Writing Prompt Wednesday: The Curmudgeon List

These were the words to be used in our stories or poems:

tower, rotten, bribe, diamond
—————————————————————– Here’s my story:

man wearing plaid dress shirt and black pants sitting near brown brick wall
Photo by Jeffrey Reed on Pexels.com

~Curmudgeon – (noun) a bad-tempered person, especially an old one.~
This was the “Word of the Day” printed on his homeroom chalkboard.
“What an awesome word!”, Tony thought.
He rolled it around on his tongue. “Cur… mudge … eon.”
By the time the first bell rang, he had a list of real life curmudgeons forming.
-The rotten vice principal who considered all kids as criminals and spontaneously inspected backpacks. How was he to know a cat skull wasn’t a school- approved item?
-That lady who reported his Mom for letting him walk alone to school. Geez! He was almost thirteen!
-The curator at the museum who pulled his ear for shouting in the clocktower exhibit. It was completely worth it, though. He’d found an echo chamber extraordinaire and those places are rare!
And, the old man who lived down the street. His mailbox said, “Strange”. PERFECT.
The man actually had tried to bribe him with Oreos to come inside to see his rock collection. He claimed to have diamonds, too! Creepy stuff!
Tony was walking to class looking at his feet while revisiting that invitation. “Yeah, right.”, he mumbled.

By day’s end, Tony came to realize that Mr. Strange didn’t actually belong on his newly created “curmudgeon list”. He’d added a few new candidates throughout the day. One was his father’s boss who made him cancel their summer trip to the beach because the boss had decided to go to an Indian Sweat Lodge “seeking Truth”.  Dad was stuck with covering the office and Tony was stuck with the community pool.
But, his odd neighbor wasn’t at all bad-tempered even though he must have been pushing one hundred! Strange had even waved to Tony yesterday with a generous smile and shouted, ” You’re welcome any time, young fella. You don’t have to come in.”
Thoughts began to flood his mind.
Perhaps, Tony would ask his mom about that neighbor?
Mr. Strange might actually have an interesting collection?
I wonder if he’s lonely?
One more thing also occurred to Tony. His snap unkind judgement of an otherwise nice old man made Tony a true curmudgeon.
So?
He added himself to the list.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

 

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To Be Remembered…

 

 

BeFunkyfriends

To be remembered…
Leave footprints in the
Fresh sand of youthful wonder,
And seek wisdom found in
Questions you can’t answer .
Make memories on the
Pristine palette of a baby,
And explore forever with an
Eye on being present.
Eternity belongs to those
<Who stand out in a child’s life>
Etched in time and tradition,
You’ll be remembered.

_______
https://jamiededes.com/2018/09/05/riding-the-ebb-tides-of-eternity-a-poem-and-your-wednesday-writing-prompt/

 

 

Once upon a time…

Nugget 2

I happened upon a vendor, at the flea market, this weekend. She was selling old beaten, yet still useful, metal trucks. My heart was happy at the memories stirred by these relics. Days spent riding them over the grass hills of my backyard with my brother. Tumbling and laughing …oblivious of their sharp edges and lead paint…we used them in the unintended ways kids do with toys.
Out of nowhere, I remembered Halloween and the fun we had roaming our neighborhood until 10:00 pm! I reminisced for a moment with the vendor. We shared a happy talk of pillowcases filled with candy and the knowing we were safe because we knew our neighbors.
“Now, Halloween is limited to an hour and a half .” I sighed. “Oh well, the kids won’t miss what they never had, I guess.”  I walked away with a heavy heart.

The next vendor had a metal Popgun for sale. He wanted $20.00 for memory’s sake and I held the toy, not daring to buy, but allowing myself the memories of me, as Annie Oakley once again. Jamming the barrel with dirt that would go off, with a pop and a puff, was not the intended use, of course. Such happy times…

I’d just had a birthday so reminiscing was near, anyway. The rest of the morning held flashbacks to the happiest times riding in the back of pick-up trucks and on top of hay wagons, with the breeze and treetops at my cheek.
Building campfires on an old dirt road and learning to swim without life vests in the ponds and creeks, came back. Using a wood-burning set without incident and at an “inappropriate” age and the “Thing Maker” with molten goop producing plastic bugs. Riding an, at least 1000 lb horse, bareback at the age of 6 and wandering about the cows, who weighed the same, without fear nor injury because I had been taught about caution. Oh yes, and building bows with arrows of sharpened sticks with the Barlow pocketknife grandpa bought for me. Building jumps for my spider bike and riding with no hands…feet upon the handles…producing some scrapes and bruises, but what a ride! Climbing to the tops of trees and silos and getting scared but holding tight and cheering “like a gold medalist” when I, once again, found the ground.
These things are dangerous and won’t happen any more…why? Because no modern child would attempt them. They haven’t any way to test themselves…to learn caution as they grow by “uping” the ante of self-reliance. All they know is “You mustn’t try. You mustn’t risk. Your judgement is flawed.Don’t get hurt.”
Kids are taught to fear, now.  A fine beginning to taming them…self-reliance is dangerous, you know.
Wild colts can turn into sheep.

Kids won’t miss, what they never had…

Monkey Finds His Way

Monkey in Bali, Indonesia
Monkey in Bali, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little monkey got up one morning and decided to only look down from the trees.
It was wonderful!
He noticed that other monkeys lived in his neighborhood, he found a banana that had been overlooked, and he discovered his own shadow. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
The next day, the little monkey decided to only look upward.
It was wonderful!
He saw the clouds and the bluest sky. A flock of birds passed over and his heart felt as though it would burst from the beauty of it all. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
On the very next day, a bit more cautious little monkey, decided to look only behind himself.
It was wonderful!
All the while he walked, he could still see his soft leafy nest. Now, he was sure this was his best decision, yet. It made him feel warm and safe. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him, once again, and smiled gently.

This time, his mother warned him that he must look around to best prevent himself from falling. Little monkey had fun looking around until he noticed ugly, fearful things were in the forest.
This was not so wonderful!
“Mother? I was happier when I looked down and looked back and looked upward. How can you look around and still smile?”
“I have an eye for beauty, a mind that knows discovery and warm memories of safe places, all those things make me smile.”

“I just don’t understand why I must look around when I don’t want to see ugly, fearful things?”

“Because, my dear little monkey, I will not always be near enough to catch you.”

—————————————————
I have no doubt that this story has already been told, in some form or fashion. I am alarmed by what I consider over-protectiveness on the part of  many young parents who want only happy, dreamy feelings filling everything in their children’s environment. Because of that opinion, I wrote this story today, and my words came to me separately from any other sources. 😉

Number Worthy

As we get further from human contact with busy lives and social media, how will we get the valuable “first impressions” of people? Whether we like the idea or not, it is essential to have some kind of filter. Certainly, everyone doesn’t qualify for friendship, to be a trusted tenant or employee. It has become politically incorrect to judge other human beings on appearance, behavior, or even skills( Affirmative Action), but we have always needed to judge each other for many things. We do it and it is valuable.

At least, in the past, a sparkle in someone’s eyes and clean appearance gave them a chance. Nowadays, our society has chosen numerical scores to apply values to people.

It wasn’t very long ago that grading and testing were considered unfair and unclear. We have forgotten that many of our greatest entrepreneurs and inventors, dropped out of school, and off of that grid, yet we continue to weigh numbers so heavily. Why?

When it comes down to it, numbers cannot ever measure human value to each other and society. We all know, as well, how often numbers can be manipulated. Most of us, forget that fact, and wave them around as “proofs”.

The urban legends of “Numbers don’t lie” and “Everything in print is true.” are alive and well, my friends. Try making a “tongue in cheek” remark on Facebook if you doubt me.

My most recent pet peeve is the BMI (body mass index) applied to people in an effort, for some, to calculate health risks. The greater hidden agenda is about health care costs, period. In a doctor’s office these stats may be useful. In the public domain, they will discriminate and foster feelings of inadequacies rather than help. Our schools are about to apply a value (their explanation is , to teach.) on our kids. It’s surprising that in our modern information age, anyone who cares, could possibly remain uninformed about diet and exercise but the schools believe we are not informed. I think they consider us dumb. Furthermore, I believe the healthcare industry is scrambling to get health care stats out in the open. One way would be to allow schools to start collecting data. Hmmmm…tricky?

With my argument voiced, I could not help but find some humor in the revolution of numerical stats as a measure of human worth. I have a few ads we may see soon:

“You could be my sweetie-pie if not for your BMI.”
“I think that I would love you more, if you improved your credit score.”
“You may think outside the box but I hate your choice in stocks.”
“Popularity begins and ends, with your number of Facebook friends.”

Numbers are no way to measure the worth of anyone, yet, we are beginning to use them that way. Let’s not allow them to carry too much “weight”.

042

Example Rules

Al Sharpton
Al Sharpton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was remembering one of my first triumphs at school. It was an aptitude test on English grammar. In second grade, we were asked to choose the correct form of a word to plug into a sentence. Since we had no formal grammatical training before the test, I was very pleased to “ace” it.
Why did I have those skills at age eight? Simply because proper grammar was spoken in my home.
The English language has rules… not the kind meant to restrict our behavior, but those which apply in order to keep us on “the same page” and in the “same game”.
When I consider the modern distaste for rules, in general, and the emphasis on diversity, I realize many young parents are throwing an obstacle into their children’s education (and success) when they refuse to use proper grammar.
I understand that bilingual households are at a disadvantage automatically. All the more reason, in my opinion, for parents to school themselves in proper English.
Language has little to do with culture, so the clinging to slang and the blocking of the kids’ understanding of the rules of English grammar in the home, make no sense.
Al Sharpton is an intelligent man…Yet, he talks in a “street” dialect that, I assume, is an attempt to be “common” and endearing to the African American community. He “ain’t” helping anyone by confusing folks about English enunciation and grammar. Especially those people who have never lived in an environment where the rules of English were followed. Leading by example would be more helpful and honorable, in my opinion. Breaking other rules may gain a person attention and bravado but the rules of English language, once ignored, are terribly difficult to reclaim.
So, when parents consider helping their children’s efforts for a good education, the most important edge they can offer is the example of good grammar spoken at home.

It’s up to you.

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I was watching my 10 month old granddaughter, a few days ago, as she bounced in one of those baby slings that attach to a doorway. When it came time for lunch, she was already seated in the sling, so I got down on my knees and fed her right where she was seated. I had attempted to feed her from the bouncy sling, a few months before, but it had proven too difficult to get the spoon to her mouth while she bounced. It was very comical though.

This time was very different. She bounced with the delightful anticipation of her meal then stopped to greet the spoon. She bounced between each offering then stopped as I brought the spoon to her mouth.

You might think this is a charming little anecdote but might be wondering what it has to do with the picture and message above?
Little Evelyn had learned a valuable lesson. Even at 10 months old, she was aware that she had the power to get what she wanted. She had taken the initiative to stop bouncing in order to get something tasty.

THAT, in my opinion, is the most important thing she’ll ever learn.