Friday, December 12, 2014

Lena's Story and Poetry Corner: Violet Hopes

Lena's Story and Poetry Corner: Violet Hopes: One of my short stories is included in this anthology.  Read stories from several talented authors.  When you buy a book from you...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pre-judgment Day

“Mark Thomas, this is your pre-judgment day.  You were not scheduled to be with us yet.  However, your guardian angel asked that we review your life up until now, in order to gain redemption from your sins when your time comes to join us in heaven.”

“Gosh mister, how could I have been so bad when I’m only nine years old?”

“Age is a miscalculation by many who arrive at these gates.  Satan has no age limit when he tempts to sin.  Now pay attention.”

Even though Mark felt wide awake, a dream sequence began.  

“Hey cool, that’s me, and Joey and Steve.  I remember this day.  We were playing in the huge mud puddles after school right after that really big storm.  Here comes Piggy Myrtle.  She’s so fat…”

“Enough commentary if you please.” Mark felt a gentle rap on his knuckles and decided to zip his lips.

Mark watched as he and his friends giggled and pointed as they saw Myrtle heading their way.  They devised a plan to play a trick on her.  As she approached, the boys began to chant.

If Myrtle Piggy had her way,
She’d eat donuts every day,
She’d wallow in a crib of mud,
She’d snort and holler and smell like crud.

Mark and his friends rode their bikes on either side of the puddle, slinging mud all over Myrtle, causing her to fall into the mud puddle.  They rode off laughing still singing the rude song.

This time, Mark actually saw what their prank caused.  Myrtle sat crying until she noticed that she lost her mother’s ring her Aunt Rose gave her when her mother passed away.  She searched frantically through the puddle but could not find the ring.

“I can’t go home without mom’s ring.  Dad will kill me.  He told Aunt Rose not to give me the ring but she did anyway.  Dad told her I would lose it.  He was right.  I am so stupid.” 

She did not want to go home but eventually it became so dark that she had too.  By the time she arrived she was shaking from being wet and cold.  Her father yelled at her for being late and ruining her school uniform.

“Those cost money and you are hardly worth it.  Look at you.  You will never get married and you are too stupid to finish school.  You aren’t living with me forever little girl.  I won’t have it.”  With that, he smacked her hard on the back of her head and sent her to her room with no supper.

After washing her clothes, she has to take a cold shower.  She only a thin sheet across her bed, so Myrtle wrapped her nightgown tightly around her legs to keep warm.  Her attic room attic blew cold air through the boards all night.  

“Myrtle, why ain’t my breakfast on the table you lazy chit.  Git yourself down here girl and fix your pa something to eat.  You expect me to go to work hungry?” 

No answer came from up the stairs.  Myrtles father decided he would treat himself to breakfast out, cussing his lazy offspring.

After work he saw there was no food cooking.

“I’ll be darned if I’m cooking my meal two days in a row.” He stomped out and had dinner at the diner along with a few pints of beer.

Hearing the phone ring as he staggered into the house, he knocked it off the hook then picked it up and yelled “Hello, what you want?”

“This is Rose.  Did you know that Myrtle never showed up to school today?” Aunt Rose was the secretary at the school.  “Chuck, can I speak with her please?”

“Girl, git you fat butt down here right now and talk to your Aunt Rose.  Do you hear me Myrtle?”  Not a sound came from upstairs.  “Guess she ain’t here,” he said, hanging up then passing out in bed.

Rose didn’t take his word for it since she could tell he had been drinking.  Rose drove over and let herself in the house.  She walked up the stairs and noticed first the clothes hanging over the rail to dry. When she stepped into the child’s room, she shivered from how cold the air was.  That is when she noticed Myrtle on the bed.  When she reached out and shook her, she felt how hot the child was and that Myrtle did not respond.  She immediately called an ambulance but by the time they arrived at the hospital, Myrtle had passed away.

“Did we cause her to die?”  Mark asked.

Indirectly, yes you and your friends played a part in it with your tomfoolery.”  

“Tom who?”

“Shenanigans, pranks, bad behavior…”

“That’s the same day I got ran over by the car.  Can I go back and make things right so both Myrtle and I won’t be dead?”

“You can give it a try.” 

Mark found himself back on earth and riding away with his friends.  “Hey wait you guys.  We should go back and check on Myrtle.”

“You check on the piggy if you want,” said Joey.  Me and Steve are going to the park to throw some balls.”

Mark turned around and found Myrtle sitting and crying in the mud.  

“Did you lose something?”  

“Yes, my mother’s ring.” She said between gulps and sobs.

“I’m sorry.  We shouldn’t have teased you that way.  Let me help you find it.”

Mark did find it and then asked Myrtle to come to his house.  His mother scolded Mark and then gave Myrtle something to change into while she washed her clothes.  While Myrtle changed back into her clean uniform, Mark told his mother about Myrtle.  Mark’s mother drove her home and helped carry two large boxes into the house.  One was full of clothes and blankets for Myrtle and the other was filled with food.  She helped Myrtle start dinner and then left before her father came home.

Mark saw Myrtle in school the next day and smiled.  They each had been given a present, the future.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eyes in the Sky

  *Image from

“Young man ‘Eyes in the Sky’; you have completed preparations for your Vision Quest. You have purified your body in the sweat lodge and have fasted since yesterday’s sunrise. Now we must venture forth, past the streams and trees, until there is but rock beneath our feet.”

The Medicine woman swathed in decorative hides, ornate with bones, bags, bangles and beads led the young brave away from the camp and into nature. Large walking stick in hand, she rattled and jingled as she walked through the solitude of the woods. Higher and higher she climbed, not winded in the least even for her sixty plus years. They stopped on a ledge about half way up the mountain allowing ‘Eyes in the Sky’ to look down upon their village, which resembled child toys with a scurry of ants. Even the war horses appeared to be no larger than gnats.

They rested but did not sleep when the darkness enveloped them. The shaman woman chanted over the flames but neither ate. ‘Eyes in the Sky’ yearned that his vision would show him where his future lay, hoping in his heart that he was meant to be a warrior like his brother and father before him. They were a proud tribe of hunters too. Either would be fine. His eyes grew sleepy until the shaman shook her rattle in his face.

“Stay awake, stay alert, young pup. How can your spirit helper show you the way to your vision if you are asleep?”

The next day they reached the summit where neither bush nor grass grew within the chalky, white rocks. Aspen and pine so blue it blended with the sky. Juniper, fir and cottonwood had led the way until all that remained was thin and stunted. The medicine woman picked a flat spot for him and one a bit back from the edge for herself. The shaman prepared a fire.

“Earth and sky, wind and water, grant ‘Eyes in the Sky’ a vision that will lead his way in life. Help him to become the man he is meant to be.”

Dropping incense from the bags about her neck, she then passed him his first pipe. He choked on the first pull as it burned to his gut. The air about him warmed, and the rock beneath him felt as soft as a fur cover. Last words he heard from the medicine woman was that they would fast and pray for three days. Between the fasting, the thin air and the exertion, ‘Eyes in the Sky’ fell over onto the ground in a deep trance. He could feel the blood pumping through his body, his muscles relaxing and his mind opening to enlightenment.
In the dream he was sitting among his people but no one noticed him. He cried out but no one answered. Late that night a huge bat landed on his shoulder. Days past into years; still he sat, watching. His people went from a proud strong nation, to poverty, distrust and weakness. Illness claimed the children who hadn’t enough to eat. The warriors and hunters were all gone; taken by the white men.

The dream began to change. Many bats joined the large winged bat that had kept him company. They guided the way. The shaman looked up, seeing the bats but not the boy. She told the village to pack; they were leaving. Those that survived walked towards the south, away from the only land they had ever known. Days and nights they walked, eating what little mother earth provided. After many moons had passed they reached a fertile land of water, grass, buffalo and trees laden with fruit. A few stray braves joined the women as they walked. The shaman stated that they would stay in this place Earth Mother had gifted them. Young men came from further south and showed them how to plow the land and grow abundance of foods to feed their people. Soon the village was safe and productive again. They made baskets that resembled horns and filled them with plenty from their gardens to give to others living close by. They invited them to come to a grand feast. Tables were erected and covered with meats, sweets, fruits, nuts and vegetables. His people rejoiced and shared the bounty.

‘Eyes in the Sky’ awoke suddenly from his vision. When he returned to the village, the medicine woman took him back into the lodge to decipher his vision while the village people prepared for a celebration of him becoming a man.

“Your power animal is a bat. He symbolizes letting go of the old ways and embracing new. Your vision tells of battles to come which we will not win. If we stay, we shall loose our people. We must venture forth and live as growers of the earth. Some will consider you an annoyance but you must stay persistent. Some will not listen and they will parish in the end. You ‘Eyes in the sky’ must be strong and lead your people to the south where they will find peace and prosperity.”

The boy who became a man began his crusade. As the wise woman foretold, many warriors would not listen and remained behind. Some of the hunters and young men followed their families though. Years later they found the land of plenty but mourned all those they lost. They celebrated their fruitfulness and rejoiced over the vision that brought them to this land of plenty. The last thing they celebrated was the life of a great chief who had the vision to change. ‘Eyes in the Sky’ lasted but two years after they had arrived but he died in peace. He sailed away into the night on the wings of the great bat.

Each year, on the anniversary of his death, they honor him by the sharing of cornucopia symbolizing fertility, fortune and abundance. Each is decorated with the symbol of the bat.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thank you to all for making this blog a success!

I am humbled that my site has reach over 10,000 hits.  I appreciate all of you who have visited and read my postings.  I hope you have enjoyed them and will continue to in the future.

Lena M. Pate

Friday, October 31, 2014

Miss Annie’s No Flapper

Betty Boop

Miss Annie’s No Flapper
By Lena M. Pate
     The coroners van sits outside of the old Victorian mansion, set on an acre of land at the back of our subdivision.  Great magnolia trees line the walkway that leads to the front porch where a rocker sways, with a slight squeak.  As I watched, I hope that it is the breeze blowing the swing; however, I wouldn’t put it passed Annie to be sitting in it rocking as she had for most of her life.
     Sniffling and blowing her nose, the housekeeper explains her position in the household, these many years and the positions of the others who worked for Miss Annie.   
“I come in as I always do every morning to make herself her tea and toast.  When I knocked on her door and entered, the room was still dark so I set the tray down and crossed over to the drapes, opening the heavy, dark blue curtains to let in the morning light.  That’s when I saw her.” More blubbering and honking into a linen hanky, I hear her continue to the young officer with his pen posed above a notebook.
“I found Miss Annie in her bedroom covered with her large fur pelt.  She’s had it the whole time I’ve worked for her.  She kept it draped over that poster style bed of hers with the deep blue and gold brocade canopy, unless she was asleep beneath it to warm her old bones, she was fond of saying.”
I think back at talking to Annie myself about that ratty old fur.  Although the hide was well worn, Annie would never throw it away.  A wealthy trapper had taken a fancy to Annie in her younger days.  The wolf pelts were quilted together into one massive gray spread.  Annie told me once, that the cover warmed her more than any man ever had, so she kept the fur and sent all the men packing.  She would chuckle with her deep, raspy laugh that recently sent her into coughing fits.
     Intently gazing at the house through my own tears, I recalled a warm summer afternoon, she and I sat on that very glider, sipping lemonade and exchanging stories.   Annie persistently wore a large straw bonnet covering her wavy gray hair.
“Dear, men want soft, creamy skin not a sun baked prune.  Remember to cream your skin nightly to repair the damage from the wind and weather.” She instructed me, nodding her head in agreement with herself.
“My dear, sweet Annie, men don’t care about those things anymore.  They want lean, sexy, and hardworking and not necessarily in that order.”  Annie just patted my hand, shaking her head.
“Susan dear, don’t you believe it for a moment.  A woman doesn’t need model quality features as long as she has dignity in her soul.  Show me a quiet girl, one who holds her head up high and knows her worth in this world, and I’ll show you ten men bargaining to be her beau.”  Annie sipped gracefully from her tall crystal glass laying it gently beside her on a wicker side table.
“I’ll share my confession with you that will help you understand.  Yes, I remember, it was in the twenties, during the social change, when women went from sophisticated young ladies to flappers practically overnight.  Those floozies liked having good times, frequenting clubs and even smoking cigars.  Not a one of them had any pride in themselves.  They took to gambling, carousing and basically no good what so ever. “
“Are you telling me you were one of those loose women but found your way back to the straight and narrow?” I interrupted her with a grin.
“Impertinent child.  I would never have been tempted, but my dear sister Katherine was led astray and it was my duty to bring her home.  The last letter momma received said she had moved to New Orleans.  So I took a train to Louisiana, settling at my Uncles Jeremiah and Aunt Gertrude’s home in town.  At night, my uncle and I frequented the most popular clubs looking for Kate.  Women wore scant dresses with short hair and caps.  Each one painted her lips red and their eyes were lined in black.   I preferred to don fine linen skirts with double breasted jackets or graceful silks that brushed the floor as I walked.  I never went out without my pearls and white gloves.  I didn’t want anyone to mistaken me for one of those easy type girls.”
“Your confession is that you went into clubs in New Orleans?” I nearly choked thinking how she might react if I told her about my jaunts in clubs with my friends.
“If you don’t stop being so cheeky, I won’t finish the story.” She demanded with the raised eyebrow that always brought me into line as a child.
“Where was I?  Oh yes, looking for Kate.  We settled at a classier nightclub one evening, when my uncle saw an old friend and left me alone.  I was afraid I would break out in hives.  Jeremiah hadn’t been gone two minutes when a nice looking gentleman walked over, bent and kissed my gloved hand.  I was so shocked I nearly swallowed my tongue but instead I gently pulled my hand from his and gave him the “look”.  The scoundrel just laughed and bowed again.”
Leaning in closer, I asked, “What did he do then?”
“Why he reached out and took my hand.  He said I was the first lady to walk through those doors in a year or two.  He turned to the band, demanding a slow dance with just a raise of one hand, then took me into his arms. One strong arm embraced me while the other held my other hand firmly in his.  We glided around the dance floor, my dark blue dress swirling about my ankles.  We settled on gazing into each other eyes.  It wouldn’t have been seemly to do more.  My uncle returned, Michael introduced himself, and then asked if he could call on me.  My uncle explained that we were very busy looking for my sister.”
“Ah, I wondered why this beauty was sitting all alone in a place like this, so charming and regal.” He said. “It is rare to find a jewel like her anymore.”  Tears glistened in Annie’s eyes as she recalled his words.
“My heart sang but I gave him only a coy smile in return.  Ladies, after all, shouldn’t appear too eager.”
“Well, did he ever call again?”  Annie took her time refilling our glasses before she returned to her story.
“Who do you think gave me the fox quilt for my bed?” she admitted with a twinkle.
I laughed until I spilled my drink on my lap.
“Sit up straight Susan,” she admonished me with her charming grin, while handing me a linen napkin to mop up my tea.
That was the last talk we ever had.  I went off to college and she remained behind.  I always felt she would be here when I returned.  I don’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t notice her swinging on her porch or gardening in her flowerbeds. 
I blew her a kiss as she made her last trip from this world to the waiting van.  I will miss you dearly my friend.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Violet Hopes

One of my short stories is included in this anthology.  Read stories from several talented authors.  When you buy a book from you get to download a copy for free!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 International Talk Like A Pirate Day – Giant Tales: World of Pirates promotion

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another One Is Taken

God has another angel
He carried her away
He met her as she left us
To help her find her way

She is up there playing
With her cousin and her brother
Who also went to heaven
She is cared for by my mother

She and dad are keeping them company
Until my journey ends
To join them in the afterlife
Where hurts heal and sorrow mends

Until that time I'll hold my kids
And help them to go on
To love them and to guide them
Both my daughter-in-law and son.

Lord you've given us three and taken the same
I don't claim to understand
But it isn't my right to question
Still I'm needing your helping hand

Dry my tears and theirs away
Give solace to our soul
Help us to grieve and to believe
Make faith our primary goal

To my son and Daughter-in-law and the little angel they lost.  They names her Anna Marie.

Sunday, August 3, 2014



This is the first of three books. I have short stories coming out in books 2 and 3. Here is the link to the anthology book 1.  Great short stories by several gifted writers.