The Rosary #7

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Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to a picture prompt of our choice. Come stop in while ‘The Rosary’ takes a trip back to Texas in 1915.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

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“I haven’t heard of that one. Related to Anne of Green Gables?”

“Yes, it’s the third book in the series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Just came out. Stephen brought me two brand new books last week. That one and The Song of the Lark. I haven’t started that one yet.”

The green threads of jealousy wrapped around Alice like a tight cord. Not only did her snotty neighbor have time to read, she also had two brand new books. Life just wasn’t fair.

Mrs. Gossett’s continued droning on. “You’d never believe what she said…Can you believe the audacity…When all I really meant…”

Alice nodded here and there at what seemed appropriate moments and muttered interspersed noncommittal ‘Uh-huh’s’ as her mind wandered far from the room that got smaller as her guest’s ego got bigger. If William didn’t make it home this weekend, it may be another three weeks before she’d see him. The oil industry was not a kind or considerate master. She only hoped he’d be home for Thanksgiving. She mentally went through the cupboards and made an inventory of what she had on hand and started a preliminary check list in her head of what she’d need to purchase at the mercantile. She remembered a tin of walnuts she’d seen pushed to the back of the shelf. She hoped they weren’t mealy. Although, with the bumper pecan crop they had earlier in the year, it wouldn’t matter. Pecan pies were definitely on the menu. She’d have to pick up some raisins. She hoped Mr. Stockton had them in stock. She probably had enough cinnamon sticks to get by, but barely. It seemed the spice tin was running low if she recalled. Apples still filled bushel baskets in the cellar. If she could get her hands on a few precious oranges, she’d be one happy mama.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

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The Rosary #5

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Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘soaked.’ Come stop in while ‘The Rosary’ takes a trip back to Texas in 1915.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

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The next day found Alice snapping at the children for all sorts of real and imagined transgressions. She realized that her short disposition was mostly attributed to missing her husband and being the sole parent for so many weeks on end. But knowing the cause of the problem doesn’t always magically solve it. She vowed to be more patient with the three young boys. After all, William was due to arrive home soon. If not in the next few days, then certainly by the end of the week.

A sharp rap on the front door started them all. William ran towards the door at full throttle. “Father!”

“William Serle Blodgett! Stop!” Alice commanded in a loud tone that offered no room for debate. The youngster screeched to a halt as Alice headed towards the door. “It’s not your Father. You know he wouldn’t knock on the door.”

Harold sidled up behind his younger brother, wise enough to stay far back after his brother’s rebuke.

Alice opened the door and a woman swished in, her taffeta skirts rustling around her ankles. She headed towards the stuffed armchair in the corner, the one usually reserved for William Senior – when he had the rare chance to be home.

Alice looked at the woman’s back as she passed and bit her tongue before speaking. “Mrs. Gossett. Why don’t you come in?”

“Thank you, dear. Don’t mind if I do.” Settling herself down on the plump cushion, she primped the tidy bun at the nape of her neck. “Be a dear and bring me a cup of tea, won’t you?”

“Why certainly. I’ll go put the kettle on.” Alice turned quickly towards the kitchen and drew in a sharp breath of air. Best she get out of the room and count to ten before returning to her demanding guest. After placing the kettle on the stove, she pulled out two tea cups and saucers. She glanced at the honey pot on the shelf. It would serve the dragonlady well if she served it black and claimed to be out of sweetener. She knew she couldn’t though. As much as she’d like to, being rude to a guest was something she couldn’t bring herself to do. She chuckled to herself though as she thought of ‘spilling’ the tea on her guest, getting her fine taffeta apparel soaked.

Alice claimed the rocker before attending to polite chitchat. “So, Mrs. Gossett…what brings you out this way this morning?”

“I’ve been reading all morning and I simply couldn’t turn another page without going cross-eyed. I decided to come visit and give myself a break.”

Alice felt the muscles around her jaw tighten. “How lovely…to be able to while away the morning reading. I can’t say as I remember what that felt like…” She stopped before going any further, afraid of what words might spill out of her mouth. “What fine book is claiming all your attention this fine November morning?”

Anne of the Island.”

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

The Rosary #4

Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘silly.’ Come stop in while ‘The Rosary’ takes a trip back to Texas in 1915.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

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Alice was glad for the herbal healing tricks her grandmother had passed along. They came in handy for this rural stretch of Texas that she and William found themselves raising their family. It was 1915 and the Texans in their community thought they were well advanced into this new century. Alice thought differently. Compared to life in the metropolis in West Virginia where they hailed from, this was still a new and rough-edged country life. She realized it would be silly to expect anything more modern. ‘New-fangled frappery’ the elderly neighbor to the east of them called modern innovations.

However, Alice often found herself surprised at how many old time remedies passed down through the generations still worked miracles, even though they weren’t anything modern and new. The comfrey leaf soon staunched the blood and Harold calmed down enough that Alice could examine the wound. She was thankful when she saw that it wasn’t deep and was much smaller than she’d expected it to be. It didn’t take long before Harold grew fidgety sitting on his mother’s lap and wriggled down to go join Harold in play. Alice took advantage of the moment and simply sat in the rocker, watching the two boys play while Bobby slept on in the cradle, oblivious to the prior commotion.

The rocker squeaked slightly on a loose floorboard as Alice kept the chair in a constant, slow motion. With no little ones on her lap, she almost lulled herself to slumber until a metallic bang startled her to instant awareness. Both boys stood mutely at attention, each pointing a finger at the other. “Children, what on earth are you up to now?”

William, still pointing, spoke up first. “He threw a piece of the Erector set.”

“It’s your fault. You’re being a meanie and tried to grab it from me.”

“Because it was my turn to put a piece on. You weren’t sharing.”

“But you….”

Alice clapped her hands together sharply, stopping the argument mid-sentence. “Boys! That’s enough.” She placed her forefingers on each temple and rubbed them in small circles, closing her eyes as she emitted a deep sigh. Inhaling deeply, she opened her eyes and put her sternest mother face firmly in place. “William. Harold. Go pick up your toys and take them to your room. Then I want you two to stay there while I get the bread in the oven and get the potatoes cooking.”

“Mom….” William wailed.

She lowered head and raised her eyes towards her eldest son, squelching his protest before it got started. It worked. The boys glared at one another, but set about picking up the toys and toted them off, mumbling under their breaths to each other as they stomped down the hall.

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The Rosary #3

Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘leaf.’ Come stop in while ‘The Rosary’ takes a trip back to Texas in 1915.

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As little Bobby’s eyes drooped and closed, his tiny mouth stopped nursing and he slept the slumber of a baby replete from a full meal. Alice buttoned her shirtwaist blouse back up and scooted William and Harold off her lap. They ran to play in the corner as Alice laid Bobby in the hand-hewn cradle. She smiled the slow grin of a contented mother before bustling off towards the kitchen where her never-ending chores awaited her.

Lifting the corner of the cotton dishtowel, Alice noted that the bread was rising nicely. It was almost ready to bake, but not quite. Another thirty minutes should do it. She bent down and retrieved four potatoes from the rush basket in the cupboard and dropped them in the dishpan. She was midway through scrubbing the skins briskly when a wail came from the corner. The high pitched scream wasn’t the infant. She dropped the potato and brush back into the now dirty water and hurried to corner where William stood holding his head as he howled.

“What happened?”

Harold stood by his brother’s side, a stunned expression on his face. “He tripped and fell, Mama.”

Alice leaned in and started to pull William’s hand away from his scalp. The scarlet trickle of blood that seeped between his fingers caused her stomach to lurch. “Quick, Harold. Run outside and grab me a large comfrey leaf.”

“Comfrey? Which one is that?”

“The big fuzzy leaves. On the plant right outside the back door.”

As he scurried away, Alice comforted Harold, who was still sobbing, and gently eased his fingers away from the wound. Sighing with relief when she saw the cut wasn’t large or deep, she tightened his hand back to its position and held him against her chest. Too late, she realized that the blood on her white blouse would be a task to remove. But, comforting an injured child ranked higher than keeping a pristine wardrobe. She chided herself for wearing one of her better blouses around the house. But she’d secretly hoped that William might make it home tonight and wanted to be dressed to the nines in case he did.

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Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

The Rosary #2

We start a new Vintage Daze Short Story this week, The Rosary. Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘mirror.’ Come stop in while we take a trip back to Texas in 1915.

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Seven years, Alice mused silently. We’ve been married that long? It seems a lifetime ago that we married. Monongalia, West Virginia seems so far from this Texas frontier. Not that Texas is the Wild West that it was when settlers first started arriving here fifty, sixty years ago.

Harold shifted and stirred, interrupting Alice’s journey to the past. “When’s Daddy going to come home?”

“Not for a few more days.”

“I miss him.”

“I know you do, honey. So do I. But Daddy’s got a lot of work to do. The oil company has to fix a lot from the hurricane.”

Since the hurricane had hit Galveston two months earlier, Alice rarely saw her husband. He spent most of his time closer to the coast, along with thousands of others, mitigating the devastation that the August storm spewed forth across the bay area. Fortunately the death toll from this 1915 storm was much lower than from the hurricane that hit land fifteen years earlier. In 1900, over 6,000 people perished. The city built a sea wall in 1904, which helped tremendously and although 224 people is still a lot to die in a hurricane, it was much better than the thousands that had perished not that many years earlier.

Alice was just glad that they lived so much further inland. They’d suffered from high winds and torrential rain fall, lost some shingles, and a few fruit trees from the orchard, but otherwise had fared well. Having William gone for weeks at a time repairing the damage added a burden to her life, raising three young boys largely alone. Yet, she recognized how blessed she was that their family hadn’t lost any loved ones in the storm. Life for those families had changed overnight. She’d willingly give up her husband for a few weeks here and there compared to the worse fate.

She glanced down at the three young boys covering her lap. Bobby, the cherubic infant nestled at her breast, Harold, at five the rambunctious tyke full of curiosity, and William Junior, the mirror image of his father in four-year old form. Yes, life was good, even if she didn’t have any free time for reading anymore.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

Galveston 1915 hurricane

The Rosary #1 (heavy)

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We start a new Vintage Daze Short Story this week, The Rosary. Each week in Tuesday Tales, a group of writers write to a word or picture prompt. This week we write to the prompt ‘heavy.’ Come stop in while we take a trip back to Texas in 1915.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

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The Rosary

“Harold Furman Blodget…what on earth were you thinking?” Alice quickly intercepted the knife that Harold was handing to his younger brother, William. As the knife clattered in the tin wash tub sitting on the counter, the baby in the corner began to wail. Alice cradled her forehead in the palms of her hands and shook her head in despair. “Will you three never give me a moment of peace?”

She headed towards the cradle in the corner. Her taffeta skirts rustled with her agitated step. “Harold, you should know better. You’re five and William is only four. You have to be the big brother and protect him. Not give him dangerous knives to play with.” She picked up the crying infant and nestled him to her chest, murmuring in soft, soothing tones as she began to rock from side to side. She began to croon, “Hush little baby don’t you cry…”

“Mama?” Harold’s young voice spoke up tentatively. A heavy, forlorn expression settled on his face, giving him the countenance of an old, grumpy man. “How come you sing to Bobby, but you yell at me and William?”

She glanced at her oldest son and all her frustrations fizzled away like dust in a hot summer sandstorm, even though the cold November day was far from summer. She settled down in the rocker sitting between the cradle and the stone fireplace and unbuttoned a blouse to feed the quieted child who looked like a squall was starting to build up again. “Come here you two.” She patted her lap as Bobby latched on. “C’mon. Come rock with us.” The two youngsters crawled up and fidgeted into place, the three children threatening to spill over the arms of the sturdy rocker.

“Mama’s sorry.” Alice cradled the baby to her breast, rocked and soothed two blonde heads with her free hand. “I shouldn’t snap at you when I get frazzled.”

She sighed, lazily rocking away as her mind drifted back to younger days, before the three boys had entered her life. She had no idea that children were such a handful. She recalled the days of a young married girl when her chores were finished by midday and she had the luxury of sitting and diving into the pages of a book for several hours before she had to start supper fixin’s. What she would give now for an uninterrupted hour to retreat into a book and immerse herself in another world for just a brief period.

“I wish…” She started as she realized that she almost spoke her inner thoughts aloud. She shook her head and stopped the flow of words, not wanting her boys to hear her voice her longings. They couldn’t help it. They hadn’t asked to be birthed. They didn’t need to know how she longed for some private time to read. They wouldn’t understand. Neither would William Senior.

Be sure and check out the other story snippets this week in Tuesday Tales.

Zany Times

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Zany Times

It’s ‘Z’ day, the last of the A to Z Blog Challenge. And one of the toughest letters to write to. Zero, zone, zest, zoo…there’s lots of Z letters, but it’s finding one that fits in with the theme we’ve been writing about. Although…I’d rather pick a ‘Z’ word over an ‘X’ word any day!

So I’m going to close with one of my own family memories, not from the long-ago days, but from a few years ago. It hasn’t made it into a family story…yet.

A few years ago, I’d made a trip back to California. We all gathered at my sister’s house for dinner one night. My sister had come back from a work conference with many of the teens from the high school. She was tired. It had been a long week for her. She was laughing about some things that happened. My sister is…well…she’s not as quiet as I am. And when you mix in tired with the excitement of having a house full of family, it made for craziness.

It was one of those moments where pretty soon the whole conversation is hilarious. She’d start a sentence, and after laughing hysterically for one – two – three minutes, she’d finally finish the sentence. Maybe.

At one point, I slipped my cell phone out of my pocket and pretended to look at a message. But I actually turned on the video. I ended up with almost ten minutes of solid, non-stop laughter. She was laughing so hard she was grabbing tissues and wiping her eyes.

I loved that video clip. Alas, when my cell phone died, it took that video to the grave with it. I miss that little clip. I’d love to still have it, to replay every few months, when I wanted a good laugh or a remembrance of fun family times.

Even without the video, I can still replay that evening in my head. It’s just a little harder to pull out the phone and show it to someone else. But that’s okay. I’m a writer. And you know what that means – it’s going to end up in a story somewhere, sometime.