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Thread: Storytime

  1. #1
    STORYTIME: Dadís Frog

    STORYTIME: Dadís Frog

    I wrote up a story from real life a few years ago to share elsewhere. It started as a story-swap with a friend who told about a frog, too, and kind of spread from there as I thought of other people who might like it, too. I wondered if folks here would be interested as well? I have a longer one about me and another type of animal if you are, and I'm planning to write at least a couple more.

    A few years ago, Dad was sitting on the patio in back of church for ďThis isnít tea, itís Lunch!Ē (as Father Moki re-named it). Anyway, he was just sitting there when he felt something land on his shoulder. Before he could turn to try to see what it was, it lifted...

    ...and a frog appeared on the table in front of him. It was a bright rusty orange, which was an extra surprise. It didnít stay long before it jumped off to goodness knows where next, but he left quite a strong impression on my father. Dad did not expect to see a frog at church. He did not expect a frog to land on his shoulder. He certainly didnít expect to see an orange frog. Yet this frog did all of that at once. It was a coquui, the frog from Puerto Rico thatís taken over the nighttime soundscape unless itís too cool. The coquui who came here are all rust colored, somewhere between orange rust and brown rust. Dadís coquui was definitely at the bright orange end of the spectrum.

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. #2
    Now I'm wondering if in the future, posts like this would be more comfortable here in the Inn of the Great Orange One, or if they'd be more comfortable in the Theater of the Bards. On one hand they're stories, and the other stories that are role-playing are in the Theater. On the other hand, they're based very closely on real-life events (with only a little "fictionalization" of likely guesses for motives conversations, etc.), and other things about Real Life are In the Inn. I could share more if folks are interested, but where would you prefer me to put them in the future?

  3. #3
    It's really your choice. The Theatre is for any creative work, it doesn't have to be RP stories.

  4. #4
    I understand that, but...

    I've written a lot of fantasy, and a lot of these fictionalized accounts of real events, and they're significantly different writing processes. Fantasy is - at least for me - the purest form of speculation. My whole attention is on "what if" and "then what." While these fictionalized accounts have me concentrating on "what happened," which is a different basic question entirely. I do keep an eye out for ways to improve flow by juggling the order in which I mention things, and adding plausible details like motivation and words spoken, but that's not the focus like it is in fiction. For me as a writer, the process is more like adding something new to Random Thoughts or Other Personal News.

    But... what is it like for the reader? Are reading these more like reading fiction, or more like reading other reports about our personal lives? That's what I can't figure out; I'm usually writing them, and reading my own writing is NEVER like reading anyone else's. I know it's hard to judge with just one example... {bite lips} I'll see what I can do about improving the sample size.

  5. #5
    STORYTIME: Visiting Dad's Cousin

    STORYTIME: Visiting Dad's Cousin

    Part 1

    Dad has a cousin who used to live with her husband in a residential neighborhood with an unusual number of wild animals right in the neighborhood. At least it seemed that way to me when Dad and I visited when I was a teenager. {Smile}

    She started leaving dogfood out for the raccoons, because she is a great animal lover. Then the skunks found out and took over. Most people I know would stop leaving out dogfood at this point. Not Dad’s cousin. She continued to leave dogfood out for the skunks for years. I always did wonder what the neighbors thought of this. {wink, Smile}

    That was all before I got there. By the time I did, Dad had visited twice without me: once when she was leaving out dogfood for the raccoons, and once when she was leaving it out for the skunks already. By the time I got to visit, too, the skunks were Very Well Settled In. When I visited, one of the first things I was told that I would be sharing a small apartment with Dad’s cousin’s husband’s granddaughter by his first marriage, who was staying with them all summer, and working for them in their laboratory as a summer job.

    After dinner and whatever we did afterwards, I was ready to go up tot he apartment to get ready for bed. The route from the main house to the apartment went right past the skunk’s food bowls, but I was told not to worry. Just walk firmly, and they shouldn’t bother me. Well, I found the bowls... and skunk planted right in the middle of the pathway I was supposed to use.

    I froze, startled.

    The skunk stared at me, showing no fear.

    Remembering they’d said the skunks shouldn’t bother me, I started forward hesitantly.

    The skunk went thump-thump-thump-thump-thump with his front paws.
    I froze.

    I’d recently read or heard (I remembered which back then) that skunks did a kind of stamping gesture as a warning before spraying, because they didn’t like the odor any more than anyone else did. This must be what they meant.

    I turned around and walked briskly back to the main house. There I found Dad’s cousin’s husband. I told him about the skunk.

    “What? Don’t worry about the skunks,” he said.

    “But he stamped at me, and that’s supposed to be warning.”

    “Just shoo them off. They won’t bother you.”

    “You know how to do that. I don’t!” I told him, “Please help me. You said you would.”

    “Oh, for crying out... come on, and keep up.”

    He stormed out of the house and up the walk, shooing away the skunks very firmly when he reached the bowls.

    I did follow him... at least 20 paces behind him. I hoped that was enough distance if he was wrong about the skunks...

    He wasn’t. They left promptly for him, and he escorted me right up to the door of the apartment. I thanked him profusely, of course. {BRIGHT SMILE}

    Then he left. I actually didn’t have trouble with the skunks after that. Maybe my escort that first night put me on their approved list or something. But I didn’t get sprayed, and that was the important thing as far as I was concerned. {wink, BIG GRIN}
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 06-12-2016 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #6
    It's fine to leave your stories here, if you feel more comfortable with that.

  7. #7
    STORYTIME: Visiting Dad's Cousin

    Part 2

    The next morning after dealing with the skunks at Dad's cousin's place, I went down to have breakfast in the main house. Getting there, I walked in on an interesting conversation. Dad’s cousin was beginning to lecture her husband’s granddaughter. Apparently she was here for the summer in part to work for her Grandpa and Dad’s cousin. {pause} You see, Dad’s cousin was such a great animal lover, she not only fed skunks, she raised animals for a living. Specifically, she and her husband raised epileptic mice in a home laboratory they ran. They ran their own experiments on them, and also sold them to other researchers. Apparently their mice were somewhat prized because their epilepsy was closer to human epilepsy in several key measures than most epileptic lab mice at that time (mid-1980’s).

    The lab was actually pretty interesting, as I learned later, when the granddaughter gave me a tour later. The mice were kept in drawer-like cages on one wall. To get in, you simply pulled out the cage and reached in from above. There was also a large table in the middle, where they could work with the mice, and a counter off to one side with a fish tank set up as an observation tank complete with a video camera, so you could put a mouse in, start the video camera, and get about two hours of observation on tape.

    Anyway, the granddaughter was staying with them so she could work as a lab assistant for them for her summer job. There had been a problem in the lab the previous day. The granddaughter had put a mouse in the observation tank and set the video camera to record. You could see her leave thru the door at the beginning of the tape. A short while later, the door opened again, and one of Dad’s cousin’s four Siamese cats jumped up on the counter. It was “Ghirry,” which was short for Ghiradelli, one of my cousin’s favorite chocolate companies. Ghirry wasted no time at all on the wall full of cat-proof cages. He went straight to the fish tank with it’s open top. He checked inside, found the mouse, picked it up in his mouth, and left. That mouse, of course, was never seen again. {Smile, wink}

    “Well, if you’re upset as Ghirry,” the granddaughter started to say.

    “No. We are not upset at Ghirry,” Dad’s cousin corrected, “Ghirry was just behaving like a cat. He was just following his instincts. He didn’t do anything wrong. You left the door open,” and Dad’s cousin began describing the extra chores the granddaughter needed to do because of this oversight.

    I was really impressed with her attitude. So was Dad. It’s nice to see that someone understands that are some things you just don’t train some animals not to do; you don’t train a cat not to hunt mice. {REALLY BIG GRIN}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 06-18-2016 at 06:17 AM. Reason: formatting

  8. #8
    STORYTIME: A Pleasant Encounter

    STORYTIME: A Pleasant Encounter

    Something nice happened while Dad was picking up dinner at Maui Taco's the other night. (He was alone because my balance was too unsteady for me to go in with him.)

    Dad was struggling with trying to carry dinner while walking with the crutch these days, when a boy about ten came up to him, and said he'd like to carry the bag for Dad. Then a woman came up as the boy's grandmother, and repeated that they'd like to help by carrying his bag.

    Dad thanked them, and accepted their help. They walked with him out to the car. The boy carried our dinners, and put them in the trunk of our car when Dad opened it up.

    As they left, the grandmother said "God bless you."

    Dad replied in kind.

    Dad says where else would that happen besides Hilo? I donít know, but it happened here, and it lightened a difficult day when it did. 

  9. #9
    Visiting Dad's Cousin, Part 3

    Yes, I’ve been thinking again about when Dad and I visited his cousin. {Smile} When we first got there, she had a beautiful row of gladioli. Each plant had a stalk of flowers in full bloom, and the stalks were all different colors, and they were placed so you could admire them thru the dining room window.

    She pointed it out proudly to us the first morning we were there. She said she was glad they were there, and hoped they’d still be there when her brother and his daughter came the next week. She explained that normally she doesn’t open her garden to the wild critters until the flowers are over, but this year, there was a deer with a broken leg, and she felt sorry for it. So she opened her garden early so it could get more to eat.

    We saw the deer fairly soon. One of its front legs had indeed gotten broken. Then it healed at a bad angle. It hobbled more than a little, but it hobbled around busily, finding things to eat in Dad’s cousin’s garden.

    About halfway thru our visit, while we were eating lunch, Dad’s cousin said “Oh no, look at that,” in a very sorrowful voice.

    Dad and I looked up to see what she was talking about. She pointed at the gladioli. The deer had found one end of the gladioli, and was munching a stalk of flowers busily.

    “The deer is eating your flowers,” Dad said after she’d munched a couple more stalks while his cousin continued to moan. “I’ll go chase her away,” he offered, starting to get up from the table.

    “Oh no, you can’t! It’s the deer with the broken leg!” his cousin cried.

    Dad protested that she could let the deer eat from her garden, but chase her away from the gladioli when we caught her at it.

    His cousin would have none of it. This was the deer with the broken leg! She felt sorry for it. She still bemoaned the loss of each gladioli, for the deer kept munching steadily, moving from one stalk to the next.

    When about half the row of gladioli was eaten, I piped up, suggesting that *now* Dad’s cousin could let Dad chase the deer off. She’d let the deer have some of her flowers, and the deer had the whole rest of the garden to eat.

    Dad agreed eagerly.

    His cousin would have none of it. No, this was the deer with the broken leg, so there’d be no chasing it off. No, there’d just be much moaning, and hoping the deer would leave some behind.

    Well… the deer left two; a purple stalk, or maybe lavender, and one more, I think white, or possibly yellow. I can’t quite remember, but one was under-sized. Out of that whole row, only two were left, not including any of the orange, red, pink, or others. At least those two were still there when Dad’s cousin’s brother and his daughter came, but they were a pale shadow of the row we’d seen before the deer found it. {Smile}
    Last edited by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin; 03-12-2017 at 03:13 AM.

  10. #10
    STORYTIME: Alban Climbs the Christmas Tree

    STORYTIME: Alban Climbs the Christmas Tree

    We usually have closed off the room which the tree is in, to keep it and whichever cat we have at the time separate. However, when we had Alban, Valentineís predecessor as Resident Cat, he thought this meant he had to try to sneak in as often as possible, to inspect things and all. {smile}

    One year, when Alban was young and we had a live tree, we had an... Incident.

    We'd just gotten the tree up. I stepped back to admire it, while one of my parents went into the other end of the house for something. That was the end of the house we'd shut Alban in so we could fix the tree without his "help".

    "HERE COMES THE CAT!" Dad called while little feet THUNDERED down the hallway, through the living room, and straight into the sunporch where we had the tree.

    Alban looked around, saw a Tree, and LEPT into it, with most of his room-entering momentum behind him.

    The tree did not fall over. The tree couldn't fall over. Like always when we have a live tree, Dad had suspended it from the ceiling with strong ropes, so neither earthquakes nor any other disasters could possibly knock over the tree (including one kitty cat).

    Instead, the tree began to swing back and forth and back and forth across the sun porch like a pendulum. Like a large, mostly green pendulum. One with a very large white ornament in it.

    Through gales of laughter, I called my parents to try to explain what was happening. They were already on their way.

    After assessing and laughing over the situation Ė in spite of our best attempts to Not Laugh at the Cat -- Mom fetched a mop - the tree's bucket was on its side of course, with rocks and water all over the floor while Dad and I waited for the pendulum to slow until Dad felt it was safe to catch it.

    Then it was time to try to remove the large, white, furry tree ornament. The large, white, furry, _Absolutely_ _TERRIFIED_ ornament. Alban's eyes were eyes so big and round you couldn't see they were blue. His grip was so tight, one person couldn't pull him out of the tree either. When we tried, the back paws and body came just fine, but the front paws stayed firmly attached to the tree in a firmly anchored hug. So one person had to hold the cat, while the other dislodged one paw, then the other, then the other, then the other... for as soon as we dislodged one paw, Alban would snatch at the tree with it. As soon as we realized this, we carefully pulled whenever a paw got free, so he was at least a little farther out each time. At first he clutched at the trunk, then at the branches, then... Ah! He was free! And oh, so frightened. He needed lots of cuddling and petting to reassure him after such a horrid experience. Trees are not supposed to do that! Not Ever!

    I don't remember him ever trying to climb a Christmas tree again. However, for a long time, we tried to give him a minimum number of opportunities.

    Eventually, a friendís comment inspired me to try avoiding hanging ornaments where they would hang below the tree. Perfect. Alban didn't play with them. He didn't try to climb the artificial tree. He couldn't drink its water, since we don't water aluminum and whatever the needles are. {smile} This made for a particularly pleasant Christmas, since the living room got to have normal air circulation, instead of being half closed up. {SMILE}

    Unfortunately, since we got Valentine, we have to close the tree up in its room again. He hasnít tried to climb it, but he has tried to eat the needles. He cannot understand that plastic is inedible, and makes him throw up. {wry smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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