Daysong Graphics
Ornamental Peace

I never kept a diary. At least not the bare-your-soul kind. Not since the age of twelve when my best friend found mine and told everyone who I liked, including the boy I named in those sacred pages. The experience taught me never to write anything I didn’t want someone to read. That anything I said could be used against me in the court of life.

Darlie Routier learned that lesson after two of her sons were killed in an attack that nearly robbed her of her own life. Though evidence indicated someone besides her husband had been in the house that night, a Texas jury convicted her of murdering her kids. All because of a vague statement she made in her diary.

I’m sure if Darlie knew of the horror to come, she would have gone back and clarified herself. Used precise nouns and verbs to clear her name. But she didn’t have the chance.

Surely my mother would have done the same.

The call came while I was at work. That night, I listened to the message as I tossed a handful of feta cheese into a salad. “Hon, it’s Aunt Mary.” The digital rendition of my aunt’s voice blipped in places. “Your mom is pretty sick. The doctors say she doesn’t have much time.”

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Mom's Gift To Me

The piercing chill of the Northern Canadian wind blew through our hand-knit scarves on that blustery February afternoon. It was an exciting day for my younger brother and I. A combined PTA meeting and skating party meant lots of food and fun with friends. So, with a hot lunch warming our bellies, our skates slung over our shoulders, and hugs from Mom, we waited for our closest neighbors in Beaver Creek’s small farming community to pick us up. Finally their blue van pulled onto our farmyard.

“Quick, get inside.” Mrs. Lawson motioned with her hand. “Judith. Jane. Make some room.” I urged my brother inside and jumped in just as the wind threw the door shut behind us. With chattering teeth we said hi to our classmates and made small talk as we drove the thirteen miles to the school.

“Too bad your mom isn’t feeling well. She’ll miss the meeting today.” Mrs. Lawson held a potato salad on her lap that shook with each bump on the gravel road. “I’ll let her know if there was anything important.”

The Lawson family had two girls. Judith was my age. The girls would always ask questions about what we did with eleven children in our family. My dad and Mr. Lawson would swap ideas on how to grow better crops, and Mrs. Lawson would drive us kids to 4-H sometimes. We were neighbors, so we helped each other.

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