Memories in the Corners of My Mind #MFRW


This is week 21 -A Childhood Memory

 

I don’t know if any of the others participating in this blog hop have this problem, but with every prompt comes a flood of questions. It takes me a good while to go through the questions and decide if they are valid or not. This is a process that started with me way back, . . . yeah back to my childhood days just shortly after the stone age.

How far back? What topic? I mean, a scary memory? fun memory? life lesson learned? funny memory? sentimental? How can I narrow it down? Should it tie in with last weeks post about movies?  Does it tie in with writing somehow? What does this have to do with writing? What if . . . . and then I have to tell my brain to SHUT UP! This pattern emerges somewhere before kindergarten.

I learned fairly quickly to keep them to myself as I often got in trouble for asking too many questions. That is a whole other post and that’s not the memory I decided to share. That will go under the category of my mother, learning to deal with ADD, and a creative mind. Maybe I should do that.

Anyway, the memory I decided on is one I will never forget.

I grew up in a small town south of the St. Louis metropolitan area. It’s a rural area just outside of a small town. In the midwest , e get hot summers, sudden thunderstorms and are always ALWAYS aware of the possibility of tornadoes.

The morning started out as any summer morning. It was my job to go out and pick strawberries. My parents had June bearers, which means they put on fruit for about three weeks heavily then are done for the season. School had just let out the week prior and it was my parent’s method to make sure I knew that I wasn’t going to be a slacker. Chores had to be done before my fun started. Most of the time, picking strawberries was an easy task as I love strawberries and I would wash about a pint for myself and eat them. Cost of labor, right? Plus it was a nutritious breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking about nutrition at that age, I was thinking strawerries – yummmm!

While picking the berries, about three forths of the way down the row – the row was about twenty feet long and three feet wide – I reached for a big juicy berry when movement caught my eye inches from the berry. A snake! Not some little five inch snake, NOOOOOOO! It was a full grown three to four footer. I know now that it was a king snake, not harmful but tell that to my ten-year-old self. OH heck no! He could have the rest of the berries. I grabbed my buckets that I had filled and ran to the house. I set the berries on the counter and realized there was one more bucket out there. Out there where the snake was. I had to go get it. It was going to rain and I needed to get them. Berries don’t keep well once they are picked.

Anyone watching would have thought that the entire garden was infested with cobras. It may as well have been. I knew from experience of where we lived, snakes could move fast. We had a few blue racers around the yard, we had the occasional copperhead show up, and black snakes were common. It could have been anywhere.

Two steps, then looking all around. A couple more steps, watching the vines and foliage around the beans, the cucumbers, the tomato plants. There weren’t any vegetables on them, but there was foliage where a clever snake could hide. I could see the bucket ahead about ten feet away. The closer I got, the slower I moved. My heart was in my throat, pounding out a tattoo of terror. I was bending, reaching for the bucket when I saw it less than three feet away, slithering from the strawberries towards the neighbor’s yard through the fence.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!

I grabbed that bucket and ran like my clothes were on fire.

Three gallon-sized buckets of berries sat on the counter. I wouldn’t eat any. Dad wouldn’t know that I didn’t finish. I would offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, anything that didn’t involve the garden area or snakes.

I finished my other chores then hopped on my biketo meett up with my neighborhood friends and do the all important stuff of summer vacation. (Which roughly translated to riding our bikes till exhaustion, stealing grapes from Mr. Winslade’s vines that poked through the fence, swiping apples from Mr. Eaves tree that hung over his fence, more bike riding, finding a shady place to stop and talk about what else we would do over the summer, more bike riding until our parents were home, and what we’d do the next day.)

I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was other than at noon Mike’s mom would call him for lunch. That was our cue that it was lunch time. I’d cycle back home, grab a tuna sandwich or peanut butter, drink a gallon of tea then vacuum mom’s big rug in the front room, wash the dishes then run back out the door. When Brooke’s dad pulled into the driveway it was time to head home. My dad would be pulling into the drive shortly after his. That meant it was time to clean up and start on dinner. I offered to cook dinner in order to get more allowance. I liked to cook and every kid needed money to get pop and candy at the local gas station.

Dad asked about the strawberries. I said yes, I had picked them. “Was that all of them?”

“Was that all of them?”

“Ummmmmm.”  I’m a terrible liar.

“Well,  I picked all the way down to the telephone pole.”

“Why didn’t you finish?” He showed no emotion, no anger, just a simple question.

“Dad! There was a snake. I could have been bitten. He was huge!” My heart began to race.

“Well, I’m sure he’s long gone so go out there and finish up.” As a parent, I can appreciate this now but at the time, I would have sworn my father was sending me to my death sentence.

“But, I started cooking dinner. Mom will be home at six.”

“You’ve got time. Just go finish up. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.”

I knew there was no reasoning with him. I knew he was right, I had seen the snake leaving. But what if he came back? What if he was waiting for me? What if he wantto curlurl around me and constrict me then eat me whole like Kaa?

I grabbed an empty bucket and walked, head down, towards the strawberry patch. My steps weren’t cautious like before, what did it matter if the snake shot out like an arrow and latched onto my leg. If I were going to die,  then it was going to get me one way or the other.  I knew exactly where I had left off.  The telephone poll was about a foot behind the place I stopped. Plus for anyone who has ever picked berries, it’s easy to see there are red berries here but not there.

I knelt down, picking the berries as quicly as I could. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, seeing a few green bottoms when I dropped them into the bucket. I knew dad would have something to say about that, reminding me that they needed to ripen. I stood, one foot on either side of the patch, so that I could move quicker down the row. There was only about four feet of row remaining and if I managed to get to the end of the row without being bit by a snake, or the imagined tangle of multiple of snakes that I knew were just waiting to strike. My heart pounded as I filled the bucket.

The end was in sight. There was only about ten inches of row left. I could do this. I might survive after all and not end up with the epitaph on my tombstone: Done in by strawberries and the snake that resideth therein.

A particularly large berry, at least four inches wide, red and luscious. My mouth watered remembering that I hadn’t eaten any that morning. Maybe dad would like some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I reached for it. Confident that I was about to cross the finish line unharmed and return to the house victorious.

Then the brown stick that was laying at the end of the row curled up and moved.  I had been bent over, knees slightly bent, one foot on either side of the row  as I worked my way towards the end. I shot up arrow straight, eyes wide, shaking like a leaf. This was not a king snake nor a black snake. It was a copperhead. Copperhead’s are poisonous.  I didn’t dare move. Any movement might make it strike.

I was frozen. Well, aside from the shaking bit. My jaw clenched tightly as I  stared at the snake. I couldn’t let it out of my sight. I couldn’t turn and run. I couldn’t move.

“Stay still, don’t move.” Dad’s voice behind me was both comforting and disconcerting as I detected a note of seriousness in his voice that wasn’t usually there. Slowly, he walked down the path between the strawberries and beans. One step at a time, stalking his prey. When he was just about even with me, he raised the hoe overhead and held it there for a minute before bringing it down with every bit of strength he had. In one move he had chopped it’s head off, picked up the tail end and tossed it behind the neighbor’s garage, then picked up the head with the hoe and flung it in the same direction.

“How about we have some ice cream with our shortcake tonight?” He nodded towards me as he used his hoe to cut a few weeds from the beans. ” Don’t forget that last berry, that’s a beaut!”

I let out a deep breath as I plucked that last berry, grabbed my bucket and walked as quickly as I could towards the house.

My father’s two joys were gardening and fishing. I am grateful that he  taught me about gardening even though I didn’t listen half as much as I should have. I’ve had to learn some of his wisdom through my own trial and error. I am glad that I was his “fishing buddy” for many years. He didn’t often talk, but occasionally. . . occasionally  he would offer pearls.

We had our differences at times, but my dad was always my hero. I miss him terribly.

That night after dinner we enjoyed our strawberry shortcake, and dad made sure I got the biggest berry. When I sat down on the sofa reading a book, I overheard him telling mom that he was proud of me.  That I finished the job even though he could tell I was scared. He had followed me out, going to his garage/ work shop. He watched me out the window for a few minutes and he knew the minute I saw that snake.

My wild imagination often got me in trouble as a kid. Asking a million questions also got me into trouble.  My father was far more patient than my mother. His method of dealing with my questions was to answer them to the best of his ability until he could find something else to distract me.

At some point in our lives, all we have left of our parents are our memories. We sift the bad and keep the good, choosing to hold onto the moments that shape our lives.

Father’s Day is coming up soon, if your father is still with you do something to honor him. Take time to visit him. Share a memory that means a lot to you with him.

Ironically, this wasn’t the memory that I was originally going to share, but it’s the one that came up. Perhaps another time I’ll have the opprtunity to share about the tornado.

Until then, go check out what the other’s are sharing on this blog hop!

 

Leave a comment below  then visit the other authors. Write on my friends, write on!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

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My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book #MFRW


Greetings everyone! It’s a been a while since my last post and even longer since I made an MFRW post.  Life has been – different. I’ll address all of that later, but for now . . . . on to the fun stuff!

The topic for this week –  week 20 – is My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book.

I realize that many of my constituents (aka other bloggers participating in this blog hop not to be confused with political opponents vying for same geographic region) will probably reference some of the most recent book/movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades. Not me.

The subject is MY favorites.

There are many movies made from books, then made into screenplays. There are movies based on books.  Quite often I find that I greatly prefer the book to the movie. There are a few that have translated well to the big screen.

The Polar Express

It’s amazing what they can do with animation these days, isn’t it? Well, the book made me cry when I first read it to my kids, and that same emotion hit me when I watched it the first time. No, it’s not a sad movie. It’s a wonderful story. They were tears of joy, heartfelt compassion. Yeah, I’m a softie. I cry at commercials sometimes as well.

The Princess Bride

Inconceivable how anyone could not like this movie! This is one of the rare instances that I prefer the movie to the book. If you haven’t seen it, why not? GO – get it now. Download it on Netflix or Amazon and watch it. I’m serious!

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Based on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Wang Dulu

Year published: Between 1938–1942

The novel is actually the fourth book in the Chinese author’s five-part Crane-Iron Series. This martial arts extravaganza is well-written, with a wonderful plot, great characters, action, drama plus it has Donnie Yen, Jet Li,  and Michelle Yeoh! Maybe you aren’t a martial arts fan, but this movie is worth your time. I never read the book for this one either but I saw an interview with Jet Li where he stated about reading the book and he was excited that it was going to be made into a movie. I’ll warn you though, most Asain movies don’t have a happily ever after. Often they are tragic. This book/movie – and the movie followed the book fairly closely – has a dynamic plot that engages the reader/viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

It’s not just another cheap Martial arts movie – this one is worth your time!

Probably not what you would have expected, but there you go! I could list twenty others that I liked but these three are at the top of my list.

What’s your favorite book adapted to the big screen?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

#MFRW Best Friends


badge-blog-challenge-updated

‘Member when I said I was adding a new thing? Yeah, this is it. A blog Challenge. Like I don’t have any other thing to do. *Laughs uncontrollably* OK, now that we’ve had a good laugh.  You know me though, over achiever! Anyhow. . . I love a good challenge.

It’s week 5 of the 52-week MFRW blogging challenge. They said that it’s never too late to join, so I am jumping in at this point. I have to give you fair warning, I feel compelled to “catch up” and post the previous ones as well,  just not today.  To learn more and join in on the fun, go to MFRW.

This week’s topic is Meet My Best Friend. I can’t just pick one.

On one hand, my best friend forever would be my hubby.  He’s the yin to my yang. We are complete and total opposites in our personalities, yet we have common values. I’m outgoing and talkative and he’s the quiet reserved type. I’m creative, he’s analytical. It causes some problems at times but things are never boring. I’ve often joked that our problem has never been a lack of passion, but rather misdirected passion at times. Passion that has resulted in heated arguments. Passion that led to big fights. OK, I know some married folk who will say they never fight. Good for them but how boring. I mean come on! They miss out on all that good makeup sex!

He still puts the beat in my heart. OH wait,  you don’t want me to go there. Anyway, where was I? Maybe we should move on to my bestie.

My writing buddy, my sounding board, my soul Sista chick friend! That would be my wonderful friend Misty! If we lived closer, we would be a force to be reckoned with and get into way too much trouble.  It’s not like we are twinsies or anything,  but we think alike on several points. Misty writes horror/thrillers. I write romance/drama/ whatever I feel like dabbling in. We seem to have similar struggles in certain areas, and common core values.  Misty isn’t afraid to be gut level honest with me either and tell me when I am way off base, or what the heck was I thinking? I respect her opinion and honest talk.

I have to be honest, I  have been guarded most of my life against allowing anyone really close. One part of me sees other women with their girl friends and I am a bit jealous that I don’t have those kinds of connections. It’s my fault that I don’t though, because I don’t allow anyone to get that close to me. If you allow someone close, they can hurt you. Yes, issues that go way back to my childhood days and are tied to roots of abuse,  that have been dealt with but scars still remain.

You have to give the hubs credit for dealing with the baggage and the scars. Same goes for Misty or any of my friends for that matter. I tend to be cynical and not let very many people close.  I have a million friends that I can talk to,  schmooze with, talk about anything yet nothing. But, only a very select few ever get to that part of me that gets beyond the superficial.

Other than that, my close friends are limited to a couple of ladies from church and my writer group, Chatty Chicks. Without these wonderful online friends, I would never get any writing accomplished.  We discuss life, writing, struggles, drama, and everything in between over coffee and writing sprints. This is my rock solid grounding in the morning. We share in our victories and console each other in our losses. One of the ladies in this group does not drink coffee, but rather tea. It’s OK. She’s British, so I guess she can be excused. She’s also adorable and brilliant so we keep her. She’s our surrogate across the pond daughter. The rest of us tend to be mothering towards her. Part of it is the age gap,  but another part is she is just so stinking cute you can’t help but take her under your wing as if she were our own. Each member of our little group offers something unique. I guess if we didn’t, one of us would be unnecessary. As it is, it’s the perfect blend of sass, laughter, sense, and nonsense. Each of us are on our own path, but in that small group, our paths coalesce for our morning (afternoon for Emily across the pond which also allows the non-coffee drinker more grace.) sessions of chat and word wars.

Friends make life worth living. They truly help us get by. They help us get over the hurts hang ups and hard knocks. They urge us to do better than average. They push us to rise up out of the muck and mire. They are there for you, even if they don’t like where you are, what you say, what you are currently doing. They overlook all of those things to see the real you inside and come along side us during the happy moments and offer us tissues during the sad parts. They celebrate our wins, cheer us forward, and share the Ben and Jerry’s when we have fall aparts.

Give your friends a hug today. Send them a card, offer a hug, buy them lunch or a balloon!
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Other posts in this series:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!

Write on my friends, write on!