Discover Prompts, Day 8: Curve

It’s always interesting to see where a prompt is going to take me. Because I got a couple of clothing catalogues in the mail yesterday, the prompt today is taking me to curvy women and styles made just for them.

Dress For Short Curvy Women | Weddings Dresses

Well, I don’t wear my dresses/skirts THAT short! But that one would probably come at least to my knees.

“Curvy” women were tres fashionable when Raphael was painting them. Today, it’s just a nice word for overweight. Of course, overweight today means anything over a Size 0!

Anyway, when I say short, I’m talking 5′ plus nothing. SHORT. And most of my short is in my stumpy legs, which makes it hard to find skirts that I don’t have to lop off at the bottom and re-hem. If I want long pants, I buy capris. Perfect.

(I’m a little worried about what will happen if/when that model in the picture above has to sit down!)

Back to the catalogues.

“Petite sizes also available!” they claim. What does “petite” mean? It means 5’3″ which seems to be as short as the producers of these catalogues can even begin to imagine. I mean, a woman of only 5′ must still be growing, right? So if I buy a petite size, I can count on whacking off at least 2-3″ unless I want it to be floor length. There are XXL sizes, so why not XXP(etite)? Seriously.

There was a beautiful lace dress in one catalogue, feminine and utterly lovely. But the skirt of the dress was one of those long, swooshy things with points that dipped lower than the rest of the hem. The model was probably six feet tall. On her, it looked like a “I HAVE TO HAVE THAT DRESS!” kind of dress.

On me? Not so much. If it were a detached skirt, I could lop it at the waist and make a new waistband. But when the hem is uneven, there’s just not much you can do. Sigh.

So if/when I do order a dress from one of those catalogues, it will be a petite size with a total length of about 32 inches. The picture will show it as knee length. On me, it will be ankle length. I don’t mind that. Long skirts are comfortable, and you don’t have to worry about what happens when you sit down 🙂

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Hope

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

No one was at the marina except for those who lived on their boats. They were few. It was quiet. No radios blaring, no children shrieking and splashing.

Old Pete stood at his living room window, his arm pulling Etta, his wife of 50 years, into his embrace.

“When will it be over?” Etta said.

“Don’t know. It’ll be over when it’s over,” Pete replied.

“I miss everyone.”

“Yup. But there’s hope.”

“Hope? Where? You’ve always been a cockeyed optimist!”

“Not optimism. God’s promise. Don’t you see the rainbow?”

Etta sighed, leaning in. “Yes. Thanks, Pete.”

Discover Prompts, Day 7: Below

You never know what lies below.

Give your kid a metal detector for his birthday, and hold your breath. Pray that all he finds are innocent things like coins, belt buckles, or maybe an old-fashioned roller skate key.

Bounty Hunter Tracker IV Metal Detector | DICK'S Sporting Goods

My boy Eddie was ten that year. He and his buddy, Logan, loved to run free in the woods. We’d always let them. They were strong, smart boys who knew more about those woods than his mom and I ever knew.

Until the day they came home white-faced and shaken, that is. Logan had clearly been crying. Maybe Eddie, too, but he’d never show it.

“What’s up, guys? Something wrong?” I said.

“Uh, um, yeah–yeah, Dad. You, uh, you need to come look. We found–”

Suddenly his white face turned green and he ran for the bathroom. We could hear him losing his breakfast. Painful thing to listen to. When he came back, he wasn’t trying to hide his tears any more.

Logan. “C-Could I call my dad? I want him to see what we found.”

“Sure, Logan. Tell you what, I’ll call him, and he can meet us by the big birch at the head of the trail, okay?”

My wife said, “Take your cell, Honey. You may need to call for help.”

So off we went. Logan’s dad, Harry, was waiting for us. He looked confused, a little tense. “So–what’s up? You guys discover buried treasure or something?” But the boys didn’t laugh, just shook their heads.

We followed them for about a mile, I figured, when they stopped short. They were looking at a hole in the ground about the size of a grown man or woman. The hole was empty. It was maybe four or five feet deep. We looked at the boys, whose eye were the size of saucers.

“Dad! There was a body down there! A woman! She w-w-was covered, but we could see a little bit. I-I- sh-she was, like, just s-sl-sleeping? I mean, she wasn’t, you know, all—-

“She hadn’t decayed? You could see that she hadn’t been there long?”

“Yeah! Right! Like the hole wasn’t, ah, filled in all the way, you know?” Logan was clearly distressed. He looked away from his dad, looked at me, looked at Eddie. “Sh-she kind of l-looked like my mom!” He blurted, tears, rolling down his cheeks like a river.

And that right there was when I noticed the gun in Harry’s hand, and the crazed look in his eyes.

My boy Eddie, though, he was a sharp kid. He still had his metal detector, and he’d managed to slip around behind Harry without Harry noticing. Harry was focused on ME! Eddie conked him a good one on the back of his head.

I grabbed the gun. Sure was glad I had my cell. Harry started to wake up about the time the cops got there.

If you’re thinking of getting your kid a metal detector, make sure it’s a good sturdy one.

Discover Prompts, Day 6: Hands

(Stream of consciousness):

Hired hand

Handy man

Hand me that screwdriver

(You’ll understand the picture if you look up the word chiropteran on the list of chiro- words below)

Give me a hand

Hand-me-down

Helping hand

Hand it over

Hands up!

Jazz hands

Hand towel

hand-in-glove

hand-made

raised by hand (Pip in Great Expectations)

hand-crafted

hands off!

Hand it over

I could go on all day, I think. I’m going to end, however with this: I always wondered where the word chiropractor came from until I looked it up one day. Chiro is from Latin. It means hand. Makes sense 🙂

And just in case you’re bored and need something to do, here’s a whole list of words that start with chiro-. See if you can figure out what they all mean. (Ignore the little numbers.)

chiro10

chirographer24

chirographic27

chirographical30

chirographies25

chirography25

chiromancer23

chiromancers24

chiromancies24

chiromancy24

chironomid20

chironomids21

chiropodies20

chiropodist20

chiropodists21

chiropody20

chiropractic26

chiropractics27

chiropractor23

chiropractors24

chiropteran20

chiropterans21

chiros11

Discover Prompts, Day 5: Dish

We didn’t eat out often at all when I was a kid. If we did, it was a rare and exciting treat at the Dairy Queen or the A&W. Best root beer ever, in those frosty mugs! Once the tray of food was affixed to Dad’s window, he would pass our burgers, fries, and root beer back to us. I could have survived on the aroma alone 🙂

But if you’d asked me about my favorite dish, it was–and still is–something homemade.

Mom was a great cook, taking so much pleasure in setting a table filled with aromatic, beautiful, and tasty food. My favorite? Her pot roast. Closely followed by spaghetti and meatballs, and an old-fashioned casserole called Shipwreck. Hamburger, potatoes, rice, carrots, onion, kidney beans, and tomato soup. Also, Meatball Oven Dish. Mom made hers in the Presto pressure cooker rather than the oven. Deeeelicious. She made great potato salad, fried chicken to die for, and of course no end of luscious–fattening–desserts 🙂

She also, using the word in another sense, loved her dishes. She grew up in the Depression, dirt poor. No fancy dishes, nothing that matched, and quite a bit that was chipped or cracked. She didn’t have a full set of china until their 25th anniversary, and how she loved those dishes!

Later, she began collecting pink scalloped depression glass. She had quite a lot by the time she went to heaven. I’m not sure what happened to it.

Pink Depression Glass Bowl Scalloped Edge Etched Floral | Etsy

She had plates, saucers, cups, some serving pieces–I don’t remember it all. She gathered most of her collection after I was married and they moved to South Carolina.

It got it’s name from the Great Depression. Manufactured here in America, it was inexpensive and sometimes free. Quaker Oats, for instance, would put a piece of the glassware in every box of oats as an incentive to buy their product. Since the 1960’s, it has increased in value because it has become highly collectible. Complete sets, including serving dishes, candle holders, dessert fans with a place for a cup and a piece of cake or pie, would bring a better price than just a few miscellaneous pieces.

I think she loved her depression glass just as much for the memories it evoked as for it’s appearance. It was pretty, but it was also nostalgic. If you lived during the Depression and WWII, you understand that, right?

These days, brides expect to have a full set of china before they even say “I do.” My mom and dad gave me mine, and I still love it. I didn’t expect it, though. It was a gift, especially for Mom, that she would love to have received. She took great joy in giving it to us.

Dishes. Lots of stories. Someday, I would love to make a Broken China quilt. There’s history and heartbreak there.

BLOCK Friday: Broken Dishes Quilt Block - Fons & Porter | Quilting ...

Discover Prompts: Day 4, Street

As almost always happens, the first thought that came to mind was a song. This time: The Street Where You Live. But that’s not what I want to write about.

The very first street that I truly remember is 515 West 15th street in Minneapolis. We lived in an apartment building for families of attendees at Northwestern Bible College, where my dad was studying for the ministry. A whole other story for a different time.

I was 5, ready to start kindergarten, when we moved from Fairmont, MN to this place in Minneapolis. I remember Mom and Dad painting walls before moving the furniture from the center of the rooms where it huddled under blankets or tarps. I remember Dad teasing my mom when he used a brush to paint the word Pud on the wall before using a paint roller to cover it up. That’s what he called her in their courting days. I don’t remember him ever saying it to her. Maybe he still used it when they were alone.

When I was eight, starting 3rd grade, we moved to 1212 Oliver Avenue North. It was a Jewish neighborhood, and Dad warned us we would have to work hard to keep up with the other kids in our classes. He said those kids were really smart, and they worked hard, so we would have to up our game. It was a wonderful neighborhood, lots of kids to play with, and lots of moms to watch over us all as we enjoyed our games. I especially loved the fall season. It wasn’t illegal to burn leaves, and the street was lined with big old trees that happily shed their leaves for us to rake up into huge piles, then jumping into them until they were all scattered again. Eventually the dads would say it was time to clean them up because it was going to snow soon. At that point, we looked forward to exchanging piles of leaves for piles of snowballs 🙂

When I was ten, we moved to Oregon. For a year, 5th grade for me, we lived in a rented house in Milwaukee, a suburb of Portland. I have no memory of the address there. We lived in three places in Portland. Again, addresses escape me, but my favorite was a huge old house that had porches, french doors I-can’t-remember-where, and a large living room/dining room that was L-shaped. The dining room led to the large kitchen. There were front-and-back stairs that led to the upstairs bedrooms. I loved it there.

In my 9th grade year, toward the end, we moved back to southern Minnesota, to a small farm town. St. James. We lived on the same street on which the new high school had recently been built, and it was maybe half a mile to walk to school. Again, I can’t remember the name of the road, but I got to stay in one place for all three years of high school.

I can picture every place I’ve lived. There were lots of moves in the early years of our marriage, and strangely enough, I can’t remember addresses. Isn’t it odd that I can remember those first two, when I was very young, but not the rest?

Streets. Sometimes they define a person’s whole childhood. Or, like mine, there was a new street address to remember every other year or two, and huge changes to which we had to adapt.

Who knows? This may be the last street I’ll live on until I get to the Streets of Gold!

Heart Song

Oh, Joy! WP is offering us a daily one-word prompt all through April to help us avoid boredom (I’m never bored) or to relight the fire of our muses.

The word for today is Song. **********************

Carrie didn’t remember, of course, but her mother often told her she’d been singing since the day she was born. “You always calmed and quieted if you heard music,” Mama said. “You would look into my eyes and coo right in the same key as the music! We thought it was just a coincidence but by the time you were six months old we knew better. You were recognizing songs and you could follow the melodies of songs you heard often. We knew you were special!”

Mama had a sweet soprano voice herself, and it wasn’t long before she and toddler Carrie were harmonizing simple songs as they went about their daily routines. The house was always filled with song, a delight for nearby neighbors and friends.

It wasn’t long before Carrie was singing every evening for her neighborhood, and through them the word spread. Soon their yard was far too small, and they moved to the park in the central square. Carrie stood on the bandstand, her voice soaring across the park and beyond.

As she grew, so did her voice. Strong, rich, with an incredible range and a lovely vibrato, she knew every song she was asked to sing. Flowers and other small gifts arrived at her door every day.

One day, when Carrie was 17, a loud knock rattled the door of the small cottage. Mama opened the door, and was rudely pushed aside by a handsome man in a dark uniform.

“Where’s the girl? The singer? I want to see her!” demanded the man.

Mama drew herself upright and glared at the man. “Who are you? What do you want with my daughter? You have no right to barge into my home!”

“I have every right! You are Jews! I am an officer of the SS! Now, bring your daughter out here, or you both will suffer!”

Mama died of typhus in the camp. Carrie, broken-hearted, lost her desire to sing. There was nothing to sing about in that dark, miserable place. Her song was stilled. She kept her head down and endured, along with hundreds of other starving, helpless women.

One day, there was no roll call. There were no officers, no guards with clubs and rifles. The women fearfully peered out the doors of their quarters, wondering at the silence. They spent the day getting showers, washing their filthy prison uniforms, and cooking from the supplies of the German officers.

The next day, the Americans arrived. Usually boisterous and friendly, they were silenced by the rows of gaunt, bruised, bleak-eyed women. The silence seemed to go on without end, until one woman, just as gaunt as the rest, her head shaved, lips cracked, a huge bruise along one cheek, stepped forward. She raised her head, took a deep breath. To everyone’s surprise, she began, softly at first, to sing.

“America, America! God shed His grace on thee! And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”

When she finished, there was silence once more. Briefly. Before the cheering, crying and laughing erupted.

Freedom was going to take some getting used to, but once again the air was filled with glorious song.

New Bird

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Bird cocked his head left, then right.

“You have an unusual song,” he tweeted to the shiny black and silver singer. “Are you new here?”

“Ringringring!”

Bird was puzzled. “I think we need an interpreter!”

“Ringringring!”

Bird called a meeting. Spy? Tourist? Terrorist? Kill him? Pull out his wing and tail feathers, then interrogate him?

Bird pulled rank. “We’re not going to torture him. Let’s just watch.”

New Bird tweeted again. A human picked him up and spoke to him.

Bird watched, his head cocked. He hopped, and flew away.

“Nothing to see here, folks.”