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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

The Pine

In the spring I sit

Leaning against the pine

To smell the earth come back to life

To watch the chipmunks scamper

In the summer I sit

Leaning against the pine

To admire the trillium that grow beneath

To catch a glimpse of wildlife prancing

In the fall I sit

Leaning against the pine

Wearing a yellow vest, shotgun in hand

To harvest some venison for food on the table

In the winter I sit

Leaning against the pine

Enjoying the snow-covered stillness

Knowing another year has passed

And another is promised

Spending time with

My sturdy towering friend

A Letter of Regret

To my son and granddaughter I will never get to know. It pains me to admit I have not aged well, so the travel time between our two countries is prohibitive. Though my heart desires to get reacquainted with my long-ago friend and meet my descendants, I fear the current trend of many flight cancelations has made me realize my hope to visit is unrealistic. Instead, may I ask you to send recent photos and letters about yourselves. I have included pictures of the familiar places in my life where I have imagined you sitting or walking with me.

Note: Thad’s biological mother lives in Vietnam. She hasn’t seen Thad since he was about six months old and has never met her granddaughter, Katie.

Written in response to Charli Mills November 25, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about a canceled flight. Where was the flight headed? Who does it impact and why? How does a protagonist handle the situation? Go where the prompt leads!

The Tools of the Band

Instruments, reeds, strings, sticks, picks, sheets of music, and lyrics. Reverb pedals, rugs, amplifiers, microphones, speakers, and drinks. Playlist on my cell. Straight-leg jeans, boots, hats, and jackets. Diamond studs shine from our ears. Big smiles are plastered for the fans. Damn, I forgot the words. The audience doesn’t seem to notice or care. We strum the guitars and cover with the snare. Get the crowd to clap in time. Hallelujah, the many tools of the band. Loudly blend the notes and words. It doesn’t pay a lot but makes me feel alive playing as the man I am.

Note: the band this refers to is The Band of Brothers, an all-veteran band in which Michael is a guitarist and lead singer.

Written in response to Charli Mills November 18, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about tools. Whose tools are they and how do they fit into the story? What kind of tools? Go where the prompt leads!

Trouble Adjusting

During a Homefront Warriors gathering Tessa had been unusually quiet. Someone asked if she wanted to share what was troubling her.

“I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m having trouble adjusting to Michael not using his wheelchair. I know I should be thrilled he’s more mobile, but it seems with him walking everything happens faster. He’s busier now than before.”

Sally answered, “I’m hearing you say you wish he would make more time for you.”

“Perhaps that’s true.”

“I suggest you offer to join him in his activities or carry on keeping yourself busy like you had to in the past.”

Written in rsponse to Charli Mills November 11, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “carry on.” It can be an expression of perseverance or behaving in a particular way. It can even be luggage you take when traveling. Go where the prompt leads!

Candy Making Day

Tessa’s mother had made homemade holiday treats for as long as Michael could remember. His mouth watered thinking about them. Recently his clunky wheelchair and inability to reach things kept him from helping during production. Not this year.

When Michael walked into the candy kitchen, Jenny did a double-take but didn’t comment as she smiled up at him. At the end of the day, they had made chocolate and maple-walnut fudge, peppermint patties, and peanut brittle.

Michael was beaming. “Guess I’ve been missing a lot by not standing.”

Jenny hugged his solid torso. “‘Bout time you figured that out.”

Written in response to Charli Mills October 28, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features a candy kitchen. You can interpret the phrase creatively or stick to the traditional. Is it sweet? Ironic? Any genre will do. Go where the prompt leads!

Mud and Laughter

Any mud puddle was a golden find when I was a boy. Pictures prove it.

I ended my best high school football game, covered in mud, gleefully holding the winning ball.

I ran miles in Army basic training. Good memories flowed while cleaning mud off my boots.

My Army duties took away time for mud and then my legs.

I rebelled against the prosthetics, preferring a wheelchair.

Waterproof metal legs got my attention. I had to admit they would increase my mobility.

When Jester and I purposely run through sloppy mud puddles, my inner child comes alive with laughter.

Written in response to Charli Mills October 14, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

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