Water Color

The following short story was inspired by a poetry prompt. Last month in our third Thursday group meeting, we were given a suggestion to write a poem in a different dialect. After spending six months in Fargo, North Dakota, and listening to A Prairie Home Companion for years, the North Dakota Norwegian way of speaking came to mind. What started as a poem turned into flash fiction. Click this link to hear me read it.

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WHEN TWO NORTH DAKOTA NORWEGIANS WATER COLOR

 

 

In their retirement,       Nils and Astrid spent a lot of time painting since their children were grown and scattered across the country. They took art classes at the senior center in Fargo and worked on their assignments together at home. Their love of painting didn’t keep them from bickering, but they always made up.

That June day in 2015 was no different. They were sitting in their back yard. The early morning sun shone in a cloudless sky. Birds sang, and the flower bushes’ scent wafted across the lawn. As Nils dipped his brush into the small container of red paint a little too vigorously, it splattered onto the white picnic table. “ufta, oh darn,” he said.

His wife looked up and frowned at the splotch of red against white. “Well then, you spilled it, you clean it up.”

“So how come you’re so cranky then?”

“Cranky, I’m not cranky. I’m not the one who spilled the paint.”

“Yes you are. You’re cranky because I dripped a little red paint on your nice white table.”

“Who says I’m cranky? I’m not. So clean up that paint then.”

“You are cranky. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so mad about me spilling the paint then.”

“Oh shut up then about that paint and clean it up already.”

“Why should I? You made me spill it then.”

“I did no such thing then.”

“Yes you did. You distracted me.”

“Oh ufta tufta, you poor thing. You can’t multi-task so you blame me then.”

“Yeah, so if you’re gonna be so gung ho about it, you can clean it up.”

“Me, I didn’t spill the paint. You did.”

“Yeah, but you made me spill it.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did not, but just to shut you up, I’ll…” In her haste to pull herself off the picnic bench, she knocked over the small container of water between them. “Oh ufta tufta, look what you made me do. Now, we got a real mess on our hands, thanks to you.”

“Me, you’re the one who knocked over the water.”

“Yeah, well, you distracted me then.”

“Well, now you know how I felt when you distracted me, and I spilled the paint so let’s just get some paper towels and clean this mess up together, huh?” Nils stood, turned, and embraced his wife. She relaxed, and a moment later, they kissed.

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Abbie J. Taylor 010Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome

Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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Wherever You Are

While listening to A Prairie Home Companion one day last summer, I heard a song that struck a chord in my heart. After losing my husband the year before, I found myself crying as I heard the following words being sung over and over. “I will always be wherever you are, wherever you are.” I knew then that Bill was with me, whether I was at home, the YMCA, singing practice, or one of my various writers’ group meetings. Thinking about it even today brings tears to my eyes.

The song inspired the following poem from That’s Life, my new chapbook to be released in August of this year by Finishing Line Press. This is what is called a sevenling. It contains two stanzas of haiku and one line that stands alone, making seven lines altogether.

WORDS FROM A LOVED ONE’S GRAVE

Everywhere you are,

I will always be with you,

watching from above.

 

Every time you breathe,

every decision you make,

I’ll know about it

 

and love you even more.

Since I don’t remember the name of the song or artist I heard on A Prairie Home Companion that day, trying to find it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, I’ll leave you with a recording of me singing another song I performed at my brother’s wedding last week. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/the%20rose.mp3 Wherever you are, I hope this touches your heart.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

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