Day 25 Prompt: Red “When I was growing up I extremely disliked the color red, not sure if the fact I had red hair had anything to do with it or not. It wasn’t until a few years back that I started to enjoy red and now I love it. I completely embrace red! How about you? Love it? Hate it? Don’t feel anything about it? I have always enjoyed big red barns though, I think it is because my great grandparents lived/owned/worked on their ranch with a big red barn and farmhouse. I loved having family gatherings out there.” ——–
Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting the story continuation prompt. This week’s first sentence is: “The new morning brought with it new hope.”
The new morning brought with it new hope. Yesterday had been a horrible day and I didn’t want today to be a repeat. I had taken the day off as work had been particularly stressful.
Also, I had been dog sitting for my brothers and my parents who had all decided to go to various vacation destinations at the same time. I was ready to relax and unwind with the dogs, when my friend popped over with her three giant lab dogs.
Janice hadn’t had time to take her labs to doggy daycare in the morning as she usually did on Thursdays, before work. She felt Luna, Izzy, and Geo needed to be around other dogs at least a couple of days in the week, in addition to their walks. Luna, Izzy, and Geo joined Crumpet, Lola, and Cleo for some socialization on my day off.
I was happy all six dogs were girls.There was a pecking order, Cleo and Lola, leading the pack, but all the dogs got along famously and enjoyed playing and following each other around in the house.
Cleo and Lola were miniature American-Eskimo cross breeds and pack dogs by nature. Crumpet was a chihuahua and yappy as chihuahua’s tended to be. Luna, Izzy, and Geo were all various mixes of labs, friendly and boisterous.
I dreaded taking all six dogs to the park for a walk as I wasn’t sure how to manage six dogs of various sizes and temperaments, all on leashes. I was hoping to let them run around on the off leash trails as much as possible. But even maintaining control of the girls on the off leash trails would be a challenge as I would have to ensure they did not scare or surround other dogs and their owners.
Lunch time came, and I set off on a walk with all six dogs. Leashes tangled and the girls sniffed around and jumped at each other on the way to the off leash trails. We narrowly avoided several people on bicycles. The American Eskimo crosses, in particular, didn’t like the cyclists and the noise they made. They were even more upset by the rollerbladers who whipped by us.
While Cleo and Lola tugged madly on their leashes I attempted to pull them in. The labs on the other hand, loved running along with Janice on her husband as they biked, so they in turn, pulled their leashes towards the cyclists happy to greet them.
Finally we reached the off leash trails and the dogs were set free to play. The chased each other through trees, wood chipped trail, and bushes. We passed other people walking their dogs and I was surprised how good all the dogs were, even Cleo and Lola who could be nippy and have attitudes at times. All the dogs greeted the new human and dog friends they met on the trails, and more dogs were added to the mixture of breeds running wild.
Crumpet, my parent’s chihuahua mix, decided she had had enough walking and jumped up into my arms. I had no idea how I was going to carry her with the five others dogs pulling on their leashes when we were ready to go home. The dogs and I walked down the trail a good hour and then turned around.
I was tired near the end of our walk. It was a great deal of effort to keep tabs on six dogs and the dogs’ energy levels were still going strong. I was hoping a long walk would tire them out. The girls were constantly running back and forth to me, checking to see that I was coming along and jumping at me at random moments wanting me to play or to give me a kiss. Cleo and Lola who knew me better, kept checking back incase I decided to throw a milkbone treat their way.
As we walked, we came to the shores of the river near my house. A small delta of land went out here, and couple of other dogs were swimming in the shallow waters. I shouted, “No. Stay here,” to all the dogs but they ignored me. I expected Luna, Izzy, and Geo to not hear me as they had never had to listen to me before. But Cleo and Lola knew better. So did Crumpet.
They tiny Chihuahua mix leaped into the muddy water and began to paddle around. I groaned. All these dogs were going to need baths later and this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday off, bathing filthy dogs. I knew for a fact Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet would never accept being bathed by a hose and they would fight me every inch as I washed them.
After a time, I called all the dogs out of the river water. They came crashing towards me. Luckily, I had been wearing workout clothes, for I was as wet and dirty as the dogs once they were done greeting me.
Something was wrong though, Crumpet hadn’t come in from the river. I saw her standing on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water and yipping at me. She was afraid to come out. I sighed and made a face knowing I would have to go in the river and bring Crumpet out.
Wading into the shallow water, I carefully walked out from the delta and grabbed Crumpet off of her lonely island. She was overjoyed to see me and dripped water over my face and neck. Even my hair was dirty now.
Crumpted nuzzled into my neck and sighed. When I was back on land, I managed to leash up the five other dogs who had been patiently waiting for me oddly enough.
I don’t know how, but dripping wet and dirty, we all made it back to my house and I unleashed all the dogs in my fenced backyard. I won’t mention how difficult it was to clean up after each dog after they had done their business during the walk.
In the garage, I had a kiddy pool purchased for my small niece when she had visited in the summer. I filled up the pool with water from the garden house. Going inside the house, I shed my clothes at the door along with my mucky shoes, and went downstairs to the bathroom to grab a big bottle of shampoo. I changed into an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and grabbed old towels from from the closet upstairs.
A couple of the labs, Izzy and Luna, were already in the swimming pool when I came outside, so I began washing them first. Apparently, they were used to being bathed liked this and after the first two labs were done, I grabbed Crumpet from where she slept, under a tree and forced her to have a bath as well. Taking ice cream buckets full of garden hose water, I rinsed off the dogs and dried them in turn. I dumped out the kiddy pool and filled it again with clean water.
Geo the third lab, was happy to have a bath as her lab siblings had enjoyed. She was easy to shampoo, rinse off, and dry. Cleo and Lola watched me suspiciously as I came to get them. I yelled, “Come here!” Their ears went back as they knew they were in trouble and they tried to stealthily avoid me. But Cleo was nearest and only thirty-pounds, it was easy enough to carry her into the pool a short distance away.
Keeping Cleo in the pool, was a problem. She struggled in earnest to escape, even when she was slathered in shampoo. She was tough to clean as she had long fur and when she was done, we both were covered in water. I let Cleo go after drying her off. It was Lola’s turn next and she yelped when I picked her up from the corner of the yard she’d been hiding in. The process of cleaning Lola was similar to how it went with her cousin Cleo.
I was worn out from walking and bathing six filthy dogs. But I gazed out into the grassy backyard and saw how tired the dogs were too. They lay stretched out in the grass sleeping or circling, trying to find a good position to settle down in in a sunbeam. I collapsed into a lawn chair and slept.
The next thing I knew Janice was standing before me. “Trish? Are you awake?” I was startled. I smiled at Janice sleepily.
“Yeah. I was tired. Sorry I must have dozed off.” I told Janice what the girls and I did today. She laughed.
“You didn’t have to take all the dogs for a long walk. I was going to take the labs myself when I got home. How did you manage with six dogs?”I told Janice the story and she laughed at my struggles with the dogs.
Janice thanked me profoundly and took Izzy, Luna, and Geo home. Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet .wandered up to me and we all went in the house. Dinner was served for the dogs and at the end, treats were given for enduring their baths.
In the end, I was able to have the long hot shower, I’d been dreaming about since the dogs jumped on me after being in the river. I took my time and was finally, able to relax.
Thank you to Wandering Soul who hosts this prompt challenge each week. You can complete the prompt sentence by writing up to two-additional sentences in her comments section in the link above or you can link to her blog page. Also, if you choose to write a longer story from the prompt, link the story to her page as well.
Today’s prompt sentence is: “The old man stared at the droopy white lilies.”
The old man stared at the droopy white lilies. Memories flooded back to him as he smelt the strong scent that lingered. He felt the edge of one of the petals, still baby soft but crisp and dry on the edges. Helen had always hated lilies; that was why he had them placed on her grave every Sunday.
You might think this a mean thing for an old man to do but Ernest (the old man) had had a complicated relationship with Helen. Though it might not appear so, he had adored her and thought she had always been a magnificent woman.
Ernest remembered the first time he had seen Helen in his senior year in high school. She had her abundant curly brown hair styled in a forties-bob. Her blue eyes sparkled when she saw him. He felt their two souls collide in that moment and Ernest knew their souls would always be connected.
Ernest and Helen dated until Ernest was twenty-three years-old. Helen hadn’t liked that they had dated five-years without getting married. In hindsight, Ernest realized he should’ve married Helen long before he did.
Helen became pregnant and the whole town turned against her. The women called her a hussy and advised Helen to marry Ernest immediately. His old man had took Ernest aside and told him that everything would be fine if he married Helen quickly and quietly.
But Helen was feisty and didn’t like being told what to do. She was hurt that her best girlfriends looked down on her and that the town’s people whispered and gossiped about her behind her back. It was then Helen changed her mind about marriage to Ernest.
One day Ernest and Helen were swinging on the porch swing at Helen’s parent’s house, Ernest trying his hardest to convince Helen marriage was an excellent choice since they both loved each other.The following day Helen and two suitcases full of her clothes and baby items she had been collecting, had disappeared.
Ernest searched for Helen. He wrote letters and searched various small towns. He went to big cities, remembering what Helen liked to do and where she would likely be found. He remembered the places she dreamed about visiting. Ernest also feared a young pregnant woman alone, wouldn’t find much friendliness from strangers. He was frightened for Helen and his unborn child.
Twenty-years later Helen appeared at Ernest’s house in Pittsburg. Ernest’s wife Lilian, was battling Cancer. To both their regret, Lilian and Ernest had never been able to have children. But behind Helen was an enchanting young woman whose green eyes he recognized as his own.
The three of them sat outside and talked. Ernest had felt guilty about not seeing his wife at the hospital that day as afternoon turned to evening. His daughter’s name was Grace and to Ernest she was indeed a ‘grace.’
In the morning Helen was gone but Grace remained. His daughter stood by him, even when his wife Lilian passed away a week later. Despite the fact Grace had never known her father, she stayed with Ernest as he grieved and she began working in the woman’s section of a department store.
Grace told Ernest that her mother Helen detested Lilies and that was why she left. But Lilian’s favourite flower was of course a Lily; they covered Ernest’s home while Lilian lived. He was always greeted by their pungent fragrance when he came home from work. Ernest knew better the reason Helen hadn’t stayed: She didn’t want to make Ernest’s life difficult. Grace had chosen to stay with Ernest on her own.
Twenty-years later, Ernest was a happy Grandfather of four teenage grandchildren. Grace had married a man in Pittsburg and lived close by his house. She visited Helen and spoke to her mother often, but clammed up whenever Ernest asked about Helen.
One day, Ernest was home alone doing yard work and Helen appeared out of no where. It gave him such a shock that Ernest’s green eyes started to tear up not believing what he saw. Helen aged, but still magnificent, embraced Ernest and they both cried for the lost years they hadn’t been with each other. The love between them was still strong, even after forty-years mostly apart.
Helen remained with Ernest. The happy couple had a small wedding and Grace was delighted her parents were together at last.
Ernest and Helen were driving to the airport for their honeymoon in Paris. Helen was complaining about the orange lily the florist had slipped in her bouquet. Ernest had thought Helen’s complaints funny. They both started laughing and Ernest in his bliss, missed the red light. He hadn’t seen the pick-up truck before it crushed his car where Helen sat, graceful in a white suit; she died instantly.
Years passed and Ernest religiously had lilies deliveried to Helen’s grave each Sunday. He always thought about how much Helen hated lilies. But lilies made Ernest, the old man, remember his beloved Helen. So that even after Ernest’s own death, their darling daughter Grace, continued to have lilies deliveried to Ernest’s and Helen’s shared grave.
Grace wiped a tear away from her eye. Both her parents were sorely missed.