Category Archives: Writing 101

Writing 101 Day 18: Point of View

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A Rainy Day Point of View

I awoke one morning to a very gloomy day.

The day before was a nightmare as new troubles came my way.

Filled with new fears and a heaping dose of worry

I absentmindedly gazed at the blurry scenery.

The sky had clouded over in a dark and grayish hue

Which did not help to improve my downcast point of view.

Like the wind blowing and the rain raining on and on

It seemed my new troubles were like hurdles with no end.

I’d just limp over one obstacle while lacking energy and fine grace

Only to meet two more barriers mushrooming in its place.

Somehow I latched onto my faith and kept holding on

As I struggled and stumbled all that day long.

People were kind and very helpful too

Guiding me through the steps I needed to go through.

Even when I don’t realize it, God is always so good that way;

I just lacked the faith I needed to see him that day.

So, I needed to choose to patiently endure this quiet, dreary morning

Which continued in gloom through the day and into the evening.

I needed to choose to trust God when I pray

That step by step he will gladly show me the way.

And sure enough when my spirits most needed a lift,

The Lord delivered a new and beautiful day as his gift.

I took note of this brand new day not letting it go to waste.

I hurried outside to enjoy a long walk beneath the sun’s warm and smiling face.

I walked along a new trail where I’ve never been

And heard the sweetest birdsongs in the whispering wind.

I journeyed along savoring every moment

And smelled the lilac bushes which lined the pavement.

The sky is a vivid blue and the grass an emerald green,

OH how the Lord was reaching to comfort me.

Soon I had come home again, my day’s journey now complete

As I had found new resting peace for my soul, my mind, and wandering feet.

But I know my life journey is continuing on as I awake each new day

For always there is a new road to travel along life’s way.

There will be days of sun and there will be rainy days of worry and gloom

But that worry does not need to be my set, my permanent, point of view.

Like a flooding sunrise, the Lord supplies each day with new hope in my heart

That somehow all will be okay as God promises to never leave me, to never depart.

Writing 101 Day 17: Fear

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The Things I Fear

I am afraid of many things; indeed I have many fears.

Sometimes I fear what I can’t see or the sounds that I do hear.

I fear loud percussion thunderstorms rippling through the sky;

I also fear zigzag flashes of lightening searing through the night.

I fear snakes, lizards and all sorts of crawling and slithering reptiles

As well as spiders, ants and beetles creeping across the floor tile.

I can expel a harrowing scream if a bat flies in flapping its wings;

they swish like soft blades in the night

and I still hear him even when out of sight.

I also screamed, frightening my mother terribly

when stung by a buzzing, angry bumble bee.

I fear traveling in the winter in the freezing rain, drizzle or snow;

I also fear the screeching, howling wind as the harder it blows.

Sometimes I fear strange scratching noises and thumps in the night

For once in the darkness, a loud scraping branch gave me such a fright.

I fear large animals living and hiding in the woods and the land;

I take care to travel, walk and hike in safety as much as I can.

I fear unexpected accidents as I journey and wander along the way.

For once I was painfully injured when trapped in deep mud one fine day.

The muddy plain had behaved like sinking quicksand holding me fast

And taking all of my strength and might to pull free at long last.

I fear other people and the unkind comments they sometimes make

Trying their best to be hurtful and make sure I feel alone, not wanted, and unsafe.

Or they like to point out all of my flaws in life; for not one comment is enough

But must make certain that I know I am unworthy, and fully inadequate.

For then i may choose to hide myself and my feelings in a little room

where I feel safe from the world in my private and tiny cocoon.

Often I fear tomorrow; not knowing what it may bring.

I fear the mysterious future; being so unclear, so uncertain.

I fear trekking on this obscure and bumpy pathway through this road of life

Where darkness tries to overwhelm me and so I strain to see the light.

But no matter what I fear today in this life in its many uncertainties,

I know Jesus is in my heart and my future with him is hope and eternity.

Writing 101 Day 16 Lost

 

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Lost in Wyoming (Part 3)

Well, I am still on my journey to visit my friends living in Wyoming. So far, the weather has been warm and beautiful with no hint of foul conditions along the way. It seems that God has seen fit to bless my little excursion as once again I drove along Interstate 90 with optimism and confidence. It never occurred to me that I would have any sort of difficulty. I had it all planned out in my head to drive into Buffalo, pull up to my friend’s house, and surprise her at her doorstep. I was sure I knew the way and so now set off without delay. A part of me knew that there is always some danger when on such a long journey but it seemed to me that things were going so very smoothly; I had no unusual fear or foreboding as I cruised along enjoying another day of glorious sunshine to light the way.

I had now crossed most of South Dakota and was edging closer to the Wyoming border. I remember seeing sunflower fields which also brightened my long journey and the scenery was changing as the flat terrain became hilly. And those hills became steeper and steeper as I drew nearer to the mountains.  I stopped at a scenic outlook at one point to study the hills a bit and to gaze at the distant mountains now on the horizon. The slopes were rugged with blunt shapely edges as if God, the Creator and Artist, had reached down taking clumps of earth to hand sculpt these towering and protruding hillsides. I thought of a potter working with lumps of clay in his hands to lovingly create an awe inspiring masterpiece. No two hillsides looked the same. The grass is also different as it is a softer green than the vibrant hues you may see in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I stopped in scenic Rapid City for lunch and to gas up.

I am now seeing tourists’ signs for the Wall Drug Store/Wax Museum, the scenic Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore. All of these are very fine places to visit and see. Once again, I experienced a flood of memories as I recalled my mom and dad on our trip years ago visiting all those places. I also remembered touring through caves then also. Soon I was approaching the Wyoming border and a certain gas station with a long row of gas pumps. I never counted them but it was much more than usual as the store itself looked tiny compared to the elongated row of pumps. I don’t recall the name of the station but I do know there used to be this informational sign which warned drivers that this gas station would be the last one they’d see for many miles. As you might imagine, that piece of advertising worked as every car, truck, motorcycle, and camper pulled off to fill their gas tanks. And you probably guessed; it worked on me too as I didn’t relish becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere. Another factor in my decision making at this point was that now, according to my cell phone carrier, I was in a dead zone where my phone would not work. So if I have car trouble at this point, I couldn’t call for help.

Soon I had crossed the border cruising up and down the steep, wild hills of Wyoming. The country side itself emitted this wild and untamed sensation as for miles there was nothing but wilderness. I was seeing a lot of brush and clusters of trees; and very few farms or other housing. And the towns now seem very, very far apart. According the latest US Census, Wyoming is the least populated state of the US.  And, apparently according the same census report, South Dakota is the fourth least populated state. As I continued along, I learned to recognize the bluish green sage brush along the way because my friend had pointed it out to me on a previous visit. Also there were these long, tall and strategically placed wooden fences all along either side of the interstate. These were not meant to pen in herds of animals. No, they had a very different purpose in which they were used to block snow from blowing across the highway as was explained to me.  Now, I have never driven this way during the winter months and so I have no idea how well they worked. However, I am guessing that they are somewhat successful and make a noticeable difference in protecting this road because there seems to be quite a number of these long wooded barriers in place. And why would someone keep building and installing these fences if they didn’t work?

But as for fencing in the farm animals? Well, a lot of Wyoming is open range so the animals are free to wander. Many farmers and ranchers here do not use barbed wire fences, electric fences or any other type of fence to pen their herds of animals. This is so different from where I grew up in Wisconsin! There are some barriers in place such as these metal, gaping grates built in some driveways and some roads to keep the animals from crossing. And I think the interstate highway is somehow guarded too from wandering herds of animals although, I am not clear on that.

One time on a previous visit, my friend and I were sightseeing along a dirt backroad when we came across a dairy cow with a tag in her ear just nonchalantly standing in our way. We came to a complete halt as she was in no hurry to cross. I rolled down my window and kindly called out to her, “Hey Milking Cow Number 33, could you please move along?”

My friend who was driving burst into laughter but my remark had very little effect on the cow as she just stood and stared at us. Slowly though, she did decide to meander along.

One difference I noticed on my current trip was an increase in mining in this state. Companies hungry for new fuel resources were hard at work digging up this beautiful and pristine land. I saw a number of mining sites along the way. To me they were unsightly eye sores searing scars in the midst of Wyoming’s natural and wild beauty. From what I understand now, most of those mining operations have ceased and moved to other locations in their hunt for more fuel resources.

I hope those mining companies had plans in place to restore the land as much as they could to its former natural beauty but I don’t know if that was the case. And I do understand that mining is an important industry as we need to wisely use our own resources instead of depending on other countries. My father had worked in an iron mine near Black River Falls, Wisconsin while I was growing up. That mine is closed now and the land has been restored and even renovated into a beautiful county park known as Lake Wazee and is a serious tourist attraction. That lake is actually the former mining quarry and the water is as pure and clean as can be. It is about 355 feet deep at its deepest point and attracts boaters and scuba divers. There is also a camping area, beach and a swimming area. It costs a small fee to visit and there is a nearby sports store to rent or purchase water sport equipment and supplies. I enjoy visiting the park and walking along the wooded trails that surround the lake.

But as I drove along the Wyoming highway today, the coal and methane mines all were in full operation with plenty of huge trucks and heavy equipment transporting along the roads. As I drew nearer to Buffalo, the roads became more hilly and steep. I was nearing the mountains. As I reached the top of one steep hill I glanced in my rearview mirror and my heart pounded wildly in fear. For the first time on this trip I was meeting terror head on.

I saw a huge mining truck reach the crest of the hill I had just crossed. Most of the time large trucks move at a slower pace especially on steep grades. However, this driver knew how to shift and keep his vehicle clipping along at a very face pace. Several minutes earlier when I was atop that previous hill that truck had been many miles behind my car. It never dawned on me then that he would catch up so quickly. From judging how fast he had climbed that hill, I knew he would catch up to me in no time. That driver was in a race and this highway was his racetrack.

Now in full panic mode, I frantically wondered what to do. I was sure he would collide with me as I mentally envisioned that I and my car would become flatter than a pancake. What should I do? No room to pull off and no other roads to turn onto. I was afraid of speeding like he was. The road was curvy as well as hilly and I knew I could lose control. I checked the mirror again. That speeding missile on wheels was temporarily out of sight as it had dipped down between the two steep hills. And here I was a moving target about to be plowed and pummeled to death. I knew he’d be behind me in seconds. Should I move into the other lane?  That seemed like a good idea but then I thought no.  He may already have seen me (since I had also spotted him) and therefore may already be prepared to go around my car. If I moved now into the other lane while out of his eyesight, it could potentially goof him up. He may have already moved into that lane but I couldn’t tell. So, with a pounding heart, I stayed put in my lane driving as fast as I dared with white knuckles glued to the steering wheel. I prayed for God to welcome me into his beautiful home in heaven for I was preparing to die. I didn’t know if I was making the right decision. I didn’t know if I would be alive in the next few seconds.

Suddenly, the hugely ominous truck loomed behind me and I felt my heart nearly jump out of my chest. He was still in my lane. This was it, I thought; will I live or die today? I gripped the wheel tighter than ever and continued to drive faster as I tried to keep some cushion of space between the truck and my car. Then, much to my relief, the roaring monstrous vehicle swerved into the other lane and flew passed me. That driver did not slow down for anything and was soon out of my sight. This road continued to be his one truck racetrack. I heaved a long sigh of huge relief. I continued to breathe deeply trying to calm my beating heart and my shaking arms. I was so thankful to be alive and safe. It was God’s will for me to live a while longer and to continue this journey.

Soon after that I reached Buffalo, Wyoming. I was so overjoyed that my long drive in the car was soon over. Feeling very confident again, I drove through the streets as I pictured myself showing up unexpectedly on my friend’s doorstep. Oh yes, I thought, I know the way to go; just turn here, then here, and then one more turn and in a few blocks, I will pull up in front of her house. Except… That didn’t happen. I pulled up to the wrong house and was baffled. What happened? I was sure I knew the way.

Oh well, I was certain I was close so I drove around a few more blocks. I was positive that I’d recognize the right road and then find the right home. After all I prided myself with having a photographic memory. I just needed to spot the right old house, turn at that corner and just drive a few more blocks and I would be there. Yeah, right. Well I drove and drove in circles. Obviously, I didn’t have such a great photographic memory. Perplexed, I knew I would have to stop somewhere and dig out her address from everything out of it. Her address wasn’t there. I had left it sitting on the table at home. I then checked my gps device to see if I had entered her address there. I had done no such thing; so much for careful planning and paying attention to details. Now I was 1300 miles away, lost in a city I did not know and my larger than life self-assurance had finally deflated.

“Well,” I thought, “I will just have to call my friend and her daughter and admit I got lost.” I flipped open my small cell phone, dialed her number and listened. It was not a smart phone, by the way, just a very basic cell phone.

“Sorry, that number is no longer in service,” answered a female robotic voice.

I didn’t have the right number. I couldn’t believe it but I thought of the next step. I simply called my cell phone carrier’s directory to retrieve my friend’s number that way. However, to my stunned surprised, my carrier didn’t have a listing for her for two reasons; her cell phone number is with a different carrier and she didn’t have a land phone. Therefore, my carrier had no listing for her.  I also tried calling the regular phone directory and they also had no listing for her as she seemed to have a private listing.

More perplexed than ever, I wondered what to do. I thought about booting my laptop computer to contact her through facebook but I didn’t think I would pick up a signal to connect to the internet. But, with a start, I thought of someone who could do that.  Picking up my phone again, I called my cousin living in the state of Washington, “Hi, I’m lost in Buffalo, Wyoming and need your help.”

My cousin sounded incredulous, “What do you want me to do?”

“Go on Facebook, send a friend request to my friend and her daughter, and see if they answer.”

“Okay,” replied my cousin who was eager to help.

She logged into her computer and into Facebook. I gave her my friend’s name and her daughter’s name and she sent the friend requests. Then we waited and waited. No one answered her requests.

“Shoot,” I said feeling more deflated, “neither one is on the computer right now. What could they be doing? They both know I am arriving today so they must be home.”

My cousin had the next brainstorm, “Do you want me to search for her in the white pages?”

“Okay,” I said a bit more hopeful.

She went to work entering my friend’s name and searching through the pages, “Well, several entries have come up but it is hard to tell because only the initials are used.”

I thought about it, “Can you just read each entry and I will see if one of them sounds right?”

So, carefully and concisely, my cousin read each entry to me. By process of elimination, I was able to determine which one might be my friend.

Kathy clicked on the entry I indicated and found an address. She read it to me and I entered it into my gps unit.

“Thanks for helping me, cousin,” I replied, “and I will let you know if this worked.”

“Okay,” answered my cousin, “I will talk to you soon.”

So off I went again to find my friend. I followed all the instructions supplied by my gps device and soon I was indeed pulling up in front of a familiar house. I knocked on the door, and much to my elation and relief, my friend answered the door. And was surprised to see I have arrived. Excitedly we hugged and then I exclaimed, “What have you been doing? I actually got lost and couldn’t get hold of you. So my cousin tried contacting you through Facebook for me.”

“Oh?” My friend and her daughter looked at each other and then me trying hard to not laugh. Then they explained, “We fell asleep!”

Curious now, they jumped on their computers, logged in and checked their Facebook messages. They had indeed received my cousin’s message requesting to be friends and explaining that I needed help.

We all laughed and began planning the next few days. We all liked hiking and geocaching so we planned several of these along with some sightseeing.

One of the biggest highlights is that we hiked to the top of a certain mountain where an old fire lookout house still remains. We had engaged in a geocaching hunt and the cache was hidden near the old building. We searched under rocks, around trees, and around the old building. Due to the steepness and rocky terrain, it was a challenge to safely maneuver around. Numerous times, I grasped the edge of rocks, tree limbs, or small boulders to keep from slipping. My friend found the cache this time.  But even more thrilling than finding the hidden “treasure” was the treasure of seeing the mountainous beauty and just being with my friends. We don’t get to visit each other often enough so when we do, we cherish that time. Just writing this account now, I am once anxious to be on that long and wondrous journey again to visit my Wyoming friends.

 

 

Writing 101 Day 15: Your Voice will Find You

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Christmas with the Family

How I remember a number of years ago

When for Christmas I was so determined to go home.

Of my siblings, I lived the furthest away

And had the longest trip to come home for Christmas Day.

As time drew near for me to make the long drive

I kept an eye on the pending weather outside.

With relief I saw the ground and roads looked clear

With no hint of a snowstorm to fear.

Then the phone rang; it was my loving but worried mom

Telling me it was snowing there and to not venture out; to not come.

“But the weather looks fine here and I’m already packed to go.

I will be alright,” I told her, “for here there isn’t any storm or snow.”

Then my brother jumped on the phone

And spoke in a sterner tone,

“Don’t come,” he warned, “for it is snowing like blazes here.”

“Well, I’m still coming,” I retorted, “for it is not snowing here.”

I was so determined to go home

And not spend this Christmas all alone.

I jumped in my car and sped on my way;

I was determined to be with family on Christmas Day.

I traveled the first half of my journey

With no troubles and no worries.

The roads were fine and clear

I felt I had nothing to fear.

But soon, just as I was warned,

I had finally caught up to the storm.

Roads became slick as snow dotted the ground.

Becoming concerned, I carefully slowed down.

With each city and town I traveled to,

The journey was more treacherous as I drove through.

I crossed the state line from Minnesota into Wisconsin;

Now my trek was two-thirds done.

Cautiously I had crossed the Mississippi River

While praying for God to guide me in this wintry weather.

Much to my dismay, the road conditions were worsening

As I slowed even more at each turn and each road crossing.

Finally, I was in the last leg with just one more town to go

And then soon I would be with family and safe at home.

But oh my, oh my, what a blinding surprise

Met my weary and strained eyes.

Now the road was so covered in thick snow

That I no longer could see where to go.

I sighed and teared and desperately prayed

For God to keep guiding me and showing the way.

Boldly, yet cautiously I followed by memory

Keeping track of the familiar landmarks that I could see.

I’d recognize a house, a barn, or a line of trees

And recall where the road used to be.

No one else was traveling on the road

I was on this journey feeling all alone.

Carefully, cautiously I continued on

Not letting my eyes become distracted for long.

I needed to keep my focus on the unseen road

Or else I would be lost and stuck in the mounting snow.

Somehow, God was there steadily leading me

And calming me with his quiet company.

I reached the last town, quiet and still

No one was around as a chilly silence there prevailed.

Sort of a creepy feeling with no one in sight

But I knew everyone was staying warm inside.

Finally, I reached the last road leading to the old farm

And soon pulled into the driveway facing the old red barn.

Most of the family was gathered on the porch

Greeting each other and elated beyond words.

For through the storm we all had come

And now were together and safe at home.

My sister-in-law was first to warmly greet,

“how are you?” as she held the door for me.

“Hooray, she’s here,” my young niece jumped,

“Now we can play ‘Leopard Hunt’.”

We enjoyed a savory celebration feast

And then gathered around the Christmas tree.

The gifts and the tearing wrapping paper are a blur to me

But what I recall the most is the love of family.

Later, my mother sat in her chair all alone

And not forgetting all that God has done.

She knew the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth

To show God’s love to us all on earth.

But now, she replied quietly to me,

“God was here; don’t you think, don’t you see?

He indeed gave us another miracle today

When he brought you home safe for Christmas Day.”

Writing 101 Day 14: To Whom it May Concern

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Please Listen to the Quiet Person Inside of Me

Is there a quiet person somewhere in your life?

Some who sits nearby and who barely says “Hi”?

Do you ever wonder why they are that way

As they silently pass through the day?

Or do you believe they are just too stuck up

And so dismiss them without further thought?

I have been accused of that and called names;

Hurtful names that haunt and leave me maimed.

For I am one of those quiet individuals too

And for many reasons I guess, quietness is my refuge.

I try to be outgoing and a little social

But sometimes reaching others is a battle.

For I strain to try and really listen

And join in on the conversation

But hearing the right words is sometimes hard

Especially when listening from afar.

I try to respond and tactfully associate

But find my words or actions are not appropriate.

I receive glares and stares with awkward silence

Which then pummels my inner confidence.

Also when young, I was teased too much and put down

So now I fear looking foolish or like a clumsy clown.

I fear being singled out and being made a target

Of some unkindness which will make my heart ache.

For that has happened in my life more than once

Where I am made to feel unwanted or a mindless dunce.

I cannot describe the pain and heartache that I feel

When I know the hurt was purposeful and intentional.

So now I find it so much easier to sit in silence, you see

Smiling and nodding my head so quietly.

I have learned in life that I am not the only one

Who lives in the fortress of quietness as the world goes on.

I have met others who also express a quiet disposition

And if encouraged, they will express kindness and try to understand.

So if you are filled with compassion and try to listen so carefully

You just might reach that quiet person hiding inside of me.

Writing 101 Day 13 Serially Lost Part 2

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Lost in Wyoming (Part 2)

I awoke the next, ate a small breakfast at the Super 8 motel in Chamberlain, South Dakota situated on the scenic Missouri River. In a short amount of time, I had repacked my car for my trip to Wyoming. It was a bright and sunny day, and I started up in great confidence. I never knew that I will get lost or incur a dangerous encounter. I was back on Interstate 90 heading west. The scenery of fields, farms, and small towns flowed by. Occasionally, I met up with a construction site and needed to slow to pass cautiously.

As I drove along two things happened: I drove across the central-mountain time zone border and I began seeing signs for my favorite pit stop along the way.  That is a tourist stop at an 1880’s Ghost Town near Midland, South Dakota. I have stopped a number of times but I never get tired of it. I am always afraid I might miss the turn off so I try to read every sign to ensure I do not drive by without knowing. Finally, I see the turn off up ahead. I keep myself in the right lane so there is no danger of missing the turn. With anticipation, I drive into the parking lot and turn off my car. I am ready to for a long walk to stretch my legs.

Plenty of other visitors are here so I join in a long line to purchase my ticket and enter the museum which includes a gift shop. I pass through the shop gazing at the books. That tends to be my favorite purchase. I consider several titles and decide to think about this while I view the rest of the museum and the old ghost town. After taking time to look at old collections and artifacts of the pioneering era inside, I finally make it outdoors walking down the old dirt main street of the century old town.

The layout to me is almost reminiscent of the old Gunsmoke TV show as I pass by the old post office, bank, and a Wells Fargo stagecoach. There is also an old jailhouse. I even happen to come across a replica of the old medical office of Dr. Addams from the Gunsmoke program and that threw me for a loop. Just because, I knew the old TV show supposedly took place in Kansas, not South Dakota. However, I think they continue to acquire new additions for this popular tourist attraction. For instance, this tourist site has also acquired props from Kevin Costner’s movie Dances with Wolves. I also pass by an old school house and an old church. I can’t help but peek inside. Another feature of this old town is the various lifeless statues of men, women, and children dressed in 1880’s attire. As I wander along I see them on the streets, the wooden sidewalks, and in the buildings. I even encounter motionless statues of dogs and horses. I also strolled onto another dirt street checking out a row of old shanties. These are tiny houses where families lived. I could not imagine how those pioneering settlers survived the harsh winters that I knew took place here. This is a vast flat prairie where when the wind blows, the snow flies, and the temperatures drop, there is no stopping the sheer cold and brute wintry conditions. I am sure these were authentic shanties perhaps hastily built by their very hardy occupants. They housed old furniture, stoves, and dishware of the pioneering era all arranged for use. The walls were thin with no insulation and small paned windows. Somehow though, these tiny, modest, and crude structures have survived through time.

I then continued to follow a long dirt road which led to a distant old farmhouse. No other tourist was on the road so I was alone walking along listening to the soft wind and the silence. Up ahead I noticed two more statues of horses grazing behind a long, white fence. As I drew closer, I saw one of the horses’ tails silently sway back and forth. I had become so used to the stillness and the lack of life here, that I nearly jumped out of my skin. Obviously, these ponies were very much alive. I spend a few moments watching the animals quietly chomp on the grass.

Eventually, I turned around heading back through the old ghost town. I stopped back in the gift and do make a purchase, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Back in my car, I returned to Interstate 90 westward towards the Wyoming border.

Filled with anticipation and adventure, I continued my journey. I had enjoyed my little visit to the old 1880s town and now I was anxious to finish my trek and meet up with my friends all waiting for me. Still a long ways to go but, I was sure I wouldn’t lose my way as I sped across that vast South Dakota prairie.

 Stay tuned to the conclusion in Part 3.

Writing 101 Day 12: Foreshadowing of the Weather

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“Next week will become colder,” warned the forecaster.

“No it won’t,” I overheard, “it will be warmer.”

“Which is it?” I wanted to know.

“We’ll know when we get there!”

“Oh great,” I mutter,

“I am tired of this ever changing weather.”

“It is going to snow again,” forecasted the weatherman.

“Oh no it won’t,” I then heard, “it will just rain.”

“Well, which is it?” I try to not complain.

“We’ll know more by next weekend.”

“That is just terrific,” I told myself

“Whatever the weather is, no one can really tell.”

So, I dress for cooler weather and become too warm.

I then dress for warmer weather and catch a good cold.

I seem to hear the wrong forecast and am never rightly foretold.

Now, I lay in my bed coughing, sneezing, and carrying on.

Wondering when spring will finally stay and winter will move along.

“It will be sunny and dry,” I hear one day

And then, “rain! And perhaps some thunder along the way.”

So I take a long drive while it is still cool and dry

Only to meet up with thunder, rain, and lightning flashes before my eyes.

“There will be a little rain, no big deal.”

Then the sky turned black and it pelted and it hailed.

I store the car in the garage as fast as I can

Only for the clouds to clear and no more hail or rain.

What such frantic and surprising days I sometimes live

Listening to the foreshadows of the weather

Which our meteorologists are duty bound to give.

 

Writing 101 Day 11: My Childhood Home

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Last year during this course, I had written a story about my childhood home around age 12 in a piece about the century old four-square house that I had lived in. In fact we lived in that house for many years and it is still in our family as my nephew and my brother take care of it now. There is also an old barn on the land which has been used for years. Again my brother and nephew take care of it and use it as they need. It does not house any animals today as my family is taking some breaks from the very demanding farming life. Nevertheless that barn also dwells in my mind as an important place from my childhood years. Therefore, I decided to write about the old red barn and I have no idea how old it really is. It could be newer than I think too as I wonder about the tall cement and brick walls. So, here is my latest piece about the old barn at my childhood home:

The Old Red Barn

Empty now but erect and three stories high stands the old red barn;

Settled downhill from the quiet road on our small Wisconsin farm.

It once housed horses, cows, pigs, and bales of hay

With barn cats darting and scampering as they hunt and play.

Wild birds lived there too on the highly vaulted ceiling beams

Where they built nests for their young to keep them safe and unseen.

On the first floor were assortment of pens and animal stalls

While the upper level was wide open from floor to ceiling and wall to wall.

Although it was a place for work where animals were fed and watered,

We kids found time to enjoy the day as we climbed up the wooden ladder

Leading into the huge hay mow where bales were stacked so tightly.

We’d climb the tallest pile just to see how high we could be.

Sometimes we would hear tiny mews sounding from under

The loose hay and discover a newborn kitten litter.

It almost never failed that somewhere on that little farm

That every year a new batch of kittens was born.

When the tall barn attic was not quite so full of hay

Then there was more room for us kids to enjoy and play.

One game we played was our own version of racquetball

As we tried to hit tennis balls against the back barn wall.

At other times we tried building long, curving tunnels

By re-arranging and piling the hay bales.

Oh what fun we had creeping, crawling, and slithering through!

And oh how dark it was in there and rather spooky too.

I sometimes climbed up to a high “window” opening

Just to look across the green pasture to the distant tree line.

One a warm summer day, I would also wander up there all alone.

Sometimes it was a quiet place to hide and still be safe at home.

Writing 101 Day 10: Happy Friday Night Pizza Night

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When I was a teenager coming home on the school bus on a Friday night was an especially happy occasion. For one thing, it marked the end of the school week and I didn’t think there was anyone happier than me when Friday came. I looked forward to the quietness of the weekend and freedom of doing whatever I want for a few days. But along the way, my mom found a way to make Friday an extra special family night by having pizza. This did not mean we ordered out for pizza and had it delivered to our home. Oh no, not by a long shot.

Instead, we made the pizza from scratch, or mostly from scratch; that is two thick crusted, large hamburger and pepperoni pizzas. Due to the extra time required to prepare these large pizzas, the fun and the fellowship began in the kitchen long before we sat at the table happily eating this meal. For someone had to mix the dough and prepare the crust. That was usually my mom. Someone else had to brown and sauté the onions and someone had to grate the cheese. Often that was me. What? You thought my mom would buy shredded cheese for these occasions? Nope, my mom was not about to do that. Instead she bought big blocks of cheese that needed to be grated. So, I stood at the kitchen counter using a hand grater to shred and shred the hunks of cheese. I no sooner have one pile of shredded cheese ready when someone would come and take it away. Then I would start all over again. When the crusts were ready, someone would be busy layering the ingredients: pizza sauce (um, yeah, that we didn’t do from scratch, oh well.), hamburger and onion mixture, cheese and finally the pepperoni. That may not sound like very many layers but I can tell you that those pizzas were well loaded on top.  Now, there may have been other ingredients but I am not remembering them.

As we all worked at our different tasks, we chatted, joked, and bantered. It was a time of family fun and sharing. While the pizzas baked we cleaned up the kitchen and set the table. By the time that the pizza was ready, everyone was hungry as the mouth-watery aroma rising from the oven wafted through the kitchen and most of the house. We gathered eagerly to enjoy this amazing pizza feast and became very stuffed. No one left the table hungry.

And the fun of Friday night did not end after the meal but often continued into the evening as we gathered in the living room to watch some of our favorite TV programs. Often these shows included The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, and Falcon Crest. We enjoyed seeing how the Duke boys would get away from the sheriff and Boss Hog each time and we enjoyed the drama and the suspense of Dallas and Falcon Crest; especially when those famous cliff hangers started. We never wanted to miss a cliff hanger. It was often an evening of family fun, laughter, and even suspense depending on the TV programs.

For me those Friday nights were especially enjoyable nights with the family where I could laugh, be chatty if I want to or be my usual quiet self, and just feel the blanket and warmth of love in our home.

 

Writing 101 Day 9: Points of View

 

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While continuing in this writing course, I was directed to write about a scene of an older woman making a gift. Perhaps it would have the last gift she would make for someone she loves. We were then to write it from different points of view. However, that scene got me to thinking about the last gift my mom made for me. Therefore, I felt compelled to write about that last gift which I cherish still today:

The Last Gift

I sat here thinking of the last gift my mother gave to me.

It was a monthly calendar with photos of our family.

With great love and joy she delivered the same package

To all her children and to the grandkids.

I sat to look at this last gift that my mother made for me

And turned the pages to gaze at love and familiarity.

Several pictures were of my nephews who once were boys but now men;

They each follow a different path in life. May God in his love forever bless them.

One nephew is pictured as a confident and skillful hunter

Who works hard at all he does, helping others, and being a farmer.

And there’s a smiling photo of my niece featured in the month of her birthday;

My how, she is growing up so fast and becoming a talented and beautiful lady.

My smiling youngest sister is pictured on the February page

Who is very social and witty with the look of laughter on her face.

My other sister is featured in December holding her infant, bright-eyed daughter.

What joy that young girl has brought to our lives with her gentle smile and laughter.

Then there is my brother pictured in May; a modest person who works hard to do

With his gentle smile and his ways what is right and remain ever true.

My sister and brother-in-laws are pictured in different places.

Each one is unique and gifted with different talents and gentle grace.

Featured in September is a picture of me,

Smiling and happy to be seated near my niece.

But my favorite photo is the one of my mother and father

The last one taken of them by my nephew who had joined in their laughter.

That calendar today remains turned to the picture of my mom and dad on my wall

Where they quietly keep watch as I remember the love they shared to us all.