Thursday Photo Prompt — Snow

“Snow,” Darla said.

“Snow?” her father asked. “That’s what you want for Christmas?”

“Yes, Daddy. Snow. I’ve never seen snow in real life. I’ve never even touched it. I want to know what it’s like to have a white Christmas.”

Jack and his wife moved to South Florida from New Hampshire about 12 years earlier, before Darla was born. Since their divorce, Darla stayed with Jack alternating weekends and every other Christmas and Thanksgiving. This year, it was his turn to host her for Christmas.

He thought back to his days in New Hampshire and how he loved to hike in the woods during the winter. Despite the sometimes bitter cold, it was invigorating, energizing. He could understand why his daughter, who had never been outside of Florida, might want to experience a real winter.

“Okay,” Jack said. “Let me clear it with your mother and then I’ll make plans to take you to where there is snow.”

After getting his wife’s blessing, Jack booked flights and a hotel room and, a few days before Christmas, he and Darla headed north. He didn’t know which of them was more excited, Darla at the prospect of seeing snow for the first time, or him heading back to the stomping grounds of his younger days.

On the first day of their trip they went to a local clothing store and bought flannel shirts, water-resistant snow pants, winter jackets, knit caps, gloves, and hiking boots. On the second day, they woke up early, ate a hardy breakfast, dressed warmly, and headed out onto a woodsy trail that followed a small stream.

Darla was tickled by being able to see her breath as she breathed and talked. She and Jack engaged in a friendly snowball fight, before continuing their hike. After a few hours on the trail, though, Jack noticed that Darla seemed a little less enthusiastic than she had been when they first started out. “Darla, honey, are you okay?” he asked.

She looked up at her father, not wanting to disappoint him. “I’m very cold, Daddy. I’m kinda wet, too. And I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Do you want to head back to the hotel?” he asked.

Darla nodded. “Yes, Daddy. And then can we go back home? I don’t think I like the snow as much as I thought I would,” she said. “And it’s just too cold here. Not like Florida.”

“Sure, sweetie,” he said, wondering if the store would take back all the winter clothing he had bought just the day before.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.


#writephoto — The Lighthouse

Decades of Nor’easters had taken their toll on the tall, exposed wooden structure at the very end of the craggy outcropping. The old fisherman had heard the tragic tales of lives lost when, before the lighthouse was constructed, fishing boats crashed into those rocks during storms.

He remembered coming here as a kid to watch the lighthouse being built, fascinated by what seemed to his young eyes to be a Herculean effort to pour the concrete that would serve as its base and moor the tower to the rocky, uneven protuberance.

It took the better part of a year for the workers to complete the tower and to get the lighthouse operational. When it was finally finished, it was a thing of beauty, a work of art.

His father and grandfather, both fishermen, along with about a dozen other folks from the small town in Maine, came out to witness the bright light being turned on for the first time. The cheers and applause from the small crowd gathered there was spontaneous. Countless lives of fishermen would be saved by the powerful beam shining from the top of the tower.

These days, though, sophisticated electronics on board the large commercial fishing vessels that fished in the waters off the coast eliminated the need for the lighthouse, and the cost of repairs and maintenance could no longer be justified.

It made him sad to see that all that remained of the old lighthouse was the concrete foundation upon which it was built.

Written for today’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — Sailors’ Delight

Jason and his son stepped outside to look at the breathtakingly beautiful sunset. “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning,” Jason said.

“Are you a sailor, Daddy?” Richie asked.

“No, son. It’s just an old saying,” Jason responded.

“But is it true, Daddy?” Richie asked. “Is a red sky at night good, but one in the morning is bad?”

“It’s based upon how the prevailing winds usually blow from west to east,” Jason explained. “And since we’re looking toward the west, where the sun is setting, it’s a good sign for tomorrow’s weather.”

Richie asked the inevitable question of an eight-year-old. “Why, Daddy?”

Jason sighed. “Well,” he said, “the saying assumes that when you see the rising sun illuminating clouds in the morning, more clouds will be coming in from the west, which portends cloudy weather to follow.”

Richie looked confused, so Jason continued, “But in order to see red clouds in the evening, sunlight from the setting sun must have a clear path from the west. Therefore, the prevailing winds coming in from the west will be bringing clear skies.”

“But why, Daddy?”

“It’s just an old wives’ tale,” Jason said.

“Is Mommy an old wife,” Richie asked.

Jason looked at his watch. “Oh my, look at the time. I think I heard your mother calling us for dinner.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt challenge from Sue Vincent.

#writephoto — A Farm Upstate

img_0074-e1510246700464.pngThe serenity of the scene belied the treachery that had just taken place.

As dawn approached and the light of the moon, entering its waxing crescent phase, began to fade in the slowly brightening sky, the two men, covered with dirt, gingerly made their way down to the valley from outcropping above.

Upon reaching the valley floor, Ben said to Joe, “That was some nasty business, bro.”

“It had to be done,” Joe responded. “Do you think we dug it deep enough?” he asked.

Ben looked up toward the spot where they had just buried the body. He saw the large tree with its small outgrowth silhouetted against the clear, early morning sky. “Yeah, I thinks so. Besides, that ridge isn’t easy to get to. I don’t think anyone will find it.”

“We had to do it,” Joe opined. “We had no other choice.”

“I know, I know,” Ben admitted. “But that doesn’t make it any easier.”

“How are we going to break the news to Angela?” Joe asked. “She’s gonna take it hard.”

“We just tell her,” Ben said. “You know, like what they say about ripping off a bandage.”

“No, I think we should tell her he went upstate to stay at a farm,” Joe said.

“She knew he was sick, so maybe that would work,” Ben said.

“Or maybe that he went to heaven,” Joe suggested.

The two men made there way to the car and drove home. When they got there, they walked into the kitchen to find their younger sister sitting at the kitchen table munching on a blueberry muffin. She looked up at her two older brothers.

“Angie, honey, we have some news for you.”

“I know,” she said. “Ruff is dead.”

The brothers looked at each other. “How did you know?” Joe asked.

“You two knuckleheads made so much noise at two in the morning that it woke me up,” Angela said. “I looked out of the window and saw you throwing the dog’s body into the trunk of the car, along with two shovels.”

“Are you okay?” Ben asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Ruff was 16 and he was hurting. He’s probably in a better place now,” she said. Then she got a grin and her face and said, “You know, like at a farm upstate or in doggy heaven.”

This is a twofer. Written for both today’s one-word prompt, “gingerly,” and for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

#writephoto — The Flood

“It will never be the same,” lamented Jerry. “Even once the flood waters recede this time, this probably won’t be the last time.”

“Yeah, I know,” Gary concurred. “This is the third time since 2010 that this valley has flooded, but this time it’s by far the worst.”

Jerry looked across the water that covered the completely submerged roadway that ran under the bridge separating the north and south sides of the park. “It’s still too deep for us to wade in there and try to clear the debris out of the storm drain,” Jerry said. “The water has to be seven or eight feet deep.”

“We might have to get some scuba divers from the naval base to go down there and see what they can do,” Gary said. “Otherwise, there’s no telling how long it will be before we can open this road again.”

Jerry lit up a cigarette and took a deep drag. He offered one to Gary, but Gary didn’t smoke. “I think Mother Nature is sending us a message,” Jerry said after a moment of silence.

“I agree,” Gary said, “but it seems like no one is hearing her. No one is paying attention.”

Jerry’s phone buzzed. “I just got a text from dispatch,” he said. “They need us over at the dam. They say the water is still rising and they’re afraid the dam is going to fail under the strain.”

“It’s a good thing this whole climate change thing is a hoax,” Gary sarcastically said.

The two men rowed their boat toward the dam, having no idea what they could possibly do to stop the dam from flooding the entire valley.

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.