Archive for awards and prompts

Fresh Flowers on the Grave

 

 

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

 

I walked up the hill as I so often did. My 15-year-old son rested there with a black obsidian stone that we had ordered from Africa standing guard. Many people had left mementos over the 7 ½ years since that night of hell when we lost him. There were tiny figurines, glass etchings, a link of chains with the number of people who were supposed to be in our family, notes, items from his favorite ball teams. Then, along with Christmas ornaments and coins, we kept a vase of artificial flowers.

Ironically, I often found black widow spiders on the flowers or near the stone. Since I study arachnids, it was like a special message from me-one that spoke of the anger we both felt from the loss of his life through mistakes and excuses. When I looked at other graves in the large cemetery, I found only one other place with a black widow spider-my mother’s grave.

As I walked up the hill on this early summer day, I noticed a new container of flowers sitting in front of the stone. They were light orange with delicate leaves dancing in the breeze. As I reached the grave, I realized that the flowers were fresh. It was unusual to find fresh flowers on a grave that was not a new grave because they do not last long in the heat and wind.

I knelt down to look at a small note attached to the vase that held the flowers. On the front , I could see a set of fading initials-it had rained the night before and I couldn’t read them. As I turned the little note over, I saw a delicate pink heart. I smiled. He never got the chance to experience true love, but after all these years, someone still loved him, thought of him. Without coming to a conclusion about who the flowers were from, I smiled, ran my fingers across his name as I always did and knelt down by the stone, whispering, “I love you.”

I was reminded of something my grandfather used to tell me. “As long as someone loves you, and remembers what you loved and dreamed, you will never be forgotten.” The scent of fresh flowers wafted in the air. For just a moment, I was with him and this time, we were not alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unnatural Fireworks

Unnatural Fireworks

July 5, 2013 | Leave a comment

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The noisy booms from the sky, streaks of color lighting the clouds,

Yes, it’s the fourth of July, but Mother natures rules this year.

The tiny creek is a raging river, littered with trees, bird feeders, toys.

Our grave driveway is underneath the water that blocks the road.

My dad worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority when I was a kid.

Their job was to try to manage flood control. Where there were floods,

We went to photograph, special phone numbers told river levels.

We filled out charts in the days when a main frame took up a room-did one thing.

It’s in my blood. Two of my sons son and two friends sloshed up the road.

The water running down what used to be roads, way to deep to be safe.

Taking videos, pictures, laughing, giving up on umbrellas, soaked to the skin.

Though we laughed, it was muted, somber. We knew why the yards of mud came.

Our mountain city is obsessed with getting rich people from other places to come here.

Strip the vegetation so they can “see” from houses we couldn’t dream of.

We shout to no one, “GO HOME!” CLEAN UP THIS MESS!” But they keep coming.

The collapsed retaining wall and 8 feet of lost land are somehow “our” problem.

I know how the native Americans felt. For “white folks” we’ve been here a long time.

The 1780 US Census lists us in this county, by 1840, we were on this road.

We have lived in this house 5 generations and now my kids can’t afford to live her.

Something is really wrong with this. It used to be a quiet farming community.

I can’t help it, I am mad. I know good people have come here too.

For all the greedy developers, mostly bankrupt before to long, I have one message,”Go the heck home, glare down on your “lessers”, ruin their land, build mansions, ruin the land,

and don’t forget to take pictures of w=what life was like before you ruined it for them.

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Inspirational Qoute prompt

Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
Richard L. Evans

Although I missed the” Saturday” prompt, my last effort to write was deleted by my computer after much work.  I felt discouragement was a good topic to think on.

I thought of all the hard times I have been through, some my own doing, some unthinkably cruel and it made me realize that despite the difficulties that life had thrown at me, I am still, still fighting, even smiling once in a while.

I think of all that would not have been accomplished if I had given up the first time life knocked me down and realized that even having survived the loss of my child, my health, losing so many friends and family members, I still have things to rejoice. I have six beautiful grandchildren, a teen who is my heart and soul, a dad who has struggled, like me through the worst of times and is still her. a family who has always been there for each other.

Life is short, we do not always reach all of our goals, but each life we touch, each tear we dry, each person that decided to give it one more try, is a small victory. We often overestimate what we are capable of doing and underestimate the true effect we have on the lives of others.

Today, I will celebrate the meal I cooked, the baby I fed, the kid I took home in the pouring rain.  Today, I will be glad my dad looked up and smiled at me at the exact time I did, took my daughter and her family breakfast, hugged my teen.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I accomplished more today than I imagined that i would. I didn’t let the hurt of all the yesterdays stop me from making someone smile today.

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Requiem for a Sycamore and Poplar Tree

Fifteen years ago, my dad had to cut down a Sycamore, giant and majestic, that he had planted when he built the house in the 1950′s. He left a very high stump, which soon sprouted and the new branches, themselves became a problem. They got in the way of power lines, blocked the view of ‘ and the mountains. Everyone fussed at dad, but he continued to just “trim” back the limbs.

Now my son has built a house next to my father and has become concerned that a tall poplar that dad also planted nearly 60 years ago could fall onto the house or damage property if we don’t cut it down. Not only is dad’s heart broken, I find myself grieving it too. I now understand dad’s feelings. It isn’t just a tree, even a majestic tree, it is a collection of memories, a diary of sorts. They are two trees, one ruined, one soon to be that deserved to be giants in some preserved forest. I see both myself and my children gathering sycamore balls, poplar blossoms, the trees were part of what “home” meant”

I have no answer, I have thought of ways to donate the wood and such but have found no affordable options. When I see a tall tree, still safe in the forest, I smile. And, as with the Sycamore tree, I can’t help but hope that sprouts will appear from that immense root system and at least be a reminder of what was and what should be.

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Dogwood Winter

It happens every March here in the mountains. Right after a cold spell, the sun will come out. It will warm the earth, causing flowers to bud and bloom. Those of us who love to garden will rush to the hardware store. We buy top soil and seeds. We dig up dead grasses, sprouting weeds.

Spring is here at last! A few glorious days of warmth. Fragile lilacs burst forth. We want so badly to forget what the unseasonal weather meant. It is not spring, not really, not yet. Grandpa called it Dogwood winter. I just sigh and call it disappointment.

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An Irishman’s Laugh

To say that my great grandfather was a n Irishman went back a few generations.  His family began their trip tow hat was the the “colonies” in the 1700′s. Yet, they kept their Irish customs, the Irish brogue and considered themselves ” Irish” despite generations of being in America.

I used to give my grandmother a “Saint Patrick’s Day” card every ear.  It always brought a smile to er face and a good story of her fathers love for the Irish heritage that had been handed down to him largely by oral history.

My grandmother always loved to hear her father’s laugh when something that aggravated him happened.  A a father of 12, he would laugh and ay, “At least I don’t have any red-headed children.”

I always though that was an odd way to be thankful.  As the generations progressed, quite a few red-headed descendants appeared.  I am sure he would have loved them, and with a jolly Irish laugh, think of another way to be thankful for the little things that go right.

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The End of Her Dream

Corrina admitted to herself that she had scanned the obituaries for year, hoping, silently that his name would not be there.  It had been over half her lifetime since the less that two years they spent together, but those two years had changed her, made her what she was, Today, so was that short column in the obituaries, a story of life after her, of a few short years when he had tried to settle down, have a family, be free of his demons.

Her most daring adventures, were with him, her look into a world she had no idea existed were during her time with him.. The lights of LA from San Bernardino, the distant curves of the San Juan from a pull-off on the edge of a cliff.  Eating burgers from a grill in the forest by the side of a road.  saving a secret souvenir found among the shacks and shadows near those Mississippi tenant farms.

She remembered the big cities up north, staying with French-speaking Canadians with snow piled high on the road side in late April. She remembered the fear from some of the things that happened there,and from some that happened nearer to home.

There were things Corinna  did, and did well, in  that long ago day, that she can not imagine even trying, now as a grandmother. In  these few years and in all the ones after, she was always hoping he had  loved her like she lived him,though  in her heart of hearts, she knew he never did.  No the for even kind, maybe the for now kind.

His family was good to her when she was not close to her own,  She still smiled, when she thought of her visits wit them, after he left and they still hoped they hoped he would go back to her. He didn’t.

Time went on, life went on, they had separate lives, a few strange connections, accidental ,meetings with each other,  family members, a silent pain in the quick conversations, always a feeling of “what if…”

Corinna had countless dreams of him, he made her, but never knew it.  Why did  she often dream of him, crazy dreams, a little too real, instead of dreaming of the man she spent her life with smiled and suffered so many years with.  She didn’t know.

Tonight, the dreams were different. There was no quiet ending, no sad goodbye, no answer to the “what if…”.  The dreams-no, nightmares, were surreal, unimaginable.  She woke up shaking, her heart thumping, time after. time.

Corinna was miserable, She finally told her daughters, one who knew a lot about those days and the younger,  who knew only  little, why she was in such a strange mood. She had to think of a way to find out what happened why, who was thee, who had been by his side.

Finally, she though of an answer.  A bit crazy, but probably not unwelcome.  There was one person who would care that she still cared and tomorrow, she would write an old fashioned letter, never knowing if it would be answered or not.

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The First Flowers

The biter winds howls through the pines above us.

I walk, arms gripping my shoulders, down the hill.

There among the sharp spines of rosemary, the bare dirt,

A paperwhite has struggled through the soil.

Time passes, a few weeks later, I notice the buds of daffodills

and suddenly, it seems they are in full bloom.

With winter not wanting to say farewell, spring has forced his bitter wind away.

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Help-my “New Post” and picture/star button to get to Reader,etc are gone!!

I have a new computer, got a new external hard drive today.  When I look at other readers blogs,most used to have a “Ne Post” button and a tiny photo of me with an orange star in a box, now there is nothing there on any of them, I had to go through all sorts of hoops to even get on the HELP page and get here.  I never have been able to find a way to simply sign in and write, I’ve always just used the bottom on another blog page.  Will someone at wordpress or a reader who can explain SIMPLY what happened and how to get to the “new post” and reader links please help me.   Having a new computer is bad enough.  I used Firefox Search engine and have a Windows 8 computer.  Thank you so much!

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Travel Theme – Shadows

Although I did not write this-and it is the wrong holiday-it is a childhood favorite of mine that my grandkids now enjoy-I cannot recall the author-we were “made” to memorize it in 5th grade.

Halloween

The moon is round as a jack’o’lantern

The trees grow black and bare,

As we go walking with spooky giggles

Through the chill, ghostly air.

Who’s shadow is that on the haunted ground?

Who’s hiding behind that tree?

Oh, down the tree comes my bad, black kitten

And the shadow is only me!

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