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.

Another Dream Gone Down

This morning while I was searching for facts to go with my last “ANNIVERSARY” post, I came across one that I’ve decided to pair up with Crimson’s Creative Challenge this week. Here’s her photo and details:

Every Wednesday I post a photo. You respond with something CREATIVE.
Here are some suggestions:

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

Here’s this week’s photo

And here’s my response:

April 14, 1912

“If you don’t quit watching that ship and look where you’re puttin’ your feet we’ll be fishing you out of the drink.”

“But just look at her, will you,” Greg exclaimed as the ship sailed away. “Such a beauty! What I wouldn’t give to be aboard.”

“I don’t know. She might be cursed. What with everyone sayin’ even God can’t sink her, I’m afearin’ such pride’ may be over-grievin’ to th’Almighty. What if He decides to prove…”

Greg interrupted the pessimistic old salt. “The Almighty doesn’t give two pence what people are saying about her.”

“Lotta people aboard that ship.”

“And I’d give anything to be one of them!” Greg sighed and went back to winding cables on the dock. “Someday I’ll take that Titanic ship myself. See if I don’t!”

Come morning his dream was lost in the Atlantic’s icy waters, along with 1500 other dreams.