Miryam is back! Ten day countdown till the contest ends

Buddy, can you spare a rhyme?

Ah! Busking! Miryam’s story of a first friend’s love, and how it came back her in a most unexpected way. Pure Americana, here!

Literati?

Like surprises?  I do. No fair scrolling to the bottom! Here is a sweet story from one our sweetest authors and friends.  We missed you!

What’s YOUR story?  Still time to enter: https://awordwithyoupress.com/2016/03/03/the-sands-of-time-are-falling-12-days-left-to-enter-our-contest-lost-love/

 

Busking at the Grand

by M. L. Meier

 

The wheels of Miss Sade’s buggy squeaked like a worn out screen door, not to mention the rattling of a dozen or so dangling items that bounced in rhythmic chaos.

I was playing hooky from school again and dozing under a big chestnut tree when I heard her coming down the dirt road. As I sat up, our eyes met, as if she had already spotted me and had some mischievous caper on her mind. Her sideways toothless smile and wink confirmed this notion.

“Harlan, come here,” she bellowed, “I need a word with you.”

It was the Depression of 1930. I was ten and had been taken in by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in LaCross, Wisconsin a few years prior. My momma died of tuberculosis when I was two, and my pa drowned eight years later on the Mississippi when his fishing boat capsized. Most days, I escaped the walls of Saint Michael’s Home for Boys and peddled the streets for spare change (which there was little of). Despite the fact that I didn’t have an especially good voice, I mimicked radio songs. I met Miss Sade in front of the Grand Hotel one rainy afternoon when I was sing’n “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.” Suddenly I heard a squeezebox joining in melody, and there she stood. She flashed her smile and winked, and we proceeded to draw a crowd that day, providing lunch money for a week!

We became friends. Immediately. Perhaps a strange match, me a red-haired, mouthy orphan and she, a white-haired old woman that wore flowers in her hair, but nothing in my life had ever made good sense.

Miss Sade was a peculiar character, primarily raised by the local Winnebago Indians, and quite fond of her many gypsy friends. She loved to play her squeezebox while dancing a jig, and could hunt and fish better than most. She raised bees and made medicine from wild herbs. We were kindred spirits; orphans reunited as true family.

She lived in the nearby woods, concealed within a small cabin hidden by overgrowth, and it was only after some time that she invited me to her secret sanctuary.

A few years passed and I somehow managed to get my high school diploma, as Miss Sade would have been gravely disappointed if I had failed. When the war broke out in ’39, I signed up. With tears, Miss Sade saw me off at the bus station and made me promise to send her letters every week.

My friend is long gone now, laid to rest in her beloved forest. When I returned home, the gypsies found me sitting in Miss Sade’s cabin and handed me a satchel. Inside was a squeezebox and a letter with my name on it.

Dearest Harlan,

I am sure you have become a wonderful man, and I am very proud. You will find a special gift within the squeezebox. Spend it wisely.

Your friend, Miss Sade.

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13 comments

  1. Michael Stang says:

    The special gift at the end overflowed my heart. Your writing, Miryam, the master craft, is so clear; between the lines lay the gilt.
    A precious story.

  2. Diane Cresswell says:

    Miryam I love yours stories. Poignant, elegant, earthy, and gorgeous. A sassy ride with pieces of joy woven through. You are a gifted writer.

  3. Tracy Morgan says:

    Lovely; such a great description of Miss Sade….someone we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. Great writing!

  4. Kyle Katz says:

    A masterful description of scenery and characters. A story that captures the spirit of soulful relationships. Human bonds, kindness…something in todays world, we need more of. Love your stories and the purity in which you tell them Miryam.

  5. Jon Tobias says:

    This is one of those stories that teases the reader due to its length. I want to spend pages and pages with them. Great work.

  6. What a well-written historical piece about those badtime early 30’s! You nailed it all down! Not that I was a witness to those gut-roaring days, but my parents were and the stories they told could, like yours, break a heart!

  7. Tiffany V
    Tiffany V says:

    Americana indeed. Timeless, and haunting in a good way. There was a lightness to this submission that was a nice reminder that the stories don’t have to drip with heaviness to be quite beautiful.

  8. Mac Eagan says:

    I didn’t read this story – I listened to it through my eyes. Well written with a streak of Mark Twain throughout.

  9. Brian Howard says:

    Been married to this wonderful woman for twenty three years, her writing still pulls tears out of this old boy. Amazing Baby. Amazing…..

  10. Grant Laurence says:

    superb! always know when something is good when you become embedded in the storyline – loved this piece. great job Miryam!!

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