Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Things You Can't Explain by Linda Swift

Our Guest Blogger today is Author Linda Swift. If you're not familiar with Linda's blogs, you're in for a real treat. Settle in and enjoy...

About The Author: 
    Linda Swift is a native of Kentucky but calls many places home including Florida where she now lives with her husband, a power plant consultant and avid golfer. She is the sole member of a musical family--which includes her husband, son, daughter, and son-in-law--who neither sings nor plays. But she loves to dance!
    A late bloomer, she attended college for years between being a wife and mother, then became a counselor, psychometrist, and teacher of physically and mentally challenged students in public education.
     Linda began writing poetry at ten, has won numerous awards for poetry, articles, and short stories and has had a play produced on TV. Writing books has been her goal since completing a romance novel at sixteen. She is the author of two books by Kensington and has two e-books currently available from The Wild Rose Press, one of which is also available in print. Her current release is Single Status from Awe-Struck who will also publish her new holiday book in December and her first historical in early 2010. 

 Some Things You Can't Explain:

             It has been said "The better part of valor is silence" and I recall situations in my life where this was definitely true. Take the incident of the flapjack drum. For you who are not familiar with musical instruments, these drums are large steel rims with only a head and strapped on the drummer's body when marching in parades.
             One early morning as I was cleaning the den, I lifted my son's drum to vacuum under it and realized how heavy it was. The band boosters had raised money to buy these "lighter weight" drums for the school and I began to wonder if our efforts were wasted. I studied it for a moment, then on impulse, hoisted its straps to my shoulders being careful not to get them tangled in the large plastic rollers in my hair. Adjusting the straps took some time as I was still wearing a short batiste gown and housecoat. It was heavy and I was standing still. To get the full experience I would have to march. This wouldn't be easy to do in my large floppy houseshoes, but I grabbed the drumsticks with determination. It's hard to march without music so I began to sing When The Saints Go Marching in as I marched toward the back wall of the room which was about thirty feet long. I was really getting into the spirit when I turned to face the other direction where a full-length glass door opened onto the carport. And there stood a man with hand raised to knock. I froze, then quickly assessed the situation. Shuffling to the door and turning the flapjack sideways, I opened it and assumed my most dignified expression. "Yes?"
             He tried to keep a straight face but the corners of his mouth kept twitching as he explained that he was one of the builders working on the new house next door and asked permission to hook his hose to our outside faucet. When I nodded graciously, he quickly turned away and I could see his shoulders shaking as he crossed the yard. It didn't take a psychic to know what the builders' conversation at their morning coffee break would be about.
             Later that year, my son and I were Christmas shopping. We had a Boston Terrier who loved to gnaw on things. This was in the days before dogs had tooth brushes and their own toy departments. At least, no dogs at our income level. We had saved Mitzy's presents for last and headed to Finkel's Fair Trade Store where bargains were to be had. We asked a nice clerk to direct us to heavy cotton sox and he led the way to a table filled with an assortment of them. "What size do you need?" he asked.
             "It doesn't matter, they're for our dog." I said in a distracted tone as I was already riffling through the sox, looking for the heaviest ones.  "Here, these will do."
             I gave him a pair and he hesitated.  "Won't you need two pairs?"
             "No." I shook my head and asked where to find children's leather shoes.
             As we examined a rack of small shoes, my son and I discussed the merits of them and checked the price tags. Finally, I shook my head.  "I just can't justify paying this for a pair of shoes for a dog when there are children who have none."
             My son reluctantly agreed and asked the clerk if they sold tennis balls. "For your dog?" he asked. We both answered yes. He shook his head and recommended a sporting goods store across the street. So we paid for the sox and left with our small purchase.
             As we waited for the traffic to clear, I glanced back at the store we'd left and saw that the clerk had followed us to the door and was looking at us with a puzzled frown. I imagine he was trying to visualize our dog who walked upright wearing sox and shoes and sometimes played tennis. I considered going back and explaining but the traffic light changed and we had lots more shopping to do. Anyway, I reasoned that perhaps he needed something to relieve the boredom of his job that day.
             In our town, February 22  meant the best sales of the season. My husband and son were in need of new sweaters and Marshall's Men & Boys Store always had the nicest at half price on Truth Day. (This was the late 70s before everything was on sale all the time and a sale really meant something) I had worked that day, even though there was snow and ice on the streets and I rushed downtown after school. That was also the days when teachers dressed like professionals and I was wearing a skirt and three inch heels.  The sidewalk was icy but I was hurrying because I was afraid the best buys were already taken this late in the day. There was an alley about thirty feet wide in the middle of the block and the sidewalk slanted at that spot. Heedless of the slope, I hit the ice and went sprawling. When I pulled myself up, I saw that the knees of my pantyhose were torn and one knee was bleeding. I hesitated only briefly, then cautiously stepped on the sloping walk again, only to go down a second time.
             I looked toward the store on the corner and debated my options. There was only one Truth Day sale each year.  My husband and son needed new sweaters. And a thirty foot alley entrance was all that stood between me and that sale. Then I did was any self respecting shopaholic would do.  I raised myself to my hands and knees and crawled across that alleyway and on to the sale. A few cars passed on the street as I made my way across, driving very slowly due to the weather conditions. I turned my head away from the street, praying no one would recognize me. And that was when I realized I had just passed the Red Fox Saloon. I imagined what anyone seeing this disheveled woman on all fours crossing the alleyway would surmise. But I suppose my identity was not discovered as I was never brought before the School Board on charges of immoral behavior. And I'm happy to report that Marshall's had plenty of beautiful sweaters left at bargain prices and the trip was worth the effort. And crawling back toward my car was no obstacle at all because I was savoring my sweet success.  

Author Website  


  1. Dear Linda--I think I'll write a novel about you. I could use you as the heroine of a Southern...not Gothic, no, let's see...a Southern Belle series: Southern Belle Gone Wild, Southern Belle Has Her Say, Southern Belle Goes to Hull and Back.
    How do you do this? You make me laugh every time. Even in my dog-free life (at last) I know why you shopped for such things. I congratulate you on a life filled with excitement and promise and love. Your dear friend, Celia

  2. Wow Linda,
    What experiences you have had. You could write a book about them????
    Thanks for giving me such a jolly start to my day.
    All the best for the festive season.

  3. You've done it again, my friend! You have a real gift of drawing the reader in to your predicaments! I'm sitting here laughing so hard, just picturing all these bizarre happenings to you! You need to write a book of memoirs. We all need a good belly laugh and you know how to dish!


  4. Hi Celia, Margaret, and Sharon. Thank all of your for your comments and suggestions that I do a book of all my disasters. I'm sure everyone could write a similar book of their lives. I've always felt you should be able to laugh at yourself and it's nice when people can laugh with you. Merry Christmas, dear friends.

  5. Ouch on the knees! I'm glad you got the sweaters! This was a fun description! Always fun to laugh at oneself! Merry Christmas.