Accidental Death #TuesdayTidbit #Fiction #Inspiration

ACCIDENTAL DEATH

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

 

“I love you so much,” said Anna, as she knelt over her father’s casket one rainy morning.

“Now you’re being dramatic,” said Ginger, glaring at her stepdaughter. “People might think you were having, well, um, a sinful relationship with your father.”

The teen-ager stood and looked around at the deserted tent where the graveside service had taken place and the closed coffin, waiting to be lowered into the ground. “Nobody’s here. Besides, what would you know about relationships? You killed Dad because he didn’t like your stupid cats.”

Ginger gasped. “I don’t believe this. I know you never liked me, but why would you make such an accusation?”

“Dad told you it was either him or the cats. You couldn’t have them both.”

“Now that was a dumb thing for him to say. Who would take care of him? He couldn’t walk after his stroke.”

“I could have taken care of him. He was all I had after Mom died.”

“You couldn’t have given him the care he needed, not with school, your other obligations, and, not to mention, your social life.”

“Dad could have gone to the adult day care program at the senior center while I was in school.”

“You’re not even an adult. What do you know about such things?”

“I looked it up on the Internet last year after Dad had the stroke,” said Anna, her voice breaking. She wiped an eye with her sleeve. “I didn’t think you were going to stick around. I should have known better. You married him for his money, and you were hoping he would take out a life insurance policy. That’s the only reason why you didn’t hit the road when you found out Dad couldn’t use his left arm or leg.”

“How did you know about that?”

 

“How could I not know what you two were fighting about? You were so loud I could hear you clear upstairs in my room. You thought I was doing my homework. Well, I was until I heard you and Dad start yelling. Then I had to know what was going on. I heard everything from the second floor landing, and you didn’t even know I was there. This was before Dad’s stroke. He should have picked you up and thrown you out the front door, then tossed your cats out after you.”

Ginger grasped Anna’s shoulders and turned the girl to face her. “I’m your guardian now. So, don’t you dare talk ill of me or my kitties.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s another fight I overheard. You wanted Dad to fix his will so you would get custody of me if something happened to him  before I became an adult and that  money in the trust fund he set up for me would go to you until I’m twenty-one. That’s the only reason you’re my guardian.”

“I swear to God, Anna, if you say one more word, I’ll smack you.”

“With what? That hammer you knocked yourself out with after you shot Dad.” Ginger released her hold on Anna and stepped back. “Don’t think I didn’t know about that, too. Who do you think emptied the litter box the next day?”

“Now you decide to help with housework.”

“The next afternoon when I came home from Lauren’s slumber party, the smell from that litter box in the kitchen was enough to make me gag. When I picked it up and emptied it into the wastebasket, the gun and hammer fell out along with the jewels you told the police the thief stole.”

“I was planning to empty the litter box in the dumpster.”

“I’ve watched enough of those cop shows to know not to touch evidence with my bare hands. I went in the bathroom and found the gloves you used to clean Dad up after he pooped. I put them on and picked up the gun, hammer, and jewels and put them in a plastic bag. When I walked into the living room, I wasn’t surprised not to see Dad in his recliner. I went to your room. Dad’s side of the bed was empty, and there you were, with all ten of those cats you got at the shelter after you married him. You opened your eyes and started crying and told me this sad story about a robber breaking into the house, knocking you out, and shooting Dad. I got you a cold compress for your head and told you I was meeting Lauren downtown.”

“I thought you were a typical teenager. Your father dies, and you go shopping.”

“I went straight to the police station. That detective who came to the house when you called didn’t know I existed. You told him you had a daughter who was going to school at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, and when he called up there to find her, he was told there was no such student there.”

Ginger sighed.

“He told me the whole story once he pieced it together. He was really nice and said he was sorry I lost my dad. He also said he didn’t think you were a flight risk since you were expecting to inherit Dad’s estate. So, he’ll wait to arrest you until after the funeral.”

“We don’t have to wait any longer,” said a voice behind Ginger. She turned to see the two officers who responded to the 911 call. Next to them stood two gentlemen in suits and ties.

One of them extended his hand. “Mrs. Lloyd, I’m Jake Jones with Teggler & Associates. I’m afraid I have more bad news. I’m sorry you weren’t home when I came by to see your husband after his stroke. His life insurance policy only covers accidental death.”

“But a burglar…”

“Now Mrs. Lloyd, we all know that’s not the case,” said one of the officers, placing a hand on Ginger’s shoulder.

The other man in a suit and tie took Ginger’s hand. “I met you a while back, Mrs. Lloyd. I’m Ken Sherman. I was your husband’s lawyer. Before Anna’s mother died, she and my wife were really good friends. We had an appointment this afternoon to go over your husband’s will, but it looks like you won’t be able to make that, so I’ll just tell you this. You weren’t home when everything was finalized after your husband’s stroke. So, here’s the deal. Everything your husband owned will go to Anna when she’s twenty-one. In the meantime, I’ve been named executor of your husband’s estate. The will also stipulates that in the event that anything should happen to him before Anna turns twenty-one, my wife and I will become her legal guardians.”

“No!” screamed Ginger, as she turned and tried to flee. But the two policemen grabbed her. As she was handcuffed and led away, Anna knelt by her father’s casket and let her tears flow while the lawyer who would now be her guardian tried to console her.

***

Note: The above story appears in the spring issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be read here.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

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?

***

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Ode to a Recliner #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration #WritingPrompts

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? Take a picture. Show and tell!

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Well, with my limited vision, if I were to show, it would look like something the cat dragged in, and I don’t have a cat. Besides, I don’t think a cat could drag in this or any piece of furniture. So, I’ll do my best to describe it.

My late husband Bill’s recliner is brown with a pocket on one side. It has two buttons: one that will allow me to lie almost all the way down and one that will let me sit up, almost to a standing position. After Bill suffered his first stroke, we were able to purchase the recliner with the help of Medicare, and being able to get him almost to a standing position made it easier for me to transfer him from it to his wheelchair. He once proclaimed that when he was in his recliner, he was king of the mountain.

Now that Bill is gone, it’s my recliner. I should feel guilty because surely there’s someone else who needs such a chair more than I do. But I may eventually need it. So, I’ll hold onto it for as long as I can.

Several years ago, I wrote a poem about this recliner, which appears in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. By the way, this and two of my other books are now available from Smashwords absolutely free as part of its end-of-year sale. Please see below for details.

Anyway, here’s the poem. You can click below to hear me read it.

 

Ode to a Recliner

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2014

You once belonged to him.
Feeling his presence,
I sink into your depths,
lower my head, raise my feet,
listen to books, podcasts,
radio programs, sometimes doze.
Your embrace gives me peace.

48 ode to a recliner

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How about you? What’s your favorite piece of furniture? You can tell me about it in the comment field below or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say.

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Now, I have two exciting events to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of both of them. First of all, 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.

 

Also, I’ll be playing the piano and singing on Thursday, December 23rd, at noon mountain time at The Hub, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you live in my neck of the woods, you’re welcome to come and enjoy a delicious, nutritious lunch while listening to my music. If you’re unable to attend, you can view the event on Facebook, and a recording should be available later. You can click here to visit the event’s Facebook page. Again, I hope you can take advantage of these exciting events.

 

 

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?

***

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Hunting and Pecking #It’sSix-SentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

This week’s six-sentence prompt word is “method.” Below, I’ve copied a passage of exactly six sentences from my memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Here, I show my late husband Bill using his computer for the first time in months since his first stroke. After powering up the machine, I stood nearby in case he was unsure of what to do. But as you’ll note, there are some things you don’t forget, even after you’ve had a stroke.

***

To my astonishment, after the Windows welcome screen and then the desktop came up, and the screen reader indicated it was ready, he went straight to his music folder and found “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You.”

I hugged him, and for the first time since his stroke, we snuggled while listening to the song, with him sitting in his wheelchair and me standing next to him. It wasn’t the same as cuddling on the couch together, but it was the closest we could come, and this time of loving each other was the first of many.

When the song ended, he said, “I’ll do email now.”

I left him and spent the next couple of hours in my office. As I worked, I was comforted by the distant sound of the synthetic text–to–speech voice on his computer, reading his email and saying the characters he typed. Even though he needed to use the hunt and peck method with his only good hand, this felt right.

This was in 2006. A couple of years later, we found software that allowed Bill to send email via voice recordings. If you’d like to know more, you can read My Ideal Partner.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring this. If you’d like to participate in this week’s hop and read other people’s six-sentence stories, click here.

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For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

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New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Senior Companion #Open Book Blog Hop #Wednesday Words

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s prompt is:  Write a scene or story that includes a character who has a phobia. What do they fear? How does this phobia affect their life?

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After making sure I had the right address, I parked my car in front of the white house with green trim. I spotted a wheelchair accessible van in the driveway and a gray station wagon in the garage. For the umpteen millionth time, I studied the information I’d been given about this guy.

Mark Fisher was nearly seventy years old. He’d suffered a stroke several years earlier and was confined to a wheelchair. He and his wife got help with his personal care and house cleaning from the senior center’s home health care program, but they never went out. I looked again at the wheelchair accessible van. Maybe it no longer worked, and they couldn’t afford to fix it.

I’d been a mechanic before going into law enforcement. I could probably fix the engine, I thought, as I climbed out of my car and locked my driver’s side door. It wasn’t too hot, and there was a nice breeze, but it may as well have been over 100 degrees, as evidenced by the sweat trickling down my back. I wished I’d told my wife what she could do with her idea of me volunteering as a senior companion now that I was retired with nothing else to do.

She still worked as the senior center’s volunteer coordinator. I still loved her and still wanted to please her. So, with trepidation, I made my way up the walk to the front door.

A newspaper lay at the bottom of the steps. The front door opened a crack, and I glimpsed a woman’s face peering at me with a weary expression. I smiled and said, “Hi, you must be Terry, Mark’s wife.”

She opened the door a little farther and gave me a weak smile. “Yeah, you must be Dennis McGuire.”

“In the flesh,” I said with a wave.

As I picked up the paper, a smile of relief crossed her face, and she said, “Oh, thank you so much. Our paper boy can’t throw a newspaper to save his soul, or maybe he does this just to spite me. Who knows?”

I thought this sounded strange but said, “Well, I was a paper boy once, and I didn’t have very good aim, either.”

Then, eyeing the overflowing box next to the steps, I asked, “Want me to grab the mail?”

“Please,” she answered, again looking relieved.

I retrieved a bunch of letters and junk and followed her inside. She quickly closed the door and took the newspaper and mail. “I’ll just put these in my office,” she said before hurrying into an adjoining room.

I found myself in a small living room. A television was tuned to a baseball game, and Mark sat in his  wheelchair nearby. Terry appeared in her office doorway. She wore jeans and a t-shirt, and I couldn’t help noticing the long, uneven, dark strands of hair that fell in waves down her back. Mark was also wearing jeans and a t-shirt. His gray hair also looked a bit scraggly, but he was clean-shaven and otherwise well-kempt.

I smiled at him and was relieved to see that he, unlike his wife, wasn’t scared of me. He grinned and extended his hand. “Hey, Dennis.”

“How you doing, buddy?” I said, walking up to him and shaking his hand.

“Great! But the Rockies are losing again. They’re rotten to the core.”

“That’s too bad. They made it to the play-offs for the World Series last year.”

“Yeah, but they must have let it go to their heads or something because they did pretty bad after that. They didn’t even come close to winning the World Series.”

“Well, maybe they’ll do better this year.”

Terry cleared her throat. “I put Mark in his wheelchair because he would like to visit with you outside. Would you mind taking him out?”

I looked uncertainly at the door through which I’d come. “Uh, I’m not sure how I’ll get him through there and down those steps.”

“Oh, no,” she said, blushing. “You can go out the kitchen door. There’s a ramp.”

“Honey,” Mark said. “Get my radio, so I can hear the game.”

“Oh, you silly goofball.” Terry laughed, as she ruffled his hair, and he grinned.

To me, she said, “It’s the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Rockies are way behind. There’s no chance they’ll win now, but he’s faithful to the end.”

“It’s not a problem,” I assured her. “Hope springs eternal, right, buddy?”

“Yep,” Mark answered with another grin.

He switched off the television with a remote control he held in his hand, then laid it on the table next to him. Terry retrieved a transistor radio from another nearby table and handed it to him. He found the station broadcasting the game.

I grasped the handles of his chair and followed Terry into a spacious kitchen. She opened another door, and I spotted a ramp that led to the driveway. “The gate to get into the yard is around back. Mark can show you.”

Looking hesitant, she added, “I can get drinks ready for you, but would you mind coming back and getting them?”

“Honey, we’ll just be outside this other door,” Mark said, pointing to a separate door at the other end of the room that I assumed led out to the yard but had no ramp.

Terry turned white as a sheet and grasped the handle of the nearby refrigerator door for support. “Mark, you know I can’t do that.”

Mark gave an exasperated sigh. Not knowing what to think, I put a hand on his shoulder and said, “It’s okay, buddy. I’ll park you out there, then come back and get the drinks.”

I turned to Terry, who looked like she was about to pass out. “Why don’t you sit down and rest? I’ll come back and make our drinks once I get him settled, okay?”

Shakily, she made her way to a nearby chair and flopped into it. “I’m so sorry,” she said, her whole body trembling. “There are just some things I can’t do anymore, like Mark can’t walk or dress himself or take himself to the bathroom anymore.”

“It’s not a problem,” I said. I was tempted to put a hand on her shoulder but thought better of it. “I’ll be right back.”

I wheeled Mark out the door, pulling it closed behind us, then down the ramp and around to the back of the house, where we entered a cement patio. Mark directed me to park him next to a picnic table in the shade of an oak tree. “This feels so good,” he said. “I haven’t been outside in a long time.”

This was odd, I thought, but I forged ahead. “What would you like to drink?”

“A beer, straight out of the can.”

“Coming right up,” I said.

Pointing to a nearby door, I asked, “Can I get back in the house this way?”

“You bet! That’ll take you through our back porch and up two steps into the kitchen.”

Inside, I found Terry still sitting where I’d left her. She wasn’t shaking any longer, and some color had returned to her cheeks. With a weak smile, she said, “There’s a case of Coors in the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. There’s also a pitcher of lemonade if you’d rather have that.”

I smiled back at her. “No, beer is fine for me, too.”

To reassure her, I added, “I’ll only have one, so I’ll be able to drive home later.”

Looking relieved, she said, “Thank you again so much.”

Out in the yard, I put our beer cans on the picnic table and sat on the bench facing Mark. “Would you mind opening this?” he asked. “I can only use one hand. My stroke, you know.”

“Oh, sure,” I said, picking up his can and flipping the tab. Not realizing that a stroke might have made this task nearly impossible, I blushed.

Mark took a swig of his beer. “You must have been a bartender.”

“Yep,” I said, opening my own can and taking a swig. I was a bartender, then a mechanic, and then finally, I decided to become a policeman.”

“Wow! How long were you on the force?”

“For about forty years. I finally retired a few months ago.”

“Wow!” he said again, then belched.

“How about you?” I asked.

“Well, I majored in IT in college, then decided to open a computer store. I ran it for years but had to retire when I had my stroke.”

“That’s too bad,” I said. Then, it was my turn to belch.

I wanted to ask him about his wife but didn’t think that was a good idea.

He must have read my mind, for he said, “Terry has agoraphobia. It’s a fear of being out in public. She can’t even go out and get the mail or newspaper, let alone take me out in this yard.”

Now, it was my turn to say, “Wow!”

“Yeah, it started a few months ago. She was at the beauty shop one day when she had a panic attack. She got all sweaty and shaky, and she had trouble breathing. She somehow managed to get to her car and drive home, but she told me she couldn’t go out anymore, and she doesn’t, not even to her exercise classes at the Y, which she loves.”

“Oh, brother,” I said, now realizing why he hadn’t been outside in quite a while.

“We now get our groceries delivered, and we even get food from Schwan. She cuts her own hair and sometimes mine, but she doesn’t do a very good job.” He fingered his unruly locks and blushed.

I smiled to reassure him. “Buddy, in my years on the force, I’ve seen a lot worse. But isn’t there anything to be done about your wife’s condition?”

“She won’t see a doctor. That’s the funny thing because she used to be a nurse. She had to quit after I had my stroke and we realized I probably wouldn’t walk again. She makes some money doing freelance writing, and we get monthly disability checks from Social Security, but that’s it.”

I looked around at the green lawn and wanted to ask who mowed it, since neither Mark or Terry could. As if reading my thoughts, Mark said, “The senior center has a chore service that shovels our walks in the winter and mows our lawn in the summer. They do a pretty good job and charge us according to the income we make. I qualify for Medicaid, which covers in home health care services. So, we get along okay, financially, that is.”

“That’s good, but don’t you have any family or friends who could help?”

“My son and daughter are both married and have moved away. They have their own lives. My daughter will be coming next month with the grandkids, but my son hasn’t kept in touch much since the stroke. I guess he’s not sure how to deal with that and now his mother’s condition. Most of my friends haven’t kept in touch, either.”

We finished our beers in silence, punctuated by a belch now and then, while the game droned on. Finally, Mark reached over to where he’d lain his radio on the picnic table and switched it off. “Terry’s right. They’re not gonna win, at least not this game.”

“Well, there’s always tomorrow, right?”

“Yeah.” He smiled. “They’ll do better tomorrow.”

“By the way, does your wheelchair van still work?”

“Yeah, but we haven’t taken it anywhere in months. You know Terry…” His voice trailed off.

“Well, I can drive. So, why don’t we go, um, maybe to the barbershop, that is, if you really want a haircut.”

He grinned. “Is the Pope Catholic? I know just the place. Hank’s is on Main Street, right across the street from Wally’s Bar and Grill. Terry used to take me to both places. So, we should be able to get my chair in both of them.”

“That’s funny. I never pictured Terry as a drinker. But maybe that was before.”

“No, she’s always been more partial to Dr. Pepper than beer.”

I laughed, then, on impulse, reached over and slapped him on the back. “I’m also a Pepper. Since I’m the designated driver, that’s what I’ll be drinking.”

I stood and picked up our empty cans. “Where can I dispose of these and get the keys to the van?”

“There’s a trash can we use for recycling in Terry’s office next to the living room. She’s probably there now. She keeps the keys in the top drawer of her desk.”

“Okay.”

“It may take some convincing to get her to hand them over. I read in an article online that agoraphobia also causes separation anxiety. That’s why she won’t go and see a doctor or go anywhere else for that matter.”

“It sounds like I have my work cut out for me, but I’m up for a challenge.”

“Good luck.”

After rinsing the cans in the kitchen sink, I found Terry in her office, typing on a computer. A nearby radio was tuned to an oldies station. When I walked in, she stopped and pointed to a can underneath her desk. “You can toss those in there. Thanks. I suppose Mark wants another.”

“Nope,” I said, flinging the cans into the receptacle with a loud clatter. “I need the keys to the van. Mark wants a haircut.”

Her face turned pale, and she gripped the arms of her office chair. I waited, giving her space. Finally, she regained her composure and said, “Of course. I’m not the best of barbers.”

Her hand shook, as she reached into her desk drawer and retrieved the keys. As I took them, I squeezed her trembling hand. Then, I bent to her level and looked deep into her blue eyes, still wide with fear. “Look, I used to be a cop. If you don’t believe me, you can call the station and ask if a Dennis McGuire used to be on the force.”

She smiled. “I’ve seen your name in the paper associated with a case or two.”

“Well,” I said, standing up to my full height. “I’m sure you realize now that Mark will be safe with me. I promise I won’t drink any more beer at Wally’s, and I’ll get him back here safe and sound.”

“I know. I just can’t shake this fear, but I’m going to try, for Mark’s sake. He loves getting out.”

“Of course he does.”

Her cell phone pinged. “Oh, excuse me. That’s probably from Mark. He loves to text me, even though it takes him longer with just one hand, and he won’t use Siri.”

She picked up her phone and smiled as she read what was on the screen. “He says you like Dr. Pepper, and would I please add it to our grocery list?”

I laughed. “I understand you like it, too, and I didn’t see any in the fridge earlier. We could pick some up for you on our way home.”

“Oh, no, that won’t be necessary. We’re expecting a grocery delivery tomorrow. I can hang on till then. Thanks, anyway.”

“You’re welcome. By the way, you know you can always call Mark on his cell if you get anxious, and I’ll give you my number in case, for some reason, you can’t reach him.”

“Okay,” she said, handing me a sticky note from her desk.

After I scribbled my number and handed it to her, she did something I didn’t expect. She stood and hugged me. “Oh, Dennis, you are such a godsend. I don’t know what I would have done if the senior companion coordinator told me she didn’t have any men.”

Then, she opened another desk drawer and handed me a wallet. “This is Mark’s. There should be more than enough cash in there to cover the barber and the bar.” She winked.

“If not, I’ll take care of it,” I said, pocketing the billfold. “Thanks.”

On the radio, Bonnie Tyler was singing “Holding Out for a Hero.” Terry said, “You’re our hero.”

“No problem,” I said, blushing.

Outside, with Mark’s direction, it didn’t take me long to figure out how to use the van’s lift. As I was getting ready to load him, I noticed Terry looking out the kitchen window. Standing on the lift next to Mark’s chair, I gave her a thumbs-up, then said to Mark, “Okay, buddy, up we go.” I pressed the button to lift the wheelchair into the van.

After securing the chair to the floor and buckling Mark in, I jumped out and closed the door. Terry was still at the window. I gave her another thumbs-up before walking around to the driver’s side, climbing in, fastening my own seatbelt, and starting the engine. I was relieved it still ran, even though it hadn’t been used in months.

As I backed out of the driveway, Mark said, “Ah, now, this is the life.”

“You bet, pal!” I said, as I drove away. I was now glad my wife had insisted I volunteer as a senior companion.

Although, at least in this country, things are slowly returning to normal, a lot of older adults are still isolated. Many senior centers offer companion programs that match older adults with others who are shut in and want social interaction. If you’d like to help such a person or if you or someone you know might benefit from a companion, please contact your local senior center.

If you’d like to participate in this week’s Open Book Blog hop, click here. You can learn more about agoraphobia by reading this Wikipedia article.

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And now, I’m pleased to announce that throughout the month of July, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its annual summer/winter sale. You can visit my Smashwords author page to download these books. Happy reading!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

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New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

The Rise and Fall of My Zorro #Poetry #TuesdayTidbit


Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

As promised, here is my step-by-step process of how I wrote a particular poem, modeled after a similar post by fellow author and blogger Lynda McKinney Lambert. You can read her post here.

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Step One: Select a song lyric that you like or even one that you don’t like. Use one or two lines from that song as the theme for your new poem.

 

I used “I want to spend my lifetime loving you” from the song by that name, which was used in The Mask of Zorro. This was one of my late husband Bill’s favorite movies, and after he proposed to me, “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” became one of our songs. You can read more about that in My Ideal Partner, which is available from Smashwords this month for free. Please see below for details.

Step 2: Select one or two lines from the song as a place to begin your poem.

 

I used these two sentences. “Take my hand. Dance with me.” They don’t begin the poem because I wanted to describe Zorro before he speaks. After his strokes, Bill couldn’t walk, let alone dance. So, there’s the irony.

Step 3: Choose the format you will use for the poem.

 

As with most of my poems, I chose free verse because I didn’t want to work with limits imposed by many traditional forms of poetry. This poem appears in My Ideal Partner. Below it, you’ll find a link to where you can hear me read it plus a video of the song that inspired it.

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THE RISE AND FALL OF MY ZORRO

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

With cape, hat, mask, rapier,
he rode out of the darkness.
“Take my hand. Dance with me,” he said,
“I want to spend my lifetime loving you,”
but happily–ever–after was not to be.
My hero fell and rose many times.
I felt the glory
until he fell for the last time.
Where there’s love, life begins again.
When life dies, love goes on.

The Rise and Fall of My Zorro

 

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If you’re a poet, and there’s a song you like or dislike, why not write a poem, using the three simple steps outlined above. If you have a blog, I suggest you post that poem there, along with your explanation of how you followed the steps, a video of the song, and a link to Lynda’s post. Otherwise, you can leave that information in the comment field here or on Lynda’s blog. In any case, I hope to read your responses.

***

And now, I’m pleased to announce that throughout the month of July, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its annual summer/winter sale. You can visit my Smashwords author page to download these books. Happy reading!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website