The Iron Writer Challenge #149
2016 Winter Solstice Challenge #7
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Wesley Kirk, Moira McArthur, Dami Lare, Danielle Lee Zwissler
A magical lap giraffe
Written in the form of an obituary. So the reader is reading an obit.
A despised relative (explain why)
An original Matisse painting
(15th February 1950 – 12 January 2010)
Sammy Hawns was born in the little village of Glenadrookit. Descended from a long line of wool gatherers, Sammy spent his time dogging school while keeping a wary eye out for the dominie. His school books survive to this day. Pristine, untouched and no inky fingerprints in the margin.
Sammy left school as uneducated in formal lessons as the farm dog, but his lessons in nature, the real world, were legendary. He would guddle a fish, clear a field of seed stealing crows and make daisy chains for the lassies.
No use for politics, it was a bad day when the local conservative candidate, a distant relative and thus despised the more, chapped on his door to enquire whether he could count on Sammy’s vote. We think the whole village heard Sammy bellow, ’Politics? Its all nonsensical self grandizing bollockology’. The candidate was last seen beating a hasty retreat.
Sammy though, could be quite poetic in words. Describing a sunset as looking like a Matisse painting, let us into his favourite pastime. Visiting an Art Gallery. He’d stand and look at the paintings then go home and try to recreate in straw and mosaic-chipped wood. Several of his works are on display in Glenadrookit’s Museum of Rural Life.
His favourite work being the painting of the miniature giraffe of Frankelstide. To convey its apparent magical powers in cuts of straw and chips of wood, was a marvel they said.
It was this, more than anything else, that brought him to the wider audience of the art world. HIs tinkering in the woodshed, was seized upon as the next best artist and magazines ran articles, newspapers tried to get an interview and tv crews waited around for a glimpse of this man, Sammy. The single track road into the village was hilly and thus provided the means of spotting a vehicle approaching, at which, the bush telegraph would spring into action, to give Sammy and his family, enough warning to grab a couple of things and hare off up the hills out of reach, until the fuss died down and the ‘visitors’ departed.
Thus it is Sammy’s sense of the ridiculousness of humankind, that is left to us. HIs phrase to the conservative candidate will ring in our ears forever. RIP Sammy Hawns.
James Weatherby, 73
December 19, 1933 – March 9, 2016
Being a shrewd man would save you from a few losses: one of which is having to lie still in an Italian casket carved from the finest of oak, listening, if the dead actually can, to a prosaic connivance of untruths summed up as an Obit by someone like Uncle Sam, who ordinarily wouldn’t care jack about you until you’re well past forty and receiving fat sums as pension. That was the thought of my father until I discourage him from writing his own Obituary. Who does that?
James Weatherby, shrewd, introverted, foodie and a showman passed on to glory March 9, 2013, in Ababio’s Hospital, after sustaining terrible burns in a fire he entered to save Pedifree.
James, unlike most of his forebears, who believed the more the merrier, is survived by a single wife, Yasmine, and three children Fua’d, Nasir and me, Kasim. He was a staunch supporter of monogamy, who, yet, was accommodating enough to keep a circle of polygamists and the unmarried as friends. He would always say to me, underneath a starry sky, that friends are like stars: we are bland without them.
But unlike said friends, he preferred the daring call of peace keeping missions – although at a much late time of his life – to the simple life of retirement. A selfless service to which he lost a lot too – as if he cared less about himself than others – a kidney, a limb and an eye, and somehow had the fortuity to wish he could continue the campaign. James was that crazy.
Much wouldn’t be said about my father because he really a lover of it. But he would tell you over laughs, should you be fortunate enough, about his ordeal with “The Woman with the Hat”. He would confess he was naive, and distrusting, when Fola his art agent told him the artwork was both ugly, receiving terrible condemnations upon display, and a bad investment. But being the shrewd man he was, he would purchase it and be stunned at how particularly unattractive its ugliness was, as if ugliness somehow wielded the character of being attractive. He would laugh and tap the painting with an affectionate pat, and in that moment I realised James was one whose love for things surpassed the conventional fondness for aesthetics or quality. He looked beyond those things and saw the beauty hidden within.
The day he found Pedifree, the miniature giraffe that somehow completed him; I wasn’t at all shocked, or thought him crazy because I knew he was capable of love than the rest of us. And he was right to do so, for it brought the joy thousands of dollars couldn’t. Although it might not seem that way now, I think no other cause can one die that is nobler than love.
I think James Weatherby died for a good cause, and would want us to show love to those who need it.
James “Slim Jim” Johnson
December 24, 1955 – March 6, 2016
James “Slim Jim” Johnson, gardener, capsaicin worshiper, and connoisseur of puns and dad jokes, died Sunday March 7, 2016.
Slim Jim was growing his own peppers and tending gardens long before “knowing where your food came from” became mainstream. He was proud of that fact, and elated when others actually began caring about the environment. Though he had many battles with the Board of Health and Zoning Commission over his massive gardens, the fruits of his labor were could never be questioned. Even if his sanity had been. Especially consider he sold his mother’s Matisse painting of fish to buy his greenhouse.
He met the love of his life, Margery (deceased), at a Marion County Fair chili cook off. He was the only one who could handle what she produced from her cauldron. They both routinely giggled about how he proposed to her on the spot, after eating half the pot, and through the spice induced coughing fits. The two shared a home on the south side of Indy to the end of their days. Their life was full of compromise, as she had domain over the house, and he was exiled to the garden, and green house (which he swore was tended to by a tiny magical giraffe), where most other humans found it hard to breathe through the pepper fumes.
Their two children, Harry and Jill, survive their parents. Surprising given Slim Jim’s love of bad puns and “dad jokes.” He delighted in making groups of people groan, or slam the palms of their hands across their faces. His crowning achievement, which he boasted about regularly, was making and entire room of his classmates groan in disbelief at one of his “dad joke level puns.” Out of courtesy, general public well-being, and in accordance with local legal action, the pun shall not be reprinted here.
His only regret in life was never being able to produce a world record contending spicy pepper. Which he always swore was because of his horrible cousin Larry constantly throwing cigarette butts over the fence.
His trademarked fashion look by designer “why-would-anyone-care-about-that-foolisness” will be missed around the local farmers markets. No longer will his worn yellow boater hat, with its collection of pepper eating trophy pins, float above the heads of visitors as he makes his way through the crowds. No more will police wonder if a Beverly Hillbilly’s relative got lost in the metro area while watching Slim Jim stand there brushing off the dust from his depression era ‘vintage’ overalls and combat boots.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Indiana Chapter of Future Farmers of America. He spent many years teaching youth, and evangelizing the gospel of tending a good garden, and the family would like to have his passion carry on for as long as possible.
Also, James “Slim Jim” Johnson’s final wish was for the gag order be removed from his memoirs of bad jokes, to allow them to finally be published. His family ask that you disregard the request for the betterment of mankind.
Author Writes Her Own Final Chapter
Danielle Lee Zwissler
Author, Danielle Lee Zwissler of Mogadore, Ohio, died on March 3rd, 2016 from complications due to an over-active imagination, and large amounts of caffeine. Born in October of 1978, Danielle was the second child of the family, despised by many, including her own grandmother, whom has been dead for years now, and who, consequently, accused her of being too stuck-up and un-family-like for her taste, and an uncle that is currently serving a prison term for grand theft larceny. Danielle leaves behind her parents, her brother and his family, her husband, and two children, along with four pets, five if you count the magical lap giraffe that she always talked to at night just before putting her children to bed.
Throughout the years, Danielle has had many jobs as a teacher, tutor, a musician, a waitress, a barn rat, a nursing home worker, and she even had a paper route. Up until recently, Danielle wasn’t happy with her life. She felt sad about not sticking with her original idea of becoming a band director for a famous band, and was depressed for most of her twenties. She was also upset that she didn’t become famous overnight as many indie authors believe will happen. She figured out a tough lesson. She wasn’t special.
She leaves behind a legacy of boring romance novels, an original Matisse painting, and several love letters from her numerous teenage relationships. Calling hours will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Mogadore, Ohio, on March 10th, 2016 at 7 PM. Since Danielle’s family usually doesn’t accept birthday party invites, the ceremony will probably be less than twenty minutes long.
Also, Danielle wanted to let you all know that if you don’t show up to her funeral, she will haunt every last one of you for eternity.
to read, and a connoisseur of the arts. She owned several noteworthy works of art, notwithstanding an original of Henri Matisse. She wasn’t loved by many, but merely tolerated, had several relatives that despised her, including her own grandmother that often called her a miserable Mother … well, you get the drift. She also had an exemplary imagination. Several times she claimed to own a miniature magical giraffe, but under full disclosure, she only made those claims after getting the occasional high at the campground with her 80-year-old glaucoma suffering friends.
All in all, Danielle was creative, nuts, and couldn’t keep a job, but she leaves behind a legacy of barely opened first editions of her own novels (many of which will be used as kindling for Earl’s nightly fires) and several items that make absolutely no sense but gave her comfort from purchases at the local Goodwill.
Donations accepted in lieu of flowers as the Zwissler family can barely keep their gas and electricity turned on.
NO calling hours as Danielle preferred to be cremated, and spread around all sorts of different memorable places just in case she could split her soul in pieces, much like her favorite author’s villain, Lord Voldemort. In her own words, “I want to haunt the f*** out of people when I’m gone.”
#TIWC members, please vote here.