Moonshot….What does a proctologist see way too much of.
Cheapshot….What I just wrote above.
Clear skies bring bitterly cold temperatures this far north. All day I deal with a frozen septic system. The high water table in this mountain valley meanst an above-ground leech field, with an underground lift station to pump up the effluents into a dranage mound where they filter through many layers of sand.
I wade through deep snow to the lift station, shoveling a path through three feet of snow and then shoveling the snow off the lift station access manhole cover. Once open, I can see the floats that activate the pump are frozen in place. I grab a long pole I keep nearby for just this purpose, and carefully break up the thin ice around the floats.
The pump comes on immediately, lowering the level in this side of the tank. I see water flowing in from the other side, and that tells me the line to the house is not frozen, too.
I put a new light bulb in a shop light and drop the light down into the lift station close to the pumps. What am I going to do, I wonder, when I run out of the incandescent bulbs I’ve stockpiled. Fluorescent bulbs don’t throw off enough heat to work in this situation.
I close everything up, shovel some snow back on top for insulation and go inside to warm my hands after working bare-handed in ten below zero temperatures.
Clear skies mean great viewing for tonight’s lunar eclipse. I watch the moon appear from behind the mountains to the east. It is huge and yellow. I go outside onto my front deck and take a photo of it.
Soon I see fuzziness on one side of the moon and recognize this as the penumbra of the earth’s shadow. I shoot photos every few minutes as eclipse continues and the shadow cone of the earth begins to obscure the moon. The moon enters the dark central shadow of the earth, called the umbra.
I see shadows like continents on the surface of the moon and imagine standing on its surface, looking back at the earth, seeing a dark, red-ringed orb obscuring the light of the sun.
It’s cold, now twenty below zero. My fingers are cold. I keep stuffing the camera inside my fleece jacket to prevent it from freezing.
The moon is now bright orange and absolutely breath-taking. I watch the rest of the lunar eclipse from the warmth of my house, going outside occasionally to take another photo.
On the computer, the photos almost come alive. My moon shots are incredible. I wonder what civilization long gone thought about these magnificent eclipses.
I find myself humbled by the whole experience.
I really like the juxtaposition of the contrasting day and night images. It is so reflective of reality: beauty and wonder discovered in the midst of [expletive deleted].
How wonderful that you put these two together. I think my brain just expanded.
Sigh. I do know how to spell drainage. Should have done a lot of proof reading before I posted this. Several typos. Sorry.
“Moonshot”… the word surfaced in his mind, unsought, startling him, and he hesitated, poised and breathless, undone by the nearness of her gaze. Yes, her eyes were, unquestionably, shot with moonlight. The clear, golden source of that glow, hung huge in the eastern sky, just kissing the horizon and reflected perfectly in those dark cerulean orbs. Two bottomless pools, each shot with the light of a harvest moon and totally intent on him. Her face was so close he inhaled the moist intimacy of her quickened breaths, and felt them against his skin. And as their lips met, gently, then more urgently, opening to one another, he realized that he would never again apprehend the moon, or anything else, except through her eyes.
A very sensuous passage- could be the opening paragraph of a romantic novel. Made me want to turn the page for more.
Who knew you were a romantic?
Heart of My Hearts
The Harrises had been playing Hearts with the Bretts for over forty years. Ethel Harris, soon to celebrate her ninetieth birthday, made a request for a rip-roaring Hearts game to be included in the full day of activities being planned by her five children to celebrate her birthday.
Her husband Ray passed away some twenty years ago, but her oldest son Brad had taken his spot as her Hearts partner whenever they played the Bretts. Gregory Brett, Ethel’s younger brother still partnered with his wife of sixty years, Lydia Mae.
“I’m not sure uncle Gregory is well enough to travel six hundred miles for your birthday,” said Brad.
“Tell him we plan to have a Hearts game,” said Ethel, “that will get him here for sure!” Brad telephoned his favorite uncle, and told him what they had in mind.
“And I suppose she thinks she can still Shoot The Moon,” said Gregory, “you tell her I will be there with bells on. Lydia Mae will man my wheelchair. See you in September.”
After full day of greeting guests, opening cards and gifts, listening to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren making emotional and funny speeches, Ethel smiled out over the crowd of sixty two friends and family who had come to celebrate her ninetieth in her spacious back yard in Eastern Oregon. When it was her turn to speak, she said,
“Words cannot express my appreciation for the effort you all put in to coming way out here to help me celebrate this special birthday. I love every wonderful gift and card that I received today, and I thank you all. Now, let’s get to more important things. It is time to play Hearts!” she grinned.
A small table had been placed in the shade of the large maple tree that made Ethel’s yard a haven from the September sun. Rows of folding chairs were situated all around all four sides of the card table so the remaining guests could watch the game. A felt cloth covered the table, and a new deck of cards was resting in the very center. A neat score pad and freshly sharpened pencil graced the north seat of the table, where Brad would sit. These were some serious Hearts players.
“Cut for deal,”said Gregory as he handed Ethel the deck of cards.
“I see you got a deck with large numbers so you can see them,” said Ethel, “you will need every trick you can to win today.” The banter in these games was as important as the play. Gregory and Lydia Mae were formidable partners, and seemed to be able to read each others minds as they made strategic moves throughout the duration of the game. After a about thirty minutes of play, Brad announced:
“The score is 92 for us, and 91 for the Bretts, this hand should tell the story.”
“Read em and weep,” said Ethel as she slowly dealt out the deck with her arthritic fingers clasping at the cards, one by one. After passing three cards to their left, the players arranged their hands to integrate the new arrivals. Lydia Mae then started the play, and led the two of clubs. Ethel took the trick with the Ace.
She led a small spade, and this trick was taken by Brad with the Jack. Brad then led a three of diamonds. Gregory played the Queen, Ethel played the King, and Lydia sloughed the ten of diamonds.
“Just what I was looking for Greg!” shouted Ethel, and she laid down her hand showing:
A J of Diamonds
A K Q of Spades
A K Q J 10 9 of Hearts
Twenty six points for the Bretts, Zero points for Brad and Ethel. She had Shot The Moon!
“Thanks for the birthday present of the 10 and 9 of hearts, Greg,” smiled Ethel, “there is nothing more important in life than beating the Bretts in a game of Hearts!”
This brings back memories! Fortunately, none of my fellow Hearts players were so serious minded. However, I do play bridge every month, and I can attest to the accuracy of your portrayal of Ethel Harris. She does exist. Thanks for a well-drawn picture.
I hope this is a true story. Well done, Ethel! And Gale.
It was the summer of ’72, a hot, July, Kansas night with little to no breeze stirring. I was staying at my best friend David’s house for the night and was getting a little stir crazy. “Let’s go outside, it’s dark now, it should have cooled off some.” David moaned about it but his mom told us to get out and get some “fresh air”. I think the fresh air was for her, as we were getting a little ripe in the heat.
David’s next door neighbor lived in an old two story house that all the movies show at Christmas, all homey and inviting. This night it was inviting because the neighbor’s college aged daughter was home and her window was open. Being two boys going through puberty, we couldn’t stop thinking about Carley. Stories and fantasies rolled out of our mouths for at least an hour. We could just see the top half of her body when see moved around her room. She was wearing a tank top that clung to her wet, sweaty body.
That drove us into action, we had to get closer. First we tried a tree next to the garage that sat between the houses, but it was too far and too flush with leaves. So we took a ladder and climbed on top of the garage, bingo, at the roof peak we were even with her window. I don’t think I blinked the whole time I was up there, hypnotized by the form before me.
A cooler breeze started up and blew her curtains a little wider. We could plainly see her sitting on her bed writing letters in nothing but the tank top and her bikini undies. I think we quit breathing when she stood up and faced away from the window. She hooked her thumbs in the sides of her undies, slightly bent over, and dropped them to the floor. The next day we told the story until we were hoarse about the prettiest moonshot anyone could hope for.
Nice, Walk. I figured you’d get up to some mischief with this one.
I LOVED IT!
Where you been, Mr. Walk? We need these moonshots!
School Secretary: Hello this is Fern High School. May I help you?
Caller: Yes, I want to talk to the principal right now.
Secretary: She is busy now, how may I help you?
Caller: She won’t be busy for this call. Interrupt whatever she is doing.
Secretary: You don’t understand, MS. She cannot be disturbed. May I take a message?
Caller: You bet your bippy you can. Tell her one of her students shot me the moon. And I want the student kicked out of school.
Secretary: I’m not sure what you mean MS . This student said something to you.
Caller: No, Are you stupid? This guy stood up on the bus, pulled down his pants and showed his ass out the bus window.
Secretary: (trying to hide a laugh): Are you sure he was from Fern High School?
Caller: Are you calling me a liar? The bus was from Parkwood School District.
Secretary: The District has over 200 buses.
Caller: Well you are an alternative school and students from the other schools wouldn’t do what this guy did.
Secretary: How do you know it was a boy?
Caller: Are you making fun of me? He had hair
Secretary: That’s ok MS. I don’t need to know. I can have the principal call you. Do you have the bus number? I can find out if it was one of our buses.
Caller: What do you mean bus number? I was watching the moon shot I wasn’t looking for a number.
Secretary: Do you have a description of the student, no never mind I don’t want to know. But if you don’t have a bus number there is not much we can do.
Caller: Fine, but you haven’t heard the last of this I’m calling the Superintendant.
Secretary: Thank you MS and have a nice day.
Cute set G-Pa. Nice change of pace from recent school news. Thx
That one had me laughing all the way through. “He had hair!”
I meant “set-up”.
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by Ann Linquist
Available in paperback or on Kindle