Frog Ditch

She was named Lillie, but everyone called her Lil.  Her bright blond hair and sharp blue eyes caught your attention as soon as you met.  She was feisty and fierce and a little bit mouthy, but I loved her for it.  She would say the things I wanted to say, but couldn’t.

On the day she disappeared, I didn’t think much of it.  She probably took off and didn’t tell anyone.  That’s just the way she was.  

So when they found her floating face down in Frog Ditch, I fell apart.  She was too tough to die. 

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photo credit: Erin Leary

Thanks to Rochelle and to Erin Leary for the photo. Read more stories at Friday Fictioneers. Here’s the link:



snuggly, cuddly, soft and comfy,

silky, satiny, velvety and cozy,


yellow pajamas

Yep, that’s me.

Lately, there has been  nothing that can soothe me like a good pair of pajamas.

They bring me joy. 

Slip on a pair of white fluffy stretchy socks, sink into the recliner with a good book or favorite movie, cover up with a favorite quilt or fleecy blanket (electric is good) and I have reached Nirvana.

Add a cup of hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate, a glass of wine….perfection!

My love affair with pajamas goes back to my childhood.  From the first pair of footed pajamas that I accidentally caught on fire to my current flannel granny gowns.  I am in love!



To read about my burning pajamas go to Up In Smoke. Here’s the link:






The battle was hard.  She fought.  Two years of ups and downs.  Her family fought beside her, soaring high with every positive report and crashing to the ground with every disappointment.  It was more than anyone should have to do.

She did not recognize her own body.  Her voice and speech patterns belonged to another.  Every part of her being had changed. Except for one part.

Her Faith remained strong.  It did not waiver.  The battle raged on but so did her Faith.  There were tears and despair

But in the end, she soared on the wings of an angel.


Melanie Greenwood photo

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The Legend of the Animals

Retired Ruth

legend of the animals  It seems quite natural that animals play a big part in the Christmas celebration.  After all, Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by animals.  And Santa has those magical reindeer at his beck and call.
As a young girl, growing up on the farm I loved the Legend of the Animals.  According to the legend, at midnight on Christmas Eve, all the animals on the farm would be given the gift of speech for one hour.
What an enchanting story!  I wanted to believe this one with all my heart.
I wanted to be able to talk to the baby calves.  What would they say to me? What would they say to each other?   Would the barn cats talk to me?
 In my young imagination, I fantasized about them singing Christmas carols and talking about the Baby Jesus.
My parents were always “early to bed early to…

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The Gift Exchange

December 1956.


a similar 1950’s classroom

The first grade classroom crackled with excitement.  Small packages wrapped in bright papers rustled in our hands.  Make no mistake though,  Mrs. Gassman was still very  much in charge of the room.  We were all seated and squirming excitedly in our nailed-to-the-floor seats.

A few weeks earlier, we had exchanged names, in a very orderly methodical way.  We each took a sheet of paper out of our yellow tablets and cut off a piece of paper (that we had measured with our wooden rulers).  Yes, there was always learning taking place in that classroom.  We very carefully printed our first and last name on that small piece of yellow paper, folded it once, and when our row was called, we marched to the teacher’s desk and dropped it in  a small basket. Then the teacher walked up and down each row with the basket as each student drew a name for the Christmas Gift Exchange.

“Now, if you get your own name, please put it back,” Mrs. Gassman explained, “you don’t want to buy yourself a gift, do you?”   Of course, the class goofball had a comment for that, but it was low-spoken so the teacher did not hear.  Maybe she just ignored it.

“Keep this a secret.  And don’t lose your name!  No one else knows whose name you have selected.  We don’t want any disappointments! And remember the gift limit is twenty-five cents.”

Today was the day we had been anticipating for weeks.  In her usual orderly fashion our teacher called out for row one to deliver their gifts.  Then row two, row three, and finally row four.  We waited impatiently for everyone to give and receive their gift and then we were directed to open our presents.  And, of course, we were reminded to thank the giver.

I opened my small package, which was long and narrow, and wrapped with a pretty bow.  Opening the tiny black box inside, I discovered a pearl necklace!  I was delighted and disappointed at the same time.  I was hoping for some type of toy, but at the same time… this was my very first piece of jewelry.  Ever!  I quickly decided to go for the delighted emotion and carefully examined the necklace.  It was attached in several places with tiny string so it would lay flat in the box until you removed it.  Of course, I wanted to wear it right away so I tore into the necklace and it exploded!  Tiny beads popped all over my desk, rolling onto the floor and creating a minor disruption in my area of the room.  I had broken the necklace getting it out of the box.  I was crushed.  I quickly began gathering up the tiny white beads (and they were tiny) with the help of my classmates and dumped them into the box with the white silky lining.  My eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with real disappointment.  Mrs. Gassman quickly came over and reassured me that when I got home, the beads could be restrung on a new piece of string and it would be as good as new.  I had my doubts.


Somehow, the rest of the day played out.  I’m sure we had a treat of juice and Christmas cookies and usually the school or the PTA provided each of us with a nice brown paper bag full of goodies, including an orange and chocolate drops (my favorite as a first grader).  There were many more gift exchanges in my future.  I did learn to be a little more careful while opening gifts.  Later I became the teacher in my own little classroom and supervised a few gift exchanges of my own.  This first one was the most memorable by far.






Smiles and Tears


At the grocery last week, I glanced up from the piles of food moving slowly toward the bagging area.   The old man was standing by the customer service desk, hunched over with baggy faded overalls.  He shuffled slowly up to the desk, and my heart beat a little faster, even knowing it could not be him.   When he turned slightly to hear what the clerk was saying, my heart sank.  Of course it wasn’t him.  This was the second Christmas without him.

A week later, out with friends at a small bistro, a nicely dressed woman helped her mother move through the room.  Her mother was frail but smiling and working hard to walk past our table toward the door.  My friend moved some chairs out of the way to make a path and asked if she wanted to sit down with us for a moment.  She sat precariously on the edge of the wooden chair.  It was all I could do to hold it together.  I quickly took a drink of water to drown that thick feeling in my throat that often accompanies tears. This was the tenth year without her.

Struggles with parents are some of life’s most difficult moments.  I could have said that many times throughout my life, but I had no clue just how difficult those moments would be at the end.  Both of my parents were lost first to dementia, then to death.  I had no idea how difficult it could be. even after they were gone.

Holidays bring joy and family together, but they also bring feelings of loss.  I find myself in tears frequently during the Christmas season.  Listening to favorite Christmas songs, hunting for the holiday recipe written in mom’s handwriting, and old photos of holidays past are with me, especially at this time of year.

Sending blessings to everyone during this season.  As you gather with friends and family, your joys and sadness will always be a part of your life.  Those cherished memories will always bring smiles and tears.

Glenn, Ron, Marjorie, Ruth Circa 1951

My first Christmas 1950.


Swan Song

I don’t usually read other stories before writing my Friday contribution, but I drew a blank on this picture.  I figured someone would take the Big Bird Idea and run with it and that WAS my first thought.  I have only read four or five but each one was wonderful and a completely different story.

Thanks to Rochelle and thanks to Luther Siler for this unusual photo!



The shiny black marble floor showed no signs of a struggle.  No footprints, fingerprints, or blood accompanied the brutal scene.

Detective Brim took copious notes, as always, and then had the young police photographer do his job.

“Gosh, Chief,” the young lad crowed, “what do you think happened here?  This is just too weird.”

The Chief grinned.  “Well you could say this goose is cooked…”  he chirped.  Chief had a unusual sense of humor.

“It could be the work of that bat out of hell,” he fluttered.

“But that wouldn’t explain the golden egg in the corner, would it?”



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