Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sunday's Whirligig 98 - Beauty in the Morning

My objective of this post is to write a piece of flash fiction (300-500 words) using the words in the cue at Sunday's Whirligig 98.  Participants in this blog hop may use as many or as few of the cue words as they wish. The type of writing may vary as well.  Click the link to read more about the options available for participating in the blog hop.

THIS WEEK'S WORDS come from "They Feed They Lion" by Philip Levine:burlap, butter, bread, gutted, gray, grained, feed, ferocity, forgiven, holiness, home, hidden
Beauty in the Morning

He was startled awake at 10 p.m. by the ringing of the phone at his bedside.  It was his Mom calling for the third time that day.  I wonder what she needs at this time of night, he mused.  After listening to her for a few minutes, he told her that he would check it out in the morning.

As he drove to his Mom's place the next morning he thought back to the time when his parents had made a loan to him.  He had tried to make payments to them, but had struggled.  After he and his wife divorced, his parents decided to forgive the loan since he was going to be making alimony payments and it would be even harder for him to make payments to them.  He never remarried, but faithfully paid the alimony payments and made sure that his ex-wife and their almost grown daughter had what they needed.  His wife remarried a few years after the divorce.

After stopping at his Mom's place and fixing a leaking faucet in her kitchen, he was ready to check on an ad he'd seen.  She seemed to need an listening ear, so he decided to sit a spell and hear her story  about another of her long time friends who was moving out of state to live closer to other family members.  He finally gave her a hug and said he would see her again soon.

Now that his mother was a widow and getting up in years, he thought it would be nice to find a place that would work for both of them. When he had seen a listing for the old farm home a couple of miles from town, he was intrigued by the price of "as is." The small barn seemed to be in good shape and the five acres of land had been cleared except for an acre of uncleared deciduous and fir trees.  There was even a small creek that ran through  the wooded area.  

After seeing the interior of the home, he decided all that would be needed would be to make it suitable for his Mom's needs now and in the future.  He would add a ramp leading into the house,  and remodel the inside to make the house handicapped accessible should that ever become an issue.  His gut instincts were that this was a good deal for the two of them. He knew his Mom would love the two lilac trees by the back porch.  After a few days, he spoke again with the realtor and began the paperwork needed to get started with purchasing the property.

His Mom continued to live on her own until the remodeling was done, and used the time with the help of friends to get rid of some things she no longer needed, including those hidden things in the attic. Being able to still drive was a blessing. She had remained in fairly good health, but she understood that her time would come sooner or later, just like her husband's. She was thankful for her only son, who retired early and lived nearby, although she regretted the demise of his marriage.  By the time her son offered to have her move in with him, she had few reservations.  Her present two story home with a large yard was getting more difficult to keep up.

After the house was remodeled, he moved in first, and then some of his friends helped him get his Mom and her things moved.  There was one box of hers that intrigued him, marked, "To be opened after." The date had faded.  He decided now was not the time to talk to Mom about it.

A couple of weeks after they were settled in, he took his Mom to an auction.  She enjoyed seeing the farm animals, except when a young bull got quite ferocious being led into the show ring.  Thankfully the handlers got him under control fairly quickly.  Long ago her husband had been injured badly by a fiery young bull.  She finally settled down and enjoyed seeing the young calves being led into the ring and was happy when her son decided to buy three of them.  On the way home, they stopped at the farm store and bought some feed.

Her son thought she might enjoy the association with the calves, although at this point in her life, he needed to do the other chores.  Raising the calves would help them both to earn their bread and butter, and would help her to feel like she wasn't totally dependent upon him.

As her son went with his Mom to the barn the next morning, and saw the rays of the early morning sun shining on her face and her gray hair glistening, he had an epiphany. He thought that there was a holiness about her as she bent over the burlap bag filled with oat grains.  The scene reminded him of a Dutch painting. 

She scooped some grain into an old empty shortening can and slowly walked over to the trough where the reddish brown calves were waiting to be fed.  She held some grain in her cupped hand and savored the moment of a calf nuzzling her palm before going back to get a couple more cans of grain. The smile on her face as she completed her chore was like a child who had just blown on a dandelion puff for the first time.


  1. A delightful tale. The final word are truly beautiful.

    1. Thank you Keith. I'm glad this resonated with you.