I have a lot of keepsakes. Most of them aren’t antiques or collector’s items, but they’re special to me. Why? Because they come with memories attached. And what is more precious than a memory? These Pyrex bowls belonged to my mother. They may have been a wedding present. She used the largest one when she made potato salad. Every time I use one of them, I think about her.
Awakenings is a 1990 film based on British neurologist Oliver Sack’s 1973 memoir and directed by Penny Marshall. In 1969 the doctor discovered the beneficial effects of the drug L-Dopa when administered to catatonic patients who survived the 1916-28 encephalitis lethargica epidemic. Leonard Lowe and the rest of the patients were awakened after decades of catatonia and have to deal with a new life in a new time.
Robert DeNiro was nominated for Best Actor for this role. He plays Leonard Lowe, one of the patients. After a trial run with L-Dopa produces astounding results with Leonard, it is administered to the rest of the catatonic patients. In my opinion, he should have won.
He did a remarkable job of bringing the man to life. Through his portrayal, we see the despair and isolation of his condition, and the attitude of wonder he adopts when awakened. We watch his struggle to relearn, his fight to find a place in the world, and the heartbreaking realization that the miracle is only temporary.
It will move you to tears, but it is a poignant movie with a lesson for everyone. Enjoy the wonder of living. Appreciate it every minute of your life.
Apologies. Instead of a recipe like I usually share, this I leave you with this quote. In a way, it’s the same. Call it food for the soul.
Chapter 4 – Episode 3
Calebth thought about how much he missed his parents and swallowed a huge lump that formed in his throat. “Mowg is in danger. We need to find a way to take him home to his family. He’ll be safe there.”
Misa sighed. “We all feel the same way, Calebth.” But what can we do? We need a boat to take us to Dragon Island. And it takes money to rent a boat. Something we don’t have.”
He hung his head with shame. If not for him, they’d still have the gold from the mine.
Owen pinched his chin between his fingers. “We’re not far from Broadwin. We’ll go there and see if they are offering any bounties. That’s how we can get the coin to pay our way to Dragon Island.
“This is Olog territory. There’s bound to be more troublemakers like the one I just took out.” Floren puffed out his chest. “We’ll have a pocketful of gold in no time.”
Misa burst out laughing. “You mean the ogre who grabbed you and threw you to the ground? I think the fall addled your brain. It was Owen who took care of him, not you.”
“At least I wasn’t standing there, waving my wand around and shrieking ‘Look out.’”
“I saved your hide, you ungrateful wretch.”
Owen stood with his hand on his hips, glaring at both of them. “Enough of this. Why can’t the two of you get along? You argue over everything.” He turned to Calebth. “Get everything packed and ready to go. We’ll leave first thing in the morning.”
* * * *
Broadwin was a fishing village with a busy harbor perched on the rocky coastline. Owen started at one end and went from first one boat to another, asking about passage to the Island. It wasn’t far. Calebth could see it clearly from the harbor. But one by one, the fishermen turned them down, claiming they were too busy. Or it was too far. Or they were afraid of the dragons.
They almost passed the last boat without stopping. It had seen better days. So did the man who owned it. “Captain Bounty is me name, and this here is my boat. At yer service. For a price, that is.”
Missing one eye, wearing a bandana and a gold hoop, the man reminded Calebth of the stories old-timers told about pirates. The man winked and gave them a grin big enough for his gold tooth to sparkle in the sunlight. “Sixty coins.”
Floren’s mouth fell open. “That’s highway robbery!”
“Is there something we could do to earn money?” Owen asked.
Captain guffawed. “Not unless you want to get rid of the Olog gang. They’ve been causing trouble. Their leader is Uruk. He’s bad enough. But the others even meaner and twice as big. They’ve been terrorizing the village for weeks.”
Misa sighed. “We’ve dealt with him before.”
They thanked the captain for the information and went to the tavern to see if they could come up with a plan. They scraped together enough money to buy a pitcher of ale and took a table in the corner.
They hadn’t been there for more than a few minutes when the gang of ologs burst into the tavern led by Olog-hai and demanded to be served. He glanced over at them and laughed out loud. “Look boys. It’s my little friends from the forest. The ones who couldn’t fight.”
Floren sprang to his feet, clutching his ax. “Okay, fellas. It’s payback time. Let’s get ‘em.” He runs up to one of them, breaks a jug of ale over his head, and knocks him out. Misa joined him, waving her wand and flinging spells right and left.
“What do you want me to do?” Calebth asked Owen.
“Protect Mowg. Make sure he doesn’t get hurt.” The ranger unsheathed his sword and followed the other two across the room.
Owen made quick work disabling one of the ogres, and Misa turned another one into a toad, while Floren cornered Olog-hai. But the ogre grabbed him and threw him into the kitchen. The cook ran screaming from the tavern.
One of them comes after Mowg after he steps on the dragon and he burps fire, singing the ogre’s hide. Calebth grabbed him, pushed him under the table, throwing dishes and furniture. . Owen saw what was happening, knocks him into Olog-hai, knocking them off their feet. Quick as a wink, Misa put them all to sleep with a spell.
“Good job, kid,” Owen said after the fight was. Surprised and pleased with the compliment, Calebth thinks maybe he’ll make a ranger after all.
After the dust settled, the mayor and some of the townspeople showed up and carried the ologs off to jail. The villagers cheered and the tavern owner served drinks all around.
“They’ve been plaguing our little town for weeks,” the mayor said. “You get the reward we offered.”
“Did you hear that?” Calebth grinned at the little dragon. “You’re going home.”
Floren threw his hands in the air. “Let’s celebrate. Another round of ale.”
Misa rolled her eyes. “Don’t be too free with the reward. We need it to pay the captain.”
Calebth was too young for spirits, the tavernkeeper brought him a mug of apple cider.
“Too much ale makes people do silly things.” Owen pointed at Floren. Sure enough, he drank so much he got tipsy. He climbed on the table to sing, got dizzy halfway through the chorus and collapsed into a heap.
“Cider’s good enough for me,” Calebth said. But Mowg licks ale the ale that Floren spills off the floor and burps fire. Calebth grabbed him before it can happen again.
When they got to the ship the next day, Floren came aboard holding his head. “Worse headache I’ve ever had.”
Misa laughed. “You mean hangover, don’t you?”
He glared at her. “You’re no fun at all.”
Before Owen could tell the two of them to knock it off, Captain Bounty came by. “Keep that baby dragon down below. They’re unlucky on a ship. One wrong move and my crew could revolt.”
It’s already been nearly two weeks since I welcomed the new year with my to-do list in hand. I’ve been busy taking down Christmas, setting 2020 goals and getting organized. But it hasn’t all been work. My sister and I did make time to go see “Little Women” (more about that in a later blog).
I usually take a little break from writing toward the end of December and this year was no different, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m still learning to navigate Windows 10 and how to self-publish with Amazon. Lots of trial and error and throwing myself across the keyboard, muttering obscenities. But I won’t give up.
As you can see in the photo above, it’s been been been cold, gray and rainy for the past few days, so I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the computer with mugs of tea or coffee, homemade Cheesy Vegetable Soup and Zucchini Bread to keep up my strength. Tomorrow I’m going to try Cabbage Soup.
Sometime soon, I’ll post an excerpt from the next book I’m republishing, Xander’s Tangled Web, a fun little Romantic Fantasy.
See you soon!
“For last year’s
to last year’s language
And next year’s words
Await another voice.
T. S. Eliot
Whatever day you have planned, make it memorable. Fill it with good food and good company. Make new memories and remember old ones.
It’s not always what’s inside that counts. Sometimes the wrapping is just as much fun as the gift.
My Christmas tree is an eclectic mix of ornaments. All different. All unique. Seeing this little Santa on the tree every year brings back a special memory. Some years my husband and I exchanged gifts and some years we didn’t. One year we celebrated with our kids early, so on Christmas eve we went to a local gift shop to get a little something for each other to wrap and put under the tree. This is what he got for me. Every time I look at it, I remember that day and the time we spent together.
I’ve seen some great author logos. Clever and inspiring. Just right for their genre. Naturally, I wanted one of my own. Simple and not too cliche. Something my readers would remember. So, when I came across the crescent moon and star and found out it stands for progress, light, and knowledge. I knew it was the one for me.
Many thanks to my incredible cover artist, Suzannah Safi, who always sees my vision.
Chapter 4 Episode 2
A small, ugly troll stood in the shadows at the edge of camp, his grayish skin glowing in the dark.
Owen jumped to his feet. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“I am Olog-hai the Uruk,” he said with a proper British accent. “I’ve come to kill you.”
“Izzat so?” Floren gave a belly laugh. “Why don’t you run along while you still can? I’ve squashed bugs with my thumb that are bigger than you, little worm.”
“Blimey. Is that supposed to scare me?”
“It should. Especially if I lose my temper.”
Olog shook his head. “You’re just an overweight dwarf with anger issues.”
“You’re no beauty queen yourself.”
Their insults continued, and they began to circle one another while Owen, Misa, and Calebth watched. Olog pulled up a small tree by the roots and knocked Floren down. He grabbed the dwarf by the head and was about to punch him when Owen drew his sword and started slashing away. Mowg ran over and started chewing on the troll’s ankle. But Misa was the smart one. She put a spell on him. He stumbled around the camp. “Blimey, I can’t see a thing!”
Calebth helped Floren to his feet. “Are you all right?”
“Of course.” The dwarf wheezed. “I’m indestructible.”
They heard a splash when Olog fell into the river. “I’ll get you for this and your little dragon too.”
Floren spat into the water. “Take that, you ugly little troll!”
Later, when they were all sitting around the fire, Calebth turned to Owen. “Do you think I’ll ever learn to be as good with the sword as you?”
* * * *
Between chores, and cooking and training with Owen twice a day, Calebth’s next few days were busy ones. One afternoon Floren and Misa watched him practice.
“I think Calebth is improving, don’t you?” Misa said.
Floren snorted a laugh. “He’s got a long way to go. I saw him lop the head off a wildflower the other day. And probably only because it was rooted to the spot.”
Misa narrowed her eyes at him. “Give the boy some credit.”
Later, they were sitting around the campfire after a stew of roast rabbit and wild onions.
Owen finished his and reached for more. “What was in the stew?”
Calebth ducked his head. “Aww, it was just one of Granny’s recipes I happened to remember.”
Floren smacked his lips. “I have to admit it was right tasty.”
The compliments made Calebth warm all over.
After supper, they lounged around the fire. Mowg was snuggled up in Floren’s lap, chewing on his beard. “Are we going to talk about the elephant in the room?”
Owen frowned. “What do you mean?
“First, we have no gold, second we have no boat to take us to Dragon Island, and third, we have a baby dragon gnawing on me like I’m his supper.”
Floren shook his head. “I guess we should have collected the bounty on the dragon.”
“That would have been cruel,” Misa said. “We couldn’t have done that to Mowg’s mother.”
“You got any better ideas?”
“Mowg is in danger. We have to find a way to take him home to his family. He’ll be safe there.” Calebth thought about his own father and how much he missed him.