20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


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A Blossom in the Wind

It wasn’t difficult to remember the first time I had been to that old house.

My curly hair was drooping in pigtails, golden brown from the summer sun.

 My Aunt Lilly had whispered to me as we dried the dishes, “I have something I want to show you!”

 “Okay.” I smiled as we continued to work.

 Soon, we climbed into her 1966 white Ford and bumped our way a few miles down the dirt road to a drive way that looked as if had not been used in years. It seemed like the bumping and grinding of the gravel went on forever. Now, I realize, it was only a half mile or so.

 My aunt grabbed my sweaty little hand as we skipped up the chipping rock steps of a wooden cabin, paint long faded to the natural gray of hardwood. She took the key, clipped to her shirt with a safety pin, and unlocked the door.

 It smelled musty inside, and I giggled, ”Yuk,” as I looked up at her.

 “Houses smell like that when no one lives there anymore, Sarah. This is the house I grew up in. I was born here.”

 “But you live on the hillside, Auntie!” I protested. “We were just there!”

 “No, honey, I mean when I was a child, like you. This is where your mother and our brother Willie grew up.”

 I glanced around he room in wonder. It was a mess. The curtains hung down limply, so dusty that the bright sunlight filtered through as if it were sunrise. There was a desk cluttered with writing materials,a yellowed tablet, the edges of the paper curled. a pencil that badly needed sharpened. I noticed that one of the drawers was partly opened and reached to see what was inside.

 My aunt stopped me. “That as mama’s drawer. We weren’t allowed to mess around in there.”“But it’s opened ,Auntie,” I said “Why can’t I look?”

 To be honest, I don’t have a reason, Sarah.” I guess it is just my remembering how we were not to mess in that drawer. Obviously, someone has!”

 “Yeah,” I whined, eyes cat to the floor. “I sure would like to see what’s in there.”

 “Sometimes, Sarah, it is more fun to imagine what a drawer may hold than to actually know.”

 I shrugged my ten year old shoulders and smiled. In my young mind, knowing what was in the drawer would be much more fun.

My aunt and I spent another hour or so wandering through the room. We looked at boxes of old doll, metal cases filled with uncle Willie’s cars. My aunt show me how the pedal operated sewing machine worked, the drawers where scissors and thread were kept. I remember my favorite was the button drawer. In it was an assortment of buttons removed from many different items of clothing before the cloth went into the rag-bag.

 “Why did you bring me here, Auntie?” I asked her as we started out the door.”

 I saw a tear slide down her cheek. “Oh, Sarah,’ she cried. “I was thinking of mamma. It’s been ten years today since she died. We started clean the house , your momma and I and one day, we just didn’t come back. It hurt too much. It was sort of like the drawer, we decided we would rather remember the house the way it had been when she was there, when we were children.”

 That was twenty-seven years ago. I had brought my children there a few times, my mother and I had even come here with Willie one day to get some things out of the barn. But today was different. Today, a tear slipped from my eye as we walked down the steps. We had just buried Aunt Lilly in the family cemetery on the hill. Somehow, I felt a deep, almost mysterious connection with my Aunt Lilly as I looked up at the apple tree, bursting in bloom as if nothing had happened.

 Life changes, time goes by, memories are made, but somethings never seem to change. I snapped a small branch of blossoms and twirled them in my hand. I already had a place picked out for them-the would dry and remain on the inside cover of my Aunt  Lilly’s oldest photograph album. Someday, a young girl with golden brown hair would remember the story that her mother had told her that day.


Mittens

My grandchildren were over recently, before our early Christmas celebration, before the hassle of the illnesses we’ve had, before the travel. It was a typical Friday, a cold day, and before I started giving my grandson his piano lesson my granddaughter said, “I’m going outside to play. OK?”

“Sure, honey.”

Five minutes later she was in again.

“Grandma, do you have some gloves I could wear? It’s colder out than I thought.”

I gave her a pair of my mittens. Turns out she had a “job to do,” and she picked up lots of twigs on the ground that a very strong wind had blown around.

“And I wanted to check Snuggles’ grave,” she said, “to make sure the sticks around it were still there.

On the day she and her brother came over to decorate our beloved cat’s grave, she had encircled the grave with sticks. Snuggles’ final resting place up on the hill is duly marked.

I got to thinking about those mittens after she came in, had her piano lesson, then after we took them home that evening. We so often say “walking or following in someone’s footsteps,” but in this case she mittened in my handprints. I love the fact that her little hands have warmed my mittens.


Thanksgiving 2012

I learned that I’m a worrier. Everything that gave me angst before Thanksgiving turned out to be nothing.

“But she’ll ask about the ___,” I worried.

She didn’t ask.

“He’ll wonder where the check is,” I worried.

Nothing was said.

“S. will back off,” I worried.

She didn’t.

“The food won’t be just right,” I worried.

The food was delicious.

“We won’t have enough room,” I worried.

We had plenty of room, and more.

Lesson? Don’t worry. It adds stress. It’s unnecessary.

Thanksgiving couldn’t have been more wonderful. My sister-in-law and her husband arrived on the train Wed. night and stayed until yesterday. What a great time we had with them. I finally located an old carousel slide projector so we could look at slides of my husband, his five siblings, and their parents, from when the kids were small. J. was a tremendous help in the kitchen. J. and C. were comfortable in the bedroom we gave them, easy guests, fun. The right teams won football games, for the most part. The grandchildren were sweet. Our older granddaughter played the piano for everyone and was duly rewarded with applause and compliments. Our younger granddaughter zoomed little cars around, hugged teddy bears, and happily went from lap to lap. Our grandson, a teenager, hung with the men watching football, spending time on Facebook with his friends, said the grace before our meal.

How much I have to be grateful for.

And I am.


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A Priceless Gift

Our grandson is 14 1/2 (remarkable to me as I remember the night he was born) and is a typical teenager, hooked into “his” kind of music almost constantly, doing things with his friends, busy with school and sports. Well, his sport is cross country, and the season just ended, but not before he proved himself a contender. He’s right up there, second or third in every race, even county, regional, or other large meets.

Because of cross, he has taken it upon himself to eat properly. He no longer drinks pop, ever, but “stays hydrated” with water. He reads labels on products at the store. He eats vegetables now, when before, he’d just as soon omit them from any plate of food. He makes himself salads. He knows to eat pasta before a meet.

His 11 year-old sister is impatient with his focus on healthy foods. Just listening to them in the car yesterday when I picked them up from school was funny.

“B., do you have to talk about food all the time?”

“I don’t talk about it all the time.”

“Yes you do. I mean, there are other things to talk about, you know. Who cares what the first ingredient in something is. I know I don’t.”

“Well, M., I need to eat right and exercise so I can stay in shape for running.”

“The season is over. What’s the big deal?”

And on and on until I changed the subject. It was good-natured banter, but neither was going to back down from his/her position.

Our granddaughter had an event to go to, so her mom picked her up at 5:30. Then it was just our grandson, my husband and me, so we asked him where he’d like to eat. He was quick in his answer, and we wound up at a local pizzeria which has extraordinarily delicious pizza. I was able to get something off the American menu, which was my preference. But the guys shared a large pizza.

As we ate, he played around with our smartphone, taking silly pictures of himself, grabbing a pic of me here and there, singing….

“Grandma, sometimes I’m all of a sudden singing and I don’t even realize it.”

He was happy and goofy and teenaged and we were all having a good time. Then, out of the blue, he looked at us and said, “I just love you guys so much.”

Now there’s a gift I could never put a price on.


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5 in the Morning (A Day in the Life Challenge)

It’s 5 in the morning, and Marley the cat

Is screaming he’s hungry, that’s why he’s so fat

I stumble around him, on way to the loo

It’s always the first stop…admit it’s yours too!

~~~

Then head to the kitchen, and put on a pot

Of freshly brewed coffee, all steamy and hot

I tell dear old Marley, you’ll just have to wait

Can’t get our dear Gracie to meet the bus late

~~~

And as I am dressing, I’m racking my brain

In hopes that the mem’ry of dreams will remain

But rarely, if ever do I have such luck

They’re buried quite quickly in this brain of muck

~~~

I’m dressed and I’m ready, we’re out the front door

And happily head to the bus stop once more

We’re smiling and laughing and singing a song

Then here comes the bus ’round the corner ‘fore long

~~~

I wave my goodbyes and head back homeward bound

And there Marley sits, making nary a sound

I give him his breakfast, and maybe a treat

And now he can stay out from under my feet

~~~

I’m at the computer, with coffee in hand

To see what has happened in old Facebook land

Maybe I’ll blog a dear poem for you

If I can come up with a good one or two

~~~

Now off to my studies, and laundry perhaps

With thoughts sometimes swirling, like they’re running laps

But trying to focus, and doing my best

The time to relax will be after the test

~~~

When afternoon comes, Gen’ral Hospital’s on

It’s my guilty pleasure, I’ve watched it so long

And 2:30 comes and I head down the walk

To pick up dear Grace, and we have a nice talk

~~~

I ask her what kind of a day that she had

And what kind of homework, “well that’s not too bad!”

I get her a snack and we visit a bit

And then to the shower, if I haven’t yet

~~~

It’s time to get ready to head to my class

I want to do well, and not merely to pass

The classes are fun, almost all of the time

I’m glad to be learning, and I feel sublime

~~~

And now class is over, I load up my stuff

The day’s almost over, it’s not been too rough

I spend just awhile winding down this old mind

Then out of my scrubs, my dear bed looks so kind

~~~

As I lay my head on the pillow again

I lift up a prayer, and then say “Amen.”

But not that it’s all of the praying I’ve done

Throughout all the day I have talked to the One

~~~

Who blesses me daily, or may dry my tears

Reminds me He’s with me, and calms all my fears

And I close my eyes and before we both know

Another day’s over, to dreamland I go.


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Gracie’s Facey (Limerick challenge)

There once was a girl name of Gracie

Whose mother was my daughter Traci

She turned up her nose

When asked to fold clothes

And acted like Grandma was crazy.

 

But then that dear girl name of Gracie

Decided she wouldn’t be lazy

She folded those clothes

And nobody knows

What a pretty smile lit up her facey!

 

:)

Fast Friends

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Fast Friends

My grand daughter (on right) saw a little girl she had never met at the local Nature Center, ran up, said, “Hi!” and grabbed her hand. They danced and played together down the pathways the entire time we were there. At the end of our visit, their moms exchanged phone numbers. It is amazing how children can see life and joy so simply. Their delight is pure and honest. How refreshing!

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