Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

For those of you following NaNoWriMo, according to the calendar, today marked 10,000 words, if you have written every day at 1,667 words.  I’m happy to report that I’m actually at 10,171 words this evening.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue or not, because the story, at least as far as I can see at this point, is unfolding quite nicely.  Stevie and Lee have had their first kiss and people seem to be vanishing without a trace and leaving their belongings behind at the camp.  Two characters I never thought would play a vital role have come to the forefront. They have this chemistry with each other  that makes me laugh and endears me to them.  I hope you’ll like them, too.

I had a very interesting question today.  A close friend of mine said, “Lee is going to die, isn’t she?”

I replied, “I don’t know.”

She huffed and exclaimed, “I need to know!”
I exclaimed right back, wide eyed, “Me, too!”

It’s true, I don’t always know what happens next.  Ultimately, I have control where the story goes, but in the end, the characters control the outcome just as much as I do.  Do I control the characters?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

I don’t really think I do.  I just picture them in my head, they take on a life of their own and tell me what they will do.  Based on that, the story unfolds.

So what happens in the next 10,000 words?

I don’t know.

But I can’t wait to find out! How about you?

Stevie Excerpt 3

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11022013 193Yes, today is release day for my collaborative book with Troy Lambert.  I am excited to realize my dream of becoming an author.

I know we all say that if we write, we are writers, and this is true.  I know that’s what helped me keep moving forward, exactly what Kristen Lamb keeps saying.  We Are Not Alone.  We are writers.

But…

There is something about seeing your name on a cover.

There is something magical about going to Amazon, searching for your name, and seeing this:

This Is What It Looks Like

This Is What It Looks Like

It’s amazing.  It’s Magical.  It’s scary as hell.  Because now the responsibility kicks in.  I’m an author.  I have published a book and I plan on publishing a lot more!  And that’s scary.  All the what if’s come to play.

That’s why I posted that picture of my mother and my brother above.  My mother died of lung cancer a couple of years ago.  It took my life into a tailspin that only in the last year, I’ve been able to recover from.  But that’s another story.

I posted the picture of my brother and mother to remind me that life is short.  Happiness is fleeting.  But Joy, deep and lasting, soul filling joy can be found.  You just have to believe.  And trust me, sometimes it’s damned hard to do.

I dedicated this book to my brother, because, well, he deserved it.  He has been my best friend since I can remember.  He and I shared secrets and tears and everything I would imagine a best friend does.  He is my “Bud”.  And for the record, again, I really did NOT try to kill him while we were growing up.  It may have seemed that way, but, most of the time, I was right there with him, cheering on his courage (or naivete) to try the stories and adventures I came up with.  He is the strongest, most amazing man I’ve ever met.  We raised each other right.

 

SO, here are the links to my first book.  I look forward to hearing from you and I’m glad you’re coming with me on this journey.  We Are Not Alone.

And where we are going… that’s a VERY good thing.

Welcome to Ridge Falls.

It’s already too late.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MPWXXGO

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/467228

Please feel free to comment and share this post.  I would actually love to hear from you and gain new friends.

You all take care now,

M.

 

Discovering your Mission Statement

Discovering your Mission Statement

Do you remember in second grade when the teacher would ask you to draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up? I know I’m going back to childhood on some ideas. The reason I do this is because when we were children, we had this amazing ability to see everything as reachable and attainable.

I remember drawing a picture of an alien. Because, I knew that aliens traveled the universe and saw these amazing things. An astronaut just wasn’t enough. I wanted to be able to breathe another atmosphere without a helmet. I wanted to experience things that were normal to a human with an alien’s eye.

So I drew an alien.

My teacher smiled politely and gave my work an “A”.

It was the best day of my life up till then.

Then I grew up and as a grown up, learned to put away my childish dreams and face reality.

Cue the music....

Cue the music….

Your Mission Statement, should you accept…

Your business plan mission statement is the dream that you started with when you first decided to go on this path. It is a sentence. Just one, that says exactly what you want to do with your small business life when you grow up.

Your mission is your second grade drawing. It’s why you decided to do this.

For me, it’s why I decided to write. I want to help people.

To help others by writing stories that allow people to feel when they read them.

There isn’t enough feeling in this world any more. There is plenty of passion, but no one feels.

Because it means accepting where you are in this very moment and FEELING through it.

Sometimes it hurts so much you want to curl into a tiny ball of hedgehog and disappear  under a mass of prickly spines.

Sometimes it is so good your body can’t contain the joy and you swear the rays are going to pierce out of your skin and spray the world with light.

Sometimes it is so fearful that you are sure your heart is going to burst out of your chest and run ahead of you screaming like a banshee.

Passion doesn’t encompass those kind of emotions. But Feeling does.

That’s why I chose the word for my mission.

Here is a different one for you.  The Mission Statement for my small business coaching is this:

To assist small business owners in realizing the potential of their dreams and help them achieve it by giving them the tools and inspiration to succeed.

Now it’s your turn. I’ll leave a space for you below to picture it and you can put it in the comments.

My Mission Statement is:

 

 

 

 

 

There is the space, fill it up with tbe drawing of what your business is going to be when it grows up. Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid. If you are worried that your statement isn’t good enough, talk to you business friend. If you have no one to bounce it off of, contact me. I’ll help in a post. No names of course. And if you want to retain my services, well, then, lets talk.

Tomorrow should see me on track with the A to Z Challenge now. The letter is “E”. Wanna guess what it’s going to be?

Have a great day/night, my friends.

M.

When I grow up....

When I grow up….

A to Z ChallangeWhen I first made my blog II titled my blog “Don’t Open That Door….” with a sub line “See now you did it.” At the time, I thought it was a great way to convey the horror/mystery genre of writing that I am doing. Then I realized something, It also had to do with exploring my own inner self, too. I’ve been on this journey for about six months seriously and a lifetime, truthfully. The journey to accept my introversion in a world that didn’t celebrate it. From Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins, the idea of extroversion is great and the only way to be has been around for a very long time. I never fit into it. But I was taught that there was something wrong with me if I didn’t fit in, so I better make myself fit in. Sort of like coming out, in a way, the process has been long and, at times, tortuous.

I am an introvert, but I love change. I thrive on new challenges and if I can’t get new challenges in my life, then I get bored. When I get bored, bad things happen. In the past, boredom caused me to drink and do drugs, almost to excess, but then I was given a challenge that totally consumed my time and I didn’t need those crutches anymore. More challenges came, I overcame them, excelled at them, mastered them as far as I wanted, then got bored…and well, you get the picture.

Some people called it looking for greener grass. I called it keeping me sane. Monotony drives me completely, utterly, and destructively insane.

Then came the chance to write. To explore new territories and challenge my resources and abilities every single time. Every. Single. Time.

After over 40 years of searching for that one thing that would keep me occupied and not bored, and therefore not self destructive. I’d found it and at the same time, I realized something. Being an author, just like every other thing I tried, is a business. It’s a small business.

That’s what I’m going to blog about (mostly) in April. Introverts guide to small business according to Marlie Harris. There might be some other posts sprinkled in, but that’s my main focus. So wish me luck!

Living on a ranch when you are a preteen can be exciting some days, but most days are boring. There is plenty to do, however, most of it seems like work for a kid. Such as raking leaves from the lawn, doing dishes, playing in a corral for the millionth time. Yes, things that seem exciting at first, can take on a patina of boredom pretty quickly. Take for example, the day my brother and I were in the loft of the main barn.7630265-cartoon-red-barn It was a huge, red barn with white trim just like those pictures you see in magazines. The lower part was filled with riding tack, hay, and various currently used ranch equipment and tools. But the loft, now the loft was enormous and while it was built to hold bales of straw and alfalfa, it was actually full of antique wagons and buggies. These were all located around the outside walls of the loft, while it’s middle was clear and clutter-free. It smelled of musty leather and rusty metal.

And on this Saturday, the main doors were thrown wide so the sun streamed in with a brilliant glowing radiance. Dust particles danced in the light like fairies at a summer solstice. The peak of the interior roof was probably fifteen feet above us. Along the main central framework was a rail that ran the length of the barn and out from the open doors about six feet. On this rail was a block and tackle rig that held a thick rope. The rope and rig were used to lift the bales of hay from the ground up into the loft area for stacking, although we estimated it hadn’t been used that way in a very long time.

BnT pulleyMy brother and I were exploring the wagons when I came up with a very brilliant idea. If we tied the ends of the rope together we could create a sort of swing. And, if we took turns sitting in it, we could push each other the length of the barn and pretend we were Tarzan, swinging from vines.

“What a grand idea!” We both exclaimed.

“Let us do this thing right now!” We chattered gleefully.

The first hurdle we came upon was the rope itself. It was so thick and stiff it was difficult to tie into a knot.

The second hurdle was when we finally got the knot tied to our satisfaction, its curved swing was too high off the ground to be able to sit.

I was an industrious child, however, and wouldn’t let something like these small details deter us from having an adventure. The knot was big enough and hung just low enough you could link your fingers together over it, lift your legs and be pushed through the barn. I felt like a genius and a grand adventurer as we took turns swinging on the rope, back and forth, back and forth … back and forth.

It took no more than twenty minutes of swinging before my brother was complaining that his arms hurt, this was boring, why did he have to push me when I was so much older… blah, blah, blah.

We took a break, I looked up at the back wall of the barn, and inspiration captured me once more. Halfway up that wall was a ledge, probably no more than two feet by two feet square. A wooden ladder was bolted to the wall and it reached up to the ledge. I had no clue why it was there, but an idea had formed. An adventure awaited and I would show my brother a wonderful, thrilling experience.

I turned to him as he squatted down, picking wooden splinters from a furry piece of wood he’d found.

“Bradley P., how would you like to be the first person to fly in a barn?” I looked at him intently, gauging his excitement. So far, he wasn’t very excited. His mussy blond hair partially covered his eyes and he absently brushed it out of the way as he looked up at me.

“I guess so, Belly.” His enthusiasm was so lacking, I almost felt the air suck away and out the barn door.Tarzan-Filmation

“Bud, honest, I think we can make you fly. Just listen to me, okay?”

I proceeded to explain in detail, using my hands, voice, and lots of gestures. I pointed to the rope, to the ledge, to the open barn doors on the opposite side of the wall. Recognition and understanding began to dawn in his eyes and on his face. He stood and walked to the rope, reaching above himself and clasping his hands together. He looked at me, disappointment shadowing his face.

“I don’t think there is enough clearance for my feet. I don’t think I can hold them up for that long.”

He was probably right. I gazed back and forth between the rope and the ledge for a moment. Then the answer came like a freight train screaming along a track.

“I have an idea!”

I grabbed the rope from him and pulled it with me as I walked to the ladder and climbed up three steps. I stopped and crooked my arm through the rung and began re-tying the rope farther up itself. This was easier because there was more rope to use, but it was also harder because I had to hold myself up there and tie at the same time.

It’s amazing what a person can do when they are determined, especially a young person.

I tied it as tightly as I could and held it while my brother climbed up beside me, then past me, took the rope and continued to the ledge. I climbed down and stood at the bottom, trying to calculate in my head where my brother would most likely reach the bottom of the arc he would be making as he swung down from the ledge.

“I will run with you to the end of the barn and catch you before you go out the door, okay, Bud?”

I faintly heard a small voice say, “Okay.”

I put my hands on my hips and yelled, “Go for it, Bud!”

I waited.

And I waited.

It seemed as if my brother was going to chicken out. I started to walk toward the ladder, to help him down and that’s when it happened.

He fell off the ledge.

My heart seemed to stop and climb into my throat as I watched his tiny body hurtle down from the ledge. Here was my brother free falling through the air toward the floor of the barn.

Then I realized he hadn’t fallen, he had jumped and he was holding onto the rope.

He was doing it. He was actually flying in the barn.

I was ecstatic. My idea had worked!

My envy was overwhelming. I wished I had been brave enough to go first. Well, by gosh, I was gonna go next, that was for sure.

My brother reached the bottom of his arc and swung out and I realized a couple of things in that instant.

One, he was going a heck of a lot faster than I had figured.

Two, his feet were about two feet from the floor of the loft.

And then he swung past me. My clothes and hair fluttered at his passing.

Oh crap, I knew I would have to catch up to him and get him before he got to the door.

Oh.

Crap.

I started sprinting after him. I realized two more things as we passed the halfway mark on the barn.

One, he was going too fast for me to catch him and therefore…

Two, he was going to fly outside the barn doors.

Now, my heart raced, my lungs filled with air as I put on a burst of speed and closed the gap between us, reaching frantically for his feet.

I didn’t make it.

I slid to a stop just as he swung out into the sunshine, the block and tackle rig following it’s rail the full six feet to the end. There it stopped. It stopped quickly and completely.

My brother, however, did not stop swinging. He continued to swing out, out, and finally up and up, until he was past the horizontal mark of the rail by about three feet. Then he hung there for what seemed like eternity.

I stood helpless and gasping. My little brother had turned during the swing across the barn and was facing me now. I could see his eyes so big and huge and hazel. His mouth open in a rictus of silent scream. His knuckles white as they clenched the rope in a death grip. His pleading face saying everything he couldn’t actually say. Help me.

My stomach clenched and time seemed to stand still. I tried to think of anything and everything to save him. My mind was numb and churning. I was going to kill my brother. I had killed my brother. I was in so much trouble.

Then time started again and he started his swing back.

He was coming back!

I wasn’t going to lose my brother. I could save him.

I opened my arms and took a wide stance. I was ready to grab him as he swung inside and toward me. His legs and feet hit my belly and chest with a solid thump. The wind whooshed out of me, but I wrapped my arms tightly around him. I grimaced at the pain, however, I was determined to hold on, bracing my feet against the floor.

I slid.

And I slid and I slid. I imagined Superman braced against a runaway train, sliding against the momentum.Supermantrain

Yes, I do imagine like that.

We finally came to rest in the middle of the barn. My brother hanging from a thickly tied rope and me, hanging from his legs, both our eyes squinted shut.

I opened mine first and looked up at him. His face was squinted shut and so were his eyes. If you can ever describe a face as squinting shut, it was my brother’s. The silence was only broken by an occasional bug buzzing lazily.

I stood up and gently took hold of his pant leg.

“Hey, Bud, you can let go now. We stopped.” I shook his leg lightly to let him know it was okay. He didn’t move.

As a matter of fact, it took me at least ten minutes to get him to open his eyes. Then it took another ten to convince him to unclench his hands, drop into my arms and then slide to the ground.

We sat there on the floor of the loft, not speaking, watching the dust motes dance in the sunlight. He was massaging his hands to get the circulation back into them and I was thinking. I was thinking of all the “what ifs” that could have happened and I could have lost my brother.

But they didn’t happen.

I stood up and took out my pocket watch to look at the time. It was almost time for dinner.

“Hey, Bud, we gotta go back home. I don’t think we should tell mom about this.” I put my watch back in front pocket of my jeans and reached down to help my brother up.

“Yeah,” He said softly, “I don’t think she would understand anyway.”

We walked to the stairs and started down to the ground level. My brother was in front and he suddenly stopped and looked up at me, a question in his eyes. I raised my eyebrows.

“Do you think we could slide off the roof of this barn? I saw a stack of hay on the side when I was out at the end of the rope.” His hazel eyes looked at me with a different kind of pleading now.

“Sure, Bud, let’s take a look tomorrow. I think there’s a story about that.”

DonotenterThe one thing you should never say to a child, “Don’t do (whatever you don’t want them to do).” The first time my mother said those words, we were living in Fallon, Nevada on Mesquite Lane.

On this sunny, summer day in mid June, my mom said to my brother and I, “Don’t go out into the desert at the end of the lane. There are mines out there you could fall into and we would never find you.”

What we heard was, “There are mines out there.” Mines with gold in them. Mines with amazing jewels. Mines with Pirate’s treasure like on TV. That’s all we heard.

“There are mines out there.”

The call of adventure was just too much to turn away. My brother, Brad, and I decided…

— okay, let me pause here and say, to be honest, my brother never really decided anything. He would agree with pretty much any hair-brained idea I could come up with. —

…that a fast jaunt out into the desert with our bikes wouldn’t be a bad thing. And, I reasoned, we could be back in plenty of time so that no one would know we were gone. The story we told Grandma was we were going down to the twins’ house to play for awhile.

The first problem was, we neglected to tell the twins we were pretending to be at their house.  The second problems was we also neglected to tell them where we were headed.

THE ADVENTURE

Because of this, no one knew we had gone to the end of Mesquite Lane and out into the desert, with its grease wood, sagebrush, scorpions, and lizards. Where the mystery of the mines waited for two industrious kids to find the millions in gold doubloons hidden out there.

I was a very imaginative child. I lived in the stories of my mind. The bubbles that floated inside my mind were half formed and not as rich in texture as they would later be. However, they were still just as vibrant as a nine year old girl could imagine. I was an avid reader since the age of three. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Dr. Seuss started me out, then the Berenstain Bears, but it was the Hardy Boys who captured my adventurous spirit.

We rode our bikes to the end of the gravel road and then past it. The line was crossed between the real world and my imagination. There was no going back now. The late morning sun beat down and warmed the sand to a temperature that would blister a bare foot. Summers were easily in the high nineties by June and mid one hundreds by July and into August. It was normal to have a day that the temperature would reach one hundred and fifteen degrees by two in the afternoon. The heat waves were stifling and the sand was scalding. Living in the desert, we learned not to go outside without a light colored long sleeved shirt on. The shirt would protect us from the suns rays. Water was scarce. It was a desert after all. But we learned to live in it. We always carried water.

My grandfather had given us an old, metal, boy scout canteen encased in a canvas BS Canteencover. If you got the canvas wet, put it in the refrigerator overnight, the next day, it would keep your water cool as long as you left it in your pack away from the direct sunlight. It was a faded army green color and I imagined that we were army soldiers. We were trudging toward the battlefield, with sticks of grease wood for rifles. I said as much to my brother. He looked at me with big, wide, hazel eyes, “What kind of battle are we going into, Belly?” Yes, he called me Belly. That’s another blog post in itself.

“We are in World War Two in the desert in France. The Nazi’s have invaded. Our unit is under attack and we have to save them. The battle is just over that little rise. Can you hear the gun fire?” I pointed toward the little bump that seemed far away in the desert, hoping it wasn’t a mirage. He nodded, his small seven year old hands gripped his rifle tighter.

“Our soldiers we are pinned down over there. We have to find them and help them. But first, we have to look for the mine where we hid guns and ammo out here last year.” I squinted my eyes, feeling the sweat trickle down my cheek, and scanned the horizon. There was no way I was going to tell my little tattle tale brother about the bags of Spanish gold doubloons I imagined lay out there in a mine. He would go tell every kid and adult he could find. No, I would keep it secret and be the great adventurer who found it. My name would be in the Stillwater Gazette.

“Lets go, soldier.”

We started out again, walking with our bikes because the sand was too deep to ride them. Within minutes, Brad started complaining, “I’m tired. Why is it so far out there?” His tanned face was squinted up in an ugly whining mask. “I’m thirsty. Can’t we stop for a drink?”

I sighed and kept walking, not bothering to answer. He wouldn’t be satisfied with what I said anyway. The grit settled into the creases of my face. It felt grainy, but also made me feel like I was a real soldier. Just like one of the Magnificent Seven.

It seemed like hours, but, finally, we reached the small hill and trudged to the top. There we stopped in wonder. Both of us put our hands above our eyes to shade them from any mirages. This was better than any mine, or battle, or anything I could come up with. I grinned and looked at my brother.

“Do you believe this?” I asked in excitement.

“No way!” His smile crinkled his face and the muddy sand cracked around his mouth.

Before us in a small bowl-like structure. It was the biggest, best, motorcycle track we had ever seen. It had hills and bumps and hard pan. We could play for hours on this. It was a bicycle rider’s heaven. This was so much more fun than a mine. We had found a playground in the desert.

We raced each other down the hill with our bikes. This was a kids nirvana and we played for hours, although it only seemed like minutes to us.  Not only did we save battalions of Army Soldiers, we won Grand Pris motorcycle races against impossible odds.  We jumped the Grand Canyon like Evil Knievel.  We were heroes for that gorgeously hot day.

THE AFTERMATH

The sudden chill in the air alerted me that evening was upon us. I looked up and it seemed as if the sun was setting much faster than I realized. The pink, orange, and deepening blue of the sun set was beautiful, but ominous. We were out in the desert, needed to get home and get home fast. I barked out, “Bud, we have to leave, now!” He looked up at the sky and without another word we both started running with our bikes toward home.

I didn’t know exactly what time it was, but it was probably close to ten p.m. That meant, we had missed dinner. Oh this was bad. My stomach growled and cramped, not in hunger, but in fear. There was no getting around the fact that we would be in trouble. We were much later than we should have been.

The trek home seemed to take a long It was full dark by the time we walked our bikes into the dirt parking lot outside my grandparents’ house.

My heart started beating faster when I saw that there was a police cruiser sitting there. Every light in the house was blazing. The porch screen door was open. This was definitely not good at all. I looked at my brother standing next to me, his bike leaned against him, his arms down, resting his hands on the banana seat of his bike. He face was ghost white in the pale illumination from the house. He looked so small and fragile in his fear. I felt guilty. The kind of guilt that you have as the oldest child. The one who always gets us in trouble and has to find a way to get us out. Only this time we both knew there wasn’t any way to get us out of this one. We were late, the cops had been called. We were in it deep.

I took a deep breath, walked my bike over and leaned it against the chain link fence. My brother did the same. I went first up the steps. I was the oldest after all.

What happened was a blur of adult activity. Questions were lobbed at us like hand grenades. So fast, direct, and explosive that we couldn’t answer them. So I just stood there, nodding occasionally, looking as scared as I felt.

Mom said quietly controlled, “Where the hell have you been?”

“We were out in the desert at this track…”

“Don’t you lie to me, young lady. You were out looking for those stupid mines I told you not to go after.”

I hung my head, “No, we found a motorcycle track…”

“Stop it! You know what happens when you lie. Dad, please talk to her. I’m so mad I can’t think.”

Grandpa – “Punkin’, you know you scared the hell out of all of us, don’t you?”

I nodded.

“You could have killed your brother. Do you want that?”

“No, sir.”

“I used to make your mother go get her own switch when I had to spank her, but we don’t have switches out here. I am going to have to use a belt.”

I cringe inside. “Yes, sir.”

My brother starts to cry softly.

Mom interjects, “See what you’ve made your brother do? He’s crying because of you.”

I look at him and then look up at my grandfather, feeling the responsibility completely. “Don’t whip him, Grandpa. I was the one who made us go out there. I wanted to see the mines and find the gold.”

Grandpa sighed, shaking his head, “There ain’t no gold out there, Punkin’. They would’ve found it by now. There’s just holes in the ground. You can’t even see ‘em until you walk right into ‘em. And they’re so deep that no one would ever find you or your brother. I don’t want to do this, but I have to teach you a lesson. You’ll get a spankin’ in the morning, before breakfast.”

My back end started hurting as I imagined what was going to happen. I wouldn’t cry though. I never cried. Hot tears burned in my eyes. I blinked rapidly, still looking at the linoleum floor. “Yes, sir.”

“Now take yourself and your brother to bed. I have to talk to Gary.” The officer took a step closer and stood straighter.

“Mr. Blakney, it looks like it’s all okay. I don’t have to make a report if you don’t want me to.” Officer Gary was mom’s friend. He was a boy friend. She sometimes spent the night with him. He owned a police dog so we couldn’t go see him, because his dog was mean. In 1979 he was shot in the face by a bank robber he had pulled over for speeding in Carson City. He didn’t know the guy had just robbed a bank. I heard they had to put down his dog because no one could control it. Mom went to his funeral. I never saw her cry though.

That night was sleepless and scary. I had heard stories of my grandfather whipping my mom. He wasn’t exactly easy on the task.

THE SPANKING

When morning came, I got dressed. My brother came in with a stack of his underwear, “If you put on a bunch of mine, maybe it won’t hurt so bad.”

I seriously considered it, until I realized that number one, his wouldn’t fit me and number two, grandpa would know. Parents always knew. “Thanks, Bud. But I will just get it over with.”

His hazel eyes filled with tears. “I don’t want you to get a whippin’. We were just playin’. Nothing bad happened!”

I awkwardly patted his shoulder, “It’s okay, Bud. It’ll be okay. When I’m done, we’ll go play in the wood pile. Does that sound good? I think we should go to Mars, what do you think?”

He straightened up, smiling brightly and innocently. He was such a good kid. So trusting and loyal for a little tattle tale brother. “Yeah, that would be great! I’ll wait for you outside!” He ran out, slamming open doors as he went.

I stood from tying my shoes and smoothed down my shirt. I was ready. Walking quietly into the kitchen was easy. Grandma was at the stove, frying bacon. It’s sizzling and popping sound so familiar. The smell was overwhelmingly delicious. I wondered if I would ever enjoy the smell of cooking bacon again. I walked past the kitchen bar and out to the side porch where grandpa sat, a brown leather belt draped over his knees, smoking a cigarette.

“Morning, Grandpa.” I said, as I walked up and turned to face him. I set my shoulders squarely. I might as well stand tall. It was gonna hurt like hell either way.

He looked at me with eyes so blue the sky was jealous of the color. “Mornin’, Punkin’. You ready for this?”

I didn’t look at him, but I didn’t look down either. I looked over his left shoulder at the mountain lion skin hanging there. “Yes, sir, I am.”

He nodded and stood up creakily. “Then turn around and bend over. Put your hands on your ankles. This is gonna hurt me more than it’ll hurt you.”

I did as I was told. The spanking hurt like hell and I never understood how it hurt him more. It stung, bled, and I grunted a few times as the slap of leather burned over a previously hit section. His aim wasn’t the best because he hit my back half the time.  I think I got twenty lashes. That’s what Mom told me when I was older. I don’t remember, I took my mind to a thought story bubble, of a girl running in a field of dandelions in the sun. No pain, no fear, just running and playing.

When I came back, it was over. I straightened up, hurting everywhere.

“Go have your Grandma look at that back and butt. Have her put some Mercurochrome on the cuts.”

I did as he told me. The cure was almost as bad as the cut.  I was stiff and sore for a few days and I also learned a very valuable lesson.

THE LESSON

Was it a lesson on how to listen to your parents when they tell you not to do something?

Short answer – No. Long answer – Oh hell, no!

I learned that if I was going do something I wasn’t supposed to do, I better pay damned good attention to the time. I asked, begged, pleaded for and was finally given an old windup pocket watch my grandfather had.

I cherished that watch and we were never late for dinner again. Our adventures took just enough time to fill the day and then we were done. It was a child’s version of the short story.

I think I learned it pretty well!

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Until next time…

M.