The Love Nest

Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

This house has a story. Tell it.

~*~

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Image credit: We Heart It

I wondered if it would be a mistake to come back; to revisit a memory that is long since buried yet yearns to be resurrected.

Yet, here I am.

I am not surprised the “Love Nest,” as my gramps used to call it, is in such a state of disrepair, although it wouldn’t be had it stayed in my family. When gramps died about 10 years ago uncle Morris inherited it. He was the oldest son (not the oldest child) and whether he deserved it or not, he got the beautiful white clapboard house where he and my mother and five other siblings had been born and raised, and where I and my brother spent all our youthful summers.

It was such a romantic place then.

Nestled in a collection of elegant trees that shimmied and shimmered in the summer breeze, keeping us, my brother and I, cool while we played at hide and seek and other childish games. Grampa would call us in for dinner from his rocking chair on the upstairs porch. He was the great overseer.

We always felt loved here.

Wow, the memories are thick as cob webs now.

The porch at the front there, its door opens into a small hallway that leads upstairs to three tiny bedrooms. The only bathroom in the house is downstairs by the kitchen. Oh, the arguments we had about who would use it first in the morning. Sometimes I won, but not always. You had to be up bright and early to beat gramps to the punch.

To the right of the door way is the parlour. It used to have an upright piano by the window which gramma played on a daily basis, usually in the evenings before we would retire to bed. For as along as I can remember we’d all (gramps, Joe and I) gather around her as she tinkled those old ivories with a conservatory flourish, and sing the old gospel hymns.

Gramma had a twinkling soprano voice so I always sang the harmony ~ usually the alto line, but sometimes I’d lapse into tenor, just to test my sight reading. And when I did that Joe would instantly switch to my part. He was always up for a challenge. Yes, we all had our own hymnals. I wonder where they are now?

Gramps had a resounding bass-baritone and when he got going the rest of us would just stop and give him the floor. And then we’d all collapse in giggles when he finish and realize he’d been singing all by himself while gramma played.

Thank goodness he had a sense of humour.

Gramma was a wizard cook. She loved that kitchen and because gramps loved to eat he made sure gramma had the best of everything she needed to whip up a culinary delight.

I swear the house oozed with the scent of fresh bread, even when it wasn’t baking. Sometimes she’d make cinnamon rolls, which were my favourite, and on Sunday’s she’d always bake a pie of some description to go with dinner. She’d go with whatever fruit was in season, and in the winter would use her own canned peaches, or whatever else was in store, to create a sweet delicacy.

My mouth waters just thinking of it.

Often, in fact most Sundays, she’d invite lonely old Mr. Humphrey from down the road to join us. He lost his wife during the birth of their only child, Marty (if I remember correctly), and never remarried. Raised that boy on his own. He left home after school and moved thousands of miles away to chase history in the Middle East.

Gramma hated to see anyone as nice as Mr. Humphrey spend Sunday alone. So, unless he had somewhere else to be, he’d always come by after church and in the evenings after dinner share his frontier stories (he was a historian in his own right.) Once he gave me a signed copy of a book about the early pioneers and the Gold Rush that he’d had published. He fancied himself the Kenneth Roberts of the West. He was a talented writer, to be sure.

Of course, not all the memories of this house are good.

Family reunions were held every summer up until the year gramps died, and while they were fun for the most part, I hated bumping into uncle Morris. He was a creep. Upon gramps death, 10 years ago, Morris inherited the house and its 25 acre property. Let’s see, ol’ miser Morris would have been in his mid-fifties, I guess. He’d had no children. Never been married, in fact, so had no incentive to keep the place going. He was the black sheep of the family with the energy of a sloth and consequently let the place run down. He lived like a hermit.

I never liked him. He was mean to my mother, his sister, and gave me the willies. I never wanted to be left alone with him when I was young, and discovered all kinds of excuses to lock myself in my bedroom to write in my journal when he came to visit. He was the one person who stood between me and care-free summers with gramps and gramma.

So, I haven’t been back here since gramps died and I’m not surprised to stand here and see the once beautiful house in such decrepit condition.

It’s for sale. Uncle Morris died last month without a will and the property must be sold to cover his heavy debt load, though what he spent his (gramps’) money on I can’t begin to guess.

My husband and I have talked about buying the property to keep it in the family. This old house is too far gone now to be saved, so we’d have to raze it and build another. That wouldn’t be so bad.

Building on memories. Building our own love nest.

We’ll see.

~*~

Thank you to Kellie for another great challenge.

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nThanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Again

Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore.

Time and place scenario.

Source: We Heart It
Source: We Heart It

You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….

~*~

Again

I’ve been here before

In this place

Alone.

A back turned.

Abandoned.

A swell of surprise

Rises and

Falls.

How could you leave me?

Again?

A promise made;

A promise broken.

Again.

Hollow. Forsaken. Bewildered.

I bend to my own

Resilience.

Survival mode kicks in.

Again.

Keep walking.

I’ll find my way.

Again.

~*~

What an odd weekend of challenges. A triple whammy of emotionally challenging scenarios … at least or me.

First a Daily Prompt highlighting the “Twilight Zone.”

Then a Weekly Photo Challenge on the subject of “Abandoned.”

And now this.

All topics that hover at a rather deep, and uncomfortable, level for me.

In my blog Eyes to Heart I tackled the subject of “abandoned” as far as I dare take it.

A couple of days ago in this blog I started writing about the “Twilight Zone” but couldn’t finish. Maybe I will as the week (or year) progresses and I can find a way to reconcile the many heavy themes that popped out of the ether and onto the page.

With this free writing challenge it appears the bewilderment of being abandoned and standing in that twilight zone have come to the fore. 

Worlds collide.

Again.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Sink or Swim

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Sink or swim?

A choice I,

And I alone,

Must make.

Treading water

Tires the more

I delay.

Clouds of confusion

Hover and rain

Down their tears

Upon these

Restless waters

That drown

My spirit.

A dry, distant horizon

Hints at light and

Beckons, and still

I delay.

Oops … there’s a shark.

~*~

This is my response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge for this week.

This was fun … 😉

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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A New Life

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Clearing land, you know, it never ends. My land, and then Henry’s down the road.

Hard work. Real hard.

We came here with our families, see. From the ol’ country. Across the pond in one of them big vessels packed with other hopefuls looking for a new life.

We left everything behind that wouldn’t pack in a steamer trunk or two.

Ol’ Sal, my honey love, not so thrilled to leave behind gran’s antiques passed down the generations. Cupboards, and such. But passage for eight children is dear and sacrifices must be made.

We came here because the Canadian government was giving away land to newcomers to clear and make productive. One-hundred acre parcels in northern Alberta. Things is rough in the ol’ country and we want to give our wee ones a fresh start. So, we took the bait and, after months of planning and saying goodbye to the life we knew, find ourselves ‘ere ~ in this right pickle.

Imagine. Homesteading at my age. In my late 40s with a war wound or two. My hands ‘ave known hard labour, but nothing like this. I was a soldier. The Great War. It was hell, but a different kind. And I was younger then.

Clearing boulders and bush and dead trees by hand in all weathers, with the ‘elp of my wee ones and a couple of old plough horses is gruelling work. Friendly neighbours lend a hand when they ‘ave the extra time, which is rarely. They are farmers, after all. Like me from the old world trying to eek out a living in a new one.

It’s the 1920s. Times are tough all over.

We’ve been at this now for several months. Ol’ Sal cries into ‘er pillow ever’ night wondering why we came ‘ere. Can’t say as I blame ‘er. I wonder sometimes myself. And now we’re heading into winter which, I’m told, is hell frozen over.

So, we knock down all the dead pines and ash and maple, and a few healthy ones too, and break it up to store as fuel. Till the soil, saving some of the smaller rocks to heat in the stove for when we go out in the sleigh. I’m told it gets to 40 below around ‘ere. Neighbours who’ve already been through an Alberta winter are kind enough to ‘elp us prepare.

Ol’ Sal is putting in canned goods; buried in an ‘ole in the ground ’til we get the cellar done. It’s ‘ard times, but we do our best to smile through it. The wee ones, ranging in age from 18 to six, are getting tough with it.

We remember fondly the dear ones we lost and left behind. Five cherubs, all buried in Motherwell. Sad times.

Still, it’s not all bad. Weekly chicken suppers and dancing on a Friday night down at the school house lifts our spirits. Jim O’Malley plays the fiddle, right enough, and Will Grogan tickles those upright ivories with his giant farm labouring hands like it’s nothing. When we’re not dancing a jig we’re singing the ol’ songs around the piano. Kids run around making mischief, as they should. Hard labour is soul destroying when not balanced with a little high jinx.

My music talent lies with the bagpipes, but not at the suppers. Church on Sunday and funerals, mostly. Amazing Grace the most popular choice. I’m ‘appy to do it. Reminds me of my homeland. Brings a tear to these jaded eyes.

But, I must get on. The winter waits for no one and I and ol’ George Ivey from the farm across the way ‘ave wood to pile by the makeshift barn. We’ll fix that up next spring.

Tough times, sure enough, but at least there’s hope in a new life.

~*~

My response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday image prompt.

Thanks for visiting.

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

A String of Pearls

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“What are you listening to?”

Sara, my teenage niece, waltzes into my living room like she owns the place and demonstrates scant interest in my choice of music as she flops in the big leather chair in the corner. I’m sure she’s secretly hoping I’ll turn it off.

String of Pearls.”

“String of what?”

“Pearls, darling … you know, the kind oysters cough up.”

She rolls her big brown eyes and fiddles with her mobile.

“Why would anyone call a song that? And who’s playing anyway?”

“The Glenn Miller Orchestra.”

“Never heard of them. Sounds old.”

I look at Sara with love. My sister’s only child. A law unto herself and now sitting in my living room challenging my taste in music.

“Not so old. 1940s era actually,” I explain. “James Stewart made a rather splendid film about Glenn Miller.”

Yes, indeed he did. Or at least I think so. I haven’t seen it in a while.

“Who’s James Stewart?” the myopic girl asks absently.

“Why only one of the greatest American actors of all time!” I exclaim. “Sweetie, you need to open your eyes. There’s more to life than reality TV and flavoured lip gloss.”

She looks at me somewhat impatiently.

“No, auntie, you need to open your eyes. Stop dwelling in the past. One hundred years from now no one will remember Glenn whats-his-face and his geriatric orchestra. I didn’t even know him now!” She plays with a length of brunette hair that curls over her left shoulder. “Take it from me,” she continues with all the confidence of her innocent age, “the only musician anyone will be remembering in 2114 is … ”

“Don’t even say it,” I interrupt playfully. I can’t bear to think of where this is heading. “You need to have this conversation with your BFFs, I think. We will never agree on the longevity of that Canadian mischief maker.”

Sara heaves herself from the deep leather chair and gives me a peck on the cheek.

“All I’m saying is that when you lot are gone your music will die with you.”

“And yours?” I ask with astonishment.

“Our music will live on forever. How can you get any bigger or more unforgettable than …”

“No, don’t say that name,” I mock scream and present my fingers in a cross as if to ward off evil. Sara turns and smiles as she leaves. She loves to push my buttons.

As I watch her lithe figure sashay into the kitchen all I can do is sigh. She’s young. She does not yet understand that not everything we perceive as timeless stands the test of time.

I turn up the volume, in the mood to indulge in more of my big band favourites. It may not be one hundred years since ol’ Glenn recorded these gems, but in my book anyway, he and his music are immortal.

~*~

This is my response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge.

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nPure fiction. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Trust

Trust

~*~

A precious, fragile gift

To you, from me.

Unseen to the eye,

Yet ever present in the heart.

Handle with care.

If you break it,

Don’t come back for more.

~*~

My response to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday challenge for this week.

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Yes, I know it’s Sunday. 😉

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

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#FWF … The Heart is More Than Words

Connection

The heart is more than words as passions run

And spirits soar to lift above the cloud.

For one thing only moves beneath the sun

And trumpet calls my name so true and loud.

With joy my heart doth leap in sheer delight

As beauty bourn o’er all doth jump and play.

A dream; a dance; a marvel to my sight,

And to my soul it speaks in every way.

*

In form as mighty as in spirit dwells,

This catalyst for centuries of change

Pure power harnessed in such beauty spells

A bond that now most people find too strange.

Life would not be the same for me, of course,

If not for love profound of noble horse.

~*~

Poetry, beauty, romance, love.

O me! … Oh life without the spirit equine would be for me less than divine.

I will say I was a little disappointed that the horse was in no way represented in that Apple ad.

How soon we forget our partner, the horse. A noble animal who, for thousands of years, has graced the Earth with its beauty, majesty, spirit and romance. No other animal, not even the dog, has had so profound an affect on humankind’s evolution as we’ve leapt the boundaries of knowledge and change that have brought us to this point in our story.

The beauty and power of the horse have inspired hearts to art, music, writing, poetry, invention, exploration. The horse has engaged with us in battle; industry; recreation; sport.

Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoof print of the horse beside it.~John Moore

In return all for which he asks is the regard of a kind heart, and to be fed, sheltered and loved.

Can you imagine a world … our lives … without the poetry, beauty, romance and love of the horse?

Perish the thought.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” — John Keating (Robin Williams) Dead Poets Society

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_nHerewith my response to this week’s free write prompt from Kellie Elmore. Written in sonnet form as this appears to be my preferred form of poetic expression at the moment.

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

What If?

Prompted by Kellie Elmore’s #Free Write Friday

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What If?

What if? What if? What if?

Looking back from here to there

It is a redundant question.

Looking forward from there to here

A different one altogether.

The past cannot be changed.

I am my past,

The good and bad of it

In a bundle of sorrow

And joy. I cannot

Change what was; but I can

Change how I look at it;

How it effects me.

As for the future?

I shall not should myself

To death, nor shall I

Immerse myself in the

Torment of hoping

For what can

Never be.

But, I shall state

At life’s crossroads

“I won’t look back and

Ask ‘What if?’.”

As long as I follow my

Heart these two

Little words need

Never from

My lips

Trip.

~*~

Recently I made a major decision to move my horse to another barn.

The process of deliberation did include “What if?” but it was more in terms of “I don’t want to be looking back 10 years from now and asking ‘What if?'”

This actually made the decision a lot easier. Who wants to live with regret at an opportunity lost? Certainly not I. I know what that’s like and it’s taken some time for me to let go of that negative way of being.

At this stage of my life making mindful decisions is more important than ever.

Being mindful of my horse’s needs as well as my own was an important part of the decision process. His physical and emotional care are paramount. He’s been well cared for where he is and I have no dispute with it.

Me and BearBut, after nearly eight years for him and 13 years for me of being in the same place, it’s time for a change. Time to see life differently. Time for new perspectives and input and friends.

I am really happy with my choice to move Bear to this new farm. He will be well cared for and I will be one step closer to my dressage dreams. Our world will expand in wonderful ways and I’m really looking forward to it.

I am certain that 10 years from now I will not be looking back and asking “What if?”

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

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Some Things Are Not Meant To Be …

Here is this week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore:

~*~

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Liberating for me, as a matter of fact …

Enjoy!

~*~

Some things are not meant to be

What do you think you could ever say

That would reach me?

I am not angry.

I simply wonder.

And why do you think

I could even trust your words?

After all the pain;

All the rejection;

All the hurt.

Yes, hurt.

How could you know what you could never tell me

When you don’t know your own heart?

And when you certainly don’t know mine.

You’ve bruised it such

That I can no longer entrust it to you.

So, whatever you think you could say

In such a simple missive

Cannot reach the tenderest part of me,

Padlocked and protected

Against the likes of you.

You had your chance.

You had my love.

And you squandered it.

*

Forgive you?

Certainly ~ on my terms.

Safer for my heart not

To know what you could never say.

You’d only colour it

With self-pity,

As always,

Anyway.

~*~

This highly-charged prompt brought the word “father” to mind.

Two fathers, actually. My Heavenly Father, with whom I have a good relationship and who has no need to write me such a letter.

And my Earthly father, who is a completely different story.

I do not wish to disparage him. Certainly, he had trials enough growing up that scarred his life. Still, as Iyanla Vanzant (@IyanlaVanzant) tweeted last evening … “Parents are people with hurts, wounds and stories – still children have the right to expect parents to be present.”

He was not present. Not in mind, body or spirit and, in fact, he declared during a phone call when I was 16 that if anyone was going to be hurt in this relationship it wasn’t going to be him.

So, is it possible that such a man, an intelligent one at that and a good writer, would ever know or understand my heart enough to know what to say in such a letter?

I doubt it.

And I have accepted it.

Our life paths have taken far different routes. He makes no effort to be in touch with me and I have no need to be in touch with someone who willfully hurts me.

Not all relationships are meant to be.

Conversely, I have always felt a strong connection to my Father in Heaven. He is the one, in the midst of life’s storms, who tells me everything will be alright. He is the one who wants only the best for me. He is the one who surrounds me with love and shows me my potential.

He is the one who wishes me peace.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

~*~

Surrender

Here is this week’s Free Write Friday prompt from Kellie Elmore.

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Surrender

Surrender to

What is.

What else is there?

Follow the course

Prescribed;

Batten down the hatches,

And enjoy the ride.

Toward the light.

Yes,

The light

And the end of a

Long, unforgiving

Storm.

Prepare to be delivered

To your destiny.

It awaits.

~*~

As adrenal fatigue storms inside me my experience of life is small.

Socializing is not part of my matrix at the moment, and as the party month proceeds, I am confined to a few moments of jollity among friends separated by days of healing isolation. I must measure every encounter. Leave buffer zones between events. Learn to be my own best friend; to take care of myself appropriately as this lengthy storm passes through.

The storms bluster manifests within 12 hours of any over-stimulating event. Doesn’t matter if it’s fun or stressful. To my body it’s all the same. It must surge. Headaches, nausea, vomiting on and off for 12 hours batter this boat, my system expelling stress it cannot hold.

There is light on the horizon. I can see it. But for now, I must surrender to the healing storm, batten down the hatches, and hang on until it passes.

I will be the first one to rejoice when it does.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013