Fridays With Dale: A Secret

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


A Secret

By Dale Angel

                                                  

The big black man sat in the back seat in worn overalls and a checkered shirt. He wore large, ankle-high, shiny, black work shoes that looked new, and a wide brim hat pulled down over his face. He was our passenger. He tolerated disrespect every morning on the ride to the cotton fields, as my dad made unkind remarks. He spoke rarely in a quiet voice to defend himself.

One day, my dad and mom went to town and left me alone at the cabin. Three young men wandered by. They wore black pants, had longish hair combed in a duck tail, and chains hanging from their waist. People called them Zoot Zooters. They stopped and began to tease me in a way I didn’t understand. I was frightened.

Out of the cabin door across from ours came the big black man. He took my hand, and it puzzled me. He talked with them. He kept hold of my hand. They left after a while.

He invited me into his cabin and gave me a cup of water. I had never been there before. Against the wall was a bed made of straw. A scrap made table was covered with an old piece of oil cloth. A box nailed to the other wall contained food stuff. A kerosene lamp sat on a shelf; in the corner was a wood burning stove. I never told anyone about the visits to the cabin. I promised I wouldn’t.

 My father continued to be harsh and disrespectful.

One morning, we moved to another cotton patch. He didn’t ride with us. I cautiously looked across the field among the workers who were gleaning and stripping last of the cotton crop. I searched every row.

He wasn’t there.

I wanted to cry. I was angry, and hurt, I wanted to tell someone.  Returning to my sack, I pulled the soft cotton out of its sharp fingers and used it to mop warm childish tears. 

Those soft wounded eyes that looked at me, saw only me. When the hat was removed, crinkly grey and white hair wrapped around like a wreath.  Gentle hands helped me butter warm biscuits, and explained how to cut them in half and dip them in coffee with sugar and canned milk in a whispered voice that covered me like a mantle of warm syrup. I felt taller in the presence of love. I wanted to be pretty and wear black shiny work shoes, and a wide brim hat to cover my head.

 In the valley below the cotton field, the train whistled, as it gathered speed. The distant rattle of empty boxcars…were not empty. The freight train disappeared down the tracks…. She… still travels with me, I want her to know I kept our secret.

…..I want her to know …..I kept our secret.

Dale Angel

 

 


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Fridays With Dale: Creative Word Assassins

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Creative Word Assassins

By Dale Angel

                                                  

The enraged man shouts, ”May you doubt your heritage from your mother!” The other retaliates. ”I hope you get what I passed to your wife!”

 

About a week after he ran off with his secretary, a man called home to tell his wife to sell his Porsche and send him the money. She did and sent him all $15.

 

These old stories still amuse me. Have people’s creativity so diminished that it’s easier to shoot our opponents? That requires no intellectual effort! Are we losing our ability to be creative assassins with the pen or tongue? It can be very effective without drawing blood.

 

I think I prefer elaborate written notes that are so smooth and flowery one has to hunt for the rejection. The word dagger slides in so smooth one doesn’t feel it until later, or can understand what happened until one perceives a $15 check.

 

If one has the skills of the tongue, he can use this weapon without it being lethal…sometimes in a moment of passion, words can deliver a wound, yet the victim continues to breathe for forty more years. At least there is still a chance it can be repaired, but the instant shot is not always that forgiving.

 

Both the pen and the gun still leave you with your conscience. What do you do with that? You can assassinate yourself, wishing you had been more understanding by not drawing your pen so fast. With a gun, rarely is there a second chance to mend relationships, and the more heart felt flowery language used to convey personal feelings the easier it is to accept.

 

Once in a group I heard an attacker being unfair (mean) towards the attackee. The attackee was asked to say prayer. At the end he thanked God, for keeping his foot from kicking the attacker under the table. You don’t forget these live misunderstandings. They have so much more flavor! The entertainment was better than the food. A shot would be so bland and uninteresting. The rest of the evening went well.

 

I’m in desperate need of useful, delightful, scented words to add to my vocabulary if you have some you want to give away.  But…there is something powerful in creative words. I can’t put my finger on it maybe you can.

 

I can’t see well enough to shoot.

Dale Angel

 

 


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Fridays With Dale: Lost Laborer

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Lost Laborer

By Dale Angel

                                                  

The early morning work began…until no longer I could see, today is it walnuts, potatoes oranges or stripping olive trees?

Miles and miles of rows and rows…crops were picked by hand while other children went to school as a migrant worker, I labored as a man

Washington was for apples, Idaho was for peas, Arizona was for cotton

California lettuce, sometimes working fields overlooking the awe inspiring sea

At night traveling the highway my bed was earth or straw, always moving.

To Oregon for berries or hops, beans, filberts, hoeing mint, Hood River cherries

Up and down ladders or on my knees I crawled

Melons in Imperial Valley or cutting asparagus for farmers Japanese…drying

grapes between rows for raisins…nectarines…plums…peaches,   pickers for tomatoes and almonds there’s a serious need, taking refuge in childish daydreams

stopping now and then for water …only minutes of reprieve moving up the rows towards

sunset, fruit tramps a title of malice and disrespect which do I perceive?

Days, months, years were spent in labor camps with gypsies, living in the car on river banks or temporary tents

Moving through landscapes that needed no fences…while the world was at war in flames

In the fields orchards or vineyards a reign of peaceful innocence

I lost the little girl laborer who sang in harmony, danced in palaces, slept

In clean beds lived in a house with sheer white curtains…… in her wildest dreams…

Who saw her world as a garden as far as her eyes could see…with a rainbow of colors bouncing off the leaves

 … I’m looking for her…….I want her company

 

 

Dale Angel

 

 


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Fridays With Dale: Failed Relationships

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Failed Relationships

By Dale Angel

                                                  

I have come to realize that my assumptions of relevancy and value and worth may be just that, my own.  When in reality, these assumptions were built on illusions. Any coming together in mind and spirit and heart need be built on mutual respect.

Failed relationships may be siblings, parents, lovers or friends. Expectations can be the worst problems to deal with. You expect others to treat you like you treat them. For whatever reason, when expectations are not met, it causes pain, and then resentment may enter in. I’ve read they travel together.

What to do when one finds him or herself at the short end of a failed relationship? It is common to cry out in distress or be angry. It is especially painful when you have invested years of emotion and the other party feels no obligation or loyalty. Time will help. Tears are healthy. Even anger, if it subsides in due time.

During the mourning process a maturity will appear within…its acceptance. This can be a long journey with every day a mountain to climb. A learning takes place that you will own, you will treasure.

When the sun shines again, there is peace. You find yourself stronger, less willing to take risks. Yet more open to equal positions, not so needy and dependent, more sure of who you are.  You have more to offer and ask for in return.

Failed relationships are a growing tool even when you would never have visited that place on your own. You can benefit from the disaster. It’s like building a new structure on an old site. You have a completely different building in mind.  It may not be as elaborate, but with more strength and more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

Dale Angel

 

 


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Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry

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Fridays With Dale: In Defense of Weeds

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


In Defense of Weeds

By Dale Angel

                                                  

I appreciate weeds for their perseverance and persistence. They travel through all seasons…sometimes on their knees. When there’s no rain, they lie close to the earth and don’t whimper for their thirst, defiantly waiting with aggressive personalities that many consider unfriendly.

As soon as rain falls, they crawl to the roses and wraps their arms around them, shamelessly carrying on a one sided love affair. The garden has been commandeered before it even knows there’s war!

You won’t either, until your foot becomes tangled as you walk along the path. You wonder, “Where did they come from?” They crept in quietly while you were watching the sunset. No matter if you’re kings or peasants, they visit all without prejudice.

They live with few admirers or support system, doing their job wandering across the landscape clothing the naked earth weaving mountains and valleys in their fingers holding our world together like a knitted garment.

I admire their inner strength and quiet underappreciated value…although, I’m a little intimidated by their fearless tenacity to do their job.  Where their foot prints are left, the earth has been enriched…

They come with various tendencies and strengths and weaknesses.  There’s a place for us all here…be gentle…they may have the cure we are looking for.

 

 

Dale Angel

 

 


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.