DAILY PROMPT: FIVE A DAY–You’ve been exiled to a private island, and your captor will only supply you five foods–what do you pick?

There’s no pressure to write this–the prompt’s expired.  I find some responses to Daily Prompt questions baffling, anyway.  In particular, posts, with subject matter, completely off-topic.  Avoidance is so skillfully displayed–there isn’t the faintest resemblance.

Everything is subject to interpretation.  Perhaps, I’m incorrect in thinking Daily Prompts are only to further discussion; to help overcome writer’s block?  Daily Prompts are really spirited games of keep-away.  And, we should be challenged, as such: “Daily Prompts: Do your best to avoid talking about them.”

My shallow answer to the real question would be.  I like White Castle belly bombers, so I couldn’t do without them.  Oreos, dipped in cold milk, are to die for–they’re number two on my list.  Number three–freshly made tortilla chips, and to go along, home-made spicy salsa.

Some might say–I wasted choice, number four on chips.  Live with it.  I’m the one being held captive.  My fifth and final choice–smoked Gouda cheese.  It’s so good on crackers.  It’s delicious melted over juicy, thick, backyard grilled burgers.

My practical self would make far different choices.

  • Sunflower seeds:  to consume and to plant.
  • Sushi/shrimp: to eat and use for bait.
  • Rice Cakes:  to eat and use for insulation. Anybody that’s ever been on a diet, knows regular rice cakes are tasteless.
  • Peanut Butter: to eat and use for bait; to trap edible critters.  Survivors can’t afford to be squeamish.
  • Honey: for nutrition, and for medicinal properties.  Also for bait (see, previous answer).
  • Being practical is boring; doesn’t attract anyone’s attention.

    For those that thrive on bizarre, off-topic discussions–I offer leftovers, from a morning discussion with my spouse.

    “Honey, our neighbor, with all the clutter, now has two pit bulls in their backyard,” I commented.  She looked at me, rather puzzled, and responded.  “Why would they have two pickles in their backyard?”  Communication was such a
    wonderful thing.

CHESTERPATCH (Dead End Country Lanes)


Misdirected “townies” wandered in our direction one summer day, looking for a place to fish.  As “townies” went, they were among the nicer ones–far different from trespassers.  I could overlook their christening my hometown, “Chesterpatch.”  At ten years old, I knew that equated the real Chesterfield, (population 300), with Granny Clampett’s unsophisticated Ozark hometown of Bug Tussel.

Old timers called our farm, “the jumping off place,” because it was, a mile, past the county road–at the dead-end of a winding country lane, on top of a hill.  It was a white, square, one-story farmhouse, with a wide front porch.

Mother taught school, father farmed, and took care of livestock at the big barn down the hill.  We, older boys, did farm chores after school. Younger ones fed the chickens and gathered eggs.  They were free-range chickens before the term became a buzz word.

My sister was the youngest.  At first, she stayed with Dad during the day.  We three older brothers went to school.  As boys sometimes do–we gave her no privacy, and did terrible things to her dolls.

She endured other assaults to her self-esteem at the hands of her well-intentioned father.  Fixing hair–there were lots of pony tails.  In some pictures, we looked like war-weary refugees.  My sister sported “grandma-ish” head scarves in winter.

Four-mile winter trips to town in the old red Ford pickup were tough.  Three sat in front–two in the back.  The noisy heater blower motor sounded like a stuck “ah-oo-gah” horn with laryngitis.  My sister always rode shotgun, because she was the littlest.  Me and my younger brother rode in the back shivering.  Cardboard over the wooden side racks did little to block the cold wind.

In warmer months, there seemed to be snakes everywhere.  Tippy, “the wonder dog,” kept them, and other stray critters, at bay.  One night, a snake dropped from the rafters, slid across Dad’s shoulders–when he closed the garage door.

Blood curdling screams came from the house on the hill one morning.  Dad scrambled up the hill, not sure what he would find. Out of breath, heart thumping–he threw open the door and dashed in.  There was my little sister, screaming at the top of her lungs in terror,  In the window was a ferocious green bottle fly.  Dad dispatched the offensive insect, calmed her down–went back down the hill.

The farm-house was sturdy, with a full basement.  But, it was a bit crowded for two adults, plus four children.  Us, three boys had one bedroom, mom and dad took the other one; my sister’s bed was in a corner of the dining room.  There was neither running water, nor an indoor bathroom.  It had to have been a big let down for my mother; we’d previously experienced more creature comforts.

This was my father’s “go big or go home” opportunity.  To become a successful farmer on a big scale–not under the thumb of his father. Things didn’t always go as planned.  When told to do something, we knew to obey, or suffer the consequences.  None of it was open to debate–it was a dictatorship.

Something was wrong one summer.  Mom cried a lot, Dad came to her defense when us kids asked too many questions. Mom gave birth to little Julia Jean in early 1962–she died from breathing problems.  Mother and father barely held things together.

There were so many things that happened in the years between 1958-63; it’s difficult to recall them all.  The joy seemed to have run out after 1962.  I was seriously injured in a farming accident during late summer.  Macoupin Creek flooded our farmland during two seasons.

Not everything was bad–there were plenty of good times.  I learned how to fish in the muddy pond–just north of the house. I watched wild deer, feeding with our cattle.  I befriended a one-eyed, stray gray tomcat named “Bash.”  I took long walks in the woods, searching for fun things to do–sometimes to just think.

There was the time my younger brother and co-conspirator, fell into the livestock watering tank.  He survived unscathed, weighted down by a heavy wet woolen overcoat, and didn’t freeze to death.  We built two clubhouses in the chicken yard–one with discarded carpet walls; the other one, our version of a jungle hut.

My generation was supposed to want ponies.  And deprived of such–we would have low self-esteem and other personality disorders.  We never had ponies–or ever felt entitled to them.  But, we did have an 860 pound, gentle giant, Duroc boar hog named Jack.  He was, as big as, a Shetland pony.

The spinet piano, that was played so joyfully, from the back of a friend’s pickup truck, upon our arrival, was moribund–somewhere in a trash heap.  Freight train horns, from the distant CB&Q railroad, mourned the day’s events.

My feet were numb from subfreezing cold.  With most of the furniture and draperies gone–voices echoed in the old house. When was the moving truck going to return?  I later learned, that my mother cried, at the thought of returning, to the drafty, ramshackle, Queen Anne house in town.



All was well in Coyoteville; peaceful seclusion broken by excited yips and howls.  Everybody knew everybody.  Everybody looked about the same–except for differing ages, and battle scars.  Juveniles looked up to adults.  Disputes were few and settled quickly.  If an individual came up lame, they usually didn’t last long.  Coyoteville, stretched from vast expanses of western desert, to metropolitan suburbia.

There was no such thing as good or bad luck in Coyoteville.  Every day was the same as the day before and the day after.  Coyotes didn’t know the meaning of anxiety.  They simply went from one opportunity to the next.  Dependent on each other for food, security–busy, both day and night.  Coyotes kept out of sight, rested when they could.

Winter, summer, hot, cold–even when it rained; there was no right or wrong, no one to blame.  When yelled at by humans, Coyotes ran away and hid.  Much maligned, when pets and livestock disappeared; trust with humans, that wished them dead, was too high a price to pay.  So, they confided, only in shadows and whispered to rocks and wind.

Decisions came fast in Coyoteville–the stronger ruled the weaker.  I’m not afraid to say it, at that moment I needed a friend.  From my warm, comfortable house, I wondered, if these cousins of the wolf knew how important they were.  Knew how much my spirit longed to be like them; how much I envied their resourcefulness; their loyalty–their non-judgmental existence.  I needed them more than they needed me.

“You Put Things in the Strangest Places”

From the initial frightening moments of my wife’s accident, we’ve transitioned to scenes of amusing awkwardness.  Her two-week check-up went well–except for some light-headedness during the X-Ray session.  I was amazed at the amount of hardware, pins, and screws.

I’m thankful for the assistance of caring friends and neighbors.  A friend brought over some yummy, home-cooked, black-eyed peas and soda bread.  Yesterday, Mrs. “P,” from across the street, helped me do much-needed house cleaning.  She cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed the floors.

It’s surprising the amount of damage, a few boil-overs and microwave explosions can do.  On a positive note, this second string chef was on a winning streak, until yesterday; when my macaroni and tomatoes didn’t have enough sugar.  It had something to do with acidity, and was, apparently important.  Also, I’m sure the space shuttle could have been built, in the time it took to peel my boiled eggs.

Laundry is going swimmingly.  Dark clothes, light clothes–never the twain shall meet.  I knew that from college dorm days, and don’t need to go into further details.  Grocery shopping is better, with my bride nearby–to oversee selection of necessary victuals.  Surprise of surprises–I was informed that I wasn’t aggressive enough in the supermarket.  That’s why other shoppers were cutting me off.  I was advised to emulate Chicago rush hour drivers.

It was good to have help and not end up with odd surprise items; that looked good to me in the store, but not so good at home.  Who knew there were so many different kinds of potatoes and onions?  Did you know that russet potatoes aren’t really red?  It shook up my entire belief system.

Being a personal valet has been a source of amusement.  My slightly off-kilter mind needs no help in wandering astray.  I wondered whether other people might stare at my wife and think–“Gee, your husband sure dresses you funny.”  I’m sure they’d be too polite to say it out loud–even if they were thinking it.  I’ve been tempted to pull up her stretch pants right up to her chest–“old man style,”  but thought the better of it.  She’s still got one good arm–that cast could do some damage against the side of my head.

My wife is much neater and more organized, than I’ll ever be.  That’s why I keep hearing, “You put things in the strangest places.”  She doesn’t understand or appreciate my impatience.  This morning, while emptying the dishwasher, I asked, “Honey, where does this mini-radar beacon go?”  It turned out, that it was a small strainer, and not a radar device at all.

Rinse, lather, repeat; rinse, lather, repeat; condition, moisturize–please don’t mention the whole hairdressing scenario.  Keep it on the DL.


deer on beach

A tired young buck
Dipped in winter surf
Clambered out
Shook off water
After a respite
Repeated the
Whole thing
Again and again

An act of
Clever escape
From predators?
Humans, coyotes?
Only nature knew

The impetuous
Weary, male deer
Declined an interview
Because,that would be
Ludicrous–of course
But, he might have said
“Once I started–
I couldn’t stop”

–Photo WPMI/Channel 3–