Living the Dream

As a young girl, I always dreamed of becoming another Lucy Maud, devouring books sometimes three and four on the go at one time. Now, here I am, 50-something, and the dream keeps coming back to me. When Magpie Tales started publishing their prompts, I couldn't resist. My first few attempts were shared with a very select few - and it is thanks to their encouragement that I am emboldened to share with more of the world. Read, enjoy (I hope), critique, and tell me what you think.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Magpie # 20

I missed last week, because I was away on vacation, and just didn’t get time to think of a tale for the prompt.  This week’s prompt caught my imagination right away, and I’ve been mulling this over for 4 days already.  This tale is based on a story a friend told us once.


We sat around the campfire at our annual family trip, laughing, talking, vying for the best story. 

These trips had only begun after our parents were already gone, and our children mostly grown.   Eight of us, so scattered that it had at times been years between visits for some of us, as we all focused on making a living and raising our children.  But now, we wouldn’t miss this for anything.

We gathered for these few precious days each summer, Jimbo, Suz, Fritz, Lindy, Mack, Mo, Biff, and me, Kit, along with our spouses, and sometimes a few of our children, although they were mostly in the phase of busyness that comes with  raising families themselves and often weren’t able to make it.

Spouses and children endured the tales of chores and school teachers, piano lessons and baseball games, toboggan runs and the swimming hole, camping trips, town fairs, 4H, weddings and funerals.  This particular evening the reminiscing had somehow turned to various spats we’d had.

One common memory was Mom’s dish-cloth, that settled most arguments with just a flick of her wrist.  Oh, but she was good at that – getting a bare arm or leg just right with a sting that stopped angry, whiny words immediately.  She always said, ‘You kids get along now, someday you might not have each other around.’

Jimbo and Fritz recalled their fist-fight over a girl – Sandra or something like that, neither could remember her name, but they got into it in the barn, each apparently claiming she liked him best.

Lindy and I both claimed that it was the other one who would never turn out the light at night for wanting to read ‘just one more page’.

We all fought over who got to practice piano last – interesting that now most of us contributed to the music ministry in our churches.

Suz and Lindy both hated to dry dishes, and always managed to waste time trying to decide who should take on that dreaded task when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.

Mack recalled the time Biff was mad at him – neither knew why any longer – and Biff picked up a handful of peas to ‘pass’ and threw them down the table.  The food fight that ensued was one of the best (Mom and Dad weren’t home that evening).

The laughter had just died down after that story, and we were all just gazing into the fire, when Mo’s voice broke into our thoughts.  Quiet, mousey, little Mo, twin to Mack, third youngest, most often found with her nose in a book, usually got kind of lost in the boisterous shuffle of our large family.  What she said really startled us, as much because she said it, as for what she said.

‘I don’t know why you all bothered to fight so much.  Whenever I was mad at one, or all, of you, I’d simply go to the bathroom and swish your toothbrush in the toilet.’


Go to Magpie Tales for more stories and poems.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Art takes on many forms

Willow at Magpie Tales has come up with another unique prompt:

Here’s my contribution – be sure to visit her site to see the many other wonderful stories and poems.

My sister agreed to model.  I gathered all my tools and bought a chunk of clay.  I booked the wheel at the community arts center.  There – all set to try my hand at sculpting.

I’d been taking pottery classes for a few months, and really enjoyed getting my hands dirty in the clay, molding and shaping bowls, cups, vases while the wheel spun around.  My work had been gradually improving until some of my pieces I’d decided could be nice enough for little Christmas gifts.

Last week, the instructor suggested I combine pottery wheel work with some artistic sculpting.  So today was the day.

With my sister relaxing in a chair, the light just right, clay on its platform, water bucket at my side, I put my foot on the pedal to start the wheel turning.  Gradually the clay took on the form of shoulders, neck, head.  When I thought it was the perfect oval ‘balloon’, I stopped the wheel, slid the spatula underneath the form and transferred it to the sculpting table – and began to whittle away.  Hair, eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, mouth, chin – my sister’s only request was that I omit the wrinkles.  Slowly her face took shape, and then it was time to put it in the kiln.  I was quite pleased with the end result, but refused to show it to my sister – I wanted her to see the final finished product.

We went out for coffee while waiting for the firing to finish.  We always have such good times together, giggling about past teenage escapades, laughing at the antics of our children, poking fun at husbands, often playing silly jokes on each other.  We’re alike in so many ways, with lots of interests in common, but where I like to make things – sewing, crafting, cooking – my sister is a doer and her artistic talent runs to dancing, singing, local theatre.  We completely support each other, with me attending her productions, and she’s always ready to taste my latest culinary efforts, or model for me like she did today.

When we got back to the arts center, the attendant said we were just in time, the kiln was cool enough to pull out my sculpture, and went to get it for us.  I knew what it looked like, so I watched my sister’s face, anticipating her beaming smile and nod of approval when she got her first glimpse of my masterpiece.

Her look of horror and dismay, eyes bulging and jaw dropped, caused me to whirl around to face the attendant holding the finished piece.  Several thoughts passed through my head all at once – explosion, sabotage, misfiring, meltdown, maybe I thought I was too good. 

But it was perfect, the sculpture really did look like her: elegant, timeless beauty that she is. 

‘Gotcha!!’   And my sister laughed all the way home.