The Next Night at the Diner

The next night, the rain gave way to “a northerly,” as it’s called around here, pushing in below-freezing temperatures and high winds. Pablo’s first task when he arrived for his shift was to shovel snow off the sidewalk.

Adele, Spooky and Angel were huddled together in a back-corner booth. Business for them would be slow tonight. Their regulars would know to find them here, anyway. As long as they paid for a decent hotel room and let the girls run the room heater on high, the girls would happily comp their regulars a full night for the price of an hour. Pablo hoped one of Spooky’s guys would show up. She deserved a night in a clean hotel.

“Hey, Pablo, yo!” Becker called from the kitchen. “ ‘Bout time, dude. Maureen’s called in sick.”

Pablo cursed. “You stayin’?” he asked, hopefully.

“Nnnnnope.”

Pablo looked around the diner again, taking another appraisal of the place, now that he had to both cook and serve. Mrs. Gregor was in the front booth with her book, a cup of coffee and a half-finished slice of pie. Dwyane and James Jr., identical twin brothers who managed the shipping warehouse outside of town, were in another booth finishing up their meal. A group of teenagers made their way out the door, oblivious to the freezing cold. It made Pablo shiver just to watch them go. He grabbed a bussing tray and cleared their table. Little shits only left a couple dollars’ tip.

Becker was pulling on his coat and hat as Pablo walked into the kitchen. “I called Alejandro and Bixby, see if either of them could come in and help,” Becker said.

Pablo held out the dollar bills from the teen’s table to Becker.

“Nah. Keep it. Or put it in the relief drive. Fuckin’ brats. Ordered up half the damn menu .”

“Either a’them said they come in?”

“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Bixby. But, it’ll be a bit ‘fore he makes it.”

“Better’n nothing. Refill the coffees before you go, ya?”

Becker nodded. “Do you one better. I’ll set the machines on the counter. Tell folks to get their own refills.”

Officers Obie and Pat, and Officer Cheryl walked in.

As Pablo pulled the bill of his cap down low, he called out, “Shorthanded tonight. Help yourselves to the coffee. Cup’s under the counter. Creamer’s in the case.” The officers nodded. “Same as last night for you guys? And for you, ma’am? What’ll you have?”

Officer Cheryl smiled and shrugged. “Ahh….cheeseburger and fries?”

Officers Pat and Cheryl made their way with their coffees to the other front booth, while Obie sauntered over to the girls table with a carafe of coffee. “Ya’ll stayin’ warm inside?” he asked hopefully, as he filled their cups. They smiled, a bit sarcastically, except Adele, who kept her focus on her phone.

“Just stay safe, OK?”

“Aww, he cares,” Angel jeered. “See that?” she nudged Adele who stubbornly kept her face down and focused on her phone. “Tell you what, why don’t you get me a hot cup of cocoa, instead, make me feel all better, huh?”

“You didn’t do nothing to my coffee, right?” Spooky joked.

“No, no. Not me.” Obie replied. The girls laughed, including Adele, making Obie blush.

The twins bussed their own plates and came around the counter to pay Pablo in cash over the pass through. “Keep the change,” James Jr. said.

Obie quietly asked the twins to offer to see Mrs. Gregor home.

The old woman scoffed. “Been driving in snow deeper ‘n this since you two were still in your Buster Browns!”

The twins left and the diner fell quiet. Only the sound of the officers’ food sizzling on the fryer and the occasional electronic crackle and pop communication from their radios filled the empty space.

Mrs. Gregor left with a dismissive wave to Pablo. He smiled. Old bat taking advantage of no Maureen around to collect her tab.

A semi rolled up the middle of the boulevard and stopped at the intersection. Everyone in the diner watched as the driver got out, leaving his engine running, and walked in. Immediately seeing the officers, he stopped. “Don’t mind if I leave it there while a grab a bite?”

Conditioned to first assess a situation, the three officers looked out the window again at the truck and then up and down the boulevard before giving their consent.

“Best if you stay in town tonight,” Officer Cheryl said. “Motel Six is just a few blocks up. I’ll tell them you’re coming. Park in that side road on the westside. It goes all around the property, so you can drive straight out in the morning”

“If doesn’t keep snowing,” the driver quipped as he gave the girls a knowing chin-up nod. Angel and Snooky smiled back, gave the officers a quick glance and then stared each other down.

“Orders up!” Pablo called from the kitchen. The officers looked at one another and then got out of their booths and made their way around the counter to the pass through.

“Sorry ‘bout all this,” Pablo said. “ ‘Til one of the kids gets in, I’m a little shorthanded”

Officer Pat smiled. “So you said, Pablo.”

Pablo looked at Pat, a bit startled.

“I never forget a face,” Pat said. “ ‘Til my dyin’ day, I’ll never forget a face.”

Pablo pushed back the bill of his hat. “I did my time, sir.”

Pat nodded, “Yes, you did. Glad to see you landed on your feet. Always glad to see folks land on their feet.”


Inspired by the preamble and this week’s Un-OLWG prompts :

  1. What happened to my coffee?
  2. Buster Browns
  3. till my dying day

Until We Meet Again

Miriam was accustomed to being alone, but until the awful day her brother and parents drowned in the ferry accident, she never knew what it was like to be all alone. She chose the meadow about which her parents often spoke, and the long walk they took those many years ago; the one that concluded with a deciding kiss. Miriam made her way to a large oak, and as she began to slowly pour her brother and parents’ ashes among its roots, a breeze caught a bit and gently carried it toward the bright yellow, orange, purple and pink of the morning’s sunrise.


Prompts from The New, Unofficial, On-line Writers’ Guild are:
I’ve never been alone before/ Dipping my toe into the bright colours of the sunrise/ Miriam Ortiz Uribe 

I owe ya one

She watched him, silently, curled up on the couch at the back of the studio under her coat and his. He scrolled paint across the canvas with a kind of abandon. Colors, clashing. Brush strokes, crossing. A form taking shape that was pure emotion. She felt the innocent voyeur. His concentration was intense. His whole being seemed enthralled. Had he forgotten she was there? How long had she slept? She looked around for a clock, afraid if she reached for her purse and her phone, she would somehow disrupt something sacred.

Their date earlier that night had been a bust. He tried too hard to be gracious; too hard to seem like what they were doing was fun. She tried too hard to seem all sunlight and happiness. The place they finally settled on for dinner, after nearly 30 minutes of awkward negotiation, had a 45-minute wait for a table and a bar with standing room only. The place down the block was no better. Since they were (sort of) in the neighborhood, they agreed, I-mean-what-the-hell, to walk the 6 or 7 blocks to the jazz club, painfully insipid small talk for conversation along the way, only to find when they arrived that it was a reserve-in-advance venue with an act that had been sold out for months. He walked over to a scalper pacing in the shadows. She stopped him.

“Look,” she said, as reassuringly as she could with out sounding disappointed, “The evening’s shot. Right?”

He laughed with a look of defeat and embarrassment. Her heart sank.

“No, no! Seriously! OK. You said you have a studio? Nearby? Right?”

He hesitated. “No. I mean, yes, but not around here…I mean …”

“Let’s grab something at the bodega over there,” she said pointing across the street, “head over to your studio.”

He laughed the same embarrassed laugh.

“C’mon! How many girls actually ask you to show them ‘some of my paintings,’ or however that old line goes?”

“Really?”

“Really.”


Prompts are: sacred ground; talk deep into the night; the evening’s shot
I owe ya one, so…

Breakdown

After all was said and done—as all the broken dishes, broken Christmas decorations, and all the broken hearts lay in shards in the middle of the kitchen floor—it seemed Johanna herself was finally broken. Her outburst of ruthless accusations and hysterical excuses were at an end. She sat exhausted in the corner of the living room staring out the picture window.

The shock of what had transpired was unmistakable. Johanna’s mother, brother and sister-in-law silently cleaned up, avoiding making eye contact. Johanna’s father made his way out into the backyard where Johanna’s eldest brother had escaped at the onset of her explosion, ostensibly to supervise the children. The children, by contrast, happily romped, chasing after each other and laughing, still wound up with the excitement of Christmas, completely unaware of most of the histrionics that transpired inside.

Johanna watched her brother finish setting up the circus play set the Baby Jesus and Reindeer Vixen gave all the grandchildren; “For when you visit Grammy and Grumpy,” the card read in a contrived child’s hand. All children in Johanna’s family, young or old, received Christmas gifts from either the Baby Jesus or Santa’s Reindeer Vixen. Big gifts came from both. Baby Jesus’ handwriting hasn’t improved in all these years, a grown son kidded his mother. Well, honey, he’s just a baby. Wonder he can write at all, she kidded back. Johanna loathed the absurdity of it all.

One of the younger children ran into the house holding a small, brightly colored box with a handle on one side. Look! the child screeched, shattering the charged silence. He hugged the box to his chest and turned the handle with all the brute force of a four year-old. A nursery rhyme haltingly played on an out-of-tune metal harp until the lid of the box popped open and a large plush bird with bugged-out eyes sprung up. The child laughed, shoving the toy back into the box. I’ll do it again! The child’s mother stepped out from the kitchen to escort the child back outside.

Johanna abruptly stood. Her family froze, bracing themselves for whatever might come next. She gathered up her purse and coat, walked over to her mother and gave her a rough kiss on her cheek. Then she walked out the door.

As she reached her car, her father called after her. She turned to shoot him a look of warning.

“Dad, just leave me…”

“Shut up,” her father snapped. Usually the diplomat, her father’s harsh scold caught Johanna by surprise. He walked up to her and leaned into her face.

“What you did today really cut deep,” he said in an angry whisper, “and I am not going to put up with your bullshit anymore, little girl. That’s it. I mean it. I really have had it with you.”

“Whatever.” Johanna opened her car door, but her father yanked her aside and slammed it shut.

“Get this and get it loud and clear: You’re done.” His face was flushed. His eyes were as furious as Johanna had ever seen them. “You drive away, and you don’t come back, ever,” he said pointing down the driveway. “You don’t call with one of your hysterical pleas to bail you out of whatever goddamned mess you’re in. That goes for your brothers as well. I do not want you dumping your shit on them, ever again. I’m telling them to cut you out. From here on out, you wallow in your own stinking shit, and when you need help, because you always need help, always complaining, always making a mess of your life, then get it together and fucking figure it out, baby girl. Just like everyone else in the world who ever had to get themselves out of a jam. This is really it.”

He yanked open her car door and shoved her toward it. “Get in and get gone!”

Shaking, Johanna watched as her father walked back to the house. Her eldest brother stood at the front door also watching his father. He did not acknowledge her. He gave his father a pat on the shoulder and followed him into the house.

Tears fell down Johanna’s cheeks as she turned over the engine. She put the car in reverse and backed out the driveway. As she returned her focus forward, she saw one of her nieces standing in the driveway, waving goodbye, a large smile across her face.


Going back several weeks, the prompts (however loosely associated to the actual prompts) are highlighted in bold. https://aooga.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/olwg-137-fields/

Not the most cheerful piece, but dedicated nevertheless to my constant companion of 18 years, Iona Cat Named Skipper. But I just called her Kitty. Hope your heaven is full of tall ficus trees you can climb to your heart’s content and strip bare of every leaf. May giant buckets of rotisserie chicken just be sitting there, waiting for you, whenever you please. Hope you have yourself many a happy, thoroughly destructive, clawings on the biggest couches you ever saw, and long naps on a plush window sill lounge under a hot summer sun. I hope you find a friend with whom you can snuggle. Miss you forever, kiddo.

A Meandering Road Through Prompts

  1. A member of the Penny Whistle Band in the 70s, Joseph wonders how life would have turned out if he left the band and followed Alice to Selma. Love of music. Love of a woman. The same word, but such different meanings.
  2. He’s racing the moon through the night, trying to make it to dawn, tapping out the minutes like a blind man with his cane. His focus is locked in tight. Only one more chance to get it right.
  3. The weekly meeting of the Beach City Camp counselors was called to order. The group was dog-tired. The campers this year were a real handful. “The whole girls cabin going ballistic because one of them saw a spider in the tub completely undid me,” one counselor admitted.
  4. Dave wondered the significance of a weathered trombone attached to the sign marking the entrance to the Tahoe Mud Baths. As he drove down the long dirt lane to the lodge, he kept rolling possible reasons around in his mind, when a young woman dressed in just a blue lamé bikini and hiking boots stepped out onto the lane. She smiled and shrugged an apology as she continued across the lane and into the wood. Dave wondered what a woman in a fancy bikini and hiking boots was doing wandering around out here. It was still some distance to the lodge. It struck him as weird as the trombone on the entrance sign.

Four weeks of prompts! I felt like I needed to get caught up, but couldn’t thread them through a single story. Had fun composing the little snippets, though!
https://aooga.wordpress.com/2019/11/24/olwg-130-a-dizygotic-pair/

I’m just saying.

So, this guy named Harv…

uh-huh

This guy named Harv, he works in sales, right?

uh-huh

And we’re in the elevator and I’m on my way to El Mar to meet Jenn all those guys for lunch, right? and he says, hey, don’t you work for Deborah Wheaton, and I say yes and he says, she’s got quite a rep, right? I was like, I don’t know, I guess.

uh-huh

And then we get to the lobby and I start leave and he is right next to me, right? and I’m like so confused. And he says, I’m just curious because I want to work in your department. He says, next time there’s an opening, I’m going to apply.

uh-huh

Anyway, he keeps walking with me and talking about how much fun he thinks marketing is and, like, it’s really weird, ’cause he just keeps walking with me, and I’m, like, not wanting to be mean or anything, but, it was just so weird, ya know?

uh-huh

And he keeps asking me all these questions, like what I do at work, and if I have my own projects or do I just, like, do stuff Deborah gives me.

uh-huh

So, finally, I had to just stop and I say, I’m sorry, but, what are you doing? And he looks all surprised and says something like, I’m just asking questions because I want to know, and I’m, like, I’m going to lunch!

uh-huh

Anyway. I’m just sayin. People are just so weird.

Um


The prompts this week are: A guy named Harv; uh-huh; el mar

Benny’s Honeysuckle Rose

Benny, as the locals call him, is a bonafide gentleman: Sir Bedford Corvallis, an ex-pat Scotsman, and a regular of the Argyll Seafood Grill. Nobody remembers when he landed in our Gulf Coast town. He’s just always seemed to be part of the landscape. I enjoy chatting with Benny when he sits in my section. But this night was busier than usual. There was no time to stop and gossip.

As service started to slow and we had a chance to take catch our breaths, I was surprised to see Benny bent over his horse head cane, clearly crying.  I signaled the host I was taking a break and ordered a couple of Johnny Walker Golds from the bar. I invited myself to sit, offered Benny one of the shots and raised my glass.

“Who are we toasting?” I asked.

Benny took his glass and raised it. “To another long-lost friend. My dearest, my darling. Honeysuckle!”

We tossed back our drinks. I signaled the bar for another round. Benny wiped his eyes with his ever-present pocket kerchief and stared off into the distance. The shots arrived, and I offered, “To friends. Past and present.”

“Cheers,” Benny said, and we tossed back our second. I stood to leave and Benny stopped me.

“She was the love of my life. I know that now, of course. Oh, my. Well, as the saying goes, youth is wasted on the young. I couldn’t know then the difference between a fun flirtation and meaningful pursuit.”

He pointed to my seat and I sat back down, giving my irritated host a shrug of apology.

“We were still children, really. Still laughing, still silly and playful. She was smart and bubbling. And, oh, she was a very pretty thing. Prettiest lass in the village, by my reckoning. And, to see her in her bathing suit,” Benny shook his head and let out a small whistle. “We used to go scuba diving, you see. Her father was the proprietor of a charter fishing and diving outfit. Most popular with the tourists.”

Benny drifted off in private thought.

“I would’ve never taken you for a diver,” I said.

“Oh, yes! Indeed, I was quite enthusiastic at the time. My favorite time of day was in early summer, at midday. The sun would be high in a blue cloudless sky, and the waters of my home village are so very clear, that the high sun could illuminate everything below. The world beneath the water’s surface is such a captivating place to explore. If it were possible, I would have stayed under all day! I fancied becoming a marine biologist at one time, you know.”

I stood and gave Benny a pat on the shoulder. “Benny, I have to get back to it, or Jeff’ll blow a gasket. You want another? On me.”

Benny rose from his seat. “No, sweet lady, I do not, but I do thank you. Best I go on home now.”

I handed him his bill and we walked through the restaurant together, and as I broke off for the kitchen, Benny took my hand and kissed the back of it.

“As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed,” he said with a generous smile.

I smiled in return and waved good-bye.

As I ploughed through the rest of a hard night’s work, I couldn’t stop thinking of how truly grieved Benny seemed, and how sad his parting smile. It made me think of David. That last time we got together, I was so excited about going off to school, his grumpiness and hound-dog scowl pissed me off.

I wonder—that is, if David thinks of me—what he thinks of the memory of us. I don’t think I was cruel. I was just a kid looking forward to a big adventure. But I know I broke his heart. Seeing how sad Benny was at the news of the death of his teenage sweetheart, I wondered if maybe I should look up David. Before it is too late to say I am sorry.

As service wound down, and the group of us sat around the bar having our late meals and one for the road, I raised my beer, “Ya know, there’s no time like the present. I just want to say how grateful I am for you guys and I want to thank all of you for being my friends. Cheers to you.”


Two sets of OLWG prompts: roadhouse whisky; a horse head cane; he was crying; round ‘em up; am I smart enough to know the difference?; burying my friends
https://aooga.wordpress.com/2019/10/06/olwg-122-purple-ish-prose-2/

and one from Go Dog Go Café’s Tuesday Prompt: beneath the waters       https://godoggocafe.com/2019/10/08/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-october-8-2019/

When you open that Pandora’s box, you will find it full of Trojan horses

How to avoid mixing your metaphors?

It’s not rocket surgery.
First, get all your ducks on the same page.
After all, you can’t make an omelette
without breaking stride.

Be sure to watch what you write
with a fine-tuned comb.
Check and re-check until the cows turn blue.
It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake.

Don’t worry about opening up
a whole hill of beans:
you can burn that bridge when you come to it,
if you follow where I’m coming from.

Concentrate! Keep your door closed
and your enemies closer.
Finally, don’t take the moral high horse:
if the metaphor fits, walk a mile in it.


Saw this today on FB and had to share on OLWG #105 [attributed to Brian Bilston, “Frequently described as the ‘Poet Laureate of Twitter’, Brian Bilston is a poet clouded in the pipe smoke of mystery.”]

A Deadend at the One-Stop Town

Carly and Bet felt like they’d been driving forever. Lunch at the rest stop already seemed like a distant memory. The landscape dramatically changed from the lush green and varied scenery when they dropped down out of the mountain pass and crossed the bridge over the river. The trees, leafy shrubs and meadows gave way to wide, flat plains of red clay, gnarly yellowed scrub and a seemingly endless cloudless sky stretching out all around them. Heat waves rose off the road in front of them. The farther they drove, the thinner the traffic became until all they encountered was the occasional semi headed the opposite direction toward the big cities on the coast. It was as if they were the only vehicle headed south on their stretch of highway.

Bet and Carly were on a trip to the barely-there one-stop town where Bet spent her early childhood with her grandparents. Bet drove. Carly was quiet, deep in thought with a permanent look of uncertainty since they’d crossed the river. Bet reached over and gave her a pat on the leg and smiled. Carly tried to return a smile, but couldn’t. She turned away, slouching in her seat and staring out the passenger window for the rest of the trip.

“There it is,” Bet said in an overly cheerful voice. The faded state highway sign indicated an exit for the town of Bergsland. Carly let out a long sigh.

In the distance the flat plain rose to an outcropping of several low rolling hills. As they got closer, a few dilapidated ranch houses dotted the sides of the road. Just as the countryside morphed into a desolate town center, a caution road sign read “Stop Light Ahead 500 Ft”

“It’s to the left. Funny how I remember that,” Bet said. As she turned their car at the blinking red light, Carly tried typing the address into her phone’s GPS app.

“So, no network out here?” Carly asked

“That surprise you?” Bet replied. Carly tossed her phone on the dashboard in disgust.

Bet slowed down as they approached the end of the road. Standing like a grand mansion at the end of a long dirt driveway was a fairly large home painted a bright turquoise with white trim and gables. Even from this distance, they could see the large picture window sill lined with what looked like various colored antique bottles. A dog lying on the stoop stairs sat up and looked expectantly at them. Bet stopped the car and turned to Carly.

“Ready?”


Prompts this week are: Gnarly; Antique bottles; Flowers wilted and dogs panted in the shade.

By the way, summer is my busy time at work, but the month ahead is particularly busy with a nephew’s wedding hoopla and then I’m going to take a little time off. You might not “see” me until August. But I’ll keep in touch, so you keep on writin’ and promptin’!

A letter to her children in the event of her death

My Darling Children,

I’ll start the way I’ve seen so many times in movies: If you are reading this, it is because I am dead.

My precious, precious kiddos, you are learning the hard way that not all “forevers” are the same. Trust me. This is not how I saw my forever-after playing out. If there was any way to forestall my departure from this world, I would have done everything in my power to stay with you as long as possible. The Fates had another plan for me.

As I write this, I ache knowing how frightened you are, and how much you must be hurting. Even a simple thing, like what tomorrow will be like, must seem a terrible prospect. All I can tell you is this: As you read these words, imagine me holding you close, just as I am imagining myself with my arms around you as I write this letter. I’m telling you, whomever doubts time-travel never had someone to love so completely as I love my children. Believe me when I say I am there with you, even now.

Do you remember, when you were young, when something made you cry, and after you dried your tears, I’d stand you up and tell you to go splash some water on your face and then get on with the rest of your day? Well, here I am, telling you again to do just that.

However, this time my onward-and-upward speech includes assuring you that you are not, and will not be all alone. Your aunt will be there for you every step of the way. She is now your legal guardian. But…you must start thinking of her from here on out as your parent. Yes, you will be 18 in just a few years and allowed to be your own person, but I ask you to never stop thinking of your aunt, and yes, even your uncle, as your primary family. Your cousins, I know, will be more than happy to share them with you.

Yeah, so, your uncle. I know, I know. A real horse’s ass. But you have to admit, a hell of a painter. At least he’s done very well in that regard. It gives him quite the undeserved ego, of course, given all his shortcomings, but, there it is. Again, forever-afters are very different from one person to the next, and your’s now includes your uncle.

Don’t worry about how you will cope, because your aunt has got it all figured out. She is always the clever one. You will learn she as all sorts of schemes in place and contingency plans should her schemes not work out, not the least of which is half-ownership of every single one of your uncle’s artworks, including the right to reproduce, etc., etc. The way she sees it, he can get up to whatever misery he wants. As long as she’s got a hold of the purse strings, everyone else will be able to land on their feet. It’s all about the money for her, so you’ll be OK.

Now, having laid out what your immediate future will look like, I will finally, at long last, tell you about your past; about your father. I apologize that I was so tight lipped about him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want you to know anything about him. He was a wonderful, wonderful person. It’s just that, whenever I start to talk about him, I choke up. The only solace I have leaving the two of you now, is that I will get to see him again sooner than later.

As I said, your father was wonderful. Kind, even-tempered, generous and reliable. Handsome, too! At least, I though so. And funny! He never took anything in life too seriously. He was an only child and never talked about his parents. I think he had been brought up Morman, or maybe Amish. Something like that. He never clarified, but I knew it was some sort of strict, cloistered community. My guess is he was cast out when he left the life and therefore chose never to speak of it again.

Anyway, he worked his whole life like a dog for barely above minimum wage, and when he was between jobs, he’d take care of me and you kids as if being a house-husband was all he ever wanted to be in life. His loss was, and still is, a shock and an unbearable heartbreak. I truly wish you got to know him.

I met him when I was working as a concierge at a big resort on the coast, saving my nickels and dimes so I could go to college to major in Hospitality Management. We met during a freak snow storm. Everyone at the resort was expecting the storm, of course, but being right on the coast, nobody was prepared for snow, never mind several inches of it! Resort staff was frantic trying to work through all the demands our guests were making, plus figuring out how to manage requests from employees to leave so they could get home before they got stuck at work, and absences because others couldn’t get to work. It was a mad house.

To make matters worse, other travelers and locals stranded by the storm started walking in looking for a place to get out of the weather and warm up. We had people camping out in the lobbies, hallways and in the restaurants. The kitchens were down to the last of whatever food was available and bartenders shut down the bars before things got unruly. I was running around like a crazy lady doing whatever I could. It was a mess.

At one point, a man approached me, and with a smile, asked if he could be of any help. Things being such as they were, I said sure, and literally handed him a mop from the janitor’s closet and asked him to clean the restrooms. Can you believe me! How rude!

Anyway, you probably guessed the man I sent off with a mop was your father. As things started to settle down, he found me out again and asked if I needed anything else. I asked him to follow me. Thinking I was going to give him another task, he followed me to the employee lounge where we had our own stash of food and drink. I thanked him (finally!) and insisted he partake. He said he would, but only if I would take a break too, and join him.

We sat there and talked and talked. Hours went by, but I didn’t care. I think I was already in love! I remember him saying to me, “I came here after my truck got stuck because, as I got closer, I heard this fantastic Latin music coming from the club and thought, that sounds like a good place to get out of the snow!” I said something about how much he must be regretting that decision, given the work I made him do, and he said, “It will end up being the best decision I’ve ever made if you agree to meet me again.”

Coming from anyone else, I would have recoiled at such a cheesy pick up line. But, your father was such a genuinely nice person, his sincerity was unmistakable. I remember the look on his face. Happy and hopeful. And, so, here I am. His wife, then his widow, and forever your mother. I never did go to college. Your father had plans to be his own boss, so I was too busy getting him set up in business. It didn’t pan out, then you two came along. Life was pretty rough for us for a while there, but I have no regrets about marrying him, my darlings. None, whatsoever.

I’m not sure what my point is, except maybe this: Somewhere between going with the flow and planning everything down to the second on the clock, actual life plays out. And it’s not an even-Steven, middle of the road deal, either. You’ll find, as you live and grow, that sometimes drafting careful plans makes everything come about just as it should, and sometimes not being bothered with the details and letting the chips fall where they may makes for some of the most wonderful stuff of life.

Like I used to say, which always made both of you giggle, if someone says to you, “Don’t throw that egg,” remember to take a moment before you respond to think. What the hell that even is supposed to mean?


Seems like I have a new habit: Leave off writing for a while and then jump in full force and make up for lost time with 3 weeks of prompts. The point of inspiration for this post was the “don’t throw that egg.” So weird! I had to figure out how to work with it. The prompts are bolded (did a lot of editing and formatting on my phone. I’m sure there are oddities as a result!)

https://aooga.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/olwg-108-when-hugh-realizes-that-his-older-sister-is-about-to-commit-social-suicide-at-the-tennis-club-will-he-intervene-and-save-her-or-leave-her-to-her-own-devices/