In the past, I never thought I would actually start thinking about getting a tattoo. But this grammie has been contemplating the idea. I even have a picture of what I want, and it’s saved on my phone, “just in case.” Location? Well shoulder, inner wrist, ankle…
My pups are my muse in this endeavor. Love my doxies.
Since the pandemic, I have sensed such a shift away from kindness and respect. Some people often seem to be angry all the time, or they feel as though they are entitled to behave in certain ways. Just this week I experienced this attitude twice in my everyday life. First, before I got my cold, yes my students got me again..lol..I went to my local YMCA to do water aerobics. The therapy pool was packed, but it had a place in the corner where I could work out. I had been working out for at least ten minutes when this lady who had been working out at the other end of the pool came swimming toward me. Her friend told her that she was about to plow into me, and her response was, “I don’t care. I was here first.”
My second occurrence happened while I was at home and resting. I felt awful. I had someone start knocking loudly on my door. The guy even tried opening my front door! When I didn’t respond, he went around to the side of the house and started banging on the garage door, and he tried opening it too. By then this granny had enough. I went to the door, told him I had called the sheriff, gave them his vehicle description and license plates, and the sheriff was on their way. He started screaming at me when I told him I called the sheriff’s department, and I told him this was his cue to leave. When he tried to intimidate me, I told him to go before I called my crazy neighbor that had an arsenal and years of combat training. That got his attention, and he finally left my property.
I hate living in a time when I no longer even feel safe in my own home. I hate that I feel uncomfortable when I go on road trips or “glamping” because I never know if I will meet a crazy person on the road. It has happened twice before on my travels. But now in my home, this latest incident has me troubled. Not sure what the answer is in a situation like this. Friends and family want me to get a handgun or at the very least a stun gun, but I don’t like that answer either. In the meantime, I am adding some security measures to my home, and I am hoping that it will provide some peace. I just want my home to feel like my haven once again.
I really wish I could say no, I am not superstitious, but I have my moments. I grew up in a haunted house, and when the tea kettle would boil water on its own and then whistle, mom would make instant coffee, and I would often make a cup of tea. After all, “someone” had gone to all that trouble.
So many lines… I could borrow the words from Deanna Carter’s song, “Did I Shave my Legs for This?” Or I could begin with The Chicks (previously known as the Dixie Chicks) line, “She needs wide open spaces. Room to make her big mistakes…”
Or I could just come up with my own one-liner. So here we go…
Buckle up, buttercup, for I have a tale for you!
Did I Shave my Legs for This?
Flowers and wine Is what I thought I would find When I came home from workin’ tonight. Well, now here I stand Over this fryin’ pan And you want a cold one again.
I bought these new heels’ Did my nails, had my hair done just right. I thought this new dress was a sure bet For romance tonight. Well it’s perfectly clear Between the TV and beer I won’t get so much as a kiss. As I head for the door I turn around to be sure
Did I shave my legs for this?
Wide Open Spaces
Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about? Who’s never left home? Who’s never struck out? To find a dream and a life of their own A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone
Many precede and many will follow A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow It takes the shape of a place out West But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed
She needs wide open spaces Room to make her big mistakes She needs new faces She knows the high stakes
In my life, I have experienced three significant events that helped me grow in unexpected ways. The first was my divorce so many years ago. When it ended, I felt every emotion possible. Betrayal. Anger. Disappointment. A whole range of emotions. But truth be told, I also experienced freedom once the pain ended. My joy returned, and so did hope. An exciting new world opened before me. Until my marriage ended, I never realized how trapped I felt in that relationship. Now, I would never trade my inner peace for the contentment I have found; I love single life!
College also changed my life. It opened doors and provided so many unique opportunities. I found my voice through writing essays and poetry, and I even had some published! Years later, I picked up the pen again as I wrote about my family history and the stories I discovered along the way. Several years ago, I started a family blog and found family and new friends in the process. In time, my latest adventure grew into creative writing when I began writing poetry and a few short stories. It also gave me a career. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed teaching middle school students. As a reading and writing teacher, I have also learned so many things about this world in which we live. Teaching has been the most challenging job I have ever had, but it has also been the most rewarding, and I will always be grateful for this time in my life.
And for the last adventure, I could never say how wonderful it has been to be a part of such an amazing, fun-loving family. I have loved being a mother to my wonderful daughter, Leslie, a mom-in-law to “my son,” Aaron, and a grandmother to my seven grandchildren, Mathew, Cameron, Sierra, Jessie, Kylie, Connor, and Jaxon. My family will always be my greatest blessing. And the best part is that it’s not over yet! As retirement looms closer, I see new adventures on the horizon. I envision great-grandbabies and sweet moments as my family expands. What a crazy and wonderful rollercoaster of a ride this life has been!
During certain moments of her life, the elderly woman would often leave her village, Auldearn, and seek solace in a wooded area near the River Nairn. The trees and the streams spoke to her, and the night skies often gave her hope when all hope, it seemed, had fled. And tonight, she needed hope. She needed a vision. The elderly woman sat on a blanket on the ground and shivered in the night air. Isla was grateful for the small fire, for the fall evening was cool, but soon, the blaze would chase the autumn chill.
Isla stood and moved around the fire, slowly at first, but the blaze from the fire seemed to draw her into a rhythm of its own, and her movements quickened. The woodsy smoke embraced her, and she moved in step with its shadowy figure. Her mind raced, and flashes and images of the people she loved and lost shimmered before her. A husband’s last stand in battle. Her mother’s final moment in childbirth. Her father’s last breath on his deathbed. A son drowned in the River Nairn. A favorite sister married and far removed from her homeland. But the vision of her daughter, Mairi, made her drop to her knees, and the old woman wailed. And when she could lament no longer, she softly whispered, “Mairi” over and over until her soft words sounded like a plea, a supplication, a petition to right the wrongs committed against her child. And hope, she knew, would flee on this dark night. It had been a stranger for far too long. Isla felt lost and alone; sorrowfully, the woman hung her head and softly wept. She grieved for all she lost and mourned for all she loved.
Dreams. But on this particular night, they spot something … interesting.
“What do you say about the accusations presented against you on this day?” The court’s officer asked Rachel.
Rachel stood and looked around the court. In the front rows, her parents looked at their child, and Rachel witnessed the pain and fear in their eyes. Levi sat smugly with his arms crossed and sneered at her. When she glanced at him, their eyes met for one brief moment. Still, his countenance and smirk changed to a look of trepidation and horror. He dropped his head, afraid to look at the woman he had accused of witchcraft.
Rachel’s tangled mass of black hair had not been brushed for days. Her dress was torn and dirty, and the young girl looked tired after spending days in the town’s jail. But even in this state, her beauty touched those in attendance.
Taking a deep breath and smiling at her parents, Rachel addressed the court. “Most of you have known me since I was a small child when my parents, Samuel, and Prudence Edmonds, took me into their home and loved me as if I were their own child. I grew up in a home that taught me right from wrong, a home that taught me about God and his infinite wisdom and love for mankind. My parent’s taught me to care about my neighbors and friends. Often some of you even came to me when you needed a tincture or tea when a loved one was ill or suffering from some condition. I delivered your children and tended to the sick. I never caused harm to anyone.”
The crowd began to murmur. Some grumbled and mocked Rachel’s confession, but the majority stood, talking at once of her virtues and her kindness. They explained when someone in the village needed her help, Rachel rushed to their side.
“Silence!” The court’s officer bellowed, then turned to Rachel and said, “Continue.”
“The only thing I am guilty of is loving Levi Andrews. I believed his lies when he told me he loved me and wanted me as his wife. On the day I discovered his treachery, I was injured, too, when the storm appeared. When I saw him with another woman and heard him tell her the same words he once whispered to me, my heart crumbled into a thousand pieces. I stand before you today without trickery and tell you I did not harm Levi. How could I create a storm? But I will tell you what Levi has done to me. He took my virtue, and he took my love, and he has caused my family and me to drown in the sorrow of his lies.”
She hung her head before she continued. “I believe that man cast a spell on me! I believed him when he told me he loved me. I allowed him to have his way with me, and now, I carry his child!”
People gasped, and an uproar filled the courtroom. She glanced at Levi, and fear filled his eyes. He tried to explain, but young girls around the courtroom stood and pointed fingers at him. Then, one by one, the girls spoke of his deception, and one by one, the girls repeated Rachel’s words, “He cast a spell over me.”
Rachel looked at her parents, and relief filled their eyes. The tide had turned for the child they loved. As the discourse and disputes erupted in the courtroom, people glanced at the man that had started this mockery. In an instant, everyone in the courtroom knew that no woman would be executed that day.
For this last prompt, write based on the line “I wish I could tell you…” If you feel so inclined, you can title your piece based on who your character is speaking to
Rachel finished her morning chores, and the young woman wandered to her favorite spot in the woods. Once she arrived, she marveled once again at its beauty. Among the towering pines, the valley opened to the south. Peering between the trees, the Merrimack Valley stretched before her. In the distance, the chimneys on the village rooftops looked like sentries guarding the small town of Andover. The valley sprang to life in the early spring with its lush meadow. Wildflowers bloomed among the grasses. At this time of the year, hope returned to the land and promised sunny days. Native birds returned, and their songs could be heard throughout the valley. This time of year had always been Rachel’s favorite season.
And this spot held such loving memories for the girl. In the meadow, her father taught her to ride Old Bart. Her mother showed her the native plants that could be used for tonics and teas. Some they had transplanted to their own garden. Her family would often come to this spot to rest on warm afternoons and share a meal of chicken, corn, and apple cakes. Gideon would play for hours, dropping sticks at their feet, hoping someone would continue throwing them, so he could play an endless game of fetch.
It was the exact spot where Levi had asked her to be his wife. It was the same spot where the two had eventually merged into one at his insistence that it could not be wrong since they were to be married. Rachel loved Levi and could never believe he would lead her astray.
His whispered promises spoke of a home on this very spot, for the land was fertile and perfect ground for their own farm. The nearby pond provided a fishing hole and would provide fresh water for their future livestock. It would be the ideal place to raise children.
And Rachel had a secret. She touched her swelling belly. The young woman knew she carried Levi’s child and could not wait to tell him. Rachel hoped he would be happy at her news. Then, she sighed. Soon they would marry and start their lives together.
As she neared the wooded area, Rachel heard Levi speaking. She quietly stepped along the grass and hid behind a tree. But to her horror, she discovered he was with one of her father’s servants. As they made love, he whispered the words he often spoke to her in moments of passion. Her heart stopped momentarily when Levi told the young girl that he loved her and could not wait to make her his bride.
His words haunted her and cut deep into her very being. Finally, Rachel could not breathe and turned to flee. Still, when she turned to run, she tripped, fell on the trail, and cried out in pain. Her ankle throbbed and hurt almost as much as her churning emotions. When Levi explored, he found Rachel crying on the path. He called to the servant and demanded that she run to the house and have his brother bring the wagon so he could transport Rachel home to her family.
Once the girl was out of sight, Levi tried to explain, but Rachel cut him off before he could speak another lie.
“Don’t you dare try to fix this, Levi! I witnessed your, your lies firsthand. Instead, you have betrayed me this entire time, telling me I was your true love. You spoke to me about the life we would share and the children we would have.”
Rachel began to uncontrollably sob when she spoke of children. The distraught girl buried her face in her hands, and her tears flowed.
“What am I to do?” She wailed as she thought of the child she carried.
Levi tried to help her, but Rachel demanded that he leave her. “I never want to see you again, Levi Andrews. Leave me! I do not want your help.”
The young woman grieved. Her distress touched the heavens, and the skies screamed with her. Dark clouds formed overhead, and blue skies disappeared under ominous black clouds. Thunder rolled, and lightning struck. The world mourned with its child. Levi stood to his feet. Fear showed in his eyes, and he began to run. Still, the lightning followed him, hitting the trees closest to him. One crashed and nearly hit him as he moved quickly down the path. He screamed and begged Rachel to stop the madness. “Stop, Rachel! Make it stop! What are you doing?”
Rachel laughed at his irrational thoughts. “What makes you think I have anything to do with this?” She asked the fleeing man. “I don’t know what’s happening, and you can’t leave me here!”
But the man continued running down the trail, leaving Rachel to fend for herself.
Rachel shivered, more from fear than the sudden burst of cold air. She feared the storm. The black clouds rolled low and overhead. Thunder boomed so loudly it echoed through the valley. Great sheets of rain hammered down upon the land. Soon, thick chunks of ice pelted the ground. One the size of a duck’s egg hit Levi in the back of his head, knocking him to the ground. He did not stir, and Rachel wondered if he were still alive.
At that moment, she noticed the stormy skies did not touch her. Although torrents of rain flowed, she remained dry to the touch. The winds howled, trees bent over from the gales, yet not a single hair on her head moved. “How could this be?” She wondered.
Soon her fear turned to awe and fascination. Her breathing slowed, and the panic that welled up inside of her vanished. As her emotions settled, the storm calmed, the dark clouds disappeared, and the sun shone again. The only evidence that a storm had blown through the valley was a downed tree struck by lightning. It still smoldered from the strike. And then, Levi still was sprawled, unmoving on the ground. Rachel could not move as she tried to reason what had just occurred.
For today’s prompt, write about something eerie. It might not make your characters scream with fright or rush to lock their doors, but it should raise the hair on the back of their necks!
“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.” Teaching children values and giving them the opportunity to excel is essential to good parenting. However, I feel I must also provide my children (and myself) insight into the ones who came before us: our ancestors whose lives and stories have shaped us into who we are. This is my journey; these are their stories…
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