You Ain’t My Mother At The Ranch Pen




As I mentioned last week, I’ve been participating in the Story A Day in May at One day this past week the prompt was about memoirs and we were supposed to fictionalize a personal memory. (The idea being that fiction is much better than our boring lives.) I didn’t have time for that, so I wrote down my memories at six-years-old, meeting Gramps. (He wasn’t called Gramps, then, by the way.) I won’t bore everyone with that memory right now–except that I remember Gramps as a revolting, freckled young lad of nine who made me cry.

So, anyway. The prompt, along with Mother’s Day this past weekend, sparked a memory of another Mother’s Day which I will do my best to recount in a completely objective way.

For those who don’t know, Gramps and I embarked on the sea of marital bliss 33+ years ago at very young ages–he was nineteen, I was sixteen. We had barely hove off shore in our two person canoe when we realized that in about nine months, a baby in the form of a human, (which is what any normal person would think,) would be joining our clueless happy crew.

Danni: (upon discovery) Sweet! Just what I’ve always wanted, Gramps…your offspring.

Gramps: Er…I guess I’ll get another job. (But thinking: Gah! Are you kidding me? It will have two heads with an eye between them, skin like a crocodile, and cloven hooves. What else could’ve possibly happened between me and my wife, Princess Buttercup?)

Happily, he didn’t voice those thoughts for many years, thereby prolonging his lifespan.


Princess Buttercup, with a stringer of mountain trout


Time rocked along. Our first Mother’s Day on the sea of marital bliss in our two person canoe–starting to ride low in the water on my end–approached. At sixteen, girls are still all about romantic gifts from their Prince–particularly if she has gotten as big as a small cow carrying Mr. Charming’s monster baby. Naturally, these were my thoughts: Hey, I’m going to be a mother! Sweet. I’ll get a present from m’dear Charming who must certainly have stars in his eyes about me bringing forth his young ‘un, and so forth.

Charming hid the stars in his eyes pretty well, however, paddling leisurely along as though Mother’s Day wasn’t looming on his horizon like Alcatraz Prison Island. I began to worry. Even though I had known Charming since age six, I stubbornly loyally ignored the fact that hints were lost on him and started laying down a thick carpet of them in the bottom of our vessel. (In time, after we had portaged our canoe around a few dried up mud puddles of marital bliss, I realized he picked up on my direct demands with a lot less fuss. But as I mentioned, I was young and dumb still hoping for romance.)


Charming, with his stringer of little bitty fish

The fateful Mothers Day dawned in a stormy sky. No present.

Buttercup: (peeved, but still hoping)  “Today’s Mother’s Day.”

Charming: Oh, shoot. Did you get my mom something?

Buttercup: Yes, moron, but what about me?

Charming: You?

Buttercup: I’m going to be the mother of Charming Jr.

Charming: (looking puzzled) Yeah, but you ain’t my mother…

I think I burst into tears and made him very sorry-ish, or something.

Mother’s Day passed, somehow. The storm clouds rolled away. We said our prayers together and paddled onward, my end of the canoe taking on water now and then from my tears and the sea of reality washing onboard–possibly because of my weight gain.

A few months later, our first son was born–apparently as human as the next kid and a LOT cuter. Charming Sr. obtained extra jobs to keep Jr. in food, diapers, and shelter.  Sr. also bought a bigger boat with a super-duty patching kit for the next Mother’s Day. Just in case. The injustice of Buttercup’s overreaction continued to sting from time to time because, clearly, she was his soul mate and all that, but she STILL wasn’t his mother. Nevertheless, faced with the prospect of portaging that blasted canoe around other mud puddles, ever after, Charming did whatever floated her boat on Mother’s Day.

Who says memoirs aren’t as good as fiction?

(M’dear Gramps, just so you know, I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, there was that one little–No. Not a thing.)

Thanks so much for reading and until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Kathy Mattea and Tim O’Brien doing Battle Hymn of Love.

Rain Dog At The Ranch Pen


Nellie, the rain dog

We’ve had some much prayed for rain this past week, so while I can’t get outside to work, I thought, “I know! I’ll participate in the Story a Day in May challenge at along with writing a book and blog posts. Perhaps my brains will explode!” If any of y’all are interested in something like that, the idea is to write a short story every day in May, beginning with the prompt given on the website. Join in at any time.

What a blessing the Story a Day challenge has been to our Border Collie, Nellie. She had fallen into the most dreadful funk with all the rain, so I convinced her to join the challenge, too. Reluctant at first, she perked up a little as she considered the benefits. Soon, she was staying up late nights to tap out this guest post for me on her computer. I hate it when she calls me PLOP (pack leader/old person) so disrespectfully like she did in the post, but overall thought it turned out pretty good…considering her hyperactivity disorder, lack of opposable thumbs, and the fact that–even though she’s brilliant–she is a dog, after all.

Take it away, Nellie.



Rain Dog

Worst day. Rain. Grey. No birds. No chase. Dull. Wet. Not good.

Sigh. Shake fur. Bored stiff. Not happy. Maybe lie down.

Hmph. Lie down. Dumb PLOP command. Lie down, Nellie! She says. I said lie down! All time. Don’t want lie down. Hard. Hello? Born to wiggle. Get it? Hmph.

Blink. Wet. Nowhere lie down, anyway. Sigh. Sniff around. Wet whiskers. No scents. No scents in rain. Scents, sense. Get it?

Stupid pun.

Sniff ground. No birds. No cat. No traffic. No chase–OW! OW! Flea. FleaFlea. Drop. Scratch. Scratch hard. Wet fur. Scratch fast…Augh!

Un. Be. Lievable. Flea flees.

Sigh. Sniff around more. Here. Under car. Dry. Scoot on belly.

Tight…ish…fit…aarg..! Far as can go.

Horse feathers.  Tail sticking out. Bohonkus in puddle. Sigh. Chilly. Gravel poking. Hate rain. Squirm. Bonk head. Ouch. Sigh. Try sleep.


Dream! Happy dream. Puppyhood. Rain. Wet Mother. Soaked Father. Tumbling brothers. Sisters. Muddy fur. Wet fur. Skunk breath. Heaven smells. Mother milk. Delicious. Joy! Goats. Goats. Chasing goats in rain! Whoa, Nellie! Rain good. Happy dreams…




Well, poor old Nellie. Puns just lose something if they have to be explained, but here’s hoping the therapeutic act of pouring out her angst in written form will get her groove back. (She also wanted to include a Youtube clip by her favorite group, Three Dog Night, called Mama Told Me Not To Come, but I wouldn’t let her. While hilarious, it might get the older readers–who still remember 1970–too revved up and they might fall and break their hips.)

As always, thanks for reading and until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy David Wesley doing Fix My Eyes.