two children in front of WWII tank

World War II tank, Prairie Grove, Arkansas. 1960s


Welcome to Day 12 of Writing Our Stories!

The photo today is of my brother and me in front of the tanks at Prairie Grove Battlefield in Arkansas in the 1960s. (Note: the tanks are no longer there. The park has been returned to a setting more aligned with the 1862 Civil War battle there.)

One of the things this photo reminds me of is the predictable conversation that resulted from our periodic visits here. 

Me, pointing: Tanks!

Leon: You’re welcome

Every single time. In fact, if my brother and I ever happen upon tanks when we’re together, we would still repeat this. Guaranteed. 

So, the odd little writing prompt today is: A sentence or phrase that someone else said that you will always associate with that person. Write about that memory, the setting when it occurred, your connection to the person, how often you think about it. Things like that.

Words and phrases we hear can stick with us, whether a person says them once or a dozen times. 

* Instead of swear words, my dad used to say “fiddlesticks.” I could write about the other quips and phrases my father often said. 

* My 4’10” grandmother once said, referring to my 6’ grandfather, “Anyone who can see the top of the refrigerator can clean it.” I could write about their relationship, as seen through the eyes of a kid, or now, what else I remember about them, after they’ve been gone for 40 years. 

* While playing catch with a football in our teens, in offering a suggestion about catching footballs (and life goals by extension perhaps), my brother told me, “If you can touch it, you can catch it.” I could write about all the sports Leon and I played in our front yard, or about other things I learned from my big brother. 

So, now you. Maybe you’ll write about an inside joke like “Tanks!” “You’re welcome.” 

Take several minutes to think about one person, then another, and I’ll bet you can hear in your mind some of the things they said. It might be something they said once, a sentence that stuck with you, or something they repeated. 

Now write about that phrase or that person or the situation. 

Go get ‘em! Cheryl

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