Thursday September 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: zero hour.

Got potatoes and onions out of the garden and into the root house today, both of which will definitely keep just fine for Saturday's market. Tomorrow we'll be harvesting tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and possibly leeks. Also cucumbers, if there are still some good ones out there.

Would have done more today but I spent a lot of time trying to book a night away for my family this Sunday night. The first place I wanted was out of rooms that would work for the three of us and then I had a hell of a lot of trouble getting a hold of anyone else in the area I want to go (not saying where yet because Kat's letting me surprise her with the destination).

Anyway, another place finally returned my call after dinner and we're all booked for a little mini-vacation this weekend. The accommodations sound really great, so hopefully all the hassle will end up being worth it.

Mine:

Back home, growing up on the farm, us kids had a couple of different zero hours. We'd start off our day with the first one: 7 am. If you were not out of bed and either on your way to, or sitting at, the breakfast table when the clock struck seven you had better be dead or dying.

Dad would make sure we'd be one of the two, that was a guarantee.

The second one only existed during the school year: 4 pm. That was when we were all due back from our classes, no excuses or exceptions. I can remember more than a few frantic runs up the dirt driveway, textbooks bouncing around in my backpack as the countdown in my head brought me ever closer to a butt whooping.

And of course the day ended with the final zero hour: midnight. Homework done, teeth brushed, under the sheets, lights out. If you needed to use the washroom you'd better have thought ahead. I don't think my sister always made it through the night without accident, but I never dared make fun of her. I had some close calls myself.

My brother tried whizzing out our window one time, at like three in the morning. Dad heard him, lord knows how but he did. Neil never made that mistake again.

There was some flexibility in our lives, I don't want to make it sound like there wasn't. But one thing we all knew: you did not cross the boundary of zero hour unscathed.

2 Comments:

Greg Bennett said...

Well done on starting catching up the comments again. Perhaps we should all leave you alone for a week to give you a proper chance? :)
The harvest sounds like a good one, and the mini-vacation sounds like a fantastic idea! I'd quite like one myself... maybe I'll hide under my desk for ten minutes and pretend I can hear the sea.
That's an interesting tale of growing up: well defined boundaries, although it sounds like it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to cope with! I'd probably have tried what Neil did too!

Zero hour
A sudden chill –
Is it just cold air or has
the long winter fallen at last?
The news was three days ago,
there's been no signal since.
Only endless static,
Electromagnetic
fallout.

Aimee's sick
with worry that the plants
won't grow. She stands and rants,
her fists clenched, her face red.
Trying to hide the dread
of endless static.
Electromagnetic
fallout.

Historians,
with the luxury and the power
to look back, will call it Zero Hour.
When angry men ignored their fears
And set us back a thousand years.
And in the endless static
find Electromagnetic
fallout.

Marc said...

Greg - nah, I prefer the challenge of catching up while you guys keep commenting. Plus it would be lonely here without you lot making things difficult for me :P

Love this one. The final stanza is particularly excellent, but the whole thing really works so well together. Nicely done!