Friday, April 25, 2014

Happily Ever After

According to some calendars, tomorrow is Tell-a-Story Day in the US and UK. Well, EVERY day is Tell-a-Story Day here at The Mind’s Elbow, but still…

The holiday does serve to remind me of the kind of storyteller I was back when my children were little. Yes, as you can probably guess, I was the type of mom who just couldn't leave some things well enough alone. Take those fairy tale endings, for example. Well, “happily ever after” just didn't cut it for me.

So, when it was my turn to read, Sleeping Beauty married the prince and then worked her way through medical school to help those afflicted with narcolepsy.  Snow White and her prince developed a crackerjack cleaning and cooking service aimed at mining bachelors lacking such skills. And of course, the girl who released the frog from his spell became a fabulous veterinarian, while her prince helped develop research projects addressing the major causes of amphibian decline.

Back then, I was making a point that I wanted my children to remember —
there is much more of life to live after a matrimony ceremony. Pursue your passion — your personal story does not end over a little piece of wedding cake.

These days, I still change endings. But now there’s a different point that I want my children to know — there is much more of love to live after the pomp and party.

And so my latest endings go something like this…

 And so it came to pass that Cinderella’s memory became as slippery as a fish. At first it was small things… like the date of the month or where she had hidden her secret stash of chocolate. But after a few years that horrible fish had eaten the names of her children and even the husband who had rescued her from a life of servitude. So Cindy simply took to her bed where sometimes for days on end, it was her very own name that swam from her grasp.

Ah, but it was then during those darkest hours of the darkest days, that the old prince-now-king would totter into her chamber. And with twisted hands gnarled from arthritis and rheumatism, he would take the glass shoe from its locked box and carefully slip it upon her withered foot…

just to see her eyes crinkle, and the corners of her mouth twitch…

into an open and glorious smile.

PROMPT: What does “happily ever after” mean to you?


  1. You write beautifully, Barb. <3

    1. There you go, Dawn -- winning the "World's Sweetest Writer" award once again. I loved your Jennifer K. Mann interview! Many hugs to you and yours on this lovely spring day. :)