Archive for Stories

Two Hands While Learning

When I was learning to catch a baseball, my dad always told me, “Use two hands while learning.” He said when the ball hit my mitt, put my other hand over it to make sure it couldn’t pop back out of the mitt. It was good advice.

This morning, I was thinking of another saying that’s popular with some of us rednecks; “Here, hold my beer and watch this.” But how these two came together in my mind is interesting. I was thinking about how we are tempted all day, every day, by the world and it’s shiny and exciting things and adventures. We do our best to keep our hand in God’s, so he will help us not to succumb to the temptations, but sometimes we literally look at him and say, “Just this once?” I picture Him smiling as he lets go and lets us make whatever mistake we’re going to make, but I also realize He’s wanting us to not only not let go of His hand, but give Him our other hand as well.

 

boy catching ball (2) 2

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Mom Broke My Heart Today

be still coverI talked to Mom today. She sounded so good, so happy, and that makes my heart sing. I love my mom as much as any man can love another person. She’s my mentor, my guide, and my light. I just sometimes wish I could be the man she hoped I would be.

Her husband, Ray Brown isn’t well. So many things going on with his poor old body I can’t begin to list them all. But they keep praying and believing for his healing, and I pray with them. He’s a good guy, Ray Brown is, and I should have shown him more respect and given him more love these past 25 years or so. But I’m not that good a guy sometimes.

As mom and I talked, while I walked, this morning she told me how much it meant to her that I’ve started calling Ray every now and then—just to talk. Then… she told me about a dream she had last night. She said she doesn’t dream that often, and when she does, her dreams are vague and disjointed. But she said this one was vivid and clear. She said she dreamed I was sitting across from Ray, me in a chair facing him in his chair, and I was just holding his hand and smiling at him. But here’s what broke my heart and left me crying off and on the rest of this day. Mom, trying her best not to cry, said, “There was nothing but love in your smile, Charlie. I can’t even describe it.”

I don’t deserve a dream like that. I just don’t.

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The Easter Bunny?

He wasn’t a stray. I figured he’d just found a way out of the yard and thought he’d soak up some freedom. When he saw me, he joined me on my walk, doing an excited trot beside me, then running ahead, smelling every bush and tree. Then he cut up a driveway and grey bunnydisappeared but only for a few seconds. A fat grey rabbit came shuffle running around the house and into the street, almost running into my leg. And, as it passed it looked up at me with big eyes that begged, “a little help here.” Another pet out of its cage, I figured. The dog gave chase, but quite obviously had no sense of why. Just instinct. The rabbit went ‘round the house, and a squirrel came flying from the same direction past the dog. The dog probably confused by the size change in his prey, stopped, cocked his head, then appearing to laugh, chased the squirrel that vanished quickly up a tree. I started walking again and the dog bounded on ahead, a happiness in its step that said, this freedom thing is the best! He went around a corner and that was the last I saw of him. I figured he’d find his way home when he got hungry. As I walked on, I thought about how happy he’d been, roaming and exploring and being free, and I smiled thinking, he was right; this thing called freedom is indeed a wonderful thing.

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Who’s Silly Now?

If you haven’t read the post preceding this one, That’s Just Silly, it’s kind of a lead in to this one, and you might enjoy reading it first.

…….

silverwareThing is, we have 12 of everything in our silverware drawer, but we only use the top two of each utensil because I hand wash, dry, and put away the dishes after every meal. So, I’d been thinking about this for a while and then yesterday I came up with a plan. I would leave the washed silverware in the drain thingy until we’d used it all. Brilliant! So, I’m smiling, all proud of my plan, when another thought hit me. How would I know which silverware I used first? It’s just going to go in randomly, and how’m I gonna know the same two aren’t being used over and over. I told Sherry about my plan and the problem with it, and she just laughed and laughed. What’s up with that?

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That’s Just Silly

Stopped by a neighborhood C-Store yesterday. Had a lottery ticket I wanted to cash, so I walked up to the newly installed bulletproof shield at the register and handed the ticket man runningthrough the little slot at the bottom. The young lady behind the plexiglass said, “Put it down!” I jerked it back and said, “What?” “Put. The. Ticket. Down!” I was a bit unnerved, and said, “Why?” She glared at me. “We’re not allowed to have contact with customers.” I grinned as I said, “That’s just silly. I’ve had my hands on every square inch of this ticket in the last five minutes.” She just pointed to the ticket, then the counter. Oh-kaaay, I thought, as I put the ticket through the slot and let it fall. I traded the ticket for another one, and when she stuck it through the window, I said, “Put it down!” Then I just laughed and laughed. Until, that is, she dropped the ticket and started around the counter. I assumed she was about to break the no-contact-with-customers rule, so I bolted for the door. I’m fast when I need to be.

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Get Away From Me

Neither George Orwell’s “1984” nor Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” imagined the scene we are living at this moment. Their tomes are mild compared the current unprecedented and unforeseen scenario.
This morning, on the walking trail, I saw two ladies approaching. They were obviously together, I assume friends, and were walking one on either side of the path, keeping as from one another as they could. As I got closer, the one on my side hurried ahead of her friend, glancing back to make sure she was maintaining proper distance protocol. My, “Good morning,” nor my presence was acknowledged as I passed them.
A while later, as I walked across the parking lot at Kroger’s, a lady stumbled and went to her knees. I reflexively hurried to her and said, “Are you okay? Can I help you up?” She literally screamed at me. “Get away from me! Don’t touch me!” I was shocked, but complied with her wishes, and walked away.
by the seaIs this where we’ve come to? Is this the world we live in? It makes me terribly sad.
It seems, like lemmings, people have been led to the edge of a sea of fear. Some of them will walk into it, never to return, while others will stand at the edge, trembling in fear, yet content in the belief they are doing as they should. At times, some will begin to wander back toward the world they knew before, hoping it will be as it was when they left it. Those remaining at the edge will scream for them to come back to safety; begging them to do as they’ve been told. It’s too soon to go back!
And those who refused to follow and worship with the multitudes who tremble and pray to the alter of fear? They are cursed and accused of bringing danger—even death—upon those who choose to do the “right thing”.

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It’s Not My Job!

Was taking my morning walk when I spotted three ladies standing together talking, and as I got closer, I recognized two of them from our PACE group at the health club. Didn’t know the third one. They were too “busy” to notice me, so when I was about twenty feet away, I yelled, “Ah’ight, y’all spread out!” I will NOT do THAT again!

Okay… to be honest, what I said next probably caused the scene that followed. “I think I’ll just come over there and hug all three of you.” THEN:

karate womanOne of them bolted into the trees, one screamed and threw her phone at me, and the one I didn’t know grinned a wicked grin and took this odd looking Karate Kid type stance.

I managed to outrun the Karate Gal, but I gotta tell you folks, this social distancing thing is henceforth out of my realm of responsibility. I will, however, keep my distance from groups of more than two women on the walking trail.

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Grandpa Does it Again!

Bill, Sawyer, Haynes, Tracey, Me (2)

The grandson is home from UT for spring break, which got extended for the Corona scare, so yesterday we had a little get-together.

We were just standing around shootin’ the breeze, when I leaned into the boy and said, “Got any tattoos yet?” Every head in the room snapped my way, the boy looked down at me, grinned and chuckled, then mayhem ensued. Shots were fired!

Actually, they don’t own any guns and the shots were merely daggers fired at me from the eyes of all present. Except the granddaughter. She was behind me, but got me with a well-placed “accidental, I’m sure” elbow to the ribs as she walked past on her way to assist her grandmother, who was spitting and sputtering, having apparently shot a mouthful of iced tea out her nose.

Turns out the boy doesn’t have any tattoos yet, but I think the granddaughter might be hiding something.

Apparently, their mom and dad are “kind of” against the idea of ink on their babies and didn’t want me putting ideas in their heads. Who knew?

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Found Money

I push aside worn shirts looking for my suit. I hate going to these “parties”, but not as much as I hate wearing a suit and tie. I’ll get over it—always do—but the thing is… well, as usual, we’re so broke we can’t pay attention.

The car’s got less than a quarter tank in it, and I got a buck or three to my name until payday. I couldn’t sleep last night, but her! She just gave my shoulder a pat, then slipped right off to dreamland. Then, as I was finally drifting off to sleep, I heard Mom’s voice; “Don’t worry, Charlie. God will provide.” I groaned and answered out loud, “Sure, Mom. Is He gonna leave a twenty under my pillow?”

serendipityThen! Tonight, we’re getting ready and when I shove my wallet into the inside pocket of my suit jacket I feel something. “No way,” I whisper. But yes way! I pull the wallet out, reach back in, and stare at a folded twenty-dollar bill.

She’s in front of the mirror, checking her hair—again—and I grin at her.

“What?” she says, returning the grin.

I give her a playful pat—not on the shoulder—and say, “You look gorgeous. But come on, we have to stop for gas.”

Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn

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Simpler Times

This is a melancholy sort of poem but, just so y’all know, I’m not sad. In fact I’m very much at peace and have great hope for the future. I do, however, often look longingly at the way things used to be. I think we all tend to do that. I hope you enjoy the poem.

Those Times Ago 

 

Eyes closed, I smiled and imagined

A full moon hanging low in the sky

Looking like a shiny pearl button

On a dandy cowboy’s shirt

 

Sequin stars glittered

On a blouse of blue-black silk

While in the distance cattle lowed

And coyotes yipped and howled

 

When I opened my eyes

It all faded to cold hard truth

The hot dry grass on my neck

And burning tears I wouldn’t let fall

 

City traffic whirred nearby

Distant sirens pierced the night

A neighbor screamed angrily

At her laughing children

 

I gazed up at the dingy sky

Closed my eyes and tried to recall

Those times so long ago

When hope still lived within me

 

Times when stars twinkled

The man in the moon smiled

And parents, tired from their day

Murmured and chuckled softly

 

just us kids 2 (2) quoteGliding in the old wooden swing on the porch

Smiling, looking forward to tomorrow

While in the moon-shadow of a tree

Children tittered secret laughter

 

I wondered when the world had changed

And wished we could go back

To when life was simple; those times ago

When hope was more than just a word

 

Copyright © 2011 C. Mashburn

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