Pythian Games

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Archive for April 2007

Grandpa and His Rear View Mirror

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April 26, 2007
Posted by Barbara in Pythian Games, Barbara’s Journey. add a comment , edit post

Grandpa, the handyman, the gardener, the landscaper, and the landlord of the apartment building in which we lived, celebrated his 80th birthday by ordering a fancy, expensive Lazy-Boy chair and placing it in front of the living room’s triple windows. He folded his heavy work pants and shirts, all green like Mr. Green-Jeans, and shoved them on the back shelf of his closet. And there he sat, in his blue Lazy-Boy, everyday all day long. He left his post by the window only to eat, sleep and take care of necessaries.

I was only 8 and sorely disappointed that Grandpa was retiring from being my idol, my very own Mr. Green Jeans. When I complained just a tiny bit, Grandpa frowned and shook his head. “Little girls should be seen and not heard. And I’ll decide what to do with the rest of my life, thank you very much. Give some respect to your 80 year old Grandpa. Now off you go.”

Grandpa turned away from me and headed to the kitchen where he asked Grandma to make him a sandwich. He never had been a “lovey-dovey” Grandpa, but we spent skads of time together and grew to be great friends. Even as a toddler, I followed him everywhere. As I grew older, I helped him do his jobs around the house. But now, in just a matter of days, Grandpa claimed he was retiring from all kinds of working. He refused to care for his apartment building which had always been a source of pride to him, and he refused to help Grandma with the toting and carrying or anything else for that matter. He became helpless and doddery overnight.

It was a mystery to me. Grandma tried to explain, although she seemed confused herself. She said, “This aberration is typical of the Woods’ men. Counting unknown generations back, the men of the family quit working when they turn 80, (if they live to be 80,) and they totally rely on the women of the house to carry on with the chores. Grandpa says it’s his due.”

I didn’t know I was an 8 year old feminist. Feminist wasn’t even in my vocabulary, yet. “Grandma, he knows how to do everything around here. He cut the grass and planted the gardens. He always made his own lunch. He collected the rents and fixed the apartments. I know so. I always helped him and we did a good job. He can’t make you do all the work; he has to do his share.”

Grandma just shook her head, laughed a sorrowful laugh. “I know, Bo. That’s the way it’s always been. But now Grandpa has it in his mind that he’s old and tired. Of course, he isn’t any more tired than he was two days ago. He’s not a full year older, just a matter of hours. And he can do almost everything he’s ever done around here. But this is the way of the men from the Woods’ family; they call it quits at 80. That’s their tradition, and Grandpa doesn’t believe in breaking traditions.”

“Well, it’s a stupid tradition, and I’m never going to marry a Woods’ boy.” I was disgusted by the whole mess. “Did Grandpa tell you about turning 80?”

Grandma shook her head sadly. “Bo, I’d heard whispers before I wedded Smulling, but I thought the cousins were trying to scare me into calling off the wedding. Actually, they were, but I was in love and refused to believe them. And I’m still in love with your Grandfather. This is his decision and I’ll do the best I can to deal with it. After all, a little hard work won’t hurt a William’s girl, even when she turns 90.”

“Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I can’t believe you’re letting him get by with this.” I turned on the stair light and trounced up, slamming the door to my family’s second floor apartment. I lived there with my parents and little sister. Grandma and Grandpa lived downstairs from us, and they were always like a second set of parents to me. But now I wasn’t so sure about Grandpa. He was acting plumb crazy.

The next day was Saturday and I wandered downstairs while my mother was occupied making pies for dinner. Dad had already gone out to the backyard and I followed him. I supposed he was planning on cutting the grass since he was fooling with the mower. “Dern thing. Can’t get the engine to start.” He gave the metal hood a kick but that didn’t help.

“Dad? Grandpa always pulls that cord. Then he turns the mower on.”

Dad shrugged his shoulders, said a few more ‘derns’ and followed my directions. The mower nearly jumped onto Dad’s foot as it started, and Dad went to cut the grass, mumbling a string of cuss words as he walked up and down the yard. I cleaned out the at the bird bath and watched a new flock of birds land in the water. I pretended not to hear my Dad.

When he was finished, he stomped into Grandma’s kitchen. Grandma was cutting carrots for a pot of vegetable stew — Grandpa’s favorite meal. “Pearl! You’ll need to hire a handyman to take care of this house. I work 60 hours a week and then I’m expected to come home to all of Smulling’s work. I can’t do it and I won’t do it. Why don’t you talk some sense into that geezer of yours.”

Grandma stared at Dad and then glanced at me. “Bo, go on upstairs for awhile. See if you can help your mom. Your Dad will be up in a few minutes.”

I climbed a couple steps, then crouched in the stairwell and listened to the conversation in the kitchen.

“Listen, Dale. I only can hope he’ll be coming out of it soon. I just got a postcard from Aunt Lilly. Listen to this. She wrote, ‘Persevere. They all get bored after a week or so. He’ll soon be out of his chair and back to his real life.’ So there, Dale. I’m going to give it a few more days before I raise holy hell. How about you joining me?”

“Well, I hope you’re right, Pearl. I can’t deal with Smulling when he’s acting like this. I’ll fix the leak in your toilet, which is Smulling’s job by the way, and then I’m going upstairs to watch the baseball game. Cubbies against the Cards. Smulling can sit and look out to the street, count as many cars as he can, but I’m not missing that game.”

I scurried up the rest of the stairs and slipped inside our apartment just as Dad opened the door. No one was the wiser, except for me. Mom was feeding my baby sister while preparing lunch and Dad went over to pfutz with the TV picture. I had just enough time to sneak back down to my grandparents before the game started.

When I traipsed into the front room, there was Grandpa watching out his windows, viewing the cars pass by. When I walked up next to him, he had a scorecard and pencil in his hands. He was marking down the colors, brands and makers of all the passing cars. He was pretty involved with the whole act. How could I get him out of that dern chair?

But an idea sniggled into my brain and I followed my instincts. I said hello and wriggled my way onto half of Grandpa’s lap. He didn’t growl at me or chase me away, so I stayed put. I was on a mission.

“Grandpa, give me a hug. I haven’t seen you in so long.”

He squeezed my arm and continued to tick his cars on his paper. “I’m busy with other things, Bo. Don’t have the time to entertain you or run this house.” He shook his head, but I thought it was a rather uncertain shake. “Too big of a job. I’m 80 years old, you know.”

“Maybe you’re too old to climb a ladder and replace the gutters or fill the furnace, but you can still do almost everything else.” I was whining, but I couldn’t help it. This was important.

“Hey!” Grandpa smashed his face into a scowl. “Who’s been telling you I can’t replace the gutters or fill the coal scuttle. I’m not weak. I’m just retired.”

I pushed on, treading in deeper water. “Maybe Grandma and Dad think you can’t keep up. I’m going to miss you in the garden. Dad doesn’t know how to do anything in our yard.”

Grandpa kept scowling. “I tell you I can work just as hard as I did when I was 79. But it’s Saturday afternoon. I always take Saturday afternoon off.”

“You remember why, Grandpa? You always come upstairs to watch the ballgame. It’s Cubs against the Cardinals today.”

“Hey, the best rivalry in the National League. Tell your Dad to pop me a beer. And give me a minute to tell Pearl I’m going up to your apartment.”

I jumped off his lap, and he dropped his car charts on the floor. He retrieved his shoes and got himself put together, then he stood for awhile to stretch. “Hey, Grandpa?”

“What, Spider?” I was pleased. He called me by my secret name.

“Why were you sitting there so long? It was so boring, wasn’t it?”

“Well, Spider. Let me tell you. At first, I spent my days reminiscing about my childhood and my teens. Did you know that World War I broke out when I was seventeen? I was fighting overseas before I turned eighteen. There were lots of memories there, good friends and some horrible stuff, too. You don’t need to know about that, Spider, until you are much older.

“Did you remember anything else? You took so long, sitting here every day.”

“Oh, Bo. There was my marrying your Grandma and buying our first house. My first job and my children, born one after another. Three healthy, smart, beautiful kids. 80 years worth of memories. It took me awhile to track them down. Maybe someday I won’t be as good a remember-er as I am now, so I wanted to do it while I could. All the Woods’ men take stock when they turn 80.”

“Did you think about me, Grandpa? Did you?”

“Of course I did. I spent a lot of time thinking about my family, especially those who live so close. You all were in my memories. After I remembered as much as I could, I started counting cars. But let me tell you. That was awfully boring.”

“Yeah. So now you’re gonna watch the Cardinals beat the Cubs, and then get back to living. Right?”

Grandpa tousled my hair and I told him to stop, though it couldn’t have gotten messier. Then he gave me a big grin. “Yes, I suppose I am.” Halfway across the living room, he stopped abruptly. Was he changing his mind? I held my breath.

“Bo! Watch this!” The he danced a jig in the middle of the room. We laughed so hard, Grandma came to see what the fuss was all about. Then she started laughing, too.

“Pearl, I’m going upstairs to watch the game. As Grandpa headed up the stairs to the apartment, I followed close at his heels. I wasn’t surprised to hear him talking to himself. He always did.

“Old! Ha! Doesn’t this family know everyone deserves a little break? Fools. I’m done resting. I’ll be back to puttering on Monday.”

I couldn’t be quiet. “Hip. Hip. Hooray! Grandpa’s back to stay!” Then we reached the landing and I did a little tap dance.

“Hey,” Grandpa said. “Let’s get to that ball game. The whole family can dance after the Cards win.”

I nodded my head and we took our places in front of the TV. I started praying fervently for a win. After all, I wanted to see everyone dance after the victory, especially my Mom and Dad. What a hoot!

Written by Bo Mackison

April 26, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are

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That song by Meatloaf often haunts me these days. My mother is 80, and it is obvious that now it is the memories of long ago that seem closer than they are, than the most recent. She remembers her childhood and youth very clearly, but has to be constantly reminded of things that happened just weeks ago. It isn’t Alzheimers, thank Heavens, but as her doctor has gently pointed out, a natural occurrence that my husband calls `Oldtimers’.
I haven’t noticed it yet – the events of long ago still seem long ago to me. My rear view mirror still reflects events that seem a respectable distance away. But sometimes a deep sense of nostalgia overcomes me for the world as it used to be, and I can smell the scents of an English spring as vividly as if were closer than it appears. Perhaps as I get older, those objects will seem closer. I am not sure if I am looking forward to it – is it simply the natural progression of a mind overfull with stimuli, or is it an escape from a world that becomes harder to fathom, so many are the changes?
What I do have are moments that I recall with piercing vividness – a walk on a Guernsey beach, bluebells filling a wood, the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot. Sensory things can stimulate a memory – the smell of tangerines (which I have learned to call mandarins now I live in Australia) which always brings back one particular snowy Christmas. This was the only time of year you buy tangerines in Britain, as their season overseas occurred during our winter. They were each wrapped in silver paper and sold singly – very expensively, too, so we could only afford them as a Christmas treat. Breaking open a tangerine releases that unique sweet scent which takes me right back to a Christmas when my parents were broke and it looked as if we wouldn’t get Christmas dinner that year. But then my father got a salary advance, and I set out with mum to the local market. There she bought a turkey with all the trimming, vegetables and tangerines. On Christmas morning there was one in my stocking as always and I broke it open, and breathed in that lovely, once a year smell.
Memories from childhood are precious – but memories from my children’s childhood are even more precious to me now. I suspect those are the memories I will recall most often as I grow older. My childhood gave me few companions my own age and the company of adults rarely brought bright moments – only those adults who were children at heart. But when I had my own children, I found myself with all the companionship I had missed – their games, their laughter, their beauty filled my life as nothing else had.
All my rear view mirror shows me now is how quickly those years sped away and how far we have all traveled since I held those lovely children in my arms. If the mirror brings them closer again, then maybe a change in perspective won’t be so bad,

Written by Gail Kavanagh

April 25, 2007 at 6:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

A Room Of One’s Own

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My Room 

My typical day starts begins after everyone else in the house has been fed, dressed and organised. I try to have my own breakfast and always a cup of hot sweet tea. More often than not my tea gets cold and I reheat it in the microwave throughout the day when I think I have time to drink it. Today I have reheated it 4 times and had two sips from my cup.  

It has been hard to find my way here. I became lost in day to day life. This  somewhere  has been forgotten and neglected in recent years but it has always been here. My beautiful gentle giant took my hand and helped me find my way back. He encouraged me to take off  the dust sheets, open the windows and turn on  the music so my room could live, breathe and sing once more.

In my mind my room is many things; a conservatory with large windows letting in light, house-plants growing in healthy profusion, tables and chairs to sit, share drinks and chat or write whilst enjoying the sunshine and the view outside of lawns, trees and hills.

It is a studio with room for easels, tables, sinks, mess, paints, brushes, tools, canvases on the walls , sculptures on tables, works in progress inviting reflection, creation and invention.

It is a lounge full of soft comfortable couches and chairs, ideal for curling up, snug with a gently crackling pot belly stove in the corner, enough light and cushions to read, write, knit or sew.

It is a sewing room with a trestle table to strew beads, threads, material and all else needed to make gorgeous creations.

It is a bedroom, warm and inviting in which to loll, read and dream to my hearts content.

Most of all it is a place with no time, no clocks, no deadline, no demands, no interruptions. A place where I can start and finish when and where I want.

My room is something of a house; a place for everything  I am with room for everything I want to be.

A place where my tea never gets cold.

Written by Cle

April 19, 2007 at 8:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

This is Norma’s Life

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Norma Elder runs the busy animal rescue centre in the Riversleigh Village. One moment she is telling a villager that a squirrel is using his tail as a sunshade and is not stuck on the power lines, the next she is offering advice about a fox cub with a broken leg. Norma, a former circus trainer, set up the rescue centre from her small cottage just outside Riversleigh. She has one volunteer who helps to recover wild animals including swans, owls, buzzards and foxes. Norma will tell you that the greatest buzz she gets is when an animal returns to the wild, when they are reunited with a partner like a swan she put back on the lake.

Written by Heather Blakey

April 19, 2007 at 7:52 am

Posted in Portraiture

Vinnie’s Game

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Vinnie’s Game.

Granddad had a dream. He called it a sign from God. He had never been a religious man: you couldn’t count enforced bible reading, hymn singing and prayers before lunch at school as a religious background. Granddad had come to God, or God had come to Granddad, late in life. Several huge personal crises had pushed him , during middle age no less, into the arms of the Lord. Nothing unusual there. He found a peace and clarity, and according to my mother, left Nan in peace for the first time in years. Yes, faith had given Granddad a focus and his frustration and quick temper an outlet. Unfortunately, like most things in his life, Granddad took it to the extreme. No quiet Church of England congregation for him, oh no, he went full throttle; hell, so to speak, for leather. Big time. Roman Catholic. Roman Catholic all the way. With the big man, his boy and the see through guy. I don’t get it. The guilt, the sinning, the praying and the whole holier than though trip. But apparently it helped him and if that made Nan happy then it was left alone.

I just wish Granddad could have got on the God bus a little later in life. Like after I was born.

So this dream, this sign from the big guy. The night my sisters and I arrived in the world. Mum was in a critical condition, she had lost a lot of blood. Nan was called out of the waiting room into an hospital office by some high ranking official.

It’s touch and go, I need you to sign these forms, just in case your daughter doesn’t make it the triplets will be in your custody. We’re doing all we can.

Nan called Granddad and of course Granddad went into RC mode big time. The prayer-thon. He prayed and prayed, asking for a sign, anything. Anything for his daughter to be spared and his granddaughters to keep their mother. And, apparently, according to Granddad, the Lord heard.

I doubt this. I have my own opinion. I think Granddad was so addled, stressed and sleep deprived that he hallucinated. But who am I to steal an old man’s glory?

God came to Granddad and gave him a sign. Granddad was dozing on the couch, waiting for a call from Nan. He awoke to a bright light shining from the kitchen. He walked in and saw, standing at the pantry, an angel. The angel did not speak but removed one item from each shelf of the pantry and placed them on the table. He then turned to Granddad, smiled, whispered Your daughter is safe and disappeared.

I have a game. I have played since the first day of year 3 when the kids found out my real name. I had come home from school boiling with the late summer heat and rage. I threw open Nan’s pantry door. Three shelves stacked with bottles, jars, boxes and bags. There was so much in there. It wasn’t fair. Why did I get such a stupid name?

Later that night I crept out of the room I shared with my sisters and opened the pantry door again. I dragged over a chair. I closed my eyes and grasped the first thing I touched.

Mango Chutney.

Choc Ice

Family Selection


Bread Mix

Dried Apricots

Nan found me sitting on the chair sobbing into my knees, a sack of sugar at my feet. Why couldn’t he give me a different name? Why? Why?Just be thankful it wasn’t the first aid box, Nan said, ruffling my hair and feeding me a biscuit, It was full of antacids. Pepto-Bismol Johnson, imagine that. I love you just the way you are Vinnie.

I played the game when Nan and I went shopping. I scanned the shelves for exotic sounding dry goods, condiments and food.

Tarragon, Saffron ( oh how I pined for Saffron), Ambrosia, Nectar, Peaches. Even pasta was acceptable ; Linguine, Cannelloni, Ravioli.

Through my teen’s and into adulthood I played this game writing my new names on scraps of paper and work books and leaving around the house. Nan would get frustrated with it and she would thump a can or bottle in front of me while I sulked. So shall we change it to Bicarb of Soda? Dettol? Beef Stock? Is that what you want Vinnie? I would howl my frustration through floods of tears and she would hug me hard against her. Granddad and I love you just the way you are. Our Vin.

On the morning after we were born Granddad woke and found a jar of honey, a packet of rosemary and a bottle of vinegar on the kitchen table. At that moment Nan rang to tell the good news. Mum was safe, she had stabilized.

Granddad filled out the birth certificates himself.

Honey Johnson, Rosemary Johnson and Vinegar Johnson.

Three shelves. Three sisters. Three miracles.

Written by Cle

April 18, 2007 at 6:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

To Whom Much is Given

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by Lori Gloyd

Inspired By The Alluvial Mine Project: Divining Rods


Laurel-Ann perched herself on a large granite stone under the dying oak tree. Pale brown leaves, dried and curling, fell around her like a papery snowfall. Waves of heat shimmered from the ground. She grimaced as she fingered the brass tubing of the divining rods she held in her hands. I never should have come up here, she thought, but Great-Aunt Maybelle had called and so nagged her that she found herself jumping the next flight to SeaTac and renting a car. The drive up to Pierce Valley on the Road was slow and winding and gave her plenty of time to think.Her ancestors in the old country, she had been told, received the Gift of dowsing and used it serve their communities. It was an honored profession and, presumably, it had been passed down the generations, first to the farming New Englanders and then on to the NorthWesterners when then came to the mining camps.

Great-Grandpa Horace had helped the miners find their veins of gold but when the mines played out, Horace settled on farming and used his dowsing skills to sink wells into an ever-changing water table. The Gift had been passed to his daughter Bernice and then to Aunt Sally. Both had been dead for several years.

It was said that Laurel-Ann was the One with the Gift, but she did not want it. The Gift was no longer the honored profession of her ancestors. As a child she had endured the whispers and the side-ways glances. Once, she flattened a classmate, Lewis, who had called her “Water-Witch” and had beaned her with a loaded water balloon. As soon as she was old enough, she left Pierce Valley to make her way in the big city down south.

But now drought had come again to Pierce Creek, which had become a mere trickle, and the farmsteads of the Valley were thirsting for water. The community leaders, some of whom as children had taunted her in school, had come to Great-Aunt Maybelle and pleaded for her to help them. Maybelle could not. She did not have the Gift. Cousin Rodney tried his hand at it until, unfortunately, he dowsed the septic line at the Mayor’s farmstead and filled the entire lower Valley with noxious odors when they drilled the well.

It was then that Maybelle called her.

“Honey, we need you– they need you. You must put aside your feelings and help these people. You have the Gift. You are the One. “

Maybelle pleaded and then argued with Laurel-Ann for nearly an hour and then finally ended the call with “Mind you, ‘For of those to whom much is given, much is required’”.

“Oh, all right, I’ll come!” Laurel-Ann always caved in whenever Aunt-Maybelle quoted the Book.

When Laurel-Ann arrived at the farm, she was quickly whisked away by Rodney and Maybelle. They rattled up the Road in Rodney’s old pick-up towards to the Mayor’s place.

“He’s worst off,” said Rodney. “If we can make him happy, I figure we’ll get clients lined up from all over the Valley.”

“Rodney, we do NOT charge for our services”, said Maybelle. “Never have, never will” she warned. “And don’t make that face, Rodney…..Here we are. Laurel-Ann, honey, you just go have a seat under the tree and compose yourself. You remember how Aunt Sally taught you, right now?”

“Yes. I remember.”

“Good, here are Aunt Sally’s rods.” Laurel-Ann took the rods and slid out of the pickup. She crunched through the dead leaves to the tree and sat down on the rock.

A few minutes later, Laurel-Ann heard the sound of voices. They were coming. A lot of them. It seems half the Valley had shown up to watch, including Lewis who had never quite forgiven her for beating the daylights out of him up when they were kids.

Laurel-Ann sighed and lifted the rods. She felt the thin rods resting lightly in her hands. She stood up, shifted one way and then another, taking a few steps forward and swinging around. She heard murmuring from the crowd. She glanced up and glared at the crowd.

“It’s alright, honey, just relax. You can do it,” urged Maybelle.

Laurel-Anne refocused and tried to remember what Sally had taught her. She felt the rods begin to vibrate. She felt compelled to turn to the left and head away from the tree.

The Mayor shouted, “Hey, where’s she going? I need that well sunk here, not way over there. It’ll cost a fortune to pipe that water from way out there.”

“Ah, don’t worry Harold”, chimed Lewis, “she’s not going to find a thing.”

“Yes, she can!” Rodney turned to Lewis and the Mayor and began to argue with them.

Laurel-Ann tuned out the exchange. Her attention was fully focused on the divining rods in her hands. They were crossing and un-crossing. She turned and stopped. They crossed again. Then the rods pulled downward. She felt the power coming up from the earth through her feet, through her body, down her arms and to the rods. The rods began to get warm. She had found water.

“Hey, look at her. She doesn’t know diddly-squat.” shouted Lewis.

“Shut up!”

“Losers– all of you!!” With that Rodney rushed towards Lewis and shoved him in the chest. “I said, Shut up!”

Laurel-Ann’s attention was drawn back to the group. The momentary glow of her success faded away as she saw the two men struggling with each other. She threw the rods to the ground and stomped towards the Road.

Maybelle called to her: “Laurel-Ann, where are you going?”

“Home. I don’t need this. It’s exactly what I said it would be.”

“You can’t leave. They need you!”

“They don’t deserve anything! They deserve to rot!”

Lewis gave Rodney a huge shove that sent him sprawling to the ground, and then shouted after Laurel-Ann. “See? Look at her run away. WITCH!”

Laurel-Anne broke into a run and headed down the Road, the jeers of the crowd in her ears. The last thing she heard was Maybelle yelling: “You can’t leave! Much is required. You are the One!” Laurel-Anne covered her ears and continued running.

When she was out of ear-shot, Laurel-Ann slowed down. Breathing heavily she finally stopped. She was at a low point in the Road, where a dry gully cut across it. In the rainy season, the Road was often washed out at this point. She sat down on a large boulder on the side of the Road.

Maybelle’s words echoed in her mind: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

“No! Not from me!”

A rumble from the mountain echoed through the Valley and large drops began to spatter on the hot pavement. Good, they don’t need me afterall. They’ll get a good soaker and that’ll be that.

The wind picked up and the rumbling grew louder and more constant. That’s not thunder she thought. The leaves swirled around her as the wind turned into a gale. The rain began blowing sideways, stinging her face and arms, and the rumbling grew louder. Laurel-Ann got up from the boulder and turned around, looking for some sort of cover.

That’s when she saw the enormous wall of raging water come crashing down the gully towards her.

No one ever knew what became of Laurel-Ann– not that they gave her much thought. Their water problems were over, it seemed, at least for a while. The rains returned, the water table rose, and Pierce Creek flowed.

But Maybelle knew: to whom much is given, much is required– one way or another.

L. Gloyd (c) 2006

Written by Pelican1

April 18, 2007 at 2:43 am

Posted in Short Story Arena

Tagged with

Not Quite Alice

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by Anita Marie Moscoso

Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt:

Not Quite Alice


There’s a cemetery called Kilgoar out on Dead End Lane- trust me,  that cemetery is really there and those are really the names of those places and  if you want you can go out there and take a picture of yourself standing beside the street sign that says, ” Dead End Lane”.

Lots of people do.

Just remember to get a shot of  the cemetery gates with ” Kilgoar ” written in scrolled iron letters- which will be over to the left .

Most important of all, while you’re out there preserving history you’ll probably want a picture of  tree that in it’s own special way started the Kilgoar cemetery over 80 years ago.

That’s the tree where Gaddelin and Watson found the sign announcing that the “Borden’s Circus Of The Curious” would be coming to town for a special engagement.

The boys, who were 12 and 14 at the time, were amazed that anyone let alone an entire Circus would come to a little nowhere town like Manet.

Amazed but not surprised, odd things were always happening in Manet.

Odd things like those signs- they were all handwritten and they started turning up in strange places all over town.

They were turning up inside of library books, underneath canned goods at Brody’s Grocery Store, inside of linen closets and floating down  the old logging roads people stopped using in favor of the new highways that had gone in a couple of years before- that would have been back in 1926.

Watson had collected dozens of them and when he had a nice little stack he took them to school and started to put them in desks and he folded them up and put them inside of jackets and in the the Teacher’s desk

” What are you doing? ” Gaddelin asked- he had walked into the coat room and thought he saw Watson taking something out of Wendy O’Hara’s coat pocket.

Then Gaddelin saw the folded square of paper sticking out of Wendy’s coat pocket and he went over and pushed it in.

He asked his brother again, ” what are you doing Watson? ”

And Watson shrugged and said, ” I don’t know. ”

Curious, Gaddelin thought and then he let the thought go.

For a little while.

The Circus finally came to town.

Both Gaddelin and Watson felt a little foolish that they were part of the “Circus Flier Scheme” because the ” Borden Circus of  The Curious ” was like all of the other Circuses that made their way around and through those small logging towns in the Cascades.

There were rides, and lions and bears. There was a carousel and a Ferris wheel and a tents that you had pay extra to get into.

The Sideshow was exceptional both boys decided because you didn’t have to pay extra to see that- the Conjoined Twins were walking around eating popcorn and playing ring toss like regular paying customers, there was a man who was over 7 feet tall that took in the Magic Act headlined by a woman called ” The Amazing Benandanti”  with about 40 residents from various towns in the County and the Circus’  Little People were waiting in lines for the rides with everyone else.

Finally Gaddelin asked the woman who told Fortunes ( she was waiting in line for the Carousel ) ” Ma’am, what’s so Curious about this Circus ?”

The Fortune Teller held her hand out and said, ” My name is Saterlee Chapel.”

Watson reached out to take Saterlee’s hand and instead of shaking it Saterlee turned it over and glanced at it and smiled.

” I can see into the future…can’t see into the past.” Saterlee looked up and shook her head ” That has kept me back from being an honest to goodness headliner.”

” Uh-Huh” both boys said.

” Well, when we were down in Seattle I was working with my crystal ball when suddenly I see a burning wheel and a hundred hearses driving into an empty cemetery.

Now, what do you suppose that means? ”

Both boys shrugged and Saterlee Chapel Shrugged too and when the Carousel came to a stop she said, ” Curious isn’t it? ”

And both boys agreed.

They watched Saterlee choose a place for herself on the Carousel and when the music started they both turned and walked away and as they did they both decided while they were here they might as well have some fun.

Watson Kilgoar reached into his pocket for some money and instead of pulling out a handful of change he pulled out a handful of  little squares of tightly folded paper

Watson showed them to his brother.

In his hand were the fliers.

Gaddelin  Kilgoar  reached into his pocket and pulled out a little box of matches.

Then they stood by the Ferris Wheel for a very long time and watched it turn far into the evening.

Finally they got on.

You could see the flames for miles.


Based On A Real Event:

Luna Park Fire– Seattle, Washington

Luna Park Memories: Carroll Mage

History Link Essay

“In 1930, I got a job taking early morning weather observations. One morning, I was on the roof of the Federal Building on 1st and Marion, and I looked across the water and I saw a light in the sky … a flame. I saw big flames shoot up in the sky and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, Luna Park is on fire!’ I knew where it was by its location. It was the building that housed the dressing rooms and the diving boards that was on fire. This great big wooden framed building, three stories high, was on fire. ‘Oh my gosh, Luna Park is on fire.'”

Written by Anita Marie

April 17, 2007 at 10:19 pm

The Tacky Ticker

with 4 comments

by anita marie moscoso

Inspired by the Soul Food Cafe Prompt

“M” is for Myth


Alstona Kamacho’s clock is an Doomsday clock- that’s what she told everyone at her office. She also told them on the first day she brought it in that if the clock stops the world will end.

So for the past 20 years everyone she works with goes out of their way to make sure  Alstona’s  Tacky Ticker doesn’t wind down. 

At first it was fun to find a way to make it first to avocado green clock with the pink feet and the silver mushroom bells sitting sideways against face so that you could be the one turn the little silver key  and save the entire world

Then it got to be serious.

When Alstona’ s six co-workers heard the little gears slowing down and just before second hand made this pop sound when it skipped past the glow in the dark five they’d already be pushing and shoving, tripping towards Alstona’s desk.

One year Barnell Bloss fractured right arm when he tried- and failed to clear Fales Digby’s desk to get to Alstona’ s Armageddon clock.

Of course he didn’t clear Fales’ desk because Fales was sitting at it and when Barnell raced by it was more the Fales could stand.

He’d reached up and slammed Barnell down and Fales had been the one to save the world that day.

In any other office on the face of the Earth that stunt would probably have ended in some sort of legal action.

But Lonsdale and Mead’s wasn’t  like anyplace on the face of the Earth- there wasn’t anyplace else on the face of the Earth that had an Armageddon clock sitting on an employee’s desk.


Delia Wing was a Courier from All City Express, she had won the Lonsdale and Mead stop in a lunch time card game at All City.

 But that was nothing new- drivers at All City had been known to pay each other cold hard cash just for one trip because everyone in the city of Mayweed knew the L & M staff were a bunch of whack jobs.

What can you say? Nothing broke up the day like getting the chance to see a bunch of desk jockeys beat the snot out of each other to get to this cheap and nasty windup clock first. 

As you’ve probably guessed by now Mayweed was short on entertainment venues.


Delia’ first trip into L & M was on a Friday and there they were- all seven of them sitting at their desks, working on the phones and doing data entry and the entire time they all had at least one eye on the Receptionist’s Desk.

At least that one eye looked alive and alert because the faces they were housed in were pale and all of the worker’s hands were twitching and shaking.

Delia decided right then and there she didn’t want to go back to L & M- all of those people looked like they already had one foot in the grave and she was afraid whatever they had might be something you could catch.

But first Delia had a job to do.

She went over to the receptionist’s desk where the clock was sitting and cleared her throat, ” Package for you. “

Alstona looked up and reached for small box a in Delia’s hand.

” So that’s the clock. ” Delia said.

” That’s the clock. “

” So, if you’re sitting there how come they….” Delia pointed to the rows of desks behind Alstona ” race to wind it up?  Why don’t you do it yourself?”

Someone said from the back of the office, ” because she doesn’t care anymore…she wants the world to end.”

From a little closer to where Delia and Alstona were another voice said, ” she’s nuts “

And everyone agreed.


Delia never actually saw the L & M people racing to the clock but on some days she thought they looked more nervous and pale then on other days and she figured that must have been at about the time the clock was probably starting to wind down.

Then one day, even though she had nothing to drop off and no one had called in a pickup Delia went into the Office.

” Nothing to pick up? ” she asked Alstona.

” No. ” the Receptionist said.

Delia didn’t want to leave and she didn’t want to be there but for several nights Delia would wake up to the sound of ticking and she’d have to bite down hard on her lip to keep from screaming out loud.

So she decided to get this over with.

” It’s a joke…right? ” Delia asked.

” It certainly is ” a woman who sat directly behind Alstona said. She had heavy dark circles under her eyes and her blouse was inside out. ” It’s the funniest joke anyone could have ever come up with and I’m sick to death of it.”

Then a man said, ” I say we let it go…we just let go.”

Alstona turned around and she said, ” didn’t I say it would come to this?”

The six staffers nodded and Alstona looked up at Delia and nodded, ” it’s a joke and I’m going to end it. “

Then Alstona reached over picked up the clock and smashed it against her desk over and over until her hands were cut and bleeding and the clock was mashed flat.

” It’s over, right? ” Delia asked. ” The joke is over. “

Alstona said quiet as a Cemetery at Midnight, ” it certainly is.”

Outside a dark cloud crossed in front of the Sun then the ground shook just a little…

And that was

The End


Written by Anita Marie

April 17, 2007 at 10:17 pm