there's not a whole lot going on

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Missin' One Guy's

Tommy sat atop his horse in the middle of a clearing with two paths before him, scratched his head and mumbled to Sally.

“Sally, I ain’t too sure ‘bout this. Ya’ know, I thought we was supposed ta take this trail, but I don’t remember nobody tellin’ me nothin’ ‘bout no fork in the road.”

Sally, in an uncharacteristically assertive manner, tugged at the reins and took a few tentative steps, but Tommy pulled her back in.

“Well, now Sally, where ‘bouts do ya’ think yer goin’? We’ve got ta put our heads together on thissun. Now, where’s that map that Ma’ give me?”

Tommy rummaged through his saddle bags without dismounting, and Sally took those few moments to walk toward her preferred path.

“Sally! Why, what in samhill has gotten inta you? Yer turnin’ inta a regular ol’ Joe. That dadburn horse never did mind nobody. Wadn’t no wonder when Pa’ sold him off fer glue, ‘n you’d better just start actin’ right er you’ll be in the same fix as Joe!”

Sally snorted.

Flapping the map open in front of him, Tommy ran his finger back and forth, up and down, and around in circles over the map until he finally decided he should have paid more attention when Mrs. Cole swatted him during geography lessons.

Sally started toward her chosen path for the third time.

“Tarnation Sally! If yer so blamed excited ‘bout what’s down there, we’d better go see what’s down there! Let’s go ya’ ol’ mule.”

With that Tommy gave her the reins and a tiny tap with his heel to encourage her down the right branch. When the pair stepped into a second clearing, Tommy nearly cried. They’d made it to their destination, but far too late for Tommy’s purposes. There was One Guy* standing in front of an empty table rolling up a sign that read, “Free calzones while supplies last!”

Undeterred, Sally tugged at the reins once more redirecting herself while redirecting Tommy’s gaze. When he saw a barn overflowing with hay, and a sign that read, “Free hay while supplies last!” he did cry.

*One Guy from Italy is the only place in Lubbock you ever have to go. If you don't like their calzones, there's something wrong with you. Be sure to get a Big Red while you're at it. ;)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Way of Despair

Heaviness stopped her fingers, darkness clogged her mind, the pressure of despair pulled her deep into the earth and she did not fight it. It claimed her, made her its own, wrapped its arms around her, sank its claws into her brain and slowly poured its poison through their hollow tips.

A whisper drifted across the darkness, but she never turned her head. A voice pleaded with her, but she turned to further embrace the night. A warm hand, soft but firm took hold of her own, but she pulled away. And she sank, deeper into the blinding night, drinking in the damp and sorrowful air in great droughts as despair made itself one with her mind and her heart.

With slow, familiar tugs, the earth around her feet took her into itself. As it pulled, she never struggled, opening her arms and entwining herself in an old friend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Doing [continued]

One who pays heed to the wind will not sow, and one who watches the clouds will never reap. --Ecclesiastes 11:3-4
After the wedding and the move to Kansas, Tommy was still looking for a job, but nothing really seemed suitable. He'd had several offers, but after the interviews and learning more about the positions, the time commitments, the pay and everything else that went with them, he still couldn't decide which direction he wanted his career to go. He knew he wanted to put himself in a position where he would be able to take care of Jamie, but he wanted to make sure that position would still leave him time to be with her and to raise a family with her. As for Jamie, she was settling in well at the university, and encouraged him to look until he found a good match.

A few months down the road, though, and Tommy was still looking. Finally, exasperated with everything, he took a low end job with no career path at a local non-profit. He hated his position, but he just couldn't decide on anything, and he didn't want to commit his family to anything that wasn't going to pan out.

Tommy bounced from mind-numbing position to brain-freezing position for several years while Jamie successfully completed her degrees and was beginning her own job search. By this time, Tommy was not just worried that a career might be unsuccessful, he was worried he'd be burned out after a few months the same as he had been with every job he'd ever had. He wanted to go back to school. He'd wanted to go back to school since they moved to Kansas, but the same paralysis came over him every time he thought about it. Would he be able to get a better job that way? Would he do well? Would he be good enough to even get a job? Would he even like going to school or in the end would he like the new jobs he could have?

Finally, Jamie found a tenure track position in Boston, and since Tommy's career wasn't quite working out, they moved to the freezing north, with hopes of having children once they were settled. Maybe it was something in the weather, or maybe it was the change of scenery, but a few months after Angela was born, Tommy informed Jamie that he was tired of trying to figure out what was going to happen tomorrow while today was wasting away - he wanted to go back to school and he was going to look for a real job.

While Jamie tried not to let her relief show, she silently vowed to light a few extra candles after Mass.

A few months later, Tommy was enrolled in night and weekend courses while working for a local corporation that specialized in non-profits. He hadn't been this happy since the day he was married, though if you reminded him, he would tell you he hadn't been this happy since the day his baby girl was born.


One who pays heed to the wind will not sow, and one who watches the clouds will never reap. --Ecclesiastes 11:3-4
Jamie looked out the window for the hundredth time that morning. She simply did not know what to do with her life. Graduation would be coming along in three months, and though she'd filled out applications and interviewed for jobs, she still couldn't make up her mind. With applications to countries across the nation, interviews with corporations around the world, many of them successful, others less so, she still could make no decisions.

As the clouds scudded across a pale blue sky, she sighed, also for the hundredth time, and plopped her head into her hands. She told her boyfriend Tommy that she was so desperate to know which path to take, she was on the verge of going to a palm reader. All he did was laugh and kiss her cheek, then propose she burn everything and run away with him to the Bahamas where they would live for the rest of their lives on coconuts.

She rolled her eyes and reprimanded him, "Tommy you know you can't live on coconuts! We would have to have jobs and a home to live in. Besides, we'd never know which hurricane was going to wipe us and everything we had off the face of the earth!"

"Well, yeah, but you don't know which of these corporations is going to lay you off three months after hiring you or which school is going to make you miserable for the next six years."

"I know! That's the problem! I've got to figure out which one is the least likely to ruin my life!"

Tommy smiled, kissed her forehead and let himself out the door, leaving Jamie staring out the window wishing the clouds could tell her the end of each possible path. Shaking her head in frustration, she followed Tommy out the door, hoping she'd be able to catch him before he made it to his car.

He was just turning the key when she tapped on the passenger side window asking if he wanted to go for a ride. As they drove through town, heading to the dirt roads just on the outskirts, Jamie began, "You know, Tommy, with all this uncertainty about what I should do next with my life, there's one thing that's clear. It's the only certainty I've got right now, and I'm afraid that I might lose it once we've graduated and you go your way and I go mine. I mean, when I'm in who knows where and you're in. Well, you haven't told me where you're going yet." She looked at him quizzically. "Where are you going?"

Laughing, Tom squeezed her hand. "I'm going wherever you're going! Even if it is the Bahamas!"

Jamie's quiet, "Oh," was almost inaudible as she realized what he'd just said.

A few minutes later, she looked at him again, this time as though she could see into his brain, or at least as though that was what she hoped would happen. "Well, then, I guess it doesn't matter where I go. How's about Berkeley?"

"You remember that fall starts in May in Berkeley, right?"

"Oh, good point, well in that case, we should definitely go to the Bahamas," she winked at him. "But, really, what do you think about Kansas?"

"Kansas, good Lord, whatever would I do in Kansas?"

She winked again, "Be with me!" be continued

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sweet Beginnings

Becky Brunsberg was one of the prettiest girls in town. Jeffrey Wincrest couldn’t stop thinking about her all Sunday long, even when the preacher, in a surprisingly agitated state, actually began hopping up and down during his sermon. Jeff had no idea what could possibly have been amiss as he hadn’t been able to focus long enough to discern Reverend Willicot’s meaning. What Jeff was discerning at just that moment was the pretty little hat sitting on top of Becky’s head just two rows in front of him.

The night before she’d gone with him to the high school prom, and while they hadn’t been going steady when he’d asked her out, or even by the time they’d actually made it to the dance, that didn’t stop Jeff from thinking maybe she was hoping he’d finally get around to asking her on a proper date and then to going steady. Jeff’s mind was filled with dancing and laughing and one sweet little peck from Becky Brunsberg while he stood on her front porch after walking her home.

After church was over, Jeff made sure to follow Becky out, trying not to be too conspicuous to his family – he didn’t want to hear the catcalls and hoots from his younger brothers until after he’d gotten Becky to say yes. As he was just about to place a hand gently on Becky’s shoulder, Jeff’s insides fell to his feet. Becky Brunsberg, one of the prettiest girls in town, had just made a bee-line for Joe Schumacher, one of the handsomest guys in town. Unsure if he’d been noticed, Jeff dodged the pair and continued walking, hoping there were someone on the other side who could save him.

Granny George, who seemed to be everybody’s granny, smiled sweetly up at Jeff from her crooked hunch and patted him on the back, asking for his help in walking to her car. The smile she received was perhaps the most angelic she’d been given since her own children were babes, and Jeff made every possible effort to make sure her journey was safe. And slow.

After kissing Granny George goodbye – no she wasn’t his granny, but that didn’t make her any less his granny – Jeff turned to walk back to his own family, but was caught halfway there by Becky Brunsberg, one of the prettiest girls in town.

“Hey, Becky, how’d you like Rev. Willicot’s sermon today?”

“Oh, I don’t know Jeff, I wasn’t really paying much attention. Not even when he started hopping up and down like there was ants in his pants.”

“Yeah? Me either, but now that I think about him hopping around, it sure was funny.”

“I guess it was. You know, I had a good time last night, thanks for taking me to the prom.”

“You’re welcome, Becky, there’s nobody else I’d rather have taken.”

“That’s what Joe was just telling me.” For the first time she looked up from the ground and from looking at the trees to direct her pretty brown eyes at his own, and Jeff’s heart nearly jumped through his teeth.

“You two were talkin’ about me?”

“I suppose we were. Joe’s been such a good friend. Did you know that he and my sister Mary Ellen are gettin’ married in a month?”

For the second time that day, Jeff gave the most angelic smile he’d given since he was a babe, and said, no he had not heard that. “Would you happen to need a date for your sister’s wedding, Becky?”

The angelic smile he then received was all he needed for an answer, but just in case, Becky said yes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


For the sake of learning who my one and only reader is (I hope there's one of you anyways), I've added the Followers Gadget to my sidebar. Once you've added my blog to your list, Blogger will update my list and stick your profile photo in my sidebar. It's pretty nifty and gives people an opportunity to learn about your blog while perusing mine. It's also a nice colorful addition when there are many faces there, so it's aesthetically pleasing to boot!

The only drawback as far as I'm concerned is if you're using Google Reader already (which I am), then it adds another folder for the Blogger blogs that you follow. Those blogs are, of course, already in Google Reader (which is grrrrrrrrrrrreat!), so I now have them twice, in folders that I want them in. Not a big deal, just a little annoying. Maybe they'll eventually make that an option. Even with the annoyance, I clicked to follow blogs to let folks know I think their blogs rock enough to let them put my face on it.* =)

All that being said, if you'd like to follow this blog, just go to Regular Readers** on my sidebar and follow the instructions!

*Followers just makes me feel like I've got some sort of crazy messiah complex...

**You don't have to think my blog rocks, I just want you to stick your face on my blog. 0=)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lost at Sea*

Cast your bread upon the waters; after a long time you may find it again. --Ecclesiastes 11:1
The old man struggled with the oars, pulling with all his might and fighting only to make small headway in his overladen barque. He cursed the weather, cursed the wind, cursed the waves and cursed the lightning that lit the snarling sea. Up the crests and down the valleys his little boat dipped and plunged, threatening submersion as it scudded into each oncoming wave. Somehow he managed to keep the boat afloat, somehow he managed to convince the unruly beast to right itself and ride up the wave rather than through. For hours he rowed, for hours he fought until his arms could row no longer and he thought surely daylight must come. It came not. The clouds, thick with danger, had gathered to block out the sun, to turn each hopeful ray back upon its source and give the fool no glimpse of hope.

Long after daylight should have come and all energy was spent, as the thunder rumbled its taunting laughter at his folly, he knew that he would make no progress in this manner. Turning his cursing to petition he pleaded with the One who had made the winds and rains, the One who had brought him to this place, the One who alone could carry him safely home.

But the clouds did not part, nor did ray of sun carry through the angry storm, the rain did not cease, the waves did not calm and still he rowed. For hours more his hopeless skiff looked to capsize, leaving him and all he owned adrift in a raging storm that seemed likely never to end. Once more he turned to pleading, begging, importuning the One to whom all things belong. Finishing his supplications, he knew the deed that must be done. Not knowing in which crate his life would lay, he cut all loose and threw his dreams into the sea.

His skiff now unfettered, no longer lingered, but sailed as though with wings, up and over each mighty crest and on toward the shore. With energy that he could not, should not have, the old man poured himself once more into rowing, and at long last, many hours later, he found himself coming safely ashore with nothing of his possessions but his little boat and himself in sight. Dragging the war-worn dinghy ashore, he laid it over himself and fell asleep as the storm roared around him.

When at last he woke and threw the row-boat off, he looked to sea in hopes that some small particle might have followed him to shore, but he looked to find nothing but his shoes. Pulling them onto his feet and praying to God that these should be sufficient, he clambered up the dune and into town.

Many years later, bringing offerings of thanksgiving, the old man returned to the place of his safe landing. As he shuffled down the dune up which he'd walked so long before, his eyes alighted upon a lonely crate sitting on the sand. Running to unclose it, he gasped and laughed and leapt like a child when his wife, once lost to the angry sea, burst into his arms and covered him in love forever more.

*I hate naming stories almost as much as I hate writing their endings.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Guardian Angels*

Jeremiah walked out the door like he always did, briefcase in hand, suit and tie in starched perfection. His mind wandered through the course of the day, meetings he expected to have, papers he needed to read through, reports he needed to file. He did the same thing he did every day when he stepped into his car, started the engine, flipped the radio from FM to CD and drove down the street.

When he arrived at Jerry's house, however, things were not as they always were. He awaited his friend and co-worker patiently for 5 minutes, then spent the next 5 minutes considering if he should honk or walk up to the front door. Finally, he decided to wait another 5 minutes and then ring the door bell.

The woman that him when the front door opened surprised him - he and his wife had dined at the Rousseau's on numerous occasions, and Jerry's wife was always immaculate. Today she was not. Maud apologized profusely for her own appearance and for Jerry's lateness, but there was simply nothing that could be done. She informed him hurriedly that their trusty alarm clock that kept perfect time and never went out even when the power went out (it had a battery backup) had gone out! All of the other clocks in the house still had the correct time, but it had stopped working, and so they had slept over an hour late, and Jerry was just now in the shower. When she asked if he wanted to take a seat in the living room while he waited, Jeremiah declined, saying he didn't want to keep her from getting ready for the day either.

Ten minutes later, Jerry ran out the door, his own briefcase in hand and his own suit in mild disarray. After apologizing profusely, he explained everything as Maud had and proceeded to improve his appearance. Jeremiah nodded politely, said it could have happened to anyone, and not to worry, he'd already phoned the office, the meeting had been postponed anyways. Apparently a logging truck had lost it's load just ten minutes before on one of the major interchanges before downtown. The logs, not being satisfied with blocking traffic on the overpass alone, had managed to tumble onto the overpass below and then finally to crash and splinter on the lowest level. The office wasn't sure which interchange or which highways were blocked, and the radio news hadn't been very helpful in suggesting alternative routes.

The pair arrived at the interchange as the road crews pulled the smashed hulk of a tractor trailer onto a flat bed. Looking at the other remains Jerry spotted the tractor that had been pulling the trailer and exclaimed that the driver was really lucky the cab hadn't been crushed. Fortunately, most of the remaining lumber had been pulled off to the side of the road, and the traffic began moving shortly after the trailer began moving.

The next day Jeremiah and Jerry left their houses and headed for work like they always did, but today, both men caught the other checking the time when they drove through the interchange. Jerry cleared his throat, and laughing said maybe he'd better call his wife to pull that alarm clock back out of the trash.

*Thanks for the inspiration from Fr. Longenecker at Standing on My Head (a great blog, btw) and Julie D. at Happy Catholic (another great blog).