From Pompeii to Pulitzer


Daily Prompt
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

From Pompeii to Pulitzer
I have been feeling really ancient lately. I seem to be doing everything in slow motion. It is an effort to just get out of bed. It is a big effort to get myself dressed another challenge is putting my shoes on. The next effort is taking nourishment to refuel my ancient carcass. Going out of the apartment might be equated to traveling to another universe. Getting back into bed at night should be a slam dunk but it is not, just more effort.

I decided to look up the meaning of ancient, this is what I found, belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence. I almost did a backflip in my exuberance over the knowledge that I must not be ancient because I still exist. This was a very big day for me, even thought about going jogging, until I woke up.

My connection to the ancient past still haunts me in a positive way. Why? I have to figure out what that connection is. Was I an ancient philosopher in the city of Pompeii? Was I there for the eruption of the volcano in A.D. 79? I couldn’t have been there for that or I would be preserved in part of the ruins of that ancient city.

Maybe I was killed in the volcano in that ancient Roman city and I was reincarnated as a rat. I scurried onto the first Viking ship that docked there and went back to Norway. After other reincarnations in the 1600s. I begin to study writing feverishly. Or did I get scarlet fever trying to write at such a fever pitch! My health was in very serious danger at that time also.

My goal was to become the first recipient of the prestigious Nobel Bloggers Prize.
I’ve been thinking about my serious dilemma all day today. It is no mystery, there should be no wonder or question about my physical condition, for feeling so ancient, I’ve been working on my goal for hundreds of years.
I don’t see an end in sight. I will just have to keep on blogging.

Harvest Time “Shocking”

This story is about the shocking part of threshing grain in the late twenties or early thirties. The real shocking part is the amount of labor involved, to harvest a crop of grain. Today, one person with a modern combine can harvest a field of grain in a few hours. Today’s farmer takes pride in the amount of speed they have. In the days of the horse drawn binder, I believe speed was very important too.

The farmer took pride in getting those bundles gathered together into a picturesque display of shocks, as fast as possible. It just didn’t look right having bundles of grain scattered on the ground where the weather had a chance to destroy them. There were many times when those beautiful, in line, shocks of grain did get rained on. The shockers had to go back and open up shocks or try to rearrange or situate the bundles so they could get dried out in time for threshing.



The picture shows some of our family cousins at grain shocking time, after their lunch break. The way it looks, they are getting ready to go back out to the grain field. From left to right is my grandpa Andrew Olson, his daughter Alice, Winton Johnston, Fred Wirta, Frank Olson, Edna Johnston and Elma Olson.

My dad Frank, born in 1913, is holding the old brown Redwing crock water jug, that always went out to the field. It was no doubt just filled with cold water at the windmill well. When it was really hot, a wet burlap bag was wrapped around the jug to keep it cooler. This was about 10 years before I was born but they were still shocking grain and using threshing machines in my younger days. I got to drink water out of that same old brown jug, when I attempted to handle bundles of grain.


There was a drinking water bucket in the pantry with a dipper in it. We all drank from that dipper, a real sharing family. I also recall if you had a drink shortly after grandpa there was always a very slight, yet  unmistakable essence of Copenhagen, that was okay with me.

The grain was cut and bundled with a horse drawn grain binder, the bundles came out of that binder fast. The shockers job was to pick up a bundle in each hand and stand them up on end together, another person stood up two more, until there was about five pairs standing teepee fashion. One or two bundles were laid across the top to help keep the rain off. The shocks had to be constructed for strength to withstand wind and rain. It could be many days before a threshing machine was going to be in the neighborhood to thresh the grain from the straw.

If grain shocks got left in the field for a long period of time, wild small animals wanted to move in and use them for their living quarters. I bet more than one bundle pitcher had to eat his dinner out on the porch, after waking up a skunk with the end of his pitchfork.

Grandma’s Button Box


Grandma’s Button Box

I sewed a button on a shirt the other day. It was something I guess I learned to do watching my mother and my grandmother as a child. It’s not really rocket science, it is something everyone should learn how to do.

I dropped the button box, you should never do that, if the box doesn’t have a cover on it. We have had my grandmother’s old button box for over forty years. She didn’t go for the fancy stuff, nothing for show. Her button box was an old coffee can, Tone’s Pressure Packed Coffee. The lid was missing when we got it. Made me wonder if grandma ever dropped it! I just found out the Tone Brothers started a coffee company in De Moines Iowa in 1873, they went on to add hundreds of other spices to their list of products.

Back to the buttons, they went all over the floor. My first instinct was to grab the vacuum cleaner, vacuum up the mess and throw it all in the garbage can. As I started picking up all the different items, I thought to myself, this could have been grandma’s little treasure can. There was every kind of button you can imagine. I found two candle clips for putting Christmas Candles on the tree. There was a small white onyx dove of peace. There was a lone gold cuff link, a silver thimble and a wooden spool with heavy cotton thread on it. The same thread she used on my buttons or knee patches. That spool is about my age and I used that thread on my button job the other day. There was also a finger nail clipper for thread or finger nails

There was one item I  am still wondering about, that is a silver buckle. It doesn’t look like a person’s belt buckle. The more I thought about that buckle the more of a mystery it became. Grandmother Minnie Virtinen came from north of the Arctic Circle, from the land of the reindeer people. I believe that buckle came off a reindeer harness. She brought it all the way to America. So she would always have something to connect her to her homeland. Their Reindeer are very important, they live together, dependent on each other. When I look at that buckle now, I will wonder to myself, how often did grandma take that old buckle out and hold it, look at it and remember her childhood days in the far North.

My grandfather, Minnie’s husband came from Tromso, Norway. His name was Kristian Andreas Olson Hoel, I believe they met each other in Norway or on the ship coming to America. When they left Ellis Island they made their way to Michigan, where many worked in the copper mines. My grandfather and grandmother continued on to Northern Minnesota were grandpa worked in the iron mines for a few years before coming to South Dakota to start life as a young farmer.

This bottom picture shows my grandmother with her famous Rhode Island Red Chickens. She loved her chickens, they talked to each other all the time. She won many ribbons at the county and state fairs throughout her life. This picture of her feeding the chickens was possibly taken in the 1920s or 30s. I know when we were little kids, things seem bigger, but these old red chickens were huge. They loved to walk up to little kids and look them right straight in the eyes. I always turned around and took off running as fast as I could go.

Minnie Olson (2).jpg

Make Authenticity Your Goal


Discover Challenge

Radical Authenticity

Make Authenticity Your Goal

I believe most writers search for true authenticity, in their own way or genre. They may well be better off staying with a certain style of writing. Our emotions keep coming to the surface, with ‘make changes’, written all over them. They can alter, create doubt, change the mood we are in. Hopefully we can alter those moods to write clearer lines. The goal is to be confidently sure and happy in our own minds, that is not always going to be the case.

I don’t believe I have an untethered soul, even if I do have a tethered spinal cord. I refuse to let pain run my life. Instead, I stay busy, able to block out the pain by shunning it. I refuse to think about it, let alone dwell on it. I refuse to let it get control and I don’t take pain drugs. It is done with the power that is in my mind that I cannot explain. I have found if I sit back and relax, take my mind off everything else that is going on around or in me. I have fairly good results with a project. I am a relative newbie when it comes to writing and I missed out on far too many classes that would have helped mold me into being a writer. “Hind site, means you could not find your rear with both hands at one time.”

We as a Nation are obsessed with happiness. We want everything to be cut and dried for us, with out our own input. We want all the answers made for us and want them to be positive. We appear to be someone we are not in many circumstances. Just put on a false front, most importantly look and act prosperous. It’s a great instant feeling for the right now, but in the attic of your mind, the subconscious whispers to you. ‘This is not you, you can’t keep up with the Joneses, you can’t even keep up with yourself.’ Down you go and you were just up so high!

We need an excuse, so we blame the advertising world for brainwashing us. We as people make the final decision on how many cars, homes, boats, luxury items, electronic gadgets, we need. No one twisted our arms or made us buy all that stuff. Most people are in debt, way, way over their heads, with no chance insight of ever getting out of debt. We need counselors to tell us why were unhappy? Something is very wrong with this picture.

There has never been a time in history when authenticity meant so little, probably including the Roman Empire. There is much unhappiness, self-pity, need, greed, selfishness, and people just letting it all hang out in a dream world. They don’t think they will ever have to wake up. We pretend to be a religious, wealthy society. It is not authentic!

I sound like the authentic, negative nabob, spreading negativisms about our Nation. Shame on me! I just feel individuals have to start taking more responsibility for their own situations and station in life, not expecting someone else to do all of the heavy work for them. True happiness can only come from within, one action, one thought at a time. It can’t be bought at a big box store.

What does my authenticity mean to me? I am what I am, I always try to change for the better when sliding down the inevitable slippery slope. I learned many years ago, “I can B.S. somebody else, but I can’t B.S. myself or my creator.”

Easy Scratch Recipes Week 33




Microwave Apple Crisp

6 c. pared, sliced apples                      1/2 c. margarine

2 Tbl orange juice                                  1 tsp. grated orange rind

3/4 c. brown sugar                                 1 c. flaked coconut.

1/2 c. flour                                               walnuts optional

Put apples in a 7 x 9″ glass baking dish, sprinkle with orange juice.Combine sugar, flour and orange rind.
Cut in margarine until crumbly. Add coconut and sprinkle over the apples.
Cook dessert for 12 minutes on the high setting, turning dish.once during the cooking period.
Cool, add whipped cream or topping when served

Parental Panic



Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner- 2016 Week #41

Parental Panic

Scott’s father returns from work and doesn’t see his son’s swimming flippers or snorkel on the porch. Mira, “did you let Scott go swimming by himself?” It’s midweek, there is no one at the beach. He shouldn’t be down there by himself, a shark was out there last week. I go to work and you let him go alone? I can’t believe it, “you don’t care, he is only your stepson!”

I’m going down there to make sure everything is OK. Scott’s dad gets to the beach, the child is nowhere in sight. He spots his swim flippers near the water, one has blood on it. He goes nuts, ballistic, screaming and yelling as he runs back, to call the rescue squad. He calls 911, soon there are sirens wailing as vehicles pull up to the beach.

I have to get back down there. Pack your bags Mira, your out of here! The neighbor lady, Mrs. Parson calls, Myra, “what’s going on, with all the sirens? “Bob thinks something happened to Scott. Stop crying Myra, “Scott cut his foot, he came here because it was closer, he is just fine.”

Bob cried, while Mira drove away.

Original Old Coot


Daily Prompt

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Original Old Coot

He was the original self made man, excelling in many fields. As an electronic and computer technician, writer, and historian. He was the original jack of all trades, no one can deny that. He was not a genius but always truly capable to meet the task at hand. He was always given to thinking and acting in a constructive, independent, creative, individualistic, manner. He was also a quiet, pious man, the reserved original thinker.

To some who did not know him well, they may have seen a bragger, he made a slightly different impression. He came across as the different original, quirky or an unusual person. They saw him as a lone individual, an eccentric, nonconformist, maybe as a free spirit or a maverick. At the same time almost reclusive as a hermit might be. If that was true it was a side that was well hidden, but he would gladly tell you about it.

Now that I have his simple epitaph completed, I shall shop for a monument to put it on.