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May 30, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 18

We're going to do something a little different today. Because Stacy and Ted are in the middle of moving into their new home, and because today is a holiday, we're going to have an open theme today.

The regular authors may or may not post today. I will get over a couple of times today to pull some stories out of the comments.

So you're on your own - 100 words on anything at all.

We'd also like to use this day for you - our readers - to suggest future themes. Just leave your ideas in the comments.

And please don't forget to remember those who served.

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Jo watched her weave confidently through the crowd, all smiles and waves.
She grabbed Jo by the shoulders and launched into an elaborate piece of performance art in the air in front of each ear.
It was a loathsome, affected embrace; a hollywoody corruption of the continental kiss. Jo felt at once mauled and held at arms length like an infected hanky.
As bonding experiences go, it sucked.
Jo stood rigid for a moment while she reined in her rage. Then she answered her mother’s insipid gesture with a prolonged, rib-cracking bear-hug.
Her mother stepped back, shamed by such intimacy.

Posted by: Barb at May 30, 2005 5:28 AM · Permalink

For as long as I could remember, my town's WWI memorial was missing his hand. The doughboy statue was directly between my house and the bar, so I'd see it often and note the missing hand with dismay. We'd all talk about the injustice being done to the doughboy.

Where's your hand? Where's your gun? Sure, you've got a hand grenade in the other, but you need a gun-- and two hands-- to fight the Hun.

Then, they fixed it.

It's perfect, but nobody really notices the doughboy anymore.

This fact produces a whole new kind of disturbance in me.

Posted by: Adam at May 30, 2005 7:30 AM · Permalink

Spring. We had been doing the laundry when the officers showed. Ma’s reddened hand had squeezed my shoulder, but she would not cry in front of them.

“We’re sorry, M’am. Pvt. Aseltine, your son …”
“Thank you, boys. I have some lemonade cooling on the back porch …”
“No, thank you, M’am.”

Ma even refused to take comfort that my brother, Ray, was only “MIA.”

“Millie, if the Huns have him, he’s not comin’ home.”

So I am surprised, hurrying home from school chased by an early Michigan winter, to see Ma bawling. I pull the letter from her hand.

Ray’s alive.

Posted by: Darleen at May 30, 2005 7:58 AM · Permalink

I want to give just a quick background on my inspiration for the above 100 words. First was this news story:

And the Memorial Day parade in Washington will feature one of the country's oldest veterans. Lloyd Brown was 16 years old when he signed up to fight in World War I. He's now 103, and one of an estimated 30 U.S. veterans of World War I still alive.
Second, Ray Aseltine is a real person, the first Marine under Pershing to be "MIA" just outside of Verdun, France. Scroll down to MIA here. Ray, too, had lied about his age and enlisted at 16.

He was my great uncle, my maternal grandmother, Mildred's brother.

My heartfelt "Thank you" to all that have served and all who do serve.

Posted by: Darleen at May 30, 2005 8:09 AM · Permalink

The storied Greatest Generation
Who battled dark oppression and foul tyranny
Now contend with cancer operations
Glaucoma, arthritis, asthma, and other malady.

As once they walked with heads held high
As all the people cheered their courage and unmatched humility
So now they are stooped by age, and die -
Quiet are the people; our heroes lost in anonymity.

But when for a moment, a moment’s pause we find
Amid the chaos of life’s inconvenience
Perhaps we might turn our grateful hearts and minds
To those who offered their whole selves in liberty’s defense
And for them hold a moment’s reverence.

Posted by: Keiran Halcyon at May 30, 2005 8:54 AM · Permalink

Most of the flotsam they left behind. The Allegheny had been a proud ship and her captain and mates were among the best.

Captain Allurick read a few words for the souls lost this morning. He saw past the few bloated, floating bodies tangled in rigging to the weeping mothers and widows that he would have the misfortune to notify.

But that sad task would wait. Now the sheets sang as able crewmen pulled the lanyards tight, putting on more cloth. A wounded British privateer limped away full sails toward the horizon.

Captain Allurick folded his glass. “Vengeance is mine…”

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at May 30, 2005 9:27 AM · Permalink

With only 30 WWI Veterans still alive, you'd think they wouldn't have to estimate them.

Posted by: Laurence Simon at May 30, 2005 9:27 AM · Permalink

I think I heard they finally got the exact count on the number of veterans still alive from the Civil War.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at May 30, 2005 9:33 AM · Permalink

Cyrus drove up next to the hay roller his daughter had been operating all day. As Maxine climbed down, he spotted something odd in the distance. "What's that?", he asked as she got into the truck, pointing at a pair of legs sticking out the end of one of the hay rolls.
"Oh, that," she replied. "It's just that traveling salesman that spent the night. All night long he pawed at me, and this morning he started again. 'I just want a roll in the hay,' he says, so I smacked him with a crowbar and gave him one."

Posted by: hnumpah at May 30, 2005 10:22 AM · Permalink

My uncle was not a kind man. A good man, but not kind.

They met and fell in love just before the war; a war which he spent as a POW in Germany. My aunt swore that if he somehow returned alive, she would marry him and stay with him forever. And she has made up, in kindness, in her lifetime, what he lacked. What he lost.

He was 97 pounds when they sprung him, on a frame that carried 160 slender. He never honestly recovered, and somehow, he can never be the one that I blame for their sorrow.

Posted by: Tanya at May 30, 2005 1:19 PM · Permalink

Many thanks to Darleen for forcing me to finally write that. xo.

Posted by: Tanya at May 30, 2005 1:20 PM · Permalink

"Why can't I find a nice guy like you?"

For the thousandth time he heard that, as said probably a thousand times that day as it had for a thousand generations. He knew by rote that for the thousandth time, as thousands had done before he would tell her again how wonderful she is to make her feel good enough again to go back to her superficial prizes. But today, with a courage and honesty he would not have tomorrow, or even in a few hours, he turned to her and told her the truth.

"Because you don't want to."

Posted by: marc at May 30, 2005 4:49 PM · Permalink

Check before you post!