Eliza Lynn Taylor

Eliza Lynn Taylor
Eliza Lynn Taylor Freelance Writer

Friday, May 26, 2017

Brother is so Funny

My older brother has kept me laughing my entire life. Today is no different. He called me and actually said, "I thought I'd give you something funny to write in your blog about your brother." He doesn't even have internet, and he wanted me to post about his incident.

This last week his cell phone quit. It happens, and like me, he really would rather chew nails than have to go get a new phone. The sales reps always try to talk us into 'upgrading' into a smart phone from the flip phones we currently use. For me, I did have smart phones once. I discovered not only was it too expensive, but the phones were smarter than we are. No thank you.

My brother went to his local cell phone store (we are the same network but I'm not endorsing the brand). They, of course, did not have an identical flip phone to the one that died so he chose another flip phone. It didn't hurt that it was the only one in the store. I've run into that myself, so I know what he was up against. The representative set it all up for him and he went on his way. Flash forward to the next day: brother is trying to take a nap. The house is completely locked up, the television is off, complete silence. All of the sudden he hears a voice calling, "Hello! Welcome...." that's when he quit listening and just went into action. He grabbed his trusty protection, a 9mm handgun, and goes after whomever has broken into his home. He sees no one, but then the voice calls out again. "Hello".

Spinning around, safety off, weapon cocked to fire, he nearly shot his "really nice television that was off and did nothing to deserve it." He heard it again. After about a minute he heard it again. "Hello, Welcome to ... network." His new phone was talking to him! Repeatedly!

After much swearing he grabbed the possessed cell phone, turned it off, and took it back. The manager reset the settings to not give verbal notifications and handed it back. Confident the problem was corrected, he handed it back. My brother set it on the counter and just stared at it.

"What are you doing?" the manager asked.

Holding up a finger, he replied, "Just wait for it."

Less than a minute later..."Hello, welcome to ...network." It had done its own reset, four times. The representative finally grabbed the phone and yanked the back off of it and removed the battery. He set it on the counter and backed away. He stared at my brother with a scared look. "What the hell was that?"

"I told you it was possessed!" my brother said.

"Well, we got another phone the same model as your old one, newer of course, over night. We'll just get you that one."

So far so good. No magic voice has haunted him from his cell phone. Ha!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Little Help Please



"Mom, we've been driving around for hours and I'm pretty sure we've passed that tree before,"
Erica complained. "Are you sure you aren't lost?"

"Erica, I am not lost. I used to come out here every year when we visited my cousins."

"How long has it been?"

"I don't know; twenty years," her mother Monica answered.

"And you think nothing has changed in twenty years. Mom, we haven't passed any houses, towns or even signs for towns in hours. When was the last time you gassed up?"

"I have a very fuel efficient car young lady, don't worry about it," she said as the low fuel warning light came on and the familiar 'bing, bing, bing' sound came out of the dash.

"Uh, huh," Erica grunted. "I suppose we're all out of snacks too." She leaned over the back of the seat and flipped open the lid to the cooler. "Yep, hallow as my stomach."

"You just ate," Monica chided, her nails biting into her hand from gripping the steering wheel a little too tight.

"Mom, it's almost six and it's getting dark. We stopped at noon to eat at that diner and then we had salads, remember, because you didn't want me to eat all that heavy, greasy diner food and then try to ride all afternoon."

"Erica, please stop complaining. All you've done is complain since we left Cincinnati."

"You dragged me away from all of my friends in the middle of summer to go Phoenix and drove through the mountains off the main roads to get there. Did you really expect me to like it? No wonder we're lost," Erica muttered. "Dad wouldn't have gotten lost."

"That's enough, Erica. He's not here, and just for the record, your father is the first one who would have gotten lost. He can't read a road map."

"Why did we come out here again?"

"To get away from the memories," Monica answered. "Our stuff should all be moved into the new house by the time we get back." Monica pulled the car over to the side as it 'dinged' for the last time. They were out of gas and the cell phones had no signal.

Erica tilted her head down and rolled her eyes up at her mother angrily. "I told you."

"Yes, you did Erica. What was I supposed to do about it? The roads have changed and they circle around for no apparent reason. Most of them aren't even on our map. I didn't think anything of it because they never were. My cousins do still live around the area somewhere. They will look for us eventually when we don't show."

"Mom, you told them sometime this week and you would call before we arrived. They won't look for us anytime soon."

"We'll aren't you just full of sunshine?" She pulled out her cell phone and searched futilely for a signal. She shook her head and opened the car door.

"Where are going?" Erica asked.

"I'm going to see if I can find a signal outside the car or maybe see a house. Stay in the car; it gets cold out here at night."

Erica jumped out of the car. "You are not leaving me here alone, and you are not going out there alone. I don't care if you did visit once a year when you were a kid," Erica stated. "You do not know your way around. Something might get you."

"You are not the adult here Erica; I am. It's my responsibility."

"Why didn't you just send me to Canada with dad and his girlfriend when he moved? You don't really want me anyway. You just wanted to get back at dad."

Monica cried. "That is not fair. I didn't start this whole mess in motion and you know it.  He wanted to go to Canada with her and that's fine. But he is not taking you out of the country. I'd never get you back. He can visit you back home if he wants to. He is the one who called to beg off." A second later she tried to take it back, but he damage was done. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. You're father loves you, he really does."

Erica wiped the tears from her face. "No, you're right. He wants her more than me. I know that. He could have stayed here near me." She sat silent for a few minutes. "You still can't go out there alone. Turn your phone off so it doesn't go dead trying to find a signal and I think we should wait to see if someone comes along. They built this road for a reason so someone must use it."

Monica shrugged and ruffed her daughter's short cut hair. "How did you get so wise?"

"I don't know." Erica pushed her ear buds into her ears and turned on her I-Pod, reclined her seat and closed her eyes.

Monica decided that wasn't a bad idea and leaned her own seat back and followed suit.

At midnight Erica shook her mother. "Wake up. I need a bathroom really bad."

Monica sat up and shook her head. "What?" She looked at her surroundings and remembered where they were. "Oh, you'll have to go beside the car of behind a tree honey. As you can see there aren't restrooms available."

"What if something gets me?"

"Scream real loud and I'll come running." Monica fished a small pen light out of her purse. "Here, use this to find your way and leave the car door open so you can find it."

A few minutes later Erica returned and Monica declared it her turn. "What? You couldn't have gone when I did?"

"Go back to sleep. You can't do anything else anyway," her mother said.

Morning came and went and no one showed. Noon came and went and still no one showed. Erica was about to forage for food or tree bark. She had heard one could eat tree bark, but her mother reminded her that she didn't which tree bark to eat, so she just sat there in the car with the windows down because it was hot and they had no water. Erica was getting more scared by the hour and Monica was ready to set out on foot again, but to find a town more than a phone signal.

Around four an old truck rattled to a stop beside the car. An old man who looked vaguely familiar to Monica stepped out. His back was stooped and he walked with a shuffle. His short cut hair showed white as snow as he removed his hat and wiped his brow.

"Looks like you've had a bit a car trouble there young lady." He said.

"Yes, I have. I'm lost and I ran out of gas," Monica answered. "Can you give a lift to the nearest town?"

"Oh, I wasn't headed to town." He reached into his truck and pulled a couple of bottles of water out of an old Styrofoam ice chest and handed one to each of them. "You look a bit parched. How long you been out here?"

"We headed out here about noon yesterday and broke down sometime around six."

"Boy, you are good and lost if you drove around that long.  I can point you in the right direction to town but you have to follow my instructions exactly or you'll get backwards again."

"Thanks, but were out of gas so it won't do a lot of good."

"Oh, right. We'll I usually keep a can in my truck just in case." He pulled a red five gallon can out of the bed of his truck and poured it into their car. "I'll bet you're hungry too." He pulled a couple of sandwiches out of the cooler and handed them to them. "It's only peanut butter, but it don't spoil out here like meat would. I always pack too much for some reason. I guess it was a good thing today."

Erica hated peanut butter but she thanked him and dug into it anyway. The old man laughed and motioned for her to wipe a smudge off her face. He drew a map for Monica and told her exactly how many roads to pass before she turned warning her that he had lived there his whole life and he knew she would get lost again if she didn't follow those directions.

She thanked him and they were on their way. He drove off ahead of them over the rise. When Monica reached to the top of the hill he was nowhere to be seen. She didn't see any side roads so she didn't know where he went.

An hour later they were in the small town where her cousin lived. She called and she met her at the McDonald's where Erica was loading up on hamburgers, fries, and soda pop.

Back at the cousin's house Monica recounted the tail of their rescue. "I swear I've seen him somewhere, but I just can't place him."

Erica wandered around the living room looking at the pictures of family members. She was very excited when she saw one of them. She pointed. "Mom, Mom, Mom," she repeated.

"What is it Erica?" she asked. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "She hasn't quite gotten the point of not interrupting people."

"Look, Mom. It's him; it's the old man who helped us."

They all got up to look. Her mother gasped and agreed. The old truck was even in the picture with him.

"That can't be," her cousin said. "Monica, Uncle Charles has been dead almost thirty years. The last time you saw him you were probably seven. His son still has that truck under a tarp in his shed."

"Did he live out there?" Monica asked.

She pointed to the map where they were stranded and her cousin nodded and told her the house was long gone, but that was where he had lived.

Erica hummed the theme to Twilight Zone.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day



Harrison walked into the office whistling. He stopped at his partner’s desk. “Hey, Gary. How’s it going?”

“Fine, I guess,” was the reply. Gary looked up from the spread sheet he was working on. “What got you in such a good mood?”

“I just scored tickets to that new play at the Grand. Jen is going to love it. That’s all she’s talked about for weeks. And I got a reservation for dinner afterwards.”

“Wow! What’s the occasion?” Gary asked.

“You mean you don’t know? Gary, it is Valentine’s Day.”

“Oh, I forgot. I wonder what I should do.”

Harrison clapped him on the back. “What did you do last year?”

“Nothing. I forgot then too.”

“Did Candice call you on it?” Harrison asked. His eyes were wide with curiosity. 

“Nope. She handed me a card and blew out the candles on the table. Of course she didn’t speak to me for a couple of days.”

“How about her birthday? You had to have done something nice on her birthday.” 

“No. I forgot until the last minute. All I could find on the way was a tee shirt with a kitten on it.” 
Gary shook his head. “I forgot she hates cats.”

Harrison snorted and turned his head to laugh. “Jewelry for Christmas?”

“I got her a gift certificate to a lingerie store. They had some pretty enticing stuff. But I can never remember her size.”

“Something you’d like to see her in?” Harrison asked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Gary answered. “That doesn’t help for tonight.”

“How long have you two been married?” Harrison asked. “I’m just curious.”

“Ten years I think. I lost track.”

“So you don’t do anniversaries either I take it.”

“She understands. I’ve been working hard to get the business going.”

“Gary, we have been in business for years. We are doing really well. What is your problem?”

“I just haven’t thought about it.”

“Well maybe you should. Your marriage is just as important as this place. I’ve noticed you work late a lot. Do you even make it home to dinner?”

“A couple times. Usually she leaves me a plate to microwave.”

“I think you had better go get some flowers, a really big bouquet with roses, a bottle of wine, and maybe a take-out order from her favorite restaurant, if you even know what that is, and get home as soon as possible. I know her and she is a lovely and patient woman, but she is not going to sit around waiting on you to show how much you love her for much longer.” Harrison dragged Gary’s chair out from under the desk. “Now!”

Gary gave him a dirty look but got up and grabbed his jacket. He left the office and did what his friend suggested and headed home.

The lights were out when Gary got home. He glanced at his watch. “Kind of early for that.” He mumbled. He carefully carried the flowers and take-out to the house and opened the door. After he set it all on the table and looked around he noticed how quiet the house was. He went into the kitchen to get some plates and wine glasses. He found the envelope with his name on it attached to the refrigerator with a magnet.

“Gary, since you love your business more than me, I will leave you to it. I’m sure someone out there will appreciate me for what I can bring to the table and not forget all the little things that make a relationship work. Someone who will love me as much as I do him. Good luck with everything. P.S. Divorce papers are on the pillow. I’m sure you will find I have been more than reasonable. Just sign them and send them to the attorney’s office in the envelope. Goodbye, Candice.

Gary sat at the counter dividing the kitchen and dining room staring at the note. No ‘Love, Candice. No, “Sincerely, Candice. No X or O, Candice. Just ‘Goodbye”. Harrison was right. She wouldn’t put up with him for long. With tears on his face, he signed the papers.

Note
It doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. Just don't forget to show your love on the special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, and yes, Valentine's Day. Love and marriage takes care and nurturing, otherwise known as work. It won't take care of itself. Your significant other is significant for a reason. They are a priority, not an afterthought, not the bottom of the dreaded chore list. Make sure they know, don't assume they know, how you feel about them. 

A card, a homemade gift certificate with a promise to do something special together (and mean it), or if you have the money, a special gift or meal (in or out) can mean a lot. Tell them often and show them often. Amen!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016 Presidential Election Results Will Be Questioned- a Commentary

At the time of this writing I have no idea who won the 2016 Presidential Election for the United States.

This election has been fraught with accusations of fraud, illegal activities, corruption, and personal character assassinations on both sides. The mainstream media has shown unprecedented bias which only serves to destroy the vary thing that made journalists so important- integrity and impartiality in reporting.

Several years ago former Vice-President Al Gore ran for election to take the place of Bill Clinton who had already served as president for 8 years. He demanded a recount because votes were not counted and a little something called a hanging chad in the Florida ballot punch cards. Everyone thought he was just a sore loser, and that may be so, but it was his right to challenge the tally, especially with the challenged ballots and uncounted ballots.

Donald Trump has already announced he will exercise his right to do the same thing in the event he doesn't win because there have been so many allegations of illegal activity against the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He is being called a sore loser before the ballots are even tallied or cast. Unfortunately, he is right to assume the tally may be skewed. There is technology that was not available in previous elections, and actually, it is not legal to use it. I'm talking about photographing or video taping anything going on in the voting booth. People are doing it anyway. It has become a civic duty for them to do so, as only reporting the issues with the electronic ballot system may not be enough. Video has been showing up from early voting to election day voting that the electronic ballots are not actually recognizing the results of the voters. In some cases it refuses to register anything that is cast for the Republican Party, and in other cases it is outright changing the votes from Republican to Democrat right before their eyes. This is ridiculous! Paper ballots were not counted and some actually destroyed rather than be counted for candidates in the Democratic party in order to guarantee the candidate the party preferred won the nomination.There are also reports of intimidation of voters is going on and poll workers wearing tee shirts supporting the democratic candidate. That advertising for a certain candidate thing is actually highly illegal. Pamphlets, handbills, signage, or soliciting votes in any way is actually illegal within so many feet of a polling place. (Check for local ordinances on distance.)

What the hell is going on in this country people? This is the United States of America! We founded the idea of fair, free, and democratic elections. We often send the United Nations in to other countries to try to guarantee the same right to their citizens. I never thought I would see the day that the United States would need UN observers to monitor OUR elections to make sure they are fair and un-tampered with. We may be facing a civil war type atmosphere over this election when the results are revealed because people will just not believe the results one way or the other. Why should they?

Please try to remember when this is all said and done that we are one nation - indivisible, who has proven time and again that we can get through anything as long we stand together. Curb your tendency toward violence if this doesn't go your way. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Just Passing Time



Leanne sat on the porch swing with her eyes closed, earbuds in, listening to music on her IPhone. A warm breeze blew her hair across her face occasionally and she swiped it away. Her head bobbed slightly to the beat of the song. A butterfly lighted on her nose, tickling it until she sneezed. 

“Bless you, dear,” her grandmother said.

Leanne opened her eyes. Her grandmother was sitting in her rocking chair crocheting an afghan blanket, her usual afternoon activity.

“Thanks, grandma,” she replied. “Are you still working on that thing?”

“That thing is an afghan. It’s a type of blanket, but smaller, to cozy up with when it gets chilly,” she corrected.

Leanne looked closer and noticed that it was different than the one she had seen her making the last time. “How many is this one?” She had gotten up and walked the short distance to the chair and then squatted next to her grandmother.

“Five or six so far,” she told her. “I forget,” she added with a shrug of her shoulders.

“But why so many?”

“It’s a good way of passing time,” her grandmother told her. “It’s productive, unlike sitting on the swing with those things in your ears bobbing your head all day.” She looked at Leanne and made a face.

Leanne giggled. “I suppose I do something else at the same time.”

“You have to be able to multitask to do that.”

“I can multitask. I just don’t do it,” Leanne stated. “I do it in school all the time and school is out now.” She stood up and went back to the swing. “Grandma?” she said, absently pushing the swing back and forth with her feet. ‘It’s summertime. Why are you making all those afghans?”

“Well, if I wait until winter comes, it will be too late to use them.”

I should have seen that one coming! Leanne thought. “What do you do with them all, grandma?”

“I give them to the veteran’s home mostly, and some to the various nursing homes around town. 
Some people don’t have any family or they put them there and forget them. I am fortunate in that I have family, I’m healthy, and my family wants me around. If I can brighten their day and give them something nice to snuggle up with, I feel good and they feel good. Win-win!” She smiled at Leanne.

“Oh, I get it. It’s like when mom and I are in the kitchen baking cookies for the church shut-ins. We are passing time together and doing something good at the same time.”

“Well, that’s one way to look at it,” her grandmother said.

Leanne sat there a minute thinking. She pulled her earbuds out. “Grandma, I’d like to make those too, but I don’t know how to crochet.”

“Well, drag up a chair and I’ll teach you. That way we can pass time together.”

“And,” Leanne added sheepishly, “I can be productive and maybe hear some stories about mom growing up.”

“Oh! That would be just fine. Oh, the stories I could tell!” her grandmother assured her, smiling.