TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A Bicycle Built For Two?

 

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Despite living in a small town, there was a lot of ground to cover if the only means of transportation were your feet. Gueydan had only two main roads running through it with two segregated schools on one end where poor folks like my family lived and the “upper class” folks living on the other end of town. Our houses on McMurtry Street were only a few blocks away from the library where my oldest sister worked during the summer.

Usually I didn’t mind walking all the way from our house to the library and back. It gave me a few moments of freedom away from my home life, but it also gave me a chance to fill my head with dreams of faraway places and worlds where my life had more meaning. But my favorite time going to the library was when my mother used to tell me to walk my sister’s bike to her so she could ride it back at the end of her shift.

I was only about eight or nine at the time but thought I had the perfect plan for being able to teach myself how to ride that bike. You see, Carol was the only one who had a bike. Mother thought I would hurt myself trying to get on it so she forbid me to ride it over to the library. So I walked it…that is until I thought I was out of sight of the house…and then I would hop on and wobble my way down the road several blocks until the library came into view. Then I would hop off and walk it the rest of the way.

Day after day I rode the bike that summer, never realizing my mother was actually watching me from the safety of our front porch, until I became quite proficient at handling it without running into the parked cars along the way. Oh the thrill of those clandestine rides, summer sun warm on my cheek and the wind lifting the ends of my hair like little bird wings as I soared down the street toward my daily destination.

I truly thought this would be my only chance to travel by any other means than my own two feet, so imagine my surprise when Janet and I received two bright blue bicycles from Santa Claus that Christmas. We could hardly contain our excitement and Mother let us ride it in front of the house on Christmas Day but told us we were never allowed to ride it when she wasn’t around. A simple enough rule to follow…that is if you didn’t count the temptation for two eager children full of the need to test the speed of their new bikes.

Later that day my parents had to make a run to the grocery store and wouldn’t be back for about an hour. Just enough time for two girls to hatch up a plan to ride our bikes some more without Mother’s knowledge we were breaking her number one rule. There was a narrow gravel road that ran for several blocks behind our house and we thought it would be safe to ride our bikes there for just a few minutes. There would still be plenty of time to return the bikes to the garage before Daddy and Mother returned home.

Everything started out fine and we rode side by side until we suddenly came upon a car parked in front of us. We were going too fast to stop in time but there was just enough room for us to pass on each side…me going to the left and Janet to the right…and we would continue down the road once we got past the car.

Or so we thought.

Imagine our horror when we miscalculated the distance between our front tires and with a sickening crunch, crashed into each other just as we cleared the car in our path. Tumbling to the ground, we sat for a moment in stunned silence and almost too afraid to check for any damage. Knowing we couldn’t just sit there forever, we got up to inspect our brand new bikes and discovered both front tires were badly bent.

It’s moments like those that make a kid want to run away from home and never look back. We KNEW this was a beating offense should our mother discover our misdeed and yet we desperately tried to think of a way to conceal it from her without any luck. Unfortunately this is where I have to leave my story an open ended tale as I honestly don’t remember what happened next other than I remember having to walk our brand new bikes back home because they were too damaged to be ridden. Maybe Janet can help my memory out and let us all know if we ended up not being able to sit down for a week or if, by some miracle we managed to keep Mother from finding out. All I know is by the time the dust settled from our foolish accident, there was only enough good parts left of those two bikes for ONE bike for the two of us to ride…

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A Cup of Love

 

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My mother was a very strict disciplinarian. Many, including a younger version of myself, would have labeled her an abusive parent. But with age comes wisdom, and over the years I have come to realize that upbringing and circumstances molded my mother into the person she had become by the time I had joined an already crowded family. I hold onto some of the better memories and recognize now my mother’s attempt to show her children how much she cared…like when we came home on cold, rainy school days.

By the time I was in first grade, I pretty much knew what would be waiting for me after walking home in the pouring rain. I was the youngest of four siblings and as a toddler, watched as Mother would go through the same ritual every year for my two sisters and brother as they walked through the back door in their rain-soaked clothes.

Hours before Mother would be in the kitchen with her trusted collection of recipes and whip up a huge pot of homemade hot cocoa. Food in our home was always carefully rationed out…except for on Hot Cocoa Day.

On Hot Cocoa Day a bone-chilled, dripping wet kid could always count on two things. A towel warmed by a gas space heater to wrap up in and an endless mug of Mother’s hot cocoa. I wouldn’t be far off saying I lived for Hot Cocoa Day. As a pre-schooler I would watch as she mixed all the ingredients into a huge stock pot and impatiently waited as it slowly simmered into a rich brown vat of childhood delight.

Once I began school I would walk home a little faster on rainy days because I knew what was waiting for me. After stuffing newspaper inside our wet shoes to help them dry, we would hover in front of that one tiny heater in the living room while Mother took turns holding the towels up to the flames to reheat them until we were dry. Then, and only when she made a new batch of hot cocoa, we were allowed to fill our mugs with as much of that chocolate goodness as we wanted. Any leftovers was stored in pitchers to be rationed out for days afterward. If we were lucky, there would be slices of homemade bread straight from the oven, topped with fresh churned butter or maybe even some snickerdoodle cookies to nibble on.

While my mother was not one for showing much affection, I now know this was one way she showed her children how much she cared. And even though it’s been more than forty years since I’ve had my mother’s hot cocoa, every time I sit down to drink some on a cold, rainy day I think of her and realize there was a lot of love in that cup…

 

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Snickerdoodle Cookies
by Ferol Lavergne

1 cup shortening
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix shortening, butter,sugar, and eggs. Blend all dry ingredients.

Stir in with shortening, butter, sugar and egg mixture. Roll into balls the size of a small walnut. Roll in mixture of 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown and still slightly soft. Allow to cool completely and store in airtight container. Makes 16 dozen.

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

**************

 

donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

 

 

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A Cry In The Night

 

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There were forces at 407 McMurtry beyond the norm. Spirits…ghosts if you believe in that sort of thing…and there even if you didn’t. My sister even managed to capture one on film during some remodeling my mother was doing at the front of the house. But it was a cry in the middle of the night one summer which sent chills down my spine and had me giving prayers of thanks for one of those ghostly encounters.

The last house I lived in before graduation was one of the oldest homes in Gueydan. Almost 100 years old when my family moved in, that house had seen quite a few people die within it’s four walls (including both my parents) before it was torn down in the name of progress.

It had 12 foot ceilings and tapestry wallpaper Mother painted over as soon as we moved in. At the front of the house was a formal “sitting room” she converted into a bedroom, with a pass-through closet connecting it to a smaller bedroom on the other side where my sister and I slept. At the other end of the house was my parent’s bedroom and in between was a long narrow bathroom, dining room complete with French style doors, and a drafty living room. Large enough to accommodate my family and still within their financial budget.

Just outside my parent’s bedroom was a massive beveled mirror. It was a keepsake taken from an ice cream parlor my parents owned when I was younger and hung in a place of honor in the dining room. Every morning for years my mother would come out of the bedroom and walk past that mirror on her way to the kitchen. Except for that one night my mother never varied the route from her room to her morning coffee.

Everyone had gone to bed and the house was quiet. Some might say so quiet you could hear a pin drop…or even the faint cry of a baby. Rousing from a deep sleep , my mother strained to pinpoint the origin of the sound. There it was again. Now thinking one of her children was calling out to her, my mother did something she had NEVER done before that night and never did again for all the years she lived in that house.

My mother padded barefoot through the bathroom on her way to the other side of the house to check on us. After discovering all of us still sleeping soundly in our beds, Mother decided to stay up for the day. Heading toward the kitchen, my mother soon realized just how lucky she was to have heard that ghostly cry.

Turning on the dining room light, she stopped in shock and looked at broken glass scattered everywhere. A mysterious hand had removed that massive mirror from the wall and thrown it with such force it shattered when it hit the floor. If my mother had taken her normal route to the kitchen that morning, she would have sliced up her feet or even fallen face first onto the huge shards of broken glass.

We never could figure out how the mirror ended up in the middle of the room when it needed two strong people to lift it in the first place. And why did Mother choose to pass through the bathroom that night on her way to check on us? She never had before nor since. We also wondered why no one woke up to the sound of it hitting the floor. And only my mother heard the baby’s cry. We came up with many different theories but the one thing everyone could agree on…we were all thankful for that cry in the night saving my mother from harm…

 

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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

***************

 

donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

TALES FROM THE BAYOU: A Case of Mistaken Identity

 

 

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I’m one of those people who LOVED going to school. The passion for learning new things has carried with me all my life but sometimes got me into big trouble.

While I excelled in my studies (graduating second in my class), the sciences were an area where I sometimes struggled. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the concepts…I’ve just always preferred anything to do with reading and writing over any other subject.

The only science class I enjoyed was Biology. To say I LOVE animals is putting it mildly and any time there was an extra credit project offered I would jump at the chance to do them. Maybe I should have exercised a bit more caution.

One Friday morning my seventh grade teacher announced a “show & tell” extra project due the following Monday for anyone interested. Of course I was game and went home that afternoon wondering what I would bring in…never realizing Mother would give me what I thought was the perfect solution.

You have to remember when I say my family was poor, we quite literally took advantage of ANY opportunity to put food on the table. So when I walked in the door that day and saw a severed pig’s head lying on the dining room table, I was barely surprised.

Beady eyes stared back at me as I watched my mother prepare that head so she could make hog head cheese…also know as Souse in other parts of the country.

Any other child would probably have discarded the bones and thought nothing else of it. Not me. I decided that bag of bones would guarantee I would pass Biology class with flying colors. Another hour of boiling and they looked clean enough to hang in a museum. Boy, was I excited for Monday to arrive so I could wow my classmates during Show & Tell!

There were two things I didn’t plan on. One, the fact the air conditioning was out in that old school building and temperatures were averaging in the mid 80’s or higher in southern Louisiana where there is ALWAYS high humidity. Two, don’t let anyone tell you that boiling pig head bones for an hour is enough to actually kill the bacteria continuing to grow unseen inside that paper bag I stored it in for three days.

I feel badly for my sister…an unknown “accomplice” to what the principal thought was some satanic ritual when the janitor discovered the source of the horrific smell emanating from an extra locker she had been assigned. I had nowhere to put those bones until Biology class so I simply tucked them in that locker and went on about my day.

Can’t you just imagine the look on the poor janitor’s face when he opened the paper bag and saw what he thought must have been some animal sacrifice? My sister was pulled out of her class to explain and the next thing I know I’m facing a very agitated principal who is trying to decide if this was an epic failure at using common sense or if I actually needed a psychiatric evaluation!

And here all I wanted to do was share a little pig head appreciation…

 
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LUNADAR: Homeward Bound

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of LUNADAR. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne. But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song. With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of LUNADAR at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

$16.99

 

*********************

 

donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.