It’s Payback Time

The Friday Fictioneers prompt has come again, so here’s my offering. Many thanks for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for faithfully carrying on as leader, mentor, moderator of our group. If you’d like to participate in this weekly storytelling marathon, check out her blog for more details. This week our thanks also goes to Sarah Potter for the prompt photo.

My story was inspired by some testimonies I’ve read from children who made it to the big times in their particular fields and wanted to return the love and support they’d received from their parents.

PHOTO © Sarah Potter

Payback Time

Dad came whenever he could. On his feet all day, came home exhausted, yet after supper he’d get me to the game and cheer from the stands. We barely managed on his salary — but my equipment was a priority.

One day I promised, “When I make the League, Dad, you’re outta that factory.”

He smiled. “I’m looking forward to that day.”

I gave the game all I had. For him. For his faith in me. When I signed my first contract I said, “Toss them work shoes, Dad. It’s payback time.”

He and mom are holidaying in Phoenix right now.

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A Closet of Memories

Another Friday Fictioneers prompt has come. This group is graciously hosted by the longsuffering Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who blogs at Addicted to Purple. Check her blog for information about how to become part of this group and respond to the prompts. Our photo prompt has been donated by Kelvin Knight. Bear in mind that this is his photo and must not be used for any other purpose without his permission.

I looked at the prompt this morning and thought, “This is great!” No murder and mayhem in this photo; it should generate some really homey, upbeat stories. So what delicious aspect can I write about in connection with home-made bread?

Sad to say, the story that popped into my mind a moment later is one I didn’t want to write. I hate going to places like this but I feel this is the one I should tell. Genre for this one is contemporary fiction, based on a true account of a young woman’s loathing for white bread and how she discovered the reason behind her disgust.

I’ve had a few similar experiences where I felt an intense fear or negative reaction to something for years until I finally asked God, “Why?” And got a clear answer. I believe many children experience things that leave them with a closet full of dark memories. It’s so awesome, then, when you finally open that door, the skeleton inside gives one last rattle and disintegrates. The place is swept clean, the dust swirls away and you’re so glad to be rid of the mess that you feel like dancing.

So here’s my tale:

PHOTO © Kelvin M. Knight

Memories Locked Away

Pam stares at the slice Tim decorated. A wave of nausea chokes her. That heart! He doesn’t realize…

It’s just bread. Get a grip! But she barely makes it to the toilet. Chucking her breakfast, she wails, “Why, God?”

Memories click into focus. Mom never home. No food. Older brother, bread in hand, luring her…she was so hungry! Ugly stains on the bedroom ceiling…waves of shame and disgust. The bread her reward.

Then a gentle voice says, “These memories you’ve locked away, I’ll take them now.”

Waves of freedom overwhelm her. Her spirit dances like a sailboat in light breeze.

Summer Children

children balloons

THE SUMMER CHILDREN

by Edgar Guest

I like ’em in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like ’em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned ’em and they’re racing to and fro’,
I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.

When they’re brown as little berries and they’re bare of foot and head,
And they’re on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest,
Oh, it’s then I think the children look and are their very best.

We’ve got to know the winter and we’ve got to know the spring,
But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I’m happiest when I see ’em, as a wild and merry band
Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.

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!

Songs of Rejoicing

children balloons

by Edgar Guest

Songs of rejoicing,
of love and of cheer,
are the songs that I’m yearning for
year after year.
The songs about children
who laugh in their glee
are the songs worth the singing,
the bright songs for me.

Songs of rejoicing,
of kisses and love,
of faith in the Father,
Who sends from above
the sunbeams to scatter
the gloom and the fear;
these songs worth the singing
the songs of good cheer.

Songs of rejoicing,
oh, sing them again,
the brave songs of courage
appealing to men.
Of hope in the future
of heaven the goal;
those songs of rejoicing
that strengthen the soul.

From his book, Just Folks
©1917 by The Reilly & Britton Company

The Secret to Being a Model Teacher

We’re heading into August and all too soon summer holidays will be over for school students around the world. Recently I have found a couple of inspiring articles about being a teacher and have permission to reblog them so you can be enthused, too.
Let’s all try to encourage our teachers whenever we get the chance. With the situations they face every day they really need someone in their cheering section.

Classfired

teachingministry

Some of my most memorable moments in high school surround a teacher. Pretty strange, isn’t it? I remember her quite vividly – light brown complexion, almond eyes, wavy shoulder-length hair, radiant personality proportionately mixed with an aura of sternness. Mrs Clarke was a model teacher. She brought life to English Literature – a subject often labelled as dull and boring. She always found refreshing ways to engage us. We would view films based on the novels we were studying. And there was that time she had us memorize entire portions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar so we could perform in class. She even made us mimic that southern drawl while reading Huckleberry Finn. I didn’t realize it at the time but she was my role model.

As much as she was creative with teaching strategies, that’s really not what stands out in my mind the most. What really touched me…

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The Journey that Makes You Kind

Struck out

Struck out!

To the victorious:
the ribbons, the cheers,
the flush of accolades.

To the defeated
who’ve also run the race:
the pain, the tears.

Remember, my son
those who’ve tried and failed;
walk a mile in their shoes.
The journey will make you kind.

C.G.

From my upcoming book, Silver Morning Song