Maritime Morning

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is GOODBYE.

I wrote this short story some years back, but I think it will be a suitable response:

Maritime Morning

It was the perfect day for sorrow.

Grey veils drifted across the sky and mist blanketed the sea, a reflection of the murky future. Only the tiny waves rippling toward the shore disturbed the ocean’s dark surface; only a gentle rise and fall bore evidence of the giant sleeping below.

A small row-boat bobbed up and down ever so slightly with each swell, its docking rope barely pulling at the mooring. The big fishing boats were still at rest, shrouded in the mist, waiting for the fishermen to fire up their engines and point them seaward. The sailors were still at home, lingering over their morning coffee, waiting for the fog to lift.

All was silent except for one old horse that plodded along the gravel road, still half asleep. Some farmer riding out to check his fields; saving gas and trusting his horse rather than his battered old truck. No danger of him losing his way in the gray mist; habit had mapped the route indelibly in the old horse’s brain.

Down at the wharf a boy sat all alone on the lower dock, legs dangling over, toes not quite touching the water. He gazed over the sea, recording the muffled cries of invisible gulls and sandpipers as they scavenged along the shore and the far off droning of some foghorn. He studied the small seabirds as they paddled on the water’s surface, appearing and disappearing amidst patches of fog. He strained his eyes to define the that elusive line where water met sky.

From his small space in the universe, he contemplated the power of the sea. That great expanse that fed them, that bobbed them up and down from one shore to another, that challenged and tested their mettle. One day it held them so gently on the palm of its mighty hand; the next day dashed and crashed them from towering peaks into deep green troughs. Troughs that could swallow a fleet of ships at a gulp, the old-timers said. He’d seen the tails of those big waves lashing these docks and he right well believed it!

The subject of his contemplation was at this moment as docile as a lamb. The expanse of sea was as gray as the sky overhead, as gray as the fog that blanketed the shore. The only variation he could see as he looked around was a thick dark line away beyond the clearing behind him; the woods were too big to hide completely in the fog.

Somewhere on the eastern horizon a red sun would be peeping over the ocean; his watch told him so, though not one beam penetrated the cotton batting that wrapped the small town. Yes, this was a perfect day for sorrow and regret, for leaving the people and the home you love.

He stood to say a last goodbye, looking around at every familiar thing, taking mental pictures, wanting to have these scenes filed away for the lonely days ahead. He wanted to drink in as much of his home as he could before the ferry left at ten.

The sea. Would he ever see it again?

Whatnot Wednesday

Fellow blogger Biff has done another Whatnot Wednesday and invites other bloggers to respond by likewise posting a bit of misc trivia. Here’s my contribution. (To further reinforce my caution in this morning’s post about name-calling.)

A Belisha beacon, consists of a lamp with an amber globe sitting atop a tall black and white pole, marked pedestrian crossings in the United Kingdom and other countries historically influenced by Britain. The flashing light warns motorists to watch for pedestrians crossing.

It was named after Leslie Hore-Belisha, the Minister of Transport who in 1934 added beacons to pedestrian crossings. The first one became operational on July 4, 1935. These crossings were later painted in black and white stripes, and have become known as “zebra crossings.” Since then, Belisha beacons have been replaced by WALK signals for pedestrians.

Not long after Belisha beacons were set up in London the King and his Queen were enjoying a pleasant drive through the city in the royal limousine. They passed an intersection where one of these lights had been installed.

“Pull over,” King Edward instructed their chauffeur. “I want to test one of these crossings and see how well they actually work,” he told the Queen.

The chauffeur parked the car a short way down the street and the King got out. He walked back up the street to the crossing and about five minutes later he returned. As he climbed back into the car he was chuckling.

The Queen looked at him curiously and asked, “What’s so amusing?”

He grinned at her. “One of my loyal subjects just called me a doddering old fool.”

OFF WITH HIS HEAD!
the red queen

flexes her guillotine
toady or kneel

Jack’s Abstemious Diet

The Word of the Day challenge this morning was JACK.
I thought of various Jacks, some authors like Jack London and Clive Staples Lewis, whose nickname was Jack. There are various Jacks mentioned in poems, like Jack who went up the hill with Jill, and Jack who ate his Christmas pie. Finally I opted to do something with the Jack who could eat no fat — poor fellow!
The Ragtag Daily prompt this morning was HEWN, so I’ll include that in my response, too. They say you should have fun with the writing prompts, so here’s my fun rhyme.

FOR THE GOOD OF HIS HEALTH

Bucking all of the sumptuous trends,
Jack’s diet’s been hewn to abstemious ends,
poor Jack gets all the leanest grub
while his dear little wife…ah there’s the rub!

Jack salts his spuds and peppers his beef
not a lick of gravy to give them relief;
forbidden the butter, denied sour cream.
He’s wasting away on this fat-less regime!

His wife does her part to empty the plates
of anything fatty Jack might want to taste;
she, ever-vigilant, metes out his diet
no oil on the salad — though Jack once did try it.

He watches his missus pour on the cheese sauce;
to moisten his veggies, Jack gets barley broth.
She slathers on gravy, eats ham with the fat,
poor Jack’s turning pale as he takes in all that.

Mrs Spratt finished the whole Christmas cake;
for hubby’s dessert a scone she did bake.
He gnawed on the morsel all afternoon
thinking it must be of ebony hewn.

He rues that sad day when his doc, meaning good,
said Jack mustn’t have so much fat in his food,
for Mrs Spratt took the instructions entire
and now from starvation he may well expire.

BOOKS: A Perfect Day

For those of you who are looking for some really good holiday reading, here’s my suggestion:

A Perfect Day by [Evans, Richard, Richard Paul Evans]

The story opens with Robert Harlan striving to move up in his position doing radio ad sales, and working slowly on the side to write a book. He wants to tell the story of love and family — his wife’s close relationship with her father, especially as the father’s health fails. One day he’s called into his supervisor’s office confident he’s got that promotion he’s been working for. Instead, he’s fired for lack of achievement. (And so his supervisor can give the position to a current flame.) He’s furious.

Feeling like a failure, Rob mopes around too long at home. His loving and supportive wife, Allyson, finally gives him the push he needs to get with it and finish that book. So he applies himself to the task and once it’s done he decides he needs an agent. He sends out twenty-five letters and gets repeated rejections.

He accepts his failure as a writer, among his other failures in life, and wonders where to from here, but then he gets a call from one of the last agents, Camille. She and her boss love his story and she agrees to represent him. She visits their home, interviews them really likes what she observes of their love for each other. Camille warns him that fame is hard on a family; he should hold on tight to the happy home he has. At this point he has no worries; fame hasn’t landed at his door yet.

If you’ve ever heard the story behind the song, “Silver Threads Among the Gold” you will guess where this is headed. Suddenly Robert gets a whacking big advance and becomes a success, a best-selling author doing book tours, signings, talk shows. And has no time for his wife and daughter. Tensions build up; Allyson resents his celebrity world that shuts out his family. Rob decides to move out. Later, under pressure from a big shot agent who’s offering so much more — a movie contract even — he fires Camille.

As Rob reaches for the pinnacle of success, and is waiting at a coffee shop to sign the new agent’s contract that will make him filthy rich, a younger man slips into the seat beside him. The younger man begins to talk; Rob is startled when this newcomer starts telling him things about himself that no one should know. This strange man, who calls himself Michael, tells Rob that he’s been tried and found wanting, that his days are numbered. He also tell him that the big shot agent isn’t going to show up. He’s been intercepted and sent elsewhere.

Initially Rob’s a skeptic, but as the days go on, there are signs…and strange e-mail messages…about his number being up. Rob’s alarmed. Where does this guy get his information? How has he infiltrated Rob’s e-mail? Could this really be a messenger from heaven?

I wondered where the author was going with this, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story played out. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

The Reckoning

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is RECKONING
And here is my response:

Frustrated.RobinHiggins
Robin Higgins – Pixabay

Me And My Big Mouth!

She started out to say, “You know, yesterday I met a cousin of Katie Powers.” She trailed off, evidently gathering her thoughts.

I was so certain that I knew exactly where she was heading that I blasted back with a witty retort. Well…sort of witty. Sort of catty.

Her eyes focused on my face again and my conscience smacked me when I saw the startled look in her eye. I’d hurt her deeply; I was sure of it.

Filled with remorse, I started to babble. “I’m so sorry! I never should have said that! When you said you’d heard…well, I was just sure you were going to bring up what Katie and I had talked about. But of course you don’t know anything about that. And even if you do, you’d be too good a friend to bring it up in public like this where anybody might hear.” I waved my hand toward some other patrons in the crowded coffee shop.

My throat was so tight now I could hardly go on. “You’ve always been a good friend and I shouldn’t jump to such conclusions. And even if you were going to start in about what you heard, I shouldn’t make such a sarcastic comment. Can you ever forgive me?”

I paused. How would she react? Would my harsh response throw a wedge in our friendship?

She looked at me and opened her mouth, then paused to compose her reply. This is it, I thought. The moment of reckoning.

“What did you say, Terri? The two at that table over there started discussing someone I know. My mind was distracted and I didn’t hear you. I’m sorry. What’s this about Katie? Were you talking to her lately?”

Move over, Humpty Dumpty.

Eggs-pressions.lynnalynn0
Image: lynnalynn0 at Pixabay

 

A Strange and Beautiful Flower

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SLEEP

My replay will be this poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
As I read this, I thought what a wonderful short story this could give! 🙂

WHAT IF YOU SLEPT ?

What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked a strange
and beautiful flower

And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in you hand
Ah, what then?