31 August, 2011

Story a Day #4 - Hooked

Story a Day
#4
August 31st 2011

Hooked

The quiet ripples in the lake were almost covert under the glare of the sun; soft wrinkles in the water formed whenever the line moved. Doss tried to keep still, but every few minutes the wind would snatch the line and make it dance along the water – dark shadows of fish lurking underneath scattered like a firework, scales glinting rainbow just under the surface.

He’d been out here for hours already, since the sun rose, and every day before that. Fishing was something that ran in Doss’ family and he was raised on the water – raised with the tackle box as a rite of passage into manhood. The cottage was old and run down, but he wasn’t here to for that.

He came for the lake.

Doss was taught to fish by his grandfather, and come up to his cottage every summer and every weekend he could. He grandfather had retired not long ago – his lifetime at the steel factory reflected in his joints and back. And still Doss joined him as much as he could, taking time away from his job as an IT consultant to come help care for the cottage now that Nan had passed.

Doss had been waking up earlier than usual lately, as he was getting more and more worried about his grandfather’s arthritis and immobility.

There was talk about selling his cottage and moving him to a retirement home, as there were a lot of repairs needed and with his condition he just couldn’t handle it anymore.

“There will be a nurse on staff 24 hours a day, Doss,” His mother would say.

“There will be fishing trips organized!” His uncle Matt had told him.

Doss sat on the grass against the tree every morning, line in the water, trying to forget about it. All the wonderful memories at the cottage would be swept away forever. He grew up here. The breeze rustling through thick maple trees was the only sound audible, and the smell of sweet grass and sand put Doss at ease.

A tear formed and slowly slid to his chin, comprised of all the feelings he was afraid to share with his family. ‘I don’t want to be without him.’

A crack came from behind him as a twig snapped – two sparrows darted out of a low hanging branch and waltzed in the wind before settling on an adjacent Willow. Doss turned his head to see his grandfather slowly making his way down the path, taking a few extra steps of footing each time before moving his cane farther down the trail.

Silently he made his way to Doss and sat beside him on the blanket under the tree.

“You caught your first fish under this tree.” He smiled staring out at the lake – the lines in his face engraved with memories of happiness and loss. Doss looked at him and nodded, reeling in his line to put more bait on it. “Let me.”

Doss held his rod firm and gradually lead the end of the line right by his grandfather who took the hook daintily in one hand, while grabbing for a worm with the other. His smile turned to concentration as he fumbled with the hook, missing the bait each time as his fingers - crippled with a life’s worth of manual labour – could hardly bend to manoeuvre around the metal clasps. When he realized he wouldn’t be able to do it, the look of devastation in his grandfather’s eyes made Doss’s heart ache.

“Here, Poppa,” Doss lightly took the hook from him and easily baited it, throwing the line back in the water, “don’t worry about it.” The two men sat quietly as Doss reeled in and re-cast his line, looking out onto the water. He was trying to find the words to tell his grandfather he still needed him, and Doss wanted him to know that he loved him – he meant the world to him.

Unexpectedly his grandfather’s hand landed on Doss’ wrist, stopping him from reeling in his line. Doss turned, worried, and looked at him, his wrist grasped by a man whom he adored.

“I love you, son,” his grandfather had tears in his eyes too; a man who went through a war across the world was now overcome with emotion, “and I need’ya to know, that this cottage can be torn to the ground today for all I care. You’re the only thing I care about.” His hand squeezed Doss’ wrist and the feeling of loneliness and sadness left Doss completely, relief washed over him.

There both of them sat, on a blanket under a tree overlooking the lake in silence; the same lake that had changed their lives and created a bond that transcended time. The same lake a young Doss claimed to be too small and vowed to leave behind.

He looked over at his grandfather who was smiling – eyes gleaming – his face truly devoid of worry. Doss smiled too. And now all he wanted in this world was to stay.

30 August, 2011

Story a Day #3 - Houdini

Story a Day
August 30th 2011
#3

Houdini

The sound of teenage emotion filled the halls of the high school, as everyone excitedly crowded around the glass trophy case. Todd pressed his face up to the glass comically as he pretended to be shocked when he read the perfectly inscribed letters on the MVP plaque hanging in the trophy case.

“Ronald Yare and Skyler Ottawa, MVP Football, 2011.” Todd mouthed the words dramatically, as he turned and grinned at his friend who stood beside him. The mass of teenage hormones slowly sifted away from the case and into their classrooms as the bell rang.

Sky stood, tight lipped, nary a sentiment shown on his face. Todd scrunched his face and raised an eyebrow. “Dude, I have no idea why the hell you’re never excited for this stuff. I never win anything. This is like the third time you’ve won this and we’re on the same team.” Todd sighed and slung his backpack over his shoulder. “I’ll see you after school for practice, your dad still giving me a ride?” Sky jerked his head in agreement, eyed absorbed in the cheap wood plaque and small metal ticket with the name.

He could hear Todd walking down the hall, shuffling his feet lazily as he made his headed home before football. Sky’s heart flipped in his chest seeing the two names.

‘There are two names’, he thought, ‘two people tied for MVP.’

Sky was the MVP running the last 3 years. He was first pick for every college football team in the state, and there were scouts at every game. His coach called him Houdini, because he always somehow escaped tackles to score the touchdowns. He was untouchable.

This year there were two names. Sky swallowed hard and took his time walking to his car.

“Yeah that guy always does 110% at everything he does,” Todd was chatting to a bunch of cheerleaders, sitting on the benches waiting for the players to arrive, “he has suffered concussions, broken bones, black eyes, and bruises everywhere practicing.” The girls cooed; Todd used Sky’s stories to get in with the girls. After all, who doesn’t love a quarterback? “One time, Sky tackled a dummy so hard he dislocated his shoulder. He hits like a brick!” Todd leaned back on his hand smiling at the girls until he saw the familiar van pull up. “Coach is here, let’s rumble.” He grabbed his helmet, winked at the girls and ran up to the men coming out of the van.

“Hey coach.” Todd waved as the coach walked straight-faced towards the field. “What was that all about?”

“He’s pissed because I hurt my hand practicing this afternoon.” Skyler said, motioning to his gloved hand.

“How the hell did you do that? I just saw you!” Todd took Sky’s wrist and started to examine it until Sky pulled away.

“It’s fine- just swollen, I closed it in the car door by accident. I’ll still be able to throw; it’s just my left hand.” Sky walked past Todd, leaving him standing in the parking lot. “Let’s go, I don’t want him to be more pissed.” Todd shrugged and ran to catch up.

--

“Oh dear Sky, what did you do to your hand?” Sky’s mom glanced down at the tensor-wrapped hand which was swollen and purple, as she put the casserole dish on the table, beckoning for her husband and daughter to join the table for dinner.

“He’s a klutz, didn’t wrap his wrist right before training this afternoon. He must have bent it the wrong way.” Sky’s dad looked at him.

“I forgot my wraps at the gym” Sky looked at his plate.

“Oh lord Sky it’s a good thing that wasn’t your right hand, how lucky was that, honestly!”

The family ate in silence until Sky and his sister went to their rooms. Sky’s father helped clear the dishes, grabbed something off the counter and headed for the garage.

“Now where on earth are you going, Paul?” She peaked out from the kitchen door, drying her hands on a dishcloth, dishes submerged in soapy sink water.

“Just have to put something back I grabbed earlier. I’ll be right out to help you with those.”

Paul opened the garage door with his right hand.

In his left hand was a hammer.

29 August, 2011

Story a Day #2 - The Closet

Story a Day
August 29th 2011
#2

"The Closet"


 Mumbling came from the hall; I could hear it from inside the bedroom. This always happens – every night was same thing. The kid would cry and tell his parents every excuse in the book to stay in their room, because he was too scared to sleep in his.

“There’s something in the closet!” He would say, tears streaming down his face, eyes pleading to his parents who would ‘tsk’ and tell him he’s imagining things. Every night Julie, or Mark would come into the room, rolling their eyes, making a show of opening the closet door and peaking around, yelling at the invisible monsters to go away. And every night they would kiss Kit on the forehead, tuck him in, and whisper to each other in the kitchen, at their wits end with their son’s imagination.

However what Julie or Mark didn’t know was that every night their hound dog Sam whined to get inside Kit’s room; growl and scratch at the door because it knew. The dog knew.

That damn dog.

Every time Julie walked by the doorway, she would see Sam whining, and she would click her tongue at him. “Git! Sam, down- bad Sam,” and would gently separate the dog and the door with her leg and eventually Sam would shuffle to the end of the hallway and lay down – eyes fixated on the door.

Sometimes the dog would make too much noise, and would have Julie or Mark come by all night.

Those nights were the worst.

Kit begged his parents to let Sam sleep in his room, to leave the door open. His parents would always tell him no, that the dog would keep him up all night barking. They didn’t know Kit was up all night with me anyway. And the only reason the dog barked was because of me - because he knew I was there.

It got to a point where I couldn’t even come out because the dog would bark every time I moved. And of course it would be a hound dog. It couldn’t be a poodle or something, had to be a hound.

It’s been like this for a few years. Sam would go crazy, so I laid low for a while – didn’t leave the confines of the closet. I was getting weak.

It’s been so long since I’ve fed. Can’t risk it.

Can never risk it.

Then one day it happened. Apparently the vet said it was a heart attack. They asked if Sam was under constant stress. Julie would say no, Mark would say “Of course not! It’s a dog!”

I heard them tell Kit when he got home. He had a breakdown, screamed and threw a tantrum. Mark didn’t know it was a panic attack. Julie sent him to his room.

Kit sat on his bed with his face towards the closet. With wide eyes and heart pounding like a drum line - never tearing his eyes from the closet.

I just waited. I was so hungry.

Kit saw me. He knew I was there. A still calm came over him because he knew what was going to happen.

The sun started to set.

I smiled.

Recipe - Creamy Fudge


One of the best recipes I've found. Not too sweet, very creamy texture.


Remarkable Fudge
recipe image

Rated:rating
Submitted By: Chris Milliron

Photo By: CookinginFL
Servings: 58

"This fudge always comes out great."
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
4 cups white sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1.Line a 13x9 inch baking dish with foil and butter the foil.
2.In the top half of a double boiler combine the butter or margarine, evaporated milk and sugar.
Cook on medium heat for 12 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 236 degrees F (112 degrees C).
Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips, vanilla and marshmallow creme. Stir until chocolate
chips melt then mix in the chopped walnuts. Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Score into squares
while still warm. Refrigerate until firm then cut along the scored lines.

Recipe - Sour Cream Banana Bread

For whatever reason when I made this, my loaves had to stay in almost another whole hour, I'm not sure if I filled them too much. Supposed to make 4 loaves but I only had 2 loaf pans so I poured 4 loaves worth into 2. Come to think of it that may be why it took twice as long? Haha .. never mind. Still turned out really good. I crushed walnuts and cinnamon and stuck them around the walls of the loaf pans also, it turned out well.



Banana Sour Cream Bread
recipe image



Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: 32

"Sour cream gives enough tangy bite to take the edge off this banana bread 's sweetness. Dusting the baking pans with cinnamon sugar gives these small four loaves a gentle spice undertone."
INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup
white sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
2.In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon.
Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans.
3.Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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