Sunday, June 15, 2014
He replied "You're Welcome."
Sure, he's 72 and by all accounts, that could be a statement to make children of elderly parents be wary (God help me if my mother ever finds out I referred to her and my daddy as 'elderly').
But with my dad - I knew he was just trying to be funny.
His words are typically slurred, whether from the stroke he had a few years ago or the beers he undoubtedly had been drinking all day, it doesn't matter. Whatever he is saying, it's in jest and if you don't know him, you might very well think he was a crabbit old man or a marble or two short of a set.
Dad Burch - he's a hoot and a half and he taught me to be the same. I never knew there was any other way to deal with any given situation than with sarcasm. I doubt I was much of a conversationalist when I was a toddler, but my mother tells me stories all the time of my dad having heated conversations with me in my high chair. I was babbling, he was telling jokes. If I didn't laugh, he would make fun of me drooling or not being able to walk.
The thing is, when you grow up with the kind of sarcastic and acerbic wit that I was raised with, you have an incredible mechanism for coping with stress of many calibers. You also have a tendency to get into trouble; yes, even as an adult I find it hard to not use my sense of humor in any given situation.
My dad and his buddies, right out of high school, started their own fraternity. None of them were in college at the time, but it seemed like the thing to do. They called themselves "Signa Fi Nothin" and probably threw more parties than the Greek clubs combined.
Then my dad joined the air force and became an airplane mechanic and used his humor and wit to entertain other servicemen during the Vietnam war. My dad was never deployed; but he worked on numerous aircraft that were damaged from the war and it was enough for him to know that the airmen getting shipped overseas on his planes would be in need of a laugh or two before they boarded the plane for take-off. So he entertained the masses. Many of those blessed servicemen never came back, may God rest their souls. Surely dad was no Bob Hope, but he still made people laugh.
I owe you for my sense of humor dad. Now, if I can just get me a pick-up truck so that I can have a mobile garden, I'll be set! If you can read the article below, my dad was recognized in our hometown of Columbus, KS, for his innovative "mobile garden". He planted tomatoes and cucumbers in containers that he keeps in the back of his truck. When it rains, he drives around town to water his garden. If it's too cold or hot, he pulls the truck into the garage.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Therein lies my problem. I can't stop reading other blogs, fan fiction, Facebook, Huffington Post and Twitter (just to name a few). The things I have been able to write seem to be filled with cliches and mundane fuselage from my weary brain.
Then came Shades of Grey, and while I did fall in love with the character's in this story, it really isn't that well written and it's far from my favorite genre to read and not even in the same realm as that in which I write. Yet I read all three books in the series FIVE times...in only THREE weeks. The author 'was' just someone who liked to read (can't be a good cook if you don't also like to eat) and started the Shades story as Twilight Fan Fiction. I won't even get into how abhorring that is to the writer in me. The movies ruined that series, which is a shame because Stephanie Meyer can write. Shades of Grey film rights sold for over $5 million. Not sure the exact amount but it had to be over that because that's what Sony offered for the rights but they were unsuccessful. To put this in perspective - Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" sold for around $3 million (according to Huffington Post).
Hell, I haven't even bothered to post to this blog since I was "supposed" to be participating in NaNoWriMo in November! I have three stories in my head right now but I can't put them into writing. I will say this though; the scenarios and dialogue that I have drummed up in my brain are absolutely RIVETING! I'm thinking at least a $4 million movie contract.
Now that I've decided to finish my degree in English, I'm sure the muse will hit because, alas, I will not have time to scratch my ass, let alone put words together on paper. Unless it's for a grade, in which case I'm sure I'll be blessed with both Burch Luck and Writer's Block.
In any case, here's to all the bumbling author's out there who ARE getting published. I know a few and I'm happy for them.
That's all for now. I'm off to catch up on Twitter and the latest on Huffington Post.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
James River Tobacco Plantation, 1838
The sharp cry of a newborn followed by hushed whispers and scurrying feet was all that Thomas James could remember of the exact moment that his daughter Sarah was born. He had been holding back tears when Imari placed the tiny infant in his arms, the baby seemed so fragile and so much smaller than any of her brothers. She was merely whimpering now but he focused on looking into her beautiful face, so much like her mothers, that he tuned out the sharp voices coming from just the other side of the bedroom door.
It wasn’t until he felt the slaves hand on his arm, then the look on Imari’s face that he realized that something was terribly wrong. Clara had not yet called for him like she usually did after each baby, both to chastise him for his role in putting her through the childbirth, and to coo over the babies. The slave’s eyes told him everything, her voice barely audible.
“It was complications. She just lost too much blood. We tried Mastuh.” Imari had said. To Thomas, it was the end of life as he knew it. Clara had been his voice of reason, his friend, his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart. His confidant. He couldn’t imagine life without her. He numbly placed the child into Imari’s arms and left the house to get away from the noise. He calmly began to smoke his pipe and shed the tears that now flowed freely down his face.
He didn’t know how he was going to make it without her; and yet, he had to go on. He had seven children now and a plantation to run and business to see to. His sons needed their education and discipline, as well as training with the horses and livestock, and he would soon have to teach Thomas William, his oldest son and namesake, all the business of running the plantation. Thomas was only twelve, but it was never too early to learn how to run the business.
Luckily, Imari had seen to the needs of the baby without him having to worry, having recently given birth to her own daughter, so he immediately buried himself with these worries and pushed his pain aside.
That was a month ago. The funeral was short; it was so cold and the ground was too hard to even dig the grave. Clara had been placed just off of the wood shed in a coffin of wet pine, covered in the snow until the ground thawed enough for digging a proper burial plot in the spring. It pained Thomas to think about it; so he didn’t. He immersed himself back into the business of running the plantation and seeing to the needs and castigations of his slaves, as well as the upbringing of his sons.
He barely noticed his new daughter at all at first. Until one day, Imari interrupted his daily Bible reading to his sons and placed Sarah in his arms.
“Mastah, I’m sorruh, but your daughter, she be needin her pa right now.” and she had walked away, leaving the bright eyed Sarah to look curiously into her papa’s eyes. That was all it took; the eyes, so much like her mothers, forming the connection he needed to drag him from his stupor. Sarah became his whole world after that moment.
When she wasn’t with Imari and Liberty, she was in a basket at her father’s feet, or playing with bobbles and toys under his desk. She was immediately wrapped around her father’s finger, as well as her brothers, and stationed in their hearts. There was almost nothing she could do that would upset anyone, particularly her father. Almost.
Sarah was only four years old the first time her father had to discipline her. She had been playing with Liberty on the floor of the busy kitchen and the two were playing a game of catch with a ball of rags.
The throws were becoming increasingly sporadic and out of control and the girls giggles, while entertaining, were irritating the kitchen slaves.
Caroline, a big robust slave with no patience for children, was just pulling a hot bread pudding from the oven when a missed toss sent the ball sailing across the kitchen, into the pudding, splattering the big round woman with burning liquid and startling her so that the pudding was then dropped, splashing the poor slave, the walls, the floors and sizzling into the belly of the oven.
When Sarah's father learned of the ruined pudding, his favorite, he had to forbid her from being in the kitchen, as well as discipline her for her defiance. Because he could not bear to spank his own daughter, she had been sent to bed without any supper; a punishment that turned out all the better for her as each of her brothers, feeling sorry for her, had each snuck food into the bedrooms that night. She was full of cold ham, biscuits with honey, a handful of fried potatoes, and molasses cookies by the time her father came to her that evening with a glass of warm milk and a piece of bread. He finished explaining to her the necessities of rules and why she was being punished when he offered her the food as a token of his pleasure at her obedience when she proclaimed
"Oh but papa, I can’t eat that!" He beamed briefly at her presumed adherence to her punishment, but quickly frowned as she went on
"I'm so full already with what Will and Libby and the boys brought me from their suppers. You go 'head an eat that papa; yous be needin sumpin for yoself’."
Though he knew he could not keep her from the clutches of Imari, her only known mother, whom she adored and had taken all of his children under her careful watch and he certainly could not part her from the company of Liberty, with whom she would have shared a bed if he had allowed. No, he couldn’t help their current circumstances, but the law being the law and slaves being slaves, he would have to do something about his daughters unlikely ‘kinship’ with his slaves and the mannerisms that she was picking up on.
His first thought was boarding school, but the thought of sending Sarah away nearly broke his heart and he just couldn’t dream of it. But it was in that moment that Thomas decided what his daughter needed was a proper tutor and "white" teacher and the sooner the better. If he couldn’t send her to boarding school, he would bring one to her. (end chapter)
Okay, so that is the introduction. Hopefully it gives enough background without having to back too far, and just so much that you know the setting and hopefully some of the characters. The rest of the story will be about Sarah adjusting to her 'prim and proper' tutor, her friendship with Libby and some of the trouble that that cause, her relationship with her father. At some point, Sarah will realize what slavery actually means and that she does not adhere to that way of life. Her quest at that point will be to help Libby seek freedom via the underground railroad (after her mother, Imari's untimely and suspicious death) and together the two young girls (probably at around the age 13 mark) run away to go North, to Canada. While traveling the U G railroad with the help of abolitionists and allies I was thinking that it would be neat for them to meet the actual Harriet Tubman and other real people who are often associated with the "Freedom Train." May even change the name of the novel to Freedom Train, though the rough title is Liberty.
You can let me know what you think if you want. Good and bad, all feedback is welcome.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Thursday, December 23, 2010
There is no real joy in wrapping Christmas gifts. Buying them is fun, but I find that even dropping something in the gift bags is tedius. I'm such a lazy wrapper that I put four of my son's small, cheap gadget gifts into one box and wrapped it all together.
I used to think that there was something wrong with my mother. She did not like Christmas. She grumbled about it all the time. I thought she either had a problem with Santa, or she didn't like the baby Jesus, but either way - to NOT like Christmas just seemed - sinful.
And yet, here I am years later making the same grumbles that used to make me gasp when I'd hear her complain. "I hate this time of year." The traffic in the mall parking lot is enough to make me want to scream, not to mention the traffic in the aisles at Wal-Mart! Oy!
Who to buy for, what to buy them, how much to spend. Whose house will we visit? Will they come here? Do I have to cook? Does that mean I have to clean off the dining room table (which we haven't used in at least a year and a half)?
We recently realized that, for the FIRST time in our 18 years of marriage, we won't be getting up Christmas morning, rushing our kids through their santa/stocking gifts while the green bean casserole heats up in the oven and then rushing over to hubby's parents to spend Christmas with that side of the family. Nor, will we be making the long drive to Kansas on Christmas Eve-Eve early morning after I've spent an entire night doing laundry (because I haven't for so long) and packing.
Nope - for the first time, we will be having Christmas at OUR house, with just US. I don't have to make turkey OR green bean casserole. I don't even have to get dressed if I don't wanna! I dont' even have to clear the table; we could eat at the coffee table in front of the t.v. like we usually do. We could.
But, I don't want my kids to have to search for that joy or fun or excitement that Christmas brings. I know it's about the birth of Christ, and all that yada yada yada. I want them to smell the turkey baking as they open their gifts. I want them to feel the grace when we hold hands and say grace at the dining room table and thank the one who made it all happen. Visa.
Okay. I could really stop there, but I can't. My baby girl was born on Christmas day, and whether she thinks it or not, I think it's WONDERFUL that she shares her birthday with the ONE. The ONE for which we celebrate the day in the first place. I thank him daily for my kids, my hubby, and this year, I'll be thanking him for the patience I know he's going to give me to get through the day without extended family.
Merry Christmas and Peace to all!