4.12.2010

Magpie Tales Photo Prompt No.9-"Cherries in the Snow"


Cherries in the Snow

I took one look at her and thought, oh no, that isn’t right, Jeesuus Chriiist, I’ll have to do it myself! The one time I didn’t do the hair and makeup, and on such an important occasion. I’d done the same old hair routine hundreds of times; wash, color rinse, roller set, dry – that stuffy old lady blue-haired tight curl, like the queen of England. And the lipstick was wrong too; she had used the same color since Revlon came out with it in 1942, Cherries in the Snow, or some such name.

I set to work, chatting to her the whole time. The blue outfit won’t work either, it makes you look too washed out; how about the peach pantsuit you wore to the fiftieth anniversary? Yes, that is much better, as I laid the jacket against her chest. Those finely tweezed arched eyebrows that were almost gone, needed the little pencil line she would draw in everyday. I then applied the dark lipstick over lips that refused to relax, and whispered it’s the best I can do Ma under the circumstances.

The hair was the problem - I wasn’t sure how I was going to get it dry. I didn’t have the big hooded dryer with me; the one she liked to sit under, having a cocktail, on our weekly ‘spa day’ visit. There was a blow dryer in the ladies room that did the job just fine. I told her all kinds of stories that day, as we prepared for the afternoon appointment. I was no cosmetician, but all in all, she looked much better when I was finished.

I held her hand, I did not cry. This was an ending and a beginning, of changes to come, new paths to journey forward upon. I said goodbye as the sound of Pachelbel’s Canon reached my ears, and drifted through the hushed quiet of the funeral home. Beautiful, gentle music by the harpist and organist we had hired to play her favorite songs would comfort us during the long hours of her wake.


©2010 Janice Stiles-Boults
Photograph courtesy of Willow
@ http://willowmanor.blogspot.com/
Willow, of "Life at Willow Manor", began Magpie Tales in February. Every week writers sign up and then post a poem or fictional story to go with a photograph prompt that Willow provides. Check out http://magpietales.blogspot.com/ to join in the fun!

24 comments:

  1. A powerful story, Janice. Leaves me quiet and in thought...

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  2. This is so beautiful. It brought a tear to my eye.

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  3. Beautifully done, sad story, Janice.

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  4. Such a powerful word picture, very believable.

    Christine

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  5. thank you for the warm comment this morning and the verse...what is it about lipstick that turns our minds toward the end...i felt the same heavy release with your post as i had in writing mine...

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  6. After your first paragraph, I had a funny feeling where this was heading. Poignant and well written. Wonderful piece.

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  7. I like to hear the things that people do to deal with the tough situations in life. It make them more real than just a name.
    rel

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  8. I enjoyed the intimacy between this woman and mother, even at the hour of death.....love is forever. The fact the daughter cared enough to make her mom look the best, even though it really did not matter, shows the depths of love. Beautifully sad.

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  9. This is both sad and lovely; the narrator's voice is strong and distinctive too.

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  10. A touching tender love story between Mother and Daughter. It is healing to tell the story and it is healing balm for me to read , my mother died three years ago while holding her,,, loved the comment you made on Brian Miller's blog.

    Take care dear blog friend, a beautiful story.

    Joanny

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  11. Oh Wow! That was so good. You first took me on a journey towards old age and then surprised me with your ending. Poignant, touching and true.

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  12. http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/because-she-is-plain-magpie-tale/

    I did my first magpie,
    Happy Tuesday!

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  13. Very nice -- I believe there's a similar scene in Lee Smith's FAMILY LINEN.

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  14. Unlike Willow, I was completely taken in and didn't realise what was happening until the final stanza. Then I had to read it again to see how cleverly I'd been led up the garden path. Masterly writing...

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  15. The last thing her daughter can do for her...make her pretty again. Nice story. Compelling.

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  16. ahhhhh I didn't expect that ending....I loved this for so many reasons---all the memories, references to the "spa days" the big hair dryer...it brought tears to my eyes..Pachelbel Canon is my favorite for many occaisions...so many beautiful peaceful renditions of it. .AND -you too with the Cherries in the Snow! I didn't know it was back from the 40's , thought I had something hot in the 50's..:)Serendipity for sure with our two posts! Linking of great minds!

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  17. This was so touching & so very beautifully written! You're story left me with a feeling of melancholy! A wonderful Magpie Janice!!

    Thank you Janice for becoming a blogger friend. Have a wonderful day!

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  18. The way you began the story with an everyday, conversational style added a lot of impact to the ending. How sad it would be to apply lipstick to a loved one's face for the last time. You conveyed the emotions that would be surfacing, so well. Very well written.

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  19. Wow Janny,,,,, and anonynous is right,,,, it is her.

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