Uncultivated simplicity

black and white wooden chairRosemary lived alone in a crude shack at the end of a neighborless dirt road, on a tiny scrub acre of rocky soil. Each spring, she worked her meager garden, breaking up dry earth with her broken-handled hoe, leaving meandering furrows in uneven rows. Her apron pockets filled with dried seeds and kernels from last fall, she drops a few from gnarled hands, marking each row with a hand-painted sign in her shaky calligraphy.

Carol, the postmistress, rarely brought Rosemary any letters, but she still stopped by just to check on her, to make sure she was okay. A honk from her old mail truck horn told Rosemary she was on her way.

Expecting to see Rosemary sitting on the porch waiting, Carol pulled her truck up to the rickety mailbox and got out of her vehicle. She climbed the stairs to the front door, calling to her friend, hoping to hear her reply from the garden. The only sounds were the creak of her work boots on the worn planks, and squeak of the rusty screen door hinges.

Dark and cool inside the shack, Carol let her eyes adjust to the change in light. Tiptoeing through the rooms, calling softly, a lump formed in her throat, worried what she’d find.

In the small, tidy bedroom, Rosemary was lying on her goose down feather bed, a hand-quilted comforter across her stick-thin legs, a bible clutched in her hands, and a beatific smile on her face. Carol stood in the doorway, torn between heartbreak and envy.

Slowly walking back through the shack, Carol stopped on the porch to sit in Rosemary’s old chair to gather her thoughts. She called the sheriff from the radio in her truck to report Rosemary’s death, then called the pastor. Rosemary was always her last stop, so Carol sat on the porch and waited on the hearse to gather her friend, wondering who else was left to call to mourn the old woman’s passing.

The Trifecta challenge this week is: Crude [ adj \ˈkrüd\] 3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity

45 thoughts on “Uncultivated simplicity

  1. Gorgeously written Tara! Beautiful imagery, awesome mood and tone. Love this line: “Carol stood in the doorway, torn between heartbreak and envy.”


  2. From the drop-dead (haha, sorry) opening line, this story is pitch perfect! Wish I’d been friends with Rosemary, and could be with Carol!

    bit of crit: The syntax here made me stop: ‘Dark and cool inside the shack, Carol …’


  3. simple yet beautifully complex language 🙂 Sad that Rosemary has no one left to mourn her but what a beautiful way to go, at complete peace


  4. Excellent word choices. Meandering furrows in uneven rows…I keep saying that over and over.

    This is so well-written

    Leeroy misses you at 100 word song


  5. Meandering furrows in uneven rows. That line is perfect and stunning. Obviously when dealing with subject matter like this, it’s easy to over write it, or make it too sappy – you did a great job of balancing the tragic with the sweet and the bittersweet. Great work!



    1. I mentioned that this character was based on a woman my aunt had befriended. Even well into her 80s she still had her own garden, her rows were a bit haphazard too.


Join the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.