.  The doorbell rang and she grabbed the diaper bag and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader suitcases they had gotten for Christmas full of all she could think they would need . Their pajamas and clean clothes for tomorrow , toothbrushes and hair brushes for herself and Dee, the babies diaper bag was stuffed and she had more diapers hidden outside with formula powder too. She also had a bag for her momma packed and hidden in the bushes. As soon as they started fighting she began her routine. The door opened and an officer stepped into the room he had been here many times before. “Hello Katie are you girls okay?” She only nodded her head and began to cry. “Now now he said patting her shoulder we will get it sorted out” as he led them into the living room.  She ran to her momma and hugged her tight, momma looked really bad this time her face was real swollen and she couldn’t talk, her arm was hanging by her side all out of shape.

Momma reached out with her other arm and she could see the fingers were broken but momma pulled each of  them close and gave her and her sisters hugs and tried to kiss them with her swollen bloody lips. A woman officer came over and momma started to cry again shaking her head yes and motioning for us to go with the officer,” but momma you have to come too” The officer knelt down and explained that momma had to go to the hospital and get well. We were going to a house where there were other children to play with and women to take care of us until momma could.

Oh, we cried and I am ashamed to say I screamed and cursed at her I would not leave momma, but momma wrote on a newspaper ‘GO, take care of sisters be there soon, stay together!”

We stayed in the battered women’s shelter for two weeks everyday and every night crying for momma by all three of us,several of the women took care of Amanda for us but we always checked on her dozen of times a day and she slept with us at night. Even though we had seperate beds most of the time we preferred to sleep in one bed. We said our prayers and brushed our teeth just like momma would want. I asked everyday when she would come get us but no one could tell us. We went to reading and story time and was made to do some school work and talk to a woman that called herself a doctor but she just wanted me to talk or write my feelings.

Finally momma came for us we were so glad to see her at first we didn’t realize that her jaws were wired,her nose was crooked and her eyes were purple green. We were just so happy to have her back, we stayed another night in the shelter then my uncle came to pick us up and we left there going to his house, he explained that we were going to stay with him and his family till we could get on our feet. I started to ask about my step~dad and uncle said a dirty word and momma shushed him with a small smile, he then said our step ~ dad didn’t know where he lived. I began to relax and felt Dee’s hand relax in mine as well. We stayed with uncle and his family for two months before getting our own house and beginning a new life with just we four women as momma called us.

We are all grown now with our problems stemming from our time of  domestic abuse rearing it’s ugly head often but we are survivors and we get through each day. It took her a long time but momma married a really nice man that adores her and protects her from even a harsh word. He feels the same way about us, I married twice and have two children my sister Dee has never married but had a long term relationship and has a child, our baby sister has a child and is a borderline schizophrenic, we worry everyday every minute about the two of them. And we pray for them to have whole mind, body and spirit each day  there isn’t much more we can do at this time.
ABANDONED
Stretching out her tiny arms, tears  and mucus running down her face
crying out for her momma walking away from her.
Somehow she knew she would not see her momma again.
At the age of five she knew this was wrong and it was all her fault
no one can love a child and leave her unless she is a bad bad girl.The rest of her life she tried to find that acceptance and love
denied by her own mother. She slept with any man that
wanted her thinking maybe he will love her and keep her.
Her grandfather and his friends loved her when she was little
even if it hurt sometimes they loved her, like the men she now
knew there was hurt but not the physical anymore.

Momma came back , withholding and heartless and nothing
she ever did for momma made her love her as a mother should
love a child.

She never married too afraid she wouldn’t be strong enough
to be the weak link to break the chain of abandonment and
lack of love for any child she might bear.

Abandonment ruled this life what comes with the next?

ENGAGEMENT RING
He nearly dropped to his knees
Tears streaming down
His red cheeks, stinging as he
removed the gold band
with large emerald stone
from his beloveds hand.
Many watched this ending
as they had watched the beginning
of this love story
Many watched this ending
as they had watched the beginning
of this love story.
He stood and leaned in close to her ear
With a soft whisper he said for her only
to hear…
“Gotcha bitch, won’t leave me now”
Stepping back, accepting condolences
from friends, family and coworkers.
An hour later he stood watching
As they lowered her casket to the ground
Six foot deep.
CHRISTINA FELT  the earth shift with the weight of the freshly fallen snow
THERE would be  twelve inches then it would quit, for her gift was to know
THE cold no bother to  her as she prepared for her walk, welcomed even ice
FOR winter Fairies are magical, mystical keepers of the realm so very nice
STEPPING out of  the Kings castle in her lace and satin  white as the snow
NO particular destination on this journey would she go
AS long as she could frolic and play in her powdered snow.
~~~~
Like fine powdered sugar the snow had fallen upon every branch and twig
The Prince was coming home racing  fast in his horse drawn rig
He had been told his father was ill, as he raced faster up the hill
He reached the top, his horses winded breathing in ice it seemed
He saw a walking vision in white, no couldn’t be but a dream
The most beautiful angel of the snow this one he must  know
He pulled to the side of the lane calling out “what is your name?”
“Christina” she replied for she had no fear, this was the son of Guinevere
~~~~
The Prince had forgotten his Father and the duty he was bound
Falling in love with this beauty …  he must have her around
Then she revealed what he had not noticed before
Wings of an angel as she opened  them wide
He gasped as if lungs filled from the tide
Her beauty was too much for eyes to behold
Yet he could see clearly,  did not have to be told
That he could love an Angel with wings
 Gossamer wings of the  WINTER SNOW Fairy could only be had
In children’s  stories of eternal love read at time of bed.

TIME
MAC KNEW the time had come, he just wasn’t ready and he never would be that was the hard part knowing all these months and he still wasn’t ready.
AMERICA, the land of opportunity, yes if you were already there by birth perhaps but he was leaving family, his aged mother and sisters and his own country to go into the unknown. At thirty-one he should not fear he was a grown man he had traveled but always on his own terms, this …this was a demand from a man he did not know or remember. As he stood on the pier looking at the clock he prayed for strength and guidance and that his grandfather would accept him; grandfather had disowned his father when he married and stayed in England and now he wanted to meet his grandson and only heir to the vast conglomerate of the business world, Mac was terrified.
BABY
Glenn laid the rare violin on the red silk as gently as a sleeping child. In a way this was the child he and Lissabeth had born together, for she had caressed, cuddled, cooed and wept with it over the years, having never had any of their own real children. No other violin had ever sounded as sweet or perfect in tone or pitch as Baby when Lissabeth loved and played it.
Baby had been around the world heard in every country from the largest to the smallest of venues. They traveled with  Baby always in one of their laps, never had Baby been alone, until Lissabeth went to the home.in tone or pitch as Baby when Lissabeth loved and played it.Now, winter was upon them and their flat in New Haven was old and drafty and Lissabeth could no longer take the cold or  play, the arthritis had her body so crippled she could  barely walk nor could she   hold  the bow as well.  She had moved to a facility for care and just never recovered enough to come home.
Today there was a Christmas program and Lissabeth had asked him to bring Baby, she would like to try and play for her friends as her gift to them this season as well known as Lissabeth was world wide and on albums and such no one at the home had guessed who she was and she liked it that way no fuss or bother she insisted.
Lissabeth had always loved Christmas and loved playing in New York or London each year during the season, said it gave her a closer feeling to Jesus in these two places, although when they went to Jerusalem and she played on the wall she wept for every hour she played and they were many  and never tired. He packed up Baby and drove to the home, seeing his love  in her wheel chair wrenched his heart each time, the beautiful young vibrant seventeen year old of over  half a century ago is the way he would always remember her in his heart but his eyes could see the age now,  more so with her infirmity. She bestowed that beautiful smile upon him and he rejoiced for her eyes were twinkling…”O, how I have missed you” she said to him. “And I you my love”, they sat in her room and chatted while she brought Baby from its case and just held and caressed, plucking strings at a quiet level.
The Christmas Program was to start right after dinner of the traditional American fair with a few dishes from some of the women from Poland, Germany and Russia and one from Greece that had Baklava, Glenn was ecstatic!The program ran for about an hour when Lissabeth asked if she could offer some music and of course everyone was surprised…I opened the violin case to gasps and murmurs at the beauty of such an instrument……..
 MADDIES CHRISTMAS MEMORY
“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.It was three days before Christmas and the snow was coming down in buckets, Maddie standing at the window watching as it poured from the sky, “Mom do you think Santa will be able to make it with all the snow?” Janet was pouring over her laptop in the big chair by the fire, ” what , oh yes sure he will make it through remember he comes from the North Pole where there is snow all year” and went back to that concentrated look and furrowed brow meaning her thoughts were not on Maddie at the moment.  The sky began to darken even more and the clouds seemed heavier, Maddie felt anxious for some reason and moved away from the window closer to the fireplace. She picked up her Rebecca doll and began to straighten her clothes, then putting her back at the little tea table, picking up her book she tried to read but couldn’t concentrate. Walking back to the window she could see it was black out and only the snow around the gaslight in the front showed light…except… was that a light on the long driveway? Couldn’t be, no one could get this side of the gate. “Momma” her mother didn’t answer “Momma” as the light came closer and closer, she turned and her mother was suddenly behind her “what is it bug, what has you frightened?” “Look” she said pointing at the light. “Now that is strange” her momma said, walking over to the panel of cabinetry that held the cameras, opening them she could see nothing but snow and that light moving  to the front of the house.
In just a few moments the light was at the portico and the sound of a car door being closed was a quiet thud in the muffled softness of the snow. Then the door was opening and a shout of “Where are my girls?” echoed through the entry. Shrieks and screams echoed as they both realized Maddie’s Christmas wish had come true, her Daddy was home from his overseas business trip just in time to give Maddie a wonderful Christmas and a memory to hold in her heart for years to come.
PLAZA LIGHTS
GG wanted to see the holiday lights
many hands bundled her up, carefully walked
her to the car, buckled her , she asks”where are we going?”
“GG we are going to see the holiday lights” everyone was
pleased she wanted to get out and  wanted to see the lights.
They drove a few blocks with the grandchild in the backseat
oooing and awwing pointing out the displays to her .
soon a familiar odor realizing that they needed to get home quickly
They pulled in and GG looked at the granddaughter that drove her
around and said ” Who are you, this isn’t my home”
GG (great grandma) is eighty, widowed and has Alzheimer’s
but she remembered long enough that thanksgiving meant
The Plaza Lights came on and although she wasn’t taken to the
turning on of the Plaza lighting she remembered, she remembered.
CHRISTMAS DECOR
Let me begin by saying, I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness by my gram and we had no Christmas, birthday celebrations etc. I was twelve years old when I had my first Christmas once I had gone to live with my mother. My first gifts under the tree, underwear, socks and a hair brush…I was thrilled, but more than anything I fell in love with the decorations. Oh I love the lights, the shine, the glimmer, the music and the meaning! How could you NOT celebrate Jesus’ birth?As for now that I am older and not dictated by anyone I celebrate Christmas!!!  For our decor we begin in  mid to late October depending on weather,  lights around the perimeter of the roof. Outdoor decor such as trees wrapped or blow-ups we don’t do as much now that the kids are gone but the little grandsons enjoy some outdoor decor. I put up the tree and decorate it beginning the night of Thanksgiving, I meander around putting nativities and villages on mantels and table tops, finishing the tree by the week after Thanksgiving. We don’t turn our lights on until six pm and off at 10:00 pm  there is no sense in  running up the electric to have them on much longer than that until the week of Christmas then we turn them on from 6-11 pm.
I love looking at others decorations but I believe that those that have them up and on before Halloween or Thanksgiving are just rushing the season and forgetting the meaning. I for one get irritated walking into a store and seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving/fall and Christmas all out at once, it is greed that makes the retailers do this. Then the madness begins….
NEWSPAPER MEMORIES

me at about 7

Growing up with two younger brothers wasn’t bad but I had an Uncle Larry that was five years older than myself and I adored him he was my big brother more than uncle, and he knew how to play me, as they say today, when it came to chores and helping him out with his paper route.
The Pueblo Chieftain was a twice a day paper why I don’t know never have figured out how such a small town could have that much news. Anyway, this big truck would drop the papers on the corner and he had to be there to receive them, he would cut the ties begin stuffing ads, folding, banding and if uncooperative weather plastic bag them, tie the bag and stuff in the big canvas bag lying on the sidewalk. Once this bag was full he lifted it up to his handlebars slid it on and there the route began.
Now, if he had played a game the night before or bad weather, my being the next oldest would have to get up at 4:00 am and go help with the routine and route , generally by 5:00 am we were ready to deliver as required delivery  6:30 am to every house.
Now imagine me this little bitty scrawny girl probably didn’t weigh 50 pounds soaking wet, (nickname spider legs or skeeter) pedaling her old Schwinn bike with this big bag on the handlebars full of papers out weighting me by a good 50 lbs,trying to hit the front porch or at least the sidewalk of each house.
I would be so cold and shivering I could barely keep my hands on the  grips of my bike let alone throw a paper in the right spot, so when I missed, 99% of the time, I would have to stop, get off my bike pick up the paper and toss it in the right spot. Then came the trying to pick up the bike with that big bag of rolled heavy newspaper and if the weekly circulars were  included it was even worse.
Many a time I would get that old bike half way up and crash! back down it would go and I would have to start over. Took forever it seemed, then Uncle Larry would ride up and help me by taking half the papers and lifting my bike telling me to hurry up as he delivered the half  he took from me. It wasn’t long that I was relieved of this duty as I developed pneumonia and gram put a stop to my unpaid position, and made Gramps drive Larry on those days when it was cold, wet and sleeting.
I was not lucky enough in the warmer weather to avoid collections, every Saturday when it was nice out I was to help collect the money owed for the newspapers, boy people could be nasty! I would hear every reason why they shouldn’t pay, from the paper not found, to landing in a puddle to whatever, generally I just stuck out my bottom lip made it quiver and got big tears in my eyes and they would say oh alright and hand over the cash. I became so good at collecting that Larry was being recognized as a top carrier so Gram made him start paying me when I helped, I received a whole dime for collecting. I was pleased , but would never want to do that job again.

PROMISES
THE grass was covered in frost, the temperature low enough to see your breath.
The two young lovers stood at the Trailways Stop on the South edge of town, holding
hands tightly then coming together in a hug.  He had already told his family and hers goodbye, he just wanted this time with her for now.
He had been home for the Thanksgiving holiday but now  headed for his second tour of Afghanistan, finish this and he would come state side and stay.  Married less than thirty days he wanted to get home to his new bride as quickly as he could and start living the life they had planned since childhood.
As the bus pulled to the side of the road, they hugged and whispered promises of I love you, I’ll be home soon, write me, I will call, I’m going to miss you, already, I promise, I promise”.
Spring came with the scent of Lilacs and Jonquils in the air, the hens were producing like a factory line, the cows were happy in the fields and the sheep were leaping through the tall grass.
She was five months along, not what they planned but thrilled anyway, all the parents anxious looking forward to  this first new grand child. He was walking on air or so it seemed every phone call he made, his promise to come home and be the best husband and dad in the world always said.
He kept his promise of coming home, she wept as they handed her the folded flag from his coffin, she held his son in her arms, making her promise to never let him forget who and what his father was, a hero.
INVISIBLE
FOUND lying in the floor of the drug house
with foil pieces, needles and trash….
 INVISIBLE
PRETTY
ALONE 
Mary cries for the only memento of her childhood
her best friend, her secret keeper, her heart, her
traveling companion, her faceless soul as she ties off, shaking, needing the fix but needing her
lifelong friend, the one  as invisible as she.
Mary is celebrating her fifteenth birthday today
FOUND lying in the floor of the drug house
INVISIBLE
PRETTY
ALONE
“another overdose, bag her and tag her
see if you can find an ID” the coroner
sighs.
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.

INTUITION

Give me 5 minutes a day and I’ll give you a happier, more successful life!  The Invisible World is the latest post by B. Stanton a peek here then my story
“Have you ever been feeling down and someone who cares about you calls out of the blue even though he had no way of knowing you were down? It is as if they could sense your sadness even though they were not with you.”

It was late summer of 2000 and we were living in Tonganoxie, Kansas, the hubs had five days a month that he was off from Friday at 4:00 pm until Wednesday at midnight. I had been arranging through my district and regional mangers to have the same time off as it enabled us to drive to Pueblo, Colorado to see my aging gram and my father who was also ill. We had our youngest at home she was working and two years out of high school we had no qualms leaving her to tend the house and take care of the animals. There was plenty of food to eat all the bills paid, phone numbers known and route very well known to her as she had gone with me many times on this same trip.

We woke early Saturday morning loaded the luggage and snacks, said our good byes and took off down the driveway just as I pulled out on the gravel road that ran past our house, I just burst into tears as I was driving it caused me to swerve just a little. Pulling over to the side of the road I looked over to the hubs in the passenger seat and said “I have the strangest feeling like we shouldn’t go” He of course said “oh please not a feeling” and reached out and wiped a tear from my face, he knew me and my “feelings” didn’t happen often but nonetheless.
I shook off that feeling and pulled back into the gravel road and began in earnest the six hundred mile, ten hour drive,  eight and a half if the hubs slept, he rode me hard for my speed but I admit I do like to drive fast. He gave me a 1976 Stingray Corvette for my birthday one year but after he caught me out on the highway going way to fast he was going to sell it but it was stolen from the Walmart parking lot before he could, sorry that is another story. Anyway, after driving the 4 miles of gravel and onto blacktop I still could not lose this heavy feeling, this burden if you will and I just kept leaking tears. All this time I am saying “maybe we shouldn’t go maybe we shouldn’t go” and hubs is saying if you don’t want to go we won’t”. I tried explaining it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go I just couldn’t get the feeling to go away. I turned on to  24 highway and drove to the Lawrence toll ABOUT 25 MILES from where we lived where I would get on I-70 when I finally just did a u-turn and said “that’s it not going!”
Arriving back home I of course had to explain to the daughter and to my job that I would be in town should they need me.That night watching the news there was a report of a seventeen car pileup due to a freak dust storm on I-70 just outside of Paxico, which when we figured our drive time would have put us right there had we continued on. There were only nine survivors out of twenty-six people.
Glad I listened to my Invisible World! Check out  Mr Stanton.s story it is excellent!

BATTENBURG LACE
IT was cold this morn, the kitchen window was covered in a delicate frost like lace, Inga put coffee on to brew and turned on the oven to make biscuits and sausages for breakfast, she pulled out the ingredients and began. By the time coffee was finished, her mother had joined her and was cutting the biscuits while she prepared the sausages, as the biscuits went in the oven she looked at her mother who had sat down and began to weep into her apron. “Mama, please it hurts me so to see you cry” “Oh Inga I miss her so already and when I looked at the curtains she made for your window, that taped lace she so painstakingly learned as a girl in Germany and stitched just for you I miss your grandma so bad!
LIFE SIGN
She sat at her desk, eyes swollen from crying and praying, every bone in her body hurt, her heart hurt most of all, having one daughter God knows where and one in her grave before her time caused more pain than she could bear any longer.She knew what she had to do but could she really do it, the only way to end the pain inside and to not be a burden to others, was she strong enough, who would take care of her husband? Picking up her bag, her keys and the pills she quietly left the house driving to the next county so it would take a little longer to trace her.
No one seemed to want or need her anymore, her husband didn’t know his own name most days, never mind who she was to him.She drove the forty miles planning to revisit the old “Lover’s Lane” where she and Charlie used to park, it would be the perfect spot, as she left the Interstate taking the ramp and up three  miles to the entrance, Wait, What is this ?
A DETOUR SIGN!
THE SINGERa heavy layer of dust covers the machine
the dust particles rise up to dance in sunlight
from the half covered window
setting on the corner of the table her healing concoctions
her coffee cup more likely had juice or a wee bit of the grape
for medicinal purposes.she hated what she came here to do, but it was
for the elder woman’s good,
she could no longer live alone,
she could not take her beloved companion
the “Singer.” She stitched many a cloth on it
shirts for her men folk , dresses for her precious
daughters and granddaughters…but no more
now she sits in a small windowed room, rocking
her sorrow and loneliness away tears streaming
from her hazel eyes as she presses the  imaginary pedal
with her feet and pushes fabric through her “singer”
JENNY AND STACY“Ready or not here I come” my best friend shouted, Jenny is always loud but when she shouts you can hear her all over the valley. We are playing inside because of the snow; there is over eight inches momma said.  We can’t get the car out which I for one am glad that old piece of junk runs and stops runs and smokes. Momma says we have to be thankful for what we have but I am not grateful for that car, heck I can walk faster than that junk.Jenny jerked open the closet door and shrieked “gotcha ya”. Laughing she twirled away, “come back here” I ran after her. “Stacy I am tired, I need to rest for a little bit want to go to our room and talk?” “Sure, do you want some water or something?” I asked. “Sure” I entered the kitchen where mom was cooking and ironing her uniform for work, “umm smells good momma”,   “chili and salad for dinner tonight for you two” she said.“Momma, do you think Jenny will ever get better?”  Momma sighed “Stacy we have had this conversation before, we have to believe God’s will,” then she walked over and hugged me…”I know my pet, it is so hard isn’t it? I can’t believe anything but the power of prayer will keep her here and you know we have to be ready in case God wants to take her home. Where is she?”  “she said she was tired and wanted to rest.” I told mom. She squeezed my shoulder kissed the top of my head and went back to ironing. I carried a few cookies, my milk and Jenny’s water on a small try to our room only to find Jenny asleep, she tired so easily now a days. I ate my cookies looking pensively at Jenny fast asleep she looked perfectly fine except her color was always like white porcelain. Momma said to keep praying for her so I knelt down beside the bed and began to pray in my ten year old voice…Dear God,  This is Stacy I guess you know that,  Jenny is still so sick even after all the stuff she has been through, the doctors said my boneMarrow would make her well.  How come she still looks so pale and gets tired so easy? God she’s gonna be ok isn’t she? God please she is my best friend my baby sister and I don’t want her to die. Amen The next day the plows came through and pushed all the snow into big piles Jenny and I went out to play for a while so the house would be quiet while momma slept; she worked the midnight shift at the auto plant. Jenny and I made a family of snowmen but it was so cold and Jennie’s lips were kind of blue, so we went in and I made hot cocoawith lots mini-marshmallows. We went up to our room to drink our cocoa and get into dry clothes, Jenny needed to lay down her breathing was rapid and her lips still blue,“Here let me get your oxygen, I think you need it” but she fought me saying she was fine; she wasn’t even with the hot cocoa, dry clothes, three quilts and she was still cold.I turned the oxygen on and thrust the nose piece at her “breathe” I said, she picked it up and placed it in her nose, before too long she was relaxing you could see it in her bodyAlmost as if each section was free falling. I must have fallen asleep as well , I woke and it was dark out with a big yellow half-moon with clouds moving across it the wind was blowing the snow around in swirls leaving little crop circle like marks. What few leaves were left looked like golden rain as the wind tugged them from the limbs they had clung so tightly to until they had to surrender.It had gotten colder she could feel it… oh no the fire went out!  She rushed downstairs and started stirring the embers at least she had some to stir up Stacy thought, adding kindling and then logs she had a nice fire going before turning to the kitchen.Stirring the tomato soup and grilled cheese momma came in and gave her a big hello and hug. “How did you sleep momma?” ‘Oh I needed the extra sleep thank you for not making a lot of noise.” “Its ok momma I slept to after we went outside and came in and” “YOU WENT OUTSIDE?”  She practically shouted “Just for a little bit momma not to long” “where is Jenny, Stacy where is she?”
“Upstairs sleeping, I kept her warm momma and I gave her the oxygen” Momma just stormed upstairs with a tight lip and set jaw, I knew that look I was in for it no matter what.
 Mom found Jenny still asleep but she was real pale and after checking her vitals mom turned to me and said “Honey, go call an ambulance, she is burning up with a fever” I started crying but went down to call 911. Going back to our room I heard momma talking to Jenny but couldn’t understand the words.  “Momma they said it will be a little bit, they will do their best, the highway has had a bad crash and not all the roads are clear making it difficult for them to get around. Mrs. Ivers said she is saying prayers”  “come here Stacy, Jenny wants to tell you something.”  I walked over to the bed and mom put her arm around me I was still waiting for the axe to fall because I knew I wasn’t to let Jenny outside it was too hard on her lungs and the new bone marrow made her more apt to catch a germ, I am so stupid sometimes!“Stacy” Jenny whispered and her voice was raspy, she held out her hand and it was so cold as if she had been holding it inside a freezer. “Don’t blame yourself, you gave me the best time today and yesterday, I finally felt like a true kid and your sister the way sisters are supposed to be. I love you so much for all you have given me. Don’t ever forget me” Momma was crying and saying “shush shush, it is going to be fine everything will be just fine.”
I heard a tractor out on the road it was Mr. Mathis he had taken momma to work last night on his tractor and here he was again. When he came in I offered him coffee, he refused saying “No time, thee ambulance can’t get down here in the valley so I am to take Yun’s as far as the road so they can transport little Jenny from there.”  I ran upstairs to tell momma but she had already prepared Jenny and herself, “Put on the long underwear and everything I laid out for you it is going to be a cold ride, and Stacy hurry!” as she nodded to Jenny lying in her arms.  I don’t believe I have ever thrown clothes on top of clothes so fast before I didn’t care right or wrong side out if it went on it stayed. I scurried down stairs and out into the night climbing into the wagon with Jenny. Momma had laid her on a pallet that Mr. Mathis had provided then covered her up to her chin.
We were in that wagon forever it seemed but in actuality was twenty` three minutes, momma kept track. When we got to the edge of town an ambulance waited whisking Jenny into it and off down the road. Momma and I stood there with arms about each other, “well com’n” Mr. Mathis said “trucks right here” he handed momma the keys and a piece of paper “this here is my sisters Gladys and her boy Stanley’s place it’s a B& B they will put you up for however long you need, no charge” Mom just stood there tears rolling off her cheeks, no one had ever treated us this kindly before.
We lost my best friend, my sister Jenny to so many things, heart, lungs, leukemia, I felt guilt for a lot of years, as if it was my entire fault and I knew mom blamed me. When mom passed two years ago, going through her papers I found her journal, she had written how proud of me she was that I had given my sister “normalcy” for even a few days. That eased me tremendously. I found a wonderful man, a man of God we have a daughter her name is Jenny Rae after my sis and momma. We are evangelizing across the country, bringing lost souls to the Lord, we are seeing miracles every day I like to think that Jenny and momma are reaching out and touching the hearts of those we touch?

 

 

 

HOMELESS MOTHERHOODShe opened the door to the old tenement house
 noting how filthy the stairway, she throws the rug
she brought with them on the stairs before
settling in .
Listening she feels safe  not hearing anyone
she drops her cane realizing she has lost
one of Trevon’s  shoes.
Pulling out the bottle of water she
holds him feeling the heat from his body
the fever is higher now.
She does not know what to do or where
to go,  her husband just left her with
no money,  no food,  no friends
no place to live he just said he didn’t
want to be there anymore
now she knows that being in America
with an American husband that
no longer wants to be with you and his son
is harder than she imagined being , no one would
let her work with no passport, she can not go home
is something she can not tell  her family
her father would say she shamed the family
She looks down at Trevon Junior as he moans
looks around this stairway it is cooler here
than on the hundred degree streets.
Leaning her head back against the semi~cool
plaster wall she looks one more time at her
beautiful son
NOOOOOOOOOO ,
she begins to keen.
 
FEARIt was a hot, dry Texas day with sage and dust rolling everywhere. The sun had baked every ounce of moisture from  six inches deep the old men were saying. Diviners hired and fired as quick as they arrived not one rivulet of water anywhere. The sun too bright to even look up for a cloud as if in this temperature there could be, but down the road you could hear hammers pounding and saws being drawn as work carried on, the church had to be finished soon.
Suddenly there was a loud scream as a man fell from the steeple area, his body hitting that hard earth so hard you could hear the bones break.Her Nana was trying to push her into the room with the big box on the table, she didn’t want to go, she only knew she couldn’t go. Everyone was crying and standing around whispering, her momma kept crying for her daddy but she had never had a daddy so who was momma calling for?  Nana kept saying” c’mon girl I ain’t got time to fool with ya’ now git in here and look then we can get this done.”
I wrapped my hands around that door jam and cried “no nana no, don’t” tears and snot running down my face, I was scared so scared that I tore a nail off my index finger and wet my drawers when nana gave a hard yank to free me from that door. I dug my saddle oxfords into that hardwood floor crying and pulling back, my heart racing , gasping for breath. I just knew if I looked in that box I would never be the same as she pulled me closer my uncle came through the door and reached for me saying “mom stop she’s too young your scaring her” “boy you watch your tongue with your momma, she needs to learn our ways and it is never to early to start” and with that she yanked me out of his arms and carried me to that big box.
There lay my Papa but he was all scrunched up and real white like my Sunday School hankie and his eyes were moving back and forth fast, and he was breathing real short like. He was moaning little sounds almost like the squeak of a mouse I heard once when a rattler ate it, I reached out to touch him but his eyes rolled back into his head and I wet myself again. With that Nana set me down abruptly not letting go of my hand bending down she hissed through her cigarette breath “this is what happens when your not true to your gypsy heritage princess, your Papa turned his back on his tribe now he is  made to suffer and die in his own casket for turning his back on the wealth and riches in the old country, for thinking of himself instead of his people, you must learn our ways so that someday your sons will know the right way to go.” With that she let me go and I ran for my momma, I found her on the front porch drinking a beer sitting on someones lap, she just told me to get cleaned up and get some food.Going back into the house I tiptoed past the bedroom where my Papa lay, afraid to look but wanting to anyway. After cleaning up and changing into my favorite lilac dress, I was tip toeing past the door thinking to sneak past again when I turned and walked up to the casket, standing on tiptoes I peeked in by the moonlight through the window I could see Papa’s eyes were closed but there were tears on his cheeks. I looked around and brought the bench from Nana’s dressing table up close so I could crawl on it and see him better, “Papa, Papa don’t cry no more I love you Papa I’m not afraid of you no more.” I reached out to touch his hand and felt the slightest movement of his fingers on my hand, he drew a heart and with a small weak shudder all life left his body.
They put Papa in the ground the next day and people said they had never known a man to be put in his coffin before his last breath before but now they had seen it all, me all I could see from that day forward was no fear of death and for the rest of my life  the small red heart drawn in the palm of my hand .
BEGINNINGS
Having grown up in Colorado, we went to the mountains at least twice a month.
We would drive up the side of Pikes Peak going up a ways then backing down
to a small wide patch so the car heading back down could get around you as it was one lane up and one down with a few thousand feet drop on the one side..
Now, the concept of time at my age between six and ten was something that just was.
Not knowing how long it took to drive up, back down, drive up and back up then down
maddening I tell you when your little, anxious to use the facilities and to see the Indians
dance.
that was great fun for me , but most of all I loved the time my gram and I would walk in the woods while the ‘men folk’ tried to catch trout for our dinner, they usually did.I fell in love with the Columbine flower along those walks, at the time the color did not matter it was just a favorite, with it’s delicate petals and nodding heads.In elementary class we had to learn all the particulars of our State and that is when I found out that I had a bit of the romantic poet in me. As an assignment we had to write a poem about the flower, state, bird etc.I remembered today (after wracking my brain) that I wrote a piece and my gram kept it forever and gave it to me in a bunch of papers when I came to Kansas to live with mother. This I believe if I figured the age on the back correctly was around 1958- 1959. Ta-Da::
THE BLUE COLUMBINESTATE FLOWER ADOPTED APRIL 1899LATIN WORD MEANING DOVERAY OF YELLOW SUNSHINE FOR its STAMENCUPPED IN WHITE FOR PURITY and GRACETRIMMED IN BLUE EYES of LACEHEART SHAPED OUTER PETAL ENDING INTEAR DROPS FOR A LOST LOVESo there you have my feeble start as a poet. Oh so many years ago, haven’t done much better since but I write because around here no one listens… one turns off his hearing aids. God Bless
RESIDENT MURDERHenrietta hated working the night shift, but it paid an extra half-dollar and most of these old farts slept anyway, she would rather be out having  fun instead though. She had found a joint out off State Road WW that catered to her kind, with cold brews and many a fine-looking young thing to feast her eyes on without recriminations. She had met Angela last Friday night and they had spent the weekend together, she knew though that Angela was out tonight and probably with someone new. Boy that made her mad, she needed a cigarette now. “Tilly going for a smoke” she called to the floor nurse whose head was in some book about old people diseases or something.Henrietta was a Certified Nursing Assistant and not a nurse; oh she studied but could never pass all the State Board requirements, hell she knew more than most of those uptight prissy nurses anyway with their starched uniforms and white hats with the navy bands. Her mother said she would never make anything of herself but she was only half right she had made something of herself and no one was the wiser.Putting out her smoke, she heard the purr of a motor coming down the drive then saw the lights bouncing through the trees. Not a new one this late Henrietta thought to herself it takes so damn long to get them settled especially if they are being brought here against their will.Well, well look here, Angela came for a visit what a surprise and she just walked over and planted me one! ” Ohhh honey you are lookin fine” Angie just laughed and said “I missed you so I thought I’d come out and see what you were up to” as she rubbed her hip against Henrietta’s.”Girl, girl you done with that smoke, who’s that out there is that a new resident?” the floor nurse Tilly was calling through the back door. “No, No nurse a uh uh family emergency I need to take off got a sick one at home” as she walked hurriedly in to get her coat and bags.Angie and Henrietta spent from that day forward together, living at Henrietta’s family home in Chicago. Henrietta’s family at one time had been well off but after her daddy committed suicide in the crash, life was never the same but her momma knew how to keep the old house and did for years, now it was falling down in disrepair. She had sold off all but a few pieces of her mother’s jewelry and the entire silver still it wasn’t enough and now she had Angela to take care of. She helped Angie get her certificate a position at the home and having the same shift made for some romance time as well that is when old nurse didn’t get in the way.Not sure who came up with the idea of “The Game” but after having been accused of stealing a brooch from old woman Winston they decided to play. They were going to take turns and do it by the initials of the old biddies to spell out “MURDER” but after Angela was bitten by Marie they decided just to take what they wanted and do them in. They had to be careful too many and someone would get suspicious, Angela had to be shown how to place the washcloth so it left no marks, Henrietta had been questioned with her mother’s death due to a small bruise on her upper lip but she had explained how ‘momma just raised up rather quickly when I was feeding her and hit her lip on the bowl and you know how thin and fragile their skin at this age’ and the doctor believed her.Angela learned to buddy up to the old women some were suspicious but most liked the attention she gave them and she was so damn beautiful yet innocent looking they gave her whatever she asked for.
Jewelry, fancy furs and dresses came out of mothballs just for her to model for them and they would ooh and awe over how or where they had worn them , some it depressed others it gave a thrill to walk the memory.  After a while Henrietta would get jealous and the one giving  too much to Angela or the attention was being noticed by others, well many an old woman died in their sleep of natural causes and didn’t they look peaceful in the end?
BARN HOMECOMING
Jacob stood looking at the old barn that had been his place to work, mucking stalls, and feeding livestock.
His place to play with his brother Lukas hide and seek, Tarzan using a rope tied to a rafter above the loft.The place for punishment when he had done wrong in his Daddy’s eyes, a strap he felt only a few timesHis first kiss after a hayride and another in the maze with Esther, and where he found his cousin Jeremywith a broken leg after he fell from the loft.Jacob came home to settle up and straighten out his parents affairs; it had been a decade since they had been home.Esther stood by his side holding his hand with tears running down her cheeks, “It is so sad that they didn’t let us know or that we didn’t come back to see for ourselves. Why wouldn’t Lukas have told us how bad it was?” She demanded.They walked toward the house noting that it wasn’t in need of the extensive repairs as the outbuildings but it neededrepairs if they expected to sell it. They settled in and had a light dinner of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, sitting in front of the fire Jacob had started to remove the chill in the fall air. Before long they were both nodding in their chairsand then headed for bed. Jacob tossed and turned most of the night while Esther slept soundly for the first time in a long time.
The next morning just as the sun began to rise and a nearby rooster began to crow, there was a pounding on the front door.
 “Hey, hey anybody up around here this ain’t the city you know?” Lukas was stomping up the stairs and throwing the bedroom door open just as Jacob threw on his robe and Esther quickly pulled the covers up over herself. Jacob and Lukas grabbed each other in a big hug among laughter and tears they both began to talk. “Will you two get out of here, go make coffee I will be down in a minute” Esther inserted among their jovial greeting. “I’ll get it, bro get dressed and come down buthurry I’ve missed you guys” Lukas remarked as he turned and stomped back downstairs.“He sure hasn’t gotten any quieter” Esther laughed. After breakfast the men left Esther, with Lukas telling her Deborah would be over after the kids got on the school bus.Esther was cleaning up in the living room when Deborah came in. They had always gotten along well and in fact went to
school together although Deborah was a year behind Esther. Together they began to clean and sort through their
in-laws memories.  “I don’t really want to do this” Esther commented, “Neither do I, it is so hard and sad” Deborah replied.
“No, I mean I would rather be unpacking my things to add to theirs”  “Oh, that would be so wonderful to have you and Jacob home
this close, have you talked about it?” “Oh no, Jacob is too much of a city boy now and besides his practice is bulging, he would never leave it”.
“Babe what would you think of moving back here?” Jacob asked two nights later.  Esther had just stepped out of the shower and was wrappingher long red hair in a towel, raising her head she looked at him through the steam intently “What did you just ask me?”  “ I think we should, we would be close to the
only family either of us have and I can farm this place, Lukas would like for us to buy his share and we have the funds I can work as an attorney
in town if I want or just farm.” Jacob had set on the toilet seat but now he was up and looking at her intently, “what do you think?”“Oh, Jacob I have never wanted anything so much in my life!”  And with that it was done.
They went back to Indianapolis to resign positions, pack up and get a U-Haul. The arrived back at home within the month, the old barn still stood
in poor condition but it was a most welcoming sight , a grand welcome home!
*****
It is said that each of the trees on the old street has a soul
with their gnarled, twisted branches and knobby trunks.
Some believe they come alive this time each year searching
for new souls to take. I didn’t believe as a kid growing up here
now that I am an adult and a detective on the force, I know how
many people disappear each year in October never to be found.
All you have to do is look at the skull  hidden in the first tree.
“HOMESTEAD DECORATING ” had done it again  the owners were delighted with the kitchen remodel and Jackie was delighted with the pay. She had obtained three
referrals as well.
The nest week brought multiple  cancellations, then  she received a request  a paranormal company wanted to interview her.  She was told … the last kitchen had paranormal activity where it had none before, what had she done?  She looked at the questioner and slyly smiled.
DOUBLE WEDDING RING QUILT
I started this story a year ago and didn’t really know where I wanted to go with it; tonight I threw an ending to itand may come back for another rewrite someday! Hope you enjoy.”MOMMA PLEASE I HAVE TO DO THIS MYSELF!” MARTHA ANNE EXCLAIMEDAS HER MOTHER TRIED TO STITCH BINDING ON THE QUILT….”YOU KNOW ITAIN’T RIGHT FOR YOU TO HELP WITH MY MARRIAGE BED COVERLET, IDECLARE YOU DON’T WANT ME TO GET MARRIED SOMETIMES, IS THAT ITMOMMA YOU DON’T WANT BILLY LEE AND Me TO GET HITCHED?””DON’T BE SILLY GIRL, NOW GET ON WITH YOUR QUILTIN’ OR YOU’LL BESTITCHIN ON YOUR WEDDING NIGHT”.MARTHA ANNE WAS ALL OF FIFTEEN AND BILLY LEE WAS SEVENTEENHE HAD BEEN AT THE MINE FOR OVER A YEAR NOW. HE HAD A MININGSHACK UP ON LOGAN’S POINT THAT HE WAS ADDING ON TO AND HE HADALREADY MADE OUR BED; NOW SHE HAD TO MAKE THE QUILT FOR THAT BED.MARTHA ANNE HAD SAVED EVERY SCRAP OF FABRIC FROM ANY WHERE SHECOULD.  OLD DRESSES, SCRAPS FROM NEW ONES, REMNANTS FROM THE COMPANYSTORE WHEN SHE COULD SAVE A QUARTER OR SO TO BUY IT.THIS QUILT WAS “THE DOUBLE WEDDING RING” SHE FELT THAT IT WASJUST WHAT SHE NEEDED FOR THEIR WEDDING BED.  HER NANA HAD GIVENHER A LARGE PIECE OF BLACK CLOTH LEFT BEHIND WHEN PREACHER MAN CAMETO GIVE REVIVAL, NO ONE ELSE WANTED IT NANA SAID AT THE TIME, THOUGHT ITWOULD BE HARD ON THE EYES.  SHE MEASURED AND CUT EACH PIECE OF SCRAPINTO THE SAME SIZE THEN PIECED TOGETHER AND MADE THE RINGS. ‘COURSEHER AND BILLY LEE WOULDN’T HAVE RINGS WHEN THEY MARRIED IN FRONT OF PREACHER MANCOAL MINERS PAY DIDN’T GO FAR AND NOT FOR FOOLISHNESS. HER DADDY HAD BEEN AMINER BUT HE LIKED TO WHITTLE, SHE HAD ALWAYS BEEN TOLD BY HIM THAT THE DAYSHE SAID SHE WAS TO MARRY HE WOULD CARVE HER A RING LIKE HE DID FOR MOMMA.BUT DADDY DIDN’T MAKE IT OUT THE LAST CAVE IN.MARTHA ANNE HADN’T SEEN BILLY LEE IN MORE THAN TEN DAYS, SO HE WOULD BESURPRISED THAT SHE HAD GOTTEN SO FAR ON THE QUILT.  IN THREE WEEKS SHEWOULD BE MRS BILLY LEE WILSON AND SHE WAS SCARED, BILLY LEE LIKED THESTILLS A LITTLE MORE THAN SHE THOUGHT NECESSARY, THAT WOULD STOP AFTER THEY MARRIED.

HE GOT A LIL BIT HANDSY WHEN SHE WOULDN’T LET HIM TOUCH HER BUT SHE WANTED TO SAVE HERSELF FOR THEIR WEDDING NIGHT, SHE COULDN’T ASK MOMMA WHAT HAPPENS AND SHE HAD SEEN COWS DO IT BUT IS THAT WHAT PEOPLE DO SHE THOUGHT.

“GIRL WHY IS YOUR FACE SO RED? YOU NEED TO QUIT WOOL` GATHERIN AND HELP GET THE WASH

HUNG OUT!” MARTHA ANNE WENT OUTSIDE TO HELP WRING THE CLOTHES AND HANGS THEM UP.

THREE WEEKS LATER SHE PUT ON THE FLOUR SACK DRESS MOMMA HAD MADE FOR HER

HER LIL SISTER NORA ANN BROUGHT HER A BOUQUET OF WILDFLOWERS TO HOLD. SHE WAS SO NERVOUS HER STOMACH WAS ROLLING. THIS WOULD BE THE SECOND TIME IN THIRTY~ONE DAYS

TO SEE BILLY LEE, DIDN’T KNOW WHY SHE FELT SCARED OF HIM, SHE KNEW HIM ALL HER LIFE

HE TAUGHT HER TO SWIM, FISH, AND COOK ON AN OPEN FIRE AND SAFE PLACES TO GO ON THE MOUNTAIN.

TAKING A DEEP BREATH SHE WALKED INTO THE CHURCH/MESS TENT WITH HER MOMMA BY HER SIDE SHE WALKED UP TO THE MAKESHIFT ALTAR.  BILLY LEE STOOD THERE WITH HIS PA BOTH WITH WET HAIR SLICKED BACK AND THEIR SUNDAY CLOTHES. THE PREACHER WASTED NO TIME IN STARTIN THE DO YOU’S, THEN BILLY LEE WAS KISSIN HER IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY AND THE PARTY BEGAN.

LATER THAT NIGHT SHE LAY THERE UNDER THE QUILT SHE MADE WITH TEARS IN HER EYES, AS BILLIE SNORED AND GRUNTED IN HIS SLEEP, SMELLING OF THE LIQUOR HE HAD PARTAKEN OF AFTER THE SAID THEIR VOWS.HE HAD QUICKLY CONSUMATED THEIR MARRIAGE AND WENT TO SLEEP.

LIFE AS A MINERS WIFE HAD BEGUN

HELEN

Helen is a tall woman walking the dirty sidewalk surefooted, hunched from years of leaning over beds and toilets

At 70 years with hair white as snow wrinkles so deep and furrowed

She takes pride anyway…has her hair done twice a month and is never without

Her favorite lipstick ‘cardinal red she likes it mostly for the name.

She shuffles with her purse tucked tight against her chest wrapped around her

wrist won’t ever lose it again. Besides there is nothing in it…ha let them take it then.

Turning a knob she enters a dark room… bell ringing as she does. She hears the clatter of balls on the pool table jukebox playing low. She waits a moment as the faces she can’t see greet her…hi Helen, hello Helen, how was your day Helen? Ach, now she feels good these are her friends… sliding on a stool at the end of the bar, reaching for her glass of beer already there it’s good to be welcomed so.

Everyone wonders about her, has she children, ever married where does she live, what work does she do that she has to keep working at 70?

She is a private person, knows the story of everyone here at Harvey’s Place, but prides herself on keeping her business to herself. As the mood of the place washes over her relaxation comes. Listening to the jukebox she sure likes the way that Waylon sings.  Finishing her beer and ordering another…  she always pays for her own letting no one buy her one she can’t reciprocate so why start that?  Slipping the small thermos out of her tattered once white leather purse turned gray with years of use and discreetly she believes… pours the beer into it. She stands as others call out ‘bye Helen’, knowing when she entered it was one beer here and one to go.

She moves on to the sidewalk kicking fast food wrappers out from under her feet wind blowing in a cold front they say she wraps her shabby coat a little tighter and hurries down four doors, she looks cautiously around making sure no one is watching, as she puts the key in the lock… entering the little vestibule where there are two mailboxes one belongs to the lady upstairs that rents from her. Two old women collecting nothing from their boxes but first of the month bills for utilities. Social security checks and trash. People wasting good money sending me mail wanting me to buy windows or have the carpet cleaned not for this lady I don’t like strangers in my home she thinks to herself as she unlocks the door to her home.

Instantly the sense of something wrong washes over her, where’s George? Her cat of 15 years he always greets her with a rub of her leg and purrs wanting his food.  It’s quiet too quiet…walking into the living room noticing doily’s askew… lamps not centered what is going on she muses she turns to go to the bedroom and sees the droplets of blood ..Oh George what have you done?   Then she sees him just outside the closet door all bloody and matted his lifeless body torn nearly into pieces. Has a dog gotten in somehow?  Her heart starts to race breathing quick and shallow as fear never before felt invades her.

Slowly she bends down to stroke her companion of so many years. What has happened she asks herself still looking around?

Catherine she cries, turning to go upstairs and check on her tenant. She stops to listen and held her gasping breath to hear better she is so afraid. Wait, as she turns to her bedroom she hears muffled screams from above, bumps, knocks and grunts. She pulls the closet door open quickly reaching for the box on the shelf. She pulls it down opens it and there lay her Daddy’s 25 caliber Colt. He taught her to shoot at the age of eight…she kept it up until her late 50′s, hoping she remembers.

she heads for the stairs again, this time with the Colt loaded and ready to do whatever necessary. As she approaches the landing she glances out the window with its lace curtains seeing no one on this side of the buildings around her.

Oh why didn’t she call 911 oh Helen you silly old woman what do you think you are doing?

Suddenly Catherine’s door is thrown open and a young Latino man moves forward she quickly takes in his torn bloodied shirt, wet hair and low slung jeans. He is as surprised by her as she is by him. She pulls the Colt forward just as she pulls the trigger a knife flies through the air hitting her shoulder so that her shot goes up and plaster falls from the ceiling. Arrrrrrggghhh yells the young man flying down the stairs and grabbing her by the hair. He kicks her legs out from underneath her grabs the gun and points at her “I will kill you” and she believes him. He asks for her money and jewelry and she tells him, she forgets the small coin purse she carries in her bosom so that when he starts ripping her clothes off he finds it and is angry …he rapes her, this woman who has had only one time with a man resulting in a child, buried now, the man too although he never knew.

The Latino takes his time with her then as he climaxes slits her throat. He stands zips his jeans and begins looking where she told him the money and jewelry were. He doesn’t find much but more and better quality than the old bitch upstairs he thinks. Eventually he takes a shower, washes his clothes eats from both old ladies refrigerators and walks out the door.

Six days later neighbors are calling police to report a foul odor coming from that little Victorian house between two brick building businesses.  Bodies removed investigation ongoing…finally everyone knows where Helen lived and that her last name was Miller.

An empty beer glass sets on the bar at her stool as no one is allowed to sit there.

Helen is a tall woman walking the dirty sidewalk surefooted, hunched from years of leaning over beds and toilets

At 70 years with hair white as snow wrinkles so deep and furrowed

She takes pride anyway…has her hair done twice a month and is never without

Her favorite lipstick ‘cardinal red she likes it mostly for the name.

She shuffles with her purse tucked tight against her chest wrapped around her

wrist won’t ever lose it again. Besides there is nothing in it…ha let them take it then.

Turning a knob she enters a dark room… bell ringing as she does. She hears the clatter of balls on the pool table jukebox playing low. She waits a moment as the faces she can’t see greet her…hi Helen, hello Helen, how was your day Helen? Ach, now she feels good these are her friends… sliding on a stool at the end of the bar, reaching for her glass of beer already there it’s good to be welcomed so.

Everyone wonders about her, has she children, ever married where does she live, what work does she do that she has to keep working at 70?

She is a private person, knows the story of everyone here at Harvey’s Place, but prides herself on keeping her business to herself. As the mood of the place washes over her relaxation comes. Listening to the jukebox she sure likes the way that Waylon sings.  Finishing her beer and ordering another…  she always pays for her own letting no one buy her one she can’t reciprocate so why start that?  Slipping the small thermos out of her tattered once white leather purse turned gray with years of use and discreetly she believes… pours the beer into it. She stands as others call out ‘bye Helen’, knowing when she entered it was one beer here and one to go.

She moves on to the sidewalk kicking fast food wrappers out from under her feet wind blowing in a cold front they say she wraps her shabby coat a little tighter and hurries down four doors, she looks cautiously around making sure no one is watching, as she puts the key in the lock… entering the little vestibule where there are two mailboxes one belongs to the lady upstairs that rents from her. Two old women collecting nothing from their boxes but first of the month bills for utilities. Social security checks and trash. People wasting good money sending me mail wanting me to buy windows or have the carpet cleaned not for this lady I don’t like strangers in my home she thinks to herself as she unlocks the door to her home.

Instantly the sense of something wrong washes over her, where’s George? Her cat of 15 years he always greets her with a rub of her leg and purrs wanting his food.  It’s quiet too quiet…walking into the living room noticing doily’s askew… lamps not centered what is going on she muses she turns to go to the bedroom and sees the droplets of blood ..Oh George what have you done?   Then she sees him just outside the closet door all bloody and matted his lifeless body torn nearly into pieces. Has a dog gotten in somehow?  Her heart starts to race breathing quick and shallow as fear never before felt invades her.

Slowly she bends down to stroke her companion of so many years. What has happened she asks herself still looking around?

Catherine she cries, turning to go upstairs and check on her tenant. She stops to listen and held her gasping breath to hear better she is so afraid. Wait, as she turns to her bedroom she hears muffled screams from above, bumps, knocks and grunts. She pulls the closet door open quickly reaching for the box on the shelf. She pulls it down opens it and there lay her Daddy’s 25 caliber Colt. He taught her to shoot at the age of eight…she kept it up until her late 50′s, hoping she remembers.

she heads for the stairs again, this time with the Colt loaded and ready to do whatever necessary. As she approaches the landing she glances out the window with its lace curtains seeing no one on this side of the buildings around her.

Oh why didn’t she call 911 oh Helen you silly old woman what do you think you are doing?

Suddenly Catherine’s door is thrown open and a young Latino man moves forward she quickly takes in his torn bloodied shirt, wet hair and low slung jeans. He is as surprised by her as she is by him. She pulls the Colt forward just as she pulls the trigger a knife flies through the air hitting her shoulder so that her shot goes up and plaster falls from the ceiling. Arrrrrrggghhh yells the young man flying down the stairs and grabbing her by the hair. He kicks her legs out from underneath her grabs the gun and points at her “I will kill you” and she believes him. He asks for her money and jewelry and she tells him, she forgets the small coin purse she carries in her bosom so that when he starts ripping her clothes off he finds it and is angry …he rapes her, this woman who has had only one time with a man resulting in a child, buried now, the man too although he never knew.

The Latino takes his time with her then as he climaxes slits her throat. He stands zips his jeans and begins looking where she told him the money and jewelry were. He doesn’t find much but more and better quality than the old bitch upstairs he thinks. Eventually he takes a shower, washes his clothes eats from both old ladies refrigerators and walks out the door.

Six days later neighbors are calling police to report a foul odor coming from that little Victorian house between two brick building businesses.  Bodies removed investigation ongoing…finally everyone knows where Helen lived and that her last name was Miller.

An empty beer glass sets on the bar at her stool as no one is allowed to sit there.

DISTANCEHaving to put distance between herself and the localthugs she pushed as hard and fast as she could. Last timethey caught her, they stole the cansshe had spent days picking up to get food and doher small amount of  laundry from her cart. She had eight bags of crushed
cans with a bit of crumbled aluminum foil and a few pie tins,just enough to get those things done.She had made it to the fence with her cart and got it through
when she felt a hand on her back, her heart stopping, her breath caught in her chest
it was pushing her in not pulling to get to her and her cart.
Hearing the gate being pushed together she turned to thank the person that helped herexcept there was no one there.
COUNTRY LIVING
Bringing the last cup of coffee to the 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, it was 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 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 begins to listen
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,
her nerves and burdens just wash away.Big fat bullfrogs in the big 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 and was 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 to chicken and the 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 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 hum then sing her favorite hymn, then like crazy teenagers they belt it out together.
ILLUSION
O beautiful for spacious skies,
(filled with sprays of jet fuel and human waste)
For amber waves of grain,
(Paying farmers not to plant crops..fallow land)
For purple mountain majesties
(forest fires started accidently and on purpose)
Above the fruited plain!
(our produce comes from So. America)
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
( He is shaking His head saying “what was I thinking?”
And crown thy good with brotherhood
( Hey let’s drive-by and shoot that bro)
From sea to shining sea!
(that is so polluted by big corporations)
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
(pilgrims in the form of illegals)
Whose stern impassion’d stress
(built overseas)
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
(export none import all)
Across the wilderness
( but only for sport not for food)
America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
( If we ask we shall receive)
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
(Congress doesn’t know the meaning)
Thy liberty in law.
(Interperted for the Elite)
O beautiful for heroes prov’d
(they would fight for our freedoms
die for our freedoms, then come on to be
spit upon)
In liberating strife,
(No longer any liberation)
Who more than self their country lov’d,
( Yes our soldiers indeed)
And mercy more than life.
(Only through the Father)
America! America!
(United Nations)
May God thy gold refine
(it will be worthless soon)
FINAL VERSE LEFT BLANK BY ME  ON PURPOSE. ILLUSION!!!
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea 
Katherine Lee Bates originally wrote this as a poem describing Pikes Peak, Colorado.

ALTER

Counting steps as she walked upon the slabs of stone, knowing tonight she would walk them the last time.  Seven large stones, four steps across each one she would be on the altar itself. The rushing water from the waterfall would usually soothe her but not today, today it was irritating even the gentle breeze rustling the leaves could not soothe her.

At fourteen she was to offer her virginity on this altar to the pagan god of the goat then others would have their way, her gown of white would run red with her blood when night was done.

ALTER

He wandered through the park not with any destination in mind when he happened upon a small altar.
Large stone steps leading up to it accommodated his long strides, what a wonderful peaceful place he thought to himself.  He sat on the altar watching the small wildlife scurry about. Times like these he felt his aloneness and yes his loneliness. It has been three years since his fiancée left him standing at the altar and he didn’t think he would ever find another woman to love he wasn’t sure he could love again.
Just a lonely man, all alone.

URCHIN

Standing in the crowd of Times Square
Just another smelly ragged street urchin
Alone, lonely, no one cares for this lost one

Standing on the edge of the roof
Smelly, ragged street urchin
Tears streaming leaving tracks
Now someone cares as they all shout
Jump! Jump!

BALLET

Ach! How was she ever to hold her head up again ? Helene knew
her positions were perfect and the Fairy of Purity role was hers,
Mr.Hynd had as much as told her so, the audition was formality
only. Sleeping Beauty had been her stepping stone to the lead of
Swan Lake she just knew it, now the Pacific North West Ballet Program
would have this audition burned into the archives and never allow auditioning
without remembering  today. Oh why oh why did she grab the wrong pointe
shoes, she knew these were cracked in the toe and meant to throw them away.

She sat despondent in her white leotard representing the purity and then she fell
fell! Seventeen years of training for a moment such as this and ach! spilt milk
Helene get up go home and try another time, she told herself.
Georgette came bursting through the door, ” you did it Helene, you got the part!”
Helene could not believe her “What?”  “Ronald said you have the role, he
understood the fall was not your fault”.

A HELPING HAND

Her hands were always there outstretched to catch you
if you were to fall.
There to comfort or rejoice, wipe tears of joy or sorrow.
To mix a batch of biscuits for breakfast or sew a dress
for the dance.
Her hands acted as rod and staff for discipline or to
bring you in line perchance
They turned the pages of hymnals  as she sang or to
read her Bible, with the same gentleness she held
a newborn babe.
Her hands would clutch her apron when hearing bad
news and wrap around your shoulder just to touch you
in a loving way.
Now these hands have gone to heaven
where she gently holds those
of Jesus and her family.

I WANDER

I  wander through hills and valleys I have crossed many mountains too . Looking from the tops of those mountains to the vistas below I wonder just how far I should go?  The valleys are so lush and green with trees of every kind, small bodies of water there lakes and streams, to rest against a rock or tree and drop a fishing line, perhaps to just sit and watch the streaks of silver, golds and greens as the fish jump from the water to dive back in taunting ducks and geese paddling topside. A serene quietness offered only by this valley on this day just for me, I am blessed to wander the earth God has created.

Atop the mountain watching a waterfall rushing down from the melting snow, with rattling Aspens, Pines and Cedars sharp and pungent aroma to tickle the nose. Gathering their cast-off to make a fire for warmth and cook a small animal or heat a can of beans for sustenance so that I may wander deeper into the woods and forests of this majestic creation.

To walk along a warm sandy beach barefoot watching scampering crabs both of us trying to avoid hurting each other, a game I use to amuse myself. Finding peace within the sound of lapping waves and sudden crashes of the big ones, as seaweed wraps about my bare feet. Finding a rock overhang to lie under from the bright sun and soon find myself waking from
a well needed nap. Grabbing my backpack and putting boots upon me feet I wonder where my journey will take me, again a moment to decide where shall I wander?

My journey brings me closer to my home as I wander from town to village, back to the autumn of the year where rich smells of apples and pears grace the orchards and the winds. Butterflies and birds flutter above waiting patiently for the nectar or the worm, pickers filling burlap bags and bushel baskets of the fruit to be transformed to pies, jellies and jams. The aromas of the baking and cooking making me wonder why I felt the itch to wander , then I remember the beauty and the rejuvenation to my soul as I wander.
****

“Give us this day our daily bread” Matthew 6:11

 

Fall is upon us, time to start pulling out the blankets and quilts,

sweaters and such.

 

Time to start thinking of the Holidays they will be here before you know it.

Pull out the fall wreaths for the front and back doors, take down the light and

airy sheers on the windows and hang the draperies.

Oh isn’t it fun to change the interior from colors of spring and summer to the

wonderful plums, oranges and gold’s.

 

I love this time of year for I love a fire in the fireplace, logs popping and the aroma
of burning wood makes me think of how our ancestors had only wood to heat and

cook with.

 

The smell of homemade bread baking, a hearty stew on the stove

A special trip to the pumpkin patch for just the right ones for carving

add a few gourds and vines too.

 

Buying or making treats for the trick or treaters, laughing or pretending to be scared

when they present themselves at the door, in their ghostly costumes and orange

plastic pumpkin pails.

Taking walks through the local parks with the beautiful trees overhead dropping their leaves

of yellow, gold and brown. Seeing the aster and mum flowers in neat little rows, with their
hues of purple, barn red, yellow and copper.


Nights get chillier, sun sets earlier each day bringing on the mysteries of the dark, spiders and

other small insects found in the warmth of the house. Forest animals prepare for hibernation,

as we humans do as well. We cocoon ourselves through fall and winter with our flannels and

sweats.

 

Such a wonderful time of the year, and for this we must give thanks unto our Lord for His miraculous works!

 

 

WATER

In 1989 we purchased property out in the country and built a home, we wanted the peace and quiet after our hectic days  toiling in the city and the girls were young enough that we wanted good schools and to instill values that we didn’t have to fight with the city kids to maintain. Any way we were very happy there for twenty-two years but I am rattling. And the prompt was for water. LOL

In 1993 it began to rain and rain and rain, did I mention that there were four ways to get to our property by the county roads three of those roads had bridges over “Stranger Creek”  which had tributaries seemed to me running everywhere. The creek began to fill and we didn’t really worry we were on a small knoll and we had a sump pump in the basement just in case, our just in case came after three days of constant rain, not a gentle rain but the kind that fills the rain gauge of ten inches in a matter of three to four hours then it seemed to come even faster than that. Schools cancelled  and since I sold real estate at the time I wasn’t busy. Hubs had to drive his seventy miles round trip each day in that rain with the gravel washed and roads turned into mud pits that the pigs would love, he would keep the truck in four wheel drive and just plow through until he got to the main highway. One obstacle  was the three roads that had the bridges with all that rain he had to go the long way around because Stranger Creek had gone out of it’s banks, it was literally just like a river on the road in front of the house. It wasn’t  to long before it started flowing through the lowest spot of our yard it ran down to the pond at the end of the property that had engulfed about two more acres of land at that time.
The girls and I went out and played boats with clothespins and construction paper sails. we danced in the rushing water until one received a cut from a small sharp stone. We stayed in and read , put puzzles together,baked, played board games and watched movies when it wasn’t lightening  the normal things you do, oh and homework and in fact when school resumed they were quite a bit ahead of their classes.

On the fifth day of rain the power went out and stayed out for three days, hubs stayed in town we decided that was best for him while he drove me to the market on his only day off which turned out to not really be a day off as when we arrived back from the market his plant had been calling for him on the radio they used. We were stocked up on groceries and the Mighty Missouri was out of it’s banks at his work so the sensible thing was for him to just stay there getting what sleep he could while there instead of spending sleep time driving home. Let me tell you I regretted that decision about four hours after he left, I don’t know what made me open the door to the basement but I did and what I saw had my heart jumping and running for the phone before I realized without electricity it didn’t work. I hung up the receiver and went back to the basement door looked one more time closed the door called the girls into the great room and said we have this problem. I was very pleased with my youngest when she snuggled under my arm and said”don’t worry momma God said he wouldn’t flood the WHOLE earth again” bless her twelve year old heart. We gathered together and held hands and prayed for everyone affected by this flood and two days later it quit raining the sun came out and water began receding. The Hubs came home on the third day just totally exhausted he went right to bed and we watched water recede, but not in the basement no it just sat there on the carpet that wasn’t a year old yet and drywall of the same age.

Eventually the power came back on, the girls went back to school, and Hubs took a weeks vacation to empty the basement of water with three pumps he connected hoses to and ran out the windows and towards the pond. I helped pull wall board down  and carpet and padding up shoving it into the yard. finding out flooded washers, dryers and freezers need to be replaced. And oh that freezer we had half a beef in there approximately 700 pounds and I couldn’t tell you how much of chicken, pork , veggies etc. but stink whew ! Lets just say I lost my stomach many a time over that one clean up. Eventually life got back to normal but I will never forget the flood of 1993 and I know there have been worse for many before and since I will always have the greatest amount of empathy for those that go through them because of my one experience with flooding.

MIKAEL

“How could HE have let this happen how?”  Mikael was a conscientious angel, HE watched over HIS human with true diligence, there was never a moment HE did not until today.

Mikael the Guardian Angel of Dorthea Lee eleven year old precious child of God with a brilliant future as a child prodigy.

SHE could play the piano as well as Schubert, Schultz or Chopin and even composed! HE became lost in HER beauty as SHE played at Carnegie this night and never saw the heavy light above HER head began  begin to fall.

five sentences

Darlene was so late getting to the meeting, she knew her boss was going to be more than just angry, as she had every thing downloaded in her laptop that he needed for this meeting. She had told him for months to let her show him how they work so she could download this information to him when he needed it, he refused to take her up on the offer so she would suffer his wrath. It wasn’t like any one really cared about this meeting they attended these weekly updates for the free coffee and donuts, they just sat like zombies or gossiping about each other.She plowed through the door just as her boss was saying “Welcome to the weekly financial meeting of the Memphis Mortuary Society.”

Linda couldn’t sleep; she was so excited tomorrow is the first day of school, Kindergarten! She has a brand new dress that Gram made for her it is pink with lace around the collar and she gets to wear her Sunday shoes the white Mary Jane’s with white socks and pink lace around the top. Grandpa gave her a black velvet ribbon for her hair too. She has a Big Chief tablet and  two new pencils with erasers, she has practiced writing her name and address, she can already tell time. tie her own shoes, add up to a hundred plus a hundred. She knows all the capitals and books of the Bible and her Uncle Walter taught her all the state flowers and birds. She is so ready and so excited finally she will make new friends not the yucky boys her brothers and uncle play with, with no girls in the neighborhood she always has to play army and stuff with the boys or by herself.

 

Morning comes and she hears the rooster from down the street crowing and she has already brushed her hair, teeth and dressed herself. She hears Grammie getting up so she goes in to show her she is ready except her shoes they make noise when she walks so she didn’t put them on. Gram says she looks so pretty and they go downstairs to make breakfast, her tummy feels all butterfly’s and she really doesn’t want to eat, Gram says she has to at least eat a piece of toast and some juice  while she prepares the others breakfast.

 

It is time to go, she has her tablet and pencils and is waiting on the porch for Gram and her brothers. Gram has to put her baby brother in the stroller and make sure the other one has his shoes tied. Now we can go, they walk all the way to school it looks so big and she feels sick to her stomach. Gram walks her to her room she has a man for a teacher! Mr. Roth and he smells like cigarettes when he bent to shake her hand; his teeth are yellow too. yuck!

 

They spent the morning  getting settled in with Mr. Roth learning our names and assigning seats , Linda looks around at  the other girls, some smile, some don’t she ignores the boys but one keeps looking at her. Soon Mr. Roth takes everyone outside for recess and the nightmare begins, she is so shy  she can only stand and look waiting for someone to talk to her and then someone does, it is that boy who kept looking at her and what he says hurts her “Hey, spider legs where’s the other skinny ones. You’re ugly.”  The other kids laughed and then everyone started calling her “spider legs spider legs ” One girl even came over and pushed her down saying “your  really poor you can’t even wear bought clothes where did you get that a flour sack?” and that is exactly what her Gram had made it out of so she was even more hurt and embarrassed. She ran back into the school crying she went to her seat and got her pencils and tablet to leave, when Mr. Roth and the other kids came in walking by her whispering “cry baby cry baby or spider legs spider legs”.

 

She had to stay now but she couldn’t wait to leave she was never coming back to this horrible place! After school was over she walked hurriedly out of the building to find her Uncle Walter waiting to walk her home.

“How was your first day kid” and she burst into tears telling him between sobs and hic cups what had taken place he wanted to go find those kids but he didn’t he turned her around and marched her back into the classroom “Mr. Roth, you need to tell me why you let those other kids tease my niece today ” Mr. Roth hemmed and hawed and told her uncle he was too young to understand (He was eleven at the time). That made Uncle Walter madder he told Mr. Roth that he better keep an eye on his niece and he better not hear of anymore teasing or pushing  or he would be sorry and  turned and walked out of the building and home. Uncle Walter even picked her a bloom off the lilac bushes in the park they walked through to get to the school. Lilacs became her favorite flower that day and he became her forever hero.  The teasing did not stop but Mr. Roth did stop it when he had playground duty the other teachers did not but Mr. Roth did try.

 

Linda was a straight ‘A’ student which made the kids dislike her more, she always knew the answers and she stayed that way the entire six years she attended school there, as well as never being tardy or missing a single day in all that time.  At her sixth grade graduation an entire set of leather bound gold-leafed Mark Twain books was presented for her efforts and that was the first and last day of the little girl called Linda in the Colorado school system.

DEATH ROW

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.

Cottage. Photo prompt for Madison Woods, speculative fiction author.

Photo By Piya Singh (Bittercharm)

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Walking along  the edge of the highway, he asks himself… how did this happen to me ?
First my girl dumps me, then I lose my job, then my truck breaks down, now I don’t even

know where I am for sure, how long have I been walking? 
Hey, is that a light through those trees, sure enough whoo-hoo, help, maybe a ride.

Freaky looking house never seen the likes rather spooky, Halloween-ish, seems no one’s

home I’ll just crawl through a window. Suddenly the door opened creaking slowly widening

it’s opening, stepping through the doorway eyes widening mouth opening screaming screaming!

DANGER
Throwing the clothes in the dryer she lays down on the bench, closing her eyes for just a minute,
waking she senses something is wrong and lays quietly listening to whatever it is that has her senses

on alert.  Then she hears giggling and whispers, Amanda and Derek jump out from behind a washer
laughing and beep beep beeping like an alarm clock, time to get up Mom , we made breakfast, and

we even finished the laundry but you better hurry or you’ll be late for work!  She hugged her babies
and arm in arm they walked back down to the apartment. Marnie, walked in grabbed her cell and headed for the shower, she placed a quick call, took her shower and instead of a set of scrubs she

threw on a pair of jeans and a t- shirt. Walking into the kitchen she sat down to cold cereal and cold toast, Amanda looked at her saying” mom get ready for work.” “No work today pumpkin we are going to Derek’s game, I took the day off to spend with you two” Derek squealed and ran around the table to hug her, and with that they prepared for the game. Later after the game they went out to eat at the A&W, all in all a family making memories day …so precious!

9-11
Standing there overlooking the memorial, contemplating what it stands for he could only shake his head,
 as the tears poured down his face. This was his first visit back here since 9-11-01, He would have come back last year for the ten year commemorative but he didn’t have the airfare to come and it

had not been easy this year either. He started walking towards 90th street where the family entrance was he had to be there early and go through the search before he could even view the gardens or wall with the list of names.

As he arrived at the door he hung back with his stomach rolling, legs and hands shaking his eyes

were ready to spill over he suddenly started sweating, he could do this couldn’t he, he asked himself.

What the hell was he thinking he had to do this she had been the expectant mother of his child his wife his life mate his best friend everything dammit. How could he have this sense of dread this ache so friggin deep he could barely breathe?   He was standing there when a woman about his age walked over and
just hugged him, shhh shhh she was saying and patting his back, she pulled back and handed him a

handful of Kleenex. She began to talk to him about what he was feeling the dread and panic and yes the fear.  When he had himself somewhat under control she said are you ready and tucked her arm into his and began walking towards the door.

“Who, who are you and why are you helping me?” She came back “I lost my sister here, my name is

Rose Matthews hers was Iris Lee she was twenty three and just starting her position here. The first year I came here before the cleanup started and every year since until last year I felt exactly the way you are. I take it this is your first time?”  By this time they were through the door and waiting for the

appropriate time as he had set his appointment  for two pm. A young man came out of another door and called out his name, Gabriel Monroe.
“Thank you for your help I need to go it was nice meeting you.”  He said as he began to follow the young man without a backward look, going through the security check was pretty standard he just wanted it over with so he could do what he came to do.

 

He sat on a bench close to her name and just stared then he began to cry huge deep in the gut heart wrenching sobs, he began to rock back and forth and his head was spinning with the worst migraine he had ever had, Inside his head he was screaming why, why, why only it wasn’t in his head he was screaming people were running towards him to do what he didn’t know. He jumped up from the bench and looked around in a panic for an escape but there was nowhere and everywhere.

 

Two of the men came up to him saying “it is alright Mr. Monroe we just want to make sure you’re

Alright, this is perfectly natural the first couple of times.” And then she was there that Rose lady that helped him earlier and she sent the other two away. “Tell me about her” she said. He began to tell her about Melissa the love of his life and the child she carried that day, they had been ecstatic when they had been told they were expecting after trying for so long. Seven years of marriage and no children so they went to doctor after doctor finally a baby on the way, she was six and a half months on 9-11. He couldn’t take living here afterwards so he went back home to his parents, at 43 he was finally living on his own only because both of his parents passed last year and left him the house in Trinidad, Colorado. He was an attorney had hung his shingle out as they say but not much work mostly immigration or misdemeanors.  They talked for three hours, he had a flight to catch but they exchanged pertinent information and would keep in touch. He patted his shirt pocket making sure he had the outline of Melissa’s name, now he could take the only part of her left, her name, home where it belonged.

****

She stood in the antique shop looking at all of the furniture.

Memories flooding her mind and the emotions overwhelmed
her, tears were streaming. Suddenly there was a hand with a

tissue then an arm around her shoulders, she turned

Into a masculine shoulder and sobbed until the shoulder of

his shirt was soaked.

Stepping back Dawn apologized, he just patted her shoulder

Saying “I understand, my mom told me who you were, sorry

To hear of your loss, it cannot be easy seeing all the belongings
here, I am Matt by the way, Doris’s son.”

“Dawn Martin, but I guess you know that” she replied. ” Would you

like to get a cup of coffee?” Matt asked Dawn. “oh, okay I could use
a good strong cup right now”.

They sat drinking coffee and getting to know one another for  three

hours. He was returning home to take over his mothers shop as

she wanted to travel and attend international sales for inventory. He
was a free lance photographer and illustrator for a publishing house,

he could work anywhere and most of the time on his own timeline. He
had just graduated with his masters in theology which is what he was

called to do and was hoping to start a church here or nearby. She was
a sales clerk at a local department store.
He walked her back to her car parked in the lot of the store, asking to see
her again the next evening for dinner, she agreed.
Over the next few months they interacted socially and for business as
her parents household of antiques began to sell. she placed every payment
into an account not knowing what she wanted to do with the money. The
estate was all settled everything belonged to her, the house was paid for
but she couldn’t bring herself to stay there, so she rented a room in town
from Mrs. Griffith’s boarding house.
Eventually, everything sold and on the last day of picking up a check Doris

hugged her and told her she was pleased that her and Matthew were “seeing” each other.
Doris had been on a whirlwind tour of Europe and had shipments delivered everyday of her
‘finds’ she had only been back a week and had just found out that they were seeing
each other.
Later that week Matthew picked her up and she asked where they were going to eat his
response was “it is a surprise.” They were driving out the old highway towards where she
used to live, when they were near here old home Matthew turned and suddenly they
drove into the driveway. the yard had been kept up by one of the boys from down the road

Dawn paid him once a month just to keep the yard mowed and weeded and it looked like
he was doing a better job than earlier as the garden beds were even weeded and newly
mulched. “What are we doing here?” she asked Matt. “Just come on, you’ll see”.

He opened the front door and she was stunned , there was every piece of furniture

and collectible sold through the shop, “what, how, why” she stammered. He guided her to
a wing back chair in the front room gave a gentle push to get her to sit down, he then
knelt down in front of her and said ” I bought each piece and brought it back here where it
belongs, where you belong Dawn, and if you’ll have me me too, reaching into his front pocket he

brought out the most beautiful emerald cut diamond she had ever seen.
“will you marry me Dawn Martin?”  Dawn did not hesitate with her response
a resounding “YES!”

 Alnilam

The children were splashing, laughing, shouting waking Alnilam the Water Dragon; she had had such a pleasant nap then all this noise! She didn’t mind so much as she loved to frolic and play with them usually, except she had a late night and needed to rest again for tonight.  You see  Alnilam, is a magic dragon she is the daughter of the famous Avanyu, the keeper of the water and the granddaughter of Puff the Magic Dragon, they taught her all their magic so that she might continue good works on the earth.

 

Last night she was called on to stop a tragedy in the ocean from happening, it was very top-secret but if you can keep a secret dear reader I will tell you shortly, only with your promise of  swear to  stick a needle in your eye promise  to never reveal this secret.  Alnilam’s name means “String of Pearls”  she was chosen for this top-secret project because at night as she glides through the waters of the ocean and lakes her scales become iridescent as pearls and many pirates and evil doers think  they are seeing  a giant string of glistening pearls floating in the waters.  Pirates and evil doers are a greedy lot so they always dive from their ships, into their small boats or jump in their rafts hanging from the sides of their ships going after the bounty of pearls, only to be surprised when beautiful Alnilam rises up to her full height and looks at them with her big blue eyes.  They begin to tremble as she asks them what they are doing and as they begin to tell her stories, she uses her magic to turn their tongues into big yellow bananas so that they can speak lies no more. Alnilam means harm to no one until they have no evil in their hearts and want to hurt  no others…

Now here is the top- secret mission she has been chosen to do…  While good people are asleep there are bad people dumping factory waste and trash into the ocean causing what is called environmental pollution. This trash they are putting in the waters of the earth make the coral and the fish die and in the lakes and streams which ruins the drinking water that we as humans need. Alnilam swims under water until she sees where the evil is taking place then she rises up like the great dragon she is roaring and breathing fire for it makes her so angry to have to do this. Her heart believes and wishes all humans would be kind to each other and to the earth as it should be, but it is not so she weaves her magic upon those polluting and changes their hearts to saving the earth instead of hurting it. Alnilam is weaving her magic for the good of all mankind, for without water we would all perish, please be good stewards of our earth just as Alnilam, her father Avanyu and her grandfather Puff were and do not litter or pollute our earth it is the only one we have.

GRAMS DISHES

Gram had a set of dishes she had collected through grocery receipts from “Chet’s Market” she was quiet proud of these dishes and would tell anyone that would listen how she had carefully shopped to make sure she got each piece. These dishes were a tan background with brown and orange flowers, to me they were ugly but she liked them and had worked diligently to obtain every piece including bread plates and water pitcher.

My job at dinner after setting the table, being her sous chef, and anything else she needed to prepare her delicious food was to fill that pitcher with water and set it on the buffet. I was quite good at filling, carrying from kitchen to dining room without spilling until the day my klutzy self tripped over my own feet and that pitcher went flying.
Now clear your mind and picture this… a doorway that as you walk through has the buffet on the right up against the wall in front of this walnut colored Duncan Phyfe dining table, then to the left Grams sewing room  and just past that in this large open room Gramps  chair with him in it, now where do you think that water flew ? Yes that is correct right into Gramps, and the pitcher hit the floor shattering. After cleaning up the mess I had made , gramps yelling at me and Gram being upset but telling me it’s okay I found out about the garden.

Back along the fence line where the sweet peas came up every year and a big tall beautiful bunch of hollyhock with the deepest darkest purple flower it was almost black along with some pink and white ones, was Grams “Crockery Garden” I don’t know if this is something her mother had and she carried on or if Gram came upon it on her own doesn’t really matter, what matters is the lesson this old garden taught me.

My lesson was how to make a family memory, how history of an old broken tea-cup can bring stories of family you’ve never met, how continuity of broken china in a dirt pile can tie the knots in a relationship even tighter. I have had a “Crockery Garden” in the last two houses I have lived in… funny how the  grandsons are the ones most interested.

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”.

{work in progress

It was so hard to breathe and the dust seemed to be in every crevice of his body even his teeth
were covered in the super fine dust.

He had been hitchhiking for three days rides were hard to come by
sure hope I can get home in time, he thought to himself.

His Ma had called his landlady in Salt Lake
and left a message his pa was real sick didn’t have long to go and he had to see him before..before
so he could apologize and tell him how much he loved him.}

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.

FALL LEAVES

He watched as the gardener raked the fall leaves into the pile

the brown and golden hued leaves crunched with each swipe

the pile kept  growing with each pull of the long-handled rake

When the gardener  walked away he ran from the porch and into the pile

He covered himself making sure nothing of himself showed

Lying very still his nose began to twitch and he pinched to stop it.

He did not hear the gardener return but suddenly he smelt and felt

the heat…

As he tried to move he found that something was holding him down
he tried to rise but he couldn’t breathe he felt paralyzed.

Suddenly in his mind he cried “Please Jesus Help Me” and with that

the heaviness lifted, his lungs cleared and Jesus lifted him up ..up..up
into the clouds
As he looked down seeing the gardener throwing more debris and brush on the fire
while all around the angels began to sing and Jesus carried him through the gates of heaven.

JUSTIFIED

Barefoot on the gravel her feet cut and bleeding, she kept walking, once in a while stopping
to pull leaves from a tree to wipe the blood.  Julie was so angry she would  walk the entire
distance of five and a half miles to town before she would ever ask that bastard for any darn thing
again, how dare he accuse her of cheating and then beat her again and again, who did he think he was?
The last man to raise a hand to her was her Daddy he had been drinking and  had just buried her momma
the day before, that didn’t make it right but it was the one and only time he raised his hand although he hadn’t
actually struck her.   Stephen thought he could lay his big hands on her and accuse her, he kept her out in the
sticks called her constantly used her over and over like she was a light switch, on off, on off .
Well,  he would not hit her or anyone else again and they would play hell finding his body the lime worked quickly
her Daddy instructed her well and she couldn’t wait to get home.

SUNDAY DINNER

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.

BREEDING

They had landed the night before breeding in the vineyard chosen on a previous visit.

Today they watched as their offspring began to emerge first with the breaking of the milk-sac

the blood of the grape turning black and beady then there, right there the swelling protrusion

of yellow! Within minutes every bunch of grapes in this vineyard had given birth to a new life

form.
At one time Earth had life on it, humans but they extinguished themselves by the way

they treated this planet, now it would be the new home of the putrid malformed

members of  planet Armageddon.

If you are unable to stand crying, ranting and extreme emotional posts please leave now and please no negative comments just go don’t come back until September ..As this is going to be my

month of grieving and I will post a lot of it I am sure soooo read at your own peril!

August 2nd, 2012  I started to write this yesterday but became overwhelmed with emotions. Forty-three years ago and again thirty eight years ago this month I gave birth to two of the most beautiful daughters a mother could want. They were born three days five minutes from being exactly five years apart. My oldest ran away to her grandmothers a block away the day her sister came home she was afraid the “new” baby would get more love.  when  she met her sister she fell in love and from that moment on they were best friends. As they got older they decided that they should be treated special each day of their birth month because, well they were special. they had a few years apart but they always stayed in touch and talked for hours on the phone , wrote letters and when  my oldest moved to California her sisters were both heartbroken, and when the middle daughter graduated she went to California as well.

Now my oldest is gone she was murdered February 19, 2011 at the age of forty~one.  This month is extremely hard for me as her mother but it is even worse on her sister and her sons, on all of us actually but doubly hard for me as I want to celebrate my second daughters birthday and my first daughters as well . I want to go to the lake and walk down the pier to where we put her ashes in the water in remembrance of her, but I want to be with my second daughter to help her on this conflicting day of happiness and grief for her as well. It is a month of selfishness on my part as I want to bring all of my family here to hug and hold and say it will be okay together we can get through this but that won’t happen, my family tends to writhe in our agony alone. I do not know how or what I will write this month maybe after a year and a half of her being gone I can cope easier then again it may be worse than last year I don’t know I am just a mother among many that has lost a child no matter how or at what age it is something that can not be  “gotten over” it is a burden on your heart for the rest of your life. for me this month is full of memories of birthday cakes and parties., of getting just the right gift and of sadness and loss. Bear with me and God Bless you all.

THE STREET I GREW UP ON

2825 Cheyenne Avenue

Pueblo, Colorado 81003

Telephone 303-545-5979.

A two story all brick home on a large lot lined with massive Elm Trees across the front of the property, an even larger Cottonwood tree in the back yard with a large tree house built by my father and Grandfather. Grandma’s vegetable and flower garden took up most of the back yard with just enough room for Grandpa’s work shed and the clothesline. The aroma of sweet peas growing on the back fence and trumpet vine on the side fence lingers in my memory to this day.  A  big Mulberry  tree  in the side yard is where I sat to play tea party and Barbie’s with which ever brother I could rope into playing but most of the time I was by myself, I would write and  read going on many an adventure with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. The house had a large porch across the front where many a “play” was presented by me and two brothers, my uncle would not participate in such “foolishness” although he was only five years older than me.

My street had few street lights therefore we were required to be home by dark, but oh did that street

see a lot from, Mother May I, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, Red Rover, Kick the Can and whatever else we could come up with. We played jacks on that big front porch, hula hooped in the yard, learned to roller skate and play hop scotch on the sidewalk. Stick ball in the middle of the street and learned to ride our bicycles on Cheyenne Avenue.

I shared a room with my gram as I was the only girl and there were three boys in the other bedroom

But I loved the smell of her bath powder and her floral wallpaper and oh the things I learned in that room from how to quilt to books of the Bible. I could also sit in the window of our bedroom looking out over the street and watch the older kids do what they do, In the house across the street I would see
Roberta when her dates would bring her home noting the time for I whatever reason perhaps because she was almost grown up but not quite and I was just nosey.
I watched the night Dickey Moore and Bucky Johnson crept up to Roberta’s house with baseball bats and broke all of the Christmas lights they broke them because they were tired of the same blue lights every year.

Oh so many memories of growing up on Cheyenne Avenue, the Visalia’s an Italian Family next door. they always gave gram a bottle of homemade  wine that seemed to last an awfully  long time. The old maid sisters and their brother on the right that fed us lunch when Gram or Gramps could not be there when we came home for lunch. I will never forget nor have I been able to get the right mixture of bologna on white bread with real butter and mayonnaise as they did.

So many happy memories and I thank you Kellie Elmore for this prompt letting me remember again the happy parts of my childhood.

Image

MY GRANDPARENTS, BROTHER KEITH, HIS DAUGHTER KIM, HUBS, OUR ANDREA AND ME.

NEED TO REWRITE

There was a time in my life that I lived with my two oldest daughters above a hardware store in a rough part of the city.
Where the homeless would just as soon knife you or bang your head to get what they thought you might have as to ask for a handout.
The rent in this one room was ten dollars a week, we shared a large bath with five other ‘tenants’ all alcoholic
men.  These were typical male boarders in that as alcoholics they used the restroom as an ‘anything goes wherever’ room.
To say I was desperate was the proverbial understatement, I talked the landlord , also owner of the corner hardware store
and the pub next door to it, into letting me rent for ten dollars a week and for the other five he wanted I would clean and
keep the restroom clean. Oh if I had only known my daily wardrobe before and after work was a mask and plastic gloves doubled.

On my way to work one day I found the frame for a set of bunk-beds on the curb, I loaded what I could into my smoking station wagon,
a piece at a time for the sides but both ends of one each time. I had to hurry I would be late for work that was a given; to

get them before someone else did that was the urgency. I left the mattresses; I wasn’t that desperate for heavens knew

what was on there!

The next day, I left the girls in that locked room long enough to run to the pub and ask for cleaner and all the card board
I could muster by myself. After eight trips with my arms laden with the cardboard a couple of the patrons offered to help me
and it wasn’t long the girls and I were giggling and getting each other soapy with our scrub sponges and rags. We cleaned those

slats, ends and rails until there was no varnish left. Then we wiped each piece of cardboard with Lysol water and a damp sponge
I prayed it would be enough to keep whatever lurked on cardboard to not hurt my babies.

A roll away bed had been their bed with two thin sheets and frayed blanket, no pillows it had been in the room when I rented it. I borrowed
a can of disinfectant from the bar I worked in ( toilet paper, soap and anything else that would fit in my purse at night too) I sprayed that
mattress to almost soaking and hung it out the window half way until it dried, then flipped it over and did the other side and end took a

good two days then I wrapped it in large trash bags and taped with grey duct tape again ‘borrowed’ this is what they slept on until the bunk beds. With those my babies could sleep separate
and I could stop sleeping on the floor with my jacket for a coverlet.

We had our meals in that room, I had an electric skillet and a one burner hot plate found in the trash, for milk
I bought powdered milk and mixed as needed, with no refrigerator it was the best I could do. I did not know at the age of
twenty-three about food stamps or state assistance, I only wish I had but I didn’t and we persevered.
I made  twenty-five dollars a night in wages plus tips as a bartender, drove an old station wagon someone had given me.
I did not have a driver’s license, no insurance, registration or proper license plates… stupidity or naïvety I am not sure to this day.

Most nights I went to work at six p.m. and worked until close which was generally three am after cleaning the place.
I took the girls to work with me, brought them through the back door sat them at a small table gave them chips or nuts, and
pickled eggs to eat. I had customers that would bring store-bought milk or a meal from their own home dinner to feed my babies.
Why I was not turned in to Children’s Services I will never know. Those same customers would watch and tell me when my boss or her
husband pulled up and they would take the girls out the door until they left. How did I trust these virtual strangers with my girls,
I didn’t that is why I always asked one of the waitresses to take a break at the same time, If they couldn’t I did!

What brought me to this situation and where was my family? I was twenty-three with a five-year old and a baby not yet one when I realized my struggle just couldn’t go on that way and I called my mom
 but mom had

remarried and her new husband didn’t want us around and there really wasn’t room for us there.
So I did what I had to do, I picked up my babies and went across the state line in that beat up old car and ended up at Tenth and Kansas Ave.
I worked that bartending job until I had enough money to rent a little house and by this time had found a job as a waitress in an Italian Delight
Restaurant working my way up to manager in less than a year. I was able to enroll my oldest daughter in half day kindergarten, found a neighbor
that did SRS babysitting and she helped me get assistance and food stamps (although my pride was severely hurt “taking charity”) we

began to have a better life, I could buy a pair of shoes for the girls and not have to worry I was taking food from their mouths.

****

The telling of this bit of my barefoot journey is to say that in the end even though I was not a religious person or Christian then, I can see how

The Lord worked to protect my family, how he guided others to offer a helping hand, how He blessed me with two beautiful daughters then

and protected them. I have to be His obedient servant now for all he has blessed me with time and again, I can do no less for HIM!

There are many out there with similar journeys and just as many blessings, and there are those that have not nor will receive the

Blessings I did, it is not for me to ask the why on that one. I only know God was watching out for me then and still is, why is a

question I once asked over and over, now I just accept that my purpose and plan are of His making. I may have wandered from the

path He set me on, but He was always there to catch me, there with His love and acceptance.

My journey has been hard, mountains overcome, trials and tribulations, burdens that I thought I would never survive, with bloody feet
I have cried and cursed God many times along this gravel path.  But He has always come through for me and mine, not always the
way I wanted but there came a time I had to just let go and let God take over all. I am so glad I did for His love, generosity, grace and

Mercy  pulled me up; out of the dirt washed me free of my sins, forgave me of those sins and loved me through it all. How could I do

any less than love Him in return with my whole mind, body, soul and spirit for I am now reborn and redeemed.
Thank You Father for your mercy and goodness!

CAREGIVER

Joan watched as her husband Dan shuffled off to the bedroom
seemed he went earlier everynight. Some nights it was a blessing
for she needed to breathe alone for a bit. Other times she just felt
sad seeing this stooped, shouldered, shuffling old man losing his
abilities to care for himself saddened by his memory loss and the
tears in his eyes of fear and frustration. She understood the anger
too but it was the hardest to take as Dan had been one of the most
giving men she had ever known, now he was so hateful and angry he
begrudged everyone everything. He had become so miserly he would
squeeze a nickel until the buffalo had a nose bleed.
Joan had talked to doctors, researched on the web and thought she
was prepared for the changes, she was not. This is just another path
to walk and she will survive it  as usual because that is what you
do…you do what you vowed to do in sickness and in health and because
you love this man.

LEANING AGAINST THE LIGHT POST SMOKING HIS TENTH CIGARETTE
WATCHING THE WINDOW WITH THE YELLOW GLOW  ON THE THIRD LEVEL

HE HAS  BEEN FOLLOWING HER FOR DAYS WATCHING HER, TAKING PICTURES OF
HER AND ALL SHE DOES
SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL WITH HER LONG DARK HAIR, HE HAD ONLY KNOWN ONE
OTHER PERSON WITH HAIR TO THEIR BUTT LIKE THAT, SAME COLOR TOO.

IT BEGAN TO RUMBLE WITH THUNDER AND LIGHTENING FLASHING ACROSS THE SKY
THE RAIN BEGAN AS LARGE DROPS VERY SPARSE, NOW IT IS A GULLY WASHER
HE RAN TO THE RENTAL CAR JUMPING IN CURSING THIS DAMN OREGON WEATHER
WHY COULDN’T SHE HAVE MOVED TO A WARM CLIME, HE WAS GETTING TO OLD FOR THIS
HER BEAUTY AND THE LOVE IN HIS HEART FOR HER HAD HIM ALL MIXED UP
HE WASN’T SURE WHAT TO DO. KEEP FOLLOWING TAKING PICTURES  OR
APPROACH HER WITH ONE OF THE TRINKETS HE HAD PURCHASED FOR HER BEFORE
COMING HERE.

SHE HAD OBTAINED HER MEDICAL DEGREE AND HAD SET UP PRACTICE WITH A GROUP
AFFILIATED WITH  THE LOCAL HOSPITAL. WONDER IF SHE KNEW HE WAS  ALSO
AFFILIATED  WITH THE SAME HOSPITAL. WOULD SHE KNOW HIM ? HE DOUBTED IT.
 HE HAD WRITTEN LETTERS SENT HER CARDS AND LITTLE PRESENTS FROM THE BOTIQUES
ON THE CRUISE SHIPS HE WORKED ON.
NEXT DAY HE WAS LEANING AGAINST THE CAR WHEN SHE CAME OUT DRESSED FOR HER
SIXTEEN HOUR DAY AT THE HOSPITALS EMERGENCY ROOM. HE WATCHED AS SHE GOT TO
THE BUS STOP JUST IN TIME , HE FOLLOWED THE BUS  TO THE DOCTORS PARKING LOT WHERE
HE PARKED AND RACED ACROSS THE LOT TO GET TO THE ER BEFORE SHE DID.HE BARELY
MADE IT TO THE COMPUTER TERMINAL AND SAT DOWN AS IF DICTATING PATIENT NOTES.

It was a big change being on staff at a large hospital compared to ships doctor, he

was finding it refreshing from older women and their upset stomachs, gout and
loneliness; he was feeling needed and worth something again.
He didn’t see her much as there was a three car pileup a couple of broken bones and 
half-dozen shootings with in the first two hours, seeing each other just to nod or “how’s it going?”
Around the fourth hour there was a moment for a cup of coffee and a smoke so he stepped outside

to enjoy both in the small enclosed patio area set aside for the staff, away from the eyes of patients and their loved ones. She was sitting at one of the small tables with her head resting on the table, 
glancing up when she heard his footsteps, smiled  and nodded for him to join her, he hesitated then 
walked to the table she said “Amelia Barnes and you are ?” chuckling. “Adam Barnes” he said and heard 
her gasp as she quickly stood “what did you say?” He just looked at her and she had gone white as

a hospital sheet, “are you, are you?” “Yes, I am your father and I am sorry we are meeting this way

after hearing your mother had passed I decided it was time to meet. I was sorry to hear about Sarah
she was the love of my life and I miss her”. 

“Where have you been and why here, now, what do you want, how did you find me?” At the 
same time both of their pagers went off, with automatic precision they both turned to run for the emergency room.

 

After nine and a half hours of constant patients there was a lull in the ER , he went looking for her to answer the questions she had queried earlier. He found her in the doctor’s lounge looking worn to a frazzle with her head down on the table. “Come on I will drive you home, you need a shower and bed

we will talk after we have both had some rest.”  She stood up arched her back walked to her locker

Withdrew a few items turned and nodded to him. “What do I call you?” she wanted to know,

he gave a lopsided grin “Guess Dad is asking too much too soon?” She smiled and nodded yes “Ok,

Adam until you’re more comfortable with me as your Dad.”

 

With that a casual getting to know each other took  place, many hours spent in the emergency room working side by side, consulting on patients,  covering for each other during grab a bite time, sharing what he knew , which was just about everything about her life. She knowing nothing of him but his name and that he had cheated on her mother, which he denied declaring his love for Sarah and how

hurt he had been when she believed a vicious tongue to him. How he had finished medical school and joined the Marines, when he got out he had no home no family so he spent what money he had saved to hire a private detective to find them. He always followed what she did after that, he showed her the multitude of pictures that he had friends and even PI’s take for him. He always knew what she was doing from her gymnastics and awards how she wanted to be good enough for the Olympics but just wasn’t quite agile or dedicated enough. He knew when she changed her interest from Sports Medicine to General Medicine. He had decided two years ago he was going to talk to Sarah and tell her he wanted to be a part of her life but then he found she was ill. Not wanting want burden her then so he waited until one night when she was at the hospital he went to see his love Sarah she was just as beautiful as ever, she seemed pleased to see him declared her love for him and told him to take care of  Amelia which he had planned on doing anyway.

“I have been taking care of myself for a long time now I really don’t need looking after” she stated bravely with tears in her eyes and a lump in her throat as she thought about this gentle man going to see his wife on her death-bed. Amelia remembered her mom saying she had a beautiful visit with Adam and how their love was just as strong today; Amelia thought her mother was becoming delirious from

the cancer that was ravaging her body. All of a sudden she threw herself in his arms and crying the

tears of a hurt child she cried” Daddy I miss her so much, she was my best friend and my mom and I miss her so much!” Adam held her, rocked her “I know my pet I know” and with that many a wall fell from

both their hearts and they became father and daughter at long last.

HAIR LONG, STREAKED HEAVILY WITH SILVER STRANDS
TO ALMOST TOTAL WHITE, 
BRUSHING IT THE
REQUIRED ONE HUNDRED TIMES WONDERING HOW
 MUCH
LONGER  WILL IT BE FELT?
THE CHEMO CAUSES ILLNESS ON TOP OF CANCER

NOW SHE MUST CONTEND WITH LOSING HER GLORY

SCARLETT

He could not let her go  she meant to much to him,  she was wrong to ask him to share with anyone.
She completed him, his heart and hers beat as one he could feel it why couldn’t she? Why hasn’t she
acknowledged him he stands next to her everyday, she gives him his assignments, smiles and laughs
at remarks he makes. Now, she knows as he hits the back of her head with the hammer,
she should not have laughed when he told her how he felt.
He places her near  lifeless body in the water and watches as her blood turns the water scarlet.
As her blood turns the water scarlet.

“D” as he was called lived, breathed and played basketball, he even dreamed of b~ball.
He was good and he knew it but he wanted to be great he had an intrinsic symmetry in

the way he played. An aloofness gave him the nickname with his

teammates “Mr. Better Than Anyone Else” he knew they called him that behind

his back and he hated it but he was basically shy until he had that ball in his hand.

When he slid that Jade jersey over his alabaster skin showing his “guns” no bigger than

Apples he became an immense shadow on the hardwood with no fear but that of falling.

He made the Community College team and quickly starred, scouted by larger

Universities and the Pros, his common sense prevailed went with a University that

would give him the education he wanted…an educator and b~ball coach.

“D” as he was called lived, breathed and played basketball, he even dreamed of b~balll.
He was good and he knew it but he wanted to be great he had an intrinsic symmetry in

the way he played. An aloofness gave him the nickname with his

teammates “Mr. Better Than Anyone Else” he knew they called him that behind

his back and he hated it but he was basically shy until he had that ball in his hand.

When he slid that Jade jersey over his alabaster skin showing his “guns” no bigger than

Apples he became an immense shadow on the hardwood with no fear but that of falling.

He made the Community College team and quickly starred, scouted by larger

Universities and the Pros, his common sense prevailed went with a University that

would give him the education he wanted…an educator and b~ball coach.

*****

Joy could no longer live up to her name for her life was
on a downward spiral.  She’s  been drunk for three out of as many days, Jim had been gone
seventeen months and home for three freaking months, only he hasn’t been home.
Home is not the Veterans Hospital  damn  she is pissed at him, the Army and God
needing to drink herself into oblivion to cope!

Joyful she is not, not when her husband doesn’t know who she is, when
she doesn’t know if can she stay upbeat when she visits him  he just sits and drools.
His mother has completely taken over his care staying with him twenty-four
hours a day, she just pushes Joy aside saying ” when he was a baby I cared for him
he is like that again so I will take care of him , you can come in after work”  Only Joy
can’t work, think or live this way anymore,  she just wants to stay in bed all day, drunk
forget that this part of life ever happened.  Damn this war and it’s IED’s!

Victor the Vicar of Venus and Victoria his wife had three baby mice
all were nice , if you didn’t mind shrieking and screeching thrice
for they were young and named from the Vicar’s readings
He in hopes they would live up to their names
for there was……
Valiant meaning Brave
Valentina~strength and health, for his only daughter
Vala ~ chosen one
He had named them such to avoid,  should they falter, there would be no shame
Valiant being the brave one   and to  always protect others
Valentina was a big healthy girl and stronger than her brothers
Vala the chosen one was rather meek  and followed  his fathers footsteps in his forever studies

~TO BE CONTINUED~

Victor the Vicar
Part II

Venus is a wonderful place to live for mice and Venetian 
are respected, excepting The Feline Fellowes of  Forlorn Forest
they do not respect anyone or anything and are the worst.

Now these Feline Fellowes were so forlorn

they cursed , growled and hissed at everyone
ever born.

They could wreak havoc  appearing in the 
nearby town of Venus,

the residents would slam
their doors and bar the windows
hiding their heads under their pillows.

Now these Fellowes were Cheshire cats
so roly poly they could be called fats.
their favorite to do, tease and taunt
No need for All Saints Eve to haunt.

Vala  was one of the Fellowes favorite toys
they had teased him since they were all boys
A pinch here a shove there they just liked to see him cry
they would laugh and laugh and call him names

Vala had told his sister Valentina what they did to him
Strong as she was she could not stop them 
They could not tell Valiant for he would fight and
We all know fighting for any reason isn’t right

 Fellowes caught Vala and Valiant in the town square
Catching them together was very rare
This day  Valiant discovered what his brother faced
Valiant wanted to defend his brother  but he would be disgraced

Finally going home to the Vicar and Momma they decided to tell
Of all that Vala had been through and between the three told it well.

Momma and Poppa the Vicar of Venus called a meeting
with the Feline Fellowes
 and their parents

Discussing what  had gone on too long , no more beating

The Vicars parting words:
Never give in to a bully
Nor a bully be
Always tell an adult if it happens to you
Bullies are easy to stop and that is true!
~THE END~
 

 

 

.

THE ENGAGEMENT

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.

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.

TAXIDERMERY

The fires are now raging south of here and going up this incline is rough, the ash is slippery after the rain
finally fell. wish it would have started raining a week ago, too many miles of looking over the devastation
is starting to get to me , Kevin thought. How many, how many more can I check before I start screaming?

 For the last seventeen years I have chased these fires counting the wildlife  deaths, saving a few that I
found but not many, not enough. These defenseless animals are the innocents whether it be Brown or Black Bear
White Tails , mice or the majestic Eagles they are innocent of wrong doing it is man who is guilty, yes my kind.

Very few of these forest fires  caused by weather and if so Mother Nature tends to her own at that time but this…
miles and acres of black with every animal known to live here harmed or killed.

As he topped the hill he gasped for right in front of his face was a most unusual sight, the likes he’d never seen a
burnt bush with a blue~jay landing wings out from the flight perched on one of the limbs as if he used the last
ounce of energy to land and then just died. He photographed all the animals around and then set his tripod and
timer to get this one photo while sitting back and looking at the miracle of it all.
What propelled this jay to this point how did  a creäture with a pea sized brain know to push this hard?
Yep, time for a change I’ve looked at enough carnage for many a lifetime.


Six months later in rural North Carolina, a man of   balding gray
stooped over a work table. The little boy looking through the plate-glass
with eyes as big as saucers sees a bush with a bird on it looks like it has burned and the man is
doing something to a squirrel. As the boy steps away he reads on the
glass ……KEVIN MILLER ~ TAXIDERMIST

 

 

ALL-STAR GAME

MA SAYS I GOTTA BUT I DON’ WANNA
IT ISN’T FAIR MY SISTER DOESN’T
I’M ONLY EIGHT YOU KNOW MA
YES I KNOW IF I WANNA GO
JUST UNFAIR IT SEEMS
TO RUIN A GUYS ONLY DREAM

DAD GOT TICKETS TO SEE THE ALL~STARS GAME 
IN KANSAS CITY AT KAUFMANN STADIUM WOW!
HE SAYS HE HAS A ROOM IN OUR NAME
BRING MY GLOVE  ‘CASE I GET LUCKY
CATCH A FLY BALL YEA I’LL SHOW BUCKY

HIS DAD TOOK HIM TO THE WORLD SERIES
HIS TEAM LOST AND HE WAS ALL TEARY
NOW I GETTA GO AND MOM IS BEING MEAN
I GOTTA CLEAN MY ROOM AND BATH
ALL SPICK AND SPAN CLEAN
I’M ALMOST DONE ‘CEPT I GOTTA CLEAN THE
TOILET   YUCKKKKKK!
I GOT MA’S GLOVES FROM THE KITCHEN SINK
DAD’S GOGGLES FROM THE GARAGE
WHEW WHAT A STINK !

OK MA I AM DONE YOU CAN CHECK
SHE CHECKS AND WIPES AND SMILES
GOOD GOOD  SHE EXCLAIMS
GIVING ME A PAT……… 


THEN SHE LOOKS UNDER MY BED
I DIDN’T DO THAT !
TSK TSK SHE SAYS WHAT DRAT!
MA REMEMBER ? MEMBER  MA?
I CRY, I DON’T WANT TO LOOK
UNDER THERE… I COULD DIE!

SHE PULLS OUT A BOOK
A SOCK, A BALL. MY DINO
I THOUGHT THE MONSTERS ATE
MA PLEASE NO MORE
YOUR GOING TO OPEN THE DOOR
MA PLEASE I CAN’T BE LATE

TOMMY SHE SAYS THERE ARE NO MONSTERS
YES THERE IS I KNOW..OH I’M GOING BONKERS
MA..DO I GOTTA?? ?

I WILL HELP YOU SHE EXCLAIMS
GET THE HOOVER AND WE SHALL
SEE IF THE NOSE OF A HOSE
WILL GET THOSE MONSTERS TOES
WE’LL SUCK THEM UP
THEN SPRAY TODAY
THE MONSTERS FAR AWAY
THERE WILL BE NO DIRT AND GRIME
FOR THEM TO COMMIT MORE CRIME
YOU SHALL BE SAFE TOMMY DEAR
NOW YOUR ROOM IS ALL CLEAR.

DAD PICKED ME UP AND SOON
I WILL TELL YOU THAT STORY
BUT NOT NOW IT IS AFTERNOON!

She loved every minute of their vacation in Mozambique on the Atlantic Coast of South Africa, the water so clear and cool, the fresh smell of the salty air, sound of the gulls squawking overhead  warm sand on her feet…Ummm ecstasy.
The sub~ tropical weather was perfect 90% of the year, perfect for vacationing when National Geographic sent Tim on assignment remotely close to the area.
Tim had brought her here fourteen years ago on their honeymoon and he had taught her . …to swim, scuba, and love the ocean. Brenda loved her handsome husband just as much today as on the day they married, in fact she kept falling in love with him over and over through the years. Tim was always that bronzed,  well~ buffed man other women ogled no matter where they were together or not. That dark hair and blue eyes with those long dark lashes ’bedroom eyes’ she called them and oh that grin it could melt her heart with butterflies every time  after all this time the only thing in  her stomach as she could not conceive.
As  much as they wanted a child it truly hurt but as Tim said they had each other.  They had discussed and decided against adopting a few years ago, now , well now she wished that they she was feeling that nurturing urge again. They both had well established careers, Tim was a freelance photographer when they met now he worked for “National Geographic” as a staff photographer which really helped in using assignments as their vacation times. She had her own jewelry design company and she loved the travel for inspiration and she could sketch new designs, get new materials all over the world. She believed her access to one-of-kind materials helped fuel her success. It certainly increased the demand for her work.
They chartered a boat to take them into the beautiful water to dive, Tim had bought a Sealife DC underwater camera anxious to try the new toy; we were going to dive deeper than we had before to try it out. The colors of the ocean are so different at 195 feet than at normal swimming level, the first thing is the quiet, swimming by beautiful coral the colors were amazing deep rich reds, royal purples, deep to light blues and the ivory shimmered like pearls. We of course were always aware of the
possibility of sharks , sting ray and electric eels. I stayed close to Tim who was photographing a school of clown fish, the pumpkin orange and white striped fish were very playful darting in and out between Tim and the camera.
Submerged  approximately  twenty minutes when Tim motioned for me to move quickly to his side.  I tugged his weight belt as soon as I was within range, noting his hands were motioning to me in our secret “sign” language. Move quietly, I discerned, from his hand jive.  He  used our  secret sign language to tell me: quietly move forward.  As I did I  gasped: and he grabbed my arm.  His eyes were as big as saucers behind the goggles I knew mine had to be as large, for in front of us the  incredible Mermaids and  Mermen! Unbelievable! They were beautiful with their tan scales blue or black backs  some with  spots, they had webbed fingers on the hands some walking on their fins and some were swimming. Their eyes were huge almost like drawings I had seen of alien life, their heads   large with a ridge along the middle of their skull with a flat spot on top  oh my looking at Tim I mouthed “a blow hole like a whale?” He shrugged and in doing so the  group of  Merpeople turned and looked at us curiously then began making this noise sounding almost like a school of Dolphin talking to each other, only it seemed directed at us. One of the Mermen took a step towards us making this loud high~pitched noise, raising his arm/hand almost aggressively Tim and I looked at each other and holding hands began to back away ascending upwards trying not to appear that we were not afraid, I was terrified yet fascinated.
As we went up they followed us slowly always the one Merman out in front until we were  fifty feet from surface and in a blink they were gone . We broke surface and swam to the boat as soon as we were on board and had our masks off Tim quietly said “Don’t say a word” looking at him quizzically he shook his head, after we arrived at the hotel room we talked about what we had seen and decided what we needed to do. Once we got back to Cape Horn Tim went off to develop his film and I
grabbed the laptop to document the experience.
Two months later   The  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration invited us  to go with them on their investigation of what Tim had photographed and I had seen and documented, we are still in the Atlantic Ocean but have gone diving on the side of the Indian Ocean as well, with brief sightings of the Mer~people, the investigation is on~going and we will continue to help as long as they need but I for one would like to live on dry ground again soon.

SCARS OF BEAUTY

SO MUCH HAD HAPPENED THIS LAST FEW MONTHS
THE STRESS, WORK AND THOSE SHE SUPERVISED
FAMILY TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS SHE BEING OLDEST
OF COURSE THEY CAME TO HER FOR ADVICE BUT USUALLY
MONEY.  SHE FELT USED AND RE`USED

SHE HAD THREE WEEKS OFF TIME, SHE WAS GOING ALONE

WHEREVER THE FIRST PLANE OUT OF HERE WILL TAKE HER,
SHE LOVES HER FAMILY BUT IF SHE DOESN’T GET AWAY FROM
THEM AND THEIR DRAMA …A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN FOR SURE.
SHE CAUGHT A FLIGHT TO  COLORADO , 


BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, MOUNTAINS, PINES, RIVERS, ASPENS,
A CRISPNESS  IN THE AIR AS SHE STEPS OUT OF THE CABIN.
NO CELL PHONES WORK HERE, THERE WAS A LAND LINE
AT THE B&B SHOULD SHE NEED TO CHECK ON ANYONE, BUT
SHE WAS ENJOYING THAT NO ONE KNEW WHERE SHE WAS AND
COULD NOT REACH OUT AND TOUCH HER HERE. 


SHE WAS GOING HIKING THIS MORNING UP AS FAR AS SHE CAN
AND FEEL SAFE . SHE HAD FOUND A WALKING STICK YESTERDAY
ON HER WAY TO THIS CABIN.
AFTER BREAKFAST AT THE B&B SHE TOOK UP HER
WALKING STICK AND HER HIKE BEGAN
THE LEAVES OF THE ASPENS RUBBING TOGETHER
MADE A MOST SOOTHING SOUND SHE STOPPED TO LISTEN
JUST QUIET , SILENT, CALM

SHE MOVED ON FOR FEAR SHE WOULD MISS THE BEAUTY
OF THIS LAND IF SHE DIDN’T TAKE IT ALL IN NOW
THE HIGHER SHE WENT THE MORE BEAUTY REVEALED
THE TREES CHANGED TO MAJESTIC PINES MANY WITH
THEIR BARK PARTIALLY REMOVED, SHE KNEW THIS TO BE
WHERE THE NATIVE INDIANS STRIPPED THE OUTER BARK
FOR GUM USING THE UNDER~LAYER TO CHEW.

IN SPOTS THE MARKS WERE QUITE DISFIGURING AND UGLY
SOME FILLED WITH SAP THAT HAD CRYSTALLIZED LIKE SUGAR
THE WIND AND WEATHER BRINGING FORTH
SCARS OF BEAUTY.
LATER IN HER CABIN SHE PRAYED THANKING
HER CREATOR FOR THE BEAUTY REVEALED TO HER TODAY
FOR HAVING LOST HER FAITH THROUGH THE CHALLENGES
BITTERNESS GRIEF AND STRIFE WITHIN HER FAMILY AND
HERSELF SHE KNEW GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TODAY
SHOWING HER THAT THE SCARS ON HER HEART AND BODY
WERE AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE CRYSTAL SAP SCARS
OF THE PINES.
NOW IN ASKING GOD FOR FORGIVENESS SHE KNEW
SHE COULD  FORGIVE HERSELF

GRAM

As a child gram made all my dresses for church and school
back when little girls wore petticoats that made dresses stick
out all poofy, until they came out with the blow~up petticoat
which I thought was great fun and not near as scratchy as the
others. I hated petticoats, I hated dresses I wanted jeans like the
boys had, t~ shirts and keds. Anyway I loved making those
blow~up rings pop then I could wear the petticoat without all the
slapping in the face when you sat down wrong.
I digress …sorry

Gram loved to sew and my grandfather would mutter and grumble
but he always took her scissors in to be sharpened
and would wait in the car while she was in Newberry’s or
some fabric store purchasing more and more fabric. She made
beautiful quilts and of course it took time to get just the right
fabrics to go together. Gram had a beautiful  dining set
and the buffet was crammed with fabrics and notions
and her sewing room was a downstairs bedroom with a
full closet and dressers of even more. Not a scrap of
usable fabric was ever thrown out just because it
wasn’t used that day didn’t mean someday it
wouldn’t be . So goes the flour sack aprons and worn
bath towels cut  and made into pot holders,
small scraps of fabrics  made into doll clothes for
Chatty Cathy or Barbie, there was never any waste.

Gram always had a needle or straight pin in her mouth and
her thimble on her middle finger. She could catch you flying
out the door with a loose button have you take it off and with a snip
snip, up down  and your button would never fall off or come loose again.

One of the things i wanted when she passed was her thimble, that silver
finger tip of doom as we called it. Gosh it hurt, if we got a
bit sassy with her she wouldn’t pick up a belt or stand you
in the corner she would just reach out with that middle finger
and tap-tap right on the forehead. Now let me tell you
that little silver piece of soft metal that would crush if
you stepped on it hurt like an anvil been dropped on
your head. Such was the strength in those  hands, those
hands that stitched every stitch with love, joy and a piece
of her heart to wear with you everyday.
Miss you Gram.

THE FIRE
drink in front of him as he stares
at the poor son of bitch in the mirror
fellow needs a good wash and haircut
must be a week or more since shaving.
bloodshot eyes, lids drooping in that
bedroom eye look ~if he wasn’t drunk.

can’t remember how long he’s been here
or even where here is , looking around
he sees it is a small neighborhood type
bar, dated  late 1980’s early ’90’s decor
pool table, jukebox and poker machines
he stands up looking for the mens room
sees the neon exit sign with bathroom  under
he looks in the mirror real close
splashes water on his face running his
wet hands over his hair trying to look
a little better than the drunk he sees there.
a knock on the door and the bartender
sticks her hand through saying thought
you might want this, this being a black
leather duffel~type bag. Inside he finds
clean clothes a razor, toothbrush, the
essentials. Digging through he finds
letters  and as he reached for the bundle
kept together with a big rubber~band
he drew his hand back quickly as if
they would burn if he actually touched them.

His eyes began to tear up looking at the hand~
writing, he turned back to the sink
splashing cold water on his face and eyes again
He emerged twenty minutes later clean shaven
hair shampooed and combed he even smelled
better thanks to the sponge bath.
Setting back down at the bar  the
bartender brought him a cup of coffee
he gave her a raised eyebrow she said
“it’s time” and walked away.  he watched
her serve the ten or twelve patrons laughing
and talking with them as she refilled drinks
and peanut baskets.
returning to where he sat, she poured him more
coffee and one for herself then said how much
do you remember?  shaking his head she
told him his name was Mike Logan, he
had lost his family in a fire at their home
his wife  and two boys, he had been drunk since
the police had questioned him and then
released him. Investigators said it
started n the attic from wiring. Kris had
told him  two or three times she heard
noises in the attic and he was going to check
it out as soon as he had time.
Time never came , wait yes it did
IT JUST CAME TOO LATE.

BLESSINGS

PLACING THE APPLICATION  IN THE BASKET ON THE DESK

AS THE POST STATED, SHE COULD SEE THAT THERE WERE 

TWENTY OR SO AHEAD OF HERS.

LEAVING THE BUILDING , CROSSED THE STREET TO THE FASTFOOD

JOINT, SO HUNGRY BUT NOT BUYING, NO MONEY TO BUY. SHE WENT TO 

THE KIOSK TO PLACE THE ONLINE APPLICATION, WHEN FINISHED SOME 

FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER, SHE WALKED AROUND TO THE BACK OF THE BUILDING

LOOKING CLOSELY AT THE DUMPSTER,  SHE HOPED THERE WAS SOMETHING

THERE TO FEED HER BABIES. SHE HATED THIS HATED, HATED, HATED!!!!  THE RAGE

BUILDING TO THE POINT SHE DIDN’T CARE WHO SAW HERE DIGGING FOR FOOD. HER BABIES NEEDED TO EAT!  SHE HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR A JOB FOR SIX MONTHS,  LIVING IN THE CAR WITH NO GAS TO GO ANYWHERE JUST ENOUGH TO MOVE TO AVOID A TICKET.  

WITHOUT AN ADDRESS SHE COULDN’T DRAW ASSISTANCE, AND HER SISTER WAS ALREADY  ON

SO SHE COULDN’T USE HER ADDRESS NOR COULD SHE STAY WITH HER IF THE HOUSING AUTHORITY FOUND OUT HER SIS WOULD HAVE TO MOVE. 

SOMEHOW SOMEWAY SHE HAD TO FIND A JOB,  HER DEGREE IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CIVILIZATION WOULDN’T EVEN GET HER A TEACHING JOB WITH ALL THE BUDGET CUTS. 

SHE WAS SICK AS WELL AND HER TWO BOYS KNEW IT AND WORRIED. COULDN’T AFFORD A

DOCTOR VISIT AND IF IT GOT MUCH WORSE THE ER WAS ALL SHE HAD, BUT SHE WAS SO AFRAID

WITH NO INSURANCE OR MONEY AND THE BOYS WOULD HAVE TO GO WITH HER~ WHAT IF THEY TOOK THEM AWAY FROM HER ?

SHE COULDN’T STAND ANYMORE LOSS, NO PARENTS, NO HUSBAND, NO ONE BUT HER MARINE ~ BIOLOGIST SISTER THAT WAS ON THE DOLE AS WELL. 

SHE GRABBED A FEW HALF EATEN PACKAGES OF FRIES AND A COUPLE OF HAMBURGERS, THERE WAS A SLICE OF PIZZA IN A BOX NOT EVEN A BITE GONE!  JIMMY WILL GRAB THAT, BOBBY THE FRIES

IT WILL BE ENOUGH FOR AN HOUR OR TWO THEY WERE GROWING, EVIDENCED BY THE SHORTNESS OF JEANS AND SHIRT SLEEVES.

SHE ARRIVES AT WHERE THE CAR WAS PARKED AND IT IS GONE! OH DEAR GOD WHERE ARE MY BOYS PLEASE GOD WHERE…. “MOM, MOM” SHE TURNED AND THERE THEY WERE BUT THEY LOOKED SO DIFFERENT CLEAN AND HAIRCUTS AND NEW CLOTHES ???? WHAT WHO  WHAT??? 

“MOM”, JIMMY THE OLDEST SAYS “THAT NICE MAN IN THAT CAR RIGHT THERE IS GETTING THE CAR FIXED AND HE BOUGHT US CLOTHES AND TOOK US TO HIS GYM TO SHOWER AND HAD SOMEONE BRING US CLOTHES AND FOOD AND HE’S GOING TO HELP YOU MOM HE REALLY IS!”

“SARA EILEEN WEBSTER?”  “YE YES SS” SHE STUTTERED. “MY NAME IS JEFFEREY KNOLTE,

I AM. ..ER… WAS AN ATTORNEY FOR YOUR GREAT UNCLE TIMOTHY  ROBERTSON AND AS YOU AND YOUR SISTER  ESTHER ARE THE ONLY LIVING RELATIVES YOU HAVE INHERITED EQUAL SHARES OF HIS ESTATE. IT ISN’T A LOT I AM AFRAID BUT ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR IMMEDIATE SITUATION. NOW, I HAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO DRIVE YOU AND THE BOYS TO YOUR SISTERS, SHE TOLD ME HOW TO FIND YOU BY THE WAY.

HE REACHED OUT AND TOOK THE BAG OF DUMPSTER FOOD FROM HER HAND, “THERE WILL BE NO MORE NEED FOR THIS” HE SPOKE GENTLY AS HE TOOK HER ARM AND HELPED HER INTO HIS CAR.

THE BOYS WERE ALREADY IN THE BACK WITH SEAT BELTS ON AS IF AND THEY HAD DONE THIS BEFORE.

ARRIVING AT ESTHERS, THE DOOR FLEW OPEN AND ESTHER CAME RUNNING OUT WRAPPING HER ARMS AROUND HER IN A BIG HUG.  “LET’S GET IN HERE AND FIND OUT WHAT WE INHERITED SHE SAID.

ONCE INSIDE COFFEE SERVED, MR KNOLTE PROCEEDED TO OPEN HIS BRIEFCASE AND PULL OUT A STACK OF OFFICIAL LOOKING PAPERS.  “YOUR GREAT UNCLE TIMOTHY  WAS ESTRANGED FROM YOUR GRANDMOTHER AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY FOR MANY YEARS BUT HE ADORED YOUR MOTHER AND KEPT IN CONTACT WITH HER THROUGH THE YEARS, THAT IS HOW HE KNEW OF YOU GIRLS.”

“THAT BEING SAID HE LEFT FUNDS FOR ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR EDUCATION THROUGH POST~GRADUATE SCHOOL SHOULD THEY WISH TO ATTEND IF NOT THE FUNDS WILL BE PUT IN A TRUST FOR THEIR CHILDREN”

BOTH WOMEN JUST SQUEEZED EACH OTHERS HAND TIGHTER. MR KNOLTE CONTINUED “ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN OPENED IN BOTH YOUR NAMES AT THE WELLS FARGO BANK, THE FIRST DEPOSIT HAS BEEN MADE .” SARA AND ESTHER LOOKED AT EACH OTHER MOUTHING ‘FIRST DEPOSIT?”

” EVERY QUARTER EACH YEAR FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS A DEPOSIT OF FIVE  MILLION WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THOSE ACCOUNTS FOR A TOTAL OF TWENTY MILLION EACH YEAR FOR THE PERIOD OF TEN YEARS.”  BOTH WOMEN WERE WHITE AS SHEETS AND CRYING SILENTLY.

“IF THIS IS SATISFACTORY I NEED YOU BOTH TO SIGN THIS PACKET OF PAPERS, YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO HAVE OTHER COUNSEL REVIEW THEM”

EACH WOMAN SIGNED AND THE NEXT DAY HAD A NEIGHBOR WATCH THE CHILDREN, AS THEY HIRED A CAR AND WENT LOOKING FOR HOMES NEXT TO EACH OTHER. WHEN THEY HAD FOUND WHAT THEY WANTED THEY SIGNED PAPERS AND WROTE CHECKS THAT WENT FOR FURNITURE, CLOTHING AND FOOD AS WELL. THEY PAID IN ADVANCE ALL UTILITIES, NEVER AGAIN WOULD THEY LIVE WITHOUT WATER OR LIGHTS. THEY PURCHASED RESTAURANT SIZED FREEZERS AND REFRIGERATORS FILLING THEM UNTIL BULGING. PICKING UP THE CHILDREN THEY TOOK THEM TO THEIR NEW HOMES . EACH ONE WITH THEIR OWN ROOMS BUT DECIDING TO MAKE PALLETS IN THE GREAT ROOM TO BE TOGETHER IN THEIR GOOD FORTUNE. 

PRAYERS THAT NIGHT WERE SINCERE IN GRATITUDE AND PRAISE AND CONTINUED TO BE SO FOR YEARS TO COME.

MYSTICAL FOREST

“It’s surprisingly large once your inside” Mr.Theodore Toad said to Ms. Freesia Fairy.

Ms. Freesia needed a place just for a little while to stay out of sight and musn’t tarry

for Mr. Lizard Lick thought she would be a tasty morsel to have for lunch, and he was close behind.

Ms. Freesia had barely flown inside when the slurping, shuffling, swishing, and

with his tongue shooting out to taste everything within reach Mr Lizard Lick could be heard before

being seen, He was rather a gross looking fellow with his scaly body, pointed head, beady eyes and

forked tongue constantly going. It was the strangest shade of lilac almost neon, his tongue that is

his body was a molten green. He soon could be seen by Mr. Theodore Toad as he came near the Toad Tree House..

Mr Theodore Toad called out “Why Hello Mr Lizard Lick, what brings you this way today?” as he pretended to clean his spectacles placing them back on his nose and giving a hard look at Mr Lizard Lick.

‘Oh just out and about don’t you know, a beautiful day for fairies, er er flies , flies I mean”. “That it is ” responded Mr. Theodore Toad. “If your looking for fairies here you will have to look elsewhere, this is the Mystical Forest where we harm none and allow none.”

Mr Lizard Lick scoffed “Hurmph what makes you and your forest so special…hmmmmm tell me that Mr. Theodore Toad Fat?”

“No need to be nasty Mr. Lizard Lick for in the Enchanted Forest we believe in the golden rule.”

“And what might that be?” Mr. Lizard asked. Incredulous Mr.Theodore Toad exclaimed “Why do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” Have you never known of this Mr. Lizard?”

“ah no I haven’t” Mr. Lick was pensive in his answer thinking on what had been said. ‘I must shuffle along now if you see Ms. Freesia Fairy tell her I shall have her for my meal soon” off he slithered laughing and slurping as he went.

Ms Freesia Fairy, who had been hovering just inside the door listening, came out saying to Mr. Theodore Toad, “thank you so much for giving me shelter Mr. Toad here is a little fairy dust to help you along your day.”

With thank you’s given  they departed with Ms Freesia flitting in and out of the trees just out of reach of any predator in the forest.

A few days later Ms Freesia Fairy and her sisters Ms. Calla Lilly, Ms. Choral Bell and Ms, Rosy Red were flying

through the Mystical Forest when they heard someone crying “help help me help”, flying toward the sound they came upon Mr Lizard Lick stuck in the Quicksand Pond.

“Heavens what have we here?” asked Ms. Calla Lily “Oh help me out of here please. Mr Lick cried out

Ms. Choral Bell called for her sisters to join her under the big willow tree. “What do you think sisters should we help him?” ” Why yes of course we must ” said Ms Rosy Red ” but let us give him stipulations”. they all discussed what that would be then went to help Mr Lizard Lick.

‘We will help you” Ms. Freesia Fairy said “if you agree to always remember and practice The Golden Rule while

in the Mystical Forest, AND you can not try to eat us anymore and stick with flies only while here:.

“Yes, yes just get me out of here ” he nearly screamed it out. “One more thing ” said Ms. Calla Lily “just how much do you weigh?” and started laughing.

The four fairies gathered up vines from the trees and tied them around what was showing of Mr. Lizard Lick they began to flutter in place trying to pull him out but he didn’t budge. “Oh dear ” said Ms Freesia, She thought for a moment then telepathically told her sisters what was needed. They all began to sprinkle fairy dust over the quicksand pond and Mr.Lizard Lick .  “Hey, what are you doing?” he asked. “this is the way things work here by fairy dust only.

Soon birds of every size and color appeared, butterflies, a lion and even Uni came, offering to let them use his horn to tie the vines, which was accepted.. With everyone pulling with all their might , they freed him. As they sat around a warm  fire he began by thanking everyone and vowing he would from now on  The inhabitants of Mystical Forest would have no worries not only from him but his family as well.

THE PROPOSAL

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. 

 

 

A DAY AT THE BEACH

Packed up the two boys and my wife taking them to the beach

 we found a great spot ..not too many people here today.

the wife spread the boys towels out and put up the umbrella

as I raced after those two running into the waves.

We laughed and played, built sand castles and napped

the boys woke and she took them to the water this time

to let me nap a bit longer.

upon waking I looked and they were picking up shells further 

down the beach, waves lapping at their tiny feet. I looked and waves had 

partially washed our sand castles away. I began to rebuild as we

had not taken pictures yet, rebuilding I heard a noise, sounded

like an underground slither but that couldn’t be, probably just sand crabs

I continued to work and form with  my hands the tower of one sand castle when

i heard that noise again…………..ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

TESSA AND LUCAS

GROWING UP ON A FARM WAS HARD WORK AND HARD FUN

AT SEVEN OR EIGHT YOU GET TO LEARN TO DRIVE A TRACTOR,

 TRUCK OR SOMETHING BIG . COURSE YOU STILL HAVE TO MUCK

STALLS, GATHER EGGS, SLOP PIGS, HOE GARDENS, MILK COWS

BUT FUN WHEN THE CHORES WERE DONE.

WE COULD RUN OFF TO SWIM, FISH, OR JUST FIND A QUIET PLACE TO

READ OR SKETCH.

TESS WAS SIXTEEN AND THE ONLY GIRL OF THREE BOYS ALL OLDER  

AND THEY NEVER LET HER FORGET IT. WHEN CHORES WERE DONE  AND

SHE WASN’T NEEDED IN THE KITCHEN SHE GRABBED HER TOTE, and

 AWAY FROM IT ALL SHE WENT . IN THE BARN SHE SADDLED BLEW

SO NAMED AS HE BLEW ON HER  BIRTHDAY DRESS WHEN DADDY GAVE

HER AS HER GIFT. BLEW WAS HER BEST FRIEND FOR THREE YEARS THE

ONLY ONE SHE EVER HAD.

TESSA RODE TO NICHOLS CREEK , TIED BLEW TO AN OLD OAK THEN RAN TO 

THE HUGE WILLOW.  DUCKING INSIDE  TOSSING HER TOTE AS SHE WENT  SHE

GAVE AN ABRUPT STOP AND STRANGLED GASP “WHO WHO WHOOO ARE YOU

WHY ARE YOU IN MY TREE?”   HE STOOD DROPPING A SPIRAL NOTEBOOK AND PENCIL

“MY NAME IS LUCAS I DIDN’T KNOW THIS WAS YOUR TREE, WHO ARE YOU?”

“I’M TESS UH TESSA NICHOLS, THIS IS OUR CREEK AND OUR LAND SO YES MY TREE.”

“NOW WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?” 

LUCAS  EXPLAINED HE WAS VISITING HIS AUNT AND UNCLE,  THE WRENS

FOR THE SUMMER WHILE HIS MOM WAS ON HER THIRD HONEYMOON, LAST

TIME HE STAYED WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS. HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHO HIS

 NEW STEP~FATHER WAS EXCEPT HIS NAME WAS LARRY.  

“OH MAN I SURE LET IT ALL OUT DIDN’T I ?” HE LAUGHED. TESS GAVE A 

LITTLE LAUGH AND REALLY LOOKED AT HIM, HE WAS THE CUTEST MOST

HANDSOME BOY SHE HAD EVER SEEN WITH DARK WAVY HAIR, BLUE BLUE 

EYES WITH DARK LASHES, A CROOKED GRIN AND A DIMPLE IN HIS CHIN AND

ONE ON HIS RIGHT CHEEK.  “ARE YOU THROUGH MEMORIZING MY FACE?” 

“WHAT?  OH YES, I MEAN NO, I WASN’T; UH I GUESS I WAS SORRY” 

THEY SPENT THE AFTERNOON DISCOVERING EVERYTHING ABOUT ONE ANOTHER

PARTING SADLY AT DUSK PROMISING TO MEET AGAIN THE NEXT DAY. aND SO 

THE SUMMER DAYS WERE SET, MEETING EACH DAY AT NICHOLS CREEK. THEY

HAD DISCOVERED THEY BOTH WROTE POETRY AND STORIES AND SHE COULD

SKETCH QUITE WELL, THEY PUT THEIR TALENTS TOGETHER AND WROTE MANY A STORY

MOSTLY THEY JUST SAT ON THE CREEK BANK AND TALKED OR SWAM OR RODE BLEW AND DANCER

ALL OVER EACH OTHERS FARMS. HER BROTHERS TEASED HER ABOUT HAVING A BOYFRIEND AND DADDY ASK IF THAT WAS TRUE THEN PROCEEDED TO TELL HER HOW SHE WAS TOO YOUNG. 

MOMMA JUST SMILED AND TALKED TO HER LATER AND SHE ADMITTED SHE LIKED LUCAS MORE THAN JUST A FRIEND. MOMMA SAID MANY A TRUE LOVE WAS FOUND YOUNG BUT SHE NEEDED TO REMEMBER ALL THEY HAD TALKED ABOUT LAST YEAR AND TESSAS FACE TURNED BEET RED.

THE SUMMER GOT HOTTER, DAYS LONGER AND MORE WORK

AT THE FARM, THE CROPS AND HANDS ARRIVED AT THE SAME TIME.

THERE WAS ALWAYS A CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE WHEN THE MIGRANT 

WORKERS MOVED IN.  TESSA INTRODUCED LUCAS TO THE ONES SHE KNEW, OOHED AND AHHED

OVER THE NEW ADDITIONS, ATE LUNCH WITH  THE WORKERS AND HEADED FOR THE FIELDS. 

THEY WORKED TILL MID AFTERNOON WHEN DADDY SAID THEY COULD TAKE OFF, EVEN OFFERING THE OLD PICK UP SO THEY COULD GET TO THE CREEK QUICKER. TESS AND LUCAS DROVE UP TO THE HOUSE GRABBING A SNACK  AND HER TOTE, TELLING HER MOMMA WHERE THEY WOULD BE.

DRIVING DOWN THE DIRT LANE TALKING ABOUT WHATEVER POPPED INTO THEIR MINDS WHEN 

LUCAS SAID LOUDLY  “STOP NOW” SLAMMING ON THE BRAKES TESSA NEARLY BROKE THEIR NECKS “WHAT?’ SHE SHOUTED AT HIM, LUCAS JUMPED DOWN, LEAPED ACROSS THE DITCH AND RAN INTO THE FIELD. SHE COULDN’T SEE WHAT HE WAS DOING AND JUST AS SHE STARTED TO CLIMB ON THE BED OF THE TRUCK TO SEE, LUCAS YELLED FOR HER TO STAY IN THE TRUCK AND LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD. SHE DID AS HE ASKED THINKING HE WAS TAKING CARE OF A PERSONAL MATTER.

ARRIVING AT NICHOLS CREEK THEY BOTH WENT UNDER A WILLOW AND CHANGED, JUMPING INTO THE CREEK ABOUT THE SAME TIME.  THEY SWAM FOR A WHILE PLAYING TAG AND DUNKING ONE ANOTHER, CLIMBING UP THE ROCKY BANK AND COLLAPSING ON THE WARM ROCKS LETTING THE SUN DRY THEM AS THEY WATCHED THE CLOUDS AND TOLD EACH OTHER WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKE.

BOTH DOZED FOR A TIME, COMING AWAKE TESSA FELT SOMETHING TICKLING HER NOSE SHE OPENED HER EYES TO SEE LUCAS RUBBING HER FACE WITH A LARGE SUNFLOWER, ” FOR YOU MY SUNSHINE” AND LEANING OVER HE KISSED HER.  SHE IMMEDIATELY  BLUSHED RED, SHE HAD NEVER  BEEN KISSED BEFORE AND FOR IT TO BE LUCAS THE CUTEST BOY SHE HAD EVER SEEN , SHE COULD BARELY BREATHE  ” TESS ARE YOU OK ?” HE ASKED “I DIDN’T MEAN TO MAKE YOU MAD” “DO IT AGAIN” SHE RESPONDED LUCAS WAS ONLY TO HAPPY TO OBLIGE.

AFTER A FEW MORE KISSES THEY SWAM AGAIN COMING TOGETHER IN THE WATER FOR HUGS AND KISSES. THIS TIME WHEN THEY CLIMBED UP ON THE ROCKS LUCAS TOLD HER “WE NEED TO TALK TESSA”  TURNING TOWARDS HIM SHE RAISED HER BROW QUESTIONING WITH THAT GESTURE  THE SERIOUS TONE OF VOICE.  

“YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU AND HAVE LOVED YOU FROM THE MOMENT YOU YELLED AT ME UNDER THE WILLOW TREE, WITH YOUR GREEN EYES FLASHING AND RED HAIR FLYING LIKE A TORNADO WAS GOING THROUGH IT.  I LEAVE THIS SUMMER I DON’T KNOW WHEN I WILL BE BACK I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED  TO HARVARD , AND I WANT YOU TO WAIT FOR ME”

“WAIT FOR YOU OH LUCAS I LOVE YOU TOO OF COURSE I WILL WAIT, I AM SO HAPPY YOU GOT ACCEPTED BUT BOSTON LUCAS, IT’S SO FAR.”

“THAT’S WHAT I AM  TRYING TO TELL YOU, I DON’T KNOW WHEN I CAN GET BACK HERE TO SEE YOU.”

TESSA AND LUCAS CONTINUED TO TALK  MAKING PLANS FOR THEIR FUTURE. LUCAS EXPRESSING HIS FEAR THAT TESSA WOULD MEET

SOMEONE WHILE HE WAS GONE, SHE HADN’T HAD A LOT OF EXPERIENCE HE WAS REALLY HER FIRST BOYFRIEND.  DUSK HAD ROLLED IN AND THEY BECAME AWARE SUDDENLY OF THE TIME  AND THE NEED TO  GET HOME.

TESSA WAS HELPING HER MOMMA CLEAN UP AFTER DINNER, “WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND TESS? ” GIVING HER A ONE ARMED HUG AND LITTLE SQUEEZE ON THE SHOULDER, THAT WAS ALL TESSA NEEDED “OH MOMMA, I’M IN LOVE AND HE KISSED ME!”  SHE EXCLAIMED SMILING SO BIG IT COVERED HER WHOLE FACE.

“OH,  BABY GIRL YOU LOVE HIM?”  “I THINK SO “,  “COME HERE LET’S SIT DOWN AND TALK  ABOUT THIS” MOMMA SAID. 

“YOUR STILL YOUNG TESSA AND HE’S YOUR FIRST REAL BOYFRIEND AND YOUR FIRST LOVE AND SOMETIMES THAT’S ALL IT IS  ……

FIRST LOVE.” 

“OH MOMMA , I HAVE THOUGHT ALL THE SAME THINGS ;I JUST CAN’T IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT HIM.”

THAT NIGHT TESSA’S PARENTS LAY IN BED TALKING ABOUT TESSA’S FIRST LOVE AND HOW MUCH THEY LIKED LUCAS.

CARL WAS ADAMANT THAT ONCE LUCAS LEFT TESS WOULD PINE FOR A WHILE EVENTUALLY HER HEART WOULD HEAL WHEN SHE REALIZED

HE HAD FORGOTTEN HER.

BRIDGET FELT SOME WHAT THE SAME WAY BUT HOPED DIFFERENTLY FOR SHE DIDN’T WANT TO SEE HER BABY GIRL HURT.  CARL ROLLED OVER SAYING HE AND THE BOYS HAD CATTLE TO MOVE AND CROP TO GET IN TOMORROW AND WITH THAT BEGAN TO SNORE.

BRIDGET  THOUGHT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT TESSA AND LUCAS AND THOUGHT SHE WOULD REMIND CARL HE WAS HER FIRST LOVE AND SHE WAITED FOR HIM WHEN HE WENT TO VIETNAM, YES SHE WOULD REMIND HIM.

IT WAS A BITTERSWEET ENDING TO THE SUMMER THE DAY LUCAS LEFT ,  THEY TOOK ONE MORE RIDE ON BLEW AND DANCER TO THE CREEK WHERE THEY MET. THERE THEY DECLARED THEIR LOVE AND THEIR INTENTIONS, BOTH HEARTSICK  BUT KNOWING HE WOULD COME BACK HERE FOR THE HOLIDAYS IF HIS MOTHER WOULD ALLOW ; HE THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEM  HIS MOTHER LIKED TO KEEP HIM OUT OF THE WAY. 

LUCAS LEFT TESSA WATCHING HIM RIDE OFF TOWARDS HIS AUNT AND UNCLES  NOT REALLY KNOWING WHEN SHE WOULD SEE HIM AGAIN FOR ALL THE PLANS MADE.  SHE SAT UNDER THE WILLOW AND CRIED AND WROTE HER FIRST OF MANY LETTERS TO HARVARD, LATER GOING FOR A SWIM WHICH SHE NORMALLY DIDN’T DO BY HERSELF NEEDING THE CALM THE WATER WOULD BRING TO HER BODY AND MIND.

FOUR YEARS LATER CHURCH BELLS IN THE SMALL TOWN OF WYCLIFF, KANSAS RANG OUT AS THE NEWLYWEDS EXITED THE CHURCH AMONG

WELL WISHERS  BLOWING RAINBOW COLORED BUBBLES.   THEY WOULD HONEYMOON AT HOME CARL GIVING THEM A PLOT OF LAND TO BUILD A HOME ON ALTHOUGH THEY WOULD SPEND MOST OF THE NEXT  THREE YEARS IN KANSAS CITY WHERE KANSAS UNIVERSITY HAD BEEN THE CHOICE FOR LUCAS TO FINISH HIS MEDICAL TRAINING.

EIGHT YEARS HAS GONE BY, THE HOME THEY BUILT ON DADDY’S LAND  WAS THEIR HOME NOW , MOMMA AND DADDY VISITED OFTEN NOT TO SEE TESSA AND LUCAS SO MUCH BUT THE TWIN COPPER HEADED BOYS  LEVI AND LUKE.

                                                                                                                                                  

parade

GROWING UP IN PUEBLO THERE WERE

MANY THINGS WE LOOKED FORWARD TO

DOING OR SEEING, THE STATE FAIR, THE RODEO

AND OH PARADES!!! HOW EXCITING TO SEE 

ALL THE COLORFUL FLOATS WITH MISS ‘SOMETHING

OR OTHER’  THE KIWANA’S,  SCHOOLS MARCHING

BANDS WITH THE BATON TWIRLERS ~~OH HOW I SO

WANTED TO BE THAT GIRL I BEGGED UNTIL I GOT  ONE

THEN I PRACTICED  UNTIL GRAM HAD TO IC MY WRIST AND HAND

BUT I WANDER…..

THE FAVORITE WAS THE MEMORIAL DAY PARADE

ALL THE BRANCHES OF OUR MILITARY WERE

 REPRESENTED IN THEIR  CREASED UNIFORMS JAUNTY

HATS AND OH THE SALUTES , THE MEN IN THE CROWDS

LINING THE STREETS  REMOVED HATS, SALUTED AND THE

WOMEN AND CHILDREN RAISED THEIR HAND HELD FLAGS

IN THE AIR WAVING THEM HIGH IN THE AIR. THE MARCHING BANDS

PLAYED “THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER” WITH MAJORETTES CARRYING

FLAGS AS BIG AS THEY WERE. AS WE ALL PLACED RIGHT HANDS OVER OUR HEARTS

AFTER THE PARADE WE ALL WENT TO CITY PARK FOR A LARGE

TOWN PICNIC IN FRONT OF THE STAGE  FEATURING THE ARMY BAND AND

SINGERS FROM AIR FORCE, NAVY AND MARINES ALL SINGING THE

PATRIOTIC SONGS WRITTEN SO MANY YEARS BEFORE. 

THE MAYOR WOULD GIVE A SPEECH, A MINISTER FROM ONE OF THE

LOCAL CHURCHES WOULD GIVE A BLESSING. A MEMBER OF EACH

BRANCH OF THE SERVICE WOULD TELL US OF THE BRAVE MEN AND

WOMEN THAT HAD GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR OUR FREEDOM. OF COURSE

THERE WERE VENDORS HAWKING IN GROUND BOMB SHELTERS AND

SOMEONE HANDING OUT PAMPHLETS ON COMMUNISM AND WHAT TO

LOOK FOR AND PLEASE TURN IN YOUR NEIGHBOR IF THEY SHOULD  BE

ACTING OR BEHAVING LIKE ONE.

TODAY AS AN ADULT I MISS THOSE PARADES, BUT MOST OF ALL I


THEIR LIVES TO ENABLE OUR FREEDOMS.
MISS THE HONOR AND RESPECT SHOWN TO THOSE WHO HAD GIVEN

THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE FAMILIES THAT LOST A LOVED ONE

PROTECTING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

DAYTIME VISITOR OF THE NIGHTTIME

As I sit on the deck just off the sun room facing my backyard

I heard an unusual sound during the day that at first made me think I had

finally went ’round the bend’.

There are three large trees that give a wonderful dappled shade to the deck

and the glider in which I nap on every occasion I can sneak, but I wander….

Two of the trees are large Silver Maples ; one a for lack of a better name I

shall call the helicopter tree for its seeds are those green whirley things that cover

everything. Anyway in this tree is my daily visitor that has me wondering WHY?

For my visitor is a big brown and white Hoot Owl, he hoots all day long and

as soon as the sun begins to set he flies up farther in the tree and retires for the night.

Now the street I live on is very tree~lined and every home has twenty to fourty year old

oak, pin oak, maple and sweet gum trees in the yards. Why this owl is in my tree and

has his days and nights reversed I do not understand.

The neighbors tell me they have never heard this owl until we moved here in March.

I have tried repeartedly to snap a photo with my camera and my phone but

alas he is a wise wise old owl for he flies up to the top of his tree in the heaviest

part of the limbs and leaves. I just know he is setting up there going “hahahaha”

at me and my attempts, and when I have given up he flies right back down to

his favorite perch and I hear “hoo hoo hoo” all day long. I do believe at this point I would

miss him if he moved on or overcame  his insomnia.

A long hot summer, streams of gray smoke

burning sage and cedar swirl in the air

Honor Chant rises above song of bird

Cupping shell with the burning embers

weaving over her body surrounding her~

self with the wafts of smoke

blessing the Indian warrior buried here

Her journey in her moccasins grown

thin has carried her far ~

Hundreds of miles on this journey

blessing those asleep on the

“Path Of Death”

Singing her Song of Spirituality

***  Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress

VACATION 

The all brick two-story sets on a tree-lined street

that shades the big porch on the hottest of summer days

That big porch has seen many a child’s  song, or play

the big elms shade the driveway side of the house and hover over the

vegetable garden

beyond the Oak trees along the street is the side yard with a big mulberry tree

where little girls played Barbies, paper dolls and had many tea parties

This is my destination  for an ideal vacation..time travel to my childhood

home, Pueblo, Colorado

WINTERS AILMENT

Lawd, so cold teeth are chattering, goosebumps running up the back and arms

spasming muscles are the response, spaz spaz spaz oh the pain the breath

is leaving my body it is so severe.

Head pounding steel band wrapping around forehead and chest

eyes feel feverish… shoot 102.5 !

Cold, cold is this it, time is done

Tissues tossed hither and yon , no net points today

Quilts and winter socks two pair, sweats two pair

shirts buttoned to neck and wrist K~State hoodie

over all . Chchchchchhch….. dentures ready to fall out I just know it.

Hot tea lemon, cold tea, pepto YUCK!  Lawd, I am praying to die.

Food NO! roiling stomach  soup doesn’t even set well. Going back to bed

ATTIC LIFE

He was found in the attic, with rough lumber and nails protruding

he was scratched , cut and scarred, covered in urine and feces

Thighs as small as half dollars, unable to walk, had never learned

So small and uncared for, a 24 month sized shirt swallowed

this five year old. Malnourished, Down Syndrome child not

wanted by his mother so she hid him in the attic, starving him

claiming he was with his father when asked.

But others knew better and they stayed on top of reporting

the unusual circumstances, until one day the police finally

investigated throughly, going into every room including the attic

and there they found him.

Eighteen months later he and his two sisters were

adopted by a loving caring family with two boys of

their own. Praise God.

CAREGIVER

The jade colored ivy grew up and over the sacrificial onyx stone

overlooking the lava with it’s impish spawn of opal and umber

colored  rock brought forth from an earlier sacrifice according to lore.

The many trees cropping up  through the lava along with the thistle

were those of tulip, coconut, and eucalyptus attributed to the virgins

color of hair when offered up to the gods .

She had been bathed by the women and prepared to be offered

so her mother never failed to remind her. And that she owed her

mother for saving her, by lying and saying she was not a virgin

this sealed her fate as an old maid, and her mothers companion forever

Her visit each day to her mothers left her numb in every way for

Her mothers needs and sinewy alto voice

hand on her elbow the whole visit

made her want to scream for there was

nothing positive from that hard mouth

her hands were as clawing as a felines nails and rough as tumbleweed .

Her mother insisted on sitting under the mulberry tree

to eat their lunch where the bird droppings dyed

her  sweater a horrible gray black as a seed of rye

Her peachy skin would be white as milk when the visit

was over, her lips compressed holding back the tears as she left

She moved as sensously as a feline through the willow,

eucalyptus and tulip trees, making her way home.

She felt somewhat relieved but knew what the morrow

would bring.

ITALY
Visiting Italy, the last four months had been wonderful

As a devout Catholic, divorce was not acceptable so

why he decided to visit  Basilica di San Pietro,

the Vatican In Rome,  after his divorce he would never understand.

After Paula wiped out every dollar, and then some he stayed

depressed then his  paternal Grandfather passed at the age of ninety~six

His mother would hear of nothing else but she fund this get~a~way to

bury his Poppi in Sicily: Old Italy Milazzo City where his Poppi had wanted to

be buried. The trip to the Vatican had been after visiting Como Lake, hiking goat

trails through the Alps, sipping wine at the vineyards of Tuscany.

Now it was time to catch the train and then a flight back home.

Home, huh, wherever that might be, Paula got the house and everything in it.

Selfish bitch, wouldn’t even give him the dog she bought him for his birthday

two years ago. Every damn thing he owned now belonged to her!

He almost missed the train  he was thinking so hard on all that bitch

had done. Boarding he threw his canvas duffel in the overhead pushing

the leather bag already there to the side.

He continued thinking on Paula and how their marriage had fallen

apart he still wasn’t sure, he knew he worked too much , leaving

her alone but he had to prove his worth for in the end it would

pay off . She evidently couldn’t wait having an affair with his bosses

son shortly after he began at the firm. So while he toiled late at night

making a living for them she rolled in his bed with him. Well more power

to the son of a bitch hope she cuckolds you as well.

Oh Damn! missed my stop, where is everyone he looks around

realizing he is alone on the train. He opens the overhead pulling out his bag

a wallet falls next to his feet. Picking it up he opens it “Holy crap!”

This thing is full of  Euro’s,  he looks around realizing again he is the

only one on the train. He quickly shoves it in his duffel , knowing no

one has seen him. What to do he thinks, get off the train before

someone comes looking for it.

Kevin what are you thinking he asks himself , you can’t keep this

you have to return it. Man that is a lot to have to return I can be

sitting good when I get back to the states.

He leaves the train looking back to see if anyone is  hurrying towards that

particular car. He heads for the latoilette degli uomini, going into a stall to count

the Euro’s and see if there is an identification. He prays there isn’t; but knows that

is wrong. The good little altar boy in him says he has to return it. Damn it

a card,  Stephen Meyer MD of STEMM Ministries. Well if that wasn’t a sign he didn’t know

what was, here in the Vatican City, and the Pope so close ex~communicated or not he had

to find this fellow and give back what was not his to keep.

After hours of searching he found the good Doctor ready to board a plane at the same

airport, he, Kevin needed to be at.  The doctor expressed disbelief that someone found and was returning

the wallet intact, he thanked Kevin profusely and explained about the Tanzanian orphanage and how this money was all they had for the next year for medical supplies, books and well baby items within the orphanage. He invited Kevin to come with him as if they were old friends from long ago. What did he have to lose he thought and jumped in the small plane with the doctor. Calling his mother from the air phone the doctor offered to explain his delay.

Kevin went back to the states two months later, only to return within a year to become a member of the STEMM Ministry in Siouxland Tanzania.

****

My heart is haunted with memories of your birth

How I loved you before you were even born,

I imagined your hair, eyes and wisps of hair

much like the down of a new born robin

Growing up, independence, motherhood

heart swelled with more love for new babies

Pride beyond measure became the norm

Tragedy struck unexpectedly

death of a mind and death of a soul

haunted heart, broken heart

tears, tears, tears, tears

holidays and life events

underlying grief, saddness

haunted with memories of

other Mother’s Day celebrations

your hugs, kisses and well wishes

tears, tears, tears this Sunday.ImageImage

HOW?

I don’t know how to stop the pain

I don’t know how to stop grieving for you

How to stop crying, how to stop thinking

Of you my first~ born,

I don’t ever want you forgotten

by any one but no one listens

when I try to talk about you

I want to remind them of your smile

your favorite color of purple, flower Iris

how you loved the water the ocean or lake

how when you couldn’t get to the water

you made your own pool… in the kiddie pool

just to be in the water.

I haven’t forgotten your long arms hugging

me , your cheek against mine whisperingImage

I love you momma.

How you would call saying

“I need to come home, I

need my momma time”.

I miss you my darling daughter

and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day

in  Heaven.

GUITAR DREAMS

Her mama told her “no more, girly no more fancy notions”

grabbing the old six~string from her hands, tossing it

towards he bed. “Now git them dishes done”

Washing the dishes she practiced in her mind

the songs she heard on their old radio.

Finishing, mama had chores to the sky ‘n back

She weren’t never gonna git to play.

Finally everything on mama’s chore list

was done, an she scuttled to the bedroom

for her guitar. Grabbing it and a ribbon for her

hair, she slammed out the screen door,hearing
her mama holler to “git back here”, but like lightning
she flew as if her feet were wings

across the wooden porch flying over the steps
and across the dirt yard, through the rickety gate.

Arriving at the creek she slid under the big ol’

cottonwood, tied back her hair and took out the

matchbox she snuck out of the kitchen

tearing it to use as a pick.

She began to play the Patsy Cline

song she heard last night for the first time,

singing she didn’t notice her Daddy when he

came to the creek to wash afore going home

for supper.

“Ahem, lawd child you sing pretty as a bird”

“Ahh” she screeched  “Daddy you skeered me ‘n

I thank you”

They walked home to supper together and she sang

all the way. Someday, someday her dream will

come true, she will play her ol six string and sing

all the time whenever she wished.

PLANTING A LILY
She planted a lily her mothers favorite as soon as the soil had warmed

she watered, fed and tended as any good gardener would. No matter what

she did reading books, chat with friends, babied and talked to the lily would not

bloom. Nor would it grow taller, wider darker green or lighter it stayed the same as the

day she planted it on her mothers grave.

She became quite ill that fall and was not able to tend her mothers gravesite

nor the lily she had planted there. a full season had passed and spring was here again
May Day had been and gone , the weather was beautiful each day warm with sun and gentle wind.

The peonies ..cemetery flowers she called them as a child..where in perfect bloom. She went to the cutting  garden in her yard to make a bouquet for mother on this day.

As she arrived at the cemetery she was amazed at how profusely all the flowers had grown.

When she arrived at her mothers site she abruptly sat on the near~ by bench for there, where the lily had not grown was a beautiful full white rose bush with an abundance of blooms and petals scattered over the entire grave. There was no lily to be found anywhere near just her favorite white rose.

She went to the caretakers cottage to inquire as to who had planted the rose bush only to be informed

no one had , that when she had quit visiting it started to grow and just continued to grow blooming throughout the fall and winter too. No one had tended it at all it just continued to grow profusely as if to say “here I am.”

She walked away knowing her mother had sent her a message with the roses, that when she was ill her mother was watching over her, and she should never feel alone again.

THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD (Domestic Violence)

“Shhhh, shhh please don’t cry it will be over soon. Can you stay quiet while I go get help please? Her sister nods her head yes, keep the baby quiet I will be right back”. She climbs out the window she opened as soon as the fight started. This was becoming a routine and she was getting tired of it, but momma needed help. She ran next door and before she could ring the bell, the door opened and Sally said ” I have already called child now hurry back to your sisters it won’t be long” giving her a quick hug and a little push towards the house. She climbed through the bushes and found her concrete block step momma had put there long ago, good thing she had long legs, her sister couldn’t do this. She looked at her sister and could see she had been crying, she was holding the baby and rocking her so she had gone to sleep. “I had to change her but it isn’t on very good” “That’s alright I will check it for you.” As she checked the pins she listened to her momma and step~ dad fighting he was slapping her or punching her she could hear the flesh against flesh and her mothers cries.  The doorbell rang and she grabbed the diaper bag and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader suitcases they had gotten for Christmas full of all she could think they would need . Their pajamas and clean clothes for tomorrow , toothbrushes and hair brushes for herself and Dee, the babies diaper bag was stuffed and she had more diapers hidden outside with formula powder too. She also had a bag for her momma packed and hidden in the bushes. As soon as they started fighting she began her routine. The door opened and an officer stepped into the room he had been here many times before. “Hello Katie are you girls okay?” She only nodded her head and began to cry. “Now now he said patting her shoulder we will get it sorted out” as he led them into the living room.  She ran to her momma and hugged her tight, momma looked really bad this time her face was real swollen and she couldn’t talk, her arm was hanging by her side all out of shape.

Momma reached out with her other arm and she could see the fingers were broken but momma pulled each of  them close and gave her and her sisters hugs and tried to kiss them with her swollen bloody lips. A woman officer came over and momma started to cry again shaking her head yes and motioning for us to go with the officer,” but momma you have to come too” The officer knelt down and explained that momma had to go to the hospital and get well. We were going to a house where there were other children to play with and women to take care of us until momma could.

Oh, we cried and I am ashamed to say I screamed and cursed at her I would not leave momma, but momma wrote on a newspaper ‘GO, take care of sisters be there soon, stay together!”

We stayed in the battered women’s shelter for two weeks everyday and every night crying for momma by all three of us,several of the women took care of Amanda for us but we always checked on her dozen of times a day and she slept with us at night. Even though we had seperate beds most of the time we preferred to sleep in one bed. We said our prayers and brushed our teeth just like momma would want. I asked everyday when she would come get us but no one could tell us. We went to reading and story time and was made to do some school work and talk to a woman that called herself a doctor but she just wanted me to talk or write my feelings.

Finally momma came for us we were so glad to see her at first we didn’t realize that her jaws were wired,her nose was crooked and her eyes were purple green. We were just so happy to have her back, we stayed another night in the shelter then my uncle came to pick us up and we left there going to his house, he explained that we were going to stay with him and his family till we could get on our feet. I started to ask about my step~dad and uncle said a dirty word and momma shushed him with a small smile, he then said our step ~ dad didn’t know where he lived. I began to relax and felt Dee’s hand relax in mine as well. We stayed with uncle and his family for two months before getting our own house and beginning a new life with just we four women as momma called us.

We are all grown now with our problems stemming from our time of  domestic abuse rearing it’s ugly head often but we are survivors and we get through each day. It took her a long time but momma married a really nice man that adores her and protects her from even a harsh word. He feels the same way about us, I married twice and have two children my sister Dee has never married but had a long term relationship and has a child, our baby sister has a child and is a borderline schizophrenic, we worry everyday every minute about the two of them. And we pray for them to have whole mind, body and spirit each day  there isn’t much more we can do at this time.

DANCE AWAY

LADY ANTEBELLUM HAS THIS SONG “DANCING AWAY WITH MY HEART” THAT HAS INSPIRED ME TO PEN A FEW WORDS AS THIS PHRASE WAS LAST HEARD FROM MY DADDY WHEN HE DANCED WITH ME.

I looked up at my Daddy so handsome as he leaned against the door jamb, tapping his foot to the beat of the music. Then the tempo changed and Patsy Cline began to sing ” I FALL TO PIECES”. Daddy reached out his hand and said “may I” as I giggled I put my hand in his and felt  the hand of a working man with it’s callous’ , busted knuckles from bar fights, as much as from the nails and boards he worked with everyday.

He told me to step up on his boots and I was a little afraid to,  Daddy held my hands tightly but gently so I felt secure. We began to dance he moving his feet slowly but to the rythum of the music, turning, twirling, gliding across Grammies waxed floor singing the song along with the lady on the radio. As it came to an end Daddy dipped me and I laughed as he said “Daddy’s girl dance away with my heart!” I twirled away and he called me back to tell me he was leaving for work in California and he would be back as soon as he could.  It was years later as a grown woman expecting my first child that I visited my father in California, he took his girl to Disney Land in Anaheim  and treated me to dinner after. He placed the order at the restaurant  while I visited the loo and it was a wonderful joy filled dinner and conversation

It was full of the days events and the years past , catching up but feeling like we had not been apart. As we exited the restaurant and waited for the car , Daddy asked if I had enjoyed the meal then proceeded to tell me I had eaten rattlesnake. Now I don’t know with expecting his first granddaughter or the actual idea of that meal did it but suddenly I was stepping to the side of the building to lose my dinner. That night Daddy played that old Patsy Cline song on his record player, holding out his hand he asked “may I?” this time I laid my head on his shoulder and enjoyed the security of being held by my father after so many years apart. He asked after my happiness and the baby and her father. And when the song ended he said  “You will always be daddy’s girl now dance away with my heart”. I laughed as did he.

I miss my father so much : Keith C. Williams

May 3, 1928 ~ May 19th, 2003

BRIANNA

She sat on the rock listening to the lapping water and the bull frogs not really thinking of anyone thing. Suddenly she heard an engine start and Brett call out ” Find your way home now, you little tease”.  

And with that Brianna was up  creek without a paddle!

She rose from the rock slipping her shoes back on and began walking up to where they had parked “That JERK!”  Brett had not left her jacket, purse or cell,  now what  a mess I’m in she thought. Looking around the only thing she could do was start walking, if mom and dad find out about this I’m dead she thought. I don’t even know the time but I am sure it’s early in the morning, I will never get home before they get up for work. Oh great what a jerk  are all the thoughts running through her mind as she is walking down the road.

Her feet begin to really hurt she has a blister so she takes off her shoes that were so cute for the outfit she is wearing and for the party  but sure not for walking. OUCH! shoes back on gravel hurts! She continues walking hearing the frogs croak, crickets chirp and a hoot owl, then she hears a rustling in the brush and a tremor runs through her. Suddenly realizing she really is all alone and the night seems darker for some reason she looks up and sees no moon no stars just a thin light on the eastern horizon. OMG she thinks I am in so much trouble, it must be near four~ thirty~ five in the morning! She hears a motor but the echo

here she can’t tell from where it comes, then a truck comes into sight it is a Park Ranger, relief washes over her.  The truck pulled to a stop just ahead of her “Ma’am are you alright?” the Ranger asks. “Yes just angry!” “What are you doing out here, like this?” the ranger questions her. Brianna explains what happened. “well, let’s get you to the station and get your parents called”.  “We , we have to call them?” “yes, any time we have a minor and you are a minor right?” “I, I,” she stammered ” I will be sixteen in four months”.  From that point on  there was silence until the arrival at the Rangers station. Her parents  called  and as they waited the Ranger made her hot chocolate and a bowl of hot cereal, and dressed her blisters with his first aid kit.

Her parents arrived and they as expected were not happy having to be there and especially  with Bree being the reason. Her father proceeded to tell her what was going to happen as her mother stood next to him and nodded. The whole way home she was interrogated  and called out on lies she had told so that she knew her life was over. Well, maybe not over but going to her grandmothers in Iowa was as good as. Ottumwa, Iowa, Wapello county, farming,  raising chickens, goats and sheep  Yuck! They cannot be serious,  once we get home they will calm down and she will talk them out of it she’s sure of it.

Brianna’s parents came to visit just before the new school year to see her and her gram and to take Brianna home to get ready for the new school year.  But Bree asked to speak to them all at dinner that night, she requested to stay  and finish her high school years here in Ottumwa Rural she had made good friends, she belonged to the 4~H and planned to attend Ames for a degree in Agriculture if they would all allow it. Her gram was ecstatic, her parents stunned at the change and the self-assurance Bree was exhibiting.  There was tearful good byes but everyone was satisfied with the way Brianna had turned  her life around, and  they  knew she had finally become the person they knew she was all along.

GROWING INTO MANHOOD

His mother was parking the car after letting her son and mother off at the door

He held his Grammies hand and escorted her to a bench to wait for there was a rather

long line. He said “You sit here I will be right back” he being nine years old that last November and this being February he sounded quite grown up. He weaved his way through those standing in line until he  was in front of the hostess’ station, She looked at him and he boldly stated “Davis party of three” he waited while she noted it and repeated it back, then turned and went to sit on his Grandmothers knee to wait. When his mother came in he informed her he had spoken with the front and they had about a ten minute wait.

Within the ten minute window they were called and seated he ordered his drink milk to be brought with his meal and hot tea for now. He perused the menu and waited  when the server returned and asked if they were ready he allowed his mother and grandmother to order first then “I will have the  Tuitty Fruity breakfast with no whipped cream  and no fruit on the cakes please, I would like a small bowl of fruit on the side, maple syrup only and my milk with the meal.”

When the food was brought to the table he proceeded to reach out his hands to hold his mother’s and grandmothers, he stated he would say grace.

“Heavenly Father we come to you today to thank you for this food to nourish our body , we thank you Father for the abundance of blessings you have bestowed upon us this day and everyday. God today is a sad day for our whole family but we still have each other and we celebrate the life you took to soon.

Lord, we pray for those that do not have and need, we pray for those in other countries, and we pray for those here that go hungry and homeless. God please help my friends at school not be hungry and to find a home so they don’t have to live in their car anymore. For all these things we pray in your son Jesus name Amen.

A hush had fallen over most of the restaurant as he prayed and when he finished there was a swell of voices saying Amen and then there was applause. Many people came by our table to tell this young man how impressed they were with him and how his parents must be very proud , he informed them it was just him and his mom, tucking his head and blushing.

God’s plan for this nine year old is not yet known but his mom and his Gram are mighty proud of this young man.

Kelly Green

sleek, chic, voluptous where need be

lines and curves making grown men and young boys cry

white diamonds tucked here there and everywhere

breathing in her scent each time you opened her

she would peel back her top  making the boys pant and groan

 looking at her white walls  rallied round for them

Her curves they fondled , touching that most secret chrome button

 taking her from first to fourth if touched properly

push her push her and she would growl and lunge for them

clawing within the white walls 

KELLY GREEN

The eight track blasting, four speeds growling as she ran

the blacktop with her ’69 Kelly Green Camaro, four on the floor

396 engine, Rally wheels, diamond tuck white leather seats and top.

Ahhh the year of my graduation from child to adult with my 

tassle for the hassle hanging from her rearview as I leave my hometown

for the first of many times.

Image

HOMECOMING

He lifted her in the air swinging  her round and round

Happy to see her for  he loved her so much that he could

die from it he knew he could it made his heart want to burst.

He set her down still holding her and leaned in for her soft lips

Thirsting for those lips like a man lost in the dry arid desert

Their bodies came together with that kiss and a hiss of their passions

It seemed they couldn’t get close enough to touch although a hair could not pass between them

He gently pushed her away took her hand and began walking in

a military fashion quickly, snappily towards his building

guiding her to the elevator. They stepped in, savagely he grabs her up to him and stuck his

nose in her hair breathing deeply of the lavender fragrance, just holding her not letting go.

The elevator opens directly into his suite of which he is proud but not today, not today

He picks her up like a groom with a new bride and she giggles he just hoots

“Whoo~Hoo”   tossing her on the bed and removing his shirt and pants quickly

While watching her face, he sees  her eyes begin to smoulder as he looks into them and she slides

those big hazel eyes down his muscled chest and  stopping in the middle with a gasp

then continuing down to his muscular legs and back up again.

He moves slowly towards her holding her eyes with his own

both sets of eyes burning, breathing heavily with little gasps to catch their breath

She raises her arms his eyes beginning to move across her body slow and easy

yet eager. He begins to remove piece by piece her clothing.

After a frenzied beginning, they then move more slowly beginning to relearn

the others body, fulfilling themselves and each other time and again.

Fulfillment of one hunger, brought on another hunger and he teases her that she needs to

learn to cook because he wants home cooked meals. She starts laughing and proclaims in

a fake southern drawl “Honey, I only cook in one room of the house and it ain’t the kitchen

cowboy”. He roars with laughter and suggests  room service and a shower, ahh a shower then food

yes she exclaims heading for the shower. He follows her and shoves her head under the spray

telling her she needs to keep a” cool head” for the days to come.

She starts to question but he started washing her body with his tongue and she couldnt’ get a coherent thought at the moment.

they have time to shower and as they

wash each other, he shampooing her hair , she slathering

the body wash across his broad tanned shoulders, he rinsed

her hair rather abruptly in spray of the shower then turns

her to face him , grinning he pushes her against the tiles

some cold yet some warm and enters her  roughly, he can

not get enough of her. She is like an addiction  she is in his

blood. He can not go without her for months on end anymore.

He hopes with all of his being she feels the same, this woman

he wishes to make his wife.

They quenched  all physical needs for the moment and he wanted

to show her his city, as they prepare  to go out , he decides he can wait

not for the fancy restaurant or tonight so as she sits brushing her

air he walks up to her, she sees just his waist in the vanity mirror then

his hands as he rests them on her shoulders. “Turn around” he whispers huskily

She does as he requests and he drops to one knee in front of her, she gives a

quizzical look and he begins to speak…” I have waited for this moment for a long

time, I want to tell you that you are one easy woman to love and I love you with all of my being

you have been my strength, my patience, guided my belief in God, opened the world to me a world

I never knew existed and for all of that I thank you. but I want a life with a wife and children  I want

a life with you and ‘OUR’ children , I love you will you make me a happy man and marry me? Soon ” he added..

She looked at him with those big hazel eyes wet with tears, and gently nodded her head, and smiled.

GROWING UP
I was five years old when Grandpa Williams picked up my mother, my two brothers and myself  at the Greyhound station.  tired hungry and of course cranky I’m sure. Poor momma  we had to have been a handful on that long cross country ride. Arriving at the house we took our baths and a nap Grandma had been busy cooking, don’t remember what it was but I’m sure it was good.
Momma took us into the living room sat us down Grandma holding my baby brother he was still in diapers  now I appreciate what she had to go through on that bus trip.
Anyway she proceeded to tell us that she was going shopping to get us some new clothes we had sunny California clothes not winter cold February in Colorado. She would be back in a few hours. she kissed us goodbye hugged us and walked out the door, don’t remember seeing her again until I was twelve.Life was good at Grandma & Grandpa’s, my youngest aunt was still home and my uncle  he was 5 years older so he was like a big brother to me. As I was the only girl  expectations were different for me I had to do the ‘woman of the house chores’ and as my brothers grew they were taken up by Grandpa and made to be ‘young men’ God he was so frickin cruel to them. I mean yes, he molested me from 5 to 12 but he beat my brothers , he belittled like I had never heard and he did it to my uncle as well. No wonder my Dad wasn’t there and an alcoholic.
It got to me that he was so respected and feared within the community, later I found out why but then I only feared him ..he could look at me sitting at the table doing homework and tell me I needed to go to bed and I knew what was coming …so I wouldn’t move and he would tell me again tell your Grandmother you are going to bed. I wet that chair so many times from fear, Grandma finally covered it in plastic.
We never went hungry but we were always the outsiders and that was more due to grandma making all of our clothes when others at school had store bought and we were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses so we were not able to participate in things like the pledge or birthday parties Christmas etc.  And they were raised during the depression all they knew was work so that is what we were taught.
Don’t get me wrong we had play time, kick the can, hide n seek , red light blue light . but our life consisted mainly of work. I don’t remember laughter in that house yet my happiest memories are from there, because Grandma loved us she didn’t tell us she showed us everyday , we were never a burden to her as we were to him. Towards the last days there she stuck up for us more and more to her detriment  as he liked to slap her when she ‘got smart’.
My aunt eventually left home and uncle went into high school , we grew and learned  and existed, I don’t think they knew how to tell a child anything about growing up we were  not told we could be anything we wanted to be , that we were smart or that education was the way to better ourselves we went because the laws said we had to.
We had to attend the ‘Hall’ or Bible studies many times during the week , learned a scripture a week  that we had to stand up and read along with the books of the Bible. that was always so creepy for me  as our studies were held in the home of an old genteel couple from Germany and  he gave me the creeps. All the people attending were old false teethed wrinkled smelling old people smells. Eventually my brothers didn’t have to go but Grandma kept taking me. to this day I cant’t remember a scripture or the order of the books of the Bible.

IT’S JUST BEEN A YEAR

Guitar propped in corner

one of the 6 strings broken
Echoes of the notes played
float through his mind
compositions partially finished
a few complete lie on the piano top
covered in dust
her shoes still on the floor by the pedals

He rises to walk to the 10 CD player loads
it with her music alone.
grabs another beer and pack of smokes
lounging on the sofa, her sweater on the back
her voice resonates throughout the apartment
the melodic timbre soothes him and he dozes.
As he wakes he knows the amount of time
elapsed, by the song she is singing

He bounces up heading for the shower
the warm water caressing him as her voice
so husky and sultry.
He steps out of the shower and instantly gasps
stomach clenching, the smell of her lotions and
soaps activated by the steam.

He dresses in their bedroom, his now, seeing her everywhere.
Friends say it’s time to move on, clean it out
he’s just not ready it’s only been a year.
He keeps her tour schedule on the desk and
her number in his phone, he calls sometimes just to
say hi and he believes her voice…that voice…
is beginning to soften when they talk.
It’s only been a year.

THE FLOWER GIRL

Standing there watching the most beautiful girl in the world 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 Gramps and Dad. Wasn’t fair!

Finally everyone was clapping and cheering, it’s almost over yeaa! Then they called for pictures (groan)

Ok done with that, now what just get it over with she’s thinking. 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.

MISS EMILY AND THE SAX PLAYER

Emily Rose White a woman of many years but actual number unknown to even her, having been born to an illiterate black woman that took in washing to make a living for herself and daughter. She didn’t really know what day she was born  all her mother ever said was she was born when the blue bonnets covered the fields and that is why her eyes were blue. She never knew her daddy either  only that he was someone that her mother had worked for and that he was a white man. She looked like him her mother used to say tall thin, angular face and those eyes. Her curse and her blessing many times in her life.

She sat in her porch swing, fanning herself and listening, listening  to the gentlemen down on the corner, with their melodic voices and only one old sax player from the other corner not really as  backup just someone with a talent far beyond anything ever heard down here , no matter what those other fellows sang he seemed to know. There were times the whole neighborhood grew quiet to just listen to him wail on that sax. She wanted to approach him and ask him questions for she knew he had a story, you didn’t play or sing for that matter unless you had been around the block a few times.

A week or so later she was walking home from the market with her fresh bread and vegetables and a lovely piece of salmon she had decided to treat herself with.  As she approached the corner where she turned onto her street she noticed a homeless person wrapped up in newspapers and what looked to be an old carpet, squatted  against the building out of the winds way. She started to turn when out of the corner of her eye she say a shiny flash…she stopped looking intently thinking it can’t be!
“You, you” she shouted at the person, ” what are you doing with that saxophone and where did you get it?”  Not waiting for his response she said” you need to give that back to the person you took that from”.  He dropped part of the newspaper covering his face looked intently at Emily Rose and said ‘Now why would I give Lula Bell to someone else?”

“You, you are the sax player I hear each night?” she said in a very demanding voice. “yes, ma’am, me  ‘n ol lula bell been together nigh on
thirty-two years, play her everyday of those years too”. Emily didn’t know
what to say or do at that point so she just stood there for a moment with her rounded shoulders even higher towards her chin and her sun spotted wrinkled hands holding tight to her handbag thinking. “how long you been out here?” she asks nodding towards his buggy and carpet. “’bout four years” “why you being so nosy ol’ woman?”  Emily stepped forward extending her hand “I sir am Miss Emily Rose White, I live right done there (pointing) in the green house with white trim. Would you care to walk me home and share my dinner?” “Um, um well now that sounds real nice but  why?” ” As beautiful as you play on a empty or half full stomach I want to hear you play on a full one” she says and chuckles. He laughs as well “by the way my name is Ben Harris and I am grateful for the invite and I will play for my supper.” both chuckling at that.

That night Ben sat on the front porch of Miss Emily Rose White, all clean from a bath with clean clothes that appeared magically with shoes and even socks in the room she had given him to use and a real full belly of the best pork chops with gravy he had had in years. He played that night  until he could play no more, the fellows on the corner worked there way  to the front yard and continued to sing and sing. Many a time when one of them glanced at Emily  she was wiping a tear or two. All wondering her story.

Ben stayed at Miss Emily’s house that night  and for years after, sleeping in that little room  and playing his sax, keeping each other company talking music so many days and listening at night. They shared many stories of childhood and some of adult life but  but never learned her story. When she became ill from age mainly; he cared for her  as gentle as if she were a baby. When she passed into heaven he found she left him all she owned including the home they had shared  for these past few years.

He spent his days wandering the house  in awe that he was a homeowner just down the street from the corner he had lived on as a homeless person. All by the grace and generosity of a caring  woman, that enjoyed lula bell and they way he played her.
As time passed he began going through her things and discovered Miss Emily had been a singer in her day in the genre of a Billy Holiday, she had been married briefly to a sax player by the name of Henry Lawrence. They never had children and he had died from tuberculous  after two years together.  So now he knew her story and he would keep it and would continue to play for her every night on the front porch until he could play no more.

POISION
The humans sprayed toxic weed killer today in the Fairy forest , gone in minutes were the pixies, dwarfs and gnomes. Taking a little longer for the Fairies they are suffering horribly and dropping to the ground just as the birds, crickets, butterflies ….ahh so many lives
wasted .
Humans have destroyed their own world all in the name of comfort,
Why Why can they not realize the natural way of the eco~system?
Each tiny seed  becomes a plant , each animal , insect or bird is for a balancing purpose.


Too late now humans you have destroyed your home and ours. We will take longer to return this time if ever. We enjoyed giving you happiness with the beauty of the gardens, forest, mountains and plains.


Just remember you did it yourseves in the name of comfort
ANGRY
I packed the bags, booked the tickets and the rental car
A two and a half hour flight, another 2 hour drive
Consoling your sister, mother and other family members
I had not met prior to this, as so many arrived
I consoled them too, listened to the heartbreak over a ten yr old boy
and his Grandpa no longer alive
Three years later when your mother passed it was a repeat
of the packing  traveling and driving
Watching you and your sisters lives unraveling
I could do no less than strengthen my own resolve
to help you both by planning the service from A to Z .
I held you up when you collapsed at the doorway to view
this great woman that so many loved and knew
My heart was breaking for you, for I knew
how very much you loved her and she you.Through those same years my family members I lost
First my grandfather , you knew how I felt about that
I had whispered in his year I forgive but never forget.
that was a ten hour drive without you as you wanted to work
I lost my job due to health you worried about suing the company
more than how I grieved. In the midst of that my father
passed ‘He was a good man, I liked him’ was your remark
So I once again planned a service and return
travel for a body.
The woman that abandon me but gave me life passed
you just couldn’t travel as you couldn’t stand what she had done
so again I go road trip on my own
Then the woman that raised me and I called mom
my gram passed at 100 and 6 days  you stated ‘she had a good life’
there was that pat on the shoulder ..thank you?
Two uncles passed ‘oh I’m sorry’ was the extent
I forgave it all knowing there was so much more good
in you.. thought I knew your true intent.Then my daughter died unexpectedly
thank you for driving me on that long road trip
you spent time with my family not saying much
I knew your heart was broken too.
You stood by me that day ..thank you
Now I can’t sleep or want to talk you get angry
I try not to let you know when I cry and scream and curse
for when you know you make it worse
by attitude and your tsk tsk
But my dear when you yell at me in the middle of the night
‘what the hell is wrong with you?’ because you heard me cry
heart- wrenching from the stomach sobs that disturbed your sleep
well you can keep your anger..keep it deep
for if you keep it up ..I know how to put you in a deep deep sleep!

SINGLE MOM

Swaying to the soft ballad
goblet in hand…eyes closed
soft smile on her lips
beat of drum she rolls a hip.

Takes sip grimaces…too warm
returns to kitchen looking at
partially eaten dinner of salad
ice tea   should clean up but
not tonight ..not yet

She glances outdoors steps
through doorway to cool breeze
blowing across patio
Sunset just arriving.. air feel likes
drive-in.. dating high school air..
Is there such a thing she asks herself
that forlorn pit of the stomach
heart string pulling time of life
when drama was present on an
everyday basis love was fresh..new and so
life changing

.
Still swaying to the music she steps back in pours
a little more tea
Music has always helped her think …cry..laugh
feel good ..oh she wished she had been blessed with talent
It has always stirred ..soothed..completed her soul.

She sits on the sofa..sipping her tea..waiting to hear
the key turn in the lock
She is tired ..long day today and many more to come
soon she will have more time more hours to pour into
her work…Oh can’t think of that.. she will cry and he will know.
Oh there he is..he  walks through the door smiling..those big blue
eyes gleaming..he rushes to her picks her up and hugs her …laughing
Mom I made it! I made the team!
She is laughing with him now ..this big 6 foot man/child of hers
oh how she loves him ..worth all the sacrifices..soon he will be
gone away to college .next year ….

She sways to the soft ballad playing on the radio
sipping her tea… waiting for the knock at the door
Lord she’s tired too much time now on her hands..
There it is ..what she has been waiting so impatiently for
Grammie shouts the lil blue- eyed boy running to hug her
round the middle I made it..I made the team! She looks up at
her son with laughter,.. love..and gratitude for this child
that has given her life new purpose…mouthing thank you..love you son.

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?
TRUTH TELLING
The day has come to tell the truth
 truth may be too much for you to handle 
you are not a good person anymore
you are living in the past or yearning 
for those days 
instead of growing in new ways
you are selfish, mean and cruel
where once you followed golden rule
life for you was so simple, mother earth, now you 
confuse your priorities placing money above 
your greatest responsibility, that part of you,
It saddens me it breaks my heart
the way you chose to live
 throwing back all that I have to give
truth is don’t know how much more
you can slap me in the face and live
with the mess you have made behind your door.
I will do all I can for you given chance
to help you in your house , your heart, your mind
for dear dear one no matter what i love you
and will not give up you are of my body and mine.



BESTIE

I turned the corner and ran right into you! Hi I said
from that day forward we were friends, the best of friends
Where I went you went and vice versa
boys and music and cigarettes and dancing and cheering
you taught me about coke a cola and peanuts and how to smoke
will you stop laughing I cried as I choked. 
I taught you how to roll up your skirt after your mom or mine 
dropped us off.  Oh those white sweat shirts and black skirts
our signature. 
I crushed on your brother you tolerated mine, last laugh belonged to me
when you married mine.
your mom taught me how to serve in her restaurant you taught me
how to set up. 
We learned together ‘the locomotion’ Little Eva our diva
mashed Potato, and many more  we could dance on any floor
in the park and on the street 
Our Lady of Sorrows with father Terrance he watched the birds
and behind his back we called him tweet tweet.
Cherry Park and all our antics our ‘crowd’ loved us and our ideas
not many to cause trouble just teenage mischievousness
rolling louis’ 56 chevy going to massey creek
I the only one hurt ..grounded for a week.
We grew apart as life took us on different paths but
through the years when we met it was like neither had left
i loved you like a sister and always will. these last
couple of years have been rough but I am so glad we had this time 
to reminensce, to bring joy with the memories to your last days
I truly wish your fear of others would not have been so that we might have
shared one last hug. I will miss you more so now my sister/friend

me

RIP NEVA ANN KINGSLEY

 

PRAYING MANTIS

Think I will fly somewhere special today  the Praying Mantis thinks to himself. I haven’t been very far from home
in awhile, perhaps a change of scenery  with a different flavor of flies and crickets in a new area.


As he travels he takes in the sights of lush grass, full trees, is that a female he sees, then shudders not ready to be eaten yet…wouldn’t mind mating but those females are mantis eaters when all a guy wants to do is reproduce!
Ahh, time for lunch looks like taco flies today man look at this buffet..  Love  fast food  strip malls, the flies take on the flavor so whatever i’m in the mood for.  Pardon me time for lunch and perhaps a nap.


oh what a wonderful day , now need to find a ride back and remind someone by my name what they need to do today.  Well look here a pretty car, been sitting awhile too so it’s not hot  yet. need to remind the driver to pray and hope they don’t throw me down and stomp me. It really is a rough life you know man ? I only last a year so I need to get all I can out of life and do it with gustoooo. Oh here comes someone , she looks nice..oh wait  what is she doing ? Pictures I’ve seen this before here wait Miss I will give you my best side!
well that was nice and now I get a ride hope she knows where I live there is a cute little Mantid  living close by and its time.  Hey Lady thanks for the ride ..don’t forget to pray  and God Bless you! 


ABOUT ME

I am a citizen of the United States of America and extremely proud of it. I don’t believe you should be here if not legal. If you came into our country legally be prepared to take on OUR culture and language. I will not embrace any part of yours until you do this. 
I believe EVERY woman has the right of choice no matter 13 or 65, no matter the circumstances.
I believe in the death penalty , killers should be put to death EXACTLY as they killed, 6 hours of torture then they raped and killed..then they should be tortured for 6 hours, raped and killed. They gave up their rights to humane treatment.
I am spontaneous in thought and speech, meaning I have NO filter between brain and mouth. Just wasn’t
wired correctly for that.
I am a survivor with a past , tons of baggage but in sixty years I have dumped about 45 years of that baggage. I have been married multiple times, most for survival for my children. Don’t get me wrong I am by no means a good mother, never have been but I didn’t beat them, I kept them clean, their environment clean, fed, clothed and loved fiercely. I do not have a relationship with my two remaining daughters, they blame me and rightly so for a lot of wrong in their childhood and I am blamed for a lot I didn’t do or circumstances had me doing things that they will never understand. 
My childhood memories are few happy ones but an abundance of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, alcoholism, abandonment and arguing. When you are raised that way until you learn differently, that is the way you raise your children. For that I live in regret. I’m not saying my girls were abused but I did give them to their father after he threatened to kill us all. At that time I felt he was capable of doing exactly what he said.
I am very opinionated, give me a soap box I will defend my thoughts, actions and beliefs, right or wrong.
 I don’t sway easily unless you can PROVE to me what your saying. that comes from so many times I’ve been lied to.
I am not a hypocrite I have always had standards and expectations for myself and others. I don’t expect perfection but I expect the best at all times. I believe everyone can better themselves through education by schooling or by the school of life experiences. Is this idealism yep I am sure it is. I believe in the Golden Rule, I believe in the entertaining of angels.
I believe in showing respect whether you deserve it or not and I expect it in return. 
I believe in God and His Son Jesus. I believe in The Holy Spirit. I believe all religions are right in some way, most of all I believe if you give your heart and soul to God and try your best to walk the walk , talk the talk you will be ok.
God is love, He is not evil , we must follow his rules ie Ten Commandments, The Word and spiritual teachings. Do not be close minded to others beliefs learn from it take from it, pray over it. God will speak if you are quiet and listen, He will help discern what you have read or been told.
I am a shy person always been accused of being ‘stuck up or snotty’ not true, I am very shy until I get to know you then the volcano spews and never stops. I have been described as a stalk of asperagus as I tend to shoot straight and say it the way it is. I like that about me. I have told lies don’t get me wrong
it’s I believe, a self-defense mechanism when we are being hurt by others. 
I believe in respect of mother and father. I don’t believe kids today respect themselves or even life, a sign of our times., so they don’t respect parents.
I believe we are in the end of times as written about in Revelations, I believe we are in the last hour not last days. So I am trying hard to save those I love by  example and prayer by mending the heartaches I’ve given and received. By  letting every one family, friend and acquantice that Jesus has changedd me , my life and my heart and oh I am so much better for it. Not saying I won’t slip but I am getting better. God Bless you and I hope you understand a little more about me and my chaotic thoughts.        



CHAOTIC THOUGHTS
As I sit here alone in the quiet of the night
my mind wanders through memories
trying to see why or how a path taken
changed the course of my daughters lives.

My daughters don’t want me in their lives

they have no respect for me even  though
I gave them life I can’t even get respect for that.
I was harsh with them when need be, I loved them
beyond reason . I told them so daily, I hugged them
and brushed their hair, we cuddled and watched movies
we sang and danced, cooked and cleaned.


I worked so hard with long hours to provide their needs
practices came and I was there to take them. Games I was
there to cheer them.


My marriage fell apart due to abuse and he preferred the other gender
while separated I had a fling and to this day 33 years later I am still paying


I sent them to live with him ..that is what   I did wrong!!!! I let him beat me
I let him tell them horrible lies about me and when they asked me all I could do was
deny..how was I to prove I was not a prostitute or addict as he told them
I would go to pick them up for our visits and they wouldn’t be there, my calls 
would not be returned, all of this they were told I didn’t want them that
is why I didn’t call or visit, that I didn’t love them. 


Is this why they say I’m crazy why they don’t want to be around me? Is this 
why one screams she hates me and withholds my grandson? Is this why she won’t tell
 me how sick she is with cancer?
I am not guiltless I just don’t know what  I can do to fix  what I don’t understand


Imagine your spouse being upset with you and for days they don’t speak
so you know there is a problem but what it is and how to fix invisible??


I pray constantly that someday they will realize the truth and quit judging me
that I love them unconditionally and always will.
I pray that God hears my plea, I don’t want  to live without my daughters in my life.
God help me please give me answers please. 

CRUELTY: THE QUALITY OR STATE OF BEING CRUEL, BARBARITY, BRUTALITY,INHUMANITY, SADISM,SAVAGERY,VICIOUSNESS, WANTON, CUTTHROAT,
CAUSING PAIN AND SUFFERING TO OTHERS….Websters Dictionary


A woman  told she is expecting a child, pregnant, in the family way; doesn’t matter the words the feelings of elation, wonder and awe are all the same. She begins to care for herself as never before. She begins to eat, drink, rest all with the mindset of what is best for this small being growing within her. 
The heart is so full it overflows with the love for this small cocoon she is so carefully growing inside her, pumping her blood her oxygen through to develop into this perfect little human .
Once born, her heart swells with love and pride for this her creation..ok ok his too but  it was her body that nestled and nourished this wondrous child. As the years pass she helps to develop the mind , morals and values, before the world begins its influences on this young mind. Praying she has instilled these well.
Life takes twists, turns, and as the mother of this child she always tries to do what is best for this the love of her life the one love  guaranteed  for life . 
This young child grows into a beautiful adult and gives birth to her own miracle, which she in turn would give her life for.
But then life’s twists and turns takes a  toll on her as well and she becomes bitter, uncaring and hateful…she becomes cruel to those she professed to love before, not just to one person but many. She causes great pain and suffering to those that have loved her the longest, helped her the most, shaped her in her younger days. 
Gone are the traits so valued before. compassion, empathy, loyalty, sweetness, trust and love. She is now an inflictor of pain, with no time for anyone but those that use her. While her family sees the spiral , are helpless to do anything;  for it is her life, her business, her way
without thought to what her actions are doing to others. Sadly the mother can only think of the losses she has had in life and adds this one to the heartbreak within. She prays daily for this child and others knowing her time on earth will someday end and hopes the child she loved with all her being will not have regrets for the love she quit showing to those that loved her unconditionally.


DELIVER ME NOT OVER UNTO THE WILL OF MINE ENEMIES;
FOR FALSE WITNESSES ARE RISEN UP AGAINST ME, AND AS
SUCH BREATHE OUT CRUELTY. PSALMS 27:12

 

 BLESSINGS

She lie there next to her husband of 30 years, he was older than she but it hadn’t mattered when they met nor through the years together. She knew she should move away from his body and call someone but she wasn’t ready to let him go just yet. They had spent their time together not needing the outside friends too often. Oh, he went to his lunches with the other retirees and she escaped with her sisters for a day or two. But overall the life they had was with each other, interests were similar but different enough to keep it interesting as well. He was beginning to turn cold and she knew she had to call someone, his daughter of course but how to tell her that her Daddy is gone.  Should she call her before the authorities come take his body or have her see him at the morgue. No, here is best, could call her daughters but she hadn’t spoken to them in years.

Her life had truly been blessed from the day she met him, he gave her the stability and love she needed so desperately and he tried to give it to her daughters as well. He loved them so much and as he neared the end he would cry for them and say he loved them like his own and they were his but he didn’t want them in the house. When others did her wrong he refused to have anything to do with them. The only real dissension between them for she was of the forgiving nature.

She got up from the bed they shared and took a shower, that would probably look odd to others, but she wanted to be clean and composed. She stepped from the shower, went to the kitchen for a basin , she filled it with warm water and his favorite Irish Spring Soap, she went to him and used the sheet covering him to wipe off his body functions. She rolled him this way and that cleaning him lovingly placing clean linens on the bed , she trimmed his hair and beard; clipped his nails things she had been doing for awhile now. She kissed his lips said a prayer. Walking from the room closing the door after, another chapter in her life now closed.
Sitting down at her desk she called her brothers and sisters then her son in law to ask him to bring their daughter to see her Daddy. She called his son who lived seven hundred miles away, then she called her daughters and left messages ..they never answered when it was her. Then she waited and waited remembering their life together and how happy they made each other and how in the end he was so unhappy due to the pain.  he refused to take any medicines and would barely see a doctor.  Now that was  dissension  nearly knock-down drag outs, had that been their way  for she wanted to knock him out and haul him to see a doctor,  oh he could be so stubborn.
Their daughter and son in law arrived then one of the grandsons and she knew it was time to call the authorities while they had their last moments with him.

Two hours later the coroner removed his body , everyone looking at her curiously as she had not shed a tear nor a whimper did she make when they rolled him out the door. But she knew when it was all over she would have her time to grieve for the man she loved and always would. Now she had to attend the details, comfort the others then it would be her time, to sit in his chair with her memories counting the years of blessings God afforded her here on earth through this man.
Now she was truly alone it had always been her greatest fear, that, and not being needed by her children; well both were true and she would manage, she always had. She closed her eyes for a moment as one small tear ran down her cheek wiping it away before the others could see.  She would be glad when this part was over and they all went home.

TRUTH
Today I became the person I have never wanted to be. I was deliberately cruel  to someone I love with all my heart, 
I told the truth but was either misinterpreted, misquoted or not believed for the last time. In the last thirty years I have been called out of name, told I’m crazy, I’m trippin, I’m a horrible mother. Complete strangers  have been told the tall tales concocted by others to keep me in a bad light.
words  straight from my mouth ..five minutes later are twisted, stomped and changed to fit what others believe they heard or read..yes even when it was in black and white  they twisted my words to what they wanted to believe.
I have been accused of beating my children, because when a 15 year old called me a bitch several times I back handed her twice and it broke her nose. Eighteen years ago this happened and to this day the story has been elaborated to my physically abusing daily.
I am constantly being told I abandoned my children and yes I did, circumstances warranted it. I had to do what was best for them. I gave them to their father he had our home, our furniture ,the car it was where they had been raised so far. so when times got tough and he threatened to harm me and the children I did what I had to do. so that makes me a horrible mother.
 I paid child support had shared custody, had visitation every Wednesday evening from 6pm to 9 pm and every other weekend. I called every single day before they went to school but I was told I upset them too much so I was forbidden to call. I would arrive to pick them up and they wouldn’t be there  time after time. when I did see them they questioned me about my drug and prostitution life. Or why did I not want them and how come I didn’t love them. 
Seventeen thousand dollars in a 4 year span fighting for them to come live with us as they said they did and I still lost. Why because he was politically connected in that county.


I have diverted myself from the original writing , because of my forever need to explain myself and that is why I have had so many arguments with my daughters; I have always felt guilty for giving them to their father and so I defend myself. I am now sixty years old and I am through apologizing, defending, sucking up and not saying what needed to be said , hiding the truth biting my tongue when I was so hurt my heart I could feel literally break.
So I again abandoned my daughters I have told them to get their things out of our barn now and that after that they would never hear from me again and that is the truth.


the hardest part of this decision is my grandsons, oh how I miss them but I won’t have them used as weapons anymore. It hurt their mothers to be used that way and I will not be a part of that for them.
If all this means I die alone  so be it, maybe someday after my time on earth is through my daughters will realize what they have done.  If they don’t well I hate to say it but I won’t care. I just don’t like this new me very much, I want to be the loving happy person I thought I was, I want to be able to pick up the phone and say honey it’s mom there is a big sale at such and such lets go. That is something I have never been able to do , for no matter how many days or weeks ahead I ask they didn’t have time for me. Now I have no time for them.
THE DRUNK
She lay in the bed listening to him mumble and slur the conversation he was having with himself in the other room.
He had been drinking all afternoon while she was at work and he was supposed to be taking care of his sons. She doesn’t know how much more she can take, this is getting so old, he drinks, they fight, the boys get upset and  the circle just continues.
She can’t call her mom, as much as she would like to: that would just make her worry more than she does already.Oh God he’s coming in here please let him just pass out please God. He throws back the door and it slams against the wall. He looks at her with his drunk eyes and smiles , his smile more like a sneer. Falling across the bed he reaches for her breast  with one hand  trying to unzip his pants with the other. She knows from past experience not to protest or she’ll end up hurt . Lying as still as possible trying to breath quietly so as not to upset him, praying “God please protect me” he moves a little closer and then  oh thank you Jesus he is snoring …just like that!She knows it won’t be much longer and she will be able to get away, this is her last year of nursing school then she will be able to get a position anywhere away from him.  She lifts his hand off of her breast and slowly quietly moves away from him. She takes her pillow and a blanket to the sofa ….now now she can rest.

MOMMYS MAD AGAIN
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 

DANCING FAIRY

Falling out of grace with nature
she could no longer dance.
Oh she missed it so, 
Mother Nature caught her with the witches
and trolls, she should have listened to her
inner being  but they were such fun to play with
she thought, not realizing their true intention
So when they requested the magic mushrooms
she just gathered an apron full and gave it to them.
Now the fairies may die if an antidote isn’t found quickly.


It didn’t seem right that not only did she lose the ability to
fly but to dance! Oh how she disliked that punishment!
She clenched her little fists and stomped her feet, the bells
on her shoes jingled, making her frustration level even
higher as she loved the jingles when she dnced1. Oooooooo!


The other fairies were buzzing around her trying to find an antidote and snickering when they got close to her.  She spent her time
trying to think of all she heard the witches say if she could just remember…..


Oh that’s it as she lifted off the ground  toes barely off but up any way! Mother Nature she called teh way fairies call one another. “Yes, my precious one”  I remember something the witches said that may help:   * “Double, double toil and trouble,
              Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
             Fillet of a fenny snake,
             In the cauldron boil and bake
             Eye of Newt and toe of frog,
             Wool of bat and tongue of dog.


That’s it wool of bat and eye of dog that is the antidote! 
With that Mother Nature unloosed Dancing Fairy’s feet and wings
she began to soar and laugh with joy. Never again would she try to befriend others that demanded she give them something in return for her friendship. Accept her for who she is and she will be awonderful friend!






*Excerpt from Macbeth
STRENGTH
Tossing and turning, flipping and punching the pillow
sleep just won’t return
lying here watching the minute hand complete each cycle
numbers flipping like kids gymnastics
her mind won’t shut off….she hears the sound of the door
closing
how many days ago did he walk out ?
when did she last shower or eat for that matter?


Why did he go she has asked herself so many times
oh not that she truly minds now
for now she sees him for what he really is…a mans
body with a selfish little boys mind. 
How could he yell at her to get over it? you just
don’t get over the loss of a child! 
He was his child too, why couldn’t he have felt something?


When she closes her eyes she sees that tiny blue casket being
lowered into that vast pit. She sees her fingers tracing his name 
on that cold gray~blue stone,  Phillip Dean Scheer, named for
their fathers. Dean we were going to call him she thinks 
sitting on the side of the bed tears streaming. One month and three
days …that’s all the longer she had her son.


Melanie looks around the bedroom and wonders how long have 
 I been in here ? From the looks of it a long long time
the room needed a good airing…getting a look in the mirror 
so could she!  How long, how long? she rushes about trying to find something 
with a date, for she knows it has been a long time.


Gathering  clean clothing she decides it’s time to  clean herself
she walks to the window pulling back the heavy drape
Why the trees are green! The birds and butterflies are feeding in the
garden,  how long she asks herself again? When did Pete leave?


Turning she walks to the bath turns the shower on hot for she 
feels the need  to ease sore muscles, she is amazed at her bones
poking out at sharp angles.


‘Mel, Mel? comes a voice through the door, it is her sister! 
Melanie  turns the water off stepping out grabbing a thick
towel to wrap her long copper hair in. She grabs the robe
from the back of the door shrugging it on over wet skin to 
open the door and fall into Penny’s arms with such a cry
of despair.


Pen, Pen what are you doing here? How long can you stay?
When did you get here? words tumbling out as if she had not
spoken in a long time..which it had been …she had not uttered 
a word since the day of the funeral. ‘ Sis, I have been here 4 months
now.’ Penny says. Mel gasps, stepping back and shaking her head.
‘Get dressed I’ll go make us some tea, come down when your ready
how about a sandwich?’ Penny asks Melanie. Melanie nods her head yes.


The next two hours Penny has answered all of her questions and she 
sits silently contemplating all.  She was truly blessed to have a sister 
that cared as much as Penny did and her friends they had all sat with
her when Penny had to work. Four months, four long months they
had cared for her fed her when she would take a little sustenance. 
Melanie brushed the crumbs from her hands over the luncheon plate
and asks Penny about Pete.  Penny walks over and lifts her hands in hers,
Mel, Pete divorced you and he went to Atlanta with his new wife Joy.
Joy? Joy? His assistant Joy?  she nods yes. Melanie begins to laugh,
‘he ..he ..he, she is laughing so hard she can barely speak…he deserves
 her she tells Penny.
She proceeds to tell Penny that Joy used to be a Joseph! They both
laugh, great belly laughs, tears streaming down their cheeks, hugging 
one another , and with that her world is turned right side up again
and worth living. Moving forward will be hard but she now knows
she can face whatever life throws her way. Losing her son was hell
and always will be, but she will survive.
She picks up her plate , places it in the sink turns to Penny and sees
their mother standing in the doorway …yes her world is whole 
again as much as it can be.
HEREAFTER
The smell of cigarette smoke or a light perfume, sometimes a shampoo one of them wore. These are the smells of family gone to the hereafter so why am I smelling these odors?
We, my husband and I,  even a few sensitive visitors have remarked on these odors asking if I had taken up smoking again. My answer  is of course not . So which member of my family is visiting and  how will I ever know?  I have seen my father many a time standing at the end of my bed with his flannel shirt open over a dark t shirt, with his Pall Mall cigarettes in the pocket and a hammer in his fist. As if I wouldn’t know him with out that hammer. Or perhaps he wants me to compliment him on something he has fixed around the house.
I never ‘see’ mother but I wake often calling for her, my daughter I have had a visit from her and I feel her at times round me and I believe it is her shampoo I smell.
So why am I having these visits? Yesterday leaving the store my husband and I both  remarked as we pulled out that we smelled cigarette smoke, although we had windows up we at first explained it  by saying someone just walked by the car smoking, but the smell got stronger the farther we got from the store and stronger still as we arrived home twenty plus miles west.  Guess all I want to say is  if I seemed to have lost my mind entirely in the very near future  tis why right here in the telling of the story!

CHRISTMAS TOYS

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*

CHRISTY NOEL
The carolers were going door to door singing all the
favorites and sounding like angels. At each house as the doors opened to reveal the family inside,
one caroler would strain to see who it was at that door.You see he had just returned from Iraq after four tours, while he was gone his wife had been in an auto accident that killed her and two others but his little
girl Christy Noel survived and he was told that the brother in law he had never met took the child to his home 1200 miles from their home.
He had to find her and this was the neighborhood he was told Steven lived in. He had caught  a flight within three hours of being told about  Wendy. He went crazy after he got home and there was nothing there, no sign of any one having lived there and to not know who or what had happened to Christy Noel…..
He had finally found someone at the hospital that knew Steven had taken her home with him and all they knew was he lived in Vermont.  So here he was  in the right neighborhood he believed and when he drove through the gate at the entrance to these high dollar homes he had no idea Steven lived in, he thought about turning around and leaving. He actually felt inferior just by being here, but the job at hand was to find his daughter and become family. He had no one left except his daughter and he needed his family. His Grandma used to say “You’re never as close to God as when you are with family.” He believed that more everyday of his life.The carolers where walking to the next big house and he hung back a bit still singing but remembering  how tiny Christy Noel looked in his hands  the day she was born, he had no idea a being that small could swell his heart with that much love. He grinned from ear to ear  as he laid her next to Charon and kissed his wife, whispering his love for her and their beautiful daughter. It was Christmas Day therefore they named her Christmas Noel Jackson.As he took a few quicker steps catching up to the carolers at the next house, he looked at the window next to the open door and there she was ! He rushed at the door elbowing the carolers out of the way until he stood directly in front of  a couple that were made in the images of Ken and Barbie. “Christy Noel” he called out ..Hey the man in the door way put his arm out to stop Nick from getting any closer when they all heard the shriek “DADDDDDYYYYYY” and the running feet of a small ball of flying brown hair and eyes as big as saucers. “Oh Daddyyy ‘ she cried tears streaming as she nearly bowled him over with the thrust of her thirty`five pounds into his arms. He grabbed her and held tight as he slid down the frame of the door shoulders shaking as he was racked with sobs  of joy, relief, fear and sadness. Nick held his daughter in that doorway long after the carolers had moved on , the Barbie brought them a fur type throw to wrap around them. They just sat and held each other until they were both cried out. Christy Noel raised her head looking intently at his face “Mommy went to heaven , and I miss her” she shivered then and Nick realized he needed to get her in where it was warmer.After a warm meal, a bath and in her jammies Christy Noel laid her head against her father and went to sleep there in the den. She knew her daddy and uncle steve needed to talk and aunt Becky had helped her get ready for bed, even though she insisted she was sleeping near her daddy. Steve, Becky and Nick talked long into the night getting to know one another and sharing their grief.In the morning Steve offered Nick a job at the mill. He did not hesitate to accept as it was important that Christy Noel stay close and he as well stay close to all the family they had.   Life was good, God was and is particularly a generous good God.Christy Noel and Nick. her daddy, reside in Vermont taking care of Grandma and Mommas things for them. After two years at the mill Nick purchased an older building downtown and started the business he and Charon had dreamed of owning someday. Never has Christy Noel questioned  God’s way in taking her mother at such a young age but today Christy Noel is asking Him for a sign, a sign that says Momma is watching over them and the program as it is dedicated to her this six years later.
Nick never married again and Christy Noel she went on and grew up but stayed her Daddy’s pride and joy, she graduated college with a degree in Art and textiles with  undergrad work towards her MBA. She holds the title of CEO in the “Charon’s Antiquities” Design and Decorating. Her father travels the  world to many auctions and sales to obtain the highest quality, authenticated pieces for the stores.
God is good. Let them know that.
IRISH DEMISE
Sitting at his desk, head in his hands, cigarette ash overflowing in the
ash tray; Irish whiskey at his elbow, glass near at hand.
He writes and writes then he prints, trash can overflowing with
what he has crumpled. He knows what he wants to say and it
seems right on the screen but to read it in black and white….
He lights another cigarette he knows he needs to quit, and he had
for 13 years but when she walked out of his life, smokes and the whiskey
were his first purchases.  Self~destruction ..perhaps but not yet..not
yet. Swiveling his chair to the barrister cabinet behind the desk he
flips the switch to the stereo and picks up her picture. Ireland where
it was taken on their one and only trip to the home he grew up in. She
was not impressed but in love, twelve years later she was neither in love nor
impressed. They lived in God’s country, Colorado with the picturesque sunrises and
sunsets; pines, aspens and cedars. When they wanted a change they went to
the painted hills of New Mexico to their home there. Yet she wasn’t
impressed with him, the lifestyle or the love he gave her still.
He adored he,r worshiped  her and perhaps that was part of the problem
she said he suffocated her. After twelve years of loving her, supporting her
never discussing the bairn he wished to have and she wanted to wait for.
He poured a drink lit another cancer stick, dumped the ashtray into the
overflowing trash can and burst into tears…Shoving the lap top aside he stumbled out of his office into the bedroom
thinking he had drunk more than he was used too. Used too… hell
he hadn’t had a drink or smoke once Briony told him to quit or she wouldn’t
go out with him thirteen years ago. He took her to a Sade concert and they
had been together everyday since, slept in the same bed every night.
Conversation and every other aspect of marriage was perfect in his eyes.
They went where, when they wanted; having no one to answer for but themselves.
Being a New York Times Best selling author for the last ten years helped in that
matter.He opened  the bed side table drawer as he fell upon the side of the bed his legs unsteady
He had not been able to sleep since Briony left a month ago, he remembered the pills
a doctor gave her when she had trouble a few months back. He had been taking them withIrish whiskey hoping that he would never wake but he did each day. Tonight he will take a little more.The police knocked several times with no answer, some woman in New York
had called for a well~ being check. Three hours later his body removed Briony
arrived at their home, distraught and in shock to realize all the while she was calling
him to say she was coming home he lay here dead.”Found dead in his New Mexico home today an apparent suicide over the
break up of his marriage  to singer Briony…….she shut the newscast off as she picked
up her bag and walked out the door.
BAR LIFE
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.
THE NEIGHBOR WITNESS
He stood in his dining room looking out the picture window at the little girl next door, she sat alone
under the mulberry tree; playing with the only doll he had ever seen her  with.
She had  flowers and twigs she twisted together to make clothing for the little barbie like doll.
He felt bad for her but knew there was nothing to do with his suspicions. Her grandparents were raising their sons children without complaint as far as he knew.
He knew the old man was meaner than a junk yard dog to those boys, the old mans own son included .He could only imagine what he did to that little girl.
She was so small for her age, very thin and a nervous child, he had a suspicion as to the nerves…that old man was doing things to that child . He wanted to call the police but what if he was wrong? He would have to suffer the wrath of the neighbor and that was not something he wanted to do. What if calling authorities put him in a suspicious light , he couldn’t have that.
He would see the man put the little girl in the car with him and be gone for close to an hour , then return, she would have tear streaked cheeks and hang her head as she walked into the house. How could the Mrs. not see what was before her eyes?   Not his business his wife would tell him .He turned from the window and walked to the phone placing his hand on the receiver, if he does this everyone on the party line will know , maybe he should go in person, no, no better not they will think it is he , himself feeling guilty. A letter perhaps, yes
that’s the ticket I will write the authorities, better drag out the new Royal the wife bought, not going to give them my handwriting. Unfortunately he realizes he wrote his address on the return space of the envelope, what a dumb dumb his Sophie would say. With great trepidation hat in hand he walks into the station house and up to the desk. He stands watching the officer answer the phone and type on the typewriter.” Ahem”, he says without looking up the officer says “gimme a minute” “I have an appointment with Detective  White”  the desk officer  picked up the phone reached over and punched in a number, ‘have a seat’ he nodded towards a line of well worn oak chairs.
He sat on the uncomfortable chair looking at all the graffiti carved in the arms, the cigarette burns on the seats. He continues to twist his old fedora in his hands..round and round, the felt worn by bony fingers thin and wrinkled.
‘Mr. Walker’ the man called “Detective White, nice to meet you come back to my desk”.
He followed the detective then sat on a chair much like the one he just left.
I’ve read your letter and need to ask  a few more questions prior to visiting the family.
Now you have lived in your home how many years?   Ahem, Mr Walker clears his throat then does it again before speaking. ‘ Uh Uh all my life, born there die there.’ Some 73 years he says. ‘And how long has this family lived next door?’ ‘Forty plus years I would say’.”Now says the detective , tell me exactly why you are making this accusation against Mr. Spencer” So he proceeds to tell the detective the many things he has seen. The leaving in the car, the trips to the detached garage or the garden shed, the little face white and lips quivering, coming back with hair and clothing mussed, tear streaked face, snot running from her nose. The shaking that is what he sees when he closes his eyes how that little girls whole body trembles in fear each time.
Please he asks do not mention me to Mr. Spencer please, his temper is bad bad he is an evil man; my family, myself won’t be safe.  But please help those children but especially that little girl.
Detective White asks more questions and then says we will seek her out at school and go from there he assures Mr. Walker and no one will ever know this information came from you he says.T hey shake hands and  the old man shuffles out through the front desk area, out the door and to the bus stop to wait for his number 103 that will return him home.He steps off the bus and begins to cross the street to his two story home on the corner. Suddenly feeling his years and a great suspicion that all the neighbors are watching, knowing what he has just done. His bride ( of 51 years and as he called her still) was going to be upset with him.  He just couldn’t take watching that child anymore in her unhappiness.
Two weeks later he sees a 1953 Mercury pull up in front of the Spencer’s home, a young woman gets out of the car  and goes to the door. Mrs. Spencer answers and the attractive young woman goes inside.  Just before dinner that evening he goes out to pick up the evening paper he sees the children and all the adults next door standing on the sidewalk. there are boxes tied with cord and suitcases as well. The children are all crying  and Mr. Spencer is shouting at the young woman and  she is shouting back. The children are placed in the car with all their worldly belongings it appears and they drive away. No hugs no pats on the shoulder  the only affection shown that of the Spencer’s son towards his mother he puts his arm around her shoulders and hands her his handkerchief as they reenter the house.A few days later Mr. Walker out watering his vegetable garden  sees Mrs. Spencer hanging laundry, he strolls over to say hello …”Mary”  he speaks softly as her back is too him and he does not wish to startle her.
How are you  dear lady he asks and as she turns he is shocked by her appearance her hair is not as neatly coiffed , the dark circles under her eyes the red rims of those same gray eyes. He remembers as a young married couple they came to this house and how  vibrant she was then  through the years he has watched her shoulders begin to stoop and her hair turn silver; but this is shocking even at the age she is now.
Her lip quivering flashes him to her granddaughters lip after being with her husband. “Mary he gasps what is wrong, shall I go get Sophie for you?” He begins to take a step and in a hoarse voice she begins to tell him  that the children’s mother came to get them and she is so worried that they won’t be cared for properly. She continues to pour her heart out then finally gives a little shake to her shoulders, uses a tissue she pulls from the many in her apron pocket. She looks at him and says ”  I apologize Raymond I have surely embarrassed you and I am so sorry but oh” she says with a small chuckle “I feel so much better”.  He smiles as he sees his bride crossing the lawn come to find him,  and he says to Mary ” quite alright my dear please let us know when you hear something” “Oh I will “she says. She speaks to Sophie a bit  and he moves away towards his own home contemplating all Mary told him. It is not what he wanted to see happen for that little girl but perhaps it is better for her now.It will be many years before this story ends but Mary did not see her grandchildren again until they were grown and with children of their own. Raymond and Sophie Walker passed away and left the home to their oldest son and his family where they still live today. The Spencer’s both passed he in his eighties, she lived to be 100 years and 6 days.
THE CLOSET
She is crouched deep in the downstairs entry closet, it smells of wool , mothballs and dust
She had a little flashlight, paper and pencil even a pillow she found in the linen closet
Three cookies, chocolate chip her favorite. No one will find her she is sure, and if they can’t
find her they can not hurt her. She just has to wait they will get high and fall asleep then she can
sneak out to her room.
She hates it when they smoke that stuff, it stinks and makes her mommy mean .Mommy
never hurts her or lets anyone else hurt her unless she smokes that stinky stuff.Her name is Megan and she is 7 years old almost 8, in three weeks. She is small for her age
but has big saucer sized green eyes and strawberry blond hair. Everyone says she is pretty
but they don’t know the ugly she hides inside. Megan has been to school only through kindergarten
that’s when momma started smoking that stuff and having different men friends. She liked school
but when the teacher asked momma how come Megan was having so many accidents, Megan
didn’t go to school anymore.Her stomach begins to growl she knows she has been in the  closet a long time, but momma doesn’t cook anymore so she eats cereal for nearly every meal. Enough time has passed she is sure they are all
asleep although she can still hear the television
they fall asleep with it on sometimes.
Megan moves quietly through the coats and sweaters to the door of the closet she stops to listen,
hearing nothing she gently turns the knob holding her breath. She moves with the  experience of one
having done this many times. She quietly closes the door and tip toes down the hallway avoiding
spots she knows will squeak. She reaches the kitchen, goes for the cereal  but there is no milk, mom
forgot again. She grabs the box of cheerios and turns to leave for her room, when her moms latest friend
stops her..’Megan where you going girly?’ he asks. She holds tighter to the box and tries to slip around him
but he is fast and grabs her arm hard. “Now that’s no way to be, come here be nice and give me a little kiss”
Megan begins to cry , big tears rolling down her cheeks no sound escapes  as she is paralyzed in fear.
He picks her up and  carries her to her room, throws her on the bed then lands on top of her, knocking the breath from her body. He starts rubbing her with his ugly yellow stained hands, his harsh  breath  coming through his rotten teeth making her want to retch. She is squirming trying to get out from under him, when suddenly he grunts and goes limp. Now he is a dead weight on top of her and no matter how she moves she cannot lift him off or slide from under him.
She lays there for hours  with him not moving, she wonders why he isn’t snoring like when he falls asleep with momma. She needs to go to the restroom but can’t get out, she knows momma is going to be mad but she just lets go, she can’t hold it anymore. It is getting later  and the air is cold and she is shivering, finally she falls asleep to be woken later with momma screaming and crying. She is tugging on him calling “Ricky, Ricky what are you doing Ricky get off of her.”  Finally momma realizes he isn’t going to move  and he is not breathing., she begins screaming again, Megan whimpering ‘momma please  momma get him off he’s heavy”
“Oh he’s heavy is he guess you didn’t think so when you brought him in here..you little bitch, trying to steal him from me.. well now neither of us will have him.” Megan looks  at her momma and thinks to herself , my momma is crazy that stuff makes her crazy!  Her momma walks out of the room and back in with her cell phone telling someone to come get this two-timing bastard out of her house he is dead and on top of her daughter. ‘I don’t know; she says, nine or ten  just get here now!’ Megan lies there pleading with her eyes  for her momma to move Ricky but she doesn’t she leaves the room and you can hear her trying to hide their drugs before someone gets there.
The police arrive and finally Ricky is moved off of her., A lady officer takes her into the bathroom and helps her change clothes and wash off. She places the wet things in a bag, seals it and writes on it. She says her name is Officer Beverly and can she ask her some questions? Megan nods her head with tears in her eyes and her tummy growls at that moment. ‘Are you hungry?’ Megan nods yes
‘ does a big juicy hamburger….?’ and before she can finish Megan is shaking her head vigorously yes. Officer Beverly takes her hand and they walk through the house and out the front door. She gets in the car and they go to  a little diner that Megan  has never seen before, she didn’t know there were places like this. Officer Beverly ordered for them both and gave Megan money to put in the little machine on the table that played music. When the burgers, fries and milk came Megan ate like she hadn’t had a meal in a very long time, which she hadn’t really.Officer Beverly finishes and asks if now is a good time to ask her questions and Megan agrees by dipping her chin to chest  such a small movement Officer Beverly almost missed it, She looks around to make sure they hadn’t been followed and no one can hear the conversation.
“Megan, honey did Rick hurt you? ” Megan begins to cry, yes shaking her head. Where did he hurt you? Megan whispers ‘all over.’. “you have to tell me where exactly, what part of your body, it’s ok sweetheart, come here” she gets up walks to Megan picks her up and cradles this tiny little girl, children should never be victims: she is screaming in her mind. She finishes questioning Megan and having explained the would have to go the hospital and why Megan didn’t seem to care she just yawned and fell asleep on Officer Beverly’s shoulder.
At the hospital the ER nurse recognized Megan  from her previous visits when brought in by her mother but nothing had prepared her for the way Megan looked now. When all was said and done Megan was turned over to Children’s Protective Services. Within a year she had been adopted, received hours of counseling which helped her grow and mature beyond her years.
She had a normal life with her adoptive parents and had never asked for her mother . She graduated Valedictorian in high school and college she went on to graduate medical and law  top of her classes both. She was:
Dr. Megan Lee Riggs MJURP,PHD.,
Officer Beverly stayed a long time friend, she included Megan in her life as a Big Sister and was as proud of Megan as if she were her own. Officer Beverly was killed in the line of duty trying to remove a child from its PCP smoked up mother , when the mother let go of the child  both Officer Beverly and the child fell through a rotten balcony railing 5 stories up.
Megan missed the kind woman and had loved her like another mother , she named her PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL after Officer Beverly Sterling.
The Sterling Children’s Hospital headed by Dr.Megan Riggs found a cure for childhood diabetes.

Mr Theodore Toad

Mr Theodore Toad woke that morning with a little more croak in his throat than usual.
He ask Mrs JBird if she would fly over to Dr. Ringo Raccoon’s office and ask for a
tonic. Alas Dr Ringo Raccoon wanted to see him. Rising from his favorite chair and  slipping on his vest he spoke to Mrs.JBird ….”Please inform the good Dr. I shall be arriving within thirty minutes, my dear and thank you” as he finished buttoning his vest and attaching his pocket watch.

Mr. Theodore Toad slipped his spectacles on his nose positioning them just right so the little toad wart he inherited from his mother held them on straightly. He slipped a webbed hand and arm down the sleeve of his tweed coat and his felt bowler upon his head. Stepping towards the door he noticed a smudge on the toe of his spat, reaching down to brush it off he began croaking and croaking  then ahem ahem ahem croaaak  croaaak. Oh my I must hurry I fear I may be quite ill he thinks to himself.

Rushing out the door he  doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings, the morning dew has left the forest floor slippery and PLOP ! down he goes. “oh, drat now look what I have done, forgot my cane I did and now I must change for I have a wet spot on my  oh never mind ” he states out loud as if there was someone listening.

Along the forest trail he pays a bit more attention and croaking several times much deeper than his normal croak and wishes Dr. Ringo Raccoon had an office a bit closer. Arriving he finds the waiting room  nearly full. Approaching the desk he croaks to Ms.Bertha Bearly , “you look very lovely but frazzled my sweet lady, I sincerely hope my wait won’t be long for I do feel dreadful today”. ” you are not the only one!” 
Ms. Bertha Bearly stated turning and swinging her furry brown paw wide encompassing the room. there sat Mrs. Bonny Bunny with her eight new fur balls with pink twitching noses, Mr. George Goose sat with his head down and honking rather sickly. Mr. Wizen Owl and there is Mr. Lizard Lick without his tongue moving! Mrs Twila Turtle had two tiny ones with her and she looked yellow green very off~color the three were.

Mr Theodore Toad took a seat not to close to the others and placed his bent dirty bowler in his lap. He dozed a bit and woke himself snoring raising his head he noticed the waiting room crowd had thinned. He tried to pull himself together  being crumbled from sleeping  in the chair. He began to croak again, a deep in the chest croak ” crooooaaak, crooooak , croooakkk”  until tears were rolling down his face. He reached for his monogrammed linen handkerchief and it was not there!  “Oh drat he thought I bet it fell out when I fell out’ and chuckled at his own little joke, which caused another croaking spell.

Soon the door to the examining room opened and Sheila Slither called out “Toad sssss Theodore sssss Toadssssss, Drssss willssss sssssseeeesss yousssss nowsss hisss.” Mr Theodore Toad stood and quickly walked to the door, entering Sheila Slither guided him in to the examine room. “ I “..he began to croak, “ssssshhhhhh , ssssssave ssssvoicesss” as she pushed the thermometer in his mouth. She took his blood pressure, removing the thermometer with a quick look “sssss you have a fever 76.3sssss”, finishing up she slithered out the door.

Dr. Ringo raccoon came in and Mr Theodore Toad started to stand; “no no stay seated” said Dr. Ringo Raccoon. He began to listen to his chest , “deep breaths please” “again” “again” ok that’s good well my good man looks as if you have an upper ~respiitory infection, how cold is the water in turtles pond t hat you have been swimming in? He responded “ it’ is  toadilitis and you will require surgery to get them out”

Dr. Ringo Raccoon came in and Mr Theodore Toad started to stand; “no no stay seated” said Dr. Ringo Raccoon. He began to listen to his chest , “deep breaths please” “again” “again” ok that’s good well my good man looks as if you have an upper ~respiitory infection, how cold is the water in turtles pond t hat you have been swimming in? He responded “ it’ is  toadilitis and you will require surgery to get them out”

Surgery, surgery oh no DR . no no no no croaaaakkk croakkkk  ahem ahem”  shouted Mr. Theodore Toad;
picking up his coat and bowler with one hand and buttoning his vest with the other; moving quickly to the door.
Ms Slither stop Mr. Toad NOW!”  shouted Dr Ringo Raccoon. Ms. Slither slid quickly on the floor and wrapped herself around Mr. Theodore Toad’s shiny spats  stopping him quite abruptly. “SSSSSSStop” she hissed.
Dr Ringo Raccoon caught up with them and backed Mr. Theodore Toad  into a chair. “Now sir, kindly let me finish what I was saying to you, this is a very minor procedure, I will give you a sedative made from the wings of a fly, (this caught Mr. Theodore Toads attention), this will let you take a nap for about thirty minutes; during that time I will open
your mouth reach in with my medical instruments and remove the two toadidistis’s   that hang in the back of your throat. there will be very little discomfort after the procedure and we will send you home right after your nap with all the frozen Blue and Green Dragonflygurt you can eat.”  

OH ” said Mr. Theodore Toad  ” I will get to go home to my own toad house, the very day?”  “Yes, you will need someone to look after you for a day or two but you will be fine, it is quite simply ahum if I  a, a must say myself
one of my best works, quite enjoy it I do.”  
and with that Mr. Theodore Toad agreed to have the procedure….he was so tired and not feeling himself at all; he just wanted to go home and crawl back in bed.

That is exactly what he did, or tried to do for you see Mr. Theodore Toad was not only a resident toad of the “MYSTICAL FOREST”  but also the Mayor; as such there was always a daily agenda to his duties as he Mayor and everyone knocked on his door for him to decide this issue or that one. He even had to interpret the various laws involving each and every law of the forest and tsk tsk there are many he thought as he pulled hmiself from his sick bed to answer the door. “Yes”  he said as he opened the door to Mrs. Sly Foxy and Mrs. Esmeralda Eagle, “Ladies, do come in croaak croooak”  Both stepped through the door and immediately went to the old horsehair sofa that truly had seen better days but they sat anyway. “may I offer you croooaak crrrooak  ahem ahem some tea”
“Oh dear dear let me make the tea Theodore you sound absolutely terrible ” 
said Mrs. Sly Foxy and bustle out to the kitchen she did with her long beautiful bushy copper and white tail swishing the dust from the floor as she went. Of course all the dust settled right onto the back of her emerald green brocade dress, when she had set the kettle to brew she stepped to the backdoor of Mr Theodore Toads home and shook the dust from her dress.
In the meantime Mr. theodore Toad and Mrs. Esmeralda Eagle chatted he telling her of his upcoming procedure and she with her mighty puffed out white chest and long long wings was telling him of her three new eaglets.

In the meantime Mr .Theodore Toad and Mrs. Esmeralda Eagle chatted he telling her of his upcoming procedure and she with her mighty puffed out white chest and long long wings was telling him of her three new eaglet.

The span of the wings were so immense that when she became excited she spread them out they bent backwards.
Soon Mrs Sly Foxy returned with a beautiful silver tea set and a few cookies for them to enjoy as they discussed the reason for the visit.
Now, said Mr Theodore Toad” croakkk croaak ahem, what do I owe the pleasure of two such fine-looking ladies visiting me today?”  “ahem, croak, croaak “. Both Mrs Sly Foxy and Mrs Esmeralda Eagle began to speak at once voices rising to a crescendo until “Croak Crooaak Croak Crack Crooooaaak, s, s, si, si, silence!” Croaked Mr.Theodore Toad. “I can hear but one of you at a time now settle down or you will both leave and I shall retire to my bed where I should be now!”  “Oh Theodore , Mrs sly Foxy who liked to pretend she was on closer terms than she really was with people said“we are so sorry  I know you are ill but this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need you to help us.”

“Get on with it then  Mrs. Eagle, tell me what of this utmost serious matter”.  So she did, she explained that in hunting food for her new little ones, she could find her prey, follow it and just about the time she begins her descent she sees an animal she does not recognize launch itself and gone is the prey she had hunted to feed her young.

Mr Theodore Toad slowly turned to Mrs Foxy “and you ma’am?”  “Theodore you have no idea what I have been through since my Mister was hit by that big truck” and she began to cry.  He and Mrs Eagle waited until Mrs Sly Foxy composed herself then she told her story of how she had watched from the ground  of course, and knew of what Mrs Esmeralda Eagle had spoken. For she had tried to catch this animal herself but to no avail. ‘That Theodore is why we are here , we need your help in finding out who this animal is and you as mayor must tell him of the laws of MYSTICAL FOREST!”

Rest assured ladies as soon as I am physically able I will investigate personally and put a stop to this creature that is taking food from our young ones mouths” With that the ladies departed and Mr Toad returned to his bed he slept the rest of the day and through the night. The next day he left early to arrive on time for his procedure, his good friend Sheriff. Billy Badger  was oh so kind enough to transport him to and fro today and had set up someone to come and stay with him during his recovery period.

 ~PART # 4 

On the ride to the hospital, “MAJESTIC FOREST HOSPITAL AND ANIMAL CLINIC”, Mr Theodore Toad gave Sheriff Billy Badger  narrative of the complaint, by Mrs Foxy and Mrs Eagle. The sheriff promised to look into it while Theodore was ‘laid up’.  Arriving at the hospital Mr Theodore Toad was whisked into a room that was very cold, bright lights and a very narrow bed they expected him to lay on. He put on the funny gown with no closure in the backside  (this did not make him happy at all!) but he did as told. The hospital nurse  brought him his fly flavored sedative and within a minute he was asleep. Dr Ringo Raccoon came into  the procedure room dressed in an all blue paper pants and shirt and another mask with just his eyes sticking out, he looked so funny!

Mr. Theodore Toad woke to the voice of an angel, a beautiful group of Canaries, a Warbler or two and even the red~breasted Robin were singing to make sure he woke to his favorite sounds, those of the forest.  Dr. Raccoon came in and asked “ How are you feeling Mr Toad?”  “actually quite peaceful and rested ”  he said. “Oh, (dropping to barely a whisper) now it hurts but I am not croaking!”  Dr. explained the procedure again saying all went well and he was free to go home and he would have the nurse give him a prescription to have filled . Sheriff Billy Badger came to pick him up and going to the market they purchased the frozen blue and green Dragonflygurt.

On the third day of his recovery Mr. Theodore Toad woke and knew he was completely well. He went into the shower and as he washed he began to croak his favorite song

ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM,
MERRILY MERRILY MERRILY LIFE IS BUT A DREAM
CATCHING FLIES AND BRING THEM HOME
SERVE THEM WITH A LITTLE CREAM”


Ms JBird heard this and began to prepare his breakfast  a large bowl of  sweet fly flakes with a dried spider or two for extra nourishment.  Mr. Toad was so appreciative of all she had done for him while he was recovering he gave her a gift card to the market for dried worms. “Oh, Mr Toad it was my pleasure to care for you, you don’t have to do this but I am so glad you are ” and they both laughed.

Later that day Sheriff Billy Badger came by and he and Mr Theodore Toad spoke of the need to catch the food thief that was loose in the forest. “I have received many complaints in the last two days”, the Sheriff told him, ” and this thing seems  able to stalk from the ground and fly through the trees to capture someone else’s prey”

“You don’t say Sheriff, I believe I know what it is and if I am correct they are an endangered species,  have you heard of the Pine marten, sheriff?” “Of course ” replied the sheriff, “we will have a time catching him long enough to talk to.”

Ms. Jbird, Mrs. Esmeralda Eagle, Mrs. Sly Foxy, Ms. Sheila Slither,Mr. Bob Robin, Mrs. Twila Turtle and all the other  creatures of the forest came together to hear A Proclamation from the Mayor.

PROCLAMATION FROM THE MAJESTIC FOREST

BE IT KNOWN THIS DAY  OF SUMMER SOLTICE

JUNE 20, 2012

A  REWARD OF 500 FOREST CASH

WILL BE GIVEN TO THE  FIRST

FOREST CREATURE TO BRING
FORTH THE  MARAUDER KNOWN AS

PINE MARTEN

THIS PINE MARTEN IS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

AND VERY QUICK

PLEASE PROVIDE ANY AND ALL INFORMATION TO SHERIFF BILLY BADGER .

Three days later  Penelope Porcupine brought to the Mayor the exact location of the Pine martens habitat and in so doing Mr. Theodore Toad and Sheriff Billy Badger,
paid a brief visit to the gentleman to caution him and make him welcome to the  “MAJESTIC FOREST’ as long as he followed the rules. Once explained to Peter Pine marten, he was agreeable to follow and gave his word that he would do his own hunting and foraging from here on out.

The following week if you went to the door of  Mr Theodore Toad you would find  he had left a note saying  ” Greetings citizenry of “MAJESTIC FOREST” I have departed for a place known only to myself and a few close friends, I shall be gone for ten days without any way of communicating. All Mayoral business will be conducted  with Ms. Polly O’Possum at the tree four to the west of here and six trees to the south in the Jacaranda.
Sincerely, Mayor Theodore Toad. 

 

*MARIE*

The screen door slammed echoing across the land as Marie stepped onto her front porch. She lit a cigarette and took a long draw before tasting the cold beer she had pulled from the fridge as she came through the kitchen.  Sighing deeply she dropped on the old creaky porch swing, relaxing for the first time in days, twisting her long auburn hair into a knot she stretched out  one leg on the old boards to push herself into a rhythmic pace.

This last month had been more than she thought she could handle, coming home to bury her long ill father and help her mother settle up his affairs only to bury her mother too and find they not only left her the old house but the business too. The business she hated, had hated for as long as she could remember, she had always felt she was second place to the restaurant/bar her parents had bought when Dad came back from Vietnam. Now she was the unwilling exhausted sole owner of the place she had despised and couldn’t wait to shed the dust of it from her shoes ten years ago when she left for college.

Life sure gave you surprises she thought as she pushed herself up to get another beer from the dated kitchen. The avocado appliances with the yellow tiles and sink told how much attention her parents gave to home and the lack of life it had. If and that was a mighty big if, she decided to stay she would get the restaurant in top form then tackle this place make it her home or not she could not decide now, too tired Marie thought.

Taking her beer back to the porch she sat in the wicker chaise drawing her feet up lighting another cigarette….

After a long cry another beer and half a cigarette, Marie turned in for the night, only to wake shaking, panting and covered in sweat. Dreaming of Brian and how he played her body like a musical instrument that was one of the few things she missed about him.
Standing in the shower she wished her mom was here to talk to, her heart was broken and mom always knew how to give her a direction and clarity to think things through. Brian had not liked her mother thought she was only a busy nobody and it had been a sticking point in their relationship. Mom may not have cared much for her or made a lot of time but when the tires hit the road mom knew people and she knew Brian, if only I had listened she thought as she wrapped her hair in a towel.

Making coffee, Marie stepped out on the porch not letting the screen door slam so the neighbors dogs wouldn’t start barking this early. She grabbed up her cigarettes to light one and abruptly decided today was the day she was going to quit, didn’t know why she ever started in the first place, just to piss off her mom and dad probably. The birds were waking up and she felt rejuvenated after a good sleep and a hot shower, sometime during the night she had made up her mind she had nowhere to go  Dallas was another time another life, no more corporate hustle and pressure to break the glass ceiling, no man to sleep with her during the week planning their future only to find he had a wife and kids in the burbs he went to on weekends. Now that was a soap opera or a great title to a country song. Shaking herself from her reverie, she went inside to gather up the things she needed to open this morning.

Arriving at  ”Sheilas Place” named after her mom, she turned on the fryer and grills, pulling out the supplies for the days breakfast rush. Going to the closet called an office she switched on the computer did a bit of work, shaking her head at how fast money was going out but not coming in. She needed to do something to pull in the feeding crowd and less drinking crowd although her Dad always said the bar was his money-maker it had shown in her review of the books that it had not been for many years and that the restaurant  was barely floating above water. She heard Tammy come in and went out to greet the restaurants day manager.

“Hey Tammy how goes it this morning?”
”Great glad to be on the right side of the grass Marie” she responded.

Tammy had been day manager for five years coming from Waco when her husband transferred in with one of the oil companies, they had no children and Tammy had a business management degree just as Marie but she had never used it for more than this type of work due to her husband Jim’s profession, and had become a close friend these past weeks. “Tammy when your finished in the dining room could we have a meeting in the park across the street, say when we get that lull around ten?”

“Sure Marie I will be there.”  Tammy responded. With that they both got busy with the breakfast prep and rush. Jamie came in to open the bar at ten and Tammy with Marie went to the park leaving Jamie to run both sides for the moment.
Drinking the ice tea she brought with her Marie and Tammy sat amicably in the peaceful park,watching the birds, squirrels and people scurry about. Finally with a deep sigh Marie turned to Tammy and said “I have decided to stay and keep the homestead and the biz open for as long as I can.” With that Tammy gave a whoop and hugged Marie tight “Oh I am so glad, we need you here and now you need us.” With that Marie unloaded all of her concerns and worries about the business. Somewhere in that conversation Tammy asked about her personal life and Marie unloaded again with the betrayal of Brian and how she had felt and still feels  about him hating him and loving him still.  How scared she was about managing the business and even more so losing it, how hard it is without having her mom and dad missing them more than she thought she would.

They talked for sometime there on that old park bench, discussing how and what to do to get business back up. Marie contemplating closing the bar side and going total restaurant, Tammy not agreeing so leaving that on the table they discussed hiring a team  from the television that came in and “rescued” failing businesses of that sort.
As they stood up concluding their impromptu meeting, Marie reached out to Tammy and tugged her elbow. “Tammy would you consider buying in as a full partner with me, I admire you and your more than capable of running this business, I see how much you love this place and I can think of no other way for you to be rewarded but to be part owner.”
Tammy stood there with tears  welling and a shocked expression on her face not knowing what to say she  stammered ” I , I am so flattered Marie and of course I would love to be partners but I have to talk it over with Jim and if he thinks we can swing it I will graciously accept and thank you, thank you!!!” Hugging tightly they both scurried across the street to tend to the lunch crowd.

Bouncing through the door Marie and Tammy  both with silly grins and twinkling eyes set the pace for the lunch crowd, everyone smiling, chatting and enjoying the lunch special of platter sized tenderloin sandwiches that Marie had pounded out and breaded that morning, along with the daily menu. Marie served ice cream and cake only, for deserts as she could not bake a pie crust to save her soul, in fact she could barely cook at all ; mom had not been that keen on cooking and dad was an average short order cook the only thing making them qualified to own a business as such was they both liked to eat, drink and socialize. Marie just had not had time to even place an ad for a cook, baker or bartender that was another worry how could she afford to hire anyone when business was down so much. She knew even if Tammy could buy in that  it may only last a year at most.

Shaking her head to clear it and refocus on the end of the lunch rush, Marie  finished filling ketchup bottles and sugars for the next day. Although the restaurant had not been open for the dinner crowd in many years, the bar was open until midnight and the grill stayed open until nine p.m, if she didn’t get it set for the next day and close it off now sure enough  a customer would wander over and make a mess or she herself could not get out of the bar long enough to set up  during the night. Calling out good byes to the staff she was anxious to get off her feet in the office for a few minutes before taking over the bar side from old Max, he came in shortly after Jamie and the two handled it together until six when Jamie went home then it was all Max. Max had been  a dear friend of her dads from the ‘nam days , when dad found him living on the streets in Waco , he brought Max home cleaned him, sobered him and gave him a job in the bar which made no sense for many years to Marie as to why dad gave him a job serving alcohol. Many years later Marie had come home for a Christmas holiday finding Max  closing up after the annual employee party, they sat and enjoyed a soda together. Marie asked Max then why he would accept a position that put him in temptations way everyday and he responded ” Child your Daddy pulled me out of the vipers pit of hell and gave me back my manhood , he trusted me when not another soul alive would even look me in the eye, how could I betray the man who gave me back my life by drinking his whiskey?”

Going to the office she placed orders for fresh fish and vegetables, ran through a few more bank statements wanting to cry at how careless her parents had become with balancing the books, all she could be thankful for was they had borrowed no more against the house than they had even though the loan on the business was never-ending it seemed they would get one loan paid then immediately take another, she would pay it all back as quickly as she could. She had cashed in most of her stocks to pay for the funerals and pay off the house, there was not a lot of that left in reserve.
Leaving the office she stepped outside to look longingly up and down Main street and across at the turn of century buildings and the park on Bluebonnet Parkway, it was beautiful and quiet here, at one time she could not stand the silence and the sidewalks that rolled up at dark, now after living in Dallas these last years the slow pace of this country life only fifteen miles from Waco, seemed to fit within her soul and mind.  Turning to go to the bar entrance and relieve Max she once again began thinking about drawing more customers to eat here not so much to drink. She hated what drink had done to her parents one dying of cirossis of liver the other lung cancer within weeks of each other leaving her not only an orphan but this white elephant of a business that she had no idea what to do with.

Entering the dark and dank smelling bar she wanted to just scream and start tearing it down beginning with the nicotine stained curtains and the carpet that stuck to your feet when you walked across it. It was so gross she was surprised anyone came in here except they were the only bar open during the daylight hours. Max helped her stock the beer coolers and switch out a keg of beer, she then took stock of the liquor noting there was not much change since last week seemed most of the customers were beer drinkers.

She and Max sat at the bar and discussed ideas but he was like her father not open to change and said if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but it is broken she told him it is sucking money like water down a drain. She worked that night serving with a smile and once she was able to close she hurried home to shower the grime off her body.
******

Grabbing a cold glass of water she sat on the porch in the dark watching the bugs flit around the light on the post by the barn, the barn that had never held anything more than junk, never the horse she wanted as a girl not even a dog; her mom didn’t think she would take care of it therefore she didn’t need it. Marie wondered about getting a dog now a big old lab or collie or maybe one of those little toy dogs, no she wanted a big old cuddler to follow her around and sleep at her feet.

Sometime during her sleep she came up with an idea and couldn’t wait to run it by Max and Tammy. Arriving at the restaurant at four thirty that morning she met the cook who was coming in to smoke ribs for the daily specials. Questioning him if he knew a good baker and anyone that would do carpenter work. He stated he had a sister that liked to bake and a cousin that did carpenter work, she asked him to have them come by if they might be interested in the positions she had open.
When Tammy and Max came in she took a thermos of coffee and together they went  across the street to the park bench, handing them both pens and notebooks she told them some of her idea and asked them to give their input on that and to spend the day writing in the notebook what they would like to see changed and what they did not want changed at  Sheila’s. Inviting them both and Jim, Tammy’s husband to lunch at her place on Sunday to discuss it all. Tammy pulled her aside and asked if her and Jim could come a little early to discuss the proposition of partners with her before the idea meeting.

Marie made it through Friday and Saturday but felt so tired she began dreading inviting anyone to lunch on Sunday. She rose and prepared ahead all she could for that lunch, dressed and attended church feeling better when she stepped out  the door than she had going in. The sun was shining, glinting off the bumper of her Dads old truck, why she drove it instead of her car she didn’t think about just began driving it after he passed and hadn’t quit yet. Getting on Interstate 35 and running it to the Brazos River exit close to home she stopped along the river bank and picked a few wildflowers for the lunch table enjoying the serenity lapping water and chirping birds gave her soul. Turning to return to the truck she heard a whimper to her left stopping to listen she heard it again, what was that she thought and began walking toward where she had heard it.  Searching the brush and among the trees she stopped a moment to watch a couple of fellows lure fishing from the banks up ahead. She walked towards them to ask if they had heard the noise. Neither one had any idea what it was but came with her to look for it, then they all heard it again. One of the men reached down into the reeds and brought up a burlap feed bag that was squirming… inside there were two of the mangiest newborn pups ever seen.  They helped her to her truck with the pups and she drove home wondering what have I done now?
Rushing in to the old barn  for something to keep the pups in finding an old basket she took it  to the house and finished bedding them down after feeding them with an eye dropper she found in the junk drawer. Tummies full a warm blanket and they snuggled together in that basket like they were home.

She finished preparing the lunch while going through her speech of what she wanted to say to each of her friends and hoped they would respond the way they needed to, to make this idea of hers work.

After a hearty lunch of roasted chicken, salad,  hot rolls and iced tea they took coffee and desert to the cool of the front porch after moaning and groaning over full stomachs and a few chorus’ of  laughing about lost nap time , Marie asked if they had given thought to her idea and the changes they wanted to see.

Max spoke   first ” Girly I don’t know why I am in on this meeting seems to me I have no interest except to bartend as far as your idea if you do it I hope that you will still need me around but if not I can always spend my day’s fishing , and I am grateful for your homecooked meal, now I could do with these more often.”  All of this said with a smile so Marie knew he was going to be okay no matter what she decided to do. She looked at him ” Max you have been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember,you are all the family I left except Tammy so of course you belong here, your insight and input is valuable to me whether you realize it or not it means a lot to me that you be involved”

“Ok kid, I’m here for you for all it’s worth” grinning as he replied.
“Well, then let’s get to it, Marie said, “my idea is to close down for one month giving us time to get contractors in and gut the building expanding the restaurant across the board, not closing the bar just serving cocktails and beer with meals only and we will open for dinner  instead of closing after lunch for the day. The dinner crowd will make up for what little if any we would lose by the bar closing.  Actually ,  we could close after lunch for clean up and refreshing then reopen at say five pm until ten, What do you think?”

“Your going to upset your regular old timers that come to the bar each day for gossip and company” Max chimed in.

“I love the idea ” from Tammy,  Jim questioned ” What is all this going to cost?”
“That is what I don’t know but Steve the day cook said his cousin is a contractor or carpenter, maybe he can give us an idea” Jim just chuckled and said “well Tammy and I can afford to put in Twenty-five thousand for a half partnership but that is max as that is our life savings. Have you had someone  appraise the business to know it’s worth now?” he asked.

“No I haven’t but thought to save money I would use the last one dad had done when he took the last loan, which reminds me there is substantial debt to be repaid from the last loan mom and dad took out. I paid off the mortgage and I have a bit left from sale of stock and some oil stock I can still cash in if I have too.” With that Marie began to cry as the enormity of it all hit her. “I am so sorry, I don’t know what is wrong with me lately,” as Tammy wrapped her in a shoulder hug handing her a tissue. “Hon, your under a lot of stress and your grieving for your parents my goodness woman it has only been five weeks since your mom and eight weeks since  your dad, your emotions are high  now it’s ok to cry, your among friends.”

Composing herself she asked for the ideas Max and Tammy had come up with, Tammy opened her notebook and nearly had the exact ideas that Marie had. Max opened his notebook showed them all a blank page then said  “Give me a minute to write mine down”. He turned away from the group setting the notebook on his lap wrote for a minute turned back around and handed it to Marie. In shaky blocked letters was I GIVE TO YOU AS A GIFT ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TO DO WITH AS YOU PLEASE IN HONOR OF YOUR FATHER AND WHAT HE DID FOR ME.

Tammy, Marie and Jim all gasped and Marie started shaking her head no saying  “you cannot give me money Max , this isn’t right” .

After some heated discussion, Marie graciously accepted Max’s generous gift with the stipulation that he would retire from working as a bartender and become a member of the advisory board, to be reached only by cell if he had coverage on the boat he was going to buy. Seems in the years Max worked for her parents he lived very frugally and invested in oil exploration in Texas and was being handsomely compensated.
Tammy and Jim still wanted to be partners but with Max’s gift there was no need for their funds, an agreement was made that Tammy would be General Manager with a twenty percent ownership and a suitable salary. Of course if they could not get the business built up this would all be to no avail.
*******
Monday Marie woke to a beautiful morning the kind only seen in Texas, sun shining vast blue sky and air as fresh as after a rain.
Arriving at the restaurant she immediately went to see Steve to get his cousins number to start the ball rolling on her plan. Gabe answered on the second ring with a growl of  “who the hell is calling this early, it better be good” Marie nearly hung up with out saying anything but remembered everyone has caller ID now so he would know who called.
“Uh, uh my name is Marie and I own Sheila’s over on Bluebonnet Parkway, your cousin Steve gave me your number said you might be interested in some construction work.”

“hmm gruph yawn” was the sound she heard after her quick spiel. “Excuse me ” she responded.
“Look lady I just got in about oh, um, maybe two hours ago I am exhausted, you woke me from a deep sleep I will have to talk to you another time” and with that Gabe hung up on her.
Marie sat there looking  dumbfounded at the phone  held in her hand, not comprehending all that had taken place in that minute of conversation. Then her blood began to rise and she thought to herself how extremely rude that man was to her, well there were other contractors in the sea she just needed to look around and ask other people for recommendations. With that she stood up and went to the kitchen to let Steve know that she wouldn’t be using his cousin. He was quite busy, she waited until he had a breather and ask him to see her before he left, he looked at her with eyebrow raised, “Oh nothing wrong Steve just a chat” with a grin she turned and walked back into the dining room.
Tammy brought her an iced tea to the back booth and together they sat and Marie told Tammy of her conversation or lack there of with Gabe the contractor. “Now I don’t know who to call does Jim know of anyone?” she asked.
Tammy told her no she didn’t think so but would ask him, and to give Gabe a chance to call her as he said and together they would start hunting for other contractors as it was best to get two or three bids on what they wanted. Sitting there in the booth they drew out on napkins different ideas for the reno looking at flow for better service, more tables and chairs a smaller bar area etc.
Tammy stood and suggested Marie take the rest of the day and go get pampered in Waco, she deserved it and now with Max’s gift she could afford to get treated after all she had been through.
Marie hated to spend the money but it sounded heavenly to have a mani-pedi  and maybe even a haircut as she had not done anything to her hair for a few months even before moving back home.

The drive to Waco gave her time to unwind, clear her head and start thinking sensibly of nothing at all…she felt free, activating the window button to let the wind tousle her hair, she cranked up the radio to some Blake Shelton, another Brian dislike, her music, she could not understand how a person could grow up on a ranch in San Antonio, go to college at University of Texas, work in Texas and not like country music, just another of the differences they had. With that she started crying thinking about the four years she had wasted on that no good boot licker. How could she be so gullible to think all those weekends he was gone he really was gone on business, fishing, rafting and just guys weekends in general. How could he have talked her into telling no one of their engagement until after their promotions and she be stupid enough to think that was right? How How How??????? Pulling off the road she beat her fists against the steering wheel and screamed at the top of her lungs “argggggghghhhhh”. Finding tissues in her bag after a fifteen minute cry and beating up on herself she was ready to get back on the interstate to her day of beauty.
Arriving at the day spa she was welcomed and ushered in right away, the attendee suggested a facial and waxing as well, Marie thought why not and pulled out her credit card adding a massage, hair cut and color as well.
Arriving home that night she ran to the house with food for the pups, having cursed herself all the way back down I 35 for forgetting them, what kind of parent would she ever be if she couldn’t remember to feed two helpless puppies?  She washed out the basket and clothes she had in there for them, fed them and took them out to the yard to do their business. She would get them in to the vet tomorrow to make sure they were healthy and to see what else to do for them. They  were so cute and fuzzy little fur balls, they were both boy dogs so she was seriously thinking of keeping them both, they looked to be german shepherds but she wasn’t sure.

As she was gathering them both into her arms to take them inside a newer Ford pickup truck came up the drive and stopped in front of the house. The first thing she noticed was the  long legs that kept coming out of the truck, then the broad shoulders, dark hair “Ma’am I am Gabe Flores and I am sorry I hung up on you this morning, I had been out all night fighting a fire at my buddy’s place I am sorry I was so rude.”
Marie could not get her breath looking at that chiseled face, square jaw, chocolate-brown eyes, she swallowed……

This was a mans man no doubt about it and her body was responding to his physique as it had to no other person ever. Her heart was pounding and then a rush of anger at how rude he was this morning, then it faded as quickly as it came hearing what he said about a fire, a fire in this heat could wipe out hundreds of acres in a short amount of time.

“I am Marie Hillman” setting the pups down on the porch she held out her hand to shake his. ” I hope not much was lost in the fire, everyone okay, no injuries?”
“No injuries, lost the house and a couple of outbuildings but we will rebuild it, now what can I do you out of ma’am ” chuckling and showing the whitest teeth she had ever seen. My God I am swooning like a love struck teenager she thought to herself.
“Come on in, I’ve got coffee ready to brew or iced tea” she offered. He reached down picking up both pups nuzzling them and asking “where do these lil guys go?” She told him and he placed them in their basket where they curled up together to fall asleep.
After pouring the iced tea they sat at her table and she pulled out the scraps of paper and napkins with the drawings of her ideas. They talked for over an hour about how and what could be done, he offered to come by Sheila’s on Wednesday and get measurements to get a bid together for her.
Going into work the next day  tired but bubbly, she had not slept well due to excitement at finally  taking a  positive step for the business and truth be told she could not stop thinking of  Gabe Flores and how handsome he was. Those long long legs, the dark hair and eyes, he just oozed sex appeal.Shaking her head to shake him out of her brain she set to the tasks of the day.

Wednesday came all to slowly for Marie after spending two days in anticipation of Gabes arrival. Tammy was teasing her  constantly about the light in her eyes and the silly grin or dreamy look on her face. Marie refused to tell her what or who had put the bounce in her step, until this morning, grabbing a coffee and heading to the back booth she tilted her head and raised her eyebrow at Tammy motioning her to join her.
They started out with general conversation about life in general but Tammy being Tammy jumped right in with “Give girlfriend, what is going on with you, you haven’t taken Brian back have you?”
“What?, no I have not I haven’t even heard from him nor do I want too, what would make you think that?”
“Honey, that look on your face, only a man puts that look on a woman’s face now give !”
Marie proceeded to tell her about Gabe Flores and how he had affected her, that he would be there today to look at the job and give a bid.
Tammy started chuckling ” I knew it had to be a man”
“Now don’t get ideas my friend he didn’t look at me like that, but he is such a perfect specimen of man you’ll see he will put a smile on your face too.”
“I am a happily married woman and Jim is all I want or need”
“Silly I know that but it doesn’t hurt to have eye-candy to look at once in a while”

With that they both got busy again with their duties, Tammy filling salt and peppers, Marie filling napkins and condiments. The lunch crowd came and they had not a minute to breathe as an oil crew was working nearby as well as a highway repair group out of Dallas  working on the I-35 bridge, so business had been good and Marie was grateful.
Gabe arrived just as the floor had been mopped and the two women had sat down in the booth , letting him in Marie offered Gabe something to drink, choosing  water with lemon, he sat with Tammy and introduced himself. Tammy gave a quick look and a wink at Marie, and Marie knew her friend was just as captivated by this bronze Adonis as she was.
The meeting went well, Gabe came back on Thursday with his bid,  after running it by Jim, Max and Tammy they all agreed it was a fair bid and contracts were drawn and signed shortly after. It was at this time that the cook Steve informed them that Gabe was actually an architect and never did all the work he was doing for them he usually used his team members for this menial type work.
Steve felt it was because he and Gabe were cousins, and wanted to be in on every aspect of the conversion, Marie having to tell him he could work on the place when they got to the kitchen plans and not before. He was like an overly excited child waiting for a new toy.
Steve’s sister Sharon had also been hired as the head pastry chef , with that Tammy and Marie began interviewing for servers and a good bartender and night manager. Marie was bound and determined to take this place from its old reputation of a bar/restaurant, and this reno was the only way to do that. She knew being closed for this month to six weeks would hurt at first but the result would be worth it, she just knew it.
Tammy, Marie and all the staff boxed up supplies, dishware, liquor, glassware and office materials on Saturday after the lunch rush. She partialed out food stuff to the staff that wanted or needed it  saying she wanted a fresh start all the way around when they reopened. She also gave them all their wages for a month, it would not have been possible without Max’s wonderful gift.
Max had bought a nice recreational bass ski boat and was gone fishing most everyday now, with just a “call me if you need me” and a wave of the hand. Jim was working long hours and Tammy spent time helping Marie with plans for the place.

Marie attended church Sunday morning and before going home went to the restaurant one last time before  Gabe and his crew came in  on Monday morning at six a.m. to start the demolition.
Walking through the place having flashes of events that had occurred throughout the years, her first broken bone, her wrist when she fell off stacked cases of beer at the age of six, her little finger when she caught it between two beer kegs. Doing her homework in the back booth closest to the kitchen, falling asleep there while her parents worked in the bar at night. Having the old cook Cora make extra treats for her as after school snacks, the arguments with her parents about boyfriends and curfews and yes even her drinking and smoking, doing the latter because they did not want her to and had told her so many times. Having every Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday in this place none of them could she remember as very happy for she wanted a normal home life, without celebrating those family times with a bar of drunks that gave not two winks for the little girl before them. Marie realized she was crying and snot was running from her nose, grabbing a handful of napkins she blew her nose wiped her tears, squared her shoulders and shook off the angry melancholy. Stepping through the front door one last time as it looked now, knowing tomorrow change would take place.

The next morning she fed the pups, let them romp in the yard then scooped them up noting the increase in weight in just a few days of good food. She had already placed their blanket and basket in the seat of the old truck, intending to take them to the vet right after getting Gabe and his crew in to start work. She was excited today for the old to be removed and the new to begin. Arriving at the restaurant at five fifty-five  surprised to see all the people already there. Unlocking the door and meeting everyone she was glad she had left the coffee machines and a few cups as she began to brew coffee for all of them. She kept looking for Gabe but did not see him anywhere, an older gentleman introduced himself as Ken, the lead on this job telling her Gabe was at the office and would be by later. Ken rolled out blueprints and went over them with her after walking the place and marking big ex’s on walls, counters and bars. His crew began demolition of those items and she felt in the way and time to take the pups to the vet. When she got back to the truck they were out of the basket romping and chewing on anything they could get their sharp teeth into. Laughing she placed them back in the basket and headed for the vets office.
*****

Going into Dr. Kennedy’s clinic wrestling both wriggling pups Marie had to laugh at all the wiggling and licks she was getting, this was turning into a rather good day so far. After shots and exam of the dogs told they were in great health about eight weeks old and purebred German Shepherds. The receptionist Sara gave her sample bags of food, heart worm  meds for when they were a little older and a list of trainers that she planned on contacting immediately.
Driving away from the vet clinic she began to think of names for the pups first then her mind bounced to all she needed to get going on for ‘the biz’ as she began calling the restaurant. She thought to serve down home meals and steaks, every Texan loved their steaks and bbq but she wanted to stay away from the bbq aspect as there were already two places in town, and she knew she needed to find her own niche. So things like chicken fried steak, t-bones, sirloin,  rib eyes, even flank steak with a variety of potatoes and fresh vegetables along with cocktails and desserts, she would swing by the place and talk with Steven about these ideas and how many more employees he would need in the kitchen. Arriving at the biz she was amazed at how much was being done in such a short time, already the wall between the dining area and the bar was gone, even the sticky carpet was gone. walking into the bar area her breath caught in her throat there was Gabe talking with Ken. Both looking up hearing her footsteps on the wood floor, Gabe smiled that smile and her heart melted, Ken nodded his head “Ma’am, just letting Gabe know of a situation that you need to know as well.” Marie gave a quick worried look towards Gabe he said “That’s okay Ken I will let the little lady know what is going on , come on let’s go outside” taking her by the arm and giving her a  bit of a tug toward the door. Once outside he nodded toward the park across the street, she gave a nod and off they went.
Sitting on  a bench of stone he turned toward her and abruptly said “You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen and I do mean to be forward, so are you married, engaged, involved or what because I warn you I am to pursue you and steal you away if you are.” With that said he let out a deep breath and his shoulders dropped.
Marie was so stunned she could only stare at him, then “What are you crazy, no I am not involved with anyone not that it is any of your business and you can forget any pursuit I am not interested!”  Then she gasped not knowing why she was so vehement.
“Oh my gosh I am so sorry I don’t know where that came from” she stated. ” I wasn’t expecting anything but work talk not, not a declaration, I don’t even know you.”
“Well, that is what I am telling you I want us to get to know each other, I already know you are beautiful, not involved, you have a good heart according to Steve you have that and a degree in business and you love dogs, now what do you want to know about me?”
********
As fast as her heart was beating Marie did not know if she could say a word yet she did ” Right now all I want to know is what is the situation in my restaurant?”
Gabe stood up from the park bench and spoke ” business  only huh?, ok I can wait but you are so beautiful it will be tough, now the flooring under the bar carpet has to be totally replaced along with many floor joists, which I did not expect  when giving my bid so this will run another $1500.00.”
Marie shook her head saying “I gave you my budget for this reno I can’t afford surprises like this, but see if you can’t through your subs work to get that back and go ahead and fix it. Now is there anything else I need to know?” Gabe gave her a look and she responded with “Mind on the biz please” and walked away from him back to the restaurant.
Once back in the door of the dining room she was again amazed at how quickly things were getting done, the booths, tables and chairs were already out back in a large tent, the counter was coming down as she looked, the pie cooler and servers station already gone too. She could see the years of neglect and uncleanliness now that it had been opened up, she had to laugh when a worker pushed past her with a push broom, there in the pile of trash and wood chips and gunk  was a little pink Barbie purse she had lost more than seventeen or eighteen years ago.  Reaching down to pick it up she wiped it off with a bar towel and unzipped it. As she removed the items tears came to her eyes, there was a set of pink plastic barrettes, a strawberry flavored chapstick melted and sticky, a plastic ring from a machine that used to sit out by the door, a stubby pencil with the eraser chewed off,  a nickel, dime and two penny’s and a small hair brush.  Why the tears she did not know except each piece was a piece of her childhood innocence, a time when she believed her parents loved and cared for her, a time before alcohol became more important than she.
That evening after a light salad and romping with the pups, Marie walked out to the barn with the pups nipping at her heels , stopping to roll in the Texas dust or chase a tumbleweed until she got to the barn doors then neither dog wanted to follow her into the dark dank barn. She flipped the light switch and a few of the overheads came on, many burnt out and never replaced typical for the attention of her parents. God, how she missed them even though they lacked basic parenting skills they were her parents and she wished for them to be here with her. Dad had always been distant and drank she knew to forget many times in his life, mom loved him and did what he wanted when he wanted. Dad had always wanted a boy but after she was born mom developed complications so she is what they got and no more. Most of the time she felt lucky to be an only child she would not want another to feel the way she felt about her parents she loved them yes she did, miss them yes at times, she still wouldn’t have come back here to live had they still been alive, watching them destroy themselves daily would have been too much for her.
Marie didn’t know why she came  to the barn, curiosity maybe, she hadn’t been out here since  long before going to University until she grabbed the basket for the pups the other day. Now she just walked through smelling the moist dirt and mold. Entering what had been the tack room long before her parents bought the place she noticed that old harnesses and saddles still hung there, walking around into and out of the stalls a plan began to formulate in her mind, if the biz didn’t take every dime she had she had a fantastic idea for the old barn but it would need  a ton of work to do what she was thinking, but one project at a time.

Arriving at the biz the next day  surprised to see four walls, the shell of the building there was nothing absolutely nothing inside,no walls, no ceiling no light fixtures not a thing that had been there before. Walking to the kitchen she found Steve and Sarah drawing in a children’s art tablet.
“Good morning Steve and Sarah what’s up?”
“Morning” from both.  Then Steve asked her to look at the new kitchen layout ” I think with a good cleaning we can keep both the fridge and freezer and possibly both fryers but we do need ovens and a new dishwasher” he informed her.
“Do you really think so Steve if we could salvage those pieces that would be great that would allow me to buy not only the dishwasher but three ovens so that you and Sarah won’t have to juggle and fight for your own ovens. I also wanted to ask you how much more room do you need for you Sarah to have your own area to store and prep your ingredients?”

“Oh Miss Marie I can use little space I do not need a lot, having a kitchen this beautiful (pointing at the drawings) I will share with my brother” Sarah informed her.

Chuckling ” I think we need to let your cousin put his thinking cap on and come up with a great layout with both of you inputting your needs ok?”
“Sounds like a plan to me”  stated Steve, Sarah just grinning.
After a bit more conversation Marie went in to see what  was being done today, she was very surprised at how quickly everyone was working, there were plumbers, electricians and framers how they orchestrated their moves through out the place and not be in each others way was like watching choreographed dancers. Laughing Marie thought to her self they are definitely not moving to the beat of the latin music coming from the blaring radio someone had going.
It wasn’t but about a half  hour when Gabe came in after talking with Ken and a couple of the subs he walked over to where Marie was standing  ” Good morning woman of my dreams”
Marie gave him a steely brown-eyed stare then slowly relaxed her shoulders and gave a soft grin to mimic his, ” Good morning to you Gabriel, would you please show me the respect I deserve as your employer and not say things like that to me especially in front of everyone?”
“Ah darlin you know I am going to greet you this way or something similar for the rest of our lives, get used to it!”
She was just exasperated with him and trying to get him to be serious about the work she told him of the kitchen plans and that for  Steve and Sharon she needed him to pay close attention to their needs.
Meeting with Steve and Sarah in the kitchen, looking at their drawings and assessing their needs Gabe had no problem with giving a quick more professional sketch promising to have the real blueprint in a day or two.

Over the next few weeks Maries admiration and respect for Gabes ability as a professional grew. Many others told her how lucky she was to have him personally overseeing all aspects of the project, which in truth made her heart jump each time she heard it, as much as his sweet words tickled her she was cautious with letting him know how she was growing to love him she didn’t want to be hurt or make another mistake.
She spent many a day at home cleaning out years of her parents lives and accumulation, sometimes wondering why or what something was .
Marie found in her mothers closet a scrap-book with every card, letter and childish drawing she had ever given her. Flipping through the pages looking at her mothers handwriting identifying the month, year or her age at the time of giving she felt a love from her mother she had never felt while her mother was alive. How she yearned to have felt that love as a child, if she was ever lucky enough to have a child she knew she would be the mother she never had.
Which brought her thoughts back to Gabe, he seemed to be in her thoughts or at her door constantly, so far she had consented to picnic lunches, a boat ride on the Brazos river, they had gone to the county fair and a Saturday night dinner dance for his company. He never let her forget that in his eyes she was beautiful and that he cared for her deeply. Seemed the more they got to know one another the more compatible they seemed to be. Their backgrounds were very different but their beliefs were same and strong. He said he would attend church with her this coming Sunday and she was nervous as the people of the church had known her since she was a child and it was almost like taking him to meet the parents.

All went well at church, many of the woman members whispered behind their hands, she could only imagine what they were saying but for once in her life she didn’t care what others thought. Gabe has been so good to me she thought to herself, not a day went by that he didn’t call or leave a note or see her. Once a week he sent her flowers , he literally broke down the wall she had built around her heart after Brian.
She had met his family and oh what a family coming from where she was an only child, grandparents gone, no aunts or uncles left, meeting the Flores family was mind turning there were so many aunts, uncles, cousins , grandparents and siblings she would never remember all of their names, but they welcomed her with wide open hearts and arms.
Marie had a long visit with Gabes mother , she was in good health and so happy for her only son you could tell she adored and spoiled him among the five girls. His sisters took to her right away telling Gabe he had reached above himself and threatened him he had better treat Marie right, she felt so loved and joyful when with them. Marie could see they all loved Gabe tremendously and he had been taught well how to treat a woman. She learned that once he set his mind to something it usually happened and if he wanted her he would do all in his power to have her. It seemed to be working she thought, she could not remember the last time if ever in her life she had felt this kind of love, peace and contentment.
*****
On Monday she went to the biz and was absolutely floored as was Tammy when she came through the doors.
“Wow, oh my gosh this is beautiful, can you believe this?” Tammy exclaimed. “No, no I can’t this is so what we dreamed and saw in the plans but to see it here now, nearly finished I am just overwhelmed” Marie replied.
The floors were hand scrapped walnut, the lighting fixtures were beautiful, there was a beautiful hand-made oak pie/dessert case
the hostess station of the same oak as was the server station and cocktail bar. The Point of Sale (pos) system was in, as far as she could see the tables and booths were needed to complete the room and they could be opened. Walking through to the kitchen both Tammy and Marie gasped, beautiful tile of black and white lined the floor, huge stainless steel appliances from steam tables, dishwasher to walk-in coolers and freezers, it was just unbelievable. Steve came from the back door carrying boxes on his shoulders, “hey boss ladies let me put these in the freezer be right back.” Coming out he asked “what do you think, gorgeous huh?” Marie just nodded while Tammy gushed about every item. Marie finally jumped in with a question for Steve ” Are all the orders being delivered as promised, how much more do we have coming in?”

Steve told her, she and Tammy went back out to the dining room, splitting up the duties of picking up new menus, ordering more product based on that menu, setting up the alarm codes and who was to have it, the mundane tasks of a reopen but with excitement shaking and rolling their insides.
Marie decided to go on home she had invited a few people over to cook out and needed to prepare the food. Gabe was in the big city today and she missed him more than she would have thought. That evening when Tammy, Jim, Max, Ken and his wife Violet arrived she was ready for them, she had Sarah bake a pineapple upside down cake and a french silk cream pie for dessert. She had prepared grilled chicken breast, rib-eyes and grilled vegetables with two salads, she prayed it was enough as  she had seen Jim and Ken eat.
Uncorking a good wine to breath she was ready by the time the doorbell rang, thinking it was her guests it was instead a bouquet from Gabe the card saying he missed her, placing them in water she set them on the entry table.

Dinner went well and Ken gave her the well awaited news that she could reopen in another three days, Tammy began to shout “AMEN” and Marie joined her. This was wonderful news, and the week began with a frenzy to get all the finalization done and before she could take a deep breath the day was here and she was truly nervous, hoping the town would accept the changes she had made.

Marie had hoped Gabe would be here for the grand reopening but he was in Houston presenting a bid for an office complex, she was missing his beautiful smile and spirit.

The reopening went better than expected and everyone was ecstatic with the way it went but oh so tired, after thanking each one and sending them on their way, Tammy and Marie grabbed a cold bottle of beer to celebrate, kicked off their shoes in the doorway of the biz running, giggling and holding hands like two giddy teenagers to their park bench where they collapsed leaning against each other gasping for a breath.
“How wonderful this feels”  Tammy sighed as she rubbed her bare feet across the cool grass, prompting Marie to do the same.
“Ummm, this is sheer heaven, the only thing better would be a cool dip in the Brazos” Marie replied
“Friend we are not at the Brazos but we have a pond with a fountain let’s go” Tammy said scrambling to her feet and pulling on Maries arm.

“Oh no, no way” Marie laughed as Tammy pulled her towards the center of the park. An hour later the local sheriff shot his spot light over the two figures lounging on the stone around the pond. The ladies grabbing up clothing trying to put it on over their wet bodies
but with great difficulty.
“What’s going on over here ladies?” asked the older man Tammy recognized him as Juan Gonzales a customer of the restaurant.

“Mr. Gonzales, how are you its Tammy from Sheila’s , we were just cooling off a bit” as he swung his light around seeing the beer bottles. :And what have we here open containers in public, how old are you ladies you should know better, what is your name?” shining his light on Maries face.
“I am Marie Hillman, owner of Sheila’s. ”
“It is against the law to swim in this pond, in the nude and drinking in the park now what is going on here?” He replied then “Oh wait now I know who you are, sorry to hear about your momasita and poppa, my condolences, now pick up your bottles and don’t let me see you doing this again.”
Both women turned toward the biz as he walked back to his patrol car stifling laughter and rolling their eyes at one another just as if they were young girls caught after curfew.
Marie headed home knowing the pups needed to be let out and walked a bit before she could turn in to start again tomorrow.
As she drove with the window of the old truck down Alan Jackson crooning on the radio she thought of names for the dogs and just couldn’t decide nothing seemed to fit them. She would have to quit calling them oh you or dog she knew but what to name them she had no idea.

***
As the ladies frolicked in the park, Gabe sat on the balcony of his Houston condo under the same stars and moon as Marie, he could not stop thinking about her, she was so beautiful with her auburn hair and big grin but her eyes oh those green eyes were mesmerizing. From the moment he laid eyes on her in the front yard playing with  the two pups, he was hooked, totally hooked and sunk, he had struggled working his way through college and graduating at top of the class, then spending two years with a corporate, he ventured out on his own, now his company was one of the top ten across the nation for commercial architecture and it was time to start thinking of a life.  Through the years he had lady friends but never a real romance and never love from any of them, he hoped now to have that with Marie, he just wasn’t sure what he was doing wrong to keep her holding back as she was. He knew he loved her, could build a life with her, raise babies and make babies oh yes he would enjoy that part he chuckled to himself as he stretched his long legs to stand and get another beer.
Growing up in San Antonia, with an alcoholic seldom there father when he was so young, his life could have been a lot worse than it was but his mothers prayers removed the ‘demon drink’ from his father’s system to hear her tell it and he became the man she always knew him to be. His Dad worked as a bus mechanic for the city of San Antonia until his retirement four years ago, his mother had cleaned other people’s houses, sold make up and even clerked at Wal-Mart when it came to their community. Now that he had made millions he had forced his mother and father to retire into a nice retirement community he had designed and built with Ken his partner. He had ensured that all five of his sisters and their husbands had work, nice homes and his nieces and nephews had college funds now it was time for him. His family was all supportive of his pursuit of Marie and always asked why he didn’t hurry up and marry her to start a family, he wasn’t getting any younger they joked telling him they would be grandparents before he got started if he didn’t hurry .
Oh how he would like to start but Marie, Marie my beautiful woman the woman who I fell in love with at first sight why do you hold me at arm’s length he agonized inside his mind and heart. He knew what he wanted, aimed to get it and usually did, but Marie, oh Marie what do I do with you?  He swallowed his drink rising from the chair and decided a clear head in the morning would give him an answer.

*****

Driving into work that morning Marie had the windows down listening to Zack and Jim on The Waco.100 station, she had listened to these guys for years and loved the morning show it always uplifted her, so by the time she arrived at the biz she was pretty much ready for anything, except what she walked into.
It smelled like and looked like a floral shop, on every table stood a large vase filled with every flower ever known, a ribbon tied into a bow and trailing to the next table and the next and the next all through the place across the cocktail station stood four more vases filled and the ribbon trailing back to the double kitchen door with a hand printed sign saying “untie and enter”. Standing there with her breath caught in her throat she did not know what to think or what was going on but did as stated on the sign… there stood Gabe who suddenly dropped to his knee in front of her and said
” I helicoptered in two floral shops, made a jeweler open his doors at two-thirty this morning and now I need to say this, I love you Marie I have from the moment I laid eyes on you and those two pups, you have made me happy, angry and even lonely when I am not by your side, I hope that you feel the same way, will you marry me?
Marie still in shock at seeing Gabe this early here in her place and all he had done for this moment could not form a coherent thought and barely knew what all he had said but she knew one thing and that was she had to answer…”Yes”.

*memory travels*

Traveling through the memories of my mind
revisiting paths chosen
right, wrong or mistaken
many twisted many walked many to unwind

walking through these memories
of many years wondering why
so many traveled in such a way
some accompanied some alone

Schwinn bike with training wheels two
cards clothes pinned to the spokes
first car ..check the gas fill the oil
Kaw 125 until my nerve awoke

Sportster wind blowing hair free
growl of the engine echoing from the trees
back turned on lifestyle

married young first child
walking unknown path of
parenthood

grandchildren the path of rebirth
of my soul
forgetting to be old
discovery of beauty and wonder
God’s Creation

now a new path
one filled with wrath
loss of first child
mind gone wild

six decades many twisted many walked
too many to unwind
traveling through the memories of my mind
too tired to walk any more.

*CEDAR FALLS, IOWA *

crossing country
in a grey hound bus
hours listening to road noise
others chatter
smell of unwashed bodies
unbrushed teeth and nasty boysno matter destination is near
heart begins to sing
as the miles roll away
heart has no fearsmall town stops
dirty windowed shops
corn wheat rye
farmers in the fields counting
the yieldshurry please driver
get across that river
to where he waits
among the city lightsoh driver there he is STOP STOP!
the air of the doors as they open
taking last step to his arms I drophe is holding me holding me
swinging me around in his embrace
oh the joy of our love
we fit like a pair of gloves*WRITTEN IN MEMORY OF MY 2ND HUSBAND , A DRUMMER IN A WELL KNOWN GROUP AND THEY HAD NOT BEEN HOME FOR MONTHS SO ‘
MOMMA TOOK  MY DAUGHTER AND I WAS ABLE TO TRAVEL THE
FULL SUMMER WITH HIM AND THE GROUP. QUITE EXCITING AND WE FELL IN LOVE ALL OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN THAT SUMMER      HE WAS LATER KILLED IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT

*ABANDONMENT*

Stretching out her tiny arms, tears  and mucus running down her face
crying out for her momma walking away from her.
Somehow she knew she would not see her momma again.
At the age of five she knew this was wrong and it was all her fault
no one can love a child and leave her unless she is a bad bad girl.

The rest of her life she tried to find that acceptance and love
denied by her own mother. She slept with any man that
wanted her thinking maybe he will love her and keep her.
Her grandfather and his friends loved her when she was little
even if it hurt sometimes they loved her, like the men she now
knew there was hurt but not the physical anymore.

Momma came back , withholding and heartless and nothing
she ever did for momma made her love her as a mother should
love a child.

She never married too afraid she wouldn’t be strong enough
to be the weak link to break the chain of abandonment and
lack of love for any child she might bear.

Abandonment ruled this life what comes with the next?

*COLLAPSED MARRIAGE*

Rising by rote, he shuffled to the facility for morns ritual
Looking out the window the sun rising with golden rays
Popping the cabinet, he gasps, his stomach lurches
heart races eyes well…she is gone..why God why?
Pulling himself together as he hears a wee bairn
beginning to stir, time for the rush to begin.
Ah they are so silent this morn, neither very hungry
he would like to keep them close today but routine
is what they need.
Walking back through the door of what was a home
He feels the emptiness, realizing the energy the vitality
is gone.
Watching her drive away so casually as if a weekend jaunt
Space is what she requested, but will she be with him?
How do you throw the years and love away as garbage
on the street?
He cries as he tidies up then collapses in the walk-in closet
heart wracked gasping sobs screaming at her in his mind
He sits on the side of the bed, Bible in hand…for where
else does he turn? God help us he prays.   

*GRAFFITTI*

Graffiti covered walls, eyes behold
viewed through  colored glasses
Awash now in the multi-hued reds
of sunsets and roses.

*Bridges*

Muddy swirling waters

under the Baytown Bridge

Visited by those on the edge

Offering the last deep sleep

Let go of the steel cable

If you think your really able

to take the final step into

oblivion offered by the Baytown Bridge.

Photography by Susie Clevenger

Prompt for: Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads

*WHAT IS DONE 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”
*ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH*

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.
and I had a sister that was murdered thro”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.

*THE QUILT*

Leaning across the rack the needle flashing with the course thread
Oh she is excited this is her best work ever and it even has red
which is not her favorite color but it looks so pretty here.
It has been difficult to work in secret, but for the past year she
has kept what she was doing from everyone.

Momma tells her she is all thumbs when it comes to stitching..
won’t she be surprised. Her birthday is coming soon and the prize
money at the fair will buy Momma a new dress and a pair of good
shoes for her day.

She wants to hurry, afraid she will prick her fingers
and bleed on the quilt, as the  entry must be in this afternoon
just a few stitches and she will knot it off.

“.Ruth..Ruth Annnn” her sister Elizabeth yells for her ‘yes
Lizzie’ she answers hoping she can’t tell where she is hidden
in the hay loft. ‘Daddy says time to go into town better
hurry get that scratchy hay off of you, whatever have you been
doing up there?’ Ruth just smiles as she wraps the quilt in
a new piece of muslin as much to hide it as keep it clean.

‘What is that?’ Lizzie asks as Ruth lowers the ladder with
the package under her arm. She makes her way down the ladder
holding on to the quilt in one hand holding the ladder with the other.
Refusing to answer or let Lizzie hold it as she comes down.

They race to the old farm house where there is a bustle of activity
Momma packing up her famous pies, daddy taking the picnic basket.
Daddy looks at her package and smiles, nods and opens another basket
she places her prize in the basket quickly.

Arriving at the fair they each have their duties before they can
enjoy the fair, so getting those out of the way quickly they then
were ready to walk the fairway. the lights, the barkers, oh and the smells
cotton candy, fried pies, popcorn.
With nearly full stomachs and sleepy half open eyes they returned to where momma was laying out the picnic, Lizzie and Ruth Ann both groaned.
Girls are you alright? Yes momma they answered quickly.
Well come help me get lunch on the table she requested.
After a nice lunch they lay on the quilt momma brought and napped for a while, prior  to going to the exhibit hall where judging had been done already.

Momma walked around looking at the hanging quilts, gasping when she came upon Ruth Ann’s, she stood there mesmerized wondering whose needle had done such fine work all the stitches were uniform
and straight but oh the true beauty was in the design and oh the red her favorite
color!
Before long they were calling everyone to the stage, announcing the winners..momma’s cherry and apple pies won blue ribbons again. Then it was time to announce the winners in the quilt contest. Her name was called and as  her quilt was brought forth the audience gasped at the beauty and the fact that it was Ruth Anns. She won a blue ribbon taking the prize money in hand she walked to momma and handed it to her, saying Happy Birthday momma, I know its a few days early but I want you to buy something just for yourself like a new dress. She handed the envelope to momma and noticed the tears in her eyes as she said “Ruth Ann I am so proud of you , the stitching in the quilt is truly a work of art.” Thank you ,momma was all she could muster.
It was late when they arrived home all quickly washed the fairground dirt off themselves and told all goodnight.

The next morn Ruth Ann passing her parents room glancing in she sees her quilt lying across the bed. Her Daddy walks by places his hand on her shoulder and says’ Mother said no dress could give her the love you placed in every labored stitch for she knows you did it out of love for her, so she wanted the quilt.’ you did a good thing Ruth Ann.

Momma hugged her when she entered the warm kitchen smelling of ham and homemade biscuits, her stomach growled and they both laughed. Thank you whispered momma in her ear I will cherish the quilt the rest of my days and then you take it for yourself, and if you have a daughter pass it on to her. You made a beautiful quilt Ruth Ann but you made memories and tradition as well, I am so proud of you.

Ruth Ann’s hands are shaking as she folds the old quilt, it is showing the years of use from mommas loving hands holding it as she passed seven years ago. Now she will pass it to her Melody Renee’, the only child they had, for her time was not meant for long now.
Doctors had told her but she lasted a wee bit longer than expected..but now, now is the time. She is tired and momma, daddy and John are waiting for her. She writes the ending of her note to Melody Renee’ , tucks it into the ribbon tied muslin wrapped around the quilt, the same muslin she wrapped around it long ago in the hay loft.
She lies down on the bed with the chenille spread now covering where once
mommas quilt had kept her warm and feeling mommas touch….sigh.

*FOURTH OF JULY*

He laid his head against the old Elm

tree grateful for the shade
Tired of walking trying to get away from the noise
Why do they start so early and go so late?
He knows it happens every year and tries to prepare
but the noise oh God the noise ‘MAKE IT STOP’

He curls up into a ball laying his head on his sleeping bag
one hand through the strap.. the other holding his ear
Fifty~seven cents short of a bottle ..then he could have
gone to sleep
Wishes he could make them understand  what this does..
not just to him but all the others
too many of us too many
Shells fire death destruction
Damn the lives gone!
The stench ..still in his nose after all these years
he can still smell the napalm   the heat.. burnt flesh
OH Jesus make it go away as he begins to shake harder.

He begins walking back in time ..it’s 1967 again ……
Hey buddy ..he feels  a hand shaking his shoulder
C’mon soldier your not alone today  let me help you

He isn’t sure yet head still ‘ in country’
the hand reaching out to him looks safe
so he takes it and he’s stateside again.
the stranger picks up his bedroll and he reaches
for it quickly  ‘it’s ok I’ll take your burden for now.”
The man leads him to a diner down the street
feeds him ..good hot fresh food, ahh coffee hot
black coffee  he sits back looks at the stranger
to say thank you ..but where? what? twisting his
head around swiftly.
Where did he go he asks the waitress behind the counter
who she asks? ..the man I came in with ?
‘Honey..you came in alone handed me a fifty told me
your order and you sat right there all by yourself..didn’t
see anyone with you.

He looks down at the empty plate there lay a $50.00 and a
small gold cross inscribed..’it was then I carried you’

*HOMELESS*

duct tape round his shoes
now more tape than shoe
shirts layered and tattered
khakis stained many times over

bearded face.. down turned lips
resulting in frown and furrowed brow
hollowed cheeks ..signs of hunger

pocket watch..pocket knife
earned many years ago
or maybe given to him

pawn shop treasures when
needed
more of late than less
tools of trade gone years ago
same way

hands begin to shake
gut begins to roll
as vomit spews of trash eaten
and deliriums tremor begins

to the ground he rolls
hitting head upon a rock
spewing forth dry heaves
moaning in the dark

found out by construction sight
coroner speaks into his microphone
as he slices open thin flesh of this old
geezer

daughter stares through plate glass
whispering ‘daddy ..my daddy’

*THE TRUNK*

Gazing out the dirty gray window
She rubs her hand to remove the dust

Watches as the sunbeams make it dance
Little dust balls beginning to prance

Light of the sun bouncing off the old trunk
Looking at the rusty hinges
Hearing them creak as she lifts the rounded lid
She wonders if he ever did
Sure he had when wine he’d drunk

The tears roll down her face
when she sees the spot of lace
faded yellow now from age
she picks up the photos holding gently
as if removing a bird from its cage

the letters tied with faded ribbon
proving his love..that’s a given
she cries harder as she reads
knowing they make her heart bleed
for love gone so many years
echos of his voice through the tears

the shade of evening now approaches
as she replaces a scrap of lace
pictures with curled yellow corners
as she wipes the tears from her face
letters tied with faded ribbon
closing the rounded lid on that
old trunk

The longing has eased
Only the heart still bleeds
remembering his voice
echoing her needs

 

****

*ALONE*

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’

*BROWN  BAG*

The old woman pushed her cart through the fence
then slid down to rest against the post
her feet hurt and she needed more cardboard
make her soles dense.

Today was such a good day as good as her days
could go anyway made 6 dollars 31 cents from her cans.
Had a mighty fine hamburger at that fancy place with
the arches..then down to Charlies for a lil nip of dessert

Momma used to say MD 20-20 was rot gut but she never
paid no mind to momma then nor now. She pulls the bottle
up out of the brown paper bag to take a nip ..just to calm herself
you know. She rests a bit watching the people  watching her.
Pulling herself to her feet she places that wrinkled brown paper bag
deep into her pocket, pulls the cart out of the broken fence and
starts down the sidewalk looking for more cans so she can eat tomorrow.

A Piece of Your Mind Please

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