Oliver

( Intermediate Level )

Being the runt of the litter, Oliver was not thought to survive. He surprised everyone with his strong will.

Knowing her husband she responded with, “He has had the will to live for this long, so we just need to leave him be. You never know. Someone may want him.”

He grunted then took a sip of his morning coffee. He finished his breakfast and would soon tend to his morning chores.

Martha Jean cleared the table from the morning’s meal and kissed Ben on his forehead. ” I am going into town this morning with Selma. Do you need to pick up anything for you?”

He shook his head no as he stood up and walked his coffee cup to the sink. “I will be out most of the day. I have to stretch a new wire in the west pasture then fix a few of the boards around the pens. There are some broken boards and before you know it we will have pigs running amuck.

Martha Jean kissed her husband one last time as she gathered her purse to leave. Her husband grabbed his hat and work gloves and followed her out.

“See you tonight then. I am not sure how long I will be. You know Selma. She loves to shop!” He smiled as he pulled on his gloves.

As his wife drove out of the gate Benjamin looked around. He gathered the tools he would need for the fencing when he noticed the pig pen. The bottom rail was down. He knew he needed to fix this before he did anything.

As he approached it with tools in hand he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. It was the runt. He had escaped.

Benjamin was too old to chase after this little escapee. He felt this little one was not worth the headache.

He mended the rail under the watchful eye of this little creature. Every so often Benjamin would say something to him. Whatever that piglet was doing at that time, he stopped as if he was listening to him.

Benjamin found himself smiling. “Am I crazy to talk to you? Or am I more crazy thinking you are actually listening?” He sighed and headed to his truck.

He was leaving later than he wanted to the pasture but he knew he needed to fix what he did, now, otherwise, he may come back to a disaster.

Hours had passed and the sun would be setting soon. Benjamin looked at his watch and knew he needed to finish up quickly. His wife should be heading home since she doesn’t like driving when it gets dark. His chickens, his goats, and his pigs would need to be fed.

Twenty minutes had passed and he was finally finished. He packed up his tools and headed home. Somehow he skipped lunch and he was extremely hungry. His stomach growls reminded him.

He drove near the barn where he stored the feed for the animals. He gathered hay, grain, and pellets to feed all.

As he approached the house he saw his wife’s car. How he hoped she was preparing supper. He was starving.

He stopped first at the chicken coop to throw the scratch grain and check their water levels. He gathered a few eggs they had laid after he collected in the morning. He carefully placed them in a container until he got to the house. He always kept it there just for this purpose.

The next stop was his goats. He gave them a few flakes of hay just to tide them over to the morning. Now that the wire to the west pasture was repaired he would be able to turn them out to graze the next day.

Next, and final stop, were the pigs. His sow and her babies would be waiting for the nightly grain. They came running to the side of their pens snorting, wanting their food.

He fed them and looked around at the babies. How they were growing. Many were about twenty-five to thirty pounds already. In another few months, he would be able to sell them for a good amount of money.

The money earned from any young chicks. piglets or kid goats helped keep him in feed for the season and a little went into his pocket.

He looked around the outside of the fence to see if he could spot the escapee from earlier that day. Surely the smells of the grains would lure him in. He was nowhere to be found.

He shrugged it off and headed to wash up for dinner. He could smell the delicious meal his wife was preparing from outside. His stomach growled louder.

He entered the mud room and took off his work boots. His wife disliked him wearing them in the house. They were usually full of mud and such. She didn’t like to clean her floors afterward.

As he hung up his hat and placed his work gloves nearby he heard his wife talking. He figured she was on the telephone.

He entered and went straight to the sink to wash for dinner. As he was rinsing his hands he felt a nudge on his leg. He looked down to see that scrawny little piglet by his side.

What on earth is he doing inside? I thought the hawks got him since he didn’t have the safety of his momma.”

“Well, he came running to me when I pulled in this afternoon. Poor little thing was thirsty and hot. I picked him up and brought him inside.”

“You could have put him over the fence and let him be with the rest of them. Now I will have to put my boots back on to take him outside.”

“You will do no such thing, Benjamin. Oliver will stay with me. I will care for him until he gets a little bigger.”

“What? You named him? Why?”

” I told you someone would want that little guy as she looked down at Oliver. Well that someone is me. I have always had a special place in my heart for the underdogs. After all, I married you.” As she said that she kissed him on the cheek.

He scoffed and sat down to eat. Over dinner, he told her of the day’s events, starting with the wood rail of the pig pen. He told her how he talked to Oliver. At that time he was nameless but he felt the little guy understood.

She sat there and smiled as she looked at him then again at Oliver. She knew her husband was softening and Oliver would stay on their little homestead, getting bigger and fatter.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

Like Martha Jean, I appreciate all animals. I truly believe those which are unwanted or tossed aside, turn out to be the best pet, by far.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:

Vocabulary:

runt – noun: smallest in a litter

the will to live – expression: determined to live

chores – noun: routine tasks

amuck – adverb: chaos and disorder

rail – noun: a bar or series of bars, typically fixed on upright supports, serving as part of a fence or barrier

escapee – noun: a person or animal who has escaped

not worth the headache – idiom: not worth discussing, not worth the thought or trouble 

piglet – noun: baby or young pig

coop – noun: a cage or pen for confining poultry

tide them over – phrasal verb: be sufficient until something changes

sow – noun: adult female pig

lure – verb: tempt

mud room – noun: a small room or entryway where footwear and outerwear can be removed before entering a house

nudge – verb: a light touch or push

scrawny – adjective: unattractively thin and bony

underdogs – noun: little chance to win, survive

scoffed -verb: speak to someone or about something in a scornfully or mocking way

homestead – noun: a house, especially a farmhouse, and outbuildings

Question ( s ):

Does/did Oliver deserve the chance to survive?

Have you ever adopted a pet that was unwanted? Maybe from a shelter?

The Warrior

close up photography of brown horse

( Intermediate Level )

The natives call him The Warrior but the local ranchers call him a menace. This proud stallion has run free since he was a colt by his mother’s side.

His father, the strong alpha of his herd, taught him well .Whatever it took, his father protected his family. Fighting other stallions or helping elude the lassos of ranchers.

It was destined from birth that Warrior would have to leave his father’s herd and start his own which he has successfully done. He has collected seventeen mares and sired many young.

He is a bit stealthier than his father was. His father kept his herd far from any human contact. This was a beast he did not want to battle. For Warrior, humans didn’t matter.

Under the cloak of darkness, he would sneak in, close enough to the rancher’s pastures, beckoning their prize mares to follow him, adding to his already large family.

Ranchers would look for days for their mares but never found them. Warrior had taken them far away from the confines they once knew.

He knew he and his family were safe past the ridge to the north. This was his territory. His home. The land where he could run free.

Once a year the reach, even in this area, was not safe. The reach of man encroached on their safety to the north. Round-ups, as they called them, helped reduce the size of the wild horse herds, which decimated the lands due to overgrazing.

This is an ongoing battle between cattlemen and these majestic horses. Cattlemen need these lands to graze their cattle. With the wild herds growing, year by year, the lands are left barren.

This year’s round – up was no different than each year before. Ranchers would gather and plan what areas to go to and how many were to be captured.

This was the first year the ranchers came to his lair. Warrior knew he needed to keep his family safe when the ranchers came. He knew he could not win the battle against them. So when they came, he ran away with great speed, hoping his family followed.

Unfortunately, some of his family were captured or died trying to escape. They tried desperately to keep up with him but failed maybe out of fear. The ranchers used the sounds of gunshots to separate certain horses from the main group leaving them vulnerable to their lassos.

Once Warrior could get his group to safety he would walk around the group, snorting, as if he was seeing who was missing. He listened to the sound of their whinnies.

One was not heard. He bellowed again and still nothing. He was listening for the whinny of his mare. The alpha mare.

He pawed the ground out of frustration. Where was she? He looked out into the distance. He could see the dust being kicked up from the ranchers herding the captured horses into makeshift corrals in the distance.

He circled his group once again and started to move them even deeper to the north. He didn’t want to lose any more of his family to humans.

When the sun started to set and his herd was settled he knew he had to go back. Go back to see if he could find those who were not with his group.

That evening after the sun had set he made his rounds with his herd. Nuzzling some and nipping gently at his young. It was his way of reassuring them that everything would be alright.

He quietly made his way down the mountainside to where he knew the drama had unfolded earlier. He knew this land well so traveling in the dark was not an issue.

He saw the light from a campfire as he approached. He listened carefully, staying out of view. He heard the voices of his enemy. Man.

He quietly moved around to find the corrals, all the time staying far enough away so as to not be seen by the ranchers but close enough so his family could smell him. They knew somehow to stay silent so as to not alert the men of Warrior’s presence.

Warrior waited until the campfire nearly burned out. Only the glow of hot embers remained. This meant the ranchers would settle down for the night. Now was his chance to get his family and any extras that have been captured.

He slowly approached the circular corral. He let out a deep low throaty sound as if to say hello. Warrior walked around the pen making this sound stopping periodically to hear a response from his mare.

On his last pass, he heard her. He heard her respond back and this excited him. She was there in the center surrounded by others.

She made her way to the edge and they greeted each other through the wooden slats. Each talking low. You could see the sense of relief felt by Warrior. She was there. Now he had to get her out and back with him and the herd.

He looked over to where the ranchers had fallen asleep and his eyes gazed there for moments. He was looking for movement which he did not see. It was now or never.

He quickly turned and with all his might, he began to kick and kick the panels of the corral. The noises of the horses became louder and he worked feverishly to break the side down. This noise would surely wake up the men.

Hey! What’s going on over there?” yelled one of the men, who woke to the noise. One last kick and the panel fell. Warrior jumped forward and let out a loud commanding neigh that echoed in the valley. This was the signal to the once captured to follow him.

All took off, into the darkness, leaving the ranchers helpless. All they heard were the sounds of their hooves stampeding off into the night.

As soon as the group crested the first hill he stopped and looked back to make sure they were out of danger. No one had followed. Now he could slow the group down until they reached the others.

Another hour passed and he reached his destination. His family heard and smelled him coming so they eagerly awaited his arrival.

Many greeted each other as if they were happy to see them. The newcomers were quickly greeted and accepted into the herd.

Warrior now could relax and look for his alpha. She was found by a group of young. Many of these were her young. He nuzzled her once again and talked to her with his deep neighs.

For the next few days, They all grazed as The Warrior, aptly named by many, stood guard over them. He would be taking them higher ground far far away from any humans. He would do as his father did. Next time he may not be as lucky.

Legend has it that Warrior lived until his end, in the mountains to the north, eluding man and siring many sons. His sons run free, carrying on his legacy.

Written by: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts from Angel:

I, personally, would like to see the wild horses continue to run free. I have read reports that many captured, with the guise of adoption, do not get adopted and end up as horse meat sent overseas. I hope this is not true.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:

Vocabulary:

menace – noun: thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger

alpha – noun: someone or something strong and powerful

elude – verb: evade or escape from a danger, enemy, or pursuer

lassos -noun: a rope or long thong of leather with a noose used especially for catching horses and cattle 

destined – adjective: fate

sired – verb: of a male animal, especially a stallion) cause the birth of

stealthier – adjective: a cautious manner, so as not to be seen or heard

herd – noun: a large group of animals

the cloak of darkness – metaphor: under the darkness of night

beckoning – verb: encourage or invite

confines – verb: the borders or boundaries of a place, especially with regard to their restricting freedom of movement

decimated – verb: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage, in this case the vegetation

ongoing – adjective: continuous

barren– adjective: too poor to produce much or any vegetation

lair – noun: a place where a wild animal lives

vulnerable – adjective: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm

frustration – noun: being upset or annoyed

makeshift – adjective: serving as a temporary

unfolded -verb: reveal or disclose

circular – adjective: having the shape of a circle

throaty – adjective: deep and husky

feverishly – adverb: excited or energetic

neigh – noun: high-pitched sound of a horse

stampeding – verb: movement in a rush, wildly and in a sudden mass panic

aptly – adverb: appropriate or suitable in the circumstances

Question ( s ):

What do you know regarding the wild horses that run free in the United States of America?

Do you think animals create a long lasting bond with their natural families as they do with their human families?

It Will Be Alright

man kissing a woman on hand

( Advanced Level )

Mary and Joe returned home from their yearly physical, with their family doctor, stunned. Their family doctor gave them the news that they were not prepared to hear.

As usual, the week before their scheduled appointment, they went in for bloodwork and chest x-rays. This was the routine for several years and all results were normal until now.

“Joe, something has shown on your chest x-ray. It could be nothing or it could be something. I would be negligent if I didn’t look further into this,” Dr. Monahan said.

Mary quickly spoke, ” What do you think? What do you see?” Dr. Monahan saw the worry on her face, ” Joe has never been a smoker but this doesn’t mean much. Due to the work he has done in the past and the materials he was exposed to, I want to be certain either way.”

Joe was a construction worker back in the seventies to early eighties. It was quite common to be exposed to asbestos without having knowledge of its danger.

Before it was discovered how harmful this material was it was used in many homes. It was especially used in insulation products in the attics or walls.

Now there are safeguards when a home is remodeled special hazmat suits are used to avoid inhalation, especially when the home is older.

“Mary, don’t worry. I took care when I worked on remodels. I wore a mask because of the dust. The doctor’s office will reschedule another x-ray and we will see. Until then let’s not worry too much.” As he kissed her hand he knew he would have to be strong for her.

Joe’s words to Mary fell of deaf ears. Joe was her life and if anything would happen to him she doesn’t know what she would do.

Joe was shaken but he couldn’t let Mary know. He had so many plans now that he retired. This year they planned a month-long trip to Italy then another two weeks in Spain then off to Greece for another two weeks.

They would be traveling a full two months and made all arrangements with their accommodations, plane tickets and travel while in these countries.

When they married twenty seven years ago, they always talked about traveling the world once they retired. Joe retired two years ago but Mary had to work another two years until she reached retirement age.

“Should we cancel our plans for this year? May asked her husband. “Absolutely not. We’ve waited for this moment in our lives so canceling is out of the question.”

Joe decided not to tell Mary when his repeat procedure will be done. Keeping her in the dark would be better for both of them. He knew she would fret constantly over him and he didn’t want this.

Within the month the follow-up x-ray was scheduled. Joe had made the arrangements without Mary’s knowledge. He then scheduled a follow up to see Dr. Monahan to discuss the results.

If the results were good he would tell Mary and if they weren’t he would keep this information to himself. Either way he knew he would be in the hot seat and he smiled at that thought.

” Joe the results are the same as the prior. I can say with certainty we need to perform a biopsy bypassing any further investigation. ”

With all due respect Doctor, My wife and I have plans for this summer. Let’s be honest. There isn’t a cure for mesothelioma. just treatment. A few months will not matter one way or another.”

“You are one hundred percent correct if this is what I suspect then it will not make a difference but if it is not then time is lost.”

” What time will I lose? I have done my homework. Most patients once diagnosed, have twelve months or less. I don’t want to spend this time going to doctors.”

“My wife and I planned on traveling the world when we married all those years ago. If this summer’s trip is all I can give her then that is what I want to do. Please understand.”

“Joe, I do understand. I have a wife also. But, as your Doctor I will advise you differently. Just promise me once you return you make an appointment immediately or if you run into any problems with your health while you are abroad go to the nearest hospital.”

“And my wife is not to know about any of this. She will be furious and I will handle her wrath. I want this getaway, a trip she will remember.” They shook hands and Joe left the doctor’s office.

On the way home he was deep in thought deciding what fib to tell his beloved wife. He chose to tell her everything looked much better and not to worry.

Actually, it wasn’t too far off from the truth. He had a clearer picture of what was most important to him in life. It was Mary. Why cause her to worry?

“I saw Dr. Monahan today,” he said to his wife as he entered his home. Mary was sitting on the sofa watching her favorite afternoon show.

“Joe, why didn’t you tell me? I wanted to go with you!” “I knew you did but I wanted to go by myself. He said everything looked clearer this time.” Mary let out a huge sigh of relief.

She stood up and gave him a kiss on the cheek as she headed to the kitchen to prepare their dinner.

Over dinner they discussed the vacation trip. Mary made a long itinerary of what she wanted to do and see. Joe laughed saying they didn’t have that much time. “You shush, Joe!” she said as she cleared off the table.

Late summer arrived and Joe’s health was doing well. They were packed and ready to go. Joe was surprised at how much Mary packed. He told her they were allowed one carry-on and one piece of luggage under the plane.

She quickly exchanged a few things and compacted one piece of full luggage into the existing ones giving them the proper allowance of suitcases.

Their flight was on schedule and they arrived at their bed and breakfast in a villa outside of Rome. It was cozy and near places Mary wanted to see.

Joe found himself a little tired blaming it on jetlag. He wasn’t thinking of his medical condition. He slept in while Mary went on a venture in the villa. She brought home fresh brewed coffee hoping Joe was up by then.

Neither of them was up for breakfast. Their internal clocks were still set to American time. They would get something to eat later if they felt hungry.

The two ended up not eating until dinnertime. They chose a small place that offered outside seating so they could watch the sunset over a glass of red wine.

They listened to music offered by a man playing his guitar in the town center near their restaurant. Mary was well beyond happy. She sang to Joe on their walk back to their room.

The remaining days in Italy were just as memorable as the day before. They would soon be heading to Spain and then to Greece.

Mary used up seven thirty four exposure disposable cameras in Italy alone. When they returned to America she would have them developed. She thought it wasn’t worth waiting for her pictures to be developed. She didn’t want to waste one minute.

When they arrived in Spain Joe spent most of his time in their hotel. He blamed it on his wife keeping him out all night while they were in Italy. He reassured her that he was feeling well.

The two weeks, in Spain, went by fast. Joe managed to go out for a couple of days with Mary. She showed her concern and again he reassured her everything was fine.

On their last night in Spain, Joe managed to go out with his wife for the entire day. They had a delightful late afternoon lunch at a small mom-and- pop place where every dish was made from scratch, including the wine.

“Mary, I have enjoyed every minute of our vacation. I hope you have too?” He looked at Mary with so much love in his eyes.

“Oh Joe, I waited our entire marriage for us to do this. Just think this is the beginning of many more to come. I could not ask for a better person to share this with.”

They headed to Greece early the next morning. Another ten disposable cameras were used in Spain. Joe joked with her that they would need a separate suitcase just for the cameras.

“Shush! I want to remember these moments forever.” Little did she know these pictures would mean so much more to her in the near future.

Their time in Greece was a blur for Joe. His shortness of breath and fatigue was more pronounced now. “This old body isn’t used to this jet-setting lifestyle, Mary.” He said this to her several times to squash her concerns.

When they arrived back in the states, Joe was completely exhausted. Mary wanted him to go to the hospital thinking he may have caught something while they were abroad.

“I’ll make an appointment at the clinic with Doctor Monahan. It will be cheaper.” Mary scoffed saying money doesn’t mean anything when it comes to his health.

The news wasn’t good. The doctor ordered blood work and a CT scan to be done immediately. In two months Joe’s linings of his lungs were almost fully encapsulated by this disease.

“Joe, I think it’s time to tell Mary. There is never a perfect time but she needs to know.” This was something Joe wanted to avoid but hearing the importance in Dr. Monahan’s voice made him realize he had to. ” I can say this is progressively getting worse.”

After dinner, as he and his wife sat outside on the deck enjoying the sunsetting, Joe told Mary everything and why he chose to hide it from her.

“How dare you keep this from me,” she said through tears. “I know you all too well, Mary. I don’t want you to treat me like I am an invalid. We would not have enjoyed our trip if I did.”

“However long I have it will be alright and I know you will be alright.”

Joe passed away four months later. Mary treasures all the photos she took on their vacation. Remembering the food, the music, and the sunsets. Knowing her and Joe spent those precious last few months doing what was his life long dream.

Joe was correct in saying, “It will be alright.” Everything is. Sure, she misses Joe every day. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of his courage and the vacation of his lifetime.

She keeps herself busy with spreading awareness of asbestos, mesothelioma and its effects on people. She started an online support site, in her husband’s name, to help those who need guidance and resources.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

When is the right time for someone to know? Does it depend on the circumstances?

If You Appreciate What I do and Would Like to Support Me:

Vocabulary:

stunned – adjective: shocked

negligent – adjective: failing to take proper care

exposed – adjective: not sheltered or protected from 

asbestos – noun: a group of fibrous minerals used to strengthen and fireproof materials.

insulation – noun: put into the walls of a house and into the attic in order to keep warm air in and cold air out during the winter months

safeguards – noun: a measure taken to protect someone or something

hazmat suits – noun: a special suit that protects a person’s body when they are dealing with dangerous substances

remodels – noun: name of the building that changes structure or appearance

fell of deaf ear – idiom: to fail to be heard

in the dark – idiom: a state of ignorance about something

fret – verb: worried or anxious

(to be in) hot water – idiom: difficult situation

( with all ) due respect – phrase: politely disagree

mesothelioma – noun:  a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs

one way or another – phrase: taking consideration

done my homework – idiom: researched

wrath – noun: extreme anger

deep in thought – adjective: absorbed in thought

fib – noun: a small lie

beloved – adjective: deeply loved

sigh of relief – idiom: to relax because something one has been worrying about is not a problem or danger anymore 

itinerary – noun: document recording a route or journey

jetlag – noun: tiredness felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones

internal clocks – noun: a system in the body that controls when a person needs to sleep, eat, etc.

disposable – adjective: intended to be used once

reassured – verb: say or do something to remove the doubts or fears 

mom-and- pop place -colloquial term: describes a small, family-owned, or independent business

made from scratch – idiom: not cooked or prepared ahead of time

jet setting – adjective: travels widely and frequently for pleasure

( to) squash – transitive verb: to stop or put worries aside

scoffed– verb: scornful disapproval

encapsulated – verb: enclose (something) in or as if in a capsule

progressively – adverb: increasing

invalid – noun: weak or disabled by illness or injury

Question ( s ):

Had you heard about asbestos before? and its effects on people?

Was it ok for Joe to keep this information from his wife?

Forever Yours, Stan

photo of red rose

( Intermediate Level )

As Gretchen walks through her door, she throws her keys on the small table by the door and starts thumbing through today’s mail. One particular piece of mail caught her eye.

She hung up her coat and walked to her cozy chair in the living room. She plopped herself down and looked at the envelope that she found interesting.

On the return address was the name of her high school. She had no idea why they would send her anything after all these years.

She proceeded to open it and unfolded the contents. It was an invitation to her twenty-fifth high school reunion. “Wow, has it been that long?” She whispered to herself.

She sat the invitation down and went to the kitchen. She warmed up a cup of this morning’s coffee in the microwave, grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge then headed back to her favorite chair.

While she was in high school she focused on her education. She hadn’t time to participate in any school events other than competitions.

She wanted more for herself than her parents had when they were her age. They confessed to her that school was not important to them at that stage in their lives. Their futures were secure, taking over their family business.

Her dad’s family-owned an import-export business and her mom’s family was in the construction business focusing on residential homes.

Her parents were slightly disappointed that she didn’t want to involve herself in either of the family businesses but made a career path of her own.

She became a successful lawyer at a local law firm and hopefully will become an equal partner one day. Until then she would work in the trenches proving not only to herself but to her soon-to-be partners that she had what it takes.

She stared at the invitation once again. She smiled at the thought of getting together with old classmates. Then she remembered this one particular guy. Stan. He was smitten with her but she blew him off over and over again.

She let out a sigh and then stood up to go to her bedroom closet. Up on the top shelf were her old yearbooks from every year of high school. She grabbed the one from her graduation year.

Again she headed back to her chair and turned on the side lamp. The sun was beginning to set and it was getting dark. She began to thumb through all the pages remembering all the events and the people.

Then she began to read all the things people wrote in her yearbook. Some of the people she remembered and some she did not.

As she found herself through to the back cover there in the largest print was Stan’s message to her.” One day, Gretchen, you will think of me. When you do, I will be here. Forever yours, Stan.” Next to his name he had drawn a rose.

He probably married shortly after graduating and had children. She decided to RSVP for the invitation. She would soon know.

How silly teenagers could be? No one really didn’t know what true love was at that age. Plus she was so deep into her studies she didn’t understand why he thought this way about her.

It is a little over a month until the reunion and she didn’t want to dwell on it. She had plenty of work to keep her busy until that night.

Since it was in the neighboring city, she could book a hotel room that was reserved for this occasion. Checking in on Thursday, the day before and you have the option to stay until Sunday.

She decided to do this. It would be a mini-vacation for her. She had plenty of vacation days coming to her so the very next day she would put in for these days off.

Like most women. She knew she needed to go clothes shopping, have her nails done, and have her hair cut and styled. Nothing too drastic because she wasn’t the type of person to sit in front of the mirror for hours fixing her hair.

The next day she sent back the invitation with an RSVP for one. When she arrived at work, the first thing she did was ask for these days off. Her boss was surprised since she has never taken a day off unless she was forced to.

He gladly gave her those days off and said if she wanted more just let him know. He would approve them straight away. She declined, “Honestly, I feel I may get bored and want to come home earlier.

The month went by at a steady pace. Gretchen had gone shopping for a dress to wear for the reunion plus bought a few other outfits for the weekend.

It was years since she enjoyed the time to herself. She was looking forward to this. She didn’t want to admit she was curious about Stan. What he was doing in his life and if he actually remembered her.

Finally, the Thursday before the reunion. Fortunately, she was able to leave by noon. Gretchen had worked very hard for the past month to get everything done for her boss.

She wanted to enjoy this time off without getting emails or phone calls from work asking where this was or where that was. Deep inside she felt this still may happen but she kept her fingers crossed.

She headed to the airport before the late afternoon rush hour. It would be less than an hour flight and arrangements were made for her to be picked up at the airport and brought to the hotel.

She arrived without any issues. Her hotel room which the reunion committee had made arrangements was absolutely wonderful. A day spa, swimming pool and plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.

She was a bit tired when she arrived so she ordered room service for that evening’s meal. She had worked half the day and then went home to pack for the trip. She knew she had plenty of time to explore the area in the next few days.

Before she fell asleep that night she pulled out the yearbook she had packed. She went through it looking at the pictures of who she remembered, hoping to see them tomorrow night.

Of course, it has been twenty-five years and everyone is older but maybe they would not look so different. She hoped at least they would have name tags on if she didn’t. She closed the book, turned off the bedside lamp, and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning she slept in longer than usual. She didn’t need to set an alarm clock for once. She ordered a light breakfast and showered afterward.

The festivities didn’t start until seven that evening so she could go out exploring. She planned on being a full-fledged tourist, taking pictures, and seeing as much as she could in the short time she would be there.

Her day was filled with adventure. She visited a photography museum. She ate at a small out-of-the-way venue that served the most wonderful salmon with lightly seasoned carrots and a side salad.

Gretchen arrived back at the hotel around three in the afternoon. This gave her plenty of time to rest and get ready for tonight’s events. She found herself a little nervous and she didn’t understand why.

Was she anxious to see Stan? That would be crazy,” she thought to herself. She never gave a minute of her time when they were in school together. “Why would still he be thinking of her?”

She decided to take a long hot bubble bath to relax and unwind from the day. She had taken so many photos. She was the typical tourist, even though she was just in the next city over from hers. It had been many years since she stepped foot in her hometown. So many things have changed.

Old buildings were torn down and new ones were built. Shopping malls, cinemas, galleries not mention the restaurants. They even built a park near the heart of the city. She would have loved having this when she was younger.

An hour had slipped by as she looked at the time on her phone. She needed to get ready. She already had her dress and heels laid out by the bed.

She didn’t want to rush. She hated rushing around to do anything. Even for work, she was usually fifteen to thirty minutes early every day. This way she had time to go through her office emails and have a cup of coffee before work started.

The time had come for her to leave. She called for a taxi and waited patiently downstairs. Her dress was a simple teal-colored dress with black heels. She put her hair up which showed her gold earrings and matching necklace.

She never overdressed. Simple was how she liked things. No-fuss. Even throughout her educational career, while other girls dressed to impress the guys she didn’t want to bother.

As the taxi pulled up to the venue, her heart started beating faster. “Now this is just silly of me.” She paid the driver and got out. She looked around at those who were lingering outside but didn’t recognize anyone.

She made her way into the front of the building where a large table was set up. Two women manned the table handing out name tags and welcoming everyone. She smiled and thanked them and headed towards the music.

Seating arrangements were made prior so she needed to find where she was to sit. Gretchen walked around a bit before she found her name card. Her table was near the dance floor and band.

She peeked at the other name tags and recognized one name. Millie’s. She was in Physics with her. She remembers how they studied together since neither of them was strong in this subject.

The alumni started coming in now. All she had just done, was a search for their name cards. She scanned the groups as they came in but hadn’t caught a glimpse of Stan.

Would I be able to pick him out of a crowd? Probably not. I do remember those crystal blue eyes though. I would spot them anywhere.”

The dinner was about to be served. The waiters were busy asking everyone if they wanted beef, salmon, or chicken. Others came around pouring drinks. Champagne would be served after dinner.

The band continued throughout the meal. Some chose to dance, others just listened and enjoyed their meal.

Millie had brought her husband and Gretchen thought he was a nice man. Millie told stories of high school and the teachers they liked and disliked. Adding exaggerated reasons.

“Was there someone you wanted to see here tonight?” Millie asked Gretchen. She hesitated and told her the story of the yearbook and Stan’s message.

“Don’t give up hope yet. Many are still coming in. Not everyone stayed in this city as I did so I imagine they had to work then travel to get here.”

As soon as Millie uttered those words, she noticed a man walking up to their table from behind Gretchen. She smiled as soon as she saw those crystal blue eyes. This had to be Stan.

He was dressed in a black suit with a teal-colored tie. She noticed this straight away. As if he coordinated with Gretchen on her dress color. In his left hand, he held a single red rose.

Millie nudged her husband to look at what she was seeing. As soon as he did, Stan reached their table and held out the rose. Gretchen looked up and immediately recognized those eyes.

He bent down to kiss her on the cheek as he handed her the rose. He whispered, “I am still forever yours.”

The rest of the evening they spent catching up on their past. Gretchen discovered he had never married either. His work and ambitions never allowed this. Plus, he knew one day, his path would cross Gretchen’s and he could finally sweep her off her feet.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

What woman out there would not appreciate that fairy tale ending? What can I say, I happen to be a romantic at heart.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:

Vocabulary:

caught her eye – idiom: to get someone’s attention, especially by looking at them

cozy – adjective: giving a feeling of comfort

plopped – phrasal verb: to sit or lie down in a heavy or careless way 

reunion – noun: a social gathering attended by members of a certain group of people who have not seen each other for some time

confessed – verb: admit

secure – transitive verb: feel safe and happy and are not worried about life

import-export business- noun: Exporting is sending goods out of your country in order to sell them in another country. Importing is bringing goods into your country from another country in order to sell them

residential – adjective: designed for people to live

career path – noun: job(s) that lead to a position of longevity

work in the trenches – phrasal verb: working in the most difficult parts of a job

soon-to-be – adjective: planned or destined to have a specified position or quality in the near future

smitten – adjective: strong feelings of attraction

blew him off – idiom: to ignore or intentionally avoid a person

thumb through – phrasal verb: to turn the pages quickly 

RSVP – verb: respond, please (French)

dwell – intransitive verb: to remain for a period of time

option – noun: a thing that is or may be chosen

drastic – adjective: have a strong effect

fingers crossed– idiom: hope that nothing will happen to bring bad luck

rush hour – noun: a time during each day when traffic is at its heaviest

full-fledged – adjective: full status

out – of – the -way – phrase: a place that is far away from areas that are the central part of the city

venue – noun: the place where something happens, especially an organized event

lingering – adjective: lasting for a long time

manned – adjective: to staff or occupy

peeked – verb: look quickly

glimpse – verb: see briefly or partially

exaggerated – adjective: represented as larger, better, or worse than in reality

ambitions – noun: desire to do or to achieve something

sweep her off her feet – idiom: to make (someone) suddenly become very attracted to one in a romantic way 

Question ( s ):

Are you romantic?

Does your high school have reunions? Have you attended any?

Do you keep in touch with those you went to school with?

Will I Be Remembered?

selective focus photography of woman

( Intermediate Level )

Lillie Mae Crenshaw, the baby of her family, at age ninety five, was the last surviving sibling to a family of 10. With three brothers and four sisters, there was never a dull moment in their house.

With her fast approaching ninety sixth birthday coming, she sits under her favorite tree at her parent’s home and reminisces about her childhood.

They lived in the small hand – built home in Madison, Georgia. Her parents were simple people. Neither of them finished school. In those days, it was more important to help their families.

Her mom would wash people’s clothes and sell home- grown vegetables at the local market that they grew on their land just to earn a little money.

Her dad, on the other hand, hunted deer, squirrels, elk and even fished for crawdads, catfish and turtles. He would sell these to local families so they would have enough meat for the year.

When the children were old enough to help they did.. Her brothers learned to shoot rifles at age ten. “If you can hold the rifle up to your shoulder and pull the trigger, then you’re old enough,” her dad would say.

Lillie Mae thought differently from her sisters. She didn’t want to do what her mom and her sisters did. She was a tomboy after all. She hated wearing those silly dresses her mom would make for all her sisters. Instead, she loved bibbed overalls with all those pockets.

She loved being outdoors and wanted to be like her brothers. She wanted to hunt. If she could spend all day outside then this is what she wanted.

“Girls belong inside,” her dad would say, “leave the hunting and fishing to us men.” Her brothers would smile when he said this which made her more determined to prove herself.

Her father passed away when she was fifteen and two of her brothers had moved away leaving her one brother and sisters to care for mom and the home. It was tough but somehow they managed.

It was but two years and her last brother married and moved away. Her two sisters left within five years from dad’s passing leaving the burden of the responsibilities to her.

Mom couldn’t do much anymore. She was older and her body ached. Lillie Mae did what she could over the next few years for her until she passed.

Lillie Mae stayed on at the old homestead.. There were too many fond memories here to just up and leave.

Unfortunately, Lillie Mae never married or had children. She had been too busy in her years to socialize and meet people.

Now that it is just her, she has joined the local Southern Baptist Church in town. Every Sunday, like clockwork, she was there. She met many wonderful people there who adopted her into their families as their own.

Many of the children called her Me Ma or Na Na as their way to show respect. Grandmother is what she figured these words meant. Many Sundays she stayed after services to give the children cookies that she had baked the previous week.

Sometimes she was invited to someone’s house for an afternoon dinner. It was common to have the biggest meal of the day at two on Sundays. She gladly accepted most of the times she was asked.

One of the parishioners discovered Lillie Mae’s birthday was next Sunday. She wanted to keep this to herself but the word quickly spread to others . They all decided that next week’s service would be dedicated to her and her milestones in life.

That week was uneventful. Lillie Mae went about her normal daily chores. It was just her so her garden was much smaller than it used to be. She had a few chickens which provided daily eggs and sometimes fresh meat for a soup.

Lillie Mae moved slower now like her mom had done before she passed. She knew the end would soon come. Until then she would continue living life to the fullest.

If only her dad saw how independent she had become. She was able to provide for the family as he did when they were still around.

She wasn’t the marksman with the rifle as her dad was but she was able to get the job done. She believes that he does see what a strong person she had become and he sits there smiling from ear to ear.

Sunday morning’s sunshine beamed through the living room window as if it was a spotlight for just Lillie Mae. Today she turns ninety six. She walked outside and stood on the porch to hear the morning birds chirping in the trees.

As she stood there drinking her morning tea she thought, “Will I be remembered? She didn’t have children or grandchildren so who would remember her? “Who will tell my stories?”

She shrugged off the thought as she went back into the house to have a light breakfast. Today they would have a luncheon right after service, in the recreational hall, to celebrate her birthday.

With breakfast done she went to clean up for church. Today she would wear a pale blue dress with hundreds of white daisies on it. She laughed as she looked at herself in the mirror. “If momma could see me now!

She had a short walk into town. Usually it took about twenty minutes or so, if she cut through the fields, but now it takes about thirty minutes or more.

People said they would stop by and pick her up but she politely refused each time. She loved walking and enjoying being outdoors when she could.

The temperatures in late fall and winter kept her indoors and she hated it. The cold weather bothered her more and more as she grew older.’

She arrived at the church with everyone still outside visiting with each other. As she approached the children came running. “Happy Birthday Me Ma! Happy Birthday Na Na!, they chanted.

“How old are you today, Miss Me Ma?” She looked at the little blonde hair girl. “I am ninety six today. “ “Oh,” she exclaimed, “That’s old!” Then she ran off to be with her parents.

She smiled to herself as she thought how innocent children are. She barely remembers those days.

She finally reached the group standing together as the adults greeted her, one by one, “Don’t you look beautiful today.” “Happy Birthday Miss Lillie Mae.”

Sunday services ended and the luncheon began. A special table at the front of the recreational hall was set for the guest of honor.

On the left side of the table was the most beautiful cake she ever laid eyes on. It was a three tiered white cake decorated with tiny roses, her favorite flower.

Many cards, gifts and baked goods sat around the cake. One gift caught her eye. It was a photo album filled with pictures of everyone. In the very front was a black and white photo of her entire family taken years ago. All ten of them.

As she looked at each member of her family her heart filled with so many memories. The arguments with her sisters. Trying to do what her brothers did and proving to her father she can do anything.

“”Where on earth did you find this picture? She laid the album down on the table and looked up. The congregation was quietly looking at her with love in their eyes. ” I guess I will be remembered!

“Thank you everyone for making me feel special.” Everyone clapped and they started serving the food. This surely would be a birthday she would remember for, hopefully, years to come.

Written By: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

One of the things I love the most is to sit down with an older person and have them share their childhood memories with me.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:

Vocabulary:

surviving – adjective: continuing to exist

reminisces – verb: thinking of past events

crawdads – noun: freshwater crayfish

tomboy – noun: a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities associated with boys

bibbed overalls – noun: ​a piece of clothing that are trousers with an extra piece of cloth covering the chest, held up by narrow pieces of cloth over the shoulders.

determined – adjective: a firm decision

responsibilities – noun: being responsible

just up and leave – idiom: To do something quickly, unexpectedly, or abruptly, especially without warning or explanation

socialize – verb: participate in social activities; mix socially with others

respect – noun: deep admiration for someone or something 

parishioners -noun: those who attend a particular church

milestones – noun: an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development

chores – noun: routine task (s)

independent – adjective: free from outside control

marksman – noun: a person skilled in shooting

beamed – verb: shine brightly

luncheon – noun: a formal lunch

clean up – phrasal verb: make someone or something clean or neat

politely – adverb: in a respectful and considerate manner

the guest of honor -phrase: important guest at an occasion

tiered – adjective: having a number of levels on top of one another

congregation – noun: a group of people assembled for religious worship

Question ( s ):

Have you heard stories from your grandparents regarding their childhood?

Could you live back then? ( Living simple without the modern conveniences )

They Come In All Sizes

tuxedo cat on brown surface

( Intermediate Level )

Once a stray cat, Mr. Boots maneuvered his way into the hearts of the residents of Cumberton City’s nursing home. He would sit outside and greet the people coming and going into the facility.

Many of the residents loved seeing him. He would curl up in their laps while they were having their outside activities. Purring and soaking up all their pats and belly rubs while everyone basked in the sunshine. Once in a while, he even had scraps of food given to him.

One day, Mr. Boots ventured his way into the facility. Making his way from room to room. He greeted each and stayed for a short while before he became bored. He would get up, stretch and mosey his way to the next room.

Nurse Sally was taking care of Mr. Bill when Boots came in. “Well hello there,” Bill said as the cat jumped into his lap. “What have you named this little guy, Bill?” said Sally as she finished taking Bill’s vital signs.

“I’ve been calling him Mr. Boots. Look at his legs. Four white boots. Honestly, he visits me more than my own family. I rather love his company.”

“He doesn’t do much. He usually curls up somewhere and falls asleep. He does listen to you. As soon as you speak he lifts his head as if he is listening to you.”

“The Director says he can stay as long as he doesn’t become a nuisance here. She will make sure his vaccines are up to date and he gets  neutered also once he’s proven himself.”

Bill looked up at Nurse Sally,” He’s like the rest of us here. Old. Too old to cause any trouble. He knows he has it good here. I know he won’t mess this up.”

At that comment she bid Bill a goodbye until the late afternoon checks. Bill continued to love on Mr. Boots until it was his time to go to see the next. He smiled as he left. “See you later, Old Boy.”

The days ran into weeks and the weeks into months. Mr. Boots continued his same routine until this one particular night. The weather was turning colder and he seemed to enjoy being inside more than anything.

At least this is what everyone at the nursing home felt. Since he was growing older maybe the colder temperatures bothered him more. He spent more time in Bill’s room. Rarely leaving to see others.

Bill didn’t pay much mind to this. He figured he showed more attention to Boots than any other resident so this was why he stayed. Plus he had given boots a blanket to himself to snuggle in.

It wasn’t until Sunday had Bill realized why Boots spent so much extra time with him. On Friday evening, Bill made sure Boots was comfortable in his blanket before he got ready for bed.

Bill went to the bathroom to wash up and change into his pajamas as usual. The same routine he had done every night.

This night was different . As Bill readied himself for bed he felt a strange feeling in his chest. He shrugged it off as something minor.

As he pulled on his pajama top a sharp stabbing pain hit him in the chest. It hit with such intensity that he doubled up hitting his head on the bathroom sink.

The next thing he knows he woke up in the hospital, on Sunday, with his family all around him. Everyone hugged him when he opened his eyes.

“What happened? What day is it? , he asked as his mind was becoming clearer. “The last thing I remember is getting ready for bed and I had this sharp pain in my chest. I grabbed my chest and now I am here.”

His son, Edgar, told him the story, “The doctors said you had a heart attack and they think you hit your head on the way down. That silly cat started roaring these deep meows and running back and forth from the nurse’s station to your room until someone paid attention to him.”

“They found you on the bathroom floor so you are very lucky to have that cat. He made sure you got the help you needed.”

His name is Mr. Boots“, Bill told his son in a stern voice,” He is far from a silly cat. He saved my life according to your story and he gives me hours of comfort. Where is he now?”

He hasn’t left your room since you came to the hospital. They have tried to coax him with food and treats but he will not budge. Seems he is stubborn like you, Pop.” Edgar said. trying to lighten the spirits in the room.”

“When can I get out of here? I need to go and be with him. He needs to eat. He needs to know I am ok thanks to him.”

“The doctor said he will transfer you back to the nursing home this afternoon if you are stable.”

“Good. The sooner the better. You know I dislike hospitals.”

As expected, Bill was transferred back to Cumberton’s number one nursing facility to find Boots curled up in the blanket he had prepared for him the night of his heart attack.

As soon as Mr. Boots saw Bill and he jumped to his feet and leaped onto the bed waiting patiently for Bill to come to him.

“Hi boy,” he said with a caring voice. “ It seems I need to thank you for saving my life. I think you knew something was going to happen to old Bill.” Boots purr was louder than Bill had ever heard. He rubbed his body against Bill’s leg.

Heroes come in all sizes, don’t they boy.” The rest of the afternoon Boots stayed by Bill’s side.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

I truly believe animals are in tune with us. As a dog owner myself, I know my “Bella” knows my moods and when to cheer me up or just cuddle.

If You Appreciate What I Do and Would Like to Support Me:

Vocabulary:

maneuvered – verb: move skillfully or carefully

basked – verb: lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation

ventured – verb: go somewhere

mosey – verb: move in a leisurely manner

nuisance – noun: causing inconvenience or annoyance

neutered – verb: castrate or spay ( an animal)

proven – adjective: demonstrated by evidence

bid _ noun: to give a greeting to someone

love on – phrasal verb: demonstrate care or affection

pay much mind – verb:  to pay close attention to (someone or something)

minor – adjective: lesser in importance

intensity – noun: strength or force

coax – verb: persuade

budge – verb:  make the slightest movement

leaped – verb: move quickly and suddenly

Question ( s ):

Do you own a pet?

Do you think animals can foresee or sense things?

Never Too Old

man in black frame eyeglasses

( Intermediate Level )

Grandpa Joe married at the tender age of seventeen his childhood sweetheart. He never finished high school because his father’s cattle business needed extra hands.

This business was eventually passed down to him when his parents died. It wasn’t large by any means. It earned him enough to feed his family and pay the bills.

Joe and his wife had six children which are now grown and have their own families. All of them moved away once they married and started their own families.

Jacob, his eldest son, visited often. He loved getting away from the rat race of the city. Jacob knew the ropes of the cattle business and the hours of dedication it took to be successful.

He admired his dad for this but knew his dad could be much more successful if he had the proper education. He mentioned this to him several times but his father always responded with, “I have no time for this now. The business will not run itself.”

Whenever Jacob visited his parents, he brought his entire family. Especially his eldest son, Johnny. He was getting into quite a bit of trouble including not attending school. He felt getting him away from that environment might do him some good.

He planned on sending him to his father’s ranch during the summer months hoping to redirect him. Grandpa would make him work.

Hard work makes a man out of you,” he remembers his dad telling him and his three brothers. He hated this saying when he was younger but now as a father, he understands how important these words are.

Jacob and his father sat in the barn drinking lemonade when he told his father of his oldest son. “Dad, I really do not know what to do with him. I don’t want to give up on him. He is heading down the wrong path. I don’t think he is into drugs yet and I don’t want this to get to that point.”

“Things are so different these days. We never gave you this much trouble and quite honestly never dared to either,” he said with a smile as he looked at his father.

Joe sat there listening to his son’s concerns and shook his head in affirmation, “Send him here the day school gets out. I will keep him so busy he won’t have time to get into any trouble.

The duration of Jacob’s visit went uneventful. They reminisce about life growing up there. Johnny seemed very disinterested in their stories. He was seen more than once trying to get a signal on his cell phone.

It’s as if we are in a different country. No cell phone signal. No internet. Who lives like this?, he was heard saying. “We do,” his grandfather would say. “All those things we don’t need way out here.”

Johnny’s eyes rolled and you could hear a heavy sigh escape from him. as he walked away. “Better get used to it. You’ll be spending the summer in this foreign country,” Joe said as he laughed and put his hand on his son’s shoulder.

Jacob and his family left that afternoon for home. The school was the next day and both Jacob and his wife had a meeting with the principal before Johnny could attend school again.

Johnny got himself into trouble just before the weekend and he was facing suspension from school. The meeting was to see if there could be a solution before it came to suspension.

After an hour or so of talking with the principal, Johnny was able to stay in school with the provision he did not get into trouble again. If he was suspended he would have to repeat the whole entire year again. This is something Johnny did not want to do.

There were only four weeks left of school. His parents surely felt he would not get into trouble again in such a short time.

Finally, the school year ended. Lo and behold, Johnny didn’t make a mistake. In his mind, if he lived up to his end of the deal then maybe he wouldn’t have to spend the summer with his grandparents.

It didn’t matter to his parents. The same afternoon school ended, Johnny’s father was driving him to the countryside. Much to his surprise, his suitcases were already packed by his mother.

Oh my God, It is as if you two are happy I am being shipped off to Neverland,” he said to his dad. “Couldn’t wait to get rid of me, could you?”

Grandpa Joe can use the extra hands now. Many of the cows are giving birth this time of the year. It is a busy time for him.”

The duration of the ride was in complete silence. Johnny is in his own world and Jacob is in deep thoughts about his son. Hoping his father could change his self-destructive path.

Jacob’s mission was accomplished. Johnny was delivered to his grandparent’s home just about dinnertime. Jacob had to head back home almost immediately since he had to work the next day.

Of course, Johnny was less than thrilled to be there. He could think of better places to be for the summer.

Alright, we have to be up and ready to go by five in the morning,” his grandfather said after dinner. “Make sure you set your alarm. Breakfast will be waiting.”

Johnny couldn’t believe what he just heard. He never had to get up this early when he was in school. “Was his grandfather insane,” he thought to himself.

Five in the morning came way too soon. Johnny drug himself downstairs to see both his grandparents wide awake and fully dressed. “Good morning, sunshine,” his grandfather said with a huge grin on his face. “Grab a bite to eat and we will be leaving in thirty minutes.”

“Sigh, the cows are not going anywhere. Why do we have to be up this early?” You could see the dissatisfied look on Johnny’s face.

We need to be there when the calves are born. There could be complications and we need to be there. Those calves won’t wait until Johnny is ready.” He said followed by a deep belly laugh.

The first day turned out to be the toughest. Johnny worked until he dropped. Although his grandfather’s spread wasn’t large there were many things to do. Moving the cows from one pasture to the next. Feeding not to mention watering.

Six calves were born and their births went well. Grandpa Joe tagged each of their ears and they were logged into a manifest to show those calves belonged to him.

That night Johnny lies in bed, too exhausted to shower or eat. He couldn’t imagine doing this type of work all his life as his grandfather has done.

As the summer trudged on, Johnny accepted the fact he wasn’t going to have fun. He did find himself admiring his grandfather. At his age doing what he did was amazing. He knew this was not what he considered a lifelong job. Not for him at least.

One afternoon, shortly after the last calf of the season was born, tagged and logged into the book, the two sat down under a shade tree. It was the dog days of summer and showed no forgiveness with the high temperatures.

“Grandpa, why didn’t you finish school? Pops told me you quit and helped your dad here. Doing what you are doing now.”

“In those days we really didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t quit then maybe we would have starved. You’ve experienced this work first hand. It isn’t easy.”

“And while we are on the subject of school, what is your issue with school? Ditching school or when you actually go causing so much trouble you are sent home. What gives?”

Johnny looked at his grandpa who sat across from him with a smirk on his face, “It is boring. I would rather do something else.”

“Like what? Like me? Work from sunrise to sunset to barely make ends meet? To wonder if some disease will take out my herd? You better get it together or you will end up old before your time. Your body will hurt constantly. You have an opportunity more than I did at your age. Smarten up!”

This was the first time he heard his grandfather use such a stern voice. He sat there for a moment and responded.

“Ok, I will make a grandfather to grandson deal with you. If I attend school without any more incidents, pass all my classes with good grades, and actually graduate with my class, will you go back to school and get your GED? Then you can finally tell people you have graduated “

Joe knew his grandson was trying to outsmart him but it backfired.I certainly will. This was our busiest time here with all the calves coming in, now that it is over, I will have plenty of time in the evenings to attend classes.”

Johnny’s look on his face was priceless. Grandpa Joe laughed, “ What, you didn’t expect that answer? Your parents care about you just as much as I and grandma do so if this is what it takes to straighten you out then I will live up to my end of this bargain. Deal?”

They shook on this, as men do, and the deal was set. Once Johnny returned to school’ his grandfather would be going back to school also.

That night Johnny couldn’t wait to call his parents as he usually did every Friday. He told his dad of the deal he made with Grandpa. Jacob was smiling, on the other end of the phone. “He did it.” he thought to himself. “Dad did it.”

“Grandpa says that you are never too old to learn something new,” he laughed. “He promised grandma he would stay away from the ladies. Just think, next year this time you will be attending two graduations!”

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

Your educational career is but just a brief moment in your life. Enjoy it!

If You Appreciate What I do and Would Like to Support Me:

Vocabulary:

by no means – phrase: not at all

rat race – idiom: a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power

dedication – noun: committed to a task or purpose

admired – verb: with respect or warm approval

entire – adjective: no part left out; whole

environment – noun: the surroundings or conditions

affirmation – noun: yes, agreeing

reminisced – verb: enjoyable recollection of past events

disinterested – adjective: no interest in something

principal – noun: he person with the highest authority at a school

suspension – noun: the temporary prevention of something from continuing

provision – noun: the action of providing something

lo and behold – phrase: used to present a new scene, situation, or turn of events

much to his surprise – phrase: very surprised

duration – noun: the time during which something continues

self-destructive – adjective: destroying or causing serious harm to oneself

accomplished – transitive verb: : to bring about (a result) by effort

less than thrilled – idiom: not happy

dissatisfied

pasture – noun: and covered with grass 

manifest – noun: book or log to list items

exhausted – adjective: physically tired

trudged – verb: move slowly

dog days of summer– idiom:  the period between early July and early September when the hot weather of summer is at it’s highest

what gives -idiom: something you ask when you aren’t sure why someone is doing something or acting a certain way

smirk – noun: silly smile, smug

barely – adverb: in a simple way

smarten up – phrasal verb: to become more intelligent or aware

incidents – noun: an event or occurrence

GED -acronym : Tests of General Educational Development The GED is high school equivalency diploma, so you can use it to apply to college or for a job resume, just like you would with a high school diploma

backfired – verb: have the opposite effect to what was intended

bargain – noun: an agreement between two or more parties

Question ( s ):

What are your thoughts on Grandpa Joe deciding to go back and getting his GED diploma?

Do you feel it is important to keep your mind and body active especially when you get older?

Who I See in The Mirror

girl in black and white polka dot sleeveless shirt

( Advanced Level )

Naomi was a straight – A student at school, an only child of upper – middle – class parents but when she looked in the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. She saw a girl who was unhappy.

The other girls at her school did not like her. They would tell others she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and never had to go without. They hated her for this.

She asked, several times, “Why hold this against me? I didn’t choose my parents.” The only response was a resounding scoff as they walked away.

Naomi mainly kept to herself only going to school which she dreaded. She never attended any school activities. It was senseless to go anywhere in public where she would be made a laughing stock.

She purposely dressed down to ward off insults but it never worked. Maybe it was her hair or the way she carried herself at school. She didn’t know.

Naomi took down all her social media accounts. She found people commented very ugly things about her. It didn’t stop them, though. They used their own accounts, without naming her, to say awful things about this girl.

She knew exactly who they were talking about. Instead of ignoring all social media, she found herself searching each of the girl’s accounts. Each night ended with her in tears burying her face in her pillow.

Naomi never told her parents about the drama at school. She knew they were very busy with their work and this would be a trivial matter to them.

She could hear her mom now, ” Naomi, just hold your head up high and be yourself. They have to be jealous of you.” This was not what she wanted to hear. It is not as easy as that.

In order to go to a different school, her parents would have to move and her parents definitely would not entertain the thought of her being homeschooled.Children need to have socialization.” She could hear her parents now.

The school year pressed on and Naomi didn’t want to go to school anymore. She dreaded getting up each morning. She knew what each day would bring.

Stares. Laughs. Whispers. Not to forget the “Naomi, are you paying attention?” that came from her teachers. The whole situation was embarrassing for her.

She felt she couldn’t speak to the school authorities either. Her school had over four thousand students with one counselor. He wouldn’t have time for her.

The torment of the school year finally ended. Three whole months off from school. She hoped the new school year would bring a pleasant change.

Until then, she went to her grandparent’s home, in the countryside, for the summer. She went fishing with her grandfather and helped her grandmother bake fresh bread every day.

It was a perfect summer. Her troubles from school vanished from her daily thoughts. It wasn’t until she took the bus ride home and she drew closer to home that those nagging thoughts began to surface once again.

She was going to give the benefit of the doubt that this year would be better. Her mother picked her up from the bus station and on the ride home’ Naomi told her mom how each day was filled with new adventures while she was with her grandparents.

The following week her mom and she had planned to go school shopping. Paper, pencils, binders, backpack along with new clothes. The new school begins in one week.

Mom, the school clothes from last year are just fine. They are all in perfect condition.” She hoped wearing old school clothes would help her blend in better.

“Nonsense Naomi, no daughter of mine will wear last year’s school clothes this year. We will make a day of shopping and grab a bite at the food pavilion inside the mall.”

On that note, Naomi let out a huge sigh. Her mom would never understand. ” Sounds great mom.” One thing she knew about her mom was that she adores shopping and didn’t want to disappoint her.

The girl’s day out on their shopping excursion was exhausting but fun. They went in and out of store after store. They ate a small lunch since it was late in the day by the time they finished.

Naomi’s mom knew her husband would be disappointed if they didn’t sit down at their usual dinner time together. Having family dinners together was what he held dear to his heart.

After dinner, Naomi showed her dad all that they had bought that day and she then hung up all her clothes. Many of which she loved but deep down in her heart she knew something negative would be said to her once school started.

Naomi’s alarm clock started at six in the morning. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Naomi rubbed her eyes and turned it off. The day finally came. The first day of the new school year.

She hadn’t had a restful night. She tossed and turned for hours. ” Was this year going to be better?” she heard herself whisper more than once.

The first day, she felt, was bearable, or so she thought. Naomi wouldn’t realize until later that these girls hadn’t changed. She decided to avoid them at all costs.

She went to lunch later hoping they would be done eating and left the cafeteria. Unfortunately, some shared the same classes with her. There was no way to get out of seeing them.

The looks and whispers started but she pretended to be listening to what the teacher’s plans for the school year were. Taking imaginary notes but she knew. She knew.

Her mom picked her up from school knowing she would have tons of books for her new classes and school lockers would not be assigned until next week. “How was your first day of school, Sweetie?”

“It was okay. I was too busy getting information from all my teachers and classes to pay much attention to anything else.” It was a white lie. She was actually very busy but she was fully aware of those girls.

Her family ate dinner at the usual time. Dad talked about work and he asked how her first day of school was. Naomi began to tell him but her mom interrupted with something important to tell him so she never finished her conversation.

“Sorry dear, what were you saying?” as her dad looked at Naomi again. “It was great. May I be excused? I have to organize all my class folders.” Her mom nodded a yes and Naomi quietly left the dinner table.

Naomi showered and then gathered up all her school folders and her new binder out of her backpack. It was now time to get things in order.

She finished about an hour and a half later. Everything is put away in their appropriate designated folders. Finally, she neatly packed everything into her backpack, for the next day. She wasn’t quite tired enough to fall asleep so she decided to go on the internet for a while before bed.

When she was away with her grandparents she hadn’t any internet, then once she returned home life was so busy for her that she hadn’t the chance to look at social media or check her emails.

She sat there on her bed scrolling through the local news then navigated her way to all the social media applications she loved to check. Her heart jumped when she read a post regarding her.

There was a picture of her science class and the back of her head. Her name wasn’t used but the post was definitely about her.

“The prima donna is back. She sits here in class looking down at the rest of us. Raising her hand to ask the teacher questions just to draw attention to herself. Like she needs to get over herself.” the posting read.

This was far from the truth. Naomi didn’t want the attention. She wasn’t believing what she had read. Then she continued to read the comments written after this initial post.

“Yeah, I saw her in the hallway strutting around hoping all the boys would pay any mind to her.”

“Me too. I was hoping she wouldn’t return this year. So much for hoping.”

She closed the lid of her laptop and wiped away the tears. She could only imagine what others would comment on in the days to come.

Naomi took a deep breath and headed out to the living room. She was hoping to finally talk to her mom or even dad about everything. Maybe they would listen to her with proof.

She made her way down the hallway to the living room to find the TV on but her dad was sound asleep with a book on his chest. Her mom had already gone to bed. She turned off the TV and headed to her parent’s bedroom.

Mom? Mom, are you awake?” No response. Again, “Mom?” Still nothing. She quietly closed their door and headed back to her own bedroom.

As Naomi sat on her bed, in the dark, she whispered to herself,” I cannot do this again this year. I cannot.”

After ten minutes or so Naomi turned on her bedroom lights and sat at her desk. She began an email to her parents and to the school….

“I have taken a screenshot of what was posted of me on social media. This is not the first thing they’ve posted about me but I know it will be the last. I will not be their target any longer. I will not be here.”

“I do worry about my parents. They do not deserve this. I don’t believe they would truly understand how much this has hurt me.”

“You can do what you want with this information. If I can shed light and possibly help another girl or boy, it will be worth it. I sit here knowing I do not want another year of harassment and whispers.”

“Who I see in the mirror is who I am. A girl who loves her family. A girl who would never hurt another. I was judged by my clothes and my ambitions in life.”

“For those who never knew me really, it is your loss. For those who did, I am sorry. ” She ended her email and hit send.

Tragically, Naomi took her own life that night.

Written by: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

Bullying, in any form is wrong. You may think it is harmless but it is not. Words hurt. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel? Things being said about you that were completely false. The whispers….people talking. The stories changing from one person to the next. Stop and think before you say those hateful things to another.

For those on the receiving end of bullying, there are people who will listen. There are laws to protect you. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

If you appreciate what I do and want to support me:

Vocabulary:

silver spoon in (her) mouth – idiom: born into a wealthy family

resounding – adjective: sound loud enough to reverberate

scoff – verb: scornfully or mocking way

dreaded – adjective: apprehension

laughing stock – noun: a person subjected ridicule

dressed down – phrasal verb: dress informally

carried herself– idiom: pertains to grace, etiquette, speech, grooming, body language

ignoring – verb: refuse to take notice of or acknowledge

burying – verb: completely cover

drama – noun: unexpected series of events or set of circumstances

trivial – adjective: of little value or importance

jealous – adjective: envy of someone or their achievements and advantages

homeschooled – verb: educate (one’s child) at home instead of sending them to a school

pressed on – phrasal verb: move forward

authorities – noun : a person who has the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience

torment– noun: mental suffering or unhappiness

pleasant – adjective: giving a sense of satisfaction or enjoyment

vanished – verb: disappear completely

nagging – adjective: worrying

began to surface – verb: become known or obvious after being hidden

benefit of the doubt – idiom: the state of accepting something/someone as honest or deserving of trust even though there are doubts

blend in – phrasal verb: to look like things nearby

pavilion – noun: structured eating area inside a larger building

on that note -metaphor: to transition from that topic; anyway

adored – verb: loves

excursion – noun: a short trip

exhausting – adjective: very tiring

held dear to (his) heart – phrase: cares a lot about it

deep down in (her) heart – idiom: used to mean that something is true or real even if it is not said or shown to other people 

tossed and turned – idiom :to move about and turn over in bed because one is unable to sleep

bearable – adjective: able to be endured or handle

at all costs – idiom: regardless of the price to be paid or the effort needed

cafeteria – noun: a restaurant or dining room in a school

pretended – adjective: not genuine; assumed

imaginary – adjective: unreal, not true , fake

white lie – noun: a harmless lie told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings

interrupted – verb: to stop something from continuing

organize – verb: arrange into an order

designated – verb: assigned

navigated – verb: plan and direct the route or course 

prima donna – noun: a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own importance

initial – adjective: beginning

strutting – adjective: arrogant or conceited walk

pay any mind – idiom: not give attention to or to ignore

shed light – idiom:  help to explain

tragically – adverb: extreme distress or sorrow

Question ( s ):

Do you believe Naomi should of tried to tell her parents earlier?

Do you think words, just words, can be harmful to another person?

How do you define bullying?

Much More Than A Phoenix Chair

pensive ethnic kids in window of shabby train

( Intermediate Level )

Jannatul had a dream. A dream to make life better for his younger brother, Abanish, and his mom, Barsha. His father had died shortly after he turned eleven years old and he became the man of the house.

Unfortunately, Jannatul couldn’t attend a school like most his age. He had to work and earn money to help his mother.

He worked odd jobs around his village. Anything from cleaning out livestock pens to helping pick vegetables from the farmer’s fields.

It wasn’t easy for such a young boy to sacrifice his childhood for this. It was his responsibility being he was the eldest child.

What he remembers about his father wasn’t much. He did remember him going to work early in the morning and not returning until late at night.

His mother always told him he needed to slow down and take care of himself but he never listened. “ I want to give our children a better life than we had, Barsha. I want them to dream bigger than we could.”

Those are the last words he remembers his father spoke. Now he has this burden on his shoulders.

Jannatul had befriended an older man in his village, Sharmin, who taught him a lot about the world. “If you are to succeed in this world you need to keep moving forward no matter what obstacles are in your way.”

Sharmin hadn’t any children of his own nor had he married. His grandfather taught his father the art of furniture making which his father then had taught him.

Now, he designed beautiful crafted wood furniture, by hand, like the generations before. He lived a great life but never had the opportunity to have a family of his own.

Sharmin saw something in Jannatul that sparked his interest. He hired him to help in his shop. Cleaning the shop floor after a full day’s work.

Jannatul would show up early so he could watch Sharmin put the finishing touches on the masterpiece he worked on that particular day.

How beautiful,” he would say as he ran his hands over the intricate carvings on the wood. Each piece being one of a kind which made his products so popular with customers from all over the world.

“If you want I can teach you as my ancestors taught me. It is a craft that will soon be gone. Modern automation is detrimental to my craft. Pieces of furniture can be made by the dozens in one day as one of mine may take months.”

“I will be honored to learn such a craft. As you know I have my mom and younger brother to look after.” Sharmin smiled knowing this could change young Jannatul ‘s future.

“Well, next week I have another piece I have to start. It is hard work and it is not glamorous work but the end product is a masterpiece crafted by your own hands.”

I will be here! What time?” Jannatul couldn’t wait to run home and tell his mom of this opportunity. “Be here at eight in the morning sharp. We will decide which pieces of timber to use and then begin.”

Over the following months, Jannatul learned as much as he could. Asking many questions hoping he wasn’t too much of a bother. He soon learned Sharmin was more than happy to take the time to answer all his questions.

Every night, when Jannatul returned home for dinner, he explained to his mom what he had done during the day. Much of what she never understood. She was amazed at his enthusiasm.

It made her heart skip a beat to see a smile on his face, once again, since his father passed. She hoped she would have the opportunity to thank Sharmin for taking such an interest in her son.

Sharmin paid him handsomely for his work and Jannatul learned a craft in his spare time. He insisted Jannatul return to going to school and keep his grades up. He could work in his shop after school and on weekends.

Within the week their chair would be finished. They had worked on it for over four months. It was a beautiful high back chair with a phoenix bird carved at the headrest area. The ends of each arm and each leg were sculpted into the foot and claws of this regal bird.

“I would like my mom to see our finished piece before it gets shipped off. I want her to see what I had helped to create,” he asked Sharmin. “Sure, “we will put the finishing coat of varnish on Saturday and it will need a day to dry so have her come by on Sunday.

“Mom, Sharmin said you can come by the shop Sunday and see the chair that we have worked on the last few months. It is my first piece and I would love for you to see it. There will never be the first piece again,” he asked over dinner.

“Of course, I will. I have wanted to talk with Sharmin and thank him for everything he has done for you. He has made not only enriched your life but made ours better.”

The final coat of varnish was applied and the chair was left to dry overnight. Awaiting its grand reveal to Barsha the next day.

Jannatul was anticipating the moment when his mom could see it. It sounded silly to others but it meant a lot to him. He knew his father would be proud of it and him.

“Hurry Mom, I told Sharmin we would be at the shop around nine. Abanish, get your shoes on. Lets go.” he said with eagerness.

They had around a thirty-minute walk to the heart of the village. With Jannatul heading the pack they arrived in less than twenty. Barsha smiled as she heard the two brothers talking about the chair.

Sharmin was waiting outside the shop sipping on his morning cup of coffee. He smiled as the trio approached. “Good morning my apprentice.” as he looked at Jannatul. ” Ma’am. And who’s this young one?”

Jannatul quickly introduced his mother and his brother to Sharmin and ran into the shop.

Sir, I wanted to thank you personally for everything you have done for my Jannatul. He was at such a loss when he lost his father. He lost his smile. You have given this back to him.”

“The pleasure has been all mine. I needed another set of hands around the shop and he is such a quick learner. Always asking, always inquisitive,” he said with a smile on his face.

Jannatul came out of the shop wanting to see what was taking so long. “Come on you three. Hurry! I want you to see our chair!”

They entered the shop and Barsha stood in awe. She, like Jannatul, ran her hand over the beauty of the craftsmanship. “What a beautiful chair. What a beautiful Phoenix. Sharmin, you are magnificent.”

No ma’am, We are,” he said as he put his arm around Jannatul ‘s shoulders. “Your son helped create this chair.’

“What he doesn’t know is that we made it for you. There will never be another first for him, like this one, so once I have seen how excited he was in learning I had no doubt in my mind this chair belongs to you.”

Jannatul looked up and then threw his arms around Sharmin. “Thank you, sir.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

I personally love it when I receive gifts that are handmade. The love that goes into it has much more meaning for me.

If You Appreciate what I do and want to support me:

Vocabulary:

man of the house – noun: the male family member who has the most responsibility for taking care of and making decisions about the household

livestock – noun: farm animals regarded as an asset

sacrifice – verb: giving sometimes unwillingly

eldest – adjective: oldest member

burden on his shoulders idiom: being something to deal with 

befriended – verb: act as a friend to someone by offering help or support

obstacles – noun: something that blocks one’s way

one of a kind – phrase: unique

automation – noun: automatic system for manufacturing or other production process

detrimental – adjective: tending to cause harm

glamorous – adjective: having beauty or being attractive

more than happy – idiom: very pleased or happy / willing

enthusiasm – noun: intense enjoyment, interest, or approval

skip a beat – idiom/ informal: used to say that someone is suddenly very surprised, excited, or nervous about something 

handsomely – adverb: to a large or generous degree; substantially

sculpted – verb: create or represent (something) by carving

regal – adjective : majestic

varnish – noun: resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface when dry

enriched – adjective: to improve quality

eagerness – noun: enthusiasm

inquisitive – adjective: curious

stood in awe – idiom: you have a lot of respect for someone or something

Question ( s ):

Store bought or handmade, which do you prefer?

Do you know any craftsman? Which are their crafts?

Life In Chains

animal eye
brown elephant with chain

( Intermediate Level )

Phoebe always knew, since she was young, that she wanted to become a veterinarian. Once, she saved a small featherless bird which had fallen from its nest. She raised it to the point where it could be set free. Her father had told her it would not survive without its mother but she proved him wrong.

Graduating from the university was a milestone for her. She was the first in her family to do so. Many offers from veterinarian clinics came in but she was unsure which direction to take.

It wasn’t until she read an article regarding the elephants used for tourism that she made her choice. She was going overseas. She wanted to work with exotic animals.

Her mission was to spread the word on the plight of the elephants. People always read about the poaching of these magnificent animals but why aren’t we aware of the use of elephants in tourism? Or entertainment and the conditions they have to endure?

She wanted to set them free. Looking into the eyes of these creatures and seeing their sadness she knew this is what she needed to do.

One particular elephant caught her eye. Her name is Buppha which means a flower. This elephant, now at the age of thirteen was taken from her mother at a tender age. She never wandered free in the jungle, instead she earned her owner thousands of dollars.

Buppha was sold several times until she was in the hands of a local man who ran a tourist trap offering elephant rides. Most of these elephants would work from sun up to sun down giving fifty to sixty rides a day.

When not in use, the elephant’s foot was shackled by one leg with a few feet of chain only allowing them a few steps in either direction. When they misbehaved a hook was used. Startling them to comply with the mahout.

“How could they abuse such a majestic animal.? You can look into their eyes and see they are unhappy.” She said her father when she showed him this article.

“Unfortunately, Phoebe, the people found a way to earn money using animals and this has been this way for years. You won’t change their minds. For most it is their way to provide for their families.”

“Maybe I cannot change their minds but I can try to save a few elephants. ” Phoebe picked up the magazine and showed him Buppha. “This one never ran free,” as she pointed to her. “She needs to know what it feels like to be part of a herd. She needs to know what it feels like to take a mud bath.

She set the magazine down and headed to her room. Her idea to research as much as she could and hopefully find an answer. If she could help just one elephant then maybe it could lead to another then another.

After hours surfing the internet she came to the conclusion that the only thing to do to save Buppha was to purchase her from the owner. How can she raise such funds? Would he be willing to sell her? Or be convinced to just give her up?

She contacted the author, Matthew Greene, of the article via email. He too agreed with her father. His whole idea of writing this piece was to bring awareness and hopefully the elephant rides would become obsolete.

She asked about Buppha. She was told she was in a smaller village and when not used for rides she would haul logs or other heavy materials thus earning money for her owner.

Matthew did state one very important thing to her in their conversation, “Everything has a price. If you give her owner a number, he may just accept it. I do want to warn you, he may simply find a younger elephant to purchase. Until elephants aren’t used in this business, this circle will continue.”

“There are a few so-called sanctuaries or safe places for the old and disabled elephants that can no longer earn their owners money but be very careful. They are still being ridden by their mahouts and are on display earning money for the owners. They are truly not free.”

“If you are able to get Buppha just know where she will live out the rest of her life. I can recommend a few places I have visited. These places care about the elephants one hundred percent.”

She thanked Matthew for his information and immediately started a Go Fund Me page to raise money towards the purchase of Buppha. She wrote about her and the other elephants and linked Matthew’ s article to hers.

Amazingly, within three days the page had raised seventeen thousand dollars. She was pleased that she was not the only one who seemed to care about Buppha and the others.

Within a month, Phoebe was heading to her destination. She hoped she had enough money to persuade Buppha ‘s owner to sell her. She knew she had a difficult battle ahead of her but she was up for the challenge.

Phoebe settled into her hotel room and quickly befriended a local man named Somsak who knew Buppha’ s owner. He offered to take her to meet this gentleman on Friday which she accepted. This would give her ample time to check out the safe havens that Matthew had told her about.

The next morning Phebe set off to investigate the sanctuaries that Matthew spoke so highly about. She was impressed with the second one. She observed the animals playing in the mud, bathing in the river and foraging for food with little interference with their assigned mahout.

This was definitely the place where she could see Buppha living for the rest of her life providing she could convince her current owner to sell her.

She had a wonderful conversation with the owner of Second Chance Haven for Elephants over lunch. Phoebe offered her services to be the project’s veterinarian. Since the haven ran on donations only she wasn’t offered a great salary.

She was offered, though, free room and board along with three meals a day. This suited Phoebe. She accepted the offer. She couldn’t wait to secure Buppha and start her new adventure as the veterinarian to these wonderful creatures.

Somsak was punctual. He arrived just before eight in the morning knowing they had almost a half day journey in front of them. He greeted Phoebe by the jeep and told her they must get started if they were to get to the village where Buppha was and return home before it got too late.

Finally the day came for her to see this elephant that she grew so fond of. Most of the trip was in silence. Phoebe was lost in her thoughts. “What if her owner wasn’t willing to sell when she traveled so far? What if she did not have enough money?

“Ma’am we will be at the village in less than ten minutes. Please let me talk to her owner first. Let me find out what type of mood he was in.”

Phoebe thought for a moment and shook her head to agree. She hadn’t been in the country long enough to know the culture. Maybe they do not like an outspoken person to tell them what is right or wrong. She hadn’t intended to say these things but she knew she would do just about anything to get Buppha.

They pulled up to what looked like a small arena with a small shade attached. There Phoebe sees Buppha. She looked down and saw her left leg in chains. Her head was swaying back and forth.

It took all of Phoebe’s willpower not to get out of the jeep and go to her. Somsak pleaded for her to stay inside the vehicle until the time was right.

Somsak emerged from the house with a taller man about twenty minutes later. As they walked towards the jeep Phoebe’s heart beat faster. She opened the door and stood quietly waiting until it was ok to speak.

Somsak broke the silence and introduced Phoebe to Kittisak. He was considered a wealthy and cunning man in his village. “Miss Phoebe, my friend here tells me you want to purchase my elephant, is this true?”

“Yes Sir. I read an article regarding her and others here but there was something in her eyes that drew me to her specifically.

What will a woman from America want with an elephant?”

I am now the veterinarian for Second Chance Haven for Elephants in the north. I would like to see her live out the rest of her life there. Let her live free without chains and have a family that she never had the chance to experience.”

She wondered if what she said was too abrupt as she watched Kittisak look at his elephant then at Somsak. As he turned to look at Phoebe she could see he had a slight smile on his face.

Well Miss Phoebe, everything has a price. I have not become a rich man by giving things away. I will set a price for her. I will take no less for what I ask. Give me a few moments.”

She knew exactly what he was doing. He was calculating what money he has put into her and what loss he may occur by selling her. She remembered what Mathew told her. He would want to buy another to replace her.

He turned to look at Phoebe and Somsak. “My wife tells me everyday that I am getting too old for this. Taking care of these elephants. It is time for us to enjoy the sunset years of our lives. We will never be able to spend all the money I have earned over the years.”

“Maybe today I am being a bit sentimental or maybe I am finally listening to my wife so I will give you Buppha. I will sign over ownership to you. I can see you genuinely care about her.”

He saw the huge smile on her face. She let out a heavy sigh as she moved closer to shake his hand. She hadn’t expected this outcome. “Thank you sir. Thank you very much. I will take care of her. I promise this to you.”

Now go over to say hello to Buppha. She is yours now.”

As she ran to greet Buppha she thought to herself, “Had Somsak said something to him? Or was he finally listening to his wife’s pleas?” Either way Buppha was going to her forever home free of chains and the money raised for her purchase would be donated to the sanctuary.

Phoebe approached Buppha who stood watching her. Her swaying head had stopped. Her eyes widened as Phoebe reached out her hand to touch her trunk.

“You’re going home girl. You and I will start our new lives together up north.” Buppha touched Phoebe’s face with her trunk as if she knew things would soon be better.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen

Thoughts From Angel:

I had traveled to Thailand in the past and it was amazing to see elephants up close and personal. Unfortunately, those too were used for elephant rides.

I was sadden when I seen a mother elephant in chains with its small baby huddled close to her. The baby would follow her as her mother gave rides to tourist trying desperately to keep up.

Thankfully we have people like @lek_chailert and @elephantnaturepark ( Instagram ) for their amazing commitment to many elephants who were used in tourism or the likes. These elephants come to her with not only physical problems but emotional also.

Elephants have strong bonds with their families, are intelligent and have feelings. It is nice to see them run free within the park being just an elephant . Creating bonds that were stripped from them at some stage of their lives.

Can you imagine having your world change overnight then live a duration of your life in chains?

If you appreciate what I do :

Vocabulary:

veterinarian – noun: a person qualified to treat diseased or injured animals

milestone – noun: an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development

plight – noun: a dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation

poaching – verb: stealing animals also or to take game or fish illegally

magnificent – adjective: beautiful, elaborate, or extravagant

tender age – noun: a young age

tourist trap – noun: a place that attracts and exploits tourists

shackled – verb: restrained with chains

mahout – noun: a person who works with, and tends an elephant

majestic – adjective: showing impressive beauty or dignity

research – noun: investigation or study

conclusion – noun: the end or finish of an event or process

awareness – noun: knowledge of a situation or fact

obsolete – adjective: no longer

amazingly – adverb: impressive

destination – noun: the place to which someone is going

persuade – verb: (of a situation or event) provide a sound reason for (someone) to do something

safe havens – noun: a place of refuge

foraging – verb: search widely for food

interference – noun: intervention

secure – adjective : safe

punctual – adjective: doing something at the agreed time

outspoken – adjective: rank in stating one’s opinions

willpower – noun: control

cunning – adjective: showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit

specifically – adverb: exact and clear

abrupt – adjective: sudden and unexpected

sentimental

genuinely – adverb: truthful 

Question ( s ):

Where do we draw the line when it comes to the use of animals?

Is service animals included in this category?

Many argue the line is drawn when the animal is asked to perform things that are not natural to them. (like a dolphin playing basketball) Do you agree?