Last Holiday Rerun; Pining For Perfection

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The following Six Sentence Story, prompt word “pine”, was originally aired in 2019. It’s a fact that I used to retail Christmas trees, but this is just fun fiction. There are two fairly recent Christmas themed flashes, from this year, but that’s it for reruns, the holiday specials are over. Have a safe and happy New Year.

Pining for Perfection by D. Avery

“What do you mean, you don’t have any pine— there must be dozens here.”

“M’am, a pine is an evergreen, but evergreens aren’t all pines; I carry fir— balsam mostly, Fraser fir, some Douglas fir.”

The woman clutched at her fur stole, looking around, still skeptical, until her face lit up; “That one, I want that… fir over there, or even this little one here with the red berries.”

“Sorry M’am, those are part of the landscaping, planted, not for sale, and anyway that’s a spruce and this one’s a yew, in other words, Taxus.”

You are taxing my patience, as I didn’t come here for horticulture lessons— all I want to know is, do you have the perfect Christmas tree for me?”

“Oh, yes M’am, I most certainly do, we’ll find you a Fraser that looks like that spruce, and M’am… happy Holly days!”

Another Holiday Rerun

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This Six Sentence Story was originally posted in December 2019. Doesn’t that seem so long ago! Anyway, here is yet another holiday rerun, in case you missed it the first time.

Christmas Village by D. Avery

The first year of “Christmas Village Weekend”, she was among a number of people that were actually paid to mingle and be merry, to walk around promulgating Christmas spirit, engaging people and exchanging holiday pleasantries. At the beginning of that weekend she thought she could tell who might be an actor like her and who was really there for the festivities, but the actors were sworn to secrecy about their role, even now in the second year when it was determined their services were no longer needed.

She went back to Christmas Village anyway, where she found there were even more vendors and entertainments lining the pedestrian only streets than the first year, even more bustling throngs of holiday revelers. She found herself searching the crowd for a man she had seen the year before, an older bearded man in red plaid who had seemed inexplicably jovial. Suspecting him of being a hired actor like her, she’d joked with him that she believed, but his laughter had seemed heartfelt and real, something she couldn’t forget.

He must have remembered her too because when she saw him he asked her if she still believed and she said yes; and she smiled, because there he was and if he was real, then maybe she was too.

#SixSentenceStories(seconds); Fair

The prompt this week for Six Sentence Stories is “fair”. Not too long ago one of my favorite characters, Hope, was at a county fair riding a carousel for a Carrot Ranch challenge. This six sentence story follows that one but is also a further exploration of Hope’s mother, who, as these characters randomly show up, has hesitantly revealed herself to be Indigenous. I hesitate to write her but know she has things to say.

Traditional Fair by D. Avery

After Hope dismounted, her long hair as shiny and black as the carousel horse, she and her father walked across the fair grounds to the hall where the baked goods and vegetables were displayed for judging.

“Think your mother has a ribbon for her pie?” he asked Hope, still surprised she had wanted to compete, even after he told her that Mrs. Smith always took the blue. 

“Maybe, Daddy, Mommy’s pies sure are good, and look, there’s people talking to her.”

With a thin fixed smile Hope’s mother engaged with the people who paused at her pie, displayed in front of the container she’d carried it in, but when Hope and her father got to her there was no ribbon.

“These people are not interested in my pie,” she said, “they only want to know about the basket I brought it in, want to know if I’ll make more, offered money, but I tell them I don’t sell baskets.”

She saw the questions in his face but needed to work out for herself her feelings about making baskets; about seeming always to be in the wrong hall, about winners being preordained. 

Star of the Show

Holiday reruns! Over the next couple of days I’ll be reposting Christmas stories from ShiftnShake past. Why not? Aren’t holiday reruns a tradition? What is a holiday movie you have seen countless times? For me: A Christmas Story and as a kid we watched the antiquated animated Rudolph (Burl Ives narrating) every year. The Charlie Brown Christmas Special was special every year too.
The following rerun is a response to a 2019 Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge.


At Carrot Ranch the 2018 Flash Fiction Rodeo is winding down and the regular weekly prompts have resumed. This week Charli’s November 1, 2018, prompt is to, “in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a festival of lights. It can be any holiday, event or moment. Express the hope of light over darkness. Or use it to highlight injustice. Go where the prompt leads.”

The prompt led me back to some characters that I haven’t heard from in a long while, back to the fold. I think I needed this family, needed to return to the comfort of their simpler time and place. Writers are fortunate; we can create gentler settings and kinder characters and happier endings if we choose. But that’s art, always Imitative; that’s not the real work. Our Work as humans is to try and write our own lives through our…

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#SixSentenceStories; Fair

If you count the end marks in the following story you will see that it is six sentences, no more no less. Our host, Denise, says the word is ‘fair”. Join this fair band of merry writers. If you can count to six, are willing to add sentences if it’s called for or to subtract sentences if you’ve gone over, then you are ready for the cross curricular event known as the Six Sentence Story prompt.

Willing and Able by D. Avery

Though she tried to tough it out, tell him it was nothing, it would pass, both he and his wife had the grim sense that her sickness was something serious and he assured her that he would come up with the money required to get her medical attention. He was old enough to remember when someone like them could expect to have access to decent health care, to health insurance, but he didn’t waste time wondering at the myriad unfairness in the system, for he was also fiercely independent and proud, willing and able to solve his own problems. She finally acquiesced to his plan and the arrangements were made, with him making light of it, telling her he’d already given her his heart, he might as well sell an organ for her.

With the money from the sale of one of his kidneys he could now afford to have his wife seen by a doctor, to get a diagnosis and see what they could do.

“It’s not good, having gone so long untreated,” the doctor said, “but I understand you have the same blood type, so it’s possible you might save your wife by giving her one of your kidneys.”

Though they stung with tears he told her, “I only have eyes for you, my love.” 

#SixSentenceStories; More Junk

#SixSentenceStories, II; Junk Spam®

This is a second response to the current Six Sentence Stories prompt “junk”, provided by Denise at GirlieontheEdgeJoin in to read and write stories, poems, and more that in some way adhere to the rule of Six.

In a 1945 New Yorker interview, Jay Hormel admitted to keeping what we could now call the first spam folder, a “Scurrilous File” that housed not junk mail but hate mail from GI’s the world over that were sick and tired of eating Spam®.

Though it is widely believed that the name Spam® comes from sp-iced h-am or is an acronym for Shoulder of Pork And Ham, or even the more specious acronym, scientifically processed animal matter, the truth may simply be that at a New Year’s Eve party where there was a naming contest for the product, “it just came out” and “the name was perfect”. 

Despite those disgruntled GI’s, Spam® and other canned meats saved the bacon of the military in WWII by serving as a staple with a long shelf life that could withstand tropical temperatures. Spam® continues to be popular in many Pacific locales, with Korea second only to the U.S. in Spam® sales; Asian and Hawaiian cuisine incorporated and elevated this canned pork from junk lunch meat to fine dining ingredient.

Maybe you consider Spam® a food best left to the midden pile of history, but even so have a Cosco® case of it, stashed away in the early days of Covid. Speak up in the comments— should this iconic food be trashed or treasured? 

(See more at; A Brief History of Spam, an American Meat Icon, From culinary tradition to object of scorn and back again by Erin DeJesus  Jul 9, 2014, 9:15am EDT)

Ronovan Writes Décima Challenge no. 88

Décima is a ten line poem of eight syllables per line with a strict rhyme pattern of ABBA ACCDDC. This week we must use “day” in the D rhyme line. Below is my response to this challenge. Read more décima poems and share one of your own at RonovanWrites.

Sheet Music by D. Avery

Bare branches are the measured lines.

Among the staves arranged, wings spread—

winter birds— scribbled notes, sight read.

Flights of rhythm measuring time

seasonal music so sublime.

Pages, white-snowed blue-skied, receive

colored melodies: chickadees;

quaver-crested woodpeckers; jays.

Orchestral score for winter’s day;

there is no sweeter sound to see.

#SixSentenceStories; Junk

The Junk Man by D. Avery

That on this morning he opened with a pointed remark about her accumulations was no surprise, for he invariably either opened or closed with this issue, the one that, to him, with its concrete evidence stacked and stowed throughout their home, was symbolic of her other flaws and shortcomings.

This morning she did not parry with humor or logic, nor did she try to appeal to any latent sense of fairness and willingness to compromise, for he only ever saw trash where she saw treasure, and if he was right about anything, it was that this ongoing argument about stuff was representative of other issues, disagreements about intangibles.

This morning she countered his affront with a question, requested that he define for her what exactly he meant by the term “junk”, even volunteered that he might be right, maybe junk should be gotten rid of. 

With the relief of one long-suffering, one who knew that he’d always been correct, and she just obstinate and incredibly tenacious, his self-satisfied smile was tinged with righteous condescension as he explained (again) that junk was useless messy crap of no value, pointless unsightly clutter.

This morning she did not make the argument that she in fact did, (sometimes, or might, at some later date), use her accumulations; she didn’t regale him (again) with her arguments for artistry and for the Earth; did not argue that it was better to reuse and repurpose than to dump at the landfill items that were perfectly good, only to buy shiny new things at the store, things that aren’t built to last.

No, this morning it seemed he had finally gotten through to her, for nodding thoughtfully she clarified, “So, if it serves no immediate purpose, has in fact been in the way for too long, it needs to go,” and then she watched his smirk of a smile transform as he read the letter-headed papers she passed across the table to him.

The word I heard from Denise, our Six Sentence Stories host, is “junk”. Join in to read and write stories, poems, and more that in some way adhere to the rule of Six.

If you are a writer (defined as ‘one who writes’) get heard at the Saddle Up Saloon Author’s Chair. It’s fun and easy. Contact me for details.

#SixSentenceStory; Guide

Sometimes Six Sentences succumb to serious silliness. The prompt word “guide” led me to lost and wandering and Robert Frost and J.R. R. Tolkien and Dr. Seuss. So, apologies to our Six Sentence Story host Denise of GirlieOntheEdge and all those who wander here. 

Right there, where the road diverged in the yellow wood, the traveler paused, paused long enough that it was really more of a pondering and that’s when, all of a sudden and out of nowhere, (though surely somewhere), a person of diminutive stature and indiscernible age appeared, and before the traveler could ask who they were, said, ‘I am your guide’.

“Oh, well, thanks, but no thanks, for while which path to take I am trying to decide, it likely makes no difference in the end; I’ll just go my own way without a guide.”

“But that’s just it, and oh at what cost, for you would ponder on which way to wander, and as way leads to way, could become quite, quite lost— with no way back, for there’s no way you know the way!”

“Know the way where, and why should I be concerned with the way back when all I wish is to go forward to where ever it is I am going, (not yet discerned)?”

“If you know where you’ve been, you might get where you’re going, for finding the way is found in the knowing of where you are not.”

So they agreed and finally decided, the traveler would wander unlost and unguided, but with the knowledge that once arrived where, the guide would meet the traveler there.

Opportunity! I am looking for writers to read their work. Contact me about taking the stage at the Saddle Up Saloon for the Author’s Chair or an interview. Characters welcome.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Did you know that every first Monday Chel Owens offers a poetry prompt and more at the Saddle Up Saloon? The more is a conversation about different poetry forms and she will provide feedback on your poem either privately or publicly. With a little encouragement it’s true, anyone can poem.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Good ev’ning or mornin’! Welcome to our ninth month of poem-ing.

We’ve a rough ride this year -through loosening up, parody, forms, meter, and word choice.

Now, we’re facin’ the roughest bull ride this side o’ the Mississippi: free verse.

Writing freely, without a form, is like opting for bareback riding on an unbridled stallion. You really oughter not; and, if you’re that determined, you really oughter know what you’re doing.

But this is Anyone Can Poem! I’m not here to warn against such idiocy; I’m here to teach you how to look good doing it!

First, let’s make sure you’re registered for the right event. What is a free verse poem?

Free verse is an open form of poetry, which in its modern form arose through the French vers libre form. It does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern.


It’s different than

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