Archive | October 2016

Halloween Slumber Party

I studied the woodland as our car passed by. Last week the colorful fall leaves had been shone in the tree branches. Today they were on the ground. Still bright, they looked like drifts of sunshine. Sighing, I shifted restlessly around in our family car’s back seat. The sky beyond the bald tree-top-twigs was a beautiful, pure blue. Although I had run through leaves on the playground with my fourth grade classmates during recess, I felt like I hadn’t had enough time to enjoy the day.

Arriving at home, I dropped my books on the kitchen table and grabbed a warm cookie from the counter. As I turned to run out the back door with my treat, Mom looked up from a pan of cookies she’d just taken from the oven and said, “Change out of your school clothes before leaving the house.”

A mouthful of sweet, ginger snap cookie crumbs kept me from being able to do more than merely protest, “Awfuph!” Disobeying wasn’t an option. Doing as I was told, I ran up the stairs to the bedroom I shared with my big sister. Sloughing off my school clothes like cast-off fall leaves, I left them where they fell on the floor. Hopping and tripping, I pulled on my play clothes as I headed back down the steps. Continue reading


Taking Flight

A trio of white sea gulls with black-tipped wings wheeled in gliding circles beside the blue trussed bridge we were crossing. I commented to my daughter, “Seagulls are always hungry and looking for food. Those three probably belong to a huge colony. I’ve heard them described as ‘flying rats’, but unlike rats, they help clean up the environment. They aren’t picky about what they eat.”

Tammie said, “Despite their bad reputation, they’re pretty birds.” Taking a few short glances around, she added, “Wish I could look around a little, I’ve always liked the view from this bridge.”

“You’re not missing anything. Just keep your eyes on the road!” I nervously suggested, internally noting all the other cars ahead, behind and alongside us. I asked, “Will you tell me again about the place we will be visiting today?”

Dutifully, my daughter complied. “I found a beautiful website advertising an orchard tour in the La Crescent area. The place uses hoop houses. They grow grapes, apples, berries and make wine. It sounded interesting and I thought you’d be interested, since you have a hoop building greenhouse.”

The highway was built on the side of a bluff. Following a curve around the huge land form, we could look down at the farmland in the valley below. I said, “The view feels like we’re flying a small airplane at low altitude.” Continue reading


After setting our breakfast plates next to the sink, I eagerly snatched my notebook from the table and curled up on the loveseat. I said to my daughter Tammie, “All right now, we wanted to do some writing while on this vacation. The time to get down to business has finally come. What shall we write about first?”

Still sitting at the table where only moments earlier we had shared an omelet, Tammie turned to look at me and said, “I have two books filled with writing exercises. What are you interested in, working on conversations, or building suspense?”

Uninspired, a sudden feeling of distaste for doing writing exercises washed over me. Looking at the kitchen counter, I said, “Oh look, I should have washed the breakfast dishes before sitting down to do any writing.”

Jumping to my feet I quickly began the cleaning chores. I thought to myself, “This is typical. I always have a hard time getting myself to actually sit down to write! Once I start, though, I love what I’m doing and don’t want to be interrupted.” Continue reading

More Vacation Fun

One evening while my daughter Tammie and I were returning to our vacation cottage after an outing I noticed that although the sun had not set, there were long, dusky shadows prematurely darkening the coulees. I said, “Night comes early to a shadowed valley.”

Tammie laughed and said, “That sounds like a pantoum topic.”

I knew she was right! The next day I sat down and wrote one about life in a coulee. Continue reading