Where I Am From

 

2jSh7G1IQL2Vl5MKTIWH1w_thumb_10838.jpg

Where I am From

I am from Annie-I-Over and London Bridge, the upstairs trunk filled with my mother’s Eastern Star formals and my older sister’s discarded prom dresses.

I am from backyard cherry trees and grain sacks piled in the old cinder block garage. From the lame dog that dad named the arithmetic dog because he put down three and carried one, from that winter when the three little Judd girls perished on the prairie during a snow storm, their gloved hands rising from the snowdrift, their ungloved hands, one each, in opposite pockets of their snow parkas that were not sufficient in the prairie winds and drifting snow.

I am from sounds in the prairie night. That sudden popping noise and choruses of mice families in the walls, my oldest sister in late from the Vivian dance, trying to sneak quietly up the wooden stairs to our upstairs all-girls loft, my middle sister in her purple bedroom, me in my yellow and red with the green linoleum, my oldest in her green and black and white checked refuge whose windows opened up to the front porch roof and sunbathing a story above pesky neighborhood boys with ice water in glasses or simply inquisitive eyes.

I am from the creak of playground swings in the schoolyard across the street. From our neighbor’s cocker spaniel that they let me pretend was mine, me cross-legged in the dirt of their front yard in Levis and a checked shirt with my dog in the triangle of my legs.

I am from Frosty Freezes and Mowell’s Drug Store. Cherry phosphates and chocolate Cokes, Russian Peanuts and love comics I could only buy if they were at the bottom of the stack I bought ten at a time—my entire week’s allowance. My mother’s instructions only countermanded by the cooperation of Jack Mowell, who never looked beyond the top three in the stack.  Archie and Veronica, Casper the Ghost, Richie Rich and then—Love for the duration of the stack.

I am from hay rides and watermelon feeds at the Thomas family farm down by the river. Wood ticks and sand bars that sucked you in. I am from White River boys and mean White River girls who said they were their boys and to leave them alone. I am from a sudden stubborn nature that didn’t listen and so had my first kiss standing in the field between two cars––one being my car with  Jones County plates, the other the car of a Mellette County boy from White River who would make me dizzy as often as we could arrange it for the next two years.

I am from Job’s Daughters and 4-H, the apron I spent all summer sewing that made it to the State Fair where the judges declared it to look “hastily made.”

I am from a book handed to me at the age of 16 that began, “Listen, Violet, I am going to tell you a wonderful story and it’s all about the birds and the bees.”

I am from choke cherries and meadowlarks, riding in the backs of pickups, picking up pop bottles along the highway ditches, and bouquets of sweet clover and alfalfa and snake grass. Stealing corn from the neighbor’s fields and overnights in our own fields down by the river to switch the irrigation pumps at midnight, my older sisters in a wrestling match, throwing each other in the irrigation ditches and my dad’s ghost story ending in “You’ve got my golden hand” and his hand descending from the pitch black to grab my upper arm.

Screams under the summer stars and the half-full moon. The yip of coyotes and an occasional marauding coon. All the spirits of departed Sioux natives and homesteaders as well as a few ghosts of our own. Perhaps ourselves coming back to investigate our pasts. Haunted by the whole surrounding vast emptiness of rolling plains and empty skies between the vast amount of stars and grass and seeking souls who frequented those spaces that made the emptiness not empty but full of things with space enough to grow and move into whatever we were becoming.

 

I published this for Mary who asked for more results from the exercises we did at our writing retreat a few week ago. I believe this was a 20 minute timed writing to the prompt, “Where I Am From”. If you’d like to tell us where you’re from, please link your essay in the comments below!

Baby Sun Roses–Tiny Beauties: Flower of the Day, Dec 6, 2019

IMG_4327 2

These baby sun roses are so tiny that they are easily overlooked.

For Cee’s FOTD

Scrooge and Your Christmas Vacation

IMG_5134

Scrooge and Your Christmas Vacation

Scrooge has turned surfing waves to ice and ski slopes into water.
Now he’ll ruin the rest of Christmas for your son and daughter.
He’s hacked into Kris Kringle’s map and hijacked all the toys—
the dolls and basketballs of girls, the hockey sticks of boys.
He’s eaten all the cookies—just stuffed them in his face.
The mistletoe and holly? Vanished, without a trace.

Yes, Scrooge is up to his old tricks, spreading brimstone and acid
over all your Christmas plans that seemed so set and placid.
If you want to thwart him, take your surfboards to the slopes.
Go skiing at the oceanside. Ruin all his dark Scrooge hopes.
Make merry with no mistletoe. Traditions rearrange.
Give Santa Claus a hotdog. He’ll appreciate the change!

In our modern screwed-up world, we’ve gone a bit astray.
We’ve forgotten the real purpose behind our Christmas Day.
That first Christmas was as humble as a Christmas scene could be.
No holly and no mistletoe. Much less frivolity.
The original gifts of Christmas were not placed beneath a tree,
for those first gifts that were given were not meant for you and me.

How the message has been altered as it came down the years
is that Christmas is for getting and disappointed tears
if we don’t get what we wanted. Expectations of perfection.
When we think of giving, we don’t see our own reflection.
Perhaps Scrooge brings the point across that joy is in the living.
So instead of what you hoped you’d get, concentrate on giving!

 

Prompt words today are Scrooge, map, tasteful, placid and water.

Seaside Soliloquy

Seaside Soliloquy

Out beyond the breakers, you curl and curl and curl,
until you reach that breaking place where you start to unfurl.
Then you slap your underbelly on the sand’s soft lap.
Clap!
Before sneaking back and under, rolling back out there,
past a reef of coral, without a human care,
free again,
’til you begin
to curl and curl and curl.

 

For dVerse Poets, Apostrophe  (Apostrophe is a poetic device in which you address an inanimate object, animal or a person not present.)

On Display

On Display

He’s so ostentatious. He turns up his nose
at other folks’ houses, vehicles and clothes.
He only wears Lagerfeld, Lauren or Kors.
His decor is elegant, but he hates yours!

Your neighborhood barbecue starting at twilight
will never be his calendar’s highlight.
Picnics to him are truly the pits.
He dines at Spagos. Slums it at the Ritz.

In his microcosm, he reigns as the king
of all refinement. Each exquisite thing
that resides in his house is an objet d’art,
but, concerning your taste? Darling, don’t start.

When it comes to decor you have no idea.
He buys antiques in Paris. You shop at IKEA.
Of his sense of design, you know not one iota.
Do you need further proof? You drive a Toyota!

 

The prompt words today are microcosm, barbecue, twilight, ostentatious and nose. Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash