A Writer’s Thanksgiving


A Writer’s Thanksgiving

by Adam Huddleston

 

Well folks, it’s that magical time of year again when leaves are falling, footballs are sailing through the crisp air, and turkeys everywhere are acting a bit…skittish. It’s Thanksgiving! There are many things that I am thankful for, and a few of those are specific to me being a writer.

  1. My wife and kids for supporting me in extra-curricular activities that sometimes keep me from them.
  2. My critique group who encourage and enlighten on a regular basis.
  3. My laptop and work computers for holding reams of literature that may one day see the light of day.
  4. The freedom to express myself under the First Amendment in a country that, while divided, still holds onto a visage of its former self.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy writing!

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FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD


Outtakes 180

 

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

By Cait Collins

 

I love the holidays. The hustle and bustle, social events, end-of-the-school-term concerts make me happy. But there is one thing I hate…food, glorious food.

I’m not officially on a diet, but I am trying to watch what and how much I eat. I definitely do not want to gain back the ten pounds I lost last fall. So what do you do when everywhere you look there is food?

It’s so unfair. Your co-workers bring goodies from their kitchens and let you know to help yourself. If you don’t partake, feelings are hurt. However, if I eat, my backside suffers. Is there no middle ground?

This is a sampling of the holiday feasting.

It started before Thanksgiving with a food day at work. I don’t remember the menu, but I do recall the table being overloaded and the team eating from the start of the day to the end of the shift.

Then there was family Thanksgiving at the church building. (The kitchen is bigger than at any of our homes and we can all sit together.) Let’s see, turkey, lots of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing, salad, pickles, olives, dinner rolls, candied yams, desserts; more food than any of us could or should eat. We all took leftovers home.

December rolled around and the parties started. My sister’s jewelry party provided chips, dips, crackers and cream cheese spread, apple slices, grapes, pineapple chunks.

A shopping trip ended in dinner out with two of my nephews. Shrimp was a great change of pace. The congregation’s holiday adult party was catered. I could not eat everything on my plate. Nor could I sample all the home cooked brunch fare the morning after the party. And we brown-bagged dinner the night we filled the holiday baskets for our shut-ins.

Family Christmas dinner was early so that we could all be together before kids left to spend the holiday with their dads. The scent of Mexican food filled the church fellowship hall as we scarffed enchiladas, tamales, queso and chips, fajitas, and desserts.

The day before my vacation began we celebrated our short association with co-workers from our Manila office. The tables in the conference room were loaded with Mexican food. Everything from queso to taco soup tempted the stomach.

My sisters and I celebrated December birthdays with Cheryl’s famous chicken salad sandwiches, chips, and ice cream. Then I joined my in-laws for filet minion on Christmas Eve. Janet made stew on Christmas day, and New Year’s Eve, we waited for the end of 2014 with snacks and desserts. New Year’s day, I spent quietly eating grilled chicken and black-eyed peas.

Man, was I glad to see the holidays end.

You’d think the New Year would bring an end to the obsession with food. Not so my friends. The food train continues to roll with homemade goodies making their way to the food cube at work. And on Friday, there is another food day.

Mexican food.

Again.

I raise my eyes heavenward. “Please, Lord, make it stop,” I beg. “I’ve had enough of food, glorious food.”

In the musical Oliver, Oliver and his friends sang of Food, Glorious Food because he and the other orphans were starving. I complain because there’s too much of a good thing. The point is anything you dream can be a story.

 

BOGGLE


BOGGLE 

“Gather all the witnesses you can…”
Twilight  Breaking Dawn Part 2
 
By Sharon Stevens
 
Years ago our family used to play a word game called “Boggle”. The object was to shake the box with the letter squares, and then turn over the hourglass timer and to try to make words out of the letters. The more letters you formed into words the more points you gained. To our family this was a fun game, noisy but fun.
 
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we have a trillion or more words right at our fingertips?
 
If we are writing a story we can pluck thoughts and ideas out of our hearts, our soul, our minds and our very being. We can take these bits and pieces and shape them into anything we choose. Every genre starts with something this simple.
 
Think of this…pick a word, any word and turn it into horror, romance, fiction, non-fiction, laughter, darkness, pain, or joy. See how easy it is to twist and turn groupings of letters into ideas and dreams.
 
At the end right before the credits of Twilight- Breaking Dawn 2 I witnessed certain words highlighted out of Stephanie Myers book. Words like “forever” came to light and it struck me how these same letters could be linked together in so many ways to convey every feeling humanly possible.
 
And this is my Thanksgiving wish for all. I am most thankful that there are so very many ways to turn the alphabet into wonderful memories. Not only that, to know how great it is to be able to read and write and share with the blessings of our American freedom. To me this is the symbol of a true Thanksgiving.
 
One word at a time!

BOGGLE


BOGGLE 

“Gather all the witnesses you can…”
Twilight  Breaking Dawn Part 2
 
By Sharon Stevens
 
Years ago our family used to play a word game called “Boggle”. The object was to shake the box with the letter squares, and then turn over the hourglass timer and to try to make words out of the letters. The more letters you formed into words the more points you gained. To our family this was a fun game, noisy but fun.
 
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we have a trillion or more words right at our fingertips?
 
If we are writing a story we can pluck thoughts and ideas out of our hearts, our soul, our minds and our very being. We can take these bits and pieces and shape them into anything we choose. Every genre starts with something this simple.
 
Think of this…pick a word, any word and turn it into horror, romance, fiction, non-fiction, laughter, darkness, pain, or joy. See how easy it is to twist and turn groupings of letters into ideas and dreams.
 
At the end right before the credits of Twilight- Breaking Dawn 2 I witnessed certain words highlighted out of Stephanie Myers book. Words like “forever” came to light and it struck me how these same letters could be linked together in so many ways to convey every feeling humanly possible.
 
And this is my Thanksgiving wish for all. I am most thankful that there are so very many ways to turn the alphabet into wonderful memories. Not only that, to know how great it is to be able to read and write and share with the blessings of our American freedom. To me this is the symbol of a true Thanksgiving.
 
One word at a time!

PATRIOTISM


PATRIOTISM

by Sharon Stevens

n. patriot+ism- love and loyal or zealous support of one’s own country,especially in all matters involving other countries; nationalism.     Websters New World Dictionary

In honor, memory, and celebration of my grandparents Richard & Anna Groves

What I know about patriotism I learned from my grandparents. During World War II families were encouraged to invite servicemen from the local air base for holiday meals. Rationing dictated they could only host two men at a time. The soldiers chosen for my grandparents refused to come unless they could bring a third. Their friend was of Chinese descent from California, and though he fought in Uncle Sam’s army he was unwelcome outside the base.

Grandfather had served in World War I in France in the Balloon Corp when the Armistice was signed. He knew how it felt to be so far from home at any time, but especially during the holiday season. Also their son was serving in Italy. Grandmother found it hard to imagine her first born a world away, and hoped he could find refuge with a family there. So without hesitation they opened their hearts to these three young men.

My mother remembers that first Thanksgiving of the war. They ate turkey with all the trimmings, and cakes made within rationing guidelines.

From that point on the soldier became a surrogate son. Christmas came and went, New Years and Valentine’s Day followed. Every spare moment found him at their address and not just for meals. Weekends were spent playing cards and listening to the radio with the family. Many of the other soldiers spent time off the base riding the bus downtown, to the drive inns, to the dances…his refuge was found within.

I have thought back over my grandparents efforts many times. Outside their home this young man would have faced certain discrimination, an ugliness aimed at his features though he wore the uniform of an American soldier.

In sharing the family hearth my grandparents weren’t marching in cadence with a military band, or saluting the flag with their hands over their hearts as the Star Spangled Banner stirred their soul. Their gesture spanned countless generations of dedicated Americans. They were doing what they could for the war effort by offering a warm meal with filling hearts while they filled bellies. Our family celebrated freedom just by welcoming a young soldier, AND the two friends who refused to leave him behind…simply a shining example linking the heritage of all patriots across time.

Through this legacy I know wars aren’t just won on the battlefield. Patriotism is practiced by those warriors who merely keep the home fires burning.

Sharon Stevens