Sandwich Spread

Sandwich.freeThe Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SANDWICH

You’re all welcome to join the fun and post a poem, prose, photo, pertaining to the noble SANDWICH. And since I was the one who offered this prompt, I’d better respond, too. Here’s a little story my mom-in-law once told.

Years ago a busy mother, approaching middle age and broadening her…er…personal horizon, was visiting her doctor and he was concerned about her weight problem. (This was back in the 50s, while it was politically okay for a doctor to mention such things.)

“Your heart’s under too much strain, Helen. I think for your heart, and for the good of your overall health, that you’d better take off some of that weight.”

Helen sighed. “I’ve tried cutting back, but I just can’t seem to lose a pound. Even when I eat less and am on the run all day, I still don’t lose weight.”

“What foods do you normally eat?”

“Whatever I can put between two slices of bread.”

“Ah!” The doctor smiled. “Let’s start there.”

The Nursing Home

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was HABITAT

asia-1822460_640Last night I was reading some poems written by a man visiting his aged mother in the nursing home, and decided to write one myself, about an incident that happened when my Mom-in-law was 97. She had dementia, but not the total loss of Alzheimer’s, so she still had a sense of where she was living.

Wheeling Mom around the nursing home
we find the visitors’ room almost empty today.
Just one old gent in his wheelchair, staring silently
in peaceful meditation — or frustration?

We stop awhile in our rambling – and why not?
We’re just killing time, really. The last hours of a lifetime.
I pick a spot by the picture window and we gaze outside.
Beautiful yard. Even if her vision’s fuzzy, I hope
she can still catch some of the spring colour.

She looks around the huge room, discerning
a bit of the high ceilings and classy woodwork.
“My grandfather built this house,”
she informs the man, with a touch of pride,
not remembering that this isn’t a house.

When we first brought her here she thought
it was a junkyard, the final habitat of old and unwanted.
But that memory’s gone; now, thankfully, she likes
this place her grandpa built — sometimes just worked on.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,”
the old fellow snaps. One of the lucid ones, bad luck.
Held captive here by his lack of mobility, perhaps,
but wheelchairs don’t affect the understanding.

“He did!” Mom insists. “My grandpa built this place
and Uncle Pete helped.” Because didn’t they both live here?
And weren’t they both carpenters? Good ones, too!
She remembers her Dad getting letters from his sister;
she and Uncle Pete did live here, back in the ’30s.

Her dad was blind so she read everything to him,
so she knows. How dare this man contradict her!
Of course she remembers her grandpa. Even Uncle Pete –
if only from those letters Aunt Catherine wrote.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
But his harsh retort just bounces off her certainty.
I decide to continue our stroll and wheel her down the hall
while she can still be right – and he’s definitely wrong.

Fire in the Forest

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was COUNTLESS BRANCHES

A forest of living, greening branches can be an inspiring sight, but here’s an account of a raging blaze started in the felled trees on a homesteader’s farm. They were set ablze by the hired man, who had good intentions, but seriously lacked common sense. The REBLOG button on his post isn’t working, so I’ve reprinted this from Flatlander Faith.com. See the original post HERE.

[This is an excerpt from a Canadian Classic, Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie, first published in 1852.  At the climax of the crisis described here, she buries her head in her apron. It was her custom to  pull up her apron to cover her head for privacy when praying.]

The winter and spring of 1834 had passed away. The latter was uncommonly cold and backward; so much so that we had a very heavy fall of snow upon the 14th and 15th of May

A late, cold spring in Canada is generally succeeded by a burning, hot summer; and the summer of ’34 was the hottest I ever remember.  No rain fell upon the earth for many weeks, till nature drooped and withered beneath one bright blaze of sunlight; and the ague and fever in the woods, and the cholera in the large towns and cities, spread death and sickness through the country.

Moodie had made during the winter a large clearing of twenty acres around the house. The progress of the workmen had been watched by me with the keenest interest. Every tree that reached the ground opened a wider gap in the dark wood, giving us a broader ray of light and a clearer glimpse of the blue sky. But when the dark cedar swamp fronting the house fell beneath the strokes of the axe, and we got a first view of the lake my joy was complete: a new and beautiful object was now constantly before me, which gave me the greatest pleasure.

The confusion of an uncleared fallow spread around us on every side. Huge trunks of trees and piles of brush gave a littered and uncomfortable appearance to the locality, and as the weather had been very dry for some weeks, I heard my husband talking with his choppers as to the expediency of firing the fallow. They still urged him to wait a little longer, until he could get a good breeze to carry the fire well through the brush.

Business called him suddenly to Toronto, but he left a strict charge with old Thomas and his sons, who were engaged in the job, by no means to attempt to burn it off till he returned, as he wished to be upon the premises himself in case of any danger. He had previously burnt all the heaps immediately about the doors. While he was absent, old Thomas and his second son fell sick with the ague, and went home to their own township, leaving John, a surly, obstinate young man, in charge of the shanty, where they slept, and kept their tools and provisions.

The day was sultry, and towards noon a strong wind sprang up that roared in the pine tops like the dashing of distant billows, but without in the least degree abating the heat. The children were lying listlessly on the floor for coolness, and the girl and I were finishing sun-bonnets, when Mary suddenly exclaimed, “Bless us, mistress, what a smoke!” I ran immediately to the door, but was not able to distinguish ten yards before me. The swamp immediately below us was on fire, and the heavy wind was driving a dense black cloud of smoke directly towards us.

“What can this mean?” I cried. “Who can have set fire to the fallow?”

John Thomas stood pale and trembling before me. “John, what is the meaning of this fire?”

“Oh, ma’am, I hope you will forgive me; it was I set fire to it, and I would give all I have in the world if I had not done it.”

“What is the danger?”

“Oh, I’m terribly feared that we shall all be burnt up,” said the fellow, beginning to whimper.

“We must get out of it as fast as we can, and leave the house to its fate.”

“We can’t get out,” said the man, in a low, hollow tone, which seemed the concentration of fear; “I would have got out if I could; but just step to the back door, ma’am, and see.”

I had not felt the least alarm up to this minute. Judge then my horror, when, on going to the back door, I saw that the fellow, to make sure of his work, had fired the field in fifty different places. Behind, before, on every side, we were surrounded by a wall of fire, burning ferociously within a hundred yards of us, and cutting off all possibility of retreat.

I closed the door and went back to the parlour. Fear was knocking loudly at my heart – I felt stupefied. The girl sat upon the floor by the children, who had both fallen asleep. She was silently weeping; while the fool who had caused the mischief was crying aloud.

A strange calm succeeded my first alarm; tears and lamentations were useless; a horrible death was impending over us, and yet I could not believe that we were to die.

My eye fell upon the sleeping angels, locked peacefully in each other’s arms, and my tears flowed for the first time. Mary, the servant-girl, looked piteously up in my face. The good, faithful creature had not uttered one word of complaint, but now she faltered forth, “The dear precious lambs! Oh such a death!”

I threw myself down upon the floor beside them, and pressed them alternately to my heart, while inwardly I thanked God that they were asleep, unconscious of danger.

The heat soon became suffocating. We were parched with thirst, and there was not a drop of water in the house. I turned once more to the door, hoping that a passage might have been burnt through to the water. I saw nothing but a dense cloud of fire and smoke – could hear nothing but the crackling and roaring of the flames, which were gaining so fast on us that I felt their scorching breath in my face.

“Ah,” thought I – and it was a most bitter thought – “what will my beloved husband say when he returns and finds that poor Susy and his dear girls have perished in this miserable manner? But God can save us yet.”

The thought had scarcely found a voice in my heart before the wind rose to a hurricane, scattering the flames on all sides into a tempest of burning billows. I buried my head in my apron, for I thought that our time was come, and that all was lost, when a most terrific crash of thunder burst over our heads, and, like the breaking of a water-spout, down came the rushing torrent of rain which had been pent up for so many weeks. In a few minutes the chip-yard was all afloat, and the fire effectually checked. The storm which, unnoticed by us, had been gathering all day, and which was the only one of any note we had that summer, continued to rage all night, and before morning had quite subdued the cruel enemy whose approach we had viewed with such dread.

The imminent danger in which we had been placed struck me more forcibly after it was past than at the time, and both the girl and myself sank to our knees and offered up our hearts in humble thanksgiving to that God who had saved us by an act of His Providence from an awful and sudden death. When all hope from human assistance was lost, His hand was mercifully stretched forth, making His strength more perfectly manifested in our weakness.

“He is their stay when earthly hope is lost,
The light and anchor of the tempest-toss’d.”

The Fish or the Flop?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is FLOUNDER

Which brings to mind that old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Was the fish named because of its flopping, or was the flopping named after the flounder that flopped around when caught?

Inquiring from wise old Mr Webster, I learned that there was a FLOUNDER – the fish – before there was a floundering of anything else. However, the verb FLOUNDER is believed to have been a twist of the much older word, FOUNDER, or possibly a blend between FOUNDER and BLUNDER.

Your Daily Word prompt is SWAMPED
The Word of the Day challenge is NOTHING
These prompt words bring to mind one trial in my life, so I’ll share something about that.

FLOUNDER is a good word for me: I often feel like I’m floundering. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve all these “someday” sewing and writing projects that need finishing. My “Bucket List,” if you will. Most of the time I can keep my heard above water, but some days I feel SWAMPED by the need to deal with said mess. All these notebooks full of scribbled poem bits, now tossed in a tub awaiting future attention — to say NOTHING of the tubs awaiting attention in my sewing room.

It’s all about perspective, right? “Just pick one thing and get started,” several friends have told me. So, do I have a full-blown case of OCD or ADD that keeps me from sticking with a task, or is it all just a lack of self-discipline? Scatterbrained, the old folks used to say.

Have you noticed that some thinking can put you on a real teeter-totter? When I’m feeling down about this mess, the philosopher in me rises up and asks accusingly, “Which came first, the mind-set or the mess? What major changes need to happen in your personality in order to avoid this situation?”

Oh, help! I think I’ll go read a good book.

Then along comes another Monday. I’m so thankful for Mondays; for me each one is a new start, a chance to get my head above the waves again and start paddling.

cropped-cake-3163117_1280.jpgTogether with the grandchildren, I worked on some sewing projects last Friday and today I plan to continue that good work. And once I get my sewing space all cleaned up, I’ll throw one mega-celebration. Chocolate cake and ice cream and… 😉

Ah! Incentive, that’s the key. Or does the answer lie in just accepting the mess as is? What do you think?

Hanging On

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is HANG ON
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge is CONTEMPLATE

temp-challenge

So this morning I’ve been contemplating the various aspects of hanging on. Consider the tree in this photo. It had no easy way in life; it didn’t just thrust its roots down into nutrient-rich soil and grow. Rather, it had to made its own spot and hang on.

A seed sprouted in some bit of dirt that accumulated in a crevice, taking what nourishment it could get from the rainfall. Then its root drilled into the rock tendril by tendril, day after day, to anchor itself against the wild winds that would tear it out. As its root wedged the rock apart, it collected more wind-blown soil and rain and kept on reaching for the sunlight above.

While the tree needed to put forth those efforts to anchor itself, of greater importance is WHAT it’s anchored to. It isn’t clinging to a mountain of cotton candy. That rock has stood from the beginning of time and will not be moved by storms that blast over it.

I recall an account I read after a tornado in Ontario years ago. A man was working in a Dept of Highways equipment shed when the workers heard the tornado bearing down on them.  In desperation this man grabbed some solid piece of steel equipment, hoping the twister wouldn’t carry him away. A moment later the tornado ripped the roof off the shed, sucked up the three-ton road grader nearby and carried it away. You could almost think the storm was making fun of his idea of “something solid.”

Snail.Bellezza87
Bellezza87 — Pixabay

Right now a wild virus has been sweeping across our whole planet, disrupting our lives like we never imagined anything could — short of a war. And here we are, poor creatures, trying to hang on and carry on as best we can.

We’ve been given many warnings and guidelines to help us stay healthy. Fearing shortages, people have rushed to stock up on necessities — probably making matters worse — but I trust we all know that hanging onto a mountain of toilet paper and dry pasta isn’t going to assure our survival.

How we weather the emotional part of this storm — and future storms — will be determined by what security, what type of rock, we’re hanging onto, won’t it?

In these scary times, here’s the Rock Christians are clinging to:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39

Memories Within

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LOOKING WITHIN

Today I plan to do some looking within my cupboards to make up a good shopping list. Shopping is one thing that seems to have changed a lot in this current crisis and I’ve always been rather haphazard about it before, forgetting the list at home, forgetting some important item. Now I need to sharpen up, when both our shopping time and store supplies are limited.

I’ve also been looking within my sewing closet; yesterday I took advantage of the grandchildren being home from school and took a box of sewed blocks (for two baby blanket tops) over to their house. I had the granddaughters help me lay out these squares out on the floor and decide their order.

Any project is a whole lot better when you have cheerful helping hands—especially when they belong to flexible children who don’t mind crawling around on the floor to set out the blocks and shift them around to a suitable pattern. And we get the added bonus of making sweet memories together. 🙂

Here’s a poem that speaks of another kind of looking within; no matter where we are and what our stresses, we can all take a moment to enjoy a stroll through the corridors where we store our pleasant memories.

Floral + Poem.Prawny
                  Image by Prawny  —  Pixabay