The Song

Picture from pinterest
Picture from pinterest

The Song                                                                                                           {A short story by Patty Beggs 2015}

As Amanda was picking up the toys that were strewn all over the floor, a song came on the radio.  It was the song that would always transport her back to that summer.   

As the familiar song played in the background she remembered another time and another place where she heard that song.  Soon she was back to that summer of 1970, the summer she turned 16 and the boy who would steal her heart.   

School had been out for a few weeks as the summer routine stated to settle into summer time fun.  This was the summer at the lake where she would met Matthew. 

Matthew and his family had just moved into the military post where both of their fathers were stationed.  He looked a bit older than his 16 yrs, tall, confident with the deepest brown eyes she ever saw.   

As Matthew arrived to the beach area at the lake near the post where they lived, Amanda quickly invited him to join her and her friends.  As a special song played they all introduced themselves to him and eagerly offered to show him the ropes of the post. Joey would know all too soon what it would be like to be the new kid again, he just finished telling everyone his father was being transferred and this would be his last summer there. 

Summer continued on, Matthew and Amanda always showing up at the same places.  It seemed fate was throwing them together. It was inevitable that Amanda fell in love with Matthew. 

Joey had left soon after, followed by Ann whose father had been killed in Vietnam, her mother was moving her little family back home to Idaho. Reality set in to everyone there.  Especially to Amanda, along with her best friend Ellie and her two other friends Michael and Laura who just found out their fathers would also be leaving soon for a tour of duty in Vietnam.  A few days later Matthew found out his father also had orders.  It would become not only a long summer but a long year of uncertainty for Amanda and for those she care about.    

By the end of summer Amanda and Matthew were inseparable, bonded by knowledge that their fathers may not return. That special song soon became their song as they clung to each other for support in the months ahead.   

Matthew was with Amanda when she said good-bye to her father and she was with him when he said goodbye to his father. The next 11 months of watching the news and waiting for their father’s return would become unbearable.  During this time they found young love.  Their special song would be a reminder along with the ring Matthew gave to Amanda that summer for the promise of a young enduring love. 

Summer turned into autumn, then winter and soon spring.  Fathers were returning home and one day her own father came home.  The same day Matthew and his family got word that his father was killed in action. 

Soon after Matthew’s mother left the post and returned home to Pennsylvania and Amanda’s father was transferred to Washington state.  They wrote each other and spoke on the phone often.  Soon Matthew enlisted in the Army and Amanda went to nursing school. And at what always happens life got busy and soon they lost touch. 

Amanda never took off the ring Matthew gave her that summer, it was a constant reminder of a lost love and deep friendship. 

Matthew kept a picture of a girl next to him as he went from post to post a reminder of lost love and deep friendship.   

Every time a special song would play both Amanda and Matthew would think of how they found love in the summer of 1970. 

Years went by and Amanda got a new job at the Army Military Hospital where she once lived.  It would be there 10 years later that she will find love one summer afternoon at a lake. 

A young man, tall, confident with the deepest brown eyes she had not seen in over 10 years walked in, just as a special song began playing.   

As Amanda thought back to the summer day 45 years ago she felt the touch of the man who stole her heart in 1970, as he hugged her and sang along to the words. They had kept a promise of enduring love they made to each other all those years ago. 

Soon grandchildren came running in as the older couple continued dancing. In the midst of laughter and chatter from little children, they only saw the young lovers they were in 1970.

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Book Review – Heart and Home

It feels good to be back on my computer (almost said typewriter!) writing down my thoughts and creating stories. Although like most of my projects I have about 5 ideas going around in my mind at the same time. I guess that is how God created me, with an over active imagination, like my favorite character in literature, Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gable who was always looking at life through her “scope of imagination”.

Heart and HomeOn to one of my projects – my latest book review, Heart and Home by Jennifer Melzer

Over the summer I was determined to get back into the habit of reading and I am now comfortably in a routine. I used to sit and read at a drop of hat, anywhere, anytime. Well, life gets busy, especially now as I still struggle with finishing everything that needs done. Through trial and error I now end my busy days in comfy clothes, all curled up in my favorite spots with my nose in a book.

One of my favorite summer reads was a book written by my cousin, Jennifer Melzer. She did an interview on my friends blog – Marcia Meara, you can find it here. …http://marciameara.wordpress.com/?s=Jennifer+Melzer

Our family comes from a long line of story tellers. Imagination and writing is in our blood. If my father had written down all of his stories we would have been rich! So although he never made it to be a famous author, he did keep us rich in his stories or maybe I should say tall tales.

Jennifer lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and dragons, “but dreams nightly she is laying on the beach watching the stars fall over the Atlantic Ocean”. Although our family are mountain people, there a few including my grandmother, Jennifer’s great grandmother and my daughter who love the ocean. Jennifer like the rest of the family is a story teller. Unlike those that came before us who would sit in front of the fire and telling tall tales, Jennifer sits at her computer for hours perfecting her craft as she tells her own fables.

Jennifer has a an imagination that would make Anne Shirley proud! She writes fantasy romance fiction, and as it says on her facebook page she “spins yarns woven from heartstrings”. I am proud of her accomplishments, although I do not normally read fantasy fiction I wanted to read her latest book which at the time was “Edgelanders“. While waiting for it to come out, I noticed another book she wrote, ” Heart and Home“, an endearing story of the area we live. So I chose to start off with that one.

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Janice McCarty is a young journalist living in Pittsburgh when she gets the phone call we all dread. Her mother has suddenly passed away. She left her home in Sonesville, PA 8 years before and had seldom returned home. As she arrives she begins to feel out of place. While her friends married, had children, attended church suppers, quilting bees and a scrapbooking club, she had found a career in journalism.

Her plan was to make sure her dad was taken care of before she headed back to civilization where her job awaited her. Soon her life gets complicated by a former class mate and football star who had ambitions of his own. They kept bumping into each other in their small home town or maybe they were being thrown together by her mother’s restless spirit who, “leads her daughter down a path she swore she’d never take, and Chandra McCarty’s ghost has no intention of letting go until her daughter finally sees she’s more than just a byline, and home is where the heart is.”

You will enjoy this story about a young woman who comes face to face with her past only to realize that her past will soon become her future.
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I have not yet read any of Jennifer’s other titles, but they are on my list. Jennifer’s writing style, imagination and attention to detail has me anticipating reading her other titles. I hope you enjoy her books too and please leave a comment with your review as well.

You can find her list of books on Amazon by clicking here – Heart and Home

Her latest book is Sorrows Peak –  is also available on Amazon

The Brave Scotsman ~ a short story

Hamish
unknown source

The Brave Scotsman

The sun was shining and not a cloud in the cool autumn sky as Hamish MacGinnis took his yearly walk to the old cemetery at the edge of the village. His steps were slow and no longer full of confidence. Every year rain or shine for the past 70 years he paid homage to the Memorial that sat in the middle of old worn headstones and tall weeds in the long forgotten cemetery.

He remembered the day he marched off in 1915 to fight in a war that was to end all wars. The flag of Scotland held high and songs of victory filled the air as the train pulled away.

As he neared the old battered train station, a train sounded in the distance. Old man MacGinnis was transported back to that day in 1915 when he boarded a train to an unknown future.

Flags were waving and crowds were cheering as the regiment boarded the train. Hamish held his Annie tight as her tears fell among the platform.

With shoulders bent and thoughts of Annie’s last embrace, Hamish went back inside where men were playing cards, laughing and joking about anything but what lay ahead of them.

Little Bobby MacTavish was the first of many to fall.

He remembered that day when he was marching with Bobby talking about home both laughing at the memories of boyhood shenanigans. Out of nowhere a bullet came and Bobby fell.

Gun fire erupted from both sides and then all was silent. The eerie stillness sunk deep into the souls of the men. Silence. A word they all yearned for yet feared. Hamish laid Bobby to rest on a muddy field, with a faded old ribbon attached to the picture of young woman who will be left to mourn the memory of a lost love.

Men came and went, killed in unknown valleys and farmlands, a long line of young men he was afraid to know yet would always remember the men who will forever lay in unmarked graves and on muddy fields.

Three years later he came home to the bands playing, men from other wars shaking his hand, young boys asking to see his medals and pretty young girls ready to offer up forbidden kisses.

A hero had returned home as a young woman waited, holding her breath until she held him in her arms and tears once again fell on the platform.

A hero, no longer a boy but a changed man who survived hell to come home to an unknown world, nothing seemed familiar yet everything was the same.

A hero, to be remembered for that fateful afternoon in a faraway village…

As the last of his childhood friends died on a cold winter night in 1917 – Hamish felt as if a bullet found the depths of his soul where darkness and hardness had now taken root. He fought and killed as if he were possessed by evil himself.

In the fall of 1918 they came upon what was left of a Belgium village. Only one building was left standing. As Hamish drew near he noticed a movement in a curtain, he signaled for his men to stop. Moving ever so slowly towards the building – a church, he steadied his rifle when a little head stared back at him. A child. Then another child stood up and looked out the window, then another in a doorway. The child in the doorway saw him and came forward – displaying the beauty of innocence, as he was reminded of another time in another life when innocence shone in the beauty of his love.

In that moment he saw the flash, heard the mortar as it found its target beyond the church. Hamish felt a stirring in his heart and called out to his men to save the children. Grabbing the child he ran towards the building. Risking their lives they found a child’s refuge in a battle-scarred church. The men held their ground while fighting erupted all around them. Mortars fell short and bullets missed their mark as men from the Kings Army protected dozens of children in an abandoned church.

As the battle came to a close and the Germans retreated, Hamish and his men left the church and was surprised at the destruction all around them but the church was left unharmed. A little girl reached out and put her hand in his, and as she smiled up at him  it was there that Hamish found the shattered pieces of his soul he thought long destroyed.

Dozens of lives were saved that afternoon. They were lives that grew up to become men and women who would also reach out to a new generation of innocence, protecting Jewish children from the storms of another war in a safe refuge of an old battle-scarred church.

He entered the cemetery with the memory of that day filling his heart and remembering that little girl whom many say he was a hero for saving. But it was that little girl who saved him when she reached for his hand.

Laying his poppies down at the memorial, he heard the voices once again from the past, all calling out to him. Then he saw his Annie, also reaching out to him telling him it is time to come home.

A warm Voice called out, “welcome home my brave Scotsman” and as Hamish looked up he saw a brilliance he could not explain and the Voice called out “well done faithful servant”. Soon he was surrounded by the thousands of souls that were saved because of one man’s heroism to save the beauty of innocence in a world gone mad.

In the midst of all those souls, one hand reached out….

Patty B.  August 2014
flanders_field
unknown source

Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara – book review

Swamp GhostSwamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara

I would like to introduce Marcia Meara. She is a native Floridian and lives in the Orlando area. She enjoys reading, writing, and the great outdoors which she includes in her writing. She also has 2 dachshunds which is something else we have in common.

Marcia has two other books under her wing, “Wake-Robin Ridge”, which is available on amazon.com and her book of poetry Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love”.  Marcia will soon be working on “Hunter”, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, but is currently focusing on the sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge, which features a ten-year old boy making his way alone through the wilderness of the North Carolina mountains.

Marcia has two blogs Who’s Your Granny, primarily focusing on gardening & wildlife, or Bookin’ It, which is all about books…  “reviews, cover art, authors, literary quotes, and anything else related to the world of readin’ and writin”. Personally I can tell you I have learned quite a bit from Bookin’ It.

We have become friends through the wonderful world of blogging. I had the privilege to be one of her beta readers, giving her feedback as the story of Maggie Devlin and Gunnar Wolfe progressed.   Actually I was captivated when I first read the prologue:

“The car bumped and rocked as he drove down the rutted dirt road, steering by a wash of silver light from the gibbous moon. Only a few more days until it was full, making the road nearly as bright as it would be by day, but not tonight. Tonight, there was just enough light to see that the way ahead was clear—except for the tall grasses and weeds, indicating no one had driven this way in a long time—and that was all the visibility he needed. There was little chance of meeting anyone out here along such a remote stretch of river, but he wasn’t going to tempt fate by turning on his headlights. Not with what he was carrying in his trunk on this summer night.”

Swamp Ghost is full of suspense and romance which takes you deep into the swamps of Florida. If you like CSI, Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark you are sure to enjoy Swamp Ghost.

Maggie Devlin is the owner of Eco Tours who meets Gunnar Wolfe a wildlife photographer whose newest project is to shot the rarest birds of Florida’s wetlands. He hires Maggie to take him into the remote rivers of Central Florida in search of that one photo opportunity that will make his name known in the photography world. Little did they know when they first met they would not only find romance but a serial killer on the loose.

Marcia’s book is balanced by the right imagery of suspense and romance to keep us interested and on the edge of our seat. Marcia sticks to the facts to get her point across and encourages us to use our imagination that puts us right into the book along with Maggie, Gunner and the true to life characters of Riverbend

A Serial Killer, Mystery, Suspense and Romance is what you get when you read Swamp Ghosts. Just when you think you have figured it out there is another twist and a surprise turn that will lead you down a different path into solving the crime. The book will keep the most ardent CSI fan guessing.

If you are looking for a book to keep you on the edge of your seat then this would be it for your summer reading pleasure.

 

The Sacrifice

This weeks writing exercise is to create a short story from one sentence –

“He threw their memories into the fire and he remembered the warning”…from his beloved, Anna before she disappeared.  “If I am captured you must leave Germany with your new identity and throw our memories in the fire.  You must save yourself.  Please Peter, do this for me and for the children.”  Peter remembered that night, when they put everything that was held dear to them along with a list of names into this box, so that when the time came for them to leave they would be able to grab it and move to a new life in a new country. He never thought he would be leaving alone.

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It was a typical evening at the home of Peter and Anna Mueller, after dinner they sat down to read before retiring for the night.  Peter will forever remember that knock on the door that started their mission to save Jewish children.

When Peter opened the door and saw his neighbor Rabbi Benjamin Kohen with two children.  He quickly motioned him inside and looked across the court-yard to make sure no one was watching.  In Germany you never know who your enemies were.

Rabbi Kohen quickly explained that these two children, Eva and Paul, had nowhere to go.  Their parents were taken today and they were able to escape by a back door and ran to him.  Could they keep him until he could get them out of Germany and to England?

Peter glanced at Anna who had tears in her eyes, they both were heart-sick with what was happening in Germany.  So they both agreed and took Eva age 12 and Paul age 6 into their home.  A few days later Rabbi Kohen came back and said he arranged passage for the children and he would be back that night to take the children.

Shortly after the children left Anna and Peter agreed they would help more children escape the death that would await them.  They knew the risks involved but also knew that God was leading them to help His Jewish children.

They met Rabbi Kohen secretly and told them they were willing to help.  Peter’s family has a farm and they had agreed to hide the children there until it was safe for them to move on.

So for the next year they would often go visit Peter’s brother Franz and his family to deliver their secret cargo.  Everything was going fine until the day the SS took Rabbi Kohen and his family along with the small Jewish community and burned down the synagogue.  As they watched the flames shot up toward the sky, they prayed for the Jewish people but knew in their hearts that their fate was sealed.

Peter went into his study and prayed.  He asked where God was, why was He allowing His people to suffer?  For the first time Rev. Peter Mueller had doubts of God’s plan.

After their dinner that night they both made arrangements on what they were to do when the SS would come for them, they knew it was only a matter of time, before they too would be arrested but they were determined to work to save as many children as they could while they can.

A few weeks later Peter arrived home to find four men in SS uniforms and some soldiers at his house taking Anna away and holding back two frightened children.  He held back but not before Anna looked toward him and with tears in her eyes she screamed, “The Lord is my Shepherd”, their signal for one of them to run.  At first Peter could not move he could not leave Anna, when she said it again with tears in her voice one of the soldiers hit her across the face.  With her bloodied face she nodded – he was to go and save more children.  He stood there hidden behind the large tree when he noticed the one soldier grab the children and threw them on the ground before shooting them. Anna screamed as they took her away and he knew he would never see her again.

His friend Dieter came up behind him and told him he must go now.  Anna had already explained to Dieter what they were doing and in the event one of them was taken he was to take the other to safety.  Dieter had a sister in Berlin and Peter could stay with her until he made arrangements to leave with his false identification papers. Their plan was to go to London and help the Jewish children and families relocate to England.  Now he must go alone.

Dieter gave Peter a box from Anna.  In the box were the names of the children and their parents so that after the war they would be able to reunite the families, along with letters, photos, and an edelweiss flower that he gave her to declare his love for her all those years ago – it was a box that contained their memories.

Before he left for Berlin he sent the list of names to his brother.  Franz knew to bury them somewhere on the farm where no could find it.  Franz was also to destroy the place that housed the children and some families in the event that the SS came to him.  Peter then took the box of his memories and sat by the fireplace in Dieter’s sister home and as he lingered over all the memories of his life with Anna, one by one he threw them into the fire.  He knew he could not take them with him because of his new identity.  As he held his wedding picture and the edelweiss, he could not throw them into the fire.  He placed both objects in his jacket pocket near his heart. He then got up and walked to the train station never looking back.

**********

Peter stood in front of this apartment building where his home once stood.  It has been over 50 years since he was able to return to this spot. It seemed like yesterday that he lived in the parsonage with his Anna.  Now his church and home no longer stood – destroyed in the bombings during the war. He never did find Anna after the war, although he searched for years.  She simply vanished like so many.  He reached in and took out the worn out photo, lovingly looked at it again thinking back of happier times.  He placed the edelweiss and picture on top of the flower bed in front of the building as his thoughts were of Anna  and her sacrifice so that many children may live.  When he arrived in London after that fateful day he was able to help save hundreds of more children from the destruction caused by evil men.

Turning to leave he noticed an older woman across the road.  She looked familiar as she turned to look at him, he just smiled and then walked towards his daughter Annie who accompanied him from London on his pilgrimage to the past.

**********

Anna was headed home to her apartment where her home once stood. She stopped when she noticed an older gentleman place something in the flower bed she lovingly took care of.  She planted red roses for her husband whom she was told died during the war in Berlin as he tried to escape to London.  He smiled at her and she thought for a moment it was Peter, but she knew he was gone.  After he left she slowly limped from the injuries she received from the interrogation and years in the work camp, towards her apartment.  She glanced at what the gentleman placed next to the roses.  She found she could not breathe….she saw an old worn photograph of a happy couple and an edelweiss flower ~ a single tear fell ~ Peter.

The Little Women Letters

 The Little Women Letters by Garbielle Donnelly

The sub-title reads, ” A new generation of sisters”.  As I read the book I could almost see Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy in today’s world.  But instead it is the story of Jo’s granddaughters, Emma, Sophie and Lulu ~ a new generation of sisters.

Lulu finds a collection of letters written by her great – great grandmother Josephine March.  As Lulu sisters find romance and a career, Lulu seems to be heading nowhere.  As she reads Jo’s letters she is drawn to the past as she discovers what her future may be.

Although I am the youngest in my family, I felt drawn to Lulu, like I have always been drawn to Jo.  Is it because I too have always been restless moving from one thing to another, not quite knowing where I fit in?  The more I read I saw Jo in Lulu and I saw both Jo and Lulu in my own life.  Lulu found “solace and guidance” from  Jo’s letters and I found encouragement  from Lulu and strength from Jo’s life from remembering her life in “Little Women”.  Just as Lulu will find her place in her life, I am learning to rebuild my life and finding new purpose for my own life.

If you enjoyed Little Women you will enjoy this book.  It is a good summer book, something to relax with on a warm summer day as you allow it to transform you back into the lives of the March family.

THE ILLUSION by Frank Peretti

The Illusion by Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors.  He takes you into the realms of angels, and fights monsters in the night in his other books. 

This book tells the story of the love between a man and woman – Dane and Mandy who are partners in a magic act, master magicians.  They have been married and partners for over 40 yrs when tragedy strikes~ “a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970.” 

Illusion is the story of how Mandy and Dane are reunited – Mandy at age 19 and Dane at age 60.  They mystery starts on page 1 and does not end until the last page. I don’t want to give too much on the story line, as you read, each page will bring you closer to solve the mystery and know the secret of the Illusion.

If you like a little mystery and suspense you will like the latest by Frank Perretti.  It is a perfect book for a cold evening, snuggling under a warm blanket and enjoying a hot cup of cocoa, tea or coffee.

Let me know how you enjoyed the book.  I give it 4 stars.