Short Story of the Day, Flash Fiction, The Hundred Hidden Kisses by Carol Scheina

“The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea: what are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

Bowls and Tacos, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

From my blog (I called it an “Online Journal” then), The Daily Epiphany, November 26th, 1998

Lake Bob Sandlin

Thanksgiving Day, Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

I woke up this morning in the popup and was cold. I hadn’t packed my sleeping bag or brought very many warm clothes- one pair of jeans and one flannel shirt, the rest shorts and T-shirts. Cold and apprehensive this might be a chilly vacation. But I shivered on down to the bathroom with my Barney-Bath Time Fun! towel for a shower. Meanwhile the Texas sun rose up into the trees and presto-change-o it was warm and all was right with the world.

We all decided on a hike for the day. We were camped in the Fort Sherman area, spot #2 and the trailhead was only a few spots down, between #5 and #6 and off we went. Not too far down the trail on a flat section between two creeks there was a stone marker:

Homesite of
James (Jim) Francis
& Ann Eliza
Coston
1890 1924

It is hard to believe this thick woods, these tall trees were once a farm, not so long ago. It isn’t virgin forest, but at least it is a complete and varied habitat. No single species professional forest. I memorized the trees along the nature trail stretch, there were little poles with labels, Lee would carefully spell out each one.

Short Leaf Pine(tall and stately)
Eastern Red Cedar(a beautiful tree with gorgeous stringy smooth bark)
Sweetgum(Stunning red stars for leaves and spikey seed-balls for Lee to collect)
White Oak (tall as the pines)
Flowering Dogwood
White Ash
Winged Elm
Mockernut Hickory
Red Oak
Tree Huckleberry
Red Mulberry
Willow Oak
Possum Grapevine (not a tree, really)
Red Maple
American Elm (very few of these left)
Blackjack Oak

At the end of the nature trail we crossed the road and went on down to the trout pond.

This is a little lake that the state stocks with trout every now and then. It is a calm spot, the water dyed a dark color from the leaves that fall in and steep like tea. The thick autumn woods, orange, yellow, brown, green reflected perfectly in the water; the twin forest disturbed only occasionally by the rings of wavelets as fish hit insects on the surface.

A little past the pond, Lee started to get tired (walking is tough on his short legs) so he, Candy, and the Giant Killer Dog turned back. Nick and I continued on, they would get the van and meet us at the playground by the fishing pier, at the other end of the trail. We wound our way through the deep dappled woods, the trail covered in a thick rich carpet of leaves. Crossing the road again, we pushed on to the Brim Pond, then turned off the trail to take a short cut to the road through a brushy field. It was tougher than it looked, I carried Nick on my shoulders so he wouldn’t have to walk through the brambles.

It won’t be long before he’s too big for that.

Next to the playground is an old cemetery. While Nick and Lee swing on the swings, climb on the bars, I can’t resist finding the gate in the fence and taking a look at the stones. There are only a handful.

Under an old oak in a patch of perennials, were two tiny rectangles of old limestone. Not enough room for dates, not enough even for names. Only the initials M.E.M. on one, T.H.M. on the other. I assume these were the original stones. A few feet in front were two more elaborate monuments – still old and worn, but newer looking than the small ones.

These new stones were square in cross section, about two feet in height, pointed, like tiny Philip Johnson skyscrapers. One had a design, a stylized lily and said:

Mary E Miller
Born Mar 13,1834, Died Feb 3, 1907

The other:

T.H. Miller
Born Feb 12, 1835, Died Apr 21, 1893

It also had a poem:

A loving husband, a father dear
a faithful friend
lies buried here

The top of this one had a stylized star and the legend
LEAD KINDLY LIGHT

Nearby – a modern stone, no date.

Jesse Benson
Grayrock Vols
Texas Militia
Confederate States Army

Finally, another simple stone,

J.F. Coston
Texas

CPL CO C5 REGT Texas INF
Confederate States Army
1838 1903

This one had some faded red flowers placed on it.

And a piece of flash fiction for today:

The Hundred Hidden Kisses by Carol Scheina

From Flash Fiction Online

Carol Scheina Homepage

Carol Sheina Twitter

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