Dreams of spooning

Daily Prompt – Fork

It’s so junior high, but it was so much fun!

“Fork it over,” said the spoon. “I heard them say, ‘you’re done’.” She was hoping this would be the last time she ever saw him or heard his barb-like wit.

“They said ‘put a fork in it’ you hollowed out excuse for flatware,” replied the fork, trying not to see how smooth and well-rounded she was.

“You’re finished,” shouted the spoon. “’Your tine has come.”spoon and fork

“Haha, you pint-sized ladle.

“You’re such a prick,” shouted the spoon.

“Yeah, and I’ll stick it to you if you’re not careful.” They both looked down sadly knowing it was true. Their shiny finishes seemed to dull. The first time Fork spilled over into Spoon’s tray, their parents had warned them.

They could be friends and co-workers but their dream of spooning would always be tainted.










If it’s good enough for Einstein

Daily Prompt – Countless

“Twenty sit-ups,” I say enthusiastically and start counting, “One, two, three, four. . .”

Five minutes later, “Ten burpees. You can do bicycle absthis! One, two, three. . .”

Countless counting! I count reps all day long. I count to twenty countless times during a day. If I expand that time frame to a week, a month or a year using the word “countless” becomes an understatement.

Counting is important in my business because it is one way to measure a person’s improvement. I’m good at my job, but I’m a terrible counter. I start out well enough then my attention turns to form or I want to explain how the muscles work in a particular exercise. My counting starts to sound like that of a two-year-old.  “One, two, three, four, five—drop your back knee—three, four…”

If my client has been training with me for a while, they quickly point out, “that’s six.”

“Right, six. We’re doing twenty. You know I can’t count. You count,” I’ll say and continue the explanation.

This whole counting thing goes back to my multi-tasking abilities—or I should say lack of multi-tasking skills. I don’t multi-task.  I don’t think there is any shame in not being an accomplished multiAlbert_Einstein_by_ken_chen.jpgtasker; I’m just not good at it.

Actually, I used to multi-task, but Mom said I was scatterbrained and teachers said I couldn’t stay on task. So I developed strategies to overcome my multi-tasking shortcomings.

I write everything down. I am an avid note-taker. I am renowned for my outlining, highlighting, labeling and organizing skills.

These strategies have created other problems, however. My obsessive outlining and note-taking has diminished my memorization abilities which in turn makes writing down everything even more important.

My spreadsheets of client workouts are extensive. I record the exercise, repetitions, sets and countless other data. Some of my co-workers consider this record-keeping a sign of professionalism, others as an idiosyncrasy. I always thought of it as a crutch.

Then I read Einstein’s words, “Never memorize something that you can look up.”

Saying the words, “wait a sec while I look it up,” used to embarrass me. I felt that as an intelligent person I should have this information on the tip of my tongue. Well, those days are over!

I am in the company of geniuses. If it is good enough for Einstein, it is good enough for me!




The Summer of ’66

The Summer of ’66

“Roll down the back seat window. It’s hot!” I shouted over my shoulder, my hands slippery with sweat on the steering wheel of the 1961 Chevy Bel Air station wagon. The window at the rear of the wagon didn’t roll down, so what little air there was floated to the back and became trapped. Even if every window was open, no air could circulate in the cave-like behemoth.

1961 bel air station wagonAgainst Mom’s wishes, Dad let me have the station wagon, telling her it was a tank and virtually indestructible. “She’ll be the last one standing,” he smiled and gave Mom a hug.

McDuff hollered over the wind, “It’s so neato you got the car!”

“Bitchin, McDuff,” McDuff was what everyone called Mary McDuff. She wasn’t really my friend; she was my best friend Bernie’s friend. Bernie’s mom wouldn’t let her ride in a car with another teenager driving. “Not enough driving experience,” Bernie’s mom had her. McDuff’s mother obviously didn’t object, and I had lied to my mother about where I was going and who was going with me.

I had been afraid I wouldn’t get the car. Mom and I had argued this morning.  “What’s the point of having a driver’s license and a car if you never let me go anywhere.”

“Please,” I begged. “I’ll be careful.” She wasn’t budging.

“Dad will be okay with it. Let’s call him. Come on, Mom.” I sidled lovingly up beside her and felt her weaken.

“Fine,” she said. “But you have to take Susie. And, you have to stop at the Winn Dixie to pick up the roast I ordered.” What a bummer. Susie was my baby sister and five years younger than me. Taking her along would be a real drag.

“If you tell Mom anything, I’ll kill you,” I told her as we walked to the car. “And don’t say anything dumb in front of McDuff.”

“I won’t. I promise,” she said. Susie was sweet and she worshipped me, but she was incredibly stupid about what not to tell Mom to avoid getting in trouble.

“Whatever,” I thought as I stretched out my legs and adjusted the seat. Coming through for my friends was all that mattered. This was my chance to win McDuff over. She had been doing more and more things with Bernie and not including me.  My plan was to become the indispensable member of a threesome. I would be the friend with a car.

“Get in the back,” I told Susie when we pulled up to McDuff’s house.

“Who’s this” McDuff asked as she slammed the heavy car door.

“My sister. I had to bring her or I couldn’t have the car.” I shrugged apologetically.

“It’s cool,” she replied.

“Where are we meeting them?” I asked. “Them” referring to the three boys McDuff had met the previous weekend at White Lake, a summer hangout twenty miles from home. McDuff swore they were very cute, smoked cigarettes, and liked to lay out on the pier tanning. They had promised to treat us to burgers at Hardees.

“It better be on the side by the pier,” I said, “or we’ll have to drive around forever trying to find a parking space.”

On the pier side of the lake was a paved parking lot with pull-in spaces. If the lot was full, sweaty drivers squeezed their cars bumper-to-bumper on either side of a two lane road that edged the lake. I could barely park the wide whale of a vehicle in a pull-in space. Mastering the clutch with the gearshift on the column was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Parallel parking was a requirement to get a driver’s license, and I had barely passed the test in a much smaller sedan. The jutting, high profile tailfins on the wagon made it nearly impossible to see the car behind me. The all steel body was difficult for me to maneuver, and even the thought of backing up terrified me.

“They’re saving us a space,” she said.

Relieved, I turned the volume up on the radio. It was the summer of 1966 and my favorite song by the Troggs was playing. The three of us tunelessly belted out,

Troggs album cover wild thing“Wild thing, I think  I love you

You make everything groovy, wild thing

Wild thing, I think I love you

But I wanna know for sure

Come on and hold me tight I love you.”

We leaned to the center of the front seat and curled our hands as though holding microphones. We rolled our eyes at each other and laughed. It was working; McDuff liked me. Bernie, McDuff and I were going to be a trio of friends.



The Writer Within

The Writer Within – Daily Prompt

               Reading books about writing make me believe I can write.  Every sentence inspires me and creates a mental picture of my hands flying over the keyboard generating thought provoking prose. Taking that picture one step further, I see a reader pause and make a pensive turn of the head to contemplate a particularly poignant passage.  At that point, when I am enthused about writing and my abilities, I should put down the book and reach for my computer. But I continue to read.

               It is so much easier to read about writing than to write. I started blogging to find the writer that I know is deep within me. She was there when I was ten years old and every experience was new. I had to share them with the world. I wrote every day. I wrote short essays in my precise printing and then later in the cursive script that was required in elementary school. I wrote poems. I wrote imaginative stories about little girls with hats and silly fears of  being sucked down the drain with the bath water. There was always something to write about.

             first place blue ribbon  In the eighth grade I won first place in the school essay contest and received a blue ribbon, which I still have, for an essay that included the phrase, “the pitter patter of little raindrops.”  At the end-of-the-year assembly the winners from each grade read their papers aloud.  I squeezed the words “pitterpatter” together and spoke them in a quick staccato voice mimicking the sound I heard in my head. I felt so creative.

               When I got to high school, the only class I liked was Creative Writing. I was dismayed to discover that I wasn’t the best writer in the class. Each week the teacher would select an essay to read aloud to the class. Where did everyone come up with their ideas? How did they manage to make everything so interesting? I kept writing and writing, and one day it happened. The teacher picked my paper to read!

               Writing made my days better. It brought me joy. Writing helped me discover more about myself.  I loved writing! And then, day-by-day I wrote less and less. It happened slowly, and I barely noticed that I wasn’t writing any more. I still thought of myself as a writer even though the only thing I wrote were “to do” lists and research papers.

               It’s been five decades since I heard my essay read to my high school Creative Writing class. That’s fifty years! How could I have gone so long without writing? Is she still there? Is that young girl with all the ideas and need to tell her stories still there? I’m looking.







Getting Ready for Church


Getting Ready for Church-Daily Prompt

           It was Saturday night. My sister and I heard the high-pitched sound of insects being electrocuted as they were lured to their deaths by the hazy, yellow light of the bug-catcher in our carport. Occasionally one of us would swat at a mosquito who was more attracted to our tanned, bar arms than the bug-catcher’s eerie glow. Georgia should have made the mosquito its state bird instead of the Brown Thrasher, my character in the school play.

               The two of us sat side-by-side on the scratchy bench of the picnic table Dad built last summer and hoped Mom would forget we were outside. Once inside it would be baths for everyone and Mom’s soft Southern drawl telling us to get our things ready for Sunday morning.

               Sundays were a big deal in our home. It was an all-day family extravaganza that began the night before, sometimes even days before if there was shopping to be done or food to prepare for the frequent “dinners-on-the-ground.”

               Tonight was “plain.” That’s what my sister and I called it when we didn’t have to do anything extra. We figured Mom might give us a little more time outside. It didn’t take us long to get ready when it was “plain.”

               “Come on in girls.” Momma’s voice was soft, not soft like you couldn’t hear her, but soft and sweet. It made both of us want to make her happy. It was easy to make Mom happy. Anything we did, well almost anything, made her smile. She loved us.  Even when we didn’t want to take the time to lay our little white gloves and black patent leather shoes, we did it because she so obviously enjoyed the fun of dressing us up.

               We didn’t race inside, we weren’t that eager to make her happy, but we didn’t lollygag either. ScannedImage-11

               Mom already had our matching pink chiffon dresses laid out on the toy box at the end of the bed. Each pile was placed in the order we were to put them on, starting with a clean pair of white panties. Depending on what dress we were wearing, a thin white cotton slip and maybe even a crinoline, would be next. Next was the dress. Tonight it was the pink chiffon.   It was a very, very pale pink. There was a three-inch ruffle around the bottom and a matching ruffle around the bodice.  The ruffles had two layers, thin enough to see through. And finally, the shrug. We loved our shrugs. There was pearl beading around the edges and short sleeves.

               Black patent leather shoes were placed on the floor beside the toy box, with a pair of white lace trimmed sox inside.

               Our white gloves and our ivory hats, not white, Momma liked ivory, were on the dresser. We each had a black patent clutch that held our Tithe Envelop. We each got four quarters to put inside. We felt very grown up when we sat in the pew between our parents and Momma would hold the collection plate down low enough so we could place our envelopes inside.

               “Now we’re all ready for church,” Momma said beaming. “Let’s say our prayers together.” We all bowed our heads, steepled our hands and recited the words to the Lord’s Prayer as best we could. Sometimes Momma would stop and say a phrase over and we would repeat it again, knowing we hadn’t quite gotten it right.

               We were ready. Our family would look grand when we walked down the aisle of The First Southern Baptist Church tomorrow morning.


Running Buddies

            Running Buddies

My tan baseball cap emblazoned with a “reduce, reuse, recycle” logo wasn’t providing nearly enough protection. Rather than protecting me, it imprisoned me. The band squeezed my head, the cap created a sizzling hair sauna, and the bill intensified the shimmering, bicycle spoke-like bands of blinding sunlight.  I weaved awkwardly on the uneven clay ditch bank, worsened by the holes used by the burrowing owls for nests.

“The hat has to go,” I thought. As if reading my thoughts, a small, feisty mama owl swooped down and sharply pecked the top of my cap, not to dislodge it but to defend her babies. “What about my baby!”  My head did an owl-like spin and spotted Taco, my eight-pound Chihuahua who was nearly invisible on the hard-packed, light brown dirt. What if mama owl thought Taco was a desert rodent? I waved my arms and turned just in time to see her descending toward Taco.

Taco and Daisy



“No you don’t,” I screamed. “Go! Off! Get lost!” I shouted as I reached down to rescue my baby. Mama owl was only about eight inches long and her wing span was only about a foot wide, small for a burrowing owl.  What I saw was a gargantuan, fire-breathing dragon, and I stood as bravely as Beowolf ready to conquer Grendel. Taco barked, squirmed in my arms, and jumped down to chase the fleeing monster.

Sweet victory! We danced joyfully! I tossed my cap in the air, and Taco ran gleefully in circles. The scorching heat was forgotten, the dusty air ignored. Energized and triumphant, our legs running in rhythm, we headed down the ditch bank—two buddies on a morning run.