Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Yep, The Sack"

This month our club, The East Texas Writers Guild, hosted a small contest with a sentence prompt;  In October I saw a barefoot girl with a brown paper sack under her arm walking along the highway.

I said "what the heck, let's see what happens."  So here is my attempt.

I saw it and I smiled.  An unusually warm evening for the week before Halloween brought my rocking chair to the front porch.  Living in the country did not mean you’d never see your neighbors.  Several were enjoying the evening walking up and down the road in front of the house in which I grew up. 
The barefooted girl walking by carrying a brown paper sack under her left arm caught my attention.  A slight grin kept anyone from having the first idea what she was thinking.  With Christmas being only a few months away, instantly my notion of a paper sack snapped my imagination.  Growing up, my daddy, and from the stories I heard about his daddy, Christmas was a time, for what my girls call “Pa(w) Pa(w) Sacks”.  Christmas morning brings small brown lunch sacks twisted shut. All sorts of treats restes inside the paper container.  The thought of the sweet and brightly colored ribbon candy causes my jaws to tighten and my saliva glands to kick in.  There is no way to eat these wavy pieces without a gluey sweet stream running down your chin and onto the appendages holding the slick object. These gooey treats along with the orange candy peanut marsh mellows in addition to an apple, an orange and a selection of seasonal nuts makes up these gifts. The contents varied little over the years.  This consistent pattern was only a small part of the larger pattern of the security of youth.   Growing up, we always listened to the stories about how these sacks were the highlight of the season.  Gifts were often small and inexpensive or non existent.  Everyone had faith that the sacks would be there.  Some years the “loot” would be a little heavier it seemed, but always the weight felt like a bundle of gold. The gold was not just what was in the sack but knowing with confidence and the meaning of its intention.
Times change and the leaves shed from the trees with the seeds bringing new growth.  Eventually the oak passes the tradition of dispersion to the younger sprouts while the oak is taken back into nature’s cycle. The “Pa(w)Pa(w) sacks still appear on Christmas morning. It’s a circle we all get to experience.  Where is this young “sack lady” in this cycle.  I wonder at first, what is in that brown paper bag?  She gives no clue with her sly smile but each step is true and with determination.  I didn’t ask her.  With a glance in my direction, I think I saw her lift her head a little higher and stretch her stride a little longer.  The sly grin was now a big smile.  Yep, I know what was in the little brown bag.


  1. "small part of the larger pattern of the security of youth"

    A wonderful line to tell and to feel. I wonder if the girl is giving the sack or receiving. Either way, we know it holds something special.

  2. I love stories about traditions that carry from one generation to the other. Those sacks sound wonderful!

  3. You don't have to leave your porch to know the good things in life..i hope we all get to treasure one of those little sacks at some point..even if just enjoying them through your words..jae

  4. I love that you sent Mr. Eva and I those sacks last Christmas. A wonderful story.

  5. the same line that stuck out for annie smacked me upside the head. yup, that's the one. how many years does it take until we dispell the illusion? but in this case, inside this story, who wants to? nope, not me. but i wanna KNOW what's in the sack, although i think i already do.

    so glad you're writing these stories again, glenn.


  6. You weave some mighty fine prose with little in the way of prompt. I enjoyed this.