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March 4: Flash Fiction Challenge

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Sweet potatoes arrived in the mail this morning. Two packages of dehydrated fries for Mause, my three-month-old German Short-haired Pointer. It takes her ten minutes to eat one and she gets two a day. This buys me twenty minutes of time. Such is life with an energetic puppy.

The Hub fancies he’ll train her for quail hunting and who am I — an artist of stories who fancies she’ll publish novels — to say how unlikely that is. It’s not because we have no quail in Upper Michigan. He can travel to his family’s ranches in Nevada. He struggles to train her at all. His brain trauma has robbed him of patience and reasoning. Not that a former Airborne Ranger was ever the patient sort, but it’s become comical how I have to clicker train him to clicker train his dog. Of the three of us, the GSP remains the most competent.

We are all allowed our dreams. I’ll kick anyone in the shins who dampens the dreams of another, especially the dreams of the vulnerable. I’m not a violent person but I feel locked in a strange battle where I have to fight the VA system to get the healthcare my warrior needs and I have to fight my warrior to get the healthcare he needs and I have to fight myself to carry on because none of this is normal. But maybe the concept of normal is derived from the same fluff of dreams and cotton candy. Sweet on the tongue but ephemeral. Not real.

I write fiction. I craft stories that are not real. It’s called verisimilitude — the appearance of being real or true.

My life feels not real at times. Like when he badgers me to go outside in the snow at 11 pm because Mars is visible in the sky. He’s obsessed with Mars and can point out all the planetary alignments. That part feels authentic. But when I try to capture a real moment, try to connect, try to remember who he used to be, a car turns down Roberts Street and I remind him to step out of the road with the puppy and he rages at the car for driving fast and reckless. They are not. But I can’t say so.

He continues like nothing abnormal happened and points to Taurus’s eye — “That’s your sign,” he tells me. It is not. A knee-jerk reflex and I protest, forgetting my place of accepting what is not real. “I’m a Gemini,” I say. “No you’re not,” and he continues telling me about the night sky. Sometimes I laugh. But sometimes I cry. He’s my husband and does not know me.

I’ve become the villain in his mind, the person who has trapped him in this God-awful snowy prison. He slips on the ice, walking the dog and it’s as if I’ve deliberately swung a sledgehammer to bash both knees. It takes a week before his counselor can convince him to go see his primary care physician, and it’ll take me days to help him remember he agreed to do it. I’m not too concerned. He’s not limping. Just grumbling. He needs a bad story to chew on and anything that makes me the bad guy is his favorite fairytale.

Remember, it not real, it’s the verisimilitude of an altered mind.

So, here I am, writing fiction about a veteran spouse. She is not me. I couldn’t bear to give her my burden. Instead, I wanted to explore how long-haul veteran spouses come to carry the weight of wounded warriors. I wanted to give a definition of the invisibility of veteran spouses. We are real and so are our loyalty and our brokenness. We get crushed beneath the packs of what they bring home from combat training and war zones.

Forget eggshells. Some of us walk on broken glass.

I wanted to write a beautiful novel. An uplifting story. One that faces death, dismemberment, and dementia. One that shows the struggle to understand what PTSD is and how many soldiers overcome it.

My husband did. He used his combat dive training to manage night terrors. He remained, and remains, fearless. He knew something was wrong with his thinking years ago and back then, he trusted me to find out why. We were still a team. I have much admiration and respect for him in confronting the debilitation of multiple conditions. At what point do I say enough? He doesn’t get to. Why should I?

And so I stand before you a Taurus prison guard (aka a Gemini veteran spouse) and I think of sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes fries (not the dehydrated ones for puppies to gnaw). Twice-baked sweet potatoes. Roasted sweet potatoes. Sweet potato pie. From savory to sweet, these tubers can become many things. Sort of like veteran spouses.

Submissions now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

Myrtle’s Basket by Charli Mills

Myrtle dug the tubers. Her spade cut the loam, missing the sweet potatoes with garnet skins. She shook them free of California soil, cut their vines, and placed each in a basket her mother wove of old clothes. Myrtle fingered a faded blue cloth, remembering the dress her sister used to wear when she gardened. Before the Spanish Flu robbed them of Althea and Papa. Dirt was harder back then. The graves difficult to hack into the drought-toughen soil. That was the only year they didn’t grow sweet potatoes. Myrtle carried fresh tubers and old memories to her kitchen.

🥕🥕🥕


175 Comments

  1. Ah, Charli.
    You and Myrtle know loss, pain.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. floridaborne says:

    OMG! This is so true: “Forget eggshells. Some of us walk on broken glass.”

    Liked by 8 people

  3. denmaniacs4 says:

    So, I hadn’t sung a song all day, not even in my shower, so this prompt just could not be denied…

    The Coronavirus Sweet Potato Pie Blues

    I caught the Covid love bug.
    It surely took my breath way.
    Can’t give my baby a hug,
    In a snuggly way.

    Chorus:
    And my sweet, my sweet potato pie
    You were the apple, the apple of my eye,
    My sweet, my sweet potato pie.
    I went off my diet and that’s no bloomin’ lie.

    I got the Covid love bug,
    Played a fancy man’s game.
    Ended up a lonely mug
    Only got myself to blame.

    Caught the Covid love bug,
    the Coronavirus blues.
    I’m a two-timin’ lug.
    So, what else is news.

    …and my sweet…my sweet potato pie….

    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 14 people

  4. Liz H says:

    I am sorry for your struggles, but awed by your devotion. Remember to keep yourself safe, as well; soul bruises go deep and last long.
    And yes, sweet potatoes are nourishment for heart & soul, baked and mashed hot, with butter, maple syrup, and a generous sprinkle of cayenne. I’m wishing you such comfort, tonight!

    Liked by 9 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s a comforting recipe. Yes, heart food, them sweet potatoes. There are unexpected delights, too. Like when he forgets he used to mock Star Wars and now he wants to watch The Mandalorian with me.

      Liked by 7 people

  5. Hi, Charli. As a former owner of a German short-haired pointer, I fear The Hub is about to re-live the lfate of Sisyphus. But I digress.

    This week’s essay challenge, based on the prompt, is as follows:

    Q: Of what value is a bet based on a sweet patootie, in the sense of the expression ‘you bet your sweet patootie’, referring to someone’s assurance of sincerity. Modern times have transformed this former endearment into a somewhat uncouth reference to a person’s derriere (aka a person’s rhymes-with-pass), giving rise to a conundrum. If the person being spoken to is a Boney Moroney with a patootie to match, does this mean the bet is of little value? Conversely, if applied to a person of steatopygian dimensions in the booty department, is it a bet of immense value? Discuss.

    Liked by 12 people

  6. […] March 4: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Norah says:

    Gemini – Gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable, ability to learn quickly and exchange ideas
    Taurus – Reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable
    I think you’re both right. He’s a lucky man, and would be luckier if he knew it. Your loyalty and courage are medals to wear with honour, Charli. But even they can be removed occasionally.
    Sweet potatoes – yum! One of my favourite memories of sweet potato was of them baked in – now I’ve forgotten – cinnamon and brown sugar, I think, at a Lone Star (Western American) Restaurant. They (the restaurants) sprang up here a few years ago but didn’t last long. But they were mighty good potatoes. I love them baked. I have made a delicious sweet potato roulade for Christmas for my vegetarian family. It’s worth the effort – occasionally.
    May you week be as sweet as the potatoes with a tinge of cinnamon and brown sugar.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Aw, you are too kind, Norah. Okay, I can accept attributes of both. And it’s a good reminder to seek the good in the unexpected.

      Huh. That’s interesting — Lone Star restaurants must be similar to Outback Steakhouses in the US. Most US restaurants that serve sweet potatoes, make them into fries (chips?). I love to roast them in olive oil and curry powder. They are versatile. Your sweet potato roulade must be spectacular. I’ve never made one before.

      May your week be as sweet as you!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Norah says:

        You’re very sweet, Charli. Thank you. Sweet potato chips (fries?) have become quite popular here in recent years too. I like to serve them with fish. They go really well with my lemon myrtle barramundi. 🙂 I was thinking about the Lone Star sweet potatoes again and wondering if it might have been nutmeg rather than cinnamon. Either one would be rather delicious. I haven’t tried them roasted with curry powder. That sounds good too.
        Have a wonderful week.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Oh, my — lemon myrtle barramundi — sounds delish! You make that and I’ll bring the curry-roasted sweet potatoes!

        Like

  8. ellenbest24 says:

    Your story, it feels a little like loving someone who has extreme dementia. Sometimes you have to not interupt the conversation pointed right at you, the one that the person delivering it 100% believes is for you. And agree. … Like an actor, take on the person he thinks you are even if it is uncle Jack the hobo from Kentucky. Your acting skills people would pay to watch. You could write a stage play! You could show what it is like to live with you having to be so many characters. … How hard that only rarely are you thought of as the person you really are. And through it all you still love the man that once was. P.S. I believe to do that you probably live as if you are a Gemini sometimes. Xx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I see the irony of being a Gemini, Ellen! I have a friend here who is also a grief counselor and has worked with dementia patients for years. She’s a kind person who has developed ideas about dementia that makes it feel less scary. She says they do become other people but not fight it. So, if you must become the hobo from Kentucky, do so with love. We continue to look for the pillars of familiarity and intellect that are still there. Thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. […] fiction inspired by Carrot Ranch and based on characters in the “Hull Crossing Chronicles” […]

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I love astronomy. I like going out into the dark and gazing at the stars. One of my dreams is to one day have a telescope (I’ve wanted one since I was a kid) but for the moment I manage with a pair of binoculars that aren’t quite the right aperture for stargazing, but the moon still looks really good through them.

    I’m sorry for all the stuff you have to deal with. You’re a very loving soul and that must test your resolve at times. You certainly don’t deserve it, but relationships can be tricky at the best of times. I think it’s why I prefer being alone at the moment as I don’t really know how to deal with other people that well.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. […] Charli’s Carrot Ranch 99-word Flash Fiction prompt! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ritu says:

    I only really discovered sweet potatoes when on a diet a few years ago, and I do love them!
    Here’s mine, Charli!
    https://butismileanyway.com/2021/03/05/march-4-flash-fiction-challenge-diet-spuds/

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Shameless Self Promotin’

    “Aussie, ya brung sweet ‘tater pie! What’s the occasion?”
    “You tell me Pal. I’m guessing Kid isn’t around and you don’t want to be caught talking to yourself.”
    “Aw, shucks, ya guessed right. Yeah, Kid’s ridin’ herd on thet story over ta Marsha’s place.”
    “Story Chat?”
    “Yep. Kid’s concerned there’s more story then chat.”
    “Thought Kid was nervous about the chat.”
    “Yep, an’ now worried it’s fell flat. Tell ya, it ain’t a bad round up a all the fictional ranch hands. We’re all in it.”
    “It’s a little risqué, that mystery.”
    “Writers have ta take a risk, ey?”

    https://tchistorygal.net/2021/03/02/march-story-chat-wanda-lust-daveryshiftn-

    Liked by 12 people

  14. Curly Lies

    “Quit yer yammerin’, Kid.”
    “Dig the taters outta yer ears an’ listen, Pal. Tellin’ ya, we got anuther mystery goin’ on here at Carrot Ranch.”
    “How kin a sweet p’tater patch wander off, Kid? Ya musta fergot where ya planted ‘em.”
    “No. Way.”
    “We’ll look agin. See any vines creepin’ ‘long the groun’?”
    “Nope. Mebbe I should git Curly ta hep sniff ‘em out. Curly? She seems mighty tired. I’ll let the sleepin’ hog lie.”
    “Kid! Look it thet turned over soil! Yer pig et the sweet p’taters, vines an’ all!”
    “No yams fer us.”
    “Mebbe ham?”
    “No way!”
    ****

    *Note: While the terms are often used interchangeably, yams and sweet potatoes are two different plants. The leaves of the sweet potato, unlike regular potatoes, are edible.*

    Liked by 10 people

  15. I’d never heard of sweet potatoes until I moved to CA. My mother in law made ‘Yams’ with marshmallows on top baked in the oven for my first Thanksgiving. I love them to this day, piping hot mashed with butter and pepper. Mmmm. I will think of you with Mause next time I bake one 🙂 My heart goes out to you in your struggles, Charli. You have written a beautiful novel that will touch many hearts. How can it not? ❤

    Liked by 7 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, those marshmallow-topped Thanksgiving yams! Funny how we call them yams, but we eat sweet potatoes. A good California memory. Thank you, Sherri. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli, we are riding the crest of the Californian wavelength! 🙂 I really wanted to write a flash this week, but it’s been a full on week in which my edits have suffered too. But now back to the laptop…and to another new dawn, new day. And how I hope life is easing for you too, my friend ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Every day is renewed! Keep moving forward. Some weeks we need to roll with what comes our way. ❤

        Like

  16. […] Carrot Ranch March 4 March 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. It can be part of a recipe, meal, or used as a nickname. Where do sweet potatoes take you? The grocery store? The garden? Mars? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by March 9, 2021. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jules says:

    Charli,

    Your story is only one of many hardships new folks had to deal with. I took a little liberty with some names of regular as well as sweet potatoes to interject some humor 🙂 Along with some notes… I hope you enjoy:

    Tater Talk

    Two boys from Idaho, Spud Murphy and his friend Red Norland were visiting their North Carolina friend Ned Nugget. Ned’s sister Jewel had her friend Hannah Garnet over. Spud had his eye on Hannah!

    Beauregard Covington was Hannah’s Uncle and guardian, he was at the Nuggets too! He wasn’t fond of Northerners especially from the west. Beau was gonna root out any trouble quicker than one could mash potatoes! No one was gonna be sweet on his niece that was from outta town.

    Hannah saw her Uncle getting steamed. “I’ll move to Okinawa if you don’t settle,” she hissed!

    ©JP/dh

    Notes:
    Since the word spuddy was once the nickname for a seller of bad potatoes, it has also been supposed that the word spud derived from this. … Since, for some reason, people named Murphy inevitably get the nickname Spud, and potatoes are sometimes called “Murphy,” the name Spud was also applied to potatoes.

    Also some famous potatoes come from Idaho, but some sweet potatoes in the states are grown in North Carolina.

    I’ve used the names (and nick-names) of potatoes and sweet potatoes and other related spud words in this little ditty. Some are more particular to ‘Sweet Potatoes.’ In no particular order; tater, spud, Murphy, Red Norland, Nugget, Jewel, Hannah, Garnet, Beauregard, Covington, root, mash, potatoes, sweet, steamed, Okinawa and well sometimes when they cook steamed potatoes hiss!

    Liked by 10 people

  18. […] March 4, 2021, Carrot Ranch prompt? “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. It can be part […]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Child’s Play

    He arranged the sweet potatoes into orderly rows on the grass.

    “No. They’re dry. Mommy says to put them in the crates.”

    Ruth knew she was in charge. She also knew that play helped with any work. Her potatoes sang and danced their way into the crates.

    His marched, then dove into the crates. “Ayaaaa!”

    “Gently. Don’t hurt them.”

    He blinked at her, then feverishly started removing potatoes, tossing them to safety behind the tangled vines. “I won’t leave you! Come on!”

    She went to him, hugged his tear-stained face like Mommy does, said, “It’s okay Daddy, it’s okay.”

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Charli,
    I feel the more a stone is polished, it shines.

    I’ve watched your journey, and I bow thee!!

    My take: https://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2021/03/usain-bolt.html

    Liked by 7 people

  21. […] March 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. It can be part of a recipe, meal, or used as a nickname. Where do sweet potatoes take you? The grocery store? The garden? Mars? Go where the prompt leads! […]

    Liked by 3 people

  22. […] This was written with the prompt sweet potato provided by Carrot Ranch’s March 4 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. […] March 4: Flash Fiction Challenge – Sweet Potato […]

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Tough times for both of you, Charli, and I’m always impressed and delighted by how beautifully you write from that painful position.

    Sweet potatoes have taken off in the UK only relatively recently. (Probably later than avocados.) I was surprised you’d be feeding them to dogs, however. Surely you’re not raising yours as a vegetarian?

    A surprising alternative meaning of sweet potato made its way into my flash, which enabled me to mix music and mental health:

    Modern Classics set on hospital wards: Memento Mori & One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2021/03/modern-classics-set-on-hospital-wards-memento-mori-one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest.html

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sometimes it bubbles up and needs expression, Anne. My daughter mentioned recently that she has difficulty relating to friends because their parents are older and aren’t dealing with this particular issue, yet. I appreciate the tolerance when I do.

      Sweet potatoes didn’t catch on like potato potatoes? Ha! Yes, they are nutritious for dogs, but meat is an important part of the Mause diet, too. She gets lamb and a kid-milk supplement, too.

      An interesting convergence of mediums over at your place!

      Liked by 2 people

  25. […] now we know the March 4, 2021, Carrot Ranch prompt is to:“In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. This is a […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Bona Sub Terra Theory

    “That one likes to snuggle,” she said.

    He cradled the hen on his lap as he lifted his jar of dandelion wine.

    “Try this snack— Jerusalem artichokes, best thing to come out of God’s good earth.”

    The moon was just rising. He didn’t see her slight smile as he went on about the gastronomic miracles in his garden, with flesh the color of a summer sunset, but he heard her accept his invitation to dinner even as he wondered how he would prepare the sweet potatoes for her.

    ‘So much good,’ she’d said, ‘so much goodness under the surface.’

    https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2021/03/06/crlc-challenge-in-sixsentences/

    Liked by 6 people

  27. Your stories are always so wise and poignant, but they are also filled with humor, which I definitely appreciate. It’s a great balance you strike.

    Clicker training your hubby. HAHAHAH. EPIC

    People dampening other people’s dreams. I hear you and I agree, but then, sometimes I feel the need to inject just a tidbit of “wisdom.” Not because I don’t believe in them, but because I want them to be prepared for any potential hurdles. Once I am done with that, I will be their number one cheerleader, though.

    Well, I feel silly having written all of the above. When there’s a lot to comment on, I tend to write as I read so as not to forget my thoughts, as if they were crucial for anyone else to hear… Anyway, I do it because that’s the way I engage with the author.

    I feel silly because the rest of this post is so gut-wrenching. I’m so sorry to hear that you have to deal with so much pain…

    Liked by 5 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I love to laugh, Goldie! Ha, ha — I should do a workshop called, “How to Clicker Train Your Partner.” Yes, I think we can balance awareness of barriers on the path and encouragement for the journey.

      It’s a strange place for me to be, having completed a novel that has had many stops and starts because of these issues in my life. And in the end, the book and its protagonist are not me. I had to remember what it was to be in my boots and not Danni’s.

      Thanks for making me laugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Like your hubby, I’ve been rather obsessed with Mars, Charli. To think that the human race has yet another vehicle on that planet, yet nobody has invented the washing machine that irons the shirts for me yet! Maybe one day? By which time, we will have built a motorway on Mars and have planted sweet potatoes in its dry, dusty soil.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Jules says:

      Hugh…

      Interestingly in the movie The Martian (2015) ‘”An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.” The astronaut grows spuds!! And I was watching a show that basically said most of what happened in the movie was scientifically proven to be very capable of actually happening (Well he did sort of have a greenhouse and a little help…)- like actually growing those spuds on Mars. So I’m not sure how far off your last statement is 😉

      ~Jules

      Liked by 4 people

      • I remember the movie Jules. Now, as they had on the original TV show ‘Lost In Space,’ I’m hoping he also had a washing machine that washed and ironed shirts.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Jules says:

        I haven’t picked up an iron in years…
        But then I don’t have much that requires more than hand pressing when I put it on top of the dryer 😉

        I remember some episodes of the old ‘Lost in Space’… maybe you need to invent that machine? There are those refreshing steam machines… but perhaps that just not what you were looking for 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      • No, I want a machine that washes and irons for me, Jules. In ‘Lost In Space, ‘ garments came out of the washing machine wrapped neatly in plastic. Of course, I only want one that uses recyclable plastic.

        They also had those hair-dryers I remember my mother sitting under at the hairdressers that washed, cut and styled your hair for you.

        Liked by 6 people

      • Jules says:

        I remember those huge bubble hair driers – burn your scalp!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha, ha! Good point, Hugh! We can do incredible far-out feats and yet lack innovation in a laundry rover. Won’t that be something? Mars sweet potatoes. Will farmers look for the blue planet at night?

      Liked by 1 person

  29. “We are all allowed our dreams. I’ll kick anyone in the shins who dampens the dreams of another, especially the dreams of the vulnerable.” – This hit me hard, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

    “I’ve become the villain in his mind” and “Forget eggshells. Some of us walk on broken glass.” – I can’t begin to imagine the pain that you endure. It’s incredible that you’re taking your experiences and building off of them to write a wonderful novel. I think your writing is going to have such a meaningful impact when you publish it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Dreamers need a champion. Maybe we get to be that shin-kicker for each other. 😉

      After writing my novel, I’m seeking to recalibrate. It’s good to have writing to express and process. It hurts less that way, giving feelings wings and resetting situations. Thanks, Nicole.

      Like

  30. […] by this prompt from the Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that […]

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Here’s my story:
    https://elderberrytea.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/sweet-potato-disaster/

    Sweet Potato Disaster

    He heard a cry of frustration as he opened the door, and soft sobbing as he took off his shoes and coat. “Oh honey, what’s wrong?” he called out as he gathered up his briefcase and travel mug.

    “I can’t do anything right.” She pointed at the charred mashed sweet potato and marshmallow dish. Just at that moment, the smoke from the oven reached the fire alarm. She scrambled to get up off the kitchen floor, but he beat her to it.

    She stood despondently in the hallway. He pulled her into a hug, whispering, “We can get takeout.”

    Liked by 6 people

  32. Charli, our veteran spouses don’t live in the actual world. The real world was the military, the mission… and their place in that world. All of that goes away in the civilian world. The camaraderie is never the same. It doesn’t matter how you leave the military, we all feel it. The stakes change and you never feel part of the big machine again. Our dear friend, our son from another mother, retired a few years ago. He stopped by the other day to say how unfulfilling civilian jobs are compared to the military. He’s barely 40 years old, and he feels it too. Your hubs has given much to the country. I’m in awe of your compassion, love, and understanding. The wives and kids of veterans are the ones always left to pick up the pieces. We are the true warrior-women. I’m always here for you. ❤

    Ugh… sweet potatoes. They are supposedly good for WW! Guess what? Not for me. I gain weight eating vegetables… ah, such is the battle of the bulge. I'll come up with a flash. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  33. […] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction March 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  34. “I Yam, What I Yam”

    “Excuse me, young man, you work in this department. Where’s the yams?”

    “Do you mean sweet potatoes? You know, the orange ones?”

    “Yeah, yams. I need ‘em to make my grandson’s favorite dish, Candied Yams.”

    “Well now, ma’am. Yams are the brown ones and sweet potatoes are the orange ones. We have Beauregard, Jewel, and Garnet. Myself, I like the purple ones from Okinawa.”

    The old woman stared at me and blinked her eyes. “Yams aren’t purple.”

    I chuckled under my breath. “No, ma’am. Yams are brown and look like roots.”

    She smiled. “Yeah, you got any orange yams?”

    Liked by 7 people

  35. TanGental says:

    Goodness, the battles continue even when the battle ends. A mind most torn.
    The sweet potato is a delight but as my two incorrigible scamps point out, when did they suddenly become a thing here? Why did we wait so long to have them? They even grow here, for Pete’s sake.

    ‘What’s that?’
    ‘Sweet potato fries?’
    ‘What’s wrong with chips?’
    ‘Nothing, Logan. Just different.’
    ‘When did sweet potatoes become a thing? When I was a kid there were just potatoes. Then someone adds sugar and you have these things. ‘
    ‘They weren’t invented, Logan. They originated in South America…’
    ‘So you say. But I bet you never had a sweet potato anything as a child.’
    ‘No, but…’
    ‘Just the common or garden spud.’
    ‘Yes, but…’
    ‘It’s the Americanisation of vegetables. Culinary appropriation…’
    ‘The potato came from America. We all learnt that, didn’t we?’
    ‘You’re a contrarian…’
    ‘Takes one to know one.’

    Liked by 5 people

  36. Vegetable Cookery (BOTS)

    The sophomore home economics’ curriculum included yeast bread, which was the main reason Julie chose this elective; however, it also included vegetable cookery. Julie wasn’t thrilled about this unit because she didn’t like vegetables; the rule was that students had to taste each one. Swiss chard, rutabagas, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, and more vegetables that she had never heard of, but found that she liked. A new favorite was sweet potatoes especially with brown sugar and marshmallows. One vegetable she managed to not eat was okra, and how Julie managed to do that without getting caught, well, that’s another story.

    Nancy Brady, 2021

    Liked by 5 people

  37. […] A little Logan and Morgan for this week’s carrot ranch prompt […]

    Liked by 2 people

  38. willowdot21 says:

    What a sad but beautiful story, life goes on 💜🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  39. […] for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join […]

    Liked by 3 people

  40. […] Written for the Literary Community of Carrot Ranch – March 4th Flash Fiction – Sweet Pot… […]

    Liked by 3 people

  41. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (03/04/2021):  In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes sweet potatoes. It can be part of a recipe, meal, or used as a nickname. Where do sweet potatoes take you? The grocery store? The garden? Mars? Go where the prompt leads! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Liz H says:

    Not fiction today, but a wish for better things to come…

    Hope. Springs. Eternal.

    We’ve gotten a respite from chilblain-blistering cold, with temps tomorrow in the mid-sixties. Nearly a week of melting’s left my home’s southern exposure (nearly) stripped of snow, grass matted like a week in bed with stomach flu. Rain, possibly thunder, predicted for the day after tomorrow; may it inspire some green…
    [Continue ]

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Lisa Coleman says:

    Hi Charli

    PTSD is such a serious disease and when you add brain trauma, it is downright difficult. I was in the Marine Corps and so was my ex-husband. Neither of us served during wartime, before Desert Shield, but living on eggshells is something I know a great deal about. My situation was different because it wasn’t PTSD, but short-tempered domineering egomaniac putting me down at every turn. The reason he is my ex! I commend you for sticking by your hubby’s side.

    Marsha turned me on to your site on Saturday when her and I conferenced called. I thought I would give it a try today with your Sweet Potato prompt.

    Nice to meet you! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  44. […] Charli’s 99 word flash fiction prompt this week is Sweet Potatoes. I’m combining this with a photo prompt that a friend sent me recently. Just something she came across while out for a stroll in the woods. Who knows what story lies behind discarded objects we see on a daily basis? We can only imagine! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Gloria says:

    Here’s my Sweet Potato Flash Fiction! Special Occasion.
    https://gloriawriteshere.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/special-occasion/

    Liked by 4 people

  46. suespitulnik says:

    Charli,
    I’m sorry your hubs pack is so heavy on you and you have such a fight on your hands. I admire you for giving the veteran spouse a voice, in reality, and fiction. I hope you have been able to meet with your vets’ wives group at least on Zoom so they can help with the load. Perhaps I should insert more PTSD scenes in my serial to make it more authentic. I’m glad you have Mause to help you smile. That face of hers has me wanting to snuggle her. On to the prompt…

    A Filipino Treat

    Tessa looked at the shopping list with skepticism. She asked Michael, “What are you going to make?”
    “A dessert that I was introduced to while in the Philippines. It’s a thin tapioca pudding made with coconut milk. Then rice balls, sliced plantains, boiled sweet potato nuggets, and chopped figs are added.”
    “Sounds labor-intensive.”
    “It is. You have to prepare all the add-ins first.”
    “You’ll sure dirty a lot of pans.”
    “Correct. That’s why I’m making it when Lexi and Adam will be here to help with eating and clean up. I promise everyone will love it, especially Emma Blossom.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • He knows what he’s doing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      The pack is heavy, Sue but the load is light with many hands, including yours. This is what your story exemplifies with Michael reaching out for help with the clean-up. You know, I find your serial authentic. And I think it’s important to show how well-functioning the veteran community can be. That was something I intended to show in Miracle of Ducks.

      Oh, yes! I get my daily dose of Mause snuggles. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  47. Ann Edall-Robson says:

    Yam Jungle
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    “What’s that?”

    “Yam jungle?”

    “Did you say, damn jungle?”

    “No! I said yam jungle.”

    “Those are sweet potatoes!”

    “No, they’re not.”

    “Well, that’s what we call them.”

    “Well, you are wrong, they are yams.”

    “No need to get your knickers in a knot.”

    “Well, then, call them what they are.”

    “What’s the difference miss know it all?”

    “Sweet potatoes have white flesh and are starchy, like potatoes. Yams have an orangey flesh and a sweet flavour.”

    “You’ve said they’re sweet potatoes.”

    “No I didn’t! Geesh, why do you continually insist on arguing with me when you know I’m right?”

    https://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/yam-jungle

    When the yams sprouted while waiting to be cooked, I let them go to it. It was a nice bit of greenery. I left them, and I left them, and I left them…They got lots of comments and suggestions from those coming to our kitchen. 18 months later, when they had used up all of their internal food, the greenery shrivelled and all that was left was the outside shell of the yam.

    Liked by 3 people

  48. Marsha says:

    It’s late and I have to leave these sweet potato pie comments for later reading, but your story moved me. I’m struggling with my vet so many years after his service as a translator wearing earphones for hours every day is going deaf. It is so annoying when he hears me wrong and gets mad. Or something pushes my button and I finally yell – because how else will he hear me, right? I’m praying for patience and for anger management – on my part. But your story resonated with me reminding me that I can deal with a little problem like hearing. It’s nothing as bad as PTSD or loss of mental acuity or many other issues that our Veterans have because of their service. Thank you for bringing me back to a good place. 🙂 I think I’ll go have some sweet potato pie and go to bed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hearing loss is the number one ailment of veterans, Marsha. I know, it makes communication frustrating and yet funny at times. I hope he’s gone into the VA. They will cover all his service-connected hearing loss needs. Thank you for understanding! And, I got your sweet potato 99-word story in the collection!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha says:

        Thank you Charlie. Yes, since we moved here, he’s had his first appointment. They are fabulous. I hope they can do something for him that works. He’s tried two different expensive hearing aids and won’t even wear them because they are too uncomfortable for him. So I feel you pain – on a much smaller scale. Lots of love to you for all your patience and kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        I hope he gets devices that work for him. We often use the phrase “quality of life” when dealing with VA healthcare. We often have to remind them.

        Like

  49. You’re soft and silky. Velvety to the tongue. Sweet as pie who leaves my brother numb.

    Be it as it may, your skin is too thin. Toughen up my friend because you aim to win.

    Show off your looks your glistening hot body. Steamy and dreamy you come to us from the family of morning glory.

    You can be hard and cold, rooted and odd. Misshapen and drab, gaping and gold.

    I press my lips against your flesh and sense you’re no ordinary yam, you’re a sweet potato. Everybody gets it wrong. Correct them with a little brown sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

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