Lurking in the Woods

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is BUGBEAR and I’ve done two versions in response.

The bugbear in the darkness
the wolf in the wood...
dark tales in the gloaming
were told for children’s good.

A way to keep adventurers
behaving like they should
in their beds at decent hours
respecting parenthood.

They stultified the curious
these bogeys that consume
snooping children in the dark,
wanderers in the gloom.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day this morning is STULTIFY

Image: Melani Marfield — Pixabay

No More Coddling!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CODDLE. We ladies had a little discussion in Sunday school yesterday about “How much to do for your children,” which fuels my response to this prompt.


Jake tapped the corn syrup bottle in disgust. “Mom, I want the maple syrup, not–”

His father interrupted. “If you want maple syrup, get it yourself.”

Mom was already half way out of her seat when Dad grabbed her arm. “Sit down, Nancy.”

She protested. “I can get it for him, Dan. He’s probably tired from all his building yesterday.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m exhausted!” Jake added a weary sigh for effect. He looked from one parent to the other, waiting to see how the ball would bounce.

Dad put an arm on Mom’s shoulder. “If you continue to coddle him, he’ll want you fetching and carrying for him when he’s thirty-five. When he and Tim were working on their tree house yesterday, he was carrying wood and pounding nails for an hour. He can manage a syrup bottle now.”

Jake rolled his eyes, got up and shuffled to the fridge. He grabbed the syrup and plunked it on the table, dropping into the chair again with a martyr’s sigh.

Mom watched her eight-year-old boy pour syrup on his pancakes and wolf them down. Tears picked her eyes. Would the time come when he didn’t need her at all – for anything?

A moment later Jake slipped off his chair. “Some of the guys are getting together at the school to play scrub. Is it okay if I go?”

Dad grinned at him. “After you put the syrup back in the fridge, and help your mother clean off the table.”

All Those Lovely Gifts!

by Edgar Guest

In the corner she’s left the mechanical toy,
  on the chair is her Teddy Bear fine;
the things that I thought she would really enjoy
 don’t seem to be quite in her line.

There’s the flaxen-haired doll that is lovely to see
  and really expensively dressed,
left alone, all uncared for, and strange though it be,
  she likes her rag dolly the best.

Oh, the money we spent and the plans that we laid
  and the wonderful things that we bought!
There are toys that are cunningly, skilfully made,
  but she seems not to give them a thought.

She was pleased when she woke and discovered them there,
 but never a one of us guessed
that it isn’t the splendor that makes a gift rare– 
 she likes her rag dolly the best.

There’s the flaxen-haired doll with the real human hair,
there’s the Teddy Bear left all alone,
there’s the automobile at the foot of the stair,
and there is her toy telephone;

We thought they were fine, but a little child’s eyes
   look deeper than ours to find charm,
and now she’s in bed and the rag dolly lies
  snuggled close on her little white arm.

From the book Just Folks by Edgar A Guest
© 1917 by the Reilly & Britton Co.

A Stitch In Time

Random musings today, which can be my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt word, MEANDER

A Stitch In Time

Deciding to head for the park where I could meander awhile, I slipped my car key into my jacket pocket and…

Clunk. My key landed on the floor.

I stuck my hand in my pocket and discovered that small hole I’d intended to repair, was now a bigger hole. Big enough for my car key to fall through. Yes, I’d noticed those few missing stitches and vowed – can it be several months ago now? – that I’d fix that hole very soon. But somehow…

I recall that old grandmas’ saying, “A stitch in time saves nine.” For centuries untold moms and grandmas passed on this kind of practical wisdom to make life a bit easier for their offspring. Fix the hole while it’s small and it won’t tear even more. You won’t have look for things that fall out of pockets, darn bigger holes, or put huge patches on knees. Throw out easily repaired clothing and your budget will develop holes!

For whatever reason, we live in a day when passing on the old wisdom is not popular. Discouraged even. Every person should be allowed to find their own way, to eventually discover the same truths that parents and grandparents used to share. Like me with the hole in my pocket.

When I was young my Aunt/Mom worked out and my various babysitters didn’t bother to teach me any practical skills or even basic common sense. They had nothing invested in my upbringing and Mom didn’t have time or energy after work. So I’ve learned a lot myself through trial and error, but I’m passing on some of this to my own grand-daughters.

I’m seeing that attitudes are shifting and passing on life’s truths will come back into style. Young people, they say, are overwhelmed and actually craving guidance from the old folks who’ve experienced and learned these lessons.

As another wise saying goes, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

“LOVE the Child”

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.


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!”