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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lion in Lake Tahoe


Grace’s canoe paddle cut through Lake Tahoe’s water and left a chain of sparkling rings on the blue surface.
“Is this a… good surprise?” she yelled again over her shoulder.

From the back of the flat bottomed canoe her older cousin Katherine sighed impatiently.
“Stop asking me.”

The canoe rocked as Grace pulled in her paddle.  She pivoted quickly around in her seat.  Water stained dark circles on her blue jeans.
She peered deep into Katherine’s dark brown eyes looking for any hint of the surprise.
There was none.
“Ask again and we’re going home. I mean it!”
Grace turned around and continued paddling.
“It better be good,” she mumbled under her breath. “My arms hurt.”

The nine-year-old looked up. 

Even in June the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains were snow covered.  They called this area  Da ow aga as their ancestors had for over 9,000 years.

The girls were Washoe Native Americans.  Like the ancient Washoe they spent summer and early fall by Lake Tahoe.
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2011 © Words4Sail

Bina: Gullah Slave Spy for the Swamp Fox

"Old Plantation" 18th century SC Plantation

There it was again.
The squeak of a wooden door slowly opening from somewhere in the house.
Bina’s sleepy head rose off the straw mat where she was laying out in the second story hallway of Massa Hampton’s plantation house.  The house lay on the banks of the Santee River in South Carolina’s Low Country.
A chorus of crickets sang under the azalea bushes on the warm June night in 1780.
Closing her brown eyes Bina rolled over to sleep on her stomach when she heard the strange sound again.
Now she was fully awake.
She knew that sound.
It was an inside door to the left of the Blue Room’s large stone fireplace.
It always squeaked.  Although she spent many an hour with a greased rag in her hand trying to fix the annoying sound - it always came back.
Hearing the snores from the house's other occupants, black and white, Bina shivered as the downstairs' mahogany clock struck 12 times. 
According to Big Delia, midnight when the hag holluh came out.
This hag holluh must be very powerful, thought Bina. 

She could hear it creeping around the house.
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2011 © Words4Sail

The Letters of Madame

Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine
Known as "Madame" 

A voice cut though fog of the twelve year old’s sleep.

Come, I need you.”

What, thought the girl sleepily as she stirred on the blue satin armchair in front of a roaring fire, was her beloved grandmother doing in Paris? 


It was not Grand’Mere’s voice, but rather the urgent tone of the Duchess of Orleans’s that caused the young-lady-in waiting to jump up quickly.   

The Duchess was Elizabeth Charlotte..  Born a German princess she had married the brother of the French King Louis XIV over thirty years ago. Now a widow, she was called “Madame” as a sign of respect.


Rachille, one of Madame’s pug dogs had been asleep on Henrietta’s lap. He slid down her green silk brocade dress and landed like a fat tortoise of its back.  He rolled over, flapped his ears violently and grumbled in indignation as he waddled over to his smiling mistress.

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2011 © Words4Sail