Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clothesline Stories...

Two Stories (Again...)

It's Wednesday! And that means time for Nicole Pyle's Wednesday Weekly Writing Prompt. Her site is found: HERE.

Again, the rules: 500 word maximum, incorporate the above picture in the story, use the five words found below in the story, must be done in a week, and must be linked to Nicole's website. This week, like I did a few weeks ago, I wrote two stories. Hope you like them!

This Week's Five Required Words:


A Child's Path

     Mark Tomlinson hoisted his 3-year old son onto his shoulders as he stepped outside the home of his grandmother. The child screamed in delight as his dad ran around the backyard, his firm hands holding the youngster’s feet secure as the boy spread his arms and like wings, cut the pollinated air.
     “Run faster, dad! Faster!” The father obeyed as the sun and a warm summer breeze kissed the child’s perfect skin. “Yeeeaahhh!” The words oozing pure joy filled the yard and sang to the father’s heart. Eventually age and the price Mark paid for lack of exercise forced him to stop. He gently lowered his son to the earth then lowered himself onto the deep green grass. Not wanting to stop, the child continued running around the yard choosing the poles of a clothesline to become axis for
his elliptical footpath. Mark watched his son race around the poles. He then rolled onto his back to stare into the brilliantly blue Idaho sky. Mark smiled—he had ran around the same poles in the same yard when he was his son’s age.
     As Mark gazed into the infinite blue a flood of memories poured over him. He remembered the trips his family took in his youth. He remembered the stories—many reaching legend-status—of his mother and her two brothers as they grew up in this rural area. He remembered them speaking of the fun, but also the task it was growing up poor on a small family dairy farm. He remembered his grandfather, now gone, and how the quiet, humble man took him to the small town’s flea market each Saturday they visited. Oh, the treasures they found together…
     Mark’s attention turned to his son who continued racing around the poles, a path of smashed grass a result of his son’s bare feet digging into the lush lawn with each pass. A single sheet on the clothesline fluttered in the wind, its fabric tentacles lovingly reached for the scampering boy as he ran passed. The man looked at his progeny and hoped with everything in him that his son would one day feel the way he now felt.


     The woman looked to the east where a court of mountaintops rose above the valley floor like royal sentinels towering over their subjects. Would today be the day? the woman thought to herself as she
unconsciously attached a white sheet to the clothesline. The morning was unseasonably warm and in an effort to avoid thinking of her husband away in Europe, she turned to yet another never-ending daily task required of all women raising children while their spouses were away at war. No, she
thought. It won’t be today. If Frank were killed or injured, the news wouldn’t come today.
     The basket of wet laundry beckoned and the woman responded. Digging into the pocket on her apron she withdrew several clothespins and attached an embroidered pillowcase to the thin metal line, a pillowcase she received from her mother on her wedding day. The colors on the pillowcase had faded since that day seven years earlier when Frank drove her to the county courthouse and married her, a woman barely 17-years old. The lonely woman remembered the day as if it had just happened, she in her worn but best dress, Frank in his tattered suit. They wore the best clothes they could afford during the early days of the depression.
     The woman’s memories were interrupted by the cat racing around the corner of the house in search of a flea-ridden mouse. She hoped the usually reliable cat would earn its keep, kill the vermin and thus justify the price of the feline when the family bartered a bushel of radishes for the cat last year. He was such a good cat.
     The sun rose higher in the spring sky and a gentle wind wisped through the yard. With all the wet garments hanging on the line the woman bent and retrieved the now empty basket. As she did, the thought of Frank permeated her reluctant mind. She fought the unwanted feelings, but lost allowing his spirit back into her thoughts. Would he die today? Tomorrow? Would his life become legend with tales of a heroic death, or even due to some mindless accident? No, she thought. Even if it happens
today, the news won’t come today. The woman entered the home built by her loving husband in search for an activity—any activity—that would require she think of something other than her absent husband.


  1. Thanks ESN!! You should give it a try. They welcome all submissions (at least, they haven't rejected any of my little stories...yet). I look forward to Wednesdays to see what awaits. Thanks again for the comment! Have a great day!

  2. I love that you do two stories. I can barely patch together one. :) I like how these both seem to have the same energy, even though the emotions attached to them are different.

    1. I was 3/4 through the first story and I thought of the second one. I didn't want to just chuck the first one so I finished it. The second one was easier to write. Thanks again! I'm waiting for you to post yours... ;)

  3. They are both great, but I love the imagery and feeling of the second one. I have to say, Scott, that you write great stories from the female perspective (and that's a compliment!)!!

    1. Stella--I definitely take that as a compliment. My mom and her brothers lived through WWII in a little farmhouse in Idaho. The boys were too young to fight, but seeing that clothesline just made me think of a mom. Thanks for the kind words!

    2. Stella - that is because I MADE him watch every Jane Austen movie that has ever been made! :D

  4. I love this!! And I love the perspectives that come from both! It's wonderful! And it's amazing how something like that can provoke memory. It happened to me recently with a perfume I tried - memories of an easier seeming time. I loved this duo you wrote!

  5. Loved the second one! Isn't it funny that we both associated that picture with the same year/generation? :)