Welcome to the fifth post of the “12 Days of Fiction” series, where a volunteer writer is assigned a random writing prompt from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” All writing on the prompt must be done in 10 minutes or less. Volunteers have been cultivated through the original 12 Days of Fiction invite, the Catholic Writers Guild members-only Facebook page, my Facebook page… and I think that’s it. Thanks to Random.org for the random number generator.
If you’d like to join in, we only have “6 Geese A-Laying” and “8 Maids A-Milking” unclaimed. Comment on this post or on the original 12 Days of Fiction invite (or on any of the above, if you have clearance to get to them), and I’ll comment back with your day and writing prompt.
And now here’s a contribution from Dan Costello of Catholic Writers Guild fame! Thank you, Dan. This is a lovely piece.
My great grandmother had eight children, five of them girls. They came from Ireland and settled in Brooklyn, New York. The five sisters grew, married and had children and then each one after the other passed into the loving arms of our Lord. All told, from these eight children there twenty seven more children who in turn had another forty five children. If we ever all got together it would be quite a banquet to serve us.
Many of us had lost touch with each other and when my grandmother passed she left the oddest note behind. She wanted me to take her wedding ring and put in a box in her top dresser drawer. The box had a red top so it would be impossible to miss. When I found the box it had four other rings in it, each wrapped in tissue paper and each with a note, “Tessie, born 1921 in the snowstorm at home…” They all went on that way with little notes about each. I found Margret the funniest. “Margret, tomboy and best marble player on the block…”
There was note prepared for my grandmother, “Ellen, born 1927. Married John. Loved ribbons in her hair as a girl. First to ride a bicycle.” I thought her and Margret must have gotten along well.
What to do with the rings? What to do with the stories? I thought long an hard and then took down a piece of paper and began a letter.
“Dear uncle Ralph, How many of your side can you get in touch with? Can we use your farm?”
We would have to share the stories. No one is truly passed until they are forgotten. We had to keep the memories alive, while we could. I lined up those rings and thought of the dishes washed, the hands held, the meals prepared. These stories should not die. These stories will not die. The courageous women will be remembered.