Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Friday Potpourri Chapter 10

Lets see if I remember how to do one of these.

Originally, this was going to be a Thursday post, but I read the latest installment of Lucys Football and it was so great that I just closed my laptop.  I know that I am preaching to the choir here, we share a handful of the same readers.  But if you haven’t read Amy’s blog, you are missing out on some of the most original and inspired writing on the net.

It occurred to me while I was thinking about her blog, that blogs are really bringing back an old staple of writing. I am talking about the “short story”.

Many years ago, magazines used to carry short stories.  Several  prominent writers got their start in that fashion.  Hemingway. S.J. Perelman. Robert Benchley. Dorothy Parker. Fitzgerald.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a short story, for example. A long movie, but a short story. As the number of literary magazines dwindled, the short story became a casualty. And that is really a shame. Not everything can be a book.

Another form of writing that fell by the wayside  is the serial.  Multiple part series about one subject. That is what I just tried with Finding Love.  I took that approach because it bought me some time to decide on what to write next and I wanted to see if I could keep people reading all the way through to the end.  I enjoyed writing it. People were very kind to me during the run of the story. I might try something like that again. Maybe .

I somehow got pulled into a discussion on Twitter about the relative pros and cons of Pinterest and Google +.

Google + was something I got into when it was a beta offering.  I thought it had promise but since I don’t know squat about most internet things, it seems I was wrong.

Pinterest, I just don’t understand that at all.

It is so easy to have a blog and put your stuff on it for all to see, I don’t see the need for Pinterest or any of the others. But, again, I am probably wrong about this also.

So, I am just going to stay with this blog and Twitter. Anything else would reduce the number of times I can check back here and see how the stats are doing.

Speaking of stats, for the last 30 days, I have had as many people from outside of the U.S. read this as people inside the U.S.

One day, I had 20 views from Germany alone.  I like the idea of having that kind of mix when it comes to readers.

But listen, you silent folks, please feel free to leave a comment. I would like to hear from you. Maybe something you say will spur a conversation here.  That would be very cool. Or look me up on Twitter  @jbrown3079 .

Well, that’s it for this week. Be good, kids.

Peace.

Finding Love: Epilogue

After the wedding ceremony, everyone went to the reception.

The last hurdle.

Hopefully, there would be enough food and drink.

Surrounded by friends and family, some who had missed the wedding, the happy couple circulated among the group.  Still smiling.

I think the word “euphoric” would cover how they felt.

There was dancing. Plenty of music. Cake. And a table full of gifts.

Finally, just before midnight, the newlyweds made their way out of the party. A last round of congratulations. Hugs.

Monday would be the start of the honeymoon trip.

For the honeymoon, they had loose plans to go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The shortfall of money had been rectified by the generosity of the wedding guests.  It was going to be a long drive, but that was their destination.

About three hours into it, they started looking at the road map to find something close to where they were.  Fatigue from all the festivities of the last few months had worn them out.

Oddly enough, the next town on the drive was named Mt. Pleasant.  Well, the search was over. How could they pass up a town with that name?

A few days with no schedule. No big decisions except for where they were going to eat. The town lived up to its name.

But, life as it always does, crept back in at the end of the week.  It was time to go home. Back to work.

The grind was the same, yet very different. Every day, they had someone at home who understood the challenges of the work because they worked at the same place.

And there was the matter of the baby coming in December.

She had a difficult pregnancy. He had to live up the “sickness and health” part of the vows. Finding the food she craved, which always changed, whenever she needed it. Doctors appointments. She was quietly amazed at how he kept up with everything. (He was too)

Baby furniture and clothes had to be acquired. The baby’s room had to be decorated.

About a week before the baby came, he found her balancing on a stool trying to finish putting decals on the ceiling.

Dec. 10, 1991, they became parents of a baby boy.

1991 turned out to be one helluva year.

————————————————————————————————

This concludes the series of stories called Finding Love.

I want to thank you all for the kind words and support during this effort.

Really, thanks so much.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Finding Love Chapter Four

The big day is here.

June 1, 1991

Slightly 4 months since their first date, here they are.

The weather is perfect. Sun shining. Not much wind. Not too hot.

He woke up happy that he had rejected the idea of a bachelor party.

His friends had pushed him about it, but he felt his life as a single man covered all the things that would be in such a party. And he wanted to be at his best on this day he had waited so long for.

They arrived separately around 3:00 for the 5:00 ceremony. The plan was that she would get her hair finished after the dress was on and they would take all the official pictures before the ceremony. But as with most things, the hair took a little longer than expected.  So, he paced around the small area near the front of the church. His nerves were frayed. As were hers.

He checked his pocket and found that he had $25.00 left. They had really cut it close with the money.

The clock continued to move.

His cousin mentioned that his car was right outside the door if he wanted to change his mind.

The groom managed a weak smile.

Eventually, they decided the pictures would have to wait until after the ceremony.

From their respective locations, the sound of the church filling up and the organist playing let them know the time was near.

At the prompting of the minister, he came out from the room into the front of the church, taking his place near the front of the altar.

He surveyed the crowd. Exchanging nods and smiles with family and friends. Trying to remember to breathe.

The organist started the processional.

The bridesmaids came down the aisle followed by her daughter and then as he looked toward the back. Framed in the door with her father was his bride-to-be.

All the anxiety, worries, nerves were replaced with a feeling that he was soooooo incredibly lucky to be standing where he was on this day.

She came down the aisle.

Both of them smiling as large as anyone has ever smiled.

They joined hands as the preacher started to speak.

Exchanging a quick squeeze of each others hands trying to reassure one another that this was really happening.

As the vows were recited and various candles were lit, there was a moment coming up that they were both looking forward to.

A young couple who were singers at this church and many others around the area were handling the duties this day.

But for this song which came near the end of the ceremony, the man would do a solo to the Lords Prayer.

It sounded and looked close to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF9bEPVwDnM&list=PL04663A7F23A2E606&index=3&feature=plpp_video

Beautiful.

Now all that was left was for the preacher to say: “I now pronounce you man and wife.”

The walk down the aisle was full of happiness and applause.

No bloopers were committed during the ceremony.

A receiving  line was quickly formed to thank the guests as they left to go to the reception.

The weight of the world has been lifted off of their shoulders.  Everything had come together wonderfully. They accepted the congratulations of all those who had attended. Laughter and jokes filled the area.

Pictures were taken. With all the different possible combinations.

After that was done, the bride and groom drove off to the reception.

And into the rest of their life together.

A Little of This A Little of That

I am taking a short break in the Finding Love series to clear some things off of my mind before I continue.

Nothing terribly serious.

Had a guy ring the doorbell yesterday.

Said he was from Scott’s Lawn Service and wanted to know if I wanted an estimate. The conversation went like this.

“No thanks, I have a lawn service.”

“Really? Who?”

“You guys”

Looks at dandelions in yard. “When were we here last.”

“A couple of weeks ago.”

“oh,well you have to give it a little bit of time.”

“Guess so.”

I promised to avoid all things political when I started this blog and I am trying to hold to that.  But it isn’t easy.

For example Ted Nugent is in the news today.  He used to be a big deal for a few minutes in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. He is an attention-seeking, washed-up, aging musician who runs his big mouth every once in a while.

I would rather talk about Levon Helm.  He was a member of a great band called The Band.  Played with Bob Dylan. Made classic rock music.

The Weight. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Up On Cripple Creek. Stagefright. And my favorite, Ophelia.

If I was a better blogger, there would be YouTube clips right here, but we are low tech here at the Bellbottom Blog, so find them yourself.

Was in the best concert movie ever. The Last Waltz.

Even though he wasn’t ready to give it up when the movie was made, it didn’t stop him from giving a memorable performance.

He also did some acting along the way. Playing Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miners Daughter.

By all accounts he was a fine southern gentleman, who loved playing music up until a couple of days ago.  He is losing his battle with cancer. Twitter has been full of tributes and videos of his music.

He will be fondly remembered because of how he lived and what he contributed to the soundtrack of our lives.

Ted Nugent….will just be a punchline. A fool.

My favorite tweet from the last week came after a failed North Korean missle launch.

“In related news, North Korea drops out of International Angry Birds competition.”

Well, that is all I have for now.

I would like to thank those of you who have said nice things about the Finding Love series. It means a lot.

Until next time, Peace.

 

 

 

Finding Love Chapter Three

As the wedding day approaches, our young couple find themselves in an ever increasing money pinch.

First, the DJ they had scheduled was told he would no longer be needed, The reception hall had someone who would be thrown as part of the package.

Second, the flowers that had been agreed upon were cut way back.

In addition to those problems, the guest list had to be reduced.  Originally, they wanted everyone and anyone who they worked with to come to the reception. After crunching the numbers they found that 125 people was the most they could afford.

As each of these tough decisions started to pile up, their mood grew a little less bright.  The pressure of putting a wedding together on such short notice was turning a joyous time into a slow march to the altar. Tempers were short.

They needed a bit of good news.

A week before the wedding, they went to apply for a marriage license.

In the state of Indiana, to acquire a marriage license, you have to prove you had a rubella vaccination. His fiance, who was from Oklahoma, couldn’t get her medical records in time to meet the requirements of the state.

Not the kind of news they needed.

So, neighboring states were called. And in the great state of Ohio, their prayers were answered. They could apply that day for a wedding license but there was a three day waiting period after the application was turned in before they could get the license. Then they would have to get married in front of a judge in Ohio to make it legal.

So, the Wednesday before the wedding date, they found themselves in a little courtroom, in Van Wert, Ohio.  A couple of secretaries were brought in  to be witnesses. Everyone was nice to them. The judge offered a six-month guarantee. And that was that. No matter what else came up, they were married.

Now time seems to be moving faster than possible.

Hard to imagine everything getting done in time for the big day.

Before they know it, Friday is here.

Rehearsal day and dinner afterward.

His fiance’s mom has been a whirlwind of activity after getting over the initial shock.  She made the bride’s dress. Baked the wedding cake. And is figuring out how to decorate the church. Absolutely amazing.

The rehearsal consisted  of “stand here” “light this”  “”repeat these words”…most of which will be forgotten by tomorrow.

They did not prepare their own vows.  Many people do try that, but they thought most everything was covered in the usual set of vows.

“For better or worse”

“Richer or poorer”

“Sickness and health”

“‘Til death do us part”

Not a lot of wiggle room in that.

There was enough to do without adding writing to the pile.

His parents were hosting the rehearsal dinner at their house.

It was the first time their parents had spent any time together.

Catholics (his) Baptists (hers) under the same roof.

The preacher, who fancied himself as a good teller of jokes, tried a couple of Catholic ones. His dad listened politely for a while and then suggested he had a few jokes he could tell as well. The preacher excused himself and went into the kitchen for another plate of food.

The rest of the dinner passed without incident.

The only thing left to do was try to get a good night of sleep, because tomorrow at 5:00, it would be time for the ceremony.

Ready or not.

 

 

 

 

Finding Love Chapter Two

So, her mom was on board with the upcoming nuptials. She even volunteered to make the wedding dress.

Now, he had to let his parents know.

Over the years, as he got further and further into bachelorhood, they had questioned if the time would ever come.

He always said the same thing, “When I meet the right person, that is when I will get married.”

It really was simple for him. He just never felt he was ready.  Until now.

His mom was having a retirement party at the house. It was his chance to introduce her to the family and tell everyone the big news.

His fiance was understandably nervous, but she won his parents over right away. His mom was so glad to have another woman joining  the family and she had a daughter, so they were going to be grandparents as well. Happiness mixed with relief filled the air.

With the family on board, the next group to deal with was their co-workers.

This was a little trickier.

When you work at the same place, everyone knows you so well. They have seen you at your best and at your worst. For the most part, people seemed genuinely happy for the couple. A few, not so much.

They were the big story at a place where the work was mostly repetitive and mind numbing.  They became a new topic of conversation.  They were mini-celebrities. People who had never talked to them were suddenly interested in their lives.  It was oddly reassuring to know that people cared enough to notice.

The friend test was the next part of the journey. Even though they had already committed to each other, it would be reassuring to have their friends on board.

Your closest friends, if you are lucky, are very protective of you.  They look over the people who come into your life with the kind of  healthy skepticism necessary. While you are swept up in the romance of the moment, they are looking at the whole situation with a careful eye on your best interests.

He met with his fiance and her best friend at a local country bar. The odd part with this kind of test is there is no way to prepare for it. You just have to avoid doing something stupid. Drink in moderation. Try not to trip over anyone. Avoid a fight.

He managed to get through the night and  passed the test.

The guys he knew were not much help.  “Welcome to the club.” “Now you’ll find out what we have been saying.”  “Run!”

But over the years, he had managed to make friends with some women co-workers.  (You can’t talk sports and cars all the time.) (You need a balance.) They were a lot more supportive. And their approval of the upcoming event was unanimous.

Easter came and went.

A reception hall became available just a few miles from the church.

Flowers were ordered.

Everything was looking up.

They were just about a month away from the big day.

And then, because things couldn’t continue to go as smooth as they had, the water heater in the house gave out and needed to be replaced.

Both of their cars had problems come up that took significant amounts of money to fix.

Plans had to be adjusted. The budget was getting trimmed. Anxiety was nudging its way into the arrangements.

Add to that, his fiance was feeling sick almost every day.  They both thought it was just the stress of the situation. Finally, she went to the doctor.

Sometime during the celebrations after the proposal, they had become expectant parents with a due date of  late December.

This hadn’t been part of the plan. At least, not yet. But, as they looked at each other upon receiving the news, the hug they exchanged was one filled with love and joy.  They knew that everything was going to work out.

As April gives way to May, they are 32 days away from the wedding.

To be continued…..

 

 

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