Thank you to Brenda Cox for the photo prompt. Not sure why WordPress isn’t in the mood to caption it today.
Family Road Trip
“The frogs always drive 2CVs,” my husband jokes as we pass our fifth that day.
“Wearing a blue beret, with garlic round their neck and a baguette? You’ve been watching too much old TV, Dad.” Luke’s suspicious of our inclination to stereotype.
“If it was properly old, you wouldn’t be able to see the colour.”
Matty looks up then. “Black and white TV ended before you were born.” His voice is slick with disdain.
“That one’s green!” I say, trying to lighten the mood. “It looks like a frog!”
“How apt,” sighs Luke, “A frog car for a frog driver.”
*** Translation notes ***
In case you aren’t familiar, British people tend to call French people “frogs” or “froggies”. It’s generally innocent and affectionate and there’s some debate about where it came from (a summary can be found here), but like most of the national stereotypes and nicknames we grew up on, it probably wouldn’t be approved of by younger, woker generations like Luke.
Growing up, Uncle Jerry was my hero because he had one leg longer than the other. He’d show us kids. “Look, ma leeeft leeeg’s longer. Jus’ started that way when I’s fifteen. ‘Swhy I ne’er got called up.”
I noticed as a teen that sometimes his reet leeg was the longer, and then my Mum let slip how Uncle Jerry had a medal for valour. So I started to push a hip forward a little and tease my little cousins that I inherited Uncle Jerry’s condition and they’d better watch out in case one day they woke up the same.
Addendum: apologies to those who read the early version without the last word. Not sure how that got missed but I love your ideas as to what it should have been.
Ever since a cruel boy had weaponised the concept to break her heart, Jodi had desperately tried not to turn into her mother. She’d discovered over the years that it was far from the worst thing that could happen – her mother had been kind, thoughtful and forgiving – and the heartbreak of losing her had been many magnitudes worse than being dumped by Andy Whitman.
Nevertheless, Jodi winced when she saw her mother in the mirror or caught herself using her voice. Which made it all the more confusing today, when the reflection before her wasn’t Mum. It was Grandma.
Not a true story. 😉
There’s a song on the radio these days in which the James Barker Band claims “They ain’t making new old trucks”. It’s a fun song and an understandable sentiment, but of course it’s nonsense. New old trucks are being created in unprecedented numbers. And so are new old ladies, which was the point of this story.
Today’s impressive photo from Amy Reese put me in mind of a few things – the line from My Own Private Idaho about “I’ve been tasting roads my whole life…”; that bit in Scandal with Huck; and lastly the massive amount of storage we now use in the West. I’ve read some incredible stats about just how much space and money we dedicate to things we no longer want in our homes but can’t bring ourselves to get rid of. I’m minimalising at home right now, and the purge feels good even though the decisions aren’t always easy.
Ultimately, my story isn’t exactly about any of these things. I hope it makes sense – it was one of those that would have appreciated 200 words, but hopefully still works as it is. Your thoughts are very welcome.
Alice leaned on the box and taped it closed. Packing was always such a release. Tidy house, tidy mind, as Jack would say.
Steve arrived from Big Yellow and put it in his pick-up. “Alright, Mrs A?”
She smiled and waved. He was a nice boy was Steve; always polite. Make a nice husband for her daughter, she thought, if the girl would just smile.
“Where’s the cutlery gone, Mum?” Sarah asked that evening. “And my plates?”
“I’m decluttering,” said Alice, emerging from Sarah’s bedroom with a heavy bag. “You don’t want all this stuff kicking around when I’m gone.”
When Rochelle asked for our favourite stories from back in FF history, I had an enjoyable morning reading back through my old contributions. I found some I remembered being proud of that didn’t chime so well this time around, some I’d forgotten entirely, and a few that I still love. One of the last category was this one – His World. Interestingly, it continues the grandparent theme of recent weeks.
I’m grateful to Rochelle for the opportunity to look through, and to rerun this one.
This week’s FF story is a special one to me. During my recent absence, I lost my last surviving grandparent: my Grandma. She was a wonderful woman who wore her heart on her sleeve and never let any of us forget how much she loved us. She follows my Grandad, with whom she had a long and loving marriage of over 60 years and who I know she missed every day since his death. Although I don’t know what is on ‘the other side’, I am certain that her grief is over. Either they are now together or else it doesn’t matter.
When I saw Rochelle‘s picture, this story is what came to me. I hope you like it; I welcome your comments.
The Greatest of These
The noise lapped over her in waves: hushed voices, a reading from Corinthians, a baby crying and quickly quieted. There was a weight to the sounds that wrapped them around her like an embrace, though she could see, hear, and feel none of it.
From a distance, and across a gap both wider and narrower than the physical one, she knew nothing of the details. Sight, sound and sensation were lost to her. Where she was, only love remained – from those near and far, surviving and already departed. It was love that flowed both ways, and would never end.
Of all the photos from my wedding, this remains one of my favourites.
I haven’t really got time to join in F this week, but I’ve been away a couple of weeks and I miss it, so here’s my (slightly rushed) response to the prompt. I would love your feedback and I will make sure I get to a few other stories over the course of the week.
Thanks to Roger Bultot for the picture. If you’re wondering how it links to the photo, the fear that many of the stories would prominently feature the door thing in the centre as a tardis or portal sent me spinning off into a daydream about reading the same old thing over and over again, which in turn led me onto a political path about history repeating itself as the UK government prepares to plunge into yet another military intervention of questionable merit, which all led me to Chrissie, and her mother, and eventually Simon. I’m not looking for political discourse; I’m just giving you the short version of what Roger’s intriguing photo has to do with this story.
I am aware that the title and the use of this word in the story could upset some people. I hope you will read to the end for Chrissie’s (and therefore the author’s) justification for its use.
“Oh pur-lease,” sighed Chrissie.
“That,” My daughter indicated something on her phone and I pondered the return of single word + pointing. Thirteen years ago, I was desperate for her to speak in sentences and she did. Until recently. “Retards.”
“Chrissie!” I warned, relieved that her brother was upstairs.
“Proper ones, Mum. No condition, no excuse, just idiots.”
“I’d still rather you didn’t use that word.”
She saw my glance at the ceiling. “Simon’s not a retard, Mum. His brain didn’t develop like theirs and he’s still smarter. They should be pleased to be compared to my big brother.”