FOR THE LOVE OF CHILDREN

I love children; always have. Even as a child, I enjoyed it when a baby cousin accompanied an aunt or uncle visiting our home. I always thought babies had their own uniqueness; soft skin, sparkling eyes, and a sweet, fresh smell all their own. Unless they needed a diaper change!

My love for children continued as I grew up. I loved my two sisters and brother. Still, do; in fact, I cannot imagine my life without them. I love everything about them. No matter how old they get!

I was very blessed to be the mother of four beautiful children. Who will never know or understand the happiness they brought me; along with the many gray hairs, and breathless moments as fear set in; when they were late coming home or drove their cars way too fast?

The love I felt the first time I laid my eyes on them has built throughout the years, and I marvel at the men and women they have become today.

 My love for my grandchildren is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I cherish every moment I spend with them. Each one of them is unique and wonderful, all wrapped up in one. What a blessing they are to me.

My two sweet, cuddly great-grandsons fill me up with so much love,  I often bubble over like water from the fountain of youth. And, no, I am not old; just a young great grandmother.

About the story………..

 This is a story about children and a dream that took forty -two years to come true. A story about compassion, love, and hope. A story about change, frustration, being overwhelmed, and sometimes feeling just plain bone tired. Above all, a story I would not have changed for all the tea in China.

The dream that would not let me be………

As a little girl, I loved playing school. Played it every chance I got. Mom always knew where to find me; in a spare room over the kitchen that held boxes, and odds and ends.  I remember having a little brown desk where I sat looking over my class of imaginary students.

The dream that festered in my heart stayed with me, all through my school years until my graduation. But as life happens, my dream took a side road. I fell in love, got married, and as the old story goes, my dream went to the back burner, simmering but never boiling until; the angel who lit the flame. 

One day as I was working in our produce business, a  customer ready to check out, struck up a conversation. It went like this, ” I noticed you like talking with the children who shop here. Have you ever thought of working with children?” I looked at her, stunned and speechless. She continued,” You have a lovely way with children. I think you would be a great teacher.” I could not believe my ears. I remember smiling and answered, ” Yes, I love children, and I always wanted to be a teacher.”  She replied, ” Well, it’s never too late!”

 This sweet lady picked up her bag of apples, smiled, and walked out the door.  As I watched her get into her car, the wheels started turning, and my dream started a slow boil.  That night at dinner, I explained to my husband about the customer who lit the flame. And to my surprise, this dear sweet man encouraged me to give some thought about going to college and making it happen.

Sleep was out of the question for me that night. Thoughts and more thoughts invaded my brain. I thought about my children, who really weren’t little anymore. Two were on their own, and two were in high school. I thought about our produce business and who would work in my place.

I thought about the naysayers and bullies that filled my head growing up. In fact, after all those years, I could still hear one voice of the ” I am better than you,”  saying, “You will never be anything but a farm girl, who doesn’t have the brains to go to college or to do anything.”  It was elementary, junior high, and high school all over again.

My Helper…..

The next morning, the sun was shining, and the birds were singing in harmony. As I drank my coffee, I decided I needed help with my decision on whether I should follow the dream that swirled around my brain or not. My heart was willing, but my thoughts were full of you will never succeed.  At that moment, I bowed my head and gave it all to God.

And help He did………

My day at the market started out like any other day. At nine o’clock, the first customer came in, and to my surprise, it was the gal from the day before. She formally introduced herself and started the conversation about working with children again. We talked about school, being a teacher, and the workload.

Then, right there and then, she offered me a job working part-time with the Intermediate Unit 20. She encouraged me to consider going to the community college and talking with an advisor. This sweet woman named, Carol, looked me in the eye and told me to go for it.

A long story short……….

Well, I took Carol’s advice, and with my husband’s blessing, interviewed and got the job with the IU20. I also went to our community college, talked to an advisor, took a reading and math test, did well, and enrolled.

To the nay-sayers…..

This part is for all the nay-sayers who planted seeds of self-doubt in my head; I not only went to community college, and  East Stroudsburg University, I graduated with honors. Yes, the work was hard, but my drive was stronger. I knew I was on the right path. My dream was within reach. Not bad for a little farm girl.

The best part………..

I graduated with a degree in Special Education. Although I loved all children, those with special needs have always filled my heart. The challenges they faced daily, their individual needs, the sometimes-slow progress they experienced filled me with a drive to give one hundred percent of whatever they needed, to help them succeed.

My students needed encouragement and to learn to believe in themselves. I can honestly say, I enjoyed each day, even when behavior issues took up most of my day. It was a privilege to work with those beautiful youngsters who now are either in high school, college, or working. All my students learned in a different way than regular education students, but none the least, they learned. Some of my students have gone on to college and with adaptations, did well.  I am so proud of each one of them.

Messages from my heart…..

Two and one-half years after I started my teaching career, and two weeks before Christmas, my husband passed away from a massive heart attack. Through his love and encouragement, I was able to fulfill my dream. I retired five years ago from a job that brought me great joy. Along with my aide years and time as a teacher, I was able to contribute 23 years of helping those students who needed someone who genuinely loved them and was always their cheerleader.

Dream two……..

After retiring, my dream of writing swirled to the top of my heart. It is my goal to make a difference with my written words. Through my stories, I hope to make my readers laugh, cry, and want more. Above all, I hope to open hearts to the dreams that are hiding deep within.

Don’t be afraid; dreams can come true! I am living proof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A SWEET HEAVENLY SKY

This morning, I got up before the crack of dawn, poured a cup of piping hot coffee, then turned on the news. I watched for a few minutes and realized that I didn’t want to start my day with the sadness that was being reported. So, I turned on Christmas movie, put my feet up, and indulged myself in sweetness.

As the early morning light started to brighten the sky,  beautiful colors caught my eye and focused my thoughts on the revealing of a brand-new day. It never ceases to amaze me how the many shades of pink, orange, gray, and purple intermingled with white and blue encourage me to breathe profoundly, creating a feeling of instant calm.

Even the shapes added to the peace that was building in my soul. Shapes sometimes resembling angel wings, a door to heaven, a path, and a winking eye always reminds me of a promise. It might sound silly, but I believe the beauty I witnessed is a way to reassure us that a new day is a start of possibilities, new possibilities. A new day to shake off what has been weighing us down, scratching at our heart, and quieting the negative inner voice.

As I sit here writing this story, I am basking in the vastness of hope, hope that is encouraging me to keep doing what I love.

However, as the sky begins to darken, I can feel my soul dipping a notch down the gauge of feelings, inching its way towards worry.

I will not let worry, stop me today. I choose to carry the morning sky with me; all day.  Now the sun is shining and warms my face as I sit in my favorite chair soaking in every ray of hope.  Reminding me of the promise. A promise I want to store in my heart like the squirrels scurrying to hide nuts, and berries for winter.

How do you see the sky? Do you see it as hope for a new day, or do you see it as just another sky?  I want you to know that life is full of doubts, fears, sadness, worry, and tears, but it’s how we handle what life throws at us that makes the difference.

When your inner voice of doubt starts pulling you down, think of the most beautiful sky you have ever seen, take a mental picture, and then store it for a rainy day.

Those brilliant colors and shapes will carry you through until the next promise makes its appearance high in the sky, bringing peace to your heart and love to your soul.

 

Around Every Corner

Each day when we wake up and our feet touch the floor, we are guaranteed a brand-new start. It doesn’t matter whether it is sunny or raining, cloudy or foggy, or snowing; it is a promise from above. A new opportunity to make better choices, to help others, to love our family and friends unconditionally,  to forgive those who have hurt us, and ask for forgiveness from those whom we have hurt.

A new day to show compassion, to instill hope in all we meet, to be the best person we can be, and to keep dreaming, dreams near and dear to our hearts.

When I take my walks, I am reminded, of what my mother said more than once while I was growing up. She told me that you never know what’s around a  corner.  Mom was right; just like each day is a new start, loaded with opportunities and adventures, turning a corner can lead to helping others. You never know who you will meet. It might be a senior citizen or a mother pushing a stroller, or someone walking a dog.

Although you might not know the person or persons, it’s what you do when you round the corner that makes the difference.   Making eye contact, saying, “Hello,” and smiling might be the best medicine for someone who is lonely. Make an effort. It is so worth it.

For me, those corners take on special meaning each time I turn them. When I walk, I love to say little prayers. I pray for the shops I pass, those whom I meet, those driving down the street, and the dogs that greet me. Each corner brings new people, and new opportunities to make a difference.

I am very grateful for a new start each morning, and for the many corners, I turn each afternoon.  I am thankful for the people I pass, and the dogs that greet me with a wagging tail. I am grateful for the many opportunities to make a difference in the hearts of those I meet.

 

A Prayer and a Nudge

Today, as I was resting on the sofa covered up with my mother’s afghan, my mind drifted off to the many short stories I have written, the sweet comments and the future stories I would like to develop.  My goal in writing is to make a difference. My stories develop through my faith in God, His faith and love in me, and the heartfelt desire to spread kindness, hope, peace, and love to all.

My grandmother once told me it doesn’t cost anything to smile and to be kind. I live that advice every day. Thanks, Memmy for your pearls of wisdom. Even though I was only twelve when she passed, her smile, being grateful when times were lean and when times were good, love of family and friends, and her sharing and caring ways have taken root in my heart.

My mother’s love of music, telling stories, and loving her family beyond words took over when Memmy died. Thank you, Mom, for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams.

I need to be honest; a couple of months ago, I thought of giving up on my writing. I can’t explain it. Maybe I was afraid of failing. Perhaps thoughts of bullies during my time in school, taunting, snickering, voicing unkind words – still lurked, pushing my budding confidence down. I don’t have an answer. After several weeks of this gnawing feeling, peppered with self-pity, something incredible happened.

I woke up to a nudge that kept tugging at my heart. The nudge got a little stronger until I sat at my computer and wrote Treasured Thursday. The next day, the same nudge and I wrote another story.  This is my take on what happened after I prayed, asking for guidance.  God listened, then nudged. Each day the nudges tickled my heart and would not let me be. I knew that God had heard me, and the nudge was His answer to keep writing.

Other than taking a break on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the death of my sister, I have written a short story every day, along with an occasional Skyler Letter, and a stand-alone continuing story.

 I believe that God took the nudge a bit farther. He led me to a local newspaper which prints my stories bi-weekly, and to a local electronic magazine where my stories and articles are posted on Facebook.

I now know that writing is a piece of my life. A big part that I am not willing to give up. Writing is the rainbow that completes me. It doesn’t matter how many books or stories I do or do not sell. Fame and fortune mean very little to me.  What does matter is changing hearts, sharing love, writing encouraging words to brighten a day, hoping to bring a smile, and yes maybe bring a tear that meanders down a face?  If I have made a difference, then my heart is happy.  

Keep praying, you never know when your nudge will come!

Many thanks for following my stories!

 

 

 

 

 

Fickled Frisky Feline Friday

This story is very near and dear to my heart. It is a story about a special little girl named Ethel. If you haven’t guessed from the title,  Ethel is my precious Tortoise Shell cat.

I will need to start at the beginning, to create a picture of a cat, who has and is still touching the hearts of those she allows into her circle.

It all started a little over sixteen years ago, a few months after I put my beloved dog, Sammy down. Needless to say; my heart was broken, and I was looking to help it heal.

The art teacher at the school I was teaching at and I would chat about our love of animals. She was there when I lost Sammy.  When I was ready for a new addition to my family, she was the person I went to. I asked her to let me know if she knew of a family that had kittens. A few weeks later, she told me about two little kittens, one orange tiger, and one Tortoise Shell, who were the last two of a litter.  It seems that the young kittens had been abandoned. I knew right there, and then I had to check them out, especially the orange tiger. You see, I only was interested in adopting one kitty.  Little did I know how those two little kittens would touch my heart and change my mind.

I went, met the family, filled my cardboard cat carrier, and headed for home. I was in love. After seeing the two little ones curled up together, I knew that I could not separate them.  Lucy and Ethel came home with me. Now how to explain two kitties instead of one.  It was an easy sell.  I choose to believe on that day, the angel of kittens whispered in my husband’s ear. He welcomed them both.

I must tell you that from the beginning, the kitties hid from any visitors. They only came out to my husband and me.  Now, I could fill up page after page about the antics of kittens, but I would like to set the scene for two extraordinary events that changed my life with the help of two grown cats.

The first event happened about ten years ago. Both cats always enjoyed exploring in the attic and showering me with silk flowers. I would often find them here and there throughout the house. Well, during a tough time in my life, both Lucy and Ethel started bringing me, angels. One day I found one next to my shoe. Then they started showing up everywhere. Even on my pillow.

 In the beginning, I honestly thought my husband was bringing them to me until the night I caught each one of my sweethearts coming down the attic steps with an angel in their mouths. I still have those angels in a special bag to remind me of two loving cats.

Five and one-half years ago, I had to put my orange beauty down. Lucy was diagnosed with liver cancer. Once again, my heart broke.  Little did I know that my heart would hurt even more in the months to come.

My mother was diagnosed with a fast-growing mass. In September of 2013. After some discussion, and the sad news, that she was terminal, Mom came to live with me. With the help of Hospice and my family, we kept our Mother as comfortable as we could. My sweet little Ethel who always ran and hid from visitors, walked bravely down the steps, into the parlor where Mom’s bed was and proceeded to visit with each family member. During the day when it was just Mom and Me, Ethel would sit by Mom for hours. I couldn’t believe it. Then on the night, that my beautiful, loving mother was getting ready to take her journey to heaven, Ethel was there. She never left her side. The morning after Mom passed, this precious cat, climbed the steps, sat on the top-level and cried and cried, like her heart was broken. I choose to believe that the angels filled Ethel with the courage she needed to help all of us during this challenging time.

I am going to end my story here. There is not much more to say, only that animals are a gift from God. I believe that Ethel not only helped my mom in her time of need but indeed helped each one of us.  Thank you, my sweet Ethel, for loving me to this day. You are my little sweetheart. My angel sent from above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LITTLE ANGEL TOLD ME SO

I love sitting on my front porch. Whether it is reading a good book, listening to music, taking in the beautiful summer flowers, or talking to those walking by.

 Since I live in an old Victorian house, my porch reflects the period.   In the corner of my porch, next to my glider with the flowered cushions, sits a small, round table. On top of the table sits a red Cardinal. Next to the red beauty sits a little girl angel gently holding a small butterfly.

My porch is always open to neighbors, friends, family, and strangers who take their evening strolls.  It is a safe haven for children and an occasional wandering dog named Marty. Those welcomed guests to my porch, know that a listening ear is always ready, followed by a hug, and a voice saying,  ” I am here if you need anything.”

However, when I am alone, my porch is a place where I find peace and hope.  Sometimes, when I am missing my loved ones who live in heaven, the little angel reminds me that love never dies and that our loved ones are closer than we think. As I gaze at her face, I am reminded of the neverending love from the Man who is always ready to forgive us. Her gentle face, reassures me that all is well in spite of the anger, and hate in our world. The butterfly sitting on her knee is not afraid, as she holds it lovingly. It reminds me of the scriptures; do not fear, for I am always with you, and be brave and courageous.

 Although my little angel, white like the clouds floating by on a summer day, is not real, the reminders of God’s love and peace are as pure as the day is long.  A peace that carries me through the difficult times; a peace that renews my energy when I feel weak, and a peace of determination to make a difference.

 

 

My Special Angel, Lee Brodt

The following story was one of my favorites to write. It’s a story, that will take you on a journey, opening a window to my early years, as a child, who was loved deeply by her mother. Then, with the twists and turns that life brings, has her dream come true of having her very own Daddy.

 I was born in 1948 to a beautiful young woman named Roberta Lorraine Transue.  My biological father wanted to marry Mom, but it was not meant to be. During that era, having a baby out of wedlock was far from acceptable.  Although Mom knew the road would be hard, she was not afraid.

Mom worked hard very hard, but it was not enough to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, and take care of my needs, so we lived with relatives.  Mom was one of fifteen children, so it wasn’t hard to find an aunt or uncle to live with.

 I must be honest and say I don’t have a good recollection of some of the aunts and uncles we lived with until we moved to a little village near Nazareth. I was four.

We moved in on a Saturday, unpacked, and settled in.  I loved sharing a room with Mom.  She had long, wavy auburn hair and the most beautiful sparkling blue eyes.  Soon Monday arrived, and Mom had to go to work.  My uncle also left on a job that took him away from home for periods of time.  Mom hugged and kissed me, then walked to the door, turned and blew a kiss.  Little did she know my life was about to change.

After Mom left for work, my aunt fed me breakfast and asked me to go out to the small, little, two-sided porch, and wait for the others to come out. They never did. I remember looking in the window at them having fun and playing games.  Although I knocked several times, they ignored me.  My lunch was brought out to me. I could use the bathroom but had to return to the little porch. My aunt allowed me to come into the house right before mom came home from work.

 As soon as Mom walked through the door, I ran to her with tears streaming down my face.  She honestly thought I was excited to see her, not tears of sadness. Before dinner, I told her everything about my day.  Mom questioned my aunt, but the answer was that I had an overactive imagination.  Mom hugged me and said, Tuesday would be better.

The next four days were repeats; eat breakfast, porch, in before Mom got home.  Each afternoon when Mom returned home, there were tears and begging. Begging to move.

Each night when I cried, I saw Mom looking at my aunt, saying, “This is not like Cindy to cry like this. Something is wrong here!”

 Friday, the day started as the other four had, except it was a damp, rainy day.  Mom hugged me and told me that she would be home soon.  The routine started: breakfast, porch sitting, and a lot of shivering.  Suddenly, I saw a car pull up in front of the house.  It was Mom.  She came home early and found me sitting on the porch.  I don’t know who cried harder that day; me or Mom.  I was saved!

 Mom made a phone call, then, she and I packed.  Soon my aunt Mae and uncle Charlie arrived to take Mom and me to our new home.  I could not wait!  They lived along the river and had a huge screened-in porch.  As soon as the car stopped, I ran into the house and found the bathroom. As I was doing what I had to do, I heard water splashing.  I pulled back the shower curtain, and much to my surprise, four fish were swimming around the tub! I love it!

Eventually, Mom started dating a man from the Philadelphia area named Lee Brodt.  He was smitten with Mom, and I am sure she was with him.  Mom once told me, I refused to call him Mr. Brodt or even Lee.  My name for this tall man was…. Man.  Mom said I would say very little around him, and if I did say anything, it would be, “Hi Man.”

 As the weeks went by, Mom and Man began spending more time together. I missed Mom.  Man was taking her away from me; at least that’s what I thought.  Man was good to me. He would often try to talk to me, but I would become timid; however, he never gave up.

 Soon, I went to Philadelphia to meet his relatives.  Shyness crept in again and I clung to Mom.  Man kept trying, and slowly, I started to look forward to his visits, rides in the car with him and Mom, getting ice cream, and sitting by the river.  However, I continued to call him, Man.

Soon, Mom talked to me about how much she loved Man, and that they were going to be married.  My cousin, Martha, and her husband stood up for them at the Reverend Floyd Shafer’s home in Tatamy.  Mom wore a pink jacket, and skirt and Man wore a light brown suit.  Mom and Man were married on June 26, 1954.

 We moved to North Hills near Philadelphia.  Although our apartment was small, it was cozy.  I even had my own room.  Mom told me it would okay to call Man, Dad, but I was not sure until our first Halloween.

 It was a dark, cold night, and Mom had taken me out to Trick or Treat.  Man stayed home to give out treats to the children.  After we returned with a full bag of treats, I changed, then settled in to watch television. Although Trick or Treating was over, I still heard voices outside.

Suddenly, something hit our front window.  It sounded as if it was going to break.  I called out to Man, but this time, I said, “Daddy, someone is trying to break the window.  I’m afraid!” Just then, Dad walked over to the couch and held me in his arms. Thank you, Dad, for protecting me.

That Halloween night, Dad became my angel for the first time.  I felt safe in his arms.  Thinking back, he became my angel first, when he met Mom, fell in love, and married her.  Because of his love for Mom and me, we became a family.

The next few years, our family grew with the arrival of my sisters, Donna, Emma and finally my brother Lee.  I loved them dearly when they were each born, and I love them even more today.  Dad never treated me any different from his biological children. We had rules to follow, and above all, he expected the four of us to be respectful.  He never called me his step-daughter. I was always his daughter.

As Dad aged, his health deteriorated, and all four of us helped to take care of him.  We would have done anything for him. When Mom became sick, we were all there to help her too. We took care of our parents until they took their last breath.  We would do it a million times over for the two we loved so much.

I want to thank you, Dad, on this Father’s Day, 2017, for loving Mom, which led to loving me.  Thank you for giving me three gifts that I cherish each day; Donna, Emma, and Lee.  Thank you for not treating me any differently than my siblings.  Thank you for teaching me, encouraging me, and always being ready to listen.  Thank you for celebrating with me and crying with me when Lambert died. Thank you for your laugh, and thank you for buying the box lots of books at the auctions you loved so much. Because of those books, I developed a love of reading.  You will never know how much you meant to me and still do.  You may have started as Man, but you quickly became my special angel.

This story has a special place in my heart. I wrote it because this wonderful man really changed my life.  When Mom was so sick, she reminded me how the story started with her and Dad. We talked about the loneliness she felt and the bad experience I endured for five days in a home where we truly were not wanted. She shared how much she loved Dad.  Mom looked at me and said, “Dad always wanted you to be his little girl.  God blessed me with a loving Dad who I miss so much. Until we meet again, Dad, know that I love you and always will.

Since I wrote this story in 2017, one of my precious gifts made her journey to heaven.  Emma Mary Brodt Lowry passed on January 26, 2019. She was my baby sister. I miss her beyond words. Rest in peace, dear sister.

FROM MY HEART FRIDAY

When my children were little, I  enjoyed every minute with them. I loved watching them grow, witnessing their, oh so different personalities, listening to their dreams and wishes, and experiencing their loving hearts.

 They were kind children who grew into even more compassionate adults. They were taught at a young age to be responsible, and each was expected to work at a  part-time job. They also had chores to do around the house.

 Sometimes on a warm summer day, my mind meanders back to a time, when their laughter wafted up to the open kitchen window, making me laugh; just because they were laughing. There was something so beautiful about the different styles of laughter I heard daily.

As they went through the different stages of testing their parents, little squabbles, cuts, bruises, stitches, measles, fevers, earaches, falling out of trees, and tumbling off a mini bike right before the prom, I suspect my four were not much different from any other children.

I know I will always see them as running, jumping, and playing in the little creek near our yard. I will never forget the day; they tried to pass off a crayfish for a lobster. I was hanging wash when all four of them ran up to me, trying to convince me to eat their catch of the day! Those little rascals.

Don’t get me started on the various sports, scouts, flag twirling, and cheerleading they were involved in. Some days were very hectic. I would have never traded those days for all the tea in China.

However, to me, they were a precious gift. Gifts that I cherished and will continue to hold dear to my heart. They are now in their forties and fifties, but to me, they are still young and mischievous.

Grandchildren are a special blessing. I like to think of each one as a little extra gift from God. Each time a grandchild was born, I could almost see a nod floating down from heaven as His stamp of approval. 

My grandchildren are grown now, but the memories of them as babies, children, teens, and adults, are etched forever in my heart. I loved my children, but it is incredible how each grandchild keeps stretching my heart, filling every inch, with an indescribable love.

I want the very best life has to offer them. They have demonstrated the love they have for their families, along with respect, compassion, and acceptance for others. I am proud of the parenting my children did with their children. This Grandma is very impressed!

Great-grandchildren are an extra nod from God. I am truly blessed to have two great-grandsons. Just when I thought my heart could not stretch anymore, these two handsome, loving boys came along and nested in my soul. I love it when they visit. I love it when I visit them. For the last three summers, I have had the privilege of taking my oldest great-grandson for golf lessons. I cherish the time we spend together. The conversations, questions, hugs, and kisses melt me beyond belief. I am his Gigi, and he is my sweetheart. 

His baby brother is ready to walk. He loves to tug at my glasses, throws the ball to me, dances, and mimics me when I sing, you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. I love it! Sometimes I feel as if my heart will burst right out of my chest.

 Families and love go together. Embrace each day, love one another, pray for those who are struggling and never give up on any one of them. They are all precious.  When I think of my growing family, I imagine the many nods that are yet to come, and I am happy.

 

A CAN OF WORMS

 

When I was about nine years old, Dad asked if I wanted to go fishing.  Of course, I said, “Yes!”  I had been to the river, but I had never gone fishing. Dad got an empty can and off we went to dig up icky, really disgusting looking worms.  I watched as Dad dug and filled the can. All I could say was, “Yuk.”

Mom packed a few snacks and off we went on an adventure that I would never forget. I must tell you as a child, I loved to talk and sing, and ask questions; lots of questions.  Poor Dad did not know what he was getting himself into.

We arrived at the river and got out our little canvas seats, our fishing poles, our snacks, a lantern, and the icky can of worms.  Dad put a worm on his hook, as I held my hands over my eyes and prayed he would not ask me to pick up one of those slithering little things.  I had just started my silent prayer, when Dad said, “Put your worm on your hook.”   

I looked at Dad and begged him to put the worm on the hook for me. I remember coming up with all kind of excuses, ” I can’t touch it, it’s icky.  Dad, my fingers will get slimy.  Dad, what if he bites me?” I could tell that Dad was losing his patience, so I held the worm by my fingertips and closed my eyes. Dad said, ” Just give me the worm!”  

After the worm incident, Dad taught me the step by step of how to cast. It wasn’t too difficult. I only got the hook caught in a little bush, around a rock, on a branch, and on the canvas seat. Not too bad for a beginner.

Finally, both poles were in the water. I was quiet for a while until…… ” Dad, what’s that sound?”  Dad replied,  “You know the sound of crickets.” “It’s sounds like a million of them! Where are they hiding?”  Dad just looked at me and said, “Everywhere.” ” Dad, did you hear that?  What is that?”  Dad once again looked at me and said, ” It’s  probably a little animal running through the bushes.”   I replied, ” What kind of animal do you think it is?  It doesn’t sound little to me!”  Dad looked at me and said in a firm but hushed voice, “Be quiet, you’ll scare the fish away.”

 I looked at Dad, ready to ask another question when suddenly my pole started bobbing. He told me to reel it in and I tried, I really tried. My feet kept moving from right to left then left to right. In my excitement, I accidentally knocked over the can of icky worms!  My line was coming closer and closer. I pulled the line up a little bit more and screamed, ” It’s a snake!”

At that moment, I let go of the pole and backed up closer to Dad. I looked up and wondered what he was thinking. I looked out over the river and wondered how the snake, which turned out to be an eel could possibly swim and pull the rod behind him.

As we packed up Dad didn’t say much,  but I could tell what he was thinking.  On the way home, Dad said, ” Cindy, I don’t think fishing is the right thing for you.”  I looked at Dad and said, ” I think you’re right.”  I told him I was sorry, then Dad smiled, and I knew this was one story that would be told over, and over again.

 

 

 

THE SECRET LEAKING ROOF

 It was a rainy night, a windy night—a night, my cousin, LaRue, and I would never forget. But let me start from the beginning…

 A few days before the torrential rain and gusty winds, LaRue and I discovered a tiny little leak in the ceiling right above our bed. When I say small, I mean a drip every ten minutes or so. As we watched the drip, it was decided that since we were teens, surely, we could figure out how to fix the hole without telling my parents.

As I remember, the conversation went something like this; “Do you think we can fix the hole?” asked LaRue. “Maybe we could plug up the hole,” I replied. “I have some gum in my purse,” said LaRue. “It might work!” I exclaimed.

LaRue got out of bed, walked to her purse, took out a piece of fruity gum, and started chewing.  When it was ready, I stood on the bed and pushed the wet, sticky wad up into the tiny hole.  It seemed to do the trick. We turned off the light and went to sleep.

During the night, LaRue woke me up and told me she had a wet foot.  I turned on the light and noticed the gum we thought solved our problem was on top of our blanket, which was getting wet.  We looked at each other and thought for a few minutes.  Finally, LaRue said, “I  have an idea. We could use the plastic bag from the cleaners to stop the leak.”

 LaRue and I folded the bag and then used tacks to attach it to the ceiling.  I took the wet blanket off and put on a dry one, then we both fell back to sleep.

 LaRue woke up about an hour later and poked my shoulder. “Cindy, look up.” I looked up and saw a bubble – not a small bubble but a rather large one, getting bigger by the second. We decided to watch it a little longer before we woke my folks.  Mistake! Like a flash-forward scene from a movie, the tacks flew in every direction, and the nicely folded plastic bag filled with heavy rainwater fell from the ceiling and landed on our bed.  We were soaked!  Picture this – two wet teens jumping out of bed – screaming with pink curlers escaping from their heads, flying here and there, wet pajamas and feet, pointing to the little hole that had mysteriously grown.

 Within a matter of minutes, we heard the sound of our doorknob turning, and the squeaking of the door opening. There stood Mom and Dad with a questioning look on their faces.  They could not believe their eyes. After a lot of explaining, and punishment of washing the blankets, bedding, and mopping the floor, Mom and Dad walked out of our room, and closed the door. I remember hearing muffled laughter then, “Those girls are like two peas in a pod.” I thought to myself, Yes, Mom, two wet peas in a pod!