Remembering Izzy — a short story

IRONING BOARD AND IRON - CLKER
http://www.clker.com/

Sometimes when I’m feeling sad and this ol’ world starts to creepin’ in on me — heavy-like — I take myself away from other people and huddle down in my old creakin’ rockin’ chair in my bedroom. I sit by the window just rockin’ away and lookin out — not seein’ anything in front of my eyes, but seein’ all kinds of things in my memories.

And at times like these — when I’m hurtin’ powerful bad in my soul — I like to remember Izzy best of all. Her real name was Isadora Bradshaw, but none of us kids ever called her Isadora — not me or my sister or any of our friends who came to visit. In fact, nobody I knew back then called her Isadora. She was just Izzy to all of us who loved her.

She was the best of the best was Izzy. About 200 pounds of love and laughter. Her full, round, black face would get all shiny with sweat whenever she was scrubbin’ the floors or haulin’ big loads of clothes from the wringer washer and carryin’ them out to the clothesline — or when she was standin’ at the ironin’ board with her feet in the tub of ice water.

Yes sir, I have to chuckle every time I think about it now. The picture’s still just as clear in my mind as it was every ironin’ day in the summer. Izzy said ironin’ on a summer day was the hottest one job in the whole world. She said it always made her think about how hot hell must be gonna be, and it made her want to go read the Good Book before she went to bed. Izzy loved that Good Book. And she loved the Lord. Gosh-a-mighty, I can still sing every old hymn that sweet ol’ black lady taught me.

But back to the ironin’ days: Izzy said she sweated so much the sweat would drip on the clean shirts she was ironin, so she decided to start standin’ in a big tub of ice water, and that way it kept her cooled down. When I was a little squirt, I didn’t understand how dangerous that could be, but when I got a little older and had learned a few things about electricity, I told her, “Izzy, you’re gonna electrocute yourself standing in that tub of water while you’re plyin’ that electric iron.”

“Lordy, Honeybear,” she’d say — she always called me “Honeybear” — from the day I was born I guess — but she’d say, “Lordy, Honeybear, if I was a goin’ to lectrify myself doin’ this, it would have done happened years ago. Now, you stop you’re worrin’ bout your old Izzy. If the good Lord did see fit to take me home while I was a ironin’, I don’t suppose it would hurt a thing — ceptin’, of course, you and your pa’s shirts would still be all wrinkled.”

I finally got to the place that I just laughed with her about it. And later on — when she was too old to work as our maid any longer and pa had a little three room house built out in the back for her to live in for the rest of her life, she and I would sit and remember those days and laugh ’til there were tears in our eyes. That was several years after I had finished high school and moved about a hundred miles away to take a job. I’d never been one to hanker after college, and I landed a job doing work that suited me and just stayed with it. I always made time to come home a couple weekends a month to see the family. But I got to be honest. It was Izzy that I really came home to.

Why that dear old black woman was like a second mama to me. My real mama was a good woman, and I know she loved me, but she was awful busy durin’ my growin’ up years with all of her society doin’s, and it was Izzy who made my breakfast, who listened to me read the stories in my grade-school reader, who listened to my hopes and dreams and fears when I’d spill ’em out non-stop the way a growin’ boy does when he’s goin’ through those years of change and uncertainty about life.

And it was Izzy who prayed for me all the time. I heard her prayin’ many a night. After she finally got her work finished up, she’d sit out on the back porch and talk to the Lord, and I’d sit by my bedroom window listenin’ to those prayers. Back then, I didn’t know the Lord yet, and my heart yearned for the kind of easy, lovin’ relationship that Izzy had with the God of the universe. And, of course, it was Izzy who finally led me to give my life to the Lord.

That one act made all the difference in my life, of course, but one of the most important things it did was to make me even closer to Izzy. She said once I was a Christian, that made her and me real family. Of course, to me, Izzy was always my family, but I eventually came to understand what she meant.

I came to understand a lot more than that too. Eventually, I realized that Izzy was a woman caught in a transition time in our nation. She wasn’t a slave. Nobody was a slave anymore. But she had been brought up by a family who had known slavery. Her own great grandparents – in their teen years – had been among the slaves freed after the Civil War. And livin’ in the deep south as they did, they just couldn’t seem to get more than one step away from it in their thinkin’ – mostly because the rest of the south couldn’t get more than one step away from it either. Their world revolved around an unspoken cast system, and Izzy and her family were still on the bottom.

She should have had opportunities for education and a career. She shouldn’t have been relegated to doing all the cooking, cleaning, and every other kind of drudgery work for someone else in someone else’s home. She should have had a home of her own with a good man and a passel of kids and a place in society where she could be involved with the rest of the world — just the way mama was able to do. But Izzy wasn’t a revolutionary. She wasn’t out to change the world. She took what came to her and thanked the Lord for a family to work for that she could also love.

By the time I understood all of these truths, Izzy was 78 years old and finally livin’ peacefully in her little 3-room house behind our big house. Most people called our house a mansion, but to me, it had always just been our house. And with Izzy there, it was all I needed for those growin’ up years.

I finally married, but we didn’t have any kids, and eventually my wife and I went our separate ways. I never took the chance again. Sometimes I wish I had, but wishin’ about it now is wasted energy. After the divorce, I used to sit and talk with Izzy about what I thought had gone wrong. She listened, but she never passed judgment on me — or on my wife. She just loved me, and that was enough.

Well, Izzy’s gone now — to live with her dear Lord. And me — I’m old and tired — and lonely. My family’s gone, and I miss ’em: my sister Ella and Mama and Papa. I miss the visits to the old home place. I live here in this place they call a “senior facility,” but it ain’t what I call really livin’. The truth is I’m just bidin’ my time until I go on home to be with the Lord too. Some days I have pain in my body, but most every day I have pain in my soul. Somethin’ in me still yearns to do things and go places and try out a few more dreams. But the will isn’t enough when the strength isn’t there.

So while I’m waitin’, I sit here in my quiet room, rockin’ and lookin’ out my window and rememberin’.  And it ain’t so bad really — as long as I sit here and remember Izzy standin’ there at the old ironin’ board, her feet in that pan of ice water, and us laughin’ together to beat the band . . . and singin’ the old hymns, and . . . .

 

THE END

 

~

Wordle Writing Challenge 220 – ‘The Letters’

This post is my second foray into the Wordle Writing Challenge, where we are encouraged to write a short story or poem that includes all of the words in a specific box. Each Sunday we receive a new box — the work of Brenda Warren over at “The Sunday Whirl.” So if you’re interested in taking part, hop over there and get started. My story’s below the box.

WORDLE 220

 

THE LETTERS

He stuffed the letters back into the manila envelope he kept them in. Since they’d arrived last week, he’d read  every one of them at least a dozen times. He wasn’t sure why, except that he hoped reading them would help give him the courage he needed to make the trip.

He laid the envelope on top of his desk and sat down with a weary sigh. Thrumming his fingers on the desktop, he let his mind drift back to those days nine years ago. The minutes turned into hours as he sat there, but it didn’t matter. He was caught once again in that heavy flow of traffic, the chill of the icy winter weather soaking into him as he waited for his 20-year old Buick’s heater to kick in.

He’d put off making that trip to the store that night, but he was completely out of milk and bread both, and since he hated cooking, the lack of those two essentials left him hungry. Even the ham and peanut butter that he often existed on couldn’t do him much good without the bread, and he certainly couldn’t face his cereal in the morning with no milk. So bundling up as well as possible against the 10° weather, he’d risked the icy side roads and made it to the main highway.

He’d spotted her blue car pulled off on the shoulder while he was still almost a mile away. Ordinarily, he never stopped for strangers, but that day he felt such a unique urge to pull over and offer help. He pulled in behind her car as carefully as possible, and by the time he had walked to her door, she had powered down her window. The first thing that struck him was how cold she looked, but that thought was immediately replaced by the warmth in her beautiful green eyes when she smiled at him.

•  •  •

He stirred himself in his desk chair, sighing deeply, and pulling himself out of his reverie. Another heavy sigh escaped him, and he looked around the room, trying to make the final transition from nine years ago back to the present moment. They’d been together — happily, he thought — for seventeen months, and, then suddenly, she had packed her bags and walked out the door.   Her only explanation was that she just couldn’t handle being tied down in one place. That’s why she’d never agreed to a legal marriage between them. She’d insisted she had to feel free.

He picked up the envelope of letters again. Everyone of them had been dated on the same day of the year, beginning the year after they had separated, but they’d arrived at his door packed together in a small box — each letter in an envelope — each envelope stamped — but not one of them postmarked.

He pulled out the cover letter that had come with the others: “I know you’ll be surprised at this package,” she had written. “But by the time you read this note, I’ll be gone from this earth, and I felt it was right to let you know the truth. I wrote each one of these letters, fully intending to mail them the day they were written, but then I lost my courage to do so. Now, however, I have no choice, and I think it’s important that you know you have a son. You’ll find all the details in these unmailed letters. The only thing I can add is that I’m sorry I couldn’t become what you wanted me to be.”

He picked up the last of the individual letters from the stack. She had included her parents’ home address and their phone number. She and the boy had been living with them during the past year. She had written that letter on his birthday — as she had all the others — and on the date of the last letter, the child had turned eight years old.

A kind of rage surged through him, and he crushed the letter in his hand. How could she!  How could she do such a thing to him — and to the child? But the rage soon gave place to tears. He’d run through that gamut of emotions several times since first opening that package of letters. Part of him wanted to burn them and forget it all so that he didn’t have any more hurt and pain. But the other part of him handled them with trembling fingers, treasuring them because they were his only link to his son.

Suddenly, he rose from his chair, stuffing the letters back into the manila envelope once again. He walked to his bedroom, took his suitcase out of the closet, and started to pack. He made a quick job of it, then tossed the envelope of letters on top of his clothes and  snapped the case shut.  Taking a deep breath, he carried the case to the front door, where he picked up his coat, stepped outside, and locked the door behind him. Once outside, with his suitcase in hand, he felt his courage getting stronger. He had made the first step now, and the momentum would carry him through.

He was a father. And it was worth risking everything to be able to know and love his son. ~

 

~~~

The Fragrance of Home

Exif JPEG
This morning I  poured myself a cup of tea — well, actually, it was a mug rather than a cup — and that’s what made the difference. This mug was very deep, and when I picked it up to take a drink, the aroma of the freshly brewed tea wafted up and into my nostrils, but then swept over me completely with memories almost as fresh as the tea itself.

Back when I was a child, then a teenager, than a very young adult, my family always worked together in the kitchen. Cooking, eating, and even cleaning up were activities that bonded us together, and gave us lovely opportunities to share events in our lives as well as our hopes and dreams — and our fears. My sister and I were able to talk with our parents about any topic under the sun, and there was never a problem we didn’t find help for in their love and wisdom. We were truly blessed.

But during those years, there were some events that seemed to lodge themselves into my soul more than others, and each one of them represents something special about my relationship with my family. One of those unique events was the preparing of the tea for our evening meals. During warm weather especially — and sometimes at other times of the year — we always had iced tea as our main drink at our evening meal. Mom would boil the water on the stove and then brew the tea (according to the Americanized custom, using tea bags) to just the right consistency so that when we poured it into the pitcher, we then added an equal amount of fresh water, and the strength and the color of the tea were perfect for pouring over ice.

However, before we poured in the extra water, we scooped in the sugar. Now, I have to tell you that I’m old enough that this project was carried on back in the day before everyone and his brother had gone crazy trying to stay away from ordinary staples like butter, eggs, and good old granulated sugar. So we always scooped in a hefty amount of that good old granulated sugar and stirred happily. By adding it before the extra water, the sugar melted very quickly and united thoroughly with the tea so that there was no residue left in the bottom of the pitcher.

During this whole exercise, the most prominent characteristic of the process was the rich aroma of that tea — as we stirred in the sugar, then added more water, and stirred some more. There was something so sweet and satisfying about that fragrance, and it has stayed with me all these many decades since. And every once in a while — just every once in a while — when I’m having just a cup of tea — the various elements of the moment — the temperature of the tea, the movement of the air, the strength of the brew, the position of the cup — whatever it is that makes the difference at the time — but just once in while, I get that aroma rising up and meeting me once again, and I am instantly taken back home.

My family lived in four different towns during my growing up years, and in about six different houses, but home was still always the same place: it was wherever my mom, dad, sister, and I were together. The name of the town or the street made no difference. It was the fact that we were together, sharing all the wonderful aspects of our lives — brewing the tea and enjoying its rich aroma — knowing that even when there were some problems facing us, we had each other and the safety of our love for one another.

So every time I smell that special sweet aroma of my tea (even though I do have it without sugar today), I am swept back to those days. I find myself in the kitchen with my mom, standing beside the cabinet, stirring the tea, and enjoying the happy aroma of a home filled with love.

~~~

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 119 – Carried on a Song

It’s nice to be able to participate again this week in Julia’s 100-word story challenge. It’s been a while since I got a chance to take part, so I’ve enjoyed this time around, and I hope the rest of you are enjoying coming up with your own stories as well. Here’s my offering:

CARRIED ON A SONG


MUSICAL NOTES & SHADOW - SEPIAI heard the song today. As I walked through Hilliard’s department store, a customer opened a jewelry box, and the melody tinkled across the room. My breath caught in my chest. Tears sprang to my eyes. But my heart smiled. Whenever I hear it, I think of you.

Roger loves me, and our boys are treasures I’d never part with, but my heart still aches for you. Fate may have decreed us bitter enemies in this horrible war between our nations, but as long as I live, my love will seek and find you in the strains of that song.

~~~

To get the scoop on how to participate, visit Julia here:
http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week119/#comment-18155

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‘Going Home’ — a short, short story

My friend Dawn, a photographer and host of the blog “The Day After,” posted this beautiful photograph on her site a few days ago. It so captured my attention that it eventually inspired a short story – a Christmas story, if you will. She has given me permission to use her picture for my story post – and for my upcoming book of short, short stories and poetry, which will also include “Going Home.” Be sure and go over to visit her site and enjoy all of her other terrific photographic work.

DAWN'S PHOTO OF SNOWY RR TRACK

GOING HOME

I have a family somewhere.  I must have.  I can feel it.  Admittedly, I don’t have a clue where they are, but I’ve made up my mind that I’ll find them.” I spoke the words somberly as Dr. Randall sat looking at me. I’d been thinking those same words over and over for weeks, but that day, I’d decided to say them out loud. They sounded good, but they sent a shiver of fear coursing through me.

But you’re sure you’ve had no flashes of memories since you regained consciousness?” he asked.

None,” I responded, shaking my head. It still hurt when I moved it to any extent. I winced, and he walked over to the wall-mounted light, slapping up my latest x-ray for us to look at. He pointed to an area we’d been discussing for the past two months. “Well, this is encouraging, Peter (my choice of temporary names we’d resorted to since I had no identification on me.)

What’s encouraging?”

This area right here,” he said, running his index finger around in a circle over one spot on the picture of my brain. “It used to be covered in heavy shadows, if you remember.” I nodded.

But those shadows are gone now. Yesterday’s CAT scan confirms what I’m seeing here – that the bleeding has stopped completely, and the last of the old blood is cleared away. The tissues look like they are almost normal again.”

Then why can’t I remember anything?” He sat back down, relaxing in his chair, his hands on the two armrests. “We don’t know, Peter. As I told you earlier, with memory, it’s sometimes as much an emotional recovery as a physical one that’s required for complete restoration. By the way, any idea yet why you chose the name Peter?”

I shook my head. “The frustration is almost unbearable, you know. It’s now my constant companion, and I fight really hard to keep it from driving me crazy.”

He sighed and straightened in his chair, resting his elbows on the desk in front of him. “I can only imagine – albeit that imagination is helped along considerably by all the research I’ve done and the other amnesia patients I’ve worked with.” He sighed again. “And I always find myself a little frustrated as well. I want to remember for them, if you know what I mean.”

I nodded. “Yes, I can understand that.”

I struggled terribly the first time or two that I worked with amnesia patients. All the textbooks and clinical studies didn’t prepare me adequately for the emotional trauma in the patient – or the emotional turmoil that the attending physician can find himself in. But – ” He smiled suddenly. “The really good news is that in every one of the twenty cases I’ve been associated with, the patient regained either all or most of his memory.

“There were two patients whose memories for certain segments of life remained fleeting. But even those two people were able to recognize close family and friends again and were able to return to their normal occupations – one with a short period of re-training in some complex work that his job required. So the future looks bright, Peter. And, as I’ve said several times already, keeping a positive attitude and positive thoughts can make a world of difference.”

I’ll keep trying, Doctor,” I said on a sigh as I rose to go.

And don’t discount prayer, my friend. Pastor Patterson, who’s been visiting you and praying for you, has seen some pretty heavy-duty miracles in his ministry.”

I’ll try to keep that in mind.”

Oh, have you changed your mind about the online search?”

Not as of this morning. I understand that, considering I was found beaten up out in a field, the police naturally had to run my picture through their data base. And I don’t mind telling you that I heaved a huge sigh of relief when that didn’t turn up anything. But I still can’t bear the idea of seeing my picture plastered all over the internet with a plea for someone to tell me who I am. Just the thought of how vulnerable that makes me has been too much to deal with. But … my resolve on the subject is beginning to weaken. It’s almost Christmas, and although the townspeople have been very hospitable to me, I don’t want to feel I’m the object of charity at some family’s Christmas gathering. I want to be home for Christmas!”

I couldn’t hold back a chuckle as I added, “In fact, I got to thinking about the song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” so much that I went on a search for it at the library yesterday. I found a holiday CD with that song as the first track. I’ve already played it a dozen times.”

Dr. Randall’s eyes lit up. “That’s good; that’s good. Keep playing it. Something within the deepest part of you led you to that song, and who knows what keys it may hold to open doors for you.”

As I put on my coat, I asked one more question: “Now that the bleeding has stopped, can I start working around the farm for the Morgans? They’ve given me free room and board for five weeks now – ever since I got out of the hospital.”

I’d say you’re fine to do a little work, but keep it to just three or four hours a day for the rest of this week, and we’ll see how it goes. If the headaches get worse, stop and lie down a while.”

As I left the office I felt lighter than I had for weeks. At least I would be able to repay Edgar and Becky Morgan for their kindness in taking me into their home when I had no place to go – no money – no extra clothes – not even a name. But someday ….

~

The following Tuesday, I rode with Edgar over to Stockbridge for supplies. About a mile before we reached the city limits, we crossed a railroad track. Out of habit, I glanced both ways, and when my eyes swept left, a jolt of recognition forced me to suck in an audible breath. About a hundred feet beyond the crossing, the track made a wide curve to the right, winding around a small hillside. On either side of the tracks, the banks were snow-covered, and a thin blanket of snow lay between the rails like confectioners sugar forming a pattern over the long trail of railroad ties as far as my eyes could see.

I’ve been here!” The words were out before I could consciously think them.

What’s that?” Edgar asked. “You remember somethin’?”

I grabbed his shoulder, “I’ve been here Edgar! I’ve been down this railroad track. Would you pull off the road for a minute?”

Sure,” he said, navigating the truck over to the wide shoulder and coming to a stop. “But, Son, you know as well as I do that train tracks can look pretty much the same all over the country.”

No, Edgar,” I said, shaking my head. “Not this time. I know these tracks and that curve. It hit me as soon as I saw it. I’ve been around that curve on a train going down this very track!”  I spoke the next words through a catch in my throat: “Edgar, this train track goes around that curve and leads to a place that knows me. A place that knows my name; knows who I am, Edgar!”

I got out of the car and walked several feet along the track. It was bitter cold, and I knew I couldn’t keep Edgar out here very long, but I also knew I had to ride down that track. I walked back and got into the car, looking at the old man, whose eyes clearly showed his worry on my behalf.

You and Becky have been so good to me, Edgar, and I know I can never completely repay you, so I really do hate to ask for more, but I need to ride down this track from this point to all points south until I come to my home. Could you possibly loan me the money for a ticket?”

I could see confusion and turmoil in his eyes. I could almost hear him thinking, what would Becky tell me to do? That thought must have worked because suddenly he smiled at me. “I don’t mind loanin’ you the money, Son, but I’ll do it on only one condition: you have to make me a promise that if you get where you think you’re goin’, and it ain’t what you expected, then you’ll come back here to us.”

Edgar, you old coot. That’s exactly the kind of thing Becky would say.”

He grinned. “I know it. And that’s how I know it’s the right answer.”

I promise I’ll come back and let you and Becky know what I found. That’s the best I can do. If that’s not good enough to get me a loan, then I’ll just have to walk the track.”

Edgar shook his head, knowing he was beaten. “You’ll get your loan. We’ll see if we can get you a ticket from the train office here in town.”

~

I was scheduled to leave in two days, so I stopped in to let Dr. Randall know what had transpired. He was excited and encouraged me to pursue the plan.

Becky held onto me in a tight hug the morning I left for Stockbridge. And she did, indeed, say exactly what Edgar had said to me. I gave her the same promise. With tears in her eyes, she just nodded that she accepted it as the only promise I could make right then. I was so indebted to them that it seemed I’d never be able to repay them, and that weighed heavily on me. But if I could ever get my life back, surely I could make enough money to do something for them in return.

Edgar was riding the train with me for the first two stops on the destination. That would put him off at Stone’s Quarry. He had a friend there who did business in Stockbridge and would give him a ride back. As we prepared to board, my stomach quivered. My hands shook. I forced myself to take a slow, deep breath and stepped onto the platform. Once we were seated, I leaned out the window to watch the last activities of departure.

As the train lurched into motion, a scene flashed across my mind: big people in heavy winter coats – surrounding me. I held tightly to a hand – someone much taller than I — but — who? I strained to see who held my hand so comfortingly, but the image vanished as quickly as it had come. I shook my head in frustration. “Somethin’ wrong?” Edgar asked.

“I just had a flash of memory. I was on this train – evidently as a child, because I was holding tightly to the hand of someone much bigger, but I couldn’t see who!”

Edgar patted my arm. “Well, you know what Doc Randall said. Don’t strain. Let it come easy-like.”

Since we had boarded the train on the far north end of Stockbridge, we had to travel almost three miles before we came to the curve. There was a small platform between our car and the engine, and I had arranged with the conductor to have permission to stand on that platform as we rounded the curve so that I could see clearly. For some reason that mattered to me. The train company had frowned on that plan, of course, out of safety considerations, but my personal plea to the conductor, once he understood my problem, resulted in his compassionate agreement to my request.

As Edgar and I walked toward the door to exit the compartment, a brief conversation flashed through my memory. “But where’s Grandmama?” I heard myself asking. “She will not be riding the train, Peter. She’ll be at the station to meet us at the end of our trip.” I tried to see who spoke to me, but there were no images with the conversation at all. Had it been my mother? Surely it had. But what did she look like?

By that time we were standing on the platform, and Edgar was holding onto my arm – whether to comfort me or to keep his balance better I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter. His touch did comfort me. He spoke: “Peter, I know you’re excited … and I guess I’m excited for you. But … Son … I just don’t want you to get your hopes up too high. Train tracks can look the same in a lot of places …” His words hung there for a moment, and then I glanced at him and reached to pat his hand. My eyes immediately returned to watching us round the curve, but I answered him, my voice strong with a confidence I had not experienced since waking up in the hospital.

Don’t you worry, Edgar. Around this curve and down these tracks is a place that knows me. These tracks are taking me home, my friend.” I glanced back at him with what I know was a giddy grin on my face. “Just like the song says, Edgar: I’ll be home for Christmas!”
~~~

~ The End ~

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© 2013 Sandra Conner

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sea # 2

When I think of the sea I remember, with great joy and nostalgia, the year my family and I spent part of the summer on the beach in South Carolina, USA. My sister and I were very young, but the memories of that trip, which included our parents, one grandmother, and one aunt and uncle, are indelibly recorded in our souls.

BRENDA & ME IN OCEAN - EDITED~

Take part in the fun. Get directions HERE.

Friday Fictioneers – 6/14/13 — On Stage

Copyright -John Nixon
Copyright: John Nixon


ON STAGE

Cold sunlight glares through the high windows onto the scarred, wooden stage as I walk its length slowly. My old friend the upright just sits there – battered – bruised – silent.  No more music. A catch-all now for props from long-abandoned comic skits and love scenes.

Stark shadows punctuate the old, stained backdrop.

My footsteps once brought standing-room only audiences to their feet. Now, they echo across the emptiness.

Condemned,” the billboard reads!  They tear it down tomorrow.  

One sob escapes.

I inhale the dust and wonder: does it come from the room … or from my memories?

~~~

Join the 100-word story challenge over at Rochelle’s: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

Friday Fictioneers — February 22

Copyright-Janet Webb
Copyright-Janet Webb

The Painted Fence

Odd … the fence so freshly painted. The barn still bore silent scars from enemy troops scouring the countryside of its rightful owners and leaving all to ruin. A few lucky farmers had fled, losing all they’d worked for.

But before … before death and destruction … she and Johann had walked the length of this fence daily … stopping for kisses … planning: marriage, children, living beside this fence.

The night of the soldiers Johann had forced her to run while he covered her, and she’d seen them capture him.

20 years gone and she’d come back to remember. If only Johann were ….

Odd … this fence so freshly painted ….

~ ~ ~

To join the fun visit Rochelle’s blog:
http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/22-february-2013/

Thank You, Veterans!

 

To serve during a time of peace exhibits Faithfulness.
To serve during a time of war exhibits Courage.
To serve because the cause is just, and it is the right thing to do exhibits Honor.

Photo Courtesy of Ted Pavloff
Memoirs & Archives

 

I want to take advantage of this Memorial Day to express my limitless appreciation to every man and woman who has or who ever will lay their lives on the line for my freedom and that of the rest of the world. ‘Thank You’ will never be enough to say.

Mom Memories

Well, here we are: Mommy and Me (age 2) at my first cooking lesson.

I’m joking, of course, but on Mother’s Day I like to enjoy the blessing of having had a mom who was such a precious and unique woman. My mother taught me much more than cooking. (Although she was certainly one of the world’s best — most probably because everything she cooked was conceived by and chocked full of LOVE.)  But, more importantly, she taught me how to be kind, loving, gracious, generous, and hospitable — to all people.  I hope I learned those lessons well enough to make her as proud of me as I have always been of her.  In my adult years, she was my closest and most trusted friend, and although she has been gone many years, I still miss her very much indeed.

Snowchild

We recently had a weather forecast for snow and other wintery precipitation in our area.  I was feeling all the usual negatives that come with that kind of forecast, while hearing children and a few friends exclaim how much they were looking forward to it.  Their attitude put me in a worse mood, and while sitting looking out the window, wondering when it would start, this poem came to me.  I hope it strikes a chord in a few of you, my readers.  The photograph is of my gorgeous Blue Spruce tree in my front yard.

SNOWCHILD                                                  

When I was a child, I thought as a child,
And snow was a thing so delightful!
From school we were free; we got wet to the knees,
And our mom’s day was thrown all off schedule.

But now that I’m grown, I must do on my own
All the chores Mom and Dad used to dread:
Stock up food by the loads, drive on slippery roads,
Shovel snow, and repair that old sled.

Now I look with dismay at the skies leaden gray
As I trudge to the store for supplies.
De-icer and salt sell out fast with no halt.
I need new boots to tread on the ice.

The wind from the north is bitter and harsh,
But my temperature, still it is rising;
I am in a foul mood, for I see nothing good
That can come from a snowstorm arriving.

But then the flakes start, and I feel in my heart –
Watching white, fluffy, wonderful, wild
Filling all of my world with such beauty unfurled –
That in truth I am still just a child!

 

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