Bird and Tree

Storm clouds and corn fields. Nothing to do with anything written below. You’re welcome.

The bird and tree seasons doth approacheth. Football games and over-cooked deformed poultry corpses coming right up! I am skipping all that this year. The holidays to me mean constant work, piles of dishes to wash and endurance of relatives far beyond my capacities right now. I remember my mother and grandmothers and aunts all engaged in grim baking feats. In stirring pots of this or that with exhausted gray faces out of a Dickens novel on the Victorian poor. How I was expected to do the dishes but my brother was not. Hello, reality.

Oh sure, where’s my turkey/Christmas spirit? Hanging from a hook in some abbatoir, waiting to be skinned and cut into usable chunks for Facebook memes about the ‘woke’ left. That gleeful desperate maniacal fury-joy pouring into my carcass like a flood of rancid lumpy creamed corn.

I’ve noticed, maybe a few on here and elsewhere as well, that my liking of the end of the year holidays is, oh, a bit low. I used to love Christmas! It’s fun, bright, pretty and fun! You get presents! The lovely tree! And then family members left the earthly plane, the talk around me turned to conspiracy theories and hey, you’re not Stephen King yet, and conspiracy theories based off other conspiracy theories. I started to wonder who these strangers around me were pretending to be relatives. Had I just not noticed how…mmm. Had I just been ignoring some stuff and things? Well, yeah. It’s what ya do with kin. Until you can’t.

I already brushed against my aunt and her coterie of crazies. She’s the one that hosts the annual Christmas Eve bash that my grandmother used to host. It was and is a family gathering with food. You open presents. You get through awkward conversations with people you see once or twice a year. You drink, you hear the gossip, you drink and eat. There’s usually a family fistfight, either verbally or actually. A lot of beer and whiskey, smoldering something or other. It’s just chemistry. Friction plus gasoline, a word or two that unholy match…boom.

Now, Christmas Day, my family went over to my other grandparent’s house in Idaho, had a more formal sit down fancy-ier dinner and played games, with the football game on in the background. This was usually a gathering of both sets of grandparents, who liked each other very much. They enjoyed each other immensely. We usually had turkey. One year we had roast beef. It was pretty much the same menu, with the no-bake cheesecake, the marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes, the gravy. My mother made the best turkey gravy out of powdered Cream of Chicken soup. It was magic gravy, so good. And one set of grandparents, on my dad’s side, were Republicans, the other set were Democrats. [Southern ones…ahem]. Yet the talk remained light. And the women had to do all the work. I remember that, too. Cooking and then cleanup. My dad’s dad loved Christmas. He decorated when my grandmother’s arthritis got too much for her and he took care of her until he could not. And I truly miss him and the rest of my grandparents this time of year.

And my mother.

It seems they left a vacuum behind when they left this earth. And it got filled with garbage, debris, pools of urine and maliciousness. I need to stay away from the present-day pale imitations of by-gone ways and enjoy the last dregs of the year as best I can. I don’t wish to hate anyone. It’s as simple as that but I think it’s a bit late already. A lot late.

But anyway…! I meant to write something lighthearted and sweet, some little blurb and then push a book or story or even poem of mine. Instead I delved down into the family goop and splattered a bit on the public wall.

I hope whatever holidays you celebrate this time of year are lovely. That’s the best I can do right now without breaking down into sobs and bingeing Gilmore Girls, again, for the umpteenth gazillionth time.

I guess three ghosts are about to visit me so should make sure I have a nice haircut and an urchin at the ready to buy an organic, gently killed goose for a local saint. Yay!

Rainy Day

A rainy day here in Eastern Oregon. Everything is hushed. The tractors and harvesters are idle machines today, as the mud and goo of the ground promises to hold fast anything that dares roll with foolish confidence out into a field.

My cat has discovered the live trap. She cannot hurt anything caught within it. Or play with it, whatever her intent is here I cannot say. I keep her well fed but she is a cat. The dogs seem indifferent to any mice in the house. I’ve seen them ignore rodents as hard as possible if the rodents happen to dart across the floor. There are fields in all four directions, plus a rural setting. We has the mouses! However, once outside, the dogs are ferocious mouse hunters and will spend an hour digging a giant hole to go after one.

I have yet to make it through Dune. Space cocaine squabbles. Ugh. Is it okay to admit I just start snickering at the somber tone, at how ‘acty’ everyone is and hey, is that Jason Momoa?? I’ll just watch Aquaman, again. Yeah.

Some recent acceptances of short stories.

The Witch of the Highway, by World of Myth:

Blood and Bread, by Hellbound Books. It will be in Toilet Zone 3, The Royal Flush, due next year, I think.

And of course, if you have not already, go vote for my the Cherry of Her Lips. It’s a retelling of the Snow White tale, with the stepmother a witch in hiding, and the pretty daughter a demon/monster. The two are more allies than enemies, and both are forced to show their real faces to the world around them.

Brigit wants you to vote. Yes, she does!