family

Our Holiday Disaster

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Debby White. She is an active member of the Vernonia Library group in Vernonia, Oregon.

Gertrude blew a strand of hair from her face as she peeled the small mountain of potatoes destined for mashing. She gave a quick glance to the clock on the oven. Ten a.m. The day’s agenda ran through her mind as the peeler continued to work it’s way through the mound. The turkey will be ready in an hour, kids and grandkids should arrive any minute. Dinner rolls should go in the oven in about forty five minutes. Harry, her husband of 30 years, was watching a loud Thanksgiving day football game in the living room, making an appearance in the kitchen only when he needed a warm up for his coffee.

Outside the wind whipped the rain around frequently throwing it against the windows, tree branches swaying as if throwing a tantrum.

“Quite a storm out there.” Gertrude jumped. Harry chuckled behind her. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” he said, reaching for the coffee pot to fill his cup for the fifth or sixth time.

Gertrude sighed, “I hope we don’t lose power. The turkey still needs almost another hour in the oven, then there’s the dinner rolls. Lots of food in the fridge that could go bad if the electricity’s out for a long time.”

“Don’t panic, honey,” Harry patted her shoulder. “Remember that’s why we spent all that money on the generator. Out here in the boondocks we lose power at the drop of a hat. With the generator life goes on as usual.”

They both turned at the sound of voices in the entryway. Seconds later they had little grandchildren arms wrapped around their legs. Sadie, their oldest daughter, planted a kiss first on Gertrude’s cheek then Harry’s. “Jack and Nikki drove up behind us,” Sadie said of her brother and his wife. “Nate is helping them carry stuff in.” Nate being Sadie’s husband.

Minutes later the women and children were gathered in the kitchen and the guys convened in the living room to finish watching the football game. Gertrude finished peeling the potatoes and Sadie and Nikki set the table while dodging little Nate and Jillian. Suddenly, everything went black. From the living room a chorus of “Hey, what happened?” was heard as the TV went blank. Gertrude raced into the living room, with a panicked look on her face. “We’ve lost power!” she exclaimed. (more…)

Mourning

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, D.K. Lubarsky.

I cannot mourn in front of my children,
I cannot share the sorrows and tears of age and illness
Nor cry from the depth of my heart
Nor speak of the profound and lingering losses
I cannot tell them of the pain I feel at times
They do not want me to know

I cannot mourn with my children
They choose not to see the shriveled arms and shuffling gate
“You are fine,” they sing in their frantic dance of life
“You underestimate yourself,” they call over their shoulders
As they race through sunny fields, flying off to catch their young
Leaving me far behind in their wake

Confident full-fledged adults, with steam engine powered muscles
Their throttles smashed forward against infinity
They recognize on some transient level, I suppose
That I am something else
A specter of the mother they once had
Tho’ purposely not examined too closely
For then they might have to acknowledge their proximity of loss
In their world of distant horizons

So I cannot mourn my losses with my children
But I thank God for my friends
Equal in age and weariness
We sit around the table stacking our wounds like poker chips
Unashamed confessions
Tethered with nods and sighs, handclasps and hugs

Learning from one another how to step forward
How to keep laughing
In spite of it all
To appreciate simple pleasures
And each other

We grieve and giggle on the same breath
Then breathe, grieve, and giggle once more.

And at day’s end
I come away stronger for their strength
So that I can return to the children I adore and listen as they say
“See, I told you that you were okay.”
Never comprehending how close to the edge
I was when first awakening to morning’s light

But perhaps I am better off
Being able to glean from their perspective
Knowing that for now, this very moment,
I truly am okay.

November 13 Prompt – Family

The following prompt is from one of our Writers in the Grove members for our NaNoWriMo prompt-a-day project for November 2016.

The prompt today is family.

What does family mean to your character? Is family a core part of your story? Who represents family to your characters?

Check out our list of prompts for even more inspiration.

Prompt: Answers to Questions Unasked

The prompt today was based upon the concept that we often have questions we wished we’d asked parents, grandparents, and other people in our life about how they lived, but never got the chance to ask – and what you would answer if you were asked those questions by the younger generation today.

The prompt was inspired by the poem, “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold,” by William Wordsworth, and the line:

The Child is the father of the Man…

Who You Are

The following is by Writers in the Grove member Bev Walker.

You are the end of a million generations
foraging for food and shelter.
Thousands of times, over and over,
famine has wiped out whole nations.
Each time, one of your family survived.
Or you wouldn’t be here.

You are the end of a million generations
devastated by disease and storm.
For a million years, in a million places,
through showers of meteors,
Thousand of times, over and over
while all around them died.
One of your family was left standing,
and had to bury the rest.

You are the end of a million generations
torn apart by earthquake, flood, tornado,
arctic blizzard, every terror you can imagine,
whole nations buried beneath every desert,
Whole civilizations lost beneath sea and jungle,
now known only to birds and fishes.
Whole races gone, all gone…except
one of your family.
The result is you.

You are the end of a million generations
destroyed by war after war,
Marauding armies determined to wipe out all in their path.
Somehow, one after another,
century after century,
One of your family made it through all that;
you are the proof.

Neither they, nor you, made it because
you’re the smartest, healthiest, or bravest.
“Survival of the fittest” went out the window
the first time someone reached out
To the wounded, an orphan, a cripple, the sick;
that’s the difference between you
And the ant and the crocodile.

Through a thousand ice ages,
through whole continents ablaze,
There stood one who is still a part of you,
yes, you, and your neighbor, whatever your ilk.
You are the end result of a million miracles,
a treasure, a pearl of great price.