Best of Member Monday #6: Babies in the Park by Maggi Milton

A Note from the Webmaster: It’s summertime, the glorious season of swimming, sunblock and sinking your teeth into a fat stack of books.  Alas, it’s also the sad season when Writers Forum goes dark for two months.  Never fear, dear reader, because for the next eight Mondays, Writers Forum will be featuring the Best of Member Monday.  The top eight Member Monday pieces were determined by the number of views each piece received on our website.  We’ll count them down beginning from #8 and ending with our #1 most viewed piece of the 2013-2014 Writers Forum year.  Congratulations to the top eight!  Taking the #6 slot is a piece by Writers Forum member Maggi Milton.

Babies in the Park

by Maggi Milton

That day I took my customary seat on the bench farthest from the fountain but still within the central square.  I don’t know how long I was engrossed in my crossword puzzle – 10, 20 minutes at least, the sandwich I brought from home long gone, the taste of honey mustard but a memory – when I realized I was hearing babies.  At first they just babbled back and forth. I tried to ignore the noise but you know how that goes. Once I noticed the sounds I was not able not to hear them.
Frustrated, I became more and more annoyed at the interruption of my quiet and solitude.  I began to pack up in disgust when I realized the babble was no longer babble but had somehow switched into English. I actually heard one of them say, “…wish she would stop jiggling my seat. It’s enough to make me scream but if I do scream, she gets all upset and picks me up and burps me. I mean, give me a break!  Burping is NOT a cure-all.  It’s okay after I drink a bottle and the milk just kinda sits there, you know what I mean?  A burp is always helpful to spit out the bubble and clear my throat. It’s very satisfying when I can aim beyond the nappy and hit her blouse. But what is it with this jiggling?”
I was incredulous. What I was hearing was unbelievable, and I looked to my left to find the source of this voice. Two prams sat side by side in front of two nannies who had their heads together, conversing in what sounded like Spanish. Inside each pram sat a baby dressed in pink, obviously both girls, both wide awake and looking towards each other. One had blond hair, the other brown. The nannies jiggled the prams with their foot while absorbed with their own exchange.
The brown headed said “I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes my head spins from all the motion. I’ve tried to shove her foot away, but my arms are too short to reach all the way. She just thinks I’ve lost my balance and am falling out of this contraption, so the jiggling only stops long enough for her to push me back upright.”
Blondie nodded knowingly. “What do you think of this idea?” She said. “The next time they put us on the ground we crawl over to the prams and set the brakes so all motion is stopped? Or, better yet, maybe we cou…  Whoa… There’s a woman over to the right eaves-dropping”
Two sets of eyes swiveled my way. I felt like the rabbit caught in the headlights; all I could do was gape at them. The two sets of eyes turned back towards each other. Two mouths opened wide and from them erupted high-pitched screams like I had never heard before.
The startled nannies vaulted from their seats, snatched the screeching babies from the prams, and clutched them to their shoulders.  With quick good-byes, they grabbed the handles of the prams and hustled down the path.
Quiet descended as the screaming stopped. Two sets of eyes gazed over the nannies’ shoulders; two babies’ faces smirked at me as they disappeared around the fountain.

 

Best of Member Monday #7: Cut the Cake by Deborah Gilson

A Note from the Webmaster: It’s summertime, the glorious season of swimming, sunblock and sinking your teeth into a fat stack of books.  Alas, it’s also the sad season when Writers Forum goes dark for two months.  Never fear, dear reader, because for the next eight Mondays, Writers Forum will be featuring the Best of Member Monday.  The top eight Member Monday pieces were determined by the number of views each piece received on our website.  We’ll count them down beginning from #8 and ending with our #1 most viewed piece of the 2013-2014 Writers Forum year.  Congratulations to the top eight!  Taking the #7 slot is a piece by Writers Forum member Deborah Gilson.

Cut the Cake

by Deborah Gilson

It was my fifth birthday. Mom headed to work in the city after dropping Ross, my four-year-old brother, and me off at nursery school. From the instant I awoke, I waited for the day to end. At nursery school I told Crystal, the most beautiful little girl ever, I had a cake coming that night after dinner.

The magic moment arrived for my mother to pick Ross and me up from nursery school. On the front passenger seat of our red Volvo station wagon, I saw my cake box. I asked Mom if she could drive home a little faster. Looking at me from her rear view mirror, she said she would try.

Ross pulled a funny trick on the way home and began making siren noises while we crouched on the floorboard of the back seat. Ross told her she was speeding and would probably get a ticket. Mom pulled the car over to the side of the road and waited. When no police car appeared, she heard our muffled giggles. Reaching her 12-foot-long arm into the back seat, Mom could not grab either of us. Exhausted from another day’s work as a single mother, she slowly put the pedal to the metal and continued the drive home.

Standing in our tiny kitchen, my mother asked me, the birthday girl, what I wanted for dinner. With tremendous excitement, I declared, “Dinner shot out of a cannon!” This meant breakfast-style food for dinner, the fastest meal in town.

After dinner, Ross and I cleared the dishes from the kitchen table; my grand event finally arrived. Out of the box came an elegant, small lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. The edges were lined in pink and yellow rosettes. My mother intentionally handed me a spatula, instead of a knife, and said I could cut the cake. My mother began washing the dishes; thankfully, her back was turned away from Ross and me.

With Ross standing as close as possible, I held up the spatula as a sword for his big blue eyes to see, translating my deafening non-verbal message, “Don’t you even think about coming near my cake!” Without saying a word, my mother sensed my selfish and greedy demeanor, so she interjected over her shoulder, “And Ross gets to choose the first piece.” With disbelief and even bigger blue eyes, I screamed, “WWWHHHAAATTT???!!!”

Grabbing my cake from the kitchen table, I gingerly placed it on the kitchen floor. So I would be eye-level with it, I laid down flat on the floor to get a bird’s eye view for the precise cut. Ross laid down next to me, resting his chin on his folded hands. I measured where to cut the cake into pieces so Ross would not have even one granule more. Finally, I felt secure knowing I cut the cake into equal portions. Using the spatula as a serving tool as well as a knife, I gently put a piece of cake onto my plate and walked to the kitchen table with my mouth watering. Again, my mother knew inappropriate behavior took place and told me to hand my piece of cake to Ross.  Tears began to well up by now; I was positive I would have no birthday cake.

Being me has never been easy, however, it is the memories of how I treated my younger brother while growing up, which are difficult to swallow. With Ross no longer living, I think about my birthday night and wish I had done things differently. I long to go back to the evening of April 2, 1965. If this were possible, I would hand the spatula to Ross and say, “It’s my birthday and I want you to cut the cake.”

Debbie & Ross, 1965 PDF Photo.pdf

Best of Member Monday #8: I Think I Could Be a Poem by Linda Boyden

A Note from the Webmaster: It’s summertime, the glorious season of swimming, sunblock and sinking your teeth into a fat stack of books.  Alas, it’s also the sad season when Writers Forum goes dark for two months.  Never fear, dear reader, because for the next eight Mondays, Writers Forum will be featuring the Best of Member Monday.  The top eight Member Monday pieces were determined by the number of views each piece received on our website.  We’ll count them down beginning from #8 and ending with our #1 most viewed piece of the 2013-2014 Writers Forum year.  Congratulations to the top eight!  Kicking things off in the #8 slot is a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.

I Think I Could Be A Poem

By Linda Boyden ©2014

I think I could be a poem.
Nothing fancy
no sestina
no villanelle
no form to
slow
my flow.
I can
keep the
beat rock
the rhyme
in time
in style
make you
smile.
Lick my
words
take your time
savor
the flavor
each bite
holds
guaranteed to
curl your toes.
Yes, all things considered
I could be a poem.

Member Monday: Katy’s Spirits by Deborah Gilson

Welcome back to Member Monday!  Today we feature a piece by Writers Forum member Deborah Gilson.

Katy’s Spirits

by Deborah Gilson

I’d been busting ghosts since I was a young girl, knowing they meant no harm. They were either unaware they’d died or felt they still belonged on planet Earth. Often when someone dies suddenly as in an accident, their spirit guides aren’t there to take them home because the death happened too suddenly for the guides to be alerted or called upon. In other instances, deceased beings feel they have a right to the home they once occupied and return. Others long for the life they once had and return for that familiarity.

Katy, my girlfriend on Kings Mountain, called saying there were ghosts in her home, causing upset since her kindergartner wasn’t sleeping well. She was desperate for my help and asked me to come over. I let her know her home needed to be quiet for me to effectively learn why the ghosts were there.

I went over the next day while her husband was at work and her two children were at school. I’d been sitting on the fireplace and Katy walked in to ask what kind of tea I wanted.  The back door was moving open by itself and she asked why that was happening. I

I said, “Well, I asked them to leave.” We believed the men to be Purdy Pharis, the man who was murdered there in 1884, and Hiriam Haskins, his suspected murderer. I encountered two men quarreling and a boy. I sent them all up in a bubble to fight it out up on top of our house, however, learned they no longer needed to fight. They needed to be heard and understood. The energy inside Katy’s house changed immediately and finally became their own.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Home by Jennifer Phelps

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to once again feature member Jennifer Phelps.  Welcome back, Jennifer!

Home

by Jennifer Phelps

This is a picture of my house – or rather, my yard – of which I will only show a small piece because I am stubbornly private. It’s a good house and, like all good houses, has held its share of pain as well as joy. Call it “seasoning.”

wpid-IMG_20131106_164243_419.jpgI like to say I’ll be here forever, which of course is just one of those silly things we tell ourselves when we love something and can’t imagine letting it go. Who am I to speak of forever? My existence is only a small blip on the radar screen of forever, here and gone in an instant.

My house, though, I love unapologetically: its wide windows that show me the rain, stars, and moonlight; the squeaky hinge on the bathroom door that I could lubricate but somehow never do; the crooked corner in the living room that inspires speculation about drunken drywall contractors.

I love the way light winds its way into each room at a slightly different angle, the way the hall closet still smells of someone else’s candles, the too-sunny greenhouse window that cooks even the hardiest of plants to a pulp in the dense heat of summer.

Best of all, I love the garden, home to hundreds of Pacific tree frogs and numerous speckled, smooth, and mossy boulders – all of which I adore with shameless fanaticism. I love the neighborhood with its foothills for walking, its backdrop of dusky mountains, the way the wild pushes its brambled back up against my fence.

And I even try to love the neighbors – honest, I do try.

I fill my home with the things I love, the cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer that was a wedding present from my grandma, my mother’s bust of Mozart, the old rocking chair my parents carried me to for comfort in the wee hours, the pets I dare to love even though I know they will one day break my heart, and my special people, who share with me daily their truth, wisdom, and grace.

This house is and will be witness to the mundane, the profound, the astonishing.  It is witness to our lives.

 

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!