Shandy completed the last leg of her drive to Burlington, Iowa with a spark of enthusiasm edged with nerves gnawing at her gut, worried she would be imposing on her aunt, although she was reassured many times that it was okay with her aunt, she was still nervous, so she put it to the universe to make it all right.
Pulling into Aunt Cherri’s alley to her house on South Central Avenue, the familiar charms of her aunt welcome her before even seeing her aunt. The garden was bursting with flowers, tulips were popping in colors of red and yellow. Marigolds edged the walkway to the back porch, where Candy, the prized German Shepherd waited, part guarding her domain, part welcoming old friends, and Shandy met the latter qualifications, which she knew when Candy licked her hand while she gently petted Candy under her chin.
Looking up, Shandy saw her sweet Aunt Cherri and they met with an embrace which said Welcome Home and Shandy smiled, with tears rolling into the crevices of her grin, and as she looked at her aunt, she realized they were two blubbering ladies, happy to see each other, and any doubts Shandy had were dissolved in those tears, hearts wrapping around each other as souls met as never forgotten friends.
“Let me show you your room and the workings of things around here,” Aunt Cherri, always one for organization, wanted to be certain that Shandy felt immediately at home, “I made a place for your clothes and your gear and other stuff, and I want you to know, right here and now, that this is your home, too, no ifs ands or buts about it, end of conversation.”
“Aunt Cherri, have I told you lately how much I love and appreciate you,” Shandy stated, “You are the ray of sunshine I’ve needed in this life and you always have warmed my heart.”
“Aww, Shandy, dear, you are the light in my life, I am just an old woman with too much space and it gets lonely at times, so it will be good to have you here, you know, someone to talk to and care for, not too much, though, I don’t want to crowd you, but I have been looking forward to this,” and with that, Shandy knew she was welcomed home.
This is my installment of the Six Sentence Story for this week. The prompt word was GEAR. Would you like to see more of the stores such talented folks have submitted? Go to this LINK provided by Denise, our dedicated host. Thanks to Denise for keeping us going.
Shandy loaded up her beige Opal, the same reliable car she loved so much, calling her “Baby” since the first time she turned the key and the engine softly hummed, a sweet sound to hear. Heading to Iowa, she turned up her radio, playing the sweet sounds of Jim Croce, John Denver, and many other artists with whom she could sing along, a trip back in time, with her sweet “friends” in the airwaves.
After carefully studying her maps, she decided to go through the Missouri route, trying to avoid the long prairie like drive, something which, while it would be quiet, could be enough to make her sleepy and it was not long before she saw the Saint Louis Arch and gave it a salute while driving past the way. From Missouri she would meet the wedge of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri and cross over to Iowa by way of the toll bridge in Keokuk, Iowa. Right before she came to the bridge, she looked off to the right and saw an eagle soaring, as if it were waving her on to Iowa.
Shandy waved at the eagle, “Goodbye, Illinois, thank you for your service, it was brief, but I will be back to see you soon,” as she knew that her destination was also in the border town of Burlington, Iowa and all she had to do was roll on over the bridge; the road ahead would take her to her aunt’s house and to a new life, one which Shandy was looking forward to starting anew, but she always knew she had the past to pushed her forward, as her beloved, deceased husband was always going to be the driving force for her success, with this, she would not fail, and that is what she believed.
This was my installment for this weeks Six Sentence Story. Perhaps you would like to writer a story for this week. Just go here to Girlie on the Edge’s blog hop and give us your spin on the weekly word of SERVICE
Clarabelle and Shandy got in the habit of going to thrift shops on Shandy’s day off from work, looking forward to the many bargains, often spending time just looking and reminiscing about this and that. “Oh my goodness, Clair, look at his kaleidoscope, it is just like the one I bought Gerald when he was a child, and he loved it so much, he even researched about how they are made and spent a lot of his quiet time looking through the scope, eventually it became a thing, where for gifts we would buy him a new one, until he had quite the collection.”
“Oh, that is so nice, I love that he had such enthusiasm, no doubt your support helped, by getting him new ones to explore and encouraging his doing research, you are such a dedicated mother.”
“He made it easy for me to be his mother, as he always has had that sense of adventure, always looking for the workings behind things, and I think he will do well in whatever he finally decides to do with his education, but there’s this one thing that really sticks in my mind about the kaleidoscopes, something he said, and it really stayed with me.”
“What is that dear?”
“He said, mom, have you ever noticed that a kaleidoscope has such a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and that makes me think of the world, and how we are all different, but working together, it makes a beautiful thing, this life, it is just amazing.”
And there you have it! This is my Six Sentence Story and you can do one too. Just go to Girlie on the Edge and check it out!
This is my Six Sentence Story, a continuation about Clarabelle and Shandy, which has been a running story for a few weeks. I have not decided if this is the end, but I will see what happens as the week goes by. Perhaps the other story members will call out to me and ask me to tell more about them. Thanks to Denise for putting up with my attempt at serializing this story and for being less than concise. Yes, I push those six sentences to the limit, guilty as charged. So, are you thinking you want to join Denise’s Six Sentence Story blog hop? Well, hop to it by going to this LINK
The Strength of Hope and Faith
Shandy continued with her story about he husband, away, serving in Vietnam, “Clair, I was so religious about writing to Marcus and it would be spurts where I didn’t hear from him, before I would be several letters in one day, so it was just the way it was where he was serving, he was on the front lines and I couldn’t really expect instant letters every day,” Shandy paused, starting to tear up, Clarabelle reached over and patted her hand, and poured another cup of tea for Shandy, “and then the letters slowed down, real slow, sometimes for weeks, and I got really worried that there was something wrong, and then I got a letter from him that there was a bad storm and it was more than difficult to get letters out, so he was okay and, well, I was surely relieved, a lot of the letters he had ready to mail, ended up in a mess of mud and they pretty much had to plow through all the muck to get to a clear path, so those were long gone.”
“Oh, my dear girl, that must have been quite the ordeal for you, as I remember how it was for my family, it sure could be hard to get those letters back and forth, I suppose wars have a way about making it hard, too bad there was no easy way to make a phone call.”
“That’s just the thing, Clair, I did get a phone call from Marcus, he sounded so distraught, and said that he had to take some time to sort things out, and in the meantime, he was put on medic assistance duty, so he could clear his head, although, I will tell you that in a war zone, it’s hard to clear your head in a medical camp, so it was hard for him, but he took to the work, and he did so well with it that they kept him there for the duration, so, you see, that worked out; and when he came back home he decided to pursue medicine and went to school for emergency medical technician training, not really wanting to be a doctor, but an emergency worker, since he found out that was where he did his best work,” pausing to catch her breath, Shandy sipped her tea before continuing, “while Marcus studied, I worked as a waitress, because I was good at it and was not ready to consider going to school or start a family, not until he was solid with his job, so I was able to bring in a lot of tips, because that’s where waitresses make their real money, and we managed well, even if it was tight, but we had our love and it all worked out.”
“That’s an adventure you have had with learning to be patient and survive what must have been one of the most difficult times of your life and look how you came through with helping your husband do well and pursue his goals, for the best of both of you.”
“Thank you, Clair, it was nice, like a real-life honeymoon in a way as we just worked well together, like a team, so after he graduated and was working full-time, I was able to think about my own goals, and that was when I got pregnant, not really planned, but not unwanted either, so there I was pregnant and that’s when things changed, and not for the better, mind you, and I finally got it out of him about his experiences in Vietnam and things he saw, and how he was afraid he would not be a good father; of which I assured him that such a kind soul could be nothing less than a great dad; but he started pulling back, became less affectionate and the nightmares he had were more frequent, they were always about something to do with the war, and I was so afraid for him, knowing it must have been painful to see things and not forget, but I was always there for him, no matter what, and we gradually worked on things with a counselor, I mean, he was invested, for sure, and the counselor helped us get past these things, and when we had our little boy, he was the best father to him, always careful with handling him, and affectionate, like all his worries went away,” pausing for a tissue, the wells of pain flooded and Shandy shook, trembling and collapsed in Clair’s arms, eventually, with the comfort of Clair, Shandy was able to go on, “Marcus was the best father to our son, Gerald, and loved him until his last days, as, Marcus had a heart attack while he was working on a run and he did not make it, and it turned out he may have had a heart condition, but at that point, we just knew that he was gone and Gerald and I carried on, as best as we could, Gerald was 19 when his father passed away and he is doing well with college, but when he decided to go away to school, I decided I needed to get away from all the memories and moved to Iowa, so while the war did not ruin us, life had another plan, and I rely on the presence of his spirit to keep Marcus alive, but, to tell you the honest truth, I just could not longer live in a town where we made many happy memories, so just like my dad live after he lost mom, I moved.”
“Sweetheart, life surely does turn things around unexpectedly, but it looks like you are a get on up and get to it kind of person, look at how you have done with your life, you serve others, you are compassionate, you have a strength which is calm, yet mighty, and I certainly do understand the desire to move to new memories, as I had to do similar when I lost Herbie, I could no longer live in the house we made into a home, so I made a move to an apartment, and now, my dear Shandy, I have a beautiful, inside and out, friend, and we are not that much different, just in age, but not much different in clarity, we will plow through life and find that at the end of the road, is a heap of heap of muck, but that muck is what we have to go through to find the treasures.”
Shandy sat at the dining table in Clarabelle’s home, and took a long, silent pause before opening up to her friend about why she moved from the nice, warm south to the cold Midwest winters in Iowa. “It’s like this, Clair, I came here to start over for a reason, and since Aunt Cherri had a place for me to bunk for a bit, I decided to give it a try, you see, I came here because I was escaping something.”
“Dear, you don’t have to explain yourself to me, I understand we all make changes for our own reasons, and, well, it’s really nobody else’s business.”
Looking Clarabelle straight in her sweet, soft eyes, Shandy’s brows squeezed with intent, and she spoke to these intentions, “I know I don’t have to tell you my story, but it is a story I want to tell, after all, I find the stories you have shared about Herbie really touch my heart, and, well, I want you to know about my true love, and who doesn’t like a good romance?”
Clarabelle nodded her head in agreement and smiled at Shandy, “well, when you put it that way, I am all ears, please do tell me your story.”
“It all began when I was just fresh out of high school, my friend since grade school, Mason, and I discovered we were falling in love, especially when I learned he would have to go to Vietnam, and, well, I realized right then that I could not bear losing him and I could not bear not loving him for all his worth, and, well, we go married shortly after realizing our mutual feelings and knowing he must go away, we wanted to stay together with a commitment of marriage, so we got married at the courthouse, and it was not long before he had to go away; when we got married there was the marriage certificate to sign by the “X” and Mark looked me in the eyes and said, X marks the spot but you have put a big red X on my heart ever since we met as children, and now you have staked your claim, for that I am forever grateful, and, well, I will never forget that, Clair, and I knew he was even more that one for me.”
This is my story to contribute to Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge. This weeks word is “Mark” You can go HERE to join us or to see what other stories are waiting for your reading.