Victor and Vivienne

This week our letter is “V”.  Click the link above to learn more and join in.  I’ve used our talented host’s drawing and her 5 prompt words:  vast, vigor, vocalize, Vicuna and Vanuatu. 

Additionally, I’ve combined several other prompts including Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt (“opera”—95-words, I counted them by hand😊).  Links are at the end.

At least annually

Victor and Vivienne

Had the same disagreement

Where to go on holiday…

Vivienne repeated her

Longed-for choice:


Rolling eyes heavenward

Victor began to vocalize his

Typical lament with vigor


“It’s a volcanic island…”

“Where’s your sense

Of romance?  Passion

Is enhanced when there’s

A bit of danger,” Vivienne

Countered, with her

Come-hither smile.

“Viv, the world is a vast

Venue for adventure—

Romance can be had anywhere.”

“But I ‘vant’ Vanuatu.”

“Okay—it’s gonna cost you”, he paused…

“The painting we saw at the museum

Last month—of the Vicuna.”

©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

Aunt Umbrella Bird (letter-a-week-u)

We’ve arrived at the Letter “U”!  Click the link for more info, and join in—it’s not too late!  I’m using the author’s wonderful drawing, and her 5 prompt words:  Umbrella Bird, unnerve, unadorned, uncomfortable, universe

Aunt Umbrella Bird

Was the only person in

The universe I felt safe with…

When I was 3, very shy, she’d

Visit…her first question was

“Who loves you?”

I’d pause, then: “Umm…brella”

Her legal name: Bella Bird, but

“Aunt Umbrella Bird” stuck…

She claimed I was her favorite niece

I’m her only niece, and was over

The moon about her—she was funny

Kind, plain-spoken, usually unadorned

Unless we were being wild & crazy—

Never uncomfortable acting silly

She said she was 16, just looked

Older…and shrugged as though it was

The gospel truth—

When I’d confess horrible things

She wasn’t unnerved…my

Confidante, she honored my feelings…

As I turned 14 and spilled my

Latest sin, she hugged me, said

“Everybody hates their parents

Sometimes—it’s normal!”

My folks split up, good thing…

I lived with “Aunt U-B” till I

Finished school…we had

The BEST times…I almost

Believed she really was a



“Let’s go for a walk,” she

Said one Saturday

“It’s raining,” I noted

“So? I’ll be your umbrella”

She owned a humongous

Purple-paisley one…when I

Glimpsed our reflection in a

Shop window, I thought we

Looked like the cover of a

Fabulous book! 

I exclaimed this, and she urged:

“Then, get busy writing that

Nobel Prize winner!”

She believed I could do anything

Because she held the same

Opinion about herself…and

After all, we shared the genes—

We walked to our preferred

Little bakery and sat at a small

Table with our chocolate eclairs

She said she had something

Important to tell me…

I was relishing the treat

Barely listening…till her

Words pierced me…

I set my pastry down, suddenly

Queasy—she took my hand

“Now listen to me…we are Not going

To stop living and having a blast

Just because I may be dying…

We’ve always been honest

And open together, ‘Bella Jr’…


Her announcement slammed hard

But she would deal with it

As though it was another

Shared adventure—

When she lost her hair, she

Managed to find a hat fashioned

Like a child-size umbrella

And perched it on her head

“How d’ya like it?  Perfect?!”

I had to laugh…anyone else would look

Ridiculous, she wore it with saucy aplomb—

I hadn’t realized she was fairly wealthy until

She informed me I didn’t need to work…

We’ll be too busy, she said:

I would write, she decided

She’d paint illustrations…

I had no clue for a story…she

Had faith my imagination waited

Only for my fingers to move

Over the keyboard—


That spectacular adventure

Lasted 4 months…I hadn’t known

She was an artistnor that there truly

Was a writer inside me…

Ever entertaining, she’d wear

Costumes each day, something to match

The umbrella hat, or clash garishly—

I cooked…until her appetite waned

Soon fatigue set in as well

The last thing she asked was

“Who loves you?”

Struggling, I answered

“Aunt Umbrella Bird”

“Don’t you forget it,” she

Whispered, and went to sleep.


Grief struck deep…she was

Everything to me…but before

Long I sensed she hadn’t gone…

Her BIG presence was palpable

In the house she’d left to me…


Her paintings were shipped with

My manuscript, to the publisher

Who’d mysteriously appeared…

We were a success, had been

Since I was born


I wear her umbrella hat…☂

©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

Toucan Souvenir (a-letter-a week-t)

We’re at Letter T…click the link above for more info and join in!  I’ve used the host-author’s drawing and her 5 prompt words:  Tropics, Thrill, Tactical, Tempt, Toucan

A tactical decision

Waiting till he’d been retired

For years before writing to him

Thinking his fan mail would

Have diminished…increasing

Her chance of a reply

How thrilled she been, a child

He, handsome cowboy star…


Married, divorced, disillusioned, but

Her love for hero never waned…


Receiving brief cordial

Response she was tempted

To empty bank account

Board a plane, meet him

She knew he lived in

Eden-like tropics with wife

Of many decades


The trip was doomed…his city

Was hot, humid, crowded with

Tourists… she was irrational

Imagining he’d actually see her…


She wept entire flight home

Had counted on him being

The image heart clutched…

Would it have been so

Inappropriate to enjoy

A short conversation?

In truth, she’d hoped for

A replacement father…


But hero spoke

Through closed door

Pretending to be the butler…


Now she sat in shadowed room

A world far from his paradise…

He’d written second letter

Words lacking coherence

It lay in drawer with toucan

Pin, souvenir of fated journey…

The media announced

He’d died…likely suffered

Dementia a long time…

Some dreams are best

Kept locked in heart


©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

The Scrubbed but Slightly-Skunky Steven

This week’s letter is “S”—I’m using both the author’s drawing and her prompt words:  Skunk, School, Scrubbed, Snug, Sense of Wonder.  Click the link to learn more about this weekly prompt, and join in!

But for the name “Sally”, this tale is 100% autobiographical!😉

Sally’s sense of wonder

About school lasted only

Through First Grade

Reading was easy, fun, and

Her teacher clearly considered

Her the star pupil…

By the next September

Mere thought of 12 full years

Of compulsory education

Became a stone tied ’round her neck…

The surprising kindness of pretty 

Miss P frightened her initially

When the young teacher

Took her to the Supplies room

For a chat, but Sally soon felt snug

Seated on Miss P’s lap as she

Asked in a soft voice, “Can you

Tell me, are you sad…or scared?

Don’t you like the other children?”

NO one had ever asked Sally

How she felt about anything

She had no idea what to reply—

She could hardly speak about

The well-scrubbed Steven B

Who was otherwise a skunk

The way he habitually picked her

Up and wouldn’t put her down

Till he finished squeezing her…

Nor could she reveal her home life…

Stressed by the obligation

To say something to Miss P, she

Admitted she couldn’t “do numbers”

Miss P assured her she’d help her

Learn, and briefly hugged her.

Math never did become Sally’s forte…

And though Steven ceased lifting

Her off the ground on a whim, his

Attentions continued through Jr High

Until her family moved out of state ~

She never forgot sweet, insightful Miss P…

And decades later, after her divorce

Sally wondered if she and Steven

Might have married, had she

Not left town… he’d seemed

Sincerely smitten, despite her

Gawky, not-yet-lovely adolescence.

©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

Rescued By the Robin

This week’s letter is “R”, and I’ve used the host’s marvelous drawing and her five prompt words: Rome; relief; rhyming; run; robin.  Click the link above to learn more about the challenge, and join in!


The robin rescued my reality.

My brother, Richard, invited me

To vacation in Rome—though he

Knows I despise traveling, hardly

 Leave my neighborhood.

He’s visited most of the world

And I always say, “bring back

Lots of photos!”

He does each time, and I fully

Enjoy them without stress

Of actually going somewhere.

So, while I love Italian movies

Food, music, I said, “no thanks”

Hugged him hard, kissed his cheek.

“You don’t know what you’re

Missing”, he said—and I called

“Bring back lots of photos!”, as

He ran to board his plane.

I felt relief, happiness when he

Phoned to say he’d safely arrived

To begin another adventure.

He considers my life less ‘vibrant’

Likes to tease, but realizes I’m

Well-content in my smaller world

Cooking, writing, talking to birds

Outside my window.

The crows are my pals, and I

Relish visits from seagulls

Lone blue jay, sparrows, wee

Chickadees.  I wake, and fall

Asleep to birdsong every day—

Who wouldn’t be joyful?

I don’t need to travel.


I expected Richard’s return, next day

And was surprised by an afternoon call.

I’d been watching the robin, faithfully

Perched next to my windowsill—

Peering in, observing my activities.

Chuckling, I picked up the phone, “hello?”

Within single moment, life changed.

My brother Richard, best friend I

Loved with all my heart—was dead.

The tour bus he was on had been

Bombed, no survivors.

I should have accompanied him…

Days, weeks, months passed in

Blurry shock, initially…then waves

Of agonizing grief, sorrow, crashing

Into and nearly drowning me—

Particularly the day a package was

Delivered.  Somehow Richard’s

Camera, loaded with photos, had

Found its way home unharmed.

His death ripped through me

I’d never known such pain, didn’t

Think I could live… I surely couldn’t

Write—rhyming had deserted me

Leaving choppy lines of incoherent

Phrases lacking cohesion.

But his pictures were filled with life

His handsome smile embraced

Me from every scenic spot.

The one daily touchstone of divine

Grace was my robin—eyes turned

Toward me, searching my heart

With compassion, empathy…as if

To say, “you can do it, you’re strong

Because you have a brother’s love

And God above, holding you both.”

©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

Remembering Quokka

For a-letter-a-week, “Q”, I’m using the host’s drawing and her 5 prompt words:  quagmire, queasy, quick, qualify, quokka.  This challenge is FUN, so click the link above to join in.

Quick as she saw the word

She felt queasy…one of those

Flash-back gut punches…until

A memory surfaced which thrilled.

What weirdo or clique of weirdos

Could think the college newspaper

Would sparkle under the name


Forever ago that’s where she’d

Headed—place of learning so new

There were no permanent buildings

Mere mobile units plopped into

Damp brown mucky not-yet

Grass-sodded quagmire.

Little was required to qualify

For enrollment—pay tuition

Fees…Boom, you’re a college

Student wondering...why?

Then one day, trekking to

English Lit she nearly slipped

‘Mid the ‘quag’, and was rescued

By strong gentle hands:


He wasn’t the “big man on campus”

Every newbie female hopes to

Connect with (star athlete, whatever)

He was so much more.

Suddenly she felt blessed

To have muddy sludge

Ruining her shoes.

Quokka’s kind dark eyes told

Her she was beautiful, brilliant

A Somebody among nobodies…


©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.

Mr Puffin, Please!!

Prompt words for the host’s Letter “P” Challenge: puffin, passion, playground, pacify, perky


In the history of the world

Mr (Pietro) Puffin was the worst

Most outrageous boss to ever

Occupy a corner office

Some days he was perky

A child at playground, full

Of silliness, annoyingly so

At other times, petulant

Cranky curmudgeon needing

To be pacified, ego smoothed

Of eccentric, neurotic wrinkles

Before addressing a meeting

His mood swings exhausted me…

And then there was that day

A rainy Friday, I was hanging

Up my coat, damp umbrella

When without prefacing word

He pressed me ‘gainst door

Planted putrid kiss upon

My appalled lips—

Managing to regain pointed

Umbrella, I aimed it well

He backed off, weeping

Mournful, melodramatic

Pouring his heart which

Had filled with passion, he

Declared, on perfect sunny

Morning he’d hired me…

I landed umbrella’s parting shot

Shouted, “Mr Puffin! You’re fired!

©Leyde Ryan, 2022 ~ All rights reserved.