Another Day is Coming

Incredible as it seems, there will be a day ten years from now. There will be one in a year. There will be a next week. There will be tomorrow.

Do not fear the coming trouble. Instead, stand in the light of each new day and greet the rising sun for what it brings: a future of change. Some change is good, some bad. Many are able to embrace it while others brace against it. But; ready or not, change comes.

I’m a brace-against, a pessimist, and a present-tense panicker. Still, I know there will be a ten-years, one-year, one-week, tomorrow. And I also know that -six feet away- I have a community. I’ve seen friends and strangers step up when asked for spare potatoes, dog food, and even toilet paper. They’re here for us if we need anything; and, if any of them ask, I’ll help them as well.

From my corner of the internet to yours, I offer my solidarity and my hope.

cropped-20200318_145232.jpg

 

(Also posted on my personal Twofacebook page)

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Let’s Make Some Order in This Chaos

I haven’t felt like writing. My busy blog-posting indicates otherwise, except that I’ve mostly written about Real Life. The world of fiction is not a place I want to go now that it’s knocking on my door and popping into my e-mails and being re-posted on my social media.

Dystopia is one of my favorite subjects. I intend to write a science fiction and/or futuristic novel someday. Maybe I’ll do Skinwalkers or Since the Bombs Fell or “Open the Sky“… But, like I said, that future is here. It’s not so intriguing when I’m living it.

I think I assumed I’d not be alive during a post-apocalyptic scenario.

I definitely assumed I’d be fit, well-armed, well-stocked, and driving an army Jeep.

It’s not quite as awesome to be wearing pajamas, carrying around postpartum baby weight, caring for five children, and occasionally driving a minivan.

The day-to-day sitting around involved with Coronavirus is precisely why they never showed Jack Bauer using the bathroom in his 24 hour days.

white tissue paper roll on white wicker basket

Maybe if TP was in short supply in one of the episodes, they would have included a bathroom scene.

I do better in the midst of chaos; needing to grab that last Clorox wipe, save the child from uncertain school days, or stumble to the wall while the world shakes. When all is calm and all is bright, I stay awake as anxiety gnaws at my conscience. What if we get sick? Will the boys ever have school again? What, exactly, do we do in a stronger earthquake?

My husband says worrying does nothing. I say it’s all I can do. If I don’t remember to worry about it, then I am doing nothing. He then says something about the Serenity Prayer

Which helps me realize that waiting may be difficult, but it may be what we all need to do right now. Realizing this helps me realize I need a plan besides buyworrypanic. Realizing all of those things helps me realize I ought to accept the things I cannot change and write up a schedule for life and blogging.

It may be infrequent, but I’d like to include the following:

  1. Interviews with my friends, especially those who have published and wish to share their work(s).
  2. Book reviews of the books I will get myself to read, especially if I manage to read the work(s) my friends have published.
  3. More poetry.
  4. More fiction.
  5. Bad poetry, of course. I think we need it.
  6. Some creative projects outside of writing. I art on occasion. I could share more.
  7. Favorite books, music, art, people, whatever.

I never have time for me when the children are home all day, so my chance of daily posts is not very high unless I schedule ahead. Still, I need this outlet. Twofacebook may have a lot more people on it now, but it’s mostly chainmails and reposts. No one likes my informational statistics on COVID for some reason…

If you have ideas of other things I could include on the blog, let me know. If you would like to be interviewed, let me know. As always, thank you for joining me on…

Well, thank you for joining me on my blog, anyway.

—————-

Here’s the past week:
Wednesday, March 25: “Going Postal, II,” the second in my serial story about Ron the postman.

Friday, March 27: Wrote an update on the Coronavirus situation ’round here.

And, crowned the winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth!

Saturday, March 28: Announced the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Springtime, or Autumntime. PLEASE ENTER!

Monday, March 30: Posted just after midnight with another Coronavirus update.

And, shared Gary’s inspirational quote.

AND, wrote “Desert Dreams” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt

AND AND, visited the new Saddle Up Saloon and Poet Tree, where I was interviewed. Head on over to leave a poem from the prompt “off shoot.”

Tuesday, March 31: “Going Postal, III.”

And, wrote yet another Coronavirus update.

Wednesday, Date: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I think. I’ve scheduled a few poems over there, like “Mother of Two” and “The Busy Person’s Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Pexels and GIPHY

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

3/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

My parents came by yesterday. I don’t talk about them much because they have the right to decide whether they want their information online.

Still, over they came. They walked forward and deposited my and my son’s birthday presents on our porch. They stepped back. I unwrapped them: a framed pencil illustration my mother drew of our son, and a beautiful Schwibbögen. My children crowded around me in the doorway and excitedly waved and yelled about schoolwork and the new computer game we’ve been playing as a family, Stardew Valley.

My parents put up a good face. I held my new baby in the doorway as they drove away, waving his little hand for them. I doubt they saw; they probably barely saw well enough to drive if they were crying as much as I was.

I think IT -as Mike calls the Coronavirus crisis- has finally hit most of us. One of my sons came in last night around 9. He sat on our bed. “I’m scared,” he said.

“Oh? Did you have a bad dream? What are you scared about?”

“I don’t know. Just scared.”

Trying to uncover the fear did nothing, so I quickly switched tactics to enumerating everything safe about his situation. We have family, a safe area, a warm house, brothers to take care of him. He calmed enough to sleep in his own bed.

As I was drifting off to sleep later*, I heard and felt the slight change in air pressure that meant our bedroom door had opened. One of my older sons stood in the doorway.

“Son? What’s wrong?”

Bearing his about-to-cry face, he came to my bedside. “I’m scared.”

I hugged him and held him. “It’s okay, Son. It’s okay.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

We walked back to his bed together. I gave him a Melatonin and tucked him in.

…Which might explain why several of us slept in this morning. I awoke to feed Baby at 8ish; finished and got ‘ready’ to pick up a prescription by 10 a.m. Everyone but we parents and my early-riser was still asleep. Costco’s automated phone message played its usual bit, then had a slightly louder recording tell how they have new hours for the warehouse, including a special time for seniors to shop. People picking up prescriptions do not have to wait in line at the door -just tell the guards associates at the exit doors that you’re picking up a prescription and they’ll let you in.

I haven’t written about Costco yet. Usually, it’s my home away from home. I like to go there when we travel, and Utah boasts the world’s largest Costco. Friends have even teased that I ought to travel to all of them and chronicle my adventures.

When I went there to stockpile toilet paper and water three weeks ago (okay -kidding), people were a tad tense. A few, like me, knew what was coming and were purchasing a few extras. A week later, the store had imposed limits on supplies. A few days after that, signs dotted the columns and tape lines dotted the cash registers and waiting areas so that we might stay 6 feet away from each other. Lines formed to get in, separated by cones and pallets; lines formed to check out, enforced by Costco employees.

Today, plexiglass barriers are screwed to the front of all the cash registers. Some workers wear face masks. The receipt-checkers at the exits have clipboards and gloves. No one touches your membership card. Everyone furiously wipes down counters and computer equipment. They spray shopping carts (trolleys) with a pink solution out in the parking lot.

I saw a pregnant woman of Indian features and dress wearing gloves and a dentist-style face mask. They’re probably not doing much for her, but I’d be doing the same in her shoes.

Next on my errands was the post office. They had tape on the floor as well, plus a sign outside about keeping 10 or fewer people in the waiting area. The woman at the desk wore a face mask and she also sat behind newly-installed plexiglass.

Perhaps we ought to start living in personal plexiglass houses.

The oddest part of my experiences is something Pete pointed out in his comments on my last update: people are avoiding any interaction. Told to be wary and stay six feet away, we are also avoiding nonverbal cues that indicate safety. We are not smiling, laughing, reassuring, or talking. I guess we need to learn to be friends …from a distance.

Which is why I find comfort in the snippets of sunshine. A woman asked another woman at Costco where she’d gotten her package of Charmin toilet paper** from; I heard them laughing at whatever the response was, and I smiled at their smiles. The secretary for my sons’ school asked how we were all doing when I called about a registration issue. My friend and I talked on the phone.

I felt like giving up that day we had the earthquake. I’ve mostly stopped obsessively checking the United States Geological Society’s latest earthquakes page since, and was handling each day too busy to dwell on the larger implications of what we were doing. Today, however, I’ve returned to some of that anxiety. The novelty’s worn off, I suppose. We’ve purchased all the extra food we can eat. We’ve got a rough schedule for schoolwork at home. We’ve even finally started a nap routine for the baby. Now, though, comes the most difficult part: facing the long dark of Moria.

But wishing IT away hasn’t worked for most of us. Assuming IT wouldn’t come didn’t work very well, either. My son’s speech and behavior aide last year told me they were working on his Sphere of Influence; what he could control. Me, I can’t control IT. I can’t control the world’s response. What I can control is me. I can still control much of what my family does and is exposed to as well.

So, you may find me writing from within a circle of salt. Still, at least I’m still alive. And writing.

©2020 Chelsea Owens, including photos of the Schwibbögen and Costco
GIFS © GIPHY

*Okay, I was really playing Candy Crush. They’re offering infinite lives all week, which is brilliant for keeping people in.
**Charmin Ultra Soft toilet tissue is worth more than gold right now…

Going Postal, III

Continued from “Going Postal, I, and “Going Postal, II.”

Not many people talked to Art. He liked that. From his steel-toed boots to his copper-lined military cap, Art was practicality and self-made efficiency. He squatted at the dark corner of his covered porch, eyes on the neighborhood. Every fifteen minutes, he raised his binoculars and did a sweep of the area.

Art was waiting for the mailman.

Today, according to the electronic message from Guns, Gurneys, and Steel Blades, his package of ammunition would arrive. He knew what a hot item his purchase was; those who took the coming threat seriously were stockpiling. He’d seen the signs: necessities disappearing from store shelves, people filling extra cans at the gas station, and prices of guns and ammunition rising.

Even his ignorant, soft-shelled neighbors demonstrated mild panic. He’d watched Mrs. Hempsworth looking around as she cradled package after package of toilet paper. The Andersens kept purchasing food supplies. And he, Arthur Jackson Williams, seemed to be the only suspicious one on the street.

There! The mailman’s pickup truck! Art lifted the binoculars and fitted them to his eyes. Amidst the happy-faced brown boxes bursting in the mailman’s cargo space, he spied his package. Setting his shotgun, Bowie knife, binoculars, pistol, and tactical belt to the side, he rose and moved down the stairs at an easy pace.

He arrived just as the mailman exited his truck.

“‘Morning, Ron!” Art’s tan, unshaven face creased into a smile. His eyes remained vigilant.

Ron seemed surprised and turned his whole body to meet Art’s approach. “Oh! Mornin’!”

Art wasn’t fooled for a second. “Nice day, eh? How’s it been so far today?”

Ron considered, frowning. “Oh, not bad. Just -” he paused.

“Yeah?”

“Just-” his sky-colored eyes searched their source for inspiration. “Just a lot more packages lately.” Ron smiled vaguely and shrugged.

I’ll bet, thought Art. Aloud, he said, “Bet that’s a real pain in the -”

“Yep.” Ron laughed, agreeing. “Yep.”

“Sorry for adding to that, Ron. Really.” Art nodded toward the pickup’s hardtop. “I thought they’d use UPS.”

Ron shook his head. His white hair floated against the movement. “Nah; Post’s cheaper. We’re better, too!”

“Ha! You’re right!” Art folded his arms. “Well! Don’t go overloadin’ yourself with too many o’ these Amazon deliv’ries, alright? These softies can shake a leg and try their chances at a store sometime! -Maybe experience the real world!”

Ron’s smile broadened. He laughed again. “That’ll be the day!” He went to the open-space window of his hardtop and removed Art’s package. Cringing at the weight, he slid it free and walked a step. Art unfolded his arms and came forward.

Taking the box from the old mailman’s arms, he said, “Whoa, Ron. Wouldn’t want you hurtin’ something. You’ve got all that toilet paper to deliver still!”

Ron laughed a third time. “Yep!”

“See you next deliv’ry!” Art turned and headed back home.

“See ya!”

Without looking back, Art heard the familiar unlocking of the community mailbox. He heard the familiar whistling of the contented mailman. No one seemed to worry about what Ron delivered; what Ron saw. But Art knew. Art knew.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Desert Dreams

Swirling nighttime sand pummeled and rocked the old Suburban. Sequoia made for a poor windbreak, but Clara knew that was all they’d get.

“Mama?!” little Janey cried. “Papa?!”

“I got ‘er,” Dan said, stumbling over cans, blankets, and sleeping bodies to reach their youngest.

Clara settled back against the cold car wall. She needed to think. The endless roar of haunted desert souls echoed the wails in her mind, of the dying world they’d left behind.

“So,” Dan sat next to her and laced his fingers in hers. “What next?”

Clara narrowed her gaze, resolute. “I have a plan.”

landscape mountains sky night

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Pictured for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week:

March 26, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story in which a character takes charge. Who is this character, and what situation calls for their action? It can be playful or serious, fantastical, or realistic. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by March 31, 2020. Use the comment section… to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

“For me I’m convinced life is like swimming to an ever receding island. If you stop you sink. But as hard as you swim you can never get to the island. It’s completely frustrating. Then slowly you realise that you can find smiles and happiness while you swim, it’s not all dependent on that island. Need to enjoy the journey.”

“Down side to this is that I CANT SWIM…..but it’s the thought that counts.”

Gary, in the comments of Lisa’s inspirational quote

3/29/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I’m not certain what time I awoke this morning. We’d all stayed up late watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We tend to save shows we don’t want the children repeating for times when they’re out of school.

A Twofacebook friend posted a re-posted snippet from a doctor in NY or somesuch. It was an amusing bit despite the message, because the author introduced horrible traits of COVID-19 with specific, sometimes humorous examples. I could not find the darned thing in searching for it this evening; sorry. One of my friend’s commenters suggested the article was in error because the author said COVID is airborne and WHO says it is not.

Two interesting articles: WHO’s statement, and a story about a choir group infecting each other despite washing hands and not hugging.

Last week marked my birthday and one of my children’s. Our traditions usually include the birthday person choosing his dinner and cake, apart from suggesting presents he’d like. I also prepare and present the birthday person with breakfast in bed. Since all of those activities required food, I placed an online order with our local shop …then discovered they were three days out in being able to prepare it.

20200325_200154

It’s supposed to be a motherboard cake.

Another child’s birthday approaches this Saturday, so I just finished an online order for his requests. Yes, the store is now booked out till Friday. I intend to dilute the remaining milk with some of our (expired) powdered variety.

My order is for fresh items we can’t store, like bananas, and some cake decorations.

Like most of you, I find my irregular drives to be surreal experiences. Yesterday’s post office run took me past empty restaurant parking lots that advertised drive-up or delivery options STILL AVAILABLE. Twofacebook friends lament cancelled concerts or Spring Break trips. I receive the occasional e-mail update about this dentist now closing, or this doctor or this specialist I haven’t been to in five years anyway. It’s good to know I can’t go, if I miss them.

Despite the doom and gloom, I feel an overwhelming level of community support and love. There are still idiots, naturally. There are selfish acts and short-sighted people. Overall, however, we’re sticking it out for the greater good.

woman about to reach camera

Photo by Wesley Souza on Pexels.com

Utah’s governor issued a ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe‘ directive. Our Salt Lake County Mayor issued a ‘can smack you if you break these new suggestions’ directive. Our county has the highest number of cases, but we’re also the most populous and densely-packed area in little ol’ Utah.

I’m realizing that the long-term plan is for us all to be exposed at some point, but in a spread out manner. We can’t turn off the world forever.

But that world keeps turning. I keep turning on it, in my tiny corner and in my tiny world. So, I hold my boys when the panic hits. I hold a handful of chocolate chips sometimes, too. I tell my mother I love her. I tell my relatives with anxiety to not panic. I tell my relative doing his medical residency that we’ll pray for him. And, like everyone else, I wonder when we’ll return to whatever normal might be.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 3/28 – 4/3/2020

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’re going on 65 weeks now. Perhaps it’s about time to number by date and stop trying to keep track of age.

If you’re new to these parts or could use a refresher, read my basic outline here. We’re about capturing the soul of a novice whilst hurting the sensibilities of a professional.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. The Topic is Springtime -or Autumntime if you’re South. You can haiku, limerick, free verse, acrostic, tanka, cinquain, sonnet
  2. Length is wholly dependent on the type of poem you write. If you go with an epic ballad, please cut things off before page 54.
  3. Rhyming also depends on your creation.
  4. The goal is to make it terrible. Mother Earth must rise from her seasonal slumber to smack you with an olive branch of peace.
  5. Keep the Rating at PG or cleaner.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (April 3) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Leave a comment if your pingback doesn’t show up within a day.

Have fun!

yellow tulip in spring

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Springtime for Bad Poets

April showers
Bring June superpowers
And Pilgrim’s pride
Makes me feel like a snowstorm in-
between my apelike toes
As
The world wakes
In flowers
Outside
Against foes
And shakes.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 3/27/2020

♪ Happy Birthday to me… Happy birthday to you! ♫

It’s Birthday Season ’round our place (mine was Monday). Which of our esteemed entrants sang the most terribly?

Untitled piece

by Ruth Scribbles

Spoken:
As we don’t gather
On this day to blather
Let me sweetly remind you
About your place in history

Chant:
You are old
Older than dirt
You are old
Not a little squirt

Sing:
Happy birthday to you
You’re not allowed to boohoo
The virus will leave us
Yippe yay, ha-lle-luuuuuu

Congratulations, Ruth! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

We had terrible subject, terrible singing, and terrible wishes. I felt Ruth’s song encapsulated just the wrong sort of thing one wants to hear on her birthday anniversary, plus a lovely dusting of lazy lyrics for that extra bad poetry effect.

(I also hope she sings it to her hubby, whose birthday is tomorrow!)

If you’re needing a ‘lift’ for your own birthday, may I recommend any of the following:

Happy birthday, as sung by owls

by Doug Jacquier

Hootie, hootie, hoot, hoot
Hootie, hootie, hoot, hoot
Hootie, hootie, ‘lil owlet
Hootie, hootie, hoot, hoot.

—–

Toilet humour

by Doug Jacquier

Oh, dear, what will we do
We’re singing to you
But you’re not here to hear us
‘Cos you’re locked in the loo.

—–

Farmer’s birthday song

by Doug Jacquier

Happy dirt day to you
It’s raining for you
And now there’s some sunshine
Happy dirt day to you.

—–

Untitled piece

by Matt Snyder

Crappy birther day to you
You smell like one [heck] of a giant half submerged and sticking out of the bowl poo
Crappiest born day dear Mr. Mattttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhheeeeewwwwww
Crappy birther day
to yooooooooooou
and many more pellets falling out your pants leg
now scurry real fast down to the loo

—–

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Healthy birthday to you!
Sequestered birthday to you!
Virus-free birthday dear Chelsea,
(Hope you have enough TP too!)

—–

That Time of Year

by Fishman

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Have a cake made of frosted honeydew,
Happy Birthday to you.

Your birthday is soon,
(Is your favorite color maroon?)
Enjoy being another year older
Happy Birthday to you.

+ + + + + + + +

Hey, listen up, this is a poem.
So sit down and don’t you roam.
It might be kinda terrible.
But it’s still bearable.
And I’ve only got one.
So it’s not spareable.

So I hope you sat down because I got something to say:
The Terrible Poetry woman is having a birthday.
Is that cool?
Better than a sliced boule?
Tell me, what do you say?
Who doesn’t like birthdays?

I’m guessing that jellyfish don’t like birthdays because they don’t have brains so they wouldn’t even know what a birthday is if they even knew when their birthday was.

So the Terrible Poetry woman needs a present.
But not a pheasant.

(Ants probably don’t like birthdays either because their brains are really small)

Something more pleasant.
Like a flower.
Happy Birthday Terrible Poetry Woman (and to everyone else in the TPW’s house)

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

How many birthdays you have seen
So many decades since you were a teen
Happy Birthday Dear Has Been
Happy Birthday to me, now sod off and pour me a Jim Beam

—–

Hiccup Birthday

by Peregrine Arc

Happy birthday to thee,
Happy birthday to thee,
You’ll feel better in the morning
After a fifth of Jim Beam’s strategic-flask-pouring…

Hiccup! 🥃

—–

Happy Birthday Chelsea

by Susan Zutautas

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Chelsea, happy birthday to you.

May you live a thousand years

May you drink a thousand beers

Get plastered you b_st_r_

Happy birthday to you.

Thank you all for your artistic genius this week. Tune in tomorrow if you’d like to play again.

Me

I’m still cute.

Ruth: Here’s a badge you can post as proof of your poetic mastery:

terrible-poetry-contest

©2020 The poets, and their respective poems.
Photo ©2020 Chelsea Owens

 

3/26/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I began the day reading about the half-life of our current friend, Mr. Coronavirus. Honestly, I felt quite pleased to read their naming it “Coronavirus half-life,” since I wondered if that term applied to pandemic-level pathogens. It turns out that viable samples live longest on stainless steel and plastic; shortest on copper (MLM opportunity, anyone?). They also concluded that asymptomatic people can spread it…

Actually, I began the day the same way I begin every day lately: awakened by a beautiful, smiling, very hungry boy. His food meter runs out around 5 or 6 a.m., which isn’t bad for a bedtime of 11 p.m. Still, I’m not getting much sleep. I therefore spend the morning hours perusing Twofacebook (which, by the way, is much more interesting and more popular now) until I feel guilty, then venture into safer hobbies like Candy Crush. The article on half-life of a virulent pathogen was an odd peak in dormant curiosity.

8:00 or 8:30 or maybe 8:50 a.m. Feeling tired (go figure), I decided to nap. The baby did not decide the same, but I thought I could squeeze a half hour in before he got too noisy in his complaints.

9:00 a.m.: My teenager’s school called to let me know that he’s not turned things in.

9:00 a.m. also: My next-oldest son’s teacher e-mailed to let me know he’s not turned things in.

(For the record, my other children are completing their assignments.)

…I finally got the day going with the kids and schoolwork and feeding Baby (again) and feeding me, and even squeezed in a shower.

Phone’s alarm went off around 11:50 to notify me of a doctor’s visit for my third child. I alluded to this being Birthday Season. Three of my offspring go in for checkups, virus or no.

Which was my one social venture of the day.

The office door bore a sign advising everyone with cold symptoms to simply stay away (guess they didn’t read about asymptomatic carriers). The waiting room was empty. They’d removed their prize dispenser: a little toy machine that accepts special tokens for good patients. The front desk workers looked and acted about the same.

The backroom staff, however, all wore masks and gloves. They seemed tired, anxious. Or, maybe I seemed that way. My son’s doctor joked that she’d had to purchase scrubs again because she’d given hers away after medical school. So: masks, gloves, scrubs.

A bottle of hand sanitizer on the exam room table had a label on it: DO NOT STEAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES, with a description on the back about how it was primarily for use by the staff -yes, the staff wearing gloves and masks.

20200311_125121

We went home and washed our clothes and hands.

The rest of the day passed as usual, which means I spent it trying to keep them all on task, away from each other, and then still completing their household chores. We couldn’t do outside time on account of snow, so they were more in each other’s business than usual (read: fighting).

High point of the day: my teenager learned he needed to make a healthy meal. He’s a food snob. He disdainfully showed me the other students’ finished ‘meals’ of pancakes (from a mix) and spaghetti (from pre-made stuff). Quarantine aside, I think all of them do not know how to cook. Not my son. He surprised us with completely homemade beef enchiladas.

My pickiest eater raved about the meal. Of course, we didn’t eat till 9 p.m., but I’m certain the meal deserved the praise even without starvation.

IMG_0130

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens, including photos

Going Postal, II

Continued from “Going Postal, I.”

Little Charli loved to watch the world from her front window.

On Garbage Day, the garbage truck came. On Not-Preschool Days, her big brother’s carpool pulled up and honked. And, every day, Santa Claus parked his white pickup truck at their street’s mailbox.

At least, she thought he was Santa Claus. He was old and had white hair and sometimes brought presents to the porch. Her mother didn’t show Charli what the present-boxes had inside, but she knew they must be something happy. Almost every box had a smile on the side.

Today was no exception. *Ding* beeped her touchscreen game. *Snip* *snip* went her mother’s scissors. *Oh, I know, Honey* said the lady in the haircut chair.

A blink of white from beyond the window reflected onto Charli’s game. Santa was at the mailbox again! She watched him ease out of his truck and shuffle to the back. Her hand hung poised over the screen as she saw him pull out a large present, heft it to a new position, and stagger toward her house.

Charli saw the usual smile on the package’s side. She had to know what Santa brought this time, before her mother took it. Glancing up to confirm that her mother was busy working, Charli set the tablet down and snuck to the front door. She opened it just as Santa arrived at the top of their porch stairs, huffing.

“Well, hi, little girl!” he said, smiling. He set the box down near the edge and leaned against the railing.

Charli smiled and looked at her feet. She didn’t know what to say, now that she’d finally met him.

Santa scratched his face. He didn’t have a beard. “Didja like the rain we got yesterday?” he asked.

She nodded, still looking down.

“Didja see the rainbow?”

She jerked her head up in surprise. He still smiled kindly at her. She saw his eyes were the color of the sky. “No,” she said.

He gave her a sympathetic frown. “That’s alright. You can see one next time it rains.”

Another nod. She ground a bare toe into the doorstep in a twirl. “What’s in the present?” she managed to ask.

“Hm? Present?” He looked confused, Then, his attention turned to the large box at his feet. “Oh! Well! …This isn’t a present-”

Charlie’s face fell.

“-Not this time!” he added, holding up a reassuring hand.

Her expression lightened, curious.

“Yep,” Santa said, “Looks like this big box is some fancy food storage for your big family.” He gave a soft chuckle.

Her mouth puckered and she scowled.

He laughed outright. “Ha! This’s some high-quality stuff. ‘Time’ll come, some people’ll kill for this stuff! -Now, run on inside and tell your mommy about it so no one takes it. ”

She nodded again, and scuttled back inside. Her mother liked knowing about packages. She didn’t like when Charli opened the door without asking.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens