Nature’s Call #Fiction #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

NATURE’S CALL

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2021

 

Being a lady, I should be more modest, but I’m not. When I need to squat, it doesn’t matter where I go, on the lawn, on the sidewalk, even in the street if I’m there long enough. Most of the time, I’m not because when I wander into traffic, my humans yell, “Maud, get out of the street.”

They tell this story about Ed. He got me from a man who called me Old Glory because I was born on the Fourth of July. I hated that name and the fireworks on my birthday that always sent me scurrying into the bathtub for cover. So, I was relieved when Ed decided to call me Maud instead.

Anyway, during family road trips, when he was driving, even in broad daylight, he would sometimes say, “Piss call.” Then, he’d pull the car to the side of the road, jump out, and do his business right there. So, that’s me. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

One day, I was walking along with Ed and his daughter Abbie, who lived in an apartment across town. I suddenly had to go, and I spotted a beautiful green lawn. Being off leash, I scampered onto the grass and did my business, just as the front door opened. The woman who stepped onto the porch and greeted Abbie turned out to be her boss at work. Fortunately, Abbie didn’t lose her job over this, but I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Once, I relieved myself indoors. It happened after Abbie told me she was moving to a different apartment complex where dogs wouldn’t be allowed to visit unless they were service animals. I thought I’d served her well over the years. I’d chased the white ball at the end of the stick she sometimes rolled along in front of her when she walked. I’d licked her face when she was sad and moved into the back seat when Ed picked her up so she could ride in front with him. Apparently, that didn’t qualify me as a service dog.

Abbie explained that this apartment complex would be better than where she was living now because there would be laundry facilities, and the apartment would have a shower, not just a bathtub. Also, there was a garbage chute on each floor. So, she would no longer need to slip slide through the alley to empty the trash. I wagged my tail as if I understood, but I didn’t.

The next day, while Ed was helping Abbie move stuff out of the old apartment, I had to go, and I wasn’t about to wait until I could get outdoors like I should have. I delivered a nice surprise on her dining room carpet, and it wasn’t pee. Abbie stepped in it. That’s what she got for trading a lovable Irish setter for laundry, a shower, and a trash chute. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

***

The above is a fictionalized account of events involving the Irish setter my father had while I was working as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents. It appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine. I wrote it during a meeting of my local poetry group, believe it or not. We were prompted to write a poem about what goes on inside an animal’s head. Well, as I’m sure you now realize, my poem metastasized into a short story. You can click here to read this and other wonderful work in The Writer’s Grapevine.

 

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

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Website

 

 

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE SPRINGS INTO FALL SEPTEMBER OCTOBER EDITION #SaturdaySurprise #Reblogs #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Thanks to fellow author and blogger Patty Fletcher for including my work in this edition of her great magazine. Not only will you find a poem and fictional story of mine, but there’s also an ad for my new book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, with the front cover image beautifully presented and well described by Patty’s publishers. You’ll also discover other stories and poems plus ads for books and services and more. I can’t think of a better way to spend a lazy Saturday than to peruse this magazine. Enjoy!

***

Hello everyone, and welcome to another incredible edition of the Writer’s Grapevine.

How do I know it’s incredible? Because it’s filled with “incredible” contributors. But the proof is, as they say, “in the pudding.” Or, in this case, on the page. So grab your favorite drink, snuggle down into your most comfortable reading nest, and ready yourself for some great discoveries.

 

Read the full issue on Patty’s Worlds.

 

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

 

 

Tuesday Tidbit–Thinking Positive #Memoir

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

It won’t rain,” my friend Rose says when I call to ask her to pick me up for a writing workshop at the local library. I can’t drive, although I can see people and objects up close and read print if it’s large enough. I love to walk but not when storm clouds are gathering in the west, and the wind is picking up.

When I call Rose, she says, “I’m running late. Just start walking. It won’t rain.”

As I return my cell phone to my pocket, I think of my late husband, struck by lightning in a Missouri park years before he met me. He and a friend were lounging after a picnic lunch on a warm afternoon. The thunder clap and lightning bolt came from nowhere. His friend was killed instantly. He was treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and released.

“There’s nothing to do now but go,” I tell myself, as I finish my supper and prepare to leave. I read earlier that if you think something will or won’t happen, it usually does or doesn’t.

“It won’t rain,” I say to the dishes in the sink, as I rinse and put them in the dishwasher. I picture myself hurrying down the street, as ominous black clouds darken the sky. A thunder clap and a blinding light stop me in my tracks. I fall to the ground and am no more.

“It’s not going to rain,” I tell the mirror in the bathroom, as I’m washing my face. I picture heavy sheets of moisture drenching my dead body in the middle of the sidewalk.

It will not rain,” I say to the bureau in my bedroom, as I apply lotion to my face and comb my hair. I think of my brother in Jupiter, Florida, answering his cell phone, hearing news of his sister’s demise, just what he needs after a long day of work.

I keep reassuring myself that I’ll be safe, as I pack everything I’ll need for the workshop: Braille notetaker, water bottle, magnifier, folder with Braille paper, and slate and stylus in case my notetaker’s battery dies. Finally, I can delay no longer. My talking watch tells me it’s six o’clock. I have half an hour to get there. “I’ll be able to take shelter along the way, if necessary,” I tell myself. I sling my backpack over my shoulders, pick up my cane, and step outside.

I look at the sky. To my surprise, I see no dark clouds, only white ones. As I start walking, a gentle breeze stirs the air, and I feel the sun’s warmth on my shoulders.

***

The above appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be read here. The workshop was on writing memoir and took place several years ago. The presenter asked us to write something about water. Thus, this piece was born.

Later, when I teased Rose about her ability to predict the weather, she pointed out that the dark clouds I saw were dissipating, and there were white ones right behind them. Why didn’t she tell me that when I called to ask her for a ride? Well, if she had, this memoir wouldn’t have been created.

***

And now, I’m pleased to announce that on Wednesday, July 7th, I’ll be playing the piano and singing in the dining room at The Hub on Smith, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you live in my neck of the woods, the facility is located at 211 Smith Street, and you can come and eat lunch while listening. The event will be broadcast live and recorded. You can click here to visit the event’s Facebook page, where you’ll be able to see the live broadcast.

On Sunday, July 11th, I’ll be participating in a virtual poetry reading, where anyone is welcome to attend and share a poem or two. This will take place at 5 p.m. mountain time on Zoom. You can click here for more information.

Last but not least, 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

 

 

THE WRITER’S GRAPEVINE SIZZLING SUMMER JUNE JULY JAMBOREE EDITION #WordPressWednesday

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Thanks to fellow blogger Patty Fletcher for publishing my work in her wonderful magazine. You’ll also find plenty of work by other authors plus advertisements and more. Enjoy!

***

Hello everyone, and welcome to another Incredible edition of the Writer’s Grapevine.

How do I know it’s Incredible? Because it’s filled with “Incredible” contributors. But the proof is as they say… “In the pudding.” Or, in this case, on the page. So, grab your favorite drink, snuggle down into your most comfortable reading nest, and ready yourself for some great discoveries.

Read the full magazine here.

***

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

 

 

A DAY OF FIRSTS #Fiction #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

I’m forty-seven years old, and for the first time in my life, I have a cavity. Here I am, in the dentist’s chair, about to have it filled. Because this is one of my worst fears, I feel as if my world is being turned upside down. I’m also afraid of being arrested and getting stuck in an elevator, none of which has happened, at least not yet.

“If you’d prefer, I could give you gas,” the dentist says. “but you’d need to rest at home afterwards.”

“No. My husband is partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes, and I need to be able to take care of him.”

“I understand. I’ll give you Novocain.”

As the drill whines, I close my eyes and imagine myself lying in bed with my husband while my next-door neighbor is boring holes into something. To my surprise, there’s no pain, only a cold sensation.

When I arrive home, a policeman is waiting for me. “Did you know you were supposed to appear for jury duty today?” he asks.

“No, I just got back from a dentist appointment,” is all I can think to say.

“You were sent a notice last week. I found it in the bushes under the mailbox.” He holds up a white envelope.

“I see by your cane that you’re blind. So, I understand why you didn’t get it.”

“Actually, I have some vision,” I say, looking at my husband, sprawled in his recliner.

I turn back to the cop. “You’re right. I didn’t see the notice. I’d be glad to serve on a jury anytime, but I need advanced notice, so I can make arrangements for my husband’s care. He’s partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes, and he depends on me for everything.”

“I’m sorry, but I have to take you in, anyway. You need to appear in Judge Watkins’s court this afternoon.”

I feel a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach. My husband, knowing my fears, bursts out laughing. I turn and glare at him. “That’s not funny. What the hell am I supposed to do with you?”

Between paroxysms of mirth, he answers, “Call Westwood Manor.”

Westwood Manor is the nursing home where he recuperated from his strokes and where he goes occasionally for respite care when I need to be out of town. It’s also the place where I worked for fifteen years before I decided to write full-time.

I turn again to the policeman. “Can you wait while I make arrangements?”

“Of course.”

With trembling fingers, I pick up the phone and dial the number I know by heart. I ask to speak with the admissions director I’ve known for years. Thank goodness he doesn’t laugh when I explain the situation. He assures me there will be no problem. “It just so happens I’m driving the van today because our regular driver is sick,” he says. “I have nothing else to do. So, I’ll be there to pick him up in a few minutes.”

The cop waits with infinite patience while I toss items into a suitcase for my husband. I’m glad of the distraction that keeps my apprehension at bay. As soon as I park my husband in his wheelchair by the kitchen door, the nursing home’s van pulls into the driveway.

If I’d taken the gas at the dentist’s office, I would be totally numb. I wouldn’t feel the handcuffs biting into my wrists or hear my husband laughing at me. I wouldn’t be shaking, as the policeman helps me into the back seat of the patrol car. At the station, I’m locked in a holding cell with four other people who also failed to appear for jury duty.

We swap stories. The others had either forgotten, or like me, didn’t know they had to appear. One guy had just returned from a long vacation and hadn’t gone through his mail yet.

Later that afternoon, after being given the regulation orange jump suits to wear, we’re taken to the courthouse in leg irons and handcuffs and herded into an elevator. The car ascends, stops with a jerk. After a moment, one of the sheriff’s deputies says, “I think we’re stuck.”

“Oh great!” I say, my heart pounding. “This day couldn’t have gotten any worse if it tried.”

A gentle hand touches my shoulder. I’m relieved to open my eyes and find myself snuggled next to my husband in our dark bedroom. My talking watch tells me it’s four in the morning. My husband says, “I need to pee.”

For once, I’m not irritated, as I crawl out of bed, pull him into a sitting position, and hand him the urinal. After he does his business, I climb in bed beside him, resting my head on his shoulder, as his good arm encircles me.

“Don’t you have a dentist appointment today?” he asks.

***

Those who know me might think this is a true story, but I assure you it’s pure fiction. I was inspired to write it years ago after reading a newspaper account of how four people who failed to appear for jury duty were hauled into court in leg irons and handcuffs. This story appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be downloaded here.

***

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