I found this quote by Drew Lamm on Ralph Fletcher's website, "I get my ideas from living my life wide-eyed and awake. I sit on the edge of chairs. I pay attention wherever I am." That's really the hard part ---- pausing enough to pay attention. Then, in my case, remembering to write it down quickly before it slips away.
I have noticed many of the writers in this challenge using dialogue to tell their stories. I always enjoy those stories as I feel like I'm right there with the author. I thought I'd give it a try in this slice from the other day.
I placed my purchases on the small counter. I'd been shopping for awhile and, after some deliberation, had settled on a gift. The woman glanced at me and smiled as she arranged the items to ring them up. "May I have two gift receipts," I inquired, a little proud of myself for remembering before she finished my order. "This is a gift for my mom and I want her to be able to return it if she doesn't like it."
Now the woman took a second look at me, "She'll like it because you got it for her," she assured matter-of-factly. "Moms like everything we do them for them," she added, suddenly certain of her words.
I thought for a moment about the gifts my own children had given me: the garden stones they made, the drawing when they were little, the tree for our flower bed, the first knitted scarf. I loved them all because they gave them to me. I nodded in silent agreement.
The woman proceeded to check out my items as she went on with her story, "When I was in college I got a plant for my mom. It looked rather sickly when I gave it to her. The leaves were beginning to die and the plant was rather small. It was all I could afford at the time." She shook her head a little as if now embarrassed to have given her mom something so close to death.
"She, of course, loved it. A few weeks later I got a thank-you note and picture from my mom. It was the plant, and it was beautiful. I couldn't believe it was the same plant I had given her a few weeks before. It was healthy and very alive."
This woman who was checking out my items was here and there at the same time. Her face lightened in the memory of it all. She began folding my items and placing them into the bag. I stood smiling at her story, the understanding that moms do like everything we do for them, and the pure joy of realizing that stories are everywhere if we slow down to listen to them.
I looked at her as she continued miles from the register. "Now when I go to visit my mom," she laughed, "those flowers fill the flowerbeds around our house. They've taken over, but they're just lovely."
I reveled in her story for a bit; the stories that sometimes escape us if we don't pause long enough to get them down. "Here are your gift receipts," she inserted as she reached across the counter to hand them to me. I thanked her grateful for the story she had just shared. I then smiled, took my purchases, and walked away playing her story over and over in my head. Glad to have had the time to slow down enough to listen.
Today is my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom.
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