Ira Mae Monks Crawfish Manor…#61

(Fiction –A- Short-Short-Story)

Ira Mae Monk sold her Rockdale home that she had lived in for fifty-years, moving into a remodeled house with small apartments for senior citizens.  Pine Grove was a short distance from the city, she wanted small town living, and she had already made a friend.  A young woman that she met when she rented a moving truck and quickly became friends, she would soon become the friend that Ira Mae never had, Sipsey Andrews thought the old woman was looking for a caretaker.  She clearly had the wrong idea about Ira Mae Monk; she was an eighty-five-year-old firecracker.  Sipsey loved her, Ira Mae was unafraid, strong, yet gentle when needed, the two women formed a wonderful friendship; Sipsey was at a time in her life where she needed someone to be there for her, she had no family.  Ira Mae Monk said and did what she wanted…be damn what others thought.

Ira Mae moved into Crawfish Manor, next to a creek of clear and quick moving water, called Crawfish Creek.  Weeks had gone by and Ira Mae was still adjusting to her new home.  The telephone rang, Sipsey knew it meant one thing, Ira Mae was unhappy about something, and no one else called her.  Ira Mae said that she was certain that the old folk living at Crawfish Manor did not have enough to do, why, because they were always prying into other folks business.  

Sipsey tried to calm her, “You might need to stop and think that most elderly people are not like you Ira Mae, most have hearing, seeing problems and gossip was their world”.  Ira was in her late eighties, acted as if she was fifty and craggy.  Sipsey laughed.

Ira Mae screamed into the phone. ”Hard of hearing, do not be fooled by that, they can hear a fly fart sitting on a pile of cow shit one-hundred yards away, they’re  nosey”.

Ira Mae sounded as if she were on a deadly mission, target unknown.

“They stare at my short hair, hell, not everyone likes short blue ringlets; and I know there is whispering when I go by them, they talk about me being braless and barefoot”.  Sipsey heard her labored breathing, “Are you OK Ira Mae”. 

“Yes, and if I was meant to wear shoes I would have been born with a pair on my feet”.  Another thing Ira Mae screamed, “I can’t help it if my girls don’t hit my knees” 

“Most of them have jugs so big that they could eat dinner off them and making it impossible for them to go braless”.  Ira Mae let whatever rolled off her tongue come out without a filter.

Then the genteel laugh begins and Sipsey knew Ira Mae had shouted her anger away.

Ira Mae no doubt irritated but amused continued with…

“Today, with the unpacking done, I decided to go for a bike ride. There I was, on the elevator with a man and woman; I had never seen them before. The man looked at me and said loudly, “Do you go to church”? Well, I smiled and said “No”; he got louder, “Don’t you believe in God”?  I smiled and said “Yes”.  He would not shut up; people who believe in God go to church”! His wife said in a screeching voice, “You’re going to hell”!

Ira Mae, I smiled and said, “Yes mam, I may go there, but, you and your husband don’t forget to say hi when you see me, yaw’ hear”!

Ira Mae heard something as they got off the elevator they said something about my southern accent.  I still don’t know their names; I just call them the Church People!  She then ask, “Sipsey you still there”.

Sipsey actually felt sorry for the other people at Crawfish Manor. Ira Mae was one of those true southern characters that you either loved or hated.  A few days later Sipsey stop in to see Ira Mae all she could talk about was the do’s and don’ts of moving into senior housing, her accounting of the Manor; her moving to what she called Hell-Town, USA , and many of its few inhabitants.  Ira Mae renamed Crawfish Manor to, “Gods Waiting Room”.  The people from “hell”, Sipsey did not believe that all of the people in Crawfish Manor or Pine Grove were as Ira Mae described them.

Upon leaving, Ira Mae saw that the Community Room was jam-packed with blue haired old battle-axes.  “She told Sipsey that if any one tells you that old people cannot see, or hear, their liars.  They sat waiting for their supper to be delivered, like vultures waiting for a road kill, peering around with their tiny beady eyes”. 

Ira Mae had moved to Wisconsin when she was just a girl.  She told the tale of how the handsome Yankee made a visit to Alabama and swept her off her feet.  She divorced him a month later but liked Wisconsin and stayed, she liked the four seasons, the snow, and she never married again and never had any children.  Her sister Nadine Monk had come to visit one summer and she never returned to Alabama, married a Rockdale boy, but a stranger killed him while playing poker at a local bar.  Like Ira Mae, Nadine never married again; she lived with Ira Mae and had only recently died.  Ira Mae mourned the death of Nadine more than she did their parents.  She was alone if not for Sipsey.  Ira Mae at one time told Sipsey that she look like Nadine when she was young. 

It was a weekend Sipsey had wish she did not come.  Sipsey wondered at times if she was slightly demented.  Several women got on the elevator with Sipsey.  They immediately jumped her with their verbal banter.

“Ain’t you the woman who moved that old woman from Rockdale in here”, yelled the one Ira Mae called the Warden. Mouth her sidekick chimed in, “Most people think she is a crazy woman, moved in speaks to no one, we know she smokes and drinks; and she is gone all day”!   I nodded respectively, without saying anything.  I did smile as I walked away. The Warden shouted out, “No one is gonna like her”.

Ira Mae called Sipsey the following night with the latest…

“If you are ever looking for senior housing”  Ira Mae said, Here are some do’s and don’ts, and this may be the most important information I could give the younger  generation, you gonna be old someday “.  Ira Mae started calling off her list.”  Sipsey wondered how long the list was!

Ira Mae continued, “You move in with old people you will be the subject of conversation for many months, maybe forever…

 “Hometown, USA, beware it is Hell-Town, USA), friendly, no, then you find that you are living in God’s Waiting Room…”  Sipsey was out of breath just listening and silent.

Sipsey did not agree with her story of a fishless Creek on one side of Crawfish Manor and the Pearly Gates on the other!   Seems Ira Mae does not let anything or anyone get her down, Sipsey’s message machine was filled most days, Ira Mae would soon end her day at Crawfish Manor and she would have said, a shot of “Jack” a day will keep the doctor away, and if you are a senior citizen just keep telling yourself…”breathe damn’it”.  Ira Mae was never satisified.

Sipsey made a sigh of respite when the phone rang; it was of course Ira Mae…

“Have you seen your email yet”?  Her voice was almost cheerful.

“No Mam, did you send me something? 

“Well, I sure did a picture of me, I walked down town today, an old man came out of the bar and I ask would he take my picture with my phone.  I sent it to you.”  

“I’m opening it now,” Sipsey prayed as she clicked the keys.

There she sat in the doorway of what looked like an old building; dressed to the “nines” from a local thrift store, her favorite shopping place.  Sipsey almost fainted, where did she get the cigar?  Sipsey felt that Ira Mae Monk was letting Pine Grove know that the great-great-granddaughter of Hightower Monk of Winston County – Alabama.

However, Sipsey had grown to love Ira Mae.  Ira Mae continued to call her new home Gods Waiting Room, somehow without talking to anyone she always knew the latest gossip, her trips around Pine Grove; everyone in Pine Grove knew her.  She felt that everyone in the town was related, maybe incest was involved, no the people who run the town are too smart. 

When she told Sipsey that there are no crawfish in the creek! Ira Mae no doubt put on her waders and checked this out. The town she says begins with the Manor, and the creek twist through town, with stores on either side of the town. On each end of Main Street are two wood bridges between the bridges between is a Theater, owned by Mayor Robert Wilson, and opened on Saturdays only. Next comes Andy Wilson barbershop, he was the Mayor’s son, Crawfish Café, was from Milwaukee County, the Mayors daughter-in-law Emma, Andy’s wife , she helps in the beauty shop if needed.  Morrie’s wife runs Edna’s Beauty shop.   Wilson’s Drugs and Hardware store is run by the Mayor’s son Morrie and Morrie’s Service Station is run by the Mayors Grandson Mitch.  That’s it, you are leaving Crawfish and last but not least, there is a sign coming into town with one single word, “Welcome”.  Next to the last bridge going out of town is a sign with bold letters stating… “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING PINE GROVE”.

By now you are wondering, the town should be called Wilson Creek. Well, no, because Ira Mae said that Mr. Wilson’s Great-great-great-granddaddy settled the town and he thought it was a fine name for a creek and named the town too. It is farm country there are no citizens accept the Wilson’s and their homes on the edge of town, right after the “Leaving” sign.   

Ira Mae told Sipsey that Crawfish Manor is a large home with palatial four-column porches that would lead one to believe it had been picked up out of the Deep South and placed there beside the creek. Ira Mae always said that the house reminded her of her Alabama home.   Within time, Ira Mae grew use to living in the Manor.   It became home and the longer she lived, the people of the Manor became her friends.

It was the day before Christmas and Sipsey received a call from Crawfish Manor.  Ira Mae had passed away in her sleep.  Sipsey knew that before Ira Mae died she had found happiness, she grew closer to the other residents at Crawfish Manor, she stop walking the one street in Crawfish.  She sat looking out her window, she was at peace  and it was a long time coming.  There was not a lot of material things, a walking cane, bottle of Jack Daniels and a few household things, Sipsey sent her entire apartment contents back to the thrift store.  The walking cane and bottle of “Jack” were put into a guest room, waiting for the Spirit of Ira Mae to come by, Sipsey had made funeral arrangements years ago, and Ira Mae had no living relatives.

Sipsey, her husband and children stood quietly by the graveside, all of them had grown to love Ira May Monk.  All of the stores closed, all of the Wilsons, the ones who had grown old with Ira Mae, they loved her too.  She had outlived everyone she knew in Crawfish Manor, the ones she knew when she first moved to Pine Grove, but the town people help get to the cemetery.

When everyone had left the cemetery, Sipsey went back, to be alone with Ira Mae.  She lovingly touched the marker and smiled as she read what Ira Mae wanted on the marker:

“Ida Mae Monk

Born and lived too long

Pine Groves Firecracker”

~

The End

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Leonard Durso…#60

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Leonard Durso

A long time cyber friend, his books are exciting to read, mystery surrounds you, in each chapter of his books; you want to keep reading, never put down until you know the ending..

Leonard Durso posted this from another poet.  It is stilled, chilled and crumbling in another time.  Enjoy the read.  E. 

Days and months never take their time.
The four seasons keep bustling each other

Away. Cold winds churn lifeless branches.
Fallen leaves cover long paths. We are frail,

Crumbling more with each turning year.
Our temples turn white early, and once

Your hair flaunts their bleached streamer,
the road ahead starts closing steadily in.

This house is an inn awaiting travelers,
and I yet another guest leaving. All this

Leaving and leaving–where will I ever
end up? My old home is on South Mountain.

Change in your Life…#59

“Nothing will change in your life if you don’t do something different from what you have been doing”. E. Perry Good

The posting for today developed from a quote by E. Perry Good, speaker, trainer, corporate coach, and author sent to me by my son Chuck Murphree in a mass family mailing.   My answer back to him was that, “We (I) try to focus on today,  more than the future,  as all we (I) have is today”.  Chuck will be publishing his first book in the fall, I have read the draft and will post its debut.

In sharing a “little” of myself with my readers today, as a family research, reading books and trying self-help methods have been a part of my family for many years.  It does not mean that we use all but we try. Living day to day is a struggle to many and not unique to only me!

Today, I lean toward my spiritual self instead of organized religion. My life scales are at any given moment tipping with uneven weight of happiness or sadness. Most of my younger life was based on “Church”, raised up in a country church where style meant overalls and outdated dresses, an old upright piano that needed tuning and a banjo could raise the roof with off- key voices and hands held toward the ceiling in hopes God would hear our praises. I taught “Sunday School” from eighteen until I was twenty-six years old. Then life gave me reason to look inward to my spiritual self instead of organized religion and this is where my beliefs have resided since that long ago day.

With that said I stopped participating in organized religion; however almost three decades of studying the Bible my belief in some of the philosophy it provides by its authors is a part of who I am today. E. Perry Good is right nothing will change if you do not do something different from what you are doing today.

This post is not intended to push any religious values on anyone; I believe it can be applied to all who want to bring change in their lives. I have written down some of my own viewpoints to share that melds with the words of E. Perry Good. The insight of Biblical authors can be a template for life by all people.

  • Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (My favorite saying Angels can be anyone carrying a message of help )
  • Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
  • Be content with what you have.
  • Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slower to anger.
  • It is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • Be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
  • Stop all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander in your life.
  • Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your own mind.

Even at my age, I look at myself as a “WORK IN PROGRESS”. I break my own rules about life and how I live it, I have to start over many times, rethinking my life, my own behavior and I truly believe that we are only “done” with improvement in our lives when we take our last breath. I will never be perfect, my flaws are many, but the hope to transformation my life never ceases. Hope for a better self should never die. In addition, I do believe that we should live for today, for tomorrow may never come.

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree 

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Always in Search of Words…#58

Holding on to the past when you need to let go – accepting that there are things in life that should not be. Sometimes letting go is what makes us stronger, happier, and more successful in the end. Yet, writing fiction that is based on the past can be funny, sad or just used as a method of putting the past where it should be…in the past.

These books based on my past, good, bad or indifferent…poetry it was a method of letting go, growing, and thriving in acknowledging many thoughts.

Thank you for your support the book sales are great and all because of you my readers and fellow bloggers. Happy holidays and enjoy every moment for all we have is today.

Ann Johnson-Murphree Poetry Books – A Collection of Poetry


http://www.amazon.com/Sachet-Poetry-Adoration-Aspirations-Asylums/dp/1500483354/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413302456&sr=8-1&keywords=ann+johnson-Murphree

Giving Second Chances (My Analysis) of Family or Friends that Betray…#57

Burton Characters

My Sister and I were having a conversation yesterday and it turned as usual to “family”.  I know that we are not the only leaf on the family tree to fall, I hear many people talk who have the same quandaries with families.  We discussed that we were always the ones to extend the “olive branch” so to speak.  The keeping up with our much faceted family is heartbreaking and tiring.  If you call them weekly to see how they are doing, and you say to yourself, why am I the only one to reach out?  Then you start to count the years wasted in being the glue that may hold this small family together.  I guess that we have a very diverse group of individuals that are related to each other.  If you do not keep the flow of conversation going, it may and has been months or years before you give in and call them.  They portray someone that has never left what a waste.  I begin to think, if these people were not related to me would I have anything to do with them, would they be my friends, some yes and some no?

When one becomes tired of the obstacles, one must fight through to deal with them, to continue working on a one-sided family or friend relationship.  A lifetime of being the one to write, call, visit, get real… they “use” you and then they return to their “entitled” selves.  In addition, on and off family or friend relationship that “finally” becomes a chore to continue.  The term “you have to love them, as in family”, maybe… “But you don’t have to like them” or “continue to have something to do with them.  It is time to move on, but first some thoughts…

Reverting to past times and starting new…trust your instinct about one-sided relationships.  You are not obligated to make continuous “start over’s” when these people do not contribute to a relationship, family or friend.  Vow to give yourself a new start and ending all the old turmoil in your life, be bold.  Their “Faith” does not have to be your faith.  The entitled relative or friend has no real pride, it is false, they have had everything given to them in life and continues to expect more.  You do not have to bear the weight of their crisis of the day that turns into a joke tomorrow.  Give up, accept final defeat, you need to stop extending that “olive branch” when you have been shunned, mistreated, or was always the giver while the user takes.  This type of relationship is not cracked it is broke!

“It takes years to learn to move on to understand that you were not in the wrong.  Hope for change in this type of person is overrated and outdated, reality needs to be fully awake and aware, leave the past behind and their hypocrisy.  You have been kept too long on the “family or friend” hook; their manipulation gives them power, the “I will call you, so you do not call me as I may be busy” needs to end.

Hypocrisy is the claim or pretense of feelings, behaviors, characteristics that one does not in fact have, these people have false acts and their motive is for gain.   Failing to perceive and condemn faults of their own is their real normal.  These people, these human beings misuse others and justify their own behavior.  Evil is not uncommon, it is every day.  Hypocrites believe that they are good, that they are innocent, and the victim.

My decision going forward, gives no chance or favor, my rule only.  It is my life, it is worth living without constant conflict, the emotional pain these people impose should nourish your courage, the time comes when…”SAYING GOODBYE TO THESE PEOPLE MAY BE THE ONLY SECOND CHANCE YOU WILL GET”.   

Peace and Love

Elizabeth

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Books at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

Finding Greatness…#56

Image result for follow dreams

Where do dreams start, first in your heart (desire), second in your mind (the process), third set them in motion, if you can dream it, you can make it come true.  This I believe, and time or age should not be a factor, think big then appreciate the small blessings.

I have had comments on my blog that are positive when I post poetry or prose, those that indicate that efforts were a waste of time, I trash!  I am doing what I want with my life and I will always run into the naysayers, doubters and those who believe that my butt should be planted in a rocking chair and my hand should be holding knitting needles.  Instead, I sit here with laptop on an  old table pounding out poetry or a short story idea and scoff at those who would try to kill my dream, a dream in the making over a lifetime and the last ten-years spent in learning and creating.  Of this creation, process has been given birth to nine poetry books, one bio book of my daughter’s journey before death, and one of my personal art.

I am not intimidated with rejection slips, I am a member of the rejection slip club and our membership is huge; yet, we refuse to give up our dreams.  In this club, I am in the presence of good writers, and creative excellence that has yet to fulfill their dreams.  We are all on a journey to find ourselves, to meet the excellence of who we were intended to be.  It is a roller coaster ride, for every ten “no’s” there is a “yes”, we dream of one day hearing “YES, YES, YES”!

You must not only follow your dreams, you must fight for them, again age, time, place, and conditions cannot stop our dreams.  If you do not go after your dreams, you will be responsible for them being “crushed”.  At the end of your life, have no regrets.  Look around, dreamers created all of the many things that you love.  Therefore, your dreams may not come as soon as you would like, be patience the side trips toward your dream could inspire you in other ways toward your greatness.  A part of your personal growth in life is because of your dreams, without them would you be who you are today?

Doing what you want in life attracts those who are jealous, ignore them; do not try to justify your dreams with these people; they are not worth your time.  Following your dreams may give them the inspiration to find their own dreams.

Again, age is not a factor in following or finding your dream, stay motivate, look at failures as a learning ground for growth and always remember that there are no rules in life where dreaming is concerned.  Never set boundary around yourself, or let others wall up your dreams.  Take a chance on finding greatness.

Peace and Love

Elizabeth

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Anger and Sadness…#55

Watercolor by Elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Doubt and despair at times over life, how long until the end.  Is there no end.  Do we crossover without suffering.   There was a day when I watched in silence while inside the screams were not coming.  The horror closed up my throat. I watched in silence as a pure light flickered then went out, silence filled the room; the angel in our life was gone. 

Words like a blade thirsting for blood stabbed at my heart, even a mother’s love could not save her.  The day over, my heart ripped from my bosom tossed into the night.  With the sunrise your soul beautiful and innocent soul took flight.

 God let me see you blossom, he let me see you grow; why he wanted, you back know one would know.  Anger and sadness I could not rest, my child is gone with the rising sun and with it, and I watched my happiness flee.

Peace and Love

Elizabeth

©2019.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Authors Books – Amazon.Com