The Sinkhole…

 

The Sinkhole…
(A short-short story from a collection of memories from the author’s childhood)
The summer of 1943, my family became the proud owners of a “newer” icebox; the old one became rusty with the tiny leaks that allowed water to escape. A block of ice bought from the regular Saturday trip to town wrapped in burlap kept to ice cool all week, by Saturday morning the burlap wrap, which southerners called a “toe sack” lay in a lump of water. My grandpa and the one old mule we owned pulled the old rusty icebox to a sinkhole in the pasture. The ever-sinking hole was round as big as a house, the walls slanted toward a bottom that provided an ever-ending change throughout the year.

As children, my sister Billie Wayne and I knew not to go near the sinkhole, that it may sink into the earth and we would never be seen again. Of course neither of us we afraid of it! It was also the summer that my ten-year-old sister convinced me that she had a new place for me to play; excited I ran with her into the pasture and jumped right into the sinkhole. My only sibling always played her never-ending spiteful tricks on me; with the promise of playing “train”, she the conductor and me the passenger, she shoved me into the old icebox and shut the door. I could hear her laughter as she ran out of the sinkhole.

One would have thought that my grandfather would have turned the old icebox face down, but he dumped it, watched it slide into the hole and rode away; it landed on its back with door exposed. He was my daddy’s’ father, the one who ran off leaving him and his mother when he was just a boy. It was our mother who forced my daddy to have him come see us, she taught my sister to call him Papa, in time I would only refer to him as Mr. Johnson.

I do not want say that my sister shut me in the icebox on purpose, but as the years went by I did wonder if her constant tricks, comments and bossiness was in wanting to be an only child had anything to do with it? Of course, my mother wanted her to be the only child as well.  As a family, we had established our pattern for family life…my mother would always have Billie with her and tell me to run along with my daddy while she and Billie planned their day. Daddy tried to remember how long I had been gone, he begin to calling my name, even getting the old dog “Buster” to look for me.

Mother tried to reassure him that I was out in the woods somewhere; Billie Wayne continued cutting cookie dough without saying anything. My grandfather got on the old mule and headed into the nearby sugar cane field knowing that I sometimes stole a bit of sugar cane to suck on. Yes, at barely four years old I would play in the fields and woods, a wild child so to speak.

The grandpa was moving slowly hoping I would hear them calling my name when he thought of the old icebox. It never entered his mind that he might kill that old mule by running him so fast in the hot Alabama sun, but he jumped off his back, sliding down into the sinkhole. When he jerked open the door that I was blue, he hollered for my daddy while blowing into my mouth; now who would have known that he knew CPR. He didn’t he just wanted to get air into my lungs.

Daddy saw grandpa riding across the pasture toward the sink hole; he knew instantly that something was wrong he had never seen the old mule move so fast. Daddy rode across the pasture on Red, the big roan quarter horse hooves pounding the earth, Buster barked, it would seem even the animals knew that a threatening cloud had settled over the old Hamilton Place, the farm my daddy worked.

Daddy jumped into the sinkhole pulling me from my granddaddy’s arms, he climbed back upon Red leaving grandpa behind, and he rode to the gully where we went for water. Coming out of a big boulder was a stream of cold water, almost as if it had been frozen and was melting; it flowed into a rock where time had formed a bowl before it lapped into a small creek.

Daddy ran tossing me into the ice-cold water, there is no explanation for what he did but the cold water shocked me into breathing. I would like to think that both God and Nature had a hand in keeping me alive that day through the hands of my daddy.

When daddy carried me into the house the first question my mother asks had I been swimming in the Pool’s catfish pond again. Daddy told her what happen, while daddy placed me on the bed my sister and I shared; mother continued to chastise me for playing in the sinkhole.

“You have got to stop running the woods and pastures, you should try to be a lady; more like your sister” She looked toward my sister with a pride.

I raised my head off the pillow long enough to see Billie Wayne smiling and when no one was looking she stuck her tongue out at me!

Billie Wayne passed away in 2009 at the age of seventy-six years old; we had become sisters and friends only the last thirteen years of her life. I maintained the relationship until she stops speaking in 2006; it took be those thirteen years to find out that she had never changed.

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

The Cost of Freedom…

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Ancestors have served in the military for more than 150 years, all served their respective states with pride. Even though the Civil War was for many reasons both good and bad, all were still soldiers with many giving their lives for their beliefs. Although the poem written at the bottom of this narrative are in fact my mother’s brothers; these boys served in WW I and the Korean War.  The ancestors are Murphree, Roberts, White,  and Vest; members of these families have served in American Revolutionary War, Cherokee–American Wars, Creek War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict. I also want to honor my son and say thank you for  your service in the United States Air Force.

The Cost of Freedom

Standing in what looked like a sea of white as a warm afternoon breeze touched their bronzed faces three young men rode home in an old wagon through fields of cotton unaware that their youth would soon be forgotten.

There was a time when they were three babies crawling at their mothers feet waiting patiently for warm sweet milk and tea cakes luxuries in their world, a poor mans’ treat.

Their mother insisted they go to school and discover their own dreams she vowed at their birth that her children would not break their backs or sell their souls working as poor farmers in the cotton fields planting, hoeing and picking the south’s white gold.

Eighteen, nineteen and twenty years old, they had never known anything but working the red southern soil day after day sacrificing their mothers’ dream for very little pay.

Threadbare overalls shirtless and shoeless they stopped at the dirt road leading to the farm they called home knowing that this way of life was quickly to end their decisions saddened their father broke their mothers’ heart leaving it so crushed that it would never mend.

They reached a nearby creek at setting sun sipped on moonshine laughed had one last day of fun then left for home. It was no more than a shack but supper always a feast for kings then they crawled into cornhusk beds it was a hard life but a life where they knew that they belonged.

Then one winter day it all changed as proud Americans that wore their pride like armor there was no question they would answer the call, not only for them but also for us all.

It was early morning when their father stood quietly drawing on his old pipe under the old oak tree thinking of the warmth of the coming spring while their mother sat in her rocking chair afraid of what the future would bring.

One by one they walk out the door childish faces broad smiles shinny shoes starched uniforms. Three young men proudly walked down the old dirt road that day no one knew when or if they would ever return but these young men knew it was to defend freedom an endowment blessed with the day they were born.

Mother and father held each other as they slowly walked into their home and closed the door while their three young sons walked away straight and tall ready to fight a war in a land they did not know on a faraway shore.

The window of their house proudly displayed three gold stars the days gradually turned into years their mothers’ heart had stopped beating death had finally stopped her tears. Their father grew old as he walked fallow land alone with his life consumed by his many fears.

Then one day as he stood beneath the oak tree drawing in the smoke from his old pipe while thoughts begin to drift back on his life. He wondered where it had gone but knowing that their mother at last is happy that her young sons were finally coming home.

He stared down the road as three shadowy figures grew closer would he recognize them he could not even remember how long it had been. Their youth was gone their smiles were drawn the war returned his sons now three broken and scarred old men.

 

Author’s Books on Amazon.com
Ann Johnson-Murphree

 

Is the man we believe to be God untrue?

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AUTHORS NOTE: 40 writers wrote the Bible over a span of 1500 years. Unlike other religious writings, the Bible reads as a factual news account of real events, places, people, and dialogue. Historians and archaeologists have repeatedly confirmed its authenticity. Using the writers’ own writing styles and personalities, God shows us who he is and what it is like to know him. There is one central message consistently carried by all 40 writers of the Bible: God, who created us all, desires a relationship with us. He calls us to know him and trust him. The Bible not only inspires us, it explains life and God to us. It does not answer all the questions we might have, but enough of them. It shows us how to live with purpose and compassion. How to relate to others. It encourages us to rely on God for strength, direction, and enjoy his love for us. The Bible also tells us how we can have eternal life. Multiple categories of evidence support the historical accuracy of the Bible as well as its claim to divine authorship.
Nonetheless, as a person who questions many things in life, I believe in God, I do not fear him; I should have no fear if he is my father. I believe many of the things written in the Bible, I also question many of the things. If the Bible had forty authors, as a writer myself I do not believe that the many translations over 1500 years can remain consistent to the original. We all need something to believe in, first believe in you.

***

Is the man we believe to be God untrue?

Did he create the patterns of the world, humans, animals, plants, trees and with his care the world evolved, it grew. Did he smile upon us, even in our defiling times? Through unspoken words, did he create beauty with his colorful art, with only a thought did this come from his loving heart?

Is “He” with us in thought during our times of fear and suffering, if we call unto him does he hear? Is he a myth, a creation of the imagination? Does he forgive for all offences, or is it us that created him through thought and wanting senses? The Bible, a book we are told to believe and understand. Yet, forty authors wrote this book down through the ages, was it written to control the masses, or was it God’s creation. Did “He” put the thoughts in their minds when they begin to write, or did they create this man like a character in a book, his words, and his look?

Among many that want to control the heart, wants us to believe, do these many authors also want to deceive? These preachers of the Book, do they speak to free souls from sin, do they take pearls, rubies, silver and gold telling us it will ease our pain. Do they preach and beg for riches; are all their efforts only for gain? They desire the tender that many will leave in the offering tray in order to receive God’s blessing must we pay? Oh preacher advance your flawed hand, your smiles, your tears, are you, yourself engulfed in fear?

These words are not to offend the Christian way, or remove the Holiest of Books, to disbelieve, nor sanctify a learned way. The scars of battle, must we try to be valiant and hold the spirit up to the highest aspiration. Must we have a religious heart or a caged spirit deep within our chest that holds you to the highest purpose in life? First love yourself; therefore, you are what you believe. You are responsible for the pains you suffer, it does not come from forces unseen, shock or fear, live within your own strength and goodness and is it possible that hell is no doubt the things we must face while walking upon this earth.

Yes, upon yourself depend; be responsible for your own passion, your own tears. Do not believe “He” takes what he wants and leaves us in fear; believe in yourself and be responsible for wiping away your own tears. If it is your desire to believe that you will someday walk upon a different plane, that there is a world waiting where love is like a constant burning flame. If this belief makes your heart fly, your spirits soar, to see your love one waiting on that Heavenly Shore. If you want to believe then you have nothing to fear, the life you are leading is up to you, yet, there are times when one must ask the question, is the man we believe to be God untrue?

 

©2018.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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A Second Chance…

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A Second Chance…

There are times when I am dreaming

that I believe outside my door is the

gateway to the city of doom; nevertheless

each night when I sleep I open the door

walking into another sphere of everlasting

pain, mentally and physically. No one

pushes me through the gate, I walk willingly,

and I feel confident that I can handle the

tragedy that I know will be waiting there for

me. Tucked deep inside the confidence

there is fear, within the fear there are secret

things, distrust and lies.

 
The darkness is the most evil; a blood red moon

framed by the stars hangs above me. Hearing

strange tongues frightful and shrill, filled with

anger, strikes fear into my heart. Sometimes I

weep as the outcries reach my ears, as I do not

have a stainless claim to my own life. I fear for

the souls, even the depths of hell may refuse

them and they will be lost forever in the

darkness.

 
I question is there hope with death, will we

have memories of the earth and of the lives

that remain when we are gone? The souls

that I hear are loud, their tears are blood red,

and each is crawling in vile mud. I lower my

eyes. will they have rebirth, if they lived in

blaspheming is this terrible wailing their fate.

 
A bitter flood rushed over me as each pass to

their final resting place. They seem conscious

of their nearing doom. It is in this darkness

that each was given a second chance to feel

the love of God upon their faces, they refused.

Afterwards the ground broke from beneath

their feet, and I seem to be sinking with them

to a senseless dreadful shore and I am afraid

that I will not wake from this nightmare.

 

©2018.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree&sprefix=ann+john%2Caps%2C221&crid=RM5ALVGUNEEB

The Nightmare..

 

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Last night, I sensed emptiness, a darkness closing

around me. I wondered did I stray too far off the

path that God had set for me to follow in this life.

The darkness was bottomless and menacing it

would not release me from my fear. Terror like the

cold hands of death and panic assumed a position

around me.

I had let no one know of the fear that had imprisoned

my spirit and soul every night when I went to bed

the darkness suffocated me. I felt hopeless with no

guidance, the hours passed slowly, I do not wake.

When sunlight appeared in my window and the

night was no more, the desecrated black waste

hung over me. What was it that I experienced

during the night, Hell!

I rose from where I lay and found my feet up

on a another path that was unknown to me, it

was a lighted way and when I look back toward

where I had lay there was nothing but rushing

muddy waters. There should be no water where

I slept. My eyes surveyed all that and I stood

quietly in a whirlpool of my own fears. Why

can I not wake from this sleep?

Fear rose in my throat, choking me. I could not

breathe, the light of mercy will never shine

upon me again. I walked through a valley, I

tried to climb out, there was nothing in the

landscape before me or behind me, no sun,

no sky, no trees, no homes, nothing. I slumped

to the ground where I stood. There is no breath,

had creation ended? I lifted my head tossing

back the once brown flowing mane, suddenly

white as a winter’s snow.

I screamed this darkness does not own me,

nor my heart and soul. I had not been

unfeeling in life. Oh Creator cleanse my soul,

deliver me from this inferno where I stand

among the bones of those who have gone

before me. I heard a voice call to me in the

darkness, I wanted to wake from this

nightmare, I wanted to be safe, and I wanted

my spirit and soul to feel the sun as it rises

in the morning.

Here in this darkness my life is shown to

me, and I remembered everything, from

beginning to the soon to be end. I moved

slowly in the dense darkness, my mind

moved from time to time good days and

bad days. The abuse times still burnt into

my mind. There is no hope, no safe place

for me. What is that I see a sliver of

sunlight penetrates my eyes and mind?

I was not dead and I cried releasing

myself from the darkness and void that

had taken over my body and mind. I

live for another day, God has given

me another chance.

 

©2018elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Living in the Moment…

womanwriterblog

 

Hello everyone, it has been quite a while since I have posted anything on the blog. Health and winter problems, health getting much better, winter in Wisconsin is up and down. No snow, but extreme cold. Wisconsin with ice, snow, rain, cold also comes the flu season, the common cold and a host of other viruses.
Even my four-legged son Mason came down with an ear infection. That may not sound serious; however, he will not let anyone touch his ears. Therefore, he has to be put to sleep to clean them out and put in medicine. Mason will be six years old on January 31. I know that is still young but this breed can have many problems. Time goes quickly and there are times I think about my life without him. He has been an Angel sent to me from “above”.

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I have been laughing about the complex that I live in; it is filled to the brim with “old” people. My laughter is obliged as I am the same age of many, but… We have a central community room, which I never go too. The main lobby is another gathering place during “mail time”. I have discussed with some about the decorations; Thanksgiving décor was up the day after Halloween. Christmas décor was up before I had eaten all the Thanksgiving left over’s. Christmas night all of those decorations came down and Valentines went up! Trust me, Easter décor will appear before the Valentine chocolates are eaten.
How do I know all this…I go to the mailbox about midnight when everyone else is in bed, because of winter I walk Mason in the hallways.
I think the focus here or the main words are independent living. It is not a nursing home, but it is a facility that caters to the elderly. It makes my children happy that I am where there are many things that can make my daily life easier and they do not have to worry about me. I have a sign on my main door that reads, “Do not disturb”. I have a reputation I have been told that of a hermit. I do not want to listen to stories about age, aches and pains…I have my own.
They have “Happy Hour” on Fridays, 4 to 5 PM, you have to be there at four O’clock and you are ushered out the door at 5 O’clock. I went once, then took my bottle and went home. A one-hour Happy Hour just does not do it for me. Nevertheless, such is my life, I am happy.
I am currently working on my new book with no titles at this time; it is all printed out waiting for me to do proofing. This is not an easy job, as most of you know. Either, I hope to devote some of the winter months when I cannot get out to my painting. This book will be a work of fiction based on fact, which I have decided to do. There are a few family members living and I want to respect their privacy.
Therefore, the winter months are here. I will wane away the time on self-made projects. Sharing these moments with my readers, my followers is another great joy of mine.

Who Forgot To Shut The Barn Door?

womanwriterblogRecently, I read where President Donald Trump now wants to put his own spin into the America’s welfare system. He spoke of this during his campaign for the Whitehouse. It will be interesting to see where he cuts and to what extent. I have to agree on this one, the Welfare Department needs investigation as soon as possible; and the bad weeded out.

I live in the state of Wisconsin where you can walk into the waiting area of the Welfare Office and you will be “helped” in two ways. One, if you are an out of state individual you are escorted to the head of the line; not the waiting line but the “we will give you anything you may ever need line”. If you are a resident of the state, you may be told that there is a waiting list and it could be up to five-years before you will even be put on the waiting list.
Another common incident that I am aware of…for years a young Wisconsin woman has been on assistance since she was out of high school and started having babies each baby brought more money. The Welfare Department helped her pay for a house she bought via Section 8; she has a high percentage of her food paid for by the system with money being placed on a card resembling a credit card, she has free medical care, no limits just a $20 dollar co-pay.

In addition, she has had three children throughout with Wisconsin taxpayers footing the bill. The states free medical care paid for her to have her stomach stapled she was too fat to conceive and she wanted another baby. In addition, the “boy friend” the father of all of children has lived with her from the beginning. She had to sign an agreement that she lived alone with her children. This individual has reaped the rewards using taxpayer’s money.

 
In addition to all other infractions in the assistance program, she works and the employer pays her in cash, in paid credit cards, gas cards while paying the minimum that she can make before the system cuts her benefits. She has been working at the same company for years. I believe that it would draw suspicion to park outside the Welfare Office and get out of a $40,000 dollar vehicle, but no one ever confronts her. I have to ask the question…who forgot to shut the barn door, and how many cows got out before they realized it was open.

 
Now, is this her fault totally, no, she gets increases in funding with no one questioning her. She was overweight and could not have another child, so her free medical insurance signed off on her to have the $10,000 dollar stapling operation. She did have the fourth child and the state increased her assistance income. This is only one case, how many more slips through the cracks that are doing the same thing; when state assistance id denied for elderly individual that needs help.

 
This posting is about who gets what? I am neither Republican nor Democrat…I am for the best person for the joy. Right now, I believe we as Americans have our accommodating arms around the individuals in charge, while they have their hands in our pockets. My state will lose either way.

 
America has Donald Trump; Wisconsin has Scott Walker, what more can I say.
E.

 
©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree
Books at Amazon.com by Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510122648&sr=1-1&keywords=ann+johnson-murphree

https://www.amazon.com/Honeysuckle-Memories-Ann-Johnson-murphree/dp/150029070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Asterial-Thoughts-Journey-into-Thought/dp/1540862356/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Rutted-Roads-Collections-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1532909365/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF81

https://www.amazon.com/Journey-into-Art-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500502960/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Echoing-Images-Soul-Journey-into/dp/1500366811/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Poetry-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500168645/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8