I was thinking about writing some responses to questions about writing.  I was thinking these thoughts in the middle of the night when one would  be  better served by sleeping.  At any rate, the expression “If you had a brain, it would rattle around like a pea in a boxcar” popped into my –pea- brain.

When we kids would make this remark to one another it was well-understood that the comparison was one of volume, i.e., relatively speaking, a brain in your cranium would be microscopic in size.

Then, remember this is in the middle of the night, my pea started processing the physics of a literal pea on the floor of a literal boxcar.  I finally dozed off when I realized that for some of us the car has been on a siding so long and the pea is so desiccated and sere that no amount of jostling, jolting, or starting and stopping the car would any longer elicit any kind of response from the pea.

or, Conclusion to The Day the Globe Dropped

If you missed the first instalment, *click* on over and read it now.  We’ll wait.

Margot’s heart stopped.  It leaped into her throat.  The Ornament floated  toward the floor.  Margot aged, the pretty falling for days, it seemed.  She thought, “The green and black rag rug Grammy made will cushion The Ornament, and it won’t–”


It was a muffled explosion, but the shards scattered across the rug, and even onto the hardwood floor.  Margot almost shrieked, but no, she controlled the impulse.  She started to run from the room.  “I’ll tell Grammy the cat did it,” she thought.  But then she realized the cat was hers.  The cat was home.  Grams did not have a cat.

Margot ever so carefully picked up the larger pieces of the globe and wrapped them in an old brown poke, stuffed them into the bottom of the waste bin.  She swept the rest of the wreckage down the register.  “That’s not right,” she muttered to herself, and yet she was satisfied that all was cleaned up.  Except for her conscience, that is, which was getting louder and louder as it reiterated over and over, “Naughty girl!”

“Grammy!”  she called up the stairs. “Grammy.”

“What is it, Girl?  I’ll be down shortly.”

“I have to go to the necessary.”

“Alright, Sweetie.  Put your coat on, now.”

Margot shrugged into her blue woolen jacket and started toward the kitchen door.  She stopped and went back to the trash bin where she recovered the bag that contained the broken pretty.  She  took this with her and threw it down the hole.  “Naughty girl,” said her conscience.

After Grammy and Margot finished their supper, Margot’s having been mostly pushed desultorily from one side of her plate to the other, they quickly washed up and dried the dishes.  They went into the parlor, where they sat side by side on the settee.  Grams picked up the book.

“What ails you, Child?” she asked as she opened the book. She glanced sideways and saw a tear leak from Margot’s eye and trickle down her cheek.  Grandma began to read

 “I didn’t do anything,” said Freddy as bold as brass, and with these words a little bee sprang out of his mouth, while poor Freddy had grown so reckless that he hardly noticed BEE-TRUTHFUL flying away.*

Margot’s sob turned to a wail as she buried her head under Grammy’s left arm.  “There, there,” Grams consoled.  “Why didn’t you tell me you broke The Ornament?”

Grandma allowed Margot to wail and blubber for a bit as she stroked the little girl’s curls.  Finally the child was able to sob out, “But now you will hate me.  I. am such a bad girl.”

 “No, of course I don’t hate you.  I could never hate you; I love you so much.  And you are not a bad girl.  You are a curious little girl who did something wrong, and you knew it was wrong.  But it can be forgiven.  Naturally I feel badly that The Ornament is gone, but I feel badly because you disobeyed me, you did something you knew you shouldn’t, then you tried to cover it up.”

The child looked up into her Grandmother’s eyes.  “I am sorry,” she said.  “I will save all my pennies until I can buy you a new ornament.”

“I forgive you.  You do not need to buy an ornament.  The Ornament is gone.  But what I most want is to see my Little Girl growing up to be a truthful, kind, and honest person.  Will you do that?”

Margot nuzzled as close as she could to Grams.  They sat quietly for a while, and when Mommy and Daddy with Uncle and Auntie came in much later, this is what they saw.  Elderly lady and young girl holding each other, both fast asleep.

We like to think that all is well that ends well.

*Freddy’s Dream, or, A Bee in His Bonnet, Andrew Stewart, 1884.  p.78

Six-year old Margot primly sat on the old horsehair sofa, her black patent Mary Janes gleaming, her legs encased in white cotton hose straight out in front.  On her lap, a rather worn copy of the “Bee” book.  It was quiet, much too quiet to her way of thinking, but Grammy told her to sit quietly.  Margot languidly turned a page, and as she did, her gaze, unbidden, drifted to the Christmas tree in the opposite corner of the room.  Her eyes focused on The Ornament.  As many times as she has seen it, The Ornament always took her breath away.  She gasped, her chin dropped just a bit, and were you to see her, you would know she was awe-stricken.

Grammy had told Margot just how very special this ornament was to her.  It was not simply the amazing red color—“cranberry”—Grammy said, but it was the story behind the bauble that made it special.  Grammy had told Margot,

“Your Grandfather and I, of course he wasn’t your grandfather yet, your Grandpa and I had been married only six months when our first Christmas together rolled around.  I had scrimped and saved my pennies from the egg money best I could, and was able finally to buy him a wonderful Case pocket knife.  He carried that knife in his left-hand trouser pocket every day for the rest of his life.  I wish you could have known your Grandpa.  Anyway, Christmas morning came, and he handed me the most precious little box, so carefully wrapped in blue paper by his own rough, working hands, a little green and yellow ribbon tied into a bow, the best he could manage.  And guess what was inside the box!  Of course.  It was The Ornament.  Except for my wedding ring, it was the very first gift he had ever given me, and he had chosen it himself.  I cried.  I did.  It was so beautiful, sparkling there as it dangled from my fingers, and of course I rushed immediately to our little tree and placed it there in the most prominent place.  It has never missed a Christmas in forty-two years, holding its place on the tree.  Oh, I wish you had known your grandpa.  He left me much too soon, and I so hate being alone.”

“But Grammy,” Margot interjected, “you have me.  And Mommy and Daddy, and Uncle Marvin and Aunt Teen.”

“Yes, Dear, I have you; and I love you all very much.  But someday you may understand just how much I miss your Grandfather.”

Now Grandmother is upstairs finishing her work in the bedrooms, because tonight Mommy and Daddy will arrive and they will be bringing Uncle Marv and Aunt Teen, Margot thought.  Oh, I do love Aunt Teen, and Uncle is so much fun with his magic tricks and funny stories.  But The Ornament is calling to Margot.  It is only six steps over there, and Grammy is upstairs.

Margot lays her book on the arm of the settee and carefully slides from her seat, the little blue frock swirling around her knees as she turns toward the tree.  And takes those six steps.  Fixated on The Ornament, she studies its surface carefully, noting what she already knows.  The lower portion of the globe tapers almost to a point, and on this side is molded into the body the most gorgeous star!  Margot’s fingers reach toward the glass, touch it lightly, grasp it carefully, turn it gently; and as it turns, the child sees her face in the globe, distorted into an elfin globe itself, looking back at her.  Oh!  Margot lifts The Ornament from the branch on which it is hanging, freeing its thread from the needles, and lowers it to her eye-level.  As she turns the globe slowly one way then the other, the reflection of her face grows longer, then shorter, rounder, thinner, as the tip is turned toward her chin.  Margot’s heart is pounding so hard that she thinks the Little Drummer Boy has gotten into her head!

And The Ornament slips from her grasp. . .

(To be continued.)

Work Brickle:  A Christmas Story

Did I ever tell you about your Uncle Mil’s Christmas?  Well, Milford, he had a reputation around Lamar.  Ever’ one said he was work brickle.  Wal’ he warn’t work brickle, he were more “boss brickle.”  See, when he was still a teenager his older brother get him a job on the railroad.  Whut he done was he sat up with the switch engine in the yards, kept it stoked and the steam up durin’ the night when it maybe warn’t being used.  Wal’ it were a fine job, pay was good and the hours were reg’lar if’n you didn’t mind sittin’ in the cab a the donkey all night.

So anyways, one Monday night as he come to work his boss, Nick Cartee, you know Nick, married Sue Ann Sumter from over to Hasty, Nick come up and say, “Hey, Mil.  This is your last week here.  Hate to lose you, but the company is sendin’ you to Dodge.  You start over there next Monday.  ‘Course you hafta move over there, but ya get a bit more dough, and it’s a move up.  No tellin’ how far you go with the company, Kid.”

“Nuts to that,” says Mil.  “I quit right now.  I ain’t a leavin’ Lamar.”

“Now, wait, now.  You got that firebox to keep up tonight.  And besides, jobs don’t grow on trees.”

“Fire it yourself.”

So then Mil find work at the mill.  Mil at the mill.  Har!  Doin’ pretty well, too, until his boss come around and give him a new assignment, and you might guess how that turn out.  Boss brickle, like I say.

Anyways, Mil take a few days to redd  up around his own place, get a load a stuff to haul off to the dump.  He get to the dump and he see these trailers backin’ in and thowin’ off perfeckly good junk.  And a light go on in his head, like in the funny papers.  First thing you know, Mil is pickin’ the place, stackin’ stuff aside and haulin’ hit home.  Now he sorts stuff, repairs stuff, peddles stuff hither and yon and dreckly he is makin’ a pile of money.  Then, behol’ one day he sees a scruffy bum poachin’ on his territory, so to speak.  Now Mil ain’t one for confront-ation, so he goes off to town to see the mayor.  Mayor Grubbs come up here from Oklahoma years ago, but that’s another story.  Next thing you know, Mil have a contract givin’ him rights to whatsoever people thow off over to the dump.  Now he is in business for sure, and no matter what folk say about him, he is workin’ harder now than most anyone else in town, and the po-lice keepin’ poachers out his territory!

Now kids around town make fun of Mil, you know, ‘cause he is allus pickin’ and not always in a bidness suit, you might say.  You know how it goes, “Dirty Mil, dirty Mil, live on top a garbage hill.” But Mil is shrewd, and he know which folk thow stuff out, and which ones never show up at his workplace.

Then a really cold and blustery Christmas Eve come along and ever’body stayin’ cozy in they houses.  But lo! On Christmas mornin’ folk at twenty-five, thirty houses find the most wonderful collection a toys on they front steps.  Santa done come, and no one saw hit happen.  Well, there was some talk around town.  But when the same thing happen again the next Christmas Eve, people really start to wonder who is blessin’ them thisa way.  It is fine for the kids to believe it is Santa, but we know better.

So on the next 24th a December, three, four a the guys make it up amongst theyselves to find out once and for all who the Secret Santa is.  By postin’ theyselves around town, keepin’ a low profile, so to speak, Frank Chambers, you know Frank, has the weldin’ shop back a the school?  Frank finely ’bout ‘leven o’clock spot Santa at work down on South 4th Street.  Busted!  Hit were Milford.  Now whilst Mil was makin’ his own livin’ sortin’ and sellin’ rags and metal and all sort a junk, he was collectin’ toys and takin’ ’em home where he spend his evenin’s repairin’ and paintin’ and makin’ those toys just like new!  And on Christmas Eve he was brightenin’ the lives of a whole passel a kids who he know warn’t likely to get much fer Christmas.

A Tale by Uncle Jep © 2013 David W. Lacy
Uncle Jep’s tales may be read by going to http://vanilla-ststt.blogspot.com  then clicking on “Stories” and “More Stories” tabs near top of page.

(Selected from earlier-told stories of the Boy’s school experiences.)
The Boy is entering fifth grade this term. But it is yet too soon to see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That is to say, he hasn’t yet envisioned the likelihood that school will ever be over. (Had he known then that it would be another forty-six years before “the end” of it all, he might simply have pulled the covers over his head and succumbed to sweet death.)
Trepidation was compounded by the fact that he now resided in a new community.  He would be going to a new school; and basically he knew no one else who would be there. The upside? Who said there could be an upside? Okay, okay. It was this. The Boy now lived only two doors from Bristol School and no longer did he have to slog miles and miles through rain and snow and cold and heat to get to his appointed spot for the school day. He could simply walk out the back door, go to the alley, walk the forty yards to the playground wall, drop down into the school grounds, and he was there. *groan*There, actual experience was not only every bit as bad as his little imagination could ideate, it was in reality much worse than he had anticipated. His fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Kennedy, who was nice enough as teachers go, and The Boy has no negative memories of her as a person. But in the “semi-departmentalized” arrangement in this den of torture, everyone went to Miss Gardiner for arithmetic, and to Miss Anderson for music. Remember the terror who was the first-grade teacher? Miss Gardiner was this terror writ large. Black dress, white collar, corset stays visible up her backside. Someone (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) placed a thumbtack, point up, in her chair once while she was out of the room. She returned, sat in her chair and showed absolutely no sign that there was a problem. When she stood to write on the chalkboard, the tack was plainly stuck in her derriere. Wooden woman.

Hi.  I’m “vanilla.”  I have been blogging for more than three years on another platform.  I am making a deliberate choice to move my ramblings to WordPress.   Even though I am experienced in using tools for blogging, it is evident that I will have new things to learn as I launch “String Too Short.”  My previous blogging was done under the titles “String Too Short to Tie” and “Bob Warr.”

Along with the choice of WordPress for blogging, I am selecting “Dogpile” and “Bing” as my search engines of choice.  I really hope this works out for me, because I really know little and want to learn more.  I have used Dogpile and find that it has some advantages, principally in that it seems to sort more directly to the desired topic and thus returns fewer undesirable sites to sort through.  Bing is new to me, so I’ve no comment as yet. I hope my previous readers will find me here, for interactions with other bloggers have been the best part of the blogging experience!  Really.

So, here we go