At The Landing

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.his week’s photo prompt is provided by Ted Strutz. Thank you Ted for our photo prompt!  Please click lil froggy for other stories.

Here is the photo and my entry for this week.At The Landing

It had been a long afternoon and we’d  just missed the previous ferry.  The kid was wired for a nap that hadn’t happened.  I needed a glass of wine.

Me:  If you sit still for just a second I’ll go and get you a cotton candy.

Child:  Coke, too?

It was some time later. I trudged back to our car with cotton candy and soda.

Child: Coke?

Me:  They only had Pepsi.

Ellespeth

(w/c 78)

An Afternoon After School – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring WritersThis week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan!  Please click lil froggy for other stories.

Here is the photo and my entry for this week.

An Afternoon After School

I was a young girl then.

Each day, after school, I walked to my father’s shoe store and sat in the storage room and did my homework. I dreamed about my future.

The day Father received the red shoes, she appeared. My brothers rushed to serve her and compliment her. All the colors in the room were muted. Even her lovely silk dress and the noise of time passing were muted.

“I will take these red shoes,” the lady said.  She kicked up her heel and smiled down at my younger brother.

He offered to box and bag them for her.

“Thank you,  but no,” she said. “I want to wear them now. You can send these old shoes to me later.”

I think her lips were red, too. Her skin was like ivory. Her voice soft and sweet – just as I imagined mine would be one day.

Ellespeth

The Yarnspinners – A Love Poem

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.    Thanks to PJ for hosting our gathering and to Yarnspinner for our photograph.    Please click lil froggy for other stories.

Here is the photo and my entry for this week.  It came as a poem again…

The Yarnspinners

I look back on it all as though that life
stitched together
by the frailest of yarns
meant something in the long run

the safest I ever felt
was in your arms
nestled deep under the downy comforts
just before sleep
when you told me stories
about love winning

where kisses
and hugs
surrounded our lives.

Ellespeth

When Mysteries Were Exciting – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.    Thanks to PJ for hosting our gathering and to our mysterious photographer.  Please click lil froggy for other stories.

Here is the photo and my entry for this week:

When Mysteries Were Exciting

We sit here again. Each in a downy winged back chair. Just in front of the french windows. Outside lies the village. It is neither large nor small. A facade of walls behind which private moments, such as these, unfold.  The scent of kumquat blossoms drifts into the room.

You: Tell me the story behind your eyes just now.

Me: Mysteries used to be exciting.

It is the noon hour. A bright sun struggles its way into the alley’s curves and blind spots.

You: Was that recently?

Me: Do you mean the mysterious or the exciting?

You: Either.

Me: Oh! That was very long ago.

Ellespeth

When We Were Romantic

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.    Thanks to PJ for hosting our gathering and to Yinglan  for our photo prompt.  Please click lil froggy for other stories.

Here is the photo and my entry for this week:

The Declaration of Independence – Always Worth Another Read

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock, et al.


Ellespeth

Daddy’s Soup – On Father’s Day

Sometimes, when I think about my father, I think about parachutes and wars and all sorts of global and personal battles.

Sometimes, though, I think of his cooking and his phone calls:

Daddy: I’m making meatballs and sketties this Sunday.

Me: We’ll be there.

His meatballs were really mini Italian meat loaves, so who could ever miss such an opportunity?

or

Daddy: I’m making beef barley soup this week-end.

Me: We’ll be there.

The soup was always winter. Nobody simmers a beef barley soup for hours, in New Orleans, during summer. His soup was always so rich and filling. French bread on the side. A salad.  All that pyramid stuff.

I never asked my dad for his soup recipe. So, over the years, I’ve developed my own. Only thing I added was mushrooms – cuz I like them and they are cheaper now than when he was making this soup.

Today,  in honor of my dad,  we made beef/barley/mushroom soup. We listened to Janis Joplin and I smiled at Bobby McGee. My dad loved that song. His nickname – until he died at 80 – was Bobby.

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

Homemade Veggie Broth

Save all your veggie scraps. Put them in baggies or other freezer containers.
We even freeze unused lettuces. Put them all in your freezer. When you have time, simmer them for a couple hours with seasonings you like. No salt. Sometimes I add a bag of frozen veggies. I over cover all the veggies with water – in a deep stock pot. I mean really over cover the veggies with water.   Many inches above the veggies. (Hint: if you keep the skins on the onions you freeze for broth, it gives a wonderful color to the broth)

Then just simmer away one day. Drain off the veggies and discard them. Let the broth cool on counter. Freeze half and put half in fridge for the soup. It would be about 10 cups that you’d save for the soup. Other broth, freeze in containers for rice pilaf or other cooking liquid.

The Soup

1.5 pounds  stew meat – take as much fat off as possible and cut the beef pieces to about an inch each

2 small onions – chopped

5 carrots – chopped rough

Some chopped garlic

1 lb sliced/chopped mushrooms or more (for this particular recipe I use 2 10oz bags of frozen mixed mushrooms)

Rosemary, cayenne pepper, sage to taste.

8 oz barley

quarter cup wild rice or brown rice

10 cups or so of veggie broth  (homemade or from the store – low sodium)

Method:

take as much fat off the meat as you can and cut into inch/half inch or so pieces. put that aside.

chop up your onions and carrots.

put some olive oil or whatever oil in a large pot. heat it up.

add your chopped onions and carrots. cook that down a few minutes – until soft and the onions are sorta clear.

add your meat and seasonings and cook that down until still red but sorta brown on the outside.

then add your broth – about 10 cups – and the mushrooms. Lots of mushrooms. Bring to a boil for 2 mins or so. Bring it way down to a slow simmer for 2 hours or longer if you can.  Stir now and then.  Taste for your preferred seasonings.  Not much salt yet.

Add your barley and rice. Cook 45 mins or so.  Stir often.  It may need more salt at this point but not much.  Add more broth if necessary.

Serve with a little bit of parm cheese sprinkled atop it.

Yum-yum Daddy-o 🙂  We made it tonite in your honor  

Ellespeth

Thoughts At A Fountain – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge. This week’s photo prompt is provided by wildverbs. Thank you wildverbs!

Please  follow lil  froggy for more stories:)

Thoughts At A Fountain

I’m so lost without you. So lost, even, that last night I walked a long while until there was the fountain.

That place where you first kissed me. Where we held hands. Where each water’s drop mixed into a melody of hope and we’d wished upon the reflections of late night stars.

“I’m gonna marry you one day,” you said that long ago summer. You leaned over and kissed my cheek. We held close to each other.

And it all came true.

Except,

now you’ve gone and died on me. How could you go so far off our plan like that?

Ellespeth

How Not To Crochet The Drop Stitch – Flash Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge. This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yarnspinnerr. Thank you Yarnspinnerr!

Please  follow lil  froggy for more stories:)

How Not To Crochet The Drop Stitch

I stood with my brother at the airport’s security gate. His dark brown eyes were locked onto my own. My flight would be loading soon. A very few moments loomed before us.

“I got here as soon as I received your text,” my brother said. “Thank God you are still here!” He embraced me.

“Even I don’t have wings,” I replied. “Must wait, as others, for flight.”

“We don’t know this man you are flying to be with,” said my brother.

“He doesn’t know you either.”

My brother shook his head. He seemed sad. “I’ve just always had this image of you writing poetry and crocheting christening gowns.”

“But I don’t know how to crochet!” I drew my eyes into thin lines and stared my brother down.

“That’s not the point,” he said.

“Oh. Okay. I don’t want to learn how to crochet.”

“You’ll be sorry for this!” my brother shouted as I made my way to the ticket counter.

“But I don’t want to learn how to crochet!” I called back to him.

Ellespeth

The Eccentricities Of Romance – Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge. This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan!

Please follow lil froggy for more stories:)

Here is the photograph and my part fiction/part memoir story:

The Eccentricities Of Romance

Nobody in my family ever really knew Ivy.  One day out of no where Dad,  a widower for seven years, announced he was going to marry some woman he’d met on the internet.  That just didn’t sit well with us.  The internet part.  The sudden part.

Nobody in my family ever really knew Ivy.  And then one day,  decades later,   Dad had died and Ivy had reached a critical point in her ability to care for herself.  We moved her into a care facility.

“I’ve always wondered what attracted you to Dad,”  I said during one of our last visits.

“Those model airplanes he had hanging from the ceiling of his library.  Remember those?” Ivy squeezed my hand.  “I just thought that was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

I shook my head and smiled.  They had always been such an odd pair.  The engineer and the poet.  “You two.”

“I know,”  she agreed.  Her smile lit the space between us.

Nobody in my family ever really knew Ivy,  and that was the shame of it all.

Ellespeth

 

Quonset Under the Kumquat – Fiction

Time again for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  So grateful to PJ for hosting this weekly challenge.  This week’s photo prompt is provided by yarnspinner…thanks for it.

Please follow lil froggy for more stories:)

Here is the photograph and my story:

Quonset Under the Kumquat

As anybody knows by now,  I love Buck more than anyone on this earth.  It’s easy to love him.   In our own ways,  we are both imperfect.

That first summer he moved in with his Aunt – onto our Bayou after his parents died – we fell into something that later turned out to be love.

Right against the pond, on his Aunt’s land, was an old Quonset hut.  It was left over from the war days.  The Navy had plunked them along the river and onto our park lands.

Some sailor had planted a kumquat tree next to the hut.  And that’s where Buck first kissed me.  Just outside that old tin hut when the kumquat  was blooming.

Ellespeth