Life Goes On

It’s time for another Friday Fictioneers prompt. Many thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, for hosting our group and choosing our prompts, and thanks to Roger Bulltot for this picture he has submitted, the ruins of the Renwick Smallpox Hospital.

I thought of life-and-death battles fought here. Smallpox has been subdued but now cancer is the dreaded foe. Tuesday we attended the funeral of a grandfather who fought a battle with leukemia (CML) and yesterday I made an appointment to have my blood counts checked again. My muse, awash in a wave of blue, delivered this 100-word tale. I hesitated to post it as my F.F. response, but hope you’ll tell me if it sounds too melodramatic or soppy.

NOTE: All photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only, and should not be used for any other purpose without express permission. 

LIFE GOES ON

Contemporary fiction

“Thanks for bringing me to this peaceful spot. Let’s stop awhile. You’re tired of pushing me.”

“Never!” Pearl braked the wheelchair and kissed Grandma’s cheek.

“See those doves nesting up there. The people have passed yet life goes on here. That comforts me. You grandchildren will find mates, build your nests and our family will continue on.

“Let’s not…”

“I’ve been so privileged to see you all grow up, now I get to enjoy these goodbye days. So many don’t.”

Pearl’s eyes teared up. “Don’t give up, Grandma. Another round of chemo…”

“Take me home now, dear. I want to rest.”

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Notoriety

This story was originally written for a Friday Fictioneers prompt and posted Feb 8th on my original site. I’m transferring older posts from that site now, so hope my long-term followers will bear with the reruns and new followers will enjoy this tale. Since the story’s no longer connected to that prompt, I’ll edit it a bit and use a different photo.

 

Blue car tilt.jpg

“There,” Phil said. “Took some doing but I’ve Photo-Shopped Uncle Elbert out of this crazy prank.”

His wife, Vannalee, looked over his shoulder. “Too bad. Uncle Elbert looked so proud of himself draped on the hood of that old car.”

” I know. Shame to lose that smug grin of his, but my folks insisted. They say he was always up to something that would shock people. And from such a straight-laced clan.”

Vannalee grinned. “I can imagine how dear old Uncle Elbert besmirched the family name by taking up robbing banks — and Grandpa’s bank first of all, to add insult to injury. Mind you, I wouldn’t want our bank robbed, if we had one.”

“It was a humiliation Grandpa never lived down. Dad says when Elbert’s notorious career was terminated by state lawmen one fateful day, Grandpa refused to attend the funeral.”

He set the picture down. “Well, I’ve successfully deleted Elbert from the family photos now, but you know what must have old Grandpa turning in his grave? At family gatherings his great-grands mention him being a successful banker. But they talk about Uncle Elbert’s wild capers for hours.”

Books: A Scottish Holiday

A Scottish Holiday
by Sophie Mays

A short, light read, fairly standard-formula romance.

Adoptee Jillian goes to Scotland seeking information about her great-great-grands and James takes a liking to the attractive American miss when he meets her in line at a fish and chips shop. He offers his help in her search and a quick romance blooms, but no bedroom scenes.

Perhaps the author has been to the part of Scotland she writes about, but she doesn’t really incorporate much detail in her story. We don’t get many of Jillian’s impressions of this land she’s seeing for the first time ever. We meet the librarian and a few locals — but this is supposedly a whirlwind trip. So we get a bit of Scottish scenery and history but mostly scenes of James and Jillian spending time together — until an old flame turns up at a dance and throws Jillian into a frenzy of doubt about the sincerity of James’ affection.

One bit I found hard to believe: as a baby Jillian was supposedly left on a doorstep by her birth mother, who died young, yet she has her great-great grandparents’ names and the area they came from in Scotland. Other than that the story all hangs together and is well told, problems relatively simple, the characters uncomplicated, the writing clean.

I Sure Did Learn My Lesson!

When I read this post from Stace L, I though what she writes could inspire other teachers just starting out on a new school year.

In The Corner

I had a dream this morning from which I begrudgingly awoke.  In fact, I’m not sure I woke up from it at all – it was one of those dreams that stay with you for a long time and actually changes you.  It was one of those dreams that you hope to have again very soon to see if new events unfold – like a drama on television that you just can’t seem to get enough of. Only, this dream was “mine”.  It was about me.  It revealed things in me that I had buried.  It piqued my curiousity and disrupted my thinking.

I was teaching again.

I was back in the classroom.

With “badass” kids whose lives were set on a self-indulgent, anti-societal path at a young age.  So, in fact, they were only “badass” to society – not to me.  To me, they were wonderful.  They were inspiring…

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Stroke of Bad Luck

Levi groaned and shifted in bed. Groggily he opened his eyes. Man, the light hurt! Then he was jolted awake by the realization that someone was lying beside him.

He turned to see who it was and his eyes opened wide. Who was SHE? He sat up and looked around the strange room. Was he drunk? Why did his head feel so funny? He rubbed his face with his hands and noticed…a wedding ring!

Whoever she was sat up and kissed his cheek. “Morning, love.”

He rolled out of bed and stood, gripping the corner of a dresser. His glance fell on a studio photo, a wedding picture. Him and her. When? Why couldn’t he remember? He touched the picture. “Uh, how long have we been…married?”

He heard a little gasp. “It was two years last month. Levi, are you okay? Is your headache worse?”

“Headache?” he echoed and shook his head.

“You went to bed with a headache last night, remember?”

He felt no pain now but something wasn’t right. Nothing in the room looked familiar. He eyed the picture. At least he’d picked a pretty wife. Her voice was nice, too. What was her name?

He glanced out the window and the whiteness startled him. “It’s winter!”

“Maybe you should lie down again, Honey.” She sounded hesitant, worried.

Carefully he turned toward her. “My parents? Where are they? I need to see them.” Were they even still alive?

“Dad will be leaving for work about now, but Mom’ll be there at home.” She stood up and looked at him, her dark eyes reflecting her fear. “Sure. Let’s go see her. And maybe you should see a doctor, too?” She grabbed a robe and left the room.

Levi found the bathroom and had a shower. Then he hunted through dresser drawers to find clothes. He picked out some familiar ones and put them on.

When he found his way to the kitchen later he saw a laptop on the table, open to a screen headed “Signs of Stroke.” He pondered that word. Is that what had happened to him?

Writer’s note:

The dialogue is fiction, but a friend told me about a 30-year-old neighbour of hers who had a stroke in the night and five years of his life’s memory banks were completely wiped out. Not only had he gotten married a couple of years before and bought a little house, but he’d also started a business. Life can hand you a real whammy sometimes.

Teaching Mom to Drive

One day Kenneth’s mother decided that, since she’d soon be an empty-nester, she’d better learn how to drive. So she talked Kenneth, her last son at home, into giving her a few lessons while he had summer holidays.

It intrigued him that Mom wanted to learn to drive in her “old age” — after all she was almost 55 and to a young man of nineteen that was way over the hill. But it was a smart idea: some day she might need to know how, so  he agreed and let her take the wheel while he instructed.

The lesson did not go smoothly. Mom was so nervous in traffic; she kept forgetting the simplest rules; parallel parking was a lost cause; she didn’t know which streets were one-ways. to top it off she went through a stop sign and got a ticket. After an hour in the car with his mother, Kenneth blew out a long puff of exasperation. He was in for a torturous ordeal before she finally got her license.

After they got home he told his mom he just didn’t have the patience for this project. Anyway, she’d never become a good driver, so why not just accept it? Others in the family could take her where she needed to go if Dad couldn’t. If she persisted she’d likely have an accident and he’d be a nervous wreck.

His father was home by that time and listened quietly for awhile, then said, “Too bad you don’t remember the marvelous patience your mother had with you when you were learning to feed yourself. How many “accidents” she had to clean up when you were being potty-trained. Or how you’d wobble around and she’d rush to comfort you when you took a tumble.”

Kenneth flushed, stared at his shoes for a few minutes, then he said, “Sorry, Mom. Do you want to go out for another lesson tomorrow?”

Vacation Time

by Edgar Guest

Vacation time! How glad it seemed
When as a boy I sat and dreamed
Above my school books, of the fun
That I should claim when toil was done;
And, oh, how oft my youthful eye
Went wandering with the patch of sky

That drifted by the window panes
O’er pleasant fields and dusty lanes,
Where I would race and romp and shout
The very moment school was out.
My artful little fingers then
Feigned labor with the ink and pen.

But heart and mind were far away,
Engaged in some glad bit of play.
The last two weeks dragged slowly by;
Time hadn’t then learned how to fly.
It seemed the clock upon the wall
From hour to hour could only crawl,

And when the teacher called my name,
Unto my cheeks the crimson came,
For I could give no answer clear
To questions that I didn’t hear.
“Wool gathering, were you?” oft she said
And smiled to see me blushing red.

Her voice had roused me from a dream
Where I was fishing in a stream,
And, if I now recall it right,
Just at the time I had a bite.
And now my youngsters dream of play
In just the very selfsame way;

And they complain that time is slow
And that the term will never go.
Their little minds with plans are filled
For joyous hours they soon will build,
And it is vain for me to say,
That have grown old and wise and gray.

That time is swift and joy is brief;
They’ll put no faith in such belief.
To youthful hearts that long for play
Time is a laggard on the way.
‘T’was, oh, so slow to me back then
Ere I had learned the ways of men!