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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Is There Beer in Heaven Part III

     The inevitable has happened. We buried my brother-in-law last Friday. It wasn’t even a week ago and it seems like so much more time has passed. Maybe it’s because Christmas happened and I didn’t think about it for a couple of days. I’m not sure, but it has me thinking a lot about time.

   You know how it always takes longer to get someplace by car than it does to get back home. I don’t know if it’s the anticipation that it makes it feel like it takes longer, or your desire has been satisfied for making the trip, so getting home is just something you have to do. This happens to me even when I know the route I am taking, like to my sisters, a different one, three hours away or when my girlfriends and I are going on a quilt shop trip. Continue reading “Is There Beer in Heaven Part III”

Too Bad It’s True – flash fiction

Dear Diary, They say pasta is a comfort food. I’m choosing to believe that and plan to make a serving every Saturday from here to forever because it seems I end up at one hospital or another on Sunday. A few months ago I sat with my sister while she and her husband decided whether kidney dialysis was worth the extra time on earth for him. Two weeks ago it was my daughter fighting sepsis (she won) and this Sunday it was my son with a smashed shoulder. The wine is gone tonight, the yummy red sauce pasta awaits.

In response to Charli Mills September 13, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

Remember the Fallen

What is Memorial Day weekend to you? In western New York state, it’s the unofficial start of summer when people with summer cottages take the three-day weekend to go open them up for the season. It’s the weekend you can safely plant your flowers or garden without fear of a killing frost. It’s a weekend of parades, picnics and family time. My husband and I make it an annual event to visit the graves of our loved ones to plant geraniums or leave a new stone. We also go to a chicken-bar-b-q at the American Legion in my home town and enjoy listening to a country music band that we know personally.  Continue reading “Remember the Fallen”

A Family Matter

Healthcare decisions for yourself and others you may have to make choices for are better done before anyone gets sick. I recommend having a straight talk with your spouse and children, or parents, or whomever you want to know what you want and don’t want done when the time comes. Talking about these matters when you are of sound mind, and not in pain, will make the discussion easier on everyone.  Continue reading “A Family Matter”

Feeding the Ravens – Flash Fiction

When visiting Grandma, I asked, “May I feed your friendly ravens?”

“Boy, you stay away from those evil birds. They’ll peck your eyes out!” my father snapped.

My mother disagreed. “I’ve fed those birds all my life. Only mythology and superstition say they are evil.”

Grandma settled the argument when she handed Dad her I-pad open to a fact page about ravens; they mate for life, use tools, can learn human speech, play in the snow, fly upside down, recognize human faces, voices and kindness.

Dad stomped up the stairs.

Grandma, Mom and I went out the back door.

 

In response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary March 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a raven. It can be in nature or used to describe humanity as a metaphor. Follow the bird. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by March 6, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published March 7). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Not Just For Professionals

It’s National Care Givers Day. According to the National Day of calendar this day is set aside to acknowledge, thank, and give credit to professional care givers. Amen to that! Where would we be without our nurses, doctors, technicians, and even the cleaning and cafeteria crews at a hospital; or the staff in our doctor’s office? These people are there when we need them, hopefully it isn’t too often. Note: they get to go home at the end of their shift.

Let’s take this a step further. After a loved one has a knee replaced, with a hospital stay of only two nights, now who is the caregiver? If someone is going through chemo treatments, with rides needed, meals prepared, the house cleaned, and a gentle touch; now who is the caregiver? If someone is in an auto accident that shakes their security to the core, who is their caregiver? You got it, usually it is a family member or friend.

In my circle, I am known as the hospital sitter. I don’t mind sitting quietly, for hours if necessary, in a hospital room, or waiting room, knowing that I am making the patient just a bit calmer. I’ve done it for my husband, the neighbor, my boss, other family members, and a  fellow Harley rider after a terrible accident that left him in a wheelchair. I’m not looking for praise, it’s a way I can calmly give back. There is a down side. On the odd day I’m needing a boost myself, it’s a little too easy to ask, who is taking care of me? Thankfully that thought doesn’t happen often, or last long.

Currently in the U.S. it is socially acceptable and even suggested to tell a military veteran thank you for their service. It’s about time. May I suggest, if you know a caregiver, especially the stay-at-home type, add them to the list of people to say thank you to. By acknowledging the person that needs the care and the caregiver, you let them know you are concerned for both of them. It will mean a lot as the stay-at-home caregiver often doesn’t have an escape like a professional does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering High School Graduation

High School Graduation: Times Past

Was high school graduation a big event for you or did it pass unnoticed. As a city baby boomer high school graduation was not an event that my school, at least, made much of a fuss about. I believe that this may have well have changed with different generations and certainly by geography. I know from the American television shows (Gidget, Happy Days and numerous movies) that in the States high school graduation was quite different to what mine was.

My memoir:

Baby Boomer, rural central school in western New York state, graduation 1971

A central school in the sates means it services multiple towns. I attended K – 12 in the same sprawling building with essentially the same 60 students all 13 years. There was a Catholic school that fed us about ten students at the start of seventh grade. We not only knew each other, we knew the whole family and pets too.

Up until my junior year I was one of the popular kids and included in their activities. My mother had gotten sick during my freshman year and my grades fell so my senior year I was in classes with students I knew, but had never been close with. Mom died November of my senior year and that distanced me further from the “crowd.” I recently talked to a high school classmate, first time in 45 years, and she told me, “We didn’t know what to say, so we didn’t talk to you.” It’s nice to know, finally, it wasn’t all me. I’m really glad there are now grief counselors and people talk about death and it’s repercussions.

Graduation itself was cap and gown with Sunday best underneath. Each student was limited to five tickets because of the size of the auditorium. People with large families had a problem with that. My father, who until my mother’s death had rarely attended anything to do with school, was there, along with my Aunt, my older sister and her boyfriend, and my boyfriend. Dad reached in his suit pocket and pulled out his reading glasses that we had been searching the house for on a daily basis. We had a good laugh, the last time he had worn his suit was at mother’s funeral. He probably said something like, “Guess I should dress more often.”

I received a $200.00 award for having the highest average of a student entering a near-by two-year college. A couple of my fellow male students kidded me they would have done more homework if they had known there was money to be had. It felt good to be ahead of them for once.

My guests and I went back to my aunts to cut a celebratory cake and that was that.

 

Unexpected News – Flash Fiction

January 11, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about wet ink. It can be artistic, writerly or something completely off-the-wall. Go where the prompt leads.  https://carrotranch.com/2018/01/12/january-11-flash-fiction-challenge/

My offering follows:

With great excitement and anticipation I opened my son’s first letter since he had joined the Air Force. I expected personal news and an address. I got the opposite.

“I’m sure you don’t know, Dad told me to never come home again for enlisting without his blessing. I don’t think it’s safe to give you any contact information because he will force you to choose between him and me. I’m sorry.”

My sudden tears wet the ink. I realized any letters would have to be kept secret and I didn’t know if I would ever see my son again.

#FlashFictionChallenge-The Mesh of Marriage

Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary community has given the word “mesh” for this weeks flash fiction challenge. Here  is my offering using mesh as a verb. This is the link  https://carrotranch.com/2017/11/16/november-16-flash-fiction-challenge-2/.

“Melding two people in marriage is like weaving your personalities into a strong mesh. Today I know your special mesh is as fine as Lilly’s wedding veil. It is my duty to warn you, life will present trials that will stretch the spaces and even create holes. Disputes can be about anything from whether to have children, how to spend your money, or deal with  in-laws. I challenge you to never let your mesh get a hole in it. Do you accept my challenge?”

The reverend eyed the bride’s family as the beaming couple answered in unison, “We do.”

TMI

This is the day we recognize social media and how it has changed our every day lives.  Think about it, depending on your age of course, the time of waiting for news of the birth of a cousin by snail-mail is long gone. We now have instant pictures or videos. I think that’s a good thing and I’m sure every family that is now spread across this nation, or the earth, thinks so too.

On the other hand so many people use social media to bash someone or our government that using it has become a negative instead of a positive. I have to admit, I have unfollowed “friends” who bash others. I have also unfollowed people who post too many details, all negative, about their current relationship or life style. I don’t want to be dragged down by those who won’t take responsibility for their own lives or get help when others have suggested that is what could improve the situation.

My blog is part of social media and I’m sure there are some that look at my titles and think, “Who cares?” That’s all right. My point in writing this was to help myself become a better writer and just maybe inspire some conversation around someone’s dinner table instead of having four heads buried in their phones.

You-Tube is its own being now. You can find anything on You-tube. I do like my favorite genre of music videos. I look up how to do something in my sewing room, and my grandson watches people play and explain video games. There is definitely something for everyone, especially about cooking and travel. My wish is for the people who make the videos to take all the “umm” and “ya know” phrases out of their public speaking. But then again, that’s just my pet peeve.

Social Media is here to stay, unless of course, the power goes out. I think it has made the world a smaller place and I’m not at all sure that is a good thing. See you soon on Facebook!

You Choose Each Other

Today is National Best Friends Day. What do you consider a best friend? My definition includes things like loyal, accepting, someone I could travel with, someone to share secrets with and best of all, you choose each other because it’s fun and comfortable to spend time together. If your best friend is also a blood relative, you are even luckier.

I am very fortunate. I have best friends in different aspects of my life. I have M.B. who I went all through school with and have stayed in close contact with to this day. We know each others personal life secrets and don’t tell. I have 90-year-old V.B. and 76-year-old K.K. who are older women I can bounce life’s challenges off; they have more experience than I do and can share different view points with me. I have my sewing buddies; three ladies who had very similar childhoods to mine. We talk about current events, our families, and quilting— mostly quilting. We laugh a lot together. I also have a lady friend, J.G., who can often explain other people’s actions to me. And then I have my Blog supporters, N.G., K.P., and R.C.. I’ve never met R.C. but she has a blog and is an author and baker. I’m sure if we had a chance to share a cup of tea or coffee, we could talk for hours about our like interests and hug each other at the end of our visit. I also have three older sisters who I am close to. We can actually travel together and enjoy it. I am truly blessed to have so many close female friends. And let’s not leave out my children, who I can complain to and share the joy of the milestones we all accomplish.

The list wouldn’t be complete without including my husband. When we first met he said, “I don’t care about your past. I am interested in the person you have become because of it.” He has always stuck to that, never questioning or berating me for mistakes or decisions I made before I met him. He is my most loyal supporter and because of his acceptance I have been able to grow as a person. He deserves my trust and loyalty because he treats me the way I need to be treated, not the way he thinks I should be and he let’s me be me.

As I write, or sew, or cook, I have another best friend. My cat, Useless. He is my constant companion, will listen to anything I have to say, warms my lap while I nap or read, and doesn’t argue. He can be a pain about wanting to go out and come back in so many times in an evening, but I never come home to an empty house with him here to greet me. He has a bed in my sewing studio and shares my chair with me, or takes it over is more like it. He’s fourteen now and starting to show his age. That makes me sad.

Today would be a good day to tell your best friend(s) how much they mean to you. Life sure would be empty if we didn’t have our favorite humans to share it with.

 

 

Family Craft Time

It’s National Children’s Craft Day. Once again, I am perplexed by the choice of picture for this day. I guess if you let that little person sit on your lap while you are crafting, you create interest that hopefully remains. I would have picked an older child that could actually create something on their own. You know, with popsicle sticks, glue, glitter, colored paper and crayons. Maybe a little help with the scissors would be needed.

As a mother, some of my most cherished heirlooms are things my children made in school or scouts when they were little; as in ages five to ten. Christmas tree ornaments are a prime example. It doesn’t matter how well they were made, or if you even know that brown blob is a camel from the manger scene, it matters that my child made it and when they brought it to me, the expression of excitement and accomplishment on their face is embedded in my memory forever.

That’s the cool thing about crafting. Any age person can do it (according to the type of craft of course), learn about art, learn construction, and have a sense of accomplishment. My grandson, at the age of nine, asked to make a quilt with me, so he could learn the process. I did the cutting with a rotary cutter and ruler, and the pinning. He learned to lay out the color design, sew straight seams and iron by setting the seams first, then pressing to the dark fabric. We had a grand time and his quilt is on his bed. I wish he wanted to do more, but once he learned how the process worked, he was satisfied.

There are so many different types of crafting I can’t begin to even name them all. May I suggest, sit down with your little ones, or borrow some if need be, and make something with your hands. Sharing time with your crafter is almost as rewarding as making something is. Make it a family affair.

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