balloons in the snow


photo prompt © Dee Lovering

Prompt for Friday Fictioneers (22-24 July 2015):

Balloons in the snow. Snow on the balloons. Always the nicest birthday present.

She believed her parents made it snow. Just for her. So while others grumbled and grumped, she skipped and jumped. Birthday angels. Birthday flakes.

Blowing warm breath on her hands, she stomped her numb feet. Her shelter coat was thin, no scarf to keep out the wind. She wore mismatched socks for mittens.

She felt a tug on her coat. A small girl reached up, the helium balloon bobbing with her child’s smile.  “Happy Birthday,” Lizzy said. “It always snows on my birthday, too.” {word count: 97}

PS: This photograph has a déjà vu feel. I have been by that building. Is it in the Washington, DC or Bronx, NYC Zoo? Central Park? . . . .

© phylor, 2015

A one way ticket to anywhere

Happy 87th birthday, Dad. Twenty-three years. For a memory-challenged person such as me, I can remember so clearly every detail from the phone call, the wax dummy that lay in your coffin, visitations, funeral, burial, picking up the pieces for mom. Three weeks later I headed home in a world that was lesser. 

I miss over twenty years of graveyard conversations; taking care of the bonsai rhododendron and azalea next to your headstone. Despite the problems, I took care of mom. I was sure you wanted me to.

Four years ago, we put mom next to you. Her spirit died the day you did. I believe she is truly at rest, back to my original mother again.

Of all the crazy things you said or warped ideas you came up with, I decided my favourite: your offer to buy me a ONE-WAY ticket to anywhere in the world I wanted to go. I wonder what you’ve done if I took you up on the offer, asked you to fly me to some place 1/2 way round the globe, like Patagonia or New Zealand?

So, happy birthday. And, no, we will not toast you with a glass of Mateus! A glass of white and red wine but not the Christmas-birthday-Easter-Thanksgiving-Anniversary-World Series-Stanley Cup-First-Lawn-Mowing-Big-Pick-Up-Garbage-Day-whatever-reason-you-could-come-up-with that a bottle of Mateus was needed with supper. Thank goodness, from my perspective, that it was a sorta rosé, close enough to red that I had an excuse to open a bottle of white!

{word count: 249}

February to November = 9 months = birthdays!


happy b'd to Nov. babies
happy b’d to Nov. babies

It’s probably no coincidence that when you count back 9 months from November you get to February and Valentine’s Day.

A shout out the friends and family that were November babies:
Nov. 2: my father’s father
Nov. 4: Annette
November 5: hubby
November 6: my mother’s father; me
November 12: David
November 22: Sarah

I share the date not only with my grandfather, but also with Maria Shriver, Sally Field, Glen Frey (Eagles), Ethan Hawke and Emma Stone (according to today’s newspaper). Then there’s John Philip Sousa, James Naismith, lots of musicians in bands I don’t know, some important events and deaths, national holidays (flag day) in Finland and Sweden.

Anybody you’d like to add to the list? Famous or unknown; past or present; family and/or friends; special events; and the list goes on!

PS: Seems like WordPress will be displaying ads in my blog posts. Be reassured that these advertisements WERE NOT my idea. I don’t necessarily support who is advertising, nor am I paid to have this displayed. I have to pay to have it NOT displayed. So, apologies in advance. And, if you’d like to let me know what is appearing, I’d appreciate it. Thanks!

helium balloons, birthday good-byes, and remembories

A balloon race in Fetcham shortly after the ba...
A balloon race in Fetcham shortly after the balloons were launched (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two years ago, we wished my mother happy birthday as she slipped in and out of consciousness. Next to her bed so she could see it should she awake, I put a large helium balloon tied onto a yellow ribbon. A transparent “window” gave a view into a springtime garden. With a backdrop of greens, pinks, yellows, and violets an April garden might hold, a banner displaying the words “happy birthday” in calligraphic script stretched across the blue of the sky, held at each end by a butterfly. For many years, she had worn a necklace of tiny gold links; at the center of the chain, a delicate lacy butterfly was suspended.

On a grey, blustered day last year, I put another balloon next to my mother in hono(u)r of her birthday; placed by her gravestone rather than at the head of a hospital bed.

Among the grey of granite and marble with clouds hanging low, with the air filled with chill and sorrow, the balloon, dancing with the wind, was a bright spot of colo(u)r.

Today she would have been 84; I wore her necklace and filigreed butterfly earrings as I had on the day we laid her to rest next to my father.

Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of her death; I will buy a brightly colo(u)red helium balloon tied to a yellow ribbon. In the park, I will let go of the string that binds the balloon to me, to the earth. I will watch it sail upwards, dancing on the wind, until it is a tiny speck of colo(u)r against the backdrop of the sky.

Happy birthday, Mom, two years on.