HL Pic Series: 7-Lucy


Lucy dreamed. She was in Venice this time. Venice? Lucy woke.

It must have been spurred by my date tonight. Out with Golly, they had picked up McDonald’s and gone to the park downtown – the one with the pond and the pretty lampposts. That what must be what triggered it.

Lucy shook her head to clear the dream, then got up to make a cup of tea. She would not be getting back to sleep too soon, she thought. She took her tea to the sofa, grabbed a pen and paper and began writing as she recalled the dream.

The lamppost sat on a dock where several gondolas bounced lightly nearby in the water. I’ve never seen a gondola in my life. How do I even know they’re called gondolas? She watched the gondolas’ bouncing grow more erratic, so she looked to the right and watched a giant yacht float into the city. It was not slowing as it neared.

In her dream, she yelled to the captain, “Slow down!”

The captain looked at her through hollow eyes. The great ship would never make it through the canal – it would smash into both buildings that lined in on either side. Then it did.

But it didn’t. It glided through the buildings, rather than into them.

Lucy stood on the dock. Her hands shook. She looked around but nobody else on the dock or over by the buildings had noticed the ship. She waved at a lady near the closer of the two buildings, but the lady had looked right through her, too. Lucy looked at her hands, and went to hold the lamppost. They went right through it.

So… I’m a ghost.

Remembering caused the pen to shake in her hand, but she wrote it all down. She wrote it shakily. She wrote it in her journal of dreams, adding it to her collection of other strange dreams.

The captain looked through me. What does this mean? Is it another premonition? Or is there another more symbolic meaning to this dream? His eyes… What do all these dreams mean? Am I going to die? Or am I going to live?



HL Series: 6-Darlene


Darlene stood on her balcony, gazing out over the Tuscan village and countryside. She never thought she would get out of her small town to venture across an ocean; but here she was, living a life she had never wanted to hope for.

She had met Derrick later in life – just after she turned fifty. Sure, she had dated lots of men, even married a couple, but they didn’t work out. Since there weren’t any children, she’d had no reason to stay after the passion wore off; but Derrick was different.

She had been waiting tables in a truck stop restaurant when state troopers made him exit the closed highway. He had wanted to wait out the storm, rather than get a hotel room, and this was how he ended up in Darlene’s booth.

At three in the morning, she had already been working for four hours. Her feet ached. A new girl had bumped her earlier and spilled a full plate of food on her, so her uniform was filthy and greasy. Mind-wrestling the drunks had been extra difficult that evening. She could not understand why anyone was even out in that kind of weather. If they needed booze that bad, they should have picked it up before the storm hit and taken it home to drink.

Angry and exhausted, Darlene had tromped toward Derrick with a coffee pot in one hand and her order pad in the other. She hadn’t anything about him until she stood before him at the table. When she looked up, the greyest eyes she’d ever seen stared back at her with a slight twinkle. Startled, she immediately stood taller and tried to smooth her apron, though when looking down, she realized it was futile. She gave him a half-smile.

“What can I get for ya?”

“Well, I guess I’ll have whatever is on the front of your apron.” He laughed, releasing her from her stressed and straight-backed position.

Darlene relaxed and pulled at her apron. “So that’s two eggs over easy, bacon, a side of pancakes and coffee?”

“Sounds delicious.” He handed her the menu and she smiled back at him. “Can you join me?”

Darlene instantly rubbed her hand over her hair. “Me?”

“Yes. It’s a cold night and you look like you could use a cup of coffee.” She nodded, and went to put his order in. Then she grabbed an extra cup for herself and went to sit down with him.

She ran away with him two weeks later and had not been back to her hometown since. That was four years ago.

Looking once again over the Tuscan valley, she had no regrets.


HL Pic Series: 4-Jo


Jo studied the hammock.

“I think it will stay,” she said to the small gecko hanging onto a wooden porch post. “Now, it’s time for a margarita.”

So far Jo’s dream had not developed as she had planned. She had worked hard for thirty eight years as a school teacher, living frugally and saving every penny toward her retirement. When her dream to marry and have a family had not come to fruition by the time she’d hit thirty-five, she decided to change her dream. Now, here she was, living on an island in the Caribbean.

The thing was, it was not at all what she had expected. Sure, there were sandy beaches, lots of good-looking men on vacation and beautiful clear waters.

But, the brochures had not mentioned the sand fleas or the fact that shoes need to be worn on the sand because it gets hot enough to cause blisters. Those dreamy picture cards had not mentioned the fish that nibble at legs and toes, or the jellyfish that stings like a burning hot poker, or the crabs that chase people from the water. Those beautiful brochures had not discussed language barriers, the inability to find help that worked more than a few hours per day so a house could be painted and wood trim fixed, or the fact that everything smelled like fish. All the time. Everywhere.

Jo had come down to the island once to see the house, buying it through a website. When she moved, she discovered she had paid much more than market value and now she was stuck. After three months of living in it, she recognized that she had not done her due diligence. Now, paint chipped, the washing machine froze up and she only had one burner left working on her stove.

She did not even want to think about the hurricanes.

And… Nobody had told her that in equatorial heat, sweat poured from every pore, all day and all night. She never felt clean. She was either sweaty and gross, or dried out from the salt air like an old starfish. Nobody had told her how terribly she would miss her family and friends.

She sighed.

Today was a good day. She had a hammock, and her blender still worked; and so, she made a margarita and took an afternoon nap.



Gnome Poem: Winny and the Squirrel

Winny sat upon the leafVersion 2

watching for the squirrel thief.

It had taken her favorite barrett

and chasing him, she’d gotten wet.

She fell into the rain bucket;

then pulled a tissue from her pocket,

not useful-all wrinkled and soggy,

her mind took turns, angry and foggy,

as water streamed down her face,

she climbed out – with little grace.

Then she shook her fist toward the sun

and yelled, Squirrel, you’d better run!

Winny made a net from an old hat

and waiting for the squirrel, there she sat.

She listened for the scratchy scruffling

and for the branches singing swinging,

but that small wily stealing squirrel

just outwitted that little gnome girl.


“This Land is Your Land” etc.

I recently did a writing exercise in my writers’ group that called for us to add verses to the song by Woodie Guthrie. Here’s my additions to the age old song – remember to sing as it’s just a bit of fun:

Riding down river, tubing Mississippi

The golden sunlight peeked through the leaves

It shined warmly upon my face

This land was made for you and me.


Crashing to the side of the riverbank

My tube caught a hole, and I almost sank

I stood in the mud praising God for life

This land was made for you and me.


The ranger found me, all wet and muddy

His blue eyes sparkled, his muscles studly

He gave me a ride, back down the mountain

This land was made for you and me.


Now he loves me, and I am getting

(Oh that sweet ranger), a country wedding

I’ll be so pretty in my tubing swimsuit,

This land was made for you and me.


HL Pic Series: 2-Mavis


Mavis sat alone in her rocking chair, wrapped in an old frayed shawl with a dirty afghan across her lap. She stared at the dusty television that no longer worked, and wondered if anyone would knock on her door today.

The postman used to knock everyday, handing her mail with a cheerful smile and a good word, but recently he had begun leaving the mail outside on the mat – not that she received mail every day. Some days she was too tired or sore to open the door, bend over and pick it up. Those were not good days for the mail, because something bad always happened to it. Rain would soak it through until the ink ran, or a bug would inevitably get squashed on it, or a neighbor’s dog or cat would leave footprints across the envelopes as they ran through her yard. Wet and dirty mail is not fun to open.

Today she longed for company. She was tired, but was on the lesser side of sore and thought she could make a pot of tea for a visiting friend. She thought it would be nice if her nephew, Tommy, would drop by and fix the television. He was handy with electronics, but she didn’t know if this tv could be fixed again. She had no money for a new one, either. She shook her head. Money, money, money. Everything costs too much nowadays.

The small stipend she worked all those years to put into social security was now barely enough to pay for her groceries each month. She was lucky Harold had paid off the house before he died, because she could not afford to live if she had a rent or a mortgage payment nowadays. She kept the heat low and only used the air conditioning in emergencies, had no cable and only a house phone without a long distance plan. She didn’t need one, as she had nobody left to call these days, and she needed to keep costs down.

A knock sounded at the door. She looked up, startled. She was lost in her thoughts again. Was that the door? She slowly got to her feet, holding the rocker steady and letting the aphgan fall to the floor. She stared at it for a moment and then shook her head. That must be how it gets so dirty. She stepped on it because she could take a long enough step to pass over it. Shaking her head again, she went to the door.

A dirty little girl stood outside, holding her mail.

“Here, Missus,” she said. “I saw your mail laying on your mat, so I thought I’d get it for you.” At the aged woman’s nod, the girl continued. “My name’s Emmy Gorth. I live over there.” She pointed at a house with a leaning porch and chipped paint diagonally across the street.

Mavis studied her for a moment and then shrugged her shoulders. “Hello there, young Emmy,” she said. “I’m Mavis Bell. Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?”

Emmy looked at her dress and then at Mavis with a lift of her eyebrow.

“Oh, that doesn’t matter. You’ll be sitting on a proper chair, so it won’t even show.”

Emmy looked across the street and then down at the mat, thinking.

“I guess I could. I’m not much of a fan of tea, though. Do you have any Koolaid?”

Mavis put a thumb under her chin for a moment and then shook her head, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any. Only tea.” She tilted her head sadly to the side as the smile slipped from her face.

“Um… okay. I’ll try tea, I guess,” said Emmy.

Mavis’ face lit up as the girl walked past, handing her the mail. Mavis dropped it on a side table and guided Emmy to a wooden table with two rickety wooden chairs. Emmy sat down rigidly and fanned the wrinkles out from her skirt. Mavis went to start the kettle.

“You are a very special guest today, so guess what?” Mavis asked with a smile.

“What?” replied Emmy with a sparkle in her eye.

“We are going to use my very best china service for our tea today.”

Emmy’s eyes grew wide and she watched every move Mavis made as she prepared the tea.

“I think I have some sugar cookies left here,” Mavis said, fishing around in an old coffee tin on the counter. She brought the tea and cookies to the table on a fancy silver tray.

“Now be careful, it’s hot. And here, put this honey in it,” Mavis said.

Emmy stirred the honey around the rose-covered tea cup in a gentle manner, suddenly sticking her pinky up. Mavis’ eyes sparkled as she smiled. Emmy picked up the cup, blew over the top and tentatively tasted the tea.

Her eyes flew up in surprise. “This is pretty good! It tastes like lemon!” She took a bite of cookie. “Mmmm…”

The two talked over the tea and cookies for a couple of hours. Mavis regaled the girl with stories from her youthful days until all of a sudden Emmy’s eyes grew wide and she popped up off the chair.

“I have to go! My mom will be home anytime now.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to see you go, Emmy, but I hope you come back to visit another day,” Mavis told her. Emmy nodded and waved and rushed out the door. Mavis smiled and cleaned up the dishes.

I believe I feel good enough to make a sandwich, she thought.