Weekly photo challenge: Home

We hung our children’s pictures on the brick wall above the mantle above the fireplace where flames danced on Christmas morning or a cold winter’s evening.

We sometimes filled the house with friends, with family, and with noise, but on the day our youngest went to 1st grade the silence roared.

Buddy the parakeet flew around the screened porch and Honey chased squirrels in the yard.

We played games around the kitchen table and ate outside on warm summer days.

I sat on the edge of beds in clean and tidy empty rooms after the kids left one-by-one to go to college, to a new job in another city, to a wife.

Memories kept me company as they came alive through every doorway, around every corner, in every room.

We left that house to go to doctors’ appointments, school, baseball games, soccer practice, rugby, swimming meets, driving tests, dances, weddings, funerals, Alaska, and the movies, but one of the hardest things I’ve ever done is walk out the door for one last time.

The house is no longer our house, but will forever be in my heart, our family home.

Weekly photo challenge: Abundance

Coins from around the world
Coins from around the world

Not a particularly creative or original idea, but a kind of cool photo taken with my scanner for a digital photography class I took a few years back that was taught by John Griffith at the College of Mount St. Joseph. I think mostly they’re from Europe and England, but there may be a few Asian and South American coins in there as well from my husband’s travels. Also Canada. Let’s not forget Canada.

Weekly photo challenge: Refuge

Seeking refuge

Faster, faster, the gray dove thinks as he beats his wings. The red-tailed hawk keeps easy pace slightly behind and above serving as a net to block off escape to the sky.

The large obstacle ahead gives the dove little choice. But wait, there’s a small opening to the woods beyond—an escape hatch. Seeking refuge, the dove aims for the opening full speed ahead..


“What was that?” I yell from the kitchen.

“A bird flew into the window,” Mark answers from the recliner in the great room where he is reading news on his laptop.

“That was a lot louder than usual,” I say as I carried my cup of tea down the long hall past the open dining room and into the great room where the opposite wall is dominated by a stone fireplace reaching to the peak of the cathedral ceiling. The stone is flanked all the way to the slanted ceiling on both sides by windows that bring the surrounding woods into the room.

“Did you see it? Was it a big bird?”

“A mourning dove. It’s dead.”

I cross the room and look outside. On the deck a large gray dove lies motionless, it’s neck turned to an awkward angle.

“It might have broken its neck.”

A little later Mark gets a shovel from the garage to dispose of the dead bird. When he comes back in he says, “The bird is gone.”

“Do you think the hawk that hangs around in the trees got it?” I ask.

“Maybe it wasn’t dead,” Mark says.

“The beauty of fiction,” Sherrie, my creative writing teacher said a few years back, “is you can make the story end however you want.”

The dove opens his eyes. “Wow. My head hurts,” he thinks. “I feel like a branch fell on me.” He gets to his feet and stumbles around the wooden floor. He stands still for a moment and ruffles his feathers, “— it must have been a big branch from the sycamore tree.”  He flaps his wings twice and hops onto the deck railing.  Then he glides off the deck and disappears into the woods below.
Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curiosity — or Arthur takes on the turtle

Arthur struggles between satisfying his curiosity about the turtle and overcoming his fear of it.

This from a ferocious dog who barks fiercely at small and large animals, primarily squirrels and deer.

Watch out—there’s a turtle!