The Importance of Knowing the Time #Reblogs #TuesdayTidbit #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Note: I posted the following here a year ago. If you’ve read it before, I hope you’ll agree it’s worth a second look. If it’s new to you, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

***

In January of 2006, three months after Bill and I were married and two weeks before he suffered his first stroke, I learned the value of having an effective time piece. Bill and I took the bus from our home in Sheridan, Wyoming, to Fowler, Colorado, to visit Bill’s sister and other family and friends for a couple of weeks. In our haste to get to the Sheridan bus station at three in the morning, I forgot to put on my talking watch after showering and didn’t realize it until it was too late. The following excerpt from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds describes a faux pas that occurred as a result of me not having my watch.

***

One morning, soon after we arrived in Fowler, Bill shook me awake and told me it was seven o’clock. Shirley’s cleaning lady was due at eight, and I didn’t want her to catch us in bed. At a quarter to eight, after having showered and dressed, I settled in a recliner in the living room with my radio and headphones.

Shirley wasn’t up yet, and this seemed odd. I also noticed that it didn’t appear to be getting any lighter. I tuned in a public radio station out of Pueblo, and after fifteen minutes of national news, a local announcer said, “Good morning. It’s six a.m.”

Barely able to contain my anger, I stomped into the bedroom where Bill was dressing. I didn’t want to yell for fear of waking Shirley. “You idiot! It’s only six o’clock.”

Bill laughed. “I thought my watch said it was seven.”

“Yeah, right,” I said, as I sat on the bed and took off my shoes. “That’s why I don’t use a Braille watch anymore.”

“Well, let’s go out to breakfast.”

“You go out to breakfast,” I said, as I lay on the bed and covered myself with the blanket. “I’m going back to sleep.”

I turned on my side and closed my eyes. I heard him leave and knew he was mad, but I didn’t care. As I drifted back to sleep, I vowed never to forget my watch again. Little did I know that this was the last trip Bill and I would take together.

***

How about you? Can you remember an instance when you didn’t have a watch or a way to tell time? What happened as a result?

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

The Leaning Tower of Books #TuesdayTidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Today, I’m taking a challenge from a blog called Myths of the Mirror to write about your to-be-read (TBR) pile. Below is a poem I wrote about piles of books past and present. You can click the link below the poem to hear me read it.

 

THE LEANING TOWER OF BOOKS

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022

 

 

In my youth, before Kindle and Audible,
it stood on my coffee table,
threatening to fall at any minute,
a pile of green boxes containing books on cassettes
borrowed from my regional talking book library.
I read one or two, then added one or two more,
never ran out of books.

Now, there’s no leaning tower
but a list of titles in my Kindle, Audible and other libraries.
I read one or two, then acquire one or two more,
will never get through them all in one lifetime.

The Leaning Tower of Books

You can click here to participate in this challenge and find links to other bloggers’ responses. The deadline is January 23rd. Good luck.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

Winter (An Acrostic) #Poetry #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

White flakes swirl
In a milky sky, swoop down,
Nestle among fallen particles.
Trees, grass, sidewalks, streets,
Everything is blanketed in white.
Rejoice in hope of drought relief.

***

Note: The above poem appears in the January 9th issue of The Weekly Avocet. You can click below to hear me read it.

winter acrostic

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Piano of My Own #Jottings #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

When my mother was alive, she loved to talk about an incident from my childhood that I don’t remember. When I was about five years old and we were living in Tucson, Arizona, my parents acquired an upright piano. I don’t know what brand it was or if it was new or used. It was intended as a toy for me, but one day, my mother heard me playing the opening notes to Beethoven’s fifth symphony and decided it was time to call a piano teacher.

I loved playing the piano, especially making up melodies and harmonies, which impressed my parents. I didn’t like the piano lessons so much because I had to play these boring exercises, then some classical pieces by Bach and Mozart, which I loved listening to but found hard to play. Because of my limited vision, I couldn’t read music. So, Mother had to teach me the pieces I was required to learn, and she had little patience. However, I endured the lessons until I was twelve. By that time, we’d moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, and my mother had given up insisting I take lessons.

I also enjoyed playing popular songs. Friends taught me how to play “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul,” which are two fun duets children can play together. My mother and I often played classical duets. I tried teaching her “Heart and Soul,” but without sheet music, she couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

After we moved to Wyoming, I started using the piano to accompany my singing. When I was a freshman in high school, my father encouraged me to take a jazz improvisation class. But like classical music, although I enjoyed listening to jazz, I couldn’t get the hang of playing it.

As a junior in high school, I won second place in a local talent competition with my rendition of “You Light Up My Life.” My brother, seven years my junior, got a drum set, and we often had fun playing and performing together with me on piano and vocals and him on drums.

In college, when I majored in music for four years, I had to endure more piano lessons and learn to play classical music again. But I survived and during my senior recital, I managed to do a decent job of playing Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor.

Once I started training in music therapy, I was free of the obligation to play classical music. Since I decided to focus primarily on nursing home residents, I used the piano to accompany my singing of standards from the earlier part of the twentieth century, which were popular when many older people were growing up. After I got my first apartment and job here in Sheridan, my grandmother gave me her piano, an upright Kimball, since she didn’t play. Others in my family were musical. My grandfather played the saxophone, and two uncles played piano and guitar. But since my grandfather had passed away and both uncles were no longer living at home, Grandma didn’t want the piano. I was delighted to take it off her hands. I’ve moved three times since then, but I’ve always found a place for it and treasure it still today.

I no longer work as a registered music therapist, but I entertain at nursing homes and other venues. So, I use the piano to practice what I’ll perform. I recently started playing the piano and singing in on-line talent programs through ACB Community Calls, a series of activities held on Zoom, sponsored by the American Council of the Blind.

In case you’re wondering what happened to the original piano my parents bought, my nephew in Colorado has it. He teaches piano and writes songs, and I hope he’ll make good use of it. As for my piano, as long as I’m able to play, it’ll be with me always.

How about you? Did you ever learn to play a musical instrument? Do you still have such an instrument today? Please feel free to share your memories in the comment field.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

-Christmas Morning Anticipation #TuesdayTidbit #Excerpt #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Here’s another teaser from my latest book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, which you can now download from Smashwords absolutely free until December 31st. See below for details. This little scene was published in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which you can read here. It’s Christmas morning, and sixteen-year-old Natalie and her ten-year-old sister Sarah, along with their dog and grandparents, eagerly wait for their parents to get out of bed, so they can open their stockings.

***

Chapter 30

 

Natalie

 

The next morning, Sarah shook me awake before it was light. “Natalie, wake up. It’s Christmas! Let’s see what’s in our stockings!”

“You know we can’t do that. We have to wait until everybody’s up. That’s the rule.”

Footsteps sounded in the hall, and someone tapped on the door.

“Come in,” we said.

The door opened, and Grandpa stuck in his head. “Grandma’s making hot chocolate. You girls might as well come down.”

“Are Mom and Dad up yet?” I asked.

“No, not yet, so be quiet.”

We put on our robes and slippers. Squeakers jumped out of his bed and wagged his tail. Sarah picked him up. “Come on, Squeakers. We put a stocking up for you. Let’s see what Santa brought!”

In the living room, as we did every year, Sarah and I gazed in wonder at the blinking lights on the Christmas tree, the packages underneath it, and the bulging stockings hanging above the fireplace. Grandpa was in one of the armchairs, his nose buried in a newspaper.

I noticed a box on the mantle above my stocking with a note pinned to it. I walked over to take a closer look.

Without lowering the newspaper, Grandpa said, “Don’t you dare! Sit down, and let’s wait for your parents.”

“I’m just looking,” I protested. I spotted a brand name on the side of the box. “Olympus! It’s a camera!”

Grandpa lowered the newspaper. “Why don’t you girls go see if your grandmother needs help with the hot chocolate?”

“Okay,” said Sarah, turning toward the kitchen. “Squeakers probably needs to go out, anyway.”

I reluctantly followed her out of the living room.

A few minutes later, we were all sitting in the living room, drinking hot chocolate. Sarah and I were on the couch with Squeakers between us, and Grandma and Grandpa were across from us in armchairs.

***

Now, I have one exciting event to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of it. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, The Red Dress, and My Ideal Partner are now absolutely free as part of the Smashwords end-of-year sale, which will run until December 31st. You can click here for more information and to download these books.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website