PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

All around the heads of the pawns the rhetoric swirled. The Kings and Queens and lesser royalty had their own strategy in mind, but the pawns knew nothing of that. They only knew that they were being promised many things by both the Black and the White.

How to know which, if either, were telling the truth?

The knights were sent to battle, the Bishops were sent to pray. The Castles were besieged and knocked off the playing field.

It was left to the pawns to clean up the battlefield, and wonder if anyone had won.


1950’s Halloween

RDP Tuesday: Dead

Old English dēad, of Germanic origin: related to Dutch dood and German tot, also to die1.


Most of my flowers are dead.  I have one Gerber Daisy that is valiantly standing against the cold.  Only my marigolds are still hardy and glowing in the morning sun.

I don’t like dead.  Having ceased to live.

It amazes me that Halloween is now second only to Christmas in money spent on decorations, parties, and so forth. I’d much rather celebrate life.

Back in the ancient days of my childhood, Halloween was a fun time of dressing up in homemade costumes and raiding the neighborhood for treats.  Back then, people would give us homemade cookies and other homemade treats like popcorn balls.  No one worried about it.  It was just fun.

Our costumes ran to ghosts running around in old sheets; pirates, gypsies, clowns, and the occasional mummy. It was fairly cold by the end of October in Minneapolis, so you wanted a warm jacket  incorporated into your costume.

There were no stores that set up just for Halloween. If you bought a costume, you probably didn’t live in our neighborhood.  The most decorative we were in our school classrooms was black and orange crepe paper strips twisted and tacked to the ceiling.

This could have been my crowd  on Halloween in the 1950’s:

Related image

Because we lived in a heavily populated  neighborhood, no one piled their kids into the van and took them to developments where the pickings were better.

We’ve lived in this house for over 24 years, and I think we may have seen  three trick-or-treaters in all that time. There aren’t a lot of little kids in our neighborhood, and the houses are just far enough apart that no one brings their kids here.  They all head closer into downtown, where there are developments in which the houses nearly touch each other; lots of duplexes, and a few apartment buildings that brace for the onslaught of various witches, warlocks, and vampires. all closely guarded by vigilant parents.

Well, time passes and things change.  Not everything in the 1950’s was ideal, but Halloween was much more innocent, a lot more fun, and a lot less expensive then. I miss it.

RDP:  Dead

Fun? Really?

RDP Saturday – Drench

Old English drencan ‘force to drink,’ drenc ‘a drink or draft,’ of Germanic origin; related to German tränken(verb), Trank (noun), also to drink.

drench (v.) c. 1200, “to submerge, sink; drown, kill by drowning,” from Old English drencan “give drink to, ply with drink, make drunk; soak, saturate; submerge, …


Image result for drunk

Not very attractive, is it?  This guy is drenched (drunk).  This is a sense of the word drench  that I didn’t know. I just always thought of it as being soaked with some liquid or the other, but on the outside–not with alcohol on the inside.  Makes sense though.

I looked through some pretty awful pictures  before I decided to use this one.  The thing I don’t understand is that the people looked absolutely miserable, yet they’ll do the same thing all over again the next chance they get.

They tell me it’s fun.

It doesn’t look like fun.

RDP: Drench


Why are they called Sliders?


Old English slīdan (verb); related to sled and sledge1. The noun, first in the sense ‘act of sliding,’ is recorded from the late 16th century.


I’ve always wondered why those little burgers are called sliders, so I’m being lazy today and just leaving you with a link, in case you’re interested.  Here’s one possible explanation:


RDP: Slide

Not Exactly a Teepee

The two tall, sun-darkened men gazed upward toward the light.

“Did you ever see a teepee like that, Brother?”

Klah (Left-handed) smiled. “Is that what it means?  That pictures a teepee?”

“I think so,” replied Naalnish (He Works).

They walked through the building,  a museum dedicated to the American Indian. Interesting, sometimes beautiful displays  caught their interest. Much thought and study had gone into creating the museum. Still. . .

“How can they put our Spirit into a building?  What about the outdoors?  Coyote, elk,  buffalo, snake? Our people?”

“They mean well, Klah. They’ve done their best. It is an honor.”

Flag-Wavin’ American

RDP Tuesday: Flag

mid 16th century: perhaps from obsolete flag ‘drooping,’ of unknown ultimate origin.


“I’m just a flag-wavin’ American,” say the words of an old song.  I really was born on the 4th of July, so the flag and all the rest that goes with independence day are very important to me.  I’m proud of my flag, love to see it waving against a clear blue sky.  It makes me thankful to have been born in America, just a couple of years after WWII was ended. Image result for American Flag

Sadly, I’m afraid we’ve lost some of the old-fashioned patriotism in the years since then. There has been so much political ugliness over the years.  There was a time, and I remember it, when a Presidential election having been won or lost, you just got on with the business of living, working, and enjoying the freedoms this country offers. Since those rather idyllic days, it seems no election is really over.  The name-calling, accusations and counter-accusations continue, and are exacerbated by a media always willing to throw fuel on any fire.

I know that many of you who read this today also love your own countries, and are proud of your flags.  That is as it should be. Contrary to the thinking of those who want a one-world government, patriotism is a good and positive thing.  My patriotism is not generated by a need to dominate any other country, but to love and enjoy the privileges of America.

I find it appalling that anyone is offended by the American flag IN AMERICA!  Why did you come here if you despise my flag and everything it represents?  I don’t understand, never will. After all, you are living sheltered under the American flag; you came here to enjoy the same freedoms I do; what can your objection be, unless you hope to turn America into the same thing you left?

Any country’s flag is its banner of identification. All participating nations’ flags are honored, for instance, at the Olympics. As they should be. Loyalty to that flag, love of country, love of one’s homeland, is a wonderful thing.

I love my flag.

RDP: Flag


High Hopes


early 16th century: from French lustre, from Italian lustro, from the verb lustrare, from Latin lustrare ‘illuminate.’


I have a specific use of this word in mind, best illustrated by the first definition I found:

a gentle sheen or soft glow, especially that of a partly reflective surface.
“the luster of the Milky Way”


How I wanted to try Lustre-Creme Shampoo!  That was back before I understood that commercials were not to be trusted.  You have to be borne with nice, thick, glossy hair. If you don’t already have it, no shampoo is going to create it for you.  But I didn’t realize that back then, and I just knew Lustre-Creme  would give me bouncy, shiny, thick movie-star hair.

Then one day we happened to stay overnight with friends, and on their bath tub shelves was a jar of —–you got it——Lustre-Creme!  Our hostess had said we were welcome to use whatever we needed!  So I soaped up, and it really did give me a nice, rich lather that took a bit of rinsing–my hair was maybe shoulder-length.

I set my hair as usual, and went to bed with visions of Hollywood hair in my head.

Imagine my shock when my same old hair showed up.  Clean, yes.  Fairly shiny, yes.  But still not bouncy, holding the style perfectly, still not thick.


And so I became a cynic where TV commercials were involved, and have remained so ever since.  There’s an ad I see now and then in which the model swirls her hair in this glossy fan, not one hair falling out of place.  Phooey.  No product can create that.  You have to be born with that hair.

Still, maybe I should give it a try. . . . .

RDP:  Lustre

Little Fabulists

RDP Saturday – Fabulist

late 16th century: from French fabuliste, from Latin fabula (see fable).


One definition of today’s word: a liar, especially a person who invents elaborate, dishonest stories.

Image result for fabulist

Many names come to mind.  We all know the story of Pinocchio, whose nose grew whenever he failed to tell the truth.   Good thing that doesn’t happen in real life, isn’t it?  Seems every politician out there today is accusing every opponent of being a liar.  Some are.  Outright, habitual, and successful liars.  Some truly believe the things they stand for are truth, when others believe just the opposite to be true.  I don’t see that as lying, but as a difference of opinion.  It becomes a lie, however, when you have seen the facts and decide to ignore them.

Did you ever consider that no one has ever needed to be taught to lie? We’re born with that ability, just as we’re born knowing how to breathe.

Don’t want to accept that?  Do you want to believe that those sweet, wonderful little babies are complete innocents until they are corrupted by the world around them?  Well, consider this.  Your child, say three months old or so, has been fed, burped, bathed, freshly diapered, and tucked into his warm, comfortable bed.  The minute you step out of the room, he sets up a clamor that would wake the dead.  You rush back in, thinking something is killing him, and the minute you put your hand on his little back he stops screaming.  You can repeat the process over and over.  Is there anything wrong with him?  Nope.  Not a single thing–except that he wants what he wants, and what he wants is for you to stay there where you belong and not leave him for one tiny minute.

See, he’s already learned how to play you.  He’s a little fabulist, cute and lovable as can be 🙂

I still have a very clear mental picture of one of my grandsons, who shall remain nameless, when he was about two.  His mommy had been teaching him not to touch certain items that were well within his reach.  We were babysitting, and this adorable little guy looked me right in the eye, smiling, and slowly reached back behind him and put his finger–just the very tip of his pointer–on one of the forbidden objects.

I didn’t let him see my smile.  He knew exactly what he was doing, and he was checking me out to see if I knew, too.  I sternly said, “No!  No touch!”  and he instantly dropped his hand and got busy with something else. No one had to teach him to be deceptive. What we have to do with our children is to teach them to be truthful, NOT deceptive.

Image result for child caught with his hand in the cookie jar

Cute, right?  Just a little guy, but he KNOWS he wasn’t supposed to get a cookie.  Too bad the evidence is all over his face 🙂

The reality is that all of us are fabulists to some degree, at some times. The child in that picture will probably say, when his parent asks him if he took a cookie,  “No, Mommy.  I was just making sure the lid was on tight.”

RDP: Fabulist

Fly and Drag

RDP Friday: WEEK

Old English wice, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch week and German Woche, from a base probably meaning ‘sequence, series.’

Image result for week etymology

Well, however they got named, or wherever those names came from,  I’ve been learning something about weeks lately.

They drag and they fly at the same time.

When you’re in a great deal of pain, and you are fortunate enough to have medication to dull the pain, sometimes days seem like months. I don’t do helpless with very much grace.  I’m very thankful to have a husband who has always, always been willing and able to care for me when I’m down and out. Not everyone is so blessed. BUT!  I don’t like it that he HAS to take over my work. He has plenty of his own projects, and his own pain can be debilitating. He never complains about looking after me when my back puts me down and out, but I truly hate being such a burden to him.  So sometimes the days and weeks drag.

However, now that I’m through that particular patch of misery and am back to work, I look back on those 8 weeks or more and wonder where the time went.  Of course, pain medication  can put you in something of a fog. Terry tells me he thinks I’ve missed a lot more than I realize, and he’s probably right.  But I sat or lay down through part of August, all of September, and half of October, and  that time is just gone, never to be retrieved.

Those weeks have flown.

I’m pleased to say that the pain treatment is working well.  I’m no longer drugged up, and I’m looking forward to going to the homeschool co-op in which I teach every other week.  We have an almost painfully beautiful blue October sky, which of course makes all the gorgeous fall colors more intense.  I’m looking forward to the drive, which is through some hilly farm country and stretches of woods.

For now, because of the injection I get for this pain, my life has been handed back to me.  But I also know how fast this pre-holiday season goes, so I think I’d better fasten my seatbelt and get ready to fly 🙂

RDP: Week



early 19th century (originally US, denoting a violent blow): of unknown origin.


How about that,  Unknown origin, but apparently first used in the USA.  Huh.

Well, I spent a lot of my growing up years in southern Minnesota, so I know about blizzards.  Hoo boy.  Cold, cold.  Lots of wind.  We lived in an old farmhouse across the road from a corn field.  The wind would come charging from the northwest,  whistling across that empty winter field, and find a way to dig its icy fingers into every tiny  opportunity.

Image result for southern Minnesota blizzards, 1965

The sound of the wind against the windows, and then the never-ending clatter of the snow thrown by the wind, would always make me hope for a snow day when I woke up.

Almost never happened.  It was a little farm town, and farmers are a tough breed.  The only real concession was the year it stormed every weekend in March (1965).  It would start snowing around noon, and we could expect an early dismissal.  The farm kids had to be safe home before there was any chance of a bus getting into trouble.

By the time the blizzard was done, and the wind had done its work, we could walk from housetop  to housetop on the piled up snow.

While it was still snowing, there were plenty of times we literally couldn’t see more than a foot or so ahead.  It could be really dangerous, and there were some awful stories of people being stranded in their cars with no one knowing where they were, no able to rescue them.

I don’t miss all that.  Here in my corner of PA, we do have some heavy snow at times.  Some people call them blizzards, but the area here is too hilly to allow for that horrendous wind to drive the snow like a weapon.  It does get thick, but I’ve never seen a whiteout here like I remember back in my teen years.

Of course, memory can fail 🙂

RDP: Blizzard