Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesdays, assorted people have been taking monthly turns at putting up a selection of six (or twelve) words which is called “Words for Wednesday”.

We have taken over this meme from Delores, who had been having computer problems.
This month the meme continues here, supplied by Mark Koopmans.

Next month, June, the words can be found here, on my blog.
Essentially the aim is to encourage us to write.   

Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or images.   What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog.  We would really like it if as many people as possible joined in with this fun meme.
If you are posting on your own blog - let us know so that we can come along and read your masterpiece. 
I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. espionage
2. charger
3. sheep
4. u-bend
5. dent
6. fluoride


1. Heisenberg
2. ceiling
3. orchard
4. velcro
5. plentitude
6. squiggle

Here is my story, with most of the words:

Things had taken a turn for the better. The Government of the day had decided that the Child Endowment (now known as Family Allowance) was to be raised, and boy did they raise it! Previously the amount had been just a few dollars per fortnight, now it was enough to actually make a difference. 

Times had been hard with Dad often away looking for work, there was none to be had in town, so Dad had been walking around the local farms doing odd jobs here and there, getting paid most often in produce, a bag of vegetables from a farm's home garden, once from an orchard, a box of apples that weren't 'pretty' enough to be sold in the shops. We didn't care what they looked like and they tasted just the same.

The best time was last winter when Dad had helped with the butchering of the family pigs; the meat had been cut with some being hung in the smokehouse to become ham, a lot of the pig had been put through the grinder to become sausage. it was delivered to the kitchen in huge enamel bowls, where the farmer's wife and mother were waiting to add the spices and other seasonings before feeding the minced meat into the sausage maker; they'd spent the morning washing the sausage casings. 

At the end of that week, Dad had come home in the farmer's truck, with two pounds of breakfast sausages and a half leg of ham as payment. Mum practically fainted away at the sight of all that meat; she'd sent the twins to check the block of ice in the cooler to make sure it was big enough to store the ham without spoiling while we ate our way through the sausages over the next couple of days.
We stood in the road waving goodbye to the farmer after Dad had finished making arrangements to do the same job next year.

As a teenager, Dad had spent time on a **sheep station up north, as a Jackeroo. He'd learned a fair bit about butchering from the station's own butcher, famously known far and wide as "Cut-throat Jimmy". We'd loved hearing the stories of when they'd round up the sheep for shearing, spending a night or two camping in the field, with the sky at night a big, beautiful, starlit ceiling.

Now, with the extra money from the Government, Mum said we'd finally be able to make a fair dent in the bills waiting to be paid as well as buying the luxuries we'd had to do without. Toothpaste for example, we'd been brushing our teeth with just water, now Mum said we could finally buy toothpaste if we promised to use just a tiny bit each, she thought she might try the new "fluoride" type, in hopes of saving our teeth. "Just a little squiggle of paste, okay?". We agreed of course, there were seven of us and the paste had to last at least until the next payment. 

Dad often called us his "Seven Little Australians" and would tell us again the story of the book of that name, written by Ethel Turner. It was a sad story and Bill, my oldest brother, always said he'd rather read books about spies and secret agents. "Those books, those types of stories, are called Espionage," said Dad, and Bill practised that word for weeks after. Marion, the dreamer among us, preferred stories about princesses being rescued by knights on white chargers. Me? I read everything I could lay my hands on, even if I didn't understand it.

As time passed, Mum used the extra money carefully, first paying off the bills, then buying a half dozen laying hens so we could have eggs to eat and maybe some to sell. She put some of the money away safely in a small lockbox she found in a secondhand store; it didn't lock anymore, but we all knew it should never be touched by anyone but Mum. 

By the time I finished school, Mum and Dad had managed to pay off our small house, (and buy a proper fridge) my older brothers had found work, one in the city, one had gone north to replicate Dad's experiences as a Jackeroo. We did not yet live in plentitude, but we had enough.

(**working on a sheep station in the late 1960s was something I did for a short while, but I remember it well.)


  1. I love it. And can well remember things being tough while I was growing up. Not that tough, but there were no luxuries and things were rationed and used very, very carefully. Which wasn't a bad thing...

  2. I enjoyed your well-told story, River. A very good, descriptive tale. Another job well done. :)

  3. fishducky; thank you. A little bit of it relates to my own childhood, the ice chest instead of a fridge for example and always, always hand-me-down clothing from the church or from neighbours.

    Elephant's Child; thank you. My dad had a steady job, but wages weren't huge back then and I don't know about any government money back then either. I remember pre-loved clothes and not much variety in our food. The only time I ever saw cake was when our neighbour handed a half a cake over the fence, once a year, close to my birthday.

    Lee; thank you very much, I read yours over at EC's, I'm sure I said I liked it.

    Margaret-whiteangel; thank you; 99% fiction this week with a smattering of truths.

  4. .. great story River.. touched a few memories for dad had a steady job too.. but we had to grow our own vegies and had a couple of chooks for eggs and an ice chest. We made do and we were happy.
    Have a great day..hugs... Barb xxx

  5. Adolf Cheeseburger on the run in Argentina was stuck on the side of the track in Patagonia's wasteland his desperate bid to out run his nenesis Simon Rosenthal; Israels Mossad Espionage team was becoming unstuck.
    While he sat drinking the last of the healthy filtered flouride water and the prospect of finding more water he saw wild sheep drinking from a pond which gave him hope. He then got up and surveyed the damage to his ancient Charger which had misjudged the U-Bend in the road plus the flock of sheep. The dead sheep firmly wedged between the radiator and the large dent in the car bonnet, Meant he was going nowhere but prison and a rapid departure from this world. when his persuers finaly catch him.

  6. Barbara; it's surprising now, to think back and realise just how happy we were with so little. Even if others had more, nobody cared.

    Vest; good story! Hopefully his pursuers don't catch him, plus now he's got the dead sheep, a fleece to keep him warm and plenty of meat.

  7. Another terrific story! You always do such a good job coming up with worthwhile stories from the word selection, and I think this one rings true for a lot of us.

    Have a terrific weekend!

  8. Great story, so much reminds me of stories my mum told to us as children, life is so much easier now.
    Her father was a butcher in Gympie or Mount Morgan.

  9. Susan; thank you. I try to write something that feels real, as if the person might actually be there. This one has a few truths from my childhood in it.

    Merle; life is much easier now, in some ways, but perhaps not as simple as things were back then.