Friday, January 27, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 15

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Wow! The sky is brilliant. To the east where the sun is announcing its arrival, the sky is flaming orange turning into bright pink with purple-blue clouds. Overhead the sky is overcast, but in every direction, north, south and west there is a rim of pink clouds along the horizon encircling the heavens. In the east the pink and orange clouds look like billowing colored smoke. All is changing now. The pink isn't as brilliant as before and the orange has died down. There is a chance of rain this afternoon.

What have I done this week that might interest you? I wrote a short story. It was so delightful and freeing using the instructions Anna gave me. It hasn't been proofed yet, so I will have to wait until next week to share it with you. :) Hope you come back.
I got some other parts to other stories checked and corrected. But no more on Triple Creek. It is rather difficult when you have three novel length stories all going on at once to know which story you should work on. I'm trying to work on all of them. :) And get some short stories in as well.
I'm also working on trying to keep up with Priscilla's letters for her "Traveling the USA." I thought it would be fun to keep a running total of how much such a trip would cost. I'm only recording what it costs to visit places, if we go to a special restaurant, rent something or pay to park somewhere. I'll add gas and toll roads later and food. :) This is one expensive trip! It's a good thing it is a virtual. Though there are some places I would really like to visit in person.

I got to catch up with a two of my "heart-sisters" this week. :) And today, my "triplets" and I are going out for ice cream and to talk! I've known them for almost twenty-three years! Then I babysit tonight. :)

So, now enjoy Triple Creek Ranch and don't forget to let me know what you think of it. :)

Part 15
“I was just wishing the table would sort of set itself tonight,” she confessed. “Because I haven’t had time to do it yet.”
“Where’s Orlena?” Norman stepped over to the door and opening it, glanced through into the empty dining room but saw no sign of his sister.
“Probably getting ready to eat . . .”
“I don’t like you working alone in this hot kitchen,” he frowned as he saw his wife’s flushed cheeks and noticed the dots of perspiration on her temples.
“I’ve been doing it most of my life,” she reminded him quietly.
“But you had your mother and sister to help you,” he protested.
Jenelle smiled indulgently, “Not since I married you,” she told him, adding, “Don’t you think you should be following your sister’s example and washing up?”
“All right,” he grinned. “I can take a hint. But,” he paused in the doorway as another frown crossed his face, “I still don’t like it.”
Jenelle quickly set three places and by the time she had the food on the table, Norman and Orlena were waiting. It was a relief to Jenelle to discover that the dining room was cooler than the kitchen had been. She didn’t want to admit it even to herself, but she was feeling more tired than she had been for a long time.
Grace was said and the meal began. It was a quiet one. No one seemed inclined to talk much. Perhaps the heat had something to do with it or perhaps everyone felt too tired to spend their energy talking. In either case, the meal was half over before Norman, after several glances at his strangely quiet sister and his tired looking wife, questioned, “Did you two have a busy day?”
Jenelle nodded. “It takes a while to unpack a trunk and get everything set to rights.” She didn’t add that it took longer doing it alone with an exacting mistress to please. “And that reminds me, Norman, Orlena’s trunk is ready to be taken to the attic.”
“I can do that after supper,” Norman agreed.
Silence again descended until the steady, sure hand of the clock had ticked away three minutes. Then Jenelle spoke. “How was your day, Dear?”
“We’re ready to move the cattle from the west creek pasture to the south creek. We’ll do that tomorrow.”
“Speaking of tomorrow,” Jenelle set her glass of water down and pushed her empty plate slightly away. “Orlena and I were thinking of going into town for a few things tomorrow.”
“No.” Norman spoke quickly, but with quiet decision and Jenelle looked somewhat surprised. “I don’t want you, either of you,” he added, looking first at his wife and then at his sister, “driving all the way to town in this heat. There won’t even be a cloud cover tomorrow. Wait until it cools off somewhat.”
Orlena hadn’t really wanted to go to town with her sister-in-law, but when Norman had so quickly and adamantly said they couldn’t go, she immediately felt contrary. She looked at Jenelle, wondering if she would pout or plead, but was surprised to discover she did neither. There was no sign of even disappointment on Jenelle’s still slightly flushed face. And no words of protest came from her mouth. Orlena opened her mouth to put in her own protest, but she had no chance to say anything.
“Oh, Norman, do be careful tomorrow if it is going to be that hot.” Jenelle looked concerned.
“We will, Sweet. That is why it will probably take us all day. We’ll be moving them slowly.”
With a sigh, Jenelle pushed back her chair, signaling that supper was over. There were still the dishes to wash and she dreaded the heat of the kitchen.
Feeling uncertain about the outcome, yet determined not to let his wife work in the hot kitchen alone, Norman spoke quickly. “We’ll all help with the dishes tonight. That way they will be done all the sooner.”
A greatful look swept over Jenelle’s face and she smiled at her husband. Yet, she wondered, will Orlena have anything to say about the arrangement? She didn’t have long to wait.
For a full half a minute Orlena was speechless. Had her brother told her they would all be moving out and living with Indians, she couldn’t have been more astonished. Her help wash dishes? She, Orlena Mavrich, who had had servants all her life, or at least as much of it as she could remember, expected to help in the kitchen like a common maid!
Norman’s voice, quick and genial, interrupted her thoughts. “Here Sis, we’ll stack the plates and you can carry them out to the kitchen while I grab these serving dishes.”
“I will not!” Orlena had found her voice. “I am not your servant!” Her grey eyes flashed.
Norman’s voice was even as he replied, “No, you are not. You are a member now of the Triple Creek Ranch and each member is expected to carry their share of the load around here.”
“I am not a member, I am a guest and I’ll have you remember that!”
Jenelle gave Norman no chance to reply for she saw that his temper was rapidly rising. “Dear,” and she placed a hand on his arm, “just carry those out and put them on the counter for me, won’t you?”
And Norman, biting back his sharp words, turned from his sister to the kitchen. After setting the dishes carefully down, he braced his hands on the counter top and stared down at the floor, his heart crying for help. “Oh, God, what do I do?” he pleaded silently. “I can’t let Orlena be another burden on Jenelle, but how do I make her help? And most of all, how can I keep my temper with her when she talks like that?” He pushed away from the counter and strode over to stand in the open doorway and stare into the cloudless evening sky with troubled eyes.

Questions? Comments?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 14

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
The sky is pink in the east like a carpet in honor for the king of the day to arrive. It looks chilly out, though I have yet to step foot into the morning air. No clouds are to be seen in the sky and earlier the moon was a smile in the dark heavens. Hmm, I don't usually write like this in the mornings. Maybe it was the concert I went to last night. It was a 9-voice mens group. They were good and it was fun to listen to them. One song they sung in Norwegian was about a cat that traveled to Denmark to escape the cold. :) During the song, one of the men pretended to be the cat and meowed during it and washed his face and shivered with cold. :) The other song that got some laughs was the next to the last one. It was a song the Beetles wrote, only they gave us a history of music in 2 1/2 minutes. That is they started the song as a Gregorian chant, moved it through baroque, into the era of glee club singing, to barbershop quartet and into modern. The song was called "I want to hold your hand." Imagine those words in a Gregorian chant! :) It brought some laughs. 

I started teaching writing class on Wednesday. I'm glad to get back into it. I really enjoy teaching. Only I just have three students this time. :(
I have worked on writing quite a bit this week. I'm trying to keep up with Priscilla De Silvosa's letters, work on Triple Creek Ranch (since some people have been asking for it), figuring out and writing more of "Ria and the Gang" and I even managed to work some on another story that I started two years ago and never posted more than the first two parts. I also have short stories that need written.
The other thing I've been doing is working on cataloging our 5,610 books. :) It is taking awhile. :} I think we have 1,524 done. Anyone want to come help?

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the games I posted last week. From your comments I think you did. I ended up with two Experts, one Acquaintance and many Friends. :) I think is pretty good for all the stories I've written and posted. Maybe next year I'll do something like that again and you can see if you can improve your standing. :)

But now I have delayed enough. I'll let you read Triple Creek Ranch. I'm not promising to post it next week, but I'm saying I won't either.

Part 14
“Jenelle,” Norman paused as he was about to rise from the breakfast table the following morning, “I feel like a shirker leaving you here alone with my sister again. If I didn’t have so much to do . . .”
Mrs. Mavrich smiled up at her husband’s troubled face. “You are not shirking, Dear,” she told him. “You have work that must be done and perhaps Orlena and I can get better acquainted.” She almost added, “If you are not here,” but said instead, “Her trunk still needs unpacked. Do you suppose she has anything to wear that is at all suitable for life here?”
Raising his eyebrows Norman shrugged. “You’re asking me? I have no idea what she has except that awful black thing she had on yesterday. What did she wear after her encounter with the skunk?”
At that Jenelle burst into a merry laugh. “Oh, go along with you to the fields. You’re about as much help as the dog,” and she laughed some more though her face grew sober as the door shut behind Norman. Did Orlena have anything suitable to wear?
All the time she was clearing away the dishes and doing her morning chores, Jenelle puzzled and pondered over the problem of Orlena’s wardrobe. “I really don’t think she has anything,” she murmured. “I’ll have to get to work. I wonder if she would like to go into town with me tomorrow and pick out some material?”
Footsteps were heard and Jenelle turned brightly with a cheery greeting for her young sister. Orlena barely acknowledged it with a slight inclination of the head and remained silent.
Ignoring the silence, Jenelle spoke cordially, completely leaving the previous evening in the past. “You must be hungry,” she began. “I’ve already finished my chores so I’ll join you at the table.” She carried in Orlena’s breakfast and set it before her. “I thought today would be a good day to unpack your truck. That way Norman can carry it to the attic this evening and you will be all settled in. Perhaps tomorrow you would like to go into town with me to do some shopping. You know,” she went on, seemingly oblivious to the silence of the girl across from her, “I think I’ll enjoy having another woman about the house. Sometimes I get rather lonesome. Do you enjoy sewing?”
“What kind of sewing?” Orlena asked warily.
“Making clothes and mending.”
Orlena looked disgusted. “That is what you pay seamstresses for, or didn’t you know that?”
“Yes,” Jenelle conceded, ignoring the tone of the girl opposite her, “but I would hope they loved their work, wouldn’t you? It always makes it much more enjoyable.”
“I embroider,” Orlena said suddenly.
Jenelle looked interested at once. “That must be delightful work. I’ve tried it once, but I snarled it up so badly that I couldn’t fix it. Since then I’ve stuck with plain sewing.”
Orlena didn’t volunteer the fact that her only attempt to embroider anything was a handkerchief and the red and yellow flowers ended up looking like the flames of a fire more than anything else.
“Now,” Jenelle began briskly as Orlena finished her last bite. “Would you rather wipe off the table and sweep the floor or wash up these few dishes?” The question was asked so matter-of-factly, as though Jenelle asked that sort of question everyday and had no thought of either option being a chore, that no one would have guessed just how quickly her heart was beating nor that she braced herself for an explosion.
For a moment Orlena stared at her and then, in a haughty voice replied, “That is work for the servants.”
“I don’t have any servants. This is such a small house and there really isn’t much to do that if I had a servant, she would run out of things to do long before the day was done. And what about me?” here she paused to laugh. “Why, I’d have nothing to do.”
For answer, Orlena gave a sniff and rose from the table.
“Orlena,” Jenelle’s soft voice halted her young sister. “Would you like help unpacking your trunk?”
“Well, I’m certainly not doing it,” was the curt reply before Orlena swept out of the room and up the stairs.
“Well!” Jenelle blinked. “That’s that. I mustn’t push her too much yet. I’ll let her grow more used to things around her. Poor child!” She had been busy as she talked to herself, brushing the few crumbs off the table and washing the plate, cup and utensils. After a quick glance at the floor, Jenelle decided it really didn’t need swept.
Up in her room, Orlena waited for Jenelle’s coming. Her feelings were mixed. The unpacking of her trunk meant that she would be staying at the ranch at least until school started, while if it remained unpacked, there was always the possibility of Norman sending her back to the city. Seating herself in the chair, Orlena tapped her foot. One thing was certain, she would not unpack a thing. Perhaps the sight of all her fine dresses would impress her brother’s country wife.
The kitchen was hot, and Jenelle pushed back her damp hair from her face. She was tired. Supper would be ready soon, Norman was expected any minute and the table wasn’t yet set. “I wish I could ask Orlena to set it for me,” she sighed reaching into the cupboard for the plates.
“What was that you were muttering about?” a voice asked behind her and a strong arm turned her around.
“Oh, Norman,” Jenelle gave a start and almost dropped a plate. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
Quickly catching the plate and setting it on the counter, Norman smiled. “So I noticed.” And bending his head he kissed the ruby lips before him. “You were talking to yourself again.”
“I do that quite often,” she retorted, laughing a little and turning to get the other plates and to hide her hot face.

Any questions or comments about this part?

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Party Time!

Good Morning FFFs!
Today is starting out clear but cold with snow still on the ground. Yep, that's right. We finally got some snow. It was only about an inch, but it stayed all day yesterday. I am expecting it to be gone before to long since it is supposed to get into the upper 30s today.

I wanted to thank you all for you guesses! That is the most guesses I've ever had on one of these January Quizzes. :) It sure was fun to see all the different guesses. This is also the first time someone got within 10 of the correct number! Joseph guessed 5,600 and the number of books we have is 5,610! Wow! Of course, that doesn't count the books listed on PaperBack Swap, the cookbooks, the song books or the books we are going to get rid of.

And now it's Party Time! You may be wondering why on earth I'm having a party. Well, since my 3rd blogiversary is the 16th (which is not a Friday) I thought I should have a party. I do like games and parties. Don't you? See if you can get the answers correct in the five games I created just for you, my faithful Friday fiction fans. :)
If you get 23 - 30 answers correct you are an Expert and are qualified to give lectures about me and my work as well as know your way around the blog.
If you get 13 - 22 answers correct you are a Friend who is quite fond of this blog and familiar with my work though you can't recall all the details.
If you get 6 - 12 answers correct you are an Acquaintance who drops by now and then to see how I'm doing, recognizes my name when it comes up in conversations and even knows a story or two.
If you get 0 - 5 answers correct you are the New Kid on the Blog. Welcome, and I hope you'll stick around and enjoy yourself.

So, grab a paper and pen and have fun!
These games are to be played without looking at any other post on my blog.
Game One:
See if you can match the pictures with the story names.
Note: There will be three stories with no picture.


 1. In the Father's Embrace
2. Canoe Trip
3. Whom Should She Trust?
4. Fishing For a Little Peace and Quiet
5. The Emancipation of Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
6. The Garden Plot
7. Neglected and Forsaken
8. Mysterious Words
9. One Day Mystery



Game Two:
 Answer these multiple choice questions, if you can.

I. Which of these stories was the most difficult to write?
A. An Autumn Path
B. Ruined Shoes
C. The Storm

II. I enjoyed writing which of these stories so much that I laughed and grinned nearly the entire time I was writing it.
A. One of Those Days
B. The Garden Plot
C. The Emancipation of Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire

III. I disliked this story when I was writing it and it took me a while before I did like it.
A. On Being Neighborly
B. The Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay
C. Whom Should She Trust?

IV. Which is the only story that I've had to almost completely rewrite?
A. Sergeant Wyatt: SWAT Team Adventure
B. The Garden Plot
C. The Lower Lights

V. This story was the result of a joking suggestion from my father.
A. The Mysterious Solution
B. On Being Neighborly
C. The Graham Quartet and the Lonely Cabin

Game Three:
Unscramble these titles to find out what short stories are going to be included in my book of stories!
1. Mowh Holusd Hes Strut
2. Ni Het Hastfer Cambree
3. Teh Mapointinace Fo Streche lareding vandano sirquee
4. Lal Shintg Orf Odog

Game Four:
Am I telling you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in these statements?
Answer Yes or No.
I. I only write 1,000 words in one sitting.
II. My book "The Unexpected Request" was written after I had read many western novels.
III. I delight in using random names in my stories.
IV. I think about what story I'm going to write in the evening for most of the day.
V. "At the Foot of the Falls" was the first short story I wrote.
VI. I wrote "Mr. Pickup's Problem" after I shopped at Wal-Mart.
VII. Most of my poetry is spur of the moment.

Game Five:
Match the short story trivia with the correct title.

A. Brother and sister go fishing at the beginning and the end.
B. An explosion is heard.
C. In which a cell phone is forgotten.
D. A train is delayed a few days.
E. Everyone insists a person is dead.
F. A short rhyme is necessary for this story to end.
G. There are seven boys and one girl in a family.
H. A snowman gets made.

1. One Day Mystery
2. Tender Reflections
3. A Promise
4. Sergeant Wyatt: SWAT Team Adventure
5. A Christmas Story
6. Ruined Shoes
7. Home for Christmas
8. The Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay

To check your answers go to here and scroll to the bottom of the page. Don't put your answers on the comments! Just leave a comment and tell me what you are. :) 

Friday, January 6, 2012

At the Mercy of the Storm - Part 2

A Fantastic First Friday of the year to all my Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!
(Alliterations can be such fun.)

I wish you all a Happy New Year even if it is the 6th of January already! Wow, the time sure flies. Now that I'm back home and all the Christmas decorations are put away, I'm trying to get back into writing. And I will admit, it is difficult. Not because I don't have anything to write or because I can't seem to get any story written, it is because I'd much rather read right now. :} Have any of you read the quote on the side of my blog about writing? Well it sure is true! Writing is not just fun. It is work! Most of the time I love it, but there are days when I wish the next part of the story would just appear without me having to write it. But it doesn't so I have to labor and work. Some times things come easily and just flow along, while at other times. But I already mentioned that.

And now here is January's Quiz: How many books do we have in our house? Remember, we do not count cookbooks or songbooks. Here are some helps. But I don't know how many we have yet either.
In 2009 we had 4,011
In 2010 we had 4,262
And in 2011 we had 5,215
It is anybody's guess what we have now. We have gotten rid of books and gotten new ones. So take a guess and then come back next week to find out the answer!

But, lest I leave you hanging too long, here is the rest of last week's story. Enjoy!

At the Mercy of the Storm
Part 2
Rebekah M.

    Slowly Garret opened his eyes and forced his mind to focus. He was lying almost sideways, practically hanging by his safety harness. He could still see the flashes of lightning, hear the rumble of thunder and the rain drumming on-- something. Moving his arms and legs carefully, he undid the harness and sat up. By the light flashes he could see Thad slumped over in the seat beside him. Was he dead?
    “Thad?” Gently Garret placed a hand on his co-pilot’s back. “He’s still breathing, thank God!” he murmured.
    Just then Thad stirred and sat up in a dazed sort of way. “What happened? Where-” He shook his head to clear it. “We crashed. The passengers . . .?”
    “I don’t know,” Garret replied. “I just came to, myself. We need a flashlight. That lightning is too sporadic.”
    For a few minutes, both men fumbled around the cockpit until Thad finally discovered the light. He snapped it on and by its steady beam saw a long gash on Garrett’s arm.
    “I must have cut it on that shattered instrument panel,” Garret surmised. “But,” he added, eyeing Thad, “That cut on your head looks pretty bad.”
    “I’ll be okay for now. Let’s check our passengers.”
    Slowly, carefully Garret and Thad made their way out of the cockpit to the middle of the plane. The light of the flashlight showed four passengers looking rather dazed but otherwise unhurt while the other two were still unconscious. While his co-pilot checked those passengers, Garret pulled out a second flashlight and by its light found the first-aid kit. The remaining passengers who were unconscious slowly came around and cuts and minor injuries were attended to.
    “So, where are we?” asked one of the passengers.
    Garret shook his head, wincing as his injured arm bumped the back of a seat. “I can’t tell you for sure, Ma’am,” he replied. “That first hit of lightning knocked the power out and after that with the winds so strong, it was impossible to tell what direction we were flying.”
    “And I suppose the radio is out too?” a younger man asked.
    Garret nodded. “At least it wasn’t working before we hit the storm. I don’t see why it would work now, but I’ll go check it.”
    Silence fell about the small group as the pilot carefully made his way back to the cockpit to try to send a distress call through the stormy clouds.
    Strongly doubting it would work, Garret prayed as he pulled a headset over his ears and turned the knobs of the radio. Nothing. Everything was dead, not even a hint of static came through no matter how he turned the knobs or fiddled with the wires. At last he gave up and returned to the cabin of the plane.
    “Well,” an older gentleman broke the stillness caused by Garrett’s news, “at least the plane keeps us out of the rain.”
    “True,” a middle-aged woman added, “and it could have burst into flames in the sky.”
    “What a comforting thought,” sneered a grumpy man from a corner. “We could have all died, so we should be glad we are alive.”
    Garret spoke soberly then, “You know, she is right. If the lightning had hit the fuel tank we wouldn’t be here now. We should all thank God for sparing us.”
    “Amen,” echoed a quiet voice from the semi dark plane.
    In tones low but distinct, the older gentleman began to pray. Not as though it was a duty, but as though it were a privilege. Garret, with head bowed was deeply moved by that prayer and when it was over, silence descended once more on the little plane.
    The storm had all but blown itself out and only a light rain now came from the heavens. Leaving the passengers in the plane, Garret and Thad forced the door open and climbed out to take a look at the damages. One wing was crumpled and half buried in the mud, leaving the plane tipped and the wheels mired in mud holes. Surprisingly, that seemed to be all the major damage the small plane had received.

    It was a long night for those eight people on the plane. No one could sleep, for their recent brush with death as well as wondering if they would be found, kept all minds spinning. At last a faint light began to appear in the east.
    “Day is coming!” someone exclaimed softly.
    Then the waiting began. As the sun climbed up from its bed, the passengers, along with their pilot and co-pilot, climbed from the listing plane into the fresh air. It was a clear day with blue sky. Not a trace of the previous night’s storm was to be seen above and only the flattened grass and the damaged plane gave evidence of nature’s fury below. All around them only grass was to be seen. Not a tree, not a fence, not a house. It was hard to wait. Some were for setting off in search of help, but Garret overruled all plans.
    “No,” he declared flatly, “it is more difficult to spot people from the air than it is a plane. Besides, we don’t know which direction to go. The one we choose might be the wrong one. And another thing,” he added, as the grumpy man was about to speak, “there is only a little food and water. By staying here we can conserve it.”
    “Don’t forget,” Thad put in, “the plane also gives us shelter.”
    There was much grumbling among two of the passengers, but it was not two hours later when help arrived.
    First a small plane flew over their heads, turned around and began circling. This was followed shortly by a helicopter which managed to land several yards away. It was with great relief that Garret watched his passengers climb aboard that whirlybird. Now his responsibility for them was over. He sank down exhausted beside his plane with Thad, to wait until another helicopter could come for them.
    “Thad,” Garret remarked quietly after a few moments of silence, “even eagles can break a wing now and then, but it doesn’t mean they can’t soar again.”
    Smiling, Thad replied, “Not if they wait upon the Lord.”
The End

So, what did you think?
Questions or comments?
Don't forget to come back next week for the Grand Total and for the extra special post . . . :)