Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day Thirty-One

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six
Day Twenty-Seven
Day Twenty-Eight
Day Twenty-Nine
Day Thirty
Each short chapter is posted in daily order on wordsbymo.blogspot.com

Day Thirty-One, Wednesday


Morgan stood at the front window, her afternoon coffee cup wrapped snugly in her hands. October thirty-first.  The house across the street was quiet, empty, closed. It would have been a bustle of activity tonight. But they were gone, the house, deserted. Joey nuzzled at her feet.

Thirty-one days ago she stood here, wondered what it would take to make life different, full, rather than quiet and empty. Nothing earth-shattering had happened. No cataclysmic events. But she was different. 
Her pretty journal sat on the coffee table. She sat down on the couch, picked it up with the pen next to it. Joey leaned against her knee, looked up at her. “Hey girl,” she said as she scratched her forehead. She wrote.

I am different.

Thirty-one days ago I wondered how I would survive this month. The discouragement, the alone, the quiet was overwhelming.

I have survived. I have changed. I have stepped out, and I am alive.

Never, would I have suspected that my new friends would be in their nineties, in an old folk’s home, and that I don’t even think of it as an old folk’s home. I think of it as their home, because they are there.

Never would I have suspected that a neighbor family would draw me in so closely. And leave me such a gift, this puppy at my feet.

Surprising, how my home, my life, has filled with life. Fresh foods, flowers, and now a puppy.

Amazing to me, my days are full and happy (Well, not today. Missing Nancy and her busy household terribly).

I have a future.

I am not alone.

What I thought was the end, a period, an exclamation point of finality, was a pause, a deep breath, a page turned, a big step into a new chapter of my on-going story. 

You know how you strike a match, and there is a pause, a waiting, a moment before it flickers and sparks? You wonder if it took, or if you need to strike it again. Then, it flames up and catches you by surprise. I feel the flicker, the spark. Surprised by the warmth of the flame.

Morgan set down the pen. She was busy, she thought, but not for the sake of being busy. Busy because life was full and exciting. Her life had more than a spark. It had light.

“Joey,” she said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day Thirty

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six
Day Twenty-Seven
Day Twenty-Eight
Day Twenty-Nine


Day Thirty, Tuesday


The key twisted in the lock with a click. Joey, at her feet, pranced and panted, excited to be going home. As Morgan opened the door, Joey bolted inside and skidded on the empty floor. She spun to turn down the hall, heading for Jimmy’s room. No one there. She snuffled along the floor, smelling, searching. Each bedroom, empty. Confused, she ran the loop through the kitchen and dining room. Barely making the corner, she bounced off the door frame.

Morgan called her over and squatted down to talk to her. “They are gone, girl. I know it is strange, but it is just you and me now.” She ruffled her ears, digging her fingers deep into the fur behind them. Joey leaned into the scratch. “We’ll be okay, you and me, once we get used to this. Today, I have to clean this place. The owner is coming at three to inspect and pick up the key. Let’s go out back for a little bit, then I’ll get started.” She walked through the kitchen, opened the back door. Joey ran out, made a circuit around the yard, checking, smelling, still searching. No one, nothing. She walked over to the patio and sat, staring out toward the yard, waiting.

The cleaning supplies were in the pantry cupboard. Morgan picked them up, left the back door open so Joey could come in when she wanted, and went to work. Through the morning, Joey would come to check on her. She would always stop, talk to her, pet her, reassure her, ache with her. But they would be okay. She kept telling Joey that, more to reassure herself. She needed someone to tell her that, too.

The work went quickly. Cleaning an empty house is a breeze, she thought. “C’mon Joey, let’s go get some lunch. I have some treats for you, and I imagine you are thirsty.” They stood on the front porch a moment. Morgan looked across the street to her own house. My home, she thought. “That is your home now, too,” she said to Joey.  The puppy looked up at her and wagged her tail. “So, let’s go settle in together, what do you say?” She locked the door behind her, trying not to look back, but to look forward. Ahead.

The afternoon was quiet. Even the town seemed more still than usual today. It all felt so empty. They sat out on the patio, Joey sprawled on her side in a patch of sunlight, Morgan with her feet up on another chair, reading Winter Solstice. She hoped for a happy ending. She could use a happy ending today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day Twenty-Nine

Thirty-One, A Novel
Two quick reminders, these daily chapters are posted consecutively at wordsbymo.blogspot.com.
And, the other 31 Day bloggers are finishing up their posts at The Nester.

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six
Day Twenty-Seven
Day Twenty-Eight


Day Twenty-Nine, Monday


Nancy and the kids were leaving today. Joey, coming to stay. She wished, for the kids, that they could have kept Joey. But, for herself, she was glad the puppy was staying. It would give her a little bit of them to keep close.

The deep window-rattling rumble of the truck let her know it had arrived. The movers would load the truck, drive a few miles and unload it into a storage unit, stored until they knew where they would be next. Yesterday, a container had arrived for the stuff that was being shipped to Germany.  Their suitcases were stacked in a pile in the dining room. Morgan would take them to the airport at eight o’clock tonight, for an overnight flight. And tomorrow, they would be in Germany. Their house would be empty.

Nancy asked Morgan to help with the kitchen. The cupboards still needed to be emptied. The dishes were packed, but not all the food stuff. Because they couldn’t take any food with them, Morgan boxed it up to take to a church that had a soup kitchen. Tomorrow, not today. Today was busy enough. Loose ends. No matter how organized and efficient and planned, there were always loose ends.

The kids were excited to go see their dad, to go to Europe, to fly in a plane, to wonder and talk and imagine what it would be like. But they were sad, too, and the tensions stretched all of their limits. At lunchtime, they all trooped over to Morgan’s. All of Joey’s bedding and leash and collar and bowls and food went, too. Joey was excited, a part of all the activity. They were all back and forth across the street often, carrying the food stuff over, keeping Jimmy busy and out of the way.

By four, the moving van was ready to pull out. Nancy gave them directions to the storage unit. Sarah, Johnny, Jimmy, Nancy, Morgan and Joey stood on the sidewalk and watched it drive away, lumbering slowly down the street, shifting gears as it swung around the corner. It disappeared. They could still hear it, but it was out of sight. Gone. All their stuff, for an unknown time.

“Well, it will be better than Christmas when you get to unpack all that, somewhere,” said Morgan, attempting to sound cheerful.

"No, I am going to have Christmas in Germany," said Jimmy.

Nancy sighed. They were all exhausted. “I want to make one more pass through the house, checking cupboards and closets. Then, Morgan, may we put our suitcases in your car and come to your house? I would like to lock our door for good, and try not to think about it again.”

“Of course. I’ll go start dinner, come over whenever you are ready.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day Twenty-Eight

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six
Day Twenty-Seven


Day Twenty-Eight, Sunday


Sunday. Spend the afternoon at Sunnyside. Still can’t believe how much I enjoy those gals, Gertrude and Marie. I almost missed them, by not going. Wonder how much else in life I miss by not even trying, figuring it would be too hard or too uncomfortable or too much work. Or I am afraid.

These thoughts floated in her mind as she washed up the dishes and clipped a scraggly sunflower. She fluffed up the arrangement, admiring it. Sunflowers. She never got tired of them. Her favorite flower. Other gals could have their bouquet of roses. She would take sunflowers any day.

At Sunnyside, Morgan told Marie about the hike yesterday, about Jimmy insisting it was the ocean. Marie laughed, listening, but she seemed distracted. “What’s wrong?” Morgan asked her.

“I am tired, discouraged. Here, day after day, I sit in the chair, I lie in the bed, I walk twenty-one steps to the dining room and sit at the table. Morgan, you have no idea how much I enjoy you coming. Without you, here, to tell me about life out there, I would feel lost. Useless.”

“Useless,” repeated Morgan. “That is how I have felt, as if all I used to do, what was my world, who I used to be, is gone, lost. What do I do now? I take care of my house, my plants, but shouldn’t there be more than that?”

Marie said, “When you have a house full of little ones, your days are full. You are busy. When they get older, your days get emptier and you have to find a new measure of value. The connections you make, not just being busy, that is what is important. Now, I have a different challenge to find worth. Seems to be part of growing oIder. I guess we both, in our own ways, find it hard to feel useful.”

Morgan shared her idea from yesterday, of the two-sided coin, the vastness and the smallness. How the perspective made such a difference.  “ Marie, you have a large heart. You do connect with those around you. And that is what matters. You still have so much to share, so much love to give. You have given me more than you can know. My little, narrow world has become much bigger, and that is because of you, and Gertrude, too. Don’t be discouraged. Your life is valuable, to me, and others. You are still useful.”

“And Morgan, I can say the same for you. You are valuable, too, to me.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Morgan saw a gal walk by in the hall with a big Golden Retriever. She told Marie, “There is a dog out in the hall.”

“Oh yes, she brings her dog in to visit us. The dog is Brandy. She lets us pet her, talk to her. I can’t see her wag her tail, but I can feel it in her body, her sides wagging back and forth.”

“Really? I wouldn’t think the health department would allow dogs in a place like this.”

“They are certified, or something, part of an organization that goes to visit at homes, hospitals, schools, even jails, I think.”

“Interesting. Maybe I’ll get a chance to meet her.”

“Meet who?” said the gal as she walked in with Brandy.

“Meet Brandy. Marie was just telling me about her.”

Brandy did wag her whole body. The red vest she wore said, “Pets As Partners.” She greeted Morgan, then walked over to Marie. She put her chin on Marie’s knee, looking up at her with big brown eyes. Marie stroked her head, talking softly to her.

“Marie said you go to other places, too, to visit. Brandy must like to get out and go places.”

“Yes. She has been trained, knows how to behave, what to expect, what to do. She is a good girl.” Brandy wagged her tail. “Dogs make an easy connection with people. They seem to have an innate understanding of just how much attention each person needs.”

“Connection. Marie and I were just talking about that. What kind of training did she have?” asked Morgan.

“Basic obedience, polite behavior, good manners, simple stuff. Health certifications. Some of the dogs become much more advanced to be service dogs, do specific tasks. I just wanted to go visiting with Brandy, so we just did the basic stuff. We go to reminder classes once in awhile with other dogs in the group.”

Morgan said, “I am getting a puppy tomorrow, a lab. What would it take to train her, like Brandy?”

“Bring her to our next meeting. They are starting a new series of training classes on Monday evenings, they start the fifth of November. The first one is just information, getting to know what is expected, meeting some of the others. Here. I have a card, you can call that number to reserve a spot. How old is the puppy?”

“Five months, I think.”

“That is perfect. And labs are good dogs. They love to socialize. Happy dogs. Then you could bring her along when you visit.”

“That sounds really good. I wouldn’t have to leave her at home. It would give us both something to do, something more to think about. I like that idea. I had no idea this was possible, it is amazing.”

“Call the office tomorrow. They will set you up. Maybe I’ll see you there. I am Sandy, by the way.”


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day Twenty-Seven

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five
Day Twenty-Six


Day Twenty-Seven, Saturday


Morgan was sore when she woke up. A long day yesterday. She and Shandra had worked all day. Sammy followed her to each room, getting underfoot, asking for a pat, wagging his tail whenever she talked to him. Guess dogs do like me, if I like them, she thought.

After the party rental truck arrived, she worked in the kitchen, arranging trays of cut vegetables, mixing dips, and making a new list for Shandra so in the morning, she could go straight down the list, setting up the food items. She made notes as to where she put things like the bags of chips, and she put the big bowls she found next to each item to make it extra easy. Shandra invited her to come help, but Morgan declined, saying she already had plans for the day. It made her think though, to add party organization to her possible business plan list. The extra money Shandra paid her would enable her to take Nancy and the kids out to a special restaurant for dinner after their hike.

At nine, Nancy and the kids loaded in to Nancy’s car, since Morgan’s car wasn’t big enough for all of them and Joey.  They drove across town, turned up highway twenty-four, a few turns, and left to Gold Road. A few miles down, a parking lot held about twenty cars, parked in a row. One family was distributing water bottles, putting the baby in the backpack carrier, and leashing their dog.

“Look, their dog has a red leash and collar just like Joey,” said Jimmy.

“So?” said Johnny. “Do you know how many dogs have red collars? Thousands.”

“Hey guys. Today is for fun. No teasing, no arguing. Okay?” said Nancy.

They all grunted. For a moment, Morgan doubted the wisdom of this hike. But once they were out of the car, packing up their water bottles and getting Joey ready, they were eager to go. It was an uphill climb, over rocky terrain, loose gravel and steep dirt paths. It didn’t take long to begin to see out across the open plains. As the long range views came into sight, they identified familiar landmarks, tried to figure where their house was located. Some of the trees still held their fall colors, though most of them were bare. The scent of winter was in the air, with the warmth of fall still hanging on.

At one turn, Jimmy stood, quiet and still. “Is that the ocean?” he asked.

“No, the ocean is two thousand miles away. Across a whole lot of states from here.”

“It looks like the ocean. I think it is the ocean. I can see the ocean from here! Wow!”

“Jimmy, it is not the ocean. It is Colorado and Kansas, and many states beyond that before you get to the Atlantic Ocean,” Nancy told him.

“I still think it is the ocean. I see it. It is blue and it goes on forever. Hey, I can see Germany!”

“Well, let’s keep hiking. The top is farther, still,” said Morgan to distract him. The kids complained about the climb. It was too steep, too hot, too dusty. Joey wasn’t complaining. Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth, a sign she was very, very happy. Several groups of mountain bikers rode past. The kids were impressed with that, saying it must be much harder than hiking the trail.

“I can’t believe they actually ride their bikes across these rocks,” said Johnny.

A track team ran by them. The gals had their shirt sleeves pulled up around their shoulders, most of the guys had their shirts off, tucked in their shorts, swinging behind them like tails. Sarah watched them go past. “It is hard to complain about walking this trail when others run by you, and they make it look easy. Even fun. Wonder how often they come up here and run this? Looks like they do it every day.”

At the top, they ate snacks, sipped their waters. They sat a long time on the rocks overlooking the valley below, the plains beyond. It was an amazing view. Morgan decided she would come back up here, with Joey, more often. The perspective, the distance, made it hard to view life as narrow or small. Or, the opposite, it made your life look small, compared to the vastness. She couldn’t decide which was accurate, settled on both of them, like two sides of a coin.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day Twenty-Six

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four
Day Twenty-Five


Day Twenty-Six, Friday


Wow – three days in a row of journaling. Maybe this is a new habit. Hope so, the more I write in this pretty little book, the more I enjoy the process. Instead of talking to my plants or my quiet house, I can dialogue here, a pleasant conversation with a close friend, who surprisingly, is myself. If someone told me that, I would think they were strange. Reality, though, it is good. Healthy. 

Not much time to write this morning. I told the two new cleaning gals I couldn’t clean until November, but one of them begged and pleaded and offered to pay me a huge bonus if I came today. She’s having a party this weekend, desperately needs my help, not just cleaning, but preparing stuff for her big gathering. So, I’ll be working all day at her house. Will be exhausting, but kind of fun, organizing and making her place party-ready. Wonder what her house is like? Will find out in thirty minutes.

Morgan pulled up to the address. The streets in the development circled and looped around, with only one way in. It took her two tries to find the house. She was impressed. It looked immaculate. The yard, perfect.  If the inside looks as nice, this will be an easy job, she thought.

Her knock on the door was answered by raucous barking. Uh-oh. Hope this dog is as friendly as Joey. Sounds quite a bit bigger, thought Morgan.

From inside, a woman’s voice shouted, “Sammy, hush! Get back from the door, you brute.” The door opened. The woman held a huge German Shepherd by the collar. “Morgan? Hi. Come in, just step in here, let him sniff your hand, he won’t bite, that’s right, see, Sammy, she is okay, you don’t need to eat her.” The dog’s tail wagged, thumping against the wall. She let go of the collar, extended her hand. “I am Shandra, sorry about the welcome. So, so glad you could come today, Morgan, I love your name. I am going crazy. Could not have done this by myself.  I have a list pages long, and can’t seem to know where to start. Madness. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this at my house?” She rattled on, barely breathing between sentences. Maybe they weren’t even sentences, just ramblings.

Morgan took off her sweater, hung it on the row of hooks behind the door. “Well, how about you show me your list, we’ll decide where to start, and see what you want me to do.”

“That would be wonderful. Would you like a cup of coffee, I just brewed a new pot. I am on my third pot just by myself, felt like I needed the extra energy today.”

That would explain the rambling sentences, thought Morgan. She smiled. “Maybe you could give me a brief tour, first, and then we’ll look at the list?”

“Good idea.” Shandra gave her a quick pass through the house and a large, covered patio off the back of the house, bordered with potted plants, two sets of patio tables and chairs, and an outdoor couch. “We will have drinks and some snacks set up out here, it is supposed to be a warm day, not too cold, but we may have to change plans if it gets too chilly or too windy. It is late in the year, but this is so pretty out here, and we have lights hung all around the edge of the roof, and there are still flowers blooming, and it is comfortable here.”

“Okay, let’s look at your list,” said Morgan. She could see this was going to take some organizing, but it would be fun, and she could use that cup of coffee.


For these daily chapters posted in consecutive order, go to wordsbymo.blogspot.com.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day Twenty-Five

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three
Day Twenty-Four


Day Twenty-Five, Thursday


Morgan wrote in her journal.  Late evening. So many thoughts ranging around in my head. Will try to get some down on paper.

At Sunnyside today, Marie talked and talked. I held her hand, she held mine. The connection, perhaps because she is blind, seems extra important to her. I think, though, really, they all need it. A hand that isn’t doing something to them. A hand, just to hold, just to be there, to touch and talk about whatever. So much is on their minds. To look at them, on the surface, you’d think they are bored and boring. But they are not. They are deep wells.

Marie talked about why she had to come live there, at the Home. Funny word for the place, Home. An effort, I guess, at making it what it isn’t. Yet it is, to them.

 A neighbor came over one day, to bring her some fruit from her tree. When she put it in the frig, she was shocked to see the refriegerator empty.  She asked her what she ate. Marie told her she cooked rice, or opened a can of beans. The gal looked in her cupboards. They were almost empty, too, with nothing on the higher shelves. “I can’t reach those,” Marie had told her. Soon, she had to ask for help, often. Her children were too distant. The neighbor lady had been very helpful and willing, but one day she sat her down and told her it was too dangerous for Marie to live alone. She took her to Sunnyside, where she knew Clarisse. They talked and planned. Marie rented out her house, she couldn’t bear to sell it, and it gave her a little income to help each month. Two weeks later, here she was.  A strange turn of life.

Marie didn’t seem sad about it, she seemed grateful. It left me feeling sad, though, wondering about life. It also gave me an idea. Another business idea. For older people, ones who are mostly capable, but who have a hard time keeping up a house, cooking, gardening, the things that are hard on older bodies. I could run a service for them. Grocery shopping, errands that they need to run, cleaning, weeding, cooking. I couldn’t charge much, volunteer would be ideal, but maybe I should charge a little. I don’t know, will have to think about this. I am sure there are a lot of older people who need tasks done, and don’t have family or those who help them regularly. Even checking in with them each day to see how they are doing. How would I connect with them? Word of mouth is always best, I don’t want to advertise, just build up as I go.

Looking forward to Saturday. Taking Nancy and the kids and Joey on a hike in the mountains. They need a break from their packing and I (selfishly) want one more day to spend with them, a good memory. Funny, I didn’t even know their names just a few weeks ago. Now they are special friends, I love them all. Will miss them.

And, a few more for my thankful list: 
my health, 
strength, 
working in the garden, 
a bouquet of sunflowers, 
a warm mug of coffee, 
feeling loved – again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day Twenty-Four

Thirty-One, A Novel

A huge thank you to The Nester, for opening her heart and blog to all the 31 Dayers - it's like a noisy, bustling room humming with people talking and laughing. In a busy room like that, my tendency would be to go in a corner and hide, just watch. What would you do? It is a good chance to talk with a few, make some new connections.


Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two
Day Twenty-Three


Day Twenty-Four, Wednesday


Picking up a pen and this journal seem a little easier now. Why was it so hard to get started?

Yesterday, Nancy left me a note with some references to friends of hers who wanted their houses cleaned. It is fairly easy work, I can set my own hours, still work by myself. I thought about it last night, late, lying in bed. My aunt’s money, the account that earns me interest and bought me this house, is solid, gives me some security. But an income would be a good idea, independence. Gives me strength, too, that type of work.

So I called the two gals this morning. They were both thrilled, enthusiastic, Nancy had given them an over-rated report of my work. But, maybe  it isn’t over-rated. Maybe I am under-rating myself. Maybe I do need to re-think this whole thing, do some research, come up with a business plan. Will have to learn about taxes, expense reports, record keeping, I don’t even know what all else. A trip to the library, later, to pick up some business type books. Exciting, scary, but a step that feels right. Encouraging. Forward looking. I told them both I would start in November. I want to be available to Nancy these last few days they are here, and it gives me time to research, set up more definite plans and thoughts and treat it like a real business, not a favor for a friend.

Actually, this has me thinking in a whole new line. Working for myself. Self-employed. There are several things I could be doing. Having kids come to the house after school, until their parents pick them up, like my friend in Washington does. Adding organization to my skills, helping people organize their homes, sort through the stuff, help them make the decisions they can’t get around to making on their own. Maybe even some painting. Or gardening. I like planting things, weeding, helping design a pretty yard, use potted plants to decorate porches. More ideas keep coming. I will start a page in this journal, put a paper clip on it, and jot down ideas as they come.

Getting excited about this. A purpose to my days. No more hiding at home, living in quiet non-existence, secluded from myself and from others. That gal at the Farmer’s Market was right. Journaling is amazing. Somehow, putting these random thoughts on paper does open surprising ideas. Like opening a gift, wondering what is in the package, pulling off the ribbon and tearing the paper, peeking inside, and seeing something you wanted, but hadn’t even realized what it was you wanted. A wonderful gift.  A thoughtful gift. Given by someone who loves you. Who might even turn out to be yourself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Twenty-Three

Thirty-One, A Novel


Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One
Day Twenty-Two


Day Twenty-Three, Tuesday
At Nancy's, Morgan found a note on the dining room table, tucked under the edge of a placemat.

“Morgan. Two friends asked who does my cleaning. They asked me to give you their names. If you don’t want to call them, that is fine. I am kind of embarrassed to ask you this, hope you are not offended. You are doing a great job, and since we are moving, I thought, maybe, you would like to work at someone else’s house? Here are their names and numbers. No worries if you don’t want to call them, or pursue this. Oh, and by the way, don’t be afraid to charge these gals a bundle – they will gladly pay it, and you are totally worth it (as Sarah would say).”

She tucked the note in her pocket. Do I want to start a business? Wouldn’t be a bad way to earn money. Flexible. Independent. I will have to think about an income at some point, anyway. Interesting idea. Looks like I could start without advertising, too, just word of mouth.

In the afternoon, she heard car doors slam across the street, the usual noisy chaos when Nancy’s family arrived home from school. She could hear Joey yipping her “hellos,” and smiled to herself. The neighborhood will be quiet without them, she thought.

Her doorbell rang. At the door, stood Sarah, Johnny and Jimmy. Nancy, behind them, had Joey on a leash. All three kids had tear-stained faces, Jimmy was still crying. “Come in. What is wrong?” Fears for their father flashed through her mind. Oh no, please, no, she prayed.

All three kids walked over to her couch and slumped down, like a choreographed move. They looked so glum, like they were acting out a desperate scene in a play. It almost made Morgan smile.

“Please, tell me what is wrong.  Nancy, sit down. Come here, Joey, what is going on with your people, huh?” Joey scooted over to her, her tail swinging so wide it almost hit her in the face.  No answer, the kids just looked at the floor. Nancy looked uncomfortable. Morgan was afraid to ask, but she took a breath and said, “Is it your husband?”

“No, no he is fine. Well, sort of, they let me talk to him today. He is recovering, in therapy, a long haul, but he should be okay.”

“That sounds like good news. What makes all of you look so sad? Are you still able to go see him?”

“Yes, we are still leaving on the twenty-ninth.”

“But we can’t take Joey!” blurted out Johnny. Jimmy sobbed again.

“Oh, that is sad,” said Morgan.

Sarah, never at a loss for words, said, “Morgan, we want you to have her. She likes you, she knows you, she would be happy with you. We can’t stand the thought of taking her to the pound, or giving her to someone we don’t know, or…” and then her voice caught in a sob and she cried, too. Joey sat on the rug, looking from person to person.

Morgan looked at Nancy, not sure what to think. She said, “Well, this is sudden, but I could keep her while you are away, then you could take her back when you come home.”

Nancy said, “No. We talked about that. We don’t know when, or if we are coming back. Or what country John will be assigned to, or if we will be with him. There are too many unknowns. And it is crazy for you, too, to have her, then not have her. We agreed.” She paused, to look at the pained faces on the couch. “We agreed it would be best, if you are willing, for you to keep her. She would be your dog. And, as soon, as we can, if we ever settle somewhere again, we will find another dog. We know she would be happy and well cared for, with you.”

Silence, except for the sniffles from the couch, sank over the room. Morgan was not sure if she was the bad guy or the good guy in this scene. Take away the puppy from the kids? Bad Guy. A home they knew and were comfortable with? Good Guy. She wasn’t sure she wanted a part in this. But, if she didn’t take Joey, what then? Where would she end up? Joey came over to her, nuzzled at her knee, her deep brown eyes looking up at her. How could she say no? Was she crazy?

Morgan looked at the three on the couch. Jimmy still cried, his hands tight in his lap. Johnny looked right at her, his eyes, begging. Sarah looked at her too, pleading. She looked at Nancy, who looked down.

“Yes, I will take her.” She should probably have said she would think about it overnight, but she knew she would still say yes, so why prolong their agony.

Sarah came over and stood close to Morgan. “You know, Morgan, I thought of something. Oh, first, thank you. Really, really, really thank you. But what I thought of, your name, the nickname could be, “Mo,” short for Morgan. And Joey, she could be “Jo,” short for Joey, so together, you guys will be MoJo. You know, get your mojo on, find your mojo – you guys will have it all the time!”

“Sarah, that is ridiculous,” said Nancy, shaking her head.

“I kind of like it. I could use some mojo,” said Morgan.  “I won’t take her until you guys leave. Until then, she is totally yours. Enjoy her. I know you will miss her, but don’t worry about her, she’ll take care of me, keep me company when I am missing you. And we’ll have fun.”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twenty-Two

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty-One


Day Twenty-Two, Monday


Morgan picked up her journal, took it out to the back patio, sat down at the little table and began to write.

I thought a lot last night, about what Gertrude told me about the voices in my head. Yeah, those voices that only crazy people hear! No, the voices from the life I had. The voices, angry and accusing and blaming, wishing shame on me. “Shame on you.” Words I refuse to say to anyone, ever. Does anyone really think about what that means? Are they really wishing that the horror of shame would fall on that person? Maybe not, but it is a curse to heap on someone.

Sidetracked, but maybe this is what journaling is about. Writing to see, writing to discover, writing to learn, writing to explore.

So these voices, are all from the past. They are not here, now, speaking to me. They are memories. Regrets. Makes me think of that old song. “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…” Okay, what regrets would I mention? I could make two lists: what I did, and what I did not do. She set the pen down, leaned back in the chair, looked out across the yard. Her yard. Her flowers. Her patio. Her house. Her life. Now. Today.

She wrote. Gertrude was right. I am accepting the blame, making choices based on what I think they would say. On what I think they would think. That does seem kind of silly. Instead of being afraid of what Shane would think, I need to write him letters. Maybe he feels forgotten, over there in Afghanistan. Maybe I have been blinded by my own little problems. He did help me move in to this house. Then, a week later he was gone, on the other side of the world. I let the stress-filled things he said to me, in the move, get to me. Maybe, just maybe, he was expressing his own fears, and I was too sensitive. Or was it insensitive? Took it all personally. Maybe?

Responsibility. Opens a whole new world of ideas. What can I do? Write newsy, friendly letters. Not ask anything or expect anything. Attempt to rebuild the washed out bridge. And Eli? Don’t know how to reach out to him. Will think about it, find some way.

What can I do? Be aware, be grateful, be thankful for all I do have, here, now. I will start a list, add to it each day. Today. 
#1 my house 
#2 this patio and yard 
#3 new friends 
#4 flowers 
#5 food in the cupboards 
#6 encouraging words 
#7 the mountains 
#8 clouds in the deep blue sky 
#9 books to read 
#10 creativity. 
Wow, makes me think in a different direction. Looking at all I do have, not at all I have lost. I like this. A lot.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day Twenty-One

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty


Day Twenty-One, Sunday


The morning, spent quietly, reading and relaxing, went by quickly. By one o’clock, Morgan was ready to go to the Sunnyside Home. Early. She laughed at herself. What a change from the first time she went there a few weeks ago. If someone had told her she would enjoy visiting an old folk’s home, she would have told them they were crazy. And she was crazy, a happy crazy. The women, somehow, gave her more than she could ever give them.

She cut two of the sunflowers, shortened their stems to fit in jars. One, she would give to Marie, the other to Gertrude. Her new friends.

At Sunnyside, she walked down the hall, around to Gertrude’s room. “Hello, Gertrude.”

“Morgan, come in, come in. How are you today?”

“Okay, and you? How are they treating you here? I brought a flower for your table.”

“Oh, good as always. The flower is beautiful. A spot of sunshine.”

“Yes, that’s why I love sunflowers. I buy a bunch whenever I go to the Farmer’s Market. They cheer up my little house.”

“And why does your house need cheering up? Are you discouraged?”

“I am still struggling, sorting out my new life. Finding my way, alone, instead of with a family. With just me to care for.”

Gertrude said, “Sit down, here, next to me. Honey,” she took Morgan’s hand, “Life has so many turns and corners. This is just another corner, another intersection on the road. When I was learning how to drive, ages ago,” she grinned, “My dad would tell me to go any direction I wanted.  Come to a corner, and choose. He said it didn’t matter where we went. Just keep going. Keep driving. Keep practicing. Keep moving. We would get sort of lost, but never completely lost. We made some great discoveries, places we hadn’t known about, sights we hadn’t seen, all because we were not afraid to take the unknown road. Don’t be afraid to take the unknown road. It has surprises ahead.”

“That’s what I am afraid of, the surprises. What if a bridge is washed out, or it dead ends, or ends up in a swamp? Or if I get lost?”

“What kind of talk is that? No! If the bridge is washed out, you go around. If it dead ends, you turn around and go back, take a different way. If it ends up in a swamp – where are you, anyway, this is Colorado, not Florida.”

Morgan laughed, “I know, just an illustration, I guess, of the way I feel.”

Gertrude looked at her. “Morgan. I will guess that you feel guilty. That blame weighs heavily on you. Blame and shame. It is a game that some people play. If they play that game they are not responsible. That’s how they hold you.“

Morgan looked down at her hands. “But when their voices are loud, blaming, criticizing you, it is hard not to listen.”

“But you do not have those voices anymore. They are not here. They are only in your head,” said Gertrude.

Oh, thought Morgan, she is right. What voices do I hear, now? Gertrude, Marie, Nancy, her kids, even Joey, with her eyes looking up at me, begging aloud to be petted, the gal at the journal table, telling me to write, my friend, from Washington, sending me a book to read. “You are right, Gertrude. I am living in the past. I need to turn that corner, don’t I? Go a different direction, find new scenery.”

“Good girl,” said Gertrude.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day Twenty

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen


Day Twenty, Saturday


Morgan walked to the Farmer’s Market, her bag swinging on her arm. Nancy asked her to pick up some fruit for them. They were busy packing, sorting, deciding what to take and what to put in storage. For the kids, this trip was like a long vacation. Nancy said it was more like a walk into a very long tunnel.

She picked up two bunches of spinach for her salads, some apples and berries for Nancy, and tomatoes. Wandering slowly past the tables, she watched and listened to the conversations. Old friends, neighbors, meeting. Apologies when a stroller bumped someone. Questions over prices, over quality. A low humming, a comfortable buzzing of activity. Community, sharing talk, connections. Comfortable, happy. Connections made between friends and strangers.

She loved the smells of fruit and flowers, the rainbow array of squash and eggplant and carrots and tomatoes and onions, the flowers, bunched in tall galvanized buckets, deep fall colors of russet and maroon and gold. She bought another bunch of sunflowers, these with smaller blossoms, a deep russet. She bought another loaf of artisan bread. This time, one with Italian seasonings baked in. She would make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

The gal with the artful journal display was there again. Morgan stopped to chat with her. The gal remembered her, asked her how her journal was filling up.

“Not too well, really. I sit down to write, then I get lost in thought, and the page sits, empty.”

“Yes, I know it takes a certain amount of courage to fill up the pages. As you write, your thoughts will reveal themselves in ways beyond what happens just in your head. Crazy, I know, but it is true. Getting words down, on paper, gives them new quality, new depth.”

“I don’t know how to get started,” said Morgan.

“Lists. If I can’t think of what to write, I make a list. What am I happy about today? What am I frustrated with today? What made me angry today? What beauty did I see today? What did I say today that I wish I hadn’t said? Anything like that. Even a grocery list will get you thinking and you will be writing about a hidden desire to visit France and eat at a sidewalk cafĂ©. Crazy, wild, funny stuff. You’ll be surprised.”

Morgan thought of Elfrida, in Winter Solstice. She wasn’t afraid to be crazy, wild, funny. To take risks. Huge risks. To attempt something impossible. To open her heart to the new and different. She smiled at the gal behind the table, “Yes, okay, I see. I will write more this week.  Thank you. Maybe I need to get over the school paper mentality.”

“Absolutely. This is just for you. No one will ever see it. Write for yourself, to yourself. It might sound a little selfish, narrow minded, but, really, writing in the journal opens your heart to others, to the world around you. Somehow, by writing inside your shell, you stick your head out and look around you more. I’m glad you are trying, keep it up.” Another customer walked up to the table and she turned to talk with her.

Big signs were posted around the market. “Last Day. Closing for the Season. See you next Summer!”

The flowers tucked in her bent arm, the weighted shopping bag hanging from her other hand, Morgan walked home. The leaves, in full color, dropped, floated in the breeze, crunched under her feet. A few drifted in to the top of her bag. As she crossed the grassy area of the park, many leaves were piled on the ground. She scooped up several handfuls. Her low wooden bowl, some leaves, some apples, a few walnuts would make a pretty center on her coffee table.

She walked slowly, enjoying the air, feeling the change in the weather. Fall was packing up its things, getting ready to leave, the arrival of winter around the corner. Today, the few clouds, puffy and brilliant white, drifted in the deep blue ocean of the sky. She was ready for change. Change was already happening. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day Nineteen

Thirty-One, A Novel

A reminder: if you are joining us midstream, these daily chapters are posted consecutively over at WordsbyMo.blogspot.com.
Also, have you visited The Nester and shared in the bounty available there? Lots of yummy ideas and eye-candy to browse.


Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen




Day Nineteen, Friday


Today, Morgan wanted to weed in the backyard, sweep off the patio, go to Home Depot to buy the sandpaper and paint for the table and dresser, and read. Winter Solstice was waiting for her.  How were Elfrida and Oscar coping with all the changes? And who was this Sam guy? How would he be part of their story?

First, her cleaning day. She made a quick pass through the rooms, stopped especially to enjoy the space and emptiness of the guest room. She left the door open, now. This will be a happy place, a productive place, and soon, she thought. She vacuumed and dusted and straightened, opened windows to bring in the crisp breeze.  She stood at the open window, drinking in the cool air. Her house was becoming more than a place to hide in, a place to keep her busy. Her house, like herself, was opening up.

Before she went to Home Depot, she measured the spaces with the missing drawers on the dresser. The frame pieces for the drawers were still there. It would be simple to nail a piece of wood on to those to make a floor for the baskets. Morgan tried the existing drawers in different spots, deciding where she would rather have the empty slots, decided on the top two spaces for the baskets. She would have them cut the pieces there, then she could nail them on and paint them. Should be simple. She measured for the baskets, too, and put the measurements in her wallet to have when she found some she liked.

By two o’clock, she was back home and out on the patio, her feet up on the footstool, a glass of cold lemonade beside her. The book sat unopened in her lap. A soft smile on her face, she gazed across the yard. The yellow and purple chrysanthemums bloomed happily. The alyssum spilled over the edges of the pot. The purple and white petunias still had blossoms, although they were starting to look tired.

She thought of the other back yard. Run ragged by that dog. Trampled by her boys. Ignored by her husband. She loved having a space she could take care of, keep beautiful, enjoy on her own. Surprised by the calm she felt. A few months ago, she wouldn’t have thought this possible. Then, in the middle of the crisis, she didn’t feel like life would ever feel normal again.

An army of memories marched by. Tom, leading the way with his banner of anger and resentment toward anyone, everyone. Her boys, Eli and Shane, caught in the sour moods, unable to gain his respect or attention.  She, unable to balance the atmosphere in the house, unable to keep the peace between them all. Until that last blowout happened.

She picked up the book. Opened it to her bookmark, and sighed. Perhaps, this odd combination of characters will be able to sort themselves out, recover from their mistakes, rebuild their messed up lives. I hope so, it would give me hope and courage, too, she thought.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day Eighteen

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen


Day Eighteen, Thursday


At two in the afternoon, Morgan pulled into the parking lot at Sunnyside Home.  She had promised she would come back to visit. Why did she still feel this sense of resistance? Reaching out of her shell was hard. She would have made a good turtle, she thought. But, she wasn’t a turtle, she was a woman, and there were other women in that building who needed a friend. She picked up the jar of roses for Marie, got out, locked the car and stuck the keys in her pocket.

Clarisse met her at the counter, an armload of files tucked in her arm. “Morgan, good to see you, glad you could come. I am really busy for a few minutes. Can you find your way to the rooms by yourself?”

“Of course.” Clarisse walked down the hall. Morgan turned and looked out the door. I could run, now, she thought. No one would know. But they would know. And she would know. Marie’s room was close. She went there first.  She spoke as she stepped through the doorway. “Marie, I brought you some roses from my yard.”

“Oh, Morgan, that is so sweet of you. I am so happy.  Come, sit here in the chair beside me.”

Morgan took the flowers over and held them so Marie could smell them. She guided her hand to touch the soft petals. “Here, I’ll set them on your little table. The fresh air from the window will carry the scent over to you.”

“Thank you. You are very sweet.”

Morgan thought of how she almost ducked out the door.  “Marie, tell me about your family.”

Marie held her hand and talked. And talked. And talked. The years. The children. The husbands (her first one died in the war). Their house, left behind, the move to a new country. The distance between her and her children. The ache as she watched their struggles, their growth.

She said being a mother was kind of like life, now, for her, being blind. Sometimes you have no idea where you are going. You do the best you can with what you have, what you understand, what you feel, you make it work with the tools you have. You trip, you run into things, you step on things. Things break, you forget where you put something and have to feel for it. You walk, take steps, trusting your instincts there isn't some huge danger lurking ahead. But it is part of life. For the children and for you.

Morgan only needed to prime her with a few questions. The words, the stories, flowed like fresh, clear water from an old pump with a deep well. She listened, enjoyed, appreciated this woman who had seen so much, felt so much, struggled so much.

An hour passed. Morgan said she wanted to visit Gertrude today, too. Marie, reluctant to let her go, held her hand tightly, thanking her again and again for coming.

Next time, Morgan thought, I will be eager to come. It is such a small thing for me to do, but it means so much to them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day Seventeen

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen



Day Seventeen, Wednesday


Morgan was on her hands and knees in the front yard pulling weeds out of the border around the lawn when Nancy and the kids pulled in to their driveway. Nancy unlocked the house door for the kids, shooed them inside and walked across the street.  

“I am so tired, today. I could hardly think straight at work,” Nancy said.

“You have a lot on your mind. Let’s go sit on the porch steps.” Morgan brushed the dirt off of her knees. “Would you like some ice tea or lemonade?”

“Oh, thanks, no. I have to get back to the house. Just wanted to chat a minute. I really appreciate your cleaning. It is such a help to come home to a clean house and not feel completely overwhelmed as I walk in the front door.”

“No problem. I enjoy it. I have the opposite problem, needing something to do. So it helps me out, too. And Joey is hilarious. Not too helpful, but right there to keep me company. To make me laugh.”

“Yes, she is good at that. She has the kids in hysterics half the time with her antics."

“I do like to hear them laugh and play. I will miss the life you bring to the neighborhood.”

“Don’t mention moving. I can’t even think about it yet.”

“Sorry,” said Morgan.

Nancy asked, “Morgan, if you don’t mind me asking, I don’t mean to intrude. I’ve noticed you still wear your ring. What happened? Why are you alone now?”

Morgan brushed more dirt off her hands, rubbed a mud smudge off her thumb. “Tom, my husband, he left.”

“I’m sorry. Very sorry.”

“When he told me he was leaving, he also told me he sold the house. I didn't even know. I had to leave, move. We’re not divorced. That will have to be his call.”

“Do you think he might ever come back to you? Would you want that?”

“I don’t know. I think about it. Wonder what it would be like. I do know that forgiveness is always, always a better choice than revenge and bitterness.” She rubbed more dirt off her jeans, dusted off her hands. “But blame does rear its ugly head. And anger. And resentment.”

“But he is to blame,” said Nancy.

A chilly breeze drifted leaves across the yard. Morgan reached up to push aside wisps of hair and left a dirt mark on her cheek. “Yes, and no. Any marriage is about two people. Both are always part of any problem. Blame never falls fully on one person. We both had faults. But I realized, as I was packing up what was our home, that it wasn’t location that made a home. No matter what the realtors say," she added. "It was heart. My heart. My part. My memories of them, but of me, too, who I am. You build a home with your heart. Your soul. I had to deal with my heart. All that goes with you, no matter where you live. Like with you, Nancy. You are doing a beautiful job with those kids. They love you, they are happy, and they are happy together. Wherever you are.”

At that moment, Johnny opened the door and hollered across the street, “Mom, Sarah won’t let me turn on the Wii!”

Sarah stuck her head out, next to his. “He didn’t put the dishes away like you told him to.” Johnny flinched as she yelled right next to his ear. He elbowed her in the side and ducked back inside, sheepish.

“Well, guess I had better go rally the troops. I like what you said about the heart. It helps me put things in perspective. We haven’t known each other very long, but you are a good friend.”

“It felt good to talk about it. Thank you.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day Sixteen

Thirty- One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two  
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen



Day Sixteen, Tuesday


Cleaning day at Nancy’s. She walked across the street at nine-thirty, the day already warming. This time of year was like a teetering act between summer and winter. Warm days, hot days sometimes, and chilly nights, the air with a bite in it, an edge of freshness. Morgan unlocked the door with her key, and heard Joey whining in her crate. She let her out.

“You don’t like being alone, do you? Me either.” Joey’s tail wagged hard and fast. She tried to jump up on Morgan, who held her hand out flat, a trick the kids taught her. “No,” she said, and squatted down to Joey’s level, ruffled her ears, talked to her.

All morning, as she went from room to room, cleaning, Joey stayed close by. Usually under foot. Except when Morgan pulled the vacuum cleaner out of the closet.  She laughed as the puppy dove under the table, peeking out from behind a chair. “It’s okay,” she told her. “I won’t get you.” But Joey stayed under the table the whole time she vacuumed.

Sweeping was a different matter. Joey chased the broom and scattered the dust piles so Morgan had to sweep them again. “No,” Morgan told her, but Joey wagged her tail and pounced again. “Outside with you for a little while.” She put the puppy out the back door. She raced around the yard once, did her business, then came and yipped at the door.

Morgan remembered the big dog her boys had. It stayed in the yard, never in the house, her own rule. She couldn’t stand the idea of a muddy, messy, hairy dog adding to her workload. Besides, she had never been a dog person. Never liked them, had no patience with them. The boys would play with the dog in the yard, tearing up grass and plants. She ended up doing all her pretty gardening in the front yard. The dog got old and died, and she didn’t even care.

Now, with Joey, she enjoyed her. She could understand some of her personality (funny word to use on a dog, she thought – “person”ality), and appreciate her enthusiasm. She could see that the puppy was just trying to please her, and that the puppy enjoyed being with her. Of course, Joey would have preferred her own kids, but she knew Morgan, too. 

I guess no person can match the exuberant greeting of a dog when you arrive home, she thought. She used to greet Tom at the door, get a hello from him. Then, he would go to the backyard and the dog would wag its whole hind end, bark and jump in circles. Tom would laugh and play with the dog a little. She remembered thinking she couldn’t compete with that.  And decided she didn’t like dogs.

This puppy, though, wasn’t about competition. She wanted companionship and comfort. Morgan found it easy to give, and get plenty in return.



Have you browsed the buffet table of ideas over at The Nester? Plenty there for everyone!