Mabel Faces Facts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is SUMPTUOUS

Image: GLady — Pixabay

Having fared for some time on the sumptuous sunflower seeds in Mrs. McPherson’s garden, Mabel settles on a pole to contemplate life. And the great-looking guy lingering by the pool below. Seeing herself reflected in the water gives her a bit of a shock, though. She finally faces the fact that she’s a little on the plump side and decides she must do some drastic dieting. It’s now or never if she wants to impress that slim, handsome male.

Image: Elstef — Pixabay

She resolves to survive awhile on slimming celery seeds snatched from the Pinkerton’s market garden field. No more stuffing herself on those calorific treats! So she flaps her wings, preparing to find and face the abstemious feast. Alas! Lift off doesn’t happen. After a few attempts, Mabel sighs, realizing she’s going to be walking a lot for the next while.

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.

Cassandra Predicts

Our prompt words for today:
FRACAS, CHILLING, CASSANDRA, DISSEMINATE

November 1, 2020:
Sticksville is a nice-sized town set in the lush corn belt somewhere west of Pennsylvania. A quiet community with a home-town friendliness. Safe, too; no big-time crimes happen here. The last major assault case was back in the fifties when one of the bankers whacked some miscreant he found trying to break into the safe.

People here in Sticksville are generally a down-to-earth bunch. Most citizens cast a skeptical eye on gloom-and-doom prophecy and people who claim to foresee the future. But our residents may have changed their minds after this morning’s invasion. An invasion that was foretold just two days ago.

It appears that on Thursday, Oct 30th, in the middle of the afternoon, diners in the Tradewinds food court were startled when a young woman climbed up on a seat and began shouting to the multitude. Two good friends, Isadonna and Panorama, told our roving reporter that they arrived at the Tradewinds, the town’s only indoor shopping mall, just in time to see the woman stand up on a seat and start calling out.

At first, they said, she could hardly make herself heard over the general babble, but everyone fell silent as they realized what was taking place. The two friends soon caught on that she was shrieking some warning at her unwilling audience, ranting about a “mega-disaster invasion” coming very soon. They observed a mixture of doubt and fear on the faces of the audience.

Calling herself an “end-times Cassandra” the woman announced the disaster as “something that will affect the whole town – each and every one of you. The stars Plexius and Glassus have aligned this week. The ground hogs have burrowed really deep this fall. Nature has given them a danger signal. And last night I dreamed of alien forms all over Sticksville. These are SIGNS! We are about to be invaded by some sinister force! We need to prepare for a disaster of mega-proportions. Very soon,” she reportedly claimed.

Mall security arrived at this point and led her away, but her proclamation caused quite the fracas in the food court as people debated what her prophecy would amount to and others speculated about how much her psychiatric bill would amount to. As people left the mall, details of her chilling prognostication began to disseminate all through the community.

As I said, residents of Stickville may wish to pay closer attention to future prophecies, since citizens all over town woke up this morning to discover piles of what are apparently unsold Halloween pumpkins and gourds in their yards.

Local farmers are being questioned.

New Diet Plan Fried

Here I am, back to do my duties for the Sunday Ragtag Daily Prompt, and today the word is ICE CREAM.

I picked this prompt a few weeks back when I thought the weather would be pretty hot, but we’ve had about the coolest summer I can remember here on the prairies. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little tale.

THE NEW DIET PLAN

Ice Dr + chick.Andy M.
Image by Andy M at Pixabay

One evening Abby dropped in to visit her friend and noticed an unusual poster on the wall. “Hey, Terri, I see you have a new poster. But what’s with the chicken and ice cream cone?”

“It’s a great new diet plan. It’s called the ‘Death By Association Diet.’ You know how much I love ice cream, right? So the idea is, I look at this poster everyday and think of a chicken pecking at an ice cream cone. Then, by association, whenever I’m hungry for ice cream I’ll think of a chicken messing in it. That will kill my craving for ice cream.”

“Well… I guess that is a new approach to dieting.”

“So what do you think? Should work, shouldn’t it?”

Abby considered the poster a moment before answering. “I think it’s making me hungry. Why don’t we get some nuggets and fries at Chick-Fill-Eh?, then stop for dessert at Dairy Duchess.”

“Sorry I asked! You just fried my new diet plan,” Terri exclaimed, ripping the poster off the wall. “Now I’ll never get that association out of my mind.”

Slow Down, Oh Speeding Clock!

It’s almost suppertime here on the prairie. The day has hastened on, as days seem to. It’s Saturday and the municipal landfill (aka “dump”) was open, so we filled our car with garbage & recycling and hauled it all to the dump. Every farm and acreage must look after their own out here in the country.

I rode along with Bob just for the fun of it. 😉 The weather today has been intermittently sunny and overcast; as we drove the maybe-sixteen miles there and back I observed the sky full of lumpy clouds that seemed to bumble along. They have passed on and the sun came out.

Right now my half of our office looks rather shambolic — a new word I picked up over at Merriam-Webster. As you can guess, it comes from shambles and means “a great confusion or mess.” In reparation for hauling recycling to the dump, and just on the general principle of getting rid of clutter, my husband (a bookkeeper) went through a bunch of old records yesterday and piled them at my corner, next to the shredder. Last night and this morning I was shredding and filling garbage bags with paper recycling — to be made into who knows what? I got half done; the rest awaits my attention.

But back to the title of this post and the incident that sparked it. Have you noticed that the days, weeks, months go by WAY too fast. I decided a few days ago to just make my morning coffee instant. I checked the date, as I do once every blue moon, I discovered that the almost full jar of instant coffee, which I bought about six months ago, expired Feb 1st, 2019. When six months turns into a year and a half, is that not proof that time goes by WAY too fast?

Speaking of blue moons, and other heavenly times, are you planning to watch the solar eclipse on Sunday?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was CLOISTERED, which comes from cloister, a religious enclave, a place or state of seclusion, which comes from the Latin root verb, “to close.” Since I rarely make tea for myself, I’ve cloistered a number of misc. assorted teas up in a top cupboard. Waiting there for me to get the notion for a cup of tea, the leaves are likely returning to the dust from whence they came.

However, my jar of instant coffee is in the main traffic area, right by the cocoa mix and peanut butter. How could I have neglected it so long? Not to be wasteful, I’m now drinking a lot of instant coffee. After all, those grounds are good forever — or at least another six months.

I have to admit, though, that apart from the swift flight of time, my problems are small ones — for which I’m very thankful. I had a blood test last week Monday followed by a phone consultation with my oncologist on Thursday, and she says my blood counts are all perfect: she can’t see from my blood-work that I ever had leukemia. And that’s something to rejoice about!

So I’ll close with this little poem:

We thank Thee, Father, for the care
that did not come to try us,
the burden that we did not bear,
the trouble that passed by us,
the task we did not fail to do,
the hurt we did not cherish,
the friend who did not prove untrue,
the joy that did not perish.

We thank Thee for the blinding storm
that did not lose its swelling
and for the sudden blight of harm
that came not nigh our dwelling.
We thank thee for the dart un-sped,
the bitter word unspoken,
the grave unmade, the tear unshed,
the heart-tie still unbroken.

The Cooking Adventure

Sue, over at JibberJabber, has issued a mega-challenge: to use as many words as possible from the May daily prompts. So here’s my tale, using most of them:

The Cooking Adventure

Sherry, a lively, active thirteen-year-old, was late coming home from school one day. Her mom was already home from her job at the office when Sherry walked in carrying four large books.

This surprised her mother, who’d never seen Sherry do that much reading before. “Do you have a lot of studying to do this weekend,” her mother asked, eyeing the books. “Or some essay to write?” Then she took a closer look. “Cookbooks?”

“I am going to learn to cook,” Sherry announced.

Mom looked through the stack Sherry set on the counter. “Old Time Favorites. That sounds good. Baking: The Science Behind Success. Explore Mediterranean Cuisine.” Mom’s eyebrows arched. “What brought this on?”

“I got a letter from Marlys yesterday. She said…” Sherry’s tone was frosty…”I’ve never had to anything around the house. She thinks I’m so pampered because we have a housekeeper. She says I’m just like a flower in a greenhouse: if I had to keep house or cook, I wouldn’t know where to start. Well, I’m going to show her. I’m going to create some fabulous dishes and invite her over to try them.”

“I suppose your cousin has to help a lot at home and may be a bit jealous of you, but you shouldn’t let her comments grate on you. Still, it would be good for you to learn. I’ve been so busy with work all, I just haven’t had the energy to give you cooking lessons, but I’m happy that you want to learn. I’ll give you all the support I can. I see you brought A Beginner’s Guide to Cooking. That author has made a name both as a celebrated chef and as a class instructor. I think this is an excellent book to start with.”

Sherry’s first creation was a lemon soufflé. Mom showed her how to break the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites to stiff peaks. Sherry followed the recipe carefully and soon had the smooth batter in the pan, ready for the oven. She slid it in and turned on the timer. Mom gave her a short lesson on how to tell when the pudding was done, then went to do some laundry.

Sherry was delighted with her success thus far. She had to call her friend Heather to relate the story of her new cooking adventure. She was still on the line when the timer went and she didn’t hear it. At one point Mom rushed by and a moment later Sherry smelled something burnt.

Sherry hurried to the kitchen, but the damage was done. The soufflé had risen as it was supposed to, but now it was ruined. Sherry let out a wail of anguish

“There. You’ve just had a free cooking lesson. Distractions can spoil the best food.” Mom put an arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry. You’ll have better luck next time. Learning to cook is a challenge, but if you stick with it and don’t give up, you may be a great chef someday.”

Prompt words used:
old, time, create, food, line, letter, relate, smooth, story
luck, free, explore, break, light, science, hurry, flower
name, short, carefully, support, book, challenge, happy