My Description of Love? Why Family of Course!

I don’t know if you’ve ever wanted to beat a family member or not, but right now I did! Finding this sticky mess on my face and hair was not at all funny. My brothers all knew I slept heavily when I was exhausted, so they’d waited for me to pass out and had proceeded to paint my face with different colored frosting and had whipped creamed the almighty heck out of my hair.

Waking up a few minutes earlier, I’d heard the football game loudly in the background and giggling from one of my nieces, “Ooh Tio! Tia’s gonna beat yo butt when she sees that.” Automatically correcting her I yawned and mumbled, “…your butt, mija…y – o – u – r.”

Another giggle sounded, then a hurried, “Shhh!”

I walked through my brother Max’s kitchen which smelled of ginger and spice and everything nice, and I’m not talking about my young nieces, it just smelled that good. Since I knew the way by heart I kept my eyes closed and just moseyed along until the gentle bubbling of the table top fountain I’d bought them last Christmas told me I’d arrived at my destination right outside the water closet.

Mumbling to myself, I wondered out loud, “Should I turn the light on or not? Nah! Just get your business over and done with dummy.” Sitting on the porcelain throne I lifted my hand to run it through my curly reddish brown hair…my fingers got stuck. What should have felt like baby soft curls (I’ve always hated that I have hair like a baby’s. I mean for goodness sakes, I’m 55 already!!) was hard as a rock and it felt like horns sticking out of my head.

You know, I can’t even tell you if I was actually finished or not, I was just in a such doggone hurry to see what disaster had befallen me. Rushing to the light switch by the door the big toe on my right foot hit something really hard, “Judas Priest Iscariot, I hope you burn!!!”

I could hear giggling right outside the door as I snapped the light on and turning faced the mirror. After a horrified gasp, I screeched, “Sandblasted poopheads, peanut butter and jelly and everything I hate. You are so dead hermanos (brothers)!!!”

I heard guffaws as I opened the door and found the entire hallway full of as many members of my family as would fit.

“Hey there guys, which one of you did this to me?” I was smiling as I asked. That I wasn’t yelling, kind of scared the perpetrators, because Antonio, Miguel and Jose looked at each other quickly, then down at the floor. Everyone else grinned and pointed at those three, soon to be sorry suckers.

“Tony, you’re paying for my Beautiful You Spa visit tomorrow. Miguel, you’re cooking supper for the familia for the next two weeks and Jose, you’re going to baby sit my grandkids, also for the next two weeks,” and looking around at the other guilty parties, “and for those of you who could have stopped them, but didn’t; I expect you at my house early Saturday morning. We’ll be cleaning and painting, unless it rains or snows, then we’re inside doing early spring cleaning, okay?” I chirped merrily. A round of groans was followed by, “yes, ma’am…” from everyone in the hall as they walked back into the living room.

An hour later I walked out into the hallway with my face as red as a beet; it had taken me that long to get the stains off my face. They had put quite a bit of food coloring in that frosting. Now that the shock of seeing frosting tic tac toe thingies all over my face, with “The cat wins!” written on my forehead and my hair sticking out every which way had worn off, I had to admit it was quite funny. While I’d showered, I’d laughed until the tears had run down my face.

Just before rounding the corner into the living room, I heard Tony say, “Mama, you were right. The only way Chelly would let us help with her house was if she thought she was punishing us. It worked…but, now I have to pay for her spa visit tomorrow.”

“Shut your boca (mouth), mijo (my son)! I told you to make her mad, but nooo you three clowns had to act like idiotas (self-explanatory. LOL!!). You deserve everything you’ve got coming to you. Jajajajajajaja!!!” You know, old ladies cackle when they think something is funny? I finally managed to take the grin off my face before walking back into that testosterone infested room.

I made myself comfortable on the recliner and checked my Pro Football Pick’em scores; so far I was ahead of everyone (out of 14 games, I’d won 13. My brothers hated when that happened, since I had no idea what football was all about).

Someone had asked me a few weeks back how I would describe love and I hadn’t been able to at the time, but now as I started to doze off again, I realized that love was familia, even if the guys sometimes act like poopheads. I hadn’t wanted to bother them because they were always so busy, but they’d found a way to help me out anyway. Yeah, family was the best and I was blessed with mine.

As I yawned and rolled over to go to sleep, I heard giggling again, “Ooh Tio Miguel. Tia Chelly’s gonna kill you when she sees that you posted those pictures on Facebook!!”

My heavy eyelids began to close in sleep and I thought to myself, “Yeah, I love my familia, but Miguel you’re so dead when I wake up,” and smiling I went to sleep.familia

http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2015/12/short-story-slam-week-35-dece-17-to.html

There are lots of awesome writers on this this week’s short story slam. Take a little bit of time and read some of their poems or stories. You’ll really enjoy them.

Have a wonderfully blessed New Year’s Eve and Day. Stay safe. Love ya’ll!!

Momma Is There A Man on the Moon?

Man in the moon2I can’t remember how old I was when it was slapped into me that there was no man on the moon. I’d gotten so used to cuddling with momma on that big oak rocking chair granddaddy had made for us, or on the patchwork quilt with momma and daddy, and we’d talk about the man on the moon.

All the seasons were beautiful, but Fall had always been the most wonderful time of the year for us. Everything was so vibrant, the color of the leaves; the oranges, reds, yellows, browns and purples fascinated me. As for the scents of Fall, I couldn’t really have described them I just knew that they all came together in a wonderful, magical way. The first thing I smelled when the windows or front door were opened was the last of the apples that had finally fallen off the trees in the yard and lay on soft beds of cool, moist leaves. While the beauty of the trees and scents always caught my attention, it was the moon that sent me on wonderful adventures.

As soon as the leaves started to turn colors momma, daddy and I would go out on a wonderful leaf seeking adventure to see which of the leaves was the most perfect in color and what stories they would tell. They always had wonderful stories to tell and somehow, someway daddy could hear their voices.

Before raking the leaves we’d go through them carefully and pick the best and most colorful and with these we’d make a great big wreathe to hang on our front door and with the rest we’d make so many different things; a tiny village with pipe cleaners and tissue paper and leaves glued to the sides for walls; we’d make leaf people with toilet paper rolls to walk the streets of that village and finally we’d put leaves all over the house; under candles, in glass bowls with pinecones and every breath we took said Fall was here and Christmas was on the way.

Daddy would rake the rest of the leaves into a great big pile and on that, he’d lay the patchwork quilt that momma had worked so hard on. While momma prepared the apple cider over the fire pit and added cinnamon sticks, daddy and I would cuddle and we’d feel each leaf and he’d explain why the trees were taking off their clothes. Since God was their Daddy, He would tell them when it was time to go to sleep and He’d wake them up when the cold was over and buy them brand new clothes.

My favorite time was then we’d all lay on that quilt; I always felt so safe between them, like nothing could ever hurt me and I’d put my hand out and touch the moon and I’d ask,    “Momma what is the moon made out of?”

“Why my love, the moon is made out of sweet apples and rice krispie treats,” she’d reply.

“Momma, will I ever be able to visit the moon?” I would ask excitedly.

“Someday my love, I believe we all will,” she would answer patiently.

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     Momma went to heaven when I was six years old and everything changed. Papa didn’t talk to me anymore and when he wasn’t working, he’d sit and hold momma’s quilt. I felt like I was invisible.

Several months later Grandma and Grandpa moved in with us. I heard daddy telling them I was getting unmanageable. I missed momma so much and I just wanted to feel safe again and one night I made the mistake of trying to climb into grandma’s lap; she glared and pushed me off. I didn’t do it again. I tried one more to connect with her and leaning against her I asked the same questions I’d asked my momma about the man in the moon. Daddy had gotten up quickly and left; grandma slapped me and sternly said, “It’s time for you to grow up. There is no man in the moon.” Pretty soon, we stopped celebrating everything. There was no Easter, no Christmas, no nothing; holidays were too painful for daddy, because they reminded him that momma was gone.

I learned to pretend that I didn’t need birthday parties and how to smile through the tears. The dreams I used to have about being a princess with a momma and daddy that would love me forever disappeared like snow on a summer’s day. Life had intruded in a harsh way and I went from being an innocent child who was her momma and daddy’s precious treasure to a quiet shadow living on the outer fringes of my daddy’s life.

Graduation was sad and lonely; another celebration no one shared with me. I left for college and never looked back. I met the love of my life there and finally I came to understand how much my daddy loved my momma. I can’t imagine my life without Charles or our children.

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     I always missed my momma and spoke to the kids constantly about her, but I never mentioned my daddy or my grandparents. Daddy had all but forgotten me and I didn’t want him to hurt my kids the way he’d hurt me, so I shoved him into a corner and tried to forget about him.

☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺

     The day had been a comedy of errors and my cheeks were sore from laughing so much. Working with kindergartners had its ups and downs and today had been a particularly hilarious day; I was so glad this was a four-day weekend.

There were several errands to run after picking up the boys, Christian and Anthony, from school. I was laughing hysterically as I walked in the back door; apparently Christian thought his teacher had killed the class pet, Homer the rabbit and had served him for lunch. He wasn’t upset so much at the idea of rabbit for lunch, but he said it had just tasted like regular hamburger to him.

Charles came around the corner from the living room carrying Beth, our 10-month old, “Sweetheart, I need to talk to you.” After getting the kids settled Charles sat and pulled me down on his lap,  “Honey, your Aunt Elise called. Your dad’s dying and he’s asking for you.”

My chest felt tight, I had a lump in my throat and my face felt funny. He held me for a while, then me settled me with the baby while he packed everything for both the kids and us.

I can’t remember the drive down there, but I do remember walking off the elevator at the hospital. The return of the feelings I had when momma died almost made me turn and run and only Charles’ arm around my waist kept me there.

Aunt Elise came up to me and hugged me, “Baby, he’s calling for you. You don’t have to talk, just listen, okay?”

It felt like lead weights had been attached to my legs and I looked over my shoulder at my husband. I didn’t want to have to do this alone.

“It’s okay love, we’re all coming with you,” he said.

The room was dark, the blinds drawn and all I could hear was the “beep, beep, beep,” of the heart monitor, the slow dripping of the IV and the hiss of the oxygen machine. A bony hand slowly lifted from the bed towards me.

“Baby, is that you?” came a guttural whisper.

“Yes daddy, I’m here.” I could feel my chin start to tremble and tears started to fall.

He wouldn’t rest no matter what I said; he needed to talk. He’d lost himself after momma died and then he’d lost me. He’d been so ashamed of what he and his parents had put me through that he’d never contacted me. Could I forgive him? Did I still love him? All I could do was nod my head.

“You know what I miss so much baby?” he asked gruffly.

“What daddy?”

“The man in the moon,” he replied breathing with difficulty.

With tears running down my face, I asked, “Daddy what’s the moon made out of?” In a hoarse whisper he replied, “Out of sweet apples and rice krispie treats, my love.”

“Daddy, will I ever be able to visit the moon?” I asked through a throat made husky with sobs, my entire body shuddering.

“Yes baby, but I’ll go first and see your momma.”

The next several hours I spent with my head on his pillow. I opened the blinds and described the colors of the Autumn leaves to him and the smells that make Autumn so special and he got to know Charles and his grandchildren. He finally slipped away in the early hours of the morning and I cried for what might have been and for what would never be.

 **********

     The boys took me for a walk the night after we arrived home. We searched for leaves and when we got home Charles had put my mother’s patchwork quilt on the leaves he’d raked. The five of us sat on that quilt and reaching up to touch my face Christian asked, “Mommy what’s the moon made out of?”

With a tears rolling down my face I smiled, “Sweet apples and rice krispie treats, my love.”

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Written for: Blue Bell Books Twitter Club: Thursday Flash Fiction Week 28: Innocence and Dreams

http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2012/09/thursday-flash-fiction-week-28.html

Journeys Await

Wordle:  My Favorite Colors and Words

     Chicago is quite the busy place; people running, walking to and fro. Every now and then I wonder if I’ll ever get used to living in Illinois, but then the aromas of all the different restaurants on 79th St. overwhelm my senses and I come to the realization that not only do I love Chicago, but I’m also hungry.

     Now to choose, what shall I eat, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Puerto Rican, Italian? There are so many choices, but I go straight for the most affordable; besides I really do love Chinese cuisine. I order the number 3-dinner special, plus a mango smoothie and eat and drink slowly, savoring every bite and sip.

     The day has been busy and I’m so tired, but I can’t leave without visiting North Avenue beach on Lake Shore Dr. I lay on a bench with my bag for a pillow; my legs drawn up and crossed. Big sigh! Oh yeah, being lazy for a bit makes me feel so relaxed and the pressure I’ve been feeling behind my eyeballs all day, slowly fades away and I feel the warmth of the sunset on my face. Forcing my eyes open, I find that God has once again, painted the evening sky with colors too incredible to describe…ah, such a feast for the eyes.

     Running to catch the train, for a second I stand totally still under the bridge and my inner child shouts just to hear the echo and laughs gleefully.

     The train finally arrives; not many folks get off the train, but a swarm of worn out folk get on; we can hardly wait to get home. I find myself a comfy seat and sit quietly until everyone is settled; setting my phone alarm I snooze for a bit.

     The alarm awakens me and once again the child in me takes over. Everything is lit up in the City of Lights and it kind of feels like Christmas. Pressing my face against the window I smile with joy.

     Chicago is a wonderful place to visit and work in, but I love being home. I unlock my bike and pedal down Galena Blvd. The Paramount is all lit up again for one of its Broadway productions and for a moment, I wonder what it might be like to actually visit Broadway.

     Shaking my head, I remind myself that tomorrow will be another busy day. I’ll visit the company’s bookstore and hopefully gain some much needed knowledge before leaving for Austin next week. I’ll be visiting the first of my company’s branches; my last stop will be Spain. I’m tired out just thinking about it!

     I’ve never really done much traveling; never really wanted to, although I’ve been to Puerto Rico, Texas and Wisconsin. Is that considered traveling? Nah, I didn’t think so! Now the only place I’ve ever really wanted to visit was Seattle. It may not be exotic, but I’ve always wanted to visit the Space Needle.

 

     The train passing overhead, the lights twinkling all up and down New York, and Broadway and the Mexican corn truck passing by remind me that tomorrow is another work day. I have to go home, make my lunch for tomorrow and jump into bed. Still smiling I pedal faster.

♪♫  ♪♫  ♪♫  ♪♫  ♪♫  ♪♫

Written for: Short Story Slam Week 27: Locations and Sensations at:

Appreciate the opportunity. Thank you!

Heart’s Harvest

 

The roosters had started crowing early this morning; well maybe it just seemed that way because I’d gone to bed late. Those darned chickens had been causing a ruckus and Noah and I had discovered a fox attempting to break into the hen house. We’d chased it away and then after checking the girls, I discovered that Noah’s part time worker had used regular wire instead of the galvanized hardware cloth I’d bought for that particular project. Brad’s mistake had almost cost me my sweet girls and my best egg layer, Mildred.

     Anger had me vibrating and I could actually feel my hands shaking. My husband and I had spent the next five hours putting the galvanized cloth in place to keep out any other predators. It was a temporary measure until everything could be done properly in the morning light.

     I’d been running my mouth because I was so angry and I’m just surprised Noah hadn’t chucked me in the pond. I was kind of getting used to it. I knew it wasn’t his fault and I’d wanted to apologize to him, but since I was still angry it wouldn’t have sounded sincere; I decided to wait until morning.

     God had gifted us with another beautiful day. Morning had come with breathless beauty once again. Our bedroom window was open and faced the rising sun and while Peppy and Miguel did their crowing, I took in a great, big breath of the fresh air that gently drifted in our window. As the rising sun touched the flowers, trees and grass it brought everything to startling life. The colors of the flowers; the beautiful reds, blues, violets and the eye-popping yellows and oranges just fairly shouted, “Look at us!” The yellow and green zucchini’s, the rich, red, succulent tomatoes and bright green skinned watermelons tempted me to bite into them and the water in the pond sparkled like cool, wet diamonds as it reflected the sun, while the soft sounds of the chickens, roosters and cows soothed me.

     The smells were amazing every day, but oh my, in the early mornings, just as the sun was rising and with the wind blowing, the smells were so wonderfully vibrant and they would flow gently over me and kiss me good morning.

     My happy sigh was so big it shook the whole bed and Noah’s smooth arm came around me and hugged me to him tightly. Turning, I buried my face in his chest and mumbled, “ I’m sorry.” A sudden chuckle brought my eyes up to his and I found them sparkling with laughter and love.

     “My love. you are amazing! I’ll never grow tired of living my life with you. You make each day so exciting,” he chuckled again and rubbed his hairy chin over my cheeks.

     My face reddened and his grin grew bigger, then he rolled over and swatted my hind end, “Come on it’s time to get up. It’s gonna be super busy today. I’ll make sure the hen’s garden run is put together right and then I’ll join you and our momma’s so’s we can pick all them tomatoes.” The day passed a mite too slowly for me; I really wanted to see my Noah’s face. He reminded me a bit of a young, handsome Grizzly Adams.

     Finally time came to pick tomatoes and you’d a thought it was a party. Lots of family members and friends; adults and children had shown up to help and we all worked hard and steady under the hot sun. Every once in a while I’d hear a giggle and I knew another tomato had disappeared down somebody’s gullet, but I cannot tell a lie I enjoyed a bite or two myself.

     An hour or so towards sunset I heard another sound I really enjoyed. I knew momma would soon be singing one of the many songs I’d grown up with whenever we worked in the fields. My momma’s sweet, husky voice called the kids over to her and they sat by the truck with cool watermelon juice and she began to sing, “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more. Jesus saves and keeps me and He’s the one I’m waiting for. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.”

     We finally finished, but left enough on the vines for the neighbors or any visitors that would be stopping by tomorrow to pick. Noah set up a nice little bonfire area, brought out the grill and we sat around and sang more songs and reminisced about our younger days. As usual my big brother Abel brought up the first time Noah had thrown me in the pond; not something I wanted to remember.

     “Hey Abe!” Noah called out, “don’t leave right away, cuz I’m gonna punch your lights out for messing with my pearl!” Everyone laughed, but Abe had gotten the hint and shut his mouth right quick.

      I loved sunrise, but sunset was pretty special too; here surrounded by family and friends, feeling pleasantly tired after a hard days work, with my husband’s arms around me, with the smells of the night and the occasional soft moo of the cows and the chirp of crickets and the giggling and laughter of kids I was content. I sighed big and my husband’s arms tightened around me and I felt his kiss on my head as I joined in the singing.

 This is written for: Bluebell Books Twitter Club Thursday Short Story Slam Week 26:

and for: Thursday Poets’ Rally Week 72 (September 5 -12, 2012) at:

http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/2012/09/thursday-poets-rally-week-72-september.html

 

Thanks for the opportunity!

Winter’s Delight

I’ve never known what it was like to enjoy the snow or cold; when everyone talked about all the good times they had; hot chocolate with little puffy marshmallows, hot soup that warmed you from the inside out after an afternoon of fun and sledding down snow covered hills; making snowmen with carrots for noses, buttons for eyes and cranberries for lips; walking down the street on Christmas Eve, while everyone’s voices harmonized beautifully to traditional Christmas carols; kind of made me feel envious. Had I really missed all that much?

I love my parents, I really do, but they had never permitted me to take a step outside during the snow and cold. Frail and sickly as a child my parents had always coddled me and been overly protective; a sneeze had usually meant a nosebleed that had them rushing me to the hospital; spending time outside in the hot sun had me running temperatures so high I’d start convulsing.
The seasons had passed me by and all I’d known of them was what I could see either from the living room window or on the way to the doctor’s office.
The way momma dressed me always had everyone laughing at me; the neighbor kids and my siblings. My body was covered from head to foot with just enough of my eyes uncovered so I could see where I was going. I don’t think any of the neighborhood kids even knew what I looked like until I tried to sneak outside to sit on the porch when I was 10 years old.
The worst time of the year had always been winter. The first time I watched the Christmas Story with Peter Billingsly I doubled up laughing like a hyena. That was the exact same way momma had dressed me just to get me to the car while poor daddy struggled to fit me in the back seat, what with me not being able to put my arms down and all.
Why do people say they feel like they’re on the outside looking in? For me it was the opposite. I was on the inside looking out wondering what it would be like to run through the powdery snow or to never be sick again or even to catch a snowflake on my tongue and feel it melting as it ran down my throat.
My childhood memories of winter were of me pressing my face against the window as I watched the kids screaming with laughter, their noses runny from the cold and their cheeks cherry red as little puffs of air passed their lips while working hard on misshapen snowmen as their parents helped.
As an adult, even though I rarely got sick now, I continued to confine myself to the house, unless I had to go to work; even then I would wrap myself up tightly and make sure my face was covered before walking out the door.
Yesterday my sister Shelly caught me with my face pressed against the window watching the kids frolic in the snow. She’d whispered something in her husband Darryl’s ear and off they’d gone, on a mission from God, according to her.
This morning after breakfast she’d hurried me into my bedroom and told me to dress warmly and then presented me with an early Christmas gift; a purple, down winter coat, with matching gloves, scarf, cap and boots. Panicking a bit, I reminded her that I’d never gone out into the snow unless I was completely protected.
“Silly sister, snow is for enjoying and for letting your inner kid out and I think it’s way past time for you,” she’d smiled.
After much hemming and hawing from me, we finally walked out onto the back porch together while my nieces and nephews cheered.
My brother Patrick cleared his throat and presented me with another gift, an adult sized sled. That was a bit too much for my first time out and I almost lost my nerve. It took a bit of coaxing from Pat and Shelly, but I finally put myself in their hands and followed them to the top of the hill in the back yard. Looking down the hill (it was a long way down after all) I looked from one to the other and huffed, “If I die you’re both gonna get it,” and crawled in between both of them. I held on for dear life and screamed as Darryl pushed us off. I don’t remember when the scream turned to laughter, but it did.
All I saw on our way down was a blanket of white powder with snowmen dotting the landscape and I could hear the whistling of the wind as it rushed passed my ears. We finally reached the bottom, but someone’s snowman had lost its life in our journey down that hill.
We landed with a thump, our faces covered in snow and for the first time I knew what the kids had been feeling all those years ago. Tumbling off the sled unto my back, my eyes sparkling, my nose runny and my cheeks as red as cherries, I shouted, “Let’s go again!!” and ran back up the hill as fast as my legs could carry me.

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This was written for Short Story Slam Week 24: Life Behind the Corners of Your Smiles.
http://bluebellbooks.blogspot.com/2012/07/short-story-slam-week-24-life-behind.html

Please visit the site and read some really amazing stories and poems from really gifted writers and maybe next time you can submit one of your pieces. Blessings!

Jessica

Jessie’s graduating this year; together we carefully chose pieces to create a perfect necklace. On presenting her with the finished piece, for a moment I saw the child who’d slept in my arms, asking for another song; another story. I wish I could freeze time and yet I’m so proud of the woman she’s become.

Tweeting? Hahahaha! What’s That?

Sitting here reading all these awesome tweeting poems, laughing like a banshee. Then it strikes me that I have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about; none whatsoever! What the heck is tweeting? I thought that was something only birds did! They can be heard tweeting like crazy outside my window every morning and to tell the truth, they’re tweeting right now.

Reading these poems has sparked my imagination and in my mind’s eye I see all these little birds; robins, black birds, sparrows, an eagle and an occasional parrot that’s escaped it’s cage, sitting on electrical lines or tree limbs opposite each other with teeny, tiny Blackberries or whatever other kind of phone can be used for tweeting and their itty, bitty little claws are going insanely fast on the keys as they send little messages to each other.

“Check out the pretty black bird next door!” ;-)… (drooling)

“Did you hear about Mr. Parrot and Miss Robin?” %-6 (not very clever)

Now I don’t know, but does that make me a twit, or a tweet?

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Written for JP At Olive Garden at:  http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/2012/04/poetry-picnic-week-32-topics-on.html