Thursday, 12 December 2019

WEP December 2019 - FOOTPRINTS - DL

It's time for our last challenge of 2019 - the subject as above is FOOTPRINTS

Here is my contribution: 

Sitting on the bench Albert watched the horizon.  His rheumy eyes sometimes found it difficult to focus further out or even in, these days.  The glasses helped; he was amazed that they turned dark at the least sign of bright sunshine.  The things they could do these days, he knew there was a name for it trans something – oh no, that was something else – yes, photogenic.  No, that wasn't right either.  Shaking his head, he relaxed his mind, maybe the word he was searching for would come to him in time.  Time was something he had a lot of these days, although maybe not as much as he wanted.

Sitting on the memorial bench dedicated in memory of his lovely wife, Eileen, his mind opened like a trailer for a film.  Snapshots of his life, their life together and now this third transition, his life on his own. 

Did he leave enough of a mark for generations to come to remember him?  He didn’t live through a war.   He didn’t invent a life-saving medical drug.  He didn’t make lots of money, although he earned a decent enough living throughout his life by working hard and diligently.  His family didn’t go without, they didn’t live in the lap of luxury but they were happy.  He didn’t write a book, direct a film or become a big film star.  He didn’t paint, sculpt or do anything artistic. 

What he did do was love his life, his family and help anybody whenever he could.  He was lucky to be surrounded by family when so many families became scattered, dysfunctional or just too busy.

The seagulls squawked their raucous calls, as he looked up at them whirling around in the blue sky above he gave thanks to – well he wasn’t sure who he could give thanks to or even if there was someone/something out there but that was another thought for another day and another time, probably with the help of a glass of whisky or two. He laughed quietly to himself, he did enjoy a tipple of an evening.

Oh yes, photochromatic, that’s what his spectacles had – they changed into sunglasses all by themselves.  Amazing.

He heard the clock tower strike eleven, she was late again but then when was she ever early?  That would be her legacy in life, always rushing but never on time rather like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland – “I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date!”  She had a heart of gold but time-keeping wasn't in her make-up.

Albert looked out over his favourite scene.  There he was.  His precious godson or as he liked to think of him, his precious grandson.  Not by blood, not by birth but by bonding.   This little boy was the light of his life and he was so grateful Harry and Louise had come in to his life when they had.  They had enveloped him in their love, in their family and made his days not as lonely any more.

That was their legacy, their footprint in time.  They might not aspire or achieve great or notable things in the world but they would pass on their kindness, love, fortitude, morals and downright human decency.  Albert nodded to himself, you didn’t have to be famous, have your name known by all and sundry, so long as those people who were in your life let you love them and they loved you in return.

Harry was making his bid for freedom.  Look at him go.  Those sturdy little legs carrying him far away (always in sight of his mother though) – he was full of life and Albert hoped that would never fade.  

The sky met the sea, the sea met the shingle and Harry’s footprints left a faint mark which would be washed away by the later tide, borne who knows where, perhaps to lands far away, perhaps to the depths of the earth.  Albert waved at Louise who beamed back at him, beckoning him to join them on the beach for a cuppa.  She’d also have something delicious to treat him with, perhaps a chocolate muffin if he was lucky.  

Yes, he did feel lucky.  So lucky. He watched Harry gaze in wonder at the vista beyond his young eyes.  Albert gazed also in wonder at the scene as he slowly, stiffly, rose from the bench, blowing a kiss to his love as he moved forward with his life.


Generations come and go

Leaving footprints in the snow

In the sand

Through the land

Legacies that live on through others

The sisters and mothers

The fathers and brothers

Nephews and nieces

Cousins and sundries

Assorted, blended families

Lay behind love and loyalty

Hidden depths take pride of place

As people move in and out of the human race

Bigotry passes

No more classes

A Utopian dream

Perhaps never seen

Maybe won’t ever exist

Word count: 817


  1. The true heroes in life are those who leave a bit of love in the hearts of all whose paths intersect with theirs, right? Lovely story, Sally. Have a wonderful Christmas and a better New Year. :-)

  2. Hi Sally - this was quite delightful ... I was with Albert on the bench, and then with Harry as he tottered over the shingle towards the gentle sea - good to know his mother was there watching over Harry, but with enough compassion and understanding to include Albert. Yes - Albert will keep going for Harry ... and I loved the poem ... conratulations - cheers Hilary

  3. Both story and poem are a gift of gentle, fresh air. Many, many thanks.

  4. Thank you Sally for this very wise take on life and legacy. The quiet achievements of the many. Enjoyed your poem immensely too. Full of pace and melody.
    Merry Christmas writing. Hoping to read you in 2020 anew.

  5. Just lovely - a life well-lived!

  6. Hi,
    Your story touched me. It is difficult picking up the pieces when you're the one who has been left behind. It was encouraging to Albert with the will to live and the desire to keep marching forward. That made me very happy.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a great crossover into 2020.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  7. This was so lovely and heartfelt. I felt like I was in his head as he struggled to find the right words for things and thought back on his life. It really is true that you don't have to do groundbreaking things to have a lasting impact on the world. I also loved the poem!

  8. Very sweet, I too can relate to trouble finding the right word. Getting old isn't for the faint of heart. I'm glad he's found peace. A blessing for sure. Grandchildren do give us hope for the future. Beautiful poem, you captured the prompt nicely.

  9. Sally, as always, heartwarming and genuine. Love the life well lived aspect and how he watches the next generation continue the kindness he's dispersed in his lifetime. Poignant and precious.

    Thank you Sally for your long-lasting loyalty to RFW and WEP. Love having you write for us when you can. I always look forward to your prose and poems.

    Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!


  10. A story about all of us - not famous but living the best we can, and giving what we can. A warm and wonderful story.
    Happy holidays, Sally.

  11. That was a wonderful, contemplative, piece. Albert is a lucky man in many ways, and has definitely left his own footprints on others. A really good use of the prompt :)

  12. The salt of the earth. Captured in a gentle, thought provoking and heart warming flash. A lovely take on the prompt. Thank you for sharing it at WEP.

    Wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and productive New Year 2020.

  13. What a wonderful family, and I wish there were more Alberts in the world. I loved this!

  14. For most of us, the effect we have on the people in our lives is the only thing we truly have to leave behind. It's like they saying that goes something one will remember your accolades, your awards, or your income, but EVERYONE will remember how you treated them.

    Great piece. And that moment he recalls the term "photochromatic", that was pretty funny. :-D

  15. A inspiring flash about the legacy of one man, and how his godson will carry on that legacy. Well done and Happy Holidays, Sally.

  16. Poignant piece, Sally. Wondering what we leave - our legacy - makes Albert so genuine. You capture the sentiments so well with your words and phrases. And mixing up words or losing them, I relate to that - mine's age and illness. Clever use of footprints in both senses. The poem supplies another dimension, although the kid on the beach photo add magic.

  17. A great reminder that the best legacy to leave is one of love for those closest to us. Poignant and nicely done.

  18. I loved the poem. The flow, the simplicity and the message. That was beautifully done.
    That entire paragraph about the legacy and the footprints in time, about the legacy of kindness rather than that of greatness was awesome. It was a superb read!

  19. Beautiful story. And a perfect reminder of what's important: kindness and love for others.

  20. What a lovely story. It's very humbling and satisfying. A perfect piece to end one year and start a new one.

  21. Hi Sally,

    What a sweet and caring story. I loved the poem even more... beautifully written! We all go through different stages in our life, and I honestly believe the last one is the hardest one. We lose our partner in life and have to move on alone. At least for this gentlemen he has an extended family looking out for him so he is not living the final stage of his life alone. May that be said for all of us who are in our final stages of life and have to carry on without the love of our lives...