Losing Daddy’s Gift

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I haven’t edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

Losing Daddy’s Gift

Tina opened the velvet box and stared at the sparkly face and shiny band.  “Oh, Daddy, my first real watch. Thank you.”  She jumped up and hugged his neck. “Help me put it on. Please Daddy.”

“I’m glad you liked it, and I’m sorry I’ve been called away on your tenth birthday.”

“It’s okay, Daddy, I understand.”

“Why don’t you go play with Cindy before she scratches a hole in the back door? I’ll say goodbye to Nanny and you can distract Cindy while I sneak out the front door.”

“Alright, be safe, Daddy.”

The birthday girl shot out the back door to find her best play mate. “Cindy, she shouted. Oh, there you are. Do you wanna play hide and seek?”

Cindy barked and began chasing her tail.

“Go stand around the corner. Go on.  I’ll count to twenty while I hide. You know the rules.”

Cindy barked twice and headed for the corner of the house.

“One, two, three, four… No peeking, Cindy. Five, six… ”

Tina peeked out from her hiding place among the sunflowers and watched Cindy sniff around the garden before racing towards Tina.

“Oh, Cindy, you are clever. Okay, back you go and I’ll count again.”

Cindy ran back in the direction of the house and around the corner.

“One, two, three…”

Tina crept toward the garden shed, counting as she went. She waited quietly behind the opened door and watched Cindy race toward the last hiding place. Tina giggled at Cindy’s usual antics. After more sniffing, Cindy found her and began licking her face.  Tina congratulated her again before starting the routine over.

It had been an hour of fun and a lot of laughing by the time Cindy found Tina laying flat on the grass behind a low shrub.

“I give up too, Cindy. Let’s go get some water.”

Tina scrambled to her feet and brushed off her clothes. She glanced at her wrist. “Oh no! My watch.”

Tina looked around frantically, searching the ground around the shrub.

Tina began to cry. “Cindy, you have to help me find my watch.”

Cindy stood with her head tilted to one side.

“Do you understand, Cindy?”  Tina pointed to her wrist before realizing Cindy probably hadn’t even noticed the new addition.

Wiping her face with the back of her hand, Tina looked around the yard. “I have an idea, girl. It’s your turn to hide. Go on. Go and hide. I’ll come looking for you.”

Cindy trotted off to a previous hiding place where Tina had been. Tina waited, then followed her searching the ground as she went. “Again, Cindy, go hide.”

A short time later, Tina sat on the ground and hugged her knees. Big tears rolled down her red puffy cheeks. Cindy began to whimper and licked Tina’s salty face.

“What am I going to do, Cindy? I need to find my watch.”

Cindy barked and raced toward the corner of the house. “I didn’t go there, Cindy. That’s where you were.” But Tina followed her golden retriever around the corner of the house anyway.

“What have you got there, Cindy?”

Tina knelt beside Cindy and looked down. There, behind a flower pot, was her watch. “Cindy, how did this get here?”

A wet nose nudged Tina toward the garden shed where she was found earlier.

“You mean, you found it when you were looking for me here, before my next hiding place? Oh, Cindy. You’re so clever.”

Tina hugged Cindy and tickled her belly just as Nanny called her to lunch.

“Come on, Cindy. You deserve a special treat” and together they raced through the garden and up the back steps.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: Children’s Corner

Fields of Laughter

The sun was warm on the sombre faces of ten-year-old twins, Holly and Steve. Their legs swung carelessly over the edge of the old rustic fence. Aunt Mary shuffled past with her black veil held tightly against her chin, barely noticing the children.

Steve’s voice was solemn and quiet. ‘Holly, do you remember last summer when Grandpa fell into the river trying to reel in that big trout?’

Holly laughed unexpectedly. ‘Yes, my sides hurt from laughing while he was explaining to Mother how he got so wet.’

Uncle Peter hurried past with his weeping wife and two protesting young children tagging along behind. He glared at Holly and shook his head in disgust before hurrying up the drive. Steve and Holly tried to stifle their giggles as they watched the small family group approach the house.

Holly laughed again as she remembered. ‘We never did get to eat fish for tea that night.’

‘Hello Holly. Hello Steve.’

The twins smiled and waved back to their cousin Gerald. His father grumbled and prodded Gerald in the direction of the house.

Quite a few relatives lived nearby and sometimes they walked the short distances between the farms and their community church but visits weren’t common. They were all busy with their own lives, their own farms.

Holly frowned. ‘Do you think Grandpa ever found out I was the one who hid his tobacco?’

Steve grinned at his sister. ‘Probably, he always said he had eyes in the back of his head.’ He threw his head back and snorted, almost losing his balance in the process and sending them both into fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Mr Snyder, the owner of the farm that adjoined theirs, drove his rattling pickup truck in the direction of the open gate and stopped almost directly in front of Steve. ‘You children should have more respect for the dead. For pity sake, I can hear you from my front door.’ With that, he accelerated toward the grass area where other vehicles were parked haphazardly under trees.

The twins were silent for a few moments before Steve spoke again. ‘I don’t think Grandpa ever liked Mr Snyder.’

Holly smiled, trying to smother another giggle. ‘Remember when Mr Snyder let our cows out of the back field and Grandpa chased him with his shot gun?’

‘Yes, that was funny, especially since Grandpa had forgotten to buckle his trouser belt before leaving the outhouse.’

The twins were continuing their banter when they noticed their father strolling up from the barn toward them. Work still needed to be done, even if Grandpa’s funeral had been held earlier that morning.

‘Hey you two. What’s the joke?’

‘Holly and I were talking about Grandpa. Sorry Dad.’

‘Dad, why is everyone mad at us?’ Holly asked sadly.

‘Because, my sweet child, no one knew Grandpa like you both did…and like I did, for that matter. Even your mother could tell you a story or two.’ He leaned up against the fence between the twins and nodded in the direction of the house. ‘Not one of these guests will miss Grandpa after today.’

‘They didn’t really know him.’ Steve said this more as a statement than a question.

‘No Son, they didn’t.’

‘That’s sad’, Holly concluded.

Their father looked up and scanned the fields.

The children turned their heads to follow his gaze.

‘I remember when I was about your age,’ he began. ‘Your Grandpa worked the farm completely on his own. One day, Mr Snyder let his cows into our corn field. Your grandfather decided from that day on, he would get revenge. It was never anything serious. They both got over it soon enough. Grandpa’s funny antics were really something to witness.’ He finished with a short, choked laugh and wiped his hand across his eyes.

Holly and Steve jumped down from the fence and walked hand-in-hand with their father back through the gate. The trio didn’t enter the house full of mourners. Instead, they headed for the corn field which was now ready for harvest, and then on to the fields beyond. Their laughter echoed across the farm.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

A Garden of Surprises

‘Daddy! There’s a tiger in our garden!’

‘Really? I hope not. He might dig up the watermelon seeds.’

‘Should we feed the tiger so he won’t come and eat us up?’

‘OK. Why don’t you get Mum’s kitchen scrap-bucket while I’ll put on my garden shoes?’

‘I have my garden shoes on all ready. Look, Mummy tied the laces. Do you think tigers wear garden shoes too?’

‘Well, we’ll soon find out, my young tiger hunter.’

‘Up on my shoulders you go. You can be the lookout.’

‘Yippee! I can see the whole garden up here. Look! Paw prints. It looks like the tiger has been out all night. Daddy, do you think the tiger might be sleeping?’

‘Could be. We will have to keep very quiet so we don’t wake him.’

‘caw caw

‘Look Daddy! It’s a crow. Let me down because he might get me. He could be the tiger’s friend. He might tell him we’re in the garden.’

‘Look over here. This is a lady bug?’

‘Why do they call em’ lady bugs?’

‘I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because they are so petite. Look at her tiny wings.’

‘Oh, look Daddy, the watermelon seeds are popping out.’

‘Yes, they are. Feel the little green shoot. Soon it will grow along the ground into a big vine and we will have lots of watermelons to eat.’

‘Yuck! Daddy, there’s a snail.’ He pointed.

‘We can’t have snails eating our seedlings, can we? We should put him on the compost heap. He can’t do any harm there.’

‘Come on Daddy, we have to feed the tiger.’

‘Be careful where you walk. The garden is a bit overgrown near the shed. We might clean it up next weekend. What do you think?’

‘Oh no, Daddy! Where will the tiger live?’

‘You have a point there. Here we are. Empty the scraps onto the compost pile.’

‘Daddy, can we empty the scraps for Mummy tomorrow? There might be a dinosaur in our garden.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Bartholomew’s Adventure

‘Bartholomew? Is that you?’

pant pant

‘Bartholomew, it’s hard enough to get six babies to have a nap after Sunday School without you coming home late. This floor shook all the way through the singing. The entire ruckus has given me a headache.’

pant pant ‘When I catch my breath…pant…I’ll explain.’

‘Were you chased by the janitor?’

‘Mildred, he’s on to us again.’

‘Well it’s no wonder. Your snooping around those Sunday School classes is going to get us into trouble one of these days.’

He ignored his wife and continued. ‘I got right up close to the piano. It was awesome. They were singing Jesus loves me; my favourite. I managed to sneak in behind the young ones going into class. Mildred, their new Sunday School teacher, Miss Cooper, is delightful.’

‘I thought you were going to find us some Sunday lunch, not check out the girls.’

‘I did. Anyway, I was captivated by the way she presented the Noah’s Ark story—pictures of the ark, birds, animals, even Noah. Young Tommy asked if there were any rats on board and everyone laughed. Miss Cooper assured Tommy that if there are rats around now; they would’ve been on the ark. She spoke with enthusiasm about our Maker and His promises. Oh Mildred, you’d have loved it. It was a perfect morning.’

‘So why were you panting?’

‘I was coming to that. You see, Billy was about to leave the room with his Bible still on his chair.’

‘Again? His parents must have replaced his Bible a dozen times.’

‘I know, and I thought if I could get someone’s attention before they left, they’d see it and return it to him.’

‘So, what did you do, scare poor Miss Cooper half to death on her first morning?’

‘No, I simply marched over to the Bible and stood on it… only I didn’t see the janitor passing the door with his broom. He saw me about the same time as Billy did. Billy stood between the janitor and me so I could get away.’ He chuckled. ‘You should’ve seen me run. I slipped out the door as quick as a flash with that broom coming mighty close.’

‘OK, so where’s lunch? Maybe we can enjoy some of His gifts before the babies wake up.’

Bartholomew removed the pack from his shoulder and began to unload his findings. ‘I found a couple of potato crisps in the foyer. A gummy bear with his head removed in the cry room and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the Sunday School Hall. All while they were busy singing themselves silly.’ He chuckled again.

‘Oh, this is great, Bartholomew. We won’t go to bed hungry tonight.’

‘I’LL FIND YOU, RAT!’ A voice bellowed through the walls.

Mildred began to shiver. ‘Bartholomew…’

‘Mildred, take the babies through the side door to the end of the stage. Take the underground route to Uncle Moses… and don’t stop until you get there.’

‘Bartholomew, don’t leave us. Where are you going?’

‘It’s all right. I’ll distract him and meet you at Uncle Moses’s later. I’ll be fine. GO!’

‘WHERE ARE YOU, RAT?’

Bartholomew scurried back through the hole and across the stage. His feet skidded beneath him on the varnished boards, causing him to slide sideways and crashing into a pile of electrical cables. He scanned the stage and the hall just as one of the cables hit the floor below.

‘I HAVE YOU NOW.’

As fast as his little legs could carry him, Bartholomew scampered into Miss Cooper’s classroom, raced past Noah and the ark and up the drapes on the other side of the room.

There he waited.

It was dark when Bartholomew reached Uncle Moses’ place, tired and hungry. He listened, but there was no sound. He tapped lightly before entering.

‘Bartholomew, where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. The babies wore out poor Uncle Moses. They’re all curled up with him on his bed.’

‘I’m fine. I told you I’d be fine. I know that place blindfolded. We can return in a few weeks once the exterminators have gone and the air is clear again.’

‘In the meantime, Bartholomew, you can help me with the babies. When we return home, I want you to take them to Sunday School, but no more adventures.’

‘All right, Mildred, no more adventures for me.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in:
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Roof Top Dancing

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone on my roof…
It sounds like they are dancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I wonder if this roof is dance-proof…
It wouldn’t be for elephants prancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

Who is dancing on my roof?
Toward the eaves they’re now advancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I sneaked a peek to find the proof…
To do this, it took some chancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone dancing on my roof!
— It’s three galahs belly-dancing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in
Poetry Mix and Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Haunting Wails and the Seashell

Multi-coloured seashells lined the shelf in Sophie’s spare room. They had always fascinated her nine-year-old granddaughter, Emma. Each shell had its own special story. Today, Emma had asked to hear about the big shiny spotted one, which twisted and curled to a little holey point.

Emma carefully lifted the shell from the shelf and sat on the bed as Sophie entered from the kitchen, wiping her wet hands on her apron. She smiled down at her granddaughter holding the shell gently in her lap. ‘I suppose you want to know about this very special seashell.’

‘Where did you find it, Nanna? It’s so pretty.’

‘It is pretty—as pretty as the beach I found it on. But this shell has a sad story to tell. The memory will live forever in here.’ Sophie placed her hand over her heart before continuing.

‘Poppa and I were visiting a place far from here on the west coast for a holiday back in 1992. It was our holiday of a lifetime—just after your mother finished college. It was a summer. We were staying at a resort village and Poppa and I spent the evenings walking along the cooling sand. On the third evening there was a full moon and we were about to head back up the beach to our bungalow when we heard a pitiful moaning. It seemed like it was coming from the ocean. The sound lingered like a haunting wail that echoed. I have to admit, I was afraid. I’m not one to believe in ghosts, but that night I would have believed anything.’

‘Oh, Nanna, that must have been soooo scary. What did you and Poppa do? What was it?’

Sophie traced the contour of the twisted shell to the point, holding her finger in mid-air for a moment before continuing. ‘Well at first we just stood there trying to work out what it was. Some of the resort staff came running down onto the beach yelling, ‘Save them! Save them!’ It was then that we realized there were black mounds rolling in the surf. They looked like huge boulders. Some were closer to us on the wet sand; water lapping around them from the incoming tide. Some of the people started running into the waves. Poppa grabbed my hand. The boulders were actually whales. Some had already beached themselves—others splashed about a little offshore where waves crashed around them.’

Tears ran down her cheeks as she recalled the events. ‘People were trying to persuade them back by yelling at them. Others just stood, staring, as one by one they beached themselves. It was an awful sight.’

‘Did they go back into the water?’ Emma asked, her eyes reflecting her anguish.

‘Unfortunately, most of them didn’t. I guess its part of nature. We never did find out why those whales beached themselves. We tried to help by keeping the whales wet. We even tried to encourage them back into the water.’ Sophie shook her head. ‘Four days later the beach was covered in dead and dying whales—fifteen in all. I remember I sat in the shallow water beside a mother and her calf and wept for them. Poppa and I took turns taking short naps and taking time out for meals provided by the resort’s kitchen. We continued our vigil for four days—the remainder of our holiday. We’ve always considered it a small sacrifice. We managed to get three whales back out into deeper water—only three, but we were relieved we were able to help in a small way.’

‘Oh, Nanna, this is the saddest story of all. But, where did you find the shell?’

Sophie picked up the shell and blew into the small hole at the point. It made a howling sound, like the wind. She handed it back to Emma so she could have a blow, and continued her story.

‘About mid-morning on the last day, men with hoists came and loaded the dead whales onto the back of trucks to take them away—for burial. I suppose we were too exhausted to ask where. When they lifted the calf beside me, I noticed something lodged in the wet sand. Poppa used his hands to dig it out and held it up to look at it more closely. One of the helpers from the night before took it from Poppa’s hands and washed it in the seawater. He lifted it to his lips and blew it, long and loud. It sounded almost like the mournful cry we had heard the evening before. The man handed it to me and walked away, back up the beach to the resort where he worked. I’ll never forget those whales—or the beach.’

Emma blew into the shell. The haunting wail lingered like the memories on the shelf. Sophie sat beside her in silence for a few minutes.  Emma traced her finger around the shell before placing it into Sophie’s hand. She too, traced her finger to the point then placed it back in its place on the shelf.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace