Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Amanda’s New Life

Standard
Amanda’s New Life

This is a Flash Fiction story from my book Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. A book of short stories with genres from romance to the supernatural. There is something for everyone to enjoy. amzn.to/15HB87j I hope you enjoy this little piece. It’s something beside Covid-19.

by Shirley McLain     4245 Words

The bed was empty, but Amada knew it wouldn,t be empty long.  Jasper would be sure she met her quota for the day.  This endless, meaningless sex was not what she had planned for her life.  If it weren’t for my asshole stepfather and spineless mother, my life would be different.  I couldn’t stay there and let him continue to use me.  My mother didn’t believe me when I told her what was happening.  I think she knew, but she didn’t want to stay by herself.  She let that creep stay around, so I didn’t.  I’ve learned how to take care of myself, and she could’ve learned also.

The sheets on the bed were changed and Amanda took a quick shower.  She felt little of the filth on her was washed down the drain.  She was just getting out of the shower when the doorbell rang.  She knew it would be her next customer.  With the towel wrapped around her body, she opened the door.

What a surprise, there was a child about six years old standing at her door.

“Hi there, what can I do for you, sweetie?”

“Are you Amanda?”

“Yes, my name is Amanda.”

The child reached into her pocket and pulled out an envelope and handed it to Amanda.  Amanda’s name was written across the front of the envelope in an unfamiliar handwriting.

 “What is your name, Darling?”

“It’s Annie Lynn.”  The child kept shifting from one foot to another, looking around.

“Well, Annie Lynn who brought you here?  Come in so I can close the door.  Standing in the doorway in a towel doesn’t look too good.  So how did you get here?”

“I was put in a taxi and the driver was told to bring me to this address.”

“Where are your parents?”

“I don’t have any.  I lived with my Nanna until two weeks ago, when she died.  I stayed with a friend of hers until today, and she sent me here.”

“Let me read this letter, and maybe it will tell me why you were sent to my door.”  Amanda opened the letter and started reading:

               Dear Amanda Thomas, you do not know me, but I was a friend of Frances Jones, who was the adopted grandmother of Annie Lynn.  This is going to come as a shock to you, but Annie Lynn is your daughter who you adopted out at birth.  She no longer has any living relatives.  Before Frances died, she told me to contact Mr. Andrew Paul, her attorney when she died.  I did as I was requested to do and was mailed a letter, with instructions only to read it when Frances died.  I received the letter two days ago.  I was informed you were Annie Lynn’s mother and your address.  I was also instructed to send Annie Lynn to you.  That is what I have done.  Enclosed you will find the birth certificate showing you are Annie’s mother and no known father.

at the Don’t bother trying to find me, because you won’t. The child did not know me, and I do not live within two thousand miles. Annie is a sweet girl, so take loving care of her. You are all she has.
“Annie Lynn, do you know why you are here?”
“Nanna’s friend said I would be living with you from now on.
“I can’t explain everything right now, but I will explain as soon as I can. Right now, let’s put your suitcase in the bedroom, and I’ll get dressed, so we can get something to eat.”
Amanda knew she’d to get out of her house before the next john showed up. She had to be able to think and decide what to do. She couldn’t believe someone could just send a little girl to a stranger. I guess I did that very thing when I gave her up for adoption.
Amanda quickly dressed in a pair of blue jeans, tee-shirt, and tennis shoes. She and Annie Lynn caught the subway to Amanda’s favorite Italian restaurant.
“Do you like spaghetti, Annie? It’s one of my most favorite things to eat.”
“It’s my most favorite thing. I like it with garlic bread. Can I have bread with it?”
“Certainly, I’m going to have some myself, along with some big fat meatballs.”
Annie didn’t talk much. She would answer a question when asked, but otherwise, she sat and looked at Amanda. Amanda smiled at her and tried to make lighthearted talk, but Anne Lynn didn’t want to engage in conversation.
“Tell me about your parents, and Grandmother, Annie.”
“My Nanna told me my mama and daddy were in a car wreck and went to see Jesus. I was just a baby. I stayed with my Nanna, and that’s all I know. I do have a picture of them that Nanna gave me. My mama was pretty. She had dark brown hair like mine, and it was long too, just like mine.”
“I’m sure she was because you certainly are. I think you and I aren’t staying at my house tonight. We are going to buy a pair of PJ’s and a toothbrush and then we are going to a hotel. I think we will have an adventure tonight since we are getting to know each other. What do you think of that idea?”
“Ok, whatever you want to do.”
Amanda knew she couldn’t go back to her house because of Jasper. He would be waiting for her, and there is no telling what he would do. It wouldn’t matter in the least if there were a child around. She couldn’t have Annie hurt.
They finished their meal and made their way back to the subway. Amanda knew of a hotel they could stay at that Jasper knew nothing about. It would give her time to think and decide what to do. They got off at the mall entrance and walked to JC Penny’s buying clothes for the next day and some PJ’s. They went on to CVS Pharmacy and bought toothbrushes and toothpaste. They were ready for the night. They got back on the subway and rode to the station closest to the Twin Towers Memorial. She had a friend who lived in China town. Ming owned a small hotel. She would give Amanda and Annie a room for as long as needed.
Ming had once been one of Jasper’s girls, but she got lucky and was able to get away from the business. She went home to her family, who accepted her back with open arms. The hotel once belonged to her parents, but since their death, it’s hers.
Amanda opened the front door to the hotel, stepped into the small lobby with Annie right on her heels. Ming was sitting at the desk looking at a magazine. When she looked up and recognized Amanda, she immediately ran out with open arms to hug Amanda.
“Hi Ming, How are you doing?” It’s so good to see you again, my friend.”
“This is a surprise, Amanda. I am so glad to see you. Who is this pretty young lady?”
“This is Annie Lynn; she is living with me now. I’m wondering if you could put me up for a couple of days. I have to make some decisions, and I need a quiet place to think.”
“You didn’t even need to ask. Let me take you to a room with two beds. We need time to talk a little later. I am on the night shift tonight, so just give me a call anytime. She took a key off the hook behind the desk and walked them to the elevator. You are on the third floor in 312. It is one door down from the elevator on the right.”
“Thanks, Ming, you don’t know how much this means to me. I can’t thank you enough.”
“You don’t have to, that is what being a friend is all about. I will talk to you later.”
Amanda and Annie Lynn found their room without any problem. It was nice and clean with two queen size beds plus a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee pot.
“We will have a fabulous time camping out here and getting to know one another. Are you tired, Annie? It has been a busy day for you. Let’s get you a bath and put your PJs. Then we can watch some TV until you get sleepy.”
Annie Lynn went into the bathroom and started running water for her bath. Amanda made sure she had a towel and washcloth. Annie climbed in the tub and tried to lean back, but she was too small to hit the back of the tub. Amanda laughed and turned the water off and handed her the bar of soap.
“Let me know when you want me to wash your back. I’m going to be watching TV while you are in the tub. Amanda left the door open to the bathroom and sat down on her bed. She took her cell phone out of her purse. She had twenty-four messages. “I’m not even going to look at these things. I am sure most of them are from Jasper, wanting to know where I’m. This is the end of that life for me.” All of the messages disappeared with a push of a button, and she felt relieved not to have to deal with Jasper anymore.
Annie Lynn finished her bath, and Amanda helped her dry off. After Annie put her PJ’s on, they both laid down on one of the beds and started watching Finding Nemo on the TV. Annie Lynn seemed to enjoy watching it.
Amanda couldn’t keep her mind on the TV. She kept running the words from the letter repeatedly in her mind that this child was hers. Amanda never thought she’d see her again. She remembered seeing the little, tiny bundle held in front of her, right after delivery. How small her hands were, and her large dark eyes were trying to focus in the light. Then they left with her, and that was it. She never saw her daughter again. She left the hospital two days later and went to her friend’s house. That friend was the one who introduced her to Jasper.
After her recovery from giving birth, things started to change at the friend’s house. It got so bad she couldn’t stay there anymore. Jasper was there to take her to his place, and she could stay there. I was a sixteen-year-old girl who’d just given her baby away, was abused at home, felt unloved, and unwanted. Besides that, I didn’t have a choice without money.
One thing led to another, and Amanda finally started turning tricks for Jasper, to keep him from beating her. Over the last six years, she’s made a lot of money. She gave Jasper what he thought his cut was, but he didn’t know what the john’s were paying her. She saved enough money so that she could support her and Annie Lynn for a long time. She could go back to school to get her education.
Annie Lynn had drifted off to sleep. Amanda left the bathroom light on, turned the TV down low, and went to the lobby to talk to Ming.
“Hey, Ming, can you talk now?”
“Sure, come on behind the desk and sit down. I appreciate the company. I was beginning to get sleepy. Let me get us a cup of coffee. It has been a while since you and I have gotten to visit.” Ming walked over to the counter in the breakfast area and fixed two cups of coffee. When she sat down again, she turned and looked at Amanda.
“Why are you here, Amanda?”
“Ming, Annie is my daughter. I had her adopted out at birth, but the adopted family is now dead. She arrived back to me today. I can’t go back to the life I had. I have to decide what I’m going to do. I have a lot of money saved in an account Jasper doesn’t know about, so I don’t have to worry about money.”
“If you had money, why did you continue that life?”
“What else was I going to do? I couldn’t go back home, and turning tricks is what I know. I was making a substantial amount of money, and most of the time, I wasn’t unhappy. I just need time to think about what I want to do now.”
“You know you are welcome to stay here as long as you need to. Jasper might be in New Jersey, but you know as well as I do if he wants to find you, he will.”
“Yes, I know Ming. I won’t be here but a couple of days. By then, I’ll know where I’m going. I do appreciate your help.”
“I told you before, that is what friends are for.”
“I’m going to go back up to the room. I don’t want Annie Lynn waking up and not finding me there. I will talk to you tomorrow.”
Amanda went back to the room, and Annie was still sleeping soundly. She put on her PJ’s and turned off the TV and bathroom light and crawled into bed. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to go to sleep or not.
She tossed and turned most of the night. She kept running everything over in her mind and trying to decide what to take. The clock on the bedside table showed three A.M. when she finally drifted off to sleep. She then started dreaming of her mother and father.
Amanda’s eyes popped open at eight the next morning. Annie was sitting up in bed with the TV playing on low and was watching cartoons.
“Good morning,” Amanda said. “Did you sleep well?”
Annie just looked at her and nodded her head up and down.
“How about we get dressed and go get up some breakfast. Do you want to do that?”
“Sure, I like pancakes.”
“Then the pancakes it will be. I’ll find out the address of the nearest IHOP (International House of Pancakes). They make a great pancake breakfast. I hope you have a large appetite.”
They got up and got dressed, brushed their teeth, and headed downstairs. Ming was just getting ready to go off duty.
“Good morning, Ming. I hope your night went all right. Where is the nearest IHOP? We want a pancake breakfast this morning”.
They got the directions they needed and left the hotel. It was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky and warm sunshine. The IHOP was not far, so they walked and enjoyed the sun.
Amanda chatted away while they walked, but Annie Lynn was quiet. Amanda was hoping as Annie gets to know her, she would open up a little bit. Stop pressuring yourself, Amanda; this is only her second day with you. Give her time to adjust.
They had a fabulous breakfast and walked down to the waterfront to watch the boats coming and going. As they sat on a bench looking out at the water, Amanda had the urge to talk to her mother. She took out her cell phone; looked the ringer was turned off, so it couldn’t disturb her or Annie. She had twenty messages. She deleted every one of them without listening to the first sound. She hoped her mother would be living in the same house, and that ass she was married to wouldn’t be home during the day. She dialed the number she remembered. The phone began to ring. After the fourth ring, Amanda was about to hang up when a female voice said, “hello.”
“Hello, I would like to speak to Martha James, please.”
“This is Martha James, how can I help you?”
“Amanda felt this lump begin in her throat. She wasn’t sure she could speak. “Mama, its Amanda.”
She could hear her mother scream, “Oh my precious girl. Where are you? How are you? I can’t believe I’m finally getting to talk to you.”
“Mom, I’m in New York right now, and I’m doing well.”
“Amanda, will you come to see me?”
“Mom, I can’t come back there as long as your husband is around.”
“Oh, Amanda, he hasn’t been here for six years. He left not long after you did. I’m living here by myself. Please come home. We have so much to find out about each other. I love you, and I don’t want to lose touch with you again.”
“Mom, I love you too. I will be home in two days, and I am bringing someone for you to meet. No, there is no husband. It’s going to be a surprise. I will see you as soon as I can.”
Amanda hung up the phone and turned to Annie Lynn. “Annie, we are going to Oklahoma to visit my mama. We may even stay there.”
“Are there Indians there?”
“Yes, but not like the ones you see on TV, our Indians look like you and me, except their skin is darker. I think you will like Oklahoma. There are many lakes, rolling hills, cows, and horses. It’s a lovely place to start a new life. How about us starting a new life in a new home?
“Can I meet the Indians?”
“You certainly can, sweetie.” She gathered Annie Lynn in her arms and held her close. She said a silent prayer thanking God for sending her daughter back to her, and giving her a chance to reunite with her mother.

The Right Decision (I Hope)

Standard
Featured Image -- 2382
Hello everyone and happy Sunday. I’ve been busy this morning trying to write my Amazon description for Princess Adele’s Dragon. It’s not the easiest thing to do.
 
I also made a decision today. I’m going to rewrite and retitle The Tower. That was the first book I wrote back in 2010. I can’t believe what a terrible job I did. It’s a great story but it’s poorly written. The nice thing is I can actually go back and read it and pick out all the mistakes.
I’m not kicking myself around because I like to.  It’s nice some people can put out their first book and it be wonderful from the start. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those people. When I first wrote the book I made the statement about what a learning experience it was from beginning to end. The nice thing is I can now look back on it and continue to say it was/is a learning experience.
When I was writing The Tower, I think I fell into every pit other others said to be careful about. I was one of those people that I knew what they said but apparently I didn’t know what I was looking at. With practice, the writing skill grows and I’m happy to say mine did.
I’ve learned over time that people are not always honest with you about your work. It does great things for your ego when someone says they read your story and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s what they think you want to hear and apparently it is.
I can’t tell a soul bought the book from Amazon or if they did they kept it a big secret. Now you know why I made the decision. I want to put out a better product and I would like to sell some copies.  Am I making the right decision?Thumbs up

My Book Review

Standard

This is the last day of the year and I’m doing what I’ve done every day since May. I’m talking to people about my book, Dobyns Chronicles. I never realized how hard it is to get people to read a book you know they will enjoy.

My blog today is a review of my book by Motorwriter.com. I thought it was great and wanted to share it with everyone. It is a wonderful feeling when people like what you have put on paper.  Ok, I’ll have my arm casted tomorrow from patting myself on the back but today, since it’s the last day of the year I’m going to keep patting.

I also want to everyone to know how much I appreciate the support that has been given to me. I’ve made some new friends, and connected again with some old ones. Life is full of struggles and heartbreak but it is also full of love and kindness and I have been blessed with a abundance of the love and kindness.

As this year ends I want everyone to know how much they are appreciated and lets continue to make this world a better place to live for as long as we are here.  Blessings to all and Happy New Year.

******

The Finest Generation – A review of the novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’

dobyns cover Picture2

“It is so much simpler to bury reality than it is to dispose of dreams” – Don DeLillo

Author Shirley McLain’s latest novel ‘Dobyns Chronicles’ is a historical fiction loosely based on the life and times of her grandfather Charles Kenly Dobyns. Charles orCharley to those close to him was the eldest son of Kennerly, an American cowboy and Eliza, a Cherokee Indian and was raised in a farm in Red River in Bonham near Northeast Texas. The book chronicles his life story from the late 1800’s when he was a young boy in a Texan farm to mid 1950’s when he became a great grandfather in McAlester, Oklahoma. The book paints a moving real life story about a young man’s resolve dealing with the various tragedies life threw at him while also caring for his two siblings, younger brother David and sister Viola. This novel presents a fascinating look at vintage Americana and will fill your mind with nostalgia about a simpler life led in much simpler times.

Right off the bat, the first thing that you are going to notice and that too barely a couple of pages into the book is the wonderful use of the English language. It has become almost a rarity in mainstream literature to come across such beautiful phrases and prose that make you stop and read a line twice just for the sheer literary pleasure it gives you. The next best thing about this book is the pitch perfect way in which the author has been able to portray the laid back and lazy times with the back breaking, difficult and adventure filled day in an old western town. It is so descriptive that the character’s spirituality, the numerous odd jobs done around the house, cattle drive and horse breaking somehow become second nature to you by the time you are done with the book. And for people of this century where everything is available to them at the touch of a button, this book will be a throwback to our older and harsher times when day to day living meant a constant battle with the various elements of the nature.

Blending the fiction seamlessly with the many historical and factual events of the late 18th century and early 19th century, Shirley has made good use of various events like the yellow fever epidemic, the great depression and the absurd tax laws to good effect and has used them strategically at various points in the novel to underline the emotions of her characters in that setting beautifully. The changes happening over time and the various developments too have been captured nicely; case in point isCharley staying at a hotel for the very first time. Shirley also seems to have a knack in getting children’s behaviour and their conversations right, the change in tone and content when the conversation moves from a child to an adult is always bang on target.

The entire book will tug at your heart strings and make you think about your own family, it will also make you reminisce about your childhood as you read about the childhood of the Dobyn kids. And even though your childhood may have been vastly different from theirs, you will still feel a connection to the various commonalities that affect us humans across time and different nationalities. The epilogue and the photographs at the end really get to you and even though a life that you have been witness to from a young age has come to an end, you are in a strange way left with so many memories of this man. And this is because of the way the author has captured these scenes and emotions, by taking you right into the lives and homes of these people instead of merely narrating a story.

Great authors have often talked about the secrets that make a book appeal to audiences everywhere. They stress upon having a standout first chapter to make the readers commit to the book, a good first page that will blow them away and a great first line that will stay etched in their memory forever. If they are right then Shirley’s book has scored a definite ace on all three fronts and has emerged a clear winner.

Product Details

Print Length: 260 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1499024096

Publisher: Xlibris US (May 23, 2014)

ASIN: B00KNMM46S

Buy Fromhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KNMM46S/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

Back Then

Standard

depression2One of the readers of my book Dobyns Chronicles compared my book to “The Walton’s” and I have to say I really like that. I thought The Walton’s was one of the greatest shows that TV has produced for the family. I put it right up there with Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. I can definitely tell that I am ageing because nothing is a good as it was “back then”. That got me to thinking about how things were “Back then.”

depression3My dad came from a family where he had thirteen siblings and they lived in a three room house with a path plus a chicken house. He had to eat water gravy and biscuits many times because they didn’t own a cow. Mom would tell how she never had to go hungry because her grandparents had cows and pigs and everyone hunted and fished. Charley Dobyns took care of his family during those tough times but several members of his family left and headed to California because there was work there. Mom’s parents was part of that group that left Oklahoma. They worked in the fruit orchards or the canneries. Times were still hard but it was easier there than in Oklahoma.
cannery

cannery2

My mother always told stories of her family and the way it was “back then”. My sister and I were taught how to prepare and survive just in case there was another depression. Living through the depression left a big imprint on both my mother and my father. I truly believe that the underlying fear of having nothing made the need to work and save very strong. I think that’s why “The Walton’s” was such a favorite around our house because my parents could identify with the time. I could identify with it because of all of mom and dads stories.
depression3

depression4

It’s Here

Standard

dobyns cover Picture2I’m excited so I have to share it. My book, Dobyns Chroncles is now for sale on Amazon. Have you ever had something that nagged at you until it was finished? This book was that way for me. From the start it nagged and kept it up until I finished it.

This was a labor of love. It brought me much closer to my Great Grandfather, Charley Dobyns. This book is loosely based on his life. My mother told me stories over the years about her Grandfather. He was a man of pioneering stock. He was a horseman and enjoyed the country life.

I met him only once. I must have been about five years old. I can see him and my Great Grandmother telling us goodbye as we headed back to our home in California. It’s funny how one memory can result in a creation of a celebration of life.

I am giving away five Kindle ebooks today for the first five people who sends me their email address. Even if you don’t own a Kindle you may still read the book on line by downloading Amazon’s Kindle reader.

I now have a store at my site shirley-mclain.com that sells my books. I’m enjoying this process. Have a blessed day.

TASTES LIKE CHICKEN

Standard

bigstock-Rattlesnake-8162788Today I’m going to tell you a story about my dad. It came to my mind when someone a couple of days ago blogged about thier mother not cooking wild meat.

My mother and father lived about four miles north of highway 270 west of McAlester, Oklahoma on land where my great grandparents lived. There is a quarter mile drive off the main road to their house. When mama was a little girl her and her grandfather planted a pine tree at the corner of the main road and the drive. That pine tree remains alive and well to this day.

Back in the 1980’s my dad worked at the Navy Ammunition Plant at Haywood as a truck driver and forklift operator. He drove on and off the mountain at least five days a week. Mom would pack a lunch for him every day, which he would put in the refrigerator at the work office.

Everyday someone would get into the lunches in the refrigerator and eat things out of people’s lunch sacks. They thought they knew who the fellow was, but they couldn’t prove it. Everyone was frustrated with this guy.

Tastes Like ChickenOne evening when dad was coming home, he got to the pine tree and thought there was a big limb in the road. He opened the truck door and that big limb coiled. Having a pistol under the seat he proceeded to shoot and kill a seven and a half foot diamond back rattler. He brought it to the house and skinned it out. Mom took the back bone meat and cut it into chunks and fried it. That’s what they ate for dinner that night. My sister said it was good eating and tasted a lot like chicken.

My dad decided he would take some to work the next day for his lunch. He never told a soul about killing the snake or what he had for lunch. He put it in the refrigerator as he always did and went out to the docks to unload a truck.  Noon rolled around and all the guys were sitting at the table eating.  Daddy’s lunch had been gotten into and about half of the meat had been eaten.

Dad began talking and telling the guys about the big rattlesnake he had killed the night before  and how mom had cooked it up for him. He even brought some for his lunch.  Dad said the man accross from him, who happened to be the man who they thought was getting into the lunches, choked on his food. His color turned pasty white and then he turned green and had to leave the room.  They could hear him retching outside and all knew he was throwing his toenails up.

Everyone had a great laugh and guess what else. No one’s lunch was ever robbed again. The man got cured.

Daddy had that snake skin mounted and it hung over their television set for over twenty years. He would still laugh when he told that story about his big snake.

Mind Boggling

Standard

The BrainHave you ever given any  thought to how amazing the mind is.  The more I read and watch what happens in this world, the more I realize what an amazing creation God gave to us.

Even as slow as I can be at times, it’s the other times that totally blows me away.  I ask myself “how is this possible, because I know me very well and this is not my norm.”  I’m not the brightest bulb in this vast closet we all live in, but I’m not the dimmest either. Why my brain can do what it does I will never figure out.  Some people may think they know, but there is always an area of doubt when it comes to our minds.  Science is making headway into figuring it out, but still has a long way to go.

I have struggled with my mind since I was a child. Over my life time, the majority of the disease processes which has affected me, involved my brain. Two of the main areas were Clinical Depression and Encephalitis. According to the Mayo Clinic

Clinical depression symptoms may include:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
  • Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
  • Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

The only symptom I don’t have is the recurring thoughts of suicide. I think of death, but not suicide. I deal with it every day. Please don’t think I’m whining because I’m not. It”s just a part of being me.

Encephalitis (en-sef-uh-LI-tis) is inflammation of the brain. Viral infections are the most common cause of the condition.

Encephalitis can cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever or severe headache, as well as confused thinking, seizures, or problems with senses or movement. Many cases of encephalitis may go unnoticed because they result in only mild flu-like symptoms or even no symptoms. Severe cases of encephalitis, while relatively rare, can be life-threatening.

Because the course of any single case of encephalitis is relatively unpredictable, it’s important to get a timely diagnosis and treatment.

Of course, I had to be one of the rare exceptions. I acquired equine encephalitis from mosquitoes at the same time my Uncle had two horses die from the disease and also a boy in Atoka, Oklahoma did.  He died,  but God decided it wasn’t my time to join him yet and kept me in this world.  I think I was around 12 or 13 when it happened. I’m still dealing with the side effects from the disease.  That’s another one of the “it’s just me” area’s of my life.

Mind BogglingThis reflection of my life  is all due to finding a movie on YouTube this morning called “The Mole People.” I saw that movie in 1956 in Marysville California at a movie theater with my cousins. I was six years old. That is the first time I can remember being in a movie theater.  I never forgot that movie. I told many people about the scenes from that movie over the years.  I ‘m almost 65 years old and I can barely remember my name at times, but I never forgot an old campy horror film. That takes me full circle back to how amazing the brain is.  Of all of the life events I could remember, why is it “The Mole People?”  I guess only God knows that answer and I’ll have to wait to get my answer. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

Here is that wonderful old horror film.  See if you can forget it easier than I could.

The Mole People

Tips to Avoid Hypothermia

Standard

bigstock-man-in-winter-storm-50910587Right now in the USA a large portion of the country s experiencing extreme cold.  I’m in Oklahoma and at the present time we are having the longest cold stretch (freezing) with wind chills in the single digits that we’ve experienced in many years.  I am lucky that I can stay inside and keep warm by my wood stove and watch the beautiful snow falling outside.  Not everyone is as lucky as I am.  Many, many people have to work in this weather.

Here are some tips to help you avoid hypothermia. I don’t want anyone to experience the problems and possible death that can occur.

The simple way to avoid hypothermia is to dress warmly and stay out of the cold. But things don’t always work out and there may come a time when you don’t dress warmly enough and you’re so cold you can’t remember your name.

Dazed and Confused

No, really. When your body temperature drops below 95 degrees F, you’re hypothermic and one of the symptoms is that you’re dazed and confused, not to mention shivering violently. You also get pale, and your lips, ears, fingers and toes turn blue.

Then things could get really serious. If your temperature should drop as low as 90 degrees F, your organs begin to fail and without immediate medical attention, you’ll likely die.

Forget the Whiskey

Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your chance of freezing to death. If you think you could be caught outside in very cold temperatures, dress in layers, preferably wool or other fabrics that can dry quickly. Keep your head covered. Drink plenty of warm fluids, but not alcohol or any caffeinated liquid, both of which hinder the body’s heat-producing mechanisms. So forget about that shot of whiskey getting you through the cold night.

Also, do whatever you can to stay dry. Obviously, you’re not going to go around flopping into streams when it’s freezing outside. But if you should get wet, keep in mind that wet clothing can lose up to 90 percent of its insulating effect, so your risk of hypothermia could rise dramatically.

No Massages, Please

If you’re lucky enough to be with someone when your body starts shutting down, what should they do to save you? First, they should call 911. You’re going to need medical help. They also should get you into shelter, if possible. If they can’t get you indoors, they at least should move you out of the wind. Wherever you are, they should wrap you, including your head, in blankets, towels or even newspapers. Ideally, they should put hot water bottles under your armpits and between your legs, making sure that they don’t put anything on bare skin. Finally, they should keep you flat and move you as little as possible. Movement could cause a severely hypothermic person to have a heart attack.

A few things they shouldn’t do. They shouldn’t rub or massage you. That could cause more damage if you also have frostbite. They shouldn’t get you anything to eat. And they shouldn’t give you anything to drink, especially alcohol, no matter how much you think that’s just what you need.bigstock-Snow-Shoveling-In-Winter-Blizz-4294190

Flash Fiction

Standard

I love writing flash fiction. It lets me stretch my writing muscles a bit, but not feel overwhelmed. Today I wrote a flash fiction called Football Fantasy. I was required to use six words: alarm, agent, football, song, explosion, and fantasy. I’m posting it for you to read. Please give me some feedback. I love hearing from everyone.   Shirley

Football Fantasy

Can it be true? Has my life long fantasy happened? When the alarm went off this morning, I knew in my heart that it would be a great day. I jumped out of bed with a song on my lips. I’m happy. I’m blessed. When the agent called yesterday about being the place kicker for the Hurricanes, I had a difficult time talking because of my excitement. Me, Amy Jackson, playing football for a professional team.

What is that smell? I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned it to the maintenance man. He tells me the same thing every time. “I’ll get to it when I can, Ma’am”. I have to take a shower before the agent and coach arrives. That bathroom heater needs lighting. I hate that pilot light. It only works when it wants to.
Where did I put those matches? Here they are.

***

On page four of the Tulsa World, Sunday edition, there is a small article, which reads: Amy Jackson, the rising star of the Hurricanes, the first duel-sexed team in Oklahoma, is mourning the loss of their new place kicker. She died in her home yesterday from a gas explosion. No further details are available at this time.

I Like Flash Fiction

Standard

I like flash fiction. I didn’t know how much I would enjoy it when I started writing two years ago. I’ve had people tell me how much they enjoy reading flash fiction and then I’ve had a few that couldn’t get past the shortness and crispness of the story. I believe they are the one’s who are the flowery writers. They use lots of adjectives or whatever it takes to add description.  I figured out many years ago, I’m not a flowery writer. Maybe that’s why I like Flash Fiction, because it is very straight forward.

An example would be, “Walking down the stone strewn path, I can smell the wonderful aroma of the large honeysuckle vine. It’s vines turning and wrapping themselves though the spaces in the fence.” For flash fiction you could write something such as “Walking down the path, the odor of  honeysuckle filled the air. The vines wrapped themselves around the fence.”

The first example had twenty-nine words in the two sentences. The second example  had eighteen words. They are very concise, and crisp. Flash Fiction uses limited words.  I’ve written from 100 word stories to a 1000 words and it still be termed Flash Fiction. Any number you use requires a complete story. Sometimes it’s difficult to do.

Three days ago I wrote a Flash Fiction piece and entered it into a contest on FanStory. It’s called “The Letter”. I won the contest and I want to share it with you.    This is the instuctions I was given.

Write a scene in which your main character receives a strange looking letter beat up with stains on its cover. The letter has no return address. What’s in it? How does your character react to the contents once it is opened and why? This story should not be any longer than 1000 words but no shorter then 800 words.

Shirley

The Letter

 France, June 16, 1944
Rifle shots are randomly going off around Dan as he sits in the bombed out building. He’s writing a letter that he’s put off writing, because he knows it will break a girl’s heart back in Oklahoma. If you were to see his face, you’d think he’s about to cry tears. His heart is heavy.

Dear Janell, I really don’t know how to start this letter, but it is something I have to do. Sitting in the middle of this rubble, which was once a small town, probably a lot like our home town of Stuart. I’ve spent many months here, crawling through the mud and blood, and thinking of you and getting back home.

Two months ago, the French underground put me into hiding. There was a girl there by the name of Angelique. I called her Angel for short. I have to tell you, we have fallen in love, and I’m going to marry her. You know I never intended to hurt you, but I have to follow my heart. I only wish you the best with your life.
Dan

***

 “Mama, would you like a cup of hot tea and a muffin? You haven’t eaten a thing since we got back from the cemetery this morning.”

“Sally, I’m not hungry. Just leave me alone.”

“You have to have something. How about that cup of tea? I’ll get you the tea, then walk down to the mailbox and get the mail. Maybe there’s a letter from Aunt Hattie. She always cheered you up when you read one of her letters.

“Mama, here is some Earl Grey. It’s hot, so let it sit a couple of minutes. I’ll be right back.”

The mailbox was sitting at the intersection of the two dirt roads that ran by the house. How many times had she walked to this mailbox over the years? Today was different because she helped bury her father this morning.
When she opened the mailbox it contained one letter.

The envelope was yellow with age, and had a couple of dark brown spots on the front. The strange thing was the name on the envelope. It’s addressed to mama using her maiden name, Janell Griffin. You couldn’t tell who sent it, because there wasn’t a return address. This is a mystery, Sally thought. I wonder who sent this.

Janell, sitting in her rocking chair, with her eyes closed and a slight smile on her face. She’s remembering the first time she saw her Daniel. We were at a church picnic and began talking. It was if we’d always been together. We spent all the time together we could. In 1943, Dan joined the Army and was shipped overseas. He was there over a year. The letters came regularly at first and I answered each one promptly. I tried to write about everything going on and the people he knew. I knew his loneliness would be terrible. Then the letters stopped coming. I thought he’d been killed. Several months passed with me mourning the loss of my love, Daniel. I went to the drug store for Mother one Saturday morning. When I came out of the drug store, the Grey Hound bus was unloading passengers at the depot next door. When I looked at the unloading passengers, I saw a solider with a cane step off the bus. I screamed and began running and yelling Daniel at the top of my lungs. Daniel was alive and home. I was hugging him and kissing him with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t believe my love was alive and home. He acted very strange at first. It was as if he wasn’t expecting me to hug and kiss him. He felt stiff when I touched him. He must have been through hell.

                                                                                     ***
“Mama,” Sally called out as she came through the door. “Wait till you see what we got in the mail.”

Janell opened her eyes, stopping the thoughts about her beloved Daniel. “What do you have?”

“It looks like a very old letter. It’s addressed to you but using your maiden name.”

“My maiden name! I haven’t used that name in almost sixty years. Let me see it.” Janell straightened her glasses as well as herself in the rocker.

“It’s post marked from France and I can see the number forty-four.”

“Well, let me see it.”

Sally handed the old letter to Janell. When Janell looked at the envelope, she began to cry.

“Mama, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

Janell sat very quiet holding the letter in her hands for a few minutes. When she was able to speak, she put the letter up to her heart and looked up at her daughter. “Sally, this letter was written by your father. I would know his hand writing anywhere. He was in France during the war. I actually thought he’d died, but God sent him back home to me. I can’t believe I got this letter on the day we buried him.

“Open it up and see what it says.”

Janell slowly opened the envelope with her arthritic fingers. She unfolded the paper and read the letter. She folded the letter and placed it back in the envelope.

“What did it say, Mama? Was it from Daddy?”

“No dear, it wasn’t meant for me. I think I want another cup of tea and I’m going to fix it. Would you like one?

“Yes, I would.”

“Sit down and I’ll call you when it’s ready”. Janell walked slowly to the kitchen and directly to the stove. She turned on the front burner for the tea pot and the flame started. She stuck the corner of the letter into the fire watching it burn and dropped it into the cast iron skillet sitting on the stove. While it burned to ashes she spoke softly aloud, “It wasn’t for me.”