Prompt 2: 9/2/12 Canopy

It isn’t too much. If you look closely you can see it plain as the back of your eyelids. Standing in the heart of the house, large rooms to the north, south, east, and west of her she could see through the screen door to heaven. It had taken a long time to get here and she often took stock in the price and loss it took to acquire this smidge of nirvana.

Presently she was stinted in the heart of her house glancing to the left at the library and all the books, the over-stuffed chairs and worn leather couches with their nail head trim.  On the walls, photos of her hometown in earlier days when it was calm and peaceful and undisturbed. The fireplace was unlit and had been for months, yet the logs emitted a southern pine scent that welcomed you to come in and lose yourself in the comfort of the room and the sanctity of the words found in the bindings on the shelves. Had she read them all? No. Did she want to? At one time, yes. If only she could find someone to pay her to read; that’s the ticket.

One small turn to the right and there was the dining room, large and warm, where family met often for food and fellowship of exchanging and updating information about their daily lives. It was here that she enjoyed watching babies grow and grapple with who they were going to become–unhindered by the dark history that was her past. The table large and solid always had room for more; many adoptees brought in to the fold, drawn in by the comfort of the circle ensconcing the related ones. The pictures on these walls were of churches; German churches, southern churches, mountain one room chapels. She wasn’t a church goer anymore. That part of her life was over long ago. But God remained with her and in everything she did. It was man that ruined religion for her. She knew better than to let man ruin God.

Simmering in the kitchen was raspberry tea. Beckoning her from her morning ritual of thanks for what she had. The kitchen was filled with mismatched dishes, glassware, and coffee mugs though she drank no coffee. The cookie jar was always full of soft frosted molasses cookies. Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables could be found daily for she grew proficiently and traded neighborly. There was always something baking and new recipes to try and willing guinea pigs for taste testing. There was a small table off the back porch that she often had her morning breakfast or noonday meal.

In the back corner of the first floor was her bedroom and bathroom;  large and comfortable to suit her needs. Windows on both sides and shuttered under the canopy of aged water and live oaks with their dangling moss tendrils. The house seemed to have been snuck in under these trees and they belonged together. A large farmhouse door was put in by her son so she could enjoy the porch outside her room and her favorite rocking chair was out there. Often at night you could hear the creak of either the chair or the porch boards. You had to really listen to know the difference.

The front room was used for sewing, knitting, jewelry making, writing, tv watching, or visiting. The window seat was her favorite place; she could snoop on the approachers before they saw her. Sometimes she had time to hide from the encroachers before they got over the small bridge and through the front gate. A week didn’t go by that she didn’t catch herself dreaming about switching out the bridge for a cattle crossing with a remote control allowing her to draw the pipes back into the left and right side of the land when the encroachers arrived at the creek crossing that ran in front of her home. Such a simple joy that would be. The encroachers were always car riders; never truck people. Truck people never bothered or pestered her; they just were not the type.

The stairs behind her were not wimpy stairs; they were stocky stairs built for real people. Under the stairs was the communal bathroom. At the top of the stairs was a large landing with even more books and a second window seat where the granddivas and granddukes loved to cuddle up with books and crayons and trucks and dolls. Lining the walls up the stairs were photos after photos of the her son and his wife and their children. Four more bedrooms and two more bathrooms could be found on the second floor and it was usually here that a grandchild would ‘run away’ too.

But as she carried her raspberry tea and ambled toward the front screen door it was that front porch that finished the dream she had always had of her home. It was wide and long, wrapping around both sides to take full advantage of the seasons or mood of the owner as it were. And as she sat with her tea, the dog at her feet, she looked down the canopy treed road and counted her blessings for her home and the land that had been hers for so long she couldn’t begin to imagine who she would be without it.


Prompt 1: 9/1/12 Bam! Pow! Snap!

Up early. Not like the last five days drudging the sun beckoning school. Breakfast devoured. Not like the last five days of pasty oatmeal but tv commercial cereal. Chores checked. The last obstacle to the freedom of a Saturday morning of watching, yes you guessed it, CARTOONS! I remember it just like it was yesterday. It has haunted me in various venues of my life at various times. It has always been a draw as to what really happened but I can guarantee you here and now that my version, the one you are reading now, is the God’s honest truth. You couldn’t fabricate anything near as tragic as this.

Batman and Superman were the heroes to watch on Saturday morning. They saved everyone from everything. I was about seven or eight at the time and had to share tv time with a brother three years my junior. The trauma of that day has erased any other cartoon I may have ever been interested in at the time. All I can remember is leaving the room when the commercials started. I needed to go to the bathroom, there were cookies and milk to be had (in the kitchen of course, we don’t eat in the bedrooms), and get back before the cartoon was back on the boob tube.

Munching that last morsel of cookie I can hear the musical introduction to the cartoon’s return so I slug down my milk, slam the glass on the counter, and run down the hallway to the bedroom. Running was a problem for me. As a clutz it was clearly something I should not have ever engaged in but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I ran everywhere. You would think with all the running I would be able to keep myself out of trouble. I just seemed to get myself into trouble faster. Like the time I ran through a neighbor’s yard and misjudged the length of chain on the dog’s lead. My running was not fast enough to avoid getting knocked down in the ditch and bit on the ass. So why should this dash end any better?

The hallway was long and narrow with bedrooms on either side and the one lone bathroom. My destination was the last room on the left. Running at top speed, not wanting to miss a nanosecond of superhero justice, I ran and as I crossed the threshold of the doorway I jumped for the bed. Oddly, the space and time continuum became warped and convoluted. As I was rising in the air and moving toward the bed the distance closed faster than I expected. Now at seven or eight I was clueless as to what was going on. But freshly influenced by Marvel Comics and the wonders of super heroes and super powers one’s mind can jump leaps and bounds when trying to make sense of oddities. The bed was actually rising to meet me. What was happening? Was the bed becoming some magic carpet? Would I be able to fly off like the kids in the Disney movie Bednobs and Broomsticks? The answers to my questions all came too quickly and too loudly in one fell “SNAP” as the bed landed. Within those first seconds of silence, as the dust settled and my mom’s head swooped up in some other quadrant of the house, there began this ungodly wailing sound the likes of which I had never heard before in my life. First a flying bed and now a damn wailing monster under the bed. What the hell was going on here?

My mother, running down the hallway no less, arrives with a ‘what have you done’ look on her face. As I begin to tell her about the magic bed, the noise under the bed becomes identifiable and my stomach sinks. Unable to swallow I now know the monster under the bed is my younger brother. But why is he making such a racket? My mom drops to her knees and, face to the floor, peers under the bed to see what ails him. Soothing him is useless but she grabs his leg and drags him out. His eyes are wet and red. His nose is snotty and runny. His one arm is cradling his other arm. He is struggling to sit up. He is glaring at me through it all. My mother leaves the room, running again, and gets on the phone to call my dad at his job. He has to bring the car home so they can take brother to the emergency room. I hear this because I have slinked up behind her to find out what is going on. She turns to find me there and takes a muscle man grip of my shoulder and guides me to the kids’ rocking chair in the living room and sits me down with a ‘you stay put’ motion. She disappears to tend to brother and I sit–not daring to rock.

My father arrives and walks past me with a ‘what were you thinking’ look but says nothing. Moments later he comes back carrying brother, mother in tow, and they leave going right past me not saying a thing. I know not to move. By this time the elder brother and sisters have been clued in and are hanging on various cornices watching the mayhem unfold, also not daring to say a word, but stealing a sideways glance at me from time to time.

What did I do? I ran. I jumped. The bed met me. It just didn’t make any sense. I sat and I sat and I sat. I didn’t dare rock. I didn’t dare get up. My dad came home one time, walked right past me, went to the kitchen, got some Lucky Charms in a baggy, walked past me again, and left–all without saying a word. But the look was enough. I had really done it. And staying put was evidently what was expected of me. So I sat and I sat and I sat. I can’t remember a thing about lunch or dinner. I can’t remember what my other brother or sisters did for the rest of the day. I can remember the sun setting and the dark night rising and my parents coming home with my younger brother, arm in cast only to give him another bowl of cereal and put him to bed. And still I sat and I sat and I sat.

Eventually my parents ‘spoke’ to me about my indiscretion and my running. I was not to run any more any where any time was that clear? Yes I quietly acquiesced. While it was an accident, my brother had been hurt because I was running. The wheels in my head kept playing that bed rising to meet me. I was not to play any superhero character anymore, was that clear? Yes I answered not really thinking about it. The bed, rose to meet me. Wait a hot damn minute! He was playing the superhero character! He was playing Superman and he was lifting the bed just as I jumped! How was that my fault? Try as I may to explain all this it was still my fault because of, yes the curse, I was older and should have known better.

So, as the story goes and depending on who is telling it, I broke his arm because I was playing Wonder Woman and trying to fly through the air. Mind you an impossibility in 1970 as she was not a cartoon then. I maintain my innocence, except for the running, and I still hold to the truth that he was under the bed lifting it pretending to be Superman and how was I to know?