100-Word Story: Pogo Stick

Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy
PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

I heard them talking.

Daddy said, She wants a pogo stick.

Mama said, She has enough presents.

Santa brought a pogo stick.

Daddy smiled. Sturdy.

We went outside.

Mama frowned. Don’t fall.

She’s fine. Daddy lifted me on.

I bounced. The pogo stick didn’t.

Daddy frowned. Spring’s tight. You’re not heavy enough.

Daddy tried. He bounced down the sidewalk.

Mr. Smith came over. Can I try?

Daddy jumped off. Sure.

Mr. Smith bounced down the driveway. This is fun.

Let me try again, Daddy.

Daddy bounced up the driveway.

Mama brought me my doll.

She’s right. I have enough presents.


*

Instructions for this week’s story

” The following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. What does it say to you? I dare you to look beyond the subject. I double dare you!”

I looked far beyond the subject: The rings of metal at the base of the metal skeleton reminded me of a spring, which reminded me of a pogo stick, which prompted my 100-word story. Maybe I’ll look more closely at the reptile and try again. There’s a lot of potential in that lizard.

*

To read more stories by Friday Fictioneers, click the frog, below.

A 100-Year-Old Person: The View from Kindergarten

What does a 100-year-old person look like?

For their 100-day anniversary, kindergarteners were asked to come to school dressed as 100-year-olds.

This Aged P. is a member of my family, but, as is obvious from our respective photographs, I am considerably younger than she.

Feeling Wretched Leads to Grousing and Posting

I feel lousy!
Oh so lousy!
I feel lousy, and frowzy, and a fright!

And that’s the truth.

IMG_2305My whole body, except for my brain, is out of commission. My brain is set on Grouse. To the widest audience I can find.

I’ve already told my niece and my great-niece, through Facebook, what I think about a couple of things. Niece offered to buy me a drink. I suggested codeine or paregoric instead. Great-niece hasn’t responded.

At this point, even the brain is running out of steam, so, gentle readers, you will be spared the Grouse. Instead, I will post pictures of a family get-together in Houston a year–two?three?–ago.

Both of the mothers said I could post photos of their children. The children’s grandmother didn’t give permission to post a photo of her, but she doesn’t get to say. When I was sixteen and she was almost twice that, and old enough to know better, she set an ice pack on my stomach in the middle of the night, when I was sound asleep.

I have forgiven her, but I will never forget.

Anyway, here are a bunch of very bad photos of people having fun.

P. S. I’ll see how many of gentle family are aware of this blog by counting the number of comments I get from them here and on Facebook.

100 Words: Nothing But Gray

Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the prompt.

*****

PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright Jan Wayne Fields
Friday Fictioneer Prompt. Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

Nothing But Gray

Paul stood, hands in pockets, looking out.

She’s set four places again, he thought. And she sits in a different chair now, doesn’t talk, just looks out the window at nothing but gray stone.

She brought in a covered dish. “Chicken casserole. Your father’s favorite.”

He heard Jack slip in and pull out a chair. Paul didn’t move.

She sat down. “Come. Eat.”

He turned. “Every night, Mom, four plates. And you, just staring.”

“Four people, four plates.”

“Dad’s dead, Mom. He’s dead. Three months now.”

She unfolded her napkin. “And I watch for your father. He’ll be home soon.”

*****

Rochelle Wisoff – Fields – Addicted to Purple

Prompt: 16 January 2015

The World in Solemn Stillness

This 1663 painting by Abraham Hondius has a ma...
This 1663 painting by Abraham Hondius has a matching painting of the Adoration of the shepherds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...
Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarence Odbody in It’s a Wonderful Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Public domain.

We’re watching, one more time, It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence Oddbody, AS2 (Angel Second Class), aka Henry Travers, is showing George Bailey, aka James Stewart, how his hometown would look if George had never been born.

In a couple of minutes, George will learn that, because he never existed, his wife, Mary, aka Donna Reed, not only never married, but became a librarian. Judging from her granny glasses, frumpy hat, and bun, that’s a fate worse than death.

I like It’s a Wonderful Life, but it isn’t my favorite Christmas movie. I prefer Miracle on 34th Street, in which Edmund Gwenn–whom I rank right up there with Henry Travers–is declared, in court, to be the real  Santa Claus. No librarians were defamed in the making of that show.

Nevertheless, as soon as half the town crowds into the Bailey living room to pile money onto the table, I start to cry. I cry through the credits and the next three commercials. Even a not-favorite movie can stir emotions. Year after year after year.

Favorites aren’t easy for me. I don’t have a favorite novel or a favorite song or a favorite color. Or a favorite teacher, actor, or pet. I have multiple favorites. For me, those get-your-password questions–“What is your favorite television show?”–are useless. I never remember whether I said Andy Griffith or Law and Order or I’ll Fly Away.

 I do, however, have a favorite Christmas carol. The melody is lovely and singable–singable is important to me–but it’s the words that move me. They speak of peace and quiet and rest for the weary, of heavenly song floating above earthly babble. They speak of ancient tidings of peace to one small group of men, and of a promise of a world in complete harmony.

But the lyrics also speak of the present, of stopping, and looking up, and seeing angels. They’re there now, and they’re singing.

We have only to be still and listen.

*

 It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

 Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats
o’er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains,
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o’er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

 Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

 And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

 For lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing.

 *****

From Wikipedia:
“‘It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” (1849) — sometimes rendered as ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ — is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. Sears’ lyrics are most commonly set to one of two melodies: ‘Carol,’ composed by Richard Storrs Willis, or ‘Noel,’ adapted from an English melody.

“Edmund Sears composed the five-stanza poem in Common Metre Doubled during 1849. It first appeared on December 29, 1849, in the Christian Register in Boston. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, William Parsons Lunt, pastor of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts.”

 

*****

Reposted from December 25, 2010

 Related Articles

The Wedding: May 24, 2014

Derek and Kaitie got married.

IMG_3052IMG_3051IMG_3056IMG_3053IMG_3055IMG_3054IMG_3057IMG_3059IMG_3061IMG_3063IMG_3064IMG_3065IMG_3067IMG_3071IMG_3073IMG_3074IMG_3075IMG_3076IMG_3077IMG_3078IMG_3079IMG_3081IMG_3082IMG_3083IMG_3084IMG_3087IMG_3088IMG_3089IMG_3090IMG_3091IMG_3095IMG_3094

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day 2013: All My Boys

Marshall Barrow, Mary Veazey Barrow Worden, Barbara Barrow, Bertha Arnold, Betty Barrow, Mary Phereby Veazey Barrow, Crystal Barrow (Waller)
Marshall Lyle Barrow, Mary Veazey Barrow Worden, Barbara Barrow, Bertha Arnold, Betty Lyle Barrow, Mary Phereby Veazey Barrow*, Crystal Barrow (Waller), ca. 1935

My grandparents, Mary and Marshall Barrow, had four children. My grandfather had been certain that each prospective baby would be a boy, but he ended up instead with four daughters.

One evening shortly before his death in the spring of 1940, he was lying in bed, listening to a radio broadcast of news of war in Europe. He knew the United States would eventually be drawn into the fighting.

Turning to my grandmother, he said, “I’ve lived to see the day when I’m grateful that all my boys are girls.”

*****

*My aunt Barbara found this photograph with my grandmother’s face cut out, so she pasted one in from another photo.

When the Music Stops

What happens when the music stops?

~The song lives on in our hearts.

guitar fingers by Bombardier - (CC BY 2.0) - via flickr
guitar fingers by Bombardier – (CC BY 2.0) – via flickr

To the memory of

Tom Brown Webb III

Tom Brown Webb IV

Suzanne Rader

Marlene Waller Linaweaver

Nell Hubbard Waller

Robert Vance Waller

Christmas Day, 1950-Something (1956?)

7 Cousins, 1 Cousin-in-law, & 1 Grandmother (The unfortunate fashion statement at lower right was not the fault of the person wearing it.)

1st row: James Burnside King IV, Stephen Marshall King, Barbara Lee King, Mary Katherine Waller

2nd row: Crystal Lynn Worden, Mary Veazey Barrow, Eugene Wray Worden, Mary Whiting Worden,
Mary Veazey Worden

The World in Solemn Stillness

painting of the Adoration of the shepherds
Image via Wikipedia

We’re watching, one more time, It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence Oddbody, AS2 (Angel Second Class), aka Henry Travers, is showing George Bailey, aka James Stewart, how his hometown would look if George had never been born.

In a couple of minutes, George will learn that, because he never existed, his wife, Mary, aka Donna Reed, not only never married, but became a librarian. Judging from her granny glasses, frumpy hat, and bun, that’s a fate worse than death.

It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t my favorite Christmas movie. I prefer Miracle on 34th Street, in which Edmund Gwenn–whom I rank right up there with Henry Travers–is declared, in court, to be the real Santa Claus. No librarians were defamed in the making of that show.

Nevertheless, as soon as half the town crowds into the Bailey living room to pile money on the table, I start to cry. And I cry through the credits and the next three commercials. Even a not-favorite movie can stir emotions. Year after year after year.

Favorites aren’t easy for me. I don’t have a favorite novel or a favorite song or a favorite color. Or a favorite teacher, actor, or pet. I have multiple favorites. For me, those get-your-password questions–“What is your favorite television show?”–are useless. I never remember whether I said Andy Griffith or Law and Order or I’ll Fly Away.

I do, however, have a favorite Christmas carol: “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” The melody is lovely and singable, but it’s the words that move me. They speak of peace and quiet and rest for the weary, of heavenly song floating above earthly babble. They speak of both ancient tidings of peace to one small group of men, and a promise of the world in complete harmony.

But the lyrics also speak of the present, of stopping, and looking up, and seeing angels. They’re there now, and they’re singing.

We have only to be still and listen.

It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heavenly music floats
o’er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains,
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o’er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophet seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing.

*****

Image: Abraham Hondius [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Adoration of the Shepherds, 1663

*****

Reposted from December 25, 2010.

Cousins

7 Cousins, 1 Cousin-in-law, & 1 Grandmother (The unfortunate fashion statement at lower right was not the fault of the person wearing it.)

Panic. Away from home. Unable to access Internet from laptop, where e-mail password is stored in browser. Unable to access e-mail from borrowed desktop because e-mail provider will not accept passwords.

Oh, it’s not that bad. I can’t get to my e-mail from the desktop at home either. Should have done something about that ages ago but just let it ride. Will think about it tomorrow.

I’m visiting with my cousin MV. She’s the oldest of seven cousins. I’m the youngest of the bunch. 

I must say she has improved with age. She’s not nearly so bossy now that we are both senior citizens.

MV’s first baby was born when I was ten years old. Six weeks later, I spent a week with her family. I wagged Baby around as if he were a doll.

I was very good at it, if I do say so myself, but it has since occurred to me that MV was either very brave or very crazy. I had neither experience nor character references.

Or maybe she was just crazy like a fox. I changed a lot of diapers that week.

The baby is now on his own way to senior citizenhood, as is his little brother, who also survived my handling.

In fact, it won’t be too long before they start getting mail from AARP. I don’t know whether they realize this. I was surprised and a bit insulted when I got my invitation to join up.

Because I’m convinced all seven of us are still as young and cute as we were the Christmas our picture was taken.

Vida Woodward Waller

The woman on the left in the photograph above is my father’s mother, Vida Maud Woodward Waller. On the left is his father’s sister, Jessie Waller Meadows. The photo was taken, I believe, sometime before 1910.

Aunt Jessie lived to be nearly ninety, so I knew her well. I didn’t know my grandmother. She died in 1920, when my father was five years old. By the time I was born, thirty-one years later, she was rarely spoken of. Her younger sister, Nettie Watkins, who volunteered to be “Nanny,” and my grandfather’s sister-in-law, Bettie Waller, told me a little about her.

Here is what I know.

She was short and had red hair. She was the seventh of nine children in a family that remained close all their lives.

She had beautiful hands, and she was vain about them. She paid her older sister, Bruce, to take her turn at doing dishes so the hot, soapy water wouldn’t spoil her hands. In the mornings, before she and her brothers and sisters went into the field to pick cotton, she carefully wrapped and stitched each finger in strips of cotton fabric. Then she put on work gloves. “That just fascinated me,” Aunt Nettie said. “And she always slept in gloves.”

There wasn’t a horse in the county that she couldn’t handle.

She scandalized the town by being the first girl to ride astride, wearing a split skirt. (And judging from the photograph, she corrupted Aunt Jessie.)

She and my grandfather eloped. Her mother did not approve of my grandfather as a son-in-law. I don’t know what Granny’s objections were, but having known my grandfather, I imagine some were justified. We all loved him dearly, but he could try one’s patience.

She drove like a maniac and regularly plowed the car into a high curb or a fence post or a bridge abutment and had to send for my grandfather to get the bumper unstuck.

She had a wonderful sense of humor, and she loved babies. (No one told me that. I inferred it from being around her sisters.)

She had her first child in 1911, and the others in 1913, 1915, 1917, and 1919. All boys. One day when she was in town, she heard a woman say, “There’s that Mrs. Waller. She has a baby every year.” My grandmother turned around and said, “No, I have my babies every two years.” End of conversation. The tradition was convenient for the entire family: if you knew how old one of the sons was, you could easily calculate the ages of the others. From there, you could fill in most of the cousins.

She could do, and did, whatever needed to be done. If bedtime came and all the boys’ pajamas were in the wash, she sat down at the machine and sewed up a batch of pajamas. If she wanted a fence around the yard, she went out and put up a fence. I suspect she found out fairly early in her marriage that building a fence was quicker than waiting for my grandfather to build one. (See, try one’s patience, above.)

She tended to be plump but wanted the hourglass figure that was the fashion. She laced her corsets so tightly that during every dress fitting, she fainted. One dressmaker became so frightened at the prospect of a client who routinely toppled over that she refused to sew for her any more. (I should note that the Woodward family was known for its fainters, men as well as women, so the corset might not have been entirely to blame. They were a hardy family, not a nerve in the bunch, but under stress they fainted.)

She would dress up for a party, stand before the mirror, and say, “I don’t look good enough.” And she would stay at home.

She had a strong will. No one ran over her.

The morning of the day she died, she was preparing to make a cake for Donald’s third birthday. She went outside to draw kerosene to fill the kitchen stove, and some of the liquid spilled onto her robe. When she lit the stove, the robe ignited. She panicked and ran. Maurice and Joe, seven and nine years old, knew how to smother the flames, but they panicked, too, and could only scream. Bill, Donald, and Graham, the youngest at eight months, were there as well. Graham, of course, didn’t remember his mother. Donald and my father always said they remembered nothing about that day, but I believe my father did.

She was buried the next day, on her thirtieth birthday.