Ten O’clock Scholar – green

This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘green.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

It seemed like she merely blinked, and the Candyland game was over, dinner was cooked and served, bath time had progressed without any major incidents, and it was the next morning and Peggy was loading the boys in the car to take to Mary’s for the day.

“I don’t want to go to Mary’s. I want to stay home and play with you,” Clifford whined.

“You’d think for being such an early riser, you wouldn’t be such a cranky pants,” Peggy countered.

He fastened the seatbelt around his child safety seat with a ferocious click and glared at his mother.

Peggy lowered Jonathan into his larger child’s car seat, still wearing his footed pajamas. Even though she’d had to wake him up to take to her friend’s house so she could go to school that day, you’d never know from his attitude. He snuggled his favorite blankie around one side of his neck, tucked his favorite stuffed puppy under the other, and closed his eyes to return to slumber.

Peggy mused how different her boys were. She wondered if they’d carry these differences into adulthood. With that, she quickly dropped her school tote in the floorboard on the passenger side and dashed around the car to claim her seat.

 As she turned the ignition and backed out of the driveway, she crossed her fingers and hoped that she’d hit all the lights green. She was running late. Again. And with this teacher not tolerating any tardiness in her students, Peggy knew she’d better drive as quickly as possible.

Ten minutes later she handed her friend a sleeping toddler. She nudged a still-pouting Clifford on the shoulder. “Go on in. I’ve got to dash Mary, if I’m going to get there before the teacher locks the door. I’ll stop and chat more when I pick the boys up.”

Twenty minutes later, Peggy grumbled aloud as she pulled into Chaffey Jr. College’s parking lot. “Of course, you nit-wit. Pushing your luck on the time, and it’s packed.”

She made several turns around the congested lot, checking her watch constantly. She finally found an open spot on the row furthest out. Grabbing her bag, she locked the car and ran. Huffing and puffing, she rounded the corner and sighed with relief to see the classroom still propped open. She slowed to a fast scurry the last fifty feet and made it inside to see Mrs. Stone headed to the door.

Peggy felt a rush of gratitude to see an empty seat in the rear, next to Wanda. She slid into the chair and almost collapsed with relief.

Wanda gave her a wink and whispered. “Fifteen feet to spare. You cut it close this morning!”

“Right? It must be my lucky day-“

“Silence, please,” Mrs. Stone called from the front, cocking one eyebrow, and looking deliberately in Peggy’s direction.

Peggy slumped in the chair, feeling contrite. This must be how Clifford feels when he gets in trouble.

Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – red

This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘red.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

What was a mother to do? Peggy felt like it was all a juggling act. Housework – homework – play time with the children. A little time here – a little attention there – keeping all the plates spinning in the air with enough attention to keep everything afloat. Her marriage seemed to be one of those plates that didn’t get as much notice as the others.

That must be why that plate is wobbling in the air and is about to crash to the ground.

When that thought crossed her mind, Peggy mused for a moment that she should do something about it. Then a tug on her hand brought her back to her current situation and the impulse to work on her marriage vanished.

Clifford stood beside her, holding a Candyland game. “Can we play this, Mommy? Pleasssssse?”

Peggy looked down at the golden-haired boy by her side, sunlight gleaming off of his tresses forming a halo around him. Sometimes he could be an adorable angel. But other days…he was the usual mix of an onery boy alternating with a cherub. Shrugging and smiling, Peggy succumbed to the pleading grin and held her hand out for the game.

Grinning, she cleared her books from the table and started setting up the board. Clifford settled into a chair, sitting on his knees for a better vantage point to the board game. Jonathan followed his big brother, making his way up on the chair next to him.

Pulling the game pieces from the box, Peggy turned to Clifford and asked him first. “What color are you going to be today?”

“Red. I want the red one.”

She turned to Jonathan. “And you, little man, what color do you want?”

“Blue!” He clapped his chubby hands in delight.

With that, Peggy chose a yellow piece for herself, and they started to play. As they took their turns, moving around the Candyland world, Peggy’s mind kept drifting off. As much as she enjoyed playing with her boys, the game geared for the youngsters wasn’t enough to keep her fully engrossed. She found herself thinking of floor plans, and traffic patterns, and how she’d develop a design idea for the first project that was due in two weeks.

Then she looked around the house they lived in. A small kitchen area with barely room for one person at a time, with only a space for one small round table for the four them, opening right up into the one and only living room – no extra family room here – and a hallway with one bathroom and three bedrooms all within a stones throw of each other. She sighed, thinking how marvelous it would be to live in something as grand as she’d be able to design on paper.

She looked at the striped wallpaper covering the main living room wall – a design the previous owners had in place when they purchased the house. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t a design that she’d have picked if she was the one choosing.

Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – persuasive

This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘persuasive.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

“What’s up, buttercup?” Peggy asked Clifford.

His face squinched up in disgust. “I am not a buttercup. Who wants to be a cup filled with butter?”

Peggy stifled a giggle. “It’s just an expression, honey. A buttercup is a flower, a pretty little flower.”

He scowled and started to stick a tongue out.

Peggy gave him the mother’s-evil-eye-glare and he stopped, a pink fleshy tongue sticking halfway out.

“I’m not a flower either!” His cheeks puffed out in annoyance, and he squeezed his eyes so tight he created a roadmap of old lady wrinkles around both eyes.

His face continued to tighten, and his mouth opened. As a wail began to sound, Peggy pulled out the most persuasive argument she could think of to stop him before he entered the desperate zone.

“Clifford! In two days, want to go to Mickey D’s and play with Denise and Linda?”

He stopped mid-bellow. “Today?”

“No, not today. In two days.”

“I want to go play with them. Even though they’re girls. Let’s go tomorrow,” he countered with his five-year old logic.

“Not tomorrow. Mommy has school tomorrow.”

He flopped down on the floor. “I don’t want you to go to school. I don’t want to go to Mary’s house. I want to go to Mickey D’s.” He began to wind up for another try at getting his way.

Peggy flipped her book shut and stood up, holding a finger in front of her lips. “Shhh! Let’s go get a cookie. But you can’t tell Jonathan. It will be our secret.” She moved towards the pantry without a backward glance.

She heard him quiet, and as she opened the pantry door, saw the flash of his blue shirt appear to her side. Keeping her face turned from him, she hid her smile.

Mommy One. Child None. This time…

Before Clifford consumed the last morsel, Jonathan toddled in, rubbing his sleepy eyes. “Me cookie too.”

Peggy sighed and pulled out two napkins from the holder on the counter. “Come on. Up at the table you two.” When they were seated with a napkin in front of them, she dispensed two cookies a piece. As they ate their snack, she picked her book up and put in her school tote bag.

That was it for her homework time, until after they were tucked in bed for the night. Fortunately, she’d made good headway. If the boys were in bed by eight, she’d have plenty of time to complete the rest of her work.

“Let’s play, Mommy,” Clifford asked.

Looking up at the clock, Peggy saw there was about an hour before she needed to start dinner. Then she looked out at the living room area and saw the piles of clothes scattered about, not to mention a bevy of dirty cups and plates from last night, and Derek’s overflowing ashtrays. She really should work on some housekeeping tasks. Then she looked down at the big blue eyes beseeching her for mother-sons play time.

The eyes won.

Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Trisha’s Website

The POW’s Legacy

Florence Kain did not want those German POWs on their land. Germans had shot down her sister Mary’s husband, a British fighter pilot and she wasn’t feeling kindly towards them. Even if the POWs stationed near their home at Camp Algona were most likely not the ones personally responsible for her brother-in-law’s death. Florence’s husband, Dick, continued his campaign. He needed help getting the corn in. At eighty cents per man for a day’s work, having a crew helping him would be a huge blessing.

She final gave in. “Okay, but I’m not feeding them.”

“You have to feed them. If they’re here working, we have to give them a mid-day meal.”

“All right – but I’m not using my good dishes!”

Seventy-five years later, when I heard this story from Florence’s niece, you know I had to use it in The POW’s Legacy. Florence Kain isn’t around anymore to share her story with others. But her memory lives on with these true-life memories of life in northern Iowa during World War 2. Many true-life experiences are shared in this book, although re-told in a fictional manner.

The POW’s Legacy is a Christmas story. Yet it’s not just that. It’s about a special nativity scene created by German POWs held at Camp Algona, in Iowa. They created a nativity scene their first Christmas in Iowa in 1944, out of soil from the Iowa fields – formed and baked in ovens to harden and painted.

The following year, they wanted to build another better scene – larger and with more figures. They built sixty-five half-size figures. Besides the Holy family, they made shepherds and sheep and wisemen, and angels. When the was over, they left the creche to the town of Algona, where it has been displayed every year since, excepting last year due to Covid.

The book is more than a Christmas tale. It’s the story of friendships formed between people from two waring countries, some that lasted until their deaths many years later. Although told in a fictional manner, many of the people in the book and the experiences that happened are based on true life people and true-life situations.

This is my book baby born just this year – but the events that lined up for this to happen had its gestation over 75 years ago.

Ten O’clock Scholar – fabric

This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘fabric.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

The text from Peggy’s friend, Sami, was short and sweet as most of hers were. ‘Lunch tomorrow?’

Peggy tapped back. ‘No can do. School tomorrow. Friday?’

An image of a thumbs-up symbol flashed back on the screen in front of her.

And with that little exchange, Peggy knew all the details. It would be at eleven, before the lunch crowd started hitting. And it would be at the kids’ favorite place – the home of Ronald McDonald. A boon to the two mothers because the new, extensive playground kept all the children entertained for hours on end, while they chatted and caught up with life. Even better, the low prices made it an affordable mother’s outing.

Back to the book.

Peggy turned her attention back to the architecture of the ancient Mesopotamians, but the enthusiasm she’d felt earlier had dissipated.

But I only stopped reading for a moment. Stopping to read one text shouldn’t get me out of the zone.

But it had.

Reading the words slowly and intently didn’t help. Peggy turned the pages and kept plodding along, but it felt like the magic had gone out of the moment. Tipping her head back, she checked the clock on the kitchen wall. She cocked an ear towards the back of the house. The silence that answered let her know the boys still slept.

I need to get through this while they’re still sawing logs. Maybe I’ll switch to my Intro to Interior Design book.

Tucking a paper napkin in between the pages where she’d stopped in the architecture book, Peggy closed the cover with a thunk and pushed the book to the far side of the table. She dug in her tote bag and pulled out the volume for the introductory class. Retrieving a paper from inside the front cover, she scanned through the syllabus to see what she needed to read for this class.

Awesome! The first chapter is textiles. Now, fabrics I know something about. This should be easier reading.

Peggy raced through that chapter. Cottons, brocades, tapestries, chiffon, chintz, damask, moire, linen. A state of happiness infused her as she read further.

All those years of Home Ec in high school came in handy after all!

Her pencil flew down the page on the self-quiz for this reading without any hesitation. Answer after answer was checked immediately. Feeling confident, she tucked the pages into the book and dropped it back in the tote bag. Glancing at the previously abandoned book she decided to attack it once again, knowing that she had the fortitude to power through and do what she needed to do for her class.

She was on the last page before she heard a stifled yawn and looked up to see Clifford standing beside her, rubbing his eyes.

Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Trisha’s Website

December 2021

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