Happy (US) Thanksgiving 2019

Image source.

I’m disappointed in my cat meme calendar. It didn’t remind me of Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. I know I’m late for the people north of the border, but Happy Thanksgiving. I’ll try to do better next year.

Down here in the States, our Thanksgiving is tomorrow. My family celebrates with turkey, trimmings, and tasty pies. It’s a whole day affair. It ends before Black Friday.

Everyone does it different, but the thanking and the giving are the same. Thanksgiving is a special holiday for me because of this. We all get to sit back and take stock of another year gone by. Take a breath before the madness of the Christmas season. Have a day with no obligations except togetherness and gratitude.

It makes me all misty-eyed thinking about it.

I hope this Thanksgiving Day you get treated well. If the year went well, I’m happy for you. And if not, let’s get ready for the next one.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Today I Discovered I Deleted Something Useful

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

This was entirely by accident. See, I have a couple different places where I save my work. They exist in different locations. If something happens to one place, another will have an exact copy of what I was working on. So, hypothetically, if a meteor struck my computer and destroyed it beyond recognition, I have some ones and zeros elsewhere which will save the day.

I believed that if the zombie apocalypse struck tomorrow, after all was said and done, and people rebuild civilization, and they found my ones and zeroes, I could finish what I was working on.

That belief was entirely mistaken and not based on reality.

Instead, I’d found a way to save different files at different times, with different work accomplished in different places. These differences banded together to form a pseudo-Voltron with kung fu grip and a blazing sword. That blazing sword ascended from the pits of Hades, leapt across the River Styx, and stabbed my ones and zeroes.

Erasing them from existence.

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Of course, this made me a little despondent. My NaNoWriMo hasn’t gone the way I’d hoped. Not only did I have to delete some other work (many words were sent to the proverbial glue factory, as they say), I have now achieved the ability to delete things by accident.

I’ve taken a few breaths. I did some light exercise. I’ve swept my path to inner peace.

The moral of this story: always fucking check what you’re doing when you swap files around from one place to the next. Always. Without exception.

Because, and here’s the kicker, this is not the first time I’ve done this.

I hope everyone else’s month is going better than mine.

A Pair of Glasses

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Author’s Note: This story is inspired, indirectly, by this post here. Go have a look. And prepare to get kicked in the feels.

Max holds a pair of glasses in arthritic hands, plastic frames around glass lenses. They are old, at least half a century. Worn every day. He runs a thumb across the top of a lens, making sure not to leave a smudge.

Those glasses have seen the best parts of his life. They have seen his three kids from the day they were born. They have seen life unfold in a small house built by his own hands. They have seen his triumphs and failures and hopes and dreams.

If those glasses could talk, they’d speak of love and joy and happiness. There would be some sorrow and fear and heartache. That won’t last long. Glasses can’t lie. They can only tell the truth. Agony and pain are only fleeting things to behold.

Beauty and kindness are what they saw the most. Even the tear falling from Max’s eye, falling down onto his thumb, rolling down onto the lens. That tear is beautiful, an echo of what inspires it. Those glasses speak the truth, and they only speak of kindness, in a voice that is too loud to hear.

But the echoes are everywhere.

A knock on the door, the door opening on squeaky hinges. Max hears a voice. It is his eldest son, Arthur. “Dad,” says Arthur, “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting. We’re taking the kids over to the cemetery. What’s that you got there?”

“Your mother’s glasses,” says Max. “I found them. She didn’t have them at the hospital.”

“Oh, Jesus,” says Arthur. “Mom wore those all the time. Should we take them with us? We could bury them with her.”

Sorrow builds in Max’s chest. It hurts and throbs, locks his throat, radiates out to his arms. His hands tremble. Losing her hurts him all over again.

The glasses are there, looking up at him. The sorrow fades. He takes a deep breath in, and he lets it all out. He takes another breath, and fills himself with warmth. Max stands up, and puts the glasses back where he found them. “No, she wouldn’t want that,” he says. “She left them here for a reason. She always looked kindly at everything. She’s telling us we can do it too.”

Arthur clenches his jaw. He says, “I’m going to miss her, dad.”

Max eases himself across the room and gives his son a hug. He whispers, “You don’t have to. Be kind, like her, and she’ll never be gone.”

Excerpts From NaNoWriMo

Image from Wikimedia Commons. Reprinted under a CC BY-SA 2.1 ES license.

Author’s Note: This is an excerpt of some of what I’ve produced this month during NaNoWriMo. I had a late start, but I’m making up for lost time. I’ve got rough draft from last year on this blog for a little context as to what’s happening.

A gong sounded, and all the children stopped eating. They all got up from the table, stood with their hands at their sides, and stared at the floor. Two people came in, a man and a woman. Both of them wore capirotes, hats which concealed their faces with a simple gray cloth and had steeples which rose two feet above their heads. The man was bare-chested with only a bit of flab around the waist, and the woman only had two blue silk wrappings which looped around her neck and shoulders and then widening to cover her breasts. Their blue trousers were cut wide in the style of the Turks, tucked into foot wrappings that went up to their knees.

As the woman stood at the head of the table, the man walked deliberately down each side, his eyes searching for something. Almost to the end, the man stopped and pointed a single finger at a girl with blonde hair who could not have been more than ten years old. Without any sound, the girl got off her bench and walked quietly over to stand behind the woman. The man was about to start his search again when a young boy who had been sitting across from the girl stood up and said, “This is not fair! She finished her meal except for a few scraps!”

The man in the capirote stopped, still like a stone, and turned his head casually towards the boy. He pointed a single finger at him, and the boy lost all the color in his face. Sputtering out incoherent noises, the boy took a step back from the man like he was going to flee. In an instant, the man took two giant steps towards the child and snatched him by the arm, carrying him back towards the exit. As he passed, the woman and the girl turned to follow, and then Manfred saw their backs. They had the crisscrossed ridges and lines of repeated flogging. After they left, the children all filed out in two lines while the rest of the monks and nuns went back to their meals.

“Barbaric,” Manfred whispered.

“Hmm?” asked Tomas.

“You whip your people here?” asked Manfred.

“Of course we do,” said Miriam. “How else are we to maintain discipline?”

“You sound like a British officer,” said Manfred. “They whipped their men for little or no reason at all.”

“I bet they’re quite disciplined,” said Tomas. “Isn’t it true?”

Manfred grimaced. “So is the Prussian army, and we don’t have to beat the devil out of our men.”

“Interesting turn of phrase,” said Tomas. Manfred glowered at him, and the monk held his hands up in surrender. “I mean no offense. We do have strict methods here, but they only apply to children above the age of seven. They’ll only receive a single lash for their transgressions.”