Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name! – Volume Two – Xenia

If you haven’t read the first volume, get it two. Will order as soon as it is available.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Over the last couple of weeks I have been completing some writing projects and the first is the second volume of What’s in a Name! In the first volume I wrote two stories for each of the first 10 letters of the alphabet, relating to ordinary people who were given extraordinary names.

In this volume the remaining 16 letters received a slightly different treatment and they feature ordinary people with ordinary names. However, for one reason or another they will be remembered for their actions or impact on the lives of others. There is also a bonus story that introduces a new collection of stories set in a village during World War II that will be released in 2018.

Last week I asked you to choose one of the new stories beginning with the letters Q V W X Y or Z to introduce the new collection. There was a…

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Charley’s Tale Part 36

Not surprisingly, the coroner committed Ellen to the state hospital after her attack on Cora and Charles.  Despite his pleas, Charles could to nothing to mitigate her sentence, though he tried to arrange for private care.  On admission, she  was a raging lunatic, sedated into submission and kept that way.  When Charles was allowed to visit, she never responded to him.  Her life was essentially over.  She never rallied and succumbed to tuberculosis in less than two years.  Though he was relieved the matter was taken out of his hands, Charles truly grieved the loss of the beautiful woman he’d married.

He was able to bring the girls back home with Josie’s and Cora’s help. They thrived in the loving environment.  Geneva was greatly saddened by Ellen’s death, but remained active in Ellen’s children’s lives, sharing the Mother’s love her daughter had never been able to give them. Ginny, of course, never knew her mother, but the boys and Charley had all suffered from Ellen’s treatment till they felt nothing but relief. Their lives settled down to a new, happy normal.

Charles never remarried, but over the years, settled into a comfortable arrangement with the widow of an old friend.  Neither wanted to unsettle their children or leave their family homes, so they embarked on a discreet friendship that lasted till his death thirty years later.  It was much more loving and rewarding than the time he spent with Ellen. His second love was kind, gentle, and unselfish, a true blessing after the stormy Ellen.

Charley was a sturdy, happy child,in her element when Geneva took her to visit the farm.  Ginny adored her, making every step she made.  For a long time after Ellen’s departure, Charley suffered from nightmares and startled easily.  Charles felt a special affection for her, since she’d suffered at her mother’s hand, indulging her love overalls and farm life, till she reached school age and had to conform.  Even then, she wore her overalls at home. Ginny was the image of her mother, though of Charles’s gentle temperament.  Soon the boys were off to college, leaving the little girls at home with their father.  It was a good life.

 

 

Dear Auntie Linda, July 30, 2015

Nutsrok

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, I have not been able to get pregnant in three years.  My husband wants to adopt.  I am worried that I will I will get a baby with problems if I adopt.  I am concerned about the unstable background it might come from. What do you think?  Worried about baby.

Dear Worried, I think either having a baby or adopting is a toss up.  Take a good look at your family and your husband’s.  Every child has lots of options. not limited to traits you may be admiring it yourself or your husband.  We are what we are.  Frankly, if anyone, myself included, was looking at making a decision about having children by looking at the prospective parent’s collective gene pool, they’d probably want to think long and hard about it.  That being said, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out. Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, My husband’s older half-sister, Hazel, has a daughter…

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Charley’s Tale Part 35

When Charles stopped by to see the girls at Geneva’s that morning, Geneva had news for him.  “I got a letter from Richard Henderson, Cousin Jean’s lawyer, this morning.  I am named executor of the will.  If you haven’t gotten a letter, you will.  You need to intercept it before Ellen sees it.  She’s been telling everyone she will inherit from Cousin Jean but she gets nothing.  Cousin Jean left me full use of the farm and lake property with the farm going to Charley at age twenty-one, and the lake house to Ginny at twenty-one.  She left most of her money to me except twenty-thousand left to you to provide care for Ellen, should the need arise.  She left Robert and Bessie the house they live in, one-hundred eighty acres in the front section, the 1937 Case tractor, and two-thousand dollars with the offer to stay on in their positions, should they desire.  Robert and Bessie will get a five-hundred dollar yearly raise in January and every three years after that.  I am not surprised since we discussed this a few weeks ago.  She also talked to Robert and he and Bessie are happy to stay on, so we don’t have look for anyone to manage the farm. I know this will be a problem, since Ellen expected to inherit.  If you like, I will help you tell Ellen, but if she reacts badly, I’d like to take the girls and Josie back to the farm till she settles down.”

“I’d be grateful for any help.” Charles told her.  “We’re are in a mess with Ellen.  I promised not to put her back in the hospital, but she’s a danger at home.  I’ll have to come up with some solution, but right now, I’d better call Cora to intercept the mail.  Ellen never gets up this early.”  With that, he called home, but got no answer.  “Cora must be at the clothesline.  I know she had a wash to hang out.  I’ll just run back by the house.”

“I think I’ll leave the girls and go with you.  I don’t feel good about this.” Geneva said.

Charles and Geneva anxiously rode the few blocks home.  Charles called out, “Yoo hoo! Cora! As he opened the back door, he saw the opened letter lying on the kitchen floor, blood spattered.  Chairs and ironing board were overturned.  “Oh my God!” He exclaimed,  He flew in to find Cora lying on the floor bleeding from several wounds with a gash on her head.  Screaming like the madwoman she was, Ellen flew at him from behind the door, slashing with a butcher knife.  He was able to subdue her, though she cut him a few times in the struggle.  Geneva saw the whole scene, horrified.  “Find something for me to tie her up with!” He shouted.

Geneva struggled to tear dish towels into strips while he held her.  Meanwhile, at the sounds of the struggle, the boys tore downstairs.  George held his mother while his father took off his belt and bound her wrists.  It was a terrible thing for all of them to witness Ellen’s undoing.

Realizing his own wounds weren’t life-threatening, Charles hurried to Cora.  Fortunately, despite the bleeding, her wounds were mostly superficial.  Ellen had caught her up beside the head with the iron during the struggle, knocking her out.  She quickly came around and was able to tell her story.  “I come in from the clothesline to find Miss Ellen reading that letter.  She was fit to be tied.  She grabbed a knife and come stabbing at me, saying we was all in it together.  I run around the ironing board and she took the iron and hit me in the head.  That was the last I remembered till now.  She was a wild woman.  I can’t take no more of this!”

“None of us can, Cora.”  He dialed the phone and spoke to Maisie, the operator.  “”Maisie, please ring the sheriff.”  After a brief conversation asking the sheriff to come over, He and the boys carried Ellen upstairs and left her bound in her room, screaming like a banshee.  Dejectedly, he trudged downstairs to tend Cora’s wounds.

It’s My Party

Nutsrok

WC
Uncle Jerry drank a little. In fact, Uncle Jerry never drew a sober breath from the time he cashed his paycheck at the liquor store on Friday after work until he got back to the shop on Mondays with a killer hangover. One time he told Bud, “I get paid today and I gotta get drunk. I had the flu all week and feel so bad I cain’t hardly drag. I shore dread it.”
Bud, who’d never been initiated into drinking at the time asked, “Uncle Jerry, if you feel so bad, why do you HAVE to get drunk? Can’t you take a weekend off?”
“Oh no!” Uncle Jerry told him. “I always stay drunk on the weekends.”
He must have been concerned about his reputation. He was Aunt Myrtle’s second husband. At the time I knew them, they’d been married over forty years. If Aunt Myrtle stuck by Uncle…

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Ask Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda,

My husband and I have been married fourteen years.  We have been trying to have a child for ten.  We recently went through a rough patch and separated for a few months.  I was intimate with an old friend during that period.  My husband and I reconciled and I realized I was pregnant, afterwards.  Either man could be the father.  My husband knows the whole story and wants the baby, either way. This may be our only chance to have a child.  The other man is divorced and recently lost his only child, so it is not unlikely he will suspect the child could be his and want paternal rights.  Both sets of grandparents are ecstatic about the baby, though of course, they don’t know the whole story.   I don’t want this child to be hurt.  My husband’s parents would not welcome a child not of their blood.  How do I handle this?  Worried Mama

Dear Worried, If you and your husband are in agreement, that is what matters.  With the possibility of custody questions looming, I would be proactive and do DNA testing at birth and talk to a lawyer pending results.  Many families have to share custody.  As far as the grandparents, I can’t see how it would help them to have extra time to worry.  Good luck.

 

Auntie Linda,  My sister is a serial marrier.  She is thirty-eight and has been married four times and had numerous relationships and children with two exes. She has a well-established pattern.  While in a relationship, she meets the love of her life, and begins clandestine affair, while raging and abusing the current guy, before moving on to next relationships.  All of her husbands have been good guys but I have become reluctant to become close to her current husband since he probably won’t be around long.  She is already becoming critical of him, meaning he will soon be history.  In other relationships, she has maintained contact with  “friends” during her marriage, becoming increasingly involved as her relationship or marriage falls apart.  Recently, her husband asked to speak to me about their marriage.  I’d rather not get into her behaviors or history.  It is awkward for her children and the rest of our family to have to deal with her ever-changing partners.  Over the years, we’ve had so many come and go it’s odd to see who is in holiday pictures.  How does family maintain relationships without getting dragged into multiple relationships? Tired of love

Dear Tired, You needn’t feel any responsibility beyond common courtesy.  It’s not your job to defend or explain your sister.  People should go into relationships with their eyes wide open, understanding people with a history of many broken marriages and relationships are not a good risk.  That’s a lot of baggage.  You might just as hubby #4 if he can count and wish him luck.

Charley’s Tale Part 35

Cora put bacon and eggs in front of Charles at the kitchen table.  As she refilled his coffee, he said, “Sit with me a minute, Cora.”  She wiped her hands on her apron and poured herself a cup of coffee.  “Have you seen you seen Ellen’s hair?  She looks deranged.  I told her last night she has to get it back to normal before anyone sees it. She threw one of her fits and had  be sedated.  I just gave her another dose so she should be quiet today.   Can you keep an eye on her?”

“Dr. Charles, her hair was a mess at her tea yesterday. I was shocked when she come down the stairs makin’ a big entrance.  A couple of women giggled before that fool Sarah got everbody to clappin’ to cover up the laughing.  Miss Ellen was so proud of herself, she might not a took it all in.  Miss Geneva was right at her side and give out some looks that kinda shut them hateful women down.  I spect everbody in town knows ’bout that red hair.  I shore hate it.  I’d a tried to let you or Miss Geneva know if I’d a knowed ’bout her hair.”

Charles was stricken when he realized how far things had gone.  “No wonder she went wild when the boys and I burst out laughing at dinner last night.  It was such a shock!  She really has gone around the bend again, hasn’t she?  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I can’t put her back in that hospital, but I certainly can’t have her around the girls.  The way she fought me and the boys, she could kill them.  She was fighting and even tried to bite while I was giving her an injection.  What am I going to do?  I can’t expect Miss Geneva to take care of my girls forever.  She’s past seventy and they have a right to live in their own home.  God help us all.”

“I just don’t know, Dr. Charles.  We gonna have to call on the Good Lord.  Don’t you have any doctor friends you can talk to?  I’ll keep an eye on Miss Ellen for you, but you might want to take her car keys, just in case she takes a notion to go somewhere.” Cora suggested.

“That I will.  Thanks for reminding me and for the talk.  I’ll figure something out.  That was a fine breakfast.  Better stop by and see the girls.”  He took Ellen’s keys off the hook as he left.

“Poor, poor man.” Cora said.  ” Money sho ain’t everthang.”