The Grave Tale of Noire Marie

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Holidailies Prompt:

“A Season of Giving.”

One Christmas  when I was a little girl, I asked my Grandfather why we always told Ghost stories after Christmas dinner. I asked whose idea it was to light the fire, turn down the lights and talk about cemeteries and bodies buried in basements and bones in hatboxes on dusty shelves in attics.

I said it was weird how we told those stories every year at Christmas.

We were sitting in the living room, the fire was roaring, the treats were placed on tables around the dark living room and the tree lights weren’t on yet.

The rest of the family were in the dining room finishing desert.

We took our seats under a painting of my Great-Great Grandmother.

He looked at me. ” I see your point. “

I wasn’t sure what my point was at that moment but before I could consider it further Grandfather said, ” I think it’s time we talked about something else.

For a few seconds I thought he meant we’d tell stories about Santa Claus or Orphans with big round eyes  and they would be  wearing mittens that didn’t match. The poor little children would be out in the cold dark night with falling snow singing Christmas Carols for pennies and cookies- and sadly enough receiving neither.

I think it’s time for us to talk about Felicia Lindall.”

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” Who was she?” I asked.

” She is, ” my Grandfather said ” the horror in every single story we tell at Christmas.”

” How did she get into the stories? “

” Your Great Great Grandmother buried her alive.”

I looked up at the portrait and back at my Grandfather.

” You’re kidding. ” I said hoping that he was NOT kidding.”

” I wouldn’t kid about something like that.”

” How come Noire Marie buried that woman alive?”

Grandfather sat back and said, ” Felicia killed her cat.”

” Oh. So it was like Justifiable Homicide.”

” Well.No.”

” She buried her alive.” I pointed out.

” Have you not heard a word I said?” Grandmother buried her alive, she walks into every story we tell. It’s only homicide if there was a murder. As far as I know Felicia is still alive.”

Grandfather shook his head. ” The thing of it is Noire Marie was a soft touch so she found a way to let Felicia out of her grave. But only for one night.”

I looked into the fire, inhaled the smells of Christmas dinner, the tree and the chill in the air that was creeping from the shadows.

” Oh wow. She’s still down there.  Alive.”

” Until we tell our stories- and then for a little while on Christmas Felicia gets to walk the Earth.”

” Sounds fair to me. Can I have a cookies- before everyone else gets out here?”

Grandfather pinched my cheek and tweaked my nose.

” Of course. And then we’ll let evil old Felicia Lindall out of her grave for a spell.”

I got it now. “And when we’re done, back in she goes. Hmmm. I think I’m going to like telling ghost stories lots more now. Hey. Maybe I’ll even write them. Give Felicia some extra time out of her moldy old grave.”

” So. Tonight you tell a ghost story Anita Marie. “

I was 11 the first year I let Felicia The Cat killer out of her grave at Christmas.

And I’ve been doing it ever since.

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Write Like An Egyptian

Everything Changes

Walking down the street, you encounter a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.

I didn’t find this story on a piece of paper floating down the street.

In the real world nobody uses paper to send notes- they don’t even Write anymore. They print. Probably in blocky letters because that’s what we see on our phone screens and laptop screens and what ever screen is attached to the electronic device that  we HAVE to carry with us.

I mean, all of these devices are our secondary brains now.

You know that right?

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My sister told me this story and it was so weird and almost unbelievable that I went and  looked it up.

Some schools are no longer going to teach cursive and do you what some of them have offered as a reason? It’s a waste of time. Funny considering most kids can’t tell time on a clock with or without numbers on its face anymore.

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I have a theory, people aren’t writing at all anymore. They communicate in pictures.

Check your Facebook wall.

We use pictures with little quips to express complete  thoughts and ideas.

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The Egyptians did that. They wrote in pictures- but guess what. Those symbols made the same sound ever single time.

 You couldn’t use random pictures to express random ideas or to let someone know your dog or cat died ( pictures of rainbows over a bridge…that’s all you have to ‘write”) You just slam that on the interwebs with your dog’s name and everyone will know what you ‘mean’.

I remember when I was learning cursive in the  3rd grade ( I’d have been about 9 years old ) , we had these workbooks and until you got the exercises perfect you had to print your schoolwork.

I worked like a son of a gun to be ‘perfect’ so did my friend Darren.

But we had the worst penmanship in class and the only reason we got to final write in cursive was the entire class had perfected their penmanship so we got in by default.

Still, I loved writing in cursive even though our teacher  told me and Darren in front of our entire class if he could had held us back and forced us to print for the rest of the year he would have.

So he came up with a new grading system just for us. I could get an ” A ” on my spelling test and an “F” in penmanship so it would knock my grade down to a ” B” or ” C”. Didn’t matter if I spelled every single word write and got the answers right on my test, he still bust me down to a lower grade because my writing was bad.

He didn’t do that to anyone else but me and Darren- because you know, we had the worst writing so it was a special system just for us.

Just as a side note, our teacher went on to be a Missionary. I  had hoped he’d end up in one of those places where there were head hunters and cannibals and he’d end up with his head on a stick or stewing in a pot.. Instead he ended up in a place where he hated the people and they hated him right back. So he returned to our school a few years later where he talked about the ” ignorant savages” who couldn’t be saved ( you really shouldn’t talk smack in a small town ) and when I saw him I said, with genuine disappointment: 

” Oh. You’re alive.”

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My point is this: I worked hard to learn cursive- and I had to learn it from a teacher who thought cetain  kids were ‘savages’. So it was a struggle and the day I was allowed to write in cursive was a big day- even though I took a verbal slap to the face on the day it happened.

Cursive isn’t just putting pen to paper- along with telling a good story, or writing a letter it should be pleasing to the eye and the brain. It takes time and it’s worth it.

It actually helps you think about what you’re writing when you can’t just throw up a picture or race across a keyboard.

For a moment, just consider the Egyptians.

Consider all of the work that went into it when they wrote.

When you  look at  what they wrote you can see the beauty and the grace in it.

What’s wrong with having that in your life? With being able to create it, even if it’s just on a shopping list or a note telling your kid to feed the dog.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.

We could all do with a little more of those two things in our lives.

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