Many thanks to the wonderful lady, talented artist and writer, and patient friend Rochelle, for herding us cats on Friday Fictioneers. We write micro-stories (fact or fiction) to a new photo each week, provided by some very creative and imaginative compatriots. Here is my story for this week.
The outdoor social party was to welcome new arrivals to the senior center near Seattle. Bill, a newcomer, volunteered to serve special lemon-flavored ice cream.
“This is the best party. Everyone is happy to meet you, Bill,” said Marilyn, the Social Director.
Bill said, “Have some ice cream, Dear, everyone loves it.”
Back at their condo, Yolonda said, “Gawd! I can’t believe you spiked their ice cream. I hope no one finds out.”
Bill removed the bottle of lemon-flavored drops from his pocket. “A little THC never hurt anyone. We’ll need a big bus for next week’s pot shop run.”
Look both ways and share the love.
Mind the gaps and quash old fears.
We flew to Brussels to visit friends in the municipality of Heist-op-den-Berg, a Belgian, Flemish community of 42,000. Brussels is an international big city to the south. This little area is pure Netherlander (Dutch) in language and a reserved, coldish, culture.
Rudy had said he liked American helpfulness and friendliness (speaking, holding doors, smiling, etc.) when he visited here.
I went for a run through town.
Seeing the surprised looks I got, instead of a wave and “good morning,” I got louder with “Howdy, y’all,” all smiles like I wanted to hug. The natives were plumb shocked. I loved it.
Look both ways trying to understand life, history, language, and culture.
Travel, learn, love, and mind the gaps.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do,
but “to thine own self be true.”
Lorry, was so apropos,
most correct old maid aunt
in navy blue turban with pin,
self-assured in sensible shoes,
purse over left forearm,
her small portmanteau
I loved Lorry, now I know.
But then one day,
I had to let Lorry go.
what the hell did I know,
long, long ago?
Look both ways, to the past for memories,
to the future for better days.
Mind the gaps in memory but hold on to what you can.
An odd pair were we. Everyone’s friend, as
SpineRipper called me
(to rib my neutrality),
knowing I was his.
Navy fighter pilots,
JW, warrior to the core.
Taught me to call the ball
when in the groove.
We cried at kiss off.
Look both ways except on short final to your carrier.
Fly the ball, not the deck, and mind the gaps.
Aviators die here.
Gloss: Captain John (SpineRipper) Waples (USN) was my boss and friend (sort of). He was also one of the greats of Naval Aviation with 1,300+ aircraft carrier landings, 400 at night (a rumored record). He flew many combat missions. He was the original shock and awe combat leader.
I met him after we had both hung up our flight suits, although John still owned and flew his own biplane (he called a kite). Wapes was an enigma to me. Blunt and easily angered (thus the call sign/nick name), yet amenable, and a man who seemed to care about people. We had little in common except for what seemed to be an honest mutual admiration that neither of us ever understood. I didn’t know until the end. I will never understand why. Call the ball, in the groove, and kiss-off are USN fighter pilot jargon.
The boy hid quietly in the back,
never raised his hand, got low grades
for lack of class participation. A shy,
quiet, introverted mama’s boy—
a child, it was his nature.
Adults criticized that he cried too easily.
He cared too much.
Felt too deeply. For a boy.
They would not let him be.
His siblings knew
and encouraged another side.
He learned to deny
his own deep-felt emotions.
Authority ran his life,
maybe his spirit.
He listened, learned, observed,
and grew; first, into a troubled teen, then
he became a young man.
Gradually, he moved
closer to the front, like a warrior
toward danger. Down range.
Today, an old man walks in and sits
front and center. Sharp tongued,
the quick-witted septuagenarian,
with a grin of secret wisdom,
is ready to advise any damn fool
playing games of authority.
Look both ways in the spirit of the young
and the eyes of the old.
Be careful what you wish for,
watch your step, and mind the gaps.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
They were big, ugly, dangerous,
and ubiquitous to us. Black piles
of sandy slag, hundred foot high
hills of grief daring us
to climb to the top, for no reason,
sometimes at our own peril.
This stuff was soft like black, dry
quicksand. My foot would sink
and the slag would rise above my ankle,
sometimes to my knees,
allowing the scree into my shoes.
Each step was a challenge.
Maybe that’s why we climbed,
for the challenge, the thrill, the view,
perhaps the danger.
We’d been warned not to go.
Sometimes culm banks caught fire.
Children fell into their sink holes
and suffocated. Anthracite coal
was the black diamonds of the barons,
deadly job resources for citizens.
All overlooked, denied, or shrugged-off,
both human exploitation and environmental
degradation. They were witnesses
to the need and to the greed.
I didn’t know it then,
most of the world’s anthracite
coal supply was crushed by eons
of pressure beneath my feet. It was also
why we were there: the sons, daughters,
and grands of the men who built the banks.
Look both ways with two perspectives, theirs and ours.
Mind the gaps as you watch for the traps.
That first romantic kiss.
Nights in the wilderness
sitting by a warm campfire.
A mother’s smile, a daughter’s laugh,
the soft whispering voice of a lover.
Our child’s birth, your son’s success.
The smell of a grandmother’s hug.
That first buzz, never found again.
The gift of a young pet. The sadness
and loneliness of a beloved’s death.
Muffled lonely sounds
on cold snowy nights. My first bike.
A thing well done. Disappointment
overcome and rewarded. A road
less travelled. A baby’s accidental
soft touch. Moments in a lifetime.
Look both ways,
to the future for the young,
to the past for the old.
Mind the gaps but live in today with hope and happiness.