Elizabeth Melton Parsons

Writing~Art~Life


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Blog Buddy Friday-A Tramp in the Woods

ColinThis one is for all you nature lovers out there. Today we’re taking a walk in the Forest of Dean with Colin over at A Tramp in the Woods. As most of you know there’s not much I enjoy more than a tramp along the creek or through the woods so of course when I found Colin’s blog, I was in love. Not only is his blog filled with phenomenal nature photos and videos, but there’s a wealth of educational information contained in his delightful and often humorous narration. His latest post details a way to raise butterflies to release back to the wild. When you visit be sure to take time to watch the video. It’s awesome. Colin claims to have no area of expertise, but he sure knows his nature.

Taken from Colin’s bio:   “I write about and photograph the nature around me from a little farm in The Forest of Dean. I watch plants, animals, fungi, I don’t have a field of expertise but I do have a field full of Wildflowers and Badgers.”

If you love nature like I do, go visit Colin and take A Tramp in the Woods.

Photo belongs to Colin and is not mine.

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Are Country Folk More Honest? Part 2

To Read Part 1: Are Country Folk More Honest? Part 1

T C Steele Painting

T. C. Steele

We all have our moments of stupidity, but I seem to have more than my share. One year on vacation I decided to visit Brown County Forestry and Nashville, Indiana, nicknamed ‘Little Nashville’ after Nashville, Tennessee because of all the music shows they have. I was there in October because I wanted to visit the forestry when the leaves were their most colorful and I wanted to visit the home and studio of artist T. C. Steele. The little village of Nashville is quaint and charming, but when I was there must have been a peak time because the streets were jammed with people. I stood in line for over an hour just to buy an ice cream cone. Even though small, the crowds in this town made it like being on the streets of New York during the busiest hours. I’d never seen anything like it.

I needed to escape the hordes of people for awhile and walked down a little backstreet to a historical building. There wasn’t anyone there and I sat down on a bench to take a break. While there, a few people came by and I spoke to a couple of very nice ladies before deciding to walk back to the car. I’d parked a long ways from the town center because there simply wasn’t any parking space available anywhere. Once at the car I realized I didn’t have my keys because my handbag was gone. I panicked. I couldn’t remember where I could have lost it. It never entered my mind that someone could have swiped it. As I said, much too trusting.

I called the police and a very nice officer came to make a report. He told me this kind of thing happens all the time and I’d never get it back. He said they usually take all the money and credit cards, then toss the bag somewhere. I figured they weren’t going to do anything so I sat on the tarmac beside the car and took some deep, calming breaths. Once my panic eased I began thinking over everything I’d done since I’d last had my bag. I was sure I’d lost it somewhere and it had not been stolen. I remembered the bench where I’d rested and thought maybe the strap had slipped off my shoulder while sitting there. I ran back there and of course it wasn’t there. Seeing a fleck of bright orange I looked through some trees and realized it was prisoners in an enclosure next to, of all things, a jailhouse. Guess what? When checking with the officers inside, they had my handbag. Nothing was missing. Those nice ladies I’d spoken to had seen it after I left and turned it in. My trusting nature had been renewed. 🙂 I count this incident in the big city category because of the thousands of people around that day.

mumsCottage

My next incident happened just a few days ago when I’d gone shopping. I’d just left the grocery store and stopped at another store on my way home to pick up some laundry detergent and other household items. The parking lot was full so I parked on the side in the only space available. I was in a hurry to get home and grabbed a twenty out of my purse and left the purse on the front seat. When I got out of the car I pushed what I thought was the lock button on my remote door control and hurried around the building to the front door. I was in the store for much longer than I’d expected to be and when I came out my car trunk was standing open with all my groceries in plain site. I’d accidentally hit the trunk button instead of the lock button. Not only were groceries in plain sight, but my purse with money and credit cards was in full view on the front seat in an unlocked car. I really need a keeper. 🙄 This a country community and no one had touched any of my stuff.

I have no clue as to whether country folk are more honest.  The one thing I am sure of is that I have far too many stupid moments in my life. I think there are thieves everywhere and I have had both good and bad experiences in both cites and small towns. But it does seem that in rural communities you’re a lot less likely to be the victim of theft. What do you think?


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First Meeting

Thursday was my 10th wedding anniversary. We’re going for lunch today at The Overlook restaurant on the river to celebrate. I thought I’d post a short story about our first meeting. I’d began this as a fiction story several years ago, but for this post, I removed the fiction elements. My point of view is of course my own. His point of view was dictated by him. Hope you enjoy it.

Ohio River-2

OverLook

First Meeting

 

“That’s just gross. Will you turn that thing off and talk to me?”

I laughed at Barb’s irritation. “You’re the one who suggested the cyber sex thing. I can’t just quit in the middle and leave the poor guy hanging.”

“Oh yes, you can.” Reaching over me, she grabbed the mouse and clicked off the IM box. “Now come on, get me some coffee.”

“Hey, why did you do that?” Swiveling the desk chair, I followed her to the kitchen and poured two mugs of steaming coffee.

Plopping down into one of my vintage, mismatched chairs, she sighed heavily. “Look, Liza, since your divorce you’ve been spending entirely too much time in those chat rooms. I’m worried about you. Charlie Hobson was asking about you the other day and I…”

“No.”

“But he’s interested and he’s a real live flesh and blood guy.”

“No. I told you before I don’t want you fixing me up. I’m not interested. Most of the men around here are just like my ex. They have the same mind set. Women should not have an opinion. They should always agree with the Lord and Master.”

“Now you’re just being stubborn. Charlie isn’t like that. Besides I never said to marry him. Just go out and have some fun. You can’t possibly get anything out of all that typing.” Rolling her head back and breathing faster, she spoke in a sexy voice and made typing motions with her hand. “UMMMMM…AHHHHH…Oh that feels so good. Oh yes…yes.

“Stop it, you look ridiculous.” I couldn’t keep from laughing at her antics.

“Well, it is ridiculous. You’re an attractive, passionate woman. Why waste time on that crap when you could be having real sex with a real man?”

We’d had this conversation before. “I’m not interested in having sex at this point in time and that cyber stuff just now was your idea. And, I happen to like the chat rooms. I can speak to guys who are interested in a vast variety of subject matter. I can flirt and be silly and not worry about what he’s expecting at the end of the evening.”

“But, Liza, they—are—not—real.” She dragged the words out slowly as though that would somehow cause them to imprint firmly onto my brain.

I gulped a large drink of coffee and took a deep breath. “They are real, Barb. I just haven’t met them in person and that’s fine for the most part, but…what would you say if I told you I was meeting one of them?”

“I’d say you’d lost what little sense I always thought you had.”

“Thanks.”

“Okay, sorry. Wait, you aren’t serious?” I avoided her eyes and turned to pour another cup of coffee.

Jumping up from the chair, she came over and spun me to face her. “You aren’t serious?”

“As a matter of fact, he’s flying in this weekend.”

“Have you lost your mind? You want to end up floating in the river?” I could feel her trembling and knew she was truly frightened for me.

“Settle down, Barb. It’s not like you think. I haven’t told you about it because it’s special and I wanted to keep it private until I was sure we’d meet.” We moved to the table and sat down.

“So tell me now. And don’t you dare leave anything out.”

“I met him online not long after my divorce, about a year ago. It was an instant attraction that started with the silly flirting stuff, but then we truly began to talk. I mean we really talked, Barb. About everything. We started to email every day and then we spoke on the phone. We’ve been talking once or twice a day ever since. He’s wonderful, Barb. Everything I always wanted, but thought wasn’t out there.”

“No wonder you’ve been looking so happy, but you know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true.” She reached over and took my hand, as though needing the contact to be sure I was listening.

“It’s not like that. He has his faults and I’m not blind to them. We’ve had our fights. As I said, we’ve talked about everything. Our conversations have gone on for as long as five hours at a time. When you aren’t there with the person and you’re holding a phone to your ear, you have to talk. I probably know him better than I know anyone in the world.”

She gave me a deadly serious look. “Listen you’ve never met the man. You can’t possibly know him. You only know what he’s told you or what he’s led you to believe. This is just nuts.”

“You don’t understand.” I snatched my hand away.

“Okay, I don’t understand, but I’m advising against this.”

“He’s coming, Barb. I can’t wait to see him, touch him.”

“What’s his name? Where’s he from?”

“Garland Parsons and he’s flying in from Miami.”

“That’s not a normal sounding name. It’s like the name Blain. He probably made it up. When will he be here?”

“I’m picking him up at the airport Saturday morning. And what’s wrong with the name Blain? I like it.”

Her brows rose. “How many men named Blain have you actually met or for that matter, how many Garlands?”

“None, but that doesn’t mean anything.” I sighed, exasperated by her reasoning.

Barb reached across the worn table and took hold of my hand again, refusing to let go when I tugged. “I really wish you wouldn’t do this. With so many guys right here, you could date a different one every Saturday night if you’d stop being so stubborn.”

“Save your breath, Barb. It’s a done deal.”

She stood and gave me a stern look. “What about Eric?”

“He’s excited to meet him. They’ve spoken on the phone several times and seem to really like each other.”

“Fine, if I can’t talk you out of this, I want to meet him. I’ll be here on Saturday. You and Mister Too Good To Be True had better be here. I have to get going.” Frown lines marred her brow as she gave me a worried look before grabbing her bag and leaving.

I’d known she wouldn’t understand. I didn’t understand it myself. After my divorce eighteen months ago, I was determined to avoid any kind of relationship with the opposite sex. At the time I hadn’t realized just how much I’d miss the interaction, the sexy sparring, or for that matter the sex. My marriage had not been happy and I’d completely lost interest in anything remotely related to the act. Now, although I wasn’t ready for a physical relationship, I missed it—a lot.

I’d thought the chat rooms would be a safe and anonymous way to ‘date’ without actually dating. I was right. The flirting turned out to be fun and I was surprised to find that I could still talk a pretty good game. Barb had been correct about the Internet flirting doing nothing physically for me, but on some emotional level it eased my frustration. And that meant I could avoid accepting a date with one of the men who’d come around as soon as the ink had dried on my divorce papers.

I’d always dreamed of meeting a man like Garland. He loved music of all kinds, played the violin, was romantic, and a gentleman. Most important, I appreciated the fact that he supported and encouraged me to just be me. A refreshing change after being married to a man who wanted to stick me in a cubbyhole and make me into a shadow of himself.

Before my marriage if anyone had told me I’d fall for an ex-surfer from Miami who loved racecars and sports, I’d have said they were crazy, not my type at all. Garland was different than what I ever thought I’d want, but I sensed this was right.

When I’d first met my ex, I’d thought he was the perfect man for me. Stable, solid, old fashioned and liked some of the same things I did. I never dreamed he’d also have the mindset of a Victorian Lord. Every thought, every action had to go through his approval process and most failed to pass. If it was my idea, it was wrong. He believed it should be his way or no way. I don’t think in ten years of marriage we ever had a conversation. He spoke…I listened. He was a very good person in many respects, but I eventually found it impossible to deal with that attitude. Garland was the complete opposite and regardless of Barb’s disapproval, Saturday could come none too soon.

***

Opening the window, I leaned on the ledge and took a deep breath. The scent of honeysuckle growing along the fence was heavenly. The evening had cooled somewhat and the welcoming breeze billowed the curtains, freshening the warm air in the bedroom. It was hot even for July. I’d have to call tomorrow and have someone come to repair the air conditioning.

I’d been shocked when Garland told me he slept in the buff. I’d never considered myself a prude, but even the thought of sleeping in the raw had a blush burning across my cheeks. But it was terribly warm. Oh why not—just this once? Slipping my nightgown off, I slid into the cool comfort of satin sheets.

The satin felt blissful against my bare flesh. I’d never known just how luxurious satin sheets could feel until I’d bought the first set. Such luxuries were something my ex would never have approved. Now addicted, I owned several sets in white. I even had a red set, which I’d never used. They seemed a little too sexy for sleeping alone.

When the phone rang, I snatched it off the bedside table, knowing who it would be. Garland’s soft voice came over the line turning my thoughts away from sexy sheets. Our nightly conversations were almost always the same. We’d catch up on each other’s day, then speak quietly until one or both of us fell asleep holding the phone.

“What are you wearing, Darlin’?”

“Nothing.” I answered in my best sexy, siren voice.

“Hum…My mind is racing with that vision.”

This kind of beginning would normally lead to some serious sexy flirting, but I was too nervous.

“Aren’t you nervous, Garland?”

“I’m excited and yes, nervous too. I guess I’m worried this is a dream and when we meet it will crash around us. I don’t want to disappoint you.”

“You could never disappoint me, but I understand what you mean. I’m worried about the same thing.”

“You, my lovely angel, have absolutely nothing to worry about.”

I smiled, he always made me feel beautiful. “I can’t believe we’ll be together in the morning. We’ve waited so long.”

“Too long.”

“I’ll let you go now, so you can catch a few hours sleep before your flight.”

“Goodnight, darling. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He laughed softly. “You have no idea how I’ve longed to say those words.”

I laughed too. “Oh, I believe I have an inkling. Good night. Try to sleep.” I forced myself to lay the phone on the cradle, knowing he’d not hang up until I did. Snuggling into the bed, I closed my eyes. I hoped sleep would come quickly and with it the morning—and Garland.

Squinting my eyes at the early morning sunlight coming in the window, I rolled over and checked the time. Seven o’clock, I just had time to shower and get to the airport before his flight came in at nine. I’d spent most of last evening deciding what to wear, but was still none too happy with my choice. I was nervous and getting more nervous by the minute. What if we hated each other on sight? What if there’s no chemistry? Oh, please let there be chemistry.

After checking to see that Eric was ready, I strapped on my sandals and took another look in the full-length mirror. The white eyelet blouse enhanced my light tan. The red skirt fell a good three inches above my knees and I wondered if I were being too obvious. So who cares if I’m being obvious? It’s a warm day and I want to look fresh and cool. Who am I kidding? I want to knock him out and have him wanting me so bad he couldn’t see straight. And then I want him to come back to my place and…. Giggling at the crudeness of my thoughts, I grabbed my purse and hurried Eric to the car.

***

Pacing the little waiting area, Garland tried to quell the nausea that had been with him since take off. Unlike most flights, his plane had landed a good fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and his nerves were getting the best of him.

He’d dated off and on since his divorce ten years ago, but nothing serious. Liza was different, special. She’d put off this meeting for so long, he’d begun to think it would never happen. Now that the time had come, he wanted everything to be perfect.

He felt as if he’d known her forever even though they’d never actually met. He’d told her almost his entire life story and she’d reciprocated. It was time to meet face to face. Fear gnawed at his stomach causing the nausea to return. Garland knew he wasn’t any woman’s dream man. He wasn’t a spring chicken, his hair was beginning to turn silver and his nose had been broken playing sports. Liza would probably take one look and run fast and far.

***

He doesn’t see me. I stopped and stared at the man pacing the small waiting area. I’d have known him anywhere, but he far exceeded my hopes. My breath stopped and I reminded myself to breathe. Drawing in a shaky breath I took the opportunity to study him.

His salt and pepper hair was more silver than dark. The straight Grecian nose had a tiny bump in the middle, indicating a past break. He’s taller than I expected, over six feet, fit and trim. The casual, khaki pants outlined the cutest rump I’d ever seen.

“Is that him, Mom?”

“I think it must be, sweetie.” I looked at Eric. I’d thought he’d be nervous too, but he just seemed happy and excited. Sometimes he seemed much older than his eight years.

***

Garland turned and saw the redhead and young boy watching him. He knew it was Liza. She’d described herself numerous times over the past months, but she’d never used the terms beautiful, sexy, or cute. Yet she was all of those and more. Petite, with large breasts pushing against the white blouse, they seemed to beg for his touch. Luscious red hair curled past her shoulders. She took his breath away.

***

He’s looking at me, his ruggedly sensual features devoid of emotion. Is he disappointed? The neatly trimmed, silver mustache spread over a wide smile. I stared, astonished at the change. The sexy Adonis transformed into little, boy cute and I urged my steps in his direction. When close enough to touch him, he spread his arms wide and I walked into them, savoring the warmth of his body against mine. Tiny prickles of excitement ran through my body. Quickly stepping back, I cursed the pale skin that I knew had turned as red as a ripe strawberry.

Garland was grateful Liza stepped back before the warmth and scent of her caused an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation, but oh how he wanted her back in his arms. Watching the flush spread across her chest and into her smooth cheeks made him wonder if she felt the same. He hoped so.

“Liza, you’re more beautiful than I ever imagined.”

Smiling widely, I looked into his cornflower, blue eyes and said hurriedly, “I feel the same. I mean…” I stopped before making a complete fool of myself.

“You aren’t disappointed?”

“Oh no!”

His low, sexy chuckle had my flush returning and I decided to take charge of the situation, as I was apt to do in times of extreme nervousness. “Umm…this is Eric.” I really needed to get a grip on my emotions.

He turned to Eric and held out his hand. They shook hands like two adults and then grinned at each other like long time friends.

“I thought we’d go get some breakfast before going to my place. The repairman is fixing the air conditioning. Maybe it will be back on by the time we get back. Do you need to get your luggage?”

“It’s right here.” He picked up a large travel bag by one of the chairs. “Lead the way.”

There were a lot of advantages to walking behind a beautiful woman and he blessed every one of them as he watched the gentle sway of her hips in front of him. Visions of her lying naked on a bed with that red hair spread out against a white pillowcase had his heart racing and his trousers growing tighter. He tried to muster some kind of control before he embarrassed himself. Not to mention how totally inappropriate his thoughts were with her young son right there beside her.

***

Breakfast had been a disaster. Neither he nor I appeared to have any appetite and the conversation had been stilted and polite. If Eric hadn’t been with us, there might not have been any conversation at all. The two of them chatted as if they’d known one another forever. Glad to return to the apartment, I hoped the tension would ease, but things had not gotten any better. Garland went to the spare bedroom to unpack while I brewed tea. Eric left with his dad and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. Four days alone with the man of my dreams and I was acting like an idiot.

He came to stand behind me as I poured the fresh tea over ice filled glasses. His body brushed against mine and I could feel his hardness pressing against my bottom. The wonderfully erotic sensation caused me to push back against him.

Turning me to face him, his hand gently cupped my chin, forcing my head up. “Look at me, Liza.”

I looked into his eyes and instantly relaxed against him. This was Garland. Why was I acting like I’d just picked up a stranger off the street?

He smiled. “That’s better. We’ve been acting like strangers, Liza, and we’re not. I’ve been wanting to do something for a very, very long time.”

His lips came down on mine—hard, hot, demanding. It was nothing like the gentle, first kiss I’d thought we’d share. It caused light-headedness, an almost physical pain of wanting. But it was too soon. Things were moving too fast. I raised my hands and pushed against his chest. He immediately moved back.

His eyes were full of disappointment. “I’m sorry, Garland, I…”

“It’s okay, Sweetheart.” His voice was raspy with desire. Reaching behind me, he picked up the glass of iced tea and drained it in one gulp, then laughed. “Ah, I needed that, and maybe a cold shower.” He winked and I knew everything would be okay. He’d not rush me into anything I wasn’t ready for.

While he went to shower, I headed outside to check on the progress of getting some air on. My libido wasn’t the only thing getting hotter in this apartment.

***

 I twisted and rolled first one way and then the other. Groaning, I kicked the sheets away from my legs. I was being slowly roasted over an open pit or at least I felt as if I were. And it had nothing to do with the temperature. The air was working perfectly again and the bedroom was cool. No, it wasn’t hot air keeping me awake and burning alive. The thought of Garland sleeping just a few feet away in the tiny spare room was driving me crazy. I remembered he slept in the nude. Was he over there now with all that sexy, tanned skin glowing in the light of the full moon? What on earth was wrong with me? I’d wanted this man for so long. Had dreamed of lying here in his arms. Why was I torturing myself?

All I had to do was call out to him. But no, he was sleeping. After the long flight and a two-hour layover, he was surely worn out. Especially since we’d sat up past midnight. Once the air had been fixed we’d gone down to the little pizza and video shop in town. We’d settled on a large cheese pizza with mushrooms and then had a great time deciding what movie to rent. There wasn’t a huge selection and we both figured there’d been enough tension for one day, so we finally chose two comedies, Joe Dirt and There’s Something About Mary.

Garland’s laugh was infectious, and we laughed until our sides ached at the silliness portrayed on the screen. Barb had shown up about half way through the first movie and stayed till the end. When she was leaving, she leaned over and whispered, “Wow, what a hunk.” Then she gave me a big thumbs up, as I hustled her out the door.

After watching the other movie, we’d necked for about an hour like two teens in a parked car. If he’d ask me then to go to bed with him, I’d never have been able to resist, but he never let it get out of hand and when we went to bed, he kissed me gently and headed for the little room I’d told him he could use. So here I was, hot, frustrated and mad at myself for being such a cautious goose. I suppose it’s for the best. Sure, we’d been talking for a long time and I felt I knew him better than anyone on the face of the earth, but in reality, we’d only just met. I kept repeating the bit about it being for the best until I fell into a restless sleep, but I don’t think I believed a word of it.

***

Next morning dawned bright and clear and as hot as blue blazes. It was July, but that didn’t keep me from wishing for a snowstorm. Maybe if I rolled around in a foot of snow naked, I could get rid of the heat flooding every pore on my body. I was in heat, pure and simple. I’d always known female dogs came in heat, but I’d never known it could happen to a human. There was no two ways about it, either I’d have to give into my baser instincts or I’d have to exert a lot more will power and control the animal hunger fighting for dominance.

So did my animal hunger win out or did I exert my will power? I’ll leave that to your imagination. We married two years later so the story did, of course, have a happy ending.

Hubby and Bernie

Hubby and Bernie


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The Eye Dancers by Michael S. Fedison

The Eye DancersThe Eye Dancers by Michael S. Fedison

On Amazon

Michael’s Blog

Seventh-grader Mitchell Brant and three of his classmates inexplicably wake up at the back edge of a softball field to the sounds of a game, the cheering of the crowd. None of them remembers coming here. And as they soon learn, “here” is like no place they’ve ever seen. Cars resemble antiques from the 1950s. There are no cell phones, no PCs. Even the spelling of words is slightly off.

A compulsive liar, constantly telling fantastic stories to garner attention and approval, Mitchell can only wish this were just one more of his tall tales. But it isn’t. It’s all too real. Together, as they confront unexpected and life-threatening dangers, Mitchell and his friends must overcome their bickering and insecurities to learn what happened, where they are, and how to get back home.

The answers can be found only in the mysterious little girl with the blue, hypnotic eyes. The one they had each dreamed of three nights in a row before arriving here. She is their only hope. And, as they eventually discover, they are her only hope.

And time is running out.

My Thoughts 

I had visited Mr. Fedison’s blog and was intrigued by his book, so I went to Amazon and checked it out. I wanted to read the book, but it was obviously a young adult book. I passed it up and ordered a couple of other kindle books instead. For some reason I couldn’t get the story line out of my mind even though I was sure it was too young to hold my interest. I went back to Amazon later and used the look inside feature. I was hooked.

Okay, so the book was too young for my tastes, but I’m not ashamed to say it definitely held my interest. I was so into the story that I became annoyed with only being able to read it on my kindle for pc. This really limited my reading time. Then my husband bought me the new Kindle Fire HD. I love it and now I can read anywhere I want. As for The Eye Dancers, with my new Kindle, I finished it in one day.

Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Although the story line is completely different, it reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time.

I loved that these boys became friends even though they didn’t have a clue as to why they were friends. Granted they were completely different in personalities and interests, but they were all misfits in one way or another. That was their commonality, but having such diverse personalities made working together to solve their dilemma more difficult. And they desperately needed to solve it and get out of this world where they didn’t belong and back to their own.

Kudos to Mr. Fedison because not only was this an intriguing story, but also it’s one of the most skillfully written and professionally edited books I’ve read in a long time. I could definitely see this as having been one of my favorite books as a child or teen. I loved it as an adult. If you like coming of age stories, stories of family and friendship, mysteries, sci-fi, other worldly adventures…ect., I believe you’ll like The Eye Dancers, no matter your age. And if you have a child from eight to teens who likes these types of stories, they will love this book.


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The Legend of Jack-O-Lantern ~ An Irish Folk tale

This is one of my favorite Irish folk tales. I know I must have posted it around somewhere before, but here it is for those who have never found it in the archives. Happy Halloween.

Jack-O-Lantern-public domain

Legend of Jack-O-Lantern

Jack was a lazy farmer and spent more time at the local pub drinking and betting than tending his crops. He was a prankster and all his mischief making did nothing to endear him to his friends and neighbors. Jack felt sure this was the devil’s doing and if Satan would stop putting so many temptations in his path, he could make a turn for the better.

Now Jack figured the devil was as fond of betting as he was and devised a plan to trap him. He’d met Satan at the pub on many a dark night and it was always the same, with the devil offering riches and fame in return for Jack’s soul. Jack of course refused such offers, not wanting riches and having no use for fame. He did, however, want to be less of a sorrowful burden to his family and stop all his evil shenanigans.

Although his wife argued vehemently against his scheme, Jack decided to proceed. He was confident the plan would succeed, not to mention, it allowed him to go to the pub every night with a legitimate excuse. He didn’t have long to wait. A few nights passed and Satan once again joined him at his table, buying him ale and making the usual offers in return for his soul.

“You truly want my soul, Devil?”

Satan laughed. “You know I’ll have you sooner or later, Jack. Why not take my offer and enjoy what’s left of your wretched life?”

“I’ll make a wager with you. There’s a tree on the south end of my land. It grows straight and tall with limbs only at the top. Now, many a man has tried to climb the tree, but none has made it to the top. Even with you being the devil and all, I don’t think you can do it. If you can climb to the top without slipping back down or falling, I’ll take your offer and you can have my soul.”

Satan loved a good bet, but he was slightly irritated that this miserable mortal doubted his ability to accomplish such a simple task. “I can climb your tree, Jack, never fear. Lead the way.”

The two left the pub and walked the short distance to the tree. Satan removed his hooded cape and shimmied up the tree without any problems at all. “I made it, Jack, and now you’re mine.” His laugh echoed hollowly from the top branches.

Jack hurriedly removed his hunting knife and carved a cross on the trunk, as high up as he could reach. “Think again, Devil. I’ve trapped you. You can’t come down unless I remove the cross.”

Satan howled in anger when realizing he’d been tricked. He was trapped in the blasted tree and would have to bargain with the man to gain his freedom. “What is it you want, Jack?”

“I’ll carve out the cross and set you free if you promise to never again set temptation before me.”

“Agreed! Let me down.”

Jack’s plan had worked. He could now go about his life without the danger of falling to temptation. Unfortunately he was never allowed to reap the benefits. The very next day, the same tree was felled in a storm and came crashing down on poor Jack, taking his life. Having been involved in more than a few evil misdeeds, Jack was denied entrance to Heaven. It would seem the devil would have his soul after all.

But Satan was still angry at having been tricked and would not allow him into Hell. Jack was doomed to walk the earth in the cold darkness for all eternity. He begged the devil to have pity and Satan relented by giving him a single glowing coal. Jack found a large turnip and carved out the middle and front. He placed the burning ember inside and used it to light his way.

Many have claimed to see the swaying of Jack’s lantern on dark nights and most especially on All Hollows Eve. Perhaps you will, too.

 


16 Comments

Mantis Photos and Haiku

hubby holding a mantis

hubby holding a mantis

Okay this post has nothing to do with Halloween, but if you’re like me you may find the way these guys turn their head and look directly at you kind of creepy and spooky. They can turn their heads 180 degrees which is reminiscent of the girl in The Exorcist. (Spooky) The female usually eats the male after mating. (Not nice at all) So maybe when they’re praying, they’re asking forgiveness. But like a lot of my more evil friends, I love them regardless.

posing for a picture

posing for a picture

climbing the pink stairs

climbing the pink stairs

Mantis creeping ‘round the stairs

So fragrant and pink

Seeking prey to munch and eat

climbing, climbing

climbing, climbing

ÓElizabeth Melton Parsons


23 Comments

Celia – Ghost Story

Halloween is fast approaching, so it’s time for a spook fest in honor of the season. I’ve always loved Halloween. Because of my dad’s religious beliefs we were not allowed to participate when I was a child. Although some cousins did dress me up and take me trick or treating once. It was great fun. So if you have beliefs against the spooky season, I’m sorry. All my posts until after Halloween will have some spooky aspect. The first will be an old story of mine (mainly because I’m busy or maybe just too lazy to find something else). This story is hiding behind the walls here somewhere, so you may have already read it. If not, I hope you enjoy this re-posting.

Celia

Celia

It was a long haul between Leavenworth and Casey. Tom knew if he didn’t fill up in Organ Springs he’d never get the cargo to Casey without running out of fuel. He’d been a trucker for over twenty years, but had never driven this particular route and wasn’t any too happy about doing it now. The narrow road wound itself like a snake through the mountain passes and the passing rain left just enough fog and mist behind to make seeing the dark road difficult. Tom couldn’t see the steep cliff to his right, but knew it was there and it made him nervous.

Turning the radio on, he settled for a station playing an old favorite about lost love. Listening to the old familiar tune, he could feel his anxiety slip away. He’d be in Organ Springs in less than twenty minutes and was looking forward to some hot coffee and a brief rest. Looking through the slapping wipers, he could just make out the Organ Springs road sign up a head at the crossroad. He geared the big truck down, preparing to stop.

Just as he was getting ready to turn right onto the road leading into town, he caught a glimpse of something white in the middle of the road to the left. He looked again, but didn’t see anything. Oh, boy, I’ve been on the road too long tonight. Now I’m seeing things that aren’t there.

Continuing on his way, he quickly put the incident from his mind. All he could think about was getting that much needed coffee to clear his head for the next leg of the trip. Hopefully, the mist would clear and he’d have smooth sailing the rest of the way. Tom had always been proud of getting his cargo where it was supposed to be and getting it there on time, but he never took unnecessary chances.  In his twenty plus years on the road, he’d never had an accident. A fact for which his company was grateful. Cora, Tom’s wife, felt they should have shown their gratitude in a more tangible way such as a raise in salary.

Tom smiled, as he thought of his wife of twenty years. An outspoken woman, Cora loved him with a fierceness he’d never thought possible before meeting her. And he loved her the same if not more. Cora had finally succeeded in convincing him to retire from the company in five years with a nice pension. Then they’d finally be able to move to the little house on the cost of Maine they’d bought years ago. Cora could paint all day and Tom could fish, something he never seemed to have time for now.

When his twenty-year retirement date came up, Cora had tried to convince him to take it. He thought they should wait another ten years, so there would be more money. Cora argued they’d spent too many years apart as it was. So they had compromised on the twenty-five year retirement.

Lost in thought, Tom never the less was paying attention to his surroundings and when the white thing appeared in the middle of the road, he was able to stop in time. Looking closer, Tom saw a lady in a long white dress. Jumping down from the cab, he hurried to her.

“Geesh, Miss. I could have run right over you. What are you doing out here in the middle of the road? Did you have an accident or something?”

“No, sir. I’d appreciate a ride into town. I was out walking and got caught in the rain.”

“I’ll be happy to oblige, I’m Thomas Withers. Call me Tom.”

“Thank you, Tom. I was afraid no one would come along and I’d have to walk all the way back, I’m Celia.”

Tom helped her into the cab and then climbed in himself. He looked over and realized she was shivering from wet and cold. Turning the heat on high, he reached behind the seat and pulled out a warm blanket to drape over her.

“Why, you poor little thing, you’re wet and freezing. Were you at a party? That’s a mighty pretty dress to be out walking in.”

“It’s my wedding dress. Do you like it?”

Tom was taken aback by this comment. Looking at the woman more closely, he saw a pale oval face and large dark eyes surrounded by purple smudges. She had an air of sadness about her that wrung his heart and he wondered if she’d gotten cold feet and run off from the wedding.

“It’s a beautiful dress, Hon. Are you getting warm now?”

“Yes, it’s nice and toasty under this blanket.”

“I’d better get you back to town then.” Tom put the big truck in gear and headed towards Organ Springs.

On their way to town, Tom tried to make polite conversation, hoping to get more of her story out of her, but she didn’t seem inclined to talk. She began to hum the tune to the same old love song he’d been listening to earlier and he softly sang the words. She turned her huge eyes his way and smiled, then continued to hum as he sang.

Right at the edge of Organ Springs sat a huge, old Queen Ann style house that had seen much better days. It was here, Celia asked Tom to let her out. Tom stopped the truck and eyed the old place dubiously. It was dark and there wasn’t a sign of a light inside the old place. The weeds growing in the yard were knee high and he couldn’t imagine anyone living there.

“Are you sure you want out here, Hon? I could take you on into town.”

“Oh, no. I live here. This is my home. Isn’t it just beautiful? Charles said we’d have lots of children to fill it up.”

Tom was worried about dropping the lady at this dilapidated old house. “So then, there’s someone waiting inside for you?”

“Of course, Charles is there waiting. He’s been waiting for such a long time. He’ll be so happy to see me.”

Tom glanced back at the old house, as he helped Celia from the cab of the truck. A small light came on in one of the front windows, easing his mind.

“There, you see? Charles has put the light in the window for me. He does that every night.” Happiness lit her eyes and her face seemed to glow as she said the words.

“Well, Celia, I’ll bid you goodnight then and I hope your wish of filling the house with children comes true.”

The glow left her face and she smiled sadly up at him before making her way through the weeds to the front door. Tom climbed back into his truck and drove to the truck stop on the other side of town. He was surprised that he was the only trucker around the place. He didn’t see how they could stay in business with so few customers. While the attendant filled his truck, he went inside to order coffee and a bite to eat.

He sat at the counter and an elderly man in a white apron came to take his order, shouting it to the cook in back as he filled Tom’s cup with hot coffee. Tom sighed, as he sipped the fragrant brew. “This is what I’ve been needing. Thank you.”

“Come from Clancy, did ya?” The man asked him.

“No, over the pass, I’m heading to Casey.”

The man’s eyes grew round in surprise. “Well, I’m mighty glad you made it safely. Guess you don’t know, but most truckers won’t come over the pass, they circle around through Clancy and take southbound 180 to Casey.”

“Yeah, I saw that route on the map, but that’s a good forty miles out of the way.”

“Most feel the forty miles are worth it. You didn’t see the ghost, then?”

Tom grinned. “What ghost might that be?” He’d heard these stories before in many small towns all over the country.

“The ghost of Celia Matheson.”

Tom choked on his coffee, coughing and sputtering. Once he’d got his breath back, he looked into the face of the old man and saw the knowing look in his eyes.

“You did see her then?”

Tom nodded, thinking the old man was pulling his leg, but wanting to hear more anyway. “Tell me about her.”

“Celia and Charles Matheson were childhood sweethearts. I went to school with both of them and they were in love from first grade on. Charles was going to law school when he and Celia decided to get married. A few months before the wedding they bought the old Queen Ann on the other side of town, course it was a beautiful place then. Celia loved that house.”

“What happened with him and Celia? They did get married, I guess.”

“Yes, sir, they did. Got married at the little church over on Walnut Street. They left for their honeymoon, but a big truck ran the stop sign over at the crossroad and rammed right into them. There wasn’t much left of the car and Celia didn’t make it.”

“That’s terrible. What about Charles?”

“He lived, still alive in fact. He’s lived in that big old house all alone for the past fifty years.”

“The house is in pretty bad shape. Hard to believe anyone lives there.”

“Yep. Charles is one of the good guys. He’s helped a lot of folks out with free legal advice over the years and has defended more than a few of his neighbors in court, never asking for a dime. So when his health began to fail, folks would get together and mow the lawn, do a few repairs. Charles thought it was charity and got so upset, everyone figured it was best to leave him be. He never did remarry and puts a light in the front window of that house every night, saying it’s for Celia to find her way to him when the time is right.”

Shivers crept along Tom’s spine. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but this was getting pretty spooky. “Right time for what?”

“For the two of them to be together again. They say Celia haunts the old crossroads. Before word got around, there was many a trucker come to town and swore they’d run over some lady in a white dress and then she’d just disappeared. Some said they stopped in time to miss her and actually spoke to her and offered her a lift, but she always said the same thing. ‘It’s not the right time’. So what’s your story, Mr.? Did ya run over her or offer her a lift?”

“I not only offered her a lift, but brought her to the old Queen Ann house and dropped her off. Now why don’t you tell me the real story behind all this nonsense. Is this some kind of way to draw in the tourists?”

“You say ya dropped her at the old house?”

“Yes, I did.”

The old man behind the counter rushed to the phone and dialed a number. “Hello, Sarah, let me talk to the sheriff.” He waited a moment and then spoke into the phone again. “Yeah, Pete, it’s me Hank. You better get a car over to the Matheson house. I think Charles might be ailing. Yeah, okay, let me know what happens, will ya? Thanks.” He hung up the phone and walked back to counter.

Tom finished his meal. He’d had enough of this silliness for one night and needed to get back on the road.

“Thanks for the meal, Hank, and for the entertainment.”

He left the truck stop and headed his big rig out of town towards Casey. He couldn’t get Hank’s story out of his mind and he kept seeing Celia’s lovely, pale face full of sadness.  “Darn it,” he whispered. He just had to see for himself what was going on at the old house.

Turning the truck around, he headed back to Organ Springs and drove to the old Queen Ann. There was an ambulance and a police car parked in front. As he watched, they wheeled a gurney out of the house, a body covered with a white sheet on top of it. An ache settled into his mid-section and Tom wondered if it were possible he’d actually had an encounter with the ghost of Celia Matheson. He climbed down from his truck and wandered over to a small group gathered in front of the house.

“What’s happening?” He asked one woman.

“Poor old Mr. Matheson passed away tonight. It’s a shame. He was a nice old man.”

Tom returned to his truck and began to turn it around to head back out of town, many questions running through his mind. As he started to pull away from the old house, a flash of something white caught his eye in the side mirror. Turning quickly, he saw Celia Matheson and a handsome young man in a dark suit walking hand in hand down the road.

As he stared open mouthed, Celia turned and looked at him. She smiled brightly before turning and continuing down the road, snuggled close against the side of the young man. As Tom watched, the two of them disappeared into the mist. Only there was no mist. It had cleared while he was having coffee. Tom shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Either he was going crazy or he’d actually just seen Celia and Charles Matheson’s ghosts.

Tom was quiet and thoughtful for the rest of the trip. After dropping his cargo, he found a phone and called Cora.

“Hello, Sweetheart, I’ll be home tomorrow. And, Cora, I’ve decided to take the twenty-year retirement. This is my last trip. Ah… Honey, don’t cry. Yes, I know. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. I love you too. Bye, Darlin’.”

Tom walked back to his truck with a smile on his face. Ghost or not, Celia Matheson had shown him that spending time with his Cora was more important than a few extra dollars in retirement benefits.

Copyright Elizabeth Melton Parsons

This link was left in the comments by my lovely Aussie mate, Deb Stevens. It’s for another spooky ghost tale: http://www.unexplainedaustralia.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.101

Check out Deb’s blog, She’s awesome. http://deliberatelydebbie.wordpress.com/


21 Comments

Chrome Malware Warning

malware warning Those of you who have Google Chrome probably already know that my blog was blocked by Chrome with a big malware warning page. It took me nearly three days to get this fixed. There was never any malware here on my blog.

When I first saw that my blog was blocked by Chrome, I ran some checkers to see what the problem was and how bad it was. I checked it on Google Webmaster Tools. It came back clear. I then had the entire blog scanned by a few more checkers and it still came back as clear. So if my site was clean, why had it been blocked?

According to the warning message the problem was with a specific site I’d linked to. I won’t put the name here for fear Chrome will zap me again. But I didn’t recognize the site and knew I’d never downloaded anything from there. I thought perhaps it was from one of the ads put on here by WordPress. But nope, that wasn’t the problem.

It was a picture I’d used from the web. Now I almost always add pictures to my blog in two different ways. I upload my own photo which has been scanned by my PC’s antivirus/antimalware software or I save a public domain or free picture from the web to my personal files which is then scanned by the same software. That way I know it’s a clean image. Sometimes I will borrow a picture which requires a link back to where I got it. This is never a problem because I still save it to my files and manually add a link so that I know exactly where that link is going.

A while back, I was in a hurry and to save time I did something I normally will never do. That’s how we get into trouble–trying to do something when we’re rushed. Dummy me, I used their code to add the picture here. The site where I got the photo wasn’t the problem though. It was the link from the photo, which was a different site than where I got the photo. I found the post and a couple of links and deleted them. Unfortunately that didn’t solve the problem. The warning persisted. I even posted for help on WordPress help forums. In the meantime, all the sites I went to looking for help said I’d have to request Google to do another scan of my site to get the warning removed. But Google won’t let you do that unless your site is actually flagged as containing malware or distributing it or whatever. Mine had not been flagged-only blocked because it did not have malware, it only had a link to a flagged site.

To wrap this up, I finally found a site (on the WordPress forums) that offered a free scan to flush out the problem links. I thought this was a waste of time since I’d already deleted the links. But as it turns out, these links were sneaky. There were actually four links in the html. I’d only deleted the ones on the visual editor. The others weren’t visible except by looking at the post with the editor showing the html. Once I’d deleted them and cleared my Chrome history and cookies, the warning went away and my site was unblocked. After losing two nights sleep working on this I was ecstatic to finally solve it. Just wanted to let everyone know that my site is not and was not infected with anything and I am not a scummy malware pusher. And a big thank you to the lady who answered my question on the forums. Although I’d already solved the problem, she was dead on right with her answer. Have a great day and be careful adding your photos and links. Love and hugs, Elizabeth


8 Comments

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

romance-5

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


30 Comments

Blogging and Why I Love Like Buttons

 

Like Me I was visiting lovely writer Jill Weatherholt the other day and she had a post on being ‘blogged down’. Reading her thoughts got me to thinking. (Dangerous, I know) With the writing of this new book of mine, I won’t have the time I’ve had recently to do the blog thing. Thus, I was thinking of making a schedule to control when I post and when I visit other blogs and websites. But I truly don’t want to do that.

 

I’m not fond of schedules, which is why my posts and visiting habits are pretty spontaneous and I like it that way. If I told myself I’d have to post every Wednesday or whatever, it would lose the spontaneity. And in that loss, it would cease to be fun for me. This blog is personal. I post my thoughts, my art, my photos, my poetry and other poets. I vent from time to time and I might even post a promotion for my work, but it’s all about the moment and what I feel like doing. It’s a condensed version of my life. I want to keep it that way. That’s also how I visit others. And when I’m in a time crunch and I want to leave a calling card to let you know I was there, but don’t have time to comment, I hit like and move on to the next blog.

 

A couple of weeks ago I visited a blog recommended to me by an acquaintance. I wasn’t enamored. In fact, it kind of put me off, so I doubt I’ll make a return visit. It was all about dissing other bloggers. And not just for spelling and grammar, but everything. Unfortunately it was an extremely popular blog with hundreds of comments on all the posts. Pretty nasty comments. Sad. Now some of the blogs I follow will disrespect other bloggers in a humorous, you’re a goof, but I love you kind of way. This was not like that. This was vicious. And one of the things hit on was ‘like buttons’. Obviously there are some bloggers who hate like buttons. They won’t have them on their blogs and hate them on other blogs.

 

Me, I LOVE them. I know spammers can use them. I don’t care. Thankfully I’ve only had one spammer on mine. Until recently I never had like buttons on my blog. If you visit my older posts, you’ll see that there aren’t any likes or very few. Some visitors may have stumbled onto something in the archives and liked it. (If so, thank you) I activated them here because I realized it would make it easy for my visitors to say hello. Like all of you, I’m busy, very busy. This means I’m always in somewhat of a time crunch. Like buttons allow me to let you know I visited and enjoyed your thoughts without taking up too much time. They also allow me to see some of my visitors and offer me a time saving way of returning your visit. Plus when I see your icons on my post it makes me happy. 🙂

 

When you follow hundreds of blogs like I do, time saving is important. That’s why I love like buttons and that’s why they’re here to stay. What do you think? For or against them?