Silent World

( Intermediate Level )

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful and inspirational person whose outlook on life is immense. Her disability never stopped her.

When Agnes was born the doctors discovered she could not hear. To what extent her hearing loss was, they were unsure. The doctor would order testing to be done in the next few weeks.

Her mother was devastated as Agnes was her first child. “Was it something I did, Doctor?” Her mother asked. “I must go home and tell my husband, her father, that our first child is deaf.”

“No one can tell you for certain why these things happen but I can assure you that Agnes will grow up just fine. She will be a bit slower to develop some skills but she will do just fine.”

“You and your husband will have to find ways to keep her interested in learning and I will research this school I recently read about. You can communicate through sign language. It is a visual communication using gestures, facial expressions, and your hands.”

“Once I know about this school and what it offers, I will have my nurse call you and give you the contact information. It would be best if both you and your husband learn this together along with your daughter. This way both of you can be an active part in her development.”

Alright Doctor. I will wait until I hear from your office and go from there. My husband and I wanted to have a few more children but I figure working with Agnes will be time-consuming and having more children may not be the best situation all around.”

“Maybe not right away but I do not see why you couldn’t have more children in the future. Maybe in a year or two. If you work with her and sign her up at this school she will learn quickly.”

Mildred left the office with Agnes in her arms. She blames herself for Agnes even though the doctor was uncertain. She was determined to do everything in her power to give her a fighting chance to be as normal as other children.

This is exactly what she and her husband did. They gave their daughter all the tools to grow up just as normal as others without the ability to hear. They enrolled her in the school as soon as they earned the first year of tuition and she reached age one.

When she turned ten, if still enrolled, she would have the opportunity to stay in the dorms with others like her. It would give Agnes a sense of acceptance the school told her mother.

Now at ninety-three years old, Agnes looks back and realizes the sacrifices her parents made for her. She counsels new parents who have found out that their children are hearing impaired.

With the world of new technology and teaching methods, it is much easier for a child to learn than it was for her. Agnes now uses a special tablet to speak to these parents. Laughing as she remembers how difficult it was at first to use it.

In an interview once, she tells us a story she was reminded of. A story about a single mother who she met about thirty years ago. This woman was a single mother and the cards were already stacked against her for this. She wanted to give her son up for adoption because of his deafness.

She sat down with her tablet and typed away. The words came quickly and with passion,” I understand how you feel. My parents felt the same when they were told of my inability to hear and that was over forty years ago. They didn’t want to give me up but they felt defeated. My mother blames herself for my deafness.” Agnes shutters when she realizes how many years have passed.

“Giving up on yourself and your son is an easy way to get out of a hard place you’re in. The result will be forever. Are you truly wanting to put your son up for adoption?” This mother looked up at Agnes with sad eyes and shook her head no.

In the end, the mother kept her son. Agnes helped her learn sign language and in turn, could help her son learn. This woman’s life was turned around by what Agnes said to her through the words she typed. At the age of ten, the boy came and lived in the dorms.

Agnes wants people to understand the last but not least message: “Even though my world is silent doesn’t mean I am all that different from you. If I made it in this world then anyone can.”

Written By: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

And the newly launched website: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts From Angel:

I am amazed when people overcome a disability and succeed.

If you appreciate what I do “Buy Me A Coffee.”

Vocabulary:

inspirational – adjective: providing or showing inspiration

extent– noun: the size or scale of something

devastated – verb: overwhelming shock or grief

assure – verb: tell someone something positively or confidently 

development – noun: the process of starting to experience

time-consuming – adjective: taking a lot of or too much time

tuition – noun: a sum of money charged for teaching or instruction by a school

dorms – noun: a residence hall providing rooms for individuals or for groups usually without private baths

acceptance – noun:  the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable 

counsels – verb: give advice

hearing impaired – adjective: people with any degree of hearing loss

cards were (are) already stacked– idiom: a situation in which one person or group is disadvantaged or faces difficult circumstances

adoption – noun: the act of adopting or making it your own

deafness -noun: the condition of not being able to hear

defeated – adjective: demoralized and overcome by adversity

shutters – verb: visible signs of disbelief

Question ( s ):

Do you know anyone with a disability or a handicap?

If so, has it stopped them from achieving their life goals?

Jackson

body of water surrounded by trees

( Intermediate Level )

Kenny and his wife, Jill, had taken their vacation this year at the same time. It coincided with their boy’s summer vacation from school. Michael, ten, would be going to be in fourth grade and Jackson, eight, would be starting second grade in September.

This year, their plans were to camp out at their favorite lake in the mountains. This was a quiet place for them to unwind from their busy city life.

Both Kenny and Jill were attorneys and their schedules were always conflicting with their life at home. Not this year. They are making a point to put their lives and boys first.

Friday after work, Kenny started packing the car with everything his wife had packed. From extra clothing to fishing gear and food. They had plans to leave out at six in the morning since it was going to be a four-hour drive.

This would allow them to arrive in plenty of time to set up their camp and have some daylight hours to enjoy. Michael and Jackson were eager for the next day’s plans and their parents had a difficult time getting them to sleep.

The boys were up at five in the morning and ready to go. “After breakfast guys, mommy and daddy need their coffee.” Kenny smiled at his wife who had just gotten up out of bed ten minutes earlier.

Finally, it was time to leave and the boys were the first to get in the car and have their seatbelts secured. “Let’s go!” They chanted together. “We’re coming.” their mom replied as she checked the door one last time to make sure it was locked.

The four-hour drive went by fast. The boys occupied their time by having car games such as slug bug or how many red cars can you count. Mom didn’t care for the game slug bug since it involved punching the other every time they had seen a Volkswagen beetle. Jackson always cried since his brother punched harder.

Once they arrived they chose to set up camp near the beach area. It was a little rocky but not bad enough to hurt your feet if you went barefoot. This area would allow them great access to swimming or fishing. Whatever they chose to do that day.

The boys ran around and explored their new home for the week as mom and dad set up camp. “Not too close to the water, ok boys. Your father and I are busy setting up and we cannot watch you.”

You heard them in the distance. “Yes, mom.” The boys found an array of bugs as they wandered. These two were just like any other typical boy where ominous creatures intrigued them, picking each up and getting a closer look at them.

Michael would throw each bug once he finished observing it, at his younger brother. “Stop or I am going to tell mom.” Jackson’s threats didn’t scare him. They kept exploring until they heard their mom calling.” Boys. It’s lunchtime.”

Sandwiches and chips were served for lunch. Kenny was hoping to catch a few fish for dinner that night. “Boys after lunch, let’s try to catch some fish for dinner.” Both agreed and a challenge was inevitable.

“I bet you, dad, I can catch the most fish and the biggest” Michael smiled as he challenged his father. “What about me?” asked Jackson. “Of course, you can be part of this too.” dad said as he rubbed the top of Jackson’s head.

As the men headed out to fish for the afternoon, Jill planned on reading her book. A quiet afternoon without the boys and her husband sounded wonderful to her. She had started this particular book over six months back but never found the time to read it with the demands of her family and work.

The trio arrived at the bank of the lake. Michael wanted to get his line in the water as soon as he could. He was determined to win this challenge. Jackson had to have his hook baited by his dad. He was not fond of putting a worm on the hook.

Both Michael and his dad had caught three fish each but Jackson hadn’t caught a single one. He became bored and quit fishing. He wandered off to explore as his father and brother continued to fish.

“We are going to have plenty of fish for tonight and probably tomorrow too,” Kenny said as he looked at Michael. “Where’s Jackson?” He looked but he couldn’t see any signs of him.

“Michael, Where is your brother? Did you see which way he walked? Michael shrugged his shoulders as he uttered, “I dunno.”

“Jackson!,” His father began to yell his name. Nothing. No response. “Michael, grab the fish and take the fishing poles back to camp where mom is. I am going to look for your brother.”

As his dad started to run off he yelled back to Michael, “Let mom know what is happening and tell her not to worry.” Michael grabbed up the fish and the gear and headed back to the campsite.

Hi Honey, where are dad and your brother?” Michael told his mom what was happening and instantly she became panicked. Jackson was only eight. He was her baby.

There wasn’t anything Jill or Michael could do but sit at their camp waiting on any word from either her husband or Jackson.

Kenny searched by the lake hoping his son hadn’t fallen in, no signs of any footprints or him so he began to head towards the woods. He knew Jackson loved animals and could easily be distracted by a bird or a rabbit.

All along he yelled, “Jackson? Jackson? Where are you?” He stopped periodically in hopes he would hear a response or even hear him crying. Nothing.

The sun would be setting soon and the urgency to find Jackson was heightened. Kenny knew he couldn’t go back to camp without Jackson in tow.

Just as he began to give up all hope of finding him while it was still light enough to see, he spotted something ahead near a fallen log. It was orange in color and he couldn’t quite make out what it was.

it was obviously something that didn’t fit into the surroundings. It was too bright in color. He tried to remember what Jackson was wearing but he failed to pay attention.

His footsteps quickened to see what this object was. As he approached a huge sigh escaped him as it was Jackson. He had fallen asleep propped up against the fallen tree.

He bent down so as to not startle him and gently woke him up. “Oh. Hi, Dad.” as he yawned. Jackson was oblivious to how he had made him worry so.

“Well you scared me and I imagine your mom is worried to death. We need to head back to camp so she knows you are ok.”

Jackson stood up and grabbed his dad’s hand. Jackson told his dad about this small red dog that he followed until he disappeared. “I sat quietly hoping it would come out of hiding and I must have fallen asleep.” Kenny listened to his son’s description of the animal and he figured it was a fox.

They headed back to camp, hand in hand. Kenny was relieved that everything was fine and his son was safe. It would be a story to tell in the future and most likely become exaggerated each time the story was told.

Written By: Angel

Follow me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Coming 8-8-2022: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts From Angel:

I loved to explore the outdoors, like Michael and Jackson. My imagination took me to many far-away places, not just the backyard.

The innocence of childhood is precious.

If you appreciate what I do “Buy Me A Coffee”

Vocabulary:

coincided – verb: occur at the same time

unwind – verb: relax after a period of work or tension

conflicting – adjective: incompatible; contradictory

eager – adjective: wanting to do or have something 

barefoot – adjective: wearing nothing on the feet

ominous – adjective: scary or unknown

observing – verb: to notice

inevitable – adjective: certain to happen

trio – noun: a set or group of three people or things

dunno – slang: do not know

distracted – adjective: unable to concentrate

periodically – adverb: from time to time

urgency– noun: importance requiring immediate action

heightened – adjective: intense

in tow – idiom: accompanying or to follow someone

pay attention– idiom: to concentrate on

quickened – verb: become faster or quicker

worried to death – idiom: extremely anxious

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

Question ( s ):

When you were a child, had you ever become lost?

I Am Me

young woman with pink hair sitting on aged car roof

( Intermediate Level )

“Isn’t it ironic how society or your family tells you how to act, what you should look like, or even what you should become but in the same breath they tell you to be a leader and not a follower?”

“Why can’t I just be me?” She had asked this question dozens of times to her teachers, her parents, or her boss at the burger shop where she worked part-time on weekends. Never once had she received a solid answer to this question?

“It is just how it is. People associate your looks with who you are. We know who you truly are but you are judged at first glance.” this was her mother’s go-to answer.

Those who really knew Shelby knew how smart, kind and honest she was. Others judge her without getting to know her. She felt this was unfortunate for them but it still bothers her. They were the ones who were missing out.

When she was out in any public setting, she tried not to draw attention to herself. It annoyed her but she would tell her friends, “It is what it is and I cannot change everyone’s mind.”

Shelby had a special relationship with her history teacher, Mr. Barkley. He would tell her there were many famous women in history who people thought were odd or silly but they turned out to be movers and shakers in the world. He always had a way of making her feel better.

See, what people didn’t know about Shelby she was in the top five percent of her class and she was in the running for class valedictorian. This honor is given to a student with the highest academic achievements.

Sometime this week or early next week it will be announced. The students had completed their last exams and those marks would be tallied to see who had won.

Shelby was home on Friday night surfing the internet on her laptop. She had finished all her homework earlier and really didn’t want to watch a movie with her parents. She made her rounds to all her favorite social media platforms, making comments or liking her friends’ posts.

Her last stop would be her emails before she showered and headed to bed. She noticed she had an email from her school and was curious.

She read, “Congratulations Shelby! We are proud to announce you are this year’s Valedictorian. You are expected to give the farewell address to the graduating seniors this year, so please prepare for this and allow us to review it before graduation.” It was signed by the principal of her school.

She took her laptop out to the living room where she knew her parents were. She could hear the television still on. “Mom, Dad, I have something for you to read.” She handed her laptop over to her mother.

Both her parents read the email at the same time and her mother squealed with delight. ” I am so very proud of you Honey. I know you’ve been working very hard all year long.”

Shelby headed back to her bedroom. She had showered and lay on her bed thinking of what she would say in her speech. She could be like all others in the past. Wishing everyone the best for their future but she wanted to speak from her heart.

She was up early the next morning and ate a quick bowl of oatmeal. She went to her desk to begin writing her speech. Shelby was old school when it came to writing. She used paper and a pencil.

She started many drafts but found she didn’t like how they sounded. She crumpled up pieces of paper all around the floor by the waste paper basket next to her desk.

Her mom knocked on her door lightly to see if she wanted breakfast with her and her dad. “No mom, I had some oatmeal already.” Her mom popped her head in the door about this time.

“Oh my, what happened here? It looks like a hurricane hit.” Shelby laughed and looked at her mom. “I am not having any luck with my speech. I don’t want to sound like a robot nor do I want to sound fake.”

“Don’t force it, Dear. The words will come to you,” She kissed Shelby’s forehead, picked up the crumpled papers that hadn’t made their way to the trash, then headed out to cook breakfast for her and her husband.

Her mom was right. Shelby took a break and went for a walk. This helped her clear her mind. She sat outside just watching people. Some who walked by her looked and then walked faster or they commented to those who walked with them.

That evening over dinner her mom asked her how the speech was going. “ I took a break. I will go back to writing again after dinner. I will have it done by Monday I am sure of this.”

After dinner, Shelby excused herself from the table. “If you need me, Mom, I will be in my room. I can help you with the dishes.” “No, It will be fine. You need to concentrate on that speech of yours.”

Shelby settled down at her desk and began to write and the words flowed through her pencil to the paper. her. She read it and reread it then shared it with her parents.

They felt she had spoken well and from the heart. She returned to her room and tucked it away until Monday when she would turn it in for approval.

On Monday afternoon the principal had called for her to come to the office. He handed back her speech to her and told her,” It was written eloquently and with great care. Great job!”

The week went by fast enough. Friday evening at seven the graduation commencement would be held on the sports field. Chairs would be set on the field and a small stage would go into place. Many of the seniors volunteered to help set up for the event.

Shelby and her parents had an early dinner on Friday night. After the ceremony, if they were hungry they could go out for dessert and coffee. For now, Shelby needed to get ready and arrive forty-five minutes earlier.

The evening was filled with excitement mixed with sadness. Some of her classmates will be going out of state to attend the college they chose. It was the end of one chapter and the start of a new one for all of them.

“Tonight we are here to celebrate our seniors. It is a time when they find out who they are and take the tools we have taught them and put them into good use. I wish all of them the very best. Without further ado let me introduce this year’s valedictorian, Shelby Mecham.”

You could hear her classmates say,” You go girl!” as the audience clapped. The bleachers were full of family members and friends of the graduating class. Shelby’s parents were on the top row hoping to have a better view.

Shelby stood there with confidence. She put her speech on the podium in front of her and adjusted the microphone.”Thank you all for coming tonight to celebrate with us.”

“As valedictorian, I can wish everyone the best in life and tell them they would be missed. They know they will. As much as we say we will keep in touch with one another our lives will drift apart.”

“During this time of our lives, we discovered who we are and what direction we will choose. Some of us will be wise in our choices and some of us will not.” She glanced around at her classmates and smiled, stopping at those who hadn’t taken high school as seriously.

“It is ok when we fail. We learn from our mistakes. Eventually, we will get it right. If not, we can always live with our parents for the rest of our lives.” She laughed along with the audience.

“If I can give all of you, my classmates and those in the audience, one bit of advice I would tell you not to judge anyone by how they look without getting to know them first.”

“My parents are the best in the world. They let me be me. I have pink hair this week and maybe next week I may have blue. I chose to have artwork on my arm. This is how I express myself. “

“Do these things make me a bad person? Do these things say I will be a bum in society? No, they don’t. They show I have the confidence to be who I want to be.”

“So, the next time you see someone who is like me don’t judge them, instead get to know them. I am standing up here on the stage tonight as this year’s valedictorian. If I was someone that was, in your eyes, a bad person, I would not even graduate. I am me.”

“Let’s get to the ceremony at hand. I know my fellow classmates want to get this chapter closed. Thank you again for coming.” As she ended her address everyone stood and clapped. Her classmates cheered. and whistled.

She glanced to the top row of the bleachers to see her parents smiling and clapping. Her dad blew her a kiss.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Coming soon: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts From Angel:

I am far from perfect. I am guilty of judging someone on their appearance or my first impression of them. I can say that most of us have at one time or another in our lifetime. I can tell you honestly I have been wrong on many occasions.

If you appreciate what I do “Buy Me A Coffee”

Vocabulary:

in the same breath – idiom: at the same time

associate – verb: connect (someone or something) with something else in one’s mind

go-to – adjective: a person or thing that may be relied on

unfortunate – adjective: bad fortune; unlucky

movers and shakers – idiom: a powerful person who initiates events and influences people

valedictorian – noun: typically having the highest academic achievements in the class

achievements – noun: a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill

surfing the internet – (uncountable noun): to browse or move from site to site randomly

farewell address – noun: a speech delivered by someone upon leaving

squealed with delight – verb phrase: make a high-pitched sound when you become excited

old school – noun: something that is old-fashioned or traditional

drafts – noun: a preliminary version of a piece of writing

crumpled up – idiom: to crush a piece of paper until all of it is destroyed

fake – adjective: not real

flowed – verb: a steady stream

eloquently -adverb: persuasive manner

commencement – noun: a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are given to graduating students

bleachers – noun: noun: a cheap bench seat at a sports arena

podium – noun: a small platform that a person uses to set their papers when giving a speech

Question ( s ):

Have you judged someone on their appearance or your first impression of them?

Were you wrong?

Sarah’s Story Continues

( Advanced Level )

It’s nearly five years since Sarah walked away from her last failed marriage. She no longer thinks about the past but about her future. It’s been rocky at times but she has managed.

For the first few months, she blamed herself for not having the strength to stay and improve things. She felt as if she was a quitter.

Now, she realizes that no matter how long she would have in those relationships, staying it would not have changed the outcome. She had the choice to abide and be miserable and lose herself day by day.

Sarah traveled around a bit until she found herself in a cozy little village called Limone Sul Garda in Italy. She has a small simple cottage which has a breathtaking view of the lake.

It is a perfect place to heal and be who she wanted to be. At first, she took up writing in a journal. Writing about each day’s triumphs. Now she writes stories. She is amazed at how each story evolves from her imagination.

She made a few friends that she occasionally goes to lunch with. A few admirers have asked her for dates but she gently declines. In her mind, she is not ready for any relationship. Not yet, at least.

As she sat at a local café, in the heart of the village, she noticed a group talking with each other. What drew her attention was the passion with which they spoke. Some speak Italian and others English.

She found herself listening intently and curiosity got the best of her. She made her way over to talk to them. She was greeted with many smiles and introductions and was asked if she wanted to join them.

It turns out that this group meets twice a month to discuss a book they’ve read as a group. Today they were discussing a book about starting over in your life. Whether it was after losing a job, losing a loved one, or simply a relationship went bad.

Sarah had not read this book but she knew she could contribute to the conversation from her own experience. It was crazy in her mind how candid she was. Spewing her own experiences to total strangers.

After an hour or so the group ended their discussion as many had to return to their homes for one reason or another. One gentleman stayed behind for a minute to thank Sarah for being there and making the conversation even more interesting.

“It was rather nice having a new perspective on things, Sarah. I hope you will come again. We meet every other Thursday here at this same café.”

Sarah smiled, “I would love to. I don’t know what possessed me to come over to the group but I am glad I did. I had a wonderful afternoon and met many new friends. Thank you and I will be here most definitely.”

As she walked up the hill heading towards her cottage she reflected on what each person had said. Some argued terrific points on the subject. In a way, it helped her. It helped her look at things from a different viewpoint.

The same ritual continued every other Thursday. Now she had the chance to read the same book as the others. She spent most of her evenings either writing her own or reading that week’s assigned book.

Each member took turns recommending a book for discussion and her chance would be coming soon. What she hoped was to finish her own and allow the group to have the first chance to read it.

Maybe it would give her the confidence to publish it. The group had now become her close friends and they were well aware of her past history and specifics that had her end up in this tiny little village.

Lorenzo had been the one who stayed back at that very first meeting to welcome her to the group. They had become very good friends as he needed someone to talk to also.

His story was similar to hers in a way. His first wife was killed in an automobile accident after six years of marriage and his second marriage failed. As he looks back on this, he knew he was the fault for the second marriage failing. He was still in love with his first wife.

Knowing his story made Sarah relax when they were together. She wasn’t ready or didn’t want a relationship nor did he. Just friendship and an occasional early platonic dinner together.

The time came for Sarah’s choice for the group to read. She had finished her very first novel just a few nights before. She read it through once again to make sure it was perfect.

“When we meet again in two weeks I have something different for us to read.” She looked around at the group and saw they were hanging onto her every word. They watched her pull out a bundle of papers from her bag.

She let out a sigh,” Here is something I have worked on for the last year.” She handed each of them a copy. ” It is my first novel. I want everyone to be honest with me when we meet. Either you will love it, hate it, or be on the fence about it.”

Wow, this is something special,” Lorenzo said with a smile. He had no idea that she was writing her first book. He knew she wrote stories but a novel surprised him.

“I think I can speak for the whole group here. We are honored you chose us to have the first glance at your work.” He looked around at the group to see all with smiles and nods.

And Missy, we will be brutally honest with you!” He laughed. Everyone had gathered their copies and headed on their way back to their homes.

Lorenzo held back for a moment. He was always the perfect gentleman and made sure he was the last to leave.

Sarah sat in her living room that evening watching the sun setting. She knew the next two weeks she would be on pins and needles. She valued the opinions of each and every one of her newly found friends. Was she ready to hear what they thought?

Tick.Tick. Tick. As she glanced at the clock on the wall. The last time she listened to the sound of a clock was when she started her own life over. Not knowing what each day would bring. She has come a long way since then.

In a way, this could be a turning point for her in her life. Give her the validation of being someone of importance and not being known as someone’s ex-wife.

She rose early in the morning the day of her book group meeting. She showered and dressed then sat in front of her laptop. Her plan was to write but for some reason, all her words were muted by the expectations of the day.

Instead, she sat out on the balcony looking over the lake, sipping on her morning coffee. She listened to the birds as they flew by. This was her special place. The place where she could clear her mind and absorb the wonders of the day.

She looked down at her watch and saw it was time for her to leave. She took her last sip of coffee and took one last look towards the lake.

“Here I go world. Let’s see what they think.” She locked up her door and headed on her way to the café. Her mind was occupied with thoughts that she arrived in record time.

To her surprise, everyone was there. She glanced at her watch again, “I’m not late, am I?” Lorenzo was the first to reply, “No, we are a bit early. Maybe over the excitement to discuss today’s read.”

She sat looking around at the group. “Well? Let me know what you think?” as she bit the side of her lip. She was ready. She told herself this would be an opportunity to better herself in the future so no matter what they said it would help.

Remembering the passion, months ago which drew her attention to the group, she heard once again here today. Everyone was talking in what seemed chaotic but organized. Each gives their own thoughts on what the character should have done.

Sarah glanced over at Lorenzo who sat there with pride. “See. We told you we would not hold anything back, It is magnificent. The details are written allowing us to be the character and ride the roller coaster of emotions. Well done Sarah, well done,”

“All of you are saying you like my story?” Everyone at the table raised their glass of wine with approval and in unison, they uttered, “Cin Cin“.

Written By: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Coming soon: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts From Angel:

Finding yourself is the most challenging thing you will ever do in your life. We can be a best friend, a daughter or son, a wife or husband but when it comes to ourselves, we are complete strangers.

If you like to support what I do “Buy Me A Coffee”

Vocabulary:

rocky – adjective: unsteady

quitter – noun: a person who gives up easily 

outcome – noun: the way a thing turns out

abide – verb: accept

triumphs -noun: victory or achievement

evolves – verb: develop gradually

occasionally – adverb: at infrequent or irregular intervals

admirers – noun: a person who has particular regard for someone

declines – verb: refuse 

passion – noun: strong emotion

intently – adverb: eager attention

curiosity got the best of her – phrase: to gain or to lose control over someone or something.

contribute – verb: give

candid – adjective: truthful and straightforward

spewing – verb: expel large quantities of (something) rapidly

perspective – noun: point of view

possessed – verb: have

viewpoint – noun: a way to look at something

ritual – noun: repetitive

confidence – noun: self-assurance

platonic – adjective:  intimate and affectionate, non-sexual

hanging onto her every word – idiom: to listen very carefully or closely

bundle – noun: a collection of things or quantity of material

on the fence – idiom: not able to decide

honored – adjective: with great respect

brutally – adverb: in a direct way 

pins and needles – idiom: in a nervous state of anticipation

validation – noun: recognition

muted – adjective: not expressed 

expectations – noun: a belief that someone will 

absorb – verb: take in or soak up

chaotic – adjective: complete confusion and disorder

unison – noun: simultaneous, together

uttered – verb: make (a sound) with one’s voice

Cin Cin – saying (pronounced chin chin): cheers (a salute, informal)

Question ( s ):

What is something new you’ve started?

Bus Number 15

parked yellow school bus

( Intermediate Level )

Mr. Frankie, as the students call him, is close to retirement. He had driven for the Arcadian Elementary School District for nineteen years and ten months. When he wasn’t driving he would substitute as the crossing guard at the student’s crosswalk.

Frankie, named after his father, Frank Sr., grew up in the same neighborhood as he worked. Many of his friends, once they graduated, had moved away but he liked his city. Once in a while, they would come back to visit family and friends but this seemed to fade away as each of them started their careers and families.

His father had passed away a long time ago and he felt it was his obligation, as the only child, to help his mom as long as she needed him. She rarely asked for help.

She is a strong-willed Italian woman who did many things for herself. Frankie figures his dad had a lot to do with her being independent. “I will not be around forever. You need to know how to do these things for yourself.”

He smiles when he remembers those words. His mom would get so mad at her husband for what she felt was just being lazy. “Frank, You never want to do things for me! If one of your friends needed you, no problem but when I ask it is a different story!”

Frankie never thought about or planned what he would do once he retired. Honestly, he liked having something to do every day. Weekends bored him.

His mother was in her late eighties now and he didn’t know how much longer she would be around. “Maybe traveling could be an option”, he thought from time to time, “Five days a week and six months out of the year I traveled the same route. Time for new scenery I guess.”

Dinner at home never changed. You would always know what was for dinner by the day of the week. Sounds crazy to most who hear but it was pretty normal for their family You didn’t have to ask or guess what was for dinner.

On Mondays, it was meatloaf, on Wednesdays it was, homemade soup or stew and on Fridays, it was always fish. “Catholics eat fish on Fridays,” his mother would preach.

On alternate days, Tuesdays and Thursdays, a pasta dish was on the menu. Today was Wednesday and Frankie knew it would be be a soup or stew. It didn’t matter to his mom if it was thirty degrees Fahrenheit or ninety degrees, soup was on the menu.

He sat down with his mom for dinner and she gossiped about what her friend had done and what she saw the new man across the road do to a stray cat who had wandered onto his veranda.

She finally stopped talking when she noticed her son quiet and deep in thought. “So what is on your mind tonight? You probably haven’t heard a word I said.”

“I beg your pardon. I have heard everything you said.” He smiled at her and hoped she wouldn’t ask for details. He had no idea what she rambled on about. His last day of work was coming. At the end of this school year, he would retire. This was a week and a half away.

His mom smiled back and continued eating her soup. She looked up at her son and asked, “You look like you have something on your mind. What is it?”

” Ya Ma, I do. In less than two weeks I will not have a purpose. I won’t have to get up and be somewhere. I have no idea what I will do every day.”

“I’ve dedicated my entire life, it seems, to driving a school bus. I never really made plans on what I would do once this day came. Any suggestions?”

His mother stopped eating her soup and wiped her mouth with her napkin, “For one thing it will not hurt you to take a few weeks off or even a month before you decide what is in your future.”

“Twenty years of dedication deserves time off. Don’t you think? Retirement doesn’t mean you crawl up and die. It means you relax more. Don’t be in a hurry to do anything. Enjoy every single day!”

“Ma, you’re right. Besides all these years taking care of you has been another full-time job!” He waited for her response with a huge grin on his face.

“Pffft, If anyone had a full-time job it would have been me and I never received a dime for it. I had you and your father to take care of, the house, and to cook. Your dad never likes sandwiches, remember? He always wanted a hot meal.”

Now that your father is gone I practically do his job also. So not only am I a caretaker. I am a chef, a maid, a chauffeur for my friends who don’t drive and I am a handyman to boot!.

“Believe me, in retirement you will be busier than you ever thought you would be. If your hands are idle then that is your choice.”

Frankie shook his head in agreement. His mom always spoke what was on her mind. She never curbed her tongue. Everyone knew this about her and loved her for it.

The last day of school approached without incident. The staff had pooled their money together and had bought a card, a watch, and had a plaque made for his twenty years of service to their school district.

What his students did for him meant much more than a plaque or watch. Each of them wrote a short note to him and drew a picture. Each gave him a hug and their gift to him as they left the bus.

Some had drawn him as a substitute crossing guard while others drew him sitting in the driver’s seat of bus number fifteen. With the words written, “We love you” or “You are the best bus driver” and even ” You will be missed.”

Weeks had passed and his mother was right. Relaxing for a few weeks wasn’t all that bad. He and a friend actually had time to go to the local pond to fish. He hadn’t done this in years.

So Frankie, what is next for you? Are you going to travel or take up a hobby?” his friend asked.

“Nah. I need to stay close if mom needs me. I’ve been thinking of starting a non-profit organization for the students whose parents struggle from year to year to buy coats, backpacks, and other things needed each school year. I just need to know how to get started.”

“Every year I saw students carrying their books in plastic shopping bags or wearing shoes that were either too big or too small. It’s not their parent’s neglect. They do what they can.”

“I have a friend who works at the mayor’s office. I can give him a call on Monday and see if he has information on what to do.”

“That’ll be great. I want to have everything up and ready before the new school year begins. That means getting donations of supplies or money for us to buy such things. I imagine we would have to add to the list as time goes on but for now we can start small.”

“Sounds great. I will give you a call after I talk with my friend.” They both had gathered up their fishing gear and headed to the trucks. Neither of them had caught a fish but they enjoyed just relaxing and catching up.

Frankie received the information needed to start his non-profit and it was simple enough. He needed to fill out the necessary paperwork , name the organization, and file it with at the county building.

Frankie and his mother were enjoying their fish dinner when he mentioned to his mom. “Everything’s coming together nicely and I will go down to the county office on Monday. I still need a name. I cannot file the paperwork until it has a name.”

His mom looked across the dinner table at him. ” Bus Number 15. That had been your life for twenty years. Now you are starting your next chapter. Sort of an extension of the first. So I feel it is proper to call it that.” Frankie looked down at his plate and then back at his mom, “That has a nice ring to it.”

On the following Monday, the paperwork was filed and it was the beginning of a new journey for Frankie. The word got out and businesses donated to his cause. One business gave him office space, free of charge, in the downtown area, so he could be accessible to many.

Before he headed home for meatloaf Monday, he hung a simple sign on the outside of his new office building. He stood with his hands on his hips and beamed with pride.

BUS NUMBER 15 FOUNDATION

Dedicated

To Helping All Students

and Their Families

Written By: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Coming soon: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts from Angel:

There are many families struggling in today’s economy around the world. Prices have increased drastically on everything. If you have a chance and are able to help please do.

If you would like to support what I do “Buy me a coffee.”

Vocabulary:

fade away – phrasal verb: gradually grow faint and disappear

obligation – noun: a duty or commitment

strong-willed – adjective: determined to do as one wants even if other people advise against it

independent – adjective: free from outside control

scenery – noun: landscape or layout

preach – verb: proclaim or teach

alternate – adjective: every other

veranda – non: a roofed platform along the outside of a house, level with the ground floor

rambled on – phrasal verb: to talk or write in a confused way, often for a long time

entire – adjective: with no part left out; whole

chauffeur – noun: a person employed to drive a motor vehicle

to boot – phrase:  to emphasize that you have added something else to something or to a list of things that you have just said.

curbed her tongue – noun : to hold back comments

without incident -idiom: without any unexpected trouble

plaque – noun: small wall sign, commemoration of a person or event

non-profit – adjective: not making money or profit

neglect– noun: the state or fact of being uncared for

catching up – phrasal verb: talk to someone whom one has not seen for some time in order to find out what they have been doing

has a nice ring to it – idiom: to sound nice, good, pleasing to the ear

word got out – intransitive verb: to become known

accessible – adjective: able to be reached or entered

beamed – verb: smiled

Question ( s ):

Are there any organizations in your city to help with families in need? Whether it is food or clothing.

Alphabet Soup

( Intermediate Level )

There are those moments where something, whether it be a particular song or a smell or even something you see, triggers a memory. This is exactly what happened to Charlotte.

She sat down for a quick bowl of soup before she returned to her work online. As she opened the can she realized it was alphabet soup. She remembers how she loved eating this soup when she was young. She smiled and popped into the microwave.

In today’s world, many companies have adopted the hybrid way and the employees can choose which days to work from home and those to work at the actual office. Mondays and Fridays are the days she chose to stay home. This gave her what she felt was an extended weekend each week of the month.

The microwave beeped, as the soup finished heating and she sat down lost in her memories of her childhood.

Both of Charlotte’s parents worked so she spent her days at her grandmother’s until she was old enough to go to school. Grandpa was gone now and her mother thought it would be wonderful for both of them to have each other’s company.

“Charlotte, it’s lunchtime. Come and have a bowl of soup with me. Do you want crackers with your soup?” her grandmother asked as she poured Charlotte a glass of milk.

“If you put crackers in my soup then the letters get lost. How can I spell words with you?”

I guess you are right. Let’s see how many words we can spell before we finish our soup. If I remember, I have the most words!” Her grandmother responded, egging her granddaughter to do her best.

Her grandmother discovered she could buy dried alphabet noodles and pre – cooked them then add them to anything. She remembered that, one time, grandma added these letters to the gravy that was poured over the mashed potatoes.

“Oh, Grandma! You are the best!”

This was how it was for years. It wasn’t until Charlotte was older that she realized that this was her grandmother’s clever idea to get her granddaughter to eat all her meals.

As time passed, Grandma had more difficulty in everything. Her movements slowed and her ability to think of words decreased. Charlotte remembers she was about ten or twelve when she noticed this.

She mentioned it to her dad one evening while they were having their dinner, and he responded,” She is sixty- four now. This happens when we get older. Just try to help her as much as you can.”

The following Monday, Charlotte remembers going to grandma’s after school until her parents came to pick her up. Grandma had already had their snack ready.

She prepared their traditional alphabet soup and a half of a cheese sandwich. Her father’s words resonated in the back of her mind, “Help her as much as you can.” She sat down and started the conversation.

Grandma, I have a big spelling test coming up this week at school. Can you help me study for this? Maybe we can find the letters in our soup!”

“Of course ,I can. What are your words?”

She remembers going to her backpack and pulling out her spelling workbook. She sat back down and started thumbing through to chapter six. “Here they are grandma,” as she slid the workbook across the table to her.

“Ok, Here is your first word, attractive.

“A – t – t – r – a – c- t – i – v – e” Charlotte moved aside vegetables, with her spoon until she found all the letters she needed.

“Very good. Here is another, admire.”

Again, Charlotte found all the letters within her soup. A – d – m – i – r – e. Her grandmother smiled at her.

“What does admire mean?”

I am not quite sure but I know I admire you grandma!”

“Well thank you. Now eat up a little before your soup gets cold.” Charlotte ate, leaving her letters on one side of her bowl.

“Grandma?”

What dear?”

I am worried about you.”

What on earth for?”

Sometimes you forget things and sometimes I notice you have trouble walking.”

“Oh, my dear Charlotte. This happens to all of us when growing older. It is a reminder to us, who are older, to enjoy each day and not to be in a rush.”

“Will this happen to me too?”

“Maybe. It is normal. No need to worry about your old grandmother. I have you to keep me active and keep my mind sharp.” Her grandmother gave her a huge smile and a wink.

They continued eating and going through each of Charlotte’s spelling words. Her grandmother squashed all concerns that Charlotte had about her through her explanation.

Charlotte heard her cell phone ring, which startled her. She realized her whole lunch break was about over. She was so deep in her childhood memories and the alphabet soup.

“Hello.” as she answered her cell. “Hi Char, It’s mom. We are planning on going to Grandma’s house for the holiday. Do you think you can get away from work to come with us? She would love to see you.”

Charlotte’s parents relocated to another city a few years ago due to a promotion her father received within his company. Once Charlotte graduated from college, she too moved to the same city as her parents and secured her current job.

Sure, I have some time owed to me. I just need to make sure it is ok with my boss.”

“Great, we will be leaving on Friday night after your dad gets home. See if you can book a flight on the same plane as us.” They exchanged information on the flight and hung up with each other.

It was time for Charlotte to return to her work. She logged back into her computer and quickly sent her boss a message asking if she could take a few days off. He agreed to let her have off on Friday and the following Monday.

“Great! Thank you. My parents and I will go to my grandmother’s. I haven’t seen her in maybe eight or nine years. Once I went away to college I became too busy in my life.” she said in her message back to him.

She quickly made her reservation for the flight and then texted her mom that everything was a go for Friday. She knew she would have to pack tonight since tomorrow would be a very busy day at work.

The flight was pleasant. Each of them had carry – on luggage only. It was a quick ninety -minute journey. Arrangements were made for a rental car to be waiting for once they arrived.

With luck and not a lot of traffic they would arrive at a decent hour. Grandma was a night owl but dad was not fond of driving when it got dark. She smiles as she thinks about her grandmother’s words,” It is a normal part of getting older.”

As they arrived, her grandmother greeted them on the porch,” Well look who is here. Charlotte. Oh my, how you became such a beautiful young lady. Charlotte smiled and gave her grandma a hug.

“I know grandma, It has been a long time and I am sorry. It doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of you.”

” I know dear. We all get busy sometimes. Now let’s get inside and I made a snack for us. They do not give you enough to eat on those flights to fill you up. ”

After suitcases were put in the extra bedrooms they entered the kitchen to see her grandmother busy setting out bowls and spoons. on the table.

She set a large bowl in the center of the table. Alphabet soup. Charlotte looked up to see her grandmother returning the look. She smiled sheepishly and winked at her granddaughter.

After all these years of separation, it was as if nothing had changed. They talked and talked. Catching up with each other.

“Grandma, look,” Charlotte spoke in a childlike voice. In her spoon she had found all the letters to spell A – D – M – I – R – E. Her grandmother’s eyes softened as she read the word.

Written By: Angel

Follow me on:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

And very soon you can follow: topenwithangel.com

Thoughts From Angel:

Memories are very precious for me. If I had to chose between keeping old memories or making new ones, I would always say, “I would rather keep the old memories.”

I have so many memories growing up ,of those who I loved and now they are gone, that I want to hold onto. These memories remind me of where I came from and it is because of them made me the person I am today.

If you would like to support what I do “Buy me a coffee”

Vocabulary:

triggers – verb: cause (an event or situation) to happen 

adopted – verb: choose to take up, follow, or use

hybrid – adjective: mixed or combined

egging – verb: urge or encourage someone

clever – adjective: intelligence

decreased -verb: smaller

resonated -verb: reverberating sound, hearing over and over again

thumbing through – phrasal verb: to turn page(s) quickly

attractive – adjective: appealing to look at

admire – verb: regard (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval

squashed – adjective: to stop or softened

startled – adjective: sudden shock or alarm

fond – adjective: having an affection or liking for something or someone

sheepishly – adverb: having a sneaky way, mischievous

childlike – adjective: qualities associated with a child

Question ( s ):

Have you ever experienced a memory triggered by a smell? A song?

Do you have a favorite childhood memory of someone you were very close to, like a grandparent?

The Truths Behind My Photographs

photo of woman holding silver camera

( Advanced Level )

As I look through the lens, I think, if only they listened. If only they knew how I felt, maybe things would be different. Maybe the outcome would be different.

My future was planned for me. I did not have a choice. I was expected to be much more than I could be. I tried. Studying was not easy for me.

I was easily distracted by the world around me. The sky. The trees. The flowers. Those children are running to catch a butterfly.

I saved all my money to buy my first camera. I was elated that now I could capture what I saw and keep those memories forever.

My mother said I should have saved my money for something much more important, like my future. She didn’t understand that I wanted photography to be my future.

I dared not disobey my parents. I was raised to respect and listen no matter how I felt or what I desired. This was accepted and being the only child, I wanted to make them proud.

I didn’t have friends that I could talk with and my mother was way too busy with her professional career to listen to an idle teenager.

So I turned to my camera. Somehow, when I looked through the lens, all the troubles went away. My mother’ comments, “Why can’t you do better? You need to study more.”

I express myself through my photos. On those sad or frustrating days, my photos expressed just this. As of late, they showed flowers wilting, shriveling on their stems, or a baby bird that fell from its nest clinging on to life.

On those better days, my pictures were pleasant. The sun shining through the leaves or a bird hunting insects, happy to bring the prize back to their young.

The one who really understood me was my father’s sister, my aunt. She had traveled to other countries and seen how the world was different. It was ok to express yourself or be yourself and follow your dreams.

We talked when she visited our home, which wasn’t often. She was a self-made businesswoman. She created an international clothing line for working women. She laughs now at those who didn’t believe in her.

One day your parents will understand that the world around us has changed. We are free to choose our own destiny. Until then you must listen to them. You will be an adult soon and you will be free to make your own choice.”

My aunt’s words comforted me, for a time. Then the words faded into an abyss as I struggled with my studies. It was my last year of high school and my mother expected me to major in medicine or education when entering the university.

“How could I tell my parents this is not what I wanted to do?”

Final exams were less than one month away, not to mention the entrance exams for the university. The competition to enter the top universities was fierce and and a few openings having full marks was of utmost importance.

As much as I wanted I couldn’t get the marks needed to enter any of those top universities they had chosen for me. It wasn’t in me.

On final exam day, I found myself very anxious. I knew if I scored well, my parents would insist on the majors they picked for me, and in my heart, this isn’t what I wanted.

If I did poorly then my parents would be ashamed. It is all about what grades your child gets, their looks, and their parent’s status. I didn’t understand this. “Why couldn’t we be judged and loved for who we are?”

I took a deep breath and headed out to the school. “Do your absolute best, I expect nothing less,” mom said as she saw me leave. My heart was not into this. All I could do was try.

I sat there as the instructor said, “Open your exams and begin.” I wished I was somewhere other than here. I opened my booklet and began.

The time was up. It seemed like I had just begun. The instructor asked us to put our pencils down. I took one last look and realized I had finished half a page out of five. I passed my test to the front of the room and left. The scores would be in a week from now.

I didn’t have to wait for the results to come in. I knew I had done poorly. Before I heard the wrath of my parents, especially my mother. I called my aunt. “Hi Auntie, I want to talk, I was wondering if I could come over?“Sure, what’s the special occasion?” “I just want to talk”

I arrived at my auntie’s house thirty minutes later. She noticed the overstuffed backpack that I hurriedly packed with what clothes I wanted, and commented, “Hey kiddo, what’s all this? Are you running away?

With a huge sigh, “Yes. Not running, just leaving. I took my final exams and I just blanked. It makes no sense for me to take any university entrance exams. I would fail them also.

“I want to be a photographer. Can I make it in this world? I am not sure. I may fall flat on my face. I want to at least try. I want this more than anything.”

My aunt looked into my face and saw I was serious. She knew she couldn’t convince me to stay. I didn’t want what my parents wanted for me.

” I will not advise you either way. I will say to you that I totally understand. I had the same pressures on me as you have. Eventuall,y my parents came around and accepted my choice. Maybe yours will do the same.”

“If you are going to do this, put all your heart and mind into it and when you have success please invite me to your first showing,” she hugged me and I knew at that moment she really understood me.

“You have a deal auntie. Do you think my parents will forgive me?”

“It may take a while kiddo but I am sure they will. You are their daughter and their only child. They just cannot forget that.”

I listened to my aunt’s advise and put all my heart and passion into my photos. I bettered myself year after year. My parents never looked for me as I brought shame to their family name. I expected this.

Finally, I did succeed after years of dedication. My talent was requested by many top magazines and agencies. I missed the opportunity to share my journey with my parents.

I eventually had a showing of all my photographs at a prestigious gallery in New York. I sent invitations to both my aunt, as I promised her, and to my parents hoping they would come. I hoped after five years they would have forgiven me.

I stood by my photos, on opening night. My pictures were hung on the walls around me. The lights captured their essence perfectly.

Many people greeted me as they passed me, from dignitaries to the ordinary. I was beyond excited that all these people came to see my work.

“Excellent’

“What an eye you have for detail.”

I simply love your work”

My aunt arrived a little after the opening. “I am so glad you made it!” as she kissed her aunt on her cheek, “Mom? Dad?” hoping she knew if they were coming.

“I am sorry. I don’t think they are coming. I tried to talk to your mother but she shut me down. She didn’t want to listen to me. Enough of this. It is your night so show me your exhibit!”

The ones I wanted to come tonight, didn’t. I could let this tear me up inside, but I won’t. I am proud of myself and I will always remember they wanted nothing but the best for me but my best and their best are on different pages.

Written By: Angel

Follow Me On:

Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Meta Business Suite: Angels’ s Thoughts to Pen

And coming soon: topenwithangel.com August 2022!!!

Thoughts from Angel:

Parents, please listen to your children. They have dreams that may be different from your dreams. If they make a wrong choice it is ok. Just be there for them when they need you.

Wisdom comes from failure. You stand back up and brush yourself off and move forward once again. Hopefully with you by their side.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to donate to support my efforts:

Vocabulary:

outcome – noun: the way things turn out, end result

distracted -adjective: unable to concentrate

elated -adjective: overly happy

disobey – verb: fail to obey rules

idle – adjective: without purpose or effect; pointless

frustrating – adjective: causing annoyance or upset 

as of late – idiomatic: lately, recently

wilting – verb: become limp through heat, loss of water, or disease; droop

self-made – adjective: having become successful by one’s own efforts

destiny – noun: fate

abyss – noun: deep or seemingly bottomless, never-ending

fierce – adjective: aggressive

utmost – adjective: most extreme; greatest

anxious – adjective: worry, unease, or nervousness

poorly -adverb: inadequate

ashamed – adjective: embarrassed

wrath – noun: extreme anger 

convince -verb: persuade

advise – noun: guidance or recommendations (not to be confused with advice)

prestigious – adjective: having high status

forgiven – verb: stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone

essence -noun: indispensable quality of something

dignitaries – noun: a person considered to be important 

shut me down – verb: reject, strongly discourage, or prevent one from continuing

tear me up – phrasal verb: to make someone feel very unhappy or upset

Question ( s ):

Have you or will you follow your own dreams? Or those of your parents?

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

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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?