Winter Wonderland? by Mildred Grant

Waking early to discover nearly a foot of new snow on the ground seemed a wonderful way to start our Christmas vacation.

 “Let’s get our sleds out and go up past Uncle Will’s to just past the Bear’s Den Road and slide back down to the bridge,” Chester suggested.

Before Allen, Eleanor, or I could answer, Mom responded from the kitchen. Continue reading

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Child of the Wind by Mildred Grant

“Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I!”

Two lines from a song we sang in grade school. I wonder whether my mood is called to answer that of the velocity of the wind or does the wind match my thoughts and feelings?

We were on summer vacation and I was feeling restless. Though there were occasional patches of blue sky, the clouds in the west looked increasingly ominous. As the wind began to rise, so did my exhilarating need to out race the buffeting gusts of air, so I ran straight into the now-howling turbulence. Sensations of fear to joy took over. As the branches of apple, pear, and maple trees were writhing in wild abandon, I joined them in their dance. Being young and of average size for my age, about six or seven, it wasn’t long before I was securely wind-pinned, lying against a stone wall. Out of breath, I watched as the fury slowly subsided to a gentle summer breeze. The sun reappeared. No longer restless, the lingering sense of excited fear and joy in the whole experience soon settled back to the calmer feelings of my ordinary way of life.

Opportunity Knocking by Mildred Grant

Several years ago The National Embroiderers Guild had a chapter here in Greenfield. Anyone could belong as long as their handwork was accomplished with the use of a needle with an eye. Individuals with all skill levels were encouraged to join the group with an eye toward improving methods and learning new crafts, as well as using the latest techniques and tools in accomplishing our own specialties.

Our original members comprised a wide spectrum in needle artistry, but there was no one person with an all-encompassing knowledge of the subject. We learned new skills from each other each month by designating one of our members, who was skilled in the process the majority wanted to learn, as the next month’s teacher. Many of us found a great teaching tool in small, pre-assembled sampler kits. In this way we learned basic and Crewel embroidery, Needlepoint, Bargello, Black and white, Shisha, Kogin, Brazillian, Continue reading

Allen at Goose Pond by Mildred Grant

His inner voice kept nagging as he stood ankle-deep in the cooling water at the shore of Goose Pond.

“Don’t do it! It’s too far and puts too much at risk,” the voice warned.

Recently honorably discharged from service in the Navy, Allen was used to following orders, but, realizing these commands were self-inflicted fears, he took a shallow dive and started to swim for the eastern shore of the pond a quarter-mile away.

The water temperature changed from refreshing to icy cold, quite often. The cold areas were numbing, fed by springs in the bottom of the pond. Much like the ups and downs of his life, lately.

His high school diploma and Navy experience took him nowhere in the post-war job market, but with his savings and financial help from his parents, they now owned a sizable piece of shore-front property, with cabins.

Though he had reached the eastern shore, his doubts and anxieties came back to plague him in full force: No experience in renting out the cabins to summer vacationers or hunting parties in the fall and a very slim budget to repair and up-grade the property. Boats, such as they were, that came with the property, could be made to hold together for a while. Was the whole venture worth the up-coming struggle?

Allen tried to blank out thoughts of the huge burden he had assumed, by diving back into the pond to complete his half mile swim. Half way across, a cramp struck in his right leg. Floating on his back, he watched the evening star appear, a large sun dog was suddenly pierced by shining shafts of light from the disappearing sun. An owl hooted, its mate answered. Allen’s mind, body, and soul felt the peace and quiet of this place.

Gaining his own shore, he thought, “We will make this work!”

Little Mr. Yellow Shirt by Mildred Grant

 There had been a couple of times when choir participants had been visited on stage during a performance by their child who didn’t appreciate being left behind in the congregation, but this didn’t appear to be one of those times.

 About three years old, dressed in brown corduroy pants and a neon yellow sweat shirt, he wandered into my range of vision at my left. He seemed oblivious that he might be doing something unusual or inappropriate. Neither the choir director, waving his arms, the accompanist’s vigorous playing, nor the stage full of adults singing full-bore, seemed to faze Yellow Shirt.

Up the steps of the stage, taking a casual left, he inserted himself into the front row of the tenor section of the choir. With complete self-assurance, he retrieved a chocolate cookie from his pants pocket and nibbled off a sizable bite. He stayed, munching contentedly, for a few minutes, and then wandered down the steps, carefully, one at a time, taking a detour beside the accompanist. Cookie remains back in his pants pocket, he put his hands in the air, working his fingers as though playing the keyboard. Continuing his journey, as the congregation let out a communal sigh of relief, Little Yellow Shirt started a leisurely stroll up the next aisle over from where I was sitting. Suddenly, he was scooped up by an older boy and whisked out of sight.

Good from Evil Intent by Mildred Grant

 

My brother was looking for a fight! He tried to engage my sister’s attention by poking her in the back enough times and hard enough to warrant a quick, full-swing slap across his face. More angry than ever, he tried to pick on me, but Mom caught him.

“Outside! No more picking on the girls! Go find someone your own size,” Mom scolded. “Don’t go far. We’re in for a shower.”

“Hm-m-m, my own size. That’s it!” His face still smarting and now hot Continue reading

The Lemon Puddle by Mildred Grant

            The children were  back in school, the clothes washed and hung out to dry in the bright sunshine with a helpful breeze blowing.

            Mary asked her sister-in-law, “What shall we do next, Mattie?”

            “Remember those lemons we bought from Mr. Barnes, the peddler?” Mattie asked. Continue reading

Un-Fair at Heath by Mildred Grant

        Spending the summer months at Great Uncle Merritt’s big, old, colonial era farm-home in Heath, afforded endless, wonderful opportunities for us five children to explore the whole area, inside all the buildings, and, as far as Mom would allow, to roam freely the surrounding fields and forests.

            We had known for a week that we were going to the Heath Fair, so our childish efforts at “taking Heaven by storm,” to assure perfect weather, seemed to have paid off. Continue reading

The Dodo Lady by Mildred Grant

            Eleanor’s was bright sky blue. Mine was fire engine red, but the hand knit tams had the added feature of being incredibly soft and fuzzy.Angora? Perhaps, though I remembered Aunt Mary’s recent comment that Angora yarn was prohibitively expensive to knit Christmas gifts for two pre-teen age girls.

            “A what kind of brush?” Mom asked my Grandmother.

            “Sh-sh!” Grandma cautioned. “I’ll explain later. For now we’ll just let her think we believe it’s angora.” Continue reading

Portrait—Untitled by Mildred Grant

            Glancing around the kitchen at the pile of breakfast dishes in the sink and the mound of laundry near the stove waiting for the water to heat, Helen was a bit envious as she watched her two oldest children go careening down the slope of the back lawn toward the stone wall that separated lawn from pasture in their make-shift vehicle. Nearly a foot of new snow had fallen overnight finally turning to rain in the early morning hours. Just before dawn the thermometer took a steep downward plunge Continue reading