The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is CONCRETE. I’ve probably posted this story before, but the wordplay is so suitable for this prompt. This scene took place somewhere in England, back in the 1950s — when it was still possible to give a child a cuff on the ear for misbehaving.
LOVE THE CHILD
A professional psychologist was constantly admonishing parents to “Love the child.” An expert in his field, the doctor encouraged all his clients and his neighbors as well: “Children need to be shown love and kindness.”
One day the doctor had a new concrete pathway poured in his back yard. A few minutes later he looked out and saw a neighbor boy slopping through the wet concrete. He rushed out, grabbed the boy, and was about to give him a cuff on the ear when a neighbor woman saw what was about to happen. She quickly shouted out her window, “Remember what you always say, Doctor. LOVE the child.”
“To which he replied, “I DO love him, madam — in the abstract. But I DON’T love him in the concrete!”
Merriam-Webster gives these definitions: Turncoat (archaic) One child exchanged for another at birth, (usually a fairy child) Imbecile (archaic) And I’m going to go with the first meaning, though it be rather archaic.
No Changing Allowed!
Sister stamped her foot in fury. “Changeling! Turncoat! Traitor to the cause!”
“I’ve seen the light,” Brother responded. “It’s not an issue.”
“You were on my side before. Now you’re wimping out.”
“Having given the matter serious thought, I’ve realized that one choice is as good as the other.” Brother maintained his calm tone. “It’s no big deal.”
“Ha! If you’d been in Boston before the Tea Party, you’d probably have said ‘It’s no big deal. Let’s just pay the tax and not rock the boat’.”
“It might have saved a war.”
“Heretic!” Sister punched his arm. “And this is a big deal!”
“Everybody raves about how great peace is. ‘NO MORE WAR,’ they say. But soon as they get passionate about some issue, they’re ready to take up arms. Like you now.”
“You must have been switched for my real brother at the hospital. If you were my true brother you’d see things like I do.”
Brother scowled. “Wow! Talk about over-reacting.”
“Somebody needs to remind you of what you said last month when this issue first came up. You’ve done a 180 switch.”
“All I said was, I think we should…”
“But you said just the opposite last month. You agreed with me then. Changeling. Traitor.”
Finally Dad spoke up. “Okay, you two. Rather than fighting about this – ”
“I’m not fighting about it,” Brother protested. “She is.”
“I’m not fighting, either! I’m just saying he can’t change his mind like this. Last month we decided we wanted to do Sea World. Now he’s saying let’s go to Yellowstone.”
Dad laid his hand on her shoulder. “Well, I’ll settle the matter. We’ll visit Yellowstone this summer and Sea World next year. End of the skirmish. And no sniping.”
“Who knows if I’ll even be alive next year? The whole world may lay in ashes!”
I’ve taken advantage of two prompts to do my tiny tale today. The Six-Sentence Story prompt this weekend was RAMBUNCTIOUS The Sunday Wordle contains the following prompt words: sunset, finish, string, spill, limit, heartbeat, trails, fairy, lacy, tick, stone, gate
And here are my six sentences, more a scene than a story, though:
“Beat you,” Andy shouted as he rushed along the narrowest of trails ahead of his sister, stepped on a conveniently placed stone and was over the fence in a heartbeat. “Honestly, Andy, I don’t know why you’re so rambunctious this morning, but I’ve about reached my limit.” “Come on, Lacy, don’t be a tick. Just step on that rock, spill yourself over the fence and we’ll see if some fairy has left a bit of gold in the meadow.” “Gold indeed, you dreamer! The only gold you’ll see that way is the sunset – and maybe some buttercups in the woods as you dash through.”
Reading one of the “Constable” books by Nicholas Rhea – the series that inspired that old British series, Heartbeat. Rhea tells of how, in their village, fads would catch on, last a short while then disappear. Like hula hoops. How well I remember hula-hooping as a girl. I wonder if the fad made a pass again in the 80’s, and I’ve seen my grandchildren playing with them. If I live long enough, they’ll probably be popular again. 🙂
Interesting historical tidbit: Hula was unheard of, but hoop-twirling was popular in Great Britain in the 1300s. Medical notes from that era show doctors treating dislocated backs and heart attacks attributed to hooping. (If you’re interested in reading the whole history, click here .)
As Solomon once said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
Since I’m going to be away from home today, I’ll re-post two short items from my DropBox. Hope you enjoy them.
Stubbornness Doesn’t Pay
Back in 1928 a family had taken a holiday on the Hebrides island of Lewis, in the north of Scotland. Dr MacLeod had brought his family back to the village where he’d been born and they’d visited around amongst various of his friends and relatives. As they were motoring home the children in the back seat got into a discussion that became rather heated. Son Iain, who felt himself in danger of losing the argument got rather huffy about it. After all, he was right! “If no one is going to agree with me, “ he declared, “I’ll get out right now and walk home.”
His words were designed to make the others give in; of course he had no intention of carrying them out. But his father decided the boy needed a lesson, so he stopped the car and silently opened the door. Iain had no choice but to get out and walk back to their village. It was a long, long walk and well after midnight when he finally arrived at his home, exhausted and thoroughly chilled. He found the door unlocked for him, but everyone was in bed and all the lights were out. Quietly he crept into his own bed, scolding himself for his foolish words and attitude.
His parents never mentioned the incident again, but Iain had plenty of time to consider on his long walk and decided that from now on he’d be stubborn only in issues of serious right and wrong, he’d give more consideration to the other fellow’s point of view and recognize that he could be wrong. This lesson stood him in good stead when in later years he became a politician.
(It wouldn’t be safe in the world we have today, but back then it must have been.)
Another Long Walk
A single mother in our community dealt with her son’s problem in a somewhat similar way when he was put off the school bus because he wasn’t “able” to sit still. The driver said he wouldn’t be allowed on the bus again until he could.
She could have made excuses for the boy, she could have said, “He’s ADHD and cant help himself.” But she rather told him the next morning, “Get your coat on; we’re walking to school.”
The two of them set off early and it took them several hours cover the miles to school. That night she was there again. “Are you ready to walk home or are you going to sit down and behave yourself on the bus?”
Yes, he was ready to apologize to the driver and sit still from now on.
This mom felt her son needed to learn respect for authority; when you’re told to sit down and behave yourself there are no excuses. She knew of another lad in that same school, knew that when he defied the authority of his teacher his father, a cop, took his part against the teacher and threatened her with legal action when she tried to rein in his son. That young man, as an adult, had issues with obeying authority and landed up in jail. She didn’t want that to happen to her son.
My first thought was that old novel by Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I suppose in his day it was quite the horror tale; in our day zombies have replaced the Headless Horseman as a source of fear and revulsion. Or are they passé by now? Every era has its terrors.
Giving rein to my curiosity, I did a search on Amazon for HOLLOW to see what books would pop up with that as a key word. The first one I came across might well have done Washington Irving proud. Or rather, Jules Verne with his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This indie writer is informing his readers – and intends to use the Bible to back up his idea – that the Earth is hollow. A paperback, the book is listed at $25 US. The title gives the game away: World Top Secret: Our Earth IS Hollow!: The Scientific, Scriptural and Historical Evidence that Our Earth Is Hollow!
I wonder where all that lava comes from? I suppose he can explain.
In a lengthy, rambling blurb, with terms a physicist would understand – and hotly dispute, I’m sure! – the writer suggests, “Perhaps the stories of explorers going into the interior of the Earth, the Sun and other planets and finding human populations living there are based on a truth that God creates planets to be inhabited, not so much on their exteriors, but on their interiors. The Lost Ten Tribes are rumored to have found an entrance into the hollow of the Earth in the North and explorers who have been there through the North Polar Opening report that the people there have built a fantastic civilization with flying saucer technology, long lives, perfect health and an economy of abundance.”
If this were true, the folks inside can’t be human beings. We here on the surface may dream of a Utopia, but we sure haven’t been able to build a world like this!
For example, another book listed is A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park. This is apparently a short but poignant adventure based on the real-life experiences of one of the Lost Boys in the Sudan and his sister, caught up in, and divided by, the Sudanese conflict. “A powerful tale of perseverance and hope,” one reviewer writes. The writer “interweaves the stories of two Sudanese children who overcome mortal dangers to improve their lives and the lives of others.” The #1 Bestseller in the category of Children’s Historical Fiction on Military & Wars, it’s been highly rated by its readers. I’m not sure how this story connects with the word HOLLOW, but doesn’t it sound intriguing?
Thinking again of the prompt word, I’ll close with this oft-quoted Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.