Friday, March 30, 2018

Hurray for Newsy Jones! - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
The sun is coming up in a clear sky!!! We've had rain or clouds almost all week and we're supposed keep getting rain and clouds starting tomorrow, or several more days. At least they took the snow out for the forecast for Easter. :) The birds are singing and everything is green.

This week has been busy. Not like last week when we had the kids the last three days. This was a different busy. This was an "I can get things done so let's get started" busy. And I have gotten things done. I need 510 more words to reach 5k this week. I sent out my April story to my beta readers, so hopefully I can get that published next week. I've read some, I've send many emails, taught writing classes, planned for an event two weeks from now, pulled out my spring and summer clothes even though I had to leave some long sleeve shirts out. And did other things.

Next week I work as an Election Judge on Tuesday. And next week also starts Camp NaNo! We still have plenty of room in our cabin if anyone is interested in joining me and other Christian young ladies. Anyone? We've already started getting a few sprints in, and are gearing up for April.

Okay, your story. This is based on a play I helped my nieces and nephews do. They wanted to do a play when they were over one time, so I got them all dressed up and had to figure out the story, the characters and what was going on all on the spur of the moment. They loved it! Then I wrote it up in story form. Enjoy the first part!

Hurray for Newsy Jones
Part 1

    It was a lovely morning in Little Silverton. The townsfolk were going about their daily lives, little dreaming of what lay ahead in store for some of them. On the corner of the street Newsy Jones and his sidekick, Curly, were at work selling their papers. A young soldier, his dark hair showing a bit from beneath his infantry cap, stopped, bought a paper, and then continued on down the road.
    Miss Marian, the local librarian, was coming down the street carrying a few books. Miss Marian always had at least one book with her. She nodded a greeting to Sheriff Tompkins and continued her way, her white parasol shading her face from the warm summer sun.
    All at once a shout interrupted the quiet, peaceful morning. “Sheriff!”
    A local rancher, who lived a short distance from town, rushed down the street from the direction of the bank. “Sheriff, the bank’s been robbed!”
    “What?” Sheriff Tompkins sprang from the bench outside his office where he had been cleaning his pistol, and looked around. “What happened? I didn’t see anyone!”
    “They went that-away,” the rancher gasped. “Two of ‘em. They would a shot the teller if he hadn’t given ‘em what they wanted.”
    By this time Miss Marian and Newsy Jones were close by listening.
    “Just two of them, you say?” questioned the sheriff.
    “Yes! Hurry, Sheriff! They got my money!”
    It only took the sheriff a few minutes to get his horse and take off in the direction of the bank robbers, but to those waiting, it felt like hours.
    When the sheriff had disappeared, Miss Marian began to question the rancher. “Are you sure you saw two men?”
    “What did they look like?”
    “They had black masks over their faces, but one looked like he might be Mexican, and the other, oh, I don’t know, he might have been an army man. I just don’t know, it happened too quickly.”
    “What were they riding?” persisted the librarian.
    “Horses. Black.”
    “Were they completely black?”
    “I don’t know. I didn’t get a good look at ‘em. I suppose one could’a been dark brown.”
    “Oh, why didn’t you pay more attention to details,” Miss Marian fussed, tucking her books more firmly under her arm and walking off with a frown. She liked to think of herself as a detective, for her favorite stories were mysteries.
    Meanwhile, Newsy Jones, who had hung around to listen to the conversation, walked thoughtfully back to his corner. He knew his paper tomorrow would be carrying the story of the robbery, but he hoped it would include the recovery of the stolen money as well.

    When the sheriff returned in the afternoon, he was dejected. Not only had he not recovered the money, he had found no trace of the robbers. After leaving his horse at the livery, he began to make his way to his office.
    With a sigh, the sheriff turned around. No doubt Miss Marian would have something to say about his inability to catch the thieves.
    “Sheriff,” the librarian began in low eager tones, “I talked with that rancher after you left. You know, the one who told you about the robbery.”
    The sheriff nodded as Newsy Jones edged up to listen.
    “Well,” Miss Marian went on, not giving Newsy so much as a glance, “he said that one of them might have been a soldier, and sheriff, I noticed that there’s a soldier in town today that I’ve never seen before.” She pointed toward a bench in the town square. “He might know something. And,” she added quickly before the sheriff could move, “the rancher said the other man looked Mexican. You know there was a strange Mexican fellow hanging around town last week–”
    Her sentence remained unfinished, but the sheriff had heard enough. “Thank you, Miss Marian, I’ll go have a talk with them.”
    Satisfied that she had done her job, Miss Marian retired to her library where she could watch everything through her large window.
    Newsy Jones, determined to learn all he could, trailed behind the sheriff as he approached the young soldier who was reading a newspaper.
    “Hey,” Sheriff Tompkins began, “who are you?”
    The soldier looked up in surprise. “Private Sam, of the U.S. Army,” he drawled.
    “Where are you from?” continued the sheriff, his voice gruff and stern.
    “What are you doing in Little Silverton?”
    “Got a two day pass from the army, an’ jest came ta see the town.”
    “Did you rob the bank?”
    Private Sam looked amused. “Nope, never been in the bank.”
    The sheriff wasn’t done with his questions. “Do you know that Mexican over there?” He jerked his thumb in the direction of a happy-go-lucky Mexican with a large nose, bushy black eyebrows, and a small black mustache, who was cleaning his guns.
    After a careful look, the soldier shook his head. “Nope, never seen him before.”
    “Were you ever in the bank?” the sheriff demanded next.
    “I already said I haven’t been in the bank.” Private Sam was growing irritated.
    Turning abruptly, the sheriff stalked away toward the Mexican, leaving the soldier to shrug at Newsy Jones and return to his paper.
    The Mexican looked up with a grin when the sheriff and Newsy Jones stopped in front of him.
    “Who are you?” The sheriff began his questioning right away.
    “Juan,” was the easy answer.
    “Where are you from?”
    “Me? I’m from Mejico. Cannot you tell with my sombrero and all?”
    “Huh,” grunted the sheriff. “Did you rob the bank this morning?”
    “No, Sheriff, why would I rob the bank? I get my money from the bank, so why should I rob it?”
    “Were you ever in the bank?”
    “Si, I have been many times,” assured Juan, nodding. “But I only go to get money from it, not to steal.”
    “Do you know that soldier over there?”
    Juan leaned around the sheriff to get a better look at the soldier. “No, Sheriff, I do not. Should I?”
    Mumbling something to himself, Sheriff Tompkins turned away, nearly bumping into Newsy Jones.

Do you think Miss Marian is right?
Have you ever written a play before?
Are you doing Camp NaNo?

Friday, March 23, 2018

No Story Today

Shhh! *whispers Good morning, FFF,*
Please don't wake the kids! All 6 are still sleeping. Or at least they are all quiet. I'm hoping they are all sleeping still because when some get up, it usually wakes the others up. And the younger ones need their sleep. They probably won't get any naps today unless they sleep in the car because we are planning on going to Prairie State Park today! The kids have never been, but when my brother, sister, and I were young, we used to go there all the time! We experienced all four seasons at the prairie, we watched Prairie Chickens mate, we hiked the trails and saw the bison, we drew wildflowers, caught grasshoppers to feed to the salamander, held snakes, dressed in prairie clothes, and learned so much about the prairie. It should be fun!

This past week was busy. And a bit crazy.

Last Friday I said we were at my grandparents. We didn't come home until Monday afternoon. Then I had to teach writing classes on Tuesday, attend election training on Wednesday morning, practice music Wednesday night, and then the kids came yesterday. We'll have the kids through Sunday morning. Needless to say, I didn't get much writing done.

I'm hoping to write next week and get back into regular writing so I'll be ready for Camp NaNo! Speaking of Camp, there is still room in the cabin I'm in. Does anyone want to join us? You can set your own writing goal of words, or hours. You can write a new story, or edit one you already have written. Or you could even be like me and work on multiple stories. :) I'd love to have you come and join the fun.

Well, I had a story I was going to post, but I didn't get it ready. And now three of my nephews are up and having a whispered conversation with my sister nearby. And there's the other nephew. Now just waiting for the two nieces to wake up.

I'll be back next week.

Friday, March 16, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 5

Good morning!
I know this is late. But I'm on vacation of sorts at my grandparents. And it's a rainy morning. We slept in, and I'm hurrying this quickly because I want to go eat breakfast. :)

Last night I got to do something that I've wanted to do for a very long time. I got to eat supper in a little hole-in-the-wall cafe. My mom and aunt were eating supper together at my aunt's house, and that left my sister and I to eat supper with our grandparents. We tried one place, but they weren't open. So we went to "Ambrosia." We actually went inside just after they had closed but their door was wide open and so they let us stay and eat. There was no music playing, only one other table with people who were planning their wedding, and were there for a tasting since "Ambrosia" was catering for it. And then us. Only three people work in the cafe, and the chef came out after we had started eating to see how things were. It was so much fun! After we were finished it felt like we should go back to the kitchen and tell them "thanks for supper." :) Anyway, now I've eaten in a little hole-in-the-wall.

Today we're going to help at my aunt's house with some organizing. And I'm hungry so I'm going to post this and go eat. Enjoy this last part of Chapter whatever it is. :)

Simply Trusting
Part 5

    Without a word, Belle turned and held out the slate to Ali, “Then you can practice.”
    “Will ya help me write my full name like ya did Kade?”
    Leaving Ali to write and erase and write some more, Belle moved over to a window and stood watching the rain. “Simply trusting every day, Trusting thro’ the stormy way.” She hadn’t realized she had sung the line until she began the next one. “Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus, that is all.”
    “Belle, I’m finished with my letters.”
    Hurrying back to the table, Belle admired Ali’s work. Then, erasing the letters she wrote her name and Ali set to work copying it. “It ain’t as long as Kade’s name. He’s got a long one, but I reckon I still got ta practice ta make it look like yours.” And Ali frowned at her name. “It don’t look right.”
    “It will with practice. Riss, do you want to practice?”
    “Kin I Ma?” Riss had been mending a shirt and now looked questioningly at her mother.
    Aunt Lillian nodded. “I’ve always had a hankerin’ for my youngun’s ta learn ta read an’ write, but the school’s been too far away. I learned the older two ta read a might ‘fore the young’uns took up too much a my time.”
    “It must be the right time now, Aunt Lillian,” Belle remarked softly. “I didn’t see the work Jesus had for me to do and I didn’t want to leave Mama and Papa, but I was trusting that He knew best.” She smiled brightly though a film of tears blurred her vision. “I’m glad I came.”
    “So are we!” Ali hugged her cousin impulsively before changing the subject. “Ez, ya reckon this rain’ll be gone tomorrow?”
    “Then Ma, kain’t me and Belle, I mean, Belle and me, go see Aunt Claire? She ain’t never met Uncle Nate’s family. Ya think we could, Ma?”
    Aunt Lillian was silent for a few minutes, rocking and letting her darning needle fly in and out of a gaping hole in a stocking. At last she spoke. “I suppose if’n Belle wants ta cross all the creeks, I don’t mind. Yer aunt most likely would like a might a help. I might let Riss go ‘long with ya.”
    “Me too, Ma,” Kade begged.
    “Ya’d jest get in the way,” Ali began to protest.
    “Rome an’ me don’t get in the way. An’ I reckon we kin help Aunt Claire’s much as you.”
    “We don’t want ya comin’ this time, Kade. It’s jest gunna be me and–I mean Belle, Riss and me. Ya always get in ta trouble ifn’t ya go ‘long.”
    “Do not!”
    “That’s enough,” Aunt Lillian’s tired voice broke up the argument. “We’ll decide who’s goin’ tomorrow.”

    Lying in her bed that night, Belle tried to keep back the tears. The bickering and arguing of the day had made her wish she was back home. Why didn’t everyone just get along? “It’s because they don’t know Jesus,” she realized. “Does Aunt Lillian?” It wasn’t a question easy to answer. Aunt Lillian had never said so, Belle had never seen her stop and pray about things as her mother had, nor had she reminded Ali and Kade that fighting wasn’t pleasing to the Lord. “Perhaps she has forgotten. Maybe she has been so busy that she doesn’t have time to read her Bible and pray each day. Poor Aunt Lillian. She looks as tired out as Mama used to look when Papa wasn’t feeling well. If she’ll agree, I don’t mind if Kade and Rome come with us. It would leave fewer children to keep an eye on. In fact,” she smiled in the dark, “if it was possible, I’d take everyone.” Then a slight frown puckered her brow. “Perhaps Uncle Nathan wouldn’t like so many extra children. Ali did say that he had almost as many children as they have.” She paused and counted on her fingers. “There are an even dozen here.” She nudged Ali and whispered softly, “Ali, are you awake?”
    There was no reply, and Belle lay still listening to the soft patter of rain on the roof “I suppose I will find out how many children there are tomorrow. If it does stop raining.” With that thought she turned over with a yawn, closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Have you ever eaten in a hole-in-the-wall?
Would you have invited Kade and Rome to go with you?
Do you want more of this story?

Friday, March 9, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 4

Happy Spring days, FFFs!
It looks like spring now. The grass is really turning green, daffodils are blooming, the trees and bushes are budding, and a visiting flock of cedar waxwings have descended on our trees and birdbaths. We usually get them twice a year. Once when spring is coming and they are heading up north, and then again in the early fall when they are heading south. They are so pretty!

Okay, this week. I haven't done a whole lot of writing because we had my nieces and nephews over Tuesday evening and then I actually got to work in the nursery on Wednesday evening. But Monday and Thursday I did write 1k words each day. Last night it was on "Hymns in the Hills." On Monday it was on my other story that doesn't have a title. :P I need some sort of working title for it.

Oh, the big news around here is that my brother is running for County Collector. The County Collector we have now is retiring after 29 years, and so my brother is running for the office. He does have an opponent right now, but so many people in politics and everyday life know my brother, that I have a feeling he'll win the primary. He's already been endorsed by two judges, two State Reps., and possibly the current County Collector. And I'm sure he'll probably be endorsed by others as well. It'll be different this year. My dad and I will only get to work the April election because we can't work when a family member is on the ballot. Oh well.

Guess what else I got this week? A cover for my AZ Christmas story! And I love it! :D It's not what you would think of for a Christmas book. But it fits the story so well. I can't wait to show it to you all! But should I wait until closer to Christmas? (That's 9 months away!)

Anyway, that's my life this week. Enjoy the next part of this story. 

Simply Trusting
Part 4

    The following day wasn’t quite so busy, for the washing had been done and there didn’t seem quite so many chores. Again Belle spent hours under the old tree with her pupils, teaching them the letters of the alphabet. Some of the older ones caught on quicker, but even Sade and Si who, though they said not a word, and Tabby, who was taking a liking to her cousin, could form the letters A, B and C without any help.

    The next day it rained. The skies were gray, and if it wasn’t pouring rain, it was drizzling which was almost worst than the steady rain. There was no dirt patch to practice writing their letters, so Belle brought out her slate. It was such a novelty that Kade and Rome almost came to blows over who got to use it first. Before Zeke could step in and separate them, Belle had rushed over and taken her slate.
    “I can’t let either of you use it if you are going to fight,” she said softly. “I think I’m going to let Sade use it first because she hasn’t made any fuss about it.” Turning her back to the boys, she sat down beside Sade and asked, “Would you like to write your letters on here?”
    Sade shyly took the slate pencil and carefully traced her letters.
    “Very good, Sade!” Belle said, hugging her little cousin. “Would you like to show your mama before Si has his turn?”
    Nodding, Sade slipped from the bench and hurried to the rocking chair where her mother sat darning socks.
    Though she pretended not to notice, Belle saw Kade’s face change from angry to puzzled. He sat down on the floor and, leaning his chin in his hands, watched her. She was thankful he hadn’t put up a fuss, for she knew Zeke was also watching and she didn’t want anyone getting into trouble.
    After the younger ones had all had a turn, even Tabby whose crooked letters took up almost the entire slate, Belle turned to Kade, for Rome had gone to his room grumbling when he didn’t get the slate. “Would you like to practice now, Kade?”
    Nodding, the boy rose and came over. “What if I break it?” he asked.
    “If you are careful, I don’t think you will. You will be careful, won’t you?”
    Kade gave a nod and sat down at the table the slate before him and the pencil gripped tightly in his hand. With painstaking care he wrote every letter of the alphabet that he had learned. They weren’t perfect and some were very crooked, but Belle praised him anyway.
    “Now rub that out and I will write your name and you can copy it.”
    “My important name?” he asked. “The one fer when I’m gettin’ introduced?”
    “Yes,” Belle agreed.
    “Ya goin’ ta write that mister thing on there too?”
    A smile crossed Belle’s face. “Yes, I will write it all out for you.” Taking the slate pencil she carefully began writing, reading aloud as she wrote. “Mr. MacKaidric Russum. There it is, Kade, your full, important name. Do you think you can write all that?”
    After looking over it Kade nodded emphatically. “Sure I kin. Ain’t hard ‘cause I know all them letters already. Jest watch.”
    Belle did watch. Ali, Riss and Tabby crowded up to watch too. “Don’t get too close,” Belle warned them softly. “We don’t want to bump his arm and make him ruin a letter. Could you watch him from the other side of the table?”
    By the time he had finished, Kade was tired. His name was long and he wasn’t used to sitting still for that length of time. But when he sat back, his name was copied. True, it took several times and there were spaces where there shouldn’t be, and none where there should be, but it didn’t matter. He had written it. “I’m goin’ ta show Ma, can’t I, Belle?” At her nod, he scrambled from the bench and rushed across the room. “See Ma?” He shoved the slate into her lap. “I kin write my important name. Mr. MacKaidric Russum. I reckon I kin get me a job now.”
    Smiling, Mrs. Russum patted Kade’s shoulder and said softly, “I reckon ya could bring in some more wood for the stove, Mr. MacKaidric Russum.”
    Beaming, Kade strutted back to Belle and handed her the slate. “I got a job ta do, kain’t spend more time at school, teacher.”
    As he marched out of the house onto the porch, Belle smiled and erased his crooked name. “Where’s Rome? It’s his turn to practice if he wants to.”
    “I’ll fetch him.” And Zeke stood up.
    But when Rome came from the bedroom, he was in a contrary mood. He didn’t want to write his letters and he didn’t care about his name. “I ain’t goin’ ta do it,” he declared, crossing his arms and stamping his foot.

Would you feel a sense of importance writing your name for the first time?
How was your week?
Do you have any family members in public office?

Friday, March 2, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 3

Hello FFFs,
This has been a bit of a different week. Why? Well, one reason is that it's been sunny several days! Last week was all clouds and rain. And it's warmer. The daffodils are blooming, crocuses are up and blooming, there are buds on trees and bushes, and the birds are singing.

Tuesday I only had 2 of my 5 students to teach, so that was a bit different.
My grandparents came down yesterday afternoon, took us out for supper, and then Grandpa and I went to a concert by REBEL. It was quite lovely.

Oh, yesterday, being the first of March, I joined Camp NaNo. Are any of you wanting to join? I have actually been thinking of starting my own "cabin" if some other writer friends wanted to join me. Right now I'm in the Chatter Box cabin with a lot of the same friends who were there last year. But we can't fit everyone in the same 20 person "cabin" so . . . Anyway, if you are interested in being a part of Camp NaNo and want to be cabin mates with me, just let me know.

I'm hoping to get my "March" story out next week, but I don't know exactly when.

And that, is that. I think I need to sit down and do some planning for my writing, and my life for the next few months. What about you? Do you ever stop and plan things? Or are you someone who just does things as you go along?

Simply Trusting
Part 3

    When Mattie woke up the lessons were over and Ali and Belle took the younger ones inside. Three letters had been well learned and Ali, thrilled to be learning to read, was longing to learn the next ones.
    Jess had lunch ready when they reached the house again, and everyone sat down to eat. Kade and Rome were pretty quiet and subdued, making none of their remarks which had gotten them into trouble earlier. Uncle Benjamin ate with them but Ez and Zeke were missing, and Belle wondered if they were still working.
    When the meal was over, the younger ones were put down for naps, and Aunt Lillian shooed the rest of the children outside. “Jest get out a the house,” she said. “I still got work ta do an’ I kain’t seem ta get nothin’ done with ya’ll underfoot.”
    Ali, Rome, Kade, and the younger twins hurried outside, eager to escape more work. But Belle lingered with Riss and Jess. “Can I help with anything, Aunt Lillian?” she questioned softly. “I often helped Mama with some of her work.” The thought of her mama so far away brought a sudden rush of tears to Belle’s eyes, but she blinked them back valiantly.
    “If’n ya wants ta help Jess and Riss with the dishes, I ain’t goin’ ta stop ya.”
    As she wiped the dishes Jess washed, Belle softly sang the hymn she had read that morning.

“Singing if my way is clear;
Praying if the path is drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

And then came the chorus, sung sweetly, for Belle knew the trust she had in Jesus; she had felt Him there with her in times when life was hard and also when everything was sweet and lovely.

“Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him what’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.”

    When the dishes were finished, Aunt Lillian smiled a tired smile at Belle and whispered, “Ya sound jest like yer mama did when we were girls. She were always singin’ ‘bout the house. Now jest run out an have a good time with the rest of the young’uns. You too Riss an’ Jess. I ken git more done if’n no one ain’t botherin’ me none.”
    Following her cousins outside, Belle blinked in the bright glare of the sunshine. Still humming her tune, she wondered what they would do.
    “Kin ya teach us more?” Ali begged, running up to Belle and grabbing her hand. “An’ can ya teach the others their A, B and C, like ya did me an’ Tabby?”
    “It’s Tabby and me, Ali,” Belle corrected gently.
    “Huh? What is?”
    “The proper way to speak. You should say the other names before you mention yourself.”
    “Oh, like taken’ turns at somethin’ and lettin’ the others go ‘fore you?”
    Belle nodded. She hadn’t thought of it like that before, but it did make sense. “Do the others want to learn?”
    “I reckon. Don’t ya want ta learn ta read like Belle?” Ali turned to her older sisters eagerly.
    “I reckon.”
    To Belle the afternoon flew by on wings, for her little class of pupils kept her too busy to even think about her sick father, or to wonder if her mother was working too hard taking care of him. Though she was young, Belle had a remarkable talent for teaching and great patience. The patch of dirt had been smoothed over many times as each tried to copy the neat letters Belle made for them.
    When Uncle Benjamin, Zeke, and Ez returned from the fields, they paused and watched the busy intent group for several minutes. Only Mattie and Benny, though nearby, weren’t active in whatever was going on.
    The children’s attention was turned when Zeke asked, “What’s goin’ on ta keep ya so interested?”
    “Oh, Belle is teachin’ us ta read!” Ali exclaimed. “We already know lots a them letter things. Ya want her ta teach ya too?”
    “Ez and me knows how ta read.”
    “How come ya never taught us then?” Ali demanded, folding her arms.
    “Ya ain’t never asked. Sides, I ain’t good at teachin’. Ya’ll goin’ ta stay here till it gets dark or are ya plannin’ on eatin’ supper?”
    “Supper?” Belle gasped, noticing for the first time how far the sun was down in the west. “I didn’t know it was so late. School is closed for the day. We can work on it another time.”
    All through supper Ali, Kade and Rome kept up almost constant talk about learning to read. “She’s goin’ ta learn us our names” Rome announced proudly.
    “Not our regular names,” added Kade, “our important names.”
    “And she’s going ta teach us ta read her books. Won’t that be fine, Ma?”
    Aunt Lillian nodded. “Reckon so.”

Would you want to teach others how to read?
Would you rather be outside or inside for school?
Are you planning on joining Camp NaNo?