The Dance

The dark clouds hung low in the sky as Gloria stood at the yellow antique stove stirring the gravy. The lights flickered and threatened to go out as a clap of thunder made her jump.

“Could be in for a bad storm,” Joseph said, as he sliced the roast.

They worked silently the only sound was the crackling fire in the large stone fireplace. Their white cat, Fluffy, was curled up near the fire. Suddenly he got up and padded towards the pantry door purring.

“It’s strange that Fluffy goes to the pantry door at this time every day,” Gloria said, as she filled the gravy boat. “The green bowl is missing again. Things are always disappearing and showing up weeks later in different locations.”

“The same with my tools. I thought Fluffy was running off with things,” Joseph answered. “Strange things have been happening since renovations started.”

“What is Fluffy so interested in that corner by the pantry?” Gloria asked as she put dinner on the table.

“Maybe there’s a mouse hole I missed,” Joseph answered.

“I looked everywhere for Grandmother’s cookbook and then one day it was in the drawer on top of everything,” Gloria said as she sipped her wine. “I had taken everything out and it wasn’t there.”

“Strange things have been happening all right,” Joseph said as thunder rumbled overhead and a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky.

The lights flickered and went out. The room was dimly lit by the firelight creating shadows in the corners.

“Listen, do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Joseph asked, as he poured gravy on his mashed potatoes.

“It sounded like someone whispering. Fluffy heard something because his ears were perked up.”

“Don’t let your imagination get the better of you. It just looks a little spooky with the lights off. Remember at one time that would have been all the light people had,” Joseph answered.

The pots and pans on the rack over the stove started to rattle and sway as another clap of thunder filled the air.

“I’ve got goose bumps and all of a sudden it feels chilly in here,” Gloria said, as she pushed her plate away. “I often have the feeling we’re not alone and that someone is watching me. Does someone not like what we’re doing to the house?”

“I am sure my great grandparents would like what we’re doing. After all most of the older style is incorporated into my design,” Joseph said, as he wiped up the gravy with a biscuit. “From the stories I heard Great Grandfather was a prankster and liked to play tricks on folks.”

“We did save the house from the wrecking ball. It would have been demolished if you hadn’t put a bid on it. All our friends thought we were crazy for buying this old place. I think they still do,” Gloria said.

“So far they are friendly but mischievous spooks,” Joseph said, as he raised his glass for a toast. “Here’s to our future. Great Grandmother would like what we’re doing.”

“She might be a bit confused if she saw all the electric appliances,” Gloria said, as she sipped her wine.

“All the family history has been preserved,” Joseph answered, as the lights flickered on and off.

“I’ve got that feeling that someone is watching us tonight. It’s creepy.”

Joseph grinned before saying, “Fluffy seems pleased with something. Look at the way he’s lying on his back as if he’s waiting for someone to rub his tummy.”

“The can opener disappeared again. Have you seen it?”

“The drill vanished too. I will admit its uncanny the way things disappear and then reappear later,” Joseph said, as the lights flickered on again. “If you weren’t so freaked out this would be considered romantic.

“Listen. Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Joseph asked.

“It sounded like a chuckle. It came from that corner. Fluffy is purring.” Gloria said, as she cleared the table.

Just then unknown to the young couple; an elderly couple held hands and faded away. Fluffy returned to the fireplace and curled up as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on.”

The lights flickered on and the stereo came on playing an old Frank Sinatra tune. “Well there’s good music and the lights are back on.”

The sun broke through the cloud and a double rainbow arched across the sky. The only sound was the swishing of dishes, in the soapy water, and the clinking of silverware being put away.

Joseph grabbed his bride’s hand, “Let’s dance.”

An elderly couple glided in the air, unseen by the young couple, as Joseph twirled Gloria around the kitchen floor. Fluffy raised his head for a second then put it back down and started to purr.

The End

written by M. E. Hembroff


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stormy afternoon

Stormy afternoon

acrylic painting

Stormy afternoon

The clouds looked like a bruise and hung low in the sky. The angry wind whistled around the little house rattling the shutters. The wind and rain lashed at the trees and stripped the leaves away as they vented their fury on the unsuspecting habitats.

The water rose on the creek banks as huge waves formed making it difficult for the ducks to reach the other side. The wind billowed them along with the swiftly moving current.

A family of ducks huddled on the bank at the base of the trees, fearful for their lives, as they watched in horror as their comrades were swept down the creek in the swiftly moving water.

The wind whirled twigs and leaves around them for what seemed like an eternity until finally there was a speck of blue sky on the horizon. The sun radiated down on the battered land.  The ducks quacked in anticipation as they hoped to be reunited with their comrades soon. As the wind slowed to a slight breeze they waddled, around broken tree branches, downstream hoping to find their comrades.

The End

written by M.E. Hembroff

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Flash back

When my son was a toddler our older much beloved grey tabby had to be put down. I was feeling cat deprived and decided to adopt a cat from the SPCA. I wanted a young cat but not  a small kitten. We spent a while looking around at all the cats and I saw a six month kitten in an enclosure all by herself. It is unusual for a orange cat to be a female because they are usually males while Calico’s are always female. She was a timid little cat but friendly and they told me that if she wasn’t adopted she was going to be put down. It was love at first sight. She had thick medium length hair and started to purr as soon as I petted her. I decided to adopt her on the spot.

Once I got her home and let her loose she ran down into the basement. So I did the most natural thing and gave her food and water down there. It wasn’t long before she started to poke her nose upstairs. At first it was like having an invisible cat in the house, almost like a ghost cat. I started tempting her with food, in the kitchen, and she gradually came around.

One of the conditions of adopting a cat from the SPCA is that they have to be spayed or neutered which I don’t have a problem with. I wanted her for a pet and didn’t want to have small kittens in the house.

We had Ginger for a few months when my oldest daughter brought home a  grey kitten that she called Smokey. Smokey was a Russian Blue cross which is  what we figured because she looked a lot like Russian Blue cat pictures. The two cats got along famously.

Ginger started getting up in age and my oldest daughter brought home a three day old kitten that had been brought into the vet clinic where she worked. As soon as the baby, Gizmo, was healthy enough to be with the other cats Ginger adopted her. Ginger would have made a good Mom if she had been allowed.

Ginger lived for  eighteen years and was nicknamed the tooth less Granny because she had to have the majority of her teeth taken out. She developed thyroid disease and I was able to treat her successfully for a few years. Her system was starting to shut down and I had to have her put down.

A few years ago I painted a portrait of her in acrylic which hangs on my wall beside the portrait of an orange and white male who looks very much like her.

Written by

M.E. Hembroff

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Summer Storm

Summer Sky

Sky the color of a bruise

Threatening shapes

The wind howling

Branches scratching the window

Loud clattering on the windows

The ground as white as snow

Hail pounding on the windows

Water running down the street forming a river

The trees are swaying in the wind

Plants look like Swiss cheese

Written by MEHembroff

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Out of Gas

The car sputtered and then stopped. Ted tried to get it going without any success. There were miles of trees behind him and in front. It was a good twenty miles back to the nearest gas station and goodness knows how many going forward. The gas gage had always been unpredictable and he could almost kick himself for not getting gas when he was at that last gas station when he’d stopped for coffee.

He picked up his cell phone and tried to text his girlfriend to let her know he would be late. “What the ——. No reception.” Now what am I going to do, he thought as he sat there staring at the sheep graze in the pasture beyond the grey wooden fence on the other side of the road. He picked up his back pack and looked through his emergency supplies. Not much. A flashlight, flask of water, an O’Henry bar, bag of mixed nuts and a blanket. It will have to do.

“This is the worst place possible to run out of gas. It could be days if not weeks before anyone would come by. There are no houses in sight. Just miles and miles of trees and pasture. What should I do”

Ted sat there for the longest time with the blanket wrapped around his shoulder’s trying to decide what to do. Suddenly he saw a figure walking towards the car with a jerry can in his hand. He cranked the car door open as the man approached.

“Am I ever glad to see you. Ran out of gas. Where is the nearest gas station?”

The man didn’t answer. He simply undid the cap for the gas tank and poured gas into it. Then he smiled and turned to leave.

“Thank you. What is your name? What is your address? I will repay you in some way.” Then as suddenly as he appeared the mysterious stranger disappeared. Ted stood there and scratched his head for a minute before he got back into the car. It sputtered and then the engine purred on the first try. The gas gage said full. “Well, I never. Who was he?”

‘Thank you who ever you are.” Ted’s was confused as his thoughts drifted. From now on I will carry a jerry can of gas with me when I take this road.


Five hours later he pulled into a gas station. “Fill her up.”

“Your tank was empty. Your lucky you made it here,” the attendant said, as he filled the gas tank.

“Empty? The needle on the gas gage said full,” Ted said, shaking his head. “I ran out of gas a ways back and this man dressed in a black overcoat came along and filled the tank.”

“Well, all I can say is that you are lucky. There aren’t many gas stations along this stretch of road. Old man Peterson lives on his sheep ranch but that is all. I doubt he would be out carrying jerry cans these days with his rheumatism.”

“Can I get a jerry can of gas. Just in case. Have a ways to go yet,” Ted asked as he followed the attendant inside.

“Of course,”

Ten minutes later Ted pulled out onto the road again. He turned to wave at the attendant but there was nothing there just miles of trees. Ted continued down the road with a puzzled frown on his face. “I am most definitely going crazy. From now on will take congested traffic to deserted roads.”

written by M E Hembroff



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On the cliff

This is one of my many paintings that I can share with you over the next few weeks. The view from the cliff is spectacular and takes you to new heights. I grew up on the flat prairie so scenes like this one are very different. This was taken on one of our many camping trips and my children had ridden their horses near enough to take the photo. It would be a good spot for hikers to explore. I will have to say that I still prefer the flat prairie to rugged mountains even though they are beautiful when you look at them in the distance. Thank goodness this country is full of lots of spectacular views like this one that can be captured with cameras and paints. Many artists have painted the scenery each one portraying their own image as they see it.
This is a painting I did in acrylic.

on the cliff

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Pet Quail

pet quail

A few years ago when my oldest daughter worked at an animal emergency clinic. Someone took the little bird to the front desk.  The little hen had been found wondering around in the back lane and was very tame. My daughter brought her home and the little hen was so sweet. I did research on looking after quails and we decided that she must miss having a companion. She laid eggs which were small but tasty. After awhile we found someone in the country who raised quials and we paid him a visit. He advised against having a male because the males picked on the females. It is difficult to tell the difference between the males and females because they look so much alike. One way to tell them apart is the male will start to crow. The males  pick the feathers off the little females and sometimes kill them. Unfortunatly  there was a male in the mix. At first everything went smoothly  but quails don’t have a very long life spane. Some of the hens only lasted about a year. Our original hen lived about two years. Then when I was at one of the larger pet stores they had some brown quails and I went home with a couple. Unfortunetly one of them was a male and started to crow on the way home. At first I was able to keep them separated. One day they escaped into the garden. It appeared that some of the wire had worked loose and they wiggled out. I searched for a long time and had almost given up when I found one of them hidden among some plants.  The one I caught was the male. He was lonely and crowed all the time. He lasted for about six months. He wasn’t nearly as tame as our first little white hen. That was the end of the quails. I never found anymore and didn’t really look that hard.

We enjoyed quail eggs for the longest time. I would boil them and eat them hard boiled. The eggs are small with little blue spots on them. They tasted like a normal chicken egg just smaller.
In the Chinese section of down town Calgary they sell quail eggs all the time and there are people who raise them just for that purpose.
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Old Homestead

acrylic painting

This is a painting  I did from several different pictures. This is what a lot of the rural country looks like now. When we were in Manitoba this summer you had to go several miles before you found an inhabited house. A lot of the big farmers have purchased the smaller farms.When I was growing up there were neighbors every mile or two. There was someone living on the next quarter section and an aunt and uncle lived about a mile up the road. It has changed dramatically in the past twenty years.

It is a shame that a lot of the old family farms have disapeared but each year it gets more difficult for the farmers to make ends meet. With the increasing cost of farm equipment and supplies most of the farmers end up going deep into debt.
The barn in the picture is setting in the middle of a field of stubble but would have been a family farm at one time. The old tree would have once provided shade to a nearby house which is long gone. Usually the house wasn’t that far away from the barn. It is desertered now but the barn possibly provides shelter to wild life. The tree might provide nesting sites for large birds and maybe animals would burrow underneath.
There a lot of dedicated farmers stick it out through rough times but with each year it gets more difficult. It isn’t a job for the faint of heart. Farmers usually work from sunup to sundown every day all year long. Some farmers work were ever they can when they have a bad year. A farmer has to be a good business man as well.
Written by Marjorie
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My cocker spaniel Benjii

painting of benji my first cocker spaniel

This is a painting of my cocker spaniel Benji. We got him from one of my nephew who raised puppies for sale. We had kept an  old brown chair because it was his favorite place to lay. It did keep him off the other furniture. Benjii loved to go out camping and went with the kids when they went horseback riding.

One time when my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were visiting with their children my brother-in-law decided to shove Benjii out of the chair which was a big mistake. He almost lost his fingers because Benjii told him that it was his chair and he wasn’t going to give it up. Non of us ever sat in the chair because it was sagging in the middle and looked awful. I don’t know who was more disapointed when we finally got rid of the chair, the dog or my husband. As soon as we got rid of the chair Benjii started to sleep on the couch.
Benjii did live until a ripe age of eighteen and his body was starting to shut down so I had to have him put down which was a hard thing to do.
I did this painting from a photo after Benjii passed away. The painting is done in acrylic on canvas. It isn’t the exact chair he liked but just a representation of it. It now hangs in my house and his ashes were scattered in the yard about a year after he passed away. He was the first dog that lived to that old age and he was loved by all of us. He was a protective dog and no one would have ever snuck into the house without him creating a big fuss.
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write what you know

Should we write about what we know? Sometimes it’s a good idea to push beyond the realm of what we know. With the internet and available writing books, to aid the writer, it is much easier to write about far away places. It might be pretty boring if we only stuck with what we know and didn’t broaden our horizons.

I have been reading a book written about Louisa May Alcott the author of Little Women and Little Men. When she first started writing she did write wild romantic stories which she started to sell. She wrote about experiences she felt she would never experience. Later on she wrote Little Women and this book was basically about her family and her life style. Some of the scenes in the book were like their own life. Her character Beth was like her own sister who died from heart disease. The same thing was true with the sister who took art lessons and had a more privileged life and the sister that married. In the book the oldest sister got married before Beth passed away but in true life Louisa’s younger sister passed away first.  Jo the main character was very much like Louisa May Alcott and was also a struggling writer.

She did use her artistic license and make a lot of changes with the characters and when the events happened. The book Little Women was very true to the life style of the day because her family lived in a similar manner.

This could  be why the book was such a success. So there are probably times when it is a good idea to write about what you know, after all. At the very least authors have to dig down deep to get the emotions they are trying to convey to the reader.



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