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note to self: go outside

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." —  Henry David Thoreau credit My phone died recently. Not like died because of its charge — permanently died. I'm not the only one whom this has happened to, I'm sure, and this isn't a complaint. Rather, it's an observation on how different the landscape of my life has been without it. I've been reading more, watching more TV, doing less doomscrolling. I found that I've missed my phone a lot less and simultaneously a lot more than I expected. And I've been noticing a difference in my mental state. My mental health is, apparently, linked in part to the device I hold in my hand 99% of the time. Who knew? However, it's still been challenging lately, for more reasons than just my phone, and my sister invited me to go outside with her. Th

Short Story: A Wonderful Birthday for Anna

Originally posted on my HSB blog, April 4, 2008, 5:42 PM

I have nothing else to post, so I thought I'd post this story that I wrote a couple years ago. My writing has improved since then, and this story isn't the best, but I thought you all might enjoy reading it.

~ A Wonderful Birthday for Anna ~

Thirteen-year-old Anna Winston made her way towards the fire. “Oh, it’s
cold!” she said. Anna pulled her shawl tighter around her shoulders. 18-year-
old Jeremiah looked up from his whittling. “Yes, ‘tis very cold.” Fifteen-year-old
Rachael sat, knitting by the fire. “Tomorrow’s my birthday,” Anna sighed. “I’ll be fourteen.” Jeremiah looked up with a twinkle in his eyes. “Don’t give up,” he said.
Anna sent a wary look in his direction. Quickly Jeremiah looked down. Mr. and Mrs.
Winston were out in town, with Jeremiah looking after them. “What are you knitting,
Rachael?” Anna asked. “Oh, nothing,” Rachael replied, but Anna thought she saw the
twinkle again. “Anna,” Jeremiah said, “’tis nine o’ clock. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“Yes, Jerry. I’ll go.” Although Anna did not want to, she got up from her perch on the
ottoman and went up the ladder. Putting on her nightshift and grabbing the bed-warmer from Mrs. and Mr. Winston’ s fireplace, Anna crawled into the little bed she and Rachael shared. In less than a minute, Anna was asleep.
Anna awoke to a cold bed and icicles from the ceiling. Climbing out of bed, Anna
slipped off her nightshift and put on her blue calico. Anna buttoned her dress and put on
her black stockings. She pulled on her black boots and buttoned the twenty-two buttons
with the buttonhook. Anna reached for her bed-warmer, but it was gone. Rachael
must’ve taken it, she thought. Anna hurried down the ladder. Rachael was making butter-milk pancakes. Two-year-olds Joshua and Elizabeth were in the wooden highchairs Mr.
Winston and Jeremiah had made for them. Anna’s hopes sank when she saw Mr. and Mrs. Winston were not home yet. Rachael read her thoughts and said, “yes, Ma and Pa aren’t home yet, but look,” Rachael jabbed her finger at Anna’s plate. There, on the plat-ter, was a medium box and a little box. “May I open it?” she asked. “Certainly,” Jeremiah
said, coming into the kitchen.
“Wait for us!” the six-year-old twins, Tim and Tara, said, coming in. Tim and Tara had big grins on their faces. “Go ahead,” Rachael nodded at her.
Anna opened the medium box first. Inside was a lavender colored sweater, a green dress and a crisp white pinafore. Anna recognized Rachael’s tiny, perfect stitches. Anna saw Rachael wink at her. “Open the little one,” Jeremiah said. Anna opened the little box. Inside was a wooden puppy holding an upper case A.
“We have something for you, too!” Tim and Tara said. Tim handed Anna an embroidered handkerchief. Pinned to it was a flower pin, the same color as the sweater. “Thanks, Tim, Tara,” Anna said.
“Why don’t you go get your new things on?” Jeremiah suggested. Anna hurried upstairs. She took off her blue calico and put on the green dress, pinafore and lavender sweater. Anna pinned the flower to her sweater.
When she came downstairs, the front door was open, and Mr. Winston was moving things from town inside. Mr. Winston paused to hug his daughter. “Have you grown?” he asked, his eyes laughing. Anna laughed along. “Anna,” Mrs. Winston said, “Pa and I brought something for you.” Producing a small velvet box, Mrs. Winston gave it to Anna. She opened it, and out came a beautiful sterling silver locket.
“Thank you Ma, thanks, Pa,” Anna said, hugging the locket to her chest. “Thank you.”



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