Ten O’clock Scholar – leaf

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 ‘leaf.’

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

*********

The next class period, Peggy made doubly sure that she was standing at the door long before class time. After her faux pas at the museum the week before, there was no way she was going to face her teacher’s ire by being late again.

Arriving twenty minutes early, she was the first one there. She tried the handle, just to be sure. Still locked.

Leaning up against the brick wall, Peggy thought of pulling out her phone and either checking email or browsing YouTube until other students arrived. She opted to keep her phone tucked in her back pocket and stood enjoying the relative silence surrounding her.

It didn’t last long. Soon others began wandering down the sidewalks, heading to other classes. The bustle gradually increased and soon several small groups clustered around the Interior Design classroom door. The younger ones tended to gather in their own little cliques and Peggy felt like the older outsider.

Fortunately, Wanda arrived before the feeling overwhelmed Peggy, and she now had a cohort. One even older than her. As they chatted and compared notes about the mandatory museum tour the week before, Peggy glanced up and caught sight of a dried leaf caught in Wanda’s hair, behind her left ear. She hesitated about saying something, but also didn’t want Wanda getting embarrassed about it later.

Knowing that she’d appreciate someone pointing out the same for her, Peggy final spoke up. “You have a hitchhiker.” She plucked the offending interloper from her friend’s tresses.

Wanda giggled as she watched the dried oak leaf flutter to the concrete. “Oops! Guess I shouldn’t do yard work before coming to school.”

“You had time to work in the yard first?”

“Of course. When your eyeballs open at three in the morning.”

“Three? Yikes. When Clifford was a baby, he used to get up at four every morning. Thank goodness that passed. Now I get them up about six. I get up at five to shower & start Derek’s coffee. I don’t think I could function waking up at three.”

“Just wait until you’re my age. You’ll find out. The body becomes a traitor.”

Before they got further into the old-age conversation, Carol whooshed up beside them, panting and out of breath. “Thank goodness I made it. I was running late and ran all the way from the parking lot.”

“Car problems?” Wanda asked.

“Kid problems. Brian decided to have a melt-down temper tantrum. Rolling around on the ground, screaming, thrashing about. I almost couldn’t get him in the car.” Carol rolled her eyes and heaved a sigh.

A slight grin lifted the corners of Wanda’s mouth. “Guess I’ll live with my old age wake up calls. Much easier than dealing with the young ones like you two are.”

Carol shifted her shoulder bag higher. “Hey, are you two going to the Interior Design Club meeting next week?”

“I’m not,” Wanda answered. “I just want to learn about the techniques. I don’t want to get involved with anything extra. I’ve got enough social commitments on my plate.”

********

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – nail

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 ‘nail.’

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

Peggy wasn’t in the car near as long on her eastbound trip home. Before she knew it, she was veering northbound on the 57 freeway, off of the 10, to detour to San Dimas.

A stop all alone! Just me, myself, and I. No kids. No husband. No homework or chores.

She was almost delirious with the anticipation of the upcoming visit to the farmer’s market. Peggy loved the old town atmosphere of San Dimas. She didn’t get to pop in there near often enough. Once she found a parking spot and was wandering the open stalls filled with barrels of fresh produce, most of it locally farmed, she felt the tension drifting away from her like spiraling smoke into the stratosphere.

Her reality check came as she saw the prices on the various bins.

Oh dear. I can’t afford that.

Goodness, that’s too rich for my blood.

Yikes. I sure can’t afford to come here very often.

She knew that everything here was better for the family’s health. Almost all was organic. No pesticides or residue. Farmed in a manner that was more sustainable for the planet. Oh, how she wished she could shop here every week and load up on every delectable item that called out to her.

Alas, she had to juggle that temptation with a pocketbook that didn’t allow for splurges like that. The poor kid’s piggybanks could attest to that. Clifford and Jonathan had no idea how many times she’d borrowed money from their Christmas or birthday monies to pay the electric bill before the power was shut off.

She almost decided to leave without buying anything. But then she rounded the corner of the aisle and spied the glistening butter-colored pears with their rosy sheened highlights beckoning.

Pears. Her classmate Carol had mentioned pears. And pears were one of Peggy’s favorites. If she bought some, she could make some Pear Honey from Grandma’s recipe. That had long been Peggy’s favorite treat since she was a little girl. She’d grown up calling it Pear Honey because that’s what Grandma called it. But once she’d grown up, she’d figured out it was more of a conserve, or a marmalade. But by then it didn’t matter. The name was ingrained and would always be that.

She grabbed a bag and started filling it with the fresh fruit, nestling them carefully together so as not to bruise them. She looked at the last one with a gleam in her eye as she laid it on top of the others.

Stroking the top pear softly, she spoke aloud, unmindful whether any other shoppers would hear her or not. “Rest carefully, my sweet. Because you’re not going to make it all the way home.”

She almost licked her lips with glee, thinking of how she’d enjoy devouring one in the car all by herself. She felt so light-hearted and happy, that even as she turned and snagged her purse on a nail that wasn’t pounded into the barrel properly, her mood didn’t dampen.

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – picture prompt snippet

Our current story is Ten O’clock Scholar. 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 a picture prompt. These snippets will be short. Each one is 300 words or less. There are several pictures to choose from and we each pick one to write to.

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

Feeling relieved to have a friendly face in front of her, Peggy smiled back and stuck out a hand. “Thanks for coming back and lending some moral support. I was feeling deflated after that. Especially after trying my hardest to be here on time. I never expected traffic coming into LA to be this horrid.”

“You haven’t driven in before?”

“Not driving myself. Actually…I can’t remember even being into LA so far. I think Pasadena is the furthest I’ve ventured west. Except for the beaches of course, but I always head south – towards Laguna.”

Carol nodded, her grin getting wider. “Love Laguna. But I usually end up at Huntington. It’s just easier with the kids.”

Peggy dropped her bag to the floor by her feet. “I don’t like Huntington. That’s where we always went when we were kids. I get bored there. I’d rather have the rocky cliffs and tidepools at Laguna. How many kids do you have?”

Holding up her fingers in a V configuration, Peggy answered. “Two. A boy and a girl.”

“Cool. I’ve got two too. Both boys.”

“How old are yours? My Olivia is four and Brian is three.”

“Right in between mine. Cliff is five and Jonathan is two.”

Carol held up her hand for a high-five. “Awesome! We should get together one afternoon for a burger and let the kids run around the play area.”

“I’d love that!” Peggy’s mood lightened the longer the two talked.

After pleasant banter back and forth, Peggy finally pulled her phone from her back pocket and checked the time. “Guess I’d better head out of here. I was hoping there’d be enough time to swing by the farmers market in San Dimas on the way home.”

“Love that place! Buy a pear for me!”

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – nasty

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 ‘nasty.’

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

By the time Peggy pulled into the museum’s parking lot and found an empty space, she put the car in park and her shoulders sagged in relief. Heaving a huge sigh, she sat for a moment. As much as she’d looked forward to the tour, she almost didn’t want to enter the premises.

Not only was she arriving an hour past the tour time, after the unexpected tension from the congested drive, Peggy simply wanted to sit like a limp dishrag and not move for an hour. Or two.

But, knowing that she had to appear and at least catch the last segment of the tour, she rolled up the window, grabbed her bag and exited the vehicle.

Will I even find where the class is at this point in the tour?

She hoped that the tours followed a somewhat set pattern, so that someone at the entrance could give her an idea of what area her class may be.

Unfortunately, as Peggy entered, she hesitated in the front foyer area, looking around to get her bearings, she saw Mrs. Stone headed towards her, with three fellow students lagging in her wake. Peggy paled when she saw the nasty glare aimed in her direction.

“Mrs. Stone…the traffic…I just—” Peggy stammered.

“You should have made allowances for that.” The instructor uttered the words in a clipped, tight voice. She thrust a clipboard in front of Peggy. “Here. Sign the list. At least you made it here. Now that the tour is over.”

Peggy pulled the pen from the silver slip and signed her name before returning it to Mrs. Stone. “I’m sorry—”

“Doesn’t matter. Tour’s over. You’ll get partial credit for showing up. Make sure that next time you’re on time.” Mrs. Stone turned and headed to the door.

Two of the girls, looking to be barely out of high school stayed right on Mrs. Stone’s trail, following her out the door. They turned their heads and avoided Peggy’s glance. The third girl, seeming to be closer to Peggy’s age, at least looked her in the eye. She didn’t speak, but at least shrugged her shoulders as if in an apology before she too left the building.

Peggy stood in the now empty room trying to decide what to do. She walked over to the closest showcases to see what was inside. As she stood reading the placards describing the contents encased within, Peggy heard a rustle beside her.

Raising her head, she saw that the third girl had returned and stood quietly beside her. “Oh, hi. I didn’t hear you come back in.”

A slight grin inched its way across the girl’s face. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. I wanted to come back and make sure you’re alright. Mrs. Stone can be a bit rough.”

“A bit?”

The grin turned into a huge smile. “Touché. More than a bit. My name’s Carol by the way.”

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – gray

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 ‘gray.’

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

Peggy stifled the laughter that threatened to bubble up and erupt. The joyful delight that infused her soul from overseeing her teacher’s mishap carried with her throughout the entire drafting class. The entire period she found herself tamping down the mirth. She doubted the stoic faced engineer-type teacher would find amusement if Peggy burst out in spontaneous glee in the middle of the classroom’s hear-a-pin-drop silence.

Days later, Peggy still caught herself chuckling aloud when the memory flashed through her mind. But by the time she dropped the boys off at Mary’s house and found herself stuck in stand still traffic on the 10 Freeway, headed to the museum tour, the merriment faded to nothing.

This must be why I never drive into LA. Other than the fact that I never have a reason to drive here.

Peggy spent more time idling and not moving than she did with the wheels in motion. Her eyes were not in constant motion – moving between watching the bumper of the car in front of her, traveling to the dashboard clock to check the time, then glancing at the gauges as the heat gauge inched upwards towards the overheated portion of the indicator.

Oh, good Lord, I’m going to be old and gray before I ever get to the museum. Mrs. Stone is going to have an apoplectic stroke because I’m late.

Ten O’clock Scholar – stoop

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 ‘stoop.’ This week’s snippet is brought to you compliments of the inspiration of our fearless Tuesday Tales leader. One of her previous comments was so good that I had to incorporate it into a scene. Thanks for the puddle idea, Jean!

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

Grabbing her bag, Peggy dashed out of the car to make it to her class on time. She got to the edge of the parking lot before she stopped.

Did I lock the car?

She couldn’t click the key fob to double check. It had broken months ago. Exhaling a huge sigh towards the heavens, she ran back to the car.

Needlessly. She had locked it.

With that, she took off at a jog, out of the lot, towards the drafting class. As she rounded the corner which would make her pass by the Interior Design classroom in about fifty feet, she saw the door fly open. Mrs. Stone scuttled out, her arms full of papers and binders. She turned without seeing Peggy, much to Peggy’s relief, and strode down the hallway at full speed.

Peggy slowed to a stroll, lagging behind so she wouldn’t catch up with the almost always irritating instructor. A ringing sounded from Mrs. Stone’s jacket pocket and Peggy watched her fumbling for a phone while trying to juggle the towering stack she carried.

Trying not to laugh out loud and bring attention to her presence, Peggy watched as Mrs. Stone perched the phone precariously up to an ear while trying to keep her grip on what she carried.

Mrs. Stone stopped to try to speak in the phone and balance the papers.

Peggy stopped to avoid getting closer.

Mrs. Stone’s words bounced off the concrete sidewalk behind her. “What? Now? You can’t be serious!” In an aggravated movement, her chin tipped lower towards the phone. Her ponytail bobbed as she jerked her head in annoyance.

And as if slow motion, the silver cell phone fell from her grasp and went spiraling down, landing in a puddle in the median area left from the early morning sprinklers.

Peggy’s hand flew to her mouth, stifling the laughter that wanted to come forth. She watched Mrs. Stone try to stoop to retrieve the phone, an unsuccessful attempt.

A mix of conflicting emotions raced through Peggy. After the initial response of wanting to laugh – fortunately she’d suppressed that action – Peggy felt bad and wanted to rush and help her teacher. But on the other hand…all the petty annoyances that she’d been feeling underneath the brash and unrelenting tutelage came to the forefront and she almost enjoyed seeing the comedic incident play forth before her.

It ended up that Peggy didn’t need to channel her inner do-gooder. A squeal sounded from further down the hallway. One of the young, blond, preppy cheerleader type gals that sat in the front row at every lesson bounced down the hallway towards where the flustered instructor stood.

“Mrs. Stone, Mrs. Stone…are you okay? Do you need some help?”

As the perky barely-out-of-highschooler got closer, she spied the cell phone soaking in the shallow murky mess. “Oh my goodness! Your phone!”

She bent down and retrieved the sodden mess. Holding the recovered, dripping phone carefully between her thumb and forefinger, she offered it to Mrs. Stone.

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – running

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 ‘running.’

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

When Peggy dropped her tote bag in the passenger seat and settled herself behind the wheel, she breathed a huge sigh. She felt her shoulders relax and felt the tension leave her body. She didn’t realize that she’d been feeling so tense through the last class period. Even chatting with her friend in the hall and on the way to the car hadn’t relieved the stress. Until she sat alone in the quiet car. One lone car in the middle of hundreds in the east lot. Here, she felt anonymous and unseen. Here she could be herself – merely a mom struggling under her current load. Not the wonder-woman, super-student, having it all under control persona she tried to reflect to the rest of the world.

As much as she enjoyed this new pursuit, chasing a dream that had only recently revealed itself to her, she felt fatigued to her core. From sunup – actually before sunup – to way past sundown, she was running, running, running. Any spare moment she carved out of the day now went to reading textbooks, sketching out floor plans, searching through sample books for paint chips, carpets, and wallpapers that coordinated, and trying to figure out how she’d ever learn enough to pass the Computer Aided Drafting class when she’d never drawn a line on vellum before.

She debated for a moment – a very brief moment – about whether to spend the next little bit reading about the history of architecture from thousands of years ago or closing her eyes and catching a short cat nap. It wasn’t much of a debate. The cat nap won without any hesitation.

Setting an alarm for thirty-five minutes, she laid her phone on her lap, tipped the seat back and indulged in the quietness, letting it settle to her bones.

The sunshine streamed through the side window, toasting her arm in a gentle warmth. She smiled as she drifted off, feeling content and peaceful.

The shoreline wavered in front of Peggy, seagulls drifting through the air, their squawks  echoing around her like a scratchy, irritating blanket. Sunlight shimmered on the lake. Peggy strolled along the edge, dancing with the gentle lapping waves. She longed to wade out and immerse herself in the coolness. A jet ski raced by, spraying her as it passed. A cold iced tea appeared in her hand, and she was instantly seated at a picnic bench overlooking a desert cavern, vultures replacing the seagulls. Confusion overtook her as she tried to figure out how she’d gotten there without any awareness of travel. But then, it didn’t matter. She was driving a little brown Mustang down the 10-freeway, sweat pouring off her brow, trying to merge into three lanes of congested traffic-

The jarring piano riff jolted her awake. Groggy and disoriented, Peggy fumbled for the phone to turn off the obnoxious alarm.

Thank goodness! As much as I’d love to sleep more, that was the oddest dream.

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – rock

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 ‘rock.’

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

Wanda patted Peggy’s shoulder in a motherly fashion. “You’ll understand one day. Life is more than learning for a job. It’s the learning that’s the plus. Learning for the sake of learning. I strongly feel that when someone stops, sits down, and stops learning, their life is over. I never want to be that person.”

Peggy cocked her head and thought for a moment about her new friend’s words. Her fingers stroked her chin as she mused. She finally answered. “You know, I suppose I never thought of it in that way. I always thought that taking classes like this was always to meet some sort of end goal. I never considered that anyone would want to spend all the time and money to get a degree…simply to learn without an end goal in sight.”

Smirking, Wanda tucked her hand in the crook of Peggy’s arm and began walking towards the parking lot. “You’re still young. You’ll discover more about life as you muddle through it. Nothing is ever rock solid.”

Peggy threw her free hand over her mouth and stifled her laughter. “Young? You’re calling me young? And here I thought I was one of the oldsters in class. Have you seen some of those girls? Barely out of high school. Here I thought I was one of the matronly students.”

“Oh, you’re older than some of them by a piece. But you don’t have near the foot leather behind you that I do.” Wanda tweaked some of the short gray tresses tucked behind her ears. “Now this is old. Why I learned to type on a good old-fashioned typewriter. An IBM Selectric, thank you very much. Not like these children do on these keyboards, hunting and pecking, and sending emojis instead of full-on words.”

Peggy leaned over and nudged her friend as they walked. “You’re not doing all that bad. Here you are, cell phone equipped and toting around a laptop too. You’re not too far out of it.”

Wanda stopped and pulled her arm away, pointing to the opposite side of the lot. “I’m over that way. But don’t go thinking I’ve got this all handled. Why, you should have seen me the day when I came home with a new cell phone. I had to get my teenage son to come out and program in the phone numbers I wanted.”

Giggling, Peggy waved as she moved in the opposite direction. “At least you got it done. I’m over this way. But I have an hour before my next class, so I’m going to sit in the car and enjoy the solitude.”

“And the quiet, I’ll bet. You probably don’t get much of that at home, not with the little ones you have.”

Peggy sighed and shook her head. “Not a chance at home. That’s why I enjoy these brief respites. I can close my eyes for a few and try to recharge.” She pulled the iPhone encased in a dragonfly case from her back pocket. “And luckily with this…I can set an alarm and not oversleep and miss my class.”

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

Trisha’s Website

Ten O’clock Scholar – picture prompt

Our current story is Ten O’clock Scholar. 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 a picture prompt. These snippets will be short. Each one is 300 words or less. There are several pictures to choose from and we each pick one to write to. This is the one I chose.

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

A wave of curiosity overtook Peggy. “At your age, why are you starting these classes now? Are you going to try to work as a designer when you’re done?”

Wanda flinched and pulled back slightly, a frown filling her face. “Oh, my lord, no. I quit working a few months ago. I’m ready to slow down, spend more time with the grandbabies. No more day job in this lady’s life.”

Lines of perplexment etched themselves around Peggy’s eyes. “Then…if you don’t want to become an interior designer…why are you starting all these classes?”

“Because I want to learn. I want to know all about it, even if I never work a day in the profession.”

Peggy cocked her head and looked closer at her friend. “I don’t understand. You’re going to spend two years to get your certificate, but don’t want to work with it?”

Wanda nodded towards the door, where the teacher stood waiting for the two laggards to exit so she could close the room. She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Better head out before the old battle-ax starts another tantrum.”

Giggling, Peggy lifted her tote on her shoulder and headed to the door, Wanda right behind. When they got outside and the door clicked shut behind them, Wanda resumed the conversation.

“I want to learn for the learning. And I can use this skill to beautify my home. You know, just dress it up a bit. Last year, hubby and I were on vacation in a historic old west town. We stayed at this lovely period hotel. Of course, the décor wasn’t a theme I’d like to live with every day. But it was such a delight that enveloped the senses, I came home determined to learn the art of interior design.”

“But…” Peggy trailed off.

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

Ten O’Clock Scholar – sticky

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 ‘sticky.’

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

Pulling her attention back to the teacher’s lesson, for the next hour Peggy immersed herself in antiquities. While she thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and found the facts about historic time periods fascinating, she also wondered what role that played in current interior design.

After all, it’s not like I’m going to be creating a living room to look like the inside of a pyramid, she mused quietly in her head. After Mrs. Stone’s earlier rebuke at the start of class, she certainly wasn’t going to speak the words aloud to Wanda. She stifled a giggle and tucked her bookmark in the current page on the textbook as the teacher wrapped up the lecture.

Mrs. Stone shut her laptop with a solid click, bringing the slide presentation to a close. As she stood and unlocked the classroom door, the students rustled about, picking up belongings and scurrying towards the door in a hurry. With only ten minutes between classes, with the next class sometimes being clear across the campus, there wasn’t time to dally.

Peggy felt a rush of relief, knowing that she had a free period between her Introduction to Interior Design and her Mechanical Drafting 101 class. This brief respite between classes gave her either time to study or catch up on reading – or, if she needed to doze for a few minutes and catch up on her missed sleep, then she could merely sit in the car and close her eyes. Today was probably going to be a day where she did the latter.

Before she could zip her tote closed, Wanda tapped on her shoulder. “Hey, on the museum tour day, you want to ride together?”

Conflicting emotions tore at Peggy. Rather than waffle about, she decided to be honest and direct, a lesson that she was finally learning how to do in life. “I’d really love to. It would be fun to drive together and chat. But with getting the boys to the sitter first, it would be too sticky for me timewise. By the time I drop them off…if my babysitter can watch them early, I’ll barely be able to make it to the museum in time.”

“That’s alright. I understand. Maybe I’ll check with the girl that takes the bus to class. If she doesn’t find anyone else to drive with, she might not mind taking a trip in with an old grandmother like myself.”

“Psshaw! You’re not that old.”

“How old do you think I am?”

Peggy hesitated. On this one, she decided she’d best pass on the honest and direct mode. She squinted her eyes and tipped her head, making a big play about looking closely at her classmate. “Hmmmm…hard to tell. I’m guessing older only because of the gray hair…fiftyish?”

A hundred-watt smile lit up Wanda’s face and she raised a palm to high-five Peggy. “Off by a mile! Sixty-four next month.”

A grin flickered across Peggy’s lips. Seeing the pleasure on Wanda’s face, she vowed to never admit she’d fudged on her answer.

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

Trisha’s Website

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