In Time…Who’s going to remember?

The Literary Lion Challenge:  The word is ‘time’.   As always you have seven days to create a flash fiction story in 400 words or less.  Check out this link to learn more.

4fb1e7f88dc81ced93278667ace606e3Had he done the right thing?

He could not rid himself of the question. It gnawed him like a hungry rat.

This agony was foreign, for in all his years of service, he never questioned himself…   He had always been confident with his decisions.  He prided himself of the ability to see through the deception.  Normally, he could detect a lie before it even left the deceiver’s lips.  It was his knack and one that he was well known for.  Everyone knew his judgement to be quick and his punishment swifter.

But this time it was different.

He scratched his head once again and visited the list of accusations against the convicted criminal.  The list was long to say the least.  Of course there was the main question of treason but also there were the charges of disturbing the peace, misrepresentation, fraud and even perversion.

The man’s accusers had been so persistent. He had never seen a crowd so fierce with their demands.   Indeed, their fervency bordered upon obsession, and he knew, without a doubt, if he had not acted as he had, there would have been a public lynching, that no man could have prevented.  And how would that have looked on his spotless record?  Not good…not good at all.

No, he had done the right thing.

Hadn’t he…?

That damn question again!  Why couldn’t he shake it?

Stiffly, he shifted in his chair, glanced at the clock, and realized he had wasted the day, wrestling with a decision that had already been made.  Shaking his head, he chided himself and said, “What’s done is done.”  And with that he got up from his chair, hung up his robe and washed his hands.  Somehow, the cleansing of the water made him feel better.

Before leaving his chambers he glanced out the window to see the criminal surrounded by the same angry crowd.  The man had fallen beneath the load of his cross, but some good soul lifted it for him and carried it up the hill.

Witnessing the scene, outside his window, uneasiness nibbled his conscious.

Quietly, he whispered, “What’s done is done.  Besides…in time…who’s going to remember?”

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Jicama

This weeks mystery ingredient was Jicama, which is pronounced /ˈhɪkəmə/

IMG_2672This big bulbous root is also known as Mexican Turnip, Mexican Potato, and Mexican Yam.

If you plan to till a place and add these tubers into your garden, there are a few things to bear in mind.

Jicama is frost tender in that it needs 9 months without frost to be harvested commercially; however, it will produce in areas of only five frost free months; but with a smaller crop.  As  jicama grows, its vines have the potential to reach heights of 4-5 meters; therefore, it is a good idea to stake the vines in order to provide sufficient support.  As it matures, expect to see blooms of blue or white flowers and large green pods that favor Lima beans.  A word of caution here, only the root  is editable, every thing else is extremely poisonous.  The seeds contain the toxin rotenone which is used to poison insects and fish.  (Why would anyone want to poison fish…I’m still scratching my head about that…??)

The exterior is yellow and papery and the flesh inside is creamy white.  The taste is starchy, a bit sweet and often eaten raw in salads.  When cooked it’s added to soups and stir fries.  It’s a great substitute for water chestnuts as its textures are quite similar.

I decided to make two dishes with my (1) jicama.  First I prepared a light/crisp watermelon and jicama salad which turned out very refreshing.  Next I created a savory cream of jicama soup that was reminiscent of potato soup, albeit a little sweeter.

Below are the steps I took in creating this weeks mystery dishes.  Hope you enjoy!

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Watermelon and Jicama Salad

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Above are the ingredients used for my Watermelon and Jicama salad.  (less the fresh mint… I forgot to photograph)  Of course there is the jicama and watermelon, along with orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, lime zest, honey and fresh mint.

IMG_2759Basically, everything is chopped and tossed.  First I cut the watermelon into bite sized pieces.  Then the jicama is cut into thin like matchsticks.  In a separate small bowl whisk together orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, lime zest, honey, salt and cracked pepper.  Pour dressing over watermelon and jicama, add fresh minced mint and toss together.  I even contemplated adding fresh ground ginger.  I will next time.

Creamy Jicama Soup

IMG_2677Peel the jicama, which is not that easy.  You’ll need a sharp knife and a little muscle.

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Fry a couple of slices of bacon.  Drain bacon on paper towels, and save about a 1/4 cup of drippings in fry pan.

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  Saute onion, fresh thyme, and minced garlic in bacon drippings.

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Chop jicama into small peices and add to pan with onions, thyme and garlic.

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Crumble bacon and add to pan.  Pour in chicken stock   to just cover jicama. (for more flavor I also added a chicken bullion)  Cover with lid and simmer until jicama is tender.

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While jicama mixture is simmering, melt butter in saucepan, add flour, heavy cream and cook until thickened.  Be sure to stir continually to keep from sticking to pan.

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Add cream mixture to jicama, stir in basil, salt and pepper to taste.  Puree in batches. (of course I used my Nutibullet)  Soup should be rich and creamy.  If soup is too thick add chicken stock until desired consistency.

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Ladle soup into bowl and enjoy!

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Creamy Jicama Soup and Watermelon/Jicama Salad!  YUM YUM!

Recipes Below

Jicama and Watermelon Salad
Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 jicama, cut into matchstick pieces
4 cups watermelon in 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup roughly torn fresh mint leaves
Directions

Whisk together juices, honey, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the jicama, watermelon and mint and toss to coat.

Creamy Jicama Soup

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound bacon, choppedFresh Thyme

1/2 onion, chopped

1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced

Jicama, peeled and cubed

2 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover

1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon basil

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease.
2. Cook onion, thyme and garlic in reserved bacon drippings until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add cubed jicama, and toss to coat. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Return bacon to the pan, and add enough chicken stock to just cover the jicama. Cover, and simmer until jicama is tender.
3. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the jicama mixture. Puree about 1/2 the soup, (I pureed it all for a creamy texture) and return to the pan. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Amy’s Freedom

Below you will find my submission to the DARK SIDE THURSDAY event.  The idea is to write something dark and scary using 500 words or less.  This is the beginning of Amy’s story.  I hope you will check back next week for it’s continuation.  Enjoy the beginning of Amy’s Freedom.

IMG_1715 (2)Amy opened her eyes to nothing, and she was confused.  She tried to bring her hands to her eyes thinking she could rub away the dark, but her hands were bound behind her back.  A wave of panic surged through her body.  She tried to scream but  could only mew like a kitten.  Her mouth was sealed with a sticky substance she knew to be duct tape.   Her breathing came hard and ragged in and out of her nose.  The sudden loss of carbon dioxide brought her to the brink of hyperventilation.  

Cold fear tightened around her neck and suffocation like the grim reaper threatened her life.  Knowing death was eminent, she tried to concentrate on slowing her breathing.  Again she tried to move but to no avail except for a slight sway back and forth.  To Amy’s horror she realized she was hanging upside down.  Warm liquid ran down her legs from her shackled ankles.  The shackles that bit into her skin had been tightened by a man three times her size.  The pain was almost unbearable and Amy did the only thing she could. Silent tears dripped to mix with the blood and cold earth below.  

Amy hung helpless like a piece of meat waiting for the butcher’s saw.

******

He was confident she wouldn’t be able to escape.  The shackles he used were old but solid, and he had added a bit more force when clasping them to her ankles.  There was no way she could get out of them.  He hadn’t wanted to leave her but he had worked up an incredible appetite and he became grumpy when he was hungry.  He smiled at the thought, and looked at the spinach he sauteed and saw that it had reached perfection.   No, he didn’t like being grumpy and besides it was most important to display his good side to his guest.

Yes, he had already decided to play the perfect gentlemen.  He would be ever so kind and gentle as he cared for her wounds and afterward he would present a dinner cooked to perfection in honor of their first night together.   He reached for the steaks that had been marinating overnight.  The hot grill sizzled when both fillets kissed the iron.  God it smelled good.  He smiled knowing that Amy would enjoy them.

He thought of Amy.  God she was beautiful.  Beautiful but not glamorous, and he liked it that way.  The first time he saw her in class he thought of Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island.  Her innocence had captivated him so much that he found it hard to concentrate on the lesson she taught.  After a while he got past her smile…she was always smiling, and settled in upon the content of her lesson.  Not only was she a “looker” but the lady could teach.  She taught through example so the technique developed right before your eyes.  It was almost as if they were the only two in the room, instead of the twenty five other students.

******

The New Arrival

Photo Credits To TJ Paris
Photo Credits To TJ Paris

No one knows I’m here.

I creep through the halls and sneak into the bedroom.

Excitement ignites deep in the belly. I put a hand to my mouth to hold the laughter that threatens my presence.

I see the fear within her eyes and feel something…I think…akin to pity, and I am confused.  This fleeting moment of humanity vanishes when her screams begin.  No longer confused I am transfixed, no turning away.  I will look.  I have to look because it’s the rules…the rules of this castle of which I dwell.

When I was re-born, it was hard to watch.  Now my dread has turned to wonder. Giddiness came, but it was shy and hid in the shadows until the knife was held high.  Then with a cackle giddiness would scream, “This is the way!  The way you did die!”

The knife descends; the deed is done.  Her body bleeds, as her spirit ascends.

She looks at me.

I open my arms to welcome the new arrival.

Word Count-175

Aren’t We All Sodomites?

angelWhen Corinne and I fell in love and decided to become a couple, one of her friends, supposedly a good christian, tapped his foot against the wall of Corinne’s office as if shaking the dust from his shoes.  This was done to represent his disapproval of our relationship.  In essence he was saying to us, “Since you choose to travel down the path of homosexuality, I want nothing more to do with you…I give up on you…I wash my hands of you…I turn my back on you.  I will not accept, receive or welcome you.”

Corinne and I both were raised in conservative christian homes so when her friend, lets call him “Jeff,” did this, we understood it to be in reference to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Supposedly Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed by fire and brimstone because of the sin of homosexuality.  The Bible, however, is clear in many passages, that the underlying sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was  pride and greed.  Now, I know some of my christian friends and family will brand me a heretic for saying this, but what does it matter…they’ve already branded me a reprobate doomed to hell.  Why not throw a little heresy into the mix…it can’t hurt if I’m already doomed. (Which I am not)

If you go back to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah you see that it is basically about two angels who go there to warn the righteous of God’s eminent destruction of the cities.  As they entered the city gate they were approached by a man named Lot, who without haste pleaded with them to stay the night in his home; however they refused his offer and stated they would sleep in the city square.  Lot wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Why, you may ask, was Lot so persistent?

Was he just a all-around good guy?  Not really.

Did he love entertaining?  There’s no record to prove that true.

Perhaps he was looking for husbands for his daughters?  Not likely…he didn’t even like his daughters.  They were mere property thus expendable, as you will see later in the story.

No, it was none of these admirable reasons for Lot’s persistence.  Lot was a aware of the evil, violence and immorality that ran rampant within Sodom and Gomorrah’s darkened streets, and it was for this reason “he pressed upon them greatly” to stay with him. (Genesis 19:3, KJV)

As the story continues to unfold into the night, we are told “the men of the city…compassed the house, both young and old, ALL the people from every quarter.”   And so this mass of men, even the young boys, beat upon Lot’s door demanding to have sex with the two men.

I firmly believe Lot knew this would happen and so he previously formed a back up plan with the hope it would appease the violent mob.  His plan?  Lot offers his two virgin daughters saying, “I have two daughters who have never slept with a man before. I will give my daughters to you. You can do anything you want with them.” (Genesis 19:8)

Now, call me crazy, but to me, the sin which slaps you in the face, reeks more of violence and rape than that of homosexuality.  Think about it…if all the men where homosexuals and were there to satisfy their lust, why would Lot offer them his virgin daughters?  AND what of Lot offering up his daughters!  How much more deprived or evil can one be than to hand your daughters over to not one man but ALL the men of the city to be raped!

May I suggest there are multiple evil sins running rampant within the streets of Sodom and Gomorrah, so why only focus on homosexuality?  Men rape men today in times of war as a means  proving their dominance not their desire of homosexuality.  It is considered the spoils of war…and their right to demean the enemy…even to the point of calling them women or pussies, if you will.

Anyway…back to “Jeff” shaking off the dust of his feet.  He arrogantly assumed himself to be doing the “christian thing” that he himself was dutifully following the very command of Jesus Christ.

Why does he presume this?

Well, in three of the four gospels, Jesus gathers his disciples and sends them out by twos and tells them to, “Go to the lost, confused people… Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.”

After giving this command, Jesus further tells them, “if any community will not receive and accept and welcome you, and they refuse to listen to you, when you depart, shake off the dust that is on your feet, for a testimony against them. Truly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment day than for that town.” (Mark 6:11, AMP)

Three times, in three gospels, Jesus tells them to “shake the dust off of your feet” for these three reasons…

…if they will not receive, accept and welcome… (Matthew 10:14 AMP)

…if they will not receive, accept and welcome.… (Mark 6:11 AMP)

…if they will not receive, accept and welcome… (Luke 9:5 AMP)

Almost 600 years before the birth of Christ the prophet Ezekiel writes, “The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy.  They ignored the oppressed and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.”  (Ezekiel 16:49)  In reference to this Joyce Meyer writes, “Sodom and Gomorrah are usually known for their sexual sin, but we see in Ezekiel 16:49 that God actually considered other sins to be the root of all their problems.”

Did immorality (homosexual AND heterosexual) run rampant in the streets and alley ways of Sodom and Gomorrah? Without a doubt, as did rape, violence, pride, gluttony, laziness, pedophilia, (Why else would young boys be among the men at Lot’s door?) utter rejection of the poor, the orphans, the oppressed and yes, the stranger.

Which out of all these sins did Jesus reference when he instructed his disciples to shake off the dust?  According to three of the four gospels it was only  “…if they will not receive, accept and welcome…” not because of homosexual desire.

Back to the scene in Corinne’s office, almost ten years ago. Who in that room most clearly resents the Sodomite?   Who in that room is the one who refuses to “receive, accept and welcome?”   Is it the gay person or the christian?

I will say today without apology, we are all Sodomites!

Haven’t we all committed the sin of pride, gluttony, laziness, immorality and violence?  Not a single one of us stand guilt free of shunning the  needy, poor, orphaned, mentally ill, sick, diseased, dirty, smelly, or immigrant.  (Yes, I said immigrant)

I’ve always been taught to be very careful how you judge, for with that same judgement, you will be judged.

Whenever you feel the need to point your finger, remember, your finger always…always points back to you.

Photo Challenge: Half and Half

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”

This week, share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.

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My interpretation of this weeks photo challenge Half and Half:  Half Stalagmite/Half Stalactite

Above, a photo of Shenandoah Caverns, was taken this week when Corinne, Josh and I went for a visit.  So eerie, ghostly and beautiful all at the same time.

Squash Blossoms…Saturday’s Mystery Ingredient (On Sunday)

What’s the phrase…A day late and a dollar short?  I’ve found myself a dollar short quite often, IMG_2574but today I find myself a day late.  Saturday came and went without the posting of my weekly mystery ingredient.  I’ve had such a good time with these food adventures. It’s been fun tasting things I’ve never tried and creating new dishes.

This weekend, however, our son, Josh, came for a visit, and for that reason the mystery blog makes it’s appearance on Sunday…a day late.

Yesterday, Corinne, Josh and I went to the local farmer’s market.  It’s one of my favorite Saturday things to do.  I love the beauty of all the homegrown fruits and veggies and the wonderful aromas from baked breads, pies and homemade cookies.

As we walked from vendor to vendor I noticed something I’d never seen at our market before…squash blossoms!  The farmer who raised them left the baby squash attached to the blossoms.  They were absolutely beautiful and so they came home with us, along with zebra tomatoes, minion cookies and a mini pecan pie.

Josh loves cooking as much as his mom, so I had the privilege of preparing the blossoms with his expertise.  Together we prepared baked potatoes, snow crab legs, New York strip steak and corn on the cob.  Most were prepared on the Weber grill save for the potatoes and blossoms.

So…first things first, we blanched our squash blossoms in boiling water just until they wilted, probably 30 -45 seconds.

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Next our blossoms enjoyed an ice bath and a quick drain on a bed of paper towels.  Blanching and icing helps blooms to be more pliable.  Remove stamen before stuffing blossoms.  The stamen can be bitter and with it removed it gives more room for the cheese.

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Above, Josh, is stuffing the blossoms with Monterrey Jack and Colby cheese.  Most of the recipes I viewed online recommended goat cheese, but I didn’t have that in the fridge.

The Colby and Monterrey cheese tasted and worked great.

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Stuff the cheese within the blossoms and fold the petals all around to create a nice little pocket.

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Above is a view of our blossoms fully stuffed.

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Our beautiful plate of stuffed blossoms go into the fridge for about 20-30 minutes so they’ll be firmly set and easier to handle when battered and fried.

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Take out stuffed blossoms from fridge and lightly dust each side with flour.  This will help the batter adhere to the blossoms better.

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Next I made a batter of Guinness, Masarepa, (pre-cooked ground corn flour by Goya found in the Latin aisle of grocery store.) self rising flour, salt and fresh ground pepper and mixed it to the consistency of pancake batter.  We dipped each blossom into our batter and then dropped into a cast iron frying pan of hot vegetable oil.

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Fry each side to a golden brown.

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Drain squash blossoms on paper towels.  We cut the lemons in half preparing them for our snow crabs legs.

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Above our finished plate of New York Strip Steak, Snow Crab Legs, Corn, Baked Potato, and Squash Blossoms.  I fell in love with the blossoms, so I’ve got my fingers crossed there will be more at the farmer’s market next week.  Even Corinne liked them and she’s not fond of squash.

Good food, good beer and great conversations with the people you love most in the world…no better memories than these!

I truly hope you get a chance to try Squash Blossoms.  They are delicious.

That’s What I Call A Grand Slam!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Grand Slam.”

In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run?

1398881_10202549229916967_277776572_o“Geeeeez….go away…,” I say to Luna who keeps pawing my face.

“I’m sleepy…girls…get…go away…,” Dolly and Danica look into my drooping eyes as if to say, “Come on Mama, the sun is out and we need to pee.”

Luna meows and paws my face again while Dolly puts her little paws on the edge of my bed and looks at me with her goofy beagle face.  Danica, the bold one of the bunch, leaps on the bed and licks me in the face.

“Okay…Okay…,” I say and sleepily manage to roll out of the bed, trudge down the hall and open the back door for the eager Danica and Dolly.  I barely have the door cracked when they both vie for the opening and fish tail back and forth until they successfully squeeze through.

My intentions were to climb back into my comfy bed but dammit I’m too awake.

Luna, sitting by the food bowl, looks at me as if to say, “What’s taking so long?  C’mon hurry up…chop chop!”

I make my way to the kitty food and stumble over Morris who has been sitting patiently, probably for hours.

Hmmm…just like me to step on the only animal in the house with manners.  I try to console my ginger boy, but his feelings are hurt and skirts under the kitchen table to pout.

“I’m so sorry, boy.  I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Luna, who’s completely fed up, pins back her ears and meows grumpily.   “C’mon already!  I’m freaking starving!”

Worried about Morris, I look toward the table and see two golden eyes looking back at me.  He gazes at me and ponders whether or not to forgive me my misstep.

As I fill the food dish, Luna dives in before I’m done, causing kitty kibble to bounce off the back her head and on to floor.  The wayward kibble continues its journey and doesn’t rest until its under the table with Morris, who, without hesitation, gobbles it up.

Hmmmmm…guess all is forgiven…

I look at the coffee pot and then towards the bathroom and wonder which urge to satisfy first.  I answer nature’s call, thinking, coffee would taste better on an empty bladder.

My business done, hands washed, I turn towards the door with nothing on the brain but coffee, creamed with sugar.

“Hey…hey…fatty two by four!  Don’t you dare walk through that door!”

Stunned, I take an about face to stare at the bully lying on the floor.  The bathroom scale smirks and giggles with the knowledge of knowing he’s captured my attention.

We stare each other down with what seems like hours and then he goes and does the unthinkable.

He sticks out his tongue.

That’s it!  I can’t take it anymore!  Full of rage, I lunge, jump as high as I can and come down, full force, with both feet, landing on top of the bully.home-run-real-estate-investing1

Then he howls with laughter and I know I’ve been had. Yep, I fell for his trap hook line and sinker.

Chagrined, and feeling used, I put my hands over my ears to muffle his laughter.

I look down and see his eyes rolling back and forth.  It seems like an eternity and then they stop and defiantly stare back.  The numbers register and I’m dumbfounded.

Slowly, I slip my hands from my ears to cover my mouth but was too late to contain the hysterical laughter escaping the gaping hole.

Hot damn I’ve lost a pound!

Now that’s what I call a GRAND SLAM!

Beauty For Ashes

beauty-for-ashes-280x280God promises us beauty for our ashes.  He wants to mend our brokenness.

He did this for Job.  Job, a man of the Old Testament,  was blessed with wealth, family, friends and perfect health.  In one day he lost it all.  His children died, his wealth was taken, his friends rejected him and he was struck with a sickness that covered his body in sores.  Job had nothing and was in such despair he rent his clothes, put on sackcloth (coarse clothing of goat’s hair), sat ashes and scraped his sores with broken pottery.

During biblical times ashes represented extreme sorrow, and so Job literately sat down in the middle of his sorrow.  To the naked eye Job looked wretched and utterly alone.  However, Job knew God was in the midst.

Job was tenacious, as a bull dog he seized the hope of God’s salvation and refused to let it go.  God honored his faithfulness and in the end Job received double of all he had lost.  He received beauty for his ashes.

We all suffer the trials of Job; the loss of a job, bankruptcy, foreclosure,  a phone call about the death of a loved one, or an x-ray confirming terminal illness.  God can take care of all our problems big or small.  It’s true, God wants our faithfulness but he also wants our weakness.  He encourages us to cast ALL our cares upon Him because he cares for us.

Be tenacious.  Don’t stop believing that He hears our cries, sees our tears and understands when no one else can or will. He is gentle, merciful and longs to gather us to him much like the hen who gathers her chicks under her wing.chicks-under-wings1

Don’t lose hope…keep the faith and in due time God will give you beauty for your ashes.

“…those… who mourn. I will take away the ashes on their head, and I will give them a crown. I will take away their sadness, and I will give them the oil of happiness. I will take away their sorrow and I will give them celebration clothes.”  (Isaiah 61:3)

But Oh It’s So Painful!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Practice Makes Perfect?.”

Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

Social-ButterflyI’m not sure if this qualifies as a talent but I would love to possess the gift of gab.  I could be a social butterfly.  I could be eloquent and graceful at parties.  Public speaking would be a cinch and when I delivered them I wouldn’t feel like throwing up.  I could ace job interviews and make wonderful first impressions.  And somehow I think the gift of gab would help to make me a better writer.

If only I weren’t so quiet.  Perhaps it’s not the gift of gab I desire so much but more to be an extrovert, and if not an extrovert then at least an introvert who could pull off acting the extrovert. (Would that make me a magician or a hypocrite?)  I don’t know why I waste my energies dreaming to be something I’m not, and besides it’s probably a trait you’re either born with or not.  I’m almost confident, that to be the case because as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a quiet person.  Often this made me feel like a weirdo.

Most of the time I just don’t know what to say, after the courteous, “Hello” and “How are you?” It’s always been this way, and I’m at a loss as to why.  Was I born this way or did I learn to become this way as a result of my environment?  The later could ring true since my childhood was a little dysfunctional. The only way to know for sure, would be to press the rewind button of life and to be “born-again” into another family.  That ain’t happening.

large_shy_baby_169231I’ve often wondered if my quietness were the result of growing up with a speech impediment.  I was a professional stutterer growing up; add a lump of shyness into the mix and the two make for a distasteful recipe.

It was a struggle to get anything out of my mouth.  More often than than not, I gave up in frustration only to keep everything inside.  The world was going on all around me and I was but a spectator. It made me feel like a nobody.

After a while, this feeling became the constant in my life.  It followed me everywhere I went.  I guess, you could say, it became my “natural.”

I’m confused, I thought natural was supposed to feel comfortable.  Shouldn’t natural feel like a warm cup of coffee, a favorite book or the well worn shoes you walk around in throughout your day?  My natural felt nothing of the sort.  It was more like a jagged piece sand in a shoe that didn’t fit.  If only I could learn to make a pearl.

Quiet is painful.  Silence is painful.  I fear that awkward dead silence that frequents my conversations.   I fear it so much, I desperately try to cover it with words…any words, and most of the time it’s the wrong words.  You see, I have this nifty sack of words that I throw over my shoulder for such occasions.   I carry the heavy load every where I go, so when moments like these presents itself, I reach inside, grab a handful, and randomly sling words, of any kind, into the conversation.

The flip side of this dilemma… it can be quite hilarious for the innocent bystander watching such a scene unfold.  I guess it’s a good thing to be able to make others laugh.  It was my privilege to perform in such play, many years ago.        

 Picture it:  I’m eighteen years old, I’m at the gym, and I’m minding my own “quiet” business.  Happily, in my own little world, I’m running on the treadmill, doing what’s good for my body and my psyche. I’m sweating, I’m huffing, I’m puffing, and hurting like hell but it feels good.  I’m in a safe place and I don’t   have to talk.  Until a young man sauntered up to my treadmill and began to speak.

 Falling-off-a-TreadmillWhen I saw his mouth open I became as a deer in headlights.  My tummy lurched, my heart jumped into my throat and the only thing I could think of  was, “Throw some words…throw some words…oh my god, throw some words!”  With that thought, I mentally reached into my bag of words grabbed the first few and slung them at his open mouth.  The mental exertion proved too much for my limited dainty graces, and so, with the toss of those words, I successfully tossed my body off the treadmill.  I’ve always been quite athletic so instinct kicked in and I grabbed for the railing to break my fall.  At that moment everything stopped except to the runway that kissed my knees.  And what a passionate kiss it was!  It was definitely a kiss and tell moment!  The proof ran red down my legs.  After that day I saw the gentleman, here and there, around the gym, but he never tried to talk to me again.  In fact, he never even looked in my direction.

1375770_10202618814136529_1611965970_nToday, thirty years later, my social abilities have advanced. I try to choose my words with a little more finesse.  I’ve learned the art of deep breathing and have mastered the ability to laugh at myself.  On the whole I do quite well, and I presume, most of whom I meet, haven’t a clue about the struggles within.

However, every once in a while I slip back into the girl who slipped off the treadmill.

Meh…it’s not the end of the world…it just keeps life interesting.