Tag: fiction

Sunshine and Lemon Balm

“Six twenty-three,” Lorna guessed rolling over to bring the clock on the bedside table into focus.  No matter the season, her internal clock never failed; six twenty-three on the nose.  Mid-summer sun, filtered by plantation blinds on the east-facing window, reflected the warm subtle glow Lorna felt in her heart as she visualized the day blossoming before her: a day of sunshine and lemon balm.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, twisting left then right; a deep breath in, arching her back; exhale, rounding her spine, chin to her chest; sitting tall, shoulders down, tummy tucked in, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Feet glide into her slippers, or house shoes as her mother called them.  Lorna walked into the kitchen, put a kettle of water on the stove and opened the door to her condo balcony.  Scissors in hand, snip, snip, a couple of leaves for tea. lemon balm 8

 

Lorna’s daughter gave her the original lemon balm sprig.

“Plant it in the garden.  The leaves are great for brewing tea, flavoring fruit salad or green salad, and for seasoning fish. Add stems to bouquets of summer flowers from the farmer’s market.  Your whole house will smell lemony fresh.  You’ll love it.”

Lorna spent the next five summers trying to control lemon balm from taking over her garden.

“You said it’s not supposed to spread,” she said to her daughter.

“If you keep it cut back, the flowers won’t produce seeds that sprout new plants.  Trim the plant way back a few times each summer.  That’s what I do.”

“Now you tell me.  Who’s going to help me dig up some of the volunteer plants?  I like the scent of lemon, but enough is enough.”

 

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Before Lorna sold her house and moved into the condo, she transplanted fifteen lemon balm plants and delivered them to the Alzheimer’s unit of the assisted living facility where her father spent the last two years of his life.

“For the resident’s,” the card said.  “Lemon balm is good for digestion, headaches, Alzheimer’s restlessness, and insomnia.  If you plant them outside, cut them back often to keep them under control.  If you leave them in pots, place them around the facility and they will add a fresh scent to the rooms.”

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Sitting in her favorite rocker, Lorna inhaled the scent of lemon from the potted plant she kept for herself.  As the sun peeked over the balcony wall warming her toes, Lorna remembered her last volunteer assignment at the Alzheimer’s unit.  She was assigned to keep an eye on the residents in the fenced-in yard.

Edna, a new resident, wandered through the garden stopping at every lemon balm plant.  She picked a stem, held it to her nose, took a deep breath in and moved on to the next plant.

Edna made her way around to Lorna and held out a bouquet of lemon balm.

“Take this.  I think it smells like sunshine.  I guarantee it will brighten our day.”

Edna repeated her trip around the garden gathering sunshine as if it was her first trip.  She presented each new bouquet to the next person she saw.  By the end of the day, every visitor to the garden caught a glimpse of Edna’s world:  a place of unending sunshine and lemon balm.

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Table for Two – Chapter 1

Table for Two – Chapter 1

T-Squared Energy Connections[i]

April 16, 1966 – Gladys and Jerry

Table for Two opened April 16, 1966 on Main Street in Hartsburg. The original menu included sandwiches, pastries, coffee and tea for take-out or eat-in. Catering options included lunch and desserts. One bistro table with two chairs sat outside the shop entrance.

Sadie and Lucy Abrams father, Daniel, wanted his twin daughters to go to college and pursue their dreams. Sadie was working on an accounting degree. Lucy aspired to be a chemical engineer. They traded days at the restaurant to accommodate class schedules and they studied at night.
Daniel also wanted the twins to earn the money for college tuition. He thought they would appreciate a degree more if they paid their own way. So Daniel loaned them money to open Table of Two. Sadie and Lucy would learn how to run a business, repay the loan and later pay back school loans made possible through the Education Act of 1965.

* * *

Jerry Taylor turned twenty-three the day before being sworn in as the youngest mayor of Hartsburg. Jerry won on his vision for Hartsburg. He wanted to maintain a thriving downtown while shopping centers popped up on the outskirts of the city as new neighborhoods developed around Hartsburg. Cutting the ribbon on opening day at Table for Two was one of his first official duties. After cutting the ribbon, Jerry took a big bite of blueberry muffin and a swallow of the first cup of coffee served.

“Yum! Sooo good. I’m going to have to keep an eye on my waistline,” he said to the crowd as he brushed the crumbs from his face.

Jerry sat at the bistro table outside the restaurant all morning greeting passersby and encouraging them to support the newest business on Main Street. Pointing to the second chair at the table, Jerry beckoned patrons to sit and chat with him about whatever was on their mind. Jerry learned so much sitting outside the restaurant he decided to make Meet the Mayor on Main a weekly practice.

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Gladys was visiting her Aunt Irma on April 16th for a shopping excursion. Irma was like a second mother to Gladys; Gladys’ mother died from cancer shortly before her eleventh birthday. After shopping half of the stores lining the two blocks considered downtown Hartsburg, Gladys and Irma were ready to take stock of their purchases. They stumbled upon Table for Two, almost tripping over the empty chair.

“Whoa! What’s this?” Gladys asked.

“Are you ladies OK?” Jerry inquired.

“Is this that new restaurant I read about in the Daily Gazette?” Irma asked.

“Yes,” Jerry answered. “Welcome to Table for Two. Why don’t you put your bags down and take a break? Looks like you’ve been busy. Today is your lucky day. Table for Two is offering a free mini-muffin with every order, no matter how small.”

“I am kind of thirsty Aunt Irma, and my feet are killing me. Not the day to wear new shoes. Would you like a coffee or some tea?” Gladys asked. Biting her lower lip, head tilted down. Gladys couldn’t take her eyes off Jerry.

Gladys and Irma took Jerry up on his offer, setting their packages on the empty chair.

“We won’t be but a minute or two. Thank you ever so much,” Gladys said as she opened the door for her aunt.

One look into Gladys’ hazel eyes and Jerry knew he wanted to marry her. Wavy, shoulder length auburn hair framed a sweet face and sunny smile. A robin’s egg blue shirt-dress adorned her petite frame. Smitten from the beginning, Jerry felt his heart beating double time. His mind went blank.  An electric current filled the air.

While the ladies were inside, Jerry removed the packages from the chair and placed them in neat pile under the table. He opened the door for the Gladys and her Aunt after they paid for their beverages.

With a swish of his arm Jerry said, “Please ladies, sit a spell. Tell me, what you think of our newest establishment?”

Jerry stood next to Irma for the best view of Gladys. Topics of conversation over the next half hour ranged from the delicious free muffins to the future of Hartsburg. Jerry spoke with enthusiasm and passion for preserving a vibrant downtown and his five-year development plan.

“I’m graduating next month with a degree in civil engineering. I would like to learn more about your five-year plan. I’m in town for a couple more days. Maybe we can meet for coffee before I leave,” Gladys said.

“We better get moving,” Irma said. “There are more stores to check out and I’m sure there’s a hat out there with my name on it.”

Irma didn’t like where the conversation was going and wanted to protect Gladys from potential heartbreak. No stranger to heartbreak, Irma never fully recovered from the loss of her fiancé in a car crash. She wanted to save Gladys from starting something that might lead to a broken heart.

Jerry handed the ladies their packages.

“It was a pleasure meeting you ladies. How about we meet right here Wednesday morning Gladys? You can help me inaugurate my new strategy to keep in touch with my constituency while we discuss my five-year plan. You name the time.”

After a sideways look at her Aunt Irma, Gladys looked Jerry in the eyes and said, “You’re on.  I’ll meet you right here Wednesday at nine-thirty.”

Jerry bowed his head in acknowledgement as the ladies continued arm-in-arm down Main Street.

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[i] T-Squared – In astrological charts the t-square configuration is a dynamic pattern that links and inter-locks energies. It can be seen in the major events, challenges, and themes that are encountered in life.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

About A Tree

About A Tree

I suggested in my post on January 1st, What’s the Story?, that readers send ideas for inspiration and I will write a story for you.  Thank you Beth B. for your support and encouragement, and for the idea of a tree.  This may not be what you expected, but the story presents itself to me.  I just type it.

(Just saying:  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)


About A Tree

“Hey Mike, what do you know about Camp In the Woods Summer Camp?”

“What brought that up Deb?”

“It looks like they’re in trouble and are asking alumni for donations,” Debbie said, handing Mike the postcard.  “Is that you?” She pointed to the picture on the front?”

“Oh my god, that is me with Jeremy and Jason.  They’re twins, but I guess that’s obvious.  My nickname was trouble and they were known as double-trouble.  Get it?”

“Ha, ha!  I guess that makes you guys a triple threat.”

“Something like that.  Let’s see what’s going on,” Mike said, turning the post card over.

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Dear Mike,

What is your favorite memory of the giant oak tree on Lake Liberty shore?

  • Stealing your first real kiss under a canopy of oak branches, heavy with leaves and acorns bending toward the earth?
  •  Laying on your back, gazing between the yellow-green leaves to the clear, blue sky on a lazy afternoon?  
  • Swinging over the lake on the old tire?
  • Ignoring the butterflies in your stomach while preparing to dive off the oversized tree limb reaching away from the shore?
  • The shock of cool lake water engulfing your body?  
  • Coming up, gulping for air, and giving a thumbs-up to your friends on shore?

We’re asking you to help make it possible for future campers to create memories of their own.

Last November, a tornado ripped through camp destroying the lodge, cabins, and trails.  Sadly, our beloved oak was uprooted.  Plans to rebuild include:  greater access for kids with disabilities, additional cabins for adults, a technology classroom, a wood-working shop, and a teaching kitchen for lessons on nutrition and healthy cooking.  Check out our website to see the complete blueprint for a new and improved Camp In the Woods.  You will want to be a kid again!

 Send a donation that fits your budget. 

Every donor will receive a special gift made from our precious oak and embellished with its image.  All items will be crafted by next summer’s campers, in our new workshop, under the guidance of J. J. Jacobs, a local, master craftsman and former camper. 

Category Donation Gift
Barking Up a Tree $1 –  $999 4 X 6 inch Photo Frame
Out on a Limb $1,000 – $2,999 Ink Pen
Branching Out $3,000 -$4,999 A set of four Coasters
Trunkful $5,000 -$9,999 Hand-carved 3 X 5 inch Box
Roots and All $10,000 and greater Your choice from above.  A weekend at Camp In the Woods for you and one guest. Recognition on the Family Tree in the Lodge lobby.

 Keep your memories and Camp In the Woods alive for generations to come.

Thanks for your support,

Jeremy Jacobs

Board President


 

WARNING:  This IS NOT an actual fund-raising solicitation letter.  DO NOT Send money.


 

Please feel free to send your idea to inspire a story in the comment section below.