Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas Phone Call ( A short love story)

I have a tale for you today. A true love story. . .

Once there was a fun-loving young man in his early twenties; a man with a smile like a ray of sunshine who could charm anyone with his wit and humor and a laugh that could warm the chilliest heart. There wasn't anyone who disliked him. People took notice of his humorous antics, good looks and charming ways. His heart was big, his kindness evident, and sense of compassion, great. He fell in love with a very good, simple girl from a small town. Her family was extremely close and he adored them and the way they made him feel: welcomed and loved, a true part of them.

This young couple courted quickly and married within a year. Their apartment was tiny, but well-kept, clean and cozy. They didn't have much furniture, no rich lavish decorations, but they had each other. Laughter, compassion and goodness continued to be a part of their world, and when they looked into each others eyes every night, true love could be seen in their gaze. Their lives were a testimony to people around them.

As time went on, the young man yearned for more. His small world became a prison to him. He wanted a better job, grander things to please him. The simple, good girl wasn't enough for him. She wondered what she could do to keep him happy. Should she change? Would he be more content if she was prettier, skinnier?

Then the day she never dreamed of arrived. The young man told her he was done. He wanted out of the marriage, out of their small world. He had big places to go and many important things to do. She wouldn't be welcome in this new life he'd chosen.

Though her heart was broken for a very long time, she managed to put the pieces of her world back together.

Many years went by, and the woman who'd grown and matured into a loving, caring adult found herself face to face with the man who'd betrayed her those many years ago. He told her he needed to relieve himself of a heavy burden, and would she give him just a few moments of her time.

Years of grief poured from the man. Red-faced and sobbing, he apologized for leaving her behind, for hurting her so cruelly. He'd gotten everything he wanted in life: fancy job, huge home, gorgeous women and mountains of money, yet he'd lost his soul in the process. Would she please forgive him from her heart? Would she absolve him of this most grievous sin?

With a trembling hand, she brushed away the tears which coursed down his face. She smiled a sad, tired smile at him. She thought back to the years of happiness, the simple life they'd once shared. The fact he'd been the first love of her life. She remembered the ache, the loneliness she'd gone through when he abandoned her. Everything in her screamed how wrong it would be to forgive him, yet she offered mercy to him that day. In a quavering voice, she absolved him. The release flooded through him and a burden was lifted. They parted ways and years separated them once again.

One Christmas, the woman received a phone call from the man. He was at the end of his rope. All the money in the world couldn't buy him happiness, or the simplicity he so longed for. The lavish lifestyle and grueling hours at work to keep him wealthy and comfortable was killing him. He'd lost touch with everyone that mattered: his family and friends. He felt lost, lonely and insignificant. He wanted to end it all. He had called to say goodbye to her, to hear her voice one last time, this good, simple woman who'd loved him once and forgiven him greatly.

It had been much too long since the woman had cared for him or felt emotions stirring within herself toward him. Yet she prayed a simple prayer as they spoke. "God, be with him. Show him there's so much more to life than what he's been pursuing. Give him your peace and simplicity."

It wasn't a very dramatic or elegant prayer, but a prayer offered in the quietness of a humble heart. They said their goodbyes and as she hung up the phone, she realized it wasn't her power to change him. She'd done all she could, forgiven and moved on. And that was enough. The rest would be up to God.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Most Quaint, Cozy Place

     I chuckled to myself today while walking through the quaint town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The movie "Funny Farm" came to mind, but not in a bad or irreverent way. If you've seen the movie, you'll remember near the end when Chevy Chase and his wife are going to be divorcing, and they needed to sell their lovely country home. They called upon the citizens of Redbud, the quaint town nearby, to dress and act like something out of a Norman Rockwell Christmas magazine to help them push the house to prospective buyers. The town was aglow with lights, carolers and such coziness, you wish you lived there yourself.
     Today, I found myself in such a town. Snowflakes flitted upon the air, lacy and delicate. Lovely Christmas music was playing, piped through the gazebo in the town square. Shopkeepers smiled warm greetings at my husband and I as we walked by. Everywhere we went, a bit of Christmas cheer was tucked into a cozy corner.
     Nothing compared to the lovely place we stayed. A newer establishment in town, Thistledown at the Seger House is a journey back in time. With its lovely woodwork, homey, old-fashioned Christmas decor, and some of the sweetest people running it, my husband and I felt as if we were a part of a Norman Rockwell painting, book, or magazine.
     I've yet to find out the history of the building itself. Someone told me it was once an old hospital. I plan on speaking with the owners tomorrow morning to hear more about it. For tonight, my writers imagination will run wild with it. I believe my husband and I are the only ones here this evening. And though that may seem a bit creepy to some, we find it romantic and alluring. The perfect writing retreat for me and well-deserved getaway for my hard-working husband.
     We've stayed in many places on our weekend trips. This impeccable inn will certainly be somewhere we will journey to many times in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Very Piggy Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone from Piggy the Cat, my alter ego. Today I've decided to post an excerpt from the final chapter of Piggy's book which would have been the Christmas volume. Although all her stories will be told in an upcoming paperback book, I want to share with her special fans just a little of the fun that awaits. You guys are amazing and Piggy wouldn't be who she is without all of you. Thanks so much for following her on Facebook and reading her books! You all rock!

Chapter 4
A Very Piggy Christmas

     I opened my eyes and blinked lazily at the bright light of a new day, shivering in the chill of the early winter morning. The wind howled, making the glass window panes rattle. Matt was already up and gone, his spot on the bed already cooled. He must have left much earlier.
     Settling in, making myself presentable for the day, I licked my paw scrubbing it over my face and ears, nibbling between my toes in the way that all cats do, careful to clean every crevice, my hind leg poised in the air. Out of the corner of my eye I spied Melvin my mousy companion in the hallway, sneaking along the baseboard.
     “Psst,” I called out. “Matt’s not here, Mel. Come on in.” I put my leg down and patted the top of the bed with my paw. Melvin scampered into Matt’s bedroom and climbed the quilted comforter with a few small scrambles of his hind legs. Once he was up, he stood on his back feet, nose pointing into the air, agog with curiosity.
     “Nice room,” he said. “Ooh, look.” He pointed near Matt’s computer where an old bowl of ice cream sat, melted. “Good thing your master isn’t a neat freak,” Melvin said. We both investigated and found vanilla ice cream with a smattering of rainbow sprinkles. One lone candy gummy worm sat off to the side of the dish looking a bit forlorn. Melvin scooped the candy into his clutches and set off nibbling the wormy head first. I lapped up the delectable vanilla flavor carefully crunching the sprinkles with my back teeth.
     Melvin looked funny with his cheeks puffed out, the last of the gummy worm dangling from his mouth. He slurped the rest of the body in, and then began licking his paws careful to remove the stickiness.
     “How’s your new room?” I asked, jumping down from the computer desk onto the hardwood floor. My nails always made a ticking sound which I found amusing.
     “Well, I’m pretty much done with the decorating. Maybe you can come see it later. If you can squeeze through the door.” Melvin added quietly as an afterthought.
     “I heard that,” I said. “Thanks for the insult.” I walked away from my pal with my tail indignantly in the air. “Humph!”
     I ran down the stairs to the first floor, Melvin close behind. “Sorry Piggy. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
     “No, of course you didn’t,” I said rolling my eyes and trying to keep some distance between us. I jumped on the back of the couch, sharpening my claws on the cushion. A bit of fluff poked from a small hole I’d created and I batted at it for a while. I pulled at it a bit harder and out popped a wad. Woops.  I tried stuffing it back into the hole and gave up a moment later, swatting it behind the couch.
     Next, I busied myself with a blanket thrown over the arm of the sofa. Using my delicate sense of touch with the pads of my paws, I kneaded the soft afghan over and over, purring as I did. The scent of my master lay embedded in the fabric as well making it especially cozy.
     All the while, Melvin kept trying to get my attention. He didn’t speak but kept running to and fro, annoying me.
      “Mel, would you give up already? I’m not in the mood today.”
     Melvin slunk away, wiry brown tail between his legs. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him mount the staircase, head hung low as he trudged to the second floor.
     Humph. Serves him right. I’m tired of the snide remarks, I thought to myself. I’ll show him a thing or two. I won’t speak to him for a few days. Then when he misses me, he’ll come running back, apologizing for the comments and beg me for forgiveness.
     Contented, I curled around and around on the fuzzy blanket laying my head onto my paws; my whipcord tail curled around me and fell into blissful slumber.
     Awakening much later, it felt as if the light had been sucked right out of the day. It was dim in the living room, though the sheer curtains were opened. Fat, lazy snowflakes began falling. Feathery, lacey, they cascaded through the air, lighting on bushes and grass. I jumped from the couch onto the window sill, my breath making frosty fog on the glass. Brrr. The day had grown even chillier. No wonder, I thought, it is December.
      Thanksgiving had just passed and Christmas was still a few weeks away. I’d always enjoyed Christmas in the old house; watching Matt’s uncle decorate, watching him and Matt pile colorful, wrapped presents under the tree. Most of all, I enjoyed guessing which ones were for me.
     Matt had a small artificial Christmas tree stuck in the corner of our living room. I liked the fake bark, and enjoyed raking my claws down the length of the trunk when Matt wasn’t looking. He’d put it up a day or so ago. Colorful twinkle lights covered every branch. Homemade ornaments from my master’s youth hung from tiny hooks.
     I liked everything about this season. The silly cartoons Matt watched, the same ones over and over through the years. I’d grown accustomed to waiting for them: the Grinch, Frosty and Rudolph. The festive songs were so cheerful and light. The many different kinds of foods and cookies Matt’s mom and grandmother made. Christmas Eve was best of all since they prepared fish as many ways as possible. Tuna spaghetti, some type of small fish called smelts, shrimp and haddock. My mouth drooled just thinking about it.
     I loved basking in the attention and warmth as Matt’s family gathered together. Humans are very fortunate to have such a wonderful time of the year.
     The snow fell harder outside, blanketing everything as I continued watching and daydreaming.  The wind raged and blew the sparkling diamonds of white all around. An extremely large burst of wind gusted, and the front door to my house flew open.
     What on earth? I crouched low and my ears flattened to my head, a ball of fear in my stomach. I’d never seen such a thing happen before. Hadn’t Matt locked up well behind himself this morning?

To Be Continued. . .

Follow Piggy on Facebook: