Let’s Talk Trash

I just want to  say this up front. Nobody tells me not to talk trash. I’m a rebel with a cause. Trash is so appopriate today as it is trash day here. On Wednesday we wheel out our big trash containers; one for recyclables and one for actual trash. This made me think of how different it was when I was a little girl. We had cans made of metal, with handles and a separate lid, which as a girl it wasn’t my job. That belonged to my dad and my brother the inside trash collectors who took it out and put it in the barrels, then had to taken out to the curb. there were no wheels. Now that’s where the differences end. It was all the same. but with no such thing as recycling. There were times when there was a difference in how trash was handled. When I lived in Wisconsin in an apartment complex, we had a huge trash thingy in the parking lot. Everybody took their garbage out and dropped it in. So differences were abounding depending on where you lived. There were no trashcans on wheels when we first lived up here. No those came years later, and in fact, I think it wasn’t until the 21st century that the wheelie trashcans came into being. In Dallas we had an alley behind our house, so we had to drag our trashbags out to the alley and put it in these plastic, but still round, with no wheels, barrels. It was there that things changed. That was also after Y2K. We actually got brandy new trashcans, with wheels, we got to put our trashcans outside in the front, on the curb, like the rest of the civilized world. So when we moved up here, this being before I got married, we still had round cans, but plastic was the fashion, and we had to almost soon as we got here, maybe within a year after moving here, had to separate the recyclables out and put them into little plastic box type things, Now, of course with more things being plastic, glass, tins, and paper, they gave us the second can on wheel, with a different color top so the trash man wouldn’t get confused, and mix it altogether, because you know as the song goes, it isn’t really trash until you mix it all together.

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Does That Seem Right To You?

Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

[prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street. Twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.]

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Grounded. And for what? Some stinkin’ brown nose at school snitchin that I got nabbed behind the gym smoking. No computer. No TV. Not even my cell. It’s like the ‘NO-FO zone’.

I look around my room. Weird that it just don’t hold anything for me now. Need my connections.

What’s that racket outside? I look through the window that faces the street. Old Mrs. P, always arguing something with the landlord. Shaking my head, I go over and watch. Might as well go hang on the stoop.

Mom’s yappin’. Good. Slipping out into the hall, I stop a minute. Quiet. Smells like Mrs. Murph’s cookin’ surf and turf.

The building door closes behind me and I slide down onto the top step. Mrs. P’s still goin’ on. Mr. T is making all his hand gestures. Geez, what’s up with that?

I freeze when I hear a siren. Get a grip. It’s not always for me. But they’re coming closer. Crap! down the street. I slink back a bit, bein’ all inconspiuous. Yeah, that’s me, Mr. Fly-on-the-Wall.

No way! I get this urge to go back in. But wait. They’re getting out and going over to Mr. T and Mrs. P.

Damn. It’s like we been studying in history, about world war two. Gestapo coming to take the old lady away. Yeah. That’s what they did. That whole occupation thing, coming in, trucks prowling through the town. Closing down shops, and hustling people off, right in broad daylight. Old Mrs P would’ve been Jewish, had a black band round her arm, with a yellow star on it. The mark.

Wonder what that woulda been like? I bet I’d a been all Freedom Fighter. Yeah. Secret meetings, planning to take down the war machine. Slipping in and outta the ghetto, through the sewers, bringing info back about what was going on.

Aw man. I thought they were cuttin’ her some slack. But no, they made her pack a suitcase, and are taking her key away.

Back inside. “Ma!” She waves her hand at me, that she’s on the phone.

“Ma! It’s Mrs. Pauley. You gotta help her.” Good. She put the phone down.

“What is it?”

“They’re taking Mrs. Pauley away in a cop car.” I pull her by the arm, through the door and onto the stoop. “Why are they taking her away?”

“Stay here. I’ll go see.” But I follow her as she goes down the stairs. “Mrs. Pauley? What’s happening?”

“Sorry, Ma’am, but this is police business,” one of the officer’s says.

Mrs. P looks right past the cop, at my mom. “They’re locking me out of my home!”

Man, she’s cryin’ now. I hate that.

“Please, Darlene, call my son, the one in Chicago. Tell him.”

“I will,” Mom says back. The cop takes the suitcase and puts it in the trunk, then puts Mrs. P in the backseat. As the car pulls away, mom turns, and heads back to our building. “Come on, Jackie”

“What are they taking her away for?”

We go inside, and I see Mr. T standing there, watching as the silent car heads down the block. The front door closes behind us.

“They evicted her.”

“Can they do that? Does that seem right to you?”

My mother shrugs. “There’s not much right these days. Now go back to your room.”

She got that right. Ain’t much right no matter where you go.

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Thanks to Jabrushblog   for fueling the creative muse.

The Fear Factor

I dreamed I had a fear last night.

It was cold,

It was dark

It slithered through my mind

Left shivers behind

I sought to pull away from it

Yet it seemed like running in place

I was caught in its web

Twisted, tangled,

Being strangled.

Don’t fight it, a voice whispered

But I could not stop

I did not want to look at it

Trying to focus

It’s just hocus pocus

How long has it been here?

From the beginning of time?

Is it an integral part of me?

It’s simply natural, you see.

Stop fighting, you’ll be free.

Tubby The Tuba Has Nothing On Me!

[Day Sixteen: Third Time’s the Charm: Prompt: Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.]

* * *

We had been in the house many times before, but now it was different. It was quiet, the voices silenced. We had no notion of the enormity of the job of sorting through 59 years of two lives united for better or worse. Yes, I spent most of my days here, tending the needs of the sick and dying, and had even resided here, before I went off to live my own life 18 years prior, and make mountains of stuff, which would have to be packed up and brought 1600 miles back this way.

The difference is, that was my stuff, and this was theirs. But now it was ours and we had to work to determine what would be useful, what was difficult to release, and what was easy enough to just dump. There were six rooms, an attic, and a place under the stairs which led to the lower level, where, it seems, all I’d left behind, had been shoved.

There were many ‘finds’ as we began the task. What books were filling the darkened library shelves. In all the years I spent living in houses which contained these books, I’d perhaps read one or two. Still the harder part would be to fit all of our own books into these shelves, along side the ancient tomes.

These shelves, however, held greater surprises than we could have imagined. There was one day, as I was pulling out the implements of sculptors, – creepy, sharpened blades that made one think or Jack the Ripper rather than tools of a budding Michaelangelo, – leaving us wondering, “who were these people?” The amount of art supplies held a mixture of said ‘blades’ and oil and acrylic paints, sketch pads and canvases, plus all manner of do-it-yourself lamp kits and other household items.

Finally as the last pieces were brought forth, and the shelves were being cleaned off of the years of dust, I shined a flashlight in to make sure I’d gotten everything out. But, I had not. There, up against the furthest wall on the bottom shelf, I saw a light gray… sculpture? I peered in closer and saw the extraordinary tiny frog, quite a beautiful piece. As I reached in to pick it up, imagine my surprise when the sculpture jumped, or more preciesly lept away from my hand toward the back of the shelf! This wasn’t a stone carving, no. This was a living and breathing frog, so tiny, so light in color that it both surprised me, and at the same time, enchanted me.

tree-frog

Such a tiny creature, living down here, in the half basement. Where did it come from? How did it get in? I could only imagine it might have been in the third bathroom, which was located down here. Or had he gotten in through the chimney?

We named him Pierre. I left him alone, to find a new nook in which to hide. I saw him two more times, outside the shelves, huddled up by the back wall between the end of the bookcase, and the outside wall of the room.

I thought it was ever so cool! Mr. Quantum, didn’t want any part of it.

As the days went by, and we got more and more things moved out of the old house and moved into this house, I had chance to meet up with two more of these amazing little wonders. One was in the trunk of our car. But not just hanging around in the trunk, rather in the door well. This time I thought it was a crumpled up light brown leaf, which I went to brush out of there, and, oops! There it goes, jumping into the trunk. As he sat there, I gently reached in and picked him up, as tiny as can be, his little body huffing, and I cooed to him, telling him I was just getting him out of harms way, and brought him to the lilac bush which was next to the car. I set him down on the ground, and wished him a good day.

Finger Frog

That night, I went online to look for what kind of frog it was, and I found the happy information that he was one of the entrancing tree frogs, whose calls I would wait for every summer. The glee which touched my soul was immense!

One of the last things we boxed up was our deck table, and we had to take it apart – a good thing I kept the how-to-put-it-together instructions – which made it easy for us to put things in such a way as to be able to put it together once we had it at the other house. Well, lo and behold, as I turned over the heavy stand, so we could slide the glass table off the base, there, hiding underneath the intricately carved iron, was another little tree frog friend! Talk about Third Time’s the Charm!

I brought him over to the lilac bush, and set him down. I told him to watch out for lawn mower blades, and wished him a peaceful life. My connection to these wonderful creatures is my greatest memory of the move.

As I write this, I’m still waiting to hear the first crickets and the first tree frogs singing their mating songs. Perhaps the music they make will carry the whispers of my little friends to me, who brought such deep joy to an otherwise daunting task.

25 Songs, 25 Days

You may be wondering why this song is showing up here, out of sequence (or you may not, which okay too). Well, I have finally been able to tend to the last day of the challenge, but I wanted to see what day I began this challenge, so as I scrolled down through my ‘search results,’ imagine my surprise (even horror) when I found Day 9 missing! I quickly looked up on the list which I posted on day 1, to see which song went missing.

I give you that which was once lost, that I can happily say is now found:

Day 9 – A song that makes me hopeful

“I believe in the good thing’s coming!” the first line in Black as Night by Nakho Bear and Medicine for the People, makes me hopeful that the world will come together as one, and we will heal the Planet. It makes me feel that the thread has gone unbroken, and that in each generation there are those who represent peace, and that music brings us all together, like in the video. When I see young people following the path that many have walked before them, it’s encouraging, and brings hope.

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