A Little Birdie Told Me

Sharon had to get a story plunked down, her regular posting was almost due. She’d had a whirlwind of words a couple months ago and wrote one after the other. All she had to do was pick one and post it for so long, she lost the habit. What?Keys

She poured some of her homemade wine and looked back to the blank white page on the screen. What? Just then the dryer kicked off, so she went to fold clothes. On her return, the blank page accosted her once more. Then that insistent dream came at her again.

Three times now she’d dreamed the same marvelous scene. This morning she savored it so long, it made her late for work. Can’t have that anymore! She leaned back and sipped her wine, remembering. She’d been in the house doing some kind of chore when she heard a noise outside. She stepped out onto the screen porch and saw the bright sunshine making dappled shadows. The tree that made the dapples obscured the road, so she went across the porch to the screen door and stepped out into the yard.


The beautiful little birdie that flew into her outstretched had said, “He’s on the way!” Then it flew off into the bluest sky she’d ever seen. The dream held her thoughts. What could it mean? The blank page caught her eye. “I’ll write about that, yeah.”

The story wound about from the dream chores to her telling her friends about the bird to weathering their derision. Night visions, hooey! They laughed and she laughed with them although she still believed it meant something. “Okay, now what? The durned story needs a plot. I could make her start collecting birds. No. I could make her so depressed she … no, the dream was so warm and loving that having something dire happen would just be wrong.

The clock in the corner of the screen said 10:43. She had to rise early for work, so decided to leave the rest for tomorrow night. At least she’d got a start on it. She finished her wine and headed off for beddy-bye. She went to sleep with get up on time riveted into her brain.

Work seemed more onerous than usual; she wanted to get home and finish the story. Naturally, her project took longer than anticipated and everyone else had left by the time she hit ‘save’ for the last time. Gas, of course she had to stop for gas. From there, she considered Burger King but really did want to get right home and the sunshine wouldn’t be around much longer. Thank goodness for pot pies, she’d pop a couple in the microwave first thing.

No sooner had she lit her laptop up, there came a knock on the screen door. UPS with an order? No imminent shipment notification had arrived today. A package from early last week never arrived, so that might be it. No, the UPS guy wouldn’t knock, he’d leave it on the step. Girl Scouts with cookies. Maybe, and thin mints were still the best. If that’s who waited out there, knocking again.

screen-door-1Walking out the door, she saw somebody much taller than a kid. Daylight had faded, yet she discerned he did not wear a brown uniform. At the screen door, she flicked on the outside light and said, “Hello sir. Whatever you’re selling, I can’t afford it. Have a good day.” She turned back.

“Wait a wee minute, I’ve naught to sell.”

His Scotty accent drew her back. “Okay, how can I help you?”

He hoisted a box up into the light’s yellow glow for her to see. “I moved into the house yonder today and found this by the door. It states it belongs to Sharon Turnbull at this address.”

She opened the screen and accepted the box, then stepped outside and let the screen door slam. Gosh the fellow wore handsome tip to toe. “Thanks so much, I’d turned this in as lost.”

“Aye, well, it’s been forlorn o’er there awaiting rescue.” He stuck out a hand. “I’m Michael Dunnaway.”

She adjusted the box to rest on her hip and took his warm hand gladly. “I’m Sharrie and am happy to meet you.” She withdrew her hand sheepishly. “I’m looking forward to meeting your wife. Do you have kids?”

He shook his shaggy head, “Ach, ’tis only me.”

Maria and Her Pappy

“Pappy, I fixed the toilet!”  Her beaming smile fell. “Pappy?” His eyes met hers so she started over. “Pappy, I fixed the toilet! I found the fix-it box with all the parts in it over the dryer and read all the instructions.”Doug

He said nothing, so she sat close by on the sofa and waited for a commercial to come on the TV. She muted the sound and tugged on his arm. “Pappy, I used Mama’s tools but I put them all right back where they belonged. The old parts were hard to get off so I used the pointy vise grips and got them all off without busting anything. Now it don’t leak or nothing!”

He kept staring at the TV, so she put the sound back on. Her Mama could fix anything. Her Daddy could yell real loud. She wasn’t supposed to know, but her Daddy had shot Mama and then blowed his head off when she was little. She remembered sitting in the courtroom with a lady that kept calling her Poor Thing instead of Maria. She’d hopped away from that lady and run over to Pappy. He’d held his arms out and she’d snuggled on his lap. The judge had said Pappy could take her on home.

He’d been fine back then, a retired high school math teacher. It wasn’t until she got to second grade that he’d begun that staring, and then he’d call her Marlene more and more. She had to do the bills because he forgot them and they wrote scary letters like the water would get turned off and would be $100 to turn back on. She went to the little grocery and Ice Creamgave them checks that she’d forged his name on. He forgot her tenth birthday. He always used to make such a big deal about her birthday and always took her out for ice cream. Not anymore.

He needed help and she knew it in her heart. The idea of going back to the ‘Poor Thing’ lady curdled her stomach. She wished so hard that she could fix him. How? The show ended and she turned the TV off. He had to get professional help. “Pappy, it’s bedtime.”

He got up and headed for the bedroom.

“No, Pappy, go to the bathroom first.”

In the bedroom, she put a fresh folded towel down for accidents and put yesterday’s in the hamper; she’d need to do laundry tonight. He came in and put his own pajamas on.

As he dressed, she stirred up her courage and said, “Pappy, tomorrow I’m calling the doctor for you, so you can get your medicine straight and maybe your mind straight. You might need a different medicine than what we get in the mail.” Would the doctor call the county to take her away?

He snapped the last snap and sat on the edge of the bed. He looked directly at her and blinked a few times. “The toilet isn’t running all the time. I thought it ran all the time.”

He noticed; she almost started crying. “I fixed it. I got the box and the tools and took it apart and made it work right.”

“You have the genius for it, and I’m so proud of you.”

She knew he thought she was his daughter and waited for him to say ‘Marlene’.

He reached for her hand. “Just like your Mama, baby, she fixed all sorts of things, too. blog june 080Maria, I’m so glad you take after her. I am so darned proud of you.”

Her breast pounded and she grinned like a jack-o-lantern. “Thank you Pappy!” She tucked him in and kissed his cheek. “Goodnight, and I’ll say a prayer for you.”
A genius, like Mama. As she loaded the washer, she wondered if she could get him to walk to the Doctor’s office with her, that would be best. If not, she’d take care of it some other way. A genius can do anything, even if it’s hard and her gut doesn’t her want to.


Stupid Cupid!

heart-sheepI had crush on a shy guy

I’d seen him look my way

I felt the arrow of love

But how to say be mine? Kiss me! Say the word, you got me!

Light bulb, a Valentine!

I picked one out that said ‘You’re on my mind’ with pink hearts all aglow

I looked high and low, where’d he go?

Then in the bushes, his bare behind bobbin’ up and down

I tore that card up fine as snow

Stupid Cupid


On my own, my first job heart-pan

Imagine my surprise to see

My desk was right beside a man

Who could make me do handstands

All week I felt a barb in my heart

What a way to start!

When he offered to take me to lunch my heart was smitten

He opened up some catfood and called me his kitten

I never went back to that dump

Stupid Cupid

 heart-pitcher-pictureAt my sister’s wedding

I thought the photographer was hot

He finished with the wedding party and said

he’d like a few shots of just beautiful me

I felt the arrow again, okay I replied                      June 13 016        

I followed dreamy to his studio

But wouldn’t you know

He wanted all my clothes off first

I have the feeling I’m utterly cursed

Stupid Cupid


I’ll never marry

Never in my life

Never have a husbandheart-cup-close

never be a wife

and if I ever find that cherub

I’ll jab him with a knife

Stupid Cupid

Stupid Cupid

The Arch

Bored with the beach already, Randy threw another beat-up shell into the surf. Movement to the side caught his eye. “Hey, you look just like me!”beach-rocky

“Nuh-uh, you look like me.”

Randy very quickly decided this could be fun, so he magnanimously allowed, “We look like each other.” He held out the super-sized bag of animal crackers to the other boy; he had to be a second grader, too. “You wanna have fun? We can freak Daddy out!”

“I want go home.”

“Aw, come on. Hey, I didn’t see anybody come down here, we thought this place around the big rocks would be only us. Where’d you come from?”

The kid pointed back to a rocky arch. “Through there. Why do you want to freak him out?”

“I wanted to go explore and he said to stay close and not get into trouble. Let me tell you my plan.”

About half an hour later, George woke up to hear Randy calling him from way the hell over on the other side of the creek that divided the scrap of beach in half. “Ransom David, you get your butt back here!”

“I found a spaceship and I’m going up!”

George heaved up from his chaise lounge and picked his shirt from the sand and shook it before pulling it over his head. He didn’t see Randy now. This boy would get a spanking he wouldn’t forget. As he toed his sandals on, Randy’s look-alike walked up from the other direction.

“Daddy, Daddy, can’t catch me!” He ran down toward the arch.

George pursued him right through the arch.

beach-sandyRandy saw it all and laughed until snot ran out. He wiped his nose on his t-shirt and looked for his Dad on the far side. He didn’t see him or the look-alike kid, just water. He started making his way back. Across the creek, he saw a colorful hat bouncing toward the beach. “Mom! Wait for me!”

“Hi, Tiger. I bought you a new hat. Here you go.” She screwed the ball cap on his head. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. I smell cheeseburgers. Let’s go find Dad and eat.”

They arrived at the empty lounge chair and did not see another soul.

She looked in the cooler and got two sodas out. “I wonder where he went? The fries are no good cold. Here, we can go ahead, he won’t mind.” She started gobbling her fries.

Randy had lost his appetite. He took the offered burger and bit into it to please her. “There’s a cool arch over that way. Want to see?”

Randy and his Mom walked over to see the tide coming in. The arch sat lower and the water already came half the way up it. It seemed smaller now. “I think Daddy went through there.”

“Honey, there’s nothing on the far side, it’s the ocean.” She called, “George! Are you around here? I brought lunch.”

“There was beach through there. A kid exactly like me came from that way.”

“No, silly, I had a good view from up the hill. The spit of land here is all there is.” She walked back.

He stared at the remaining arch. He wadded the burger wrapper and waded down. He tossed it into the arch. It should have floated. It vanished.

They waited on the hill for an hour or so. Then Mom, crying, called the police. They searched. They called the Coast Guard. Randy never saw his Daddy again.


Dishrags and Dresses

Marla need to earn the dough to be able to go to band camp, but this old lady had to be nuts. What a way to spend a Saturday morning. She’d listened to her mom who’d said this old thing needed the help. Grandpa raised his new hoe and agreed, following her out the door. “Darling, go aid our neighbor. I hear tell the woman down there lives all by herself. You’re lucky the Preacher found out she could use a hand and would pay somebody willing.”

Yeah, she needed help alright. This was her second time here and planned to make it her last. There had to be another job to find in this little town.dishrag

Drying the last of the dishes, the dish towel snagged that darned Velcro glued across the counter again. She ripped it up and the dratted Velcro came with it. Then she noticed Miss Grady stood two paces away. She laid the towel down gently and moved in front of it.

“I have your wages for today. There’s a little extra because of my mess you helped me clean up. Nasty, I know, but at my age I can’t always make it to potty in time.”

Embarrassed for the poor thing, she smiled. “It’s okay, Miss Grady, my Granny did worse than that.” She took the cash and slipped it into the little purse she kept slung across her shoulder. “I appreciate you letting me do the few odd jobs around here so I can go to camp.” So much for her plan.

“I took the free time to make you a Sunday dress, if you’d like to try it on. I mean, in case I got your size wrong.”

Dread drenched Marla’s skinny body. No dress ever fit her awkward form, and who knows what she’d made it out of. She’d seen a glimpse of the sewing room and it was filled with piles of cloth. For all she could imagine, this dress came from the first scraps reachable. stack-of-cloth-to-sew“Thank you. I’ll just take it home; I’m sure it will fit fine.”

Miss Grady leaned back and raised an eyebrow. “You doubt me, young lady. Come on back and let me show it to you.”

Reluctant to be rude after just getting paid, she followed the seamstress back to her lair. They stopped inside the room. Marla raised her gaze from the floor to see a beautiful, cap-sleeved dress on a hanger. She reached and felt of the fabric. The full skirt felt soft yet substantial enough to have some bounce to it; the dress made her want to wear it so bad.

Miss Grady lifted the purse strap over Marla’s head and eased it off. She placed it on the cutting table. “I’ll leave you in here to try it on. Holler when I can come in.”

When the door clicked, Marla shucked her t-shirt and jeans, then her shoes and socks. A new dress! She unzipped it and stepped inside it, holding her breath. She got it zipped up and saw herself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. “Miss Grady, I’m ready!”Download 090915 002

“Aren’t you a pretty gal. Now, tell me how it fits. I can alter it quick.”

“It’s like it was made for me. And the pattern with the flowers and all is so perfect. I…I don’t know what to say.”

“Honey, you already said all I need to hear. I’m thrilled you like it!”

Marla slumped and frowned. “I admit, I thought you were crazy and didn’t expect much. I’m sorry.”

Chuckling, Miss Grady said, “I am off my rocker; however I can sew fairly well in spite of it. With all this cloth I figured I could finally put some to good use. You can pick any material you like and I’ll make another if you want.”

Marla straightened. “I would, if you take it out of my pay.” Grandpa would make up the shortage for the camp if he knew she’d tried to earn her way. Couldn’t she have both?

“Look around you, dear. Humor me and let me do this for you, please.”

Marla started walking around, fingering the different materials, her mind distracted from money matters. The silks would be too fancy and the solid cottons too plain. She turned at the sound of a scrape and saw Miss Grady had pulled out a chair to sit by her sewing machine. She stepped over and pulled a stool over to sit near her. “Why do you have so much cloth? Were you a tailor or something?”

Miss Grady got a sad look and rubbed her eyes, shoving her bifocals up to do it. “I had dreams years ago of a fellow dropping from the sky to sweep me off my feet. I felt it necessary to have a fine wardrobe to befit my prince. I’d have such a dream and accidentally drop a dish rag and be eagerly expecting him to arrive.” She threw her hands up. “Of course he never showed. I fell for it every year or two for a long while. No more.”

“That’s why you Velcro’d the counter? To keep from dropping the towel?”

Download 090915 018“That’s right. I make it a point to forget my dreams when I wake up, too.” She put her seam ripper and small scissors into a bin and turned the sewing machine light out. “I’m surprised you know the omens; I thought they’d die out with my generation.”

“Granny taught me some, like your ear itching means a person is talking about you.”

“And your right palm itching means money coming in.”

“And a dropped dishrag means a visitor is coming. Did nobody ever come?”

“The mailman would deliver a package or a Jehovah’s Witness would bring me a Watchtower. Yes, always someone. Not who I wanted.”

Marla got up and returned to the material bank. “How about this one, with the different colored polka dots?” She held it up as Miss Grady wiped a tear.

“There’s enough of that for a dress and a matching jacket. Do you prefer a long jacket or a short, bolero type?”

“Long, with a pleat in the back if you can.”

“I can and will.” She levered up on the table to rise and walked over to a pole that spanned the room, full of clothes. “Sort of like this?”

The chocolate brown velvet jacket made Marla lick her lips. “Yes, wow, yes. With the buttons on the back like that if you have them.”

“Well, let me take some actual measurements so I get the sleeves and shoulders right.”

On Marla’s way out, she waved goodbye with her new dress draped over her other arm. All the way home she thought of her Grandpa who’d been so lonely the last three years, and really the three before that while Granny got worse and worse. He could sure use a nice jacket. What excuse could she use to get him there? He loved to garden and her roses looked puny and weedy. Yes, she would tell him to follow his own advice and aid his neighbor. When she remembered ripping the Velcro off the counter, she grinned ear to ear. She hugged the dress close and wondered if Miss Grady dropping another dishrag might not assist her urging in some cosmic way. Grandpa might be very happy to make friends with so talented a woman. And such a payment for her lovely new clothes removed the cloud of Miss Grady’s sadness and the negative feelings she’d harbored earlier. Altogether, it felt so right.