Oh, Good Grief!

 

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I love this time of year.  Why, my Northern Hemisphere brethren might ask with the shortening days and the polar vortex winding itself up in the Siberian Steppes?  Very simply.  This is the time where the BEST Charlie Brown television episodes air here in the U.S.  Today I treated myself to “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”  Next month will be “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, and in December, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”

These stories all came out in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when I was a little girl.  They spoke to me about the issues of culture, religion, fitting in, bullying, and being true to oneself.

So, which characters in the Peanut Gallery do you identify with?

First and foremost, I relate to Charlie Brown.  He is the eternal underdog.  He is always on the outside looking in.  He always hopes for that party invitation that never comes.  He questions all existence.

After that, I like to think of myself as having a little of Sally’s unquestioning romanticism.  When I love, it is with every fiber of my being; and when it goes all pear shaped, I am vengeance personified.

Then of course there is PigPen.  While I’m not quite to the level he is, I have been very close.  Not to mention, he is so eloquent when defending his personal hygiene choice.

Finally, I have to say I am a little bit like Woodstock.  Someone who dances to a different drummer, but who is always caught up in the doings of others.

I don’t think it matters what stripe, spot, scale or feather you come from; there is something in all of these episodes that can be related to.  If you have the opportunity, see if you can’t find these tales online and then ask yourself, “Are we so different?”  Then see if you can get Vince Guaraldi’s music out of your head.

Posted in Creative Non Fiction, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A View Off The Porch – Coming Home

When I imagined doing this post, I thought about how to tell about all the trials and tribulations Poncho and I went through to get back into our home.  But now that we are here, all those issues just seem to wash away.  Because no matter the problems one has with building a home, or remodeling a home, or reclaiming a home, they all are moot once the last piece of furniture is moved in.  At least that is how it is with us.  Once the last three large heavy pieces were moved in, all the stresses and sorrows and hurts just floated away.  We are home.  We are where we are suppose to be.  So, instead of a tirade, I thought I would just show you where “here” is.

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There is still much outdoor work to be done, but this is what it looks like to come home.

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And a view of the living room.

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No matter how hard I try, the kitchen is always a mess.

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And the solace of the bedroom.

Words cannot begin to convey how happy I am to be back in this house.  It speaks to our interests, its warm glow lightens the darkest parts of a Pacific Northwest winter, and the wildlife that can be seen and heard out the windows reminds one that we are all part of a bigger world.

Cheers, from the Columbia River Gorge.

Posted in A View Off The Porch, Creative Non Fiction, Photography, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The El Rey Club

Margaret looked up at the flickering neon sign above her. It flashed “The El Rey Club” in red with white lightbulbs surrounding it. She smiled faintly at the repetition in the name. Even if she was having trouble writing, she could still be an editor.

Deciding this would be a good spot to get out of her head space and hopefully relieve some of her writer’s block, she pushed open the grimy oak door with her forearm. The interior of the bar was as dark if not darker than the nighttime city that bustled outside. Amber colored lights illuminated the bar and the half dozen or so booths at the back. Except for the bartender and three patrons sitting on stools the place was empty. Not much of a club, Margaret thought as she took a seat along the length of planking, keeping a few seats distance from the other customers.

The bartender strolled over after putting a cigarette out in an overflowing ashtray. “What’ll ya have?” he drawled as he wiped the bar with a dingy rag.

Margaret had to think a moment. It had been a long time since she had ventured out on her own and didn’t know how to answer. The barkeep waited patiently, rubbing the same spot with the rag. He was in no hurry. No one here was in any hurry.

“A rye old fashioned,” Margaret finally blurted out, remembering that it had been Howard’s favorite drink.

“Coming up,” the bartender replied. He turned to the bottles and glasses behind the bar and began on the concoction. In short order, he returned and put the old fashion glass with amber liquid in front of Margaret. She pulled some money from her purse, but he was already off doing other tasks.

She took a tentative sip then a larger draught. The sweetness helped alleviate the alcohol burn as the liquid eased down her throat. A warmth began to emanate within her and she took another swallow. She put the glass down and let out a pent-up sigh. It had been so long since she had been out and relaxed, Margaret didn’t realize how much stress she had been carrying. She picked the glass up again and brought it to her lips.

“You’re not a regular here are ya?” The question stopped the glass from reaching Margaret’s lips. She turned to look at the trio at the end of the bar. Two men and a woman. All on the backside of middle age and never seen better days. Margaret smiled and shook her head. The bartender had retuned to the bar and refreshed the regulars’ drinks.

“Come on over and tell us about yourself,” the woman invited. “Don’t mind these two. They don’t bite.”

Margaret looked up to the bartender to try to get a feel for the situation. His gaze met her’s briefly and he gave a short nod.

“Come on deary,” the man furthest from her cackled. “Come drink from the shallows.”

Margaret exhaled a short breath, got up with her drink in hand and joined the trio. The other old man tipped his hat to her. “So, tell us about yourself. We don’t get many new people here, and these two are tired of all my stories.”

The request was simple enough, but it opened a door that was long barred. Margaret regaled her companions with her life story. They sat in rapt attention at her life, her loves and her losses. Even the bartender stopped what he was doing and stood nearby listening.

At the end, the woman drained the contents of her glass and stated, “You ought to put that down in writing. It’d make a helluva book.”

It felt as if she had been hit by a bulldozer. Margaret had never realized that her own life could be inspiration. She downed the remains of her own glass and ordered another. While she didn’t want to lose any time not writing, she also saw that she had found her muses. This time instead of her talking she listened as they each told her their stories and experiences.

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Yikes!  Has it been two months since I’ve written anything?  Well, I do have a pretty good reason, and hopefully I can write it all down to share with everyone.  Anyway, thanks again to Jeremy’s Hello Wednesday Challenge for getting me out of my head space.  It’s a little raw and unpolished, but it is words on paper and I need to get back in the habit of writing again.

Posted in Cocktail, Fiction, Jeremy's Daily Challenge, Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

I Can’t Post Comments

Help me please!  I’ve not been able to post comments today.  In addition, when I tried to post a topic at the forum, when I hit the submit button, my topic immediately said closed for something like 44 years.  Is anyone else having problems?

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Chasing Ghosts

Matt stood in front of the gravestone with a bouquet of iris in his hands.  The marker was new, less than one month old.  Yet he could close his eyes and already trace every grey vein in the rose colored granite.  He bent slowly down, his knees pillowed by the wet leaves of the late autumn afternoon.  The receptacle already held a bunch of iris that were barely wilted, but Matt pulled them out and replaced them with the fresh ones he just brought.

Clouds, chasing each other across the sky, cast shadows that fell on the silent flowers.  Matt closed his eyes again, not in prayer, but to concentrate on remembering every feature of Vicki’s face.  The sun warmed his back and he smiled sadly as he remembered how much Vick enjoyed being outdoors.

He felt, more than he saw through his closed eyes, the chill as another cloud came between him and the sun.  When the darkness passed he opened his eyes and he could almost believe that he saw her shadow on the grass.  He dared not turn around and have the spell broken.  Instead, he let his eyelids fall again as he held out his hand to the spectre.  A gust of wind blew through the cemetery, kicking up leaves.  A couple brushed his outstretched hand.  He gasped when he felt the caress.  Then in the trees a whisper came, “I’m here.”

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Okay, I know it’s still the height of summer here, but I couldn’t help writing a little ghost story.  And I couldn’t help using all three prompts (in some fashion).  What feelings or images come to mind when you read these prompts?  As always, thanks to Jeremy’s Challenge Wednesday.

This week’s lines of poetry are:

  • Men on the wet leaves kneeling – Spring Song by Sherwood Anderson
  • Her shadow on the grass – Song by James Joyce
  • Falling on silent flowers – A Light Left On by May Sarton

If you use this prompt please link back

Posted in Fiction, Jeremy's Daily Challenge, Writing | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Traces of Tears

Ashley stepped into the noisy and crowded visitation area.  She went to her designated station where Sean was already seated with the telephone receiver unhooked and placed next to his ear.  She placed her left hand on the bullet proof glass as she picked up her own receiver.

“Hiya, baby,” she whispered excitedly.  Her smile seemed to reach from ear to ear.

“Hey, darlin’,” Sean replied as he put his own palm to the glass.  His smile was grim and resigned.

Ashley stared deep into Sean’s eyes.  The sadness there was almost more than she could bear.  Tears began to well up and threatened to cascade down onto her cheeks.  She wished she could take away the pain, especially because she was the cause.

“How are you doing?” she finally asked.

“Not so bad,” came the response.  “Things have been improving over the last month.”

“That’s good.”  Ashley began to look around behind Sean into the visitor’s section the room.  She couldn’t immediately spy Tiffany and began to panic a little.  “Where’s Tiff?”

Sean turned around to see where their daughter was.  It only took a couple seconds to find her black and white giraffe print dress with pink trim.  As usual she was with Malcolm in the children’s play section of the room.  Since Ashley’s incarceration and their bi-monthly visits, Malcolm and Tiffany were constantly in each other’s company.

“She’s over with Malcolm in the toys,” Sean answered as he pointed out their daughter to Ashley.

“Could you bring her over.  I miss her so much,” Ashley requested.

Sean let out a deep sigh, set the handset down on the desk and strode over to the children playing quietly.  His daughter and her newfound friend made quite the pair.  Tiffany with her alabaster skin and straight gold hair and Malcolm with his flawless milk chocolate skin and curly bronze locks.  He was two years older than Tiffany, almost six, but was wise beyond those few years.  He looked up when Sean approached.

“Hello, Mr. McAdams,” he greeted softly.

“Good Morning, Malcolm,” Sean returned.  “How are you today?”

“I’m good, sir.”

“Do you mind if I take Tiffany to see her mom?”

“No, sir.”

Sean lifted the little girl into his arms.  “Let’s go say ‘Hi’ to Mommy.”  There was an exaggerated falseness in his voice.  Tiffany stared back over her father’s shoulder and waived to her friend.

Back at the station, Sean placed Tiffany in his lap and held the receiver to her ear.  Ashley’s voice cracked as she greeted her daughter.  “Hi, princess.”

Tiffany looked up at her mother through her long pale lashes but said nothing.  Sean could feel his daughter stiffening up in discomfort.

“I love you and miss you,” Ashley continued.  The tears from earlier reformed and spilled down her face.  “Aren’t you going to say ‘Hi’?”

Sean took the receiver away from Tiffany’s face and returned it to his own.  “She’s still not talking a lot.”

“She really doesn’t know me anymore,”  Ashley confessed as she wiped the tears from her cheek.

“She was only three when the trial began,” Sean said.  They both understood what he really meant.  The trial itself only lasted a week before she was found guilty of manslaughter.  It was the crime itself and the long weeks of hiding that separated Ashley from her family.

“I’m not going to regret what I did,” she stated.

Tiffany, recognizing the growing tension between the two adults, began to quietly whimper.  Sean set the handset on the desk and whispered into her ear, “Do you want to go back and play with Malcolm?”

The little girl’s face immediately brightened and she nodded her head ecstatically.  Sean set her back on the linoleum floor and watched as she ran back to the play area and found Malcolm.  The boy’s grandmother, at another visiting station, spotted the scene as the two children hugged each other and commenced to play again.  She waived to Sean and he returned the gesture.

When he turned back in his seat to retrieve the receiver, Sean saw that Ashley had a hurt and angry expression on her face.  He steeled himself for the next stage of the conversation.

“What did you say to her?”  Ashley demanded.

“I just asked if she wanted to go back and play,” Sean replied.  “She views these visits as more play dates with Malcolm than anything else.”  Sean took a deep breath and continued on.  “In fact, I really don’t think it’s in Tiff’s best interests if I keep bringing her here.”

Ashley stared at Sean for what seemed like an eternity.  The hurt on her face was clearly visible as her eyes welled up.  “But, who else could change my tears,” she cried.  “Your visits are my lifeline.  They’re my reason for living.”

“I have to think about what’s best for my daughter,” Sean countered.

Ashley’s face grew hardened.  The tears that had just flowed freely were completely dried up as if by magic.  “She’s my daughter, too, you know.”  She slammed her receiver into it’s cradle.  The sharp report of hard plastic onto metal caused the other inmates and guards to look in her direction.  She stood up, mouthed something unflattering to Sean then headed to the door that lead back to the cell block.  Sean didn’t read lips but there was no doubt what she had said.  He returned his own telephone receiver to it’s proper place then went to retrieve his daughter.

Malcolm’s grandmother, Stella Youngblood, sat near the two children.  She smiled when Tiffany’s father approached.

“I can’t bear to break these two up,” she stated.  “This boy has completely fallen for your daughter.”

“The same with Tiffany,” Sean returned.  “I was just telling Ashley that Tiff looks forward to seeing Malcolm.  She didn’t take it too well.”

“So I saw” Stella admitted.  She gathered her things, stood up and looked down at her grandson.  “Well, mister, I think it’s time we moved on home.”

Malcolm and Tiffany looked up to his grandmother’s face.  Both were clearly disappointed at the thought of leaving the other.  Tiffany’s eyes even began to well up some.  In that moment a decision came to Sean.  These were tears he could change.

“Would you care to come home with Tiffany and I so they can continue to play?” he blurted out.

Both children turned their faces to the woman in unbearable hope.  Then Tiffany did something that she hadn’t done in months.  In the barest whisper that was like a lion’s roar she asked, “Please?”

Sean gasped at the long forgotten sound of his daughter’s voice.  Even Stella understood the monumental meaning behind the girl uttering the one lone word.  She looked upon their visages and could not deny their looks.  “I suppose that would be alright.”

The children hugged each other, then hand in hand bolted towards the exit.  Sean helped Stella with her things.

“Thank you,” he choked out.

Stella put a hand on his arm and smiled.  “My pleasure.”

-   –   –   –   –   -

It seems this prompt really got my creative juices going.  Thanks to Jeremy’s  Hello Wednesday Challenge.  What comes to your mind when you read these lines?  Come join the fun.

This week’s lines of poetry are:

  • in the closet like failed actors – L’Avinir est Quelque Chose by Dobby Gibson
  • There were twins in my cradle – Opus 181 by Arthur Davison Ficke
  • But who else could change my tears – After You, Who? by Cole Porter

If you use this prompt please link back

Posted in Fiction, Jeremy's Daily Challenge, Writing | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Liquid Sunshine

Green Fields

Credit: Unknown

The thunderstorm rages all afternoon.  A cacophony of flashing light, crackling sound, lashing rain, and fierce wind.  The only sanctuary is under the afghan on the sofa peering out the window as Nature vents her fury upon the land.

As early evening sets in, the tempest begins to abate, her temper utterly spent.  The thunder and lightning now far away in the hills, only rumbling every so often in a petulant manner.  The wind calms, reduced to a whisper through the spring leaves on the trees.  And the rain, no longer furious, just a mist softly caressing the earth.  The sun appears low in the sky and casts all it touches in the golden glow of rejuvenation.

A venture out onto the porch brings the smell of newly plowed earth and wet grass to the nostrils.  The amber light is warm and inviting.  And in the trees and bushes, the birds shake off the rain and begin to sing their evening songs.

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Inspiration courtesy of moi and his weekly Once More With Feeling challenge.  What do you see or feel when you look upon this photo?  Why not share.

Rules

  • Using the picture below write an entry using the picture as Inspiration.

Suggestions:

  • Write what feelings you get from the image, let your imagination run riot, It doesn’t have to be a story.
  • Write a short story fact or fiction
  • Please keep to 1000 words or less
Posted in Creative Non Fiction, Once More With Feeling Challenge, Stream of Consciousness, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments