She had looked at that same waterstain on the ceiling forever. As a new patient it had been many things: a doggie, a rooster, a monster, a genie. The dentist's office was old and there had never been enough money for painting. Louann picked him because he would take her discount card, but each time she went for a cleaning, she had the feeling she was a pioneer person when the doc would give a little whiskey for pain.

He was a young man, looking a little like Abraham Lincoln, with a smile that would melt the butter on top of a hot tuna casserole. Louann felt drawn to this old dental office in an old clinic.

As she leaned back in the chair, she saw a print on the wall of an ocean view, so imagined the stain to be curly clouds. She thought of all the dental offices with a pretty colored picture of cartoons on the ceiling to relax the little ones - clean, shiny, even a little TV screen running "Johnny Chew." But never was there a dentist so pretty.

Time passed, years passed, and Dr. Abe grew a beard, causing the resemblance to be even more striking - and the smile never waned. Louann got used to the picture and the little yellow cloud. Then the day came when Dr. Lincoln was sporting a wedding ring. His friendly little assistant was gone, the little cloud had been painted over, and the picture was not alone, now flanked by new and more sophisticated art. The little dentist office had been touched. Touched by a woman.

By Norma (Twi1ite@sbcglobal.net)









It was after dawn when I woke,
After a very fitful sleep.
My insomnia is no joke,
And the strangest hours I keep.


Sometimes I will nap in mid-day -
Light doesn’t bother me at all.
Even with shades up all the way,
Off to sleep I’m liable to fall.


Of course, all of my naps are short,
And I come awake all too fast.
But I’m now happy to report
I have found company, at last.


It’s at the ceiling stains I stare,
And marvel at the many shapes.
There are lots of animals there,
And fruit like bananas and grapes.


There’s a truck pulling a trailer,
And a double winged airplane, too.
Older waterstains are paler,
With flecks of plaster showing through.


One stain looks just like a grey cow,
Splattered with odd shaped spots of white.
I’m looking at a star shape now,
With a moon-like stain to its right.


Perhaps if I stare for awhile,
Trying to make sense of each stain,
Boredom will set in and then I’ll
Drift back off to sleep once again.


By RickMack (Rmrickmack@aol.com)









“Poppa why is there that yellow looking circle on the ceiling, huh, huh, why poppa?” That had been a question I asked as long as I can remember.

“That is cause you peed the bed,” was my poppa’s reply.

As soon as poppa was out of hearing range momma would say, “Hush girl, don’t fret, that is where the roof leaked when we moved here, long before you were born; now finish you meal.”

We lived in the old Livingston house, a tall two plus storied house, white frame with tall ceilings. It to me always seemed so dark and not cheery at all; but then I did not live in a cheery house. Poppa worked for the railroad and momma had and raised seven of us children. Poppa worked and nipped his weekend relaxation. He did always plant a nice big garden but momma and then we kids took care of it. There was no question who was boss in our house as poppa was a big man and momma was a cowering little mouse who took her man for better or worse and until death they do part.

Poppa, why is our house so dark, why don’t we paint it a bright white like the Snodgrass’s, they paint every three or four years,” I asked.

“Girl, hush your mouth, nothing wrong with this room, this is a nice big house I work and slave to provide for you, your brothers and sisters and your momma. Nothing wrong with this house at all is it Aida,” he said in a loud voice. Aida was my momma’s name.

So at each meal when we had boiled turnips, or macaroni and cheese or spoon bread as I dawdled over my food I would look up at that ceiling and see different things. The atom bomb we dropped on them Japs to end WW II, a great big rock I dropped into the middle of the mill pond to see if the wavelets reached both banks at the same time. Heck I even had it as a peacock that slept so much it lost its color.

Our house was painted on the outside when the paint started to flake, but the inside never was. Oh yes, once poppa had the den repapered because he got mad at the paper that was in there and threw a bottle of ink on it. But the paper wasn’t pretty, or bright, but we loved our newly papered den.

And so it was in our house. Then when I was 15, I got a job at the hardware store. Half of my pay was given to momma to help run the house and the other half was mine to do with it as I wanted. So I saved and saved, not even buying a donut at school at recess in the morning. Then poppa got appendicitis and was rushed to the hospital. I called Mister Buck Gray and had him come over and paint our dining room an off white a light off white with that little tinge of color being yellow. The whole family, well poppa was in the hospital, just sat there in the dining room and oohed and aahed at our bright room.

When we brought poppa home and he came into the house he screamed, “Aida, Aida woman what have you done, you wasted money we do not have on this, on paint. Woman, how dare you, how dare you, we got hospital bills to pay?”

Momma shuddered and shook as I stepped forward, “Momma did not do it poppa, I did, I took my money and paid Mister Buck Gray to paint this danged dingy room, so do not holler at momma, you holler at me cause now we got a bright dining room and it is cheery.”

Poppa backhanded me across the face knocking me against the wall, “Don’t sass me Etta May Jimson, don’t you sass me, for when I get well I will take the strap to you. How dare you wait till I was in the hospital and do something behind my back. Why girl, why?”

I got up off the floor where I had landed after ricocheting off the nice bright white wall. I wiped my eyes and walked up to my poppa, “I did it poppa so you would have a nice bright and cheerful room to eat your dinner as you heal up from that operation. I did it to make you more cheery poppa.”

My poppa looked around the room, looked up and that yellow spot was gone, I saw a tear in the corner of his eye, but I dasn’t say anything. Slowly a smile came to my poppa’s face, “Thank you girl, thank you Etta May for thinking of your poppa.” He then went up stairs to bed and momma put an ice pack on my face where poppa whomped me. Funny I or any of my brothers and sisters never seemed to miss that water spot on the ceiling.

By Tom (TomWYO@aol.com)









Before we moved here to the "Barn", we lived a few blocks away in a house that was at least as old as this one. The landlord wasn't too fussy about fixing anything and it was a cheap rent.

There was a lot that we fixed!

One year, I noticed a strange stain over my side of the bed. I couldn't imagine what had caused it. Until the next day of heavy rain when the closet ceiling caved in! After living there for 11 yrs, we decided to buy a house that we might as well sink our money into. We found the "Barn" and made an offer. As is expected, they made a counter-offer.

I was determined to stick it out for the 2 thousand dollar difference. I knew that there hadn't been a whole lot of offers and that the owners were in a hurry to unload it. I figured it might take a week or two until they agreed to the lower price.

AND THAT NIGHT IT POURED!!!!

The water stain on the ceiling, which had never been more than a stain,,,,,became Niagara Falls!

I called the realtor in the morning and said "OK!..I'll pay it! Now the closing had better be quick!" I have often wondered if during the day when no one was home...Did the realtor climb up on the roof with a drill?

By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)









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The Earth Stirs

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