A-Z: Final Departure

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Riding the rails for almost seven decades, Frank had seen far more than he could ever recall. He loved the freedom of going where and when the rails took him. But, times had changed and so had old Frank.

With a worn out sigh, he struggled to board the rusted out freight car. Deep in his aching bones, Frank knew this was his final departure.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

Riding the rails has been a colourful part of American history, especially during The Great Depression. Frank is a composite of some “Bindlestiffs” that I came to know through family lore, while I was growing up. My characters are all very near and dear to my heart, including Frank.


“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist



I believe that all living creatures with a heart and soul can, and do dream. These dreams have meaning, but they also have purpose. It is in our dreams that we are able to go beyond ourselves and our limitations. We can soar. When we soar, magical things happen.

May your best dreams be realized. But, if they aren’t, may they give light to even better ones. See you soon.

The Journey

I wrote this musing in January, 2013. When I came across it recently, I realized how timeless it is. As we end a year and begin a new one, I felt it is worth sharing, again. Now, with a postscript.
I’m Getting There
Roads, directions, mile markers, signs, ramps, bridges…we are always moving because that is the way of life. This has long been an inspiration to poets, including myself. We rely on maps, GPS, satellites, to help guide us. 
Bill has a satellite GPS in his truck. It speaks the directions to him, giving warnings, telling him which way to turn. I named it Hal, after HAL 9000, the computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey”. While Hal can show and give directions, even Hal doesn’t know everything down the roads. (“I’m sorry, Dave; I’m afraid I can’t do that.”) There are detours, weather factors, missing signs, construction, accidents, the unexpected, and the unknown. If Bill listened to him exclusively, he could end up off-roading in an 18-wheeler. 
This is life, too. We each must make a journey through life. We come into this world alone, and leave it alone. We may be guided by our parents. We are definitely influenced by our family and peers. We do not travel through life alone; not one of us does. Nevertheless, it is our personal journey to make. No one can make your journey for you. No one can tell you where to go, or how to get there. You find the tools that help you navigate, because you must. If you don’t keep moving, you become a casualty. 
There are times that you may feel lost, and only you can find your way. Sometimes you have to “reconfigure” the route. Even with GPS or navigational devices, you have to use your own senses to find your own way. The fog may move in, or the GPS may be off (Dang it, Hal!). You control the GPS. You control your life. You must focus, and give your undivided attention to your direction and intended destination if you are ever to arrive. 
That’s where I am. I needed some time to “reconfigure” my route with writing, blogging, myself and life. I needed to quiet the road noise. I had to be able to hear my internal GPS. I am getting back behind the wheel. I will finish the race, but I will do it my way. I will listen to my own GPS, and I will turn off the road noise when I need to. I’ll get there. 

Now, five years later, I still occasionally withdraw from traffic, park my spirit, and reset my inner GPS. After refueling my soul, I am able to continue on my journey, with purpose.
I don’t want to miss anything of value. I want my journey to have been a wise one. I know that at the end of my road there will be the Pearly Gate. When I park there, I want to be sure that I have used my miles wisely. I want there to be no doubt that I followed the signs, observed the rules of the road, and stayed in my lane. I do not want to be a distraction to others or an obstacle on their road.
We are all in this world together. Our roads inevitably intersect. Some of us travel side by side for miles. For others, it is but a brief time that we share on this journey through life. Sometimes, we have a mishap, sideswipe someone, or outright collide. But, in each encounter, there is a lesson. There is always something of value, to use somewhere along the route we maneuver.
There are many roads to choose from. Realistically, there are wrong roads, bad routes, one-way streets, and even U-turns. But, no one can tell you where to go, or the right way to get there. You must listen to your own GPS and decide your own route. Because, the journey is yours.
Thank you for being a part of my journey. I hope this year brings smoother roads for everyone. Set your internal GPS; enjoy your journey. Peace be with you.


~The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home
Written by Mikael Lindnord
This tells the true story of not only a dog but of a man, as well. This is their very special story.
Arthur was a pitiful street dog in Ecuador when Mikael Lindnord tossed him a meatball. Mikael was there competing in the Adventure Racing World Championship. Arthur saw a good thing and remained with the team. Mikael and Arthur became a team of their own.
A campaign to get Arthur back to Sweden began. The racing team took to Twitter to help raise funds. The Ecuadorian Social Affairs Ministry Dept. assisted, along with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, in getting Arthur “Home”.
As Arthur was noticed by the media, people came forth to claim him as their dog. However, when his poor health and severe wounds were uncovered, talk turned to prosecution. Claims were retracted. Arthur finally went home to Sweden and Mikael.
Once there, he got the medical and emotional attention that he needed and deserved. Arthur was quarantined for four months as he healed. His health was evaluated and improved greatly.
Arthur finally had a family. But, he also had a purpose. He continued to be part of Mikael’s racing team, accompanying them on more competitions. He also was the inspiration and heart of “Arthur’s Foundation”, to help other street dogs in Arthur’s native Ecuador.

I recommend this book to those who love animals and love happy endings. This story is special. It is about coming from behind and winning. It is also about passing that goodness on to others who need it. And, it’s all true.

Friendly Fill-ins: Week 67

We are happy you are here for another week of friendly sharing! As always, you can find the fill-ins here and at 15andmeowing.com each Thursday. On Fridays, we post the link for sharing. The first two fill-ins are always provided by Ellen. The final two statements are offered by myself. You are welcome to answer in the comments, but if you link up, even more people can share!

It has been a very busy week here. Doctor’s appointments for Clyde have kept me busy. If you have not read my post Kitten Nightmares, I hope that you will. It may surprise you. The post has some important information for those who love cats and share their lives with them. I am thankful that Clyde was in my care and I knew what was happening. It breaks my heart to think of all of the kittens (and cats) who suffer these horrors. 

The day that I posted about Clyde’s nightmare, he was in the hospital. It was his third vet visit for the Cuterebra. Because of the severity of the wound, it had to again be flushed thoroughly and packed with medication. He has become very much loved by his vet team. Bonnie stayed with Clyde for moral support, and she is a little cheerleader there.

Bonnie and Clyde both are growing and learning quickly. They are weaning, now. In fact, they are pretty happy about food, in general. They have finger-painted some unique impressionist artwork and are trying to write their names with the kitten gruel. They never cease to amaze me.

Now that the outlaw minions are actually playing and doing things, there will be more pictures. They are very sweet and funny. With very different personalities, they certainly keep us all entertained.

Bill will be off next week. He begins his new routes at the very end of the month. We plan to start getting the yard and garden ready for Autumn. There are many end-of-Summer chores that need to be done.

I hope the weather is good to you as Summer settles into the final dog days. Savour those nights of cricket songs and lightning bug shows. I also hope you are able to enjoy the eclipse on August 21st 

Here are my completed fill-ins:

1. If someone were visiting my area, I would recommend a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Field Museum, and Brookfield Zoo. For various reasons, these are places of both interest and real pride for Chicago. We are actually on the IL/WI border, about halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. But, since I was born in Chicago and grew up there for half of my childhood, I would proudly recommend these places. I know them all well.

2. My favorite room in my home is the family room because it is the heart of our home. We all gather there together. Our easy chairs, several pet beds, the cat tree, the window seat, the TV/stereo, my books, and Bill’s guitars are all there. We are just thankful to be all together in one place.

3. Back-to-school time makes me think of simpler times. Childhood is a time of unshakable hope, blissful innocence, and joyful anticipation of the future. Kids still have the opportunity to become all that they want to be. The possibilities are endless.

4. My favourite year of school was seventh grade, because I felt that I was finally on track with school. Moving so often, I had seemed to never be in the right place academically. But, I worked hard and my grades were always good. By seventh grade, I was finally on the Dean’s list and had a handle on school. It gave me perspective for the work needed in high school.

 It’s a great day to learn something new!
Now, it’s your turn. Please link up with us here. 
Or, you can answer in the comments   



It had started here, at the medical complex. People came here from all over the world to be healed. As a child, Paul had been one of them. That was how he knew what he was meant to do in life.
He worked hard to become a doctor. Graduating with honours, he taught by example. When that was not enough, he went to places that had no doctors. Paul traveled to the most destitute, deprived regions. He gave, wanting only to make a difference. It mattered. They mattered.
Now, Paul was back where it all had begun. As he opened the heavy wooden door, these words flashed through his mind, “Physician, heal thyself.” His life had come full circle and was now almost complete. Upon the event of his death, his body would be given to medical science. He would keep paying it forward, because he knew it mattered.

Story by McGuffy Ann Morris
My Word Count= 150 words
Image: majesticgoldenrose

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt,
100-150 words 

Going Home

Insisting small town life was not for him, Mark had always sworn he would leave when he was old enough. He kept that promise.

Mark joined the military and traveled the world. He experienced life on all seven continents. He was proud of that fact, believing he had seen it all over the years.

Yet, Mark still felt something was missing. Wanderlust finally abated, he realized the one thing he did not have was a home. It was time to go home.

He traveled for days to get back to where his journey had begun: his childhood hometown. Finally, the tram pulled into the old neighborhood. But, nothing was the same as he had remembered. Shock and disappointment filled him.

Too late, Mark realized that as he had changed, so had his hometown. The old adage was true, you really can’t go home again. 

Story: McGuffy Ann Morris
Word Count= 146
Image: Yinglan

Shared with: 
 Flash Fiction/Photo Prompt,
100-150 words inspired by photo