Friday, September 25, 2009

It Doesn't Get Much Better

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by
Sherri @ A Candid Thought.
Be sure to stop over there for fabulous fall fiction!

It Doesn’t Get Much Better
By Beth LaBuff
Topic: Retirement

The morning sun shone lustrous
On a charming Cape Cod house,
Seated in the dining room,
The Mr. and his spouse.

He sipped his steaming Eight O’Clock.
His mouth sanctioned a grin.
He pondered both, retirement
And his years-of-service pin.

As he perused the Tribune sighed,
“It doesn’t get much better.”
They, arm in arm, took off for church
With Bibles and her sweater.

He broke the fast before the sun,
Though no alarm was set.
His brain still time-zoned, nine to five,
Some things—hard to forget.

His day stretched out before him,
He had an inspiration,
He’d help the Mrs. ‘round the house
To show appreciation.

And in his fervor pointed out
Art, crooked on the wall,
A crystal glass with smudges, while
Dust bunnies roamed the hall.

He hovered while she vacuumed,
With cleanliness—obsessed.
He checked for dirt on window sills—
Employed the white-glove test.

The town library’s many books
Would help him find a hobby.
He carried home a cookbook on
How to Prepare Kohlrabi.

And Tennis for the Seniors Set,
Ten Steps to Play Guitar,
Gardening for Imbeciles,
and Maintenance for Your Car.

He knitted on her project
From two till three o’clock,
But read the pattern upside-down—
Knit sleeves into her sock!

A tennis outing with the boys.
She sighed in her relief.
A morning detached from her spouse,
Her respite would be brief.

The score was love to forty
When their game came to a halt.
He toppled o’er the base line,
A penalty—foot-fault.

The balance of the day he spent
Reclined upon his chair
While she applied an ice pack
To the bump ‘neath his gray hair.

He urged his spouse to take a break
Then lit the barbecue.
Their pergola went up in flames
Thus went his grill debut.

The bad news, with the flare-up,
The steaks were grilled pitch-black.
The good news for the novice chef,
His eyebrows would grow back.

A junket with the boys out to
The lake, with pole and bait.
To hook some walleye, perch, or pike,
To grace his dinner plate.

He brought the pungent stringer home
And cast it in the sink.
To have a go at cleaning fish
‘Bout drove her to the brink.

He changed the auto oil, but
It splattered o’er the lawn.
The next time that she drove the car
“Check engine” light flashed on.

Their Cape Cod seemed to shrink that week.
It bound her like a fetter.
She’d scream out if she heard again,
“It doesn’t get much better.”

He sipped his morning Eight O’Clock,
Pondered past week’s enjoyment.
She snatched the Sunday Tribune ads
To contemplate employment.

© Beth LaBuff -- September 2009

inspiration from:
Proverbs 16:31
Gray hair is a crown of splendor...

written for a writing challenge

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Case Against a Sugar Maple

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by
Joanne at An Open Book
Head over there for links to more great fiction.

The Case Against a Sugar Maple
By Beth LaBuff
Topic: Winter

In a clearing of a forest,
In the gusty frigid air,
A small arboreal assembly
Launched a civic woods affair.

‘Twas a hearing, in this clearing,
Of a sugar maple tree,
To ascertain her state of mind,
To gauge competency.

Witnesses were singly summoned
Forth and testified.
The conifers and evergreens,
Compelled by law, complied.

Presiding o’er this hearing was
The magistrate, a fowl.
And all esteemed the wisdom
Of the worthy great horned owl.

The first to testify, blue spruce,
“She’s a pathetic sight,
High atop a branch she keeps
A tethered kite in flight.”

“Perhaps she has a syndrome
Or is daft, to some degree.
Her trunk is thick, her branches dense.
She seems out of her tree.”

“Your honor, I have knowledge of
Some things we can’t condone.
She runs a house for boarders though
For business, she’s not zoned.”

“When frigid weather hit, birds flew—
Eviction of her tenants!
For this and other crimes we must
Insist this tree do penance!”

“Without a permit, rodents came.
They brought some nuts and fruit.
A hollow branch— her doggie bag
Where squirrels stashed their loot.”

A charge of “addled” pierced the chill.
Her verdict appeared dim.
As if to validate their claim,
Her kite looped ‘round a limb.

The owl reminded witnesses,
His words abrupt and blunt,
“You can’t pronounce her guilty,
Assume she’s innocent.”

Then douglas fir confided to
The court, his voice austere,
“I’ve witnessed bats fly unimpeded
In her upper sphere.”

“Masked bandits came with banded tails,
Were harbored from the law.
She should be hewn for firewood
Before the first spring thaw.”

“One final thing to seal our case,
A proof you can’t ignore,
She doffed her crimson autumn coat—
Littered our forest floor.”

As ending arguments were heard,
In blew a balmy breeze.
Soon buds appeared on maple’s limbs
She sprouted bright green leaves.

To their surprise, the robins then
Returned to build their nest.
The plaintiffs, without arguments,
Receded to the forest.

Owl hooted, “Whooo’ll accuse you now?
There’s none left in our midst.”
She clapped her limbs together.
The owl sighed, “Case dismissed.”

© Beth LaBuff -- August 2009

inspiration from:
Isaiah 55:12 -- NIV
"...the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
John 8:10 -- NIV
"...where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

written for a writing challenge