PB&J&J for Our Heroine

Henry parked the truck in a cloud of dust right in front of the house. “Come on,” he beckoned with a jerk of his head toward the bed of the truck and handed Frannie a single bag containing a loaf of Wonder Bread.He gathered up the rest of the bags in his own arms and headed for the porch.

He dropped his load of groceries on the porch swing in order to struggle with the front door. “I don’t hardly bother locking it up anymore, what with as bad as it sticks nowadays.” He turned his head to tell Frannie.

She nodded solemnly, and her stomach rumbled again, more insistently this time. Henry laughed and finally got the door open.

“Got to get the plane out and fix this, but then I wonder why bother. I only go to town a couple times a week, and my little girl doesn’t visit near often enough.” He expertly threaded his arm through the mishmash of bags on the swing and carried them inside, leading Frannie to the right, through the dining room and into the kitchen. “Here’s good, girl.”

She reached up nearly as far as she could to put her lone bag on the counter and looked up at Henry. He told her to go have a seat at the table, so she did.

“Milk or juice? I got orange,” he offered.

“Orange juice is my favorite!” Frannie had already brightened up immensely.

Henry grinned as he opened the fridge and pulled the jug out. “Now, all I got’s real glass, are you up for the challenge?”

Frannie put her hands on her hips in mock indignation. “I’ll have you know, sir, that I can drink out of a real glass just as good as any grownup I’ve ever met, thank-you-very-much.” She reached out for the glass that he handed her and greedily gulped down three-quarters of the juice in one slug.

Henry had brought the juice into the dining room, so he topped off her cup. “Go a little slower on this one, or you won’t have room for a pb&j.”

Frannie nodded. “Yes, sir.” She sipped more politely.

Henry laughed and returned to the kitchen to put the groceries away. “Grape or strawberry jam?” He asked her, raising his eyebrows. “Or I can do both. Don’t tell anybody, but that’s how I like ’em.”

“My last mother only ever bought grape jelly, so I don’t even know if I like strawberry. Why not both?” Frannie remained as blunt as ever.

Her words were like a funny bone strike to Henry’s heart, and he shook his head as he turned to make two sandwiches. “I got to figure out how I can do right by this girl,” he muttered to himself. He cut each sandwich into four triangles, and brought the plates to the table. “Dig in!” he said, with a much brighter tone than he felt.


Read more of Frannie’s Misadventures here and find out how on earth she got where she is today.

Remembering Goodbyes

Valery watched as a fly made its way to the top of the large picture window. Once at the top, it descended, flying, hitting the glass a million times a second, bashing its small body against the unforgiving barrier between it and freedom. 

She turned from the window and picked up a 1984 issue of Family Circle from the table next to her. She decided to turn right to the beauty personality quiz, to learn what hairstyle would have been right for her twenty-some years ago. 

Before she could begin, Anthony stepped out of the office with the doctor. Valery flipped the magazine closed and replaced it on the table as she rose to greet him. The look in his eyes was telling. She braced herself for the worst. 

“It’s not helping, hon. The cancer’s got worse since I started chemo,” Anthony’s eyes began to glaze with a film of tears. 

Valery quickly glanced to the doctor for confirmation, and his expression was grave. She turned back to her husband and reached for his hand. “Let’s go, then.”

He nodded, and followed her to the car. “Where are we going?”

“Do you remember when we were kids, we went on that picnic in the park? We always said we’d go back, but we never did?”

Valery stopped by a deli to pick up some sandwiches. Pastrami for him, and turkey for her. They spent a few hours forgetting current events and reminiscing about the statue that used to stand just there, the one they’d eaten under all those years ago. 

Valery cried, remembering that day. She sat in silence for a few more minutes, regaining her composure before bidding Anthony’s grave farewell. She knew he would have appreciated what she’d done as he lay there, beneath the statue, at last. 

Did I follow all the rules? I do believe I did. But I’ll have you know it hurt to delete the bit about the twitching fly and the bit about the fabulous bathroom facelifts. Welcome back, Ms Rose!


Yesterday’s Daily Prompt:

You’re being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

Only five foods for the foreseeable future, eh? I can totes do this.

Hawaiian bread, provolone, turkey, ham, and lettuce.


Make those sliced, please.

And if an airplane happens to drop some mayo and Tabasco mustard, well, I’ll suffer through.

Picking and Chewing

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Are you a picky eater? Share some of your favorite food quirks with us (the more exotic, the better!). Omnivores: what’s the one thing you won’t eat?

I wouldn’t say that I’m a picky eater. Ian may beg to differ, but he doesn’t have room to talk.

I’ll try just about anything. My sister brought me some durian candy once. It wasn’t the best thing I’d ever tried, but it wasn’t the worst, either.

I don’t like Brussels sprouts, beets, or liver. I am willing to give Brussels sprouts another chance, though, as I haven’t had them in probably twenty-five years. Beets I tried this year. I didn’t like the beet part, but the green part is mighty tasty, especially in soups. I think I’d give liver another shot as well. It’s been about as long for liver as it has Brussels sprouts.

My pickiness doesn’t come in when we’re talking specific food items. It comes into play where quality is concerned. Ian picked us up some sandwiches today from Subway, and I texted him my list of toppings:

lettuce pickles black olives

if good: tomatoes onions cucumber

Ian knows my vegetable qualifications when it comes to sandwiches.

I am very particular when it comes to tomatoes, especially. I prefer them slightly on the unripe side. Completely ripe is tolerable, but if there’s the slightest hint of mushiness, it’s game over. I can’t do it. And I only eat raw tomatoes in sandwiches and salads. Never out of hand. Abby will terrorize a container of cherry or grape tomatoes, and she has her own cherry tomato plant every summer, but not me.

I hated onions when I was a kid. My mother can attest that it used to be a dealbreaker if they put onions on my Happy Meal cheeseburger. Now, I love them. White and red, not particularly yellow. I am slightly less particular when it comes to onions. I’ll tolerate a hint of translucency in fresh onions, but not much more than that. They must be crisp and of a decent thickness. I make sure to remove the thin layer under the papery outer one when I’m making my own sandwiches, but I know sandwich artists aren’t as choosy. I won’t fault them for that; I know not everyone has my onion standards, and there’s food cost to consider.

I don’t usually buy cucumbers. I’m not that excited about them, unless I get a hankering for cucumbers and vinegar. But on a sandwich, just like onions, cucumbers must be crisp. I do not eat abused cucumbers.

I thought I wasn’t picky, but does someone who isn’t picky have such standards for their produce? I don’t think it’s really me being a picky eater. I just place a high premium on quality.

I think I just outed myself as a vegetable snob.

At least I love radishes.