Intentions – A Thanksgiving Story

Deep in the woods

Deep in the woods

Stay with me on this one…

After skate practice (roller) my daughter grabbed my purse for me and said “WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN THAT THING?”

I said “River rocks.”

She said, “I will never carry a purse and fill it full of crap.”

I told her that it was none of her business what I had in my purse or how much it weights.

And by the time we got to the car she said a gun in my purse would be heavy. Then I told her I didn’t have a carry permit and she said I didn’t need one. Yes, this is the 14 year old, but we have hypothetical conversations like this all the time so don’t worry about it. Anyway, she asked if she had a needle, like a knitting needle would that be considered a concealed weapon. I told her it was a matter of intent. Does she intend to knit a scarf or stab someone with her knitting needle? Intent is everything.

The the conversation moved on to bear spray. I could have bear spray without a carry permit, or at least I think I could, but hey, who is checking my bottomless bag of mystery and fear (what the kids call my purse.)

Clara said that bear spray would come in handy for the upcoming bear apocalypse. I wondered if bear spray would keep zombies away.

I’ve been up close and personal with a lot of black bears. They have run across paths I’ve hiked (with and without fish in their mouths). They’ve walked along beside me on trails (I kid you now, it was weird.) They have sniffed around my tent.

Grizzlies on the other hand are another matter. I’ve never seen one in the wild but I’ve come across their fresh prints. That even puts fear into the heart of the most hardened Vampire. Grizzlies CAN bite your head off. Really. No amount of bear spray is going to do the trick on a Grizzly. Yikes.

So the point of this, aside from the fact that we have a lot of silly conversations just for fun around here…is that a bear once lead my brother Val and I to an unusual place. It wasn’t our intent but it was where we were supposed to be, even though we were not supposed to be there.

It was 1932 and my brother Val and I were driving home for the holidays. We decided to drive rather than take the train. It provided us with more freedom and a chance to see some of the back roads of America. In 1932 almost everything was a back road compared to now.

Anyway, we packed up and took our Packard Dualcowl Pheaton on the road. What possessed me to wear silk and fur is beyond me now, but that is just how we did it in those days. Val as always looked dapper and totally relaxed. Val and I are less than two years apart in age and act and look too much alike to be taken as anything other than brother and sister.

So there we were driving on an dirt and gravel road with no name, through hills that are older than Vampires when something in our beautiful car blew and sputtered and stopped.

It was night, which is no big deal for us. We could see the eyes in the woods. No big deal. Woodland creatures respect as they respect all predators. Except there were bears who came cautiously close, black bears. We started to sing and the animals left. No need for bear spray, if we’d had bear spray.

“Now what?” I asked my brother. I was absolutely starving and needed food badly. Sure in a pinch an animal would do but human company would be nice. More than nice.

We walked down the road for a mile or two when we could smell the scent of human kind in the air and saw lights through the trees.

Then sounds. Mournful singing. Singing in weird monotone voices, pitched high and ancient sounding.

Country folk with age old songs that they handed down from generation to generation without benefit of written music or any written word. I was sure most of the singers couldn’t even write their own names.

A we came to the meeting house the door opened and an arm motioned for us to come in.

The room was full of folk, plain folk of all ages, singing with unified voices songs of the hills. They sang of life. They sang of lust and greed. They sang of love. They sang of God and the spirit that is deep in us all. They sang of all that they knew.

Then they looked at us in their poor clothing. We were rich city folk, but more than that.

“Don’t be afraid,” said a man who was obviously one of their leaders. “We know what you are. You’re people of the night. Show us your fangs.”

Val and I froze as they gathered around us. Then when our fear built up they started to sing.

We are all different
Children of the earth
God’s blessing
On us all
God’s blessing
On us all
There is no evil
Only fear
There is no evil
No evil here.

Then they sat us down and offered us their wrists. They told us stories of Vampires and spirits and Werewolves and ghosts. They told us of all creatures and of living in unity.

They said they’d welcomed us because we were lost. They invited us to join them at their Thanksgiving table. There would be fresh turkey and greens, cornbread and black eyed peas. There would be pie and root vegetables found in the forest. There would be kinship and understanding.

We stayed for the feast. And we talked of their kin and traditions. We also told them of our family.

They all wanted to touch us. They all wanted to share their blood with us. We sang the songs with them into the night. We learned their songs and they learned a few of ours – or at least some popular songs of the day.

Val and I slept through the day, and when night came again they walked us back to our car, which started just fine.

I think about those people with their bare feet and drab clothing. Their odd twangy voices that sang in unison like an unearthly wind or a chorus of lost angels.

And to this day Val and I are thankful. We never could find that road again and nobody we ever talked to knew of these folk we spent our Thanksgiving with. I’m sure they were real and not just ghosts in the woods. I’m sure this Thanksgiving one of their great grandchildren is listening to the story about the time those rich Vampires came to visit.

Thanksgiving isn’t just about who you want to be with, but maybe who you need to be with. We’re thankful for all of them. And thankful for the haunting memories of music and fellowship. Most of all we’re thankful for good intentions.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

1929 Packard

1929 Packard

I dream of books I cannot read

flying pages

I dream of books I cannot read.

I dream of blank pages.

I dream of leather wing back chairs, a book, a G&T and bliss.

Books are always an interesting subject – all kinds – old, new, electronic, paper, fiction, nonfiction…some people lust after books. I have, over certain volumes and bindings.

I almost always have a book (or my Nook) in my purse or car or with me…

My house is filled with books with walls of shelves…thousands of books of all ages, all genres, all kinds…mostly fiction and art but there are ALL kinds.

It is a comfort and makes me feel at home. It is a passion that defines who I am. BUT…

But in defense of all of those kids who are spending their time socializing…and playing…and doing other things…things other than reading…

I grew up in a house full of books that I couldn’t read. I couldn’t read. After a while I could read a little bit but it wasn’t easy.

I’d look at novels for youths that my elder siblings would read but I couldn’t read them. I’d open them up and there would be too many words. I’d pretend to read them (that lasted all of half a second but I did it often.)

 I looked at the pictures and I’d draw. Drawing was my reading. I’d make up my own stories.

I’d play dress up and have grand adventures on my own, outside. I was never bored.

My mother read to us. My father made up wild stories with songs to go along with them. So I could say I knew the stories. I just didn’t read, at least not well.

One day a week my mother would take me to a tutor who would attempt to teach me to read and spell. The child I was could never concentrate. I’d be quiet and polite. I’d longingly look at the large world map on the wall and my young brain would travel the world by boat and horse and train. I could read the map, just not a large book. Maps would take me where I wanted to go.

I would write poetry because it was short. But the words in the books still were like great walls of a castle with walls I could never scale. But I don’t think I really cared because I figured it was my lot in life and I didn’t know any better and nobody ever explained anything to me about life and consequences. I just knew that when I was caught doing something bad I’d get into trouble so I learned not to get caught. Reading was another thing.

Then it kicked in, when I was about 11. My brain finally figured out what those words on the page said.  Long words now made sense. Sort of. It didn’t happen over night. Then the goal was to make up for lost time. Sort of.  It wasn’t easy. Now reading is second nature and a joy, but it was once a foreign uncomfortable experience.

And I had a strong desire for others to think I was smart (oh the folly of youth.)

I did, through no planning, became the most read member of my family.

My kids read but they’re extremely picky about what they read. So they don’t always read books unless it is a school assignment. Sometime they do, but not as much as I expected they would.

When they were small we spent a lot of time in the library, in book stores, and reading at home. We read and read and read. Well, I read to them a lot. I wanted them to be prolific readers.

They’re good readers. They’re smart. They’re scary smart. But they aren’t avid readers – at least not of books. But that’s ok.

The thing is… my children are a lot smarter than I ever was. They’re more worldly, independent and mature. They make good choices. They make better choices than I ever made at their age. They think about things. They talk about everything and discuss and figure things out. They keep up with the news and the big wide world. That isn’t completely a matter of chance.

I’m a firm believer that we all think a little differently. Our brains, our hearts, and our souls are all bound together. Our brains are a base of our being with layers of experiences bringing richness or bitterness or sweetness and insights. Or we can see those layers of experience as tools we have at our disposal to help us deal with those brains we’re born with.

As parents, as friends, as lovers we can give those in our lives more layers of richness and wonder. Give no burlap or thorns, we all get enough of that on our own out in the big wide world.

Books are like that too.

If there isn’t a book around I find myself reading labels or anything with words on it. If there are no words I make up stories in my head. And if someone else is there then they can tell me their stories.

When I dream I see books but the pages are always blank. When there are words in my dreams I can’t read them. Street signs are mysterious and undecipherable. It is a strange and frustrating world in my dreams.

And oh please, don’t go there…I don’t have any learning disorders. I just had other things on my mind like pictures and maps and everything I could see and hear. I loved books with a passion but reading came later, just in time.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


And to get into the holiday mood and READING check out my latest book Tinsel Tales and anthology from the WPaD group (the best Christmas stories since The Christmas Carol)  Click here for: My books.

Plus Creepies (Horror), Dragons and Dreams (Fantasy), Passion’s Prisms (Romance) and Nocturnal Desires (Erotica). All under my various pen names.