Friday, November 30, 2012

A Christmas Disaster - Part 1

Hello Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
I hope your week was wonderful. Mine was rather crazy. It was the kind of week you thought would be one way and instead it wasn't.
As I mentioned last week, we were getting ready for Decorating Day. On Sat. one of my Heart-Sisters came down and we started in on the decorating. It was a good start and we were pretty pleased with what we had accomplished. So on Sunday, when the others who were coming over to help, arrived, I thought, "Hey, we should be able to get a lot done." I wasn't taking into consideration the "help" of the kiddos. :) Goofball wanted to touch everything and play with everything and Funny Boy wanted to play with the train and have someone read "shrain" stories to him. (He absolutely loves trains.) Pickle Puss was a little more helpful, but she really just wanted to play with the dolls. As for Doodle Bug, we had to put him in the pack 'n play or he was in to everything! He didn't mind too much because we gave him all kinds of things to play with. :)
Well, we got some things done, but not a whole lot. I figured I'd just finish it all on Monday.

Monday. We had to go shopping to get a few more garlands because we had used them all and needed a few more. No decorating that day.
Tuesday. I managed to finish the downstairs, but didn't get anything done with the upstairs.
Wednesday. I got a start on the upstairs before Mom wanted to go walking. It was really nice out. Then I had to go help pull more things for orders for Light of Faith. I did finished the office that afternoon.
Yesterday- Finally, I was able to get the rest of the decorating done! What a relief! Then I really got to work on grading papers. I have to finish the rest of them today.

Today- We clean house, I finish grading papers and then this evening, S and I babysit 11 children ages 7 and under. :) What to come play? Should be interesting. And yes, we'll have some "twins" and maybe even a set of "triplets." The youngest ones will be about 1 1/2. The parents are all going to a "Living Christmas Tree" and didn't want to take the kids along.  Can't say that I blame them.

I have written some. Finally managed to finish the story I was writing. I'm not sure what I'll write now since no one has told me what they want to read this December. But last night in bed I was almost in the mood to write TCR again. :) I thought some of you might like it if I worked on that story. :D

Now, remember that tomorrow is the 1st of December and in December I post randomly during the month. Not just on Fridays any more. In fact, this story that is starting today, will be posted every Friday and Wednesday! So, be sure to come back for Wednesday's parts.  I hope you enjoy this story.

P.S. I now have a new page on this blog. One from which you can purchase any of my books. I even have a 10% off code you cand use. Feel free to share that page with family and friends or link to it on your blog. (If you have one. :))

It has to be a Christmas story
Word Count: At least 3,000 (I ended up with 7,000)

This was a painting on a tray.
(As you may notice, I did change the setting just a little. I took out the colored lights and made them just plain white. The clothes, carriage and colored lights just don't fit in the same setting.)

A Christmas Disaster
Part 1

    The streets were wet and slushy. Snow was falling in large flakes seeking to cover the streets once again with their whiteness and prevent the travel of carriages. Bright lights from a large tree in the center of town cast pools of splendor on the snow, the wet streets, the rooftops and gave a festive air to the scene. The shops along either side fairly glowed with Christmas cheer. Gleaming, polished windows filled with toys, candy, baked goods and more attracted the attention of several passers by causing them to pause, look and then enter the shops. The background of grayish-blue mountains spoke of a more western town while the white sky with no sunset appearing told of more snow.
    Pushing his greatcoat away from his neck and unbuttoning another button, Mr. Thompson clucked to his old horse while behind him in the back of his carriage, Stephanie and Alex laughed and talked.
    “Cut!” Mr. Sheets roared. “No, Bennett, you can’t unbutton your coat. Remember, it’s growing colder. Act cold! Hunch into your coat.”
    “But I’m sweltering,” Bennett, who was playing the part of the carriage driver, grumbled.
    “At least you don’t have a heavy blanket over your lap,” Stephanie retorted from behind him.
    “Mr. Sheets,” Alex’s clear voice carried across the large stage. “If this play is going to look realistic, perhaps we should turn the air conditioning on. At least for the parts outside. That way we could look the part a little easier.
    From where she had halted on the sidewalk when the order to “cut” had come, Chloe turned eagerly. “Oh, please, let’s!”
    Mr. Sheets turned to look at Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Hocker and Mr. Simcox. “Well,” he questioned with a sigh, “what do you all think?”
    “Instead of turning the air conditioning on, why don’t we just open the windows?” Mrs. Hocker suggested. “It’s plenty cold enough to keep even these hot blooded young people from reaching the boiling point.”
    A general laugh spread from the teachers to the high school students on stage and then circled through the students in the wings and backstage.
    Coolidge High School was preparing their 7th annual Christmas play. Each year they had grown more adventurous and more elaborate until two years ago when they had outgrown the small stage in the school and had been allowed the use of the town’s only theater. Since the final production was open for all the town folks and anyone from the surrounding farms, villages or neighboring towns, everyone worked hard. On opening night Story-Time Playhouse was usually filled, but on the closing night last year, after a run of five days, there had been standing room only and not much of that.
    This year would be the best one yet. All the students had pitched in painting scenery, designing and sewing costumes, memorizing lines, managing lights, sounds, scene changes and, as a grand addition, the school orchestra was providing live music. For weeks the school had been in a bustle after classes, between classes and before classes. The chatter in the hallways was about the play; teachers as well as students were excited. Now it was less than a week until opening night.
    Bennett buttoned up his greatcoat and hunched down though sweat dotted his forehead and trickled down his back.
    “And start,” Mr. Sheets called when the windows had been opened and the cold, snow laden air was blowing in.
    Mr. Thompson clucked to his horse again and started off across the stage as the fake snow began falling once more.
    “I say, Driver,” Alex called over the wind, “can’t you let us off for an hour to do some shopping? My wife is eager to see what these shops have to offer out here in the West.”
    Tipping his head back a little to glance at the sky, Mr. Thompson shook his head. “I can let you off all right, but coming back in an hour, well sir, that’s somethin’ else.”
    “Well!” Stephanie exclaimed, “Of all things! Wouldn’t you like to earn more money?”
    “Sure, sure, but this snow has only just started. Carriages won’t be any use in an hour.”
    “Won’t be any use?” echoed his passengers.
    “Nope. You’ll need a sleigh then and mine isn’t returned from the blacksmith’s yet. If you’re plannin’ on being around town for many more days, you might just get snowed in.”
    The couple in the back exchanged a quick consultation and decided to be taken to their hotel. Mr. Thompson turned his horse, and they slowly plodded off the stage.
    “Well done,” Mrs. Brown clapped. “But Steph, try to sound a little more annoyed.”
    “Mr. Sheets, are we going on with the next scene?” Derek had hurried on stage to ask. He was the stage manager, a senior and the older brother of Bennett.
    After a quick glance at his watch, Mr. Sheets shook his head. “No, we’d better not,” he decided. “The first three scenes are great, but we’ll work on the rest tomorrow.” Then, raising his voice he called out, “All right, that’s it for today! All of you get home and get your homework done!”
    A loud groan came from behind the stage followed by laughter and a wave of chatter.
    “Hey everyone, listen up!” Mr. Simcox’s deep voice bellowed and an instant silence prevailed. “On Friday the orchestra will join us for the first time. Mr. Hocker thinks they’re ready for us, but let’s make sure we’re ready for them. Mrs. Hocker won’t be here tomorrow as she’s going to be reading the parts for the orchestra while they play.” He turned to the other teachers, “Do any of you have anything to add?” At the shaking of heads, Mr. Simcox dismissed the students and turned to shut windows.

    “It sure was kind of Mr. Randolph to let us keep Dilly over here in his stable,” Bennett remarked, after bedding down his horse which was being used in the play.
    “It sure was,” Derek agreed, pulling his knitted cap down over his dark hair.

Did you like the beginning?
Will you be back on Wednesday for the next part?
What do you think happens?

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 5

Happy Thanksgiving, FFFs!
I hope you are all enjoying Black Friday. :P Who first came up with the idea to have great sales the day after Thanksgiving? And who named the day "Black Friday"?

What have I done this past week? I did extra cleaning. You know, those things that get done once a year. I suppose they would be "spring cleaning" jobs only we seem to do them just before we decorate for Christmas. (Oh, now I can put on the Christmas music! :D ) A friend came over and spent several hours on Tuesday. That was fun since I haven't seen her for months. My grandparents came Wednesday and that is when we had our Thanksgiving Feast. My brother, Sis-in-law and the kiddos came over and we had a wonderful day. The weather was perfect so the kids got to play outside. They rode bikes before we ate, and Pickle Puss and Goofball discovered that they can just about ride their bikes without training wheels! I'm sure Funny Boy won't be far behind. And of course Doodle Bug loves to climb on the trike and sit there until you push him. ;)
We got some family pictures taken after we ate and then the kids got to play in the leaves. We have a lot of trees in the yard and a huge swing. When other friends come over, they love to rake the leaves into a huge pile and then jump off the swing into them. Well, on Wednesday, the kiddos got to try it. They loved it! Doodle Bug rolled, jumped, laughed and had a wonderful time in those leaves even if he was half asleep. At one point he sat down, I covered him most of the way up and he put his little head down like he was going to go to sleep. :) The older three enjoyed them just as much. It took Funny Boy a little while to get up enough courage to actually jump off the swing, but then he really liked it.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a quieter day. No little ones. My grandpa, mom and I opened 40+ boxes and sorted the things to be ready for Light of Faith's Black Friday sale.
Today we'll help pull things for orders. So, if you ordered from Light of Faith and ordered anything of the Melissa & Doug toys, puzzles or craft things, chances are good that I helped pull your order. :)

As far as writing, I've gotten some done. Not as much as sometimes, but I have been busy. Grandparents leave this afternoon, so I might get to write this evening. We'll see. Tomorrow one of my Heart-Sisters is coming over and will spend the night, so I won't be writing then. :) Decorating starts tomorrow! Another Heart-Sis and their parents come on Sunday along with my brother and his family. I'll try to get some pictures of the end results. :)
Until then, I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy this last part of

My Best Thanksgiving

    We were back on the road again. I really hoped we wouldn’t have any more trouble because I wanted to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Besides, Jason and Vicki were growing rather grumpy from being in the van so long. Carol started us singing and we sang every song we could think of from “When the Saints Go Marching In,” to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” to “Jesus Loves Me” to “Yellow Rose of Texas.” We were hoarse and hungry when we finally stopped. Since we had expected to be at Grandma’s for supper, we hadn’t packed anything. That meant we had to stop and pick up Taco Bell. We almost never ate out, so that was a treat.
    Lee ate quickly and then drove so Dad could eat. However, when it began to grow dark, they switched again. Mom found a classical radio station to listen to and everyone settled down. We all had our pillows with us and I propped mine up so I could lean back and watch the stars until eventually I fell asleep.
    I only half woke up when we arrived at Grandma’s around midnight and stumbled upstairs to bed. We always slept in the same rooms when we came so no one had to be told where to go. This time I didn’t have to share a bed with Jason.

    The tantalizing smell of cinnamon rolls mingling with whiffs of roasting turkey roused me in the morning. Ginger was the only other one up besides Grandma and Grandpa when I came down to the kitchen.
    Grandma greeted me with a hug. “Reagan Rowe, you’ve grown at least two inches since I saw you last,” she exclaimed, holding me off and looking me up and down.
    “But he’s as skinny as a rail like he’s always been,” Grandpa laughed, hugging me next. “Don’t they feed you anything down in Texas?” Grandpa loved to tease. “Here Grandma,” he said, “feed this beanstalk before he gets so thin he just disappears.”
    And so the day began. Grandma’s cinnamon rolls were the best I’ve had even to this day and they were the perfect start to the day.
    Around ten, my aunts, uncles and cousins started arriving, each family bringing something to add to our mid-afternoon meal. While we waited for the hour for feasting to finally arrive, the cousins dispersed here and there to play, visit and enjoy being together. My family was the only one from out of state, so it it was always special when we came. But not only was I the middle child, I was also the middle cousin, and more often than not I’d be more inclined to wander alone then join a game of Monopoly, Careers or Uno. That day was no different.
    Grabbing my camera, I pulled on my heavy jacket, for the sky was overcast and the wind nippy, and went outside. It had been dark out when we had arrived the night before so I hadn’t noticed the wagon in the side yard. Grandpa had this old wagon that he used just for fun things like hay rides or in parades or to go on picnics and things like that, and it was usually stored in the barn, but that day it was out. I wandered over.

The wheels had been painted a golden yellow recently and the back of the wagon was piled with orange pumpkins and yellow and green squash. Hay bales were set about the wagon with buckets of Grandma’s mums here and there with a few more pumpkins and squash scattered about while golden brown cornstalks, gathered together, were leaning against the wagon. A large bow of orange and black held together cornstalks entwined with autumn leaves. This hung from the back of the wagon. It was lovely. I knew there would be family pictures taken there later, but right then I didn’t want any people in the picture. I wanted to capture it just the way it was.
    The large bell hanging just outside the kitchen door began to ring loudly announcing the feast we had all been waiting for. There was a mad scramble for the side door (We weren’t allowed to use the kitchen door.), and coats, jackets and boots were hurriedly pulled off and tossed aside. We’d pick them up later.
    In the large dining room were two long tables. One was for the younger cousins and the other was for the older folks. As usual, I headed over to the younger table, but Grandpa stopped me.
    “No, Ray, you aren’t a child any more. You join us here.”
    I couldn’t find any words but looked from Grandpa to Dad. Did he really mean it? Dad was smiling.
    “Yes, Ray, you proved yourself on this trip and you can be considered one of the older ones now.”
    Still not finding my voice, I just smiled. Sitting at the grown-up’s table was an honor and I knew what things I’d say I was thankful for.
    Before Grandma and the older girl cousins brings out the food, each person has five kernels of dried corn placed on their plate. Then one of the cousins quotes the poem “Five Kernels of Corn.” It’s a poem about the first winter in America when the pilgrims only had enough food to give each person five kernels of corn for a meal. After the poem is finished, a basket is passed around and each person drops his corn in and says five things he is thankful for.
    When it was my turn I dropped my corn in and said, “I’m thankful I got to help Lee pack the trailer, for a dust storm to make me appreciate the lovely weather here, police officers who are always ready to help, for the best Thanksgiving ever and,” I paused and glanced about the room at all my relatives and family. “And I’m thankful for the memories I’ll never forget of our trip, this day and everyone here!”
    This was Thanksgiving. A full, rich harvest, plenty to eat, a family to share it with and knowing I was growing up. I thought back over the trip from Texas to Virginia and all our delays. That dust storm had caused me to appreciate the fresh, crisp air about me like I had never done before. And the flat tire, the nights crowded into hotel rooms, hours and hours stuck in the van together, that is what memories are made from. Memories are things to be thankful for. Memories to hold in your heart forever, to pull out again and relive year after year. Memories of a Thanksgiving I’ll always remember.

Did you enjoy this story?
Come back next week for the start of "A Christmas Disaster."
What kind of things would you like me to post in December?
Poems, really short stories, recipes, book reviews, pictures, . . . ?

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 4

A Fantastic Friday to all my Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
I'm loving this chilly weather! The leaves are just about all off the trees, the sun is coming up and the sky is clear. I can hear the chirps and twitters of birds out on the bird feeders as well as the traffic on Broadway. I've often wondered what it would be like to live so far out in the country that you don't hear the sounds of traffic each morning and evening (and all during the day).

This week was much more relaxing than the weeks have been. :) I've gotten to read which is so delightful. I had my last writing classes of the year on Wednesday. Yesterday I checked most of the papers and figured out grades for two classes. Mom and I have been cleaning out, organizing, rearranging and getting rid of things. Several rooms look so much better! And today I'm going to be doing those extra cleaning things that seldom get done, like cleaning the ceiling fans and lights, washing screens and things like that.

Writing: Ah yes. I have written. In fact, I finished the Christmas story I was working on and it is now on my proofer's desk. Then, inspired by a calendar picture that none of my older students chose, I began yet another Christmas story. I'm hoping to keep this one under 5,000 words. My last one was 7,000 words long! Yeah I know, that means 7 times to post it, so pay attention on the 30th. I'd like to get back in to some of my other longer stories, but not right now.

Here is the next part of the Thanksgiving story. I hope you all enjoy it.

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 4

    “Well, as to that, I’m not sure if they could see any better’n I can, but if some young person wants to try, I’ll not object, will you Peggy?”
    Mrs. Peggy shook her head. “I’d feel better if it was someone else and that’s a fact.”
    “All right. Someone will be here in a minute. You ready, Ray?”
    I had pulled down those goggles, pulled up my bandana and nodded. I said a quick good bye to the old couple and then followed Lee back out into the dust.
    I don’t care if someone did say the wind was abating; it didn’t seem like it at all, as I was practically blown across the road. Together Dad, Lee and I made our way back to the side door on the van and climbed in.
    We were all coughing, but Dad and Lee were doing it the worst. Carol and Ginger quickly helped untie our bandanas while Mom opened bottles of water for each of us. That water sure tasted good, but it took a long time before all the grittiness was gone from my mouth.
    Mom insisted she drive and Dad sank into the passenger seat still coughing some.
    “You’re dirty!” Jason observed from the back.
    I think we knew that. All I wanted then was a hot shower, and I’m sure Dad and Lee longed for that even more than I did. After all, they had been out in the storm a lot longer than I had.
    Slowly Mom started off. She doesn’t usually like to drive the van when we are pulling the trailer, but this time she knew Dad was exhausted.

    We stopped at a truck stop so the three of us could shower and change while Mom and the girls and Jason got the van cleaned up. The outside didn’t really matter, but the inside where we had sat was filthy.
    Clean clothes had never felt better. Lee said he actually felt human again.

    That night was spent in a hotel. We had two rooms, one for the girls and one for Mom and Dad and us three boys. I shared a bed with Jason. At least until I woke up freezing in the middle of the night. Jason had taken all the covers and had rolled so much in them that I couldn’t pull any back. He had also decided to sleep with his feet in my ribs. Finally I grabbed my pillow and, finding the extra blanket Lee hadn’t wanted for his roll-a-way, lay down in the little space between the bed and the wall.
    I slept fine there but Mom got frightened in the morning because she didn’t see me and thought I had walked in my sleep.

    Our second day of travel went much smoother than the first. Dad and Lee took turns driving. I used some of my paper to write down the license plates we saw. Carol used a few pieces to play games of tic-tac-toe with Emmy, and Ginger used some to draw pictures on and write down the story Vicki dictated to her. I wish I still had a copy of Vicki’s story because it was all about the dust storm and I remember it was rather good for a seven-year-old.

    Wednesday morning Dad called Grandma and Grandpa to tell them we’d be much later than we had thought because of the delays. He said he didn’t know when we’d get in.
    The trees along the way were gorgeous: flaming red, golden yellow, deep green and rustic brown. The sky was a deep blue with a few scattered clouds piled here and there. We made a game of imagining what the clouds looked like and then creating a story to go with them. When we stopped for breaks the air was brisk and invigorating. You know how it is when you have to ride in the car for hours, you want to run and explore. Well, since we were already later than we had hoped to be, Dad kept our breaks short but saw to it that we ran each time we got out of the van. We finished listening to the book on tape that we had brought and turned on the music.
    It was mid afternoon when our next delay happened. Dad was driving and Mom was in the front too. Everyone else had been sleeping for a while when the van began to bump and jolt.
    “Honey,” Mom said, “I think you’d better pull over.”
    Dad had already slowed down and pulled off on the shoulder. It was a busy highway, so he turned his flashers on and got out on Mom’s side of the road.
    A minute later he put his head in and announced, “Flat tire. Lee, how hard is it going to be to get the spare?
    “Not long. I put it in the back of the trailer on the side.”
    The younger three started to beg to get out and Mom sent Carol and Ginger to take them into the empty field to run off their energy. Jason especially needed to run. I stayed around to help get the tire out of the trailer. A police car pulled up behind us and then put some cones out to make the traffic move to the other lane since the flat was on the driver’s side.
    Dad and Lee had some hard work getting the tire changed. The officer and I had some time to talk, and he even let me listen to some of the calls coming in over his radio and explained some things. Finally the tire was changed and the flat tire loaded in the trailer. Then Dad sent me to find Mom and the others. (Some time during the changing of the tire, Mom had strolled off across the field with the others.) It sure felt great to run.

Will you be back next week for the final part of this story?

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 3

Good Morning FFFs,
I'm home again and I'm tired. We slept in this morning, so I don't have much time to write. There were lots of late nights and early mornings and very busy days at AGC, but it was a great group. It was also the largest camp we've had. Even if we didn't win, we made a difference in the polls and turned out more voters in Jasper County that usual.

Now that AGC is over, I'll be getting back into writing, teaching my last writing classes next week and working on some other projects that I'd had to put on hold until after the elections. We have to clean the house today! It needs it.

I hope you enjoy the next part of this Thanksgiving story.

My Best Thanksgiving
Part - 3

    “Dad!” Lee exclaimed suddenly, “There’s a car over there with flashing lights.”
    Sure enough, as we crept closer, we could see a car with its flashers on pulled over on the opposite side of the road. I pressed my face to the window wondering why they had stopped.
    “Dad, they have a flat tire! We have to help them. It’s some older people!” I had seen an older man trying to make his way to the back of the car. Probably to get a spare tire.
    “Ray’s right,” Carol added. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”
    Dad didn’t say anything until he had pulled the van and trailer far enough ahead so that there was plenty of room for traffic to pass by and had turned his flashers on. “Lee, Ray, get something to tie over your nose and mouth.”
    I was surprised to find myself once again included with Lee. Quickly I pulled out my handkerchief, folded it in a triangle and let Ginger tie it about my face.
    “I wish we had safety glasses,” Dad said to Mom as he tied his handkerchief about his own face.
    “I think we have one pair in the emergency kit,” Mom replied, opening the glove compartment and pulling out the kit. She was right. One pair of safety glasses was stashed there.
    “I have my swimming glasses,” Vicki piped up from the back seat.
    “Why do you have swimming goggles?” Carol asked, laughing.
    “Case we go swimming.” Vicki’s voice was incredulous.
    “See if you can wear them, Ray,” Dad instructed and the goggles were passed up to me. They were a little snug, but they would work. Now Lee was the only one without eye protection of some sort.
    That’s when I had an idea.
    “Don’t we have some packing tape?” I asked, ripping out two pages from my notebook.
    Ginger pulled a box from under the seat and produced the tape. She caught on to what I was going to do and hurriedly helped me.
    “What are you doing, Ray?” Dad asked.
    “Making Lee some glasses.”
    In moments they were ready. True, they looked rather like those square 3-D glasses you get to read comic books or something, but instead of colored plastic in the middle, Ginger had put packing tape on the front and the back. Lee looked really funny when he put them on, but he said he could see.
    Dad instructed everyone else to stay in the van and to keep the windows shut. Then, using the side door on the right, we quickly climbed out and made our way back down the road.
    The wind was strong, but I didn’t realize just how strong until we rounded the back corner of the trailer. I could hardly keep my eyes open enough to see anything even though I had on Vicki’s goggles, for the dust was blowing so hard that my eyes just closed instinctively. Since there was no traffic, at least none close enough for us to see anyway, we staggered across the road, bending almost double just to make headway against the wind. Lee kept a hold on my jacket and helped me along. Even with our bandanas over our mouths and noses, the dust got in and I started coughing some.
    We reached the car and heard really bad coughing coming from the back. There was the man, an elderly man, bent over the open trunk of his car, coughing and coughing.
    “Ray!” Dad had to shout to be heard. “Help him back inside the car, get in with him and give him some water.” He shoved a water bottle into my jacket pocket.
    The man seemed more than willing to get back in the car, and I climbed in the back and shut the door. The instant relief from the dust and wind was wonderful and I pulled off the goggles and my handkerchief.
    “Here,” I gasped, coughing a little and clearing my throat, which felt dry, and handing the water to the older man. “Have some water. It should help.”
    The man’s hand shook as he raised the bottle and took a drink.
    There was a gritty, grimy feeling in my mouth, and I longed for some water too, but knew the man needed it more than I did.
    “Horace, are you okay?” It was the little, old lady in the passenger seat who asked the question.
    After another long drink of water, a vigorous blowing of his nose and several deep throat clearings, the man was able to reply. “Yep, thanks to this young fella. But we need to get that tire changed.”
    “Don’t worry about it,” I put in, afraid he might again venture out into the dust storm, “My dad and brother are working on it.”
    The older couple, Horace and Peggy, fell to talking and asking questions so that it was a little while before I notice the red and blue flashing lights before us on the road and more behind us. From where I was, I couldn’t see if the vehicles were police cars or what, only the eery flashing colors. I wondered how long we would be stuck out there and how long the storm would last.
    Eventually someone knocked on my door, opened it and slid in. I couldn’t tell who it was except for the paper glasses he wore, for his face, his hands, in fact everything on him was black. He coughed some and then said, “Your tire is changed and the police are going to see that you make it safely home. They said the storm seems to be lessening. Do you need someone to drive your car?”
    “Well, as to that, I’m not sure if they could see any better’n I can, but if some young person wants to try, I’ll not object, will you Peggy?”
    Mrs. Peggy shook her head. “I’d feel better if it was someone else and that’s a fact.”
    “All right. Someone will be here in a minute. You ready, Ray?”

Comments or Questions?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
I'm writing this a week before you'll read it because when you do read it I'll be much too busy to post. :) AGC will be in full force. Who knows which team I'll be with. (I'm Staff) And we'll be doing lots and lots of lit drops, phone calls and sign waving! Some of my regular readers will be with us. :) I wish the rest of you could come too, but you can pray for us and if you are of age to vote, DON'T FORGET! If you aren't old enough to vote, remind your parents. And if you live in Missouri, please, please, support Todd Akin in the polls!

My Best Thanksgiving - Part 2

    After we’d dressed and had our quiet time with our Bibles, Lee and I headed downstairs to help Dad load the trailer. He wasn’t up.
    “Come on, Ray,” Lee whispered, jerking his head towards the door, “we can pack it.”
    “Just us?” I asked. I wasn’t sure we could do it. Not after looking at all the piles of things we had to pack.
    Lee didn’t have any doubts. “I usually pack most of it anyway,” he told me. “Dad just brings things out.”
    I guess I hadn’t ever thought about that fact. It was rather fun helping pack the trailer. It was dark out still, so we had to turn the porch light on and set up one of our large flashlights so Lee could see the back of the trailer.
    We were about half way done when Mom came out on the porch with her sweater on. “Wow, you guys sure work quickly,” she exclaimed. “Dad was so tired this morning that he slept through his alarm.”
    “That’s okay,” I said. “Is he still sleeping?”
    Mom nodded. “I was going to wake him but thought I’d see how things were going first. I heard you guys come down.”
    “Ray,” Lee called from inside the trailer, “where’s the next things?” Coming to the door he looked out. “Oh, good morning, Mom. Dad still sleeping?”
    Again, Mom nodded.
    “Let him sleep. He has to drive today.”

    By the time Dad woke up some thirty minutes later, we had the trailer all loaded and were only waiting on the last things that went in the van. Mom and the older girls had breakfast packed and I couldn’t wait to eat. They made these great boxes for each person, rather like a carry-out meal from McDonalds only better, with hot cinnamon-raisin biscuits, tater-tots, dried apples and, for those of us who wanted it, juice. I always loved eating in the car on road trips.
    Amazingly, we left the house ten minutes early, but we had to go around the block because Emmy had forgotten her bag for the van.
    At last we were on the road. This time for real. Dad said that if we’d forgotten anything else, we’d just have to do without it. At that Mom looked back at us and asked, “Does everyone have shoes and socks on?”
    We all did. I remember one trip where I had gone out to the van in bare feet and it wasn’t until we stopped at a gas station that we realized that I had no shoes. Dad wasn’t too happy about stopping at a store to buy shoes for me. Ever since then I’ve been extra careful to wear shoes when we leave on trips.

    Since we lived in west Texas and had to drive all the way to the middle of Virginia, it made for a long trip. But I enjoyed road trips. I still do. I like watching the scenery change, looking for license plates (one time we saw all fifty states, except Rhode Island, and five Canadian provinces.), listening to books on tape or better yet, listening to Lee read books aloud. He’s a great reader.
    But I must get back to the story.
    I had been sleeping for a little while after breakfast when I was awakened by hearing talk about a detour and a storm. Sleepily I opened my eyes and sat up. There was no sign of construction but I could see a dark sky up ahead. Now, I’ve always been fascinated by storms so I decided to stay awake and watch. Glancing around I noticed that Lee, Carol and Mom were sleeping. The younger three were in the very back and were busy with whatever they had brought. Ginger, sitting behind the driver’s seat with me, was leaning forward and talking with Dad.
    “That doesn’t look like a regular storm, Dad,” she was saying.
    “You’re right, it looks different,” Dad agreed.
    I leaned around so I could see out the front better too. For a while we were quiet, watching the dark mass before us. It was growing closer. Suddenly a gust of wind shook the van.
    “Wow!” I exclaimed. “That wind is strong.”
    Dad was slowing the van down somewhat and didn’t reply.
    “There’s another detour sign, Dad,” Ginger pointed out. We must have turned onto a detour before I was fully awake.
    The wind was blowing stronger now and it was growing darker. The others woke up and Dad slowed even more. With our bigger van and our trailer, the wind really shook it when we went too fast. We began to drive into the dark cloud. But it was strange. There was no rain, no thunder or lightning, but still it was dark and things were blowing.
    “What’s going on, Dad?” I asked, watching some tumble weeds race across the road before us. The lights of oncoming traffic appeared like two eerily glowing eyes approaching from the midst of a mystic vapor.
    “I think it’s a dust storm,” Dad answered, making sure the vents on the van were closed.
    “Well, there hasn’t been much rain for a while,” Lee put in, leaning forward.
    “Imagine trying to walk through it!” Carol exclaimed. “Or living in a log house right now.” She always thought of things like that. Perhaps it came from reading so much. I like to read too, but I never think of those things.

    On we drove through the storm of dust which swept and swirled around, hiding nearby objects, blocking out the sky and slowing traffic to a crawl while changing each vehicle to the same color: dirty grey. Tumbleweeds, trash and small branches were flung across the road or smacked into the side of the van or trailer. We could hardly see more than a few yards in any direction. Carefully, cautiously, Dad continued to crawl forward. In the van, all was silent.
    “Dad!” Lee exclaimed suddenly, “There’s a car over there with flashing lights.”

Come back next week.
Thoughts or Comments now?