Blog, fiction

Opposite Writing Challenge

If you have not seen my earlier post about this writing challenge, check it out and feel free to join in. I will post links to all participants’ blogs next week.

Here’s my take.


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The Accident

Tears ran down Peter’s cheek as he listened to the doctor. Carrie was in rough shape. It had been a really bad fall. She had two broken ribs, a hairline fracture in her clavicle, a broken wrist, and a number of severe cuts and bruises. He managed to insert pins to reconnect the fragile bones in her wrist and hoped she would not suffer any loss in range of motion.

The doctor suggested Peter go home for a bit and give her a chance to rest. Peter shook his hand and thanked him profusely. He was so worried. She looked so broken lying sprawled out at the bottom of the steps; She was unconscious and he was afraid to move her. He was relieved when the paramedics got her into the ambulance.

Once home, Peter pulled off his jacket and tossed it across the back of the couch. The blood stained carpet and pieces of splintered banister made him nauseous. He walked upstairs to see what would be required to repair the broken railing.

As he knelt down he caught his reflection in the hall mirror. He barely recognized the face looking back at him.

”I’m so sorry, Carrie. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I will change, I promise.”


The Date

It had taken a while but Margo finally shed the extra 20 pounds she put on during her pregnancy. She had a difficult delivery which led to an emergency C-section, but Lexie was a happy and healthy child so she was thankful. She insisted on breast-feeding but had not realized what a toll the constant on-demand feedings would take out of her.

When it came time to return to work, she found herself paralyzed. The doctor diagnosed her with post-natal depression. Her six week maternity leave turned into two years, but she was finally back to her old self. Six months back on the job and she was again filled with joy.

Margo was so excited she could not stand it. She had been looking forward to Friday night all week. It had been so long since she enjoyed dinner at a fancy restaurant with hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages! She found time on her lunch break to run by the cleaners and pick up her favorite little black dress.

Rex was a kind and understanding partner. He had the ability to anticipate her needs before she ever spoke them out loud. He was going to die when he saw her in that little black dress. It was going to be a great evening and she even anticipated a little romance at bedtime. Margo was slipping into her heels just as she heard Rex open the kitchen door. She gave herself an approving glance in the mirror, grabbed her purse and walked out of the bedroom.

”Wow! You look fantastic!” Rex smiled and gave her that same wink he used when they first met six years ago. Margo walked toward him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “And you smell great, too.” He smiled. “Are you sure you want to go out?”

Margo chuckled, took her keys off the hook and opened the door leading into the garage. “Of course I’m sure. The girls are waiting”. As she waved, Rex smiled and closed the door behind her.

He turned when he heard the giggle in the hallway.

”Daddy, you ready for our date?”

Rex fought back the tears. He had been looking forward to tonight all week.

Blog, memories

Country Store Memories, Part IV Final: Ruth Esther’s Store

If you look up the definition for a holler it will say something to the effect of it being a hollow or a valley in the mountains. A holler is much more than that. It is a community within or an offshoot of a larger community. Where I grew up, a holler was somewhat isolated, but populated with a close community. A holler has one way in and you must traverse the same road out.

Our holler was a little more open that some around where we lived, but it was definitely away from the central part of the Valley. At one time (before I remember) there was a small foot bridge that crossed the creek providing a shorter journey into the Valley itself. I believe it was washed out during a bad storm and never rebuilt. The walk into the Valley could be a 30 to 40 minute walk even by walking the railroad tracks which provdes a shorter path.

When the depot closed, Arthur’s store was still not such a long walk, but once he closed his store, that meant everyone in the holler would need to walk all the way to Clarence’s which was in the upper end of the Valley. I have no way of knowing if this is why Ruth Esther opened her store, but it was definitely closer than walking into the Valley.

Ruth Esther and Vernon (her husband) lived in a large white house at the crest of the last large hill before the road dipped down heading into the holler. (When we finally got bikes, climbing this gravel covered road might have been the place you would choose to get off and walk your bike to the top.) I believe Vernon built the bluish block building in front of their house which became the store.

I always loved Ruth Esther. If you read my earlier story about the train depot, you may remember she worked at the train depot when I was a child. I thought she was beautiful with her vivid red lipstick and her vivid red nails. She looked like a movie star to me. She was always well dressed and as I said, such a kind woman.

Writing these stories now makes me wonder what must have required to maintain these little stores and also manage a house and a farm. It could not have been easy, although I am not sure what, if any, regulations they may have been required to follow. Back then, however, this store made a nice halfway stopping point to get a cold drink or a snack heading to or from the holler.

The inventory was slim as I think the intent was to provide basic necessities. Unfortunately, the lack of necessary staples still forced people to go to Clarence’s store to get the supplies they needed. I cannot tell you how long the store was open, but it was short-lived in comparison to the other stores. The building still stands, echoing memories from the past.

The last I knew, Ruth Esther was still alive, living in the same house on top of that last hill heading into the holler.