Life’s Old Bones

Charlie was a farmer all his life. It was a small farm; about a hundred acres. He milked cows every day until he was seventy years old. It was a good life, but much of that was gone now. His wife died a year ago in April. His only daughter married a man who worked in the technology field. The only alternative was to sell the farm.

On auction day, folks came from miles around. Tractors and implements sold quickly. The thirty milk cows did as well. The farm sold for more than a half a million dollars.

All that seemed insignificant now, as he stared at the shell of a dilapidated barn, out the window of the rest home. Charlie thought to himself, “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, One day I will collapse, just like that old barn.”

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Linda asked us to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words, using a line from a poem, Spring Azures from the book Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. The line is… ‘Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.’

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Where are You?

“Helen, where are you! When are you coming home. I miss you, please…let me know when you return. I will be down in Bruce’s room watching Wheel of Fortune.”

Paul wrote these notes carefully and neatly on the back of the napkin he brought back from the dinning room. His mind smoky, his focus clouded, he thought to himself, “Reading what I have just written, I now believe she may be gone for good.” His mind soon clouded again as he leaned back in his recliner.

In the time since he moved into his new apartment, he had not seen his wife Helen. He could not imagine where she might be. She might come through the door at any time. Day after day he waited and wondered. He left notes for her, in case she returned, while he was out, but to no avail.

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Today at d’verse, Lillian is guiding our Prosery. Prosery is where we take a given line from a poem and incorporate that line into a prose piece of only 144 words. Today she asked us to include the line: “Reading what I have just written, I now believe” taken from Louise Gluck’s Faithful and Virtuous Night and her poem Afterwards.

I decided to write my piece about the emotions and feelings of one with Alzheimer’s disease. Eight years ago my father-in-law had to be confined to a care facility in the weeks following Christmas. Although he seemed to adjust well to his new environment, not being with his wife was very traumatic for him. This is a glimpse of that time. Although we took him to see her, he did not remember after he was back at his residence.

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Beware the Troll

Beware of the long-haired Old Troll who lives under the bridge, and frightens Trick or Treaters as they cross on Halloween night. Still feeling sore from Big Billy Goat’s but in the butt, he hides away picking on little children when their candy bags are full. As they trip trap across his bridge on the their way home, he rises from the shadows and snatches their candy. He does not care that they run off crying all the way home. Being an old mumble grumble troll, it will take more than candy to sweeten him up. So warn your children on Halloween night to stay away from Sleep Hollow, and the Old Trolls bridge, if they want to keep their sweets!

Hunter’s full moon shines

Ghosts and Goblins come knocking

Watch out for the Troll

Frank at d’Verse told us to write a Halloween Haibun. He said we could even write a fiction prose to go with it. So that is what I did. One for the Kiddos young and old. Enjoy!

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The God Perspective

“You know,” he mused, “Some folks don’t believe there is a God. They get all tangled up with religion and theological arguments about who is right and who is wrong, and miss the bigger picture.”

Grandpa always did have a unique perspective on life. He was wise beyond his years, but only shared his wisdom if asked.

“Aren’t your afraid of catching Covid and dying,” I asked?

“You know son, there are a lot worse things in living than in dying. Death is knocking on all of our doors!”

“I believe there is a God who is the source of all life, and that my life will continue on long after this old pain-ridden body is gone.”

I thought about what he said, as he continued, ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.

“God’s Love is eternal!”

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Painting By Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Kim is having us do Prosery. This is when we write a prose piece of flash fiction (144 words) that includes a random line form a poem she chooses for us. She gave us this line from the D. H. Lawerence poem, Hummingbird:We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’. I decided to write my piece as a conversation.

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Red Moon Rising

Coke Ovens on the Mononghela (2)

     Tears flowed like a downpour on a hot summer day. All around, Jennifer could see the wives of the miners in Swift Creek Mine. Earlier that morning, an explosion trapped eight men in the far end of the shaft. Three of Jennifer’s friends were among the women anxiously awaiting their fate.

     The siren on top of the tipple sent shrill chills through the little coal patch. At times like this, the whole neighborhood rushed to the mine for word of who the trapped miners might be. Those whose husbands were safe, stayed to give comfort and support.

A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills of the Monongahela. Jennifer could only wonder when it would be her time to weep; having a husband and son who worked there.

     Everyone went silent… as the men were carried out… one by one!

Painting of Coke Ovens and Mine: Dwight L. Roth

Prosery today at d’Verse: Lillian gave us the challenge to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words that includes a given line from Carl Sandburg’s poem, Jazzy Fantasia . The line I included was A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills…  This story comes from memories of my childhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Many lives were lost in the coal mining industry that supported our steel mills in Pittsburgh at the time.

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Being Different – Children’s Book

A few years ago I found this unusual looking tomato in my garden. It had a long projection coming out that looked like a nose. My wife stuck on eyes and a mouth and Spike was born!  I decided to write a story for children about being different. I took spike around my house and took pictures of him sitting with different objects. Then I compiled it into a story that I thought kids would enjoy! Hope you enjoy it as well.

Click on the preview to see the beginning. You can read it free if you have a kindle unlimited subscription. If not you can purchase it to read on your computer.

Alzheimer’s Story for Children

My father-in-law began to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s back in 2009. In 2012 he had to live in a care facility. It was very sad to see someone decline into dementia and lose touch with reality.  He died in 2018 at the age of 89.

I began to look for books on line that children could relate to that talked about Alzheimer’s disease. There were very few if any and  none for younger children. I decided to write and illustrate a children’s book that would introduce children to dementia and the way it affects older people.

If you are interested please click the link and check it out on amazon.com kindle books. My granddaughter helped me with the color in the illustrations. If you have a kindle subscription you can read it for free.

Nightmare Scream

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     Everyone said the house was haunted. No one lived there since Jim was found hanging in the back bedroom. He came home from a trip to Atlanta and was told by the sheriff that his wife had been murdered by her ex-husband. Weeks later, Jim just couldn’t face life any longer without his one true love.
When George Scott, his neighbor down the hill found him, he immediately called the Sheriff. He met him at the end of the lane, and the two of them went up to the house. The door creaked as they went in and found the chair lying there and the rope dangling from the closet, but Jim was nowhere to be found!
   On full moon nights, some say they see movements in the window. Others say they see Jim standing there, as “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream!”

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Tonight we are writing Prosery at d”Verse. Bjorn asked us to write a prose piece of exactly 144 words, that includes this line from Maya Angelou’s Poem …Caged Bird Sings:  …his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream…

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Chernobyl

Chernobyl photo

It was my first visit to Chernobyl since the reactor meltdown years ago. I grew up there as a child; rode the Ferris Wheel and Bumper Cars in the park. My father worked in a one of many factories owned by the government.
As our SUV pulled into the radiation zone, I could see things had changed. The grass was green, the sky was blue, and wild foxes roamed the fields nearby looking for rabbits and field mice. But, there was an eerie sad silence that seemed to wrap its arms around me.
Pulling up to the factory where my father went each day, I could see the jagged glass broken in the windows; the sagging doors were orange with rust. “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” Hell must be like this I thought; memories of what once was…

Today at d’verse we are doing Prosery, combining poetry into a 144 word prose piece. Sarah gave a line form a poem that must be incorporated into our flash fiction piece. Our line today comes from a poem called Adelstrop by Edward Thomas. It is: “No one left and no one came on the bare platform.” 

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Bing photo from a YouTube clip.

The Thrill of the Moment

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There are moments caught between heart-beats’ when one teeters between life and death, or so it seems! This is one of those moments. Reluctantly, Abby agreed to come along on this adventure.
The Rock Island Line ran straight through her uncle’s Texas Ranch. Below the ranch, the river was spanned by an arched steel trestle . The thrill was to hang out by the bridge until the train whistle blew in the distance, then crawl under where the train tracks met the hillside. By then, the train would be arriving at the bridge. Lying under the tracks they could feel the train rumbling above them.
This is the moment of truth. The three of them lay flat on their backs, as the train roared onto the trestle. They all screamed, but no one heard, as the ground shook and their racing hearts stood still.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Kim asked us to do a prosery, which is to write a prose flash fiction of only 144 words, and to include this line from a poem: ‘There are moments caught between heart-beats’. My idea for this story came from a childhood story David Holt, PBS musician and story teller shared in an interview. He said he and his brother used to lay under the bridge and feel the train going above.

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