This is a short story revealing a little background on the characters of the WWII novel I’m writing. The main character here (John) is the father of the main character in the book (Kailyn). It’s set in the Himalayan mountains of Burma. Hope you enjoy it . . .
He didn’t have much use for his small knife any longer. It had been so long since he’d carved blocks of wood into jungle animals, that the monsoon rains had left rust and mold on the blade.
But tonight. Tonight his hands needed the feel of wood. The surety behind it’s hardness. The knife peeling away bits and flakes to reveal what had always lurked beneath the bark.
John rubbed a calloused thumb across the edges. His white skin stark against the ridged grain.
A scream ripped through the jungle and John jumped from the fallen log. His daughter, Kailyn, sat quiet. Amber eyes wide, staring through the fire at her Papa, shifting between the door of their thatch-roofed home and the jungle. He knew she wanted to run, but her mother’s pain contained her here. Captured in the flickering light of the fire. Continue reading “The Making of a Tiger”
I can’t believe that it’s been 3 years since I lost my grandma, my friend. My memories with her are still so vivid…
• Garish orange, yellow, and green Tupperware stashed in her cupboard containing cookies stale from summer’s humidity.
• Her fingers, knuckles swollen with arthritis, clutching a hand of cards.
• Red raspberries we cousins snuck from her bushes.
• The taste of her lemonade. No one made it better.
And later . . .
• Her laughter crackling over the phone when she told me the stories of trying and failing to live up to her mother’s expectations.
• The citrus smell of Constant Comment tea as we sat at her little table talking . . . especially after I found out my parents were splitting for good.
• Her still form in the casket across the room. I couldn’t bear to get closer and really see.
This last weekend, before it registered that it was the anniversary of Gramma’s death, I started going through my grandparent’s WWII era papers. My grandfather’s sprawling notes about airplane props and engines, my grandmother’s diary from her college days, his denied request to be trained as a helicopter pilot in the 1950’s.
It makes me think about the differences between my life and theirs. The things I wish I had and the things I’m glad I don’t.
Despite the fact I’m not quite done with my first book, I’m beginning to see pieces of the next one. Maybe I’ll find her again in it and get one last word of advice. “Find your way, sweetheart . . . find your way.”
Regardless, I’m thankful for the things my Gramma taught me and looking forward to talking with her again some day.
Love you Gramma. See you again soon.
I could feel the heat from the hardware store’s stove warming my feet as I sat on the couch in our second floor apartment. My toes nearly glowed with happiness. In such heat a body could nearly forget the cardboard covered holes in her shoes and the snow outside the window.
A body could nearly forget everything. I touched the corner of wool blankets next to me and brushed lint off the red box on top. Well, nearly.
Mama always said, “Lucille, honey, we’re lucky to have the store.”
She’d brush my wild curls into submission and tell me that other folks would love this here place even with the oily smell. Or some days, she’d say they’d like it even with the chipped walls or with all the men hanging around outside looking for work from any fortunate builder or handyman with a job big enough to hire extra hands.
I don’t know who she was trying to convince. Maybe herself or my older brother, George. I don’t think either of them liked their jobs in the family business.
But I certainly didn’t need telling. I loved Miles Hardware. Three stories of rising red brick between the white clapboard buildings.
Continue reading “In Its Place–A Short Story”
My daughter is studying the Native Americans in social studies. This week her class started studying the Eastern Woodland Indians, specifically the Cherokee. This amazing people group assimilated into the European colonies and, in many ways, looked exactly like their neighbors.
But they weren’t. They were different.
And that difference allowed people’s greed for gold to forcibly remove the Cherokee and other Native Americans from their land, enduring disease, exposure, and starvation. The Trail of Tears.
When I told my girl the story of the Cherokee, she stared at me, confusion pulling her eyebrows together.
In her wide-eyed innocence, “Why?”
You see, my girl is an artist and she understands that in art, in beauty, contrast and difference is celebrated and encouraged. That which makes something different, is core to making it beautiful. Continue reading “Beautifully Diverse”