A True Story and Real Life Dilemma

oppossum

The following is a true story. By the time this is posted, I will have added a photo. For now, the story is more important:

Early in our camping experience last summer, my granddaughter and I heard my Jack Russell Terrier barking and came upon a baby opossum peeking out from behind our generator bin. It was frightened and clearly a bit young to be wandering around on its own.
I called the dog off and she scampered out of sight. (I say “she” because Nature makes females a bit more sturdy and independent early on. I will never know her true gender but my guess is an educated one.)
She appeared once more that day around our log splitter. This uncharacteristic sighting made me snap a photo and assume “something” had happened to her mother. When I told my husband, he said he had seen a dead baby opossum in the nearby bushes, the day before. Seems my “guess” had more legitimacy after that.
It was Sunday, and we were hours from leaving for home. I had learned from other lessons of interfering with Nature, that my human instinct to “get involved” was not always wise for either the wild animal or for my heart. I felt I just HAD to give her a chance. She had survived, so far, and although I could not take responsibility for her, I didn’t have to all-together turn my back.
Just before I left, I took a large handful of dry dog food and piled it, undercover, near the generator bin. With a heavy heart, I went home.
The next week, the dog food and opossum were gone.
I thought of her often throughout the summer. I also accepted the “not knowing” of what happened to her a mixed blessing.
Around the middle of October, my dog came strutting back to my campsite with a prize catch. My heart sank! He had caught and killed a juvenile opossum. It was from under the place where I had, months before, left the dog food. Even this moment, my heart is racing and my stomach is turning at the telling of an “almost” triumphant tale.
I have little doubt that the opossum was the orphan I had met in June. She HAD survived but had not learned enough to continue to survive.
This winter’s harshness has made me consider her violent end a possible blessing against the option of freezing or starving. Without a mother, her instincts may not have well prepared her.
The moral of this story, that I hold on to, is that I HAD cared. That I HAD tried to help. I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have done more and that I really need to let go of the heart-sickening guilt I keep revisiting.
There would be those who would say, “You didn’t care or do enough.”
I would beg to differ.
The sick feeling in my stomach while writing this is still there.
I also had asked myself a number of questions. Here’s a few:
Can I find her in time?
Is her mother temporarily trapped in a dumpster and might she return?
How could I safely capture and transport her in the same car as my dog?
Would I really be offering her a better life by interfering?
Would my husband’s opinions on my decision matter?
Is there a law against bringing wild animals into a day care setting?
Would the Animal Hospital accept her?
How terrified would she be in all this?
Yes…I DID care deeply but I knew that caring didn’t give me the “right” to affect absolute changes nor did it protect me from possibly doing more harm than good.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience. I hope in telling this story, “little opossum’s”, AND my dilemma, speaks to you.
Don’t forget…I also may be wrong in my conclusion that every sighting of an opossum was the SAME opossum. And that my friends, is where hope lives.

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Random Word Story # 32~ Moving Along to Nowhere

5211895183_cc7770c5dd_bcombatant…hard…fantastic…square…habitual…defector

Here is my story:

There was something dark about the store clerk at the new Dollar General. She stood with rounded shoulders, and a defeated look in her eyes, as I approached the counter to check out. I would have guessed that she was much older, if we weren’t face to face. She was not much beyond the age of twenty, as I would learn, yet had the demeanor of a lone surviving combatant from a long lost battle.

Her southern drawl set her apart even further.

“You aren’t from around here, young lady.” I said.

“No ma’am. I’m from Alabama. Been he’ ah for two weeks, or so. I’m hopin’ to bring my kids he’ah soon.”

“My… you have children? You’re just a young thing.”

“I was twenty last month and I’ve got three baby boys back home with my momma. Their daddies were scumbags and I cum up here and met the love of my life for sure!”

Her grin was bright and happy but the sadness in her eyes did not fade. She nervously chewed on the side of her tongue as we spoke. It occurred to me that she may have been a beautiful child, once upon a time. Her face was heart-shaped and she had large blue eyes but her hair, seemed as though it was as stressed as her posture, with frizzy ends on a carelessly gathered ponytail.

I saw her as a defector. She’d left her children, after all, while pursuing what I could only imagine was an habitual trail of scumbags. Without having to ask, she went on…

“Met James on the internet. He’s going to bring my boys up soon and we’re buyin’ a house too.” She grinned as her eyes looked through me to an imagined “happy place”.

“That is fantastic! A new beginning, in a new place. I’m happy for you.”

Then I noticed  scars in both of her thin eyebrows and one that ran along her chin too. As she packed my items, her hands trembled.

My, too quickly made judgement, softened as I asked myself, “Why  do so many young ladies have to live such hard lives?”. I felt the urge to hug her and to tell her that things would get better…that she would find her happy ending, but I didn’t believe the latter. Not everyone gets a square deal. Her children would probably have similar fates without the foundation of roots and family and I felt helpless, very helpless to remedy her troubles. In fact I, shamefully, wanted to get away from her as quickly as I could, as if hard luck and ignorance were somehow catchy.

She continued, “James will be picking me up soon and we’re gonna call my kids to tell them about our house. We ain’t been approved yet but we’re hopin’ to hear this week. That ‘ill be ten dollars and seventy cents ma’am.”

“Thank-you. Best wishes to you and James.”

That night, I said several prayers for her family. I held on to a glimmer of hope for her sons, realizing that they might have a slightly better chance to find stability, simply by not being  “beautiful” daughters.

It has, now, been six months … and I have not seen her at the Dollar General again…

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My other Random Word Stories were complete fiction. Sadly, this one, came from a true encounter that I had last Fall.

My Hero

Daily Prompt: Heroic

When you were five years old, who was your hero? What do you think of that person today?
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photo-3

When I was five years old, Zorro (portrayed by Guy Williams) was my hero. He was a “righter”of injustices and defender of the weak.

I chose to write on this topic because I felt, Zorro, might be a controversial choice of a modern 5-year-old.

Primarily, the complaints would come from those who dislike the idea of violent images offered to our kids. Parents cringe about “armed” heroes, yet, I believe they are missing the message and ought to consider the moral fiber of fictional (and real life heroes ) with, as much, immediate concern. My former blog post “The Blind Eye”, was about apathy and fear in the face of trouble. This topic seems a fitting continuation of my point.

My heart still quickens at the thought of “Zorro to the rescue” and I really have no memory of him ever hurting anyone. He may have…but, my 5-year-old self certainly did not internalize the violence at all. What I remember most is that people “with power” can be good or evil and the good one’s are heroic only when they take action and risks. Zorro was also labeled a “public enemy” by those “evil” powerful folks who feared his interference in their corrupt and greedy agendas.

I believe that the pen is truly “mightier than the sword” and Zorro, if transported to 2014, would probably be a political blogger. A mighty dashing one, at that! lol

More than any time, ever before, there are medias that allow us to “take a stand” and to expose corruption. Fear of labels, cannot hold the bravest of us back, either. Touche’!

https://sillyfrogsusan.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/the-blind-eye/

The Question Mark Tree

question tree 1

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Carmella May Sweet,

Climbed to her seat,

Up in the Question Mark tree.

She was given a task,

Her teacher had asked,

Just what she wanted to be?

As she wondered, “Why?”

Her brother played spy,

Watching her, way down below.

Grandma came home,

Daddy dug loam,

Her thinking was sorrily slow.

A small forest newt,

In a bright red suit,

Crawled happily in the shade.

Carmella knew,

The day would be through,

Before her decision was made.

The farmer next door,

 Swept his barn floor.

As daylight turned to dark.

Suppertime near,

No answer yet clear,

Her dog was beginning to bark.

All day had passed.

She walked home at last.

Troubled ’bout who she would be.

Homework undone,

She started to run,

An answer came through suddenly.

No need to decide,

But simply take pride.

In all that she is everyday.

So much of what’s you,

Is more than you do.

So this is all she could say:

I’m a sister, granddaughter, daughter and friend.

A neighbor, love Nature, these things have no end.

I think I’ll simply wait and see.

For now, I like just being me.

Random Word Story #30~ Git a Grip

Chuck At Work

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by randomwordgenerator.net

homophobes…Hawaiian…siftings…menaces…hexagram

I found Charlie Rainwater sitting cross-legged in an adobe hut. A single gray braid hung like a pet snake over his shoulder which nearly reached the dirt floor. He was ancient and when his milky eyes lifted at the sound of me, I could tell he was blind.

The only visible modern convenience was a portable AM radio which had a dancing red light but no sound. He’d summoned me through the mail. Apparently, he was a big fan of my morning radio talk show and had instructed one of his 22 great-grandchildren to drop me a note. Charlie could not read or write but he was up to date on the issues.

When he lifted his hand in greeting, I expected a deep voice filled with “ughs” and TV injun-style moans. To my surprise, he chuckled and a boisterous high-pitched “Howdy David, Thanks for cummin’!”, slapped me in the face.

Our interview started immediately.

“Didn’t think I had, Ellen’s chance at guest speaker for a convention of homophobes, to get you here Davy. Welcome.”

“It’s fine to be here sir. I’m glad to have the opportunity for this interview. Never expected this.”

“Well, betcha never thought a Hawaiian would be president neither. Goes to show ya, anything can happen nowadays!” Charlie lifted his chin and laughed. “Now drop that sir crap en call me Chuck won’t cha?”

“Alright, Chuck. You seem well informed. You mentioned, in the note, that you have a message for me. I’m anxious to hear about it.”

“Straight to the point, Davy. There aren’t enough points gotten to in the politics. Heck, a hexagram has six but politicians are smooth, too smooth, my boy. They are just plain menaces when it comes to makin’ THE point.” Charlie looked up toward the ceiling and sighed. “I like your show and I wanted to tell you that you ask the right questions, you’re honest and care about things. BUT, There’s much for you to learn about what my grandfather called, Shiftings and Siftings.”

“Yes Chuck, I have one heck of a time getting to the facts, for sure. I appreciate your interest.”

“Ever tried to nail an eel to a tree Davy? Slimy devils. The trick is finding the right grip. If you’re wearin’ a glove it won’t work t’all. All those other interview shows wear gloves. Slimy gloves make it too easy for the eel to shift and git away. What we need are more bare handed interviewers like you. Grip them eels ’til you can sift out that truth, boy!”

“Fine wisdom sir. I’m honored and I won’t forget that.”

“Oh yeah, one more thing Davy, don’t never try to nail an eel to a tree. It ain’t kind and serves no purpose. I step on ’em myself.” With that Chuck’s chin dropped to his chest. Moments later he was asleep.

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“Good morning Nevada! This is David Sands on Talk 105. A special thanks to my new friend Chuck Rainwater. My guest today is our mayor who intends to ban pee-wee football, sugary soft drinks and fun in general… welcome to the first segment of “Git a Grip and Watch Your Step”…

Random Word Story #29~Humble Pie in your Eye

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by randomwordgenerator.net

wordplay…scrubland…kinswoman…pill…irratatingly

Here’s my story:

It’s a common occurrence  in families. Doctors come from a long line of doctors…teachers seem to be generated within blood lines too. So when Jillian decided to become a water witch she suspected that she was the “fly in the ointment” of her scientific family.

Jillian spent her Thanksgiving reunion in a silent fuddle. Her Dad, the physicist, tipped his head toward her with a raised eyebrow and asked, “So how are those studies going?” He emphasized studies in a way that she was familiar. He could irritatingly infer that she was a kook even when his interest seemed genuine. No one else had been informed of her career choice so the introduction of the subject stung a bit.

She’d spent 6 months in a desert scrubland with no positive results and was beginning to question her skills and whether or not she just might fit the kook label after all. Failure was a hard pill to swallow in her family, especially hard for a deviant from science like herself. She had a dozen successes under her belt. That certainly wasn’t a shabby record. Jillian had stepped in when “scientists” had failed more than once.

Dowsers use divining rods attempting to find water. The practice was ancient and had saved many a farm from dust and despair. Not knowing every reason for a practice certainly cannot preclude it from being scientific. Jillian stiffened her posture.

Dad continued to poke fun, “Jillian, dear, it would be divine if you’d pass the gravy.”

With that, Jillian decided to “come out of her mystic closet”. Dad’s wordplay was getting to her, big time. Suddenly her shame was from hiding her beloved profession.

“So, has everyone heard about my studies? I’m a water witch. A darn good one too!”

Heads lifted. Aunt Barbara condescendingly snickered into her napkin while cousin Frank, the legally blind entomologist, squinted at her through “coke-bottle” glasses. Jillian had always wondered why he didn’t study BIG creatures. What a joke!

Great-grandmother was the only accepting face at the table. She was also the only one who spoke.

“It appears you have a tough crowd to please, Jilly. I’ll bet they don’t know about a fine kinswoman who made her life as a dowser. My great-grandmother worked for Abraham Lincoln himself don’t ya know. She’d be so very proud.”

Every face fell.

Jillian felt redeemed and raised an eyebrow directly at her father.

“Hey Dad, want some humble pie with that gravy?”

Award Time Fun

reality-blog-award-logoA wonderful honor to have been chosen for the Reality Blog Award. Many thanks to my new friend MisBehaved Woman… http://misbehavedwoman.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/raining-awards-in-the-desert/

Please stop by to sample her blog. It’s excellent!

The award requires me to answer the following questions:

1. If you could change something what would you change?

I’d like to hear the truth from politicians for a change, but to keep my request realistic, how about  starting with term limits in the US Congress?

2. If you could repeat an age, what age would it be?

Every age is a wonder unto itself.

3. What one thing really scares you?

That my grandchildren may not have the freedoms that I have enjoyed when they are my age.

4. What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?

I’d love to write a book based upon my blog posts…I believe I will accomplish it too!

5. If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

My own granddaughter. I’d be very interested to see the world through the eyes of a child in today’s world.

I nominate the following blogs for this award:

Strawberryindigo   strawberryindigo.wordpress.com x
Strawberry.indigo@yahoo.com

Subhan Zein  subhanzein.wordpress.com x
subhanzein@gmail.com

Mona  monahoward.wordpress.com x
ramblingparadox@gmail.com

Please stop by and tell them Sillyfrog sent you! 😉

Random Word Story # 28~ Testy Terms

Random words generated by: randomwordgenerator.net

adequately…light-headed…laminates…refresher…testiest

Here’s my story:

Gomme_da_masticare

There was nothing Mia could do once the agreement was signed. She needed a roommate and Holt was the only one who had answered her ad. So she overlooked his testy attitude which was a big mistake.

Holt had answered her invitation with questions galore. Some like, “Would he have bathroom access between 6:00 and 7:00 am?” were understandable. Asking her not to ever chew bubblegum, in his company, was bizarre. But, his references checked out and were stunning, to say the least. Even his credit score, which he should have embossed on a medallion and worn on a chain, was as close to perfect as she’d ever seen. Mia worked, afternoons and evenings, at a savings and loan and she was impressed. His testiness could be overlooked in favor of paying the rent on time. Mia was hopeful for the weight of debt to be lifted.

As Holt set up his basement abode, his tidy nature served as a refresher course in organized behavior. Everything had its place and she found his labels, which of course he laminates, quite efficient. Holt was going to be a life saver.

He hadn’t even cared that the basement was dark. He assured her that he could adequately light it with fragrant candles and a bare 25 watt bulb.

Months went by and Mia never saw Holt, never heard him either, but she was very happy to discover his rent money placed in her mailbox with a laminated note, FOR RENT, on the first of each month.

When she received her Amazon purchase wrapped in many layers of bubble wrap, Holt was the furthest thing from her mind. With a child-like grin she playfully stomped the heck out it beneath her shoe.

“Pop, padda, pop,pop!”

Seconds later, Holt burst through her door carrying an assault rifle. His eyes were wild and his attitude was, well, the testiest! Mia dove for the floor as he sprayed her apartment with bullets until all that remained was the clicking of an empty magazine.

Within minutes, police surrounded her building and extracted a blubbering heap once known as Holt. Mia would be nauseated and light-headed for days.

It was three months before she recovered. The accumulation of new debt was enough for her to try out a new roommate. This time, she presented the prospect with her own questionnaire. The woman read and answered every question, then giggled, “What does bubblegum have to do with anything?”

Random Word Story #26~Not for Profit

Infrared remote control receiver for Arduino

profit…ticket…old man…vet…sofa…war

There was a battle going on and Ben, this time, was only a spectator. He felt powerless…

As he wrapped himself in the afghan and settled into the sofa, he automatically probed the spaces for his TV remote. He considered what to watch realizing, only then, that he was unaware of the day and date. How long? His mind scrambled for a recent event that he could use as a landmark. Nothing… He was a military vet, now at  war, with himself.

A chopper roared overhead and as the dust cleared, he was back on base. The US flag gave a crack, as the wind wrestled with it, straight above his head. #1 mess hall was emptying. There were fly boys everywhere. He was momentarily startled but smiled broadly when his “brothers” approached him. They were cackling with laughter and he couldn’t wait to hear the joke.

Ben raised his hand to wave and brought the remote from between the cushions. He wasn’t quite sure where he was until he noticed that Comedy Central was on. The TV was blaring laughter … now applause. Clap, clap, clapping…

Snap, snap, snapping went the artillery. It was dark. He was so afraid.

Covering his face with his hands, he felt wiry stubble and tried, oh so hard, to remember his last shave. An image of himself in the bathroom mirror pressed through the fog. He was wearing his Air Force uniform. Blood trickled from a shaving cut at the corner of his lip. He was no longer a ragged old man. His posture was stiff and his eyes were steady. As he wiped the blood with the back of his right hand, he noticed the TV remote was still in his grasp. Behind him was the sun coming through the living room window. He was wrapped in the afghan and standing beside the sofa. He licked his lips. They tasted like iron.

Benjamin decided to make himself some tea to calm his nerves… the warmth and flavor always helped to anchor himself in the “here and now”. Whatever and where ever that was.

As he returned to his well-worn place, he felt steadier. It was Monday…yes, he was sure of it. He had reached to the bottom of the tea container for the famous quotation ticket and noticed he still held it in one hand. Ben shook, a bit, as he read it. Then he tore it into tiny pieces and tossed it into the air.

“Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane.” Henry Miller

Spontaneous Writing: My Dilemma

English: This is a Venn diagram showing the re...

English: This is a Venn diagram showing the relationships between pronunciation, spelling, and meaning of words, for example, homographs, homonyms, homophones, heteronyms, and heterographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever find that the monologue in your head is so much more brilliant than you? The words flow with an amazingly beautiful voice but faster than the hand can reproduce. There’s an exercise called spontaneous writing that, I believe, tries to capture what’s in your head.

Certainly, spelling has no use there…at least not for me, I cannot presume to know if you “see” words in your head when my head is filled only with my voice. BTW- I do see numbers and charts in my head in a three-dimensional and, what I have come to understand, bizarre fashion. But, I’m on a word search today.

My dilemma, most of my writing is prompted by my personal dilemmas, is the act of spontaneous writing. The NANO month of November is one example. There’s also a blog , Magic in the Backyard by author Kellie Elmore, which asks for raw prose. The prime directive of these writing prompts is to write without any focus on grammar, spelling or corrections.

I want to do this! It sounds like a fun, and such a freeing, act but I somehow cannot make the final leap. My inner editor won’t shut down and I won’t do it and cheat. In order to take part, I have to be willing to produce material that is “unclean” and share it.

Does this come from an arrogance? I ask myself. Am I afraid to be seen as imperfect? My answer is, not exactly. Some of it IS from not wanting to be terribly imperfect. If you’ve seen my spelling errors even when I use spell check, then you may already suspect it. BUT, I believe my hesitance is more about being misunderstood.

Words are such an anemic medium. It takes careful placement and timing to reproduce the author’s meaning. In my case, I want meaning to be as clear as words allow and I cannot envision my writing being shared when I have not reread and edited it for meaning ,and yes, I believe incorrect spelling does dilute meaning. At the very least, it interrupts the flow and pleasure of the reader. And who of you doesn’t realize how very important the placement of commas can be?

So there you have it. I want desperately to play and I will not cheat which makes it so very hard for me to try.

Do you suffer the same struggle when asked to write spontaneously?

PS…this post was spell checked repeatedly and was corrected every time. 🙂