Archive for the ‘ Guests ’ Category


Guest post from Marie Bryant

The water came out of the shower head like needles hitting my face and neck, hot and fast.

The bathroom had been my refuge so many times, a place to cry and think about things in a safe space away from hateful looks, barbed words, fisted hands, slamming doors.

My plan was to cry it out, feel sorry for myself, wonder whose fault it was, until I couldn’t feel the sadness I thought would fill my heart.

But the sadness never came, and instead all I felt was relief and a maybe a pinch of regret for whatever reason, not enough to elicit even a tear down my cheek.

He’d said he didn’t love me anymore, probably never had, then he’d turned, looked at me with a smirk on his face, and walked out the door.

I realized that night that I didn’t love him either, that I was afraid of him and despised him much of the time, and that I felt relieved, renewed, and ready to live again.


Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was fault.


An Unusual Love Story

This is a guest post and love story written by my sister-in-law, Diane Burns Brads.  She and my brother, Charlie, will have been married 49 years this June.  They’ve been a couple for as long as I can remember…here is her contribution to the month of love…
An Unusual Love Story
My great-uncle Walter Roberts was born in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky on June 10, 1888 in the area of Little Bullskin Creek,Clay County. He was one of thirteen children, not all of whom survived. The family lived by a creek and he enjoyed playing with his brothers in the fields, skipping rocks in the water and fishing. He worked the farm with his father and brothers until he got the wanderlust and decided to join the Army. After one calm enlistment period, he joined up again and this time saw action in WWI. He returned to his mountain home after the war but something had happened. Unexpectedly, he had fallen in love.

Walter is the last boy on the right.

Walter’s sweetheart was Mary Agnes Flanagan, who was born December 25, 1889 in the area of Springfield, Massachusetts. He had met Mary at a dance when he returned from Europe and the Great War.  Mary’s father had immigrated to the USA from Ireland with his family when he was a young child.  He started out as a child laborer working in mills in Chicopee, Massachusetts but his story was that of the classic American dream. Mr. Flanagan was listed as the president of a brewery in the 1910 census, the Springfield Brewery. Mary was counted in the census that year but she was not at home. She was an art student in Switzerland. She attended a convent school, where she sharpened her artistic skills and learned French. She toured Europe and no doubt worshiped in elaborate, historic cathedrals. She viewed masterpieces of art in great museums and even attended a World’s Fair.
I know about these stories because I knew Aunt Mary. I was a schoolgirl and she was an elderly widow, living alone. We both lived in the same small town and I frequently stopped by to see her on my walk home from school. I was enthralled by her stories of living in a family of 9 brothers and no sisters. I was thrilled when she showed me her sketchbooks and her writing exercises in French. I could barely imagine her leaving her family and going to school in Europe. At some point as I grew older, I realized that now she lived in one side of a small double home and that the only fancy things that I saw were figurines in a china cabinet.
I know nothing of the courtship of Walter and Mary after they met but they married in April 1920 in Springfield, Massachusetts. As luck would have it, the home in which Mary lived at the time of her marriage is still standing in downtown Springfield, surrounded by modern office buildings. It is a large home of great beauty. I can picture the interior with lovely woodwork, lace curtains, fine art and an elegant staircase. Her status as the only daughter was no doubt privileged. She would have had the most stylish of clothing, hats and jewelry. Mary’s family was devoutly Catholic and worshiped at the stately St. Michael’s, a large and historic church.
What could have drawn these two together? In contrast to Mary’s lovely home in the city, Walter grew up in a log cabin on a creek. If he went to church, it would have been Baptist, and the building would have been a humble log one with wooden benches for seats, oil lamps for light and a country preacher spreading the Word. Other than his service in the Army, all that Walter knew was farming. He, like Mary, had traveled to Europe, but as a soldier in a grim war. She traveled as an elite child of wealth.
Nevertheless they married, against the wishes of Mary’s brothers. Mary and Walter were both about 30 years old and could make their own decisions. Her father could not object as he was deceased, but the citizens of Springfield must have wondered about the disturbance at St. Michael’s Cemetery when he turned over in his grave.
The newlyweds suffered a sorrow in their first year of marriage as they lost their first daughter on the day of her birth. They were living in Dayton, Ohio, away from all family. In the following years they were blessed with 2 healthy daughters.In the 1930 and 1940 census records, they are shown as living in Preble County, Ohio and Walter was a poultry farmer.
I will close by repeating the tale that Aunt Mary told me personally about the young family’s first and only trip to visit Walter’s parents. The trip was about 3 years into their marriage with their first baby daughter. They took the train as far as they could, from Dayton to possibly London,Ky. Then they traveled by wagon, presumably pulled by mules, on rutted “roads” , at best, and miry and muddy, at worst. When they arrived at Walter’s home place, Mary told me that her mother-in-law was chewing tobacco and spitting it off of the porch. Culture shock was a mild description.
Since I knew Aunt Mary as a child, I could only have a child’s perspective. Other family members have told me that Aunt Mary was an unhappy person. I can see that her plunge from wealth to being a farmer’s wife could have been very difficult. She probably knew nothing about cooking, keeping house, and doing laundry as her family of birth had servants. Their baby daughter who visited Kentucky had an accident as a young child and suffered brain damage that rendered her ineducable in that day and age. The parents and younger sister cared for her at home. I hope that the love that drew Mary and Walter together sustained them through their marriage. In her later years, Mary seemed to be very lonely. I hope that my visits brought as much pleasure to her as they did to me. Those visits allowed me to know about an unusual love.

My Thirteenth Year

Marie Bryant joins us this week in the Six Sentence Story challenge.

The cue word is “turn.”

Mom spent most of her day, every day, taking care of six kids in ways for which we’ll be forever grateful, in ways we probably didn’t appreciate until we got older.

So when she woke us up on Sunday mornings to get ready for church, we sometimes grumbled, but always obeyed, and dressed quickly to be ready to go when she opened the front door.

At thirteen, my thoughts were mostly about my giggly friends, what I was wearing to school the next day, and the boy sitting next to me in study hall; yet what I didn’t know was that the most important person I’d ever meet came from that church.

He knocked on our door, that humble, genuinely loving man, and sat down on the back porch of our shabby little rental home in town.

“Do you know the Lord?” he gently asked as he turned to face Mom, Dad, and the four oldest of us kids.

That wonderful man, Rev. Brads, the man who became more special to me than my own dad, the one who cared enough to sit and explain to me how to accept Christ as my Savior – he changed my life that year, and I will eternally be grateful.

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

Marie Bryant joins us again this week via Redneck Latte Ravings.

Here is her six sentence story.

The sun was finally shining after days of gloomy weather, so I excitedly walked over to the French doors and raised the mini blinds to welcome in the light and warmth.

I stood there and quietly chuckled at how rank the full glass doors looked in the brilliant sunlight, doors not cleaned for awhile since cold weather came blowing into the valley.

As I studied the messy doors, I suddenly felt something tugging at my heart, creeping up into my throat.

Little handprints were all over those glass doors, from little hands I hadn’t seen or held in awhile – hands that still have those cute little dimples at the knuckles, hands I love to kiss and put up to my cheeks to feel the softness.

I sat down on the floor in a patch of sunlight and studied the smudges of little handprints for a moment, and then I lay down in the warmth, to fully enjoy the moment, as memories of family visits flooded my mind and heart.

I lay there too long, losing the desire to clean, relishing the memories of giggles, kisses, and – oh yes – little hands playing with the doors.

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was rank.