Monday, December 21, 2015

In a Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti

Choir of King's College, Cambridge, England

In a bleak mid-winter

Frosty air made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like stone;

Snow on snow

In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago

Christina Rossetti

This is my last post before Christmas!  I will return January 11, 2015.

Blessings on you all.  Rejoice is God's Glory and Gift!
Susan Kane

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Fictioneers: Kitchen Window

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Copyright Rochell Wisoff-Fields
Edith had stared
Out this window
For nearly 50 years.

Edith had watched
Weather changes,
Children playing,
Family picnics.

Today, fields
Were silent.
Her house was silent.
Edith herself was silent.

Last mourners had closed the door.

The parlor was over-powered with
The scent of roses and carnations.

The table held remnants of
Sandwiches and pie.

Edith did what she always did:
She cleaned up.

Now she stood at the kitchen window.
What to do? What to do, now?

Edith carried her suitcases
To the car,
Locked the house.
And left.

To where?
She did not know.

This is part of a fiction writing group called "Friday Ficitoneers".  If you wish to read some postings, go to This site .

Wed. Words: Martin Van Buren O'Brien

I will not speak vernacular in class
Please check this site--about prohibiting children from speaking their native language.
Remnants of the original family stories trickle down generations.  As with all stories, there was truth and imagination interjected throughout.

Incredibly, family patriarch and provider of his large clan Martin Van Buren O’Brien spoke, said, and did every blessed thing the stories passed down insisted.

“The bastard was a spiteful old sinner…cranky does not begin to describe his temper…words that son of a bitch could say…Ireland would weep at the vernacular when Van exploded in one of his rages…

Actually, this is one of our family stones,
 and the head of the family was Martin.

Many more true tales hovered about.  Subsequently, at Martin Van Buren O’Brien’s interment, over six hundred town residents gathered around the grave to hear final words from the priest.

Then, one by one, each passed by the mound of dirt and spit on it.  Some spoke words in their own vernacular, expressing heart-felt wishes.  One frequently used phrase was “May you burn in hell, you…..”

This week's words were provided by River, who has given six words and/or prompt sentence  (which was quite interesting this week!).  Please pop over to her site and see what other bloggers have posted in her comment section, OR write your own poem, prose, story, etc.  Be sure to leave an address at River's site to allow us to find you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Call me Ishmael.
Movie reviews are supposed to help movie goers decide what to see.  Most of those who write these reviews seem to have forgotten why people go to see movies.

We go to escape.  To enjoy.  To be part of something bigger than ourselves.

We do not go to examine the plot line, seek to deride director errors, editing decisions, actor choices or screen writer inadequacies.

Right now in theaters is “In the Heart of the Sea” which is story about a story.  Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick”, sought out the one of the survivors, Tom Holland who had been the youngest of the crew on the whaler ship, Essex.  It was a bloody, horrible story, and this survivor needed to wrench the images of memories from his tortured mind.

Nathaniel Philbrick.JPG
Nathaniel Philbrook
Author Nathaniel Philbrick researched Melville, the painful consequences of the Essex and the greed of the company who owned the ship. With this incredible history, Philbrook wrote "In the Heart of the Sea".

Interview and relating the story was therapeutic for both the story teller (Tom Holland) and the writer, Melville.  Even so, film reviewers turned their noses, criticizing it for lacking “stuff”.  At This Site  every amateur critic had not read "Moby Dick".  One such critic said this. 

"Nobody gives a crap about Moby Dick.  Just THINKING about the idea of a movie about the friggin' story that inspired the story of Moby Dick puts you to sleep.  How did he (Chris Hemsworth) get paid $80 million to make that?!"  

For us, the movie was riveting.  The actors were strong and skillful.  The director was Ron Howard.  The setting was true to the times.  The interaction between Melville and the survivor was emotional and bonding. Knowing the story of the Essex and its demise hung over the audience, hoping “No, not that!”

Engrossing, hope, loss and gain, greed, a dirty industry, eminent death, and finally redemption—all make for a movie that rises above “Krampus” or “Trumbo”.

Please see what the whaling industry became before its demise.  

More than that, see what the current intelligentsia reads or has not read. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Old Bin

Delores at Under the Porch Light

The storage bin had been a part of the farm house as long as anyone could remember.  Even back many generations, that bin was there, leaning up against the barn. 

It used to store chicken feed.  Farmer Gunter got rid of the chickens after a few decades. 

Then the bin was used to keep coal before the farmer switched to propane.  He cleaned the bin out and thought about how it could be used.  He even asked his wife Bernadette what they should do with the empty bin.

Bernie launched into another harangue about him being too lazy to even think for himself, and then moved on to his other deficiencies.  The list was long.  Gunter stared at her blankly as she continued.

After some time, Gunter packed up his suitcase and gathered up all their money stored in the cellar since the Great Depression.  As he passed by the bin, he patted the lid which sported shiny new nails all around the perimeter.  

“You’re right, Bernie.  I shoulda thought of this long ago.”  Silence was the answer.

This was a photo prompt compliments of Delores at Under the Porch Light back on July 17, 2013.  I liked the macabre even then.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wednesday Words: mmmm...good coffee...

A cup of coffee
Heavy silence fell when an elderly man with a cane came in to buy a coffee.  The customers in Rick’s Coffee remembered him well.  Oh yes, they remembered him.

He called himself “Fred”, but no one ever knew his true identity.  An air of inaccessibility surrounded him, which was just the way Fred liked it.  All that anyone knew was that Fred was superb at tracking.  Animals or people, Fred was on their trail while foot prints were still wet.

Some said Fred could find a mosquito hiding in a free standing rotting tree, during a raging sand storm.

When “Fred” left, walking slowly with his cane, all exhaled. They had not wanted a repeat of the last time he came for coffee.

No.  They did not want that.

The italicized underlined words are courtesy of River, who is providing Wednesday Words for the month of December.

Please click on her name to access her site and enjoy how other writings have used these words and the sentence prompt!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

He's Back: less than 100 words


PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler
He's back.
A brutal scene greeted Det. James.  Blood splattered everywhere, gruesome and dark.  But, there were no bodies. None. 

Det. James and Forensics scoured the house, gathering bits of evidence.  But, still there was nothing, no clues at all.  Packing up and walking out the door, Det. James was certain he had missed something.  But what?

Something from the patio caught his eyes.  Turning around, James saw the carcass of a bright yellow rooster.  Feathers littered the patio, a patch of yellow around the dead fowl.

Det. James shook his head.  “He’s back.  Rooster Man is back. Damn.”

This post is a stab at a story under 100 words.  Go to this site, to see other stories.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Whimsical Wednesday: Funny Philly

If you notice, the performer is Merv Griffin!

The stage manager scowled from backstage as Funny Philly sang his opening song, “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”  Since Billy Cotton and Danny Kaye's deaths, the vaudeville acts went wild with imitations.  And Funny Philly was famous for his spirited performances that endeared him to audiences across the country.

However, it was unknown to audiences that Funny Philly was a tightwad, paying his crew paltry salaries.  The schism this created was reaching monumental proportions.

With no motivation, the stage and prop crews became sloppy and some walked away.  Funny Philly found his bookings sinking lower and lower.  It took two weeks for Funny Philly to extrapolate the cause.

By then it was too late.  The only job Funny Philly could get was that of managing the back stage door.

The words for the month of December will be provided by River.  Please, oh please, visit her site where bloggers have posted in her comment section, OR have indicated they are posting at their own site.

Being part of the writing renewal and regeneration has been a riot.  So many takes of the same words is lively and entertaining!

Thursday Trauma: Revenge

This is also posted at Delores' site, Under the Porch Light.  I had so much fun with it that I decided I would put it up here as well.  Please please go to that site to see what some great writers create!!!

“Griz” lit the stacked logs, then stepped back to enjoy the blaze in the fireplace.  His old cabin glowed in the light, and Griz inhaled the scent of spruce. Ah, the memories this place holds.

Griz gazed around at the walls laden with his collection of antlers.  The glass eyes of dead bucks reflected a sense of anger. You bastard.

There was a knock at the door and Griz wondered who would be out at this time of night.  He swung open the door and his jaw dropped.  

There, in the moonlight, stood a massive gathering of bucks.  In the lead was the biggest buck Griz had ever seen. 

It stood on its hind legs, and it held a bully club in one front hoof, slapping it onto the other hoof.
Far Side Deer Hunting Cartoons Mad About Cartoons Way Back
Deer gone hunting source

“Griz, we’ve come for revenge.”  And with that, the deer charged into the cabin. 

Crashes and screams lasted a few minutes.  Then all was quiet.

**I grew up in a county noted for deer hunting.  Even sports celebrities flew in to hunt there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wednesday Words Hand-off

If you find this chicken, then you'll be at the right place--River!
Borrowed from River's blog site, where you should go!!  Go on now.  Git!

Today is  2nd, and River has created some awesome words and sentence prompt for all bloggers.

Just in case you have gotten lost, here are the posted words and sentence at River's  Whimsical Wednesday:

extrapolate, coconut, spirited, schism, paltry, motivation

"He had blithely gone his way, carelessly breaking my heart as he waved good-bye."  

Enjoy and write!! You may post at 1) in the comment section of River's site OR 2) at your own blog site.  Please be sure to inform readers where you are, so that you may be found!

Ludlow, Shropshire, England OR Ludlow, California, off Needles Hwy

In 2004, our youngest daughter, Mary married Richard McKinley, whom she had met at a Cambridge, England. It was a beautiful wedding in April, when everything was green, so green.
Shropshire Hills views and landscapes
We stayed in Ludlow for a week, and then in Cambridge for the wedding. (A delightful blogger lives in Ludlow/Shropshire, Carole AnnCarr.)

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm
Certificate of Excellence
1066 or 1183 AD
Ludlow is one of those English towns where roses and geraniums grow everywhere, over stone walls, spilling into fences, and along roads--So amazing that I almost wanted to cry.

I have recently discovered there is a “city” here in California also called Ludlow.  Boy howdy.  Could there ever be such diametrically opposed cities?
photo of Ludlow Cafe  along route 66 in Ludlow, Ca
We discovered this Ludlow, California, as we drove along Needles Hwy.  We had stopped for petrol/gas and were immediately hit with hot desert wind, blowing sand-like bits of black lava, from an ancient lava flow, which is now being graded and ground. 

In 1883, Ludlow was once just a water stop for trains. After gold and copper were discovered, the town's population grew dramatically. The town now has ten residents left, after the gold and copper mines ceased to produce, in 1940.

Once Interstate 40 was built, the town slowly disappeared.  Now there are many empty boarded up buildings, all that remain of the former boom town. In fact, the towns along the old Route 66 also slowly faded away.  Ah, well.

Photo of the Old Dominion copper and gold mine in the Mojave Desert
Walter Feller-Digital

It is a “gold mine” now for geologists and history buffs.  Remnants and pieces of old mines and rails are very inviting to lead those interested through the Mojave Desert to Death Valley Junction, passing through towns named Baker (Home of the world's largest thermometer) and Zzyzx. 
Freeway exit sign to Zzyzx Road off Interstate 15
It does exist.
We lived in Victorville, California, for seven years in the Mojave Desert.  A desert has its own beauty, especially when the sun goes down, and the bluffs turn the colors of glory.


Depending on your interests, please visit either Ludlow.  Both will astound you. 

Please note that the desert photos are copyrighted by Walter Feller - Digital and Mojave Desert Photos . He has several books available for sale on Amazon.  His photos capture incredible desert beauty.

Monday, November 30, 2015

998 vs. 915, You're the Winner!

Captain Kirk - How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know

Halloween was over, the chocolate candy consumed, and empty wrappers told the tale.

Only the good stuff was eaten, leaving mini-Tootsie pops, generic copies and Jolly Rogers in candy collecting containers. The order had been given to toss the losers away.

The challenge began when ten-year old Lily handed me a Cherry Mini-Lollipop, and kept the grape for herself.  “How many licks will it take to get to the chocolate center?”

We both looked at the candy on a stick, judged how small the round candy was, and made predictions.  Me: 75, Lily: 50.  How long would this competition take?  Me: 30 minutes, Lily (bravado of a 10 year old): 20 minutes, for sure.

Ready, steady, GO!

20 minutes in, I had done 120 (cherry). And Lily was up to 100.
25 minutes in, I was up to 200, and Lily was leading with 220.
30 minutes in, I had moved to 308, and Lily was all purple smiles at 315.

As the minutes piled up, my jaws cramped, the type of cramp one gets after eating a bag of Sweet Tarts.

We struggled with sore tongues.  “You’re going down, Grandma…”
600 to 582---653 to 690…would it ever end?

The end slipped in at 45 rough minutes.  Me: 915 and Lily: 998.

Lily danced around the kitchen, hands in the air, singing “Eye of the Tiger”.  Me?  I went to look into a mirror.  Sticking out my cherry red tongue, sweet and sour zones in the tongues had worked themselves raw.

Rule of tongue: eat all the chocolate stuff and dump the rest.  The Tootsie Pops are not a single lick.

The parameters of this game were vague.  I gathered that the more licks it took to get to the chocolate center was the winner.  It shows self control.  Whatever.  It is in poor taste to beat a grandchild who sings "Eye of the Tiger" and knows the words.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bate da Bag outta Ye

Liam gingerly placed an ice pack on a swollen throbbing jaw, given to him by his brother Jimmy.  That Jimmy—he sure busted me dial (punched my face).

What had started out as fun horseplay at O'Burne's Pub had escalated into a full-on brawl.  Disgraceful!  You boys have embarrassed us! AGAIN! Their mother had shouted a frequently delivered statement into their faces.

The sequence of the battle had had them rolling onto the pool table, smashing bar stools, and delivering heavy punches (knock yer pan).
When blood and broken beer bottles were splattered throughout the bar, the owner Frank McGuire threw them out to dark dank Knackers Avenue. “Get on yer bike and take yerself dah feck this minute if not sooner!” (Get out.)

Once the anger drained away, they staggered along the dim street, holding each other up.  

“A fine donnybrook (brawl), Jimmy .  I sure bate the bag outta ye (beat you up).”

“I’ll gi’ ye that, Liam.  You marmaladed me (punched) but good.”

“Ah, weel, I’ll knack yer ballix in (I'll beat you up) again next time…let’s git on home so Ma can gob smack us. (tell us off and perhaps slap us).”

The Irish males are often a rowdy group who may congregate in pubs. They have very colorful language. After a soccer or hurling game, there is often great animosity.

Next week starts December, and River will be providing some exciting Wednesday Words for ye.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Words

Just Wednesday

This is the fourth week of November, which means it is Thanksgiving week.  It would seem fruitless to put up a group of Wednesday Words, yet it feels wrong to not.  So I’ll provide 12 words and perhaps, in a food-gluttony haze, you will rest in the recliner and write…
Here they are:

Choose, thick, reinforce, insurance, queen, interface

Statement, stool, disgrace, jaw, avenue, fun


Most vivid amongst the memories of his home town….

It has been so much fun playing with words this month of November!  Eat heartily but wisely, my friends!

You may post your creation in the comment section below or write that you will posting at your own site on whatever day.  Help us find you! 
Now, have at it! (I will be posting here on Friday.)

The creator of Wednesday Words is Delores at Under the Porchlight. She passed the baton to other bloggers, wonderful bloggers.  My turn is the month of November. 

In December, River at will provide prompts on her blog (will be good stuff).

In January, Jacqueline at will challenge bloggers (and she will, too).

In February, Elephant's Child will delight bloggers (she is delightful herself) with choice words.

In March, Margaret Adamson, with her friend Sue Fulton will work out our writing brains (I'd love to meet this lady).

Since this crosses the world in many time zones, this meme may be published on Tuesday or Thursday in your own time zone.  Keep checking!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Advertising Across the Decades


What commercials do you remember from over the years?

Cigarettes?  Marlboro Man?

Hard liquor?  Handsome/gorgeous celebrities?

Cleaning products? Detergents?  Car oil?  Texaco Man (You can trust the man who wears a star.)


An amazing amount of commercials have passed our way, on TV, Radio, or in printed form.

Look at these. Click the link below the picture. You will be amazed at the products advertised and how.

And/or, view this video...just a few or all.  Black and white!  AND, it's good for you!!

 Don't you miss the "good ole days"?  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wednesday Words: Great Aunt Tilly

Rest in Peace
The coffin of Great Aunt Tilly lay in state in the funeral home, surrounded by family, who mourned her passing.  Whispering between themselves, their depth of sorrow was on display.  

She was quite the grand personalityWell, she was one stingy b…When Tilly entered the room, who could ignore her?…she was evil, downright ev…she was the best mother

No one could say with certainty when the door creaked open and a slow dense fog rolled in along the floor.  No one could describe how the temperature fluctuated between cold and colder.

Screaming, all stampeded from the funeral home to their cars and roared away.

Andrew Jones, the undertaker, and his son Richard were speechless at first. Then Richard cleared his throat, “Well, you don’t see that every day.”

The creator of Wednesday Words is Delores at Under the Porchlight. She passed the baton to other bloggers, wonderful bloggers. Elephant's Child also shares the words at her site, and comments can be found there. My turn is the month of November.  Who will be in December or January?  Wait and see.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

No Worries Wednesday

Outback Steakhouse
There are so many great writers participating!  These bloggers take the words, creating unexpected stories, poems….

This is the third week of November, already...42 more days until Christmas....  Here are two sets of words and a sentence prompt.  Use all or part.

Door, roll, fluctuation, ignore, personality, mother


Hilarious, north, dividend, particular, use, temple


He looked at his phone, turned pale, then quickly left the room. She watched him, smiling.

  Now, isn’t that provocative?

You may post your creation in the comment section below or write that you will posting at your own site on whatever day.  Help us find you! 
Now, have at it! (I will be posting here on Friday.)

The creator of Wednesday Words is Delores at Under the Porchlight. She passed the baton to other bloggers, wonderful bloggers.  My turn is the month of November.  Who will be in December or January?  Wait and see.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Where did Doris go?

File:Homeless Woman.jpg
No words
A newspaper article on “Homeless in San Diego” wrote an article that included her. Named her Delores or Doris, something like that.  Saw her every day, going and coming to work or home.  Driving by, seeing her, wondering day after day, who she was.

Ragged woman…in dirty army fatigues, worn out fatigues.  Long ratty gray hair, wrinkled hands, couldn’t see her face but once when she shook the dirty mass back to tie up with a red bandanna.  

Her face, well, her face. Must have been beautiful sometime, beauty was still there, hidden with wrinkles, dirt, frown, lines…fine bones. Fine hands, long legs.  

Sometime maybe thirty, forty years ago, now ragged worn out. 

Doris pushed her shopping cart up Washington over to Broadway, back again. 

Watched Doris for two years maybe. Each day she stretched out skinny arms, pushed heavy cart, had sleeping bag, pieces of junk, where she slept was a mystery Sometimes could see her curled up in a corner of empty supermarket, sometimes behind garbage bin. 

Didn’t know what she ate Tried to give her money a few times she swore at me, walked away, pride maybe. 

Winter and rain, saw less and less, just glimpses of here, there under overhangs or trees.  Then, one day, the next next next, Doris wasn’t there.  Never saw her again.

Wonder what, where, when.  Doris went somewhere. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

W.Words: Twelve Steps

AA Grapevine
Steve blinked once, twice, realizing that he lay on cold floor in his own vomit.  As he staggered to his feet, a message hit his brain along with a pounding headache. I’ve had enough of this.  It has to stop.

After vomiting again, his brain took a poll of body part members. Stomach?  Liver?  Kidneys? Eyes... with all saying, “Get sober, you SOB! We’re in trouble down here…If you don’t stop, we will all break down, one by one…”

Next day, Steve forced his feet to climb the stairs to the most non-exclusive organization worldwide, Alcoholics Anonymous.  Forced his hand to open the door.  Forced himself to say, “Hi, my name is Steve, and…forced his mouth to say the words…I’m an alcoholic.”

Twelve steps?  He worked through them, again and again.  Now he was at #8 again—a list of all I have harmed…be willing to make amends…then do it!  Make amends! His list was so long, all the people he had hurt.

Almost a year later, half the names on the list had already been crossed off. Squeezing the one year sobriety coin, he smiled.  I’ll never graduate from this, it is not a school…I will face alcoholism…one step at a time…one day at a time...each and every day.

This is dedicated to all who are fighting this battle.  People I know and love are right there with you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Welcome Home: Belated Honor

People gathered for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982.
The Wall at the center

Sometimes cleaning out boxes of photos and snips of newspapers deliver surprises.  Articles usually about hometown news have grown brown and brittle, written about old friends now dead, long ago.

But, this one article made me sit down and read the entire article.  It was from the Quincy Herald-Whig, dated November 14, 1982.  

The headline read “150,000 cheer Viet War vets”, as they dedicated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial "The Wall", inscribed with the names of comrades who were killed or missing during this very controversial war:

"On a wintry day, over 8,000 veterans including families, disabled in wheelchairs or crutches, and those still grieving for the terrible loss, or those returned who had experienced rejection---now were honored and welcomed home.

It was a time of reunion for comrades who had survived and not seen each other since the Vietnam War ended.  

It was also a time for survivors to seek out family members to tell them “Your son saved my life…I was in Quang Tri in 1968…He was a good man…” To be able to tell loved ones about this special person now gone, left both in tears and hugging.

They walked down the Mall in D.C., joined by Ret. Gen. Westmoreland, and later by President Reagan.  He had been asked to be the keynote speaker, but declined, leaving that honor to someone else who had been in Vietnam."

What caught me was the closing paragraph in the newspaper article:

“William Peyton talked about becoming a policeman when he returned from Vietnam, but never got the chance. The helicopter crew chief was killed during the 1970 invasion of Cambodia."  His mother, Minerva Peyton was moved to tears by the new memorial. “Our boys deserve the recognition,” she said. “They did the best they could, under the circumstances.”

My cousin Billy was remembered that day by my Aunt Minerva.  On this day I remember and honor Billy Peyton as well.


Wednesday Words were posted on Tuesday's blog.  Head over to "Older Post/Blog" to engage in the adventure of writing.