Terra Firma – Year One

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Bradley Harris

wc: 101

The beach was pristine,untouched by humankind for a millennia. I walked slowly down the stretch, watching dolphins play. On the breeze, I heard their chortles of glee as they leapt, spun, and dove. I smiled. I couldn’t help it. Their joy was infectious.

Walking on, my destination growing larger on the horizon. The old ship wreck, still half beached, half buried beneath the waves lapping against its rusted hull. The upper deck now home to hundreds of seagulls who were none to happy at my appearance. Again, I smiled. It was good to see Terra Firma once again teeming with life.

Author’s Note: This week, Omicron is surging fiercely in our area of the country. We have returned to mask wearing, and there are shortages of basic groceries and what is there has inflated in price. Personally, we have lost two Aunts in the last few weeks to Covid, as well as several friends and acquaintances. It is a rough time, and so I thought I’d write something joyful, something that would hopefully transport the reader away from the grimness of reality for a few moments. May you all have a safe and healthy week. My prayers are raising for our great nation and it’s citizens, as well as our world as we live day to day with this “plague” of Covid.


It was a “weird” year this year, Christmas wise… On Christmas Eve, we attended services where we lit the Advent candle. Afterwards, we came home and hit the hay early. A week of very long -mandatory overtime – days left us exhausted. Leahmae, however, had no qualms in making sure we were up at 0600 Christmas morning. She pawed and kneaded, and nuzzled her way between us, sniffed eyeballs, nostrils, and ears until we finally had to respond to her. The little imp. We got her a new bed and a special toy (just like the one she’s worn out), and wouldn’t ya know, she’s had more fun with the paper.

So, Leahmae fed, watered, and cuddled it was time to do the giftings. It was a meager year, what with all that’s happened with paycuts and car issues. So, we each got a sweatshirt. Hubby got replacement jeans for his delapidated ones.

Being dutiful, we called inlaws to wish them a merry Christmas. It was obvious that MIL was drunk. We rolled our eyes. What did we expect??? Family was there with them and they were having a gay old time (We were not invited). Then, to add injury to the insult, MIL in no uncertain terms told us that they didn’t have a phone and not to try to call back. HUH??? You’re talking to us on the phone, so how??? Anyway, after hanging up, Hubby says “Well, that’s that… we aren’t part of the fam anymore. I won’t be calling back.” Friends, you should have seen the raw pain in his eyes. It broke my heart. I wanted to weep for him. We hugged and he said “It’s just you and mean against the world… again. Thank God we have a church family that cares and loves us.”

As usual, I didn’t get my Christmas until the 26th, when Hubby said let’s go tot he art store… how could I refuse, eh????So, off to the store we went… I drooled and drooled over the Utrecht “Urban Sketching” kit. At $49.50, though, I just couldn’t justify the expense. Seriously couldn’t. So, I read the can’s contents… Hmm, I have more than enough pencils -Check, I have watercolor pencils & pen – check, I have charcoal pencils, vines – check. I thought I had the Sepia and Sanguine charcoal pencils…wasn’t sure. Oh, and the white paint pen – definitely not. So, I picked up 4 pencils. Didn’t have the paint pens. Got a replacement for my #8 Micronta…. Less than $15. A done deal. Then, we slowly made our way down to the lower level (My wrenched knee is getting better, but steps are still difficult) where Half-Price Books is. Let me just say, I love HPB (Half Price Books)! I can always find “something there. And so, I did. I found a copy of Danny Gregory’s “An Illustrated Life” that I had heard about in the Sketchbook Skool’s YT videos. It was on clearance, so a mere $3. Wow! I snatched that bad boy up, lickety split.

And so, that was Christmas in our little bend in the river. Sigh…

Pearl Harbor: Never Forgotten…

My humble honor to ALL who served at Pearl Harbor, and the war that it brought to our shores.

My own memory… I remember the day that I found the old, faded and brittle slips of paper in my Gran’s Bible. I remember asking her what they were. She told me to open one and read it. I did. Then, I sat there in shock and awe. I was holding a telegram announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then, Gran shared her story about being a courier at the base during the war and being entrusted with delivering that very telegram to the Base Commander.

Oh, what a solemn service that must have been. She spoke of the terror of that morning. A simple Sunday morning, people rising early to get to church, or duty stations, completely unaware of the horror that was was about to unfold before their eyes. Gran spoke of how the Commander shared the telegram with her, told her to keep a copy as it was history. At 16, when my Gran shared that with me, I understood the significance of that piece of paper.She told me to keep it, and I suggested that maybe it would be best if we donated it to the museum. We did. And every year, we would go and visit it.

The last time I was at the museum, it was not longer on display. A part of my heart was saddened by that. But, times change, and history is slowly forgotten. Now, I think back to the morning of 9-11, and I understand her story far too well. I will never forget that day or the weeks that followed, much as my Gran never forgot her very small, but important role that awful morning.

So, I’m not sure why this year of all years I’m feeling rather nostalgic about it all. I’ve never drawn the memorial before, either. It was just a quick sketch, but I’m thinking about making a larger piece with a small vignette of the memorial surrounded by the smoke of a soldier’s last cigarette. I’ve heard the story from a survivor about his catching a smoke completely unawares until the first bomb fell. That story, and the one who shared it made an impression on me even at a young age.

Blessings to all Survivors of the Attack, and of the subsequent war. Our country can never truly repay you for your sacrifices…..

Shalom to us all… Bear