Archive for May 2014

Little Bug Jed

Little Bug Jed fell asleep in the bed

while all curled up by a boy named Ned

When morning came, little bug Jed

woke up to find Ned’s turtle named Fred

hungrily chomping on another bug’s head.

In fright he jumped from the bed beside Ned

before being snatched and eaten by Fred.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Bug notes; There are times when the spirit moves me and inspiration comes in different ways, and I will move from a serious post or piece or even a serious story to one with a humorous or light approach to brighten the day and I want to feel the fantasy take me beyond the mundane realities in this world. Thus, in the recent months or past I have posted a poem or story to go with a funny or crazy little image to lighten the mood. Hope you enjoy the little poems or stories along the way to my ‘Fantasy Land’, a place I loved and enjoyed at Disneyland and Disneyworld.

Posted May 28, 2014 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry, Short Fiction

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Memory on the menu – The Daily Post

These are my thoughts and post for The Daily Post word prompt on Memory on the menu

Memories can be sweet, whether past, or present. They can also be bitter, or left forgotten, hoping not to resurface, or ones hopefully that teach us if a lesson was learned from the experience. They can even be hidden in the recessed corners of our mind.They can serve us well in many ways. I have wonderful memories from my past. But, I have ones too that left an unforgettable bitterness that resonated long after no matter how hard I wanted to forget them. But, the happy memories are the ones I hope to never forget and cheerfully draw on for that moment of sweet reminiscing. They are many, and fortunately they are the ones that make up the biggest percentage of my memory. Memory is more than a basic requirement for our brain to function well. It is the life source for our soul to feel and experience living in a way we hope never to lose as we age. My father died much to early from malignant brain cancer and towards the end of his life he had lost all of his memory and brain function. I do now and will continue to do all I can to keep my own and keep it well.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/memory-menu/

____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Campfire Stories

Misc. and family 1488Misc. and family 1489

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley and Hampton

 

He scuffed along in prospector’s boots, plaid flannel shirt, and dungarees made of the stock of heavy blue denim. Too many years in the harsh elements had turned his skin the color of rust and as tough as dried apricots. The rare nuggets or elusive gold vein was all but non-existent now. He’d seen little of it. The sun bore down on him with a vengeance from the 10,000 foot Sasquatch range.  He lifted the felt brimmed hat from his head and wiped his shirtsleeve across the sweat beads on his forehead.

His burro, Hampton, coarse tufts of stiff hair sticking up from his neck clopped alongside him dutifully carrying the old miner’s picks, shovel, tin pans and ax dangling to one side of the mounted leather girdle. The noise could be heard clear up the mountain side as they traversed their way down steep hills.

“Hampton, I think we’ll camp here for the night. I’ll find us a jack rabbit or something for supper.”

He noticed a rundown old store from the road. It looked deserted, desolate. There were no stirrings of life save the deer and small game. He pulled the shotgun from its scabbard on the burro’s pack and led him along the overgrown weeded path into town. The wind roared through the canyon, ricocheting off the peaks. He didn’t notice anything unusual at first. There were so many Chinook winds that came round in late spring howling so loud they sounded like the growl of a hungry bear on the scent of prey.

Tendrils swirled about where wind gusts kicked up dirt and gravel. Some stopped, forming dust clouds emanating sounds like boards rattling, or shovels clanging. Raucous laughter could be heard from some near place. The wind currents carried the sound as it echoed down the meadow to the dry streambeds, and back again as if settling near the old store.

“Welcome,” came a booming voice.

Harley’s hair and beard bristled. He nervously scanned everything in sight afraid of what they might see as he rolled his eyes from side to side.

“Hampton! You hear that? I could’ve sworn I heard a… ” And, then he did. Again.

The old burro raised his head, ears flicking, as if swatting a fly.

“Welcome, newcomer,” came the sound louder, closer, all around him. It roared through the valley sounding like multiple voices, one after the other.

He would have made a hasty retreat from the valley back up the hillside if not so tired and weary.

“What… are you? Where are you?” the old miner yelled back in a shaky voice.

“I’m right here. Can’t you see? Oh, I’m sorry. I forget sometimes those who are not like us cannot see us. I’m the town mayor. Let me introduce myself. My name is Grayson.”

“Mayor of what? What is this place?”

“It’s called Thornbush, named for the founder of this here mining community. He sometimes walks about checking on things, making sure things are done properly for all the newcomers. We have a nice cabin available if you want to check in, or just rest a spell before sojourning on your way, and supplies in the store. What can I get for you?”

“I can’t even see you. How do you expect me to find a cabin?”

“It’s here, right down this road. I’ll take you there. It’s been years since we’ve had any newcomers in these parts. Folks just want to hurry on by, not stop, though we try to make them feel at home.”

The air suddenly felt cooler as dust clouds swooped down, swirling around him until he felt caught in the storm that blew from all directions. Unable to move or see which way to run, they suddenly released their grip, and Harley tightened his hold on Hampton’s reins as he brayed again, resisting the pull of his owner.

“You said your name is Grayson? Where are you? What are you, a ghost?”

“Well, I guess some would call me that, but I don’t like to scare people off and it doesn’t sound like a good job description for the mayor of a mining camp, does it? But, I take my job seriously and it isn’t easy running a town like ours. What is your name? We like to record our visitors’ names in our town’s register.”

“It’s Harley. My burro’s name is Hampton.”

“Well, Harley and Hampton, welcome to Thornbush. Now, let’s get you settled where you will be more comfortable.”

They passed a cemetery on the way to the cabin. The dust clouds moved about the cemetery, hovering over graves, the sound of shovels hitting against the stones. The old miner’s hair stood up on end. Hampton brayed again. “hee-haw. hee-haw.

“Who are all those buried there?”

“Just other miners who stopped one day, and decided to stay.”

“What happened to them?”

“Well, they remained, and lingered on until their time came. God bless their souls, and rest their bones. They wanted to belong, and after all we are an obliging bunch.”

One hundred years later a traveler happened upon the old mining camp with its collapsing buildings, saloon and cabins nearby. He heard the braying of a donkey somewhere and entered the rundown vacated store with the mind to just wander around and explore. He pulled out his camera to take some shots when a dust cloud settled, and began to speak.

“Welcome to Thornbush. My name is Harley. Can I get you something?  We have a cabin available if you’d like to rest for the night.”

_______________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

None I see…

 

There is none I see

Who walks this lone road with me

But one who whispers

In the wind’s soft breeze that blows,

“It is I who walks with thee.”

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

The Book Mobile

It was a truck of sorts, a library on wheels

full of posters, maps and books to explore.

I was lifted from the pages to another world,

from the Amazon jungles to a New Zealand shore.

Like a soaring kite my dreams would fly

as if to a magical place beyond,

through billowing soft clouds high up in the sky.

Sometimes my heart found a new friend

living between the covers of a book

sharing secrets, confessions and experiences in life.

And, I could imagine their face and their world

as the images and visions swirled around in my head,

and the stories and characters that lived on as I read.

Some I would go back and visit again

choosing them over another new ‘friend’ instead

when I climbed aboard the ‘book mobile.’

_____________________

Page notes: The ‘Book Mobile’ was the traveling library that came every week to my elementary school in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We were allowed thirty minutes to browse, look through the selection of books of all kinds and on all subjects, both fiction and nonfiction, and then check out our choice for that week. We were given a week to read that book or books if we chose two (our limit) before returning it/them the following week to check out another. It was one of the events while in grade school I loved most because it was what I loved doing most; reading.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

 

 

 

 


Posted May 14, 2014 by Joyce in My Writings, poetry, Reading

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As beautiful as a rose

Misc. and family 1204

There is no job more

worthy of honor or praise,

none more difficult;

~~~

None more deserving

of earning payment or raise

than that called ‘Mother.’

~~~

She gives of herself.

With her heart she nurtures those

she’s given to love.

~~~

She embraces life

because she cherishes what

she is blessed to have.

______________

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS OUT THERE!

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


The Daily Post: Weekly writing challenge, Student/Teacher

Good writing is not

in perfected form, but in

a corrected form

_________

Submitted for the http://dailypost.wordpress.com/     Weekly writing challenge,  Student/teacher

The above haiku poem is a lesson I learned when I was a member of the Christian Writers’ Guild years ago and mentored under instructors like Jerry B. Jenkins (author of the New York Times best-selling Left Behind book series and founder of the CWG) whom I admire and respect as a writer. While being mentored by a published author assigned to me I learned that good writing is the result of re-written, revised and re-edited material not just once, but a number of times. And it has paid off considerable times when I have resubmitted pieces to publishers after the first and consecutive rejections. If after the third rejection and re-edited, revised material one might reconsider or re-examine the piece entirely and decide it is worthy of submitting again and again. But, in the process it can make one a better writer and teach perseverance and patience. I think that is the ultimate lesson a writer learns above all.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Sometimes drawing a blank_____?

 

 

Sometimes my mind will draw a blank

when words don’t come; I cannot make

things come together and thus create.

Where to begin when ideas don’t form

I patiently wait the inspiration,

a flow of thoughts, a spark or prompt

whereby the process can begin,

but given time, it will come

even if it’s just to rhyme.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)


Posted May 5, 2014 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry, Writing

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The Informant’s Agenda, Chapter XXII (22)

Chapter XXII (22)

 

Cossack soldiers stood in billowing black pants and white puffy sleeved shirts playing a woeful sad strain on their violins to the screeching train as it sped by.

Hands and faces peered between wooden slats. Sad eyes stared at nothing really except the desolate landscape of the Russian steppes mile after mile. It was not the Trans-Siberian with comfortable, warm sleeping compartments, but cold, hard box cars headed east into the frozen tundra. Suddenly, it was my face I saw staring back at me, and I jerked, waking myself from the horrid nightmare.

Sweating, chilled, I could hear the rumbling of the wheels rolling on tracks, as it vibrated through my head. Two hours later the headache pills and hot shower did little to ease the tension. Why? What does all it mean? I can hardly get through a night’s sleep without these dreams, seeing faces, Cossack soldiers, open graves, flowers thrown upon a stone, Jonquils, grandmother Lisle’s favorite, scattered by gusty winds.

My nose craved the smell of her baked pies and cookies as I looked at family photos before me of her, grandfather Jacob, and the family that day in November when he died. The picture was a favorite, one of several I’d packed and brought with me. It wasn’t his death or the details I dwelt on, but instead the moments before when we sat at the tables eating our Thanksgiving dinner, laughing, and catching up on everyone’s news. But, Grandfather Jacob’s death changed it all, and for weeks we mourned our loss.         

Grandmother Lisle was physically spent for days following the funeral. The constant visits of friends and family wore her out, though they meant to be kind. Soon it grew quiet. His presence was there, but only in spirit. It seemed empty, this time with only one pair of slow feet padding around the old house where they lived during most of their married life.  The sounds of his steps and footfall after fifty years of marriage would not grace the little house again.

The tiny American flag on his old desk hung from its pole at half-mast. It was a small replica of those seen where huge flags hung outside government buildings. Grandmother Lisle tearfully lowered the little flag after we all returned home to their house from the funeral. All of his personal things, papers, books, and Bible were still in their original place on top of his old coffee stained oak desk. She stood looking at it all with a sad smile while needlessly straightening things, even caressing his worn Bible as if it brought a small measure of comfort.

“He was always so particular about the things on his desk, kept everything in its place, all neat and tidy. He would pull out his old, swivel desk chair and ease himself down in it, then go over the budget, balance the checkbook, check the stock prices from the morning paper, or write in his journal. He had a set routine for everything, it seemed.”

My aunt got a serving table set up with all the food brought over. Grandmother didn’t want anything, but we put a little food on her plate and told her to eat something. The men in the family busied themselves around the house to get it ready for winter, sealing up windows, chalking, doing the things Grandfather Jacob always saw to himself.

The leaf shaped pendulum on the beautiful, antique Cuckoo clock they bought early in their marriage while on a trip to Germany slowed until finally coming to a reverent stop. They kept it wound, always running, unless they were away on vacation. After his death it remained quiet and still for the entire time of her mourning. She did not want to hear the tiny bird announce each hour as it popped out, like a surprise visitor, then hurry back inside while the pendulum ticked on.

Earlier that week while standing at his graveside, I watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground thinking about the note left for me upon his death. How I would give anything for another moment alive with them both. But, I was on my own, and it was the ticking away of minutes in my brain that reminded me just how alone I was.

Oh, grandfather. What should I do? Tell the story of the “Christianized Germans” who once were Jewish serving the same God, now with a new faith, like Jacob Gruenfeld? Or tell the story of the Jews who rejected the Messiah defying all to remain true to their roots, and suffered the fate of an insane killer determined to eradicate the Jewish nation? Who will I crucify if I tell the truth? Who will I protect if I don’t? I am so confused. Dear God, help me do the right thing. I owe it to my readers, to the world, even to tell the real story, but at what cost?

My coffee had cooled, but my laptop warmed under my fingers as I began to type.   

[They were East European Jews, born in one country, migrating to another, seeking acceptance and opportunity. Settling the colonies of the Russian Empire, they grew their crops, worked a trade, worshiped in their church or synagogue, raising their children to believe in God. They wanted a better life, leaving all behind in one country believing it to be better in another.

Some joined the ‘enlightened’ reform movement adopting the ways of their Lutheran German neighbors. Others became more introverted, drawing away. The latter group became Hasidim Jews with a devotion to Orthodox tradition, kosher diet, old style dress, an abiding knowledge and following of the laws of Torah.

But, hardship, famine, pogroms, destruction and death awaited them wherever they went. To live, they would renounce their religion and lie, allowing themselves to be baptized and convert to the Evangelical Lutheran faith, or the Russian Orthodox Church. It was not enough to survive the horrors coming. Their immigration records followed them. And because of this Hitler found them.

They went through examinations, inspections. There was no separation or sorting of Jews, even those intermarried with a Christian. If they were just a quarter Jew or had a Jewish grandparent, they were selected for extermination. The massacres had begun…]

With a fresh pot of coffee I returned to the keyboard referring to my notes filling enough pages to run a special edition of the Omaha World Herald as Jeremy would say. When I was done and all of it edited I hit the ‘send,’ with a request for an electronic return receipt. The attachment was forwarded on to my department supervisor in DC, and then I deleted the file from my laptop, and got dressed.

_________________

To be continued…

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

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