Archive | September 2015

Widow’s Supper

Widow’s Supper

I silently opened my back door and stepped in. The rich, delicious smell of roast beef filled the air. Stopping a moment to enjoy the scent of home and family, I glanced around. There were fourteen shoes of varying sizes scattered about on the long entryway rug.

Stepping over and around the shoes, I slowly opened the dining room door, thinking that perhaps I’d surprise my grandchildren. I found two-year-old Gemma standing near the table, looking at a small plastic figurine in her hand. Seeing me didn’t seem to surprise her. I guessed she expected me to be there and so there I was. She came for a hug. Continue reading


Mystery, She Wrote

Blood! There were drops of blood all over the deck at my back door. My heart jumped and a lump formed in my throat. A scenario of how they came to be there instantly formed in my mind based on noises I’d heard during the night.  Someone had needed help, but if they rang the door bell, I had never awakened! Guilt seared my conscience.

At bedtime the night before, I had leaned over to peer out my second floor bedroom window. My house sits next to a bridge that spans a small river. The tree leaves along the river shimmered in the moonlight. As I looked, the country-side darkness was sliced open by the headlights of a car speeding past. Its tires went, “thip-thip” over a bump in the asphalt near the bridge. In the silence following it’s passing, a frog croaked. Continue reading

Dude Ranch

By the time I wandered from my bed, everyone else had been up working for hours. I heard the wringer washer humming in the basement and remembered that it was washday Monday. Finding a slice of Mom’s home baked bread in a bag on the kitchen counter, I slathered butter and jelly on it and went to sit on one of the basement steps.

When I sat down, Mom looked up from feeding soggy clothing to the washing machine’s rollers. She said, “So, you finally decided to get up?” I grinned at her and continued to nibble on the bread. Eyeing my summertime uniform, shorts and a sun top, Mom said, “Good. You dressed for the day.”

I popped the last bite of bread into my mouth and frowned.  Last summer my big sisters made a fuss about how I wore my nightgown well into the day and refused to comb my own hair. Pictures that they took showed a fluffy tangled rat’s nest of hair on the back of my head. Now that I was eight and a half I dressed when I got out of bed and even combed my hair. Continue reading

Finding a Bargain

I saw the garage sale sign out of the corner of my eye. After a quick check on traffic, I stomped on the brakes; a bit too hard. The car stopped so suddenly that my eight and twelve year old daughters in the backseat rocked forward and protested in unison, “Mom!”

My theory at the time was to stop at every garage sale that I saw. Not every sale would have what I needed, but through the years I had noticed that on average one yard sale out of ten yielded huge bargains. That made me not want to miss even one sale. The one that I missed might have been the one where the best buys were to be found.

The next time I was in town Niki and Tammie started to giggle every time they saw a garage sale sign and made the sound of brake-locked tires skidding across pavement. “ErrrK! Errrk! I glanced around. Because I was paying attention to traffic, I hadn’t seen the garage sale sign two houses back. Pulling over to the curb, I turned and glared at my daughters. I figured that was the only way for me to make sure they would continue functioning as garage sale-spotting sirens. Continue reading

Not By Choice

Not By Choice

Even though the weather was hot and humid, the minute I arrived home from work, I decided that I needed to prepare my fair entries for delivery to the Central Wisconsin State Fair. I looked forward to relaxing when that job was finished.

Allowing myself a few minutes of respite from my scheduled labor, I sat down at the desk and checked my email account. I found a message from the company that owns The Buyer’s Guide, a weekly advertisement newspaper that I’ve had a column in for the last 25 years and three months.

My eyes widened as I read, “As you may know, we are undergoing some changes in how we allocate editorial resources for the Hub City Times. As part of this, we have moved away from a paid columnist structure. Effective immediately, we will no longer be able to pay for the Lifelines column.”

I thought, “What?” I knew that the paper had moved away from publishing just advertisements and my column to having local news stories and other columnists. Since I never go to the office, I hadn’t known that my column was at risk.

Picking up the telephone, I called my daughter, Tammie.

“What’s up, Mom?” She asked.

I said, “The Buyer’s Guide just fired me via e-mail.” Continue reading