New Friends And Nosy Critters

We had quite the windy, cloudy day yesterday and our Internet wasn’t working for most of the day. Which was okay because we had friends join us for dinner and a nice visit after. In the evening we worked on a jigsaw puzzle. Thankfully this morning the wind was down and the net was up and running as usual.

Among the e-mails that came through was one from The Drabble, telling me they’re publishing another of my short stories today, titled A Friend Drop By. This one has never appeared on this blog so if you want to read it, Click Here.

We went to the city today to do some shopping. Among other things I looked at shoes, but would likely have to give an arm and a leg in exchange for a nice pair. (Around $130 CDN.) Tried to stock up on groceries to prepare for the coming writing marathon.

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow at midnight. Will anyone be up typing at 12:02 am? Here’s the synopsis for the children’s story I’ll be working on:

In the summer of 1957, 14-yr-old brother Gerry and 11-yr-old sister Joy take the train to their widowed Aunt Patty’s new home beside a small town. She’s hoping to earn a living for her and her two children by growing a market garden. Gerry and Joy are going to be her “hired help” this first summer.

Among the various characters living in and around town there’s a retired map-maker, now a famous writer of the “wild west” teen adventure stories —of which Gerry is very fond. Reginald Gentleman (who writes as Reg Savage) has just prepared a manuscript for posting when it disappears. Gerry and Joy help search for it.

I plan to work some other excitement to keep the summer hopping. A touch of romance, too. A widowed farmer from the district helps Aunt Patty whenever he can and talks the School district into having an old fashioned “Box Social” to raise money for sports equipment. Of course he’s hoping to buy Aunt Patty’s box and thus get to know her a bit better. Oh, do those plans go awry!

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Never Mess With A Wooden Leg

The Young Entrepreneur

Al had been enjoying the park scenes for awhile and now sat down on a bench in the shade with his magazine. He relaxed and stretched out his two legs — one real and one wooden. He noted that his one sock had slid down, so he bent over to pull it up, pulling up that pant leg in the process.

A young boy, walking past right then, came to a sudden stop and stared at the funny-looking leg. Al chuckled to himself; his wooden leg had attracted the interest of many a child over the years. Most adults were too polite to stare outright, call attention to the odd appendage, or ask questions that might embarrass him, but not the boys he met.

This one couldn’t resist, either. “Hey Mister, why does your leg look so funny? Is it real?”

“Nah. It’s a wooden leg.”

“Really!” The youngster moved closer. “Does it work just like a real one?”

“Pretty much, if I’m careful how I stand on it and move it.”

Al rolled up his pant leg as far as he could and the boy came very close. Al guessed him to be about eight, just the age to be curious about everything.

The boy inspected Al’s leg for a minute, then reached out and gave it a little knock. “Does that hurt?”

Al grinned. “Not at all.”

The two of them exchanged a few more pleasantries about walking on wooden legs, then the boy turned around and dashed off. Al went back to reading his magazine. But before long the boy was back, leading several other, mostly younger children.

“Hey Mister, can you show me your wooden leg again?”

Al frowned. He didn’t particularly feel like being a circus side show. “You’ve seen it once. That’s enough.”

“Awww… can’t you show me again. Please. My friends want to see it.”

“I think you should just run along and play with your friends now.”

One of the younger children started to wail. “You promised! You owe me a quarter.”

“I want mine back, too,” another boy grumbled.

Al looked over his magazine and began to listen to this exchange.

One little girl marched up to the boy and glared.“Yeah, Fred.” She waved her finger in his face. “You promised and if you can’t get him do it, you need to give all of us our quarters back.”

Al leaned toward the delinquent Fred. “What’s going on here? Why did you take their quarters?”

“Please, Mister, can’t you just show us your wooden leg. I, uh, promised them you would.”

The assertive little miss piped up. “He charged us a quarter each to see it.”

Fred seemed sulky at the prospect of refunding his fee. “Can’t you show it to us for just a minute. Pretty please,” he wheedled.

“No! Now beat it or I’ll kick you with it!”

The thought of being kicked by a wooden leg was enough to send all of them running. “Kids!” Al grumbled as he went back to reading his magazine. But a minute later he chuckled. “That boy will probably go far in the business world.”

Al Capp, creator of the comic strip, Li’l Abner, lost his leg in an accident when he was still a boy. Going through life with a wooden leg led to some interesting situations, including this one. This story would be classed as creative non-fiction, something he related with a chuckle in an interview sometime in his later years.

Why Does God Give Some Parents Children?

Why does God put innocent little babies in lousy homes? Why doesn’t He put babies in some really good homes?

One day a young man, recently divorced in the States, used his visiting privileges to take his son away from his ex-wife and fled to Canada. His intention was to stay in Canada until the statute of limitations ran out and he could no longer be charged with abduction.

It happened that we met this fellow and he told us his story. He felt his ex-wife was a very poor mother, living a wild life, and had wanted custody of the boy for pure spite. To make matters worse, he said, she had joined a well-known religious group/cult. He was sure God wouldn’t want his little boy to be raised in that setting so he kidnapped him and fled.

I asked him, “Why does God give children to those people then, if He’d never want a child raised by them?” The fellow had no reply to this. He and the boy disappeared before we could learn the outcome to this sad story.

And what about all the just plain bad parents out there? People who have been scarred themselves, who have no parental skills, people who are druggies or mentally ill? It seems most of these folks can reproduce, yet I’ve known some really good parents who were only able to have one or two children, or who adopted children because they weren’t able to produce any.

Do you sometimes ask, “Why is God not more sensible? Why does He allow this?”

But how should God remedy this? Just never allow sinners to have children? God is extremely fair. “He maketh His rain to fall on the just and the unjust…” We were damaged ourselves and far from perfect parents, but we thank God for our lovely daughter who has grown us up as well as been raised by us.

Sometimes it’s the very innocence of a child that brings conviction to a hard heart. Having a baby brought a very dear friend of mine back to God.

Our society has developed the mind-set that if I’m not happy, someone else is to blame. It’s how I was raised, the home I came out of , the insults and abuses I suffered, that determines my happiness or lack of it. But there are a lot of people who’ve grown up in very bad homes that made something of themselves, and those that grew up in horrific settings who turned to God as adults, found the strength to overcome past abuse, and are spiritual leaders today.

The theory is that if you raise a child in a nurturing setting, you’ll have a well-balanced child who will go on to live a successful life, but we’ve all seen adults who grew up in good homes with the best parental input and made bad choices so their lives have turned out rotten.

Joshua says to the children of Israel, “Choose ye this day…” The Bible gives us to understand that our own happiness is up to us: it’s a consequence of the choices we have made and are making today.

I believe God set this world in its order and it basically continues that way without Him straightening it out or cracking the whip over us all the time. He rather works by calling all the hurting people –which is every one of us– to find healing. “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matt 11:28

It’s amazing what God has done for those who, in all sincerity, sought His mercy. If we become angry and bitter at God for what life has handed us, our hope for improvement is thwarted and we tend to become our parents all over again. Then our own children will tell the same sad tales of their upbringing.

Those of us who have found this rest and felt His healing would like to shout it out to the world: “It’s true! It’s beautiful! It’s free to all.”

That’s why some of us blog. 🙂

Adam’s Fall

Another Friday Fictioneers prompt in my In-box this morning, so here’s my story in response. I’m so glad our leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields puts in so much time and effort to moderate these weekly challenges. If you’d like to enter an item in this week’s FF story collection, check out her blog for more details. Thanks to J Hardy Carroll for the prompt image. I’ll admit, photos like this give my muse a real workout!

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

ADAM’S FALL

I wanted to punish Adam that morning. Kid brothers don’t need to tag along when you’re with your best friend!

At the old factory Mick and I easily went over the fence. “Wait up, guys,” Adam yelled.

I nudged Mick. “Tough. He needs to learn.”

We poked around some old machinery, then headed back. Saw Adam’s shoe hooked in the chain; him sprawled on the concrete.

The trident of remorse-fear-panic jabbed me as I ran, screaming his name. I tugged at his arm.

“Careful, Jordan,” Mick warned. “”If he’s got broken bones…”

Adam lived, thank God! And I learned.

Who Needs School

Luanna was finding her first year of school quite a problem. She didn’t like getting up so early to get ready and then sitting for twenty minutes on the school bus every day. In class she struggled to remember all those sticks and balls and which one said which sound, all the shapes of the numbers and how many circles to draw for each.

So much work! Why did she have to know all that when her Mom already did and was so good at reading stories to them? She liked colouring and recess, but really she’d far rather stay at home and play with her little brother.

One day she was at Grandma’s for a cookie-bake and tea party; as they sipped their tea she told Grandma all about it. “So you see, Grandma, school is too hard. I wish I didn’t have to go.”

Grandma tried to encourage her. “Try your best, Sweetie, ’cause someday you’ll be big and you’ll want to get a job and earn some money for yourself. Then you’ll need to know all these things.”

Luanna puzzled over that for a minute, then her little face lit up. “I know! I can just stay at home and get a pension like you and Grandpa.”

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Found the perfect solution, Grandma.

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Originally posted on my poetry blog, Swallow in the Wind.

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.

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.