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Friday, February 22, 2013



The pity she could see in their eyes simply doubled her determination.  She would make it, all in one piece.  She was stronger than they ever thought to be. They were good neighbors.  They meant no harm.  They could empathize with her, but hopefully never have to experience her grief first hand.  The loss of her children.

Jennie Alexander married James G. Isles, to the envy of every other girl in the county.  Creating a blacksmith forge in his barn, James continued one of the trades he honed while in the army.  James returned from the Great War with his 30-06 he had used as a sniper and enough military pay to put a down payment on 640 acres of bottom land in the Thumb area of Michigan.  

One square mile of farmland.  One square mile of hard, back breaking work to clear the land.  Once square mile of picking up rocks and stones to make way for grains and corn.  The land was too good to raise animals for anything other than their personal eating.  The land was fertile and just waiting for seed. 

James’ startling blue eyes, tall muscular build, red hair, and quick wit were quite a contrast to the wide eyed Jennie.  Her dark hair and big brown eyes were as legendary as her pies.  They made such a contrasting couple, their friends speculated what their children would look like. 

With such a large parcel of land, James quickly acquired eight teams of horses.  Eight teams so one could rest every day while the other seven were driven by the hired crews.  With so many teams, he often hired his team and crews out to other farmers for plowing, tilling, and harvesting.  James was a shrewd business man and a loyal trustworthy friend. The community  worked together to become rather prosperous.  Jennie couldn't be more proud of him.  He was becoming everything she had envisioned he could be.

Across Isles Street, named for the family, lived the McDougall family.  Archie McDougall had moved his family into the adjoining square mile soon after James and Jennie.  Close friends and competitive adversaries, the two families leaned on one another to make their rural farms come to life.  If Archie McDougall needed anything James Isles had, all he need do was mention it and it was quickly loaned and vice versa.  The two families were as close as any two families could be. 

Winter and mid Spring were the two best seasons, in Jenny’s opinion.  Winter was more of an idle time.  The harnesses needed to be rubbed with oils and the horses got their personal attention.  Jenny and James had time to themselves and time to visit friends and relatives.  Life was a bit more quiet.  Quiet that is until James and Archie decided it was rat time. 

Rat time on the farm seemed to involve an awful lot of shouting.  The shouting consisted mostly of “over there” or “got ‘im” or “it’s a big un”!  All this joined with the clamor of gun fire.  The county paid two cents each for the pelts to keep the vermin down.  That money was a fine welcome when Jenny was getting low staples or in need of material for making maternity clothes.  It was a welcome diversion for the two grown boys as well.

James was always on the go.  Busy with county business, as the Treasurer he needed to make his rounds.  As the only blacksmith in the county, he tried to combine as many of his business trips as he could, but it seemed there was always someone in need of his attention.  That left Jennie to shoulder much of the work on the farm, watch the hired hands, and take care of the household. It was a busy life, but knowing the hard work was for her own family made it all worthwhile.

The barn just behind and downhill from the house, held the animals toward the front of the barn and the smithy to the back.  This way, the men could round the barn and enjoy a smoke or a drink.  In the loft of the barn there was naturally hay stored, also any of the hired single men were welcome to bunk up there. Mostly, the men who stayed on the farm ate with the family.  Learning to cook for that many people took some time.  Balancing “enough” food into eight hard working men was almost more than their wood cook stove could handle.  Jenny’s deep dish pies were nearly as tasty as her Sunday morning flap-jacks.  Trading smoked hams for honey or maple syrup was the best swap she could think of. 

It was a Tuesday, she recalled.  It was a Tuesday in March.  James had gone to a neighboring farm to check on their plow team’s shoes.  It was the time of year when every farm was gearing up for planting.  The horses hooves were checked and double checked.  The harnesses were oiled and buffed again, making certain there were no leather burrs to harm the animals.  The plows were cleaned and any blade repairs double checked.  It was nearly planting time, the promise of spring was on the air.  The red-winged blackbirds and red-breasted robins were just beginning to flit through the fields and barn yards claiming their portion of the grains. 

They were just boys.  They were supposed to be checking to see if the ewes had given birth.  Knowing the ewes seemed to prefer a good stormy night to an uneventful still night to give birth, the boys were dispatched giving them something useful to do.  The smell of smoke and fire were ever present in the air, nothing seemed amiss until she went out to hang laundry.  

Basket dropping from her hands, the barn on fire, Jenny screamed for her children as she raced to free the screaming horses.  The front gate opened, animals tearing out of the barnyard, Jenny had to dodge huge draft horses and wild eyed cows in an effort to find the children and not be charged over.  The goat and the sheep were at the lean-to, the boys were not.  Dear God, the boys are not with the sheep. 

Running to the back of the barn, to the smith area, Jennie could tell.  She knew.  Her babies.  Her boys.  The gas container was too close to the fire.  Dear God, the gas container was still in the oldest one’s hands. 

Jennie shook her head, looked at her surroundings and realized, she was no longer at the farm.  She wasn't that young mother with three young boys, the youngest still in swaddling.  She was sitting in the hospital, in her rocker.  The eyes looking at her were not those of her neighbors, but those of the other patients.  Tears running down her cheeks, she determined she would make it.  She was stronger than they ever thought to be.  They didn't know anything about fortitude.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life's Passions

Blog Hop - Writer's Post  
Life’s Passions

This week, our host Kathy Thompson, has invited us to speak about our Life’s Passions.  To address each past passion, I would need far more time and attention than you would care to indulge me!  I enjoy many things about and in life.  Listed below are passions that haunt the front of my mind on a daily basis.  Thank you for stopping by.

I guess I’m just an odd ball or simply old.  At one point in my life, I was passionate about what I did.  But, that was work, or a creative outlet, or the act of acquiring knowledge.  These days I’m passionate about life in general. I would like to live long and happily.
With the passing of the meteor, so many friends and relatives “passing”, and watching the blatant greed of politicians and big business, I am passionately worried about life!  Not only mine, but everyone’s. 

I worry about our planet.  I worry about the water in the Great Lakes.  I worry about the oil spills and pollution in the oceans.  I worry about the loss of both frogs and bees for they are sign posts of how Mother Nature is accepting her mistreatment. 

I worry about our planet.  I worry about the loss of ozone.  Were the caverns dug all those thousands of years ago dug because at one time humanity could not withstand the amount of light the planet was being radiated with?  Did we cause the ozone so that life might flourish?  If so, how can we do that again?  Oh yeah, reduce the green house gases we are currently emitting.  If only greed for oil could turn to greed for safe living. 

I worry about our planet.  I worry about world hunger.  I am concerned about world hunger and so many children who are lost or growth retarded because of it.  I know that here in America we ship a lot of food overseas, but that has been GMO foods and other countries no longer accept those foods.  So, what happened to it?  It was brought back to America and fed to the locals….now let’s see what happens.  I worry that due to what we have done to the food sources, people are eating more but eating less healthful.  I worry about the brain power we are creating. 

I worry about our planet.  I worry about the overpopulation of our planet.  I don’t know how we can sustain all the people we have created.  The church, and many of his followers,  adhere to the archaic idea that we need to populate at an ever increasing pace.  At one time, that thought could be listened to, now….we cannot feed the population we have.  Oh, that’s right, the church wants you to pro-create more church donors. 

I worry about our planet and the next generation of people.  In an effort to feed and clothe those we have already brought into the world, we work for companies who don’t care what they pollute or decimate or eliminate from the earth, they simply want more “profit”.  Some profit isn’t enough, more and more and more! 

I worry about our planet.  I worry that the interaction between people is becoming a lost art.  My goal each and every day, is to make someone smile.  I am concerned we have lost our humanity…and I don’t think it is simply due to computerization.  I think drugs and chemicals have played a far larger role in how we treat one another.  There have always been people who’s internal wiring has made them have to walk a more difficult path, but now with the drugs people purposefully ingest they are going on killing sprees for pleasure. 

These are just a few of the things I passionately worry about.  I actively am concerned. I actively am trying to change my life for the better.  I cannot preach, I can only set an example. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crazy Fantastic Fridays #1


Fantastic Fridays #1

“Crazy as a loon” they said.

             Crazy describes someone or something that is insane or not mentally sound.(adjective)
         An example of crazy is an idea that makes absolutely no sense.
         An example of crazy is a person who is in a mental hospital and who is yelling, hallucinating and otherwise acting like they are insane.

If I were to don swim fins and ski goggles and motorcycle helmet while sashaying in a grass skirt, every day at tea time, but you never saw me do it, would you think I was crazy?  So really Crazy is doing something out of the “norm” and being seen by others who would  then judge you.
I enjoy labeling myself as the “Crazy Lady On The Corner”.  I feel a moniker of this nature gives me character.  Stature within the community you might say.  Walk your pet up to my house to use my flower bed as a toilet, I will get out my broom to chase after you and your little dog too!

Crazy doesn’t mean, today, what it meant years ago.  As with much of our language, the word crazy doesn’t automatically bring images of a mental institution to mind.  In today’s world, crazy simply means “someone who walks to the beat of a different drum”.  And to me, that’s not all bad.

Growing up on a deep lake, we have been graced with a mating pair of loons for as long as I can remember.  They, like all animals, become acquainted and are far less fearful with the “locals”.  I have had them swim alongside me, pop up from a fishing expedition next to the canoe I was paddling, or simply swim across the lake to see what game was making the kids laugh so loudly.  I have never seen them act “crazy”.  Guess crazy is subjective or at the very least, I never caught them in the act.


What's Your Song Blog Hop #67

WritersPost        Blog Hop #67

What’s Your Song is hosted by Suzy Que

I cannot imagine a life without music and song!  Within the womb we hear the rhythms of life thrumming a beat for us to grow by.  That beat, heard first from our mother’s body, teaches our own body to keep tempo with the world around us.

Most people have signposts to guide them through life.  We all search for guidance to move us forward with our decisions.  It is said the scent of sugar cookies fills the air when angles are near, I smell gardenias.  Yes, I have smelled gardenias when there was no chance there was another flower I may have mistaken it for…always as I pondered the next step in my life. I once smelled gardenias while cooking spaghetti sauce!  Hopefully I have chosen correctly by determining the idea I struck upon while inhaling the intoxicating aroma of gardenias was the right path I should follow.    

Some people sing in the shower, other’s hum as they perform mundane tasks, it is their universe telling them where they are. Lately, I have been enjoying the good tunes of Flo Rida; “Good Feeling”.  To date, since first listening to this version of “Good Feeling” on Spotify two years ago, if I hear this song I know it will be a glorious day filled with gracious people.

Over the course of my life I have been fortunate to have many careers.  Most of my careers gave me some new insight, taught me the jargon of a different venue, educated me on the ways of the world, or were simply “jobs” to get me over a rough patch.  At the end of each of these relationships, I have finally realized my internal signs tell me that it is time to move on. The song my internal dialog sets up  has been the  same song for a very long time;  The Alman Brothers;  “Whipping Post”.  

We all have signs to help us on our journey through this dimension we call “Life”.  I hope your signs are robust as I think mine are…gifts of our six senses and utilizing all of them! 


Friday, February 8, 2013

Dream - Gerome #12 GBE 2

Gerome #12   Dream

GBE 2 : Dream

The multi-colored beast crept along the tree tops.  Ever mindful of the people below, it crept closer and closer to the circle of Gypsies.  It’s movement obscured by the dense foliage and the rumble of thunder from an incoming storm. Rudolph and the crone unwittingly moved closer to the beasts location, it grinned the knowing grin of a predator.  The thing was nearly upon them. 

The crone whirled around with her arms widespread. “Zenia!  I see you received the invitation.  So good of you to join us.  Care for some tea?”  Nodding her head, a woman passing by quickened her pace towards the camp fire. At that the beast began its transformation. 

A swirling golden mist dotted with every color of the rainbow began a slow twisting dance around the beast.  Soon the mist was so thick the beast within was hidden.  Just as suddenly as the mist appeared, it disappeared.  Instead of the golden mist, stood a woman.  It was obvious she was beauty, in her day.  The bloom had long since passed with only the remnants of handsomeness left behind in her carriage.  Her graying hair only just showed the golden hue it had once been. The way she stood, the way she wore her clothing, the tilt of her head.  All these were tell tale signs that she had always been looked upon favorably and she had always know how to use her good looks to her advantage.

The crone stood with her hands on her hips. “Oh don’t look at me like that.  How many times have I told you?  You wheeze like a yeti coming down from the snow mountains.  Speaking of yeti, when was the last time you bathed?   Sister, realizing the honorific duties we have ahead of us, please take heed.  Rudolph, see to it that a bath is drawn, for my sister, right away! Come, sister, we can talk near the tea while your bath is readied.” 
Rudolph hastened to do his mother’s bidding.  As much as he was the King of the Gypsies, his mother the crone was the “ruler of the roost”.  She handed out her knowledge to any who would learn, he had learned enough to know when she meant business.

“Sister, the day has come.  We must undo some of our makings.  We must set these humans on their right paths, as we had planned all those years ago.”  Gingerly, the crone sipped her tea as her sister pulled a flask from her cape.  “Isn’t it rather early to be adding spice to your tea?”

“Not all spice is bad.  This is from the mountain tops of the Andes, a recipe handed down from generation to generation.  It is to assist in seeing the truth.  Quite literally just as a rainbow the levels of truth can be seen in a conversation.  Not that I don’t trust you sister, I just don’t trust you to tell me all.” Zenia tossed back her cup of tea as though she were taking a shot at the local tavern.  Sitting well back into her chair, she closed her eyes and leaned her head upon the back of the seat.

“As you can see, arrangements have been made.  We have much work to complete and very little time to do so.  The evil one has sent his emissary, I assume to attempt a stop to our work.  Although, this may simply be a diversion, I haven’t decided yet.  What say you? 
“I watched them as I dined.  They were cowered in the brambles. I made certain to drop tidbits around them.”

The angry mob of townsmen made their way to the Gypsy campsite.  The groused and grumbled as they walked, goading each other on.  “You know I’m the better card player, they used magic to beat me!”  “That gut-rot they called wine must have had some sort of potion in it!  I never would have asked June to marry me!”  “Twas the black magic that made me use all our seed money on their evil ways.”  The men grew bolder as they marched into the clearing.  The thunder claps became louder and louder as the storm drew closer and closer. The angry dark clouds seemed to mirror the attitude of the mob. Flashes of lightening illuminated the path as the mob made its way out of the village and towards the encampment.

The clan of Gypsies met the mob head on at the edge of their encampment.  The townsmen menaced with their pitchforks.  Just as it seemed they would come to fisticuffs, Lord Alfred and Lord Gorgan came galloping to the scene.  The crones arm darted out, holding her sister as she had begun to step forward.  The crone could smell the transformation magic as Zenia was about to become the beast again.  Lord Gorgan already had his sword unsheathed.  His steed seemed to dance about as the fog began to settle in.  It’s nostrils flared while it’s eyes rolled.  With a bellow, Gorgan began his advance towards the two old women when Lord Alfred grabbed the reins of his horse. The horse whirled about, adding dust to the dense fog that swirled about.

Sliding off his own horse to better hold the reins of Lord Gorgan’s, Lord Alfred bowed to the two women.  “We have questions.” To Lord Gorgan, “Cousin, sheath your sword.  They appear unarmed.  I would question.  If you slaughter them, I will lose any of their knowledge.” 

Alfred began to turn back to the two women when he was knocked off his feet.  The woman who had recently joined up with the Gypsy clan had not only knocked Lord Alfred down, but was straddling him!  “I have seen this in my dreams.  If you are to live through the next few moments, you must be cloaked with invisibility.  Between the fog and my skirts, the evil one knows not where you are.”



I sat beside the bed in the hard wooden rocker I had pulled from the corner of the room.  I lay my hand next to hers and looked into those large, luminous, almond shaped eyes.  Her breathing was laborious.  I had known her since I was a small child, although apparently at the time I thought she was a male, because I named her George. 

George had been with me since I sat on top of the swing set, singing off key, watching the heat storm lighting up the sky in the next county.  I knew George was there to watch over me and I wasn’t afraid.

“George,” I whispered, “tell me again.  Tell me where you come from.  Tell me your story.”  I didn’t want to lose her, I wanted to keep her engaged.  She had been my friend nearly all my life. 

Earlier in the week, I found her collapsed in my back yard.  She never showed herself to the neighbors, this was highly irregular.  I gathered her up into my arms and hurried into the house.  My friend cradled in my arms, I sat down on the sofa.  She looked up at me then, those thin nearly nonexistent lips cracked slowly into a smile. “I knew you would find me.  They are calling me.  This is what we call ‘moving on’.”

Squeezing her gently, I kissed her on the cheek and lay her out on the sofa.  Hurriedly, I retrieved all sorts of bedding.  She smiled and clucked at me.  “How long do I get to hear your voice?  How much more time do I have.”  I pleaded with my dying friend although I knew her time was close and my pleas would go unanswered. I felt as a small child again.

With pillows propping her up, I plugged in my cell phone to record her.  She smiled, “Remember who I am and where I come from, that recording won’t last a moment.  Even as you record, it will erase.  That is the way of it.  How it must be for us all to survive.”

Looking at her, I thought she looked exactly as she had the first time I saw her.  She had superimposed her face over a full moon.  Thinking I was just a child and wouldn’t notice her antics, she was quite surprised when I called out, “Hey George.”  In less than a blink of an eye, her image was off the moon.  I could just make out her shape hovering in the foliage of our maple tree.  I was to learn later, that was one of her favorite tricks; hiding in the trees to observe. I smiled a slow smile and said, “Hey George.”

Laying on my couch she smiled back and said, “If you hadn’t made me laugh all the time, I would have been invisible to you to this very day.”  The small Gray coughed.  “I have betrayed so many secrets to you.”  Sitting on the edge of the sofa, I simply smiled and nodded. 

“It’s time for me to go back through to the other side.  Remember to look for all the signs to see your new observer.  Look for the: Elf, Fairie, Angle, God or Alien.  We are all one and the same, sharing the same space and time, merely an alternate dimension.”  With that, she winked and was gone.  Soon, her body became as shaped mist and simply flew out the window. 

I am writing her the stories as related to me by my alternate dimension observer.  Here lies the stores as told to me, first hand, by my own George.