The Bleaker Street Tradition

The number of holiday lights on Angela and Craig’s house grew over thecobaltb 40-some years they lived on Bleaker St. Hundreds of cobalt blue and white lights trimmed the roof, outlined the front door, and sparkled from the bushes.

That is, until a few years ago.

“I’m afraid the lights are out for us,” Angela told Jess, her next door neighbor. “Craig’s in the hospital; he fell, broke his ankle, sprained his arm, and he has two big shiners.” She pointed at her eyes, and circled her index fingers around them.

“He started to hang the lights, but lost his footing or got dizzy—not sure which—and fell down the steps. He’s doing well, considering, but they’re keeping him a couple of days for testing. I’ll stay at the hospital until he’s released; gotta’ nag him to eat right.” She gave a weak chuckle.

Jess realized that Angela and Craig had aged without him noticing. They seemed too young.

What he said instead: “We’ll watch over your house; give us a call so we’re sure to be home to help get Craig settled.”

Angela smiled a warm thanks. She hesitated before getting in the car, and said “Jess, you and your family have always enjoyed the lights, so please take them. It will keep them off Craig’s mind. He has quite a long attention span, you know.”

Jess laughed, nodded—and made another plan.

It was a remarkable plan—in part because several neighbors agreed to do a fair amount of work in a short deadline—but mainly because of the results.

cobaltsmallerAngela and Craig were treated to a spectacular view as they approached home. Their roof was covered—not just the edges, mind you, but the entire roof—with cobalt blue and white lights. Double strings lit up the walkway, outlined the front door and bay window, and covered the entire row of bushes on both sides of the porch.

Craig’s jaw dropped open. “It looks good enough to eat.”

Just as spectacular was the view of the front yard:  full of neighbors who were laughing, celebrating, admiring their handiwork, and ready to help Craig get settled.

“The lights are on for you, after all,” said Jess, with a slight, serious smile.

Jess’s remarkable plan has continued to shine…

The neighbors have gathered to take care of the lights on Craig and Angela’s house since Craig had his bad fall—the year the holiday lights became a Bleaker Street tradition.

signature-pic

Author page and Acknowledgements

The most interesting current thing about me is actually About Chessie, an e-reader story that I authored, described below.

This can’t be real yet here it is all the same…
Sharon trembles uncontrollably when she sees her chandelier crashed on the floor, and a lime green creature peer down at her from the ceiling.
“Cheese crackers! I made a hole in your roof!” the creature shouts, and introduces herself as Chessie.
Chessie explains that tired of the madness, she wished herself out of her former story. She is baffled as to why she crashed into this particular story, but she desperately wants to fit in.
Sharon advises Chessie not to get too wrapped up in that idea because hardly anyone ever really fits in anywhere.
So, begin their interactions. About Chessie is a modern-day fairy tale about a character—in the true sense of the word. And a curiously unlikely friendship.
I enjoyed writing this story. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
Link to retailers who sell it for 0.99: Books2read.com/AboutChessie

Thank you
At the risk of sounding Academy-Award-like, I want to thank several people.
This story probably could have been completed in months. It took me seven years. Seven years equates to a lot of feedback—not just any feedback—detailed, point-by-point feedback.  
You took me seriously. I appreciate that. The words were always there. So was the fear of writing them down. Or maybe it was the fear of finishing.
Fear being the key word. All of you (listed below) helped make that better for me.
Thank you for your encouragement, Cheryl

Author of the award-winning novel Act of Grace
Karen Simpson is an extraordinary writing coach. She was key in my finishing this tale of many previous versions. She is expert at giving critical feedback—without being critical. Her feedback makes me think, dig deeper. My writing is richer because of her.
Her passion for writing is one that she shares with the members of three writing groups that meet in Ann Arbor, MI. She has been the informal leader for over twenty years.
Karen also has a passion for quilting. She created her first quilt block using white wedding napkins—to her mother’s surprise—that were tucked away in a drawer for safety. She went on to make several beautiful quilts. She is pictured below with two of her favorite creations—the horse armor for Dancer, and a matching coat for herself, both patterned after the quilts from Hausa Nigeria.
Karen’s second novel, The Naming of Quilts will soon be in press.
More about Karen: www.karensimpsonwrites.com

Bill Bingham, fellow scribbler, for his encouragement and detailed feedback on earlier versions of this tale. I especially thank him for his software training over the years. His tips and step-by-step instructions helped me overcome my fear of technology and gain a skill that has added to my creativity.

Chelsea Writer’s Group for giving my first professional critique and point-by-point feedback.

Kenna Gaynor for her encouragement and comments.

Alice Holbrook for her detailed feedback.

Carolyn Morado an exceptional scribbler’s partner. She has helped me hone several stories over the years. She reviewed several versions of About Chessie—and re-reviewedgiving feedback that helped me refine the tale. She has regaled me with her own delightful stories and interesting manuscript. Our weekly meetings are a real high point for me.

Kelly Pahl for her encouragement—about writing and getting out to exercise. Our talks about all kinds of interesting things make me think, and make my life more interesting.

Pat Stewart for her feedback about the graphics and her patience with my frequent declarations that I finished About Chessie. I appreciate our talks—and our weekly walks. Her friendship has made my life richer.