These People Called Writers

These people called writers are a breed apart.

Some writers post random pictures and create guffawing humorous stories as if they had been privy to the conversation just as the camera shutter snapped, capturing the subjects who will forever be frozen in time.  

Some writers have the ability to use their words as a medium to create hauntingly beautiful pictures, which literally take your breath away as you read the illustrations they have painted.

Some writers sit at their computers and feel as if they’re bleeding to death, all the while hoping for rescue, or seeking solace from a bottle or a pill or a bullet.

Then there are always those,
Who are able to write magnificent prose,
With words they very carefully chose,
For the ones who fought, or fled or froze.

Some writers pen stories of broken angel wings, and flowers blooming in the dark.

Some writers shed tears, pleading for mercy and begging for understanding. Their keyboards become caked with salt that hardens like they fear their hearts eventually will.

Some write about hopes and dreams that were never realized.

Some writers bring tears to your eyes, and break your heart while you helplessly join in their poignant journey to the end of their life, after having been diagnosed with a fatal illness.

Some writers tell about their scars that may have been self-inflicted, or may have been the result of an accident, or a horrific trauma.  They tell about the invisible scars left from unspeakable suffering that can’t be seen.  They tell of wounds that caused those scars; wounds so deep they will most likely never recover, but they put on a brave face and soldier on, trying to deny that the wound was fatal.

Some writers weave used memories and secrets into tapestries, meant to offer a hint about what shaped their lives and made them who they are, but no one wants to remember.  Those same writers are told that no one wants to hear their story, and denying someone of his or her story is the worst kind of suffocation.

These people called writers are a breed apart.

Ole’ Tin-tin – Chapter Five

“For the first few days,” grandpa said, “we mostly just sat around, talking, wondering, waiting, and listening to George playing his harmonica. I swear, he’d have us rolling on the ground, laughing. We still didn’t have any idea what we were in for.”

“Then we were given orders to do a ‘seek and destroy’ mission.”

“We headed out, tromping through brush so thick, we had to cut it with machetes, and there were the times we had to walk knee-deep in water, hacking our way as we went. We’d get scraped, scratched, cut and soaked, and we’d be fussing, cussing and asking each other what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into.”

Grandpa stopped and I could see the tears in his eyes as he continued. I asked him what happened. He looked away and said, “there are things that are truly difficult to speak about. I’ll just say that what we left was a piece of countryside blistered and scarred with gaping wounds that still wept bloody tears and smelled of death and decay…but we did our job. We caused ripples.”

He said, “you know, war is sort of glorified in movies and books. There’s always the triumphant end when the heroes defeat the villains. There’s always a back story where the handsome soldier meets the pretty nurse and they get married and live happily ever after. But when you’ve seen war and the bloodshed and the desolation, there’s nothing romantic about it.”

“You may have heard stories about ‘Dear John’ letters. They were true. These men would get letters from their fiancés or wives, telling them that they were tired of waiting and had met someone else. Those men would be beyond devastated. Two men in our platoon got those letters. Tyler Hawkins was one of them and he put on a brave face and acted like it didn’t bother him. The other man, Pete Crawley was completely defeated. Nothing we said could assuage his grief.”

Grandpa took a deep breath, sighed and then said, “when we were under fire one night, Pete clenched the letter in his hand and just stood up. He was immediately shot in the head. I guess he thought he no longer had a reason to live.”

“He was one of those guys who were brave talkers…you know the type. He was always saying, ‘boys…we’re going to kick some’. He’d start howling like a wild dog or something and pretend to start shooting.”

“We all liked him and he was particularly fond of George. He loved to tease him, as we all did. He would chuckle and say, ‘we don’t have to shoot any of them guys…George will kill them with ole’ tin-tin. I mean, they’ll hear that ear-splitting squawking and they’ll walk right up to us and yell ‘just go ahead and fucking kill us…please’!”

It was interesting to hear my grandfather curse. That was something I had never heard from him but I had also never heard his story.

Grandpa leaned back in his chair and said, “one night when the moon was full, we watched them walk a guy what would be almost the entire length of a football field.”

At first I wasn’t sure what he meant. I admit, I was thinking he was seeing a soldier being captured, but I soon realized what he was saying. He witnessed that atrocity and it had stayed with him all these years.

Once again, he took a deep breath and said, “there are things I saw and did over there that I can’t talk about.”

“Those ripples. Those horrible ripples.”

To be continued_____

Ole’ Tin-tin – Chapter Three

I couldn’t wait for him to continue, although I could tell that it was going to be painful.  I could see it in his eyes and I could hear it in his voice.  A sort of agonizing rendition of a life he had lived so many years ago.

But again, his voice seemed to have a lilt when he spoke of George.  He laughed and said, “George and I got on that Greyhound and as soon as we started rolling, he started singing.  I wasn’t sure if the rest of the guys were going to throw us off the bus or join in the fun, but after a few minutes of his caterwauling, they chimed right in.  Later, he had the whole bus rolling in the aisles when he gave one of the worst performances of the National Anthem you ever heard, but at least he remembered all of the words.”

I’ll tell you,” he said.  “George never met a stranger, and I never met anyone who didn’t instantly like him…with the exception of his sixth grade teacher, of course, and there was no excuse for the humiliation he got from that old bitty.”

“After a few hours on the road, George reached into his pocket and pulled out a harmonica.  I remember thinking ‘Oh, Good Lord.’  Anyway, he took to playing what I’m sure he thought was a symphony worthy performance.  To the rest of us, it sounded like a screeching banshee who was experiencing decapitation.”

“He was so proud of that harmonica.  When I asked him where in the world he had gotten it, he said, ‘at Lords’ Drugstore.  Remember…old Sandy Lords’ folks owned it?  Shoot…I even got a good-bye smooch on the cheek from Sandy before I left’.  Then he winked and said, ‘she said she’d wait for me’.  I laughed and said that even if I believed him, and I didn’t, he should have told her that he was going to be gone for a minute.”

“George looked at me and said, ‘you’re just jealous because you didn’t get a smooch and you don’t have this wonderful, marvelous, magical musical instrument in your pocket’.”

“That, I said, is just a piece of tin.  Tin!  The other guys heard me and started chanting ‘tin-tin…tin-tin…tin-tin, and from then on…that’s what it was called.”

I was curious about George and I asked Grandpa what he looked like.  He said, “what do you think he looked like?”  I said, “well, I think he was probably around five eight or nine, had sandy blonde hair, wore glasses; maybe had a few freckles sprinkled over his nose, was of average build and always had a wide grin on his face.”

Grandpa leaned over and looked at me with his intense eyes.  I thought he was going to say something like, “wow.  Pretty good guess,” but he didn’t.  Instead, he said “you might want to hold onto your day job, because I’m not sure you’d make it as a profiler.”

“George,” he said, “was six foot, six and a half inches tall.  He had jet black hair, pale blue eyes and was built like a wrestler, but you are right about one thing.  He always had a grin on his face.”

I’m not sure that I would describe the way my grandpa spoke about George as nostalgic or poignant.  It was more bittersweet, and to me, that was somehow more painful.

“Tell me more,” I begged.

Grandpa took a deep breath and continued.  “Well, we finally got to the base and I remember how we strutted off the bus, like we were all somebodies.  But it didn’t take very long for us to find out that we were nobodies.  We were just the newest green recruits…grunts…wide-eyed and bushy-tailed innocent soldier-wannabes.  FNGs.”

“We didn’t’ know it then…but we,” he said, “we were lambs being readied to be sent to the slaughter.”

I felt numb and couldn’t find any words.

Then grandpa looked at me and said, “do you realize that if you drop the ‘s’ from slaughter, it spells laughter?”

 

To be continued________________

 

Ole’ Tin-tin – Chapter One

For as long as I can remember, it sat on the top shelf of my grandfathers’ bookcase, housed in a clear acrylic box with an engraved brass plate at the bottom that said “Ole Tin-tin.”  Next to it were several medals hanging from the picture of a young man.  I didn’t know who the man was and I had no idea what the medals were for…they were always just there.

I asked my grandfather about the box once.  I remember the sadness in his eyes when he looked at it and said, “that’s ole’ Tin-tin.  One day when you’re older, I’ll tell you the story about it; and when I’m gone, I’ll pass it along to you.”

I didn’t ask where it came from or what that name meant, and it was certainly nothing I would long for in the years to come.  I was too young to understand, and I really didn’t care.  To me, it was just some old rusty piece of metal.

I spent every summer with my grandfather and those warm, lazy days and nights would leave me with some of the best memories of my life.  I loved to listen to the stories he told about his childhood and he always had a twinkle in his eyes when he told me about the mischief he “got up to.”
He’d smile, shake his head and say, “my poor mother, bless her soul.  She had the patience of Job.  I don’t know how she survived raising me.”
Then he turned and said, “when I was a little boy, I was quite a handful, you know.”

As I grew older, I would come to appreciate the final five words he always said when it was time for me to go home.  “Be good to your mother.”

Sometimes my grandfather and I would go down to the lake and throw little stones.  He’d tell me to watch the ripples every time I threw one.  “See?” he said.  “Every time you throw a stone, whether it be little or big, it makes ripples in the water.  That’s a reaction.  It’s just like life.  Those ripples might not seem noteworthy to you, and may even be viewed as beautiful, but it disrupts the calm of the water.  Everything you do in your life will have a reaction.  It may be insignificant or it may be life-changing, so just be sure that you always try to do the right thing, and cause as few disruptive ripples as possible.”

I loved our times late in the afternoon.  It would be just the two of us, sitting on the front porch and drinking Dr. Pepper from the bottle.  I listened intently to his famous stories and what he called his “pearls of wisdom.”  He told me about how, as a little boy, he loved to run down the hill barefoot.  “There was a method to my madness, you see,” he said.  “If I could make it all the way down without stepping on a cow patty, I won.”

“Won what?” I asked.  He looked at me and said, “why bragging rights, of course.  Running all the way down that hill and making it to the bottom with nothing but a few grass stains on your feet was quite the conquest.”

“How many times did you win?” I asked.  He laughed and said, “only once, but it’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  You see…sometimes, it’s the simplest, most innocent things from childhood that stay with you forever.”  His gaze drifted away as he quietly said, “and the loss of childhood innocence is always such a tragedy.”

He was a wise man, and a good man.  He never raised his voice, nor did he ever make me feel that I was anything less than the most special kid in the world.  When he sometimes used big words I didn’t understand, he always took the time to explain what they meant and would then smile and say, “see?  You just got a new wrinkle in your brain.”

The year I turned eighteen was the last summer I spent with my grandfather.

 

To be continued________________

 

 

 

Kaleidoscope “t-Eyes”

I think the center of this quilt looks like an eye, (if you don’t have on your spectacles or are perhaps a bit inebriated).  Imagine, under those same circumstances, seeing the “eye” through a kaleidoscope.

There are 288 different ties in this quilt.

 

Happy Birthday…To Sir

When I was just a little girl,
I had a Panda bear.
I kept him in a plastic bag,
To keep him clean in there.

I got him for my birthday,
When I was four or five.
I said a prayer and asked the Lord,
To make him come alive.

My granny gave him to me,
He always stayed with her.
She asked me what his name was,
I said, “I call him Sir.”

She’d sometimes let me take him out,
But only if I’d swear,
To not fall down and dirty him,
My little Panda bear.

I hardly got to play with him,
She feared he would get smudged.
I tried to understand the why,
And never hold a grudge.

I grew up and moved away,
And I left Sir behind,
But I knew he would never be,
Far out of sight or mind.

The years went by, and my life changed.
My world had been derailed.
I never thought that what I’d built,
Would ultimately fail.

I went back to that old house,
To walk down memory lane.
Echoes of the past reminded me,
Of my loneliness and pain.

I thought of Sir and wondered if,
Like me, he’d lost his way.
Or if he’d been discarded,
And cast into the Frey.

I found him in the attic,
Amongst my mama’s stash.
He was in a plastic bag,
With other bits of trash.

The memories came flooding back,
We were quite the pair.
A bruised and broken little girl,
And her ragged Panda bear.

My only friend when I was young,
Who listened to me cry.
Who never slapped me in the face,
And never told a lie.

His shiny coat was grey and black,
His eyes were not so clear,
But he was coming home with me,
My little Panda bear.

They say when you’re alone and old,
You talk to things not there.
I just nod and say okay,
And wink at Panda bear.

Bwahahahahaha!

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.”

 

The Dating Game – Redux – El Fin

I’ve had so much fun on this dating site.  It just renews my faith that there are still so many scumbags out there…just ripe for the picking.

Man:  “I saw your profile and I have to say that you are one good-looking woman.  I would like to know more about you.  I am separated and not living with my wife, so technically, I am free.”  (Not bad looking and is tall.)
Me:  “If you are separated, you are still ‘technically’ married, and I am not interested in dating married men.  Thank you for the message.”
Man:  “I would beg you to reconsider.  The only reason I am still married is so that she can remain on my health insurance.  I think we have a lot in common.”
Me:  “Who has a lot in common…you and I, or you and your wife?  I’m sorry, but I will not be involved with a married man, and I think I’ve heard that insurance excuse before.”
Man: “My daughter is fully supportive and approves of my desire to find a special someone.  If you could just talk to her, she can validate my circumstances.”
Me:  “I’m impressed with your smooth verbal skills, and I guess what you are saying is that your daughter is essentially okay with your intent to cheat on her mother.  I would like to talk to her, not about you, but about how she could possibly be comfortable with what you intend to do.”
Man:  “It wouldn’t be cheating.  As I said, my wife and I don’t live together. Please, give me a chance.”
Me:  “I know of men who refuse to discuss divorce with their wives, while seeking another woman’s company to ease their loneliness.  I don’t know how you could respect a woman who would intentionally begin a relationship with a married man.”
Man:  “I believe that being separated is entirely different from being married.  If we could just talk, I think I can make you understand.”
Me:  “Thank you for the messages, and I do understand.  I understand that you are married, and my answer is no.”

Man:  “Hi.  I saw your profile and was impressed.  A woman who says what she thinks.  Check out my profile and I think you will find that we have several common interests.”
(Has pretty decent looks, but a tad bit younger than I am.)
Me:  “I’m not sure about the age difference, but thank you for the message.”
Man:  “Age is just a number and you sure don’t look your age.  Would you like to ask me anything?  You can ask anything and I will answer.”
(Going back to his profile, I see that his “requirements” are women from the age of 50-90.)
Me:  “Okay.  What could possibly interest you in an 80 or 90-year-old woman?  Could it be…um…MONEY?  See ya.”

Man:  “Would you like to ride me?”
Me:  “I know that most men think they’re studs, but no.  I would not like to ride you.  I wouldn’t mind shooting you, though.  On second thought, have you ever heard the term ‘grab and twist’?  It’s a defense mechanism I learned a while back.  If a man is trying to overpower you, grab a handful and twist.  Coupled with my long fingernails, that would certainly leave quite an impression.  I would be happy to show you, even if you’re placid…or flaccid…because you are a real scumbag.”

Man:  “Hey.  Hit me up.”
Me:  “How old are you…twelve?”
Man:  “No.  I’m eighteen.”
Me:  “ALRIGHT!  The man I’ve been looking for!  I’ve always said that I want to die in bed when I’m 99, and I want my boyfriend to be so upset, he has to drop out of high school!”

 

The End.

 

The Little Pearl – Chapter Three

To say the least, Leona and Norman were surprised by Pearl’s announcement.  They had no idea what the venture would involve, but never once having discouraged her, they asked if she was prepared for all the work it would take to become a contestant, and more importantly, if she knew the rules.

“Oh yes,” she said.  “You have to be between the ages of 17 to 25, which I am.  You have to be an American citizen, which I am.  You have to meet residency requirements, which I do.  You have to meet the character criteria, which I’m sure I do.  You have to be in good health, which I am, and you have to meet the time commitment, and job responsibilities, which I know I can.”

Pearl was just beaming as she talked.  The one thing she did not lack was intestinal fortitude, and pure drive.  Leona and Norman had raised her to believe that there was nothing she couldn’t do, if she worked hard.

Leona asked Pearl if she knew that she must first win Miss Alabama, before she could compete in the Miss America pageant.  “I do?” Pearl asked.  “I believe so,” Leona said.

Pearl didn’t miss a beat.  “Well, then I will enter the Miss Alabama pageant, and I will win.”  Leona smiled and said, “you do understand that making an effort is often just as rewarding as actually winning.  If you do your best, you may not get the prize, but you’re still a winner.  I want you to remember that.”

Pearl smiled and said, “I’ll remember.”

Leona knew that she would have to enroll Pearl in a finishing school.  She would have to learn how to walk and turn properly, she would have to list a talent, and she would have to be fitted with a gown.

Leona gingerly asked Pearl if she had a particular talent in mind.  Pearl thought about it for a minute, and then said, “yes.”

“Might I know what?” asked Leona.  Pearl smiled as she said, “It will be a talent that no one else has.”  Leona wasn’t sure exactly what she meant but, as always, encouraged her by saying, “Whatever you do, my precious Pearl, I’m sure it will be wonderful.”

Pearl started dancing around as she said, “I told you.  One day, I’m going to be famous.”

The first week of finishing school proved to be a little daunting for Pearl. After hours of walking in high-heeled shoes that she had never before worn, her calves and feet were aching.  A few tumbles left her a bit more embarrassed than injured, but she was a good soldier.

The olden days of walking with a book on the top of your head, had given way to the more modern “shoulders back with a straight spine,” which allows you to carry out the perfect “strut,” a slightly serpentine path that makes your hips twist.

She was given instructions to never interject “ums” into her sentences, and to be prepared to answer surprise, sometimes ridiculous questions, designed to catch the contestants off guard.

Leona arranged to have the finest dressmaker in town, design a dress just for Pearl.  It came dear, but to Leona, seeing the finished garment on Pearl was worth the expense.

The entrance fee was paid and pageant day arrived.  With hugs, kisses and best of luck wishes, Leona and Norman watched as Pearl went into a room to get dressed.

 

To be continued______________

 

The Little Pearl – Chapter Two

“What do you mean?” Leona asked.  Pearl said, “I’m not beautiful like they are.  I look different.”

Leona said, “Oh, my precious little Pearl.  You are beautiful, and never let anyone tell you, or make you feel like you’re not.  We all look different. Imagine how dull the world would be if everyone looked the same.  We all have our own special kind of beauty.  You must embrace yours with vivaciousness, but you must never have a haughty spirit.”

Pearl said, “well, no one has ever said that I’m not beautiful but, I just don’t look like them.  I’m always the last one picked when we have intramural sports, and once we had to dance with the boys, and no one picked me.”

Leona said, “Sit down and let me tell you something.  When I was in school, I was what most people would call…very plain.  The captain of the football team never asked me to go to the prom, and the basketball star never asked me out on a date.  They asked the beautiful girls.  I wasn’t one of the beautiful girls.  But mind you, some people can be beautiful on the outside, and very ugly on the inside.  You, my precious little Pearl, are beautiful on both sides.”

She smiled as she said, “I might have been plain, but look at my life.  I’m married to the most wonderful man in the world, and I have been given the greatest gift God can bestow…you, my precious little Pearl.”

Leona cupped Pearl’s face in her hands and said, “Feel better?”  Pearl smiled and said, “yes.”  Leona said, “You have always told me that you are going to be famous.  What have I always told you?”

Pearl cupped Leona’s face in her hands, and said, “Reach for the stars and they will be mine.  A pearl is one of the most valuable gems in the world.”

Leona looked at her and said, “And what else?”  Pearl said, “Oh.  You said that I can do anything I want to do, and I can be anything I want to be, and the world is my oyster, and I am its’ Pearl.”

Leona said, “You’ve always dreamed big, and you must never lose sight of your dreams”

A few months later, it was time for graduation.  Amid the hustle and bustle of preparing for commencement and gown fittings, Pearl was ready to meet the world head-on.

Sporting her royal blue attire, she walked across the stage and received her diploma.  She quickly flipped her tassel to the left side of her cap, and boldly took the microphone from the valedictorian.  “One day, I’m going to be famous,” she said.

Leona and Norman were a bit surprised by her daring move, but they beamed with pride as they watched.

Later that day, Pearl strolled into the living room, and cavalierly announced, “I’m going to enter the Miss America Pageant, and I’m going to win.”

 

To be continued_________________