The Wallpaper

Terry was measuring off the first strip of wallpaper when he heard the doorbell. He dashed down the stairs to answer. Glancing through the diamond porthole in the door he saw his friend Gavin standing on the step.

“Hi Gav. Sorry you had to wait but I was upstairs. Come on in.”

“Thanks. Just thought I’d see what you’re up to this morning.” Gavin glanced around. “Sasha not home?”

“Nah. We’re getting the nursery ready, got the wallpaper yesterday, so she went shopping for some accessories. Don’t know why the baby needs accessories, but you know how women are. I said I’d make a start at hanging the wallpaper. You maybe can help me– I’ve never done this before.”

“Oh, I don’t know… How fussy is she?”

“I think it should be easy enough to hang. All balloons. Come on up.” Terry led the way to the nursery.

Gavin looked at the wallpaper strip partly unrolled on the floor. “No kidding, all balloons! Are you sure you’re going to be happy with that when it’s on the wall? It’d make me dizzy.”

“Sasha thinks it’s perfect, so who am I to argue? My job is just to slap it on.”

Gavin eyed the repeating shapes with a frown. “Might be tricky to get it cut right.”

“No sweat. Just have to match these half-balloons at the edges.”

He knelt on the floor and rolled out a second strip next to the first, lined up the balloon and was ready to cut when Gavin said, “Wait a minute!”

Terry looked up. “Problem?”

“If you put those strips together that way every side balloon will be mismatched. See here, this balloon will be half red and half blue. I think the idea is to match the colors, not just the balloons. Blue with blue; red with red. Like this.” He took the roll from Terry and demonstrated.

Terry eyed the two strips. “What a waste of paper! This kiddie design stuff costs big time – and I’m sure Junior won’t care. But yeah. Sasha might not be too happy if they don’t match. Good thing you came along.”

With Gavin’s help Terry got the papering done quickly, then the two of them stood back to survey the overall effect. Gavin winced at the brightness of all those balloons.

Terry shrugged. “Wouldn’t have been my pick. But this is what she wanted and I won’t be spending much time in here. Come on, let’s grab a coffee.”

As soon as Sasha returned from her shopping trip Terry led her upstairs. “The job’s all done, sweetheart. Hope you like it.”

Gavin trailed after them, curious to see her reaction.

Sasha walked into the nursery and looked around. They observed that her face didn’t light up with joy as she studied the wallpaper.

“Something wrong,” Terry asked.

“I…uh.. I guess… I never thought… I mean, it looked great in the sample book but I didn’t get the picture of how a whole room would look with this on all four walls. It’s really pretty, but…uh…”

“A bit overwhelming,” Gavin suggested.

“Yeah. A bit.” Maybe we could paint two of the walls something plain.”

Terry huffed. “You mean paint over this new, expensive wallpaper?”

“Or take some of it down? Maybe we could reglue it and hang it… Maybe in the office?”

“No way!”

Gavin decided this would be a good time for him to disappear.

🙂

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning that inspired my little tale is REPEATING SHAPES
The image I’ve used is from Pixabay, created by AnnaliseArt

The Brevity of a Dash

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is BREVITY

And I suppose a person’s thoughts automatically go to “the brevity of life.” At least mine did, so here’s my response:

“Pleasant View” – what an upbeat name for a cemetery! Definitely a “Rest in Peace” note to that. I suspect half the cemeteries in this country are named Pleasant View, Rest Haven, or some slight variation.

I stroll through the cemetery searching familiar names and came across two identical tombstones, side by side. Small flat marble slabs, the first bearing the name:
James A Thorlakson
1933 – 1956

I pondered for a moment how much living is represented by that brief dash:
The baby in his mother’s arms, lovingly welcomed into the family
The small boy growing up in Aunt Sadie’s large family
The rough and tumble of childhood antics with three brothers
Sitting in school day after day, learning the three R’s –or daydreaming?
The teen years with their whirl of picnics, socials, weddings
His marriage to Margaret; the joys of setting up a home
Finding work in the oil fields, moving to southern Saskatchewan
Then the fatal car accident that etched the final date on his tombstone

The dates and the dash do tell me about the brevity of his life. Likewise with the next marble slab:
Walter F Thorlakson
1933 – 1956

I know that this single young man was killed in the same fiery car crash, together with their brother-in-law. Thank God cars have a better electrical system nowadays that they don’t burst into flames after a crash!

The dates don’t tell you how the three young men, all employed in the oil field, jumped in the car one Sunday afternoon – headed to a store? – and died on the highway near Weyburn. A family tragedy.

Their father couldn’t bear his loss. Depressed, he took his life in 1958. Another life abbreviated by this tragedy. His tombstone rests here in Pleasant View Cemetery as well.

Aunt Sadie carried on, bearing her losses and raising her other children as best she could. Sadie lived to be 92; her dash represents many years lived before and after these heartaches and others. For all her suffering, in her older years when I knew her, she was the sweetest, kindest person.

A Writer’s Cloud Nine

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is OSCILLATE

Seeing this word piqued my curiosity. What’s the difference between OSCILLATE and VACILLATE?

Pursuing this inkblot of thought has put me on a cloud nine a-puff with a plethora of delectable VERBS!

Over at one of my favorite hangouts, Merriam-Webster, I’ve learned that
Oscillate means to swing back and forth,
or move back and forth between two points
For example: an oscillating electric fan.
You can oscillate between opposing beliefs, feelings, or theories
For example, the way people’s moods and views on whatever tend to do.
Oscillate can mean a variation from a fixed or given point
For example: Stats, interest rates, test results that vary from the norm.
Or how clean your laundry actually get compared to those in the ads for new Blastout laundry detergent.

All the lovely & useful words explained for comparison sake:
swing, sway, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate

When I hear the word OSCILLATE my mind automatically goes to a fan, because it carries the sense of a regular or timed back & forth.

Vacillate means:
– to waver in mind, will, or feeling, hesitate between choices
– prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision.
Pondering, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” is vacillating if you do it for long.

Or to sway through lack of equilibrium, to fluctuate, oscillate. When I think of VACILLATE, I automatically think of indecision.

More lovely and useful synonyms:
Hesitate, waver, dither, teeter

Word lover that I am, this is like a trip through the chocolate factory, inhaling the aromas. I hesitate to promise I’ll put all these useful verbs to use –and I may vacillate at times as to which one to choose – but it’s always good to understand the nuances.

The Center Cross

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is BACKBONE

I can think of various examples, but I’ll go with this one:

The cross is the BACKBONE of the Christian faith.

For those who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and have accepted his gospel, the cross represents his dying to pay the price for our sins – a price we cannot pay no matter how good we try to be.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Isaiah 64:6
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

The cross represents our “death” to the selfishness inherent in human nature. The selfishness that wants my own way no matter what it costs others, or how I would use them for my own ends.

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11

The cross is especially symbolic in that the central beam of the cross points us toward God, lifting us nearer to Him. The crossbeam points us toward our fellow man, encouraging us to reach out to others.

In all the years since Jesus died, the cross has stood and is as effective and liberating today. Those who have embraced it will tell you so.

Beat It If You Can But Don’t Knock It

Some folks spend their days
sitting on a bench feeding the pigeons.
Don’t knock it.
You don’t know where they’ve been,
what all they’ve done, how many miles
they’ve walked to get to that bench.

But you do know what YOU can do.
Do the best you’re capable of doing;
in the end it’s the only way
you’ll be able to live with yourself.
Learn ambition, but learn compassion, too.
Both important things in this old world.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BENCH

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.