old brown looking down
yesterday sun facing
now beholds the ground
old brown looking down
yesterday sun facing
now beholds the ground
I know this word
It is one of Mothers favourites.
She uses the word volunteer as noun, a thing, and she had four of them.
Her requests would be delivered simply, even pleasantly at times, implying that you had a choice.
“I need a volunteer. Who’s going to help your father outside?”
Honest to god you better be the first to volunteer because she always started with the best jobs. If you thought you could lay low and she’d forget about you or run out of jobs, you thought wrong.
Sometimes she would make it sound as if you had a choice.
“You can do the dishes or you can clean the bathroom.”
This was never really a choice, it was a tactic. A way to funnel us into position. If a volunteer (us children) tried to delay or hesitated with an answer it would only prompt her to say
“Better decide quickly or I will make the decision for you. You won’t like what I decide.”
If someone in the neighborhood needed help. Our mother volunteered us. If someone’s child needed help with homework she volunteered us. Well not really us, just my sister, she’s the smart one. If the school called needing volunteers, no problem she had four.
I remember one particular instance, a family new to our neighborhood and to Canada moved in. The children would be attending our school and did not speak english. So when the school rang, our Mother immediately summoned her volunteers.
“The school needs volunteers. You four are to walk with the new children to school starting Monday.”
Today being Saturday we shrug and say. “Okay, no problem, where do they live?”
She gives us the address and then adds.
“I want you four to go over there right now and welcome them.”
“Right now!” we foolishly whine.
“Yes right now. while you’re at it take some of your toys with you. Lord knows you have entirely too many and those kids just crossed an ocean. I’m willing to bet they have near next to nothing.”
She is using that voice. You know, that tone, the one you would have to be a right fool to talk back to.
I don’t remember missing the toys we gave up, but my siblings and I have always remembered we made great new friends that day.
Thanks for volunteering us Mom.
Trust via Daily Prompt: Trust
you give your love to me
it is evident
the way you say my name
how you reach out for my hand
smiling when we kiss
I trust it
it is apparent with your participation
fully engaged, deeply immersed
with me, with us, your family
and your home
clearly comfortable as your true self
Your language speaks in small actions
a perceivable awareness of belonging
daily heading off to work
even when you don’t want to
and then… coming back
I trust nothing is perfect
my heart may still be injured
disagreements sometimes exposing undesirable emotion
love – true, vulnerable, aching love
has no expectations
and so, neither does my trust
I hate to say it
it works on me
when it feels sincere – I kinda like it
when insincere I find it funny
or annoying, depending on my mood
I have used it to let you know I like you
I have also used it to get my way
the first way feels good
the latter not always
so say nice things whether you mean it or not
let me hear the applause
praise and gush and fawn over me
my ego enjoys the stroking
whether it is true devotion or just a con
the sweet talking turns me on
Tis the season for tradition.
The customs practiced by the Weald family at this time of year are not so different from any other household in Juniper Valley. Thanksgiving, the celebration of gratitude, will kick off the season. Although officially the holiday falls on the second Monday of October the celebrating will actually begin two days before. From the moment the October long weekend begins and until the first day of the new year everyone will remember, practice and repeat the customs handed down over generations. Baking and cooking traditional recipes, attending traditional events and participating in the overall merriment of the traditional season.
Two days ago the weekend seemed to stretch out in front of them like an uphill hike on an old dirt road. Now Monday morning the end is indeed in sight. The children lazy and sated lounging around the television set, the boys watching sports, Lauren and Beth reading library books, the aroma of yesterdays thanksgiving feast still lingering throughout the homestead. Today’s late lunch will be left overs, sandwiches stuffed with cold turkey and cranberries Mmmm. Mr. Weald lay stretched out on the couch, one eye on the game the other behind his newspaper while Mrs. Weald pretends to fuss around in the kitchen. Mostly just sitting at the dining table sipping coffee and thumbing through her magazine. After the busyness of Saturday and Sunday, all are a feeling a bit worn out but content.
Saturday was nice. The weather cooperated, creating an ideal day for enjoying the fair. Beginning early, right after breakfast and not ending until well after dark, it was a long day. Mr. and Mrs. Weald were the first to leave, having been asked to judge various competitions. The girls, Lauren and Beth, had entered art work and sewing projects while Bill entered in the tractor race. Josh and Joey plan to watch the tractor pull competitions and eat fair food. Grandpops is of like mind so he goes with the twins and the three of them ruin their lunch and dinner with cotton candy and corn dogs. Grandma Weald takes the girls to the stables and later the three watch barrel racing.
The family does not meet up as whole again until dinner time when they all pile back into the car and truck, heading out for a meal at the corner café. After dinner it’s back to the fair for midway and then home. Fun, exhausting and all part of the tradition
Of course Sunday is the feast and the main event. The original tradition which all else circles around like a wreath or like smaller tradition satellites.
Monday is the lay about day. Which is what everyone is happily doing. That is until Joey and Josh start squabbling. It wasn’t intentional. The twins are rambunctious. That is how Mrs.Weald describes the boys behaviour. Grandpops calls it rowdy and disruptive. Whatever you call it Josh and Joey are at it and Mr. Weald has had enough. Sitting up and putting down his paper he looks at the boys. He looks at them hard like he is trying to control his temper. Like he is trying to think of a solution to this disturbance of his well deserved peace. Finally this is what he says. “Have you boys thought about Christmas yet?” At the mentioning of Christmas the boys abruptly halt. “It’s only a few months away now.” Immediately the twins and Lauren begin to shout out what they want. “Hush, Hush not everyone at once.” “You know the rules, if you are well-behaved, are helpful and generous you will find generosity bestowed on you. So now is the time to think about what you want, and put in a letter, quietly.” “In the mean time I have a project for you lot.”
Mr. Weald calls for Mrs. Weald to join them in the living room. “Dear,” he addresses her, “I will need your help with this.” “Every year Bill and I cut down a tree two weeks before Christmas. We trek through the cold and wet snow searching for the perfect one . I was thinking this year the gang could head out this afternoon, while the weather is still fine, and pick one out. Choose a couple of good candidates and tie red ribbons to them. Come Christmas-time the tree will be easy for us to find.”
Mrs.Weald agrees it’s a good idea so she and Beth walk over to grandmothers to fetch the ribbons.
Mother doesn’t sew much anymore, neither does grandma, but an old trunk is kept filled with fabric bits and ends, string and ribbons for the kids to craft with. Grandma points out there are not many red items in the trunk but after a bit of digging they find an old sash. Grandma had been the second runner-up Juniper fall fair queen, 1925. “This should do the trick.” she says as she picks up the scissors and cuts the sash in half. Beth gasps. “Now, now it has been in here for over 60 years.” Grandma chuckles. “It’s not like I’m ever going to wear it again”. They take the sash now made into two back to the main house. The children are waiting at the door and having dressed warmly are ready to go. Enthusiastic about their task they set out into the woods to find a Christmas tree.
Unwittingly a new tradition is born
There have been plenty of arguments in our family. Spats between siblings, between kid and parent and between mom and dad. Every family member participating in every combination of row and quarrel. Although, Mother would say, “we do not argue we merely discuss.” or ” Nothing more than disagreements debated loudly.” For us, as children, it was normal family interaction.
As we grew and began our own families we did not necessarily carry on the tradition. (seeing that, to our spouses the tumultuous exchanges appeared overkill and not normal) but our children spending time at grandma and pop’s learned early on about our family’s pension for arguing.
One Holiday (thanksgiving or christmas, i don’t remember which) as the family gathered at the homestead. My siblings and I, now grown with families of our own, and sitting around the huge flat screen my parents now own. (nothing like the portable black and white of our youth) We could hear much loud and heated debate coming from the kitchen. Our parents true to form after thirty-some-odd years still at it.
Just as we, their offspring, were having our own discussion on who should go in and break it up, my little niece Arabella enters the room. She is about three or four years old, and snacking on a piece of bread. As we all look at her, we know, but my sister asks anyway. “Did you just come from the kitchen?” Arabella nods. next question “Do you know why grandma and pops are arguing?”
Arabella shrugs nonchalantly and says “You know, she thinks he’s wrong”
From the mouth of babes.
He was graceful
he knew it
no one else knew
he was elegant, refined and beautiful
he could see it in his mind
he felt it when he walked
and when he sat with his girlfriend
sipping sparkling wine and smoking
he imagined his legs were crossed beneath
in a knee-length pencil skirt
his blouse loosely opened at the collar
hair smooth and soft. freshly pulled from its tie and
cascading over his not so narrow shoulders
he could see it with his mind’s eye
he knew who he really was
know one else knew
he was Grace
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