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Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

 

 

 

{My Mom_ Betty Ferris Ford/ 1940’s picture}

The following article is creative non-fiction…

 

Wish I may, wish I might… gazing at the twinkling star I closed my eyes. I wish I could go to Hollywood

“Beth, turn out that light! Get in bed; you’ve got school tomorrow!”

“Yes, Mother,” The springs squeaked as I climbed up onto the bed, and wedged myself under heavy hand-stitched quilts.

Will winter ever end?

Gentle ticking of the wind-up clock soothed me to sleep. The following morning I slipped into my favorite frock; Deanna Durbin wore the fashion design in her last movie. I styled my wavy long hair like hers too, and relished the compliments when people said I resembled her.

My kid sister, Debby said, “Beth, get away from that mirror! Mother and Daddy are waiting at the breakfast table!”

“Just a minute! I want to put a matching bow in my hair.”

“Why bother? You’ll have to wear a kerchief in this snow storm.”

“I’ll fix it again after I get to school. There, that’s better.”

I kissed Mother and Daddy before sitting down. The aroma of Daddy’s fresh ground coffee gave me needed courage.

“There’s a school dance Friday night; all my friends will be there. Can I go?”

Daddy just continued stirring his steaming oatmeal. I hoped Mother would be agreeable.

She took a long contemplating sip of green tea, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You can go… if you promise to get up bright and early Saturday morning and do the floors. “

“I promise!”

I detested the cleaning of the varnish veneer oak floors in many rooms, but I would do anything to get out of the house!

Friday night I met my dreamboat. “Well, hello gorgeous!” Joe held me close and my heart pounded in rhythm with the jitterbug. We dated steady and planned the perfect life together. I quit school in my junior year of high school and became his wife.

The honeymoon ended and my nightmare began. How could I have been so naive? He wanted to see a pretty face when he sobered up from a binge. After a few years, I no longer could believe his promises to quit drinking. There was now a child involved.

“Divorce! Give me a divorce!”

There, I said it. I will swallow my pride and go home to Mother and Daddy.

I needed money to support my little girl, boarded the bus into the big city in search for work. It was not easy without a diploma, and I had no skills to list on applications. Help wanted ads included an opening for clerk in a prestigious photographer’s studio; I acquired the coveted position.

Moving to the city, Mother convinced me it would be best for Patty to stay with her. We both knew I could not afford childcare. Weekend visits flew by; it seemed like my pending divorce not only ended my marriage, but nearly severed my relationship with my daughter too.

The photographer noticed my interest in the business, and trained me in the art of coloring portraits with oils. He also noticed me… I posed for him on several occasions, and took great pride in his comments on how photogenic I was.

One weekend, back at home, my life took a dramatic turn. My Brother Bill’s friend, Freddy dropped by.

“Beth, glad you’re here. I’ve been thinking about you.”

I smiled. “Is that good or bad?”

Laughing, he said, “I want you to meet someone.”

“No blind dates for me!”

“This is different. You’ll like Paul.”

“What’s he like?”

“He’s got a head on his shoulders, Army man, close to 35, and never been married. My sister’s had her eye on him, but he’s not interested….kind of’ tall, dark hair. You’ll make the perfect couple, both look like movie stars!”

Movie stars… Has he been reading my diary? Maybe I should meet this guy….

He introduced us and we were inseparable; we pledged our love in a church ceremony immediately after my divorce became final. He adopted Patty and our family grew with one, two, three other daughters. We were developing our own chorus line! Paul finally got his boy; I needed to see it to believe it!

Tarnishing dreams of stardom hid dormant. Time passed, and I experienced the thrill of seeing Hollywood when visiting our son in California. Inwardly, I perceive I am young and beautiful, dressed in silks, luxurious furs, and attending movie premieres. I take a final glance at Paul before turning off the light. He is still my leading man.

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BLOG CATS

 

 

 

Try to recapture childhood excitement…SEPTEMBER 2014 002

It did not take much to make us happy in those days; we searched for hidden free toys in boxes of our favorite cereals. Of course, we liked the trinkets buried within boxes of Cracker Jacks nearly as much as the tasty popcorn. The reason, we all like surprises.

We have three cats that have found their reason for living. They eat. We have them to rid the farm of mice and rats. On a score of 1-10, I rate them#9. Rodents infested this property when we moved here; now, they rarely make an appearance.

‘And what to the cat’s eyes did appear?’

This evening, my husband prepared to feed the cats at the old farmhouse. Taking a nearly empty bag of cat food, he began to scatter it on the front porch. To his surprise, and the cats’ delight a small mouse tumbled out from the bottom of the bag!

How do I weave this humorous incident into a devotion message? Follow me.

Joseph used cunning to waylay his brothers who had sold him into slavery…

“And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, ‘Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money.’ So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken (Genesis 44:1-2 NAS).”

Joseph was not vindictive; he forgave the deeds of his brothers.

I forgive the cats for any mouser infractions. With adoration and praise, I thank God for ‘forgiving me’ of my sins.

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PAM CROPPED 2013

      

 

“This stage in my life’s not all bad.”

3-14 BLOG

 “Antie, are you talking to yourself again?”

 “Yeah, just thinkin,’ I’m not alone. This daily routine is full of others just as busy as me.”

 “Why so discouraged?”

 “Goes with the territory, I guess. I’m in a mid-life crisis;  staying busy does help to keep me focused. Yet, I’m not convinced the retirement plans are such a good idea. Maybe, if I work extra hard the supervisor will see how I’m useful to the industry.”

“Okay, let’s go with that. What do you think you do best?”

“You should know!  I’m always trying to fix things. I look for problems  in the structure and try to repair it. If the foundation breaks down the entire unit suffers.”

“O Antie, lighten up! Don’t try to do everything yourself; leave some work for others to do.”

“Wish I could, at times I feel like a combination waitress- sanitation engineer! Why does life have to revolve around food? I deliver the food and I’m expected to carry off the garbage.”

“You are so right, Antie! You ready to go after groceries?”

“If I can work up the courage, I might not survive the trip. Predators are everywhere. I live in constant fear of being eaten alive or being ground into the dust!”

Such is the mid life crisis for the typical female ant in her colony. Only the oldest leave the ant beds seeking food, and usually do not survive the expedition.

 “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer (Proverbs 30:25 NKJ).”

I have much to learn from ants. Though fictional, and with negative emotions, Antie teaches me to be industrious in kingdom work. My Father is looking for willing workers to build upon the foundation of His Son, Jesus. I can carry the bread of life to those who hunger and warn of impending danger. Satan lurks in the shadows but Jesus reigns victorious!

 


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PAM CROPPED 2013

2-14 BLOG

My heart throbbing in my ears, pounds out the message…

They have taken her away.

Emptiness in my stomach is not due to lack of food, but the absence of my bride of sixty-five years. Memories carry me back across decades to that first encounter,   hearing her teaching a Sunday school class in a city mission. Her abiding faith anchors our family in storms of life.

Old age, an uninvited guest invades their lives. When did the falls and bruises begin? As aging issues progress, her health deteriorates to the point of not being able to turn over in bed. The contentious caregiver daughter-in-law is not able to lift her rigid body; bedsores develop confirming her need for professional care.

Will she be okay at the nursing home? What if she falls out of bed? Can they get her to eat?

Anxiety and bitter loneliness overwhelm him.

For more than half a century, we have lived, worked and aged side-by-side. Now, I stand alone in fear and deafening silence. I should be there if she wakes up. She’ll be confused.

He feels helpless, unable to turn back the clock, or restore her health. She once tenderly ministered to others as a home nurse;  now with signs of dementia, depends totally upon strangers. Family members try to console him, with explanations that she rests in a safe place; she receives the attention she needs.

Stooping with weakened bones and a heavy heart, I walk the rooms of the house we shared.

Wish we never left the old home-place.

Several years earlier, they sold their family home, accepting the generous offer of a son and daughter-in-law to live with them. Paying their way, they willingly share social security money from a rubber-band bound black billfold.

He longs to rush to her side, hold her frail hand in his once more. Things he once took for granted, he now cherishes.

If only I could… pass my tea bag along to her for a second dunking, tussle her braided hair, rub her clammy brow and kiss her once rosy cheek…

Nursing home staff curtails visits; she needs undisturbed rest.

Does she even know I come? Lord, are you taking her home?

The facility promises to call if there is any change in her condition. A small table in the formal dining room holds the cold, indifferent black telephone. They vowed to call; he must not miss it when they did.

Waiting becomes an obsession; hour-by-hour, day-by-day, he stands watch and strains to hear the phone ring. Nothing else matters; he must know about his precious Belle.

He feels closed off from the world around him. Family members know the seriousness of his plight. Nearly deaf  for years, his desire to hear the ringing of the phone seems unlikely. Hearing and understanding simple conversations are difficult under the best of circumstances.

It is amazing; during his vigil, he can hear the phone ring! He is heart of hearing. He hears with his heart what his ears no longer can. He deals with the loss of his love.  Life goes on.

Dear granddaughter,
I am rocking on the back porch. Grandma enjoyed rocking out here so much. I miss her. I’m 90 years old, and hope to join her soon. Your aunt is addressing the envelope for me
. [Letter that I received in 1968]

At age 91,  he stumbles into my aunt and uncles bedroom telling them about a visit from an angel. Digitalis no longer strengthens his weary heart. It stops and he slips into eternity.

Hearing aids are beneficial to those who experience hearing loss. The heart is a hearing aid that does not require batteries;  it keeps a steady beat powered by love.

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PAM CROPPED 2013

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We must show the world what it expects to see, avoiding at all costs being different. I followed the crowd aimlessly, seeking approval, unknowingly putting myself in a place of danger many years ago…

Central New York State winters are brutal. Residents endure several feet of snow accumulation, often drifting across roadways, towering snow banks, and sub zero temperatures. On a typical winter day, I went to high school dressed for approval, not for the weather conditions.

At the sound of the final bell, my mind focused on going home. I gathered things from my locker, put on my coat and waited for the school bus. It would be the first of two. I lived in another school district, and linked with a bus from the school I once attended.

The first bus ride only lasted about fifteen minutes, with the driver stopping at a closed restaurant, dropping me off. The wait would not be long. I found shelter near the building, feeling cold, hoping the next bus would arrive soon.

Where is that bus? It never takes this long. I am so cold; I hate the cold!

 Even in the summer, I get cold hands and feet. Dad used to pick on me, saying my hands were as cold as Grandma’s.

 What can I do?

 The phone was inside the closed restaurant. Reality set in. I must have missed the bus; it was not coming. I would have to walk home.

I wore no hat or scarf because that would make me look like a creep! Boots were for old women; I looked sharp in flats. Gloves or mittens were for children and I sure did not bring those. The dress code in school meant just that,  girls were allowed to dresses and skirts, no slacks.  So, most of my body remained exposed to dangerous below zero temperatures. The walk home on a warm afternoon would have been a long stroll. On that day, it could have been a death march.

My hands and feet are numb.

I’d stop and ask to use some ones phone. Mom could not come to get me; she had no car and Dad was at work. I’d call a friend and ask if her mother could come to take me home.

 I knock on a door…

“Hi, can I use your phone? I missed my bus.”

“Sure, it’s right over there.”

The feeling is gone in my hands; somehow, I manage to dial the number.

“Hello Carol… I missed the bus from Fayetteville. Can your mother pick me up and take me home?….  Good, thanks.”

I wanted to cry but could not let anyone know how cold and afraid I was. I hung up the phone.

“You hung up the phone on your hand.”

Oh, no! What must she be thinking?

My friend arrived. I thanked the neighbors for letting me use their phone…

Again, I had to pretend I just needed a ride; I could not let the mother of my friend who was driving me home know how cold I felt. She dropped me off at my door and I rushed in.

I no longer needed to put up a front; I could be honest. I began to cry.

Mom became concerned. “What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”

 Sobbing, I answered.

“I missed the school bus and walked. I made it as far as I could and had to stop to use a neighbor’s phone. I called Carol asking her to get her mother to give me a ride.  I hung up the phone on my hand! I couldn’t even feel it! ”

“Get over to the sink! Run cold water on your hands!”

“Cold water?”

“You’ve got frost bite! We’ll warm it up a little at a time!”

 “It hurts! It hurts!”

“Keep your hands under the water!”

Gradually, normal feeling returned to my body. I put on warm clothing and rested in the security of my home.

Why do we seek approval of others at the risk of our own safety? Sadly, we do not only experience cold temperatures.

 We live in a cold cruel world…

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One of my fondest childhood memories is swinging. Let your mind wander back to those early years…

From a child’s eye view, a swing is big and exciting. You sit on the swing and grip tightly the chains or ropes securing the swing to the tree or swing-set. It looks so easy, but how can you get up high like the other children you have envied? You try, but the swing just twirls around in a circle. Your feet drag against the ground; this is not much fun.

Soon, you see your father coming and you yell out, “Daddy, give me a push!” He steps behind you and gives a strong push, followed by several more. You begin to soar! It’s wonderful while it lasts! You seem to be as high as rustling leaves atop the trees. Gradually, the swing slows down and you drift closer and closer to the ground. Feeling safe, you jump from the swing and run off to play on the slide, monkey bars and seesaw.

Later, you notice older children on the swing set. Nobody is pushing them; yet, they swing higher and higher. They really hold your attention. When one finishes you ask, “Can you teach me how to swing?” He laughs and replies, “It’s easy. You just sit down on the swing and swing!” He walks away and you feel very small and just plain dumb.

Each time you return to the playground memories resurface. Oh, how you would love to learn how to swing… You want so much to learn how to swing all by yourself. One afternoon your father goes along and after he gives you a good start on the swing you turn to him with imploring eyes asking, “Daddy, will you teach me how to swing?”

He grins and tenderly replies, “Yes, little lady. I think you are ready for a lesson! Hang on tightly to your ropes and just push your feet forward, then back, forward-back, forward-back, again and again. See, you are starting to go higher! Do you feel muscles in the back of your legs hurting? It’s hard work I know, but you are getting higher. The more you push, the easier it will be, forward-back, forward-back.” The lesson ends and you walk home hand-in-hand with your hero. You feel dizzy and short of breath but very proud of yourself. You have learned how to swing!

Days, weeks and months pass quickly by. Now, swinging is so easy you take it for granted and only faintly remember a time when you could not swing without assistance. One evening, just before sunset, your father tousles your hair and says, “Let’s go swing!” You eagerly accept the opportunity to have his undivided attention. Arriving at the swings, you remember how things were before, when you could not swing by yourself.

“Daddy, will you push me?” Quietly, he moves directly behind you. You cannot see him; you only feel his hands placed against the top of your back. His hands are gentle, yet firm. You expect him to give one strong push, maybe two and then you will do the rest of the work. He surprises you saying, “Relax. Don’t pump your legs forward and back. Let me push you.” It’s incredible! You go higher and higher, reaching such a height that if you did not trust your father, you would beg him to stop.

You walk back home with little chatting; suddenly he stops just before reaching the house. “Daughter, your life ahead will be like swinging. Sometimes problems will seem so big and hard to handle. Friends may not be much help. They may even laugh at you as you ask for help. God will be there to give you the push you need. You will work your muscles of faith, forward-back, forward-back…,  learning lessons of how to walk in faith. The more you exercise your faith, the easier it will be to follow His directions. Like a swings ropes or chains, He is our lifeline. Hang on tight! He will invite you to relax and let Him take over.”

As an adult I welcome the helpful hands of my heavenly Father.

“Be still, and know that I am God (Psalms 46:10a NKJ)

He alone strengthens me and allows me to soar!

“But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NKJ).”

You are never too old to learn how to swing. Can’t you just sense His hands upon your back?

 

 

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Pam Ford Davis

 

 

“There is a rattlesnake in our house!” The woman’s voice was wild and nearly incoherent; the one at the other end of the line had to pass the phone to his wife in hopes she could understand. He heard her say “snake” and he headed to his pickup truck to go on search and rescue. He rushed to the home of his son and daughter-in-law with a plan of action. Step one: Search for the snake and destroy it. Step two: Rescue his frantic daughter-in-law.

The search and rescue story had a happy ending. They killed the snake and removed it from the house; a deadly serpent did not harm his innocent victim. The young woman had good reason to fear snakes; many carry deadly poisonous venom. Her ancestor Eve could have used a good dose of fright when she first caught sight of the snake in the garden. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord had made (Genesis 3:1a NKJ).”

A rattler used cunning to devise a way to invade the security of a well-constructed house. The Serpent Satan pulled out all his tools of deception and placed doubts in the mind of Eve in attempts to persuade her to doubt God’s words and eat from the forbidden fruit. Sadly, it had a tragic ending; she yielded to temptation and Adam followed in her deadly steps. If only Eve would have called out for help…. “There is a serpent in God’s garden!”

 

 

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