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The Carrying Year ... A Short Story Poem from the Maggie Series

Updated on August 24, 2013

The Maggie and Papa short stories and short story poems that mark one of four solstice interludes that begin with the autumn season -- The Falling Year: The Falling Year, The Taddy Year, The Robin Year, and the concluding summer segment, The Carrying Year.


For Maggie, the days of early summer were golden and plentiful. Birdsongs and insect hums filled the air and mingled with flowered scents that tickled her nose. She loved the warm sun that coaxed new smells and colors from the earth. And she always laughed when she wiggled her toes in the grass that was barefoot green and cut tangy-sweet.

Summer was also the time of the year when Mama and Papa would take her on a long drive to Canada where they would spend a month with her beloved Nanny and Grandpa on the lake. But they did not make the trip last summer. That was the falling year, the year Mama left them to walk with the angels a few days before Maggie’s seventh birthday.

Just when Maggie had given up hope of going to Canada for the second summer in a row, Papa surprised her. “So, Mags, would you like to drive up to Nanny and Grandpa’s this weekend?" She squealed in delight as she rushed into her father’s open arms for a quick hug.

Maggie spent the next few days gathering up everything she wanted to take to her grandparents’ house. She squirreled through her drawers and closets to retrieve her favorite shorts, jeans, t-shirts and sweaters...all of the things she wore that spoke of happy times with the people she loved. She made sure she had her silver-tone medallion with the words 'love, hope, faith and charity' inscribed. Although heavy, it was one of the many gifts Mama had given her. Maggie always found some comfort by carrying it in one of her pockets whenever she could.

On the morning of their departure, Maggie helped her father pack up the green station wagon that would carry them over hundreds of miles. She was surprised at how much they had to take: Suitcases and smaller bags were filled with things snuggled in soft pockets that were snapped closed and zippered shut. There were spare pillows and blankets, and warm-up jackets for cooler weather. Papa brought out fishing poles, nets perched on long handles, and boxes with little cubbies holding hooks and shiny metal lures of baby fish. The last item was a cooler filled with fresh apple juice, and Maggie’s favorite sandwiches of chicken salad with small pieces of crunchy-fresh walnuts her father had made the night before.

By 7:00 am, they were all packed and on their way. It was a ten-hour drive, but Maggie knew better than to ask Papa, “How much longer?” He would always say, “Not too far Mags, just a few hours more.” Maggie thought it was foolish to mark the day with hours. It took forever and ever for long hours to end, and there were always more waiting to take their place.

After driving for what Maggie thought was a long time, Papa pulled into a gas station. He filled the tank, then drove around the side of the building to park between two restroom doors. After she used the ladies' room, her father said, “Now Margaret Anne, I want you to keep the car doors locked and the windows up. Beep the horn if anyone comes close and stay in the car. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Maggie nodded, and knew by Papa's firm "stay put" voice that she was to follow his instructions. She was still nodding as she watched him disappear through the men's room door.

Moments later, a man wearing frayed and grimy clothes walked around the corner of the building toward the restrooms. He was dragging a shopping cart full of tattered bags, cans and blankets. Maggie wondered how long it took him to pack the cart each day before he began his journey. The man stopped, and with his back pressed against the wall, slid down into a sitting position as he drank from a bottle hidden beneath crinkled, brown paper. He was old, and she could see the lines cut deep in his sad, worn-out face of mottled whiskers and vacant eyes.

Maggie quietly unlocked the car, ran over to the old man and scrunched down in front of him with her elbows perched on her knees. The man looked into her eyes and she looked into his. They talked for a couple of minutes before she scampered back to the car and snapped the door locks shut only seconds before Papa emerged through the restroom door.

The old man’s eyes followed the green station wagon as it pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. He continued to stare after the driver and his little girl when they had long disappeared from view.

Sometime later, the old man stood up and threw the bag with the half-empty whiskey bottle into a trash bin. Fumbling through his pockets, he found what little change he had left. He spotted a nearby phone booth, and called his son who wept with love as he asked his father why he had decided to call after so many years. The old man turned the medallion he held in his fingers, and once again read the words inscribed. He cried as he told his son what the little girl had said to him when she slipped the silvery treasure into his hands...

“We carry it around with us until the day we learn to carry it in our hearts.”


© 2011 Genna East All rights reserved.



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    • No_Clue profile image

      No_Clue 5 years ago

      O wow, Genna! What a powerful, well-written story! I love your style, description, character and plot developement! An over-all great piece!

    • profile image

      Maya 5 years ago

      This beautiful story poem brought me to tears Genna -- the same way The Falling Year did. I hope to read more about Maggie and Papa!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Amazing piece of literature. Angels are around us in all forms and Maggie served as that man's angel of the moment.

      I'll be thinking of that medallion as I go through this day with the words "love, hope, faith and charity."

      Loved your ending..."He found a nearby phone booth and called his son who wept with love and asked his father why he had decided to call after so many years. The old man turned the medallion he held in his fingers and once again looked at the words inscribed. He cried as he told his son what the little girl said when she slipped the silvery treasure into his hands: “We carry it around with us until the day we learn to carry it in our hearts.”

      Up, awesome and beautiful. Will also tweet this!

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

      So very sweet, the innocent love of a child. They see plainly what we adults turn away from, as if it is contagious. Beautifully written and captivating.

    • profile image

      tlmntim9 5 years ago

      Wow! Beautiful! I did'mnt know you wrote such lovely things, bravo and a few happy tears to you!

      Tim W

      tlmntim9

    • bbnix profile image

      bbnix 5 years ago from Southern California

      This is the path to the future - caring for one another, even through our pain. Children can show us the way in many regards....

      So beautiful - voted up and so, my friend...

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @No Clue and Maya

      Thank you! I am so pleased you liked this story poem, and am grateful for your kind words.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Peggy Why thank you, Peggy. Your words mean a lot, and I appreciate the tweets. :) Yes, Maggie is the angel for both the old man and his son.

      @Pooh So true, Pooh. We lose that magical and forgiving heart somehow. Adults have as much to learn from children as they do from us. Thank you for your lovely words.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Tim Well, I have my moments. :) I admire your work as well, and appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

      @bbnix I so agree. Children can show us the way in many respects. Thank you for your lovely comments and votes of confidence.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Oh Genna, that was a Beautiful story...I was afraid when Maggie got out to talk to the old Man, that the ending would take a sad twist...Thank you for not going in that direction. Two Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      CalVera 5 years ago

      I have to laugh at people who write on and on about short story construction and how they have to have a certain amount of dialogue. Once again, Genna, you blow these so called “experts” out of the water. Those that can, do; those that can’t teach. This is just awesome.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I guess this one's on me...touching little story and very well carried...Bob

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Well done, my friend. I really enjoy this story. Beautiful and awesome. Rated up. Have a nice weekend.

      Blessing and hugs,

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @ b. malin Thank you. No, I wouldn't do that to Maggie. :) I appeciate your comments.

      @Cal Hello my friend. Thank you, but I think it has something to do with the fact that this is a story poem. When writing anything in a poetic form, the rules don't always follow. As always, it is such a pleasure to see you here, again, and I am grateful for your comments. Hugs.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Dio Thank you! Good to see you.

      @prasetio I appreciate your generous comments and vote...they mean a lot. :)

    • tumblintumblweed profile image

      tumblintumblweed 5 years ago

      Oh Wow !! I am Speechless.What a beautiful story,Genna. Just brought tears to my eyes. I applaud you for such a great hub!Look forward to more of Mags & Papa....Thank you!

      ~Blessings~

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Tumblin Thank you...I am happy you liked the story. Many thanks for your visit and comments as well. :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You have danced your way across the page, leaving us breathless. How is it that I am not buying and selling the books you’ve written?

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, that was beautiful, such a great story that showed how children see things that others don't, I loved the ending when he went to the phone, rated up! loved it, cheers nell

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Holy Smoke!

      Genna!

      That was outstanding, and it brought a lump to the throat of this old man.

      Well done.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Mck I am very flattered, thank you. I don't have a lot of confidence in myself as a writer.

      @Nell Good to see you, Nell. Thanks so much for your generous words and votes :)

      @Will Well, Maggie has to take the credit. She was an unusually caring and perceptive little girl. Thanks for your comments...it's always a pleasure to see you!

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      "And a little child shall lead them..." Lovely tale Genna and illustrates that sometimes extraordinary love can produce extraordinary changes. Thank you. =:)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Genna East your writing is insightful, smooth, heartfelt and moving. You are a natural, with an easy going style. This piece flowed with love and emotion captured by your pen.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @winsome Thank YOU! I appreciate your coments.

      @mck Thanks, mck, the style is supposed flow more like a poem. Good to see you as always. :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

      Nicely written, with strong characters and a strong ending.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Tom. I think the ending suprised people although I thought it might be a little anticipated from the beginning of the story poem. I appreciate your comment.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      The ending was not anticipated at all. I'll spare you details about what I thought might happen first to Papa, then to Maggie, for you stopped my heart when she got out of the car. Disobedience too often leads to terrible disaster, but your ending was a positive turn of events. Oh that it were safe for little girls to do such things!

      Looking forward to reading more of your writing.

    • profile image

      DanWW 5 years ago

      Dear Lady

      You wrote so many wonderful lines in this story poem. Like 'The Falling Year', this is a beautiful story ,beautifully told with subtle yet striking metaphor.

      I read your comment and you have no reason to lack confidence as a writer. I'm not a hubber, I am a FaceBook fan and journalist so I apologize for exceeding my bounds as a commentator in this forum and for breaching etiquette for what I am about to say. I think you sell yourself short by publishing on the HUB. You are a gifted, singular writer with significant potential who deserves better. Think about it.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 5 years ago

      Beautiful Genna. Thank you dear.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @RTalloni I know exactly what you mean. I thought about Maggie disobeying Papa and the possible consequences, but her perception and the gift carried the circumstance. Thank you for stopping by, and for your comments. It is good to see you. :)

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Dan Oh my...I thank you for your very generous compliments. I'm not sure by what you mean by 'selling myself short' as there are other writers here who I admire as well. It is always so good to see you, Dan. You have supported me from day one here at the Hub, and I appreciate it. I hope to see you again soon. Take care and be well, my friend.

    • Genna East profile image
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      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Micky You are welcome, Micky, and thanks for the comment. :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Genna Genna Genna - you not only write East - but you also write west - north and south - all four directions at once I might add - you're like some kinda poetic hurricane - impressive says the epi-man who is starting to sound like - lol - a meterologist!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      You are amazing! Up and awesome!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Genna, what a toughing story. A child's love and concern is a powerful thing, how beautifully you portrayed it.

    • Radioguy profile image

      Radioguy 5 years ago from Maine

      Beautifully written and I love the characters.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Epi Well I hope it's a peaceful hurricane, Epi. It is always such a delight and an honor to see you here and to read your generous comments. Thank you!

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Breakfastpop Coming from you, that is quite a compliment. Thank you!

      @Koffee I appreciate your thoughtful and kind words. It's good to see you! :)

      @Radio Thank you...Maggie and Papa are characters that I plan to write about a lot in the future. I am pleased that you liked the story poem, and truly appreciate your comments.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 5 years ago

      Beautifully written and a point well taken. "When the student is ready, the teacher will come."

      up/useful and beautiful

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you Fay; your quote is just perfect and fits the story well. Thanks for the votes too! :)

    • profile image

      KittyMack 5 years ago

      What a beautiful story Genna East. You write so well. I loved the Winter Solstice story too!

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Kitty

      Thank you for your comments, and I am so pleased you enjoyed "Winter Solstice" as well. Maggie is one of my favorite story characters. Nice to see you again, Kitty.

    • profile image

      ChSRiso 5 years ago

      I am hooked on your short stories Genna East. Excellent!

    • msdee115 profile image

      msdee115 5 years ago from Stone Mountain, GA

      Great story! Great writer.. I loved it!!

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 5 years ago from USA

      I gave this story a vote up an awesome Genna. A story becomes beautiful when it is written from the heart,like this one.

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      My apologies for not responding earlier.

      @CHRiso & Msdee Thank you very much; your comments mean a lot to me.

      @Marlin I appreciate your votes of confidnece and suuportive comments. Good to see you.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      This is really a great short story poem ..Thanks for that

    • Genna East profile image
      Author

      Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you for taking the time to read this short story poem. I appreciate your visit, as well as your and kind comments. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

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