Final Book Reviews for 2018! @W_Angels_Wings @woodheat @stacitroilo @Sandra_Cox @Lizzie_Chantree @MarciaMeara

 

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody Kindle Edition

by Marcia Meara

This is the second novella in the series with the Emissaries, Jake and Dodger, working for Archangel Azrael. There’s the same depth and humor in this heartfelt tale that I enjoyed in “The Emissary”. I loved the developing relationship between Jake and Dodger as they work to save people from themselves. Dodger’s regret adds a new layer to this story. I can’t wait to see how that works out…and how Azrael plays into that. This is a perfect Christmas read, but would be great any time of the year. There was an amazing ending and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. If you haven’t read the first novella–you should–then you can fully enjoy this highly recommended sequel!


Mylee in the Mirror (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 2) Kindle Edition

by Ellie Collins

This is another great book in the Greek Mythology Fantasy Series. While the first book dealt with sixth grader D.J., Persephone and a move including a new school, “Mylee in the Mirror” takes on high school, Aphrodite, dating, change and expectations. The opening of the book drew me right in with a surprise and I was hooked. Mylee is moving her beloved grandmother into assisted living; her parents are fighting, and the most popular guy in school asks her out–making life confusing for her. But even with all that was going on at least Mylee had her best friends and trampoline and tumbling. The characters are well-written and the relationships realistic. Mylee’s home life felt genuine, and the connection between her and her grammy was sweet. I loved the life lessons about being true to yourself, that applied to the adults in the story, too. Adding in the magic of a Greek Goddess and her interactions with Mylee made this story a lot of fun and exciting to read. I’m looking forward to the next book and highly recommend this imaginative book and amazing young author.


Merry Ex-mas

by Michael Lynes

This is a short science fiction tale of a group of humans traveling to a new planet. Holly’s the only one awake on her shift when an object is spotted coming directly at them. It’s been nine long years of traveling and what happens next brought a smile to my face. I loved the blend of sci-fi and the fantasy of Christmas into one magical story. If you like holiday-themed stories I highly recommend this to you!


When We Finally Kiss Goodnight

by Staci Troilo

“When We Finally Kiss Goodnight” is a steamy romance with an interesting story line that kept me turning the pages. Chloe hoped to leave her life behind with a new job interview in Pittsburgh. What she didn’t count on is running into her college crush who broke her heart, Britt. My favorite part was the tension between Britt and Chloe with their unsaid assumptions and how that played out in conversations. The things being left unsaid with the obvious attraction between them and the potential for growth was intriguing. I especially liked the trip they took to Gettysburg and the legend Chloe ran into along the way. This is a satisfying feel-good holiday short story that I recommend if you are a fan of passionate romance.


Moon Watchers (Hunters Book 2)

by  Sandra Cox

“Moon Watchers” is the second in the Hunters series. The story veers from hunting “vamps” with Zoe on Vampire Island to “weres” with Zoe’s cousin, Jolene, in the snowy forest of Minnesota. It starts with an immediate encounter with both werewolves–and Braden who just shows up to help out. This sweet and exciting YA book has a couple of twists along the way. I love Jolene’s no-nonsense, fearless personality and how it interacts with the mysterious handsome Braden who seems to be hiding a secret. I could easily picture myself in the cabin she’d just inherited. I adored the quaint town she ventured into to get her cup of coffee and supplies. I found this an enjoyable adventure that kept me reading late into the night like the first book did. If you’re a fan of vampires, werewolves and their hunters, along with a sweet romance, I recommend this series for both adults and younger readers.


If You Love Me, I’m Yours

by Lizzie Chantree

This was a fun and lighthearted story about a girl named Maud stuck in a sensible life. She’s a teacher who loves to paint. Only her best friend Daisy backs her talent, not her sensible parents. This leads Maud to an art gallery opening after Daisy submits her painting. The night changes her life and leads her to a new friendship with Dot and a new love interest. I love the relationship she develops with Dot. It is changing as they both change within it. She also finds herself with two love interests and a few surprises along the way. The book’s title is how Maud expresses her talent by leaving gifts of her work for others to enjoy, which made me smile. It was fun being immersed into the world of art. I recommend this story especially if you like a good love story with friendship and self-growth mixed in–I know I enjoyed it.


UPDATES:

Watch for an early edition of the monthly newsletter, Monday 12-17-18.

I will have “Books That Changed Me–Winter Edition”  as my last post of the year on December 21st. I’ll be back on 1-6-19.

Embrace your inner child by reading a good book in 2019! D.L. Finn

 

A Magical Trail

Years ago, we did some limited logging on our property. In the after-math we cleared a trail behind our house. Back when I was able to run I jogged along this trail while my son napped.  I would pick up the debris and stack it neatly along the sides, planning to go back and clean it up. Fast forward a couple of decades later this trail had overgrown, and the piles lay buried underneath it.

Recently we had to clear around our house to be certified for wildfires for our home insurance. It was a job too big for us so we hired someone to do the clearing. The end-result was the required cleared area, but there was also a huge pile of branches, small trees, and bushes blocking what used to be the entrance to this trail. We were certified but left with a mess on the rim of the cleared area. I mentioned to my husband in passing this is where we used to walk. That’s all it took.

My husband declared he would bring back our trail. It would be a peaceful walk, no dogs off their leash coming at our leashed dogs or dodging cars on the street. I said that’s too much work, but he didn’t listen.

So, he headed outside with his saw, clippers, rake, and chainsaw. He spent his weekends clearing. I would come out at times and do some minor trimming behind him to help–or until my arms said no more. He finally cleared the original path and we took our first official walk. I was happy, but my husband wasn’t satisfied.

He went off in another direction. He found an area we’ve never explored. A spot I declared would be the perfect campsite or a place to sit and relax. So, as he kept extending the trail, I drug my small white table and chairs that had been sitting unused on my back deck to this spot. They found their perfect home there. Right next to the table was an old tree that had been cut down, but on the sides of it were burn marks. Lightening, I wondered? That’s when I decided this was not only a pretty spot, but a magical one. Here a tree had gotten struck by lightning and there had been no fire. That was magical in my mind, especially since, at that point, we were in high fire danger. This was a protected place where bad didn’t happen I concluded.

Then, I went back to clipping limbs. In one spot I found a tree I didn’t recognize. So, I took a picture and sent it to my son who is majoring in Biology. I thought it might be an offspring of a Redwood tree we’d planted years ago, but it turned out to be a Pacific Yew. I’d never heard of that, but was glad it was growing on our trail, along with the Pine, Douglas-fir, Oak, Pacific Madrone, California Dogwood, Big-leaf Maple and the most prolific tree of all the Cedar.

My husband continued cutting and digging through blackberry brush and a part he called the jungle. Finally, he came out near the beginning after I guided him in the right direction with my voice. Yes, it was that overgrown. As he emerged from the perfect walking path he still wasn’t done. He started decorating it with wind chimes, a bench, and garden statues, while I added some outdoor Christmas ornaments.

So, now I take the dogs on an afternoon walk on our trail. We tread in a place where only the bears, deer and raccoons had roamed. Our black cat Coco likes to follow us, while pretending he isn’t.

This trail is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received–created by the best person I’ve ever known. A place of peace and magic. It’s nothing you could ever buy in a store and it lasts forever. Someday it just might show up in a story. Now my hope is that everyone gets a magical trail in their lives in one form or another.

 


Happy Birthday to the trail maker!


Have you checked out: RRBC “BOOKS & BUDZ” HOLIDAY POP-UP BOOK SHOP?

Don’t miss the Reading Room where the author’s read their work. It’s so amazing to hear the words being read by the writer. You’ll find me among them reading the beginning of “The Button”. It’s something I’ve wanted to do but have always been nervous to do so.  Getting past “thinking” about it and “doing” it, is just one of the things Rave Reviews Book Club has done for me.

So, that was my favorite part of the Pop-Up Book Shop–besides shopping. I have a lot of new indie books to put under my tree this year.

Embrace your inner child with life’s magic. D.L. Finn

Recent Books Read!

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2)

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

“Son of the Serpent” continues the Fantasy Angels Series with the son of Satan and Lilith, Dracul. I loved the first book and wasn’t disappointed in this story, in fact I think I enjoyed it even more. Familiar biblical people and events were interwoven into the story line perfectly. It’s told through two points of view: Dracul and Lilith.  I sympathized with Dracul and his quest to be good and helpful, while coming from evil. Self-centered Lilith relished being cruel and malicious, while originating from good. It was a good balance of both sides. Familiar characters from the first book made appearances which I appreciated. The descriptions were vivid and well-written adding to the reality of Dracul’s journey. I highly recommend this book. Although you could read this as a stand-alone, I wouldn’t. Go back and enjoy this dark tale from the beginning.


Atonement, Tennessee

by Teagan Geneivene

Ralda Lawton decides to start a new life. She places a low bid on a house that comes with its own cemetery and wins. She relocates into the small town and immediately meets her neighbors. The relationship she develops with her new friends, Lacy, Racine and Bethany remind me of some of my own friends. Then there is the two good-looking mysterious men she runs into Gwydion and Cael. Both hold her interest, curiosity and trigger her inner warning. My favorite character is Lilith her calico cat. I enjoy her POV throughout the story and insights into the humans and the non-humans. I love the magic, mystery, relationships, paranormal, a hint of romance and karma in this uniquely well-written story. I can’t wait to read the second book in this series and see what happens next in Atonement.


The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella

by Marcia Meara

This paranormal novella has an angel and a new being an emissary, or Jake. With the world so over-populated Jake was recruited after his death to come back down to earth and help. I have not read “Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2”, but it didn’t matter because I was quickly pulled in and understood the situation. I loved the tension between Jake and Azrael at first, and then the humor.  Jake is still very human with his reactions, while having some extra gifts. I felt an array of emotions as I read and was invested in all the characters and relationships. I’ll be reading the next installment of “The Emissary” and the “Riverbend” series, too. This is a well-written story that I highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of angels like I am.


Second Chances

by Aaron D. Brinker

“Second Chance” is a story of anger, an accident, and the outcome of that. Guilt and having to go on is Chaun’s life now after a car accident but, strange things begin to happen around him. While his family deliberated on this strange situation, I found myself rooting for a good outcome to the circumstances that would have had me running for the hills. This book offers a new chance at life, along with the paranormal that is determined to ruin that. There is also relationships, family and forgiveness. The story had a very journal-like feel to it and I was surprised how long the family took to get to that aha-moment, but it was a unique tale with a refreshing result I didn’t see coming. As a bonus there was a hockey game included and I’m a big fan. This story is a reminder to “think before you speak” because in life you never know how fast things can change.


Embrace your inner child in a good book over the holidays! D.L. Finn

Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW – Nonnie Jules

This month I’ve welcomed some amazing authors and fellow members of RWISA. Sadly this is the final day! Please make Nonnie feel welcome!

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EXCERPT FROM THE SEQUEL TO DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER

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By Nonnie Jules

For those of you who read my first novel, “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND,” you might recall the struggles that Maiya/Marisa had to endure.  In the upcoming (untitled) sequel, there is a huge new twist to her story.  Here is a snippet of what’s to come…

(For those interested in reading “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER…” please wait for the announcement of it’s re-release as it’s going thru a new round of edits.  I PROMISE IT WILL BE MUCH BETTER THAN THE FIRST TIME AROUND!)

EXCERPT FROM THE SEQUEL TO “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER…”

(I’ve decided not to preface this piece with any details.  I’d like for the readers to try and “figure” out the direction this piece is going in.  Have fun!)

***

 LEEZA

“Are you gonna buy me a drink or, are you just gonna sit there and stare at me?” Leeza asked the stranger at the bar.

“Uh, sure.  What are you drinking, pretty lady?”  Swirling to and fro, the man gripped the ridges of the bar to keep from falling from the bar stool.  “Hey, bartend, give this pretty lady what ‘er she wants and put it on my tab.”

Leeza looked him up and down.  Although not bad on the eyes, he didn’t strike her as a man with deep enough pockets to have a “tab” anywhere, but, who was she to judge?

“Vodka on the rocks,” she said, gesturing to the bartender.  When her suitor heard her request, his eyebrows shot up.

“Sure you can handle that strong of a drink, pretty lady?” he asked, still teetering.

“That’s not all I can handle.” Her suggestive wink was all the invitation the stranger needed to move a little closer, in spite of the fact that he could barely stand.

“So, what’s your name, pretty lady?” he slurred.

“Anything you want it to be, honey,” she replied.

“Really?  Well, I want your name to be Available.  So, are you?”

As he sat waiting for her response, she was reminded of her puppy, Scratches, paws perched on the windowsill, awaiting her return home from work.

“You gotta pay to play with me,” she nudged.

“Well, honey, you finish up that there drink of yours, and let’s head up to my room.  I’m in town on business and I would love the company of a beautiful woman going by the name…Available.”

In one fell swoop, she turned the glass up and the vodka was gone. The stranger’s eyes bulged again.  Clearly, he’d never seen a woman down a drink like that before.

Turning away from the bar and grabbing hold of his tie, Leeza led the way to the elevator of the hotel…the stranger following close behind, like a leashed dog.

“What’s your curfew, pretty lady?”

The elevator doors had only partially closed, when she took her hand and grabbed his penis through his pants.

“I’m a big girl, single with no kids…does that sound like someone with a curfew?” she asked, as the beep of the elevator signaled their arrival to their destination.

Stumbling ahead of her, the stranger swiped his key and pushed opened the door.  Leeza walked past him, falling backwards onto the bed.

“C’mon over here and let’s finish the party we started downstairs,” she said, kicking off her heels and propping her legs up on the bed…spread-eagle.

Balancing as he walked, the stranger stood over the bed with a huge grin plastered across his face.  Judging from the growing bulge inside of his pants, it was easy to discern that a grin awaited her there, too.

“C’mere.  You look as if you’re really happy to see me.” Leeza forcefully took him by the tie once again and pulled him on top of her.  When she began frantically unzipping his pants, he held her by the wrists to stop her.

“Whoa, filly…what’s your hurry?  You said you didn’t have a curfew so why the rush?  Don’t you even wanna know my name?” he quizzed.

“Well, I thought your name was Ready since that’s the way you came across downstairs.”  Leeza was no longer smiling – feeling a bit toyed with; and that was the feeling she hated most.

“You’re a funny one, aren’t cha?” he chuckled.  “Ok, well let’s ‘git to what we came here for!  By the way, my real name’s Jim.  Now tell me yours…”

“Nothing’s changed,” she whispered in his ear.  “I’m still…Available.”

Switching off the lamp, she proceeded to undress him by the orange glow of moonlight trickling through the window.   This was a typical night for Leeza.  Raunchy sex with yet another man she didn’t know, nor cared to.  After a while, she just lay there and let him have his way.

Then, just as quickly as it had begun, the party was over…at least, for her. The banging inside her head warned of the onslaught of another massive headache and there was no getting away from it.

Her enjoyment of the night’s events came to a screeching halt as the next one started to take over.

CHRISTY

Jim opened his eyes to a blonde pointing a gun in his face.  Startled, he scanned the room for the brunette he’d brought back with him the night before, but, she was nowhere to be found.

“Give me your wallet!” the blonde demanded.

“Who are you?  And, where is Available?” he asked, his eyes still searching.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t want to know what you’re talking about, capiche?  My name is Christy and I’m not going to ask you again.  Give me…your wallet.”

Jim pointed to his clothes that he’d been stripped of the night before, strewn across the floor.  “You didn’t ask me the first time,” he said.  “My wallet’s in there. Take whatever you want, just get outta my damn room.”

Christy stooped to pick up the pants, throwing them at him; the gun, nor her eyes, hardly ever leaving the target as she moved.

“Hey, I don’t take orders from you. Remember that. Now give me everything in there that’s spendable.”

Jim snatched the bills from his wallet and threw them at her.  “Here, this is all I have,” he muttered, his tone laced with anger.

“I saw plastic.  I want those, too.  And don’t make the mistake again of throwing anything at me,” she warned, raising the gun to remind him who was in charge.

Jim mumbled something as he gently placed three credit cards on the bed.  Christy snatched the cards up and backed slowly towards the door.  Her hands had barely touched the door handle when she heard Jim yell, “Get out, you bitch!”

Pushing herself away from the door and calmly walking back over to the bed, she could see the fear which had quickly taken up residence in his eyes…the moment when he knew he had pushed too hard.

The growing smirk across her lips catapulted into a full-blown sneer as she lifted the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

“Don’t you ever call me a bitch again.  I told you my name was Christy.”

***


Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

 

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you have enjoyed this showcase of our amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Nonnie Jules’s RWISA Author Page

Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW – Beem Weeks

I’ll be welcoming some amazing authors and fellow members of RWISA this month. Please make them feel welcome!

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Nightly Traipsing

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By Beem Weeks

There might’ve been a dream. Or maybe not. Violet Glass really couldn’t recall. Probably, though. A dream concerning some stupid boy—or even a girl.

Whatever.

Can’t control what creeps through your sleep.

Her body stirred awake as the blackest part of night splashed its inky resolve across that part of Alabama.

Violet stared at the ceiling, tried like the dickens to recall a face, perhaps a voice—anything belonging to the one responsible for this latest agitation.

Nothing came through, though.

Even dead of night did little to lay low that sticky heat. Old-timers in town swore oaths affirming this, the summer of 1910, to be more oppressive than any other summer since before the war between the states.

Violet eased her body from her bed; the soles of her feet found cool the touch of creaking floorboards.

There’d be nobody to catch her—not at this hour.

Nobody, but Ruthie.

And Ruthie Sender?—she’d never let on of these doings.

Violet scampered through the kitchen, flung her blue-eyed gaze against the darkened parlor. Only shadows and silence bore witness to her planned escape, a girl’s nightly traipsing.

The back door gave up with only minor provocation.

Dripping moonlight splashed the yard with a silvery sheen; promising secrets lingered among the gathered glow.

Around the rear of the house she skulked, careful to hold close to the shadows, to remain hidden from the ones who’d blab, those others who’d hold it over her head for gain.

Back behind the barn she found her crouching spot, fell low to the ground, fixed sight on the direction of Ruthie Sender’s place a few hundred yards away. Traipsing just didn’t hold its fun without Ruthie tagging along.

Violet rushed her granddad’s cotton field without that hesitation she’d known only a summer earlier.

Shadows stirred and wiggled in the distance. Figures formed, made shapes around a low-burning fire. Even at the center of all that cotton, Violet could pick out words of songs sung by the coloreds, those kin to Ruthie Sender.

They sang about standing on wood, an old slave’s saying, drawing up recollections of a time they themselves belonged to someone else.

Belonged to Violet’s kin.

Wood smoke fogged the night air.

Violet hunched low, skirted the yard where those coloreds took up with their fire and song and whiskey. Friendly sorts, all of them. Always first with a kind word, an interest in Violet’s family, how the girl’s folks were getting on—even if that interest leaned toward pretend. But that’s the nature of the matter. It’s Violet’s great-granddad who’d once owned all those souls that gave creation to the very ones now singing and drinking.

She broke through shadows collected beneath an ancient willow tree, found respite behind the Sender family’s privy, and waited for the girl to either show or not show.

The colored girl’s legs appeared first, dangling from the pantry window, bare feet scrabbling at the air, searching for a solid thing to set down upon. The thud of her sudden drop wouldn’t wake anybody.

A dingy gray nightshirt clung to Ruthie’s body. Her dark-eyed gaze landed out where she knew to find Violet. If the girl offered a smile, it couldn’t be seen—not from this distance.

“Go out back of Tussel’s, maybe?” Ruthie asked, finding space in Violet’s shadow.

“Catch a strap across my butt, I get found by that saloon again,” Violet promised. “Daddy don’t say things twice.”

Ruthie said, “Chicken liver.”

Violet backed down a notch, weighed her options. “Who’s gonna be there?”

“Fella named Ferdinand something. Plays piano.” Ruthie tossed a nod toward those others out by the fire. “They won’t share us no whiskey.”

“Won’t share up to Tussel’s, neither—unless you got some money.”

*      *      *

They were born the same night, Violet and Ruthie, back during spring of 1895. Only a few measly hours managed to wedge in between them, separated the girls from being twins of a sort.

Close enough, though.

Ruthie came first—if her folks were to be believed.

“Where we going?” Violet asked, following after Ruthie’s lead.

“Lena Canu’s place,” said Ruthie.

“How come?”

“She got stuff to drink, mostly.”

Droplets of sweat ran relays along Violet’s spine, leaving the girl’s skin wet, clammy. “Awful hot, it is.”

“She a conjure woman,” Ruthie announced, laying her tone low, protected. “—Lena Canu, I mean.”

Midnight’s high ceiling lent sparse light to the path splitting the two properties. Violet’s kin, they’d once owned the entire lot. Her great-granddad, he’s the one took notion to make things right, gave half of his land to the slaves he turned loose after the war.

Ruthie’s kin, mostly.

Senders and Canus.

Couldn’t ever really make a thing like that right, though.

A small cabin squatted in the brush; the orange glow of a lamp shined in the window. Used to be a slave’s shack, this one here.

Moonlight dripped on the colored girl’s face, showed it round and smooth, lips full and perfect, eyes alive with life and mischief. “Gonna see does she have any drink.”

Violet leaned closer, her bare arms feeling the other girl’s heat. She asked, “Can she tell fortunes?”

“Like reading a book.”

That dark door yawned wide; Lena Canu peered into the night. “I’ll tell your fortune, white girl,” she said.

Ruthie gave a nudge, guided Violet up the walk and into the shack.

A table and four chairs congregated at the center of the bare space. Kerosene fed a flame dancing like the devil atop the glass lamp. A pallet in a corner threw in its lot with the scene.

Lena Canu tossed a nod toward her rickety table. “Have you a seat, now,” she ordered, “—both of you.”

Violet sat first. Ruthie found perch across from her friend. Beneath the table naked feet bumped and rubbed, each girl assuring the other this would be a good turn.

“You one of them Glass girls, ain’t you?” Lena asked, dropping onto a chair of her own.

Violet said, “Yes, ma’am.”

Lena waved her off. “Ain’t no ma’am. Call me Lena, is all. You the one runs wild.” A pronouncement rather than a question.

Ruthie asked, “You got any liquor?”

A clear pint bottle came into the moment; its bitter amber liquid promised that sort of burn a person won’t mind.

Each girl drew off a long pull, let the heat mingle with their blood. Neither girl had ever gone full-on drunk; only a swig or two is all they ever dared.

Lena Canu, conjuring woman, spread a pile of bones over the table and commenced to ciphering future happenings a girl might need to know.

Things about boys and marriage didn’t come up. Neither did mention of babies and such. All Violet heard portended mainly to trouble.

“Quit you runnin’ wild,” Lena proclaimed, “and you be just fine.” She took up her narrow gaze again, aimed to settle matters. “But you keep doin’ what you been doin’, things gonna go bad.”

The suddenness of gunfire echoed through that sticky air. Three quick shots chased by a lazy fourth that staggered along a moment later.

Lena jumped first, ran for the door. Ruthie followed after, peering into the dark, no doubt expecting to put a face to the one pulled that trigger.

Violet remained stuck to her chair, attentions tugging between the matters outside and those sayings left to her by that conjuring woman. Did she really believe in such things, or was it all just a mess of nonsense?

“What am I gonna do to make things go bad?” she asked, supposing it wouldn’t hurt to know—just in case.

But Lena had other notions to work over. “Sounds like they come from over to your place,” she said to Ruthie.

Ruthie tipped a nod, said, “Could be they gettin’ liquored up too much, huh?”

“Might could,” answered Lena.

It happens that way, boys and their whiskey, wandering along crooked paths of discontent, blabbing things not really meant for harm—just boasting, is all.

But boasting to a drunken fella is as good as a punch on his nose.

“Gonna go see,” said Ruthie, pushing past the threshold, pressing on toward home.

Violet held her ground, let the colored girl disappear in the night. Attentions ceased their tugging, settled on the one making proclamations concerning bad manners and trouble to come.

Lena came loose of her thoughts, brought one to words, said, “Go on home now, white girl. Nighttime belongs to devils.”

*      *      *

Clouds laid a brief smudge against the moon, stripped its shine right off the night, left Violet to wonder if it really might be footsteps stumbling along behind her, following that same narrow path toward home.

“Fool boys,” she muttered, tossing nervous glances over either shoulder.

Footfalls fell heavy—like boots hammering the earth. An eager thing born of desperation.

Violet bolted left, squatted low behind a pile of brush that had the makings of a snake shelter. She held her breath and waited for the one at her back to pass on by.

A piece of tree limb came to her hand, a long and heavy thing, able to put a soul right should he come at her with wrong intentions.

That smudged moon went shiny again, dripped light across the path, showed off the shape of a man loping toward home. Tall and thin, this one; he moved quick with purpose.

Going the wrong way, though, Violet thought, waiting for the man to pass.

She gained her feet, charged his retreat, swung that heavy piece of wood and caught that interloper straight between his shoulders.

“Jay-zus!” the man hollered, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes.

“This is private property!” Violet informed him, fixing up for a second swing.

The fella pulled up on his knees, tried to reach for that spot on his back no doubt gone swollen. He said, “It’s private property only ’cause I say so.”

Foolishness seeped into the girl. She squinted against the dark, drew recollection of his face. “Granddad?” she said, hoping her recollections proved wrong.

“What the hell are you doing out here?” he demanded, giving his legs a try.

“Came out to use the privy,” she fibbed. “Heard gunshots, came to see, is all.”

“Liar!” the old man spat. “You been gallivanting again, ain’t you?” He moved closer to the girl, sized her up, made a big fuss over her running around in only a nightshirt and nothing else. “Your daddy’s gonna hit ya where the good Lord split ya—then he’s gonna move you to your sister’s room upstairs. Won’t be no sneaking out from there.”

Her gaze caught that glint at his waistband, a familiar hunk of blued steel. “Don’t matter,” she said. “Daddy’s gonna put you in the county home.”

“On account of what?”

“On account of you’re going senile, traipsing off, bothering colored folks again with that pistol of yours.” Violet leaned closer, continued her spiel. “Heard him and Mama talking just last week, saying how you’re a danger to yourself just as much as to others.”

The old man’s jaw fell open and slammed shut; intended words went lost to the night. He couldn’t tell on her now—not without personal risk.

Defeat fogged his eyes. “I won’t tell your business if you don’t tell mine.”

Violet seized the moment with both hands. “That depends,” she informed him.

“On what?”

“Who’d you shoot tonight?”

“Nobody. Just meant to scare, is all.”

“Gonna kill somebody one day—if you ain’t already.”

“Ain’t in my blood, killin’.”

“Don’t have to mean it to do it.”

The old man pulled back, let frustration have its way. “We got a deal or don’t we?”

“You gonna leave Ruthie’s people be?”

“Just want what’s mine,” he complained.

“But it’s their land, Granddad—been so for forty-five years. A hundred guns ain’t gonna make it not so.”

He never did wear misery well.

Violet’s arms went easily around the man. She pulled close to him, breathed in that familiar odor of sweat and tobacco.

He said, “I won’t bother them no more.”

“Then we have us a deal.”

 

 

Nightly Traipsing

 

There might’ve been a dream. Or maybe not. Violet Glass really couldn’t recall. Probably, though. A dream concerning some stupid boy—or even a girl.

Whatever.

Can’t control what creeps through your sleep.

Her body stirred awake as the blackest part of night splashed its inky resolve across that part of Alabama.

Violet stared at the ceiling, tried like the dickens to recall a face, perhaps a voice—anything belonging to the one responsible for this latest agitation.

Nothing came through, though.

Even dead of night did little to lay low that sticky heat. Old-timers in town swore oaths affirming this, the summer of 1910, to be more oppressive than any other summer since before the war between the states.

Violet eased her body from her bed; the soles of her feet found cool the touch of creaking floorboards.

There’d be nobody to catch her—not at this hour.

Nobody, but Ruthie.

And Ruthie Sender?—she’d never let on of these doings.

Violet scampered through the kitchen, flung her blue-eyed gaze against the darkened parlor. Only shadows and silence bore witness to her planned escape, a girl’s nightly traipsing.

The back door gave up with only minor provocation.

Dripping moonlight splashed the yard with a silvery sheen; promising secrets lingered among the gathered glow.

Around the rear of the house she skulked, careful to hold close to the shadows, to remain hidden from the ones who’d blab, those others who’d hold it over her head for gain.

Back behind the barn she found her crouching spot, fell low to the ground, fixed sight on the direction of Ruthie Sender’s place a few hundred yards away. Traipsing just didn’t hold its fun without Ruthie tagging along.

Violet rushed her granddad’s cotton field without that hesitation she’d known only a summer earlier.

Shadows stirred and wiggled in the distance. Figures formed, made shapes around a low-burning fire. Even at the center of all that cotton, Violet could pick out words of songs sung by the coloreds, those kin to Ruthie Sender.

They sang about standing on wood, an old slave’s saying, drawing up recollections of a time they themselves belonged to someone else.

Belonged to Violet’s kin.

Wood smoke fogged the night air.

Violet hunched low, skirted the yard where those coloreds took up with their fire and song and whiskey. Friendly sorts, all of them. Always first with a kind word, an interest in Violet’s family, how the girl’s folks were getting on—even if that interest leaned toward pretend. But that’s the nature of the matter. It’s Violet’s great-granddad who’d once owned all those souls that gave creation to the very ones now singing and drinking.

She broke through shadows collected beneath an ancient willow tree, found respite behind the Sender family’s privy, and waited for the girl to either show or not show.

The colored girl’s legs appeared first, dangling from the pantry window, bare feet scrabbling at the air, searching for a solid thing to set down upon. The thud of her sudden drop wouldn’t wake anybody.

A dingy gray nightshirt clung to Ruthie’s body. Her dark-eyed gaze landed out where she knew to find Violet. If the girl offered a smile, it couldn’t be seen—not from this distance.

“Go out back of Tussel’s, maybe?” Ruthie asked, finding space in Violet’s shadow.

“Catch a strap across my butt, I get found by that saloon again,” Violet promised. “Daddy don’t say things twice.”

Ruthie said, “Chicken liver.”

Violet backed down a notch, weighed her options. “Who’s gonna be there?”

“Fella named Ferdinand something. Plays piano.” Ruthie tossed a nod toward those others out by the fire. “They won’t share us no whiskey.”

“Won’t share up to Tussel’s, neither—unless you got some money.”

*      *      *

They were born the same night, Violet and Ruthie, back during spring of 1895. Only a few measly hours managed to wedge in between them, separated the girls from being twins of a sort.

Close enough, though.

Ruthie came first—if her folks were to be believed.

“Where we going?” Violet asked, following after Ruthie’s lead.

“Lena Canu’s place,” said Ruthie.

“How come?”

“She got stuff to drink, mostly.”

Droplets of sweat ran relays along Violet’s spine, leaving the girl’s skin wet, clammy. “Awful hot, it is.”

“She a conjure woman,” Ruthie announced, laying her tone low, protected. “—Lena Canu, I mean.”

Midnight’s high ceiling lent sparse light to the path splitting the two properties. Violet’s kin, they’d once owned the entire lot. Her great-granddad, he’s the one took notion to make things right, gave half of his land to the slaves he turned loose after the war.

Ruthie’s kin, mostly.

Senders and Canus.

Couldn’t ever really make a thing like that right, though.

A small cabin squatted in the brush; the orange glow of a lamp shined in the window. Used to be a slave’s shack, this one here.

Moonlight dripped on the colored girl’s face, showed it round and smooth, lips full and perfect, eyes alive with life and mischief. “Gonna see does she have any drink.”

Violet leaned closer, her bare arms feeling the other girl’s heat. She asked, “Can she tell fortunes?”

“Like reading a book.”

That dark door yawned wide; Lena Canu peered into the night. “I’ll tell your fortune, white girl,” she said.

Ruthie gave a nudge, guided Violet up the walk and into the shack.

A table and four chairs congregated at the center of the bare space. Kerosene fed a flame dancing like the devil atop the glass lamp. A pallet in a corner threw in its lot with the scene.

Lena Canu tossed a nod toward her rickety table. “Have you a seat, now,” she ordered, “—both of you.”

Violet sat first. Ruthie found perch across from her friend. Beneath the table naked feet bumped and rubbed, each girl assuring the other this would be a good turn.

“You one of them Glass girls, ain’t you?” Lena asked, dropping onto a chair of her own.

Violet said, “Yes, ma’am.”

Lena waved her off. “Ain’t no ma’am. Call me Lena, is all. You the one runs wild.” A pronouncement rather than a question.

Ruthie asked, “You got any liquor?”

A clear pint bottle came into the moment; its bitter amber liquid promised that sort of burn a person won’t mind.

Each girl drew off a long pull, let the heat mingle with their blood. Neither girl had ever gone full-on drunk; only a swig or two is all they ever dared.

Lena Canu, conjuring woman, spread a pile of bones over the table and commenced to ciphering future happenings a girl might need to know.

Things about boys and marriage didn’t come up. Neither did mention of babies and such. All Violet heard portended mainly to trouble.

“Quit you runnin’ wild,” Lena proclaimed, “and you be just fine.” She took up her narrow gaze again, aimed to settle matters. “But you keep doin’ what you been doin’, things gonna go bad.”

The suddenness of gunfire echoed through that sticky air. Three quick shots chased by a lazy fourth that staggered along a moment later.

Lena jumped first, ran for the door. Ruthie followed after, peering into the dark, no doubt expecting to put a face to the one pulled that trigger.

Violet remained stuck to her chair, attentions tugging between the matters outside and those sayings left to her by that conjuring woman. Did she really believe in such things, or was it all just a mess of nonsense?

“What am I gonna do to make things go bad?” she asked, supposing it wouldn’t hurt to know—just in case.

But Lena had other notions to work over. “Sounds like they come from over to your place,” she said to Ruthie.

Ruthie tipped a nod, said, “Could be they gettin’ liquored up too much, huh?”

“Might could,” answered Lena.

It happens that way, boys and their whiskey, wandering along crooked paths of discontent, blabbing things not really meant for harm—just boasting, is all.

But boasting to a drunken fella is as good as a punch on his nose.

“Gonna go see,” said Ruthie, pushing past the threshold, pressing on toward home.

Violet held her ground, let the colored girl disappear in the night. Attentions ceased their tugging, settled on the one making proclamations concerning bad manners and trouble to come.

Lena came loose of her thoughts, brought one to words, said, “Go on home now, white girl. Nighttime belongs to devils.”

*      *      *

Clouds laid a brief smudge against the moon, stripped its shine right off the night, left Violet to wonder if it really might be footsteps stumbling along behind her, following that same narrow path toward home.

“Fool boys,” she muttered, tossing nervous glances over either shoulder.

Footfalls fell heavy—like boots hammering the earth. An eager thing born of desperation.

Violet bolted left, squatted low behind a pile of brush that had the makings of a snake shelter. She held her breath and waited for the one at her back to pass on by.

A piece of tree limb came to her hand, a long and heavy thing, able to put a soul right should he come at her with wrong intentions.

That smudged moon went shiny again, dripped light across the path, showed off the shape of a man loping toward home. Tall and thin, this one; he moved quick with purpose.

Going the wrong way, though, Violet thought, waiting for the man to pass.

She gained her feet, charged his retreat, swung that heavy piece of wood and caught that interloper straight between his shoulders.

“Jay-zus!” the man hollered, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes.

“This is private property!” Violet informed him, fixing up for a second swing.

The fella pulled up on his knees, tried to reach for that spot on his back no doubt gone swollen. He said, “It’s private property only ’cause I say so.”

Foolishness seeped into the girl. She squinted against the dark, drew recollection of his face. “Granddad?” she said, hoping her recollections proved wrong.

“What the hell are you doing out here?” he demanded, giving his legs a try.

“Came out to use the privy,” she fibbed. “Heard gunshots, came to see, is all.”

“Liar!” the old man spat. “You been gallivanting again, ain’t you?” He moved closer to the girl, sized her up, made a big fuss over her running around in only a nightshirt and nothing else. “Your daddy’s gonna hit ya where the good Lord split ya—then he’s gonna move you to your sister’s room upstairs. Won’t be no sneaking out from there.”

Her gaze caught that glint at his waistband, a familiar hunk of blued steel. “Don’t matter,” she said. “Daddy’s gonna put you in the county home.”

“On account of what?”

“On account of you’re going senile, traipsing off, bothering colored folks again with that pistol of yours.” Violet leaned closer, continued her spiel. “Heard him and Mama talking just last week, saying how you’re a danger to yourself just as much as to others.”

The old man’s jaw fell open and slammed shut; intended words went lost to the night. He couldn’t tell on her now—not without personal risk.

Defeat fogged his eyes. “I won’t tell your business if you don’t tell mine.”

Violet seized the moment with both hands. “That depends,” she informed him.

“On what?”

“Who’d you shoot tonight?”

“Nobody. Just meant to scare, is all.”

“Gonna kill somebody one day—if you ain’t already.”

“Ain’t in my blood, killin’.”

“Don’t have to mean it to do it.”

The old man pulled back, let frustration have its way. “We got a deal or don’t we?”

“You gonna leave Ruthie’s people be?”

“Just want what’s mine,” he complained.

“But it’s their land, Granddad—been so for forty-five years. A hundred guns ain’t gonna make it not so.”

He never did wear misery well.

Violet’s arms went easily around the man. She pulled close to him, breathed in that familiar odor of sweat and tobacco.

He said, “I won’t bother them no more.”

“Then we have us a deal.”


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Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW – Gwen Plano

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MOM’S FINAL WORDS

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By Gwen M. Plano

Worn out by time, mom lay motionless on the sheets. Life lingered but imperceptibly. At ninety-one, she had experienced the full range of life’s challenges. And, now, she rested her aged shell of a body and waited.

A farmer’s daughter and wife, her life was marked by practicalities and hard work. Always up before daybreak, she prepared the meals, washed the clothes and hung them on the clothesline, and otherwise attended to the needs of the household.

Her garden was a cornucopia of tomatoes and corn, of squash and lettuces. And the refrigerator always had freshly gathered eggs and newly churned butter.

Mom rarely paused, to catch her breath, to offer a hug, or to sit calmly. Time is not to be wasted, she taught. And so, she was always busy.

Over the years, there were multiple times that she almost died. But, with each surgery or ailment, she emerged from death’s clutches more determined than before – to surmount her difficulties, to forge a path, to care for her family. “Life is a gift,” she would say to us.

Mom knew poverty and uncertainty. Ration coupons from the war lay on her dresser, a reminder of harsh realities. Nothing ever went to waste in our household, not food, not water, not clothing. “Many have less than us,” she claimed. She would then insist we be conservative and share.

She knew sorrow well, having lost her parents when she was young, and then two of her nine children. As the years passed, she also lost her sisters and many of her friends.

Mom was a woman of faith. Throughout the day, you could hear her quiet entreaties. Prayer was always on her lips. When mom walked from one room to the next, she prayed – for this person or that friend or for our country. She’d stand at the sink washing dishes and invoke help, from the angels, from Mary the mother of our God, and from the Holy Spirit. “Pray always,” she’d remind us.

This busy mother fought death to the end, but when the doctor finally said that nothing more could be done, she simply responded, “I am ready.”

It was then that she met with each of her seven children. Barely managing each breath, she whispered her I love you and offered a few words of guidance.

When I was at mom’s bedside, she told me she loved me, mentioned a few family concerns, and then in a barely audible voice she said, “I don’t know what to expect.”

This precious little woman, who had spent her life busy with raising a family and helping with the farm, now was unsure of what would happen next. I was surprised by the words.

She taught me to pray when I was quite tiny. “Get on your knees,” she would instruct. “Offer up your pain for the poor souls in purgatory,” she’d suggest. Then, she’d lead us in the Lord’s Prayer. Mom had us pray for family and friends, for anyone suffering, and always for our country. She’d share stories of angels and saints, of miracles and wonders, of midnight visitations and afternoon impressions. This fragile diminutive woman had instructed my siblings and me of the invisible eternal. And, I lived with those images as a child until they became as real to me as the world we see.

Yes, I was surprised by mom’s words to me. “I don’t know what to expect.” But then I wondered, did she know? Did she know that I had studied near-death experiences? That I had written of the dying process? Had I ever told her?

I don’t know what to expect. Simple words, but a storm of thoughts followed. I held back my tears and took her hands in mine.

“Mom, I will tell you what friends have said and what the research has shown. The angels are coming soon, mom. You will see them in the light. Just follow their lead. Your sisters will join you, as will your mom and dad and your babies. Your whole family is waiting for you. It will be a wonderful reunion. There will be much joy.”

Her breaths grew slower.

I told her of Charles, a friend I met in my prayer group. He had died twice and because of that, he had no fear of his final death. Through his experiences, he saw that life continues. He spoke of celestial beings, of extraordinary love, of boundless joy. And, he told the prayer group that he looked forward to death.

I shared these things and more. And, as I spoke, her eyes closed, and her breathing slowed. She had fallen back to sleep, to the middle ground between this world and the next. And I wondered, did she really need to know what to expect or did she want me to remember that life never ends?


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Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW -Harriet Hodgson

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Look out World: A Loving Grandma is on Duty

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By Harriet Hodgson

Recently I read some blog posts by grandmas. Though a few posts were positive, most were negative. The grandmas couldn’t seem to find anything positive to say about aging or the wisdom they had acquired. My reaction to aging is different. Because I’m a grandma, I’m saying and doing things I’ve never done before. Maybe I need a badge that says GRANDMA ON DUTY!

I’m on marriage duty.

My husband’s aorta dissected in 2013 and he had three emergency operations. During the third one he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. Since I drove him to the hospital emergency department I’ve been his caregiver and advocate. Although we have a less mobile life these days, we have a good life, and are more in love than ever. Each day is a blessing and we savor the days we have together.

I’m on GRG duty.

After my twin grandchildren’s parents died from the injuries they received in separate car crashes, the court appointed my husband and me as their guardians. (My daughter was, and always will be, the twins’ mother.) The court appointed my husband and me as the twins’ guardians and we became GRGs—grandparents raising grandchildren. According to the US Census Bureau, 10% of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids. Raising the twins for seven years was a responsibility and a joy. Though the twins are adults now, I’m still a GRG when called upon.

I’m on safe driving duty.

When I noticed drivers weren’t stopping at stop signs—just slowing down and proceeding forward—I became upset. The police call this practice a “rolling stop” and it’s dangerous. What if a car hit a walking child or a child on a bike? I wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and asked drivers to follow the law and come to a full stop at stop signs.

I’m on political duty.

Contentious as politics has become, I always vote and stay informed on issues. A friend of mine asked me to write for her political campaign, and I agreed to do it because of her teaching background and focus on children’s issues. My tasks included proofreading letters, writing new letters, helping with promotional materials, and delivering literature to homes. I was delighted when my candidate won re-election.

I’m on anti-theft duty.

We live in a townhome on a private street. It’s a safe neighborhood so I was surprised when a porch pirate stole my husband’s asthma medication. I reported the theft to the police and a detective came to our home. According to the detective, thieves look for neighborhood that have connected mailboxes, such as four linked together, because it saves them time. I also reported the theft to the neighborhood association and it is pursuing the idea of locked mail boxes.

I’m on learning duty.

My family didn’t get a television set until I was a senior in high school. Instead of watching television, my brother and I went to the library and took out as many books as we could carry home. I still love to read. The day doesn’t seem right and is a bit “off” if I don’t learn anything that day. Learning is good modeling for grandchildren. The twins know I love to read and love to learn.

I’m on writing duty.

To keep my skills sharp, I write every day, everything from articles for websites, magazine articles, handouts to support the talks I give, and writing books. My 37th book is in production now and comes out in the fall of 2019. It’s a book about being a grandmother and I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the cover too. Waiting for the release date is going to be difficult.

I’m on giving duty.

Giving to others helps them and makes me feel good inside. I give free talks to community groups, talk to school kids about writing, and donate to the food bank in memory of my daughter. One of the best gifts I give is the gift of listening. A grandchild can feel like nobody is listening. That’s why I practice active listening. I make eye contact, nod to show I’m listening, and refrain from interrupting. Active listening takes more energy than passive listening and it’s worth the energy.

Grandmas have special skills to share with families. They are also keepers of history. “A house needs a grandma in it,” Louisa May Alcott once said, and I think she was right.

I’m just one grandma, trying to make a difference. There are millions of grandmas like me. Working alone and together, we are loving, protecting, and nurturing grandchildren around the world. Some grandmas are activists, others are advocates, and others are both. Instead of sitting around and waiting for things to change, grandmas are initiating change.

Be on the lookout for the loving grandmothers in your community. Join their efforts. If you can’t join in, support their efforts verbally and financially. The loving grandmas of the world are on duty, and always will be. Hug a grandma today!


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Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW – Robert Fear

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Afternoon cycle ride

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 by Robert Fear

Ibiza, May 1977

As I set out on my cycle ride, the streets of Es Cana were busy with pale-faced holidaymakers exploring their new surroundings. I almost collided with a couple who looked the wrong way as they crossed the road.

The hire bike was a boneshaker, and as I headed out of town to the west, the road surface was uneven. The ride became rougher, and I swerved to avoid potholes. Shocks vibrated through the handlebars and I lost my grip twice. Despite this, the breeze in my face and the sun on my back felt good.

Roads twisted and turned as I followed the coast around Punta Arabi and through the outlying villages. I passed pine tree fringed sandy beaches and caught glimpses of the sea. New tourist developments dotted the coastline, in between the traditional houses, shops and bars.

After a while I came to the dusty main road that ran from the north of Es Cana. Cycling westwards towards Santa Eulalia I soon found myself in the main square where I had changed buses when I first arrived from Ibiza Town in April.

My parched throat led me in search of a drink. Opposite the Guardia Civil offices, I spotted Fred’s Bar and decided it was a good place to quench my thirst. With the bike propped against an outside wall, I walked into the gloomy interior and blinked after the bright sunshine.

At the bar I ordered a draught beer. As I stood and sipped it, I glanced around and saw groups of men sat at the wooden tables. English was the main language being spoken, and the newspapers were days-old copies of The Sun. I felt out of place amongst the rustling of papers and whispered conversations.

Chalked on a board was a small menu of English food. I ordered Shepherd’s Pie with my next beer.

‘Take a seat at that corner table and I’ll bring it over in a few minutes,’ commanded the gruff Yorkshire voice from behind the bar. I assumed that was Fred.

‘Cheers mate,’ I smiled and walked over to the seat he had indicated.

Sat on the hard, wooden chair I placed my drink on the table.

I looked up and saw a man limping from the bar. A large glass of whisky and ice almost slipped from his hand. Without a word he slumped down opposite me. He shouted greetings to others but ignored me. His voice was slurred, and he had a distinct American accent.

My food arrived, and I dug into it with a vengeance. The cycle ride had given me a good appetite. As I polished off the plate, my table companion burped and glanced towards me. I smiled at him and he grinned,

‘Looked like you enjoyed that.’

‘Yes, it was great,’ I replied, ‘have you tried it?’

‘No man, I’m not into food much, I prefer this stuff,’ he slurred and pointed to his drink.

He pulled out a pack of Camel cigarettes, flipped back the top and offered me one.

I accepted it and gave him a light. We both took a deep drag on the rough taste and exhaled plumes of smoke. He moved closer and I could make out a mass of scars on his face and arms.

‘Do you live in Santa Eulalia?’ I asked, ‘you seem to know lots of people here.’

‘Yea man, been here ages now. Came to Ibiza in ’73. I’ve got a small apartment just outside the town, overlooking the sea.’

I looked at him with curiosity, ‘so you work here then?’

He threw back his head and laughed. All eyes turned in his direction as the raucous laugh subsided into chuckles.

‘No man, I’m pensioned off from the Army. I was in Vietnam. Halfway through my second tour I got blown to smithereens and was lucky to survive. They shipped me to the States, filled my body with metal and stitched me up. I was in hospital for months and still go there twice a year for check-ups.’

My jaw dropped, and I looked at him with a new respect. He continued,

‘The climate here helps my aching bones, and the booze is cheap. I’ve made friends, although most of them think I’m crazy. I suppose I am sometimes!’ he mused.

‘Did you want another drink?’ I asked him, to break the momentary silence.

‘A large bourbon, with water and ice would be great, thanks man.’

Back at the table I clinked my glass against his. ‘Salut!’

We chatted a while longer and I told him about the work I was doing. His eyes glazed over. He nodded as I talked, but I sensed his mind was elsewhere.

‘I have to go now,’ I said, as I stood up and offered my hand.

‘Nice talking to you man, all the best and hope to see you again.’ He gave me a weak handshake from his seated position.

‘Yes, me too, my name’s Fred.’

‘I’m Michael, or Mike, also known as Mad Mike by my friends. Take care on your ride back to Es Cana.’

He waved over as I headed out of the door.

The bike had fallen over, but it was still there. I had not thought to secure it two hours before when I entered the bar. I figured it was safe parked opposite the police station.

With a slight wobble I set off along the main road towards Es Cana. A car came straight at me and I had to swerve. Out of habit, I had started out on the left-hand side of the road. With a wrench of the handlebars I switched to the right and just avoided a collision.

That could have been nasty!


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Welcome to the WATCH “#RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour! #RRBC #RRBCWRW – D.L. Finn

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Poetry

by D. L. Finn 

DARKNESS

The air is thick as you breathe it in

Filling your lungs with its silence.

It unnerves you when you’re alone

Because in the darkness there are shadows.

They are filled with the unknown

While the quiet is lurking with danger.

It’s unseen, watching while your heart is racing

And your skin drenched in sweat, you scan the night.

You see nothing and hear nothing

Yet, you know it’s there.

You hurry back into the light where it’s safe

Shut the door and lock it with a sigh of relief.

You quickly forget the darkness

But, what you don’t know is…

It hasn’t forgotten you.

 

TO FLY (Musings from the Back of a Harley)

We fly by the ranches…

Cows, goats, and horses.

Grazing golden-grass untroubled…

As we rumble loudly past them.

The ponds are rain depleted…

Fall harvest signs invite us to stop.

 

But, today is a day to fly…

To fly past normalcy

To fly past worries

To fly past obligations.

 

They rush by us like the scenery…

Soaring past our leather-clad bodies.

They crash behind us like a boat’s wake…

Miraculously missing us in our frantic flight.

Yet, all is forgiven flying on our motorcycle…

As our souls chaperon our journey.

 

 

THE RIVER’S GIFTS

It’s smooth and gentle on a warm spring day…

The rocks and trees are mirrored in its purity.

The beach’s sandy-warmth caresses me…

As I skim a flat rock across the water’s surface.

Eight small splashes are my reward…

Expanding into rings that disappear into flow.

Fish swim with the current beneath…

Hawks soar above searching for their next meal.

I deeply breathe in the serenity shared by the river.

 

A delicate butterfly swoops down and rests in front of me…

I want to touch it, be a part of its splendor, as I watch it fly away.

It finds nectar on a purple flower at the water’s edge…

I inhale bliss as the butterfly’s hunger is satisfied.

Searching up river I find water cascading down a rocky ledge.

I pause to drink in the magnificence and wisdom…

The river can negotiate any obstacle and continue its journey.

Here next to the flowing wonder, I find peace, and beauty…

I absorb this into my being, with gratitude, for the river’s gifts


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Thanksgiving Memories

Although I have many wonderful Thanksgiving memories over the years, I have one that stands out.

It was a sunny day in the mountains. We made the decision to stay home-alone for Thanksgiving for the first time since our move to the mountains. Usually, our holiday had consisted of a three-hour drive to the Bay Area and the three-hour trek back on the same day. Sometimes, we went to a relative’s house, other times we’d end up in a restaurant with family. There was always traffic increasing our traveling time or when we’d run into the dreaded fog. But, we felt it was worth it to spend time with loved ones. Then, there’d be occasions when people would come to our house, too. We’d spend our time entertaining and visiting them, then I’d collapse on the couch at the end of the day in exhaustion. This year, for many different reasons, we stayed home and had no guests. It was a first for our family of five.

I arose that beautiful November morning and got the 20-pound turkey in the oven. I turned on the Macy’s Day Parade and drank a cup of tea, while the rest of the family woke up. Then we ate a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, bacon, eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice and cheered-on our favorite floats and balloons. We fantasized how it would be to have a hotel room along the parade-route watching this in person and to see New York during the Christmas season. Then came the excitement of Santa Clause’s appearance, signaling the end of the parade.

While our stuffed turkey continued to cook, it was time to get dressed. My family was done way before me. So, my husband took the kids outside to ride their bikes. My two pre-teen girls were on their mountain bikes, while my pre-school son was on his Big-Wheel. I slipped into my dress that would match my daughters and applied my make-up. Searching through my drawer I found the one pair of nylons that wasn’t snagged. Wearing my best jewelry and my slippers I was ready.  I stepped out of the kitchen, filled with the smell of turkey, into a beautiful fall day. I was greeted by my children all lined up behind my husband, who was in his white dress shirt, black slacks and suspenders. They went by oldest to youngest, with my son at the end wearing his favorite train conductor hat riding through the forest.

I quickly grabbed my camera and recorded this pure moment. Smiles lit everyone’s face, including mine, while laughter was layered into the air. All was right in our world. I grabbed my bike and joined the fun.

It was a day when there were no schedules to honor, no traveling, or guests to entertain–it was just us enjoying us. That day still brings me joy many years later. I don’t remember if the turkey was moist or the pies were perfectly seasoned with a tender crust. What I do remember is we ate together and then played a family favorite “The Disneyland Game”. Who won? Didn’t matter then nor now. It was a time of innocence and love. A time of laughter and joy that is etched forever in my mind as the perfect Thanksgiving Day that still exists in that magical place where memories dwell.

This year we are spending Thanksgiving with our oldest grand kids, and son who is making the trek from college. Our Thanksgiving tree is up, so whoever enters our house can write something they are grateful for on the “tree leaves”.  Later, we’ll be visited by one of my daughters and her husband who’ll be eating their second meal. The rest of the family has their own places to be, but they will be in our hearts forever and in our memories. My hope for the day is, that maybe, just maybe, we can create some more magic to remember in the years to come, that will compare to that day in the sun so many holidays ago.


*I could only find one picture from that happy day. It is of my husband riding his bike, but the kids weren’t in the picture. The other picture is our current Thanksgiving tree. The leaves underneath are from years past.

The monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow.

I won’t have a post on 25th because of the holiday, but will be back on the 2nd.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it! Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn