Posted by: Author | January 16, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

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Posted by: Author | January 14, 2019

Tuesday Tales – Jan 15, 2019- Greasy

This week’s word is Greasy for the Tuesday Tales challenge. We are a group of authors who write to the same word prompt each week.

My story picks up with the main character and another slave she escaped with hiding in a barn and eating the breakfast the lady of the house brought them.

Check out the other tales here.

new TT Feb 2018

As soon as she was gone, Theodora and Esther helped themselves to the biscuits and ham.

Esther held up a piece of the ham. “I’ve seen folks in the house raise a glass to toast something good. Let’s raise a piece of ham to our first meal of freedom.” She nodded at Theodora’s ham. “Pick it up, child and we’ll hit them together like the white folks do with their champagne.”

Shaking her head at the old lady, Theodora did as instructed and giggled a little. “This is silly, Esther. We’re not even free yet and you’re being a little crazy.”

“I’m calling us free.” She winked. “After all, did anyone wake us up this morning and make us sew or sweep or do anything against our will? I say that’s freedom. We get to sleep all day today if we want and we just got served breakfast in bed. Has that ever happened to you before?”

“When you put it like that, I guess you’re right. I just hope it’s not freedom for a day, but freedom forever.”

“All’s we got is one day at a time, child. We take that day and live it free. Of tomorrow comes, we do it again—if we can.”

When Theodora swallowed the piece of biscuit she’d taken a bite of, she said, “How did you get so wise?”

Esther shrugged. “Maybe not wise, but I have lived a long time and seen a lot of suffering of our people. First on the plantation and then in the city. I learned to be content by telling myself it was just for a day that I’d be enslaved. Then the next day, I’d tell myself that again. I believed in my heart that at some time, that one day would be the one I tasted the sweet air of freedom. This is that day, Theodora. This day.” Tears streamed down Esther’s face. “And I’ll take this day of happiness even if I’m hiding in a barn.”

Reaching out to hug her friend, Theodora said, “I’ll take this day, too.”

Finishing their breakfast in happy, contented silence, they each smiled at the other.

Finally, when the last crumb was gone, Esther stood and brushed off her skirts. “Time to find that chicken coop and visit the privy.”

Theodora wiped her greasy fingers and and picked up the tray. “How will we climb down with this?”

To her amusement, Esther took the tray and shook the crumbs off it. She used one of the blankets to wipe the grease from the ham off it then placed it against her chest inside the bodice of her top gown. “Just like this.”

“You really are silly this morning. How will you balance with that on? Those rings of the ladder are steep.”

“This is from the girl who just called me wise? How can you now be doubting me?” Esther laughed.

“You’re right, but let me go first so I can catch you—or the tray—if one of you falls.”

Posted by: Author | January 9, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

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Photo by Debbie Whitfield

 

Posted by: Author | January 2, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

TS0 2018 1

Photo by: Debbie Whitfield

Posted by: Author | December 31, 2018

Tuesday Tales -1/1/19- Year

Happy New Year! How appropriate that the word of the week for Tuesday Tales is year. This is my slavery story continued.

Be sure to check out the other tales here.

new TT Feb 2018

Lavinia came to stand in front of Theodora. “And you need to leave this girl alone. She’s been abused by my sister for too long.”
Her words brought Mr. Robertson and her father to a halt with the stranger. They’d almost made it out of the room, but Mr. Robertson cocked his head at Lavinia and said, “Are you an abolitionist?”
“Of course she isn’t,” her mother said. “Her whole life is based on her father being a slave owner. She’d never be part of that movement.”
A man Theodora had never seen before—like most of the people still in the room—stepped into the middle of the room. “I say, Madam, you and your husband are in the wrong state to be arguing about slavery. Are you not aware that the great state of Pennsylvania passed a law in the year of our Lord 1780 to free the Africans gradually? Most of us who live here agree with that legislation. It’s men like your husband who do not.”
“Wait one moment. You can’t attack my wife and my own beliefs in my home.” A sly look came over Master’s face. “Besides, even our great president of these United States owns slaves. If you criticize me, you criticize him.”
“Then I guess that’s what I’m doing. We realize you and many of your colleagues—including him—take your slaves out of the state to avoid the law. I sincerely hope that one day you’ll be stopped from that behavior. I know Mr. Washington is of the opinion he’s not a resident of Pennsylvania but merely here as the government is based here, so the law doesn’t apply to him. I imagine you think you’re immune as well, sir.”
“I agree with our president. Yes. There is nothing wrong with that.” The master nodded at Mr. Robertson. “Let’s take this one out to the street and return to try to start the festivities again.”
Theodora wasn’t educated but she knew her master was not going to be pleased with what this man would say next. She could tell by the look on the gentleman’s face he wasn’t pleased with Master.
“I find you odious and a blustery fool. Any man who can’t see his own reputation going down in flames has no place in our city, much less in our government. I am going to make it my duty to be sure you are cast out of Congress.” The man tipped his hat and bowed to the people standing near him.

Posted by: Author | December 17, 2018

Tuesday Tales- December 18, 2018-Picture Prompt

This week the authors of Tuesday Tales have a picture prompt. The snippets are limited to 300 words.  This is my story of the escaped slave. She and her friend Esther, an elderly woman, have found refuge in a village where a number of escaped slaves have set up home and are protected by the people who helped them get there.

Check out the other tales here. 

new TT Feb 201848275046_10215309792596887_8593705328472752128_n

Theodora nodded. “I’ve had a bad experience running from hounds so I’m not fond of them.”

“I understand. These two mutts here are more likely to lick you to death rather than chase you, but I’ll keep them away.” He pointed to a building near them. “That’s where you’ll stay for the first few days. It’s the house we always put new arrivals in. It’s central and you’ll be able to get to know everyone and then decide what part of the village you want to settle in.”

“Settle in?” Theodora asked.

“Sure. A lot of people who come here decide to stay. They like it and it’s comfortable and safe.”  William walked ahead a step and toward the door. “Come and see.”

“We’re not planning to settle here,” Theodora said.

Esther was quiet and didn’t respond. She followed William into the cottage.

Inside, it was cozy. A small front room with a double sided fireplace. A fire was laid, but not lit. The log walls were a light color and added to the warmth of the place. Some colorful quilts were on the pieces of furniture. A chair next to the fireplace looked like an ideal place to sit and rest. Or sew by the light of the fire.

“There’s a bedroom on the other side.” William led them through the doorway.

That room had one large bed and two cot sized beds. “Sometimes we have to bring in extra beds. There have been a few occasions where we’ve been able to get an entire family group through at one time.”

“I bet those were joyous occasions,” Esther said with a little bit of sadness in her voice. Theodora imagined she was thinking of her own family. Lost to her now.

Posted by: Author | December 12, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

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Posted by: Author | December 3, 2018

Tuesday Tales- December 4, 2018- Crazy

Sorry I missed some weeks. I’m writing something totally different for me and the words that were used the last few weeks didn’t fit at all in my tale and there was no way to make it work. This week’s word is crazy and I can use that one for sure.

This story is about a slave and set in 1792. In this scene, the youngest son of the house is asking the slave, Theodora why she escaped (she was captured after one day and given lashes for it). She’s a house slave/seamstress and is working on a gown for one of his sisters.

Be sure to check out the other tales here. Mine is completely unedited so it will probably change at some point.

new TT Feb 2018

“Please tell me. I truly am baffled. Why you’d go. You have food, clothing and a roof over your head. Yet you risked it for a life as a fugitive. Why?”

The angst in his voice was what decided her to answer truthfully. She leaned forward with her elbows propped on her knees. “To answer one part of your question, I didn’t know I’d receive lashes if I was caught.” When he opened his mouth to speak, she held her right hand up to silence him. “Wait. You need to know this part.”

He nodded and remained silent with an eager expression on his face.

“While I had seen and heard the men who work the plantation being lashed, I was the first woman to my knowledge.”

His eyes widened. “Really? So you had no inkling that would happen?”

“None.”

“All right, so you didn’t realize your punishment would be so severe, but I still don’t know why you left. I want to understand.”

“I left because I’m not free.”

“But all your needs are tended to.”

Theodora laughed. A short, bitter sound even to her own ears. “As do you. But the difference is, you have the freedom to go into town to the shops, to attend horse races, to travel wherever you want to go with no fears of being beaten to a bloody mess if you choose to go. You have the freedom to not answer questions if you don’t want to and most importantly, you have the right to say no. I don’t have any of those things. The people who own me and my kind are the ones who make all the decisions. Down to even what I can eat. So, yes, my needs are tended to, but if I wanted to eat a beef loin steak instead of gruel, I don’t have the chance to make that choice.”

A shadow passed across his eyes. She couldn’t tell if it was pity or understanding, but she thought for a moment—perhaps—that he understood.

“Thank you for explaining. I think I see better now.”

She gave him a sad smile. “And I thank you for saying thank you. Those words are never spoken to me unless by another of my kind. For you see, we’re politer to each other than your finely tutored gentlemen ever were or will be.”

He stood. “I will try to behave in a kinder manner. For I now see more than I did before coming in here this afternoon.”

When he was gone, Theodora thought back over the conversation. She was surprised at the questions he asked, but more stunned that he actually appeared to listen and take heed of her words.

Only time would tell if what they discussed had a true impact on him. She hoped so but wasn’t optimistic as he was of the class of people who didn’t normally care about her kind other than to get from them what they wanted.

She rose from her seat to make her way to the privy since she hadn’t had a break all day.

Before she could get to the door, Miss Emily came dashing in, with her headpiece in her hand and her hair in disarray. “You must come now. Mother is going crazy.”

 

 

Posted by: Author | November 29, 2018

Wordless Wednesday-a day late.

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Posted by: Author | November 13, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

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