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.

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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

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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

 

Spring’s Hopelessness #Poetry #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Spring comes wet with little sun. Hope is dashed by the wind that buffets the house, rattles wind chimes, rain that drums on the roof. Without enough warmth, grass, flowers, trees, shrubs won’t grow.

He loves the sun, can’t get enough. It’s one of his few pleasures, since he can no longer walk or use his left arm or care for himself. After a brutal winter with endless snow, frigid temperatures, he longs to enjoy the sun’s healing warmth.

wishes for the sun

fall on the deaf ears of God

wait for warmth to come

***

The above poem was published in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be downloaded here. It also appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. This form of poetry is called a haibun because it includes a couple of paragraphs of prose followed by one stanza of haiku. You can click the download link below to hear me read it.

Download

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  

Just My Luck #Fiction #Tuesday Tidbit

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The weekend after I was laid off from my job as a guidance counselor at the local high school, my husband and I went skiing. I took a flying leap off a small hill and landed spread-eagled in the snow, my skis pointing in one direction, my poles in another. My right knee was badly twisted.

On Monday, my birthday, my husband announced that he had out of town business that just couldn’t wait. After promising to return late Friday night and kissing me on the cheek, he was out the door. Here I was, with no job, no husband, and no one to take care of me. I lay on the living room couch and wallowed in self-pity, as I watched a mindless game show on television.

When the doorbell rang, I struggled to my feet, picked up my crutches, and hobbled to answer it. Reaching for the doorknob, I heard a thud, then two men yelling and punching each other. When I opened the door, I gasped at the sight in front of me. A box of fruit lay torn open on the porch. Planters were broken, and pears had rolled everywhere. Two guys were fighting, yelling obscenities at each other. A UPS truck was parked in my driveway, and a sport utility vehicle stood on the street directly in front of my house.

“What’s going on?” I yelled.

The two men stopped and looked at me with sheepish expressions. One of them handed me a business card that read “Doug Ross, Certified Massage Therapist.”

“Happy birthday. Your husband arranged for me to give you a massage today.”

The UPS driver said, “I also have a delivery for you. Looks like it’s a subscription to a fruit of the month club.” His gaze shifted to the smashed pears on the porch.

“And you guys were fighting over who would make the first delivery?” They looked at each other and shrugged.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” I said. “Come in out of the cold.”

They followed me inside. I hobbled into the kitchen and started making coffee. The massage therapist put a hand on my shoulder. “Sit down. I’ll do that.”

“I’ll clean up the mess on the porch,” said the UPS driver. “You’ll be reimbursed for what was broken. I’m really sorry.”

A few minutes later, we were drinking coffee and eating pears that weren’t too badly damaged. “Would you like to tell me what’s on your mind?” I asked.

The UPS driver said, “Doug and I have been friends for years. A couple of months ago, I met the most incredible woman. I made the mistake of introducing her to him. Now, she’s seeing him and wants to break up with me. But you know what, Doug? You can have her. I found someone better.”

“Glad we got past that one, Brent,” Doug said. “Still friends?”

“Still friends,” Brent said, and they shook hands.

For the price my husband paid for one massage, Doug gave me daily treatments, paying special attention to my injured knee. Brent also came every day and brought fresh fruit he’d salvaged from other customers who weren’t home to receive their deliveries.

On Monday afternoon when the mail came, I opened my husband’s credit card statement. He usually took care of the bills, but I was bored to tears and sick of game shows, news programs, and soap operas. I was shocked when I saw charges for restaurants where we’d never eaten together, a flower shop, a jewelry store, and a hotel in a different city. I couldn’t remember the last time my husband gave me flowers or jewelry. His work often took him out of town, so the hotel charges probably weren’t anything to suspect, or were they?

On Monday night, I called my husband’s cell and a woman answered, “Hello?”

“Oh, who’s this?” I asked.

“I’m Melanie,” she answered with a giggle.

“I’m sorry,” I said, not surprised. “I was trying to reach Charles Redford. I must have the wrong number.”

After that, Doug and Brent took turns spending the night. They gave me more than massages and fresh fruit. Charles never called, and I didn’t try to reach him again.

On Friday night, when the two of them showed up at the same time, I said, “Both of you can have me tonight. Let’s get a pizza and watch a movie.”

When Charles walked in late that night, he found the three of us snuggled on the living room  couch, watching Casablanca. Doug was rubbing my injured knee, and Brent’s arm was around my shoulder. An open box of oranges stood on the coffee table.

As Charles gaped at us open-mouthed, I placed an arm around each of them and said, “Hi, honey. Did you have a nice time with Melanie? Thank you for the lovely birthday presents.” I kissed Doug, then Brent.

In divorce court, Charles told the judge, “If only I’d picked either the massage or the fruit.”

***

The above appears in the January issue of The Writer’s Grapevine. To subscribe, send a blank email to: writersgv+subscribe@groups.io  It was also published years ago in Emerging Voices, a journal produced by Northwestern Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. This story was inspired by something I heard on National Public Radio’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

***

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

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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