#Flash4Storms | My First [And Perhaps Last] 50-Word Flash Fiction Story

… and now for something completely different.

Sarah Brentyn at the blog, Lemon Shark, is hosting a flash fiction challenge to raise funds for hurricane victims. Read more about the specifics of the challenge here: Flash Fiction Prompt for Hurricane Relief #Flash4Storms.

I’ve never written flash fiction before, however Allie P. did this challenge here on her blog, Allie Potts Writesand she’s one of the cool kids, so I’m following her lead. Thus I give you my first [and perhaps last] 50-word flash fiction story.

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The knock at the door was soft, but the weeping was loud. Mirabelle asked: “have you seen my mommy?”

Wanting to help, the neighbor called around, learning that her mommy had forgotten kindergarten dismissed early today.

Meanwhile Mirabelle waited, sitting on the sofa, shredding her tissue, forlorn, and plotting revenge.

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Be The Light: Of Hurricanes & Happy Hellos

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INTRODUCTION

As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of September, I’ve a news story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

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THE NEWS STORY

Earlier this month when Hurricane Irma made landfall in the USA, Key West was hard hit.  After the hurricane moved farther north, for those people who didn’t evacuate Key West, there was no running water, no electric power– and no cell phone service.

One of the people who didn’t evacuate was Buco, a mechanic at The Green Parrot, a famous bar and Key West icon.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, Buco figured out that the closed restaurant next door had a landline connection that was still working.  Using an old hand set, Buco was able to get a landline telephone working and accessible to people at the side door of The Green Parrot.

The bar then allowed anyone to make a free two-minute call using the phone so that the residents still in Key West could assure their friends and family that they were ok.

[Full story here: A Key West Dive Bar Closed For The Hurricane, But Let 500 People In To Phone Loved Ones]

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MY COMMENTARY

Overlooking the fact that what Buco did, pirating a phone line, is technically illegal, this story is a feel good one in which human ingenuity and kindness comes together to help everyone.

I especially liked Buco’s observation about the people who stood in line to use the phone.  He said: “it’s always their mother’s number that they remember.”

While The Green Parrot [“a sunny place for shady people”] is famous in and of itself, the latest mention of it in the news, under the circumstances, makes me smile about the bar and the people who work there.

[Click here to view Bar Cam].

I can’t help thinking… road trip, anyone?  ‘Cause I know a place I’d like to visit. 🍻

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{ photo images via Pixabay |1||2| }

Of Black Coffee, Morning Clouds, and Self-Expression

EARLY THE OTHER MORNING about 6:00 a.m. the clouds floating over our house were so pretty that I decided to sit on the deck, drink my mug of black coffee, and photograph the clouds as they drifted overhead.

AS I WATCHED CLOUDS morph into one shape after another, I remembered a recent interview I’d heard with Carly Simon.  She was on Here’s The Thing podcast with Alec Baldwin.  [Interview here.]

WHENEVER I THINK OF Carly Simon I think of the lyrics to You’re So Vain, specifically: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, Clouds in my coffee.”  It seemed like the perfect thought for where I was sitting, what I was drinking while musing on clouds.

I HAD ENJOYED LISTENING to the podcast as Carly explained her life, her music, her memoir. Her conclusions.  My impression was that she sees her past clearly, with a wit and wisdom that made me appreciate her struggles. And her triumphs.

AS I WATCHED THE CLOUDS, reflecting on what Carly Simon had said, I began to wonder about my own abilities to understand and describe myself to others.  Would I ever be able to explain my past, either in verbal or written form, as eloquently and truthfully as she had explained hers?

NOT THAT I HAVE an overwhelming desire to tell all to everyone, but should I feel the need to do so for some reason, would I be able to do it?  Would you?

Seeing The Sights, Doing The Things In Georgia And South Carolina

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Statue of cute cherubs playing music, presumably happy, in Middleton Place Plantation garden.

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“There’s no rush.”

I can think of no better words to describe a fun vacation.  Not that we didn’t do anything while in Georgia and South Carolina.  We did lots, but we did it at our own pace, in our own way.

This was unusual for us because our vacations in the last decade or so have revolved around other people or business obligations or complicated air travel.

But this time, my gentle readers, Zen-Den and I were totally on our own to do what we wanted to do.

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We flew into Atlanta, rented a car, then drove to Savannah, GA, where we stayed for a few nights.  Located on the Atlantic Ocean, Savannah is a charming town made famous by the book and movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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The lovely, inviting beach on Tybee Island.

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As we remembered from being in Savannah years ago, the people who we met were helpful + polite, the nearby beach on Tybee Island was clean + beautiful, and the vibe, everywhere, was mellow.  I loved it all.

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Fancy walkway over a shallow swamp on Hilton Head Island.

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After Savannah, we drove north to Charleston, SC, stopping on Hilton Head Island, SC, for lunch.  Hilton Head has a smooth, upscale, planned feel to it.  Fun to visit, we’ve been there before, but it never calls to me like it does to so many people who live around me here in Ohio, who adore it there in South Carolina.

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Beautifully maintained brick homes in the French Quarter of Charleston.

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In Charleston, SC, we stayed in a hotel in the downtown historic district.  If you like to walk then this is a convenient way to be close to hundreds of restaurants + bars + shops.  My impression of this part of Charleston was that it was almost perfectly Disney-esque, but with panhandlers and uneven walking surfaces.  Looked gorgeous, but watch your step.

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Serene view of wood pilings and the river seen while sitting in Charleston’s Waterfront Park.

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While we were in the Charleston area we went to a fort, a museum, an island, a park.  We ate seafood, drank iced tea, and looked at architecture– everywhere.  The weather was sunny and the people were, as reported, friendly.

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A cute sail boat, seemingly with nowhere to go, floating along the shore of Sullivan Island.

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After Charleston we drove back to Atlanta, GA, for a day.  Because the weather had turned cold and wet, we wanted to be inside so we went to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum.  It was fascinating, informative, well-organized, and pleasant to wander through.

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And on that note, we left Atlanta the next day returning home on an easy mid-morning flight that was a little over an hour long.  

A flight on which we both were pre-approved by the TSA, meaning that, for once in my life, there was no fuss + no problems involved with air travel.

Imagine that, if you can.

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An alligator swimming away from me in a pond at Middleton Place Plantation garden, lending credence to the saying: “see you later, alligator.”

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Share Your World | Tulips A-Go-Go

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  

• Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes, *sigh* back when I was a crazy, younger, athletically inclined woman who followed the crowd, I was a cyclist.  I did lots of 30+ mile bike rides for charities, and even once went so far as to go on a Backroads bike tour vacation.

This adventure in hell vacation started in New Bern, NC, and involved days of bike riding on dodgy, bermless country roads, littered with dead snakes and frogs.  Roads, filled with 18-wheeler lumber trucks zipping past us, spewing bits of pine bark and needles as they went by.  It was scary.

Throughout the tour we were on a strict time schedule to get to ferry-boats to go island to island along the NC Outer Banks, with the goal of getting to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, this did not happen because a huge storm, the aftermath of a hurricane, disrupted the ferry service to Cape Hatteras.  Meaning that our last ferry-boat was abruptly cancelled, leaving us stuck one island short of Cape Hatteras, on Ocracoke Island.  In a dumpy motel.

So with torrential rain falling and nowhere to go, we abandoned the pretense of cycling, made note of Ocracoke’s famous ponies, and drank excessively in the one bar that was open while it stormed, all the while lamenting that we were never going to get to Cape Hatteras.

Which *sigh* was the whole point of the bike tour.

• Name one thing not many people know about you.

I will not wear the color orange, so keep all your sports fan gear away from me.

• What is your favorite flower?

Tulips. Graceful and colorful, with no excessive leaves to muddle up their lines or draw attention away from their colorful petals.

• Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

While it’s true that I like things, and that if my life had gone in a different direction I might have become an interior designer, I feel that for me to list all the things that I want to have in my home would take hours.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the following quote by William Morris that summarizes how I’m learning to evaluate the things in my home: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the cats featured in the YouTube video below.  They make me smile.  I’m beyond impressed by their focus and skill– and that any human being was able to get them to do what they’re doing.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to Zen-Den listening to S•Town podcast so that he and I can discuss it.  At length.  Produced by Serial and This American Life, S•Town is the most compelling investigative-journalistic-true-crime-ish story I’ve heard [or read] in years.  Think Southern Gothic genre.  The language is coarse.  The topics are mature.  And the story is so good… in a bad way.  Highly recommended.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Share Your World | Hail, Hail, Spring Is Here

This is a photo of hail, pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds, as seen on our deck. There is nothing inspiring about hail, yet there it is.  Hello, spring.

Spring is here and I’m ready for a change of pace vis-à-vis blogging.  

So starting today and in the coming weeks instead of me dreaming up something to write about here, I’m going to do Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge wherein I’ll answer her questions on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week.

I may post a few other things along the way, but for the most part I’m going to see where Cee’s questions take me.  ‘Cuz, you know, why not?  

And now, onto the main event…

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• How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

It depends on the time of day.  If it’s morning, say 9:00 a.m. when I’m caffeinated and alert, then I’m 35 years old.  However after a normal day, by 9:00 p.m. in the evening, I’m 85 years old.  This means, quite logically, that I age a little over 4 years every hour of the day.

• So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I know where my umbrella is.  It’s red and in the backseat of my car.  No one except me may use my red umbrella without written authorized consent, submitted in triplicate 24 hours before the proposed using of my umbrella.

I wasn’t always so selfish with my umbrella, but *true confessions* I married an umbrella thief + hoarder whose behavior has led me to institute a strict protocol about all umbrellas, use of said.

• Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

To recharge I need quiet time alone, about 2 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.  Unless it’s Christmas-time, then it’s 3 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.

• Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend have in common.

Zen-Den and I: 1) look good wearing the color blue;  2) prefer mustard potato salad;  and 3) enjoy Ruth Galloway mysteries written by Elly Griffiths.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Olly, the doggo featured in the YouTube video below.  His energy combined with his disregard for the rules made me laugh more than I can tell you.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to the yet-to-be planted pansies, sitting inside our garage.  IF there’s no frost, THEN I’ll plant them in pretty pots, and place the pansified pots by the front door and on the deck, adding some color around the outside of the house.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Phooey, Piffle, and Pshaw: Gray Days Return & I Am Tired

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

~ Cicero

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Phooey!  I’m working on being grateful now, but after last week’s unexpected clear blue skies, this week’s return to dreary gray skies with snow has been difficult.

Piffle!  Then add the lost hour of sleep [I’m looking at you, Daylight Savings Time] and I’m not feeling my usual writing mojo OR joie de vivre OR any other flapdoodle-y & twaddle-ish way of using words to indicate joy and productivity.

Pshaw!  So instead of stressing myself to find something to write about that is actually interesting and fresh, I’ll just share some photos– and attempt to remember that I am grateful for this change in weather because the more the wet now, the prettier the flowers then.

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In case you care, I looked up the meanings of the exclamatory words I used above.  They are defined as follows:

phooey = disbelief

piffle = nonsense

pshaw = contempt

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