Every weekend I get an old-fashioned, actually made out of paper, newspaper delivered to my home. It’s a comfort thing, really, and I love to sit down with the Toronto Star (usually with a bowl of popcorn at hand) and sip tea while reading. Each Saturday I make sure to read the “Tree of the Week” column, about huge trees with interesting histories that grow in the Toronto area.
Several weeks ago I was reading the column when I had one of those ah-ha moments. “I know a tree!” I said to myself, “And it has a story to tell.” A quick phone call to my dad gave me the historical details, and a quick text with the sisters made sure I didn’t miss any stories. The writing came easily, and then it all went by email to the columnist. The rest, as folks are forever saying, is history.
A couple of years ago I was using writing prompts to get myself back to the page. Some bits of writing were better than others, but I had a whole lot of fun with this one. Since I don’t plan to use it anywhere else, I thought I’d share it here.
The prompt is written in caps, followed by the resulting story.
A SCENE THAT INVOLVES RUBIK’S CUBE SHOWING UP SOMEWHERE UNEXPECTED
When he told the story, Arnie always started by saying he didn’t see it coming, and on every count, that was true.
Thelma hadn’t been thrilled when he called to say the guys at the office were taking him out for a spur of the moment retirement party.
“Think bachelor party, only for an old guy,” said Cameron.
“We need to liven up a Thursday evening,” Shaun added.
“Not too lively.” Daniel rolled up his shirtsleeves and stretched his arms over his head. “We’d better not kill him just when the pension’s ready to kick in.”
I’m a homebody who has never pushed myself out of my comfort zone; never done anything really exciting with my life. I’ve supported many endeavours financially, wishing friends, acquaintances, and various groups well as they embark on humanitarian efforts around the world, but I’ve never gone myself. I’ve helped raise donations, and I’ve cleaned and catalogued donated medical equipment, but I’ve never traveled with it. I’ve read email updates and blogs, cheering others on, then listened to stories of adventures upon their return home, but have never had stories of my own to tell. As a matter of fact, as I write this, an AMAZING medical team is in Ghana and they are making real and lasting differences in the lives of thousands who attend their clinics.
This evening my heart was touched by the words of one of our nurses who has gone to spend six weeks in Canada’s north. This is not the first nurse I know who has done a ‘tour of duty’ in the north, and she’s not the only one in my circle who is there right now. The difference is that she is keeping a public blog, relating some of her experiences, and she’s given me permission to share what she’s written so far.
The weather may be very different when you get around to reading this story, but as I write it is hot and humid here, north of Toronto. As weather reporters say in this area, “With humidity it feels like 40C,” which translates to about 104F.
This morning we joined my parents and a couple of my sisters for our monthly family breakfast. Mom pulled out her iPad and showed me a picture she’d taken of a photograph that had somehow unearthed itself, and it was pure gold. You see, back in the good old days, when I was about twelve years old, we had the perfect combination of weather, resulting in a few magical days for us kids. Without photo evidence it might be hard for some to believe. Continue reading “Skating Party!”→
Once upon a time, a workbench lived in my father’s woodworking shop. It was an ordinary bench, extraordinary only because of the projects built on its surface. I’ve lost count of the number of things Dad made, but his grandchildren will never forget building their own little projects with Grandpa’s guidance. At first they built small boats to sail on the river running behind Grandpa and Grandma’s property. Then they graduated to wooden mallets, and small baseball bats turned on the lathe. Always, there were small pieces of wood available to them — cutoffs from other projects — and a box of used nails they could help themselves to. Continue reading “Repurposed. Re-homed.”→
I think I’m a reasonable shopper. I like a good deal as well as the next person, but I don’t mind paying for items of good quality. All too often though, my shopping list includes laundry detergent and the price of quality brands really bugs me.
Over the years I’ve made my own laundry soap from time to time, with very good cleaning results, but my efforts always petered out because I disliked finely grating the bar soap needed to make the granular recipe I’d been using. A little while ago, still steaming over the price of Tide, I drove home wondering why I couldn’t make laundry soap in liquid form. Continue reading “Susie Homemaker’s Very Fine Day”→