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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Christmas

The Birdcage Cover – flash fiction

My sisters and I were gathered around an open trunk from our family home. Angelina took out a piece of yellow fabric that was shaped like a small Christmas tree skirt but only had a tiny center hole and snaps along the open edge. I asked, “What’s that?”

“Do  you remember the yellow canary we had when you were little?”

“Yeah, it sang when we ran water and louder when anyone whistled.”

“Mother made this from a tablecloth to cover its cage at night after Dad put the umpteenth cigarette burn in it. I wonder why she kept it?”

In response to Charli Mills August 2, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent. Where is it and who does it belong to? Think of how the color adds to the story. Go where the prompt leads.

August 2: Flash Fiction Challenge

 

Trees in My Life – memoir

Irene Waters asked writers to share memoir about trees. Following is the link if you want to join the fun. She asks for our generation and location so we can compare differences.

Trees: Times Past

Baby Boomer from rural western New York State.
Currently I look out our family room window and delight at the action of many different kinds of birds that visit the feeders. The Niger seeds and suet hang from a crabapple tree. There is a “fake tree” everyone perches on made from large branches stuck into the hole in a patio table (where the umbrella would go) and a large cedar that wiggles constantly because there are so many sparrows and other birds perched in/on it. Keeping the feeders full is a daily job, but the entertainment is worth every penny the seed costs.
In the 1950’s and 60’s my parents owned an acre of pine trees that my grandfather had planted to sell for Christmas trees. As the youngest of four girls I can remember going “out to the woods” to cut our Christmas tree. They were not trimmed like today so looked a bit scraggly and were soon to big to be used. Then the trees became the play area for the town children. Both boys and girls had separate forts. Our mother’s would scold us for getting pine pitch on our clothes.
From my sister Paula… “I think Tilley (our cat) would spy on me when I climbed trees and checked on bird nests. Then they would get robbed!!
Joanne and I played, for hours, out in the back left corner. There was a pussy willow tree there we cut branches from each year.
I knew the whole area very well and ventured farther out back, across fields (don’t know who owned them) and on into Uncle Louie’s woods where he had an old sugar shack. On one of my walks I saw a beautiful Snowy Owl. Dee (Our dachshund) would go with me and dig up baby mice and voles, and eat them!
One warm afternoon, Joanne came looking for me and asked, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?’ I was lying on the ground, watching the clouds float by and listening to birds and bugs singing…… near a pile of fence row trees that had been bulldozed up to make more space for growing crops. Dee loved snooping all through the brush and would chase rabbits, howling as they scooted away, because she couldn’t keep up.”
Trees have always been an important part of my life, like good friends.
Thank you Irene for the walk down memory lane.

Let’s Celebrate

The holidays are upon us….and I have read that “the holidays” start at Thanksgiving and carry through the Super Bowl because that is the time of year people overindulge in food, fun, booze, and gatherings. I don’t think there can ever be enough fun gatherings of family and friends, but you get the picture. It’s the time of year food takes a front seat no matter how hard we try to say or plan that it won’t. Maybe I am speaking for myself. Continue reading “Let’s Celebrate”

A CleanBeginning

It’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day. The calendar says it is so you can start the new year with a clean slate and a sense of serenity. Huh? I’m one of those messy desk people that if I clean everything off and put it away, I can’t find the safe place I put everything. I’m also one that doesn’t remember what I have if I can’t see it. And, I’ve read that a messy desk is a sing of a higher IQ. (I like that concept. I’ll hold on to that one!)

My sewing room tends to be really messy too. The scraps of the last two quilting projects will be pushed to one side, so I can get on with the next. Why clean when you can be creating. My husband surprised me the day after Christmas by taking me shopping at a long established sewing machine store. We came home with a  desk-style, 20 inch bed, free motion quilting machine.

bailey-machine

Only one problem; I had to clean my studio in order for it to have a permanent home. Guess what. I love my clean space. I am looking forward to having my sewing buddies over to see my new toy. And yes; I have that feeling of serenity the calendar post for today mentioned.

I guess I have to admit and old lady can learn new tricks. Now my sewing studio has been cleaned, maybe I’ll attack my desk, it’s much smaller and wouldn’t take so long. But then would I be able to find my list of ideas that I plan to share with you. On second thought, I’ll go play with fabric, and leave the desk for another day. Fabric is my first love and I’m itching to try my new machine.

 

An Apple A Day

I just spent a whole lot of time with my sister and her husband helping out after she had a knee replacement. It was a pleasure to be able to do it. During one breakfast we talked about our Christmas Stockings when we were kids. The toe usually held an orange or an apple. We looked forward to that piece of fruit almost more than the other small gifts from Santa.

When I was in grade school, I got a box of apples in the mail at Christmas time. They were from the man who was the postmaster in our little one block town. They were each nestled in fake straw in a cardboard thing that looked like a huge egg carton. My sisters and parents shared the apples and the shiny red ones were always eaten first.

Currently, I make a salad each morning for my husband’s lunch. When we can get fresh Empire apples he gets one of those for his afternoon snack. There’s nothing else like the first bite into a juicy red apple.

Back to my sister; her doctor’s name is David Grimm. My friend, Mary, always makes about ten different types of cookies at Christmas time and she passes out tins of them as gifts. When she delivers to Dr. Grimm’s office, because he did her knee too, she includes an apple for Dr. Grimm because he prefers it. Me, I’ll take the cookies.

Today is also National Pie Day. I recommend Apple, that way, no matter what, you can eat an apple today. Enjoy!

Lighting the Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has become a national tradition hearkening back to the days of the Great Depression. On Christmas Eve of 1931, a group of construction workers erected a small, Spruce Christmas tree on the site of what would become Rockefeller Center. In Rockefeller Center’s inaugural year, 1933, the first official  Tree Lighting took place.

The tree must be at least 65 feet tall and can be as much as 100 feet tall. In the construction world, 10 feet is the average of one floor in a building. Translate that to the selected tree and it means it is at least 6 stories tall or taller. The one time I had the privilege of seeing the tree in person, I was amazed at its size. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole thing.

I’m sure you’ve seen movies that had skaters enjoying the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Center during the holidays. Next time you see that scene, notice the walls around the rink. When you are standing on the sidewalk around Rockefeller Center the rink is actually below you. I’m short and couldn’t see over the people to see down onto the rink. I could see the skaters on the far side of the ice. It took some of the magic away because I couldn’t see all of it. The music from the live orchestra that was playing from below was wonderful to listen to as the sound carried up to us.

The stories of the Macy’s Christmas window displays are also true. Much better to see in person than on TV. The decorations in the store blew me away. Almost more decorations to look at than merchandise. Maybe it was because that is what I wanted to see. The hustle and bustle of crowds was another great experience. My visit there will never be forgotten.

If you get the chance, seeing the tree lit in Rockefeller Center and experiencing the Christmas holiday decorations in New York City is a visual treat. One of those things when you see it in person, you turn circles slowly and say Wow as if it is a two or three syllable word. Mind you the hotels rooms are triple the price they are in January, but in my opinion it’s a once in your life-time experience, so worth it.

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