Monday, August 5, 2013

Watermelon, Old Glory...and Sheep

What do watermelon, Old Glory and sheep have in common? Simple, a parade! But not just any parade. No sir. We’re talking the Fair Parade. 

Watermelon, a late summer’s gift, an easy simple retreat from the Iowa sun. Dripping from chins as the parade passes, announcing the fair is ready for visitors. For young and old alike, table manners can wait. 

Old Glory commands the attention of all. Eyes snap, hats in hand, palms on chest or drawn to the forehead of those who have served.

Then there are the sheep. They follow whoever will lead. Sometimes the strongest, sometimes the loudest and sometimes directed by whatever nips at their heels. Sounds like a group of hens I know, and I don’t mean poultry.

Sirens blare! Welcome to Gracier and this year’s county fair!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Suitors at the Gate

A  tiny, paper thin, yellow blossom shrivels. The bloom sheds. A small green nubbin is revealed.

Taking its own sweet time it expands. Humid Iowa summer mornings bath the newcomer in dew. Blistering noon day sun soaks deep into the green flesh. Night time comes, and the green gift rests on the vine until the next sultry day. 

Patient, it is in no hurry to show its true color until the days grow heavy with the haze of a long, hot summer. All the lime green orb has absorbed starts to radiate from within. A glow, faint pinkish-orange begins to blush. 

Then the red lady appears. And she is ready to greet her suitors. For she will have many come to the garden gate. But only the one… patient, caring, trustworthy, will call this prize his.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer’s First Day

Corn makes its assent to knee high status. Green flickers in the bean fields. Calves have gotten their legs and dance through the pasture. The morning breeze carries the hint of July heat ready to greet us, all too soon.  Gracier folks bid their fond farewell to Spring.

Monday, June 10, 2013

What makes a man evil?

Born with it? Learned? 

Or, has he been cast his lot as a reminder to those who might stray… ”This is what power and obsession can become if unchecked.” 

Maggie somehow saw past it...or was blind to it.

Her maker might say, "Maggie McCabe knew full well and used his evil for a greater good, to protect an unborn child." 

But Joseph Cassidy’s evil slipped through the cracks of time, unfulfilled. And now seeps into the life of the woman it was used to guard.

What makes a man evil... 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Royalty in the Garden

Royalty of the garden, an iris, its golden throat, spilling into purple velvet, a scepter, grasped between the chubby fingers of the little girl who marched about.  So rich, to touch it with those tiny fingers, you’d expect them to come back awash with violet.

Some gardener’s in our tiny town thought it a shame to slice the stalk of the striking flora. Not her grandfather, Jonas McCabe.

Whisked away in to her imaginary kingdom, talking to the queen, ordering the jester to dance and commanding everyone must pause for tea, time stopped.

 A rustle of a skirt would respond to the chair she directed her Grandmother Anne to sit in. From heaven she came to Jessica’s quite real kingdom. On a farm some years ago just outside Gracier, Iowa.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Soon Enough

You have never…I mean never seen anything more antsy, more impatient than a farmer waiting for two things. Crops to go in…and crops to come out.  Like a church lady getting ready to serve the congregation, or a hungry nursing baby. It can’t happen soon enough.

Matthew’s passion for the smell of freshly turned dirt, he inherited from his grandfather. He can’t get out the door of the law office fast enough come spring. 

His father, Joseph, on the other hand, would let it all go. Let me rephrase, let it all go, for a price. Every stitch abandoned to Joseph Cassidy’s greater good. That too will change...soon enough.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spit, Slobber, and Fireworks

Sparks fly like none other when those two cross paths. I mean to tell you, firecrackers have nothing on them. 

How bad you ask? Well, when Jess shot out of the spit and slobber float’n in that cow’s trough, the heat simmering off her flaming cheeks, swear I saw steam. God as my witness. 

Matthew, however, well I don’t think he noticed…at least her cheeks.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yet Another Thorn

All the beauty it portrays cannot overcome the darkness, of the earth, Jess' broken heart and this day. 

The strength in Jess, it runs deep like it once did in Jonas and Ann, her grandparents. Ann perhaps more. She put up with that old cuss better than anyone. 

He lost the love of his life and their child in the blink of an eye, and Jess, well Jess saved him. Kept him alive…in spirit.

Now, watching her reach out and pull that single yellow flower from its final resting place with the man who had raised her...sums up over three decades of pain, caused by something held all too tightly. Yet another thorn in a beautiful rose.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gust of Resistance

The biting wind of March reminds you, even at a time of renewal, there are challenges. Sometimes the gust of resistance can be too much. 

I know two people who could be as tough, harsh and resistant as that wind. Directness like none other, snap a wondering soul to attention. 

But every spring melting snow exposes. One finally succumbed. The other continues to stand. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Everything and Nothing

The winter, bitter at times, can provide stillness like nothing else. Through the tree's dusted branches, set among the random, one of a kind drifts, you can see everything, and nothing. Like looking into the familiar faces that make up this Iowa town…sometimes you see everything… and nothing. Strange to ponder. Bitterness, fear… and love can do that. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Faith Abandoned

The abandonment felt when she wrote those words one can’t imagine. Not at the fault of the unborn child’s father, but her faith. Rules of a faith that spoke love without limit. Yet, looked away from love in purest form. The life she carried, a gift of that love, she had held fast to. She had chosen to protect, no matter the cost. A precious life, her family and her truest love. All because of a church…that had abandoned her. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Taking it for A Spin

The kids still jump up on those red vinyl stools as if on a carnival ride. Simplest things can entertain a child.  

Doc and her would hit the door. It would be the first place she headed. And it seemed like the one closest to Hannah was her favorite. They would keep an eye on each other.  

Even as a child she was responsible to a fault. She wore it like a duty, her loyalty to Jonas. They had each other, a girl and her grandfather left to meet the world as one ornery duo. Taking the world, and that red stool, for a spin.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Love Hate Fear Murder Redemption

Every time the locket caught a bit of light it struck him to the core. Its spark shattered the tranquility of any moment and sent him reeling. The light of day had not touched the fragile heart for almost three decades…until now. 

But when it appeared, known to some, a complete shock to others, that tiniest of trinkets took them to their knees. Given as a lie, treasured as a promise, destroyed in jealousy, plucked from death, hidden out of duty

Love, hate, fear, murder, redemption…all in the tiniest spark of gold.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tucked in a Drawer

I walked in on more than one occasion, discovered him gazing off into the distance, unaware of anything around him. But that early fall evening when I found him sitting, staring at something in his hands, it was different. Scared, startled, or caught with something he shouldn’t have had, I’m not sure.

He shoved it aside, as if a piece of clutter on his desk. Setting his hand over it, he slid the tiny box into the drawer. Subtle, it was still hard to miss. And even if I had, his face…his face…lost? Afraid? No, I would have to say anguish. And that, he couldn’t shove aside…. or tuck into a drawer.

Nor could I erase the flash of gold that I glimpsed, inside the small, blue, velvet box. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

By the Light of the Moon

The door slamming in his face, knowing him, was probably well deserved. 

She’s crossed the room now and through the window’s lace curtain I see her curl up in her father’s chair. She puts on quite an act for her patrons, but sometimes, she’s still a little pig-tailed girl, just needing her mother or father. But they, like the whisper of innocence, are gone. 

Damn fool finally realized there’s a reason he keeps coming back to her. And from my vantage it has been one time too many. 

Nightly walks...not always the stroll expected or what one might see…by the light of the moon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reflection in the Snow

The shine of the past year has worn to a luster. New fallen snow washes over our tiny little town and for one brief moment all is new, clean, untouched. Time, like a balm to loss and heartache, places another layer on the scars we try to hide. 

The landscape of the place we call home has seen its share of pain and renewed faith. The stars light, then dim, and dawn breaks open the next chapter in this place we call Gracier.