Gramma…

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c. Starfire McQuinn, 2017

This week, I am drawing a portrait of my Gramma, so I thought I’d add to it a little bit about her.

Gramma Janie Belle “Beautiful Beardancer”. She was not what she seemed. On the outside, all prim, proper and white as the clouds in the sky. Inside, she was as red as the iron rich soil beneath the Red River. In the community, she was a pillar of all that was considered to be virtuous. She was well-respected in her church. A leader in her many women’s groups. All that was perfect.

At home, it was another story. At home, behind the doors and walls, she was a cruel master. She was prone to strong drink. She physically abused her offspring and her spouse who were afraid to stand up to her. That was years before I came along.

I took over her care when I was all of 7 years old. I was the one responsible for all her needs. By that time, she was old, really old. She rarely if ever spoke English. Her abusive nature was tempered by age and senility. In her mind, we were still at war with the Germans. Her fingers tapped out a constant stream of morse code on the arm of her chair. Orders from one military branch to the other, broken only by shouts in old German. She’d been a translator back in the day, working at a local air base. She’d received the message that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and sent her daughter, my Gran, with it to the General’s office. Now, though, she was a crippled and demented old woman.

I woke her up every morning. I bathed and dressed her, sat her in her rocker and then made breakfast for the family. Mom and Dad still not home from their night of carousing, Granpa still abed. Gramma was up like a storm at the crack of dawn. Uttering prayers to the sun and the four directions. Slapping me silly when I stumbled with the words.

She may have been demented, but she was still sharp. Just let an ankle show beneath your skirts and wrath would ensue. Given her condition, it was easy to step out of her reach. She demanded traditions, not just the ones of the ‘white’ society in which we lived, but of our own people, the Shawnee. A woman was to be strong, and a warrior. It was her duty to protect her family. She would say everyday that it wasn’t what you were in public, it was what was in your heart. Her demanding perfection in tradition and honor in life shaped my early years in ways that my parent’s alcoholism and drug abuse could not.

It was what it was that made it what it is.

Chicago Magic…

 

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Shedd Acquarium, Chicago, Ill. via What Pegman Saw on Googlemaps.

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Christmastime in Chicago. It’s magical. I looked up and up again.

‘Doing that proves you’re a tourist, Lassie.’ Ian chuckled as he offered his arm. ‘Shall we, Mi’lady?’

Moments later, we walked into the main hall coming face to face with the Caribbean Reef. It was beautiful. I stopped, froze in place, and gaped…

‘Yep, definitely a tourist.’ Ian kissed the top of my head.

‘It’s so much better in person.’ I mumbled as we stepped closer. Then, I saw our reflection in. I blinked. Behind us, not twenty feet away… It couldn’t be… No way in hell…

‘Ie -an.’ I whispered long. ‘Do you see what I see?’

‘Aye, Lassie, I do.’ He winked.

‘It can’t be…he… he’s dead.’

‘There shall be rumors, and rumors…’ Ian pulled me to his chest, his lips close to my ear. ‘Now, you know the truth, no more tears, eh.’

 

This week, What Pegman Saw, takes us to the grand City of Chicago. A city that is steeped in magical happenings around Christmas. I know because I’ve been blessed to have experienced that magic on more than one occasion. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little mysterious scene and if you do, then please, come out and join the fray at: https://whatpegmansaw.com/?wref=bif . Once you get there, enter the door marked “Pegman Prompts” and follow the blue frog (preferably sober). Hehe…

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Shedd Acquarium, Chicago, Ill. compliments of What Peman Saw via Googlemaps.

Forever…

 

A hearty thank you to Rochelle Wisoff for once again giving us a wealth of inspiration from which to write. A thank you also to Liz Young for her awesome photo! There were so many stories that came to mind. But the final choice is perhaps the shortest piece I’ve ever written; only 18 words… but this week, this day, this hour, they say it all…

Liz Young

C. Liz Young

‘Oh, this is the perfect spot.’ She giggled. ‘I just want to sit here forever!’

She was five.

WC:18

If you would like to join the 100 word weekly writing craze known as Friday Fictioneers, please join us out at the blog of our lovely hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. We love to see you stop by, and maybe even share a story with us.  You can find us all at: https://rochellewisoff.com/?wref=bif

 

 

Sibling’s Dance

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C. Dale Rogerson

 

“Sibling’s Dance”.

The mere thought twisted my stomach. Nothing spelled ‘orphan’ like special events did. First, Mother’s Day Brunch. Great, if you could get her sober enough to come, if she’d come at all. Then, Father’s day. Oh, I hated the Father Daughter banquets. With nothing but a dead father, no use in attending. And now, this…a Sibling’s Dance. Only had half-brothers, one killed in Vietnam and the other strung out on drugs somewhere.

‘You going?’ Garylee asked.

‘No.’

‘I could adopt you for the night.’ He offered.

I headed down the hall. I wouldn’t be anyone’s ‘charity date’.

WC: 99

 

 

If you would like to join the 100 word weekly writing craze known as Friday Fictioneers, please join us out at the blog of our lovely hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. We love to see you stop by, and maybe even share a story with us.  You can find us all at: https://rochellewisoff.com/?wref=bif

Warrior Brother…

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“Warrior Brother”. C. Starfire McQuinn, 2017.

Many of us have the honor of having Warrior Brothers…. Brothers in Arms and in Spirit. This gentleman is mine. He was a sniper in ‘Nam, and taught me all I needed to know about weapons and hitting my target while terrified out of my skull. Today, I just wanted to take a moment to honor him, his service to our country, and his ongoing service to our people and all the children who love him dearly. He has spent his life mentoring many who would have been lost, me included.

So, last night, I got out my sketcher and drew one of my favorite pictures of him. He’s playing a morning blessing song I’m sure that he wrote himself. It is beautiful as it dances out across the dawn’s color show. Next month, when I get to see him in person, I shall give this to him. By then, I’ll have removed it from the book and had it matted and framed.

Riding on…

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‘There’s nothing quite like it…’ I heard the instructor say as she held up a small stick of graphite. ‘…You’ll love it by the end of class.’

I held the stick in my hand and sighed. Paper hung on the easel, blank. I gulped.

‘Now, close your eyes and think of your favorite thing. Then, with eyes still closed, start to draw. It doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. Just draw.’ The instructor encouraged.

Closed eyes, stick to paper, I drew… Bicycle…the escape vehicle of my youth.

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A drawing done from a collection of random photos at a Lenten study.

The photo from the table really called straight to my heart. Maybe because it reminds me so much of my own childhood. I grew up in a less than ideal situation. My bicycle was my only means of transportation until I graduated from college. It was my mainstay, my escape. Art as well served as a way to escape and relax for a while. My Mom, when she wasn’t drunk or high was quite an artist herself. I learned first from her… shade here, stipple that. Coloring was serious business in our home. The more real it looked the happier I was. I lost this ability in a car accident in 1996, and have been “riding on” to regain the skill. This drawing of the little girl is the first that really comes even close to the realism I could once create. Dare I to say that I’m just a little proud of myself in the accomplishment.

Escape.

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© Fatima Fakier Deria

 

The scene: chaos.

Every boat that could float was in the marina. People fleeing in hoards.

Why?

A coup-de-tet flipped the government. Already, people watched their liberties dwindling slowly under the pressure. It was an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, and people running scared.

Then, it happened. The big ‘It’.

Suddenly, the airports were closed.

The trains were locked down at their rail yards.

Fuel was rationed only to the few rich executives of major industry.

The only means of escape, the waterways. If you were lucky enough to get to a marina before the ships were gone, that is…

WC: 100