This blog is dedicated to the stories I've written over the years. Sometimes I get some time and add a story. Grab a hot cup of something and enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. -Eighteen


She slowly walked deeper into the yard, there didn’t seem to be anyone around but she could hear someone in one of the buildings. The house had a nice colored smoke coming out of the chimney and she could have sworn she smelt homemade bread.

Figuring it was now or never and thinking of Victoria, she made her way up to the back porch, slipped off her snowshoes and put them to the side so they wouldn’t be in the way. Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself and knocked firmly on the back door.

It didn’t take but a moment for a lady to answer with surprise on her face when she saw Coon standing there all bundled up.

The lady suddenly smiled really big and said “Well hello there honey, you must be Coon, Katie’s friend and little Victoria’s savior. Come in, come in! We are so glad you came back.”

“Thank you ma’am. And I thank ya’all for taking care of Victoria. I am ready to take her back with me now but I sure do appreciate you watching her for me. She is still here and ok isn’t she?” she asked.

The lovely lady with the laughing eyes exclaimed “Of course she is still here. We LOVE her! We have all bonded with her and she is an absolute delight! Actually WE are hoping you don’t take her back. And of course you can see her.” Then Coon realized that somehow the lady had managed to get Coon out of her winter coat and sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of cocoa in front of her -and for the life of her, Coon could not figure out just how the lady had managed it.

Just then Katie came into the kitchen and her eyes lit up at the sight of Coon sitting in the kitchen. She practically ran over to her and gave her a huge hug without making her spill one drop of cocoa.

“I knew you’d be back! Thank you SO much for bringing Victoria here, even though the adults all seem to go gaga whenever they get around her. Can ya stay awhile, I have so many questions and I can show you around and you can see Victoria and see how well we’ve been taking care of her and even though she isn’t my new sister. See the adults didn’t think you would be back and so they voted on who would be Victoria’s new parents. Her new parents are Clark and Ruth and she has two new brothers and a new sister so she is going to be really loved!” Katie gushed all in one breath and then in a more subdued tone asked “that is unless you take her back?”

The lady then interjected before Coon could reply. “Katie honey, why not let her warm up for a minute and you can go get the baby and Ruth.”

Katie was quick to obey and the lady said “First, my name is Glenda and that was my daughter. And I’m sure you are about to be overwhelmed with the whole extended families in about minute or less. Will you be ok?”

“Yes ma’am, I understand that everyone will want to know why I left Victoria here and ya’all need to know. Ya’all really want to keep her?”

“Oh yes, we definitely want to keep her” replied Glenda as she watched the relief flood Coon’s face.

“Ma’am, I feel I must somehow help take care of her and somehow provide for her as much as I can since her mom asked me to. I have a few things for her and I’d like to also give some things to ya’all for taking her in and all.” Coon was speaking softly but Glenda could hear the determination in her voice.

“Honey we can work all that out later because I think I hear a herd of horses coming this way….now don’t you worry about anything at all.”

And sure enough, while it wasn’t a herd of horses; it was a whole lot a people that came through the door from the depths of the house.

And for the next two hours, Coon had a spell bound audience as she told her story while little Victoria was cradled in her arms.

“My little brother and I were pretty much raised by our Granny and Poppy. Our momma just dropped us off one day when I was about four and The Bugger …that’s my little brother; was only about a week old. We saw her off and on about once a year or when she would suddenly remember she was a mom and would come and get us. Those times were few and far between…..” and so the story went.

Coon could not believe how many people were crammed into the kitchen, yet they were all very polite and actually listening to her. Not one interrupted her, well except Victoria when she needed changing and a bottle. Ruth managed to get her away from Coon for the few moments that were needed for the diaper change and handed her right back with a bottle. Glenda and Ruth exchanged many looks while the story was being told and were amazed that this slip of a girl was living in a cave of all things.

After telling her story, Coon offered “If ya’all would like, I can teach Katie and the other girls some of the things that my Granny and Poppy taught me. It could be to help pay for ya’all caring for Victoria.”

Now that comment did cause an uproar with the girls all saying “yes!!!” and the boys were asking “what about us?”

Ruth spoke up through the noise “Ok now, quiet down. Listen we’ve all got a lot to think about for tonight. Coon honey, will you stay here tonight and let us continue to get to know you and so you can also spend some more time with Victoria?”

“Yes, ma’am I can do that” was the soft reply.

“Ok then, that’s settled, we can work out all the details in the morning after we all sleep on it. Now why don’t you let me take Victoria and put her down because she is sound asleep despite all the noise.”

“Can I put her down, ma’am?”

“Of course you can dear. Katie why don’t you show her where Victoria sleeps and then you can show her around the place.”

“Sure, come on Coon; Victoria has a bed this way.” And the two girls disappeared through the doorway.

By the next morning Coon was exhausted! But she was very happy and satisfied that Victoria was in a great home and would be well looked after. The soaps and lotions went over great with the ladies and girls and they all begged Coon to teach them how to make them. And Katie just loved her quilt. Victoria’s things went into the room she was sleeping in and the little clothes fit her well and the cloth diapers were accepted with gratitude. The quilt was laid across the foot of her crib.

Plans were made for Coon to teach the girls some of the things that her Poppy had taught her and they were going to start with the slingshot. She was going to teach them from scratch, meaning they would be making their own to begin with.

Coon left that late morning with promises of return because Ruth and Glenda were not quite ready to just let the girls go off for a few days to hunt for the leather for their slingshots. Coon said that she would do it because she would have to go pretty far so that she wouldn’t scare off any of the game that was just beginning to repopulate the woods.

As she walked back to her cave, Coon began to realize just how alone she had been and how good it felt to be welcomed by new friends.

She hadn’t traveled far before she heard gun shots and decided to go see what was up. She really didn’t want anyone to see her, because it had taken almost Herculean effort to leave that morning and she finally had to sneak out of the farm house. She did feel awful for not telling anyone good bye, but she had left a note explaining that she was going hunting and would be gone for about a day or so. She gave Victoria lot’s of hugs and kisses before leaving. She also felt confident that no matter what the shots were, Victoria’s new family would protect her with their lives.

She made the crest of the hill but stayed in the tree line. She could see some men down the other side of the hill and it didn’t look ….BANG! The shot from the gun just about made her jump out of her moccasins and snowshoes. Those men had just calmly shot the man that was on the ground! She quickly and quietly backed up and looked carefully around; she didn’t see anyone else around.

As she was making her way back down the hill towards her cave, she could hear the whine of snowmobiles and they sounded like they were getting farther away.

We were in town on one of our rare trips. Granny had declared a trip was needed last night at the dinner table. Of course, The Bugger was all excited about possibly getting some new game for his laptop and I have to admit I was excited too!

It started out to be a cooler morning when we all set off for town. Although town was only about 25 miles or so, we lived so far off the beaten path; that it seemed like 100 miles. We were the very last house on an old dirt and gravel road that I think the county forgets even existed sometimes. They never plowed it in the winter but that was ok; Poppy said that it helped keep the riff raff out….whatever that was.

The snow was only about 5 or 6 inches deep, so it didn’t give Poppy’s old truck any trouble at all. And the paved roads were all plowed. The snowfall had been almost four days ago.

We saw two snowmobiles having a race in one of the fields and I wondered what it would be like to ride on one.

“Poppy, what’s it like to ride on a snowmobile?” I asked.

“I don’t know, I’ve never rode on one. I imagine it would be like flying across the snow with the cold wind in your face….at least you wouldn’t have to worry about bugs getting in your teeth!” Then he began to chuckle. I have to admit, it took me almost a full minute to figure out the bug thing. Then I began to chuckle also…which developed into a full grown belly laugh when Granny began to laugh and The Bugger had NO clue what we were talking about.

“What? What do ya mean? Bugs? Why would you have to worry about bugs??” He kept asking over and over again.

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. -Seventeen


Winter hit with a bang! She had been going to go back to that farm yesterday, but the snowstorm had prevented her from getting a good early start. Now she had fashioned some crude snowshoes and she had her backpack ready along with the over the shoulder bag and her small baby bob/fanny pack. The backpack and shoulder bag was stuffed with the goods she had for baby Victoria and Katie. But she had her grandpa’s knife its sheath at her side and her baby bob had everything she would need. She had come to the conclusion that the cave was really no place for a baby so she was going to ask if Victoria could stay at the farm. Even with the fire going, it was simply too cold in the cave. Coon hoped that Melanie would not think that she was abandoning Victoria; but she really had to do what was the safest for her.

She knew she probably looked ridiculous with her buckskins and knee high moccasins on with a more modern parka, but she did not want to freeze and she knew that with the parka she could pull the hood up if her ski mask wasn’t warm enough. But she didn’t like the idea of having her vision even more impaired with the hood. She also had on the scarf and mittens that her granny had made. The mittens top came off and there were half gloves underneath. There were really neat because if she pulled the top part back, she could shoot her bow easier and she wouldn't have to actually take the mittens off and possibly lose them.

She set off early on the fourth day after leaving Victoria at the farm on her snowshoes and made good time. She was careful as she approached the farm taking a more circular route that took her pretty close to some of the houses that were in town. She noticed that many of them were now occupied and it looked like they were burning young wood with a lot of tar still in it. The smoke was that weird color it gets when the wood has too much tar in it….they must be burning pine. It also looked like they were doing a lot of digging around some of the houses. She began to wonder if there might be some connection with the water pipes freezing and then thought about how her grandparent’s pipes never froze. Her granny would let the water run slightly on those really cold nights and her grandfather always seemed to make sure that granny’s herb beds had plenty of manure and hay on them for the winter. Now she wondered if their water pipes had been under granny’s herb beds. That would seem to provide extra insulation for them.

She swung back deeper into the woods more towards that farm and really started to get nervous. She had no idea how or even if she would be welcomed. What if they wouldn’t let her see Victoria? What if they didn’t want to keep her? What if they had already gotten rid of her? She pushed that thought firmly away. What if Katie thought she was weird or something? After all, she knew she had a far from normal upbringing. So many uncertainties ran through her head. She didn’t even know if she would be able to stand being around SO many people! And she didn’t want everyone to stare at her. If she kept this up, she would talk herself out of going. Somehow she dug deep inside of her and saying a quick prayer for strength and courage, she stepped out of the woods and into the yard of that farm.

“Poppy, what’s courage?” I asked.

“Well now, where did that question come from?” returned Poppy. Did I mention how he always seemed to answer my questions with other questions?

“I was watching the Wizard of Oz, and the lion said he didn’t have any courage and that was what he wanted from the Wizard. But at the end of the movie, the Wizard said that the lion already had courage. But I didn’t see it. So I’m wondering just what is courage.”

“Courage is when you reach deep down inside of yourself and with a good hearty prayer to God; you do what you know you must; even if you are afraid, or don’t want to do something. It’s doing what is right despite whatever hardship you face.”

“But how do I know that I have courage? And if I don’t, how can I get some? Because it sounds like something I might be needin’”

Now Poppy just started laughing, and I got just a tad mad because I was serious. This courage stuff sounded really important and I didn’t want to go through life without it! I think Poppy knew I was getting upset because he quickly got serious –even though I could still see that twinkle in his eye.

“Coon honey, I don’t think you will ever have to worry about not having courage. Aren’t you the one who chased after that coyote who was trying to get to Granny’s chickens? And aren’t you the one who stood up for her little brother at Wal-mart two Saturday’s ago when those three boys were making fun of him for being so smart? No, you have plenty of courage and I don’t see you getting rid of any it anytime soon.”

Poppy had given me a lot to think about. And somehow I felt real good knowing I had courage. Maybe I was like that lion.

Monday, January 17, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. -Sixfteen


She made her way down the stairs using the flashlight that her Grandpa kept just inside the door. She knew just where she was going and what she was looking for. Her Granny had put a huge box of her and The Bugger’s baby things down here long ago, a life-time ago it seemed.

She found the box right where she knew it would be, bottom shelf –way in the back of the storage room. She never dreamed she would need these things. She quickly filled her back pack with tiny T-shirts and sleepers. She put socks and cloth diapers in too. She had to giggle when she found the old worn pink blanket that she had bravely given up when she was five and entered school. She hadn’t wanted anyone to think her a “kindergarten baby”! It was too worn to take, so she placed it back into the box. Her pack was almost full, so she closed up the box and began to look around. There were only two of her Grandma’s quilts left, the rest were in her cave. They were packed in zippered plastic bags for protection. She decided to take them both. One was for Victoria but the other one was going to be a gift for a new friend; she hoped.

She had brought another bag with her that had a strap she could slip over her head and across her shoulder. She looked at the shelves trying to decide just what she should take. She wanted to make sure that what she took would be accepted. It wasn’t that she was thinking that they would demand some kind of payment for caring for Victoria; it was more like she wanted to make sure that she would be allowed to retrieve her. She also didn’t know exactly what to expect when she went back there. She took a deep breath and sighed.

She filled the bag with homemade soaps and lotions that her granny had made. She even tossed in a few that she had made. Now that the goat was gone, she wouldn’t be able to make more, well; unless she found another goat…which was possible –if not probable. There was still plenty on the shelves. Before her grandma had died, they had really stocked up because her grandma had been teaching her how to make all that stuff. She thought the honeysuckle was the best, but all those smells were already in her cave. There was some that had no smell and she figured that those would be good for Victoria. Lastly, she put in ten of the candles that she and her grandma had made. They smelled good too.

Loaded up, she grabbed the two quilts and made her way back upstairs. Once outside, she set her bags and the quilts down and made sure the door was closed and the boards back in place. Lastly she tossed some dirt on the stairs that led outside to hide where she had swept her tracks away with a branch with some leaves.

She picked up her load again, settled the quilts over the shoulder bag; well it wasn’t the best way to carry them, but it was the only way she could keep her hands free. She headed back to her cave; she had some moccasins to finish up!

“Now honey, we have to keep stirring this mixture so that we don’t get any lumps.” Granny said to me.

“Just like if we were making gravy or oatmeal, right Granny?” I asked.

“That would be right, dear. Do you pick out what kind of smell you wanted in this batch?”

“Yeah, I picked the honeysuckle, that’s my favorite. But we can use the rose if you want.”

“I think honeysuckle would be fine. I still have plenty of my rose soap. Although when we make the next batch, we really need to do some for the fella’s… sandle wood and juniper would be great for Poppy and The Bugger, and it seems like it’s going pretty quick.”

I started giggling because when I went out into the woods, I used those very soaps because I didn’t want the deer to smell me. I don’t know if it really worked, but it sure seems to!

Granny just gave me one of her ‘I think I know you are up to something but I can’t quite figure it out but I will’ looks.

I keep stirring the soap until Granny declared it ready for the molds. This batch we poured into the long wooden frames that Poppy had made us. They were about five inches wide but about two feet long. We found that the long narrow molds allowed the soap to dry and harden quicker and more evenly than the usual square ones. We had lined the mold with waxed paper although sometimes we use a light coating of oil. We were trying something new. I thought that it should work out but if it didn’t, I knew I would be the one either scraping the mold or scraping the soap. Oh well, at least Granny’s craft kitchen was smelling wonderful.

I just loved Granny’s craft kitchen. Here is where she kept all the cool stuff. She had a small room off the back wall where she dried all her herbs and also where she kept the bottles of herbs in oils. She knew so much about herbs, I figured it would take me at least a hundred years just to master the basics! But she loved to teach me and even would let me learn by doing… although I have messed up many a batch or five of this and that.

When you first walk in, it’s like a room with the south wall all windows and full of potted plants, she even has a lemon tree and a lime tree! But the north and east walls have counters with cabinets below and shelves above. Every shelf and cabinet is full.

There is an island in the middle of the actual kitchen part of the room with a stove top and a large work space; there is even room for a huge cutting block. The counters are made of a beautiful black and gray marble. Granny said that the counters in here cost more than our whole regular kitchen put together. Then she winked… so I’m not sure if she was just foolin’ me or not. And we do have nice counters in regular kitchen, but she said those were granite.

On the West wall is the doorway to the herb room and the door to the house. I think that this use to be the garage, at least it is big enough to be a two car garage. It always smells good in here and even though it is usually plenty warm since we are usually using the stove, there is a small wood burning stove in the south and west wall which Granny can make the most delicious bread in!

There was room on south side to hold some comfy chairs and hanging from the ceiling was Granny’s quilting rack. I think this is the room I spent the most time with Granny in. Seems like when we were together it was either in here or in the regular kitchen. I was always with Poppy outside. Come to think of it, I hardly ever was in my bedroom or the living room.

Friday, January 14, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. -Fifteen


She decided to go back to her grandpa’s house. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and she almost turned around three or four times. But there she was looking at the burnt remains. She wasn’t surprised that the house and out buildings were burnt to the ground; she was the one who set the fires. Another hard decision she hadn’t liked making.

She carefully looked around at the edge of the woods. She could see the plant life taking over the farm. That made her smile since most of the so-called weeds, were plants that had spilled over from her grandma’s herb garden. She even saw some of the leaf remains of the ginger she needed. She first walked down the old driveway that was so overgrown that one could just barely make out the old tracks. The drive was still blocked with big tree that had taken her almost five hours to cut down with her grandpa’s axe.

She made her way back to ruins of the one place that she felt was her home and found her way to the outside cellar door. The house had fallen into the cellar when it burned but when she opened the door, she was able to move a few boards that looked like they had fallen, but had really been placed there to hide the sub-cellar door. Nothing looked like it had been touched since the day she left.

“Oh Poppy, I miss you so much! I took the goats and chickens over to the Denton’s and they gladly took them. Good thing I took them when I did, if I had waited just one more day, I would have missed them. They are headed to Kentucky to Mrs. Denton’s brother’s house. They begged me to go with them, but I don’t think Kentucky is for me. They are the only ones I had seen. Little Melissa is so sweet and now walking! Seems like just yesterday Granny helped birth her big sister, Isabella. I’m so glad they all made it through that flu and you were right, they had enough sense in to drink that elderberry tea you were always forcing me and The Bugger to drink.

I’ve got the cave full now and it’s time for me to go. I’m going to burn everything but the sub-cellar should be ok. I’ll do it just like you taught me Poppy. I’ve got all of Granny’s flower bulbs, the tulips and irises and crocus planted here on your resting place and on Granny’s and The Bugger’s too.

I miss ya’all and hope to see ya again one day. I love you.”

I watched the whole place burn and when the embers cooled, I cleared the back cellar stairs and made sure the sub-cellar was still ok. It was. I carefully placed burnt boards across the door and walked into the woods; not looking back.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. - Fourteen


She cried hard as she made her way back to her cave. She couldn’t figure out why she felt so attached to the squalling little baby when she had only had her for less than one day. She knew she wasn’t able right now to properly care for Victoria, but she was determined to find all she needed to take care of Victoria. Leaving the baby had reminded her of just how alone she really was. Maybe she would like some friends after all Katie seemed really nice.

Once back home, she went through all the things that she had taken from her grandpa’s house and pulled out some soft rabbits furs that had not been made into anything yet. They were still supple and a soft white color. They would make a fine coat and moccasins for the baby. She went to work.

That darn goat was being stubborn, even though I had already taken her kid down to the sub-cellar!

“Come on, Strawberry! Half Pint is already down there and she wants her mommy!” I tried reasoning with the daw-gum goat! Poppy and I already had the two rabbits down there and our small flock of chickens which only numbered six. We had no other animals right now but this foolish goat. I finally decided to just drag her butt down there.

“Hurry Coon, we don’t have much time left, I can hear the beep of the meter that is monitoring by the back cellar door.” Urged Poppy. We had already stacked sand bags full of dirt five high across and around the back door but I was still having trouble with Shortcake.

“I think we should have named this goat Trouble Poppy, cause that is what she is being!” I exclaimed.

Poppy said “Look out below!” and then gave that ole goat a good shove in the butt with his boot! I just managed to step aside as she came barreling down those stairs.

I laughed so hard at the look on her face! And the squeal she made. I don’t think she was expecting anyone to come behind her.

I heard Poppy close the sub-cellar door and come down the steps. “Well, Coon,” he said “it looks like we are down here for awhile. Let’s get the critters comfy and fed and then ourselves.”

For the next hour or so that’s what we did.

Poppy sure done a good job on making this sub-cellar; it was just about the same width and length of the regular cellar but it had thicker walls and a real thick layer of dirt between the ceiling and the floor of the upper cellar. And it was divided into rooms, unlike upstairs which was just one big room with columns throughout it. We had one that was made for the critters with a smaller room off its side for plenty of hay bales and food. Then another door led to what we call the ‘peoples area’ with a living area and kitchen combined and a pantry off the kitchen side and a sleeping room with four bunks off the living room side. It was like a whole other house down here.

We turned on the TV, but one by one the channels went off the air. The local channel was the last to go. They were just broadcasting some repeating recorded message about how we were to take cover because the USA was being bombed. I didn’t really pay too much attention since I was helping Poppy get the place comfy. We had a jar of Granny’s homemade venison stew, drop biscuits with honey, and the one double handful of green beans we rescued from the garden. Poppy had said to not worry about getting anything from the garden just after I had grabbed them, because we simply didn’t have time to harvest everything but it was ok because we had plenty to see us through.

“I sure am glad I had the sense to store all our seeds down here, we might have been in some trouble next spring if I hadn’t” noted Poppy. “Some people don’t save seed and some of those that do, don’t save it properly. Now when I was a boy, we had some city slicker move onto the farm next to us, it already had crop of good wheat and corn in the ground. That city slicker not only didn’t dry his seed good after harvest but stored it in his barn!” Poppy and I both had a giggle over that one! I mean, didn’t everyone know that ya shouldn’t store seed in BARN? Fer cryin’ out loud!

“Came time to plant the next spring and that man had the nerve to come over and demand good seed from my daddy telling him that he should have explained how to store the seed. Well, my daddy sent him back home with the voice of his shotgun. I think that city slicker slinked back to the city that night.”

I just loved Poppy’s stories from his childhood.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. - Thirteen


There was no help for it. She was going to have to go to that place! She had no milk for little Victoria and a cave was no place for a baby, even she knew that.

She had buried Melanie right by the spot she gave birth to the baby and carved her name into the tree as a headstone. She wasn’t sure of the date so didn’t put one. Now she had everything cleaned up and put away, she began the walk to that place. She just couldn’t think of anything that would be better for Victoria.

It was just getting to be dusk when she approached the property. There was a girl and boy outside talking under a tree that looked just under her age. She took a deep breath and stepped into view. And at that moment Victoria decided she was hungry and let out a cry of anger that could not be mistaken for anything but for a “feed me now” cry!

Another boy came from around the barn and now there were three young people approaching the girl as Victoria kept on with her cry.

Over the baby’s cry, she could hear the two boys talking about her as if she wasn’t even there.

“It’s her, that girl from the camera, I just know it”

“What do you think is wrong with her that she is alone?”

“Why is that baby crying?”

“Will you guys just shut up so I can talk to her and maybe help!” exclaimed the girl that had approached from the farm.

“Hi my name is Katie, what’s your’s?”

The girl sighed deeply and tried to sooth the baby while she said “I could really use some milk for Victoria here, she hasn’t eaten since her mom died and she is very hungry. Can I get some from you?”

Katie quickly sent the boys off to find one of the women to get her some milk and to tell the others that the girl was here with a baby.

“The boys will bring someone to help. So tell me about this adorable baby. And will you tell me your name?”

“I’m called Coon and this is Victoria, her mom’s name is Melanie and she was born just this day. Her mom died…..”

“Ok, hold on. We might better wait until an adult gets here so you don’t have to repeat yourself. Can I hold her?”

“Sure, but she needs changing bad and I don’t have anything to use.” She handed Victoria to Katie who became engrossed in looking at her.

Coon was getting nervous about more people possibly coming out “will you care for her just for a day or so while I go and find what I need for her? I promise I will come back for her” she asked.

Katie quickly said “of course we will watch her. But you really need to talk to the adults.”

Coon took a deep breath and replied “I would rather get going so I can get back faster. I have to find all I’ll need to care for her.” Victoria was actually cooing in Katie’s arms happily gurgling and Katie was making soothing sounds to her. “Remember that her name is Victoria.”

Katie looked up and saw that the girl was easing away from her and they looked at each other dead in the eye and Katie said “I will hold you to your promise that you will come back! Maybe we could even become friends?”

“Ok, I always keep my promises, thank you” and with those words, she slipped back into the forest just as the two boys were coming back dragging one of the women with them and being followed by a couple men.

She took another glimpse back and heard Katie call out “Don’t forget! YOU PROMISED!”

“I promise, I promise, I promise” was all I could think as I ran through the house gathering my beloved bow and backpack as I ran toward the cellars stairs. I had just heard the code word from my Poppy. “SHAWSHANK, SHAWSHANK, SHAWSHANK!” He had cried loudly as a gunshot went off.

I FLEW down and through the cellar and to the door that lead outside, by passing the small door that had allowed Poppy’s and I salvation during the nuke attack. I popped open the outside door and looked around quickly and then sped to edge of the woods. I only went in about twenty feet, just until I knew I couldn’t be seen and worked my way around to the front of the house where I had heard another gunshot.

I was horrified at the sight. My dear Poppy was crumpled to the ground and a man was about to bring a gun down on his head. There was another guy also laying on the ground about five feet from Poppy.

I didn’t hesitate, I had my bow pulled and loaded with an arrow before I even realized it.

The arrow flew true right along with my prayer. The man dropped the gun and grabbed at the arrow that was now stuck deeply into his chest. Thankfully, the arrow went right between two ribs and into his black evil heart!

I quickly scanned the area but didn’t see any one else so I ran back to my Poppy’s side. He was barely alive and only managed a few words before he breathed his last.

“Coon, I love ya gal; you have to be brave. Take what you need from here and go to our cave. I have no doubt that you will make it. You’re a strong and smart girl and I’m proud of you. Carry Granny, the Bugger and I in your heart.” and then with those words, he was gone.

Friday, January 7, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it -Twelve


The girl carefully helped her get into a semi sitting position so that she wasn’t flat on her back but propped up on the trunk of the tree they were under.

“Ok, I’m ready to catch her!” said the girl, as she positioned herself between the knees of Melanie.

It wasn’t a pretty sight at first, the blood mixed fluid, the cries of pain. Then the head kinda like popped out and she carefully wiped the wrinkly little face and then eased the first shoulder out. After the second shoulder was out, the rest of the body just slid right into her hands.

Melanie gave a sigh of relief. The girl quickly began to wash the now healthily crying beautiful and in her opinion perfect baby girl. She wrapped the baby in the towel she had and placed her in her mother’s arms. Melanie was getting weaker by the minute but she hugged and kissed little Victoria with all the love a mother could.

“I didn’t even ask your name. Who are you so I can properly thank you for saving our lives?” Melanie asked.

“My Poppy called me Coon, so you can call me that also” the girl replied.

With a smile Melanie said “I thank you Coon for the help you’ve given us and now I must ask another favor. Please care for Victoria, don’t let her be harmed. I know I’m asking a lot for one as young as you must be, but we both know I’m not going to be here much longer. PLEASE, I beg of you; either give her a home or find her a GOOD home where she will be loved and cherished.”

What else could she say but “Ok.” They sat and Melanie told Coon all she could about her history while they marveled over the small miracle that was named Victoria

Victory was in sight! I had followed Poppy to a small cave and as I ducked inside, I could see just the barest hint of light coming from around the second corner of the entrance tunnel. I got too excited and too much in a hurry because I didn’t see the low hanging ridge of the cave until after I whacked it good with my head!

“OUCH!” I exclaimed as I found myself firmly on my butt and not quite sure how I got there. I was seeing stars and then stars around my Poppy’s face as he asked “Coon, you ok there? Did ya get any sense knocked into ya?”

Poppy was like that, trying to make me laugh so as to ease the pain.

“No new sense I guess Poppy” I replied as I dragged myself back to my feet. A dizzy spell almost had me back on my backside, but I managed to stay on my feet.

“Well, I reckon ya found me Coon” Poppy said as he placed the soft leather back pack in my hands. “Now let’s get you home and have Granny look at that hard head of yours, heck ya knocked half the ceiling down when you whacked it!”

Not much longer and we were home with Granny fussing over me, looking in my eyes, putting a ice cold steak on my forehead where a goose egg size lump was forming, and making sure I didn’t go into shock, and clucking like a hen over her chick saying “You know that mama goat is going to give birth any second now. And just how are you going to be able to help me help her if you scare her with that huge thing growing out of your forehead, I just don’t know.” This kind of talk was typical of Granny, she sometimes would answer her own questions to you without you even having to answer for yourself.

“I reckon a nice big bowl of homemade ice cream will have Coon ready and willing in no time at all!” Poppy said with a wink and grin to me. I managed a grin without too much pain.

That night, sure enough Strawberry Shortcake gave birth to the cutest little goat. We named her Half Pint even though The Bugger wanted to call her Grunt. And I forgot all about the lump on my head.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it. -Eleven


Now that she was closer, she was able to see that the woman was in very bad shape. She was way too skinny to be getting ready to have a baby and her clothes were ripped and there was blood on them. Making a perhaps rash decision, the girl strode forward towards the woman.

She could tell the woman was in pain by the way she kept clutching her swollen belly and the tears running down her face. But the woman did not scream or cry out loud. She caught the woman just as she began to pass out.

The woman was not heavy at all so it took no time to half drag and half carry her off the road and into the woods. She did glance quickly into the car, but didn’t see anything that would be of use to help the woman. She didn’t think the woman had much longer to live but there was a baby that wasn’t going to wait to be born.

She quickly gathered up a big pile of pine needles and managed to make the woman as comfortable as possible. She dug into her back pack and pulled out a bottle of water and gently, just a tiny bit at a time, poured it into the woman’s mouth. A sharp contraction brought the woman back to her senses and bright feverish green eyes met deep concerned blue ones.

Melanie felt safe when she looked into the girls deep blue eyes and she croaked out a “more water please” which was quickly answered by a water bottle being pressed to her mouth. She even managed to get half the bottle down before another contraction ripped through her body.

The girl had a cloth out and was wetting it with another bottle of water and a small fire going with some kind of kettle on it. There was an enamel coffee cup sitting close to the fire without being actually in it.

“I’m making some tea that will help with the pain and warming some water to wash the baby with. I don’t think you have much longer until your little one is born.” The girls voice was soft yet clear and somehow commanding. Melanie just nodded her head and drank some more water.

But it wasn’t long before Melanie realized that she was not going to live to raise her child. She had gotten a good look at all the blood she was losing even though the girl tried to hide it with more pine needles. And she could feel the life flowing from her. So between the sipping of tea and the pants and gasps of birthing a child, Melanie told her story to this girl child who was acting so adult and helping her.

“I’m having a girl; I want her to be called Victoria since she will be my final victory. Her dad is dead. He was killed by the monsters that broke into our home and found us in our storm shelter. One of those monsters was driving the car that is out there on the road, the one I finished off with my husband’s gun. How I’ve managed to survive is of no importance, but I want her to know how much I love her. She is our only child.” Melanie began and managed to get out before another wave of pain came over her.

The girl had a soft towel and cloth out. The only birthing’s she had ever seen were the ones on her Grandparents farm, but she didn’t think this one would be much different.

Melanie began to feel the urge to push and told the girl “I think she’s coming, oh my GOD!”

Monday, January 3, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it -Ten


The note was brief; basically stating that they knew she was around and although they didn’t know if she was just passing through, if by chance she lived close by; she was welcome to come and talk with them. Darn camera!

She slid the note into back pack and although tried to continue squirrel hunting, her mind was not on hunting; it was on that note and all the good and bad possibilities it contained.

She wasn’t surprised at the turmoil of her thoughts, but she was surprised -due to all the guns she had seen with those people; that they hadn’t hunted her down, maybe they were not so bad.

However, she could not help thinking that the note may be a trap. Once that thought crossed her mind, she began to head away from the area and decided that she would do her hunting on the north side of the cave for awhile. She knew she would have to come and see what they were up to every once in awhile, especially if one or more of them decided to start hunting in the woods. For now she figured that no contact was best, although she might just change her mind when winter set in and she was going crazy from boredom. Besides someone really needed to teach those boys how to walk in the woods! Maybe she would offer to teach them. But she still didn’t know if they were friend or foes. Although from what she had seen, they were definitely a step up from the evil group on the other side of her.

She was traveling fairly quickly, and ended up close to the main road. Just as she was about to let an arrow go and have her squirrel, she heard a vehicle coming down the road. Slipping up into a tree quickly, she peered down the road towards the sound. It was an old car and it was weaving back and forth like crazy.

Suddenly the car swerved too hard and with a loud crack! It hit a tree just about a hundred yards from her and on the other side of the road. She slid down the tree thinking she might be able to help when a woman dragged her very pregnant self out of the car with a gun in her hand. The woman turned back towards the inside of the car and fired the gun until it was empty.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it -Nine


She followed the boot prints until she realized just where the meandering trail was leading…to that place!

Crap! She thought. Just then she thought she heard just the barest hint of a soft click and froze.

Make that a double crap, she amended. Very carefully she examined her surroundings. Looking intently, she finally noticed the small contraption up on the tree….the same tree where the prints walked up to, then backed away. She quickly got out of the view of the camera and began to thoroughly look around. There were other prints also but they seemed to be much older. Now that she was really paying attention, she could see that this camera was checked about once every couple of weeks, maybe once a week at the most.

She also noticed that there had been some attempt to erase the prints, but she caught a glimpses of old and older prints, besides one small new partial heel print; here and there.

She slid down beside the trunk of the tree and thought for a moment. If she left the thing, then they would know she was there. If she took it, then they would know someone was there, but not how many or who…or whether they took it for possible evil purposes. And she figured that if they didn’t know what happened to the thing, they would be all over the woods trying to figure out just what was going on.

She decided to leave it and chastised herself for being so careless. She had thought she knew where all the cameras were, but if she missed this one, then chances are she missed more.

She decided that with nothing better to do, she would be making sure she knew exactly where all the cameras were and find possible trails that were camera free.

The next two weeks were full of intensive and careful searching. By the time she called it quits, she had found FIVE more cameras that she hadn’t know about. One day she had been able to follow a couple of boys who were plodding through the woods, well ok, they weren't exactly plodding; but they weren’t actually making an effort to be extra quiet. They actually walked right under her one time while she was up in a tree she climbed when she realized that someone was coming. She then slid down the tree and followed them and that was how she found three of the five of the unknown cameras. These farm people were learning well.

Today she decided to go hunting and see if she could bring home some fresh squirrel meat for dinner. Her path took her very close to where the first hidden camera was. She was following an old small animal trail when she came up on what looked like a plastic wrapped piece of paper. It looked like someone had tossed it there probably about a week or so ago.

She figured that those people had seen her picture and that this was a NO TRESPASSING note, although a discreet one.

She went ahead and pulled the paper out and read it.

Poppy had invented a new game. I was so excited! I had to wait one hour after he left and then go find him. Kinda like an expanded ‘hide and seek’. The Bugger wanted to go along but Granny said she would make sure he stayed close to the house. We both knew that he didn’t have the patience for stalking. He was a brilliant boy (don’t tell him I said that) but wilderness skills were things that bored him quickly. Give him a PC, and he’d hack into the IRS and make sure you got a refund for $100,000 every year!

“Fine, I’ll just hack into Momma’s bank account and get us some candy money” he declared just as my hour was up and I slipped out the door.

Oh the fresh air was like liquid lightning in my veins! I took a deep breath and began my hunt. When and IF I succeeded (which so far I hadn’t) there was a leather back pack lovingly hand made by Poppy as my prize. I had to find him before dusk.

Determined to catch my quarry, I began to slowly circle the house to see if I could pick up Poppy’s trail. I found where he jumped up on the pump house by the chicken coop and I couldn’t help thinking….I wonder if….yes, he did what I would do…he jumped into the coop hoping that the chickens would erase any prints! I stifled a giggle, after all this was serious stuff! That back pack has eluded me four times now!

I picked up Poppy’s trail again just past the burn barrel and although it looked like he was headed to the woods, I decided to not take that for granted. I was shortly glad I hadn’t because Poppy had double backed on me and I figured out that he had walked backwards! Once you know just what a backwards footprint looks like, you don’t forget just what looks different.

The real trail went into the woods about 50 feet further towards the east. I slipped into the trees and continued with the hunt.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

If You Abuse it, You Lose it -Eight


She grabbed up her book again and reread that last recipe to sooth sore throats once again, for the tenth time. She didn’t know why she was feeling so restless. Maybe she was getting cabin fever. She had stayed in her cave for the last three days because there was once again all kinds of activity going on at and around The Farm and now she knew she had heard a plane. She actually saw it in the distance that morning three days ago.

That does it! She was going back out and not let anyone keep her stuck in her own cave! She quickly packed up her backpack and baby bob, making sure her Grandpa’s knife was secure at her waist along with her sling. Grabbing up her bow and quiver of arrows, she headed out of the cave. Today, she decided she would go north. Surely there wasn’t ANOTHER mad mob of people that way!

She traveled through the woods quickly, noting the coolness of the air and listening for any sounds that should not be in the woods. Out of habit, she looked for any tracks of wildlife and almost tripped when she came up on the set of boot prints. They looked like they were fairly fresh prints! But they looked like they could be her size.

She bent down and really examined them, like her grandpa had taught her. They looked like they were maybe only three or four hours old. She didn’t know if it was curiosity or stupidity that made her follow them.

I was bent down concentrating hard but still wasn’t sure if the bobcat tracks I was following were one or one and half days old.

“Ok Poppy, I’m gonna say that the bobcat came through here about 3 yesterday afternoon. I would say earlier but it rained yesterday morning and these tracks still have a crisp edge to them.”

I looked up expectantly at Poppy, then stepped aside as Poppy bent down to examine the tracks closely.

“I think you’re right Coon. But did you notice here that his left front footprint is not as deep as the other three?”

“I was wondering about that, is he hurt do you think?”

“Could be that or he paused because something got his attention. hmmmmm. You did good! I think we can find us a nice place to eat our lunch and then hit that fishin’ hole. Granny said we weren’t to come back unless we had some fresh bass for supper!”