Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Rum Cocktails, Blog Sitters and all that Jazz


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I have had a lovely week with a birthday and Valentine’s Day and I am now about to pack my bags to head off for a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate all our birthdays which all fall in February. I will report on the activities they have planned on my return… at least those I can talk about!

I got very excited when I read the headlines in the Daily Mail online yesterday that promised hotter temperatures than Spain with a high of 16 degrees and sunshine.. As I was planning what to pack, I thought I better check a more reliable source than the DM!  Sure enough, apart from a couple of days with a glimpse of yellow behind the clouds there is a 45 – 55% of rain all week and a high of 10 or 11.

I have put away my swimsuit, shorts and flip flops again in the attic with the other summer clothes that I fear may never see the light of day again.

However, all is not lost as David bought me a therapy lamp with safe tanning for my birthday. I have been using as advised and retire upstairs to the spare bedroom and don goggles, my iPod and pretend for 15 minutes that I am on a tropical island on a sandy beach. It was not quite there…. but David solved that by buying a bottle of rum, and a dram of that in my coconut water and Bob’s your uncle.. (please drink responsibly with only one cocktail per tanning session and only at sundown)

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I was going to put up a few regular posts during my absence just to keep things ticking over. I then thought that it seemed a shame not to use this as an opportunity to promote a few of my blogging friends and so posted a part-time blog sitter vacancy.

I know how busy everyone is with their own blog and projects so was very grateful to receive a wonderful response to the advert.  I have put together a programme of events for the week that I am away beginning Tuesday with posts from this group of talent writers.

Paul Andruss, Tina Frisco, Colin Chappell, Debby Gies, William Price King, Geoff Le Pard, Noelle Granger, Susan M. Toy, Mary Smith, Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Linda Bethea.

The full programme details can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/smorgasbord-blog-sitting-special-21st-28th-february-programme-of-events/

Time for some of the posts you might have missed during the week.

William Price King – Leontyne Price

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As always my thanks to William Price King for his weekly music post and this week we follow the career and performances of Leontyne Price during the 1960s. Look out for William’s Creative Artist Interview on Wednesday March 1st.  It is an interactive interview and I hope that you will drop in and ask William questions about his life and career in the comments.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/classical-music-with-william-price-king-leontyne-price-part-three-1960s/

Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

Although Paul has contributed articles for the blog over the last couple of months I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to be a regular contributor going forward.. This is his official first post as Writer in Residence.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/writer-in-residence-paul-andruss-or-the-horse-might-talk/

Personal Stuff

A short story for Valentine’s Day.. about love.. of course..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/smorgasbord-short-story-the-other-side-of-heaven-sally-cronin/

Weekly Image and Haiku

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/weekly-image-and-haiku-aniseed/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-barb-caffrey-angie-dokos-and-deanie-humphrys-dunne/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-hugh-w-roberts-charles-e-yallowitz-and-stevie-turner/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-both-sides-of-love-by-kimberly-wenzler/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-beast-within-mended-souls-book-2-by-jacquie-biggar/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-who-said-i-was-up-for-adoption-by-colin-chappell/

hinting-at-shadows_ebook-cover_sarah-brentyn-resizedhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-hinting-at-shadows-by-sarah-brentyn/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily showcasing 25 bloggers and their posts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-13th-february-2017-love-haitian-healing-50-words-reviews/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-14th-february-2017-upcoming-release-daisies-love-poetry-free-books-frank-immersed-and-sir-chocolate/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-15th-february-2017-devil-story-ruby-wedding-1960s-kathmandu-rrbc/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-16th-february-2017-valiant-blogger-angels-wings-runners-stretches-the-classics-and-columbian-roses/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-leyton-hollywood-trysts-llandeilo-and-dna/

Health

Smorgasbord Health 2017Seasonal Affective Disorder

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/smorgasbord-health-seasonal-affective-disorder-tryptophan-and-winter-blues/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/smorgasbord-health-seasonal-affective-disorder-part-four-immune-system-and-people/

Food to pep you up a bit.. and not just for Valentines Day.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/st-valentines-day-food-aphrodisiacs-a-meal-and-red-roses-here-are-the-ingredients-the-rest-is-up-to-you/

New series – Top to Toe – The Human Body – The Brain

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-brain-introduction-and-anatomy/

A -Z of Common Conditions… nothing more common than the cold!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/smorgasbord-health-a-z-common-conditions-nothing-more-common-than-a-cold/

Humour

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/time-for-some-laffs-from-around-the-usual-haunts-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/afternoon-video-how-to-beg-for-forgiveness/

That’s me done for the week.. It is a bit early for a rum and coconut juice but I might take a cup of coffee up with me to the tropical paradise and listen to some calypsos!

N.B. If you would like to promote your books and blog here on Smorgasbord the details are here. If you contact me and I don’t respond immediately don’t worry I will get back to you on my return after 28th of Feb.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

Thanks for dropping by and see some of you tomorrow for a few of the regular promotions before I head off.

Smorgasbord Short Story – The Other Side of Heaven – Sally Cronin


One of my stories from Flights of Fancy that shows that however long one might be parted.. love will endure and find a way to bring you back together again.

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The Other Side of Heaven by Sally Cronin

When Meg saw the cottage she knew that it was the one. She had visualised her dream house so many times in her head that it almost felt that she was coming home.

As soon as she had walked down the country lane that separated the property from the main road she had heard the sound of running water. A river or lake had always been a requisite when imagining her perfect home and the sound ticked at least one of her boxes. As she rounded the bend in the lane she saw the house for the first time, its red slate roof glistening in the sunlight.

She inhaled the scent of the vibrantly coloured flowers that dominated the small front garden and she smiled at the sight of the roses that surrounded the front door. Meg stood for a moment on the cobbled path and delighted in the fresh, sweet smell whilst she ran her eyes over every inch of the front of the cottage.

Despite its age, the windows were large and you could tell that the sunlight that shone through those panes of glass would make the interior bright and welcoming. Taking a deep breath she opened the old wooden door and stepped inside.

Within a very short space of time, Meg found herself carefully unwrapping a lifetime of treasures from the boxes that sat expectantly in the various rooms in her new home. Jack as always was eager to help, and despite the insistent interruptions from the collie, Meg made steady progress as she placed objects and pictures in just their right place.

Surprisingly, despite working all day, she felt refreshed and excited as she walked through each room, moving furniture slightly to recreate the image that she had held in her mind for so long. Eventually, she was satisfied and she and Jack turned their attention to the garden at the back of the house that lay basking in early evening sunshine.

The dog, young and excited ran out ahead of Meg and started to race around the immaculate piece of lawn. Flowers crowded the edges around its borders, and as in the front garden, the air was filled with a heady and sweet scent. She walked to the little gate set into a hedge and opened and closed it leaving a frustrated Jack on the other side.

“Good boy, Jack. Stay there; this bit is not for dogs”.

He sat down and watched his owner with head cocked to one side. He wouldn’t move until she returned. They had been parted for too long for him to allow her out of his sight now.

For Meg this was heaven. Row upon row of fresh vegetables, a small green house where she could see ripened tomatoes hanging from their vines, and an established orchard at the end of the plot; trees laden with fruit. For a fleeting moment she wondered why so many of the vegetables and fruit seemed out of season, but she put that down to the fact that this part of the country enjoyed a micro-climate that kept it warmer than the average.

Contentedly she retraced her steps and pushed open the gate separating the two gardens and was rewarded with an ecstatic welcome from Jack as he leapt up and licked her face.
After a simple supper, Meg and Jack sat together on the bench at the front of the house and as her hand gently stroked his head, she absorbed the sounds of the evening. In the background the music of the river accompanied the buzz of insects as they collected their final nectar of the day.

Everything was now perfect. The house waited, as did Meg and Jack for that final, finishing touch. Jack had been waiting the longest. Meg had missed him so much but there had been no choice under the circumstances. As she stroked his head as it rested on her knee, she knew that she had been forgiven for sending him away; now they would be together always. However, there was someone who was still missing. Meg had no idea when Sam would arrive; all she could do when she had left was to promise that she and Jack would be there to welcome him home.

The evening moved into starlit night, and as the moon rose in the sky, it seemed as though time had stopped. Jack’s ears suddenly twitched and he nudged Meg’s knee. She turned her head towards the lane leading to the cottage and she stood, moving down the path to open the gate with the collie at her heels. Jack looked up at her as if asking permission.

Meg nodded and he ran ahead barking excitedly; she hurried after him just as a stooped and elderly man came into view. He was walking with a stick, but when Jack reached him and jumped up and down in excitement, he threw it to one side and went down on one knee to embrace the dog.

Meg slowed and took in the sight of the two beings she loved the most greeting each other. She felt young and giddy just as she had all those years ago when she had first met Sam. Then before her eyes he stood, tall and straight, the years fell away from him and she eagerly fell into his arms and held him as Jack pranced around them in delight.

Eventually, the three of them walked back to the cottage. Meg and Sam hand in hand with Jack walking carefully between them. They turned in the gate and Sam saw their home for the first time.

“I never thought, when you promised to create a place for us all in heaven, that it would be so beautiful”

Smiling, Sam picked his young wife up and carried her over the threshold followed by Jack, tail wagging and barking with encouragement.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009  https://www.amazon.com/Flights-Fancy-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00M3AV1FS/

 

Smorgasbord Round up – Eagles, Irish Fairies, Opera and thrills and spills.


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Welcome to this week’s round-up of posts you might have missed. It has been a fairly busy week as I prepare for the new series of interviews beginning in March and I am thrilled with the response. Twenty five talented authors, poets, musicians and other creative people have come forward to take part in either Book Reading at the Bookstore or The Creative Artist Interview.

Whilst there are some set questions there are also three personalised questions that I am including in each interview so as you can imagine I am taking my time with that. I hope to have them all out by Monday… It looks like I may go to two posts a week to make sure that nobody is hanging around for weeks waiting for their interview to go live. That being the case if you have not already volunteered.. here is the link which includes the format for the interviews.

Here are all the new promotional opportunities, with something for everyone, all on one page.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

On the subject of promotions.

On the 21st I am off on a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate our three birthdays that are all in February. I will be taking a break from writing posts for the blog but the blog will be handed over to some fabulous and talented members of the blogging community who will be filling in for me in my absence.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/a-little-blog-sitting-requested-february-21st-28th-part-time-position/

I have no worries about leaving the blog for the week to fend for itself but I thought it was another promotional opportunity for you all. As well as the guest post.. I will make sure to top and tail with an intro, feature books, blog, art etc as well as links. Definitely good for the blog and perhaps a little boost for you. Especially as I will not be doing the usual book promotions that week.

If you would like to apply for the job of part-time blog sitter please come back to me by Thursday so that I can get it scheduled in time.

As always I am hugely grateful for your wonderful support, comments, shares and motivation. ♥♥

Enough of the mushy stuff.. and on with the posts from the week…..

Classical music with William Price King

William and his music

So pleased that so many of you are enjoying the last in the classical music series and the story of American soprano Leontyne Price. This week a look at her performances in the 1950s and the bigotry that she endured in her early career.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/classical-music-with-william-price-king-leontyne-price-part-two-star-on-the-rise-2/

Weekly Image and Haiku

I am so lucky to have some wonderful co-hosts on occasion for the blog and one post this week seemed to touch the hearts of many of you. Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photographs has been a blogging friend for the last three years and he sent me some recent photographs of the eagles Romeo and Juliette.. he very kindly agreed to let me use one of the images for this week’s Haiku.. You can see the full sized version in the post.

together-for-lifehttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/weekly-image-and-haiku-together-for-life/

Short Story – After the Festival 

Another collaboration with illustrator Donata Zawdska with After the Festival. I was very privileged to be able to use the artwork for my short story..a new one from my upcoming Tales from the Irish Garden later in the year.. I hope you enjoy.

after-the-festival-1https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-short-story-tales-from-the-irish-garden-after-the-festival-illustrated-by-donata-zawadzka/

The new interview series if you missed them last week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/new-series-smorgasbord-creative-artist-interview-musicians-bloggers-artists-photographers/

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-wind-follower-by-carole-mcdonnell/

copertina_inglese_the_annwyns_secret

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-annwyns-secret-by-claudine-giovannoni/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-frank-immersed-a-frank-rozzani-detective-novel-frank-rozzani-detective-novels-book-5-by-don-massenzio/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-golden-age-of-charli-rsvp-by-jena-c-henry/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-sleeping-serpent-by-luna-saint-claire/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-teri-polen-colleen-chesebro-and-sally-cronin/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-amy-m-reade-olga-nunez-miret-and-gigi-sedlemayer/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Another 25 bloggers promoted this week.

If you would like to be included in the Blogger Daily then just leave a link to your most recent post in the comments section of the round up today..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-6th-february-2017-welsh-chapels-interviews-celebrating-books-and-angry-bird/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-7th-february-2017-share-buttons-reviews-crime-settings-poetry-and-octopus/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-8th-february-2017-dr-dolittle-the-turin-shroud-sexism-politics-and-emotional-beats/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-9th-february-2017-smoking-dickens-leftovers-water-shortages-and-childrens-illustrations/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-10th-february-2017-multi-culturism-drinking-war-correspondent-snow-cream-and-dog-rescue/

Smorgasbord Health – series Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

seasonal-affective-disorderhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-the-annwyns-secret-by-claudine-giovannoni/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/smorgasbord-health-seasonal-affective-disorder-part-two-vitamin-d-the-sunshine-vitamin/

Smorgasbord health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Lung Cancer.

smorgasbord healthhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/the-lungs-part-five-smoking-and-lungcancer/

Humour and Afternoon Video

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/time-for-some-laffs-and-some-cat-and-dog-views-on-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/time-for-some-laffs-from-around-the-usual-haunts/

That is it for another week on Smorgasbord.. Couldn’t do it without you.. Please remember that it saves me time if you volunteer your news about new book releases, fantastic reviews or share your blog post link.. Help me share your work.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Thanks Sally

New Series – Smorgasbord Creative Artist Interview – Musicians, Bloggers, Artists, Photographers


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Yesterday I posted the new interview series for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore beginning in March and I am delighted to say that I already have ten authors have signed up which is a great start.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

The theme is that the interviews are partly interactive with readers asking their questions in the comments section and the person being interviewed answering them there too.

I would like to welcome anyone who is a blogger, musician, artist, poet, photographer, illustrator, book reviewer, book designer or any other creative artist to feel that they are welcome here too.

It is very straightforward.

I just need you to send me your website or blog link by email to sallygcronin@gmail.com

  • I will check out your blog or website and come back to you with some set questions for you to choose from and three personalised questions.
  • You will return these with an example of your work – an extract from your most compelling blog post or short story, an example of your poetry, artwork, photography or a book review. With the reason why you have chosen this piece.
  • I will need your social media links.. in full please.. a bio and bio photograph (if you have one) if they are not on your site.

Once I have received your answers to my questions and the rest of the information I will schedule your post.

I only ask that on the day that it is scheduled that you are available to pop in over the day and the next to answer any questions in the comments.

My first guest in this series is William Price King as it is a while since I caught up with him in an interview and he has done some wonderful gigs and mentored some talented young singers in the last year.. You can find out more about him in his latest series on Classical singers..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/classical-music-with-william-price-king/

Looking forward to adding you to the interview list.  Remember to email me on sallygcronin@gmail.com so that I can send you your five questions.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Opera, bloggers, authors, health, Haiku and a few laffs


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Welcome to the round up from a blustery and wet Ireland, apart from Saturday morning when we were beguiled into a sense of complacency… still as my husband says there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing!

Delighted that the new series are settling in and being enjoyed. I complain enough about the Happiness Engineers ‘fixin’ what ain’t broke’ but I hope that streamlining the promotional series has made it easier for everyone to get some limelight. With the current programme of events.. it means I can promote at least 30 bloggers a week in the Blogger Daily and at least 10 or more authors.

Here are the details… and one is for those of you who are in the Cafe and Bookstore already and another for those who are new to the blog.. For bloggers and writers across the board there is the Blogger Daily. And for those of you have contributed to an anthology there is a way to give the book a boost.

Check it out.. The only cost is a little of your time.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-free-author-and-blogger-promotion-2017/

My thanks as always to everyone who has contibuted including William Price King.. we finished the series on Dame Kiri Te Kanawa this week and move to the last in this season of classical artists with American soprano Leontyne Price.  Following that series William will be looking at the lives and work of some of the most popular of contemporary artists such as Shirley Bassey.

I have been working on my own writing projects and should be able to do a cover reveal in the week.. and work begins on the next volume of Tales from the Garden…let’s hope they dont’ proof to be too waterlogged.

Thank you for all your support and for dropping in.. You are always very welcome to contribute a post as a guest..just get in touch with me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Have a great week.  Hugs Sally

Classical music with William Price King

The last part of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa series.. Thankfully we will be able to hear this fabulous soprano in the future as long as she continues to delight her audiences with concert performances.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/classical-music-with-william-price-king-dame-kiri-te-kanawa-part-three/

Book Promotions – Cafe and Bookstore Author Update

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-gigi-sedlmayer-karen-ingalls-and-kristina-stanley/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-nicholas-c-rossis-lori-lopez-and-fiona-tarr/

Book Promotions Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-50-ways-to-alleviate-boredom-by-mary-c-blowers/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-chase-tinker-and-the-house-of-magic-by-malia-ann-haberman/

Book Promotions – Collaborative Anthologies.

run-ebook-coverhttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-collaborative-anthologies-run-a-collection-of-dark-tales/

Blog promotions

If you would like to join these bloggers who featured this week in the Blogger Daily then all you have to do is leave a link to your lates post in the comment section.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-23rd-january-2017-psychics-promotion-reviews-and-fairy-stories/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/blogger-daily-24th-january-2017-pizza-horror-weather-bunnies-and-author-etiquette/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-25th-january-2017-competition-100000-sales-drama-and-scammers/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-26th-january-2017-patience-awards-inspirations-revenge-and-a-party/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-27th-january-2017/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-28th-january-2017-barking-mad-furry-dudes-writing-conference-writing-flow-and-beta-readers/

Health

Smorgasbord Health 2017The last post in the Weight Reduction Programme with some meal options to help you stay on track

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-some-meal-options/

dsc_1737The dynamics of change.. the voluntary and involuntary changes to our body, mind and emotions as we develop from birth to old age.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/smorgasbord-health-the-dynamics-of-change-part-one-our-physical-being/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/smorgasbord-health-the-dynamics-of-change-our-mental-being/

smorgasbord A - Z

The first part of four on the subject of the most common cancers – Breast Cancer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/smorgasbord-health-a-z-of-common-conditions-breast-cancer/

Personal stuff

short-stories-two

Kathleen must face the future and move on with her life.. but at what cost?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/smorgasbord-short-stories-the-first-date-by-sally-cronin/

Weekly Image and Haiku

dsc_1779

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/weekly-image-and-haiku-secret-door/

Humour

teeth

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/smorgasbord-time-for-some-laffs-out-of-the-mouth-of-babes/

test-friday

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/time-for-some-laffs-or-groans-it-is-pun-day/

Thanks for dropping by.. don’t forget to leave the link to your latest blog post so that I can share.  Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The First Date by Sally Cronin


short-stories-twoThe First Date

Kathleen viewed her face in the mirror. She sighed as she observed the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. They said it was a sign of character and a sunny personality; crease lines from a life of laughter. That could be said to be true of most of the last twenty-five years of marriage to Malcolm. Rarely did a day go by that he had not teased her into a smile or offered up a pun that made her laugh despite the corniness.

It was not just the laughter that they had shared, but passions for theatre, the cinema, books and exotic foods. There was so little that they disagreed about over the years. Kathleen struggled to remember any real arguments that had intruded into the happiness that wrapped around them like a comforting blanket.

They had travelled far and wide across all the continents taking advantage of his generous salary and the occasional business trips that she accompanied him on. The scents and sights of Africa and India had thrilled them as they held hands and watched glorious sunsets. The rugged terrain of Alaska and the Rockies had tested their stamina and the deep blue colour of the Pacific Ocean had beguiled them. A storehouse of experiences all accompanied by love and laughter and a sense that it would last forever. They had never had children unfortunately, but Malcolm claimed to be happy to just have her all to himself.

But suddenly all that love and laughter was gone and the years together faded into wisps of elusive memory as each day passed. Those friends that she had confided in about her grief and emptiness had offered advice and support for the last six months. They all assured her that was time to face the future head on. She needed to accept that she could not wallow in this self-pity and denial any longer.

She had laughed to herself when she first saw the website that Molly had pointed out to her one morning as they shared coffee in the village just after Christmas. An online dating agency that proudly boasted a near perfect record of finding your soulmate; that one person meant just for you. Molly had been on the site for nearly a year and she had certainly pushed the boundaries of those claims to the limit; she had kept their small circle of mutual friends very entertained with her experiences.

She had brought up the site on her laptop and Kathleen had sat beside her, browsing the various enticements offered by the men posting. Her eye had been immediately drawn to one post that Molly had marked. She read the words to herself, and then again aloud to fully understand what she was seeing. She had believed for so long that Malcolm was the one and only perfect match for her that she was shocked and intrigued at the same time.

Single, tall, fun loving and handsome 55 year old seeks long term relationship with attractive female 30 – 45 years old. Must have a good sense of humour, enjoy the theatre, cinema, fine dining and travelling to exotic locations. Located in London but willing to travel to meet. Box Number 1596

She had looked over at Molly to share her amazement and found her staring down at her hands cupped around the coffee cup.

“Is something the matter Molly?” Kathleen was unused to Molly being subdued and quiet.

Slowly Molly looked up from her cappucino and smiled fondly at her friend.

“I was going to meet this guy for dinner but changed my mind when I saw him sitting at the table in the restaurant,” she paused and looked through the cafe window as if trying to choose her words carefully. “I know how much you still love Malcolm, but I think that it is time that you faced the reality of your situation and look to the future.”

Molly tapped the advertisement on the screen with her immaculately manicured nail. “You need to arrange to meet this man and confront your fear of losing everything you have treasured from the past.”

The two women parted company outside the cafe and Kathleen drove home to the empty house that she had shared with Malcolm for so many years. It was far too big for the two of them especially when he had been away on business trips alone leaving her for several weeks at a time. She had hoped at one point to fill the rooms with children’s laughter, but somehow it was never the right time for one reason or another.

Kathleen knew that Molly was right. She could no longer hide away from life; she needed to face the future whatever it held. She rang her friend’s mobile number and asked her to come over the next morning to help her upload a profile to the site to enable her to respond to the advertisement.

So here she was, getting ready for her first date in over twenty-five years with a man called Andrew. When her own profile had been activated, she had replied to the box number in his advertisement and over the next week they had exchanged a number of emails via the site. Although he was eager to know more about her, Kathleen had been reticient to offer her personal email or too much information until she met him face to face.

She had changed her mind several times about what to wear for this first encounter, finally deciding to wear a new dress she had bought on a whim a few weeks ago. Malcolm had always insisted she looked perfect in pastel colours and this daring emerald green number would have certainly provoked some comment. She had also been to a new hairdresser this morning and requested a radical new look. Gone was the long auburn hair that Malcolm said suited her best; in its stead was a sleek blonde shoulder length bob.

Finally she stood in front of the long mirror in their bedroom and viewed the transformation. Kathleen took several moments to get used to the new image and then smiled as she decided that she liked it. Picking up a colourful floral scarf to put around her shoulders and grabbing her handbag, she walked down to the kitchen to order a taxi.

She deliberately arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes early and was shown to a discreet table in the corner. Kathleen could not remember when she had been this nervous and sipped the water provided by the waiter when he left the two menus. She kept glancing at the door of the restaurant apprehensively. She knew that Andrew would have to ask directions to the table as he would not recognise her, particularly in the dimly lit room. On the table to the right of her place setting was a bulky envelope. Andrew in one of his recent emails had suggested that she might bring some photographs of the places that she had visited on her trips and that he would do likewise. A talking point to break the ice.

Closing her eyes she took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. When she opened them again she saw a tall, good looking man standing in the entrance to the dining area. He managed to get the attention of one of the waiters who then pointed out Kathleen sitting in the corner table. He walked confidently across with a warm smile on his face until he stood in front of her. Andrew looked into her eyes and he gasped.

“Hello Malcolm.” Kathleen attempted to keep the quiver out of her voice. ” I see that you are not at the New York head office after all this week. Please sit down as we have a great deal to talk about.” Taken aback by his usually complacent wife’s new look and the rigid set of her mouth, he complied ungraciously; flinging his coat on the back of one of the chairs. She pushed the envelope across the table towards him and as his fingers closed over the bulky package she smiled sadly.

“Perhaps we should start by discussing these divorce papers.”

©sallycronin What’s in Name 2017

I hope that you have enjoyed my story … your feedback is always very welcome.  Thanks Sally

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Short Stories – New Year’s Eve by Sally Cronin


short-stories-twoNew Year’s Eve by Sally Cronin

Kenneth Fitzgerald looked across the crowded ballroom at the woman that he had loved for a lifetime. Georgina was surrounded by attentive male admirers, and was holding court as she always did, with elegance and grace. He watched as she tilted her head to one side to listen to the young man sitting next to her, cupping her hand delicately behind her ear, to better hear his comments over the sound of the band.

The handsome companion was her grandson Timothy, and even at first glance you could see the resemblance; the same blue eyes, golden hair colour and a long refined nose. Georgie was 90 years old and yet her beauty was undiminished. Kenneth knew he was biased. He remembered his stunned reaction to meeting her for the first time over 70 years ago, in this same ballroom on New Year’s Eve 1935.

Georgina Crowley was the daughter of a millionaire financier who had managed to survive the Wall Street crash in 1929, by converting his wealth in previous years, into a renowned art collection. Malcolm Crowley was an astute businessman and had never squandered his money on the trappings of wealth. He had also salted away cash and jewellery on his various international travels, providing a comfortable buffer for the family, and those that had worked for him loyally over the last thirty years.

He was as canny with his three children as he was with his wealth. His two sons had followed him into the firm after studying for business degrees , and Georgina had also been encouraged to go to college, where she was now training to be a teacher. Malcolm firmly believed that all his children should have skills that could support them, should the financial climate not improve significantly in his lifetime. That is not to say that his youngest child did not also enjoy the benefits of being part of a wealthy family. Georgina was known to have exquisite taste, and her slim figure was the perfect shape to model the latest fashions. To be fair, many of the designs were copied from the leading fashion magazines, and recreated on her treasured Singer sewing machine

Kenneth brought himself back to the present and felt his heart pounding in his chest. It was the same every year, when he remembered that first New Year’s Eve, when he had fallen madly in love at first sight with Georgina Crowley. It had not been a one-sided infatuation, and at that first touch of her delicate hand in his own, he had felt a tremor that caused him to look up into her face. Her pink lips had parted in surprise and her smile dazzled him.

They had danced all night circling the floor; perfectly matched in their love of the foxtrot and quickstep. The other partygoers had moved to one side to watch this golden couple as they seamlessly moved from one dance to another. Even Malcolm Crowley paused in his discussions with a group of men, to watch his daughter’s delight in this young man’s embrace.

Kenneth had wanted to kiss those pink lips at midnight but was aware of the scrutiny from those around them. He had whispered in Georgina’s ear as they waltzed to the final tune of the old year.

‘Shall we slip away at midnight and find some moon and starlight?’

She had looked into his eyes and smiled, nodding her head in agreement.

As the clock struck midnight, Georgina rushed to her parents at their table and kissed and hugged them both. In the ensuing melee, as the other guests did likewise, the two of them had slipped out of the large double doors at the end of the ballroom. Kenneth had guided her to his car parked along the drive. He grabbed a blanket from the back seat of the roadster and placed it around Georgina’s shoulders before helping her into the front seat. He raced around to the other side of the car and within minutes they were roaring down the hill from the house into the dark night.

Kenneth drove carefully as the road was slick with ice and he was aware that he was responsible for a very precious cargo. Although it was a cold night he knew just the place to take Georgina on this magical occasion. A spot high above the city, where the lights and sounds of New Year’s Eve would provide a backdrop for their first kiss.

He looked across at Georgina as she clasped the plaid blanket around her bare shoulders, and smiled at her obvious delight at this adventure. His eyes were only off the road for seconds, but it was still long enough for him to miss the broken down car around a curve in the road.

He regained consciousness and raised his hand to his forehead; it came away wet and sticky. He wiped blood from his eyes and tried to move his body. Finally he was able to push himself into a sitting position against the upturned roadster and he desperately looked for Georgina. The moon came out from behind a cloud and he took a sharp intake of breath as he saw her crumpled form by the rear bumper of the car. He crawled across and managed to pull her crushed and lifeless body into his arms… his heart was pounding in his chest and he tried to wake her by touching her face and calling her name. After several minutes he rested his head back against the car and he knew that she was gone.

‘Please, please do not take her … it is my fault and it should be me… take me… please take me and save her.’

On New Year’s Day, Georgie asked her youngest grandson to drive her to the cemetery. She came here often to visit her husband’s grave. Phillip had been a wonderful man and she had grown to love him during the long summer of 1942. They had twin sons born in 1944 but tragically Phillip had been killed in the last weeks of the war. He had been brought home and buried in the Crowley family plot close by her house and their sons.  She still missed his loving kindness.  However, she admitted to herself that it was a different kind of love to the one that has swept her off her feet that magical New Year’s Eve in 1935.

Whilst her grandson watched from the car, Georgina spent some minutes at Phillip’s monument. Then walking carefully, leaning on her stick, she moved down the icy path until she stopped before another gravestone. Tears gathered in her pale blue eyes as she read the inscription.

Kenneth Fitzgerald
Beloved son and brother.
1910 – 1935
Killed in an automobile accident.

It was 70 years ago, and yet every New Year’s Day, Georgie relived those dreadful first moments when she had woken in the hospital. She had a dreadful headache but thankfully didn’t seem to have any other major injuries. Her mother and father were sitting by her bedside and Malcolm gently took her hand in his. Her first words were asking for Kenneth, and she still remembered the look of anguish on her father’s face as he braced himself to tell her the news.

She touched the top of the headstone and smiled to herself. He had been there again last night at the family ball, watching from the shadows as he had done every year, and she had felt that same giddy feeling as that first New Year’s Eve. She suspected that this time however it was more likely that her medication was no longer effective in keeping her failing heart beating.

She felt a touch on her shoulder and looked up into the smiling face of her grandson.

‘Time to go Gran.. It is getting cold and I need to get you back home.’

Georgie took his arm and they moved carefully up the path. She turned for one last look at Kenneth’s grave.

She whispered to herself. ‘Next year my love, next year we will dance again together on New Year’s Eve.’

 

 

©sallycronin 2016

Smorgasbord Christmas Party – Guest Author Linda Bethea – Fleas don’t come home for Christmas, Willie Tharpe


christmas partyDelighted to welcome Linda Swain Bethea to the party today with one of her entertaining stories of her childhood and relatives who are without a doubt rich in character.

Her mother Kathleen was brought up during the great depression, and her recollections are part of our precious living history which needs to be preserved. Linda and Kathleen have gone one better and have compiled these stories into a wonderful book that has recently been published

Fleas Don’t Come Home for Christmas, Willie Tharpe

Daddy wasn’t just a magnet for strange characters. He beat the bushes to flush them out. If that hadn’t worked, I believe he’d have up tacked up posters. Mother had no way of anticipating who he might drag in for supper, overnight, or until further notice. I never did understand why she didn’t murder Daddy. He must have slept sometime! Willie Tharpe was a holdover from Daddy’s childhood.

Daddy came in late from work one evening a few days before Christmas about eight-thirty, after one of his rambles, as he so often did. Though he worked shift work, Mother could never anticipate his arrival. As the “Man of the House” his time was his own. Making the living was his only responsibility. It was up to Mother to handle the rest. That evening, Willie Tharpe creaked up behind him in an ancient truck with a shack on the back; not a camper, a shack. About fourteen dogs piled out of the truck windows and shack as he coasted to a stop in a place of honor, right in front of our house. Eventually, Willie emerged, swatting dogs with his hat and cursing inarticutely, in the style favored by the toothless. Mother was appalled, knowing anyone Daddy dragged in this late, especially anyone from such an interesting position on the social scale, was likely to be a houseguest. This was especially concerning a day or two before Christmas, when we’d be having company. In an expansive mood, Daddy ushered in Willie Tharpe and as many of the dogs as could squeeze in before the door slammed on them. The dogs, unused to houses, ran around jumping on us, knocking over end tables, and peeing on the Christmas tree, till Daddy had us shoo them out. Daddy was clearly thrilled to be able to show off his home and family to Willie, an old and valued family friend.

The house had looked pretty good till Willie’s dogs ransacked it, but it was a wreck now. Mother had “waited supper” for Daddy, since Daddy insisted we all eat as a family. We’d been starving for hours. We scurried to the table as Mother served up the reheated beans, potatoes, and gravy, just serving the fried chicken and biscuits cold. Though Willie’s toothless mumbling was impossible to understand, Daddy interpreted for us as Willie loaded his plate time after time, after first reaching for the liver and gizzard with his hand. The liver and gizzard were such favorites that we took turns at getting them, a matter of such import that Mother managed it herself. He ate with his knife, wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and spewed food as he mumbled. We stared in fascination. Mother never even noticed his terrible manners. After supper, he poured his coffee in his saucer, blew on it noisily, and drank from the saucer, smacking loudly after each slurp. It was repulsive. He burped without covering his mouth. When all the chicken was gone, he reached for the platter and scraped all the “scrambles” onto his plate. The “scrambles” were the crunchy bits left on the platter at the end of the meal, the prize Mother divided among us children. My mouth flew open to protest, only to catch Mother’s dirty look to “mind my manners.”

A meal with Willie did more to reinforce the importance of manners than a hundred hours of instruction. Mother should have thanked him. When it came time for bed, Daddy explained Willie would be sleeping in Billy’s room. Billy could bunk in with Phyllis and me. Mother looked fierce, but didn’t say a word. She pursed her lips and left the room. In a minute she was back with Billy’s night clothes. “Where are the dogs going to sleep?” She spat at Daddy. Daddy had always prided himself on never allowing dogs in the house until the mishap earlier that evening. “Oh, the dogs will sleep in Willie’s truck.” He was jovial, obviously not unaware of Mother’s malevolent mood and his longstanding rule on no dogs in the house. Willie looked surprised and pained. It was late December 22 and really cold. Willie muttered the first thing I’d understood that night. “I allus’ sleeps with them dawrgs. Thas’ the onliest thing that keeps an old man like me from freezing. We all pile in together. We sleeps good thataway.”

Daddy was clearly torn between his principles and his old friend. “Willie, I ain’t never had dogs in the house and I can’t start now. The dogs can’t sleep in the house.” He was saved. Willie didn’t argue, just mumbled and went off to the back bedroom. Mother was still furious. While Daddy was at work the next day, Willie hung around by the kitchen heater, smoking his smelly hand-rolled cigarettes. He was in Mother’s way all day, as she sputtered around baking and making her Christmas preparations. He smelled like his dogs, becoming more rancid smelling by the hour. The odor became more nauseating combined with the scent of cinnamon, candied fruit, orange slices, and vanilla. Mother periodically opened the doors and windows to air the kitchen.

Her mood was black by the time Daddy came rolling in at three thirty. Uncharacteristically, he’d come straight home from work, probably concerned for Willie’s safety. He took Willie off gallivanting. For once, we didn’t have to wait supper. Mother’s mood improved with Willie out of the way. We made popcorn and sang Christmas Carols. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve! Santa would be coming! Mother sent us on to bed. The next thing I knew, Daddy was yelling, “Get some water! Get the kids out of the bedroom!” As we flew out of our bedroom, a wet, naked old man made his rickety way into the kitchen, followed by a swirling pack of panicky dogs. Meanwhile, Daddy dragged smoking quilts out to the back yard. As the story unfolded, it seems Willie had been smoking his hand-rolled cigarettes in the comfort of the nest of hounds he’d slipped in after the house was abed and drifted off to sleep. Alerted of the burning covers by one of the dogs, he’d called out for help, getting Daddy in on the action.

Not surprisingly, Willie moved on the next day. Wisely, Daddy didn’t protest. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas. It was a few days before Willie’s Christmas gift to us became apparent. The house was infested with fleas. Deprived of their host, they attacked us with abandon.

Happy New Year!
About Linda Swain Bethea

win_20160620_13_24_45_proNow that I’m done with the bothersome business of workday world, I am free to pursue my passion, capturing the stories I’ve loved all my life. The ones you’ll read on my blog are good old Southern stories, a real pleasure to relay. Here in the South, we are proud of our wacky folks. I’ve preyed shamelessly on my family, living and dead, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, often changing the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

My mother illustrates my blog. I come from a rollicking family of nuts, hence the name of the blog Nutsrok Enjoy.

Linda has captured the essence of her family history in her book published earlier this year which has received rave reviews.

Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad by Linda Swain Bethea (Author) with Kathleen Holdaway Swain (Collaborator & Illustrator)

imageMost recent reviews for the book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I knew the great depression was such a hard time, but it gives you a real perspective of what the normal everyday family went through just to feed their families. It was a sad time. However, I found the book to still be fun and uplifting. They discovered such simple things to make their life more enjoyable. Linda did a great job putting Mrs. Swain’s life on paper. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

I love this charming depression era memoir and the characters who give it life! Linda recorded her mother’s stories with an immediacy that creates the intimacy we crave in a memoir. The stories of the Holdaway family flow effortlessly as she ferries us from Kathleen’s birth to present time. Kathleen has created a true portrait of the life and times of the people that inhabited isolated small towns like Cuthand in the early twentieth century. Written in the comfortable style of “kitchen table storytelling”, it’s a quick read for any age, and will invite you in, and make you want to stay.

If you enjoy the art of storytelling, you will love the tales that jump from the pages of this hilarious book. Characters from the past literally come to life due to the colorful descriptions that the author and her mother use to give the details. I enjoyed reading about Mrs. Kathleen’s life as a young girl and loved the way she shared how things felt from her point of view. It is really wonderful that her daughter took the time to help her share her story. Shirley Martin

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Smells-Just-Like-Salad-ebook/dp/B01IVUXROQ

How to connect with Linda

Bloghttps://nutsrok.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nutsrok1

Thank you for dropping into the party and I hope you enjoyed this wonderful story from Linda Bethea.. Please distribute far and wide.. thanks Sally

Short Story – A Loss in Time by Janice Spina


short-stories-twoToday millions will be getting together with families and friends to celebrate and give thanks for all that they have. However, many will have faced loss this year of someone they loved, and will find it difficult to reflect on the good things that they shared rather than the pain. It is hard to imagine that there can be a future without them. Janice Spina’s story is about loss but also about hope.

A Loss in Time by Janice Spina

She didn’t see him as he walked into the bakery. She didn’t notice the way he looked at her. She was oblivious of her surroundings, only absorbed in her thoughts. She concentrated on her coffee as the cream swirled around in her cup making circles as she mechanically stirred without really seeing it.

He moved closer to her table while he continued to observe her catatonic state. He only wished he could bring her out of it somehow. The accident had occurred over nine months ago and she had recovered physically but not emotionally. If only he had not called his brother for help…it would all be different now.

She drank down her last sip, picked up her unfinished muffin and deposited both in the trash before leaving the bakery shop. She never looked up as she passed by the observer. He reached out to take her hand but barely missed it. He shook his head and picked up his coffee and doughnut and followed her out the door.

Gretinasha or Greta, as most knew her, had begun to remember bits and pieces of her life after the accident. When she woke up in the ICU she was in extreme pain with her body broken and bandaged. She had cried out to the gray images that kept floating by her for help. One of these images bent over Greta taking her wrist in cool hands and running these same cool hands over Greta’s feverish forehead. Greta sighed exhausted and confused and tried to speak but nothing came out of her mouth. These unspoken words stayed in her head trapped as she was in her broken body.

Days, weeks, months went by and she grew stronger in body but still broken in thought. She could finally speak a few words but then would get confused and forget words and their meanings. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff passed by her room daily and stopped in to evaluate her progress and offered words of encouragement. But one day it was as if a dark cloud had finally lifted off of her mind. She called out his name…”Drew!”

There was a rush of staff into Greta’s room as bells and clicks could be heard of machines and other apparatus as they signaled their responses to her speech and renewed state of awareness. Greta was now fully alert and ready to move on but would she be able to handle what they would tell her?

“Where is he? What happened?” The questions flew out of her mouth now familiar with their sounds.

Doctor Gleason stepped closer and gently took her hand. “Welcome back, Greta! We’ve been waiting to talk to you for a long time.”

“Long time? How long have I been here? And…where is here?”

“Here is…New York. And…how long…six months.”

“What happened to me? Where is Drew?” Greta’s voice was shaky and rising.

“Greta, I am Dr. Gleason, the doctor on call when you came in. I have been treating you along with many other hospital staff. Some are here with me now to say ‘hello,’” Dr. Gleason took a breath before continuing, “Greta, you must take it easy now. One step at a time and you will be back to your former good health.”

“No, no, I want to know now! What happened to me and where is my fiancé, Drew Baylor?”

A gray-haired, distinguished man stepped forward and replaced Dr. Gleason at Greta’s side. He, too, took her pale hand in his as he began, “Hello, Greta, I am Dr. Roman. Let me try to explain. You were involved in a headon collision with another car. You suffered from two broken legs, a concussion, broken right collar bone and numerous contusions and abrasions. As for your fiancé, Drew, I’m sorry but he didn’t pull through. Since he was driving he received the full impact of the crash. The person who hit you was killed instantly. He was drunk at the wheel.”

“Noooooo, no, no! He can’t be dead! We were going to get married next June,” Greta screamed and tried to sit up and get out of bed but the myriad of machines were holding her back.

“Please Greta, lay back. You are not ready to get up yet. We need to bring you down for some tests and x-rays and then begin therapy on your legs. They are healed but not strong enough to hold you up.”

“I don’t care! I don’t want to live without Drew! Leave me alone!”

Dr. Gleason ushered everyone out of the room and left Dr. Roman with Greta. After all, Dr. Roman was her psychiatrist and Greta needed him now more than ever. After two more months of therapy both for her legs and her mind she was released.

Greta moved along the sidewalk as she headed back to her small apartment. Opening the door she nearly tripped over her cat, Pumpkin, named for his color and plumpness. Pumpkin followed Greta closely in hopes of getting a treat which she ate too many of already.

Greta went into her sparse and plain bedroom and lay down. She felt exhausted from the short walk to Drew’s favorite bakery. She went there every morning just to be close to the memory of Drew. In a matter of minutes she was fast asleep and dreaming.

They were on their way to Drew’s brother’s house to help him move into his new house. Greta laughed over a new joke Drew had just told her. He loved to hear her laugh and watch her green eyes sparkle with delight. Greta touched his face and Drew took his eyes off the road for just a second. Screeching tires, crunching metal and breaking glass was the cacophony that she now heard in her head. The next second everything went black. She felt herself floating and outside the car looking in at two broken bodies. She screamed and woke up in a cold sweat. She had remembered what happened.

Greta cried tears of relief at finally remembering that day and at the same time deep emotional and painful grief over her loss. If only she hadn’t distracted Drew from his driving. She would have to live with this forever.

There was a knock at her door and her cat meowed to get her attention. Moving through a cloud of sadness she approached the door and looked through the keyhole. She gasped as she saw Drew standing there. She pulled open the door and rushed into his arms. He hugged her back but then moved away as he came into the room.

“Greta, I know you think I am Drew but I’m not. I’m his brother, Darren. I went to visit you almost every day at the hospital but you don’t remember, do you?”

“No, I don’t…I’m sorry.”

“I thought it was time we met, we both have a lot to share about my brother. I miss him too. Can we talk?”

“Okay. I can’t believe how much you look like Drew. Are you identical twins?”

“Yes. Do you want some coffee? We can go to my favorite place.”

“Where is that?”

“Oh I think you already know…”

Greta smiled.

©JaniceSpina 2106

About Janice Spina

 Author Janice Spine

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with eleven children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 1 2 and 3, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, Colby the Courageous Cat, copy editor and writer of novels and poetry. Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. She published her second novel, a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, July 2016. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives was published in August 2016.

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

Janice has received a Silver Medal from MOM’S Choice Awards for Lamby the Lonely Lamb and the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone, and Book 2,The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat, and an Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite for Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone.

She is working on two more children’s books, book 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, editing a YA fantasy, finishing up a mystery/romance, and a historical novel, and wants to begin a mystery series for PT girls. All of these books, over the next few years, hopefully, will be published.

Her logo is Jemsbooks – books for all ages! Her motto is – Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Come soar with Jemsbooks! Happy reading!

Janice’s hobbies besides writing are crocheting, exercising to keep in shape, loves going to the movies with her husband or out to lunch or dinner, reading, book reviewing, blogging and spending time with her five grandchildren who are her writing inspiration.

Connect to Janice

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7222888.Janice_Spina
blog: http://jemsbooks.com
Website: http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janice_spina
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janice.spina.9/about

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that if you are celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends that you have a wonderful day.

Smorgasbord Short Story – A Soldier Waits – Sally Cronin


short-stories-two

A Soldier Waits – Sally Cronin

David stood beside his comrades as they waited in the village square for the parade to begin. Despite their advancing years, the men stood as tall as possible, often with the aid of a stick. Two of their number were in wheelchairs, and had been guided across the cobble stones by their fellow old soldiers.

It was a typical chilly November morning with dark skies and clouds laden with imminent rain. Whilst inappropriate perhaps for this solemn occasion, the men standing huddled against the cold wind; wished for a few rays of sunshine. Their overcoats were shiny with age but their shoes were burnished to a brilliance thanks to the loving attention the night before. A reminder of a time, when the action of rubbing in polish and then shining the boots for the sergeant’s approval, was used for reflection. A time to remember all the nights many years ago, when comrades would sit on camp beds talking quietly as they prepared their kit for inspection and parades.

Beribboned pins, holding silver and bronze medals, lay proudly against the material on their chests and nobody really noticed the frayed cuffs that peeked out from the sleeves of the worn coats. Their pride was clear to see by all who passed; many of whom smiled in recognition or tipped a hat. They were the old soldiers and heroes of the village and despite their dwindling numbers were respected and honoured. Not just today, but every time they were met in the shops and lanes of this small community that had given up so many of its young men to war.

David didn’t feel the cold and felt content to be part of the camaraderie and fellowship of being amongst those he had served with. He caught little snippets of conversation as he stood, head bowed waiting for the order to form into the parade.

‘My Elsie has had another grandson… Who would have thought it…? I’m a great granddad….’

‘That new doctor looks like he’s just left school… Told me that I had something called heemaroids… Used to call them bloody piles in my day…’

‘I’m sorry that Jack didn’t make it this year… Miss the old codger… We will have to find a replacement for the cribbage night…’

David smiled as he listened to his friends talking about their lives and raised his head as he heard the sound of the local brass band strike up.

He had been part of this ceremony for the last fifty years since the squire had erected the memorial in the centre of the village. Lord Roberts was a good man and had been devastated by the loss of his own son in the last few weeks of the war. Out of respect and loyalty to those other families in the village and surrounding area who had lost fathers, husbands and sons, he had paid for the monument himself.

That first November as the group of survivors had stood in the rain to commemorate the loss of their brothers and friends, many had still relied on crutches, and as today, one or two had been in wheelchairs. It was a far cry from the day that they had stood in this same square waiting for the horse drawn carriages to take them off to basic training.

The call had come, and from the surrounding farms and isolated cottages, men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-eight, who were not exempt because of occupation, health or marital status, walked proudly into the recruitment centre in the village hall. David was just nineteen when war was declared and was swept along by the patriotic message and fervour that swept the nation. There was talk down the pub of places outside of their small community that might be visited.

‘Blimey, a chance to see the other side of the hill lads…’ and ‘Do you think those French girls are as friendly as they say?’

The thought of glory and adventure had been foremost in their young minds. It certainly did not hurt that the girls in the village became very attentive when they arrived back for leave after basic training in their uniforms. The day that they had formed up into a parade to march to the square and climb aboard the transports was frozen in time. Mothers weeping as they clung to their sons and fathers slapping them on the back and proudly straightening their caps. Couples embracing for one last kiss and whispered words of love.

It had been very different when David returned to the village a year later. Although now only twenty he felt that he had aged a lifetime. As he stepped down from the train in the nearby town, carefully favouring his injured right arm and struggling with his kitbag, it was without glory. The sight of his parents waiting from him in the evening sunlight had reduced him to tears and as the horse and cart made its way to the farm; his mother had held him tightly as he sobbed against her best coat.

Over those first few days of calm and peace; David had spent hours alone walking the fields and hills desperately trying to find any meaning behind the senseless carnage and sacrifice he had experienced. He knew that once his injury was fully healed he would have to return and the thought of this kept him awake at night in his room in the rafters of the farmhouse.

Then one day, as the sun shone as he helped his father harvest the wheat, he saw his mother heading towards them swinging a laden lunch basket. Beside her with golden hair that gleamed in the sunlight was a tall and very beautiful young woman.

‘Here you go pet,’ his mother handed off the basket to David. ‘You remember Cathy from the Black’s farm don’t you?’

David looked into bright blue eyes and was then drawn down to the perfectly formed red lips that smiled at him.

Six weeks later they were married in the village church and had walked out into the sunshine to a guard of honour of fellow soldiers home on leave or who had been injured. The reception in the hall in the square had been packed with well-wishers and David and Cathy had danced and celebrated until midnight. Then they had slipped away unnoticed to their room above the pub.

Every year since the memorial was erected David had marched with his comrades and then stood with them as wreaths were laid around the base. And each year his breath would catch in his chest and his heart would skip a beat as he watched his Cathy carry a wreath and lay it amongst the rest. That first year she had also held the hand of a little girl, his daughter who unlike all others somberly dressed, was wearing a beautiful handmade coat of blue. His favourite colour.

He had watched Cathy and his daughter every year since then as they would both walk proudly to the memorial and lay their tribute. But this year his daughter walked with another by her side and there was no sign of his darling wife. He slipped through the ranks of his comrades until he was standing in the front row. He could hear his daughter saying something to the tall young man by her side.

‘You lay the wreath David; your grandmother wanted you to do it for her this year.’

The lad reverently laid it down amongst the others and he stood back by his mother’s side. Together they turned and walked solemnly back towards the waiting villagers where they were greeted with hugs and the boy was patted on the back.

A tear rolled down David’s face with sorrow at the loss of his beautiful Cathy. As he stood bereft at the front of his silent comrades at attention, but with their heads bowed, the clouds parted and rays of sunshine spread across the square. As they did so, his eyes were drawn to a young woman with golden hair and blue eyes who walked over the cobbles to stand by his side. She slipped her cool hand into his and he smiled down at her with joy.

Unseen by all those who had gathered to remember him and all the others who had not returned; they slipped away hand in hand. The long wait for them both was over.

©sallycronin 2014