Creature Comforts Indeed!

“Heat the church? Spend money on a stove? Whatever For?”

The little Scottish congregation was divided; some muttered that this was going too far while others nodded in approval when the subject was brought up at the parish meeting. Other churches were installing stoves, so why not. They definitely added to the comfort of the flock — which might well mean more of the flock would come to services on chilly winter days.

Of course this touch of creature-comfort or “catering to the flesh” in the very kirk itself met with resistance from some of the older folks who’d worshiped all their lives without extra heat. You just dress warmer in winter. Any fool knows that.

No one frowned on this indulgence more than one dear old grannie I’ll call Mrs Ross. She was adamant that there was no need to heat the kirk. Her forefathers didn’t have heated churches and what was good enough for them was good enough for her—and should be good enough for the young ones. But she was outnumbered by the more self-indulgent ones in the congregation. A stove was purchased and installed.

Of course the news spread rapidly through the close-knit Scottish community. And the next Sunday was a cold day, so this old Grandmother came to church as warmly wrapped as ever — if not more so.

After the first hymns Grannie Ross removed her heavy coat with a flourish and mutters. After the opening prayer, in another protest against the unnecessary heat, she discarded her thick sweater. When the minister stood up to bring the message, Grandma put on her star performance: she took off her wool scarf, mopped the sweat from her brow and fell over in a faint.

This little act caused the sensation she’d hoped. Several members rushed to assist her. Now everyone could see the dire consequences of having the kirk heated!

As an usher helped her out of the church, he whispered in her ear, “If you’re so hot today, Mrs Ross, how much more will you suffer next Sunday when we actually light the stove?”

Panda and Her Sunbeam

True Love

A lone sunbeam darts
away from his fellows, sneaks
up the morning side of a house,
squeezes under the kitchen blind,
spreads himself on the floor and waits
for her, the cat with thick black
fur. She always finds him,
settles herself in his warmth and purrs,
blissful as he caresses her darkness-
until the sunbeam is dragged
back to join his fellows
rising higher in the sky.
Tomorrow, Love.

Winnie and the Genie

Time for another Friday Fictioneers tale. This may be a really off-beat reply to today’s prompt, but I was wanting to write about Winnie again. I kind of like her querulous personality. To read my other tales about Winnie, click here and here.

She and Raylene are home from their Florida trip and Winnie’s finding other interesting things. Today she’s visiting with Ernie Phelps, a retired friend and potential sweetheart.

Thanks for the photo prompt, Liz, and thanks again, Rochelle at Addicted to Purple for being such a patient and encouraging host to this FF group. I have to butter you up today, Rochelle, since my story is five words over the limit. I welcome suggestions from anyone as to how I can knock these five words off.

Photo prompt c. Liz Young

Winnie and the Genie

“Found it under them bushes. Oddest bottle I ever saw! I uncorked it and Poof! This female’s saying she’ll grant my every wish. One look at her and I says, ‘Back in this bottle right now, young lady.’ ”

Ernie’s jaw dropped. “You could’a been rich, Winnie! New house, fancy clothes…”

“Clothes? Ha! You should have seen her skimpy clothes. No…your ol’ ticker might’a stopped.”

“So where’s that bottle now?”

“In the lake. Sure wouldn’t want some man seeing that indecent outfit!”

Next morning Ernie headed for the coast. Entering a shop near the beach he pointed to a sign. “I want them scuba diving lessons.”

Improvement

by Edgar Guest

The joy of life is living it
or so it seems to me;
in finding shackles on your wrists,
then struggling till you’re free;

in seeing wrongs and righting them,
in dreaming splendid dreams,
then toiling till the vision is
as real as moving streams.

The happiest mortal on the earth
is he who ends his day
by leaving better than he found
to bloom along the way.

Were all things perfect here there would
be naught for man to do;
if what is old were good enough
we’d never need the new.

The only happy time of rest
is that which follows strife
and sees some contribution made
unto the joy of life.

And he who has oppression felt,
and conquered it, is he
who really knows the happiness
and peace of being free.

The miseries of earth are here
and with them all must cope.
Who seeks for joy, through hedges thick
of care and pain must grope.

Through disappointment man must go
to value pleasure’s thrill;
To really know the joy of health
a man must first be ill.

The wrongs are here for man to right
and happiness is had
by striving to supplant with good
the evil and the bad.

The joy of life is living it
and doing things of worth,
in making bright and fruitful
all the barren spots of earth,

in facing odds and mastering them
and rising from defeat,
and making true what once was false
and what was bitter, sweet.

For only he knows perfect joy
whose little bit of soil
is richer ground than what it was
when he began to toil.

From his book, JUST FOLKS
published 1917 by The Reilly & Britton Co.

Fox and Hound: A Fable

The Quick Red Fox and the Howling Hound

dog-219868_640Once upon a time a man who lived all alone in a small farming village was given a pup. He was a gangly creature with funny floppy ears — no beauty prizes would he ever win — but the little hound was very loving and his owner grew very fond of him. Every day the man would take his dog out to the field with him as he hoed his corn; at night he’d put the hound in a pen in his back yard and go to bed.
fox winking

Down the street a ways lived an elderly widow with a big rambling back yard. One night a prowling fox found the place to his liking and took up residence under an old shed in this yard.

Thus began an interesting routine: at night the fox, off on his hunting expedition, would hurry past the dog’s pen. The hound would catch sight of it and would bark and howl. Then he’d settle down and sleep for some hours.

At the first light of dawn the fox would slip back to its den. The dog, catching a whiff of it, would start baying again.dog & cat

The owner didn’t know what was setting the dog off, but he concluded it must be some wild animal passing. Anyway, dogs do bark now and then. He gave the matter little thought until one morning his neighbor came banging on his door.

When he opened the door his neighbor shook a fist in his face. “You have to get rid of that howling hound! He’s keeping me awake all night long.”

The owner was amazed. “How can that be! My dog only barks a few times at night and a few times in the morning. It’s not like he’s barking all night long.”

“That may be,” said the scowling neighbor. “But I lie awake all night because I never know when he’s going to bark.”

So is he who anxiously anticipates troubles that is he certain will come sooner or later.

Epilogue: The dog was spared because the neighbor,floppy-ear dog after getting all hot and bothered about the issue and losing many nights of sleep, finally made his request to the one who could actually do something about the matter.

(Note: This is my adaptation of an old fable.)