It had been just about a week ago that Dean Richardson had presented her with that hard-earned diploma and shook her hand. Happily, from the stage, she had turned to scan the audience but couldn’t spot her mother or father in the crowd. They were probably delayed, she was surprised though. The plans had been carefully laid and, although the schedule was tight, the train’s arrival should have allowed just enough time for them to get to the stadium from the station.
Never mind, they would still rendezvous in the quad and go out to celebrate. Dad’s favorite restaurant in Santa Fe was ‘La Posta’ and he had promised a big plate of tamales to celebrate her graduation.
At the conclusion of the commencement ceremonies all the graduates had tossed their caps into the air. Penny had clutched her diploma tightly, headed for the quad, and taken a seat below the bronze statue of Coronado to wait for her parents.
The statue had been placed there to commemorate the ‘Cuarto Centenario’ (400th Anniversary) of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s entry into New Mexico. It had been there since 1940. Coronado had ridden roughshod over the indigenous people of New Mexico, slaughtering them by the thousands while searching for the seven cities of gold. And yet, here was his statue in the capital city. While she waited, Penny contemplated the selective memory that is history.
A nice night in Santa Fe caused her thoughts to wander. She was a college graduate now, the rest of her life was ahead of her and she had no immediate plans. Her business degree would be of little use back home in Lincoln County.
She had grown up in Lincoln County, in the town of Carrizozo, a small, declining railroad burg that had seen its heyday in the early decades of the 20th century. She thought it had been a terrible place to grow up. The very characteristics that had attracted her folks to the town had proven anathema for a young girl. Quiet, peaceful, and neighborly were more like boring and prying in her mind. She spent at least three and a half years of high school looking forward to leaving Carrizozo for college.
Trevor Redd, Penny’s father, was an English Literature professor at the University of Southern New Mexico. He was an Englishman, educated at Oxford. Known to his friends and his wife as Ginger, because of his bright red hair, he was head of the English Department at USNM, Ruidoso.
Ginger Redd had been drawn to NM by his wife Elly, a native, whose given name was Ela, meaning “Earth” in the Western Apache language. Although proud of her name, she answered to Elly. Everyone called her Elly and had done so for as long as she could remember. She was accustomed to it.
Elly and Ginger had met in Savannah GA where she had been installing a sculpture and where he was a young English teacher. They eloped to Las Vegas after a whirlwind courtship. The high desert seduced Ginger, and Elly had no trouble convincing him to relocate to New Mexico. He quickly found employment at the nearby University. They settled in the county seat of Carrizozo and got on with life.
Elly was a homemaker and local artist, a sculptor and welder, who made public art. Her work was well known and displayed outside government buildings in such diverse locales as Santa Fe, Austin, Sacramento, and DC. Her work could be found in front of corporate buildings and in public parks across the United States. Although a Southwestern motif ran boldly through her work it was known and accepted globally.
The sudden pop of a graduating celebrant’s champagne cork brought Penny back from her reverie. She took stock of the lull in activity around her. The crowd in the quad was thinning out as her fellow students headed off for more intimate celebrations with friends and family. The hour was late and her parents still had not shown. Surely they would have called if they had missed the train. Damn, they probably did call, she thought. My phone’s been off. She fished her cell phone out of her bag and waited for it to power up and gather her messages. There were three.
Thanks guys! If you read all of the story I’m impressed. I was a bit long winded this time.
Here’s how it works:
- TBP maintains a file of fifty writing prompts from which the given prompts for a given week will be drawn
- The prompts are chosen at random by three participants who select a number between 1 and 50.
- Writers may choose one, two or all three of the prompts as inspiration for a story, poem, or stream of conscious scribbling. Writers may deconstruct one or all prompts and use only a word, or a part of the prompt (s). If you are feeling really adventurous, you might want to write around a prompt, tangentially. So it’s there on the periphery of your piece; but not seen or referred to directly.
- There is no minimum or maximum word count, but this challenge works best if you set a time limit. We suggest 25 minutes. If you think that’s too long, then shorten it. If you think it’s too short, then lengthen it.
- If you want to publish your first draft without editing, please do. If you are uncomfortable with that, set another time limit to edit and polish (or include editing in your initial limit, i.e., 30 minutes to write, edit, polish and post).
- Indicate the time limit you chose (or, if you didn’t limit your time, indicate what time you did spend on the piece).
- At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt, but if you guys don’t choose – we’ll have to!
- Remember to link back to the prompt!
- HAVE FUN!
This week’s prompts are:
- I’ll take apple
- it’s a long ways down
- The last bus has gone
At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt.