Monday, May 31, 2010

The Fancy Shoes - A Magpie Tale

 82 year old Annie sat quietly at her small kitchen table looking down at the old shoes that lay haphazardly on the floor.

Looks like I waited too long, doesn’t it, sis Annie thought. Soon she was lost in her memories.

Her older sister Susie had been sunshine personified. There wasn’t a room she didn’t light up, there wasn’t a stranger she didn’t get to know. A cynic didn’t stand a chance. Suzie brought about a new hope for the human species.

Annie remembered when Susie was able to finally buy the open-toed slings that now lay on the floor in front of her. Back then you didn’t waste hard earned money on fancy shoes. There was a war going on and money was tighter than tight. You were expected to do without for the war effort.

And Susie did her part just like everyone else in those hard times. But when she saw these particular shoes in the window of Viter’s Shoes and Boots, she became obsessed. She had to have them for the final dance of high school. It was her last hoorah as a young lady. After the dance, she was expected to take her place in the adult world and get married. She would be expected to wear sensible shoes and practical clothing, to become a serious and responsible adult. Susie was willing to do that… but after the dance. Until then, these beautiful shoes represented the existence of possibilities.

Her sister worked hard to earn the money for the shoes. She put in extra hours on her part time job at the drug store whenever she had the chance. She became a popular babysitter who was liked by the children as well as the parents. Susie even hired out as housecleaner a few times, but she wasn’t a good one. She tried, but housework wasn’t something she took to naturally. No one minded, though, because she was such excellent company on boring afternoons.

Susie was finally able to buy the shoes in time for the “Big Dance.” She looked beautiful and the fancy shoes were perfect. They were sophisticated yet fun. They made her feel glamorous. Susie and her boyfriend Teddy Spencer were the hit of the dance. It couldn’t have been any other way.

It was a week later when Teddy was drafted. It wasn’t a surprise. All the young men were being drafted.

The other shoe had finally dropped, so to speak. There was a tearful goodbye but Susie held up well. Once Teddy left for boot camp, Susie put up her fancy open toed shoes. “I’ll wear you again to dance, but not until the war is over and Teddy is safely back home.” And she put them up on the closet shelf.

And not to worry, because Susie was able to dance in her fancy shoes again. Teddy made it back home and all in one piece. He had emotional issues that typically accompany war, but he seemed to be adjusting as well as could be expected. It wasn’t long before Teddy and Susie had set the date for their wedding, but for efficiency sake they ended up eloping. Most people secretly felt a sense of relief. It was less stressful and certainly less expensive.

In the mean time, Annie’s boyfriend Billy Johansson had been drafted and still remained over seas somewhere secret. It was assumed that they, too, would marry when he returned. It’s what was expected of you.

One day when Annie was visiting Susie she did something she thought she would never have done. She stole something. She stole something from Susie. Annie had noticed the shoebox sitting in the back of the closet on the shelf and she took Susie’s fancy shoes. In her childishness, Annie wanted to have the shoes to wear when her boyfriend returned from the war like Teddy did.

“I’ll wear you when I dance with Billy after the war is over” Annie made the same promise to the shoes. “Please just bring him back safe and sound.”

But Billy never returned. He was killed in action. The news was hard to take. Everyone in the small town grieved for him as they did for all the servicemen like him. It was hard on Annie too, of course. The promise made to the fancy shoes hadn’t worked to keep Billy safe like it had Teddy. The shoes were forgotten in the grief.

Life has a habit of moving along even if you’re not looking. Each sister went through the same ups and downs as everyone else; there were marriages, divorces, children, grandchildren, good health/poor health. Throughout the years, each time Annie would pack to move she would come across Susie’s fancy shoes and make herself a promise to return them. And each time, because life can be so hectic, she would forget. Now it was too late. Susie was the first sister to die.

“I waited too long, didn’t I. I’m sorry” Annie said to the room. “I’m going to ask that I be buried wearing your fancy shoes. I hope you don’t mind, Susie.”

Annie stood up and started to put on the shoes so she could dance in them, but stopped midway. Oh no I don’t. I have better sense than that! I’m not going to put these on so I can fall and break a hip. Annie had always been the practical one.

As she picked up the shoes again and shuffled out of the kitchen Annie began to sing to herself.

“He makes the company jump when he plays reveille….
He’s the boogie-woogie bugle boy of Company B…

A-toot a-toot diddle-ee-ada-toot…
He blows it eight to the bar……. “

(Check out Magpie Tales for more entries in Willow's weekly writing challenge.)
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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well Fine Then!

I'm having a crappy day. A crappy day, week, month, year. Everything is ticking me off. The damn air is even ticking me off, truth be told. Its too humid and wet.

Bloggers that I've read every day are leaving bloggerland. They start off with "taking a break" and before you know it, they're signing off for good. Another one bit the dust today for me. And just because it was another damn straw, I deleted their bookmark so even if they change their mind, its too late. That'll show 'em!

I finally thought of something to write for Magpie Tales (the shoes)... got to the end of the first sentence and the rug rats started making their demmands for the day. Now their very breathing makes me growl under my breath. However, soon they will be taken away to the babysitters. (I refused to babysit when mom goes to work. Its my only alone time.) I might get 5 hours to myself. Just enough time to clean up after everyone. If I put my mind to it.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Miscellanous Monday

This picture is a still from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. (I got it from Hooked On Houses) I like it and thought it might be make an interesting painting. I seem to have a thing for the type of robe she is wearing. (Surely there must be a better word to use than robe, but it escapes me at the present. I'm so not into "fashion.") I'm guessing it comes from seeing some old 1930s movies with glamerous women wearing them. When I've tried wearing one I would just get the sleeves caught on door knobs and skillet handles. I would also get the sleeves wet by either drifting it across a full cup of coffee or over a sink full of water.

I'm getting over a messy head cold. Now I may be just dealing with allergies. Colds and allergies are basically the same, except one is contagious and the other isn't. Messy, either way.

My car is sitting on a flat. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with this situation yet. If someone had their shit together they would have already joined AAA.

Weekend television programming (network channels) really sucks.

I wonder if my camera still works.

Time for my second cup of coffee.
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Friday, May 21, 2010

55 Words

She looked in the mirror.

“Where did I go?” she whispered. “What happened to that beautiful, intelligent woman I use to be?”

The image returned her stare with the same look that she was feeling. Disappointed confusion.

You’ve got to be kidding, the answering thought persisted. I’m still here. You’ve just got me buried. Alive!

DISCLAIMER: This is a fictional piece for '55 Flash Fiction Friday', where participants are required to tell a story in 55 words. If you give it a go, be sure to go tell g-man.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In An Ideal World

I'd be beautiful and wealthy in an ideal world. But face it, that ain't gonna happen.

Every child needs to come with a control panel. A control panel and a user instruction manual. Its ridiculous to give us total responsibility for a living creature and no training or anything. Ridiculous, seriously.

Wouldn't it be great if they had control panels?

On/Off switch, of course. This would be available, but hopefully would go unused. On, you have a living creature. Off, you have a doll.

Volume control. An absolute MUST HAVE option. It would include a mute button, of course.

Stand-by Mode. Same as being asleep, but will perk up immediately upon being awakened.

Reset Button. Basically, a do-over. Child has made a great mistake and heads will roll, unless the reset button is pushed.

Upgrade Button. As child matures, different options are made available.

I suspect there may be a lot more options needed that I haven't thought of, but this is what might work.
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Blue Willow Plate - A Magpie Tale

Magpie Tales posts a visual prompt each week and invites others to write a short story or a poem about it. Check it out here.


The two older women sat across from one another at the small kitchen table, coffee cups close at hand. With just a slight turn of their heads they could each view the sunny courtyard on the other side of the twin windows. It was going to be one of those rare perfect days. Warm, but not too hot.

“How are you holding up?”

Annie looked up at her friend Ruth and slowly shook her head. “If I have to move one more time I think I’ll just…."

She didn’t know what she’d do if she had to move again so she let her answer drift off unfinished.

“They always say they’ll help, but they don’t. My seven year old grandson Tommy was more help than all of them combined.”

Ruth nodded her head in agreement. She knew exactly what Annie meant. The younger generation seemed to abhor physical labor. Their intentions were sincere and true, but they all had lousy follow-thru.

“Where is Tommy?” Ruth asked.

“He’s next door playing. They have a couple of kids around Tommy’s age, which is handy. Now he’ll have something to do when he comes over to visit. Grace is going to pick him up later tonight.”

Annie put her hands on the tabletop and pushed her stiff body up, joints creaking. “Gawd, I’m too friggin old for this shit!” she muttered as she shuffled over to the counter. Every muscle yelled at her. She moved the sugar canister and grabbed the pint of brandy from behind it.

“Want some meds?” she asked, waving the bottle a little.

They each poured a little brandy in their coffee. Annie started quietly singing as she added some sugar to her cup.

“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, medicine go down… “

Ruth inspected the room.

“Looks like you’ve got everything put up or put away.” She turned her head to look at the whole room again. “Where’s your great grandmother’s plate?”

Ruth was talking about the blue willow plate Annie had always guarded with her life. The one Annie’s mother had handed down to her with great ceremony.

“I don’t have to worry about it any more.”

Ruth’s question displayed on her face. “huh?”

“Well, I was in my bedroom and Tommy was helping by putting things in their proper room. I heard this loud crash and rushed out to the living room to find Tommy standing over a pile of blue and white shards. He was paralyzed with fear. He knew how important that plate was to me.”

“oh no” gasped Ruth.

“Oh Ruthie… you should have seen his poor little face. He looked like someone had just told him that he had killed Bambi!”

“Ohmygawd… what did you do?”

“What could I do? I said Thank you."

Ruth just stared.

“I told him Thank You! I’ve been worrying about that plate for years and years. Now I’m free. Thank you very much! I don’t have to worry about it any more.”

A small smile spread across Ruth’s face as Annie continued.

“I made him clean up the mess, of course, then we walked around the corner to the little cafĂ© and had a treat. Afterwards Tommy looked at me very seriously and said if I ever needed anything else broken to just let him know and he’ll take care of it for me. I thought that was very sweet of him.”

The two old ladies chuckled as they lifted their cups to toast Annie’s finest hour as a grandmother. And to bid farewell to the blue willow plate.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Promoting a Charity

I don't usually promote a charity but I came across this site and it struck me as a terrific idea. 800 Charity Cars. Check them out HERE. They help struggling families with transportation in the form of giving them their own cars. It looks like they accept cars or you can donate money (scroll to the bottom of the home page for $$ donation link.)

If you don't have a car to donate now, maybe you can bookmark it. Later, when your neighbor is trying to figure out how to unload his hooptie you can come to his rescue and give him the link.

I just know from personal experience how difficult it is to raise a family without personal transportation. Doctor appmts, emergencies, getting to the stores with the best sales... sometimes just getting out of the house for a short drive to keep a mother from leaping off Insanity Ledge.

(for those who may not be familar with a "hooptie", just think of a car costing $500 or less.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Untitled - Another Magpie Tale

Check out Magpie Tales here.

The room was dim. The light from the computer monitor was the only illumination. The old woman put on her reading glasses and leaned in closer to the monitor.

What the hell… she thought to herself.

She sat back and continued looking at the image on the screen. A slow grin appeared.

What kind of weirdness is this? Geesh, Willow likes to set a good challenge, doesn't she. Crazy woman. Where does she get these images from anyway?

The woman, hair askew, leaned forward again to study the image as she tried to think of a story line.

“Fried eggs, anyone?”

“Wait a minute… I wanted my eggs scrambled!”

None of them worked for her.

Well, that’s okay, the wrinkled woman thought to herself. Its all voluntary and I just won’t volunteer this week.

Without moving her body, the woman turned her head slightly to the right and stared over her shoulder at her readers. “Okay… then you do it. You write a tale. Just let me know by leaving a comment. I want to see what YOU come up with. K?”
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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Chit Chat

Things are boring around here. The group (daughter and her 2 boys) have been gone for almost a week so its been very quiet.

Does the devil have a conscience?

Portrait of gramma captured just after one of her power surges and just before shot of scotch.

I told you its been boring around here. These guys were high for a while, but they didn't do anything crazy. I couldn't work in high places. I always seem to want to jump and that can't be good.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (A Magpie Tale Presentation)

Magpie Tales posts a visual prompt each week and invites others to write a short story or a poem about it. Check it out here.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. That was Bob's motto to live by... and it was evident by the decor of his shabby little apartment.

He stood in front of the fish bowl and watched for a while.

"What do you think, Dorothy. Will it brighten up your life?"

Dorothy refused to answer. In fact she purposely ignored Bob and just kept swimming angrily back and forth, but Bob was use to it. He waited for her to calm down. She didn't. Finally his shoulders slumped and concern showed in his eyes.

"I'm sorry. I'M SORRY, DOROTHY! I just... I just didn't know what else to do with a broken lava lamp."

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