Lost and Scared!

RDP Saturday: LOST

Old English losian ‘perish, destroy’, also ‘become unable to find’, from los‘loss’.

The last time I remember being lost was about five or six years ago. I’d had to go to the courthouse in Doylestown in relation to a client who is now in prison, probably for life. The whole thing was horrifying, and then I got lost. On foot. In the winter.

I had been directed to a parking lot that was free, and was described as “close, convenient to the courthouse, easy to access.”

None of that was true. However, I was determined to follow through, so I found the parking lot, locked up my car, and started the uphill trek to the county courthouse. Several blocks later, I was finally there. I’d been keeping careful track of where I’d been, noting landmarks and street names to help me find my way back.

Image result for Doylestown County Courthouse

It was February or March, and it didn’t look this pretty. Bleak. Cold. But I was there.

After my interview was over, I bundled up again and started to walk back downhill to the parking lot. I recognized street names and felt fairly confident, but once I reached the bottom of the hill and looked around, there was no parking lot in sight.

Icy cold terror seeped under my coat. There was no one around. It was NOT a part of town a woman should be in, alone and lost. I did the thing that came most naturally. I prayed. “Lord, I’m in a mess here. Could you please send someone to help me, or point me in the right direction? It’s starting to get dark, and I’m lost and terrified. Thank you, Father.

I stood on a corner, assessing my location and trying to figure out where I went wrong. As I stood there, undecided, an older man walked up to me. He was dressed warmly and well, and I felt no fear.

“Are you looking for something?” His voice was rich, totally unexpected from a man his age.

“Yes. Can you point me to the parking lot that’s reserved for the County Courthouse? My car is there, and I missed my turn somewhere along the walk down from the courthouse.”

“Of course. You’re really not that far off track. Come with me.”

Even though he seemed perfectly harmless, my heart was hammering and I began to try to plan what to do if his intentions were not good.

I had nothing to worry about. Only two block—long, cold blocks—from where he had approached me, there was the parking lot. I turned to thank him, but he was already walking away, and acknowledged my “Thank you SO MUCH!” with a wave of his hand.

“And thank You, Lord, for sending one of Your angels to help me,” I said out loud. Was he an angel? Didn’t matter. I believe with all my heart that God sent him to me.

I’d never been so thankful to be in my car, warm, and on my way home.

RDP: Lost

Cold, Cold, Cold!


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


My mind is bouncing all over the place with this one. Get ready for some purely random writing.

Frigid.  I grew up where winters were truly frigid.  I didn’t mind it.  There was always plenty of snow, and we were out playing in it until our clothes were soaked. Then we’d go inside, take off multiple layers of jeans, socks, mittens, and our wet coats and drape them over the radiators to dry them out.  This was before the advent of the snowsuits kids wear today.  It was also before people were worried about every single thing, like whether or not our tunnels would collapse. If that ever happened, I didn’t know anything about it We just had fun.  Snow forts, snowball fights, snowmen and snow angels. Sliding, when there was any kind of a grade available.  The lucky ones had sleds. We used cardboard or whatever else gave us something to sit on and slide down whatever hill we could find.



How cold was it?  I dunno.  Cold.   Red noses, chapped cheeks, blue fingers and toes cold. Didn’t matter. As soon as everything was warm and dry, we’d put it all back on and get right back out there.  We stayed warm because we kept moving.

Frigid.  Some time ago, I had some new clients come in for their first appointment. He was nervous.  She was cold.  I imagined  the coldness of a body on a slab in the morgue.  She wouldn’t smile, wouldn’t shake my hand, would barely look at me.

It was as if we were lifelong enemies forced to be in the same room, and I’d never seen her before, so it really made no sense to me.

I did all the things I usually do to make people comfortable.  Sometimes they come in expecting to lie on my couch while I put on my Freudian spectacles and sit outside of their range of vision, taking notes. They were ill-at-ease because they don’t know what to expect. But this woman was a walking deep-freeze, and none of my usual  tricks  warmed her up even one degree.

So I decided to meet ice with a blow torch.

“Okay, look, Mrs. Such-and-So.  You are like an ice berg, and I have no idea what I’ve done to make you so cold.  If you aren’t even going to try to communicate with me, we’re wasting our time here.  If you’d rather leave, then I won’t charge you for the session.  It seems to me that you and your husband need my help, and I’m willing to give it.  However, there has to be a little bit of return on your part.  So what are you going to do?”

She was shocked. Utterly.  Apparently she wasn’t used to people being so forthright with her.  I didn’t say another word, just watched her and waited for some–any–response.  And I prayed.  “Lord, did I just do a terrible thing?  I don’t know where to go next here.  Please help us!”

As I watched, I was startled to see a tear forming in her eye.  In just a few seconds, tears were streaming down both cheeks, and her husband patted her back awkwardly while she wept.  I handed her a box of tissues.  She mopped up, took a deep breath,  and began to tell me one of the most horrendous stories I’ve ever heard. I can’t say any more about that because it is confidential, and needs to remain that way. I will tell you that her coldness came from fear.  She had learned to fear everyone, and her frigid appearance was a defense mechanism.

Things aren’t always as they seem to be. We need to learn to look beneath the surface.





A Cold Assignment


Zing, I want to go back to where the water was warm and the sun was hot,” muttered Zang.  “This is unbearable.  What a strange place is this Earth!”

Zing shivered, too.  His antennae quivered from his shaking. But their assignment had been clear. They must analyze “snow” to see if it could be weaponized and used against them.

“Zang, do you remember the little girl who watched us from her window?  I wonder what she’s doing now.”

“Enjoying the warmth of the sun, of course. Splashing like a fish in the warm water. Not freezing, like us.”

No Warmth, No Comfort


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


On Monday night, we boarded a plane in Los Angeles that took off at 11 p.m.  It was a cheap flight. No comforts. Couldn’t even get water without buying a bottle.  So no pillows, no blankets, and very little room. The red-eye flight from hell.


It was comfortably warm when we left L.A. It was 53, rainy, and windy when we landed in Philly.  Thank goodness for heat in the car.  But the house was as cold as death, and I switched on my heated mattress pad to the highest level and crawled into bed.  Oh my, the delight of a warm bed and a big, puffy blanket on top.  I slept for four hours.

Blankets are a gift. So are heated mattress pads.


Seasonal Scents


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


It snowed briefly last night. I opened the back door to dump my coffee grounds, and sure enough, there was a wet, earthy scent outside.  Same thing when it rains, only this time of year there’s something else underneath the wetness that I can’t quite describe. It’s colder, but not as frigid as it was back in Minnesota.  You couldn’t smell anything out there when it dropped to 30 and 40 below zero, because your nostrils stuck together 🙂

Image result for cartoon Calvin and hobbes so cold your nose sticks together

Weather always has an identifying scent. When I was a kid, we lived in Minneapolis. When it rained hard after a very hot spell, the streets and sidewalks gave off a scent I’ve never noticed anywhere except in a city.  There were big old trees along the sidewalks, and their leaves added a smell of their own.

In the fall, of course, the air is just delicious. Falling leaves, heaps of them, have a scent all their own.  Before so many places put a ban on burning, everyone piled up their leaves and burned them. We all waited for a still day, and the smoke would climb straight up into the air. If you burn leaves quickly after you rake them, they don’t have time to begin rotting. That’s a different smell altogether.

Winter snow and ice?  You’d think there would be nothing to smell when everything is frozen. If you grew up in a cold climate, though, you are familiar with the smell of wet mittens, gloves,  and other snow gear. If you’re old enough, you remember what that all smelled like as it steamed dry on the radiator so you could put it back on and rush back outside where all the fun was.

Spring, of course, is a festival for the nose. Wet, snow-soaked earth has a very recognizable aroma as it begins to warm up and dry out. Grass grows like crazy, and the smell of freshly-cut grass fills the air. Spring flowers come out like popcorn, and if you’re really lucky you have onion grass nearby.  One of my sons, always curious, smelled onion grass one morning. He pulled it up and popped it into his mouth.  Pleased with the flavor, he ate some more.  He had onion breath for several days 🙂

Are there still farmers out there who can tell you what the weather’s going to be just by sniffing the air?  I’m sure there are, but I don’t hear people talk about it much.

I’m losing my sense of smell.  Too many nasal sprays to relieve the swelling in my sinuses, I think.  It makes me very sad. I’ve always loved so many wonderful smells, and now some things just smell funny, not right. You don’t think much about being able to enjoy all the scents around you until you can’t.


A Normal Day


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


Hayley was moving like a mindless robot at she assembled the five sandwiches that would be lunch for her and the kids. Bread, mayo, lunchmeat, cheese, mustard on two, butter on the others. Slap, plop, spread,slap, bag, done.  Into the brown paper bags, along with some cheese sticks, fruit, and a coupe of cookies.

She moved to the oatmeal that was bubbling on the stove, giving it a stir to keep it from burning. She turned the burner down to low, poured juice, sliced bread for toast. Butter, honey, jelly on the table. Brown sugar for the oatmeal.  Bowls, knives, spoons.

Then on to the evening meal, which would be a hearty soup in the crockpot.  Slice, chop, open cans, dump, add water, throw in meat from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It would develop a wonderful aroma as it simmered all day, a thick and hearty meal to ward off the encroaching cold that blessed central Minnesota. She would add barley when she got home and let it cook for a while. It would be thick, like stew. Already the tongue-teasing smell of onions and garlic filled the kitchen.

All four of her kids were showered, dressed, and tending to their household chores when she called  out that breakfast was ready.  It was good to start the day with everyone eating breakfast together. They would share their schedules for the day. the ones who had jobs figuring out the carpool, all of them hoping Dad would be home before they went to bed that night.


It was all the stuff of a normal school day. Hayley had her lesson plans well under control, and looked forward to starting a literature unit in her high school classes. She loved teaching, and it was great to be able to teach in the school her kids attended. She had each of them in a class at some point during the day. Some of their friends had started calling her “Mom,” and that was okay with her. Small Christian school, where she had the freedom to talk about God and to open the Bible with kids who needed some counseling time.

Some days, she grew weary in the routine. Some days, she swore she’d never eat another sandwich as long as she lived. Some days, she was just too tired to be eager for the day to start.

Most days, though, especially as she sat talking with her kids like this in the morning, she was just thankful  that they had the food, the clothing, the roof over their heads, jobs that met their needs, and heat for the coming deep cold of winter.

Most days, she was even thankful for sandwiches.




Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?


I don’t remember.  Probably not. And that’s all I have to say about today’s rerun prompt.

(to the rerun prompts)

So it got really cold here on Monday, dropped into the low teens on Monday night, and didn’t get much above 25° yesterday.  More of the same today. If you live north of PA, or in the Midwest, you’ve already had some snow and cold temps.  A friend of mine in Indiana says they got six inches of snow yesterday. She thinks it’s pretty.

I don’t know what has changed in me since last winter, but I find I’m not enjoying the cold, not looking forward to the inevitable sleet, ice, black ice, and wet, slippery snow that characterizes southeastern Pennsylvania.  Maybe it’s because I’m 68, edging toward early old age (isn’t it funny the way age is being categorized these days?  OLD old age doesn’t hit until you’re about 85)  and I just don’t care to deal with all that the winter brings.

I agree that snow is beautiful—for the first day after it falls.  After that it just turns dirty and grey and bothersome.

Well, enough complaining.  What all this really has brought to mind is how much we Americans take for granted our oil heat, our wood-burning furnaces, our hot water heaters, our hot running water, our warm outdoor winter gear, our heated cars, our heated offices, and most recently my heated mattress pad.

Boy, talk about luxury.  I switched it on last night when I got home from work, around 9:30.  By the time I crawled into bed, the pad was delightfully warm and soothing.  Luxury.

As I drifted off to sleep, I was thinking about people who live on the street, who have no place to go on these frigid nights.  Some go to recue missions; others are housed in old, run-down hotels at the government’s expense.  Many of them just huddle over a warm grating, or crawl into a makeshift “room” made of cardboard and plastic garbage bags, and they lie there and shiver through the night. Sometimes they die.

It’s not true that all street people want to be street people. When you have nowhere, no one, no money, no possibility of finding work, you’re pretty helpless.

What’s interesting to me is that even as America drifts more and more toward becoming a socialist state where everyone gets an equal share of the wealth, we still have this growing population of the homeless, the hungry, the destitute.  Poverty was never eliminated in any socialist country you can name, ever. The theory sounds so righteous and noble: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  The trouble is, it’s still up to fallible human beings to decide who gets what, and who has to give up their “wealth.”  And who is wealthy?  Strangely, it’s the so-called middle class that gets hit the hardest, and many of the members of that layer of society end up becoming impoverished because the government that is so nobly taking care of the poor  has taken more of their money, through taxation, than they can afford to lose.

I’ll never understand why anyone still thinks socialism is a good system.  It’s true, you hear stories from the European countries of how wonderful it is;  medical care is more available, education less expensive, etc.  What you don’t hear so much about is the lack of entrepreneurship, the rate of alcoholism, and the spike in suicide.

Another aspect of all this is that socialist states typically leave God out of the equation, so that government becomes the Great Benefactor and arbiter of all that is right or wrong.  Why is that a problem?  Because government is made up of people: Human beings with the innate desire to advance themselves.

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton, 19th century British historian).

Our American President has once again taken up his pen and his phone and circumvented Congress, issuing more Executive Orders that are not in line with our Constitution. His power is corrupting him, and what truly concerns me is that it seems to be corrupting the American people as well. We just sit here and take it. No one stands up. No one seems to know how to stop him.

Well.  This has been a ramble, hasn’t it?  See what happens when I ignore the daily prompt?


Roy G. Biv—All the Colors of the Rainbow

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

Image result for sunset at the shore on the Gulf

I didn’t see this. It was too cloudy while we were down there. We did see some pretty sunsets, though, even through the clouds.

And that’s about all I have to offer this morning.  It’s gloomy, wet, and cold here this morning and I want to go back to Gulf Shores. Even when it rained, it was warm!



Circle of Five

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?


1. God.  I want to spend as much time with the Lord as I can. Nothing else matters nearly enough.

2.  My husband.  We do spend a good bit of time together, and I have to admit that sometimes it can be overkill.  Still.

3.  Now it gets harder.  Can I count my children and grandchildren as one?  Please?

4.  I have some friends that I would love to spend more time with.  One lives nearby.  She’s #4.

5.  Two live in South Carolina.  They’re # 5.  I know, cheating again.  I don’t know how to narrow this down.

And that’s all for today, folks.  I’ve caught my husband’s nasty cold, and I want to go have a cup of tea and maybe go back to bed.


From Chepstow Castle

(Writing 101, Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern
Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.)

(The book sitting right beside me is The Gecko and Sticky, by Stephen Gilpin. It is a book aimed at junior/junior high boys. It’s hilarious. The sentence I took from it will be in bold italics.)

Dearest Uncle Alwon,

I am  of all women the most unhappy!  Please, if there is any mercy in your heart for me, rescue me from this dreadful place! Why you ever thought I could be happy here I will never understand!

Let me tell you about Chepstow Castle. It is immense. It is dark, and damp, and full of wind and foul odors. The walls have the grime of 200 years ago, and none of the walls are graced with the beautiful tapestries of your castle, my home. The lord of the castle is cheap and stingy. He doles out coal for personal fires as if each piece were pure diamond.  He is my husband, or at least he soon will be, and I am terrified of the day when I will say my voiws with him. He is as cold and as bleak as his castle, with nothing of beauty to make him attractive to me –or to anyone else!

The other day, Dear Uncle, I was in need of the privy.  I am not allowed a pot in my chamber; I am required to use the nook carved out of the castle wall that sits high above the river.  Uncle, it is very cold here. The wind is unrelenting. There is nothing of warmth or comfort in that dreadful closet, and I was ill. I needed it almost constantly that day,

It is difficult for me to speak of such personal matters, but I want you to understand how difficult my life is here. It is as if my lord wants to see how I will tolerate hardship. He is as relentless as the wind. When I went to beg him a pot for my chamber, he gazed at me unspeaking for several moments. Then he said, “If I allow you a pot, you will be responsible to empty it yourself whenever you use it. I cannot spare a maid for such work when the privy is available.”

So I used the privy. As I walked in, facing the seats, I could see that the dark, lazy river that ran through the countryside was a collection of many things, but mostly water and waste. All the villages upriver used it for cleaning, cooking, watering their animals, and emptying their night waste. At this point,nearing the end of its journey to the sea, it was murky, full of tree limbs, a bloated animal carcas here and there, and many other pieces of flotsam. I shivered, thinking  how the castle made use of the very same water for cooking and drinking.

No wonder I am so often ill.

Uncle, I beg you. Send your men for me, take me home, save me from this wretched place. It may be the biggest castle in this country, but it has no welcome for such as I. I fear that once I produce a male heir, I will die.

In dire need, I remain

Your respectful Niece,