Friday, June 28, 2019

A 4th of July to Rememer – Part 1

Good morning, FFFs,
It's hot. It's humid. It's summer. And I stay inside in the AC as much as possible. Sure, call me a wimp. I grow languid and my brain won't create stories when I'm too hot and humid.

But let's change the subject, shall we?

Camp NaNo starts next week. Am I ready? Sure. I guess. I mean I'm just going to keep doing the same things I've been doing the last two weeks, so yeah, let's keep it up. I'm really enjoying this "different story a day" thing. Here's my "schedule" (subject to change when any story gets finished) (All titles are working titles and may be changed at a moments notice.):
Monday– "A Police Force for Christmas"
Tuesday– "Lawrence & Lenexa"
Wednesday– "Full House Christmas"
Thursday– "Secret Project"
Friday– Uh, I actually haven't written on a Friday yet, but it might be another Christmas story.
Saturday– Well, I don't have a set story for this day either. I could work on one of two things. I guess we'll see what happens.

If any of you who read this would like to do Camp NaNo but don't have a cabin, you are welcome to join us Next Door. We still have 8 beds left. ;)

Okay, here's the first part of my 4th of July story. I haven't decided what I think about it yet. Let me know your thoughts.

A 4th of July to Remember
Part 1

    Mr. Al Wu held the small American flag in his left hand along with the piece of paper as he stood up. He glanced over at his wife as she stood near him, with their ten-year-old son, Eric, between. This was it. The time had come.
    “Everyone, please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I hereby declare on oath–”
    “I hereby declare on oath–”
    The judge continued reading the oath that would forever change the lives of those in the room. “. . . That I will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic . . . And that I will bear truth faith . . . So help me God.”
    The room echoed the solemn pledge. “So help me God.”
    Looking up, the judge smiled. “Congratulations! You all are now United States Citizens!”
    The room erupted into applause and cheers. Mr. Wu felt tears forming in his eyes as he clapped with the others. This was really happening. This day he had dreamed of for so many years. It had finally come!
    “Al Wu.”
    Once again standing, Mr. Wu received a firm handshake and his certificate as a citizen of the United States from one of the clerks in the court room.
    “Mei Wu.”
    Mrs. Wu stood, one hand still holding the American flag as it rested against her pregnant stomach. With a smile that made her face seem to glow, she shook hands and took her certificate before resuming her seat as the small gathering clapped.
    The next one called was Eric Wu. The boy stood straight and tall, solemnly shook hands, and took his certificate.
    “Thank you, Father,” Mr. Wu breathed. “We are all Americans now.”
    The rest of the ceremony was short, and soon everyone was dismissed. The newly sworn in citizens greeted each other like friends and family even though most of them had never met before and came from different countries. But the countries of their birth no longer mattered; now they were Americans.
    “When is your little one due, Mrs. Wu?” asked one of the clerks who had taken a few moments to chat.
    “In two weeks. I am thankful this happened before she arrived.”
    The clerk smiled and tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. “I’m sure you are. Do you have a name picked out yet?”
    Mei shook her head. “We have not decided. So many names.” She shook her head again, and her black hair swung loose in a graceful way around her face. “When she arrives we will find her name.”
    “I’m sure you will. Well,” the clerk held out her hand, “congratulations once again on becoming American citizens. And congratulations on your new little one.”
    “Thank you very much,” Mei Wu said softly.
    Al gently took his wife’s arm and, with Eric following, walked out of the courthouse and into the bright summer afternoon.
    “Dad,” Eric said as they drove home, “the baby will be born an American, won’t she?”
    “Yes, son. She will, thank God.”


    The morning light shone through a break in the hazy clouds and seemed to make the American flag waving proudly in the breeze to glow. Everything was quiet out in the country. No traffic, sirens, or neighboring dogs broke the hush of that July morning. Mr. Wu, returning from his morning run down the country road, turned into the freshly mowed yard and paused to look.
    The house wasn’t new, and the white paint was peeling from the porch pillars, but it was home. Flowers grew around the porch while the chair and porch swing sported pillows of red, white, and blue. Looking beyond the porch, the rolling fields of grass changed to a misty hill covered in trees which gave it an almost purple look.

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

    Softly, as he started walking slowly, Al Wu sang the words through with a fervent heart. “Brotherhood,” he mused, walking slowly to the house; “people from every country in the world have come together, and each has given something to this country. Some have not given good, and for that it is a shame. But others have given good. God helping us, we will give good to this country who has taken us in. And may we always be the kind of people who give our best to this country as Americans.”
    He stopped short and stood silent. “That’s it!”
    Suddenly he hurried across the yard and into the house. “Mei,” he called, hearing someone in the kitchen.
    “I am here.”
    Rushing into the kitchen, Al beamed at his wife. “I have a name for the baby!”
    Mei rubbed the round bulge under her red and white dress. “You do? She is not born yet. How do you know?”
    With a movement, Al snatched a pen and a paper napkin and wrote a name.
    “Ann?” Mei sat down at the table. “I do not understand this. How–” She broke off as her husband wrote a few other things on the napkin. Suddenly her eyes filled with happy tears. “Yes, yes. That will be her name. How did you think of it?”
    “I was outside, and it just came to me. But her middle name, Mei, that I do not know.”
    “Let us wait on that. But should we spell it like my grandmother A-N?
    Al shook his head. “No, she will be an American, and it will be spelled A-N-N.”
    “Ann,” Mei repeated dreamily rubbing her baby bump once more. “It is the only name that would fit.” She smiled up at her husband. “Now go. Get a shower and come help me. I hear Eric upstairs. Now there will be no more peace for this Independence Day.” She smiled as she spoke. “Just think, Al, our first celebration as Americans is to celebrate the birthday of the country who has given us a home and freedom.”
    Leaning down, Al let his kiss answer for him before he left the kitchen.

Is it hot and humid at your house?
Are you doing Camp NaNo?
What did you think of the first part of this story?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Runaway? - Part 3

Hello, FFFs,
It's official. Summer has arrived. Not only has it arrived on the calendar, but the weather has finally decided that it should become hot. Today is supposed to reach into the 90s with a heat index of 102ยบ. Yep. Summer. Usually by now we've already had heat like this almost constantly, so we aren't complaining.

This has been a good writing week so far. I've written every evening and each time I've written at least 1k words. Well, actually, except for last night it's been 1,500+ words. And I've been writing on different stories each day. And they've been coming along nicely. I think part of my problem before was that I had so many stories that they were all trying to come at once and were jamming the flow from brain to fingers. But once I decided to work on a different story each day they all got in line and have taken turns. :)
Monday's Story: Christmas #1
Tuesday's Story: a little bit of "Lawrence & Lenexa" and a short children's story
Wednesday's Story: Christmas #2
Thursday's Story: "Lawrence & Lenexa" (I had a headache and didn't feel like starting any of my other stories since all except one were new.)
Friday's Story: Uh, no story tonight. We're babysitting my nieces and nephews. ;)
Saturday's Story: I don't know! You decide. Which of these should work on next?
  • New Novella
  • New Story
  • Christmas #3
  • Short Story that's started
I know, I didn't give you a description of any of them. :P This is a blind voting deal. But don't worry, some of these other stories will end soon and then I can fit in the other stories.

Here is the final part of this story. I hope you enjoy it.

Part 3

    “Yeah, but I want a dog, and Dad said I can’t have one ‘cause I’m not re–respect–” He frowned and shook his head.
    “Responsible?” ventured Officer Rockwell.
    Jerry nodded, forgetting that he hadn’t wanted to tell the policeman he had run away. “Yeah. But I’d take care of a dog if I had one,” he assured his new friends.
    “Rock!” Someone from the kitchen area stuck his head out and shouted. “Got a call.”
    Standing up, the officer said, “Be right back. Now don’t you go letting Gil take my plate yet, Jerry.” Then he strode off and disappeared.
    Gil leaned closer and spoke confidentially. “It’s got to be either his chief calling to make sure he’s not slacking off, or his wife wanting him to bring home some milk. Happens quite often. Need some more lemonade?”
    With a nod, for his mouth was full, Jerry watched Gil take his glass and fill it up. He’d never gotten a refill before.


    “I got the kid,” Rockwell assured his chief. “He’s safe and enjoying a good lunch.” He paused and listened a moment. “No, tell them he’s all right and will be home later.” Another pause. “Gil and I are working on him, just give us some more time. . . . Yep. I’ll take him there.” Pulling out a small pad of paper from his pocket, Rockwell scribbled something in it before tucking it back in and buttoning his shirt pocket. “Yes, sir.” He hung up the phone and grinned at one of the cooks. “Just save me a slice of that apple pie.”
    “Will do, Rock,” the man replied.
    With that, Rockwell left the kitchen and sauntered back to his seat at the counter. “Now, where were we?” he asked before shoveling in a large bite of spaghetti.
    Gil answered. “We were talking about Jerry wanting that dog but his folks not thinking he’s responsible enough.”
    Rockwell nodded and scratched his ear. “Well, Jerry, the way I see it, you’ve got a couple options here.” He paused and glanced at Jerry, who was shoving the last bite of his sandwich into is mouth. He wondered if the boy would run now that his stomach was full. He hoped not. He didn’t want to take him home by force. “One is to keep on walking toward Washington, but it’s a mighty long way, and someone else might see you and decide to pick you up and take you home.”
    “And even if you reached Washington,” Gil put in, “I hear it’s a big city. Not like our town. There’s bound to be a lot of crime and such.”
    “Gil’s right about that.” And Rockwell wiped his hands on a paper napkin and pushed back his empty plate. “The other option would be to go back home and show your dad you can be responsible, and maybe earn a dog that way.”
    “How?” Jerry’s swinging feet tapped lightly against the counter.
    “Well, for one, you could make sure you make your bed each day and keep your room clean. Maybe take out the trash.”
    “Take out the trash?”
    “Sure,” Rockwell said. “I take out the trash.”
    Jerry didn’t say anything.
    Gil leaned on the counter again. It seemed to be his favorite attitude for conversation. “And if your mom’s got any chores for you to do, get ‘em done right away, before she can ask, if possible. There’s nothing that spells responsibility like doing things before you’re asked to do them.”
    Jerry was silent so long that Rockwell wondered if they’d said too much.


    Thoughtfully, Jerry considered the suggestions. “Do you think I’d get a dog if I did that?” Running away wasn’t as fun as he thought it would be.
    “I don’t know,” the officer replied. “But it’s worth a try, don’t you think?”
    “I suppose so.” Jerry gave a long sigh. “It’s going to be hard though.”
    “Taking care of a dog is hard. And so is walking all the way to Washington D.C.”
    Jerry looked up at Officer Rockwell. “I guess it would be.” He started to slide off his stool, but a hand placed on his arm stopped him.
    “If you’ll have a piece of pie with me, I’ll drive you home in style,” Officer Rockwell offered with a smile. “Gil’s pies might be as good as your mom’s.”
    At that Jerry scooted back onto his seat. “Okay. Mom doesn’t make very good pies. Grandma does though. Can I have cherry?”


    Rockwell stopped at the door of the diner with one hand on Jerry’s shoulder, and glanced back. “Thanks, Gil,” he called.
    Gil gave a friendly wave. “No trouble. Come see me again, Jerry, and bring your parents with you.”
    Jerry waved. “Okay.”
    The sun was hot and the air heavy with the approaching storm as Rockwell and his young friend walked the few blocks to his patrol car. For once it looked like the weatherman was correct. Rockwell opened the door. “Hop in, Jerry.”
    The boy scrambled into the car and rested his bundle and bedroll on his lap. “I’m kind of glad you found me,” he said as the car started rolling along the street. “I don’t like big storms.”
    “I’m glad I found you too, Jerry.” Rockwell replied quietly. He was thankful God had caused his path to connect with Jerry’s and that Jerry had decided to go home and learn to be responsible.

Which story should I write tomorrow?
What advice would you have given Jerry?
Has summer arrived at your place yet?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Runaway? - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
I was kind of forgetting it was Friday and I needed to post this 2nd part of the story for you all. It just doesn't seem like it CAN be Friday again. Didn't we just have Friday? Well, anyway.

I wrote some on Monday and finished the 4th of July story. Yes, I'll post it on here later. :)

On Tuesday evening my best friend, who had just returned from a 3 week visit to her twin sister in Canada, and I enjoyed a lovely stroll and talking. No writing that evening.

Wednesday evening I helped out in the children's class at church, so I didn't write.

But yesterday I wrote. I actually got 1k words written on a new story. At this point I have no idea if this is going to be a short story, a novella, or a full length novel. I guess we'll see how it goes. And I may set it aside and work on some other things. I would like to get my Christmas stories written earlier this year, but I don't know how early that will be. And I have some sort of ideas for another story that I'd like to start, if I can decide how. :)

Okay, enough about me. Oh, wait! I have a new FREE short story for you all today! Today through Sunday you can get A Good Summer for free. So don't forget to pick up your copy.

Part 2

    “Gil, Jerry here is headed to the White House.” Officer Rockwell hoped his friend would pick up on what he wasn’t saying. All his wondering was put to rest when Gil spoke.
    “You don’t say! The White House in Washington?” Gil looked impressed. “I’ve never been that far east before. I went west during the war. Say now, young fella, are you planning on walking the whole way?”
    Jerry gave a half shrug.
    “It’s a mighty long way, but if you’re heading that far, you’re going to need a good meal. What’ll you have?” And Gil straightened up.
    “I only have ten cents,” Jerry admitted, looking first at Gil and then at Rockwell.
    “That’ll get you just about anything,” Gil told him. “And what about you, Rock? Want your usual?”
    Rock gave a nod. “Sure do. No one makes spaghetti like you do.” He turned to the boy beside him. “How about you, Jerry? Want spaghetti?”
    Jerry shook his head. “I want a sandwich.”
    “Ham?” Gil asked.
    Jerry nodded.
    “I’ll take those orders back to the kitchen and will be right back.” And Gil moved down the counter, leaving the boy alone with Officer Rockwell.
    This was what Rockwell wanted, and he leaned over. “Say, Jerry, how old are you?”
    “Almost seven.”
    “That’s mighty grown up, but it’s a long way to Washington D.C. Where are you going to sleep?”
    Jerry patted the sleeping roll he had across his lap. “I’ll sleep out under the stars in this. It won’t be too cold since it’s summer.”
    “That’s true,” Rockwell said musingly. “But what if it rains? I heard the man on the radio say we might get some thunderstorms tonight.” Rockwell shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to be sleeping out in a storm. Would you, Gil?”
    Leaning once more on the counter, Gil looked from one face to the other. “Sleep outside in a storm? Well, I’ve done it before, and I don’t recommend it. You get all wet, and your bed and clothes get wet, not to mention how loud that thunder can be. Besides, if you’re going to see the president, you don’t want to show up all dirty.” Gil shook his head slowly. “No, sir. I wouldn’t recommend walking the whole way. Now a bus might be a good way to get there.”
    Rockwell nodded. “Yep, that’s how I’d go.” Then he stopped as if a thought had just occurred to him. “Jerry, I don’t see how you can take a bus though if you’ve only got ten cents.”
    Jerry said not a word, and Rockwell wondered what he was thinking but didn’t feel that he should ask yet.
    “What made you decide to go to Washington today, sonny?” questioned Gil, his tones curious. “Or have you been traveling some time?”


    Jerry’s hands fiddled with the rope around his sleeping roll. What should he tell them? It was wrong to lie, but he didn’t want to go back home.
    “I started this morning. I didn’t hear anything about storms,” he admitted at last.
    Jerry wondered what Gil’s tone meant. It had sounded somewhat like his dad’s voice when he knew more than Jerry hoped he did.
    A little bell rang, and Gil disappeared for a moment, only to return with their lunch. Officer Rockwell took off his cap and set it on the counter. “I always pray before I eat, Jerry,” he said.
    Quietly Jerry folded his hands and bowed his head.
    “Heavenly Father, thank You for this food that You have given. Thank You for Jerry’s company. I do ask that You would help Jerry know what he should do about his trip. Keep us safe today, I ask. In Your Son’s Name. Amen.”
    No one spoke for some minutes as Jerry and Officer Rockwell enjoyed their lunches. Gil busied himself on the other side of the counter doing something, though Jerry didn’t know what.
    “You know,” Gil said thoughtfully after several minutes, coming over and resting one elbow on the counter, “you never did tell me why you were heading to Washington? Oh, I heard you were going to see the president, but what about? You have important matters to discuss with him?”
    Right then Jerry was thankful for his mom’s constant admonitions not to talk with food in his mouth, for he had just taken a large bite, and this gave him a chance, a polite one, to think. He stole a glance at Officer Rockwell, but he didn’t even seem to be listening, for he was concentrating on his spaghetti. Maybe it would be okay to tell.
    “I was hoping I could live with him.”
    “What for? Don’t you have a good home?” Gil asked.

Have you ever dreamed of living in the White House?
What would you have done if you had met Jerry?
Did you get your free story?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Runaway? - Part 1

Hello FFFs,
Guess what? It's cloudy and rainy. Ho hum. At least it only drizzled and sprinkled some yesterday so my dad was able to work. (Roofing can be quite difficult when it's raining or too hot.) I don't know if the rain will continue today or if it'll blow away. It hasn't been really hot, but we turned the AC on yesterday because my mom and I were both feeling really tired. It's probably from the high mold count from all the rain, or the high grass pollen. I wish we could ship this rain over to the states that are not getting good rain. We'd be happy to share. :)

Let's see, what has this week been like?
My sister's birthday and my parents' anniversary was Monday, so my grandparents, aunt, brother and his family all came over to celebrate it. We had Chick-fil-a for lunch and then ice cream pies for dessert. I did get a little bit written Monday evening. I'm trying to do better at getting at least a little writing done almost every day.

Tuesday I wrote some.

Wednesday my 7 nieces and nephews were over all morning. After breakfast my sister and I took them all down to a bike path near us. I had my bike so I rode with the older ones who could go faster while my sister stayed with Buster who is almost 2, and Ti-K who is 4. Of course we had to stop and play in the creek tunnels under the road a little bit. :) That night I helped in the children's class at church so I didn't write.

Thursday. Oh, that was yesterday. I was trying to get things done on my website and I did. I got "Hymns in the Hills" added to the Bookshelf, and added "A Good Summer" to it as well. But I forgot to add "Thank You." I guess that's getting added to my "to-do" list. I wrote last night. It's kind of slow, but at least it's something.

It's so strange not having a novel in the works. I'm just thankful I have ideas for a few short stories. But speaking of short stories, here's the first part of a new short story. I had no inspiration, no ideas that would come, and so I pulled out my file box of calendar pictures. (Yes, I have a file box of them.) I ended up with a Norman Rockwell picture and write a short story about it. It is broken up into 3 parts though. I hope you enjoy!

The Runaway - Norman Rockwell - 1958

Part 1

    Jerry trudged down the sidewalk one warm summer day. He had rolled up the bottom of his jeans as much as he could manage, but he was still hot. His feet were tired, and he was thirsty. Over his shoulder, tied up in a red bandana which was firmly knotted to a stick, were all his worldly possessions. Well, all he’d taken with him when he had run away from home that morning. Yes, Jerry was running away. He was never going back, he decided as he marched along. He was going to go live with President Eisenhower in the White House. Then he could have a dog if he wanted one. Jerry was sure there weren’t any kids living there with the president. “I might even be able to have two dogs!”
    The sun climbed higher in the sky, and Jerry’s feet were dragging. He was hungry. The breakfast of puffed rice cereal, toast, one fried egg, and juice he had eaten earlier had disappeared.
    “I should’a made me a sandwich before I ran away,” he muttered, kicking a rock into the street.
    A movement across the street caught his attention, and his eyes widened at the sight of a tall, broad shouldered policeman in a blue uniform.


    Officer Rockwell was walking his usual beat. His stomach told him it was time for lunch, and he fully agreed with it. Gil’s place was just across the street. Some days he had to eat elsewhere because his duties kept him away from this street at lunch time, but when he could, Officer Rockwell ate at the little diner.
    Glancing across the street, his brows drew together slightly. A young boy, he couldn’t be more than seven, in jeans and a light yellow shirt was trudging down the sidewalk alone.
    “He’s running away, I’ll bet,” Officer Rockwell thought, taking in the small bundle tied to the stick. “Maybe I can talk some sense into him. I wonder where he’s headed.”
    After waiting for a car to pass, he crossed the street and stopped in front of the boy.
    “Hey there, young fella, what’s your name?”
    “Jerry.” The name was very quiet.
    “Hello, Jerry. I’m Officer Rockwell, but my friends just call me Rock. Where are you headed to this sunny day?”
    The boy hesitated and looked down at his scuffed brown shoes. “To the White House,” he admitted at last.
    Officer Rockwell couldn’t hold back a low whistle. “That’s a good ways from here. Say, are you hungry?”
    Jerry nodded.
    “Have time to eat some lunch with me before you get back on your way? There’s a really good diner up here at the corner.”
    “I only have ten cents,” the boy whispered, his eyes still on the ground.
    “With that you can get a good meal at Gil’s,” Officer Rockwell assured, knowing that his friend would never charge the boy full price, and quite willing to add some to his own bill for the sake of the runaway. “Come on, what do you say we go inside where it’s cooler and get a bite to eat?”


    Jerry was torn. He did want to eat lunch, and his feet were already tired of walking, even though the day was far from over, but the policeman might decide to take him home after they ate. True, he hadn’t said anything about him running away or even asked if he had, and Jerry wondered if perhaps he hadn’t thought of it. Maybe he just thought he was traveling.
    “What do you say, Jerry? Doesn’t a sandwich with a thick slice of ham sound good? Or maybe spaghetti? Liver and onions? And what about a piece of pie and some cold lemonade to drink?” The police officer patted his firm stomach. “Gil’s got some tasty food.”
    Just then Jerry’s stomach gave a loud, complaining growl. “Yeah.”
    “Good. I like company when I eat.”
    Together the small boy and the large policeman walked the rest of the way to the corner and into Gil’s diner.


    Officer Rockwell led the way across the shiny gray floors to the gleaming chrome bar stools with green tops. He gave a inclination of his head toward his small companion when Gil looked up.
    “Here, have a seat, Jerry. Gil, I’d like you to meet my young friend.” Rockwell seated himself and rested his boots on the footrest. In another minute the boy was seated beside him, having set his bundle on the floor beside his stool.
    Gil came over and leaned on the counter. His clean white shirt was unbuttoned at the collar, and his sleeves were rolled partway up. Thin dark hair was brushed back on his head, and a smile turned up one side of his mouth. “Hi there.”

Did you ever say you were running away as a child?
What have you been up to this week?
Do you want to read the next part of this story?