Monthly Archives: May 2014

Friday Fictioneers – In the Middle of My Life

It may be Saturday, but that doesn’t mean it’s not time for Friday Fictioneers! Please let me know what you think of this story, and go read the rest of the Fictioneers’ tales.

jennifer-pendergast4In the Middle of My Life

When I started college, everything seemed to open up in front of me. So many new things to learn and do – and in a few more years I could step into the real world and claim my place there. But you have to be practical.

After college, my place in the real world turned out to be a cubicle with an uncomfortable chair and an out-of-date computer. Marriage and family are great, but I didn’t like feeling them push me back into that colorless cubicle day after day, year after year.

Well, we’re home from seeing our youngest graduate. No more reason to be practical. I want to hand in my resignation and go figure out who I can be. Will you come with me?

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Memorial Day

Last Monday was Memorial Day, a day devoted to honoring old soldiers living and dead, and to the first cookouts of summer, and to remembering lost relatives. We didn’t have time for a cookout, but my husband and I spent the day traveling most of the width of Pennsylvania to leave flowers on family graves.

Some of the cemeteries we visited are relatively new, with unused space, and still in active use. Then there are the old ones where our relatives were some of the last to be added. My father’s parents lie at the edge of their graveyard, just before it tumbles downhill in a slope too steep to walk on. And not far up the hill from them, I noticed this grave marked by a new flag.

GARTombstoneVeteransDay2014One hundred fifty
Years, almost, since you last fought.
We still remember.

On Memorial Day, flags mark the graves of soldiers; veterans’ organizations see to that. But the stone looked old, very old. Sure enough, the man below it has been gone for ninety years, since my mother was a baby (and how shocked his family must have been to lose him on Christmas!) But long before that, young Mr. Neff was a soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic; he fought to keep this country in one piece for four long bloody years of civil war.

GARStarExtremeCloseupVeteransDay2014It’s been a century and a half, but he’s still honored.

Fluttering by

We did some yard work a few days ago, and guess what settled on our fence and stayed there for at least fifteen minutes (long enough to go inside and get cameras)?

Swallowtail Butterfly

Swallowtail Butterfly

So pretty, and so big for a butterfly – at least half the size of my hand.

Friday Fictioneers: Love-in-a-mist

Here we go again – hundred word stories (more or less), based on the latest Friday Fictioneers photo prompt chosen by the one and only Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

copyright-erin-leary-2Love-in-a-Mist

When it’s foggy, I remember. I had gone for a walk, but soon I couldn’t see where I was. I climbed to the top of a hill, where the fog was thinner, and then he appeared. At first he was only a moving blur. I watched as he came closer and took shape.

He was young, but his clothes belonged to another century. He started when he first saw me, and then shrugged and accepted my appearance, strange though I looked to him. We talked for minutes, or hours – I don’t know – until the fog lifted. He faded with it.

For years, I searched for him every foggy day, but magic only happens once. At least he left me a token, my dear child. If only I could have left something with him.

My hair isn’t sore

My eyelids aren’t either. Or my ears. Pretty much all of the rest of me is, though – stiff, sore, and tired. My husband and I spent five days at my mother’s house (yesterday’s flowers grow in her back yard) sorting through things and filling up a dumpster.

What goes in a dumpster? Worn-out furniture. Half-made-up dresses that my mom never finished. Thirty or forty years worth of greeting cards for every special occasion on the calendar. Broken flower pots. Badly rusted tools that my father never cleaned up or got rid of. Piles of old magazines. And more.

Medicines that haven't been available to buy for years. And years.

Medicines that haven’t been available to buy for years. And years.

My parents – children of the Great Depression – found it very, very hard to throw anything away, no matter how worn-out it was. I suppose it made them feel secure to be surrounded by piles of Stuff, even if it was unusable. (Anybody out there want some burned-out light bulbs? I have plenty, now.) And in recent years, my mother just didn’t have the strength to do much cleaning. But I don’t have any sentimental regrets at all about throwing away a box of Jello dated 1981.

We’re nowhere near finished sorting through stuff and throwing things away, either. Maybe by August, if we’re very lucky and hardworking, we’ll be ready to hold an estate auction to dispose of the usable things that nobody in the family has room to keep. It’s going to hurt to see Mom’s house empty, but it has to be done.

Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, now that I’m back in my own over-cluttered house – I learned my mother’s lessons very well – for the moment, I need to go and throw things away. I don’t really want to be an official minimalist, but I don’t want my sons to be stuck with a project like this some day. It’s time, past time, to figure out how to weed things out as I go.

I used to think it would be wonderful to live in an enormous house. You know what? If I had a huge house, there would be more room for junk to pile up. I think I’ll stay with the medium-small place I have, thanks.

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Wordless Wednesday (May 21, 2014)

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This Wordless Wednesday (May 14, 2014)

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