Trick or Trick

Let’s imagine it’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?


I’m almost certain this is a rerun.  What actually does scare me is this:  Yesterday we were prompted to write about imaginary friends, and I chose to write about book characters. 

Later, I noticed that someone had found my first post on the same subject from 2013.  I had no memory at all of having written it, but there it was, in living color.

THAT scares me–losing my memory!

What comforted me somewhat was that the subject matter was about the same as the post I wrote yesterday.  At least my distant memories are still intact.  It’s the short-term ones I’m having trouble with.



Book Character Friends

Imaginary Friend

Many of us had imaginary friends as young children. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today? (Didn’t have one? write about a non-imaginary friend you haven’t seen since childhood.)


I am beyond irritated. Was working on my laptop, and lost half of this post; can’t find it using all my usual tricks, so have to reconstruct.  It’s never as good the second time around, but here goes:

My world was peopled not with imaginary friends, but with people I met in the books I read. My earliest favorite was Heidi, portrayed by Shirley Temple. I watched her grow up in her movies, then followed her life as an adult.  Felt I’d lost a friend when she died.

Next would have been the many books about the Bobbsey Twins.  I especially like Nan.  I loved the way her hair was braided into a coronet around her head.  I loved her clothes, and the adventures they all entered into.  My favorite was the book about what it was like at their house at Christmas.  I could daydream about that for hours.

Moving along into more mature stories, I read every book I could find by Louisa May Alcott.  I loved all four of the Little Women, especially as they moved into their adult lives.  Meg, the budding homemaker; Jo, the writer; Beth, the pianist, and Amy, the world traveler and artist.  Again, I loved their hair and clothes, although I’m thankful not to have to fuss with all that fabric today.

As I started reading more historical novels, learning about great women in history both famous and infamous, I began to identify more with their emotions, thought processes, and experiences.  My special interest in British history  is the Tudor era and the rise of the mighty Queen Elizabeth I.  Complicated, temperamental, wily  and ruthless, she held sway over the entire world. In her time, that was unheard of. Do I identify with her?  No.  She was never an imaginary friend. But she was a towering figure in history.

And I guess that’s enough.


Learning to Drive

Comedy of Errors 

Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did — fiction encouraged here, too!


Dori didn’t know how to drive. Her dad was an old-school guy who didn’t figure females had any apptitude or need to drive.  He did relent on that score as the years rolled by, but not when Dori was in high school.  No driver’s ed for her.  No girl was going to drive HIS car!

She got along pretty well without being able to drive, but it was a pain having to always depend on others.

Then she met The One, and he couldn’t believe a girl of 20 didn’t know how to drive, so he decided to teach her.  The amazing thing is that they got married anyway!

He had an old VW. This was about 1968, you see, and every third car on the road was a VW.  He also had a 1964 GTO, and when he asked her which one she wanted to learn, guess which one she chose?

Of course, the GTO.  She was not a stupid girl.

 It was an automatic, which was good because she really wasn’t terribly mechanically minded. Still, he was patient because it was new love, and they actually had fun laughing at all her first efforts.  Once she was proficient with the GTO, he decided it was time for her to learn the VW.

He lost a little bit of his patience.

This one was a stick shift, so she had to learn to finesse the clutch, when to shift, why to shift, and when to let up on the clutch and all that other stuff.

There was one fiasco after the other.  One time she was tooling along a back road, feeling pretty confident, when he suddenly hollered, “STOP! STOP! Put on the brake! NO! NOOOOO! . . . .

See, when he hollered, all her brains leaked out her ears, and she totally lost her mind. Instead of using the brake, she shoved her foot down on the accelerator. Remember, it was just a little VW.  What she hadn’t seen was the railroad track, old and unused and unmarked, that crossed her path.  When she accelerated, the VW leaped forward and landed squarely across the tracks—and came to a dead stop.

She sat there feeling stupid, and angry.  Not a good combination.  If only he hadn’t scared her to death by yelling, this wouldn’t have happened.  Obviously.

He was furious.  First time she’d ever seen him really mad.  It was pretty impressive, actually, and she watched intently while his red-head complexion went from ruddy to purple  which, by the way, was not a good color for him.

He slammed out of the car, yelling (again!) for her not to touch ANYTHING until he said so.

Yes, Sir, you betcha!

He shoved, he rocked the car, he muttered and steamed and whistled. She sat there kind of enjoying the show, if we’re going to be honest.

Then, headlights came up behind them.  He ran around and stood between the car and the oncoming vehicle, which turned out to be a big pickup truck. The truck stopped.  Two manly men stepped out, sized up the situation, and doubled over laughing.

He did not join in their mirth then.  Not until it was all fixed.

It didn’t take long for them to do whatever manly men do. The VW was safely moved to the other side of the tracks, male backs were slapped all ’round, and he got back into the car.

He turned to look at her.

“Don’t you have anything to say to me?” he asked.


“Really? After what you did?”

“What I did?  What I did?  Are you serious?  This was YOUR fault because you SCARED me and I didn’t know what to do!  And then you LAUGHED at me with those hairy macho dudes and I wanted to DIE!  So I missed the brake and hit the gas!  Didn’t YOU ever do anything dumb when you were learning?  Did big hairy hunks of testosterone come by and LAUGH at you?

“No, I don’t have a thing to say to you except we’re changing places and I’m never, ever driving anything again. Ever.”

Well, the years have passed and we don’t mention The Incident, because he’s still disgusted and I’m still embarrassed.

Nevertheless, we’ve managed to live happily mostly ever after.

And I drive.

Oops.  I forgot I was writing this as fiction.


Fright Night

What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?


Ella’s heart pounded so hard it felt as if it would burst out of her chest. Cold sweat beaded her forehead, the palms of her hands, and the back of her neck. Never, ever had she expected to have to face this situation, but here she was–and no one else was there to take her place.

Her eyes were fixed on two things that were much to close together. One was her three-year-old granddaughter. The other was the hideous, hissing thing coiled in the corner.  Not yet rattling it’s tail or rearing to strike, she knew that could happen in a flash.

She quietly called to her mop-headed granddaughter. “Eva, hush. Take one step backward. Follow my voice.  Do not turn around.  Do not run.  Good girl.  Ok, now one more step backward.  Good.  Quietly, Sweetheart.  One more step.  You’re almost here, Honey.  Slow, quiet.  One more step–okay, I have you!”

Shuddering with relief, Ella pushed Eva behind her, facing the snake in the corner with such fear and loathing that she thought she would faint. She couldn’t, though.  If she did, it would be over for both her and her sweet granddaughter.

She began the slow backing up process, pushing Eva with one hand and reaching for the door with the other.  She knew she was close, but the monster in the corner would come so fast that it wouldn’t matter if they were only one step away from the door.  They’d still be in striking range.

“Gramma, I bumped the door!” squeaked Eva. Shivering, Ella reached for the knob, backed herself and Ella through the door, and slammed the door shut behind her.

She turned, picked Eva up and held her so close the child could hardly get a breath. Leaning back against the door, she worked at gathering up her strength to get out of the house and go for help.

The slithering sound raised the hairs on the back of her neck, and she was suddenly spurred by a rush of adrenaline that had her racing out the front door and down the lane.  “Not bad for an old lady,” she thought.

She was hollering her neighbor’s name as she climbed the steps.  Sue came to the door, looking concerned when she saw Ella carrying Eva.

“Is she hurt?”  Sue asked.

“No, but there’s a rattler in the house. Please.  Call someone.  I can’t go back in there!”

“Well, shoot, Honey.  Just let me grab my pistol and we’ll take care of that nasty thing.”

And she did.

WHEN You Leave

If You Leave

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?


At this stage of my life, there’s really only one more leavetaking that is likely to rock my world.  I’m not thinking of my own leavetaking.  I actually look forward to that, because I believe God, and I know that because of His mercy and grace my eternity is fixed in heaven.

The one I’m dreading and don’t like to think about is when Terry and I say our final goodbye.

And I’m already in tears. Good thing I haven’t put on my mascara yet.

Terry is over four years older than I.  His health has deteriorated since his injury three years ago.  He’s lost so much muscle mass, height, and energy.  Chronic pain is a stinking, lousy, cheating, lifesucking devil.

I’m thankful that his mood remains good most of the time.  He stays as busy as his energy will allow. He has not become a sickly invalid. That in itself would kill him.

But the likelihood is that he will die before I do, and I’m trying to be as prepared for that as I can.  Ask any widow, though, who loved her husband, and she will tell you that you’re never ready; that it’s always too soon, that it’s always a shock.

The only way to avoid this part of life is to remain single and uninvolved. If I had done that, however, I would have missed out on 46 mostly good years; I wouldn’t have my four children and nine grandchildren. My life would have taken a much different direction, one I can’t even imagine.

You do a lot of inventory-taking when you reach these final stages of life. What could you have done differently, better?  What do you consider your successes?  One of my biggest successes was to a marry a godly man who has remained faithful and true all these years.  We’ve had our moments, and still do. Neither of us is perfect. One test of true love is that you stay the course even when the downs are nearly unbearable.

I would not avoid the pain of saying goodbye to my husband, because it is completely eclipsed by all the wonderful memories. We will share heaven together.  There will just be this time of separation until we both go home.

Not My Gift

Snark Bombs, Away!

Try your hand at parody or satire — take an article, film, blog post, or song you find misguided, and use humor to show us how. 


Honestly, I’m just no good at this sort of thing.  My humor doesn’t run to that ability, although I thoroughly enjoy the work of people for whom it just seems to flow.  So I’m going to take this in a little different direction.

When I was a little girl, I remember checking out a book of Mother Goose rhymes from the library.  I was just learning to read, and was fascinated by both the words and the pictures, although I truly puzzled over some of the poems.

For example, this one:

Made no sense to me at all. Why would the four-and-twenty blackbirds survive being baked in a pie?  Why would they sing?  Did the king eat them anyway? Feathers and all?

It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that most nursery rhymes have an hisorical association.  It’s a fascinating study. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say”

Meaning and interpretations[edit]

Many interpretations have been placed on this rhyme. It is known that a 16th-century amusement was to place live birds in a pie, as a form of entremet. An Italian cookbook from 1549 (translated into English in 1598) contained such a recipe:[3] “to make pies so that birds may be alive in them and flie out when it is cut up” and this was referred to in a cook book of 1725 by John Nott.[1][4] The wedding of Marie de’ Medici and Henry IV of France in 1600 contains some interesting parallels. “The first surprise, though, came shortly before the starter—when the guests sat down, unfolded their napkins and saw songbirds fly out. The highlight of the meal were sherbets of milk and honey, which were created by Buontalenti.”[5]

In The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Iona and Peter Opie write that the rhyme has been tied to a variety of historical events or folklorish symbols such as the queen symbolizing the moon, the king the sun, and the blackbirds the number of hours in a day; or, as the authors indicate, the blackbirds have been seen as an allusion to monks during the period of Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, with Catherine of Aragon representing the queen, and Anne Boleyn the maid. The rye and the birds have been seen to represent a tribute sent to Henry VII, and on another level, the term “pocketful of rye” may in fact refer to an older term of measurement. The number 24 has been tied to the Reformation and the printing of the English Bible with 24 letters. From a folklorish tradition, the blackbird taking the maid’s nose has been seen as a demon stealing her soul.[6]

No corroborative evidence has been found to support these theories and given that the earliest version has only one stanza and mentions “naughty boys” and not blackbirds, they can only be applicable if it is assumed that more recently printed versions accurately preserve an older tradition.[1]

And here is an explanation of the term entremet:  It was used between courses, as a sort of rest and/or entertainment. The pie crust would have been baked ahead of time, with the live birds inserted before the crust was sealed. Imagine the surprise when the king or his guests  cut into the pie and all those birds flew out!

So there you have it.  One nursery rhyme explained.

Bits and Pieces, None of them Related to the Other

Something I wrote this afternoon, if you’d like to wander through my mind with me 🙂

Linda's Bible Study

It’s a late Sunday afternoon,a  gorgeous October day that makes my heart squeeze.  The light here in October is just perfect.  The blue of the sky intensifies, and the colors are amazing.  It’s a paean of praise to the Creator, and a reward to us for enduring the dog days of August.  I truly love fall here in my corner of PA. 


I just wiped up the kitchen, after loading up the dishwasher.  I have a new kitchen, which any of you who have been with me for a while know all about–probably in too much detail.  I really love my countertops. Granite, in a pretty pattern called Kashmir White–or maybe White Kashmir, I don’t remember. (This is not my sink–just a stock picture I pulled of Google images, but the cabinets below are pretty much the same color as mine.) They clean up so quickly and easily, and…

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My Wish

Out of Your Reach

Was there a toy or thing you always wanted as a child, during the holidays or on your birthday, but never received? Tell us about it.


A lot was out of our reach.  There was very little money, and we knew that there would never be a pet in the house, but that is the one thing I yearned for. We had a neighbor who had  a beautiful little golden cocker spaniel. I would have given up every other treasure I owned to have a dog like that

I don’t remember the dog’s name. I just remember the liquid golden-brown eyes, the silky ears, and the eagerness to be petted and played with.  He was a beautiful little dog, and I loved him. 

Whenever he was outside and I saw him, he would quiver with delight until I could pick him up and cuddle him.  He had a very sweet nature, and would let me hold him as long as I wanted to.  Of course, I never wanted to put him down.

He was just a puppy when we first met, and I watched him grow to adulthood, but he never lost his puppy charm.  He was always cute, always friendly, always willing to be  held.  As he got bigger, it was harder to fit him onto my lap, but we figured it out.

When we moved away, I was heartbroken.  I’ve always wondered how long he lived, and if he ever found another little girl to love him and treasure him as he deserved.


By the Dots

We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!


Come on.  I was an English teacher for years.  I love punctuation, and I don’t have any favorites.  Every mark is useful.  So can I tell you what I dislike?  It’ll be more fun!

I dislike excessive exclamation points !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    One is enough.  Two is overkill. More than that is just silly.

Improper use of commas drives me nuts.  I used to tell my students, “I think you all just throw a handful of commas at your paper, hoping a couple of them will land in the right places.” Seriously.  There are rules for commas.  I finally developed a system by which the students were required to look up the rule for every circled grammatical error in a paper.  It was amazing  how quickly their punctuation improved.  When you have to look up the same rule fifty-eleven times, you get to know it pretty well.

Quotation marks.  Here’s an example a friend sent me, knowing that we share the same humor.  A newspaper article stated: The senators and their “wives” attended the function.  Really?  Using the quotes would indicate that the women weren’t, in actual fact, their wives. Why on earth did the writer do that?  And why didn’t a proofreader catch it?

Dashes.  Way too many in some writers’ work.  I remember reading a silly book years ago by a famous romance writer who loved pink.  Her silly heroine was always speaking in wispy, dash-filled sentences. “Oh, Fabian—-I mean—-you–you’re just so—-fabulous!”  Blech. Dumb. If she was really that breathless, she must have been asthamatic.  Someone please send her an inhaler.

I never read another one of those formula stories.

Apostrophe’s.  Apostrophes.’  Periods, by the way, always go inside the apostrophe or the quotation mark.  Always.  No exceptions.  Look. “Isn’t it a beautiful day”.  Just doesn’t look right.  “Isn’t it a beautiful day.”  Much better.  And it’s “apostrophes.”  No apostrophe.  You don’t need an apostrophe to make something plural. Ever.  Only to make it possessive, or to create a contraction.

So which is correct:   The cat licked it’s paw.  The cat licked its’ paw. The cat licked its paw.

Right, the third one. The first would be “the cat licked it is paw.” The second just doesn’t make sense, because “its” is already possessive.  You don’t need the apostrophe.

And I can see that your eyes are crossing from “shear” boredom—-so sorry——I dont want to bore you out of “you’re” skulls 🙂

P.S. An interrobang is a combined exclamation/question mark: