A Stone for the Journey

14 Nov

100 words of remembrance for my father, gone three years, but never forgotten, and for a dear friend’s mother, recently passed. We are shaped as best as our parents are able and then set loose to fend for ourselves in the world. Though they are no longer with us, we carry them in our hearts forever.

Friday Fictioneers is a group of authors who each week write a story inspired by a photo prompt (shown below, courtesy of Kent Bonham) selected by Rochelle Wisoff Fields. Their stories, many of them more than worth the time it takes to read a hundred words, can be found here.

David Street

When I saw my first escalator I asked what happened when the basement got full of steps. My father told me there was a man who picked up the steps as they dropped from the bottom and shoved them back into the rotation at the top. I believed this for a time until I saw an escalator under repair and realized it was a closed loop driven by motors.

On David Street on the way to the Wailing Wall to say Kaddish for my father, memories surface. Tears well up in my eyes and fall softly to moisten ancient stones.

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24 Responses to “A Stone for the Journey”

  1. Sandra November 14, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    What a lovely story Doug; the explanations that our parents give us often live on in our memories, until knowledge, experience and reality provide a revised and less wondrous version. Courtesy of my grandmother, I still think about God moving his wardrobe (thunder) and the angels shaking their mattresses (snow) when the weather permits. You captured this wonderful stage of a child’s life beautifully. Well done.

  2. rochellewisoff November 14, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Dear Doug,

    If I didn’t know better I might think you were part of the “tribe.” You sure that’s not MacIlroyovitch?

    In all seriousness, I feel as if I’ve opened a rare and precious gift. Each time I read your story I’m pulled in a little deeper and drawn back to the Wailing Wall. I feel the smooth stones under my hand and remember my own tears falling on ancient stones.

    Thank you.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  3. Karen Whitelaw November 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Hi Doug.
    Your story moved me very much. I loved the way you showed us who your father was so we could feel the loss of him too.
    Thank you,
    Karen

  4. JKBradley November 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    When mourning the loss of a loved one it is interesting the memories (emotions, scents, tastes, sounds) which can pervade and seem to cling, not always the ones one might have anticipated. Perhaps this is a clue to some deeper truth.

    Thanks, Doug.

  5. elmowrites November 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    The stories parents tell are some of their most treasured legacies, Doug. You captured this, and the great love we feel for them so well. I look forward to passing on some of my own wisdom in a few years!
    Although shorter, your last paragraph rounded this story off beautifully, brought us back to the picture and left a tear in the eye. Well done!

  6. misskzebra November 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I had an obsession with escalators as a child. My parents would have to just watch me as I went up and down them just for the fun of it. 🙂

    Wonderfully told story, with very real emotion.

  7. Jan Brown November 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Beautiful, Doug. Beautiful memories, beautifully expressed.

  8. rgayer55 November 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Rarely a day goes by that I don’t quote something my dad said, or retell one of his old stories or jokes. He is never far from me even though he’s been gone several years.

  9. Lindaura Glamoura November 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    That was a very sweet story and it reminded me of a revenge tale told by my younger brother. It seems, that when he was a child of about six and I was a grown up of ten, he asked me, as so many do, “Why is the sky blue?” I was a complete know it all, so I told him that the sky was blue, because the sea reflected into all the water droplets in the sky and shone back to us a the colour blue! It made complete sense to me, but was entirely bogus. When he was 8 years old, the science teacher asked the class if they knew why the sky looked blue, and my brother piped right up and told him what I had said.
    The teacher evidently was so scornful of my theory, that my brother was actually scarred for life – and spent the next five years making my life a living hell. I only found out why, a few years ago. We are both old enough to remember the Kennedy assassinations, so that’s pretty old. BTW, his revenge took the form of little crimes for which I would get the blame. Like carving my name into the dining room table. Stuff like that, and he always denied doing it, so that I really got punished. Wow, life, siblings….ummm.

  10. helenmidgley November 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Such a lovely tribute. I especially loved the line “Tears well up in my eyes and fall softly to moisten ancient stones.” 🙂

  11. zookyworld November 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    A sweet story — and I also really enjoyed your thoughts in the introduction. I love your line about us keeping our parents in our hearts forever.

  12. wmqcolby November 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Fine job, Doug. Best part was the explanation for the steps of the escalator. Cute.

  13. lingeringvisions by Dawn November 15, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Beautiful. I lost my dad last year (my mother in ’94). My father told me a lot of things that seemed plausible at the time. lol

  14. valeriedavies November 15, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Lovely simple words which connect to the deepest feelings.. and oldest memories… those stories our parents told us are so precious when we look back, and so are the ways children’s minds work, so that they ask those questions.
    My father told me that champagne was bottled sunshine – I believed him for years… and maybe he was right after all, now I’m older!
    You’ve triggered lots of memories with this deeply felt story Doug , thank you.. …

  15. claireful November 15, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Very lovely Doug. My father was (is) a joker when I was young – telling me he had written songs I heard on the radio and that girls would walk miles for one of his kisses. Lovely memories

  16. Helena Hann-Basquiat November 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    A lovely tribute, darling. I am glad that you have fond memories. My memories of my father (who is still living) are so darkened that I have to try to remember the little things — the funny things — so that I am not left with nothing but anger. Thank you for the reminder of mortality.

  17. koelnerzeilen November 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Doug, this is a very resonating story, I will have escalators and ancient alleys devoted to parents from now on, thanks

  18. kz November 16, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    your stories are always so beautiful. so is this tender tribute. my father passed away 3 years ago though he never really told me stories like those..everything was factual and direct to the point,would’ve been lovely though. perfect last line.

  19. mike olley November 16, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Doug, it sounds like your father was a great tall stories teller. I bet he had a lot more similar to the escalator one up his sleeve. And I bet you’re smiling now at remembering them.

  20. The Bumble Files November 17, 2013 at 2:37 am #

    Beautiful story, Doug, captured with treasured memories. Those are the best kind. It’s amazing how a little story can draw us into our deeper selves, remembering those we love. I agree with what you said about the stories here are worth more than the time it takes to read 100 words. I always feel that way about your stories. – Amy

  21. bridgesareforburning November 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    A beautiful tribute to your father. May he be with you forever.
    I’ll never forget when my Arkansas grandma came to visit us in Tulsa. The Sears store had installed an escalator, the first I had ever seen. Grandma, who’d lived a hard, isolated, rural life, refused to ride it. On this same trip, she told me she’d heard beautiful music coming from my bedroom. I’d been playing Peter, Paul and Mary, singing old folk songs she knew from her childhood. Thanks, Doug, for bringing back some warm memories. Ron

  22. sustainabilitea November 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Doug, this is a beautiful memorial story wrapped around a memory so real that we can all identify with it in our own way. To be both personal and all-encompassing is an achievement. I’m fortunate that both my parents are still alive but I’ll have wonderful memories like these when they’re gone.

    janet

  23. atrm61 November 19, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    What a beauty!Loved the tenderness and the transition from childhood innocence to the loss of a parent!

  24. annisik51 November 20, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    You show vividly how objects, even stones, can trigger memory. 🙂

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