Post Five Hundred

Carry On Tuesday #8 on a Thursday and Sunday Scribbling #171 Indulgence

I re-worked this a bit.  One paragraph had the word listen in it six times – that’s what happens when I write late at night 🙂

This is my FIVE HUNDREDTH post.  I have lived here in the blogosphere since March 2006.  That’s  40 months, or 160 weeks, or 1120 days, or approximately a post every other day.  Who knew I had that much to say.

This little place has changed since the beginning.  I’ve had several themes (getting bored with this one so a change is imminent) , and the focus has changed depending on where my eyes happened to be pointing at the moment.  I’ve written about my opinions on whatever.  Thought out loud, which can be a bit dangerous!  There were the dark times when Dale was so sick and I poured it all out here and held on by my fingernails.

I’ve posted little computer notes on things I’ve learned, I’ve talked about my faith, chronicled “The Great Kidney Transplant”, recipes, pictures,  thoughts about books I have read, whatever sparkled and caught my eye – it landed here.  Thanks Tony, for setting up the blog, for encouraging me to write, and for always patiently answering my unending questions.  This one is for you.

Tomorrow Light #2

It’s been a month since I crept up to the barn and saw the computer under the floor.   If it gets weird here, I’m gone. These days things are crazy.  You just never know.    Glenna and Tom had been kind and I help with  chores.  Glenna has been teaching me how to knit and a little cooking.  This week she  started teaching me how to play the piano.

There was  no lesson today though.  The house was clean from top to bottom and I was helping Glenna in the kitchen.  There were people coming and they would be hungry she said.  I thought it was crazy for others to know where we lived but Glenna smiled and said sometimes we have to trust folks or we might be safe but there won’t be much point to being alive.  I’m not sure what I think about that. I saw some pretty bad stuff happen before I came here and I’m not jumping in and trusting anyone.

Tom has been out in the barn all day putting benches out. Some, he built this morning out of logs.  He set up some sawhorses and boards to make a table to set food on.  Glenna says some folks will bring food.  I’ve been chopping and peeling all day.  We are using fresh vegetable out of the garden that won’t keep anyway.  That at least makes sense to me.

Most everything is done and Glenna said I should take a nap.  People won’t get here till after dark.  I’m not a baby for Pete’s sake.  I climb up to the loft just to make her happy.  I like it up here.  There’s a little window to let in some sunlight and a quilt that has reds and yellows in it.  Tom let me have some blocks and boards up here for a shelf, and Glenna gave me some books.  Ain’t. (I mean ‘I haven’t’, Glenna says I need to stop saying ain’t) had books for awhile and when I did they were mostly hunting and fishing books belonging to Pa.  My favorite right now is Jane Eyre.  She is a poor kid staying with rich family and they are mean to her but she has this whole other life going on in her head.  The rich kids are hateful and think they are so much better than her because she doesn’t have money.  I like her a lot more than her stupid cousins.  I laid down with my book and the sun is warm coming  through the little window.  Next thing I know, I’m waking up and the lanterns are lit downstairs.

I climb down the ladder and see Glenna setting out the bowls of food to take to the barn.

“Well hello, sleepyhead!” She says.  I’m glad you got some rest.  Do you want to help me take these out to the barn?”  Before we start loading up the bowls there is a sound at the door.

Is there anybody there?” said the traveler, knocking on the moonlit door.

My heart’s pounding and I am ready to run out the back but Glenna smiles and says “I’d recognize that voice anywhere!”  She opens the door and hugs the stranger as he steps inside.  “Come in Tony. It’s been too long!”

He has dark shoulder length hair, pulled back in a pony tail and he’s carrying a guitar case.  Glenna had told me he came when they gathered and he would play his guitar and sing. Tthe music was important.  “Hi there.” He said to me, smiling.  He had a kind smile.

“Was your trip hard?” Glenna asked?  He looked a little tired.

“I had to stay off the roads during the day.  North of here there was a group of people on foot that looked like they hadn’t eaten in awhile.  I hid out in the woods until they passed.  They didn’t look friendly.”

Glenna looked concerned. “Which way were they heading?” She asked.

They were on the east road that heads out of town. Soldiers passed in a truck and I didn’t see them any more after that.” He said.

A look passed between them and then they looked at me and got that look grownups get when they remember I’m in the room.

“If you want to clean up a bit, you know where everything is.  We are going to take these to the barn and we’ll be back for more.” Glenna told him.

“Sounds good! I’m hungry and those look like vegetables from your garden.” He said.

“There is plenty. We’ll see you in a minute.” Glenna said as we went out the door towards the barn with bowls and serving spoons.

The barn was transformed! There were lanterns hung around the walls and people were all smiling and hugging and talking at one time.  There were already plates and bowls on the makeshift table.  People took the bowls from us and put them on the table and there were kids giggling up in the hayloft. They were all hugging and greeting each other.  Finally we headed back to the house for the rest of the food.

“Do you remember everything I told you about tonight?” she asked me.

I nodded.  She had told me that we didn’t ever mention the computer but that tonight was important because we would get a new password.  I had heard about the internet and how before everything changed, anyone could talk to anyone else and pass information back and forth.  Now the N.U.S.A. had control and when people can’t talk to each other, they have no way of knowing if what the government tells them is true. No one says it out loud but everyone knows they lie.  You don’t need a computer to figure that out.

Glenna told me that now they had small groups of people that could only talk to each other and then only if they had the password.  There were a bunch of these ‘darknets’, she called them and each group could only talk to the people in their network.  When I asked her how they could connect to each other she smiled and called me ‘one smart cookie’.  She said before the world lost it’s mind, cables were laid all over the place.  If you had to dig a hole and put one cable in, it wasn’t much extra trouble to put in several cables.  There were thousands of fiber cables that were never used and mostly forgotten. They were being used now.

We went back to the house and got the rest of the food and Tony walked back to the barn with us.  When we set the food on the table, Glenna smiled at Tom and he put his fingers to his mouth and whistled.  Everyone stopped chattering and Tom said a blessing, thanking God for letting everyone get there safe, for providing food, and good friends, and asking Him to keep blessing us.  Everyone said Amen and started filling plates and passing them around.  I got me a plate and found a seat on a box back in a corner so I could watch.

The flickering lantern light threw shadows around the barn and reflected in smiling eyes. Men talked about weather and traveling. Women talked about their kids and food and health as they ate.  Kids finished eating first and ran around the barn or hid behind mothers who fussed at them to settle down It wasn’t mad kind of fussing because they would smile indulgently. I didn’t run with them but it was nice to see them having fun  Kind of made me sad about my own mama.  Silly, how can I miss someone I don’t even remember.

Empty bowls and plates were stacked in a metal washtub for later and Tony pulled out his guitar and started to tune it.  Everyone settled down and got quiet as he strummed a few chords.  He played a few songs that some of the older folks must have known, because they sang along.  They asked him to play one of his own songs. I watched Glenna sit quietly as  he began to play.

He picked out the first chords and I heard the word ‘dark’ and my ears perked up.  Glenna sat quietly with her head leaned toward the music and  as he sang the chorus  the second time through she sang it with him.  She had  explained how  the password would be in the music.  I was just beginning to learn but I knew there were eight notes in an octave.  At some point the lyrics would mention the word  ‘dark” and those who knew what to listen for would memorize the chorus and later transcribe the notes in the chorus as numbers.

Just a group of folks getting together, eating and enjoying some music. No law against that.  Tony played a few  more songs after that as families loaded up and started  home.  I helped Glenna start cleaning up and Tony packed up his guitar.  I was walking next to him going back to the house.  I looked up at him and said “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure” He said.

“How did you figure all this stuff out?” I asked.

He smiled. “Music is just math out loud.” He said.

Glenna asked him if he could stay but he said he had to move on.  There were others to sing for and miles to go. He looked at me and grinned. “I think I’ll be seeing you again.”

I hoped so.  I wanted to learn more.
To go back to the beginning : Part One

29 thoughts on “Post Five Hundred

  1. lissa

    happy 500 post! that is a lot of words when you think about it

    -intriguing piece, I actually remember the first part, which I seldom do, I like the part about music being math out loud, never thought of it that way

  2. Dee

    Thank you – it’s quite a compliment that you remember the first one! The math line is a Tony quote 🙂

  3. Paige Lewis

    Congratulations, Dee! 500th post is a huge milestone!

    I have to admit, I always enjoy reading your post but it is intriguing when it involves someone I know. I like how you worked in the “vegetarian” part of his personality and the other “neat” traits he has.

    Congrats again.

  4. paschal

    Happy 500th.

    What a wonderful world you’re creating here: great touches. I love how the world has become an oral network again: it carries a sense of the future, as well as a sense of our ancestry. Darknets, embeddings – wonderful.

    Nice juggling, too: building this world, while running with Cassie and Kell, too.

  5. marja

    Congrats 500 posts is a lot of words wow
    I loved your story and indulged in it. I woud have loved to be in that story The atmosphere in the barn, visitors coming the secretness and a guitar in the end Sight

  6. Jack Webb

    500 posts is quite the milestone, congratulations!
    Very interesting story, secret codes in song lines carried by traveling minstrels. I’m confused about the comments. Is there a real person in the story?

  7. Dee

    Jeeves. Thanks!

    Paschal – darknets exist man – as does “dark fiber” – how can you know it and not see a story there 🙂

    Thanks Old Grizz – hope to continue to meet those expectations!

    Tanya – thanks, back at ya

    John – thank you and awesome pics man!

    Marja – you could be there listening, eating and visiting with friends 🙂

    Jack – thanks and a character is based on a friend and mentor 🙂

  8. Tumblewords

    Congrats on 500! Quite a milestone…
    Enjoyed this piece – it’s a good continuation from the first part – I’m looking forward to the next.

  9. laurel

    Dee –
    Great post… I can’t wait to go and read the beginning… reminds me of the Bards in Dragonriders of Pern, but then I’m just a geek that way!
    thnx for the great read!

  10. ThomG

    Had to go back and read from the beginning. It’s a great read, Dee.

    (and thank you for your comments. It was written to elicit a response.)

  11. missalister

    HAPPY 500, DEE!!!
    That’s really somethin’! And you know I can’t wait to see your next theme.

    Well, this is just more purely enjoyable reading here, Dee. There are no loose ends in the story, everything rolls along so well and effortlessly (does it just come out of you like that?!), and you have created such loveable characters for this series…what is this series with Glenna and Tom and the scrappy little girl called, anyway? Have I missed something or have you not decided yet? Anyway, I liked “darknets” and the cable-laying knowledge here (‘cause that was/is my biz) and how the password was transferred (brilliant!).

  12. sundaycynce

    Intriguing is the descriptor I see most used for your story, and I must agree. Intriguing and fascinating. This is my first time reading your blog; will go back and read part one of the story. How people deal with a drastically changed world, how they deal yet keep their humanity, this theme seldom fails to suck me in. Good job!!

  13. Linda May

    Congrats on the 500th post, that is quite a milestone to reach.
    I love your stories and they way they follow on from one another.
    Thanks for the puter tip, I wrote it down so I can keep it.

  14. Bluebethley

    Wow! 500 posts. Congratulations and now I have to go count mine up to see. I’ve been blogging I think since 2003 and what a wonderful community online has opened up. Your story was delightful. I could read more of this world you’re creating, the tensions and the dark side are there as well as interesting characters (and points of view). Will you write more? I also liked how skillfully this piece weaves in the prompts from Carry on Tuesday and Sunday Scribblings. Nice work!

  15. anno

    500 posts is a huge marker — congratulations! And an intriguing post here; I like the world you’ve created, and the tension between the apparent need for people to be cautious and the relief (hope?) they feel when they can act more generously. Nicely done!

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