“Failure is success in progress.”
One December, our family room looked barren. Where a glorious, fresh, decorated Christmas tree usually stood, we had but empty carpet. This was strange, since my mother loved fresh pine trees and had insisted on one for years. She loved the smell, you see. That year, however, she couldn’t bring herself to do Christmas. I’d say it was Winter Blues or a Nervous Breakdown or whatever euphemism people preferred for describing Depression, but it was also that my brother and I fought like angry dogs while complaining about our difficult lives in wealthy suburbia while demanding expensive presents.
Facing the reality of a tree-less Christmas, we children called a cease fire. Enlisting the help of the only other licensed driver in the house (our father), we set off to see what was available on a literal Christmas Eve.
Fortunately, we didn’t need to go far. At the point of commerce touching neighborhood, we saw that one of the businesses had donated their holiday decorations to the large dumpster out back. We drew closer. In the light of minivan headlights and father-held flashlight we saw them: a few skinny, short, still-alive Christmas trees.
“Let’s take them!” my sister said.
“They’re too small,” I claimed -or my brother; we share a similar optimism.
But we all knew we were short on options. We also knew we needed time to decorate, open our traditional pajamas, read Luke 2, and set out milk and cookies for Santa. Therefore, we took them.
And that is how, for our most memorable Christmas tree experience, we had three (rather dwarfish) pines in the place of honor. We looped the lights and tree skirt around them all, roping them like contestants in a three-legged race. We hung the ornaments where they’d fit.
And they smelled lovely.
©2020 Chel Owens
Thanks to CalmKate of Aroused for the prompt!
I don’t participate in popular social media events -unless I do so my way. When others share 10 Things I Hate, I share 10 Things I Love; if they tag a friend for One Photo Each Day No Description, I tag myself and post the most humorous artistic-looking picture in my feed.
November is no different. Sure, I’m grateful for stuff. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, after all. The reason I love it, however, is because it’s untainted and wholesome. It’s mine and my family’s. If I start telling everybody what I’m #blessed with, that’s bringing the public to a very private thing.
But, since November 20th, my Twofacebook feed has been different. People I hadn’t seen in ages, people who were only sharing political agendas, and people who only brag have all been giving thanks. It’s fantastic.
I have, too. For, I’ve loved the very different feeling I’m experiencing. I love the new stories about relatives shared by a cousin, the baby and grandbaby pictures from my neighbors, and all the photographs of nature and sunshine and happiness…
So, give thanks. It’s beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving.
…and, yes, I still share things my way -but I am participating. 😉
©2020 Chel Owens
When are dreams
just dreams –
Cotton candy clouds above our
Entirely magical and beyond human touch?
When are they
Sand or clay or peanut butter sandwiches,
Taken in hand
and formed to what we wish?
When do they
get taken –
Envied, criticized by
Whose dreams left long ago?
When are dreams
– just dreams –
And when do we
©2020 Chel Owens
“You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you.”
Swirled campfire gunsmoked ’round old Ernie’s head. His eyes shone in the firelight, two August moons ‘gainst a desert sky. “An’ that,” he whispered, “whers th’ last any cowboy heard o’ The Coyote Killer!”
The talk still swam ’round the camp like Loui’zana fireflies when a shadow fell ‘cross the nearest cactus; when a howl yipped ‘cross the open sky. “Aowhoooooo!”
Scramblin’ to horse, rock, cactus; no man dared admit what he clearly saw: a baying, skulkin’, fur-dressed man, jus’ like what Ernie’d said.
An,’ like’n old Ernie said, no man lived to tell it still.
©2020 Chel Owens
“Tough times never last. Tough people do.”
-Robert Schuller (it’s the title of his book)
Janie did not like green food. When her mother placed Janie’s toast in front of her, then, she stared at the green slices in consternation.
“Breakfast, Honey.” Mom smiled and ate a bite of her own.
“It’s green mush.”
Mom wasn’t going to helpful. Janie pushed her fork against the offensive topping. It smooshed and slimed into the tines, leaving green behind it on the bread. “Ew!” she cried. “I’m having normal toast!”
“Suit yourself,” Mom said. While Janie was at the toaster, Mom reached across and ate her daughter’s serving.
©2020 Chel Owens
Now I’m hungry. Thanks, Charli! Oh, and here’s the prompt:
November 12 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story includes avocado toast. How can this be a story or a prop to a story? Use your senses and imagination. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by November 17, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
‘Tis the season for Christmas, and you know what that means: Christmas cards and newsletters. Although many opt for a family picture or online update these days, I still receive (and send) the occasional list of amazing things my family and I did all year long.
And it’s annoying. On that note:
- The Theme is the annoying Christmas newsletter.
- Although I wish these ballads were shorter, Length has to be 250 words (or, please, fewer) to reflect the true, proud writer’s desire to brag.
- Rhyming will happen if you choose the obligatory Night Before Christmas spinoff, but is completely optional this holiday season.
- These are family-friendly publications, so I’m reining in the Rating at PGish. You know what I mean.
- Please, make us laugh. As we pour over yet another photo posed amidst clouds in an autumn forest and read just how many accolades the family dog earned, bring us laughter before we open the holiday egg nog early…
You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next MONTH (December 11) to submit a poem.
Use the form, below, to remain anonymous until results are posted.
Otherwise, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Leave a comment if your link-back doesn’t show up by midnight of the day you create it.
©2020 Chel Owens
Friday the 13th is notoriously unlucky, a superstition held in Western cultures. Facing black cats, walking beneath ladders, or breaking a mirror; our poets bravely wrote to humor us despite a bit of bad luck.
One amongst them all rose to be the winning entry, and that was:
Oh Heck, by Hobbo
Seems like a case of bad luck to me
In agony, needs appendectomy
Flash of the blade
Incision is made
Surgeon thinks it’s a vasectomy.
Congratulations, Hobbo! You are the funniest poet for the week!
These poems were GREAT. I stifled snickers at midnight (the time I finally have to read over entries!) Hobbo’s elicited an unladylike snort; short, painfully funny, and definitely to the point.
I feel badly for all the poor luck had, but know you’ll enjoy reading the rest of the clever poems:
Thirteen Demons Sitting on the Wall, by Frank Hubeny
Lucky this or lucky that,
Luck as bad as that black cat
Cuddling, purring by my side,
Unlikely place for luck to hide.
Thirteen demons looking mean
Pretending that I haven’t seen
Them cackling when they watch me frown.
Too bored to laugh. I stare them down.
It’s not bad luck that made them fall.
They jumped like Humpty from the wall
And then they cracked. Oops. Breakfast time!
They’re lucky. That’s my final rhyme.
Lots, items, knacks, everything, by Deb Whittam
To the counter she marched
resolute, chin held high as
she looked the shopkeeper
directly in the eye.
That painting, there, the one
above the door, I’ll give
you twenty dollars,
not a penny more.
Silence met her words
but with a nod he agreed
and painting in her hand, she smirked,
there had been no need to plead.
At home she unwrapped
her highly sought after prize
only to discover on the frame
a notation that made shock arise.
twenty she had paid,
twenty she had offered,
but the tag clearly stated
clearance – just one dollar.
Riding your bad luck, by Doug Jacquier
Harry didn’t whinge about the flies
that crawled up his nose and in his eyes.
Townies might, like Tom, and Dick and Jim
but Harry would never have that said of him.
Out here, a man who couldn’t fix
a snapped axle (he knew all the tricks),
on a mail truck in a dry creek bed,
wouldn’t be worth bein’ bloody fed.
As for thinking you could hear a train,
you’d have to be born without a brain
or be a mental case escaped detention,
so he paid it not the least attention.
Well, he was right about the train
but what he heard was a wall of rain;
the flash flood took the mail and the truck
and Harry cursed but rode his luck.
A Shaggy Cats Tale, by Obbverse
We had a big black cat,
Grumpy, greedy, weigh too fat,
On Duckpond Bridge he was often sat;
Everything was ducky.
One big bad duck had enough of that,
Feathers flew, one bloody cat lost that spat,
Ran into the path of a passing Dodge Diplomat;
Flat out unlucky.
The Unlucky Date, by Heather Bergen
Jerry was unlucky,
His life was really sucky.
He couldn’t find love on account of his gas,
But finally, one day, he found a young lass.
He asked her out and set the date,
Though Friday 13, it couldn’t wait.
Though warned to postpone,
Jerry would not be alone!
But alas, he did leave broken hearted,
For as they sat down to dine he wet farted.
Untitled, by Gary
Oh no it’s Friday the thirteenth
Which is one less than fourteenth
Started the day by breaking a bedroom mirror
To find my huge tax bill just got a whole lot dearer
Then I mistakenly opened an umbrella indoors
And now my garden is full of rowdy dinosaurs
I foolishly walked under a builders ladder
And got bit on the bum by an angry adder
With a sore butt I then I stepped on a crack
Only to be attacked by a rabid wolf pack
Finally a Black Cat crossed my path
And now I’ve just fallen into the bath
Untitled, by Cupcakecache
needed no prescription
to find a home
next to the pug
running 3 feet from the black cat
Chasing the black cat
darting across the street
The black cat licked her lips
and as she gleefully bit into the tuna
happened to escape the house
only to have the cat prance by
as if to say “Did I not eat a tasty morsel like you in another life, my 7th?”
The pug bit his lip
shrugged it up to Karma
and went off to take a walk around the hood.
I Suck at Luck, by Sara
Bought the winning ticket
Wind swept it in the thicket
Met a nice gal
She considers me a pal
Went for a run
For health and fun
Tripped two minutes in
I just can’t win
Adopted a dog
What a slob
He drooled on the couch
And ate the door
Tossed a message in the ocean
It rolled back to shore
I professed my love
To a sweetheart from school
She wrote right back
Her response, so cruel
You bullied me, she said
Made fun of my hair,
I hope your life has been filled with despair
I suck at luck
That much is true
But, as it turns out,
Karma was due
Friday the 13th Birthday, by Ruth Scribbles
‘Twas the night before Friday
When all through the house
Everyone was hiding
Yes, Even the mouse
They were all afraid
Of how she would act
When she discovered
The presents sent back
Her mommy and daddy
Cuddled up in the closet
Her siblings were hiding
And eating the chocolate
She arose from her bed,
Fuzzy was her head
“It’s my birthday!” She declared
“What a dreadful dream! How absurd!”
Thank you so much for the hilarious entries! Come back tomorrow for the next prompt. You’ll have a month to submit an entry!
Hobbo, here’s a badge for you to use on your site (again). Congratulations!
©2020 The poets, and their respective works