Of sangfroid she knows not a lot —
her temper has always been hot.
Her friends say she’s cooling
but they are just fooling;
instead she’s quit brimming the pot.
I’ve heard and read about the “dust bowl” years here on the prairie, about hoppers that could clean off a 160-acre field in a day, about horses and cows forced to eat the prickly Russian thistles because they were the only green thing growing anywhere, about the farmers who took jobs in the northern “parkland” part of the province to earn enough to get by for another year. So I made up this diary.
Prairie Farm Girl’s Diary — Summer 1934
A west wind blew the hoppers in
two days ago.
They cleaned the wheat crop
clear down to the ground
Dad went north to a lumber camp
so we can afford our grub and heat
and feed for the horses and cow –
unless it rains.
A stream of clouds went over
on their way to rain somewhere else,
Tom and I are minding the place
while Dad’s away and Mom’s in a dither
about all the dust.
She says we’re leaving this drought-deviled land
soon as Dad gets back.
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.
Crimson’s Creative Challenge #110
Here’s how it works:
Every Wednesday Crispina posts a photo (this week it’s the one below.)
Writers respond with something CREATIVE.
And have fun!
Here’s my 150-word response — those who have ordered things online will understand 😉 (Have I mentioned my books that got a side trip to Sweden?) Plus my response to the Word of the Day challenge: VERKLEMPT
“Hey, elf! Why you hanging there? Trying out your wings?”
“Nah. The mistress here ordered her Christmas gifts online and she’s getting anxious for their arrival. She’s hung me here to watch for the delivery van and holler the minute I see it.
“I’m sure the courier will ring the doorbell.”
“Mistakes have been known to happen. Wrong house number, that sort of thing. Some couriers think it’s close enough if they toss packages inside your front gate. So this is my post.”
“How long you been hanging there?”
“The package was shipped October 30th.”
“Six weeks! I’m afraid…”
“Yeah, hope grows dim. The mistress says she’ll be verklempt – clear over the moon – if and when she actually holds the package in her hand.”
“Might have done better sending it by reindeer and sleigh.”
“She was afraid they’d eat her yew trees. She wants the place looking nice for Christmas.”
Today I’ll combine my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt word, SNITCH
with The Sunday Whirl — Wordle #484
STORY SPINNER A master at crafting, your stories build walls; raise up humble dwellings and palaces tall. I look out the windows you've set in your halls – some frames bold and black, some narrow, some small. I spy this new country you've chosen to scrawl, this world to discover with scenes to enthrall. You've thrown up some cities and peopled them all, each soul with their trial and frequent downfall. You snitch someone's sweetheart misled by some knave; throw gallants to lions to prove themselves brave. I'll read half the night drawn into your spin. But, wasted next morning, I just want to sleep in!
I’ll always remember that pink hat. It was a real beauty, so big and floppy it made you think of a sombrero with flowers.
It was made up of threads, rings of variegated colour, with small white daisies decorating the front. At the back the brim was festooned with purple mums, each with a bright orange eye. As an added touch of pizzazz, a gold braid wound its way artfully around the brim, the ends hanging down in tassels.
My hat adventure started the week after the Sunday School picnic. I’d spent a couple of hours in the sunshine supervising the kindergarten class and came home from the event red-nosed, cheeks on fire.
On Sunday morning sympathetic friends suggested, “You should get yourself a sun hat, Andella.”
I’d always been too vain for a hat, I guess, but as I looked in the mirror now, I gave in gracefully. Yes, a hat may look old-fashioned — it may even make me look like a grandma — but in the long run it would save me some serious suffering. “Saved from the bakin’,” I murmured, then chuckled to myself.
As soon as I was presentable again I headed to the accessories counter at a local upscale department store, determined to fight back against those nasty UV rays that fry you and also wrinkle you in old age. I perused their selection of sports caps, straw hats and floppies. This would be my last sunburn.
Among the various toppers on display I saw this amazing creation. A delight to the eye, a real work of art. Love at first sight! I paled at the intimidating price tag, but affection always has a price, right? From now on I wouldn’t stint on such an important issue as my health and beauty.
So I swiped the old debit card and wore the thing home, feeling delighted knowing eyes were turning my way as I walked down the street. Had here been an Easter Parade I may well have won the “most colorful hat” contest.
The very next week I had the perfect chance to test my gorgeous creation. My sister had invited us to join them for a supper barbeque by the lake and the sun was shining brilliantly that afternoon. So I wore my pink hat, expecting to turn my sister an envious shade of green.
I took it from the shelf and gave it a little shake, enjoying the rustle of the silk flowers. “They look so real,” I told my husband as I admired the color combination. On impulse I gave it a spritz of my favorite cologne, Lilac Legacy.
“Most certainly they do, sweetheart,” he said. “I hope there’ll be no deer around. They may try to sample you.”
“Deer don’t eat lilacs so I’ll be alright,” I assured him. He carried out the picnic basket, I set my hat carefully in the back seat of the car, and we were off for a delightful day at the park.
Sporting my jaunty topper and my fuschia sun-dress, I marched over to the picnic area. But we’d barely joined my sister’s family when I heard this buzzing sound. Next thing my husband and sister were both shouting, “Look out, Andella! Don’t move.”
It’s very hard to restrain from swatting at bees when half a dozen are buzzing in your face. In fact I couldn’t resist slapping at one that landed on my collar and leapt from there to my hairline. Talk about a pain in the neck. A few well placed bee sings will get you there in no time.
Not thinking clearly, I stumbled toward the lake. Or maybe because the stings felt so much like fire my subconscious called for water. Then someone yelled something about some mud on the stings, so I waded knee-deep into the lapping waves and reached down to scoop up a handful.
Our ever-capricious forces of nature have deposited some oblong, slippery rocks in the water right about there. Of course my foot had to land on the edge of one. I groped for balance, took a misstep, and fell straight forward. And my beautiful pink hat with its cargo of mums and daisies, went floating away, pursued by a dozen frustrated bees.
Thankfully my husband was right there to assist me. But what consolation did my loving, compassionate sister say as I straggled out of the lake?
“Hey, Sis. You made quite the tsunami.” Adding insult to injury.
(Original image of pink hat: Ben Kerckz — Pixabay)
Ragtag Daily Prompt : DELIGHT