Farm Diary

I’ve heard and read about the “dust bowl” years here on the prairie, about hoppers that could clean off a 160-acre field in a day, about horses and cows forced to eat the prickly Russian thistles because they were the only green thing growing anywhere, about the farmers who took jobs in the northern “parkland” part of the province to earn enough to get by for another year. So I made up this diary.

Prairie Farm Girl’s Diary — Summer 1934

A west wind blew the hoppers in
two days ago.
They cleaned the wheat crop
clear down to the ground
yesterday.
Dad went north to a lumber camp
after seeding
so we can afford our grub and heat
next winter
and feed for the horses and cow –
unless it rains.
A stream of clouds went over
last night
on their way to rain somewhere else,
maybe tomorrow.
Tom and I are minding the place
all summer
while Dad’s away and Mom’s in a dither
about all the dust.
She says we’re leaving this drought-deviled land
soon as Dad gets back.

.

Image: MonikaP — Pixabay

Won’t You Stay For Lunch?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was LEFTOVER

On behalf of the community co-ordinator, Chandra Smartly knocked on old Mrs Hopkin’s door. Though she’d been coerced agreed to canvas the neighbourhood on behalf of the Incomers’ Fund and had done well so far, Chandra was rather nervous about asking Mrs Hopkins, a woman the local gossips referred to as Mrs Scrooge.

I’ll keep it very simple, she thought. I’ll ask, and if she protests I’ll quickly say ‘Sorry to bother you then. Good-bye.’ Then I’ll leave and not let her go into all the details of her desperate poverty.

When Mrs Hopkins opened the door, Chandra said a polite “Hello, sorry to bother you..” Then she paused. She shouldn’t have.

Mrs Hopkins sprang toward the opportunity. “Mrs Sung! How wonderful to see you! Won’t you come in. Would you like a cup of tea and a biscuit, dear?”

“Well, I don’t want to trouble you. It’s almost lunch time…”

“Oh, no trouble at all. Come in, come in! In fact, you’ll stay for lunch, won’t you, dear? I have it almost ready. We can have our tea after.”

Amazed, she followed Mrs Hopkins into the dining room, where the older lady quickly pulled a plate from the china cabinet and set them on the table across from the place already set. “Do sit here,” Mrs Hopkins instructed. “I’ll bring you some cutlery.”

Chandra was so dumbfounded that she momentarily forgot about soliciting for the Incomers’ Fund. Had Mrs Hopkins turned over a new leaf, like Ebenezer Scrooge? Is she feeling in a generous mood? Chandra smiled. If so, I’ve come at the perfect time.

“You’ve come at the perfect time,” Mrs Hopkins said as she set cutlery and a glass down beside Chandra’s plate. I had so much food left from Christmas dinner that I decided today I was going to heat up the whole works and whatever was leftover, I’d throw away. With you here to help me eat up these little dribbles of this and that, I won’ have to throw nearly so much away. This will be a real saving! I do hate to be wasteful.”

“Um..Yes, of course, ” Chandra replied. Why didn’t someone need her right now? Her cell phone buzzed so many times when she wished it wouldn’t. Why not now, when it would be so convenient to be called away?

“Now you just sit right here while I get the food.” Mrs Hopkins bustled between kitchen and dining room, carrying dishes of over-dessicated turkey, over-fried onions, warmish mashed potatoes, shrivelled veggies, and some crumbling fruitcake on a lovely plate.

Mrs Hopkins sat down and nodded at her. “Now, Mrs Sung, if you’d be so kind as to say the blessing…”

It took Chandra a moment to gather her wits about her, then she earnestly asked God to bless this food and their visit. She made a point of thanking him for Mrs Hopkins’ generosity and asked him to remember and provide for the many others in need in their community. “And bless us all with hearts willing to share. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

When she saw Mrs Hopkins nodding, Chandra quickly mentioned that she was collecting for the Incomers’ Fund. As she served herself a helping from each dish she added, “You’re so kindly sharing your lunch, Mrs Hopkins, that I just know you’ll want to help women in this town who have urgent need for household goods. And since I’m helping you with your leftovers, I hope you’ll help me in my collecting.”

Mrs Hopkins looked like she was about to start into her usual protest, but she rather grinned and said, “Okay. After lunch I’ll see what I have in my purse.”

Amazingly, she did make a generous contribution.

Christmas Courier

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #110
Here’s how it works:
Every Wednesday Crispina posts a photo (this week it’s the one below.)
Writers respond with something CREATIVE.

And have fun!

Here’s my 150-word response — those who have ordered things online will understand 😉 (Have I mentioned my books that got a side trip to Sweden?) Plus my response to the Word of the Day challenge: VERKLEMPT

CHRISTMAS COURIER

“Hey, elf! Why you hanging there? Trying out your wings?”

“Nah. The mistress here ordered her Christmas gifts online and she’s getting anxious for their arrival. She’s hung me here to watch for the delivery van and holler the minute I see it.

“I’m sure the courier will ring the doorbell.”

“Mistakes have been known to happen. Wrong house number, that sort of thing. Some couriers think it’s close enough if they toss packages inside your front gate. So this is my post.”

“How long you been hanging there?”

“The package was shipped October 30th.”

“Six weeks! I’m afraid…”

“Yeah, hope grows dim. The mistress says she’ll be verklempt – clear over the moon – if and when she actually holds the package in her hand.”

“Might have done better sending it by reindeer and sleigh.”

“She was afraid they’d eat her yew trees. She wants the place looking nice for Christmas.”

Book: Ever Green Romances

To Have, To Hold (Ever Green Series Book 1) by [Darlene Polachic]

TO HAVE, TO HOLD
© 2017 by Darlene Polachic
This is the first in the Ever Green Christian romance series and is a free book on Kindle Unlimited for those who are subscribers.

When Janet O’Grady’s wheeler-dealer husband Marty dies in a car crash, she learns that he’s put everything they own under ownership of the company he and his brother own. Hoping to find a bank account with funds she can access, she discovers evidence that he’s been shifting company funds into an offshore account. Marty’s brother soon learns that millions of dollars are missing from the company’s account and he’s sure she’s been party to this deception. He wants his money and she must know where it is.

Leaving almost everything behind, Janet sneaks away in the wee hours with her six-year-old twin boys, running scared, headed for her parents’ home in Washington. She’s hoping they’ll forgive the past, take her in and give her shelter until she can get on her feet again. En route she needs help from a kind stranger.

Her parents think she must be a rich widow now — and she doesn’t tell them the truth, fearing her father’s health is too precarious for such a shock. Her sister Christa”s busy planning her wedding to banker Grant Brooks — who turns out to be the kind stranger who paid for Janet’s gas a few hours before.

Grant, a generous man with an inkling about Janet’s true financial state, offers to let her live in his grandfather’s house in exchange for cleaning it out — his grandparent saved EVERYTHING — so he can sell it. Janet appreciates working with Grant to clean up the place and Janet’s boys, starved for a father’s attention, just love him. She’d like to, too — but Grant’s taken. She’s not about to snitch her sister’s beau.

There are so many things I like about this book! It’s a clean story and well written. The main characters are mostly mature, considerate people; the ones who profess to be Christians do try to practice patience and kindness. The plot is interesting, believable, dramatic in places but not a high suspense. The only thing I couldn’t quite see was Grant as a banker — or a successful banker with Grant’s easy-going nature. He’s personable and conscientious but would a thirty-four-year-old professional money manager let himself drift into an engagement with a woman who loved to spend his money?

That aside, overall, this is an upbeat, enjoyable read — and written by one of the ladies in our writers friendship circle. 🙂

While this is The Evergreen Series, named for the town, each of the six novels is a stand-alone. Here are #2 and #3, which I haven’t read yet:

Book: The Christmas Sweater

The Christmas Sweater: A Short Story for Christmas by [Janice L. Dick]

The Christmas Sweater
by Janice L Dick

If you want a nice relaxing, interesting read over the holidays — or in January when a blizzard sweeps down and you’re snowed in, check out The Christmas Sweater: A Short Story for Christmas, by Janice L Dick

Jeanne, recently widowed, is dreading her first Christmas alone, but tends to cocoon herself in her grief. Until an old school friend moves back to town — right next door. And she shows up frequently just to chat. Using their past friendship and a good bit of prodding, Debbie gets Jeanne out of those old sweats she’s been dragging around the house in, out of feeling sorry for herself, and back into life.

While Debbie’s friendship proves invaluable to Jeanne, there comes a time when Debbie has to draw support from Jeanne’s friendship as she faces her own trials. It is a great short story about how friends can help and encourage one another.

This Week I’m A Writer

Image: Darkmoon Works — Pixabay

Dear Readers, Friends, Followers, Fellow bloggers,

For a long time I’ve wanted to sit down and actually write. Not just dash off short blog posts and stories, but buckle down and finish various longer projects I’ve started through the years. Trouble is, I’ve been getting stuck in deep ruts. Hitting mental road blocks that crack my windscreen, as it were.

The Bruiser Twins got on my case. Have you heard of them? Why bother? and Who cares? pipe up often to drench my inspiration. I hear the nagging, “You’re lousy at marketing,” and “Nobody wants to read your stuff anyway.” I just have to look on Amazon to see the kind of books that are selling like hotcakes now, but will anyone read the tame (lame?) stories I write? Thankfully, though, I was recently cheered by a letter from a friend afar who said, “I really like your stories.”

I like to write contemporary fiction, but those who know me personally will understand that many times I feel like I’m caught between two quite different worlds. The non-religious society I grew up in has moved quite far along in the new morality since I left and I’m rather out of date. I don’t care for today’s “flawed anti-heroes.” The conservative Christian circle I belong to tends to prefer the golden oldies-style that I’m not very interested in writing.

Mulling this all over yesterday I had a liberating “Eureka” moment. A little voice saying, “You need to finish these projects for yourself, for your own good. Time to stop floundering in what others might want or be buying.”

The chorus of a long-ago song comes to mind, and maybe the message has some validity:
“It’s alright now. I learned my lesson well,
you can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself.”

So I’m going to be SELFISH for the rest of the week and spend my time doing something that will please ME. I’m going to act like a real novelist, whack away at my story into the wee hours, live on fried eggs and toast, drink coffee ’til I’m bleary-eyed — and get something done. Wish me inspiration. 🙂

Image by Engin Akyurt — Pixabay

Meanwhile, I’ll post a few more book reviews here, so you can read about other writers’ works that I think are worth reading.