Deleting Martina – Chapter Three

“Okay,” said Callie.  “How are your grades?”

Martina said, “average, I would imagine.  Do you have good grades?” Callie said, “I have to.  I need all the scholarships I can get.  I’m going to try to get one for archery as well as academics.  I know I have a bit of a problem with authority and most of my teachers think I’m a bit truculent, but I have plans and those plans are to go to college.”

“You know archery?” asked Martina.  Callie laughed and said, “it’s not something you know.  It’s something you do.”

“Are you good?” asked Martina.  Callie said, “yes, I am.  I can shoot the wings off of a fly at fifty paces, but I have practiced for a long time.  My first bow and arrow set were two sticks and a piece of twine, and my quiver was one of my knee-socks.”

Callie looked at Martina and said, “this is what we’re going to do.  We’re going to go to the same college and we’re going to be roommates.  But it won’t be one of those community colleges.  We’re going to shoot for the moon.  Somewhere like Harvard or Yale or Princeton.”

Martina said, “I don’t think I could get into one of those schools.”

Callie said, “are you kidding?  Sure you can.  Your father can build a library on campus and they can name it after him, or he could maybe…I don’t know…buy the Dean a kidney or something.  You don’t have to worry about getting in a school.  I do.”

Martina was intrigued with the notion of going to college.  It had never been discussed but she wondered aloud what good it would do if she did.  Callie said, “with a degree, you can do anything.  You could start a business!”

“What kind of business?” asked Martina.  “Well, what can you do?” asked Callie.  Martina thought for a minute and said, “I know how to sit properly, and I know where the silverware is supposed to be when we dine.  I know how to…”

“To what?” asked Callie.  “I know how to be seen and not heard,” said Martina.

Callie said, “you are going to learn how to be seen and heard.  You are going to learn how to roar!”

Callie looked at the huge Grandfather Clock in the corner of the massive room and said, “goodness.  Look at the time.  Can you get Jeeves to call the driver to take me home?”  Martina smiled and said, “his name is Mr. Bradley, and he will get cross if you don’t call him that.”

Callie laughed and said, “I know.  But isn’t it fun to kind of stir the pot?  People don’t have to be so serious all the time.  They need to live a little.  They need to break the rules now and then.  They need to be playful now and then.  When we’re old, there will be time to be all formal and goody-goody.  We’re young and we should act young.  Believe me, one day our youth is going to disappear like boiling water in a tea kettle, and we don’t want to have to ask ourselves where all those years have gone.”


To be continued___________

Deleting Martina – Chapter Two

One day the flashy, flamboyant, bodacious Callie walked up to Martina, and with no hesitation said, “what’s your story?”

Martina sheepishly said, “I don’t have a story.”  Callie quickly retorted, “you’re alive aren’t you?”  Martina said, “Yes.”  Callie said, “then you have a story.”

Martina, almost apologetically said, “it’s not a very interesting story.” Callie put her arm around the much shorter Martina and said, “well, that’s something we shall have to change, isn’t it?  Meet me in the downstairs rotunda after school and we’ll have a chat.”

Before Martina could tell her that the chauffeur would be waiting, Callie was off like a streak of lightning.

After the bell rang for the dismissal of the day, Martina nervously made her way to the rotunda.  When Callie came walking up, Martina said that her “ride” was waiting outside and she had to go.  Callie said, “okay.  I’ll come with you.  I can come to your house with you, if you like.”

Martina asked if she didn’t need to go home.  Callie said, “both my parents work and they won’t be home for hours, so they won’t mind.”  She laughed as she said, “can’t mind about something you don’t know about, can you?”

Martina had never met anyone like Callie.  She’d never really “met” anyone, other than the children of her parent’s friends, who were all cut from the same cloth.  Little adults in children’s bodies, just waiting to emerge from their cocoons to become just like their boring parents, living their boring lives.

Martina had never had an “outsider” come to visit.  She wasn’t sure what Morton, the chauffeur would say, but she knew her parents would be busy and wouldn’t notice.  When Morton opened to door for Martina, Callie jumped in like she owned the car.  Martina smiled as she followed.

Callie looked at her and said,”I’ve been watching you for a while, and that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile.  You should do it more often.”

Morton turned onto what seemed like a mile long driveway.  When Callie first gazed at the stately manor, she said, “great jumping Jehoshaphat! This is where you live?”  Martina quietly said it was.  Callie said, “cool.  Let’s go inside.”

Morton drove them around to the back entrance and Martina took Callie to the drawing-room.  Callie plopped down into a comfortable, down-filled chair just as Mr. Bradley, the butler, came in.

“Good afternoon Miss Martina.  Could I get you and your visitor something to drink?”  Before Martina could answer, Callie laughed as she said, “Yes, Jeeves.  Could your bring us a beer?”

Mr. Bradley frowned as he said, “the name is Mr. Bradley.  I am the butler and no, miss, I will not bring you a beer.  Perhaps you would enjoy a glass of lemonade.”  Martina looked at him and said, “this is my friend, Callie.”

Mr. Bradley grunted as he walked out of the room.  As soon as he was out of earshot, Callie said, “now, am I going to have to call your mother and father, ‘my lord and my lady’?  I mean, are they royalty or something?” Martina smiled and said, “no, they’re not royalty.  They’re just rich.”

Like flipping a switch, Callie said, “okay.  Do you have homework?”  Taken a little aback, Martina said, “yes, but not much and it doesn’t matter if I do it or not.”  Callie asked what she meant.

Martina said, “my parents have endowed the school, which of course, ensures that I will receive my diploma.  A diploma that will have absolutely no value.  A diploma that will never be framed or even looked at.  A diploma that will be stored in the attic, along with all the other trophies, awards and accolades my parents have bought for me.”

Callie said, “you know, you have to think about college.”  This free-spirited, fly by the seat of your pants, seemingly not a care in the world girl was now talking about college.  “You do want to go to college, right?” Callie asked.  Martina just looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights.  Callie said, “you do, right?  Say yes.”  Martina continued to look at her with a blank expression and once again, Callie said, “say yes.”

Martina took a deep breath, smiled and said, “yes.”


To be continued______________



Deleting Martina – Chapter One

Martina Maria Hamilton grew up in modern times; raised with old world style and new world money, inherited by wealthy ancestors.

Her family was among the upper crust, whose sole journey of life seemed to be nothing more than having afternoon tea, and attending elaborate week-end parties.

She had been raised by nannies who cleaned and dressed her for the daily hour of attention given to her by seemingly non-nonchalant, uninterested parents.

She was driven to school by a chauffeur and after the required mundane studies, private tutors were called in for the important things, like learning how to be graceful and using proper language and etiquette.  That, her tutor said, was necessary to enable her to secure an appropriate husband of “her own kind.”

She was an average student, finding the need for excellence unnecessary. Her lot was to get her education and then settle into an existence that echoed her parents’ lifestyle.  She was to be a prim and proper girl, married to a wealthy tycoon…a mere shadow…a quiet symbol of beauty…seen and not heard…much like she viewed her mother.

She was an obedient child.  That way of life was the only way of life she knew.  She knew nothing of poverty or hunger or dirty knees from taking a fall.  She had never experienced the fun of having someone push her on a swing, while her hair danced back and forth, nor had she ever known the warmth of a hug from anyone other than the nanny.

She did however, know how to sit straight as if knives were implanted in the back of a chair, and she knew how to enter a room with the agility of a well-seasoned heiress.

Martina wasn’t what you would call shy, but she had always been a loner. Making friends had been difficult due to the gap between her obvious wealth and the children of working class people.  Not until her senior year in high school, did she realize that there was a different world out there.

That world was introduced by a new student named Callie, who couldn’t have cared less about social status, couture or designer handbags.  She was like a storm that blew in, swept everyone off their feet and left them wondering what the hell had just happened.  She clearly enjoyed life and epitomized the saying, “carpe diem.”

She smoked, drank beer, told dirty jokes and was extremely recalcitrant.  At least once a week, she would land in the principal’s office after blatantly and unapologetically calling one of her teachers an idiot.  She wasn’t a know-it-all; she just didn’t suffer fools very well.

All the boys instantly fell in love with Callie, and she set their hearts aflutter by loving them right back.  But despite her free spirit image, she had plans.  She just wanted to have fun while, as she put it, “I’m still young and beautiful.”

Her beauty was not so much in the physical aspect, but in the way she carried herself and executed her eccentric, nonconformist ways.  She exuded self-confidence, had a delicious sense of humor, and her rebellious streak was intoxicating.

Martina had obviously never met anyone like Callie, and her boring, regimented life of charm schools and protocols was about to be turned upside down.


To be continued___________



It’s been a while since I posted about “the life of Laurel.”  Today seemed like a good day to write about it.

It’s been “a rainy night in Georgia” for about eights days now.  I’ve been watching my grass, which unlike corn, is not as high as an elephant’s eye, nor does it resemble the beanstalk that Jack climbed…but it was getting on up there.

It wasn’t raining nor was it cold today, so I decided to hop on my Deere and get to getting (as we Southerners say.)

The first task was opening the garage door.  I have three of them and the one on the end is where I keep the Deere.  It’s a heavy door that swings out and up and I’m not tall enough to get it high enough to “catch,” so I usually get a board, and using my butt, coax it up a bit, put the board against it and then get another one, lifting it just enough for me to do some trick riding on the Deere, (not to be confused with trick riding on a horse.)

Well…the first board I chose was a 2 x 4.  When I tried to put the lighter one up, the 2 x 4 fell and cracked me in the forehead, (not to be confused with my younger daughter’s humongous fivehead.)

I remember thinking, “that hut,” (not to be confused with those little primitive dwellings.)  I also remember thinking, “man.  I just knocked out what few brains I have left, and I was fond of those little pieces of grey matter.”

Anyway, I kept trudging on.  After a few more seconds and a successful erect board (not to be confused with the normal thing associated with erect,) I thought, “holy donkeyballs!  I’m sweating like a nun in a whorehouse!”

I kept wiping my brow and slinging the “sweat” off of my fingers, (never bothering to look at them.)  Eventually, I did notice that my sweat was now dripping on my hands.  Holy headbleed!  I was hemorrhaging!

I coolly and calmly walked in the house, all the while trying to keep my blood from dripping on the floor and made my way to the bathroom.  I watched and cursed as the blood dripped onto the sink I had just yesterday cleaned.

But when I looked in the mirror, I was suddenly distracted by the pretty pink hue my hair had taken on.  I looked like Pink!

Anyway, I wiped and dabbed and dabbed and wiped, all the while thinking I would have a four-foot gash in my head.  After I got it all cleaned up, I saw a hole, (not to be confused with a hole on the golf course.)

I imagine what got me was the nail sticking out of the board.  “Hmm,” I thought.  I went out and finished mowing the lawn and then thought I should probably put something on it.  (Pretty good former EMT.)  I put some alcohol on it, (not to be confused with booze,) and walked to the mailbox.

It’s swollen and it hurts like….well like somebody hit me in the head with a 2 x 4.

I should probably be worried about lock-jaw (which is what we used to call Tetanus.)  I don’t know if alcohol will stop lock-jaw, but hey…if it does, I still have my fingers.

Like Scarlett said…”I won’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.”


Pieces Of Life – Claire Bloom – Part Two

She had a movie star name but she didn’t have movie star fame or fortune. She didn’t have movie star looks, although she was often dubbed a “cutie pie.”  She would consistently pout and declare, “I don’t want to be cute.  I want to be glamorous.”

As a young girl, Claire had an unnatural obsession with death.  Finding a dead bird or a field mouse, especially in the final stages of decomposition, fascinated her.  Examining the remains, was like opening a gift on Christmas morning.  She carefully studied what was left of any dried and shriveled up organs, and the skeletal construction of wings and/or appendages.

She dreamed of someday becoming a coroner.  Cutting someone open and poking around was her idea of striking gold.  She would of course, marry a doctor and tease him by saying, “when you kill someone, I will be able to tell you what you did wrong.”

She studied hard and became a coroner, but found true love in the form of a young man named Willis, who was on his way to becoming a Master Electrician.  He was only a journeyman but he was driven and determined.

There was no money to burn, and they lived frugal lives, saving for a brighter future.  Her work day began a few hours before his and every morning, she would pack his lunch before she left for work.

They had fun together, but her sense of humor could sometimes be a little disturbing.  One morning Willis awakened, swung his legs over the side of the bed and noticed a toe tag attached to his right foot.  He shook his head and took it in stride.

Claire loved to talk about him in the break-room.  She’d giggle when she told them about the pranks she pulled on the unsuspecting Willis.  Once, she sent him a registered letter.  When he opened it, he found a certificate of death…his.

One day she came to work and seemed to be a little “not herself.”  In the break-room, she announced that Willis was making her quit her job.

This was the time when roosters ruled the roost and the hens did not yet rule the roosters.  It was the time when, in marriage vows, the woman promised to love, cherish, and “obey.”  Claire was going to obey Willis.

Millie, one of her co-workers asked why Willis was making her quit her job. Claire said, “well, he unpacked his lunch the other day and I had put an ear in it.”

The entire break-room erupted in laughter.  “An ear?” Millie asked.  “Yes,” said Claire.  “Willis was so mad at me, but he wasn’t as mad at me as I was at him.”

Millie asked what she meant.

Claire said, “The ear came from a woman who had donated her body to science, and I didn’t figure she’d be needing it, so I cut it off and took it home.  It had been pierced at one time, so I put one of my earrings on it and packed it in Willis’ lunchbox.”

“And?” Millie asked.

Claire said, “Willis was so mad, he threw the ear away…with my earring on it!”








Pieces Of Life – Old Mr. Hilliard – Part One

Old Mr. Hilliard had been the neighborhood postman for as long as anyone could remember.  In the early days, the saying was, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  That certainly applied to old Mr. Hilliard.

In his youth, he walked proudly, toting his heavy bag, delivering birthday wishes, holiday cards, unwanted sale flyers and the even more unwanted, dreaded bills.  He delivered everything but the kitchen sink, and a newborn baby.

Through the years, old Mr. Hilliard had aged and grown weary.  The spring in his step had disappeared with the spring of his life and now, his swift gate had become an almost painful trudge.

After several years on foot, he was able to complete his rounds in a new truck, but there were still those houses whose mailboxes weren’t standing at attention along the side of the road.  Walking up to the door was becoming more and more difficult, and he viewed the trek as a pestering chore.

Sometimes, when seeing a neighbor, he would politely nod, but the days of stopping and having mundane conversations about how Sally and Bob were doing at school, had long since passed.  Also long since passed, at least for him, was the romantic notion that he was part of a history that hearkened back to the Pony Express.

He had heard the nicknames more than he cared to hear, such as “dogmagnet, postie, messenger of doom,” and the one he despised the most, “the snail man.”

One day, during his appointed rounds, he discovered a side road that led to a quiet patch of land, where an abandoned house stood in silent recluse.  On a whim, he parked, put his feet up on the dashboard and closed his weary eyes.  As he listened to the soft chirping of birds, he drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

He awoke with a start and realized that he was an hour behind in his rounds.  He quickly gathered his senses and continued as if nothing had happened.  Arriving late to the post office, he lied when he told the supervisor that time had escaped him as he was chatting with a new neighbor.  Getting away with only a slight scolding about minding his duties, old Mr. Hilliard grinned as he walked to his car.

Every day, he re-visited that patch of land.  It had become a sort of haven and he found himself anxiously awaiting each stopover.  As the days became shorter, his retreats became longer.

After several months of his coveted, blissful rest and relaxation, he began to realize that he would be unable to deliver the mountainous amount of mail still in the truck, so he decided to throw the contents down the hill behind the house.

Who was going to know?  He told himself that most of it was junk and would eventually end up on a hill of garbage anyway, so he didn’t feel the slightest bit of guilt after the first time.  He got away with it for quite a while, but eventually, people started complaining that they hadn’t received their mail.

The post office investigated and after following old Mr. Hilliard, they discovered more than six thousand pieces of mail at the bottom of the hill.

Due to his age, federal charges were not levied, but he lost his job and his pension.  The judge rendered what he thought was a fitting penalty.  He sentenced old Mr. Hilliard to pick up garbage people threw out on the street… for two years.


The Fantastical Fable Of The One They Called “Mother” Chapter Six

Luke was becoming an enigma.  I didn’t believe that he was a bum, despite his appearance, but I wasn’t sure he was educated or had ever been successful.  He quoted Shakespeare, used big words and now he seemed to have some prophetic sixth sense.

He wasn’t necessarily rude but he wasn’t nice.  He talked but he really didn’t say much of anything.  I got the sense that he wasn’t going to open up to me today.  I also got the sense that he was never going to open up to me.  He was going to remain a mystery and I was going to be left wanting as far as the story of Mother, Older, Middle and Younger.

I sat on my usual spot for almost two hours, watching a sad, old man staring out into space.  He never said a word during our time together and I somehow felt that I shouldn’t invade his solitude.  When I said I needed to get on back home, Luke never said a word.  He didn’t look at me.  He just sat there, like a man who was welcoming a visit from the grim reaper.

The next day, I heard that Luke had died.  My first thought was, “Damnit! Now I’ll never know the story.”  How could I be so selfish?  Of course, I was sad but it wasn’t like I really knew him.  We weren’t friends, and I don’t think he would have cared one way or another if I had come to visit every Friday.

I wondered if I would be allowed to look in his room.  I walked to the Inn and there were a few police officers standing guard.  The coroner had already taken Luke away.  I asked the officers if I would be allowed to go into his room.  They asked if I was a relative and when I said “no,” so did they.

When I asked if they knew him or anything about him, again, they asked if I was a relative.  Like Luke, they weren’t rude but they weren’t overly nice.

There was no funeral or even a service for Luke.  He was cremated and I suspect that his ashes were put in the hole-in-the-wall museum at the end of the street.

I had never taken a class in how to become a criminal but I did know how to pick a lock.  It was something I perfected as a youngster and it had come in handy more than a few times when I inadvertently locked myself out of my house or my car.

On what would have been my regular Friday to visit with Luke, I wandered down the street to the museum.  I went around to the back and to my surprise, the door didn’t even have a lock on it.  I just turned the knob and went inside.

I’m not sure what I saw would be considered a museum.  It certainly wasn’t like any I had ever seen but the more I looked, the more I understood why no one ever went inside.  There wasn’t really much there; just a table and a few boxes in the back of the room.

I did feel a little guilty.  I remembered Luke telling me that I would never know what was in there.  I think he probably felt like it was not my secret to know.  As I continued to walk through, I felt almost like I was treading on something sacred…sort of like invading a Native American burial ground.

I went over to the table and looked in one of the boxes.  It contained some sort of fabric but I couldn’t tell what it was.  I pulled it out and was horrified to see that it was a dress.  It looked as though it had been soaked in what I was sure had to be dried blood.  I quickly returned it to its cardboard casket and started pulling out newspaper clippings from the other box.

“Wow!”  That’s all I could say,  “Wow.”

As I read all the clippings, I thought, “Mother did indeed leave a mark.”  Although it was a tragic one, she’ll surely be remembered, but even more tragic, was the mark left by Luke.

According to the stories, Mother decided to rob the bank with an unloaded gun, left by her ne’er-do-well, johnny-come-lately husband.  Luke, the Younger, found out about her plan and was rushing to stop her but he was too late.  The security guard shot and killed Mother just as Luke arrived.

Enraged, Luke wrestled the gun away from the security guard.  As the guard was trying to run away, Luke shot him in the back, then walked over and shot him in the head.

Luke spent 50 years in Riverbed Maximum Security Prison and had just been released six months before I met him.  Older and Middle left town and were never heard from again.

The great irony is that Mother was by all rights, a good woman.  All she wanted to do was make a mark.  All she wanted to do, was be remembered.

She’ll be remembered but she’ll be remembered for being the reason her son spent almost his entire life behind bars.

I imagine the monument is there to remind people that there are better ways to leave a mark in the world.  There are better ways to be remembered.  It might be better for her to have just been forgotten than to be remembered as the person who would unknowingly sacrifice so much, simply to be remembered.







The Fantastical Fable Of The One They Called “Mother” – Chapter Five

The names were swirling around in my brain.  Mary, Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Those were all old Biblical names.

Then it struck me.  Was Luke the Luke I was talking with?  Is that the reason he seemed to have such intimate knowledge about them?  He never confirmed nor denied that he was one of the children Mother used to entertain, so was it possible that he was the Older, or the Middle, or the Younger?

Before I could translate my thoughts into actual words, Luke clutched the brown paper bag, stood up, went inside and closed the door.  I wondered if I would be welcome the next week.  I wondered if Luke would be forthcoming if I asked him straight out if he was one of the “younguns.”   If I did ask, I wondered if I would again, be crossing a line.

On my way home, I had a chat with myself.  All the possibilities.  All the probabilities.  All the coincidences.  All the reasonableness and all the unreasonableness.  The part of me who was partaking in the mock debate didn’t have any answers, but I was leaning toward believing that Luke was not one of the children Mother entertained.  I believed that Luke was one of Mother’s children.

Then again, it didn’t make sense.  He didn’t make sense.  According to what he had told me, Mother had raised three fine “younguns.”  If he was one of them, what happened to him?  And where were the others?

Had he taken a wrong turn somewhere in his life?  Had they?  If they had turned out to be like their father, ne’er-do-well, Johnny-come-latelies, why would there be a monument to their mother?  I had never heard of someone having their likeness cast in bronze because they had raised three “fine” children, or three ne’er-do-wells.

There had to be a back story and I believed that Luke was the one who knew it.  I also remembered the town motto:  “IF you share, share and share alike.”  He had already told me that I would never know what was in the museum but maybe I could coax a little more “sharing” from him about the family.

Before I chanced my next visit, I stopped to look at the large, metal woman standing in front of City Hall.  There was no inscription, other than “Mother.”  There were no dates.  There were no words citing praise for accomplishments.  There were no words reflecting that she had raised three “fine” children.  There was nothing.

A few people glanced my way as they journeyed through town, but a quick glance was all they offered.  I imagined they all knew the story of Mother and maybe they thought that I knew the story, too.

I got to The Whole Year Inn and Luke, as always, was sitting outside on the stoop in front of the door.  I was a bit worried that he might get up and go inside as soon as he saw me, but he didn’t.

Before I could say anything, he looked at me for just a split second and looked away as he said, “I’m not long for this world.”

I was shocked and a little saddened.  I remembered hearing those exact words from my grandpa, a few weeks before he left us.  I also knew that some animals have a sense about their mortality.  They tend to go off somewhere, lay down and die.

My sadness was quickly replaced with selfishness as I thought, “I hope he stays around long enough to tell me the story of Mother.”

I finally asked Luke exactly what he meant.  He looked annoyed and said, “I’m not long for this world.”  When I asked why he thought that, he said, “sometimes you just know.”


To be continued_________________



The Fantastical Fable Of The One They Called “Mother” – Chapter Four

The next Friday rolled around and I thought I might soften my intrusion into Luke’s personal life with another bottle of whiskey.  I was never one to beat around the proverbial bush, so after I handed him the brown paper bag, I came right out and asked…”how do you know so much about Mother…and Older…and Middle…and Younger?”

He completely ignored my question and began talking about Mother.

“Mother,” he said “was the finest woman I ever knew.  She didn’t have a mean bone in her body but like I said, you didn’t want to disappoint her.  There was a sadness in her…a sort of emptiness that you could only detect when she thought nobody was looking.  I think she always wanted more for herself but she ofttimes went without.  She wanted her younguns to have it all and she wanted them to shine.  She would say that every human being on the planet was here for a reason and we should all leave our mark and make the world a little bit better than it was when we came into it.”

I asked if he supposed that was the reason she wanted to “leave her mark.”

“I suppose,” he said, “but after a while, it became almost all-consuming. Raising younguns on her own and being determined to have them leave their mark sort of took a back seat to her own wants and wishes.”

Luke shook his head and laughed as he said, “Bonnie and Clyde.  I don’t think anybody thought Mother had ever even heard about them, but she had it in her mind that they had become these romantic, heroic figures.”

“Was she getting senile?” I asked.  Luke said, “I don’t know if it was senility or just the feeling of not mattering anymore.  Maybe she thought she didn’t have a legacy to leave behind.  She didn’t have much, and what she had certainly wasn’t going to be passed down for future generations to appreciate and cherish.  Of course, what she didn’t know was that the few things she did have would end up in a museum.”

I said, “but the museum is a little hole in the wall and not open to the public.”  Luke said, “yep.  That’s right.”

I asked if he knew what was in the museum and as soon as I finished the question, I knew by the look on his face, that I had overstepped an invisible mark.  He replied with a curt, “yes. I do.  But you’ll never know.”

I tried to act like I hadn’t just committed the ultimate faux pas and asked if he knew Mother’s, the Older’s, the Middle’s and the Younger’s real names.

After a few minutes of silence, he said, “Mother’s name was Mary.  Older’s name was Matthew.  Middle’s name was Mark.  And Younger’s name was Luke.



To be continued_____________

The Fantastical Fable Of The One They Called “Mother” – Chapter Three

I wasn’t sure what to make of Luke’s answer.  Maybe it was a polite way of telling me that what I asked was none of my business.  If I was a betting man, I would bet that he had been one of those children Mother entertained.

The next Friday, I went to get my “fix” from Luke.  I often wondered if he was just a storyteller.  Someone who liked a bit of company.  Someone who, nearing the winter of his life, wanted to spend part of his days weaving tapestries of legends and folklore, whether true or fabricated. Whatever the case, he and his stories were certainly captivating.

“Mother,” he began, “was a force of nature.  A spitfire.  A firecracker and she possessed a cogency not found in most.”

I was too embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what cogency meant, and like quoting Shakespeare, Luke was now using what my mother used to call “fifty-cent words.”

At first glance, Luke looked like an ordinary, disconnected bum.  He was unkempt, uncaring, uninteresting, uninvolved and now, unbelievable…because clearly, he was not an ordinary bum.

I learned about the early lives of the Older, the Middle and the Younger.  It no longer seemed strange to me that these children had no names and I almost found it endearing somehow.  Luke spun the tales of each one like an intricate spiderweb, and as they came to life in my imagination, it was as if I would recognize them if I passed them on the street.

At eighteen, Older was no longer skipping school or disappointing Mother, and became the father figure of the house.  He became a fine young man and was the template for Middle and Younger to follow when they entered manhood.

It seems that Mother raised them to be strong, independent “forces of nature,” in their own right, and from the way Luke described their lives, they became successful in whatever endeavor they pursued.

He paused and said, “after the younguns grew up and flew the coop, Mother seemed to have lost her purpose somehow.”

I asked what he meant and he said, “they had dinner together every Sunday afternoon, without fail and without excuse.  One night, Mother seemed to be pontificating about her life.  She felt as though she hadn’t done anything to ‘leave a mark’, as she put it.”

“Older and Middle queried how she could feel that way, as she had done such a wonderful job, raising three younguns.”

Luke laughed out loud when he said, “she surprised them when she said, ‘think about Al Capone and John Dillinger’.”

He said Older, Middle and Younger looked at her the way she used to look at them when they said something inappropriate and said, ‘but Mother, they were gangsters’.”

Still chuckling, he said “Mother said, ‘well what about Bonnie and Clyde? They left a mark and people still talk about them to this very day’.”

“Older and Middle laughed and said, ‘but Mother…they were killers’.”

Luke laughed again and said, “Mother said, ‘I know, but they left a mark. They will always be remembered.  Did you know that 30 thousand people went to their funerals?  Thirty thousand!  Do you think that many people will come to my funeral?  Who’s going to remember me’?”

“Older, Middle and Younger said, ‘why we will, Mother.  We’ll remember you’.”

He said Older, Middle and Younger tried to convince Mother that she had left an indelible mark, but for some reason, she couldn’t be consoled.

“I guess when you get old and look back on your life,” he said, “that’s the kind of thing you think about.  Did I do enough?  Was I good enough?  Will anybody remember me?  Will anybody put flowers on my grave?”

I think Luke was thinking about himself.  I think he was wondering if he had left a mark…if anybody would remember him…if anybody would put flowers on his grave.

It was time for me to go home but I had already decided that I wanted to know more about Luke.  The question was…would he tell me?


To be continued___________