Mona’s Choice

(a sequel to “Evie’s Choice”)

“Do you think we’ve made the right decision?” Mona turned from the counter, potato peeler in hand.

Fred finished setting four places at the table. “Would you rather they were sent to live with a foster family?”

“Oh, heavens, no. It’s just that, well, are we too old to be raising our grandchildren?”

Fred put his hands on her shoulders. “Mona, to me you will always be that young, good-looking, smart-ass girl I tried to pick up in the university pub.”

Mona laughed. “You were the smart-ass. And you still keep sweet-talking me.” Her face sobered. She shook her head and sighed. “Those kids have been through so much. They’ve lost their mother, their dad’s in jail. Who knows what they saw or heard all those years.”

Fred leaned against the counter beside her. “I can’t imagine what they’re feeling now, probably anger, hurt, confused, who knows what else.”

“Somehow we have to show them that isn’t normal, that isn’t the way two people love each other. But are we up to the challenge? That’s what worries me.”

Fred put his arms around her and kissed her. “All we can do is show them love, and be patient. It’ll take time, that’s for sure.”

Mona heaved another sigh. “Time, love and patience – I hope that will be enough.”

“We’re in this together, remember.”

The doorbell rang. Mona tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear.

“That will be the social worker with the kids. Let’s go welcome our new family.”


(This story was not part of Voice and Vision 2019; however,  “Evie’s Choice” cried out for a sequel because other people now have to make choices.  Perhaps more sequels will appear as the children make theirs.)

#DomesticViolence #VoiceAndVision2019 #MargaretGHanna

Evie’s Choice

“Evie’s Choice”  Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle. Mixed media

“Evie, how many times has this happened? You have to leave him before it’s too late.”

“I can’t, Mom.”

“You mean, you won’t.”

“No, I can’t! I have to stay for the kids.”

“Evie, take them with you. Go!”

“Oh sure, easy for you to say. Remember what happened last time? He beat me up, broke my jaw, threatened to take the kids away. It’s easier to stay. Besides, I love him. And he loves me.”

“Loving you means beating you up? Really, Evie.”

“Well, he does. He always apologizes afterward. Besides, it’s my fault. I do things that make him mad and then he loses his temper . . .” Evie shrugged.

“That’s his problem, not yours. Go to a woman’s shelter. You’ll be safe there.”

“There’s no such thing as a safe house, not from him.”

Evie’s sleeve slipped up as she drank the dark bitter coffee. Mona saw fresh marks.

“You’re using, aren’t you? Aren’t you!”

Evie slammed her cup on the table.“So what if I am? What’s it to you, anyway. Leave me alone, it’s none of your business.”

Mona clasped her daughter’s hand. “Leave him. Please! I beg you!”

Evie yanked her hand away and stood up. “No, I can’t. I’ll be fine. Good-bye. And don’t try to call.”

She stormed out the kitchen door, slamming it behind her.

“Oh please, dear God!” Mona stared at the door, then buried her head in her hands and wept.

That was the last time Mona saw her daughter – alive.

(This was my initial submission to Voice and Vision 2019 when I was paired with Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle. I knew it was a difficult piece, both to read and to create art in response to it, but Melissa rose to the challenge. Her painting (using coffee and found media) captures the pathos, the tragedy and the horror of the story.)


#DomesticAbuse #VoiceAndVision

“Dropping the Writ” — Say What?

Here in Canada, we are coming to the end of a federal election. Voting day is October 21. Only five more days of this gong show (thank heavens).

The election period began several weeks ago with the dropping of the writ. Since elections are often called “races,” I’ve long had this image of the leaders of the federal parties lined up at the starting gate, in classic sprinting crouch, waiting for someone to “drop the writ” that starts the race and for the crowd to scream, “And they’re off!”

What is a “writ?” And why is it “dropped?” Continue reading ““Dropping the Writ” — Say What?”

Blah! Blah! Blah!

They bury us ‘neath heaps of words
And promises galore,
With e-mails, tweets and Instagram
And knockings on our door,
With TV ads and streetside signs
Till we cry out, “No more!”

“Where’s the wisdom and the vision
That unifies this lot?
We see no indication that
You’ve given it much thought.
Without that, all your promises
Are so much tommy-rot.”


(We are in the midst of a federal election, with politicians from all parts of the spectrum vying to buy our votes with our money. Do I sound cynical?)

#FederalElection #Promises #Politicians #Poem #Humour #Poetry #MargaretGHanna

Consider the Trees . . .

LeafInHandI stand in a cathedral of aspens among grey-green trunks that glisten silvery in the sunlight. A hint of a passing breeze sends down a shower of golden confetti to cover the ground. I walk on a carpet of jewels – gold and garnet, emerald and citrine – that shimmers underfoot.

A single leaf nestles in my outstretched hand. Its red-gold beauty whispers, “Do not fade away. Go out in a blaze of glory.”

* * *

Never mind the lilies of the field. Consider the trees. They don’t fade away into a dirty brown or grey. No, come autumn, they paint the hillsides with amazing hues – yellow, gold, red, orange, even purple. The sight of them gives us thrills. We gasp in awe and amazement, exclaim, “Oh wow! Look at that!” We glory in their beauty. Perhaps they survive the summer just to be able to sport their autumn colours in their last days.

There’s no reason for us to wait for our final days before we show our colours. Why wait to be a grandmother to be a Raging Granny? Or an old woman who wears “purple/ With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me” (per Jenny Joseph)? Take your cue from e. e. cummings who maintained there are two kinds of people: those who are truly alive and those who are merely not-dead.

Neither is there any reason to fade away as we age.  Robert Browning reminds us that “The best is yet to be,/ The last of life, for which the first was made.” Every one of us must know some feisty, so-called “old” person who just will not slow down, who is still opinionated (and doesn’t hesitate to share those opinions), and who can run circles – mentally if not physically – around us so-called younger folk. Who still sports his/her colours with pride and passion.

It’s not easy to strut your colours. It takes courage, chutzpah, perhaps even a bit of egotism. What is really essential is faith in yourself — that who you are and what you do and say will bring colour into someone else’s life. When we show our colours, we give others hope and joy, and perhaps even the courage to show their own colours.

Down with drab. Let’s colour the world. Let’s be truly alive.


#Meditation #OldAge #Contemplation #Autumn #GoldenYears #LessonsFromTrees #MargaretGHanna