The Partnership

Many years ago a husband and father died, leaving his wife the burden of raising their six children. How could she face the challenge of financial as well as parenting responsibilities?

Placing her dilemma in God’s hands, she carried on, not only parenting their children but adopting twelve others along the way and raising them all to be decent people and good citizens. Someone asked her one day how she managed to keep it all together. She always always appeared so relaxed in spite of her busy life, surviving on a “bare necessities” budget.

“Oh, I’m in a partnership,” she told the questioner. “That keeps me going.”

“Oh, really? What kind of partnership and with who?”

“After my husband died I told the Lord that I’d do the work and He could do the worrying. I haven’t had a worry since.”

Do you have a partnership like that?

I’ve retold this story from one I read in an Our Daily Bread devotional booklet from the ’70s.

Abstemious Diet Plan

I fear you’re going to get mixed signals between this post and my last one, which was titled An Interesting Home. This is the poem I planned to send under the title, An Abstemious Diet.

I wrote this as a response to the prompt word abstemious. shall I include it in my next book of flash fiction?

Conference with Flesh & Buds

Mad dash threading my way through the crowd,
determined to reach the podium.
Bump into bodies; purses and notebooks trip me;
stop for quick apologies,
then on I rush, my eyes always on the goal.

I have to talk that man!
I have to tell him how his words have ignited my hope!
I will devote myself to the plan he outlined;
I will follow in his footsteps, do just what he did,
and I, too, will achieve!

He turns to leave the podium.
My heart cries, “Wait! I have to talk to you!”
Oh, great–he does stop–
lingering for a few words with the MC.
Reckless now, I dash up the steps.
I’ve made it!
Then all my word fly away as I
gasp for dear life itself.

His eyes meet mine, see my fluster,
understand what I long to say.
I dig into my purse and pull out a chocolate bar;
with ceremony I hand it to him.
He smiles and accepts my offering…
my pledge of purity…
my thanks.

I pivot and disappear down the steps,
embarrassed, but set free.
Self gratification be mortified!
I serve a new master now:
betrothed now to the wonder-working diet plan
this advocate of abstemious eating has just extolled.

Check out my newly published book of short stories and poems here:

Silver Morning Song on Amazon

An Interesting Home

Happy Birthday to our son-in-law. As they say, “The big 40!” Picnic supper planned for family and friends this evening at our school.

This morning I came back down to earth from the whirlwind I’ve been caught up in for the past two days. I’ve been turning over ideas for the title, cover, content of my next book, but now have recalled all the other projects that need to be finished first. 🙂 I’m still enthused about compiling a second book of flash fiction stories, but will work at it little by little over time rather than trying to do it all in a rush.

One thing I remembered is that I want to start posting on Tree Top Haiku again, and so have scheduled a week’s worth of posts, to start next Monday.

We were sitting at the dinner table enjoying some moments of peace and quiet after our meal when what to our wondering ears did appear but the unique tweeting of tree swallows. I can scarcely believe the first ones have returned already. Only a few, though. I have yet to see the main migration, but my impression has been that fewer are coming back nowadays. Last year we didn’t have nearly as many as in the first years when I started putting up nest boxes for them, but this may be part of a cycle. I hope so; I really enjoy their friendly chipping.

And now, here’s one quick non-fiction story from years ago that I plan to put in my next book.

The difference between a man’s perspective and a woman’s can give us a real chuckle at times.

When we sold our home in Ontario, our realtor, Paul C, told us about another house he’d been asked to sell. He says he walked up to the living room window and looked in — there being no glass to interfere with his view.

The house had running water of a sort. There was a large hole cut in the kitchen floor; as he looked down he could see an open well about twelve feet below. The owner had hooked up an old washing machine motor and pipe beside the hole so they could pump water into the kitchen sink.

Paul mentioned a few other “unique” features that I forget now. He was delighted when someone actually came forward with an “as is” offer on the place. The day he took the paperwork over for the owner to sign, the sad fellow sat there for awhile after accepting the offer, then threw his arms out in despair and wailed, “I can’t figure it. All this luxury and she left me!”

Paul was all sympathy. “Yep. There’s no understanding women.”

I asked him, “And did a bee fly in the window opening right then and sting you?”

He laughed. “Well, maybe it should have.”

At that moment we understood each other perfectly.

Books: Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine

I downloaded an e-book from the local lending library a couple of days ago and read it yesterday evening. Now I want to tell you about it because I thought it was a really neat novella and well worth reading.

The title: Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine
Book #13 in the Isabel Dalhousie series

© 2016 by Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Penguin Random House

This is a unique story about ethics.

Isabel Dalhousie, a young wife in Edinburgh, owner and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics meets a friend at an art previewing prior next week’s auction. As they visit and look around at the upcoming sale items, Roz draws Isabel’s attention to one picture. She shares a bit of vital information about its value — and extracts from Isabel the promise that she’ll not tell a soul. Since the auctioneer obviously doesn’t realize the painting’s true worth, Roz plans to get it for a song, resell it, and make a small fortune.

The story’s maybe a bit wordy in places as Isabel muses over the ethics of this and other sticky situations she encounters during the week. She tries to sort out what she should do, if anything, with the help — or dissuasion — of her husband. He calls her his “sweet, thoughtful valentine” and wishes she would stay out of other people’s problems.

The art drama intensifies when she meets another friend by chance one day. Ruth’s in a financial bind, having to sell her home, also her mother’s belongs, to pay for her mother’s stay in a nursing home where she’s getting really good care. Ruth has sent a few of her mother’s paintings to an upcoming art sale. They likely won’t bring much, but…

The awful truth dawns — and Isabel is really in the treacle.

The writer has done a great job of squeezing poor Isabel between a rock and a hard place, between one friend and another, between promise and conscience. Will she practice the ethics she preaches or mind her own business? I found the solution intriguing  and unexpected.

This author has also written the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, the 44 Scotland Street Series and the Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series and others.

Rock-Conner, Teen Idol

Man reading

“Hey, girl!” Angie whispered in her friend’s ear. “See that old geezer in the gray sweater? You’d never guess, but that’s Rock-Conner!”

“Are you sure?” Tammy stared at the broad back of the older man reading a paper. “It can’t be.”

“I’m certain.” Angie squeezed into the booth across from her friend. “I got a good look at him when I came in. That is indeed Rock-Conner, our teen idol.”

“But Rock-Conner was skinny as a string bean! And remember his wild mop of hair?”

Angie snorted. “Thirty-some years ago. I saw an article about him recently; apparently he still sings at charity events.”

Tammy chuckled. “My older sisters always swooned over him. My cousin Janet even vowed she’d marry Rock-Conner someday. And remember his wild psychedelic outfits?” Tammy noted the man’s subdued attire. “Whatever happened?”

“Hey. Remember OUR wild outfits, funky flowers, platform shoes? Back when your hair was naturally red?”

“And I remember when your nickname was Twiggy.”

Angie rubbed her well padded hips. “Before my three babies.” She sighed. “Life is cruel.”

Tammy eyed the elderly gent — her teen idol — now staring out the window. Was he recalling those years, too? “I think I need another latte.”

“Second that. Then maybe I’ll go sign up at Fresco Fitness.”

Dear Readers,
I have a birthday coming up: at the end of this month I turn 65. So you may be seeing more Getting-older type tales and poems in the next few weeks. 🙂

Nursing Home Musings

I’ve been going through a lot of old papers stashed away for years, mostly unfinished symphonies. 😉 Among them was an even longer version this poem I’ve decided to edit and post. (I remember now why I never finished it before. 🙂 )

Having worked in seniors’ homes over the years, I’ve seen various sides to this issue. I’ve seen parents whose children do visit often, and parents whose children, for some (often valid) reason, don’t. I’m curious to know what you think as you read this senior’s musings. Do you think her complaint’s valid, is she forgetting how often her children do visit, or is she whining too much?

Where Are My Children Tonight?

I’m lonely tonight in this old nursing home,
wishing that one of my children would come.
The visitors passing glance down but don’t care
to speak to the woman that sits in this chair.
I see them arriving; they come with a smile
to visit their parents and chat for awhile.
I do hope my children come see me tonight.

I’d love it if one of my boys would drop by
to talk of old times, even just to say “Hi”;
or my daughters—they surely could think of their Mom?
But it seems so long since anyone’s come.
I wonder what they are all doing tonight?

When Dad passed away, the children were good
to come to the service and cry like they should;
they took care of the will and the funeral, too,
and they said, “Mom, don’t worry. We’ll look after you.”
Be nice if they’d drop in to visit tonight.

They said, “Mom, you’re too frail for living alone.
The best thing for you is a good nursing home.”
And then we won’t worry that you’ll get sick or fall
So they came to admit me and signed papers all.
I’m safe in this place, but where are they tonight?

When my children were little I was busy all day
I had so few minutes to hear what they would say.
Now I have all this time and would love to just sit
and gather my brood for a good long visit.
Oh, please let my children come see me tonight!

We gave them so much—all we could afford—
and I marvel to think of the money we poured
into their schooling, fed and clothed them for years.
Now they’re busy each day with their friends and careers.
No time to drop in on their mother tonight.

Do they think back with fondness on their childhood years?
How should I have raised them so they would be here?
Now I’m just an old woman sitting here in this chair
hoping they will remember and show proof that they care
for their mother and still come to see me tonight.