I Heard Something and Twinkly Lights by Joanne Faries

Today is the second day in the series of holiday stories, poems and songs created by members of the Trinity Writers’ Workshop. These submissions were included in the  TWW Christmas Book which was given to children and their families during the  Christmas at the Stockyards event in Fort Worth, Texas on December 3, 2011. The second of these writers is Joanne Faries.

Joanne, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Published in Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Joanne writes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She has works on Associatedcontent.com, in Shine magazine, A Long Story Short.com, Chicken Soup for the Soul – Kids in the Kitchen, and Silver Boomer productions “Freckles and Wrinkles” plus “From the Porch Swing”. She has started a novel. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.

Joanne has recently completed her  first novel, My Zoo World: If All Dogs Go to Heaven I’m in Trouble, is now available in ebook and paperback versions.

I Heard Something

by Joanne Faries

Eight-year old Mandy Pearson awoke to the sound of an idling truck. She rubbed her eyes, stretched, and heard her mother’s footsteps outside her door.

“Good morning, sweetheart. Time to get ready for school.” Mandy’s mother bustled in, gave Mandy her shot, and helped her use the walker to the bathroom.

“Mom, is there a truck here? I thought I heard it out front and then I heard noise in the backyard. What’s going on?”

Her mother frowned. “It must have been up the street, dear. There’s nothing happening now. Hurry up. I’ll fix your breakfast.” Mandy picked out jeans and her favorite purple top. She braided her blonde hair and slipped on a violet headband

Mandy, in her chair, wheeled into the dinette. “How come the drapes are still closed? That’s weird.” Her mother ignored her and continued to cook.

After scrambled eggs, her mother strolled beside the wheelchair to the bus stop. Mandy carried her Justin Bieber backpack in her lap.

“Remember, Mrs. Ames will pick you and Terri up after school. I’ll drive your suitcase over to Terri’s.” Mandy’s mother smiled. “Be good. It’s nice of them to invite you for the weekend. I’m sure you’ll have fun. Your dad will pick you up on Sunday.”

Mandy was excited, but a little nervous, too. This was her first sleepover.  “Mrs. Ames is a nurse, but does she know about multiple sclerosis? She knows not to baby me, right?”

“Oh, honey, you’ll be fine. She can give you your shot. You’ve been there on play dates and you were treated well. Why should anything change? Just enjoy yourself and we’ll see you soon.” Mandy’s mother kissed her and waved as the bus chugged on to pick up other students.

Mandy’s day flew by. She liked Fridays since it was chorus practice day; she almost won a spelling bee, and didn’t have time to think about the truck, the closed drapes, or mysterious noises in the backyard. At 3 p.m., Mrs. Ames greeted her and Terri. She helped Mandy into the blue Tahoe and loaded the wheelchair into the back with no problem. This is going to be a perfect weekend thought Mandy.

The yellow suitcase was in Terri’s room and Mandy rooted through it to find her hostess present for Mrs. Ames. It was a box of candy, and Mandy’s mother told her this was polite. I’m glad Mom knew I should give a treat she thought. Mrs. Ames hugged her and acted grateful. After an afternoon snack of homemade chocolate chip cookies, the girls played dress-up and giggled.

Once he was home from work, Mr. Ames scared the girls. He banged on Terri’s door. A big man, he came into the room, grabbed a red feather boa, and put it around his neck. Shrieks of hilarity brought Mrs. Ames to the doorway. “I’m going to order pizza. Do you like pepperoni, Mandy?”

“Yum. I like everything except mushrooms.”

“You fit into this family just fine. I’ll call you to the dining room when the delivery arrives,” said Mrs. Ames.

Pizza, DVDs, Saturday at the mall to look at holiday decorations, and lots of laughter – the weekend was busy and Mandy remembered once to call her parents. “Hi Mom, yes, I’m behaving. Everything is swell.  Mrs. Ames gave me my shot and it didn’t hurt at all. I hear hammering. What’s Dad doing?”

Mandy listened as her mother stammered, “Oh, your father’s hanging a picture for me.”

“That’s a lot of hammering for one picture. Hey, I’ve got to go, Mom. Mr. Ames grilled burgers and we’re going to eat. Bye. Love you.”  Hmm. That was strange Mandy wondered and then joined the Ames’ dinner.

Sunday morning dawned. Mandy packed, enjoyed a pancake breakfast, and then she and Terri sat on the porch to chat about school and friends. Mandy’s father drove up at 10 a.m. After thank-yous and hugs, he and Mandy zoomed home.

There was a balloon on the mailbox and Mandy’s mother sat on the front porch. As they pulled into the driveway, Mandy noticed the side gate was open. She fussed with her seatbelt. Once she was in her wheelchair, both Mandy’s mom and dad talked at once. “We have a surprise for you. Come to the back yard.” They escorted her through the open gate and then stood back.

“Wow.” Mandy exclaimed and cried happy tears. Now she understood the mystery of truck and hammer noises. A large wooden playhouse complete with a ramp for her chair nestled in the backyard under their large oak tree. She rolled into it and inhaled the fresh scent. “This is the best surprise, ever. Better than Christmas morning!” Mandy beamed and kissed her parents.

Twinkly Lights

by Joanne Faries 

cheer birds

flitting to nip berries

glow for squirrels

that scamper to gather nuts

keep a snowman company

he bites his corncob pipe

so his teeth don’t chatter


Don’t forget that beginning January 2, 2012, I am offering a two month class in character development called Simply Creating Fictional Characters.

The class will include techniques in building believable, interesting three-dimensional characters. I will also assist and encourage students to interact with each other through twitter, facebook and their blogs.

I think it will be a great way to start the new year.

To find out more about the classes go to http://www.sharonkowen.com click on the tab classes and creative writing classes.

Looking forward to seeing your there.


About Sharon K Owen

I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in 2016. My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer's Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. I am blessed with a loving, supportive family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my two cats (Matt and Cinders).

Posted on December 8, 2011, in Book Recommendations, Trinity Writers Workshop, Writers, Writers Groups, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hey Sharon
    Thanks for featuring my Christmas story and poem. It was a fun time in the stockyard and I have no doubt that the kids who received the TWW booklet you compiled were excited to read the stories. Appreciate your hard work – thanks!

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