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Friday, July 1, 2011

Writing Prompt: 4th of July

By Marilyn Friedman

Happy Early Independence Day! As you get ready for your weekend excursions and BBQ's, don't forget to sign up for a Writing Pad July class. We have some terrific, new classes on the schedule! Call 323-333-2954 or email before they are full!

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that you associate with the 4th of July: foods, vacations, parties, smells, sounds, tastes. Then write a story, a poem, or a scene that includes at least one of the items on your list. Write for 10 minutes, then post your write on the comments of this blog! 4th of July makes me think of that time I went to muggy Florida with my parents and our tour guides got drunk on the bus so that's what I'll write about. What are you going to write about?

Comment on this blog! What do you think of when I say, 4th of July? If you post your 10 minute write in the comments, you could win a free class.


Writing Pad said...

My father was an impulse buyer. In all other respects, he was the most responsible, thrifty, rational man in Skokie, Illinois. Who could blame him? Wouldn’t you want to do something impractical and rebellious if you were married to a ball buster like my mother, Double D Cup Stalin? Dad couldn’t pass up the vanilla hazelnut creamer that they were sampling in thimble sized cups of iced coffee at Dominick’s grocery store. He bought our family car off the showroom floor within half an hour of visiting his first car dealership: a brand new gray Chrysler LeBaron that had cloud soft, plush seats but broke down anytime it was too hot or cold.

On this particular Fourth of July we had traveled to humid, mosquito infested Florida for vacation. We were at Lehigh Acres, a resort where my father had purchased a plot of land that he had intended to retire on. He had purchased it after one of those bus rides where a salesman with pomaded back hair and a syrupy Southern accent talked on a CB about the luxurious community Lehigh Acres promised to be with its lush grounds and state of the art country club. All of the new owners would build their own Olympic size pools and colorful peacocks would stroll their manicured lawns. We had owned this plot of land for five years now, and it, and most of the surrounding area was still swamp land. It turns out that we couldn’t build on it or sell it because there was a wildlife sanctuary legislative dispute, and the climate was most likely going to be bad for my father’s slowly deteriorating health. But we were back here to take one last look at my parents’ retirement fantasy.

To keep the land owners at Lehigh Acres happy, they let you stay at their hotel for cheap and took you on family excursions. On the fourth of July, we traveled in a freezer like air conditioned bus stocked with a cooler full of Bartle’s and James and Bud Light. We were going to see fireworks exploding in red white and blue streaks of color over the beach. Since most of the elderly land owners were drinking mostly Coca Colas rather than alcoholic beverages that wouldn’t mix with the fistfuls of blood pressure and cholesterol medications they had to take, the staff decided to help empty the cooler. As the bus rumbled over potholes, I heard one bottle being popped open after until the Jan (our equivalent of Julie from the Love Boat) demanded that they stop the bus so she could barf in the tall Florida grasses. The rest of that day, we ate perfectly formed Costco burgers sizzling on a grill along with ultra sweet corn. I will never forget the sticky watermelon juice dribbling down my chin along with the pop, pop, pop of fireworks in my ear, mixed in with the sound of Jan puking her guts out behind the bus.


Amy Vorpahl said...

Amanda refreshed her Google Maps on her iPhone once again.
"51 minutes babe, we're almost home."
Justin smiled, tired, and worn out. "How do you feel?" he asked.
"Are you happy?"
"I love giving you ice cream. If there's one way to make you happy, it's giving you ice cream."
She smiled, "Am I that easy?"
Amanda knew she was. They were getting back to LA from a dry-heat, hike-a-day, get-away, romantic 'adventure' to Arizona that weekend with mini-trips to Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon. The whole trip was fun, but as most trips are, they would be even more fun and awe-inspiring in the stories she and Justin would tell their friends and coworkers.
They would leave out the 8 hour drive part and the "running out of car games to play" part. That Dairy Queen Blizzard in her lap definitely made Amanda happy, but that would get left out, too. Mmmmm... butterfinger and chocolate ice cream. Good choice.
Amanda would have to get back on her 'food plan' (diet was such a cold word) when she returned to real life. It tasted even better because the last time she had a Blizzard was in high school in Texas where there was no such thing as frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, not to mention vegan 'food plans.'
"If God didn't want you to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat," Amanda's Papa (grandfather) would say... often...
On the Los Angeles horizon, fireworks cropped up on all fronts like aggressively blooming sunflowers.
"They sure love America," Justin muttered.
"Do you think they're all legal?"
"I don't know, I guess so."
That felt right. The libertarian attitude that you did what you want when you want, as long as nobody got hurt and everybody was happy. And hey, it was our nation's birthday.
"39 minutes."