Resiliency, Thy Name is Noëlla

It was prosery (144 words max, not including the title and no poetry allowed) Monday yesterday for dVerse. I’m late but hey, c’est la vie, I say… Lisa at Tao-Talk is hosting and went down a rabbit hole that started with Alice Walker and her interest in Zora Neale Hurston.  So, Lisa landed on the following quote, which we must use:

No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

                                      ~Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928).

Reading that phrase immediately brought to mind my grandmother, who was also my godmother, and to whom I have been compared (it thrills me).  No, she never used this phrase but its essence is definitely Noëlla to me.

You were my hero from the moment I was old enough to understand the stories. How you were the eldest of fifteen children and had you a choice, would have had none of your own – yet birthed seven.  How you lived in lumberjack shacks where the sun shone through the cracks and the water froze in the kettle overnight. How you had the strength to leave your alcoholic husband to raise your kids on your own – and were judged for it by the Nuns who taught your kids.  How you survived the death of all three of your sons over the years.  How you became a businesswoman, despite a grade-three education.

“No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”

I know you were saying it’s up to you to make or break your life.

Pay the Price – Friday Fictioneers

It’s Wednesday!  I am afraid I don’t do fiction very well.  Of course, if I didn’t have so many stories to cull from, maybe I’d work my imagination a bit more. 😉 That being said, here is this week’s Friday Fictioneer contribution inspired by Sandra Crook‘s photo.  As always, thank you to Rochelle for hosting this here weekly partay!  Click on the frog below to add the link to your own 100-word story if you dare…

Tree Frog Tree Service LLC - Home | Facebook

I asked the city for permission.  They said ‘no’.

Why the hell did you do that?

It’s the right thing to do.

Ahh, shit.  Don’t care, I’m cutting it down anyway.  It’s too huge, sways like crazy in storms and the damn pinecones end up in the pool!

***

Mick’s friend Pierre, a professional, did the deed while the neighbours watched and cheered (they worried with every storm, too).  They then chopped and put the logs aside to dry. Firewood for next year!

***

Two months later, the city slapped us with an $850 fine. Plus, we had to replace the tree.  Cost: $150.

 

In a Rush For the Flower Moon

Two days later than I wanted to post. Sigh. Life. It does love to throw curveballs at you, doesn’t it?  This one was a doozie and took me two days to recuperate from!  Still… Please pretend we are May 25th – the day I wanted to post it, even if the dVerse prompt came on Monday, the 24th. Frank J. Tassone was the host and the subject was: write a haibun about the Flower Moon – said moon was officially yesterday and somehow, I missed it. Or rather was so sure it was the 25th that I didn’t even think of checking last night.  This moon pic was taken on the 25th, however 🙂

You aren’t due till the summer solstice, possibly near a Strawberry Moon? Probably not.  You are supposed to arrive when roses and and peonies and poppies are in full bloom.  When the tulips and daffodils have already done their thing.

Instead, you decide the Flower Moon is more your style.  You want late spring blooms:  lilacs and rhododendrons, daisies and violets.

Maybe you know your time here will be brief so you want to get a chance to fully experience everything nature has to offer.  Who knows?  All I know is this:  When the day is breezy and I open my bedroom window, the scent of the wild lilac bush right below my window comes up and wafts through my room, reminding me of you. And to think this year was to be your lucky year! Twenty-five years old on the twenty-fifth of May.

A Flower Moon child

In a rush, to see it all

Gone before you could

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #183 – Wrangle

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Another trip down memory lane.  It took me almost a year-and-a-half to have my family over so I could share with them what I had learned with Cook in Tuscany in September 2016 – the full account of the soirée can be found here but these 33 words somehow triggered, though have nothing to do with at all!  Funny how the muse works.

Wrangled up the necessary ingredients

To make a Tuscan feast to be shared

Invitations sent and accepted

A fun time, expected

With great company, delicious food, divine wine

And some friendly wrangling, unavoidable

 

 

Hanging On

De from Whimsygizmo is hosting dVerse (okay, it was yesterday and I’m late!) and has told us the sky is the limit for this week’s quadrille.  Now, many of you know I’m partial to clouds and sky so choosing just one photo from my rather large collection was difficult. And probably the reason I couldn’t focus on what to write!  Na’ama assured me the sky was not falling (she checked) and that I could always post today.  Seems she was right, so here I am, after all!

Thoughts and memories

stretch like clouds across the blue sky

Try as you might

to hang on to them

(the good ones)

some will dissipate

gone forever, leaving no trace

Others refuse to let go;

remain part of your story

to nurture

to comfort

 

 

No Longer Needed – Friday Fictioneers

I really wasn’t going to touch this one.  And then I couldn’t help but go back 23 years.  This week’s photo is supplied by Roger Bultot.  Thanks, always to Rochelle for hosting this weekly gathering.  If you want to play along, just click on the frog below and add your link to your 100 words.

©Roger Bultot

High Chair — Nee & Wee

No Longer Needed

Why did you throw out the highchair?

I didn’t throw it out, I left it on the curb for anyone to pick it up.  It’s not like we need it anymore.

What if we have another baby?

What if we don’t?  What if he was our one and only?  I can’t walk past that thing just like I can’t leave his room the way it is.  I’m turning it into a reading room.

I get it and I’ll help you.  …  Do you think one day we can try for a family again?

Yes.  When my heart doesn’t hurt so much.

 

Austin’s Room

 

 

 

A Proper Send-Off

I know I promised you the moon today, Marina, but I feel compelled to write something else.  Tomorrow good for you?  I sure hope so.

I am sitting in my quiet house, having just returned from Patrice‘s funeral.  The boys stayed behind with their gang to celebrate him the way twenty-somethings “should” – starting with a shotgun beer in the parking lot, no doubt, followed by who-knows-what and I should not know.

Visitation was held from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm today (plus four hours yesterday from 4:00-8:00 pm) followed by the religious ceremony in the chapel, which was the room right beside – a rarity, not the chapel, but the religious ceremony.  Most of my family came and it was no easy feat for all the “kids” who had hung out with Pat on the cruise. It was just so surreal.

There is a different dynamic when the deceased is a twenty-two-year-old healthy, full-of-life type.  I’ve been to far too many forty-somethings and fifty-somethings funerals already since, let me see, 2001 – so almost twenty years.  And I thought THEY were all too young.  So this?  No. Almost impossible to wrap one’s head around it.

Life celebrations have gone from boards with pictures or albums on tables showing the life of the loved one to movies or montages of their life scrolling in an endless loop.  I thought seeing a fifty-year old’s was hard. This was a punch in the solar plexus.  They had a corner for Pat’s art, a long table with various pictures and favourite pieces such as a hockey shirt, his football trophies and such and, of course, a beautifully done video.  And, oh Lordy.  I was not ready to see him lying in his coffin.  Everyone gets cremated now.  Visitation is an urn with a 16″ X 20″ (or two) photo beside the urn. Not this time. They went old-school for this.

The place was packed with mask-wearing mourners of all ages.  the priest came in and told us that he would give one prayer and then ask us to make our way next door to the chapel, leaving the family to say their final farewell in private.

Standing by your bench, watching your own twenty-two-year-old and his four friends, plus Pat’s cousin, roll the casket to the front, while this song is playing is sobering.  These young men were doing their best to hold it together as they performed their solemn duty, then sat together and let their emotions do what was needed.  This song just about killed me.

Father Sylvain was perfect.  He said beautiful things and asked those who pray to pray; never preaching

Jules, Marilyn and Maude (his parents and sister) came up and Jules spoke for them. He started off by saying he promised Pat he wouldn’t cry and he spoke beautifully, his composure cracking only at the end; his wife and daughter on either side of him, giving him what he needed to push through.  My heart broke for them.

I know Pat’s family chose music that he loved and when this song played, I watched as their heads bopped to the beat. I know it wasn’t the lyrics they were feeling.

Father Sylvain introduced Charles-Olivier to come and say a word and the five young men stood up as one, the four surrounding him as he read the beautiful post he wrote the day he found out he lost his friend, his gym partner, his clown, the one who always said how much he loved them who was now his guardian angel.

There were the usual blessings and the thank yous and, as the following song played, we were all invited to come up and use the provided Sharpies (and Purell) to write something on the casket.  Now THAT is a beautiful thing.

May I say that I do not want to do this again.

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #172 – Endless

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. The shorter the better for this challenge!  Thank you, Sammi.

Longing for Childhood

Grass tickling legs

Lying on your back

Head cradled in hands

Gazing at endless clouds

Believing in forever

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #156 – Home

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Wow. Congrats to Sammi for doing this prompt for three years already!  Looking forward to what’s to come!

There is always that one house on the block where people congregate. As kids, it is the meet-up or the hang-out place – if the mom says it is okay – and if she says ‘no’ today, it will not stop you from coming back tomorrow. There is nothing obviously special about this house. It is like everyone else’s in size and shape and number of rooms. And yet, the kids know. Here, they are welcome. Here, they can be kids, and whether related or not, will be yelled at if they get too much. Here, they feel like they belong, part of a family. Here, this is not a house. It is a home.

Mine.

 

 

A Monument for Christmas – Friday Fictioneers

Good Thursday to all, or Boxing Day. to Canadians and Brits.  Though we got our prompt a day early thanks to Rochelle‘s generosity, I could not squeeze in a story. And then I was glad I waited because this gave me the time to dedicate this post to my blogging friend David Kanigan, who sadly lost his brother, Lorne, in the first minutes of Christmas Day.

 

©Sandra Crook

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A Monument for Christmas

It was time to stand tall and strong. He had to try to keep his anger in check as he knew it would serve no purpose now.  To rail against the system or whatever powers that be, that he wasn’t quite sure he believed in, would serve no purpose now.

He had to focus on the good that was before, and the end of all the suffering that had gone on for too long.  It was a small comfort.

He wanted more time.  And he didn’t want Christmas to be a monument to the day his brother’s light was snuffed.