Do Not Give Up! And Another Cat Story.
While I confess to be poorly educated on Ukraine, what little I know, and continue to learn, about the people in the face of Russia's murderous rampage is humbling. But also inspiring.
I have made a few notes of my thoughts.
No doubt you have thoughts as well - please share them with me.
Do not give up
Believe in victory/success
Care for the children
Help one another
Don't give in to a bully
Draw upon your resilience
Appreciate your country
Lives are more important than things
Don't take peace for granted
Work as a team
Resist the aggressor
Value and protect your freedom (living in peace, in a democracy)
Defend your country
Ask for help
Hang onto hope - always
Do not give up
And here's another cat story. I hadn't realized I'd written more than one or two stories about cats until I went looking! But we do have three cats and I can't think of a time when I haven't had at least one cat in my life, so I suppose it's not surprising that I write about them!
This is another word challenge piece, that I wrote for an Uxbridge Writers' Circle meeting. The words I had to incorporate are in italics.
Basil’s Healing Powers
Mandy wanted to pick the large, luscious dandelion which was growing between the patio stones. She wanted to put it in a vase so she could gaze at its sunny face and count its petals to help pass the time. As she bent down and reached for it, a shrill voice shattered her thoughts and brought her down to a hard, lonely reality. She was not permitted to pick anything. Then followed a lecture on plants and flowers, how they grew and how they should be left to grow, their need for nitrogen from the soil and oxygen from the air. Mandy covered her ears and ran into the great, grey stone house.
Her Great Aunt didn’t want to look after anyone, and certainly not a ten-year-old girl. The prospect of having her for the whole summer sent shudders down her spine. Mandy’s precociousness and curiosity terrified Eunice. And the worst of it was that the girl had had the audacity to ask her why she hadn’t married. The nerve.
Eunice couldn’t sleep that night. Memories of Donald, of their brief happiness together and the music they’d danced to, waltzed in her head. But so did the telegram bringing her the worst news imaginable. Donald had been killed in combat, and she would never be in his arms again. She vowed she would on no occasion ever let another man touch her, and she’d kept her promise.
Mandy’s spirits were consistently doused by Eunice’s cold, resentful demeanour. She felt clammy and shaky, knowing she was unwanted. Her parents had abandoned her, visiting her much older brother who was studying art in Paris. And then they planned to see Europe, whatever that meant.
Mandy needed to hug Basil, her beloved pussycat. She would feel better. She had fought long and hard to convince her parents they should insist Basil go with her. She couldn’t bear to think of him shut in a cage for the summer. Her parents relented, even though Eunice said she was allergic to cats. So, Mandy brought him.
Basil was smart and knew to stay out of Eunice’s way. He slunk around, almost crawling on his belly. But when he was with Mandy, his ginger tail was up like a flagpole and his purring sent tingly vibrations along Mandy’s fingers.
Mandy started her search for Basil. He’d discovered some spots where he liked to curl up and sleep: under the apple tree on an abandoned small wooden chair, on the window-seat in the dining room and, of course, on Mandy’s bed. But he was nowhere to be seen. Mandy called his name as she walked, skipped, and then ran through the house, around the house and along the various garden paths.
Eunice watched the child become more and more distraught. She saw the child’s tears and heard her sobs as she collapsed on her knees and buried her wet face in her hands.
Something cracked. Incredibly, Eunice thought she heard something splitting open inside her. Compassion and empathy welled up, blotting out all other emotions. Such strange feelings: strong, not to be ignored, not to be buried.
She ran to Mandy, lifted her up and hugged her, the child’s warm, sticky body retching with grief. Eunice told her they’d look for Basil together and said they should get the bag of treats the cat couldn’t resist. Let’s shake the bag, she said. He’s bound to come.
Mandy stopped crying and took Eunice’s hand. Eunice almost wept with pleasure at this small sign of trust, of acceptance. They called Basil’s name and shook the bag of treats as they circled the house. Nothing. But then Eunice heard something coming from behind the garage door when they passed it the second time. It was a meow. Basil had snuck in there without her noticing when she’d put the broom back.
Eunice, Mandy and Basil hugged, smiled, stroked and purred.
Mandy had a wonderful summer that year and enjoyed several more.
PS I'm working on the 5th book of the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series. Although my progress has slowed recently, I'm researching some ideas and further developing a couple of the characters.
I don't plan my books ahead of time, so the plot's a surprise to me as I write it!!
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Vicky Earle Copyright 2022