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Friday, January 19, 2018

After the Fair - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
Guess what? I've been writing this week! Yes! Every day. (Except Sunday.) And three of those 4 days I've actually written 1k words or more. It's all been on "Hymns in the Hills," and I'm eager to write again tonight because the story is moving. I'm loving this story!

Let's see, the weather. That's a good topic, right? On Sunday it snowed. And we made it to Sunday School and Church, but the evening service was cancelled because of the weather. Then the temperature dropped. Usually we'll get snow and the next day it's mostly melted. Not this time. Monday was in the 20s, and Tuesday Writing Classes were cancelled because it was supposed to be high of 9º with a windchill of -24º Yeah. Cold. At least for this area. Yesterday is the first day since it snowed that it reached above freezing. It was in the 40's. Today is supposed to get to 50º and I'm sure things will really start to melt. It's been pretty seeing everything sparkle in the sunshine, because even if it was cold, we had sunshine.

I hope you all were able to check out my January short story. But I'm going to let you get to reading this next part of the story. At least if you have time. And don't forget to click a reaction button on the bottom of the post if you don't have time to comment.

After the Fair
Part 2

    Nearly choking, the boy leaned his face close beside the bear. “Is he my long lost twin?”
    Bear wasn’t sure what that was, but he smiled his crooked smile and gazed unblinkingly into the bright, sunny world of the fairgrounds. He wasn’t very old, just old enough to have already been to several fairs, but always before he had remained on the shelf as folks came and slapped down their dimes and five cent pieces, or carefully counted out their pennies. He had watched fellow bears, some with red bows like himself, and others with different bows, go off in the arms of some person. He had seen the dolls be whisked away, sometimes by awed little girls and other times by laughing ladies. He had always wondered what happened to the bears and the dolls, and now he knew. Or at least he thought he did.

    When the food had been eaten, Bear was tucked under the girl’s arm, and he stared at the world sideways for a time, watching swinging arms and people bumping into each other. He smiled at the eager faces of young children and listened to the happy music and laughter of those passing by. It was all quite fascinating to a bear just removed from a shelf and out into the real world of fairs. After a while the girl shifted Bear into her other arm, and he took a good long look at the ground. He wasn’t quite sure what the different items were which got trampled under the feet of every person, but at the least the shoes were different.
    “Oh, Johnny, let’s get some cotton candy,” Sally suggested.
    “All right. Then we can go take a look at the animals.”
    Bear, growing a little tired of seeing nothing but the ground, was delighted when he was righted and the girl wrapped her arm around his middle. He felt very secure and comfortable, and the world looked so much more interesting. The boy, Johnny, stepped back from some booth with two piles of fluff on sticks and handed one to the girl. Bear could only stare with wide eyes. He’d never seen anything like it. After the girl took the fluff, the two young people started walking on, not realizing that Bear’s nose was sticking into the sticky, sweet fluff. It had been an accident. He hadn’t done it on purpose, but when Sally held her cotton candy in her left hand, she had forgotten about Bear.
    Bear stared at the candy until the girl noticed and laughed at him. His face was wiped off with something damp and his nose kissed. He studied the ground some more, watched people sideways, sat on another table, and had his bow untied when it became caught on something.
    All in all, it was a very exciting day for a Bear who had never known anything but the little tent with the man who shouted, and urged the people to come spend money, and grumbled and muttered when he had to pack things up again.
    At last, as dusk was settling around, Bear was settled between Johnny and Sally on a hard seat. He could see their clasped hands in front of him and thought it must be nice to hold hands with someone.
    Suddenly there was a strange rumbling from the seat, then a jerk, and Sally screamed while a wind blew Bear’s untied bow over his face so he couldn’t see. He thought he might be glad not to see, for Sally screamed again, and Bear felt himself squished between the girl and boy. All that time the seat had rumbled and shaken, making bear think of those dark days when he had been packed with all the other bears and taken from one fair to another. He had heard somewhere that they traveled on a train, but he was never quite sure what a train was.
    The shaking stopped at last, and so did the screaming. Johnny and Sally stood up, and Bear fell over on his side. At least he could see again, for the ribbon fell from his face. Neither Johnny nor Sally seemed to have remembered the bear with the red bow, for they walked away, and Bear was left on the hard seat staring before him at the back of another seat.
    It was growing darker. Bear could hear voices.
    “Just once more, please, mister,” a young voice begged.
    “Well, all right, but then I’ve got ta shut ‘er down an’ pack ‘er up. Fair’s endin’ tonight.”
    The rumbling started again, and with a sudden lurch the seat began to race forward. At first Bear remained where he was, plastered against the back of the hard bench by the force of the air, but when the seat tilted, he slid, first one direction until his feet bumped the side, and then another until his head touched the opposite side, He was shaken and jostled about, and then, as the seat made a sudden movement, he was launched out into the darkness and sailed through the evening shadows until he dropped to earth with a soft thump.

You probably didn't expect that to happen, did you?
Did you get any snow this week?
What do you think will happen to Bear?
(There is one more part to this story.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

After the Fair - Part 1

Good morning FFFs!
As you can see, I'm not shutting this blog down yet. :) So you'll at least get to enjoy it for a little while longer.

This week has been pretty good as far as getting things done. Except writing. That has been terrible! I had a full evening on Wednesday to write, but I couldn't get a single sentence of anything written! It was as though every idea I ever had ran away or hid. I couldn't write on any started story, nor could I write on any new story. Bother. So I pulled out my newly printed Character sheets (for my WriteMind Planner) and started filling in characters for two stories. The first was the Kelsey stories. Since I will probably write more of them, I needed to know all the characters names and if I said what color hair or eyes they had. So I re-read the stories and got the characters written down.
Next I turned my attention to Hymns in the Hills. That took more doing since I had more chapters (each about 4k words) to read. And lots more characters! I didn't finish it until yesterday. And then, guess what? I wrote! I wrote 656 words of Hymns in the Hills! It was so delightful!

Yesterday we had some interesting weather. When we got up it was in the 50s. My sister and I walked mid-morning because it was 58º. But within 5 minutes after we got back home, the wind shifted from the south, to the northwest and the temperature started dropping. By noon it was in the 30s. And by supper time it was 20º. And boy, was that wind strong last night! I heard we could get gusts up to 34 mph! Brrr!

This story was just something I wrote while trying to get back into writing. I'm changing the reaction buttons on the bottom of the post. So, if you don't have time to comment, if you could at least check a reaction button, that will let me know that someone read the post. :)

Enjoy!

After the Fair
Part 1

    Sitting high up on the small shelf, the brown teddy bear looked down with dark, unblinking eyes at the faces of the crowd. Its smile was stitched on slightly crooked, and one of its ears flopped just a little, but around its neck was a large, red bow. Perhaps the bear was hoping to hide its smile, for it seemed to have tipped its head just a little, its nose barely showing above the perky ribbon. The voice of the attendant rang loudly over the babble of talk around the small tent.
    “Come and try it! Only ten cents for five throws. Come on, little lady, step right up and win a prize. Everyone wins a prize. Just throw the ring over one of those pegs and win yourself a doll, a teddy bear, or one of the other fine prizes! Ring ‘em all and choose yer prize. Step right up, sir. Win something for the little lady. Here we go! A gentleman!”
    From his lofty seat right under the roof of the tent where no cooling breeze ever blew, the bear, warm from the sun on the tent roof, watched. A young man with sandy hair, scarcely into his teens, plunked down a dime and picked up the rings. “What d’ya want, Sally?” he asked the girl beside him.
    “Oh, I don’t know. Just win me something, Johnny. I’ll like anything you get me.”
    The crowd laughed a little and nudged one another.
    At this the young man’s face grew red, and he tossed the first ring. It landed over a peg and the crowd cheered. Another ring circled the pin, and a grin of confidence settled on the face of the boy. Each successive toss earned him a ringed pin. With a laugh, after the last pin had been snagged, the boy pointed up towards the top of the tent. “I’ll take that bear up there.”
    The attendant turned around and grabbed the arm of a lower bear, one with a green bow.
    “No, not him. I want the red bow.”
    “Listen, bud,” the attendant said, “you can pick which prize ya get, but that don’t mean you can decide which of them specific things ya get.”
    “Aw, come on,” a man in the crowd called, “let ‘em have the one they want.”
    “Yeah,” cried out another voice. “What’s the matter with that other bear? Got a diamond ring hidden in it?”
    A laugh went around the bystanders.
    “Come on, be a good sport and get ‘em the bear they want.”
    The attendant was growing flustered. “There’s not diamond rings or anything else different about that bear,” he snarled. “It’s jest hard ta get without knockin’ everything over.”
    Looking down, the bear saw the girl tug on the boy’s arm, and though he couldn’t hear what she was saying, he thought she might be pleading for the bear with the green bow because the boy shook his head. “It says on the sign that I could pick my own prize. I want the red bow.”
    “What for, sonny?” a man asked, pushing his way forward, the hot summer sun shining on his policeman’s badge.
    The boy shrugged. “I like red is all. My mom’s cherry pies, the red geraniums on the porch, the scarf my grandma knitted me last winter–” He gave another shrug. “Just like red.”
    With a scowl, the attendant turned back around and reached up. Snagging the teddy bear’s foot, he jerked him down. It was a good thing the bear’s head was stuffed with soft cotton because he hit it against the shelf on its way down after his legs.
    “Here.”
    The world spun a bit before the bear landed in the boy’s arms upside-down. He was quickly righted and passed into the girl’s arms. “Now let’s go get something to eat.”
    The bear wasn’t hungry, being stuffed with stuffing until his tummy was round and firm, but he didn’t mind going along for the ride.

    Soon the bear found himself seated on a table leaning against nothing. It took him a little while to get the hang of hunching forward instead of resting against something solid, but it wasn’t difficult he decided, after the boy and girl had helped him.
    The boy shoved the bow down a little and grinned. “His smile looks like he’s got a joke.”
    Laughing, the girl fluffed the bow again, careful to keep the bear’s face from being hidden this time. “I think he looks a bit like you,” she retorted, picking up her hot dog.

Have you ever been to a fair?
If so, have you ever won a prize there?
What color ribbon would you want on your bear?

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year, New Things

Good morning dear readers,
I'm not sure how many of you actually get on here each Friday, but I know it's not many. I've been doing some thinking and praying about this Friday blog. For months now I've struggled to come up with something to post each week. I've reposted stories from years ago, I've posted new stories, I've skipped the stories all together, and it never seems to make a difference. I might get a comment from one, maybe two faithful readers, but that's it. I don't even know if this gets read. But I don't want to just get rid of this blog altogether, after all, I've been posting on Friday mornings for almost 9 years! But that's another thing, even though I've been posting for so long, I've barely reached over 50 followers, and many of them no longer read blogs. So is this little blog worth keeping up?
Right now I don't know.
I've toyed with a new idea for my short stories. Since I've had people sign up to test/beta read my short stories, I may start sending them to those on the list, and then getting them published as kindle books. What do you think? If you are signed up on the list, you'd get the full short story all at once instead of in 1k word sections.

This week we had the New Year appear on Monday. (Not sure where it came from, because it wasn't there when I went to bed.)
On Tuesday we finally got to do Christmas with my brother and his family. That was fun! We do brunch together, and then open presents. Followed by playing new games, hanging out, eating snacks, and things of that sort. They all went home around 2:30 so the younger ones could have naps. Later that afternoon, Mom and I started the task of un-decorating the house. We got some done.
Wednesday meant taking down more decorations. We actually had it almost all down.
Yesterday we packed things in boxes. Now they're ready to go in the Christmas closet until next time.

I wrote some this week. I started the sequel of "Through the Tunnel" and wrote a short story. Hopefully I can write more tonight. I have so many ideas that it's hard to know what to work on. You can be praying for the right ideas. And that I'll be eager and ready to write.
And you can be praying that I'll know what I'm supposed to do about this blog.

Friday, December 29, 2017

There's a Reading Challenge Comin'

Mornin' Friday Fans,
Well, I ain't quite sure it's Friday. This weeks been such a strange week with being sick an' all, that I don't rightly know what day a the week this is. This here computer says it's Friday, so I reckon maybe it is. ;)

It has been a strange week. I came down with the virus that's been going around our area (chills, aches, fever, cough) on Sunday afternoon. On Christmas morning I was tired, achy, and cold. My dad came down with the same thing around the time we finished opening presents. My sister had a headache and was really tired. My mom had a cough from something else and hadn't been sleeping well, so our Christmas day was a bit strange. Dad slept most of the afternoon. I took several naps during the day. And it really didn't feel much like Christmas.
Tuesday Dad and I were still fighting the virus, and I had started coughing. It was (and is) a nasty cough. More naps, not much getting done.
Wednesday was the final Puppet Outreaches for the puppet team at church. And I couldn't go. :( But at least my sister could. By afternoon my energy was coming back. The aches and chills were gone. All I had left was the cough. And it's a cough that doesn't want to go away.
Yesterday I was coughing more, but Mom was feeling better and getting more sleep!
And now it's today.

I haven't written.

And I don't know if I'll even attempt to post things on here much longer. However, I was thinking about sending short stories I write out to "test readers" instead of posting them on here. 

Oh, and starting on January 1st, Read Another Page is hosting a Reading Challenge! Complete with prizes, "stickers" and a list of fun categories to read books from. Check it out by clicking the button below. And let me know if you are going to join. ;)
Read Another Page 2018 Reading Challenge

Have you ever participated in a Reading Challenge?
Does it sound like fun?
How was your Christmas?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Kelsey's Christmas - Part 7

Good morning FFFs,
I can not believe it's the 22nd of December! Christmas is Monday! Impossible. At least it feels that way. Has your December disappeared like Christmas cookies before hungry children? Or has it lingered like fruitcake?

What has happened this week?
Last Saturday I joined some other friends from church at an assisted living center nearby, and we sang and played Christmas music for an hour. They loved it!
Sunday evening was the Christmas program at church. My sister and I do bells with the children, and they did a great job playing "The First Noel" for the program. There was a fellowship meal afterwards and lots of visiting.
Come Monday late afternoon, it was time to head back to church for caroling. Only this year I was in charge of it! It took some creativity to fit everyone into only 10 vehicles since we had 65 people going! But we did it. Each vehicle had glow sticks to tape to the back window of their car so we could keep track of each other. We went to 7 widows' houses and sang to them. One lady said she felt like she had her own personal choir. 😊 And a car stopped in the road to listen to us. Then we went back to the church for chili, cookies, and hot drinks.
Tuesday was quiet and I got to stay home.
Wednesday was the same. We ended up watching a Christmas movie while we ate supper.
Yesterday was the first day of winter. And guess what? It got up to 74º! Yeah, so much for cold and snow. We were going to babysit my nieces and nephews last evening, but two of them were getting over being sick, and my brother had the chills and fever now. So they all stayed home.
This afternoon we have the first puppet outreach with the puppet team from church. I know some of the kids are sick, so hopefully we'll still have enough to do it.

Not sure about tomorrow. My brother and his family were supposed to be coming to do Christmas with us, but that may have to wait until after Christmas if they're still sick.

And there you have it. I won't be posting next week. At least I doubt it. We'll be heading up to my grandparents' house that morning. So Merry Christmas! And happy New Year!

Kesley's Christmas
Part 7

    It was planned at last. Zoe had given up her idea of costumes and a large group once she found out that Kelsey didn’t want it. Once again borrowing the truck from his uncle, Wally drove it over to the McKenzie’s home, the back filled with straw and a pile of warm blankets. The night was colder than it had been before, for the sky was covered in clouds and everyone expected it to begin snowing before they returned. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie had decided to join the fun, and Mike gave up his seat behind the wheel to Mr. McKenzie.
    “Belle, do you want to ride up front with Daddy and me?” Mrs. McKenzie asked.
    Belle shook her head quickly.
    Huddled together under blankets, the riders managed to stay warm until the old folks’ home was reached. Then everyone climbed out and headed inside where it was warm.
    Walking the halls, the carolers filled the air with the sweet and joyful tidings of Christ’s birth. At many doors, Kelsey would slip inside and return a few moments later, leaving the door open wide so the resident could hear better.
    Back again in the truck, Kelsey watched the lights of the home until they had disappeared behind them. She hoped they had left a bit of Christmas cheer behind them.

    Altogether the night was one to remember. The carolers walked the neighborhood where the mayor, doctor and several other influential people in town lived, bringing most to their doors to listen. They visited Wally and Zoe’s grandma, and much to her delight, came around the house to the door which led to her apartment from the garden. The next stop was Aunt Olive who invited them all to come in and warm up a few minutes. This invitation they gladly accepted, for their toes and fingers were a bit numb. After thawing out and singing a few more carols, the group returned to the truck. A few snowflakes were starting to fall, and heads tipped back squinting against the light flakes.
    “Are we heading back to the house now?” Mr. McKenzie asked as everyone began climbing back into the truck.
    “Daddy,” Kelsey begged, hurrying over to him and speaking low, “can’t we carol around our own neighborhood? No one ever does it, and I know so many of the families would enjoy it.” She didn’t add, “More than some of the others had,” but she couldn’t help thinking it. It hadn’t been her idea to visit the wealthy neighborhoods, and she had remained hidden in the back of the group, feeling shy and out of place.
    “Well, I don’t see why not. It’s not late yet. Perhaps we’ll just park the truck at home though and you all can walk.”
    Kelsey nodded. She knew Belle at least was tired and cold.
    Mr. McKenzie told the others of the plan as Kelsey took Wally’s hand to climb into the truck.

    The snow was still light when they reached home, and everyone scrambled out.
    “It’ll be good to walk a little,” Lottie said, brushing the hay off her coat. “Where are we going?”
    Kelsey mentioned a few names, and Lottie started off the others trailing behind, except for Mrs. McKenzie, Belle, and Shannon who had stayed behind to warm up and heat the water for hot drinks.
    Lottie suggested that they sing as they walked. “That way more houses can hear us.”
    “I thought we wanted the people to hear, not the houses,” Mike teased.

*

    Finding the snow growing heavier and sticking to the streets, Wally pulled his sister from the lively conversation she was having. “We’d better get home, Zoe,” he said. “We don’t want Mom and Grandma to worry and send Dad out looking for us.”
    “Oh, I had so much fun! Thank you for thinking of it, Kels!” And Zoe gave her friend a warm hug. “And thank you, Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie for letting us join your family again.”
    “You’re welcome to join us anytime you want to Zoe,” Mrs. McKenzie replied heartily. “And you too, Wally.”
    “Thank you, ma’am. Good night everyone. Merry Christmas!”
    Calls of “Merry Christmas” followed Wally and Zoe as they hurried through the falling snow to the truck. The blankets had all been shaken, folded, and set in the front so the snow wouldn’t make them wet.
    Shivering in her seat, Zoe folded her arms around her and looked back at the brightly lit house. “You know, Wally,” she said, “the McKenzie family is one of the few families I know who share the real joy of Christmas.”
    “Yep. I noticed that Kelsey didn’t seem to be enjoying herself when we were in our neighborhood except when we sang to Grandma. But when we were singing for those who were lonely or sick, she seemed to forget herself.”
    “I’m sure she did. She has such a tender heart. Wally, I’m glad Kelsey suggested going caroling. It’s made Christmas extra special this year.”

Have you ever been caroling?
Are you ready for Christmas?
Are you tired of trying to read this blog each week?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Kelsey's Christmas - Part 6

Here's the next to last part of Kelsey's Christmas. Enjoy!

    Cookies and hot chocolate that late were a novelty for the younger McKenzie girls, and they sat at the table with their half-filled mugs, cookies, and sparkling eyes. From the corner of the room, Kelsey watched in silence, sipping her hot drink and savoring the flavor of her Christmas cookie. Mike, Wally, and Lauren stood near the door talking, while Mrs. Wittenmyer sat at the table with the younger ones telling them something amusing, for their giggles erupted now and then. Lottie and Zoe were walking about the large kitchen talking. At last Zoe left Lottie at the table and hurried over to Kelsey.
    “What are you planning?” she whispered.
    “Planning?” Kelsey echoed, confusion in her voice.
    “You have an idea for something; I saw the look on your face while we were singing to Grandma. And now you’re off by yourself with that look still there.”
    “What look?”
    “Oh, come on, Kels, just tell me,” begged Zoe. “I know it’ll be fun.”
    After chewing the last bite of her cookie and cupping her hands around her warm mug, Kelsey gave in. “It really wasn’t much, and I don’t know if we could do it since it’s so close to Christmas and all, but I thought it would be fun to go caroling–”
    A squeal from Zoe interrupted every conversation in the kitchen, and all eyes turned toward the two girls. Kelsey felt her face grow hot and wished she’d kept her mouth shut. But it was too late for that now. Zoe fairly quivered with excitement, and the hot chocolate in her mug would have splashed over the edges if there had been more of it.
    “When can we do it, Kels?” Zoe asked, completely oblivious that everyone was now watching and listening. “Where would we go? Oh, wouldn’t it be fun if we could dress up? You know, like they have pictures of on the old Christmas cards and things. Kelsey, you have the best ideas!”
    “What idea?” Wally asked.
    Zoe whirled around. “She suggested we go caroling! Oh, Wally, doesn’t that sound just grand?”
    “Tonight?”
    “No, of course not.” Zoe turned back around. “Kels, when did you say we were going to do this?”
    “I didn’t.” Kelsey wasn’t sure if she should laugh or cry. Zoe seemed to take it for granted that everything was settled. Looking across the room, Kelsey caught Lauren’s eye with a look that pleaded for help.
    “Zoe,” Lauren said, answering the silent plea, a smile on her face, “why don’t we all think about it and then get together to see if it will even work out. There isn’t much time left before Christmas, you know.”
    Then, before Zoe could do more than nod, Mike added, “And we really should be going. Mr. McKenzie doesn’t want the younger ones out late, and it’s already getting on towards that now. Thank you, Mrs. Wittenmyer, for your hospitality.”
    The girls echoed their thanks, Wally brought in the coats, and soon everyone was bundled up again for the ride home.
    It seemed colder to Kelsey than it had been before, as Mike offered his hand to help her up into the back of the truck. “I think the caroling is a great idea, Kels,” he whispered, “but don’t talk it over on the way home or Zoe and Lottie might get carried away.”
    Nodding, Kelsey settled herself in the hay between Shannon and Belle and made sure the blankets were wrapped warmly around them. The last thing she wanted was for her little idea to get out of hand. She gave an inward sigh when Lottie and Zoe, seated next to each other, commenced talking adamantly. Though she couldn’t hear everything they were saying, she caught enough to know that her idea was undergoing massive planning and being turned into a production.
    A hand touched her shoulder, and turning, she saw Wally had changed his seat and was now on the other side of Belle.
    “Don’t worry,” he said quietly, “I’ll try to calm Zoe down on the way home. Right now she’s too excited about the idea.”
    “Thanks.”

    Upon reaching the McKenzie house, it was discovered that the youngest girls had fallen asleep. Shannon was partly roused enough to stumbled to the back of the truck and into Mike’s arms so he could carry her inside. But Belle slept on, so Wally picked her up and said, “I’ll take her in, Kelsey. No use waiting for Mike to return.”


*

    Up in their room that night, Lauren, Lottie, Marie, and Kelsey talked over the idea of caroling. Lottie was eager to find or make outfits from Dickens, but Lauren and Kelsey vetoed that idea.
    “Lott, I wanted to make this a blessing to others, not a production,” Kelsey said, staring up in the dark at the bottom of Lottie’s bunk. “Can’t we just put on our coats and walk to the old folks’ home and sing for them? And maybe go to a few other houses, like Miss Olive’s?”
    “But we’d probably get more people to join us if we were going to the larger houses,” Lottie said.
    Marie’s soft voice came from the other top bunk. “I don’t want to go if there are going to be lots of people. Can’t it just be us and Mike, and Zoe and Wally?”
    “I think that would be good, Mair,” Lauren agreed, adding before Lottie could say anything, “It would be easier to plan and might actually happen, Lott.”
    A long silence fell on the room before Lottie said, “I guess you’re right. But I don’t know if Zoe will like it.”
    Lauren gave a soft laugh. “Leave Zoe to Wally. Mike and I talked the idea over on the way home, and then Mike talked a few minutes with Wally before they left.”
    “He did promise me he’d try to get her calmed down,” Kelsey whispered. “But I’m too tired to talk about this any more. Good night.”

Would you be more like Zoe and Lottie?
Or like Marie?
Or perhaps like Lauren and Kelsey?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Love

I have watched this several times this year after first discovering it. It gives me chills, brings tears to my eyes, and causes me to remember the reason for Christmas. God's amazing love!

Watch and enjoy!