#52weeks52stories “The Christmas Gift”

The Christmas Gift banner

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“I last posted during week 44 and it’s week 51, which means I have six entries to post.”

One down, five to go! 😉

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#52weeks52stories: Week 45

Word prompt: journal

Word count – 281

Reading time – 1 mins, 10 secs

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“Wake up, sleepyhead! It’s Christmas!”

Gordie Williams bolted upright.

Aw, man. I overslept.

He rolled out of bed, brushing past his older brother.

Not slowing down at the top of the stairs, Gordie took them two at a time.

He raced into the family room and dropped at the foot of the Christmas tree, his eyes searching the piles of boxes and gift bags.

Finding the box with the Tompkins Fine Writing Essentials label-tape, the twelve-year-old’s heart leapt into his throat.

Gordie lifted the box with reverence and leaned back against the sofa.

Removing the top, his fingers caressed the faux leather journals. His lips twitched at the corners as he picked up one of the balanced pens.

No more one-subject notebooks. No more of his father’s cast-off legal pads with the scant few pages left, or dried-up pens from the 99-Cent Store left too long on the shelf.

Gordie fanned the pages of the matching undated planner wondering which story he should write first—the epic pirate adventure or the one about the magician’s son with low self-esteem.

He jumped when his mom knelt next to him, sliding her arm around his shoulder.

“Merry Christmas, baby.”

“Thanks, mom. Merry Christmas.”

Celeste Williams kissed her youngest son’s forehead.

“Mr. Lawrence is a great English teacher, Gordie, but never let anyone tell you your imagination is too broad or unbelievable.”

She reached out, touching the gift box.

“Write your stories, baby. Your way.”

Gordie dropped the writing tools and pulled his mother into a tight hug. It muffled his reply as he buried his face into her neck to hide the tears forming.

“I will, momma. I will.”

And he did.

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©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Where Are You, Christmas?” – Faith Hill

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  season.”

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In the spirit of the season, I have to go with Christmas songs!

In the 2000 live-action movie,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Cindy Lou Who sings the song Christmas, Why Can’t I find You? co-written by James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey.

They wrote a longer version of the song called Where Are You, Christmas?

The song was originally recorded by Carey, but because of a legal case with her ex-husband Tommy Mottola, it could not be released, so it was re-recorded and released by Faith Hill. A video was released featuring Hill singing from the Grinch’s mountaintop home, interspersed with clips from the film.

It’s been an annual Christmas favorite of my family ever since!

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Where Are You, Christmas?

by Faith Hill
Songwriters: James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey
Oh, hmm
Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play
My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I’m not the same one
See what the time’s done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I’ve found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

#52weeks52stories “One Last Christmas”

One Last Christmas banner

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Did I disappear or WHAT?

I knew participating in NaNoWriMo AND moving at the same time would be daunting… and I was right. I finished NaNo ahead of time and am all moved in and settled… and had a full-blown Fibro flare-up!

But I didn’t grab my blankie and Kindle and veg out in the recliner this time. Life has stolen a lot of writing time from me in 2018 and I wasn’t losing anymore. But fibro-fog only allowed me so much concentration and sacrifices had to be made.

Sorry #52weeks52stories challenge.

I last posted during week 44 and it’s week 51, which means I have six entries to post.

And I will… before 2018 takes its final bow. 😉

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#52weeks52stories: Week 51

Word prompt: inherited

Word count – 930

Reading time – 2 mins, 9 secs

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Myrna Simmons didn’t need to look at a calendar. She knew she was coming to the end of the six months her doctor had given her. Nothing more could be done for the heart condition she’d inherited.

She glanced around at each smiling face seated at the extended dining room table. Four generations of the Simmons family traded barbs and quips between mouthfuls of Christmas dinner.

The stings returned to her chest and she clenched the fist hidden in her lap. Myrna sipped her water to hide the pain in her face.

Please, not now, not today.

She’d prayed to see the new year, not for herself, but so Christmas wouldn’t be a time of sadness for the family she was leaving behind.

She glanced at the empty chair at the other end of the table. She lost her Jimmy two years ago when his diabetes refused to be controlled any longer. Her children couldn’t bear for anyone to sit in Pawpaw’s chair during family dinners.

Would they leave her chair empty too at the next family dinner?

She pushed such maudlin thoughts from her mind. A future without her in it was what had made her older sister, Bernice, so angry.

Plagued by the congenital heart condition from an early age, Bernice had undergone two major operations before she reached junior high school.

Dale and Lorna Spooner treated their oldest child as if she were fragile. Lorna’s own battle with the condition didn’t show up until Myrna was a kindergartner and considered mild in comparison to most.

Rebelling in her late teens, Bernice eloped and married Barry parks and gave birth to three sons in five years.

Her doctors threw up their hands in frustration and their parents were mortified. Dale and Lorna spent most of those early years pleading with Bernice to be reasonable and safe and slow down.

Myrna secretly cheered her sister’s bravado. She watched Bernice do all the things with her boys she’d been sheltered from

When Jimmy proposed to Myrna, Bernice was at her side planning the wedding and as her matron of honor.

The year after Bernice’s youngest started high school, he came home one day to find his mother unconscious on the living room floor.

Her time had run out.

No amount of surgery or medication could bolster her exhausted heart.

Anger radiated from Bernice as she’d sat in her wheelchair. Family and friends buzzed around her piling their plates high with cake and ice cream to celebrate her forty-second birthday.

But Bernice could only focus on what was being stolen from her… what she’d miss—college and high school graduations, military promotions, weddings… and grandchildren.

When she didn’t wake from a sound night’s sleep fourteen months later, it was almost a comfort to her family.

Her acidic comments and toxic behavior had worn down even the steadfast and loyal Barry.

Wincing, Myrna clenched her hidden fist again.

Schooling her features, she excused herself from the table to retrieve the powerful pain pills which were supposed to make her agony bearable.

She closed her bedroom door and slumped against it, her breathing now rapid and shallow.

Myrna knew she needed the oxygen hidden away in the back of her closet.

“Please, God, not today. Give me the rest of today. I’ll use the oxygen tomorrow. I’ll tell them tomorrow. Just… let me have Christmas, please.”

Stumbling into the bathroom on shaky legs, Myrna opened the pill bottle and swallowed two without water.

She hung her head, willing her pulse to slow down.

Raising her head, she stared at her reflection… and smiled.

Her iron-gray twists fell to her shoulders, lining a caramel-kissed face almost wrinkle-free. Despite her pain, walnut-brown eyes stared back at her not distressed but content.

She looked good for her seventy-seven years of life and knew she was a blessed woman.

Myrna had lived longer than any member of her family cursed with the dreaded heart condition, hers not appearing and becoming troublesome until her fifty-fourth birthday.

Neither her grandfather or sister made it to their fiftieth year… and she’d had more than fifty years with Jimmy before she lost him.

Their five children had added thirteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren to the family.

And she’d been there for it all.

The stings in her chest eased and Myrna said a silent prayer of thanks.

Returning to the dining room, she stood in the doorway, taking in her family.

Her oldest daughter, Lois, looked on with pride as her oldest daughter, BreAnna, fed her three-month-old daughter, Malina.

Fraternal teenage twins, Archie and Andi, fought over the last dinner rolls, while her oldest child, Kirk, argued about computers and something called gigs with his brother-in-law, Grover.

He caught her eye and winked.

Myrna smiled.

She understood Bernice’s anger now.

Moments like this were to be enjoyed and cherished, not missed.

She returned to her chair.

“Ready for dessert, Granny?”

Myrna looked at her twelve-year-old granddaughter squeezed her hand. Alison was the spitting image of Myrna’s daughter-in-law, Gale.

Except for the eyes. She had Jimmy’s soft velvet-brown eyes.

“Yes, baby, I am. Bring on the cobbler and ice cream.”

Everyone at the table cheered. Alison ran to the dessert table, followed by her cousins.

No one could have dessert before Granny.

Myrna relaxed back in her chair, enjoying the melee surrounding the peach cobbler.

This would be her last Christmas. Her traitorous heart would see to that.

But despite its weak walls, leaky valves and inability to function correctly, Myrna was grateful her heart had always been full of love.

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©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Three Times a Lady” – Commodores

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  girl(s).”

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Staying with the adult form of the theme so I can post this great classic from 1978!

Three Times a Lady, from the Commodores‘ sixth album Natural High, topped the Billboard Hot 100, R&B Singles chart and Adult Contemporary chart. It also topped the U.K. Singles chart for 5 weeks.

The song was written by Lionel Richie after being inspired by a comment his father said to his mother.

FUN FACTS

    • This was a breakthrough song for the Commodores and for Lionel Richie as a songwriter. It crossed over to pop, easy listening and even country formats.
    • The Commodores were more of a funk band before their massive success with sentimental love songs like Three Times a Lady.
    •  In the UK, this was #1 for five weeks. It was the biggest UK hit for Motown Records.
    • This was the first #1 hit Lionel Richie wrote, but far from his last: he wrote songs that were #1 US hits in each of the next seven years, giving him the record for most consecutive #1s by a songwriter who was never a Beatle (Paul McCartney wrote songs that went to #1 1964-1971).

The video is a live performance from The Midnight Special.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Three Times a Lady

by the Commodores
Songwriter: Lionel Richie
Thanks for the times that you’ve given me
The memories are all in my mind
And now that we’ve come to the end of our rainbow
There’s something I must say out loud

You’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you

You shared my dreams
My joys
My pains
You made my life worth living for
And if I had to live my life over again, dear
I’d spend each and every moment with you

You’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you

When we are together
The moments I cherish
With every beat of my heart
To touch you
To hold you
To feel you
To need you
There’s nothing to keep us apart

You’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you

You’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you

Yes, you’re once
Twice
Three times a lady
And I love you
I love you

Song Lyric Sunday | “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” – Deniece Williams

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  boys.”

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Let’s Hear It for the Boy was the second song released from the soundtrack of 1984’s Footloose and became a #1 song for artist Deniece Williams.

In the film, the song was used in a scene where Kevin Bacon tries to teach Christopher Penn how to dance, and Penn is having a hard time.

Fun Fact: When Williams recorded Let’s Hear It for the Boy the first time, Dean Pitchford thought it sounded too girlish, so she flew from Los Angeles to New York to quickly do another take under deadline pressure. She ended up doing the proper take late that night after a long flight, but it was worth it. When she saw the film, she thought the scene where they used her song was incredible.

George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the duo Boy Meets Girl sang backup,  and also wrote Whitney Houston’s songs How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Let’s Hear It for the Boy

by Deniece Williams

Song Lyric Sunday | “You Send Me” – Sam Cooke

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

No theme was posted for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday and I pray all is well with Helen as she hasn’t been feeling well. Sending love and prayers out to her.

Which leads me to go my own way this week and use the prompt of send/sending.”

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Recorded by American singer Sam Cooke and released as a single in 1957, You Send Me was Cooke’s debut single and  a massive commercial success, becoming a number one hit on both Billboard‘s Rhythm & Blues Records chart and the Billboard Hot 100.

It was named as one of the 500 most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In April 2010, the song ranked #115 in Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In addition to the original version by Sam Cooke, You Send Me has received numerous covers over the years, the most important being the versions of Teresa Brewer (1957), Aretha Franklin (1968), Ponderosa Twins Plus One (1971) and The Manhattans (1985).

Fun Fact: Most sources credit Sam Cooke as the song’s writer, but some sources say the song was written by Charles “LC” Cooke, Sam’s older brother and member of The Singing Children, the Cooke family gospel group.

Not the best video–this performance is from American Bandstand sixty years ago–but his vocals are spot on!

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

You Send Me

by Sam Cooke

Song Lyric Sunday | “The Last Song” – Elton John

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “last.” 

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With yesterday being World AIDS Day and the current biopic of Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody, holding its own with movie theater audiences, this selection was pretty easy.

Elton John’s The Last Song was written shortly after Mercury died of AIDS. At the time, AIDS was becoming a pandemic and little was known about the disease or how to treat it. Sufferers were shunned and feared. This song narrates the story of an estranged father coming to terms with his son’s disease and homosexuality, while the son is coming to terms with dying.

This beautiful song was on John’s 1992 The One album, and all proceeds from the single went to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The song is used during the closing montage of the 1993 HBO docudrama And The Band Played On…

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

The Last Song

by Elton John

Song Lyric Sunday | “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In” – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “first.” 

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While the neither the title of the lyrics contain this week’s theme, the featured group’s name does! 😀 😀

Just Dropped In … by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (with Kenny Rogers on lead vocals) peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. It was Rogers’ first top ten hit. The song captures the short-lived psychedelic era of the late 1960s, stands apart from the country folk harmonies that characterized most of the First Edition’s catalog,  and got the group their first national TV audience on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition

Song Lyric Sunday | “Stop, Look, Listen” – The Stylistics

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “listen.” 

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Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) is a soul song written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed that was originally recorded by the Philadelphia soul group the Stylistics.

An R&B ballad, it was the first track from their 1971 debut self-titled album (and first major hit) and was released as a single in 1971 and reached #39 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, it also climbed to #6 in the Billboard R&B chart.

Motown stars Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross released their version of the same song on their duet album in 1974 as a UK-only single and that version also is part of the 2001 film, Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)

by The Stylistics