In her two decades on earth, Mattie had lived in so many places. The way she was raised, she never knew if she was coming or going.
Some people sought fame or fortune, but Mattie only sought a place to call "home". On her life's journey of many moves, it was a very pleasant surprise when love actually found her.
Now, as Mattie crossed the entrance into yet another house, she knew it was love that made it a home.
"A house is a home when it shelters
the body and comforts the soul."
* This is a story that was originally written for Five Sentence Fiction. As I organized my stories in my new computer, I realized how well this story fits this prompt. Soon I will have new writing to share. Peace. ~McGuffy Ann Morris
The holidays were coming. Streets and parking lots were filling with cars as people rushed about, laden with bags and packages.
From opening until closing time each day, Marty stood ringing his old bell in front of the big department store. He wore the same old thin coat, mismatched gloves with holes in the fingertips, and huge unmistakable smile. It was hard to gauge how old he was; he somehow seemed timeless.
Marty had done this for so many holiday seasons that people remembered him. He remembered them, too. Marty liked people. People would come by and wave or call to him. He never failed to greet each person, calling them “Friend” and wishing them a happy holiday. Even when some people ignored him, pretending they didn’t see him, Marty would smile. He knew they were busy; they had things on their mind.
Sometimes people would ask him how he could do it day after day, no matter the weather. He always responded the same. He liked being useful, collecting donations for needy people. He could take the cold for the few weeks of the season because he knew he was helping others. He knew some people had less than he did. He had clothes and food to eat at the shelter. He had enough. He also had time that he could share. It was his gift to others, he said.
As the weeks went by, Marty continued to ring his bell as he paced back and forth on the icy pavement. However, he looked more tired and cold each day. His age was catching up with him; it was becoming obvious. His regular donators, his “friends” as he called them, noticed and showed concern.
One evening, just before Christmas, a van pulled up to where Marty stood. Grinning and waving, he realized it was a group of his “friends”. The people got out of the van, carrying things as they approached him. One person put a hat on him, as another helped him into a warm coat. Someone wrapped a scarf around his neck, as someone else handed him warm gloves.
As Marty stood stunned, they brought a folding chair out of the van. Setting it up near Marty’s donation bucket, they told him to sit, as they eased him into the chair. Finally, someone handed him a cup of hot coffee. As tears rolled down Marty’s face, they told him for all that he gave to others, it was their turn to give to him.
*In the spirit of the season, I will be sharing some of my stories and poems from holidays past. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Peace.
As I try to get back to a blogging routine, I am joining Les at Ink Interrupted for her weekly Coffee Chat. This week we are asked to choose between "this or that". They were not really difficult, and some were amusing. I hope that you will join us for some fun.
Heels or sneakers...As lovely and fun as heels can be, it is sneakers for me. Health issues have decided that for me. It is okay; I have adapted.
Coke or Pepsi...Ummm. No, thank you. I really don't care for soda pop. I prefer iced tea or just water.
Instagram or Flickr...Ummm...no...I can't even keep up with Facebook. It is just too much. It is overwhelming. I have been hacked so many times it is ridiculous. I keep getting requests from people who do not even know me. I like things to be safe and secure. Social media is just too much.
Tomboy or Girlie Girl...I have always been a tomboy, really. However, I can be either (or both), given the right circumstances.
Nap or Read...I like to read and then sleep. Can't I do both? They go together well.
Karaoke or Bowling...Bowling. Bill and I used to be on a league. We even were champions. No one wants to hear me sing. My cats don't even like when I whistle!
Pizza or Sushi...Yes, please. I like both, but I would probably choose sushi and sashimi, now. It would depend on the time and situation.
Rain or shine...I love cool, overcast, even rainy days & nights. Oh please don't sing that song, not even at karaoke.
Single or taken...Taken. Bill and I have been married for almost 35 years. I cannot even imagine life without him.
Bill & Annie, 1981
Dress or jeans...jeans. It is that tomboy thing, I guess. I even got married in them.
Winter or summer...Of these two seasons, I guess I would say, Winter. I am not a fan of heat or sweating. I can always put more on, but can only take so much off.(Don't go there.)
Exercise or couch...I think both are important for health and well-being. Balance is always the key.
Library or cafe...I like both scenarios. In my area, there is a place called Cafe Book that I like. Our library is a bit stuffy.
Jocks or nerds...I respect a true athlete, but I relate better to nerds. I really love a creative energy, though. Musicians are especially fascinating to me.
Piano or guitar...Guitar, especially if Bill is playing it. He is amazing; kind of like a super hero. When we first met, he was playing a guitar. We immediately connected as friends. Over time, it just got better.
Bill, my Superman
And the big one, Marvel or DC...I guess I read more DC comics as a kid, though none were super heroes. I also liked King Comics and Archie Publications. Sorry, Les, I never got into super heroes as you know them. Give me Peanuts or Muppets and I am very happy. I have a very active inner child.
Okay, these are my choices. How about you? What are yours? Come on and spill the beans!
Stella has become a trucker. She is Dad's over-the-road assistant. But, she is a girlie-girl, so it is interesting how she has trained Dad. He even serves her in bed.
Stella knows Dad has many things he has to do. At "The Yard", the trucking company headquarters, she likes to sit outside with him while they wait for laundry to be finished. Of course, this was after everyone gave her attention and treats. She is quite popular.
However, all is not fun and games; there is a lot of hard work. They drive over 600 miles a day/night. It can be stressful, with weather, traffic, shippers and receivers rules, and other things that must be taken care of. It is constantly changing.
Being a lady, Stella insists on decent places to relieve herself. She prefers lush grass, as that is what she has at home. She has learned that the terrain varies from truck stop to rest stop and shipper to receiver. Dad knows to look for "grassy knolls" for his little partner. Of course, when necessary, she does what she needs to do. She is smart and knows it may be awhile before the next stop.
One of Stella's jobs is to make sure that things are in order. Her biggest concern is keeping track of the truck, both tractor and trailer. She knows which one is Dad's, and where it is at all times. After her walk, she heads right for it. However, she is not happy when there is no trailer.
Each shipper and receiver has their own system. Sometimes at a shipper, a loaded trailer is ready. It is a "drop and hook". Other times, the trailer may not be ready for hours. Dad must leave the trailer and to go to a truck stop to take his break. Stella is not happy when the trailer is missing. She frets and tries to tell Dad that something is very wrong. She knows what Dad's truck is supposed to look like.
Trucking is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Dad and Stella make a good team. After a long day, they will share their time winding down together. Dad has his meal and Stella has her kibble. Then they will take a nice walk. If the grass is just right, Stella will get the Zoomies, eventually flopping down on her back. Of course, Dad will take a moment to scratch her belly. Then she will lead them back to the right truck, in case Dad forgets. Dad will give her fresh water, and get things set up for tomorrow. Everything is right in the world. So, finally they call it a day...together.
it's me. I have been caught up in the web of
life. A lot has happened. I am not sure how to catch up, so
I will just try to update things and move on.
want to thank all of you for your patience. I am especially touched
by those who have checked in on me by email. You know who you are.
Hugs and thank you.
resolved the computer issues. After much research, thought, and more
of both, we got a new desktop PC. The old one was outdated, fragile,
and as slow as molasses in January. Before the motherboard went
totally out and crashed, we knew it was time to replace the tired old thing.
insisted we replace my laptop, too. My netbook was stuck in “update”
mode, insisting that I upgrade to Windows 10. After consulting with
experts, there was nothing I could do with it. It was not made to do
the things W10 was insisting on. After denial, I briefly went into
freak-out mode which was followed closely by frustration. I was ready
to hang it up, all of it.
purchasing both, I was consumed with two+ complete data transfers. Along with PC to PC, I
wanted information from the netbook on the new laptop and desktop, too. I
then arranged for experts to come and set them both up. Of course,
they were not prepared and had to come back a second time to complete
the set up job. Everything takes time...and patience...which I was
about out of by that time. Finally, we are up and...not running, but
at least moving forward.
So, here we
are. Thank you, Bill, for everything: the new computers, but even
more, your support and encouragement. You make everything better and
I appreciate you. As Bill always says, “the impossible just takes a
there are other things going on here, too. Stella has been on an
excellent adventure. It started when I had to go away. My longtime
rescue friend, Cee, could come over to care for the cats. However, a
dog needs a lot more time and more visits than cats do. So, Stella
went trucking with Dad. They are both enjoying this arrangement.
There will be posts about their adventures coming soon. While Bill
has a new trucking partner, I may need to get another dog to help me
herd the cats.
five months old now. He has had his “procedure”. We did not want
this done when he was a little baby. However, we wanted him to be
young enough to preserve his sweet, crazy, fearless personality. I
can assure you that he is still all boy. The Girls look at him often
like, “Seriously, Dude?” As I said, George is fearless. He loves
high places, and never jumps “down”. Rather, he jumps straight out, going for distance much like a super hero would. He just needs a cape.
Chloe Jo is stable in her health issues. Maggie has good days and bad
days, but we know that is how it is with heart issues. Grizelda is her usual
easy self. George is a wonderful little brother for all of them. They
love him dearly and take turns playing with him.
As for me,
my adventure was a visit to Mayo Clinic. I had been having unresolved issues with my knee implants, so I first sought my local
orthopaedists thoughts on it, including the one who put them in. They could not agree as to what is wrong, giving me three different opinions. In the past, Mayo has
helped me with several health issues, so we sought their opinion on my knees. It seems that the implants that I have are not the right
ones for me. I compare it to wearing someone else's shoes. However,
it is not quite that simple. The size and type of these implants keep my
tendons and ligaments hyper-extended. This causes mobility and
functioning issues, as well as pain. I am supposed to go back to Mayo for more tests and a rheumatology consult. In the meantime, they gave
me injections from hell in the tendons and ligaments. These are not like the usual knee injections, as I have artificial knees. I am also using knee braces and prescription topical gel. I didn't have my hips and knees replaced to
end up like this, but it is what it is. I am trying to make it work. The alternative is inevitable, though I would like to prolong this mess reality.
This weekend we had our first official snowfall of this season. It was well over a foot of snow. Thankfully, Bill had helped me clean up the yard while he was home. I did some final clean up just hours before the snow started falling. Well, we now have over a foot of snow. As I put away the mower and shears, I got out the shovel and snow blower. This is Autumn in the Great Lakes.
Slowly but surely, I plan to
get back to visiting and commenting, as I cannot go back in time
to catch up. I would only get further behind, as you are all
such creative and active bloggers. So, forgive me. But, at least I am
Of the big lake they called 'Gitche Gumee'
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore, twenty-six thousand
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well-seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made the tattle-tale sound
And the wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too
T'was the witch of November come stealin'
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to
When the gales of November came slashin'
When afternoon came, it was freezin' rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind.
When supper time came, the old cook came on deck sayin'
Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya
At 7 P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it's been good to know ya'
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams
The islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go, as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call 'Gitche Gumee'
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early!
Written By: Gordon Lightfoot
~I have spent most of my life in the Great Lakes region. I remember this tragedy well. I have
been to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum ,
just beyond where the Fitzgerald went down. Located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the museum continues to remember
the most famous Great Lakes shipwreck with an annual ceremony. The bell is rung
29 times, once for each member of the Edmund Fitzgerald crew, and a 30th time
for all who have lost their lives on the Great Lakes. It is with great
respect that I remember and honour the
crew of The Edmund Fitzgerald, lost to the gales of November