Author Archives: elmowrites

About elmowrites

Writer, waitress, lawyer, Mum ... Englishwoman in Toronto ... Maker of worlds and decider of fates ... All of these things and more!

FF – House Move

Photo credit: Alicia Jamtaas

House Move

(A true story)

“Label all the boxes,” I said, for the hundredth time. “We need to be able to find things when we get there.”

I passed around Sharpies and glared at anyone who suggested they might get to it later.

Of course, a computer is only as good as its programmer and a label is only as good as its writer.

So I stand here, in front of a wall nearly high enough to keep Donald Trump happy, and every single box is labelled. I should find my boots no trouble.

Except a full 24 of the boxes are called “Basement: Misc”

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Stuck On You

Photo copyright: Trish Nankeville

Stuck On You

“It won’t come off!” Matty shakes his leg, increasingly annoyed at the bur stuck there.

“I know how that feels,” I say, laughing. “You used to cling to me that way.”

“I did NOT!”

“You always wanted to be carried, even when you were too big. I think you just wanted to sneak in those extra hugs.”

He’s too big for hugs now. Wouldn’t dream of embracing his mother in public.

“Well, how did you get me off?” He’s tugging at the seedpod again.

“I waited. And you grew up.”

“I’m not waiting until this thing turns into a tree!”

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FF – Promises

Photo copyright: Lisa Fox

Promises

When Dad died, I sobbed about who’d walk me up the aisle. He wrapped me in a bear hug and said, “I’ll be there.” I didn’t even have a boyfriend, but my brother’s promise was what I needed.

Haven’t seen him in years; it’s Joe who holds my hand now.

But today, Joe’s inside and I’m out here alone, smoothing out my train.

There’s a shout from the lake and a boat roars into view. I don’t know what Joe or our priest will think about his attire, but we keep promises in our family. That’s gotta count for something.

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FF – Heck of a Shadow

Bit of a cheat this week; I couldn’t figure out how to cut this one shorter without losing a favourite line, so I took the last one and made it the title. I hope you’ll forgive me! 😉

Photo copyright David Stewart

Heck of a shadow them towers cast. Longer now than when they was standing.

I ain’t never been out East, it’s a heck of a journey and the girls wouldn’t like it. Who’d bring ’em in? Milk ’em? Help bring their littl’uns into the world?
So I didn’t see them towers when they was there and I sure ain’t seeing ’em now they gone. More concrete in that hole in the ground than this entire prairie, I’d say.
But they hit me when they fell. James was gonna run the farm when I’s gone; but he did his part and they sent him home forever, just like his granddaddy, and his grandaddy’s daddy before.

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FF – Earth’s Finest

I missed last week to fight off a virus you might have heard of. Yes, 2.5 years in, I finally caught covid. I’m grateful for the vaccines, I was pretty grotty for a while there, so I’m glad it wasn’t worse. Getting better now, but lots to catch up on, in particular about a million boxes still to unpack and the kids are antsy because we haven’t unearthed their bike helmets yet.

But I can’t miss 2 weeks of FF or I’ll lose the habit, so here’s my 100 word story.

Photo copyright Brenda Cox

Earth’s Finest

“ALL LOCAL PRODUCE” the sign says. “LOWER YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT… SAVE OUR PLANET” and a little chalk globe, green and blue vaguely indicating land and sea without committing themselves to which of either.

Cardboard straws annoy me and I sometimes forget my own cup, but I’m trying, so I step inside, study the delicious cuisine on offer, inhale the scents of planet-saving food.

The guy behind the desk tells me how dropping our food miles reduces island flooding. He pauses to take a swig from his water and the whole world crashes down. 500ml of hypocrisy, from 5000 miles away.

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FF – Customer Service

Image copyright Roger Bultot

Customer Service

There’s a narrow window when it’s great to eat out. Not too cold, or too hot; it isn’t raining, and the wasps haven’t started to swarm, the mozzies aren’t biting and the pigeons aren’t dropping extra toppings onto your dessert.

And then there’s the rest of the year, when there’s always one couple. “Can we sit outside?” they sound apologetic. They sound like I could say no and they’d accept my advice.

And then they seem shocked when conditions mean they have to dash in, panicking. And they don’t even know about the extra toppings I’ve added to their dessert.

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Goodbye, Old Home

This post comes to you a little later than usual because yesterday we moved into our new home just north of Cobourg, Ontario. Out in the country and a very different proposition from our old place deep in the city of Toronto. I’m still surrounded by packing boxes and I don’t think the reality has sunk in yet, but it’s an exciting time.

Bill’s photo this week spoke to those emotions, so while this story is fictional, it’s heavily inspired by circumstance.

Photo copyright Bill Reynolds

Our first house was a dream buy. The owner’s unexpected demise made it cheap and we could fix all the old-fashioned décor over time.

Except time never seemed to come.

Now as we stand on the threshold, saying goodbye, I’ll miss those curtains I stared at through a million late-night feeds, that rug where our dear departed Rusty curled up every morning after his walk, the wallpapered pillar with lines showing dates and heights. I’ll even miss the avocado bathroom we swore would be the first thing to go. I guess puke colour is fitting given the things it endured.

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FF – Late Night Drinking

Image copyright Fleur Lind

Late Night Drinking

“It’s not there.” His voice startled me. I’d been twenty miles away in another bar, watching Jason walk away. Wondering why.

I looked up. The man was maybe fifty. Salt and pepper good-looking. Like George Clooney but without the smile.

“The answer. It’s not there.”

“Where?” I asked.

“Nothing at the bottom of that glass but glass.” He said, pointing to the drink on the bar in front of me. “Trust me, I’ve finished a few of those.”

In spite of myself, I laughed. “Maybe you just haven’t found the right glass yet.”

“Another one, then? We can look together.”

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FF – At the Side of the Road

At the Side of the Road

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.”

A groan.

“I came to a fork in the road, so I picked it up!”

“Mom, seriously.”

“No poems, no jokes. How about interesting facts? French for Stop is Arret. It’s the root of our word arrest, like cardiac arrest, but we mostly…”

“No, Mom. No jokes, no facts, no silly word games.”

“So we’re just going to sit here and pretend your brother isn’t yakking on the verge outside the car?”

Silence.

“Wales uses Stop signs but it’s not proper Welsh. Should be Stopiwch or Stopio.”

“I’m gonna go join the barfing.”

Extroduction

This one is totally clear to me in my head, but I don’t know whether it needs more exposition to be clear. I had in mind Mom and son waiting in the car while another son hurls his guts at the side of the road. Mom’s trying to distract herself and her son, but he’s not in the mood. Let me know if that’s what you saw – and don’t be afraid to critique if it’s not.

My youngest has all-but written off our car this week by NOT waiting until he got out and liberally decorating the inside. Luckily, it’s a Jeep Wrangler, so worst case scenario, I’ll take the roof off and drive it through a car wash. A highlight while attempting to clean it by hand was discovering that the floor has a drainage plug. Y’know, in case you flood the car. The designer probably didn’t envisage the flood being caused by me with a bottle of bleach and a hose!

In other news, here’s the Welsh Stop sign debate.

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FF – Progress

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields‘ own photo this week.

Progress

The photo on my Mum’s dresser shows Gran and Gramps getting married. She made the dress herself from a Simplicity pattern and fabric she bought at the market. There were enough scraps that Mum was christened in a gown made with them, two years later.

I can’t sew a button. Mum could; I’d have to pay someone. Economic progress through the loss of individual skills. Presumably Great-Gran wove the fabric herself. And her Grandma grew the cotton herself.

If I’m right, where does progress go next? Perhaps my daughters won’t even have to earn their own money to buy clothes!

** All fiction, in case you were wondering **

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