Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Going Postal

Sleds like my parent's

If you've been reading this blog, you know I recently took a little look-see into the past. To the days when people literally reached out and touched someone. Instead of posting a selfie on facehole, they posted a card. In the mail. Weird, but true. I sorted through my cousin Jane's well aged, dusty shoe box full of postcards last month. My trip down Jane's memory lane took me to 1960's Vegas and titillating topless ice skaters. Ooh-la-la. I learned what kind of bed spreads the Holiday Inn favored back in the day. Burnt orange. And I was educated about a new species of rabbit. The  Jackalope. You know, rabbits with antlers.  

This investigative postal-ism prompted me to dig up my own hand written past. I sifted through my oldest box of cards. I'm a pack rat just like my cousin. I don't know why, but I saved everything. Wow! I received a lot of high school graduation cards. Geez, it's pretty easy to graduate from high school. I hope my friends and family didn't think it was Med school or something. I also discovered that my college boyfriend sent me more cards in just a few years of dating, than my husband has given me in fifteen years of marriage. Including the 4 years we dated before that. For shame! And then there's the mystery of the people that seem to be so important in you life. For awhile. They send you thoughtful cards and never forget your birthday and then mysteriously vanish. Seriously, there were cards from people that I can't remember from Adam. Or was it Eve.

But the sweetest cards were from my parents. I remember crying into an unfamiliar pillow when my parents started traveling out west to snowmobile in the mountains. I was probably only around 6 years old when they left me with our pastor and his family for two torturous weeks. I found out later that my Mom shed just as many tears as me in those early years. The featured card is from 1975. I was eight year's old and had graduated to staying with my friend Vikki and her family. I remember the Christianson's only ate healthy cereal. For God's sake Mom! How could you leave me with those savages? "Ah, excuse me, Mrs. Christianson. Um, where exactly do you keep your cookie crisp cereal? What???!!! You don't have any!!!!!" 
If only I knew a good swear word when I was eight. Like good old W.T.F. But I didn't.

My parents had a lot of adventures snowmobiling in Yellowstone. They enjoyed wilderness wiener roasts with grizzly bears. Sort of. They saw Buffalo and Elk in their natural habitat. (see above) They experienced high altitude sled troubles. (snowmobiles are called sleds by true devotees)  And, thank goodness, they sent lots of postcards. Postcards that always ended with Love, Mom and Dad. Priceless. Or, at least 10 cents worth. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seeds of Inspiration

A nervous roseate spoonbill. (Taken from our car)

But, things don't always smell like roses...

I was reading Santana Garcia's link on the Seeds of Inspiration while on vacation this month. (What a great name she has by the way) And suddenly, I had a hilarious, creepy and somewhat disturbing thought. My foul smelling seed of inspiration for the week was found in a ditch. 

We had just experienced a spicy, pine cone strewn walk through the palmettos and mossy oak hammock of Crew Trails. This peaceful walking sanctuary borders the calm meander known as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in southern Florida. Inspiring right? Well, yes and no. The air at Crew is saturated with the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle. As soon as you open your car door, the olfactory memory smacks you in the face. It always smells like that there. We were the first and only people to walk at Crew that morning. Being the first victim...oops...I mean hiker, usually means that you'll be entering a maze of spider webs hanging aimlessly and prolifically across the trail. It's almost spooky to arrive at sunrise, while the dew drops hang like luminous pearls, by the millions, from every mummified plant. This year we were prepared. We brought a trekking pole to clear the webs. But a midnight rain storm had cleared them all away. In fact, the whole Corkscrew Sanctuary is wetter than it's been since the 50's. So everything was popping with herbaceous life and vibrant color.

So did I find my writing mojo at Crew? Nope. We left the trail head feeling inspired, but nothing that would help me with the writer's block that was plaguing chapter 21. We turned left out of the empty parking lot and headed to our temporary home. I even added a bucket list bird sighting to my ever increasing score. A flock of roseate spoonbills. I had never seen them in the wild before. They were cautiously feeding in the ditch. So was it them? Nope. A little further down the road my husband nonchalantly remarked that the vulture he'd seen earlier that morning, was still devouring an unlucky carcass. Where? You guessed it. The ditch. He was gorging himself on, what my husband referred to as, "A melted pile of fur." Gross! But what a visual. That's it! That remark solved my dilemma. How can that be?  What kind of disgusting novel am I writing? 

a) V is for vulture

b) 101 things to do with road kill

c) Ditch tigers and their feathered friends

d) Road kill: Good to the last maggot (sorry)

The answer is e) None of the above.

Writing isn't all roseate spoonbills, jasmine, sugar and spice. Sometimes, it's vultures.

Or crows!

Be sure to stop by Sharon's Paws Create for more photos from the peaceful Crew Trails in Florida.

The links:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Postcards From the Edge of Extinction

My cousin Jane had an Estate sale. After all was said and done, a lifetime of postcards sat stuffed in a double wide shoe box at the end of a very lonely table. They intrigued me. I'm a traveler and a lover of writing. And yet, writing a postcard never even occurred to me while we were in Panama this year. It occurred to Carlo in 1979. Carlo, that sounds like the romantic name of a real traveler. And indeed it is. How do I know? I know because I decided the box of memories that was destined for the trash bin, just might turn out to be one woman's treasure. 

 I took home that lonely, overstuffed box and discovered that Carlo got around!

My photo of the Bridge of the Americas from January 2016.

My photo of the Panama Canal in 2016.

Writing postcards is such a lost art. I blame the government. 49 cent stamps? Gasp. Even Carlo might have walked right by the mailbox shaking his head. When I started sorting through Jane's dusty stack, I discovered postcards mailed for 5 cents. Or even less! The good old days. So, other than penny stamps, what did I discover? Where has she been? Who were her pen pals? And where in the world did these pals mail their cards from? Istanbul? Yup. Brazil? Yes, you can bet your bikini there was one. Mexico? Si. But where did most of the postcards hail from? Right here in the states.  Vegas, baby. 

I even discovered where most of Jane's friends and family stayed on their vacations. The Holiday Inn. Free postcards seemed to be a great advertising tool back in the day. They were hilariously retro too.

Sifting through Jane's cards got me thinking. She's not the only card carrying pack rat. I'm one too. It must run in the family. I've saved every card I've ever received. To think that someday, some weirdo like me might go through them. Well, someone exactly like me actually. I pulled my stack out of hiding and plan to sift through those as well. 

Between my birthday cards and Jane's globe trotting trash, the future blogging possibilities seem endless. So stay tuned! 

P.S.  Stop back on or around March 26th for more creative writing from The Chorus of the Crows.

And be sure to stop by Springtime in Magnolia for my book review of Turn Here Sweet Corn.