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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Day 25 – Rt 66 trip

Well, this might be more challenging than working on the balcony a couple of nights ago; I am now sitting on an American flight traveling 512 miles an hour zooming toward Charlotte, NC. I have to pay for internet which I am not willing to do, so I will try to write about yesterday, then when we land, combine pictures and text.

Well, I tried to post this in Charlotte airport, and no can do. So, we are now home, with the football game on, and 24 hours late, I will share our last day in San Diego with you.

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We put our baby on a great big truck at 9 am. Alex, the driver, and his partner are from Massachusetts and they will drive eight cars back east and arrive Saturday or Sunday. We are guessing while one drives the other guy sleeps in order to make it in that amount of time.

A note about writing on the balcony. There were no bugs bothering us, not even a fly. I rarely sit outside at home because of mosquitos, knats and bees. They like me and don’t do nice things to my body.

I have a list of “out takes” or, lessons learned, from our trip that I will share tomorrow but will give you one of them now. No matter how tired you are when you get to your previously unfamiliar destination, drive a mile in each direction to find out what is close at hand; liquor store, grocery store, restaurants, places of interest. We missed some great photo ops along Rt 66 because we stayed in the hotel instead of exploring. In San Diego we almost missed a good breakfast place just a few buildings from ours. So, after watching the guys load the car, in eight minutes, we went to breakfast at the Point Loma Café. I had an avocado, cream cheese omelet, and Bob had a Fajita Delight with steak. The corn bread muffin was the best I’ve had since living on the west coast in the ‘80’s.

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I have to admit, we have not been getting up early, so we went back to the hotel for a little snooze, then got around and Ubered to where the we could catch a tour boat to be shown both the north and south ends of the bay that we could see from our hotel room. One of the trolley drivers had suggested it would be a worthwhile thing to do. He was right. We boarded a boat that was docked by the Midway Aircraft carrier used from just after WWII through the Iraq war. The carrier is now decommissioned and is a museum you can tour daily from 9 am – 5 pm. The pictures are of the planes that are on display on its deck.

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We rode under the Coronado bridge and from underneath, you can really see the curve of the structure. They used to charge a fee for crossing the bridge, but as soon as it was paid for, they dropped. It. That’s of interest because in NY we have a toll road called the thruway, that was supposed to be built and paid for that way, but the tolls never went away. Now we are told the tolls pay for its upkeep, but it’s not in very good shape a lot of the time. It makes us wonder where the money goes.

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Most of the rest of the bay is “owned” and used by the US Navy. There were two other carriers in dock, three submarines (I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at had I not been told as only a portion of them show out of the water,) and countless other navy vessels. From the boat we were on I could only see grey in front and behind me. I overheard a comment from another passenger, “Hmm, does all this make one feel safer, or less, because it would be a prime bomb target for an enemy?” It did make me think for a minute.

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I got a great picture of the downtown skyline. Ignore the big fat flag pole that cuts the picture in half please.

On our tour we also went to the sleeping quarters of the sea lions that we have been hearing. They share their quarters with hundreds of cormorants, the black birds, and also some pelicans. It’s funny how one noise during the night can be calming and enjoyable when others are disturbing.

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When we got back to shore, we asked the narrator from the boat, who explained a lot of Navy history and gave us descriptions of all the vessels, where we should go to dinner. He told us the Fish Market, but don’t look at the prices. It was our final night in town so we took his advice.

Outside the fish market is a statue of Bob Hope and some of the troops he is so famous for entertaining. It was a moving display.

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Inside we decided to sit at the bar. Jeff and J.V. were our bartenders and we met Michelle and Garry from Iowa and Nora, who is from Poughkeepsie, NY, much nearer New York City, than we live.

Bob and I shared some oysters and then I had the fresh Dungeness crab cioppino, along with three cocktails. No judging…we were on vacation.

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We also met Juan whose “big Circles” aren’t quite as endearing as my Honey’s small ones, but the comparison made for some good conversation and a fun picture.

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One of Bob’s friends wanted a report on what it was like to spend so much time together. I have to admit, I was concerned about it before we left home. I’m happy to report except for some stress when I couldn’t make sense out of the EZ66 guide and shoved the book into Bob’s hands, and a couple of crabby moments when I was tired and impatient, this trip brought us closer together. We had time to talk about the many first things we have done together in 19 years. We figured out we have only 17 states left to visit to make it to all 50 as a couple. We talked about which places we want to return to and which we don’t care to. We were so busy we had no feeling of wanting to go home in the middle of the trip and we knew we were sad it was coming to an end because our daily lives are so routine and full of responsibility. We do take time for regular date nights. My blog will be a gift to ourselves as we already can’t keep track of what we did in which location. Thankfully our phones tell us where we took pictures, so we can go back and say, yes, we went dancing at the Corral in Holbrook, AZ. That was a really fun night.

I’m not done yet. See you tomorrow. Oh, Bob had been my proofreader the whole trip, no matter how long the post, or how late I finish it, he has been a help. Thank you Honey.

Alarm Set – Rt 66 trip – day 25

We have a 3:45 am alarm set to make it to the airport on time in the morning, so I will ask you to be patient for the details of our final day in San Diego. We did it up right, and I hope to get some shut-eye before that alarm goes off. Thanks for understanding.

Day 5 – Rt. 66 trip

We had a very quiet night, no outside noises, no noise inside except for some joint snoring. It was very restful.

We left Pontiac at 8:45 am. Again, using the EZ66 Guide we headed for Atlanta, IL, in search of Palms Grill Café. In the last five years it has been completely redone in the 1940’s era. It’s a good thing we didn’t arrive any earlier because it only opened at 10 am. Sarah, our server, was dressed in a retro outfit. She made a pot of decaf for me without complaint. I took lots of pictures so will tell the rest of the story in their captions.

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Palm’s Grill Cafe decor and old cash register. There is a zumba class ad under the register that made me chuckle. (So not a 40’s era thing.)

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Sarah behind the counter trying to “talk” to a non English speaking couple from France. My pork chop and eggs was yummy. Notice the mini-creamer. Just the right amount.

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Working 1940’s refrigerator with condenser on top.

Upstairs in the same building is a museum that featured the town history and how Abe Lincoln impacted it and its inhabitants. There is a cast of Lincoln’s face and hands made by a local artist for a statue that was so accurate it was used for many more statues. On display is also a scabbard and sword owned by a Mr. Kenyon that he used in the civil war and wore while escorting Lincoln’s casket after the assassination. On display is a statue entitled the Council of War. It was made by John Rodgers in 1866. Bob and I were amazed at the detail and the fact it had been made so long ago out of plaster and clay. We speculated as to it’s worth, but I have yet to research that.

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Statue in Atlanta, IL. museum. Made in 1866.

There are a number of giant statues along Rt. 66. One is across from the café.

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Paul Bunyan and a giant hot dog. He didn’t drop it on our car.

Next to the café is an arcade game museum. We walked through it and remembered playing Pac man and pinball in pool halls or bars when we were young. They cost money and kept a young person occupied away from home for hours. And today we complain about our young people, and any other age too, playing games on their phone or computer for hours. At least they are home. One of the machines was so old it had no flippers. You just sent the ball flying and were entertained by the lights it happened to make blink on its way back to the starting point.

Kitty corner from the café is the octagonal library building, with a clock tower on the corner. The clock had been moved there when the local high school was torn down after a new one was built. In the Arcade we met Bill, one of eight men that take turns winding the clock. It needs to be wound, by hand crank, at least every eight days, but the men have learned it takes 80 turns of the crank if they let it go that long, so they do it every few days. It chimes on the hour and the mechanism for that has to be wound separately. Bill took us to the clock and opened the door so we could see everything he explained to us. Fascinating. As we walked over, he said hello to two other men that drove by. It’s a perk of living in a small town, knowing your neighbors as your friends. There was also a grain elevator display we passed on for the sake of time.

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Clock tower on corner by octagonal library.

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Clock works. If they need a repairman, he comes from PA with a $500.00 house call fee.

We got on Highway 55 to go south to Springfield, IL, to Lincoln’s tomb. So glad we made this one of our stops. When I first saw the tomb, I wondered how many years after his death was this beautiful tribute built. Turns out the family started it very soon after his death. It’s one of those buildings you must see in person to appreciate. Inside you walk in a circle through pink marble hallways to visit the actual gravestone. There are more than a couple of statues of Lincoln in the hallways each as impressive as the next. The flags surrounding the gravestone represent states his ancestors are from and the states he lived in. There is also a presidential flag. I didn’t know such a thing existed.

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Lincoln’s tomb. Picture doesn’t do it justice.

The EZ66 Guide said Henry’s Rabbit Ranch and Rt. 66 Emporium in Staunton, IL. was worth a stop. We needed gas and I love critters, so that’s where we headed. I’m not quite sure how this stop made the guide. There were three live rabbits in an outdoor cage, Gilbert, a large orange rabbit that liked to have his ears rubbed inside and an owner that would still be talking if we hadn’t been on a time limit. One thing about these shop owners and volunteers in the museums, they like to talk and they like people. It’s very easy to make a quick stop last an hour.

We left there and drove 66 to Hamel, where we had our usual lunch; ice cream at The 66 Creamery. Normally we eat a late breakfast, dairy for lunch and a nice supper. Works for us. Besides, it’s a road trip, calories don’t count.

Because we were short on time, we got back on Highway 55. Bob drove through downtown St. Louis during rush hour traffic so I could see the Arch up close. It’s so big, and it’s just there. Quite impressive. My attempt to get a decent picture was unsuccessful.

We arrived at Larry and Lisa’s at 6:30 pm. Only a half hour late. Larry is Bob’s step-son who is married to Lisa. Lisa told us Bob was in Rolla, MO, 19 years ago last week for her and Larry’s wedding. Time does fly. We were given a tour of the house and their beautiful plant filled yard and greeted their two dogs, Penny and Maggie, before we went off to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit for supper. It was good, but I was more interested in the company and conversation to tell you much about it. I did have some fried okra which is a treat in my opinion. I’m sure many won’t agree.

 

 

 

Bonding Over Fabric – flash fiction

Lillian leaned on her cane and perused the only two shelves of fabric she had left. She needed four complimentary ones to make the project she had in mind. After trying many combinations she exhausted her options so limped to her chair and eased herself into the worn seat. After a little nap, she called her granddaughter. “Would you have time to take me shopping.”

“I can on Friday.”

When they returned from their excursion, Sally said, “My youngest starts school in September. Could we schedule time to sew together?”

Lillian’s misty eyed response was, “Of course my dear.”

 

In response to Charli Mills April 25, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!

The Price of Enjoying Live Music

Last Wednesday, 1/30/2019, schools were closed in Western New York State because the Polar Vortex came calling. The temperature hovered around zero and the wind blew gales. We had pre-purchased tickets to hear The Canadian Brass perform at our world famous Kodak Hall Eastman Theater. I half wanted my husband to say we weren’t going. Instead we put on our fleece lined jeans, a couple of layers of shirts and wore our warmest winter coats. So did everyone else. In our glamorous theater there was not a suit or dress in sight, except on stage. The music did not disappoint. In fact it was fantastic, catchy, even awe inspiring. The performers were also entertainers and we went home with happiness in our hearts and a new knowledge of an instrument we found out was a contrabassoon. Neither my husband nor I had ever seen one. The lady next to me showed me one on her phone, during intermission. The Fox model 900 costs $28,995.00. That’s more than my present car. I digress. Continue reading “The Price of Enjoying Live Music”

Standing In Respect – flash fiction

The funeral home parking lot was full of cars which hid the numerous motorcycles stashed in the back corner, but their large American flags flapping in the wind gave them away. I had to go look; The Patriot Guard was in presence. To enter the building I had to pass between the colonnade of men, standing at attention, on duty protecting a fellow veteran, a fellow biker and a friend. The haunted look in their eyes wasn’t for the current grief, it was from a long ago senseless war. I know, they were my friends too. Damn Viet Nam.

In response to Charli Mills January 17, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes colonnades. It can be natural, architectural, or a metaphor. Take a stroll and go where the prompt leads.

Now She Could Move On

Dr. Stephanie Davidson, still limping slightly, came out of the courthouse feeling free and relaxed. Her happiness radiated onto the people she passed. Her divorce from the man who had hired a killer to make her disappear was finalized and both men were serving long jail terms. Thankfully there were no news cameras or questions as a divorce hearing was nothing compared to the attempted murder trials the year before. The police officer that had saved her life when the attempt had been made waited for her. He gazed at her with adoration and said, “No looking back sweetheart.”

In response to Charli Mills January 3, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back. It can be a metaphorical reflection or a glance in the rear-view mirror. Who is looking back, and why? Go where the prompt leads.

All You Need to Know to Rodeo

Platform: Self-Publishing

July Fourth 2018

GP Cox can say it better than I can.

Pacific Paratrooper

While you enjoy your bar-b-ques and fireworks – take a moment to remember the troops that made it all possible for that to happen today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA !!!

 Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s “Concord Hymn.” It was sung at the completion of the Concord Battle Monument on April 19, 1837.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world,

The foe long since in silence slept,
Alike the Conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deed redeem,
When like our sires our sons are gone.

Spirit! who made those freemen dare
To die, or leave their children free,
Bid time and…

View original post 181 more words

Daddy Can Dance

Two years after a bad motorcycle accident, Carl was the only father at the Kindergarten Father/Daughter dance in a wheelchair. He had trouble keeping track of Katie in the crowd but he came home with a feeling of exhilaration.

His wife smiled at the glitter on his suit. “How did you get covered?”

 “Lots of Katie’s friends wanted a ride on my lap and they had on sparkly dresses.”

“Pretty, but I’ll never get it all out.”

“That’s fine, every time it glistens I’ll celebrate being alive, and remember twirling with Katie and her friends.”

“Well said my love.”

In response to Charli Mills June 7, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about man glisten. It was a fun term coined by two men with glitter in their beards. What more could it embrace? Look to the unexpected and embrace a playful approach. Go where the prompt leads.

June 7: Flash Fiction Challenge

It Takes a Warrior

The nurse woke Maggie the morning after her right breast was removed. “Your husband wanted me to make sure you saw this.” She held up a framed picture of them holding compound bows. The inscription on the glass read, “To my warrior. Now you have an advantage. Your chief loves you.”

Even though it hurt, Maggie laughed. “We are professional archers. I have complained my boob gets in the way, now it won’t. That’s why we decided I shouldn’t have reconstruction. He tells me it will take a warrior to beat cancer and get strong enough to compete again.”

 

In response to Charli Mills May 31, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about warrior women. It can be myth or everyday mothers and wives. Go where the prompt leads.

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