When I was young, I made a deal with my parents.

Here’s the story of how the deal went bad.

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I have a confession to make.

I have put today’s post off until it’s too late to write a good one, which means another trip to the archives.

I’ve found the perfect post for Sue’s prompt today, which is “business.”

First, though, I think it might help to tell you a brief backstory.

I grew up on a chicken farm.

I took my share of agricultural classes in high school, during or shortly after the time the story you’re about to read is set.

Naturally, these things led to a foolproof plan to get a goat and get rich.

I got one of those things.

From October, 2017, here’s a story about a business venture gone bad.


This is just a garden-variety story.

My grandparents sometimes had a garden beside the barn in their backyard, and Pawpaw went to till it up one day.

My cousin and I went with him, to “help” I guess.

He tilled the earth, and we watched it turn.

For some reason, maybe just to play in the dirt, I was close enough to the ground to see some of it wiggle.

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A week or so ago I social distanced on the bank of Lake Eufaula in a lawn chair.

I’d sat there for a while, with a can of worms on the ground, a pink rod and reel in one hand and a phone in the other.

My sister was on the other end of the line so she could look at the lake while she cooked supper for her family.

She had just shown me a piece of bacon when something strange happened.

I got a bite.

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The sun sinks in a blue sky.

The way the pale, orange glow it’s kind enough to leave in its wake shines through the trees reminds me of the last embers of a campfire on a creek bank.

It’s the last light of a long day in South Alabama, and I’m on the front porch to watch it fade into darkness.

I’m not alone.

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This poem filled with pairs proved easy to write,

after I saw what I saw last night.

I watched a dad sit down in a chair,

and hold his two daughters, who sat with him there. 

One of the girls held onto a book,

but dad opened it up and all three took a look.

It wasn’t just any old story or fable,

On that pair of pages, laid flat on a table.

This wasn’t a tale of planes or a park,

but the story of Noah, and a boat called an ark.

There were on those pages a few things to find,

Among all of the animals, two of a kind.

Pictures of pages from “Noah’s Ark and Other Bible Stories, First Look and Find” from Phoenix International Publications, Inc.

A hammer, a saw, a ruler for size,

all spied by the gazes from three pairs of eyes.

They found everything on the floating zoo,

which the animals boarded, two by two.

I know all of those pairs surely caused some congestion,

but still — I can’t help it — I have a question.

Answer me this, or I’ll never know,

why did this guy show blueprints to a hippo?

When the story was finished, goodnights were said,

then mom and dad put the children to bed.

When it comes to kids, that pair surely wins,

For they have a young son, and their daughters are twins. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

I pushed my lawn chair into the sand and sat.

I was part of a small crowd, which had gathered on the beach to witness the aftermath of a seldom-seen spectacle of nature.

The crowd included several small girls, who giggled as they flipped through pamphlets and stared with wide-eyed wonder at a little indention on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

The spot was the only visible sign of sea turtle nest No. 20, which had hatched a few days earlier.

While the crowd watched, trained volunteers dug into the sand below the spot until they reached the chamber of the nest.

They lifted unhatched eggs, broken eggshells and one dead hatchling from the chamber to be recorded before they buried them again.

All of this amazed the group of small girls, and I heard one of them say they’d seen history.

I smiled and thought about how amazed they’d be if they were ever around when one of those nests hatched.

I saw a sea turtle nest hatch once.

It was something I never knew I needed to see, and something I’ll never forget. (more…)