Friday, October 1, 2010

Molly and Igor - #fridayflash

Damage from Hurricane Igor, just off the Trans Canada Highway
in Newfoundland.

The owner of the posh bread and breakfast is hither and yon, gadding about, flitting like an exotic butterfly on visiting flowers.
Her Aunt Molly, though, she’s the real stuff.
“This here’s my Aunt Molly,” the owner tosses our way as she dashes off into the parlour to greet or to meet or to solve the world’s problems as they might apply to a B&B in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Aunt Molly stands behind a dining chair, apron and smile pasted tight.
“We have ham and eggs for breakfast,” she says, “would that be alright?”
She brings hot coffee. Serves homemade morning glory muffins with bowls of fresh sweet butter and bakeapple jam she made herself. 
There are several bowls of jam on the elegant breakfast table. The guest from Ontario points to the the bowls, one at a time, and wonders what they are.
“That’s bakeapple,” she says.
“That’s rhubarb.”
“That’s strawberry.”
The guest points to the bowl filled with something bright red.
“That’s ketchup,” she says.
Aunt Molly is in her 70s. She is a gracious woman and puts up with the guests and their silly questions. She tells them that George St. at night is a must-see. She talks up Signal Hill and Cape Spear. She casually describes the terror she felt as she cowered in a bathroom while Hurricane Igor raged at her windows.
“I live on the fourth floor,” she says. “and I’m having a hard time getting the salt water stains off the glass.”
She says, “It wasn’t so bad here. Only one man killed. It could have been worse. The small villages, though, they’re hurt bad. People without homes. Without water. Overflowing sewage. Cut off from the rest of the island by washed out roads. It’s terrible.”
The guests nod, unable to really understand the depth of her fear. They ask about whale watching and puffin tours. She tells them what they want to know.
But her thoughts, they return not to Igor, but to a navy ship in December 1954, where she was traveling with her new American husband, a navy seaman, away from Newfoundland towards his homeland.
She was already homesick, heartsick and seasick when Hurricane Hazel struck, heaving the steel ship like it was nothing, like she was nothing. She clung to the narrow bed in her berth and prayed that she could keep the baby growing in her gut, prayed that she and her husband would make it to shore alive, prayed she would one day see  Newfoundland again.
Aunt Molly talks easily to guests about Hurricane Igor.
But look closely, and you can see her hands shake.


  1. How do you do it? Not only did you find time to post a #fridayflash on the day before your wedding,you have one done of your honeymoon too? You're good!

    I think you really captured the essence of the people of the Rock with this one.

  2. This is excellent. All those little details really paint a picture, and then you drop your bombshell...what a courageous woman.

  3. Cathy you have such a gift for description, for creating the perfect atmosphere for your tales. I love Molly and, with that last line, want to hug her. Great, great work!

  4. Good golly Miss Molly, I laughed when Aunt Molly pointed out the last bowl was ketchup.You are a busy bride, nice job!

  5. Wonderful. And I'm hoping you wrote this in all your spare time before you got married! Super last line, and hope you're having a grand time in that posh b and b! Peace...

  6. It's the little observations that make this for me, the ennui of life that create a strong figure, and the story that tells a tale of a very strong, yet fragile woman.
    And blessings for your wedding day,
    Adam B @revhappiness

  7. Loved it, Cathy. THose missing years away would make a great premise for a novel. Aunt Molly sounds like a fine woman.

  8. I want to sit and eat a morning glory muffin with bakeapple jam and listen to all the stories Aunt Molly wants to tell.

  9. Molly seems to be a strong woman, and a kind-hearted one too. I agree with Alan that her story would make good material for a novel.

  10. A perfect picture of a place, a time, a woman who crosses time in her memories. Of courage. All painted tastefully with delicate details. "That's ketchup." Ha!

    Amazing work, as usual. I feel blessed to be able to visit your world through your mind.

  11. Have I told you lately how sublime your writing is? Your writing is always sublime, and this is another jewel to prove it.

    I, too, could see a novel about Molly. This is just amazing. Love every word.

    You rock the house, girl. :)

  12. You have this wonderful way of getting all cozy and sweet, then dropping in with the heavy emotional subtext that really connects. And I love your regional tales, makes me want to visit. Hope your honeymoon is dreamy.

  13. Great as always Cathy. I love the changing emotions. The jam and ketchup provide a bit of light relief in a very emotional story. I like the way you linked the two hurricanes..:)

    My flash fiction blog

  14. Such a lovely wistfulness in this.

  15. I loved all the little sensory touches in this. The colors of the jams and the way her hands shook. Lovely.

  16. Heartbreaking. You know we used to call Grandma H. "Hurricane"


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