Friday, August 12, 2022

All My Rowdy Memories

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: Hank ~ obstreperous ~ gin ~ regret ~ helpful

It was submitted by:


Hank Williams Jr spun round the old record player. She didnt much care for the man, but it was one of her father's records. Hearing some ol' Bocephus took her back to a time when things were both simpler and more difficult all at once. His raucous outlaw style was perhaps the most helpful vehicle for surrounding herself with her dad.

She could see him, drunk and obstreperous belting out "tell me, Hank, why do ya drink? Why do you roll smoke? Whyyy must you love out the songs that you wrote?" Family tradition was a pretty good answer to why she was stretched out on the couch down to the last of a cheap bottle of Canadian whisky and high enough to know she had hours to go before she'd be able to go to sleep without the room spinning.

And that was ok. There would be plenty of time for regret tomorrow when the hangover inevitably hit. She wasn't 19 and fresh faced and anymore. The drink would hit her like a mack truck come morning. And a shot of gin first thing, a little hair of the dog so to speak, would work some magic too.

But for now, she had hank and a buzzing body and all the emotions she finally let herself feel after all this time to keep her company.

The last few years she'd really let herself lean into the complicated picture she held of her dad, reveling in the tendency towards loud chaos when he was drinking shine, the music, the outlaw shit, the hardworking blue collar man who was, in all honesty, probably doing his fucking best all things considered and softening towards the aggression and temper and hurt. He didn't break the cycle of hurt and abuse he'd endured. Couldn't, she guessed. She knew how hard it was herself being a mother now with a loud and opinionated kid that had taken on her stubbornness and smartass mouth. It was difficult beyond measure to shed the anger and quick temper like an exoskeleton that didn't fit her anymore. It took effort every single day of her life. It took putting down the alcohol for the most part a lot time ago. It took a lot of forgiving. Had he been able to forgive? Probably not. It took him dying and the distance that comes after years of that loss to forgive. Death broke his cycle. Finally. Death made room for a softened heart where none could have existed before it, and he hadn't had that luxury with his own parents.

"Play me the songs about a ramblin' man put old Jim Beam in my hand
Cause you know I still love to get drunk and hear country sounds"

Here she was belting out the old tunes herself, teary eyed, loving the memory of the man she couldn't understand when he was still living. Life is strange that way. And music too. She had no doubts that the music they'd shared is what started her down this road. Spinning his records, finding a copy of the Cyndi lauper album she'd loved so much as a kid still among his collection she'd inherited, allowing herself to embrace songs she'd hated just because her father had loved them...She couldn't listen to country now without thinking of him. She'd even made playlists for tunes she knew he'd love and played them on nights she felt like she needed a dad she could still send a song suggestion to, who'd send one back... A dad she could buy vinyl for who wasn't buried at the church he hated at her age. Those playlists felt almost like a hug.

But tonight was about old times and letting herself cry for the both of them.

"Hank let's talk about your daddy tell me how your mama loved that man
Well just break out a bottle hoss I'll tell you bout the driftin' cowboy band
We won't talk about the habits just the music and the man"


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 5, 2022

The Deal

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This month 4 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is: If you could be taught any instrument, take (free) lessons, really learn to understand the instrument and how to play it, which instrument would you choose?

It was submitted by:


***A piece of fiction but I think or hope it still counts as an answer. The devil wears a suit and tie to hear Colter wall tell it, and I might be willing to make the deal. I don't have time for lessons. ***

The man appeared before her seemingly out of nowhere. He sort of loomed over her as she sat on the front porch of her granny's old house, fog circling behind him.
He didn't belong here. That much was obvious.

She shivered as the coyotes howled all around. Normal for this place at this time of day but still unsettling as the stranger's glare seemed to stare into every part of her.

He was well dressed. A deeply purple crushed velvet jacket, black shirt and pants... A tie with a design she couldn't quite make out unless she got a little closer--she did need a new glasses prescription after all--and she damn sure wasn't getting closer.

As her mouth opened to call for granny, he put a finger to his lips and handed her (where did it even come from?) a curly maple open back banjo with a black walnut peg head, gold pick-ups, and a bat themed inlay. She sat with her mouth open. She'd dreamed of this very banjo so often sitting on this porch on hot summer nights and barely cool winter ones wishing like hell she could play right along with the crickets and frogs and all the noises coming from the woods behind the house or the swamp off to the left that she knew better than to check out. No, sir, she wanted to live these days.

Reality snapped back like a rubber band stretched almost too far nearly knocking the breath out of her. Her stomach dropped as she handed it back.

"It's mighty pretty, but you ain't tricking me with just a banjo."

His eyes burned brighter for a moment before a smile appeared on his face as suddenly as he'd appeared in the yard then he threw his head back laughter. Not a single hair fell out of place, and the fog seemed to dance on the sound.

"Perhaps not. But I could possibly offer you the skills to pull you out of this...shanty. all of you."

"Keep talking."

"In essence, my child, if you sign your eternal soul over to me, I will then empower you with abilities on this instrument--and only this one unless you want to barter further--that no other mortal possesses. What you do with that talent is then up to you."

She pushed her hair out of her face. It was long and a bit more than tangled. Dirty blonde. A fashionable sort of mullet. A queer sort of mullet. Her jeans were disintegrating and her bare feet were covered in dust and dirt. Gnats hovered around her face. It was hot. Beyond hot. They barely had running water and electricity regularly so ac was a luxury she hadn't known. It was a good day when rain hit and cooled off the tin roof.

Heavy clouds rushed in from the horizon like they'd been able to read her mind.

"So let me get this straight. I give my soul for eternity and I get this banjo and the skills to play only this banjo which I'm assuming ISN'T indestructible with no guarantee anyone might ever discover me..."

"Surely you have heard of one of my greatest inventions TikTok, child."

"We look like we get much internet out here, sir?"

"The offer stands. What you do with the gift after we make our deal is your own responsibility."

"Well, I reckon I might be interested but here's the thing... You might have to fight for it."

"...I... what do you mean fight for it? Fight what exactly?"

"Oh I sold it to some gator god in the swamp the other day for a good day of fishin'. We ain't had nothing to eat for 2 days by that point. So I made the deal and we had a mess of fish to last until the food stamps came in at least."

"You... You sold your soul for a...what is a mess of fish?"

"You know a good catch. A whole mess of fish. I thought you knew everything."

"And to who?"

"Oh I don't know. it was some half gator man that I saw while I was fishin.' Cajun accent? Straw hat? Gator head and big muscly body? He had to be some kind of god cuz ain't no regular folk walking around barefoot out there in just a little, she motioned around her waist, "skirt thing."

"Did you get paperwork that I may look at?"

"Mister, you think I got paperwork from a gator man barefoot in the swamp? Which one of us looks like we might be carryin' a pen?"

His face flamed red. His eyes turned darker with the clouds above. Thunder crashed so loudly the porch rattled. She knew if lightening hit she'd probably see that gatorman and all his teeth standing on the edge of the swamp, but something must have been looking out for her right then because the sky stayed dark.

"Listen, mister, you ain't got to get all mad at me because someone beat you to the punch here. If'n you want to still do the deal you're gonna have to take it up with that guy."

He snatched the banjo back from her, but she wasn't reacting the way he'd hope. Life had been too hard. Having a dream snatched from her hands was a regular occurence. Why would she ever care about a banjo as much as the other hurts. He began to fade and she heard in her own head, "I'll be back. Have a pen."


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Part-time Working Hockey Mom