Just-Jot-It-January (Jan 10-11)

Just Jot It JanuaryChocolate and Cosmopolitan

So, this month I’m doing a challenge to write a micro a day, for Just-Jot-It-January. Thanks to Linda G. Hill, bloggers in the “Play Group” have proposed a one-word prompt for each day. We share our responses back to Linda’s page, and are able to read what others come up with. I’ll post my responses every few days in bundles, to respect your in-boxes. But if a prompt tickles your imagination, please click its connecting link to read more!

Jan 11:  Cosmopolitan

Summer Dreams

Joshua hooked up the donkey to the wagon, checking that the traces were secured to the yoke and tongues. He patted the donkey’s neck and laid an affectionate arm across its withers while he waited for his pa. Scanning their small lands, the half-grown fields, the river that flowed past the hardwood forest, and big sky, his eyes rested again on their wagon.

It was a simple affair. A board fixed up front and across the open box of the wagon served as a seat for driver and passenger, a footrest attached at a slant to the front for comfort and control. The canopy had not been raised today; fair, partly cloudy weather was expected, and the recent rains had calmed the dusty roads they’d travel to get to Charleton Corners.

The box was loaded with his ma’s jellies and baked goods, and a dozen precious bottles of her cordials. They hoped to do well at the mid-summer market in the big city of Charlton; Ma’s Elderberry cordial was quite popular among the moneyed folk. Joshua’s chest swelled a little with pride. He’d helped with the gathering and the brewing this year, as their family had no sisters to help with the work, and he was grown enough to be working around the boiling kettles and hot glass. So any questions customers might have? He’d be the expert if anyone had any questions.

This was Joshua’s first visit to Charleton with his Pa since his older brother, Billy, married SueEllen Harms and moved closer to their village to be a boss at the sawmill. Billy used to be the one to go to the big city, but SueEllen was expecting the baby to drop any day now, and he didn’t want to be away from her for too long. Pa had said last night over dinner that what with Billy so distracted these days, he could sure use a strong hand to help him with the market; could Joshua see his way to helping him out?

Joshua nearly busted two buttons off his shirt, he was so proud. He caught his ma smiling, eyes sparking at his pa the way they sometimes did when they thought he couldn’t see. But he did see. And he remembered that Charleton Corners was where Billy had met first met SueEllen. Was there someone there in the city for him, too? Of course, he was too young to be thinking of getting married, but maybe he’d end up settling in Charleton when he grew a little more. Or maybe he’d go farther on down the road, maybe light off to a city by the ocean, where ships came in and out from all over the world. He’d read about harbor towns, and he idly wondered whether girls from other ports and other countries ever came in on those ships. How would he meet them…?

“You about ready for Charleton Corners, Boy?” Pa interrupted Joshua’s daydream. “Now don’t go all cosmopolitan on me. You still need to stick around here for awhile, at least until SueEllen’s baby grows a bit, and she and Billy can help out here at the homestead, again.”  

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)

To see others’ Jan 10 responses click the following:


Jan 10:  Chocolate


It was my Waterloo. After so much effort to get out and walk every day, watch what I ate, ensure adequate amounts of sleep, eschew toxic people, and spend my hours with those who inspire by kindness and consideration, rather than a swift kick in the butt, it all came crashing down. Well, not all, but most. And it didn’t so much crash as accumulate over a year’s time. I’m sure this is an experience that rings familiar to many, reminiscent in detail to some, but in its specificity, wholly unique to me. Yay.

It might’ve been the bewildering stresses of quarantine. It might have been the revaluing that goes along with a change of rhythm, a sense of threat to personal safety, or even a protective instinct toward vulnerable and/or and immune-compromised loved ones. The stakes changed dramatically, and continue to ask for flexibility, caution, and mindful compassion, when we’d prefer to go back to an earlier, easier time. A time when we could take for granted the things that some people have struggled with, and continue to battle, every day of their lives.

Do we call this a Sense of Entitlement? Ignorance? Privilege? This Stream of Consciousness has gone around a pretty dark bend in a frighteningly swift and heavy river. Maybe this dark thinking is what needs to happen in all of us, to make a change for the better for everyone. But maybe it doesn’t need to happen on this page, but in my heart, and inner eye. The prompt “chocolate” invites lightheartedness and a little celebration; so perhaps I won’t continue in that gloomy vein. At least, not on this page…

My first line of this post for today was: It was my Waterloo. I’d started by musing on my recent winter weight gain, due to cold and snow and the holidays, despite my best efforts to live the good life. I was craving creature comforts, instead.

Of course, I’m blaming it all on the ready availability of chocolate truffles. Bags of them: cheap, sparkly, good but not overwhelmingly delicious. Easy to toss into a holiday gift bag, and arrange in a festive bowl. But also, so easy to twist the bright, crinkly wrapper and pop the entire globular morsel in my waiting, cavernous maw. The TV ads show elegant, slim women unwrapping just one, taking a small bite, and having a sensual awakening in the privacy of their own homes (quickly followed by a candlelit bubble bath), or becoming the life of the party and dancing the night away with any and all admirers.

For me, though, it’s a sugar rush, a gathering of fat around the torso, a dimpling of the thighs, and a blemish, and then another blemish as I dig into the bag and pull up another chocolate bomb. That’s my unique experience, my Waterloo. Damn you, Lindt truffles! I blame you for everything, even though I know it’s not completely your fault.

See you for Valentine’s Day?

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)

To see others’ Jan 10 responses click the following:


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