Friday, April 24, 2015


She was startled awake in the unfamiliar room.  What was that noise?  She sucked in air and held her breath. 

She couldn’t be sure, because she’d been sleeping so soundly, but the noise sounded like it was in her room. It must have come from the hotel corridor.  Afraid to turn on the light, she patted the night stand, searching for her phone.   She recalled her friend’s warning.  “Always secure the chain on your hotel door.”  Alarmed, she realized she had forgotten the chain. 

What was that rustling noise?  Her heart raced, as she remembered her cell phone was charging in the bathroom.   

She traced the buttons on the hotel phone and prayed that she was pressing  zero.  She held her breath.  No response.

She sensed movement in the corner of the room.  She could hear her heart pounding. 

She forced herself to breathe and slowly turned her head.  

Someone was in the corner!  If he had a gun, she knew she’d never make it to the door before being shot.  She had no valuables, no expensive jewels, and very little money.  Would he kill her? 

When her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realized he was removing his shirt. Was that alcohol she smelled? She meekly asked, “Who’s there?” Her voice quivered.

A deep voice answered.  “I was trying not to wake you.  Damn key wouldn’t work, but a bell boy told me I’d had a few too many at the bar and unlocked the door for me.  I bumped into the table and knocked the lamp over. 

Stunned, she asked what she didn’t want answered.  “What --  what do you want?”

He staggered toward the bed.  “If I can have anything I want, I’m sure you know what that is.” She heard the sneer in his voice.

Her heart racing, the words rushed out.  “I…I…I have a little money in my purse, and some jewelry in a pouch on the inside of my suitcase.  There’s a credit card in my wallet.   I haven’t seen your face. I can’t identify you. Please, take everything.  Just leave me alone.”

He moved toward the door and searched the wall until he found the switch. In the glare of the overhead light, they stared at each other.  “Who are you”, he shouted, “and where is my wife?” 

She sat up and said, “I don’t know anything about your wife.  Who are…”.  She slumped onto the bed.

He grimaced and collapsed.

The room was silent.

The next morning, after the bodies were discovered, autopsies were ordered.  Results revealed that both had suffered heart attacks.

His wife spent the remainder of her life cursing her husband for his unfaithfulness.


Thursday, April 16, 2015


I’m always the wallflower at the party.  Why did I agree to let Sue drag me with her to this shindig?  Her invite wasn’t even from the hostess.  Some “hunk” in her office told her about it, and now, she was off somewhere, flirting with the hunk.

Sitting alone at a table for eight, a weak smile pasted to my face, I wondered how these people had so much to say.   Surrounded by loud chatter and laughter, I watched guests mingle through the crowd, smiling and talking.  Even if I had something to say, my high heels were killing me, and the torture of standing up and mingling was out of the question.  I knew I needed to refresh my lipstick, but I couldn’t even stand the thought of walking to the restroom in those shoes.  That’s what I get for buying budget shoes.

My mind wandered back to the phone call this morning.  This is Detective James.  We have arrested a man who is stealing and selling identities.  One of his files contained all of your information. We recommend that you contact your financial institutions immediately, and make arrangements to have the numbers changed on all of your financial records.

At the time, the call had unnerved me.  At the party, it gave me a reason to chuckle to myself.  If someone stole my identity, they were probably having more fun being me than I was at that moment!

Turning my attention back to the party,  I watched a pretty brunette woman in a bright red dress easily saunter through the crowd, greeting and talking to everyone she passed.   I had looked at that red dress in the store, wishing that I had the nerve to buy it, but my practical personality, not to mention my checking account, wouldn’t allow me to pay that much for something that I would seldom wear.   

Ms. Red Dress approached me.  Are you enjoying the party, she asked with her bright red lipstick smile?

I bit my lower, unlipsticked lip.  It’s a lovely party, I lied.

Her arm extended for a handshake, I’m your hostess, Laurie Ritchey.

But, but, I stammered, that’s my name! 

There was a blur of red as she ran out the door. 

My hunch about the identity thief had been right.  She WAS enjoying herself…and I was paying for it!  It wasn’t very amusing now.


Sunday, December 16, 2012


How blessed I am to have God in my life.  I am not a saintly person, and God is probably not in my life as consistently as I’d like.  I know God hears from me more often when I'm in pain than He does when I am feeling thankful.  The love and hope I carry in my heart come from the knowledge that God forgives, God is listening, and God is good. 

Lately, God has had to listen to me a lot.  I’m a chatty person.  Some of my friends probably get a little tired of all my chatting.  Not God.  God knows what is in my heart before I say it to Him.  God listens no matter how long I chat with Him, and if I cry out to Him in despair, God wraps me in His arms.

Two weeks ago (has it really only been two weeks?), God blessed us with the birth of our fifth grandchild.  Dylan Cooper arrived 3 months early, weighing a mere one pound, 14 ounces.  His tiny body is riddled with tubes.  I have praised God many times in the last two weeks, because Cooper’s parents were able (in the nick of time) to get to a hospital with an incredible neo-natal ICU unit and wise and caring doctors and nurses.  The roller coaster ride we have been on for the last two weeks has kept me in close touch with God.  One minute I am thanking Him for Cooper’s health and for his wonderful care-takers.  The next minute, I am pleading that God be with Cooper and his care-takers, and that Cooper not have to suffer.

Cooper’s two older sisters (ages 6 and 9) have been staying at our house a lot, since their parents have been travelling back-and-forth to the hospital, which is 3 hours from our home.  God often hears from me as I ask for the strength and wisdom to be there for my granddaughters as they struggle with their fear and concern for their little brother and their sadness at not having their parents with them.  I often pray for the strength to smile for them, when my heart is breaking over news and worry about their little brother.

All of my strength and resolve broke when I came home for lunch on Friday and saw the reports of the school shooting in Connecticut.  This horrendous event became the catalyst for the cleansing sobbing that I had needed.  As I cried out to God, I knew I was crying for my grandson as well as for those innocent “babies” whose lives had been cut so short.  I cried for my other four grandchildren, who were all in their classrooms at various schools around town.  I cried for the parents of those children in Connecticut.  I cried for all of those who had lost loved ones in such a tragic way.  I cried for the teachers and children who survived this shooting and will live with the repercussions of having been there and survived.  I cried for the shooter and his family.  I cried for myself.  I cried for all of us. 

My heart was filled with despair.  In the wake of this tragedy in Connecticut, it would be easy to feel defeated and to give up.  As I cried out to God…”why” and “how” did this happen, I began to feel that there was no hope anywhere in the world, and I even wondered if God had abandoned us. 

With a broken heart, I returned to my office.  As I opened the mail, I found two notes from friends, telling me that they were praying for our family and for our new grandson.  One writer said, “you probably do not know this, but you were a great help to me in a time when I very much needed help, and I pray for you often, and I’ve now added your grandson to those prayers”.  I could not imagine how or what I had done to help this writer. I could only see that there were still good people in this world.  God has not abandoned us.  Someone had been praying for me, without my knowledge, even before Cooper was born, and many others were praying for Cooper and for our family now.  My prayer became, God, help us to remember that Your world is not a bad place – just a place where bad things sometimes happen.  Help us to remember that there are more good people on this earth than bad people (we just hear about the bad people more often).  Help all of Your people to feel your love.  Help us to give Your love to those around us.  Help us to remember that we don’t always know who might be in need, and that a smile or a small act of kindness might help them.  Help us to continue to hope, and to know, in our hearts and minds, that You are with us always.  Help us to feel your presence in our lives, even, or especially, in the face of despair.  laurie


Saturday, October 13, 2012



Jenny’s prompt for Saturday Centus this week is, “The leaves crunched under my boots until they didn’t.”  I love that sentence, Jenny. 


Susie said, “put on your big girl panties”  I needed my best friend to comfort, not chide me.

I stormed out of the house and stomped around in the leaves, mumbling curses under my breath.

Thinking I heard a noise, I stopped and heard the beautiful song of a bird.  I looked down and saw crumbled pieces of leaves  surrounded by colorful whole leaves.  I had so mangled the leaves that they no longer crunched when I walked. The leaves crunched under my boots until they didn’t.  In the silence of destroyed leaves, I heard the bird.   

Susie was right.  There was beauty everywhere outside the path of anger.   

Thank you for reading my contribution to Saturday Centus.  For links to other contributions, go to Jenny Matlock’s Off On My Tangent.  laurie

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The prompt for this week’s Saturday Centus is “Sometimes you bend.  Sometimes you break.”  Jenny, if it weren’t for your prompts, I guess I’d never write or post to this blog.  Thanks so much for prompting and encouraging me to write.


They request, they demand,
They enjoin, they command.
And I am confessing,
It can be depressing.
Sometimes you bend,
Sometimes you break.
A little bending’s not so bad,
It keeps others from getting mad.
But when we bend until we break
In our hearts, we know we’re fake.
Sometimes you bend.
Sometimes you break.
It takes energy and time
For the breaks to bind.
But it does make whole
A broken body and soul.
Sometimes you bend.
Sometimes you break.
Thus we learn,
Its okay to bend,
And breaking is tough,
But eventually we'll mend.

Go see Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent to find links for Saturday Centus.  Thank you for visiting my little blog.  laurie


Sunday, September 23, 2012



I was so fortunate to be able to spend last week at the beach, so I’ve been absent from Saturday Centus, and I’m late getting there this week.  Jenny’s prompt, “Blah, Blah, Blah”, reminded me of conversations between many husbands and wives.

blah, blah, blah[1]


I know I’m talking too much

I know his ears shut down long ago.

I know he can’t stand such,

But unable to stop, on and on I go.


It’s good he hasn’t much to say,

Because I consume all verbal space.

He pretends to listen day by day,

As he blankly stares upon my face.


Though he sometimes nods, and says “ah ha”,

I think that we have become a cliché.

Because blah and blah, and blah, blah, blah

Is what he always thinks I say!

Thank you for stopping by to read my contribution to Saturday Centus.  You can find other contributions at Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent.  laurie

Saturday, September 08, 2012



Jenny’s prompt today, combined with my night last night, have led me to post someone else’s words for my contribution to Saturday Centus.  My family surprised me with birthday gifts last night, although it is not yet my birthday.  Jenny’s prompt is “It’s only words. And words are all I have”.  Thanks for hosting, Jenny.


Can’t get a better gift than that!


Two of my granddaughters handed me the gift.  The eight year-old shouted, “Gigi, read my card first”!  I read it aloud. 

“We gave you lites,

because you shine as brite as a star

in every place you are

You’re my Gigi,

that’s what you are, a star!”



Tears filled my eyes, as I hugged her, and said “it’s beautiful.” She said, “I wrote it all by myself, so I could give you something just from me.”  I knew she was really saying, “It’s only words. And words are all I have”.   I explained that she couldn’t have given me a better gift.



For Saturday Centus contributions written by adults, please visit Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent.  Thanks for stopping by today.  laurie

Saturday, August 25, 2012



For Saturday Centus, Jenny has taken us from famine to feast (neither of which have been easy for me to stomach).  For the last two prompts, she has taken away letters of the alphabet and allowed us only one sentence.  This week, she has given us 126 words, and required us to use every letter of the alphabet.  Okay, I thought that didn’t sound so bad – until I started trying to include every letter in my contribution.  I think I got all of them, but it sure wasn’t easy.


On Monday, she had to x-ray a bat, three cats, a monkey, and a  dog,

She then administered shots to an elephant, two gators, and even a frog!

Then she examined the innards of two kittens, a zebra, and a jackass too!

While she quietly cleaned  the office floor of elephant, dog, and bat poo,

She worried that her career decision had somehow gone askew! 




Thanks to those who dropped by to read my contribution to Saturday Centus, and thanks for hosting, Jenny.  Be sure to check out the other contributions at Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent (and believe me, she is on a tangent).  laurie

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I’m linking to Saturday Centus (I know, that’s all I ever do on this blog.  I have to be prompted into writing.)



Our friend, Jenny, was on the edge last week, but this week, she’s gone completely OVER the edge!  One sentence – again, but this time no “e” AND no “t”!  My immediate response was, “Impossible”, but then, I knew there were others out there who would complete this assignment with grace, flair, and brilliance.  Not me, but let it not be said that I didn’t try!





You baaad, and I maaad,

and if you say, “How fun,”

I gonna say, “You crazy, hun!”

For other one-sentence impossibilities, go visit Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent.  Thank you for visiting me.  laurie

Saturday, August 11, 2012



This wLetter E[1]Letter E[1]k’s assignmLetter E[1]nt for Saturday CLetter E[1]ntus is to writLetter E[1] 1 sLetter E[1]ntLetter E[1]ncLetter E[1]

without using thLetter E[1] lLetter E[1]ttLetter E[1]r “Letter E[1]”! 

JLetter E[1]nny, what r you thinking?  Only 1 sLetter E[1]ntLetter E[1]ncLetter E[1]? Oh No!

GLetter E[1]tting rid of “Letter E[1]” isn’t so bad, but limiting mLetter E[1] to only 1 sLetter E[1]ntLetter E[1]ncLetter E[1] to

say something cohLetter E[1]rLetter E[1]nt is just too cruLetter E[1]l!  (Of coursLetter E[1], somLetter E[1] may say

that I’m not cohLetter E[1]rLetter E[1]nt with 100 words.)

Letter E[1]Letter E[1]Letter E[1]Letter E[1]K!

Without that “you know what”,

I’m afraid this is all I got!

So glad you stopped by.  With a one-sentence limit, I’m practically speechless!  This “nevah” happens to me, so enjoy it while you can.  Check out other one sentence contributions at Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent.  laurie


Sunday, August 05, 2012


I am linking to Jenny Matlock Off on My Tangent for Saturday Centus.


Today’s prompt is a photo, plus 100 words in poetry.  I’m not sure this can be called poetry, but a few words do rhyme!



I bet you think it’s my lucky day.

Do you think that, in the heat,

My humans made, just for me,

This bed of ice on which I lay?


I can promise you, that wasn’t their plan!

I was just doing my thing when 

I hiked my leg on their chest of ice,

But when  they screamed, I quickly ran.


I hid and watched them dump their chest.

Then, when they left to get more ice,

I slowly crept back in the yard,

And laid right down for a nice cool rest.


Thanks for stopping by.  For other Saturday Centus contributions, please go visit Jenny Matlock Off on My Tangent.  laurie

Saturday, July 28, 2012



I’m linking to Jenny Matlock Off on My Tangent for Saturday Centus.  This week’s prompt is “Please remit your payment promptly.


I’ve been abandoned by my muse, but I didn’t want to miss Saturday Centus.  My sincere apologies for my contribution.  laurie

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I am linking to Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent.  Jenny has given us 100 words plus the prompt, “birthday party favor”.



We had been to five stores, but Matt couldn’t find  a birthday party favor for his seventh party.  Finally, I gave him money to go into the drug store alone.  I was relieved when he returned with two bags.   

Before they left, Matt handed each guest a small package.

Matt stormed into the kitchen.  “I had to pay a man to buy the water balloons, because the  owner wouldn’t sell them to me.  I guess he knew they weren’t any good!”

My heart dropped when I read the word “Trojan” on the box he was throwing in the trashcan! 

Thanks for coming to visit my blog.  Please go to Jenny Matlock Off On My Tangent to find other takes on this prompt.  Laurie

EDITED TO ADD:  It has just been pointed out to me that I might not have read the prompt carefully enough (thanks Anita).  Ooops!  The prompt was “Birthday Party FLAVOR”.  I will leave it to the reader to use his/her imagination to decide what flavor the water balloons were!  Maybe I need to have my eyes checked for new glasses.  (I probably just need to take more time reading the prompt).  My apologies.



Thank you so much for visiting (Remember, I'm battling an inner critic, so please be kind!)

Thank you so much for visiting (Remember, I'm battling an inner critic, so please be kind!)