Words From My Father – #WOW555

In honor of Father’s Day, the #WOW555 prompt this week is to “honor our dads by including some piece of fatherly advice.” While this isn’t a true story, the advice is some that my father gave often. He didn’t believe in excuses. I’ve had to remember this advice quite a few times and I always smile as I do. This year will mark 10 years since my father’s death, but his advice is one way that he is still with me.

One of the things I hated about being sales manager was these incessant sales meetings. “Yes, you’re doing good.” “No, that’s not right.” “If you can’t handle this, maybe you’d better think of a different line of work.” I thought my previous sales manager liked saying those things. When she got promoted and I took her place, I found out quickly that those were things you had to say whether you liked it or not.

Today was one of the worst meetings, though. My best salesman had gone through a rough time. He decided to explain just went wrong. After listening to his woes for a while, my mind began drifting back to my days playing baseball.

Dad was the coach. When your dad’s the coach you know two things. One is that you will always play. The second is that everyone will think that the only reason you’re playing is because your dad’s the coach. He didn’t want that, and neither did I. He pushed me hard, and I responded by working twice as hard as everyone else. No one, I mean no one, accused my dad of playing me because I was his son. Even I had those days, though. We were playing the worst team in the league and they were kicking us all over the field. We were losing 7-2 and it was the seventh inning. I had committed three errors and had struck out with two men on base and two outs in the first. My other two at bats hadn’t been good either. I wanted to do something to fight back and came to the plate determined.

As the first pitch flew towards the plate, my eyes widened and I smiled a bit. This was MY pitch. I stepped into the swing just as the ball started tailing in. As I swung, the ball hit me on the knuckles and then bounced off my ankle. I don’t know which was worse: the frustration over the game or the pain. I collapsed, holding my ankle and fighting back tears. The umpire looked at me and waved my dad over. He walked in from the third base coach’s box, taking his time.

He squatted down to look at me. I think he knew that I was more frustrated than hurt. “Do we need to take you to the hospital, son?” Others might not have recognized the sarcasm, I did.

“No sir.” He knew me well enough to know that I was fighting back the tears.

He stood up and looked at me sternly. “Well, then, spit on it, rub some dirt in it and get back in the game. Don’t you dare quit on me. This thing ain’t over yet.” He turned and walked back to the coach’s box.

I don’t think the ump thought too highly of my dad at that point in time. But I stood up, rubbed the areas that were hurt, and stood tall in the batter’s box again.

Hector brought me back to the present as he finished his complaints. “So what should I do, sir?”

“Hector, your skills are still there. It’s only your ego that’s bruised. So spit on it, rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. Don’t you dare quit on me!”

 

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You Might Be a Writer If…

Yes I read this laughing hysterically! Well worth the time!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

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Joy in the Normal – #WOW555

This week’s prompt is designed to show joy. Specifically, “to provide some expression of joy.” My main character this week experiences joy in the “normal” everyday experiences in life. Some back story is needed – but I’ll wait til the end for that. In the meanwhile, look for the voting to go live on Saturday morning!

There was nothing more that John enjoyed than playing with his grandchild; well his wife’s grandchild that is. He held the two year old up in the air and smiled at his squeals.

“Put me down, pawpaw, put me down!” he laughed.

Finally, John gave into the demands and put him down. He was glad to be able to play with Freddy while Mary was out. “Mary,” he mused a bit and then laughed out loud. Only the family knew who Mary really was; it had taken a lot of name changes for her and the family to feel safe. Finally, life was normal.

The tug on his shirt brought him back to the moment. The two year old’s blue eyes shone brightly as he looked up at John. “Play hide n seek!” he insisted.

John laughed. “Ok. You go hide. But stay in the yard!” Freddy always hid in the same place when they played. He covered his eyes and counted out loud to ten. “Ready or not, here I come!” He looked around the yard as if he didn’t know where Freddy was. The giggles gave him away.

Then he saw three suits. He hoped they were Feds. They wouldn’t do anything in front of Freddy. Freddy didn’t realize that there was anything wrong. John picked him up and gave him a hug and kissed his cheeks. He turned around, displaying Freddy to the suits. He hoped that if they were mob they would respect family.

He’d been expecting this since he had heard that Morelli was singing. He had hoped he was safe, they found him anyway. While he was displaying Freddy, one of the suits pulled back his jacket to show his gun. Feds. They didn’t want him to try anything. He breathed a sigh of relief.

He sat down still holding Freddy. He motioned for the Feds to join him. “How can I help?” He asked, wondering which murders they were going to pin on him. Then he looked at Freddy and said, “Freddy, go play in the sand box for a few minutes.”

The lead Fed smiled as Freddy ran past, then she got serious. “Aldo Rossi, we want to question you in the murder of Frances Johnson.”

“You do?” he asked with a smile. He knew that Mary would be home any minute now. She would finally learn this part of the truth. “Freddy!” he called. “Come on back! Let’s go inside and wait for Nana.” Freddy ran to him. He turned to the Feds. “We’ll be more comfortable inside. Besides, you need to meet my wife.”

The Feds looked at each other and shrugged not understanding why Aldo was enjoying this so much. They followed him inside and sat down. “My wife should be here soon.”

The car pulled up in the driveway and Mary carried two bags of groceries in the door. She stopped when she saw the suits. “John?” she looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

“They know my real name, Mary. They just don’t know yours. Introduce yourself to these agents.”

She looked at him and he smiled and nodded. “Hi, I’m Frances Johnson. And you are?”

They would have a lot to talk about later.

So, the back story: John, aka Aldo Rossi, is a retired hit man. In fact, his wife Mary, aka Frances Johnson, was supposed to be his last contract. (Why would be a whole nother story.) While he was researching and preparing for the kill, he began to realize some of her fabulous qualities. He couldn’t make the kill and so decided then and there to get to know her personally and find a way to save her. Thus, the marriage, the name changes, and retirement from the hit man’s union. Imagine the amusement of John when the Feds want to talk with him about the murder of the only contract he didn’t fulfill; the person whom he actually married.

Finished! – #WOW555

The prompt for this week’s #WOW555 challenge is that we have to use the phrase “I’m outta here.” As I thought about that, and the end of the school year – today’s the last day with students for me – I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than a teacher finishing the year. Then I thought, what if she finished her career. (And yes, I used a female teacher instead of me as a male teacher.) What would it be like getting ready to retire. I’ve thought about it and decided to write about that dream.

Mary Alice Everett had given her life to teaching. She looked at the clock and noted that she just had 15 minutes left. Today she was retiring. After thirty three years of caring for elementary students, studying in the summer, dealing with principals, and working with parents, today she could go home, kick her shoes off and plan for the trips she had always dreamed of. She smiled to herself as she thought about her upcoming cruise. When she looked at her second graders who were getting excited about summer break she had to grin more widely. Their mouths showed remnants of the frosting from the cupcakes they had been eating at the going away party. They didn’t realize what “retirement” meant, but they were enjoying the party.

As time got closer for the final bell to ring, a few parents came by to pick students up early. But they stayed. These parents had once been her students, and they had come by not only to pick up their students, but also to say good bye to a teacher they had loved. Ms. Everett, as they still called her, got up to greet them and there were a few tears as they hugged.

The bell rang and the kids, knowing something special was happening, lined up to hug Ms. Everett with sticky hands. She laughed a bit, knowing that it was the last time. More parents came by to say good bye and linger in her presence. Lydia Perez came by to bid her farewell on her way to check in at the office. Lydia had done her student teaching under Mary Alice. The strong recommendation Mary Alice had given Lydia allowed her to get the job that was open on the second grade team that year. The two of them had taught together for the last five years.

Soon, the classroom was empty as students and parents made their way home to begin their summer break. Mary Alice took one last look at the room as she turned out the lights and locked the door. She’d have to come back tomorrow to clean up, but she couldn’t help smiling as she said, “I’m outta here.”

Lydia was heading back from the school office when she saw Mary Alice. Lydia gasped and then ran to her as she lay on the floor outside her door. Lydia knelt down and felt for a pulse, but found none. She screamed for help as she pulled out her phone to dial 9-1-1. EMS got there quickly, but not quickly enough. They said it was a heart attack. Lydia knew differently though. She knew that Mary Alice Everett had given her life to teaching.

Yep…I did go that way. That is, in a sense, a fear that I have that when I do retire, I won’t have that time I want to write, to photograph, or most importantly, to be with my wife. Someone noted that I tend to kill my characters a lot. I guess that’s just the way I roll.