Floating–a 5 Card Flickr story

Mama Boo here again, with another assignment from week 1 of our computer classes.

One thing that was suggested on the assignments for this week was to try telling a story in pictures. I have never tried the “five card flickr” site that our friend CogDog made. You get five sets of randomly chosen flickr photos and you pick one from each set, until you end up with five photos. I chose to do the variation where you just use photos tagged “dailycreate,” so you’re getting images that people have uploaded to flickr as part of the ds106 Daily Create.

This was harder than it seems. When you get five seemingly random pictures and try to tell a story by picking one at a time and putting them in sequence, you really have to think on multiple levels about how they might fit together into a story as you’re picking the next ones. Or you could just pick images you like and come up with a story afterwards.

Here is the story I made from the images I chose. Maybe it makes sense coming from a ghost. But I don’t think it’s a ghost story.

Five Card Story: Floating

a The Daily Create story created by Mama Boo

flickr photo by Bookhenge

flickr photo by joanne2012Jan

As the wires hummed and shuddered with activity, M– took a break from her work, thankful that the electricity was still on. It wasn’t clear what was happening outside (What was up with that red sky? And why had the television and the radio suddenly gone silent?), but there was no way she was going to be able to continue with those forms tonight. Something didn’t feel right.

flickr photo by wwnorm

M– ventured outside, where all seemed strangely distorted. “Must be all that staring at small print and computer screens,” she thought, as her eyes slowly adjusted and she was able to see a bit more clearly. Something about the warm, summer night and the soothing sounds of the insects kept her out for hours, just sitting in the old tire swing and wondering quietly about the sense of calm that had come over her (while trying not to ruin it by thinking about it too much).

flickr photo by mdvfunes

flickr photo by chickadeeacres

Next thing she knew, the sun was rising and there they were–inexplicable, improbable, iridescent. As she watched them float she felt a gentle tug upwards, and the blue filled her eyes and her mind even as part of her rested securely on the ground, feeling the warmth of the grass.

M– knew those forms would wait there forever. And, stretched between earth and sky, she no longer needed them.

The spine of ghosts

Mama Boo at the beach in 2014

Mama Boo at the beach in 2014

Mama Boo here, working on my first assignment for the family computer classes.

Here we are in the first week of computer class, and we’re talking about storytelling. One of the things I liked best about this week’s computer class is the “story spine,” which you can use to build all kinds of stories. Basically, you set up the story with a narrative of what usually goes on, setting the stage with the normal, as it were, and then you have a “then one day” section that introduces the event. What’s the event? Whatever you want it to be! Then the characters have to react to that (“and because of that…” “and because of that…” etc.), until the climax portion of the story (“until finally …”). Then it ends with some kind of resolution or change and there’s a new normal (“and ever since then…”).

So here’s the Boos’ story using the story spine.

Once upon a time there was a mother and son, who lived happily in Bovine County, milking the cows and feeding the pigs and raising hay and such. The boy had just started school and he was very excited about learning, especially about animals and bugs, and soon he didn’t want to milk the cows any more but just read books. Etc.

Then one day... [well, this is the part I’m not going to tell; this is the mystery part and you can try to figure how how and why] … they became ghosts.

And because of that, the family got real scared and tried to get rid of them, thinking the ghosts were something that needed to be purged, something frightening. But the mother and son just tried to show them that they were just as friendly as before, no need to try to exorcise them or burn down the house or move the whole farm. It took quite a bit of convincing, and the kids were the ones to first take a shine to the ghosts. Well, especially Little Boo, whom they had missed so terribly and were excited to play with again. Eventually nearly everyone decided that the Boo’s (as they now came to be affectionately known) were a welcome re-addition to the Burgeron family. Those that didn’t like it, well, they just had to hold their peace because the Boo’s were here to stay.

And because of that, Mama Boo and Little Boo continued to participate in the daily life of the Burgeron family through the generations, each child growing up thinking that ghosts were just a normal part of life. They felt bad when they discovered at school that other kids weren’t so lucky as to have ghosts living at their house. Some of the neighbour kids told their parents, who told the sheriff, who told the state police, who said “ah heck, Marty, we know the Boo’s from way back. Lighten up a little. It’s the 20th century, and it’s time to welcome ghosts into our communities.” Sheriff Marty wasn’t really convinced, but he knew enough to keep his head down and go along with it.

Until finally … the county commissioners got involved. Someone in Bovine had read an obscure article in an even more obscure medical journal from across the globe suggesting that a community with ghosts living in the open, visiting different buildings with impunity, had seen a jump in the death rate from unexplained causes since the ghosts came out of hiding. And boy if that didn’t cause a ruckus at a public meeting called precisely to discuss the issue. The Burgerons and their friends defended the ghosts, but the tide seemed to be going against them. It looked like the ghosts may be run out of town. The county even called in the Texas Daredevils, the motorcycle dispatch.

But before the final vote, the flood came. No, not the big one of ’57, but one bad enough to take everyone’s mind off the ghosts for a bit. And wouldn’t you know it, Mama and Little Boo became heroes. At least for a time. They were able to warn a family who was sleeping through the flood that the water was rising quickly under their beds and they’d better get to the top of the house, quick. Which they did. And after the flood, no one much felt like bringing back the no-ghosts-in-our-backyard issue.

And ever since then, the Boo’s have lived quietly with the Burgerons, occasionally venturing out into the wider world, but mostly happy to stay at home. The people of Bovine County know the value of a bit of spirit activity here and there.

Rumors of Bovine County


Gnomes At Nana Lou's

Burgeron Gnomes hanging out at Nana Lou’s place. (Remix image by Rochelle Lockridge licensed CC by SA, Gnome images from Brent Moore)

Over at that DS106 Daily Create (TDC889) yesterday folks were prompted to:

Tell a story that is whispered in Bovine County. Make it ART.

Miss Cris Crissman / @Cris2B Twitter shared this little ditty. My Grandson Don was able to snap the pic above this morning.  I’m betting that happy gnome on the log in front of my place is drinking some of that Burgeron Backwoods Brew we made a few weeks back.  If Don keeps sharing it with the cows and now the Gnomes, we’re not going to have any left for the reunion party at the end of August.

Going Bovine

There was something unusual about the garden gnome stationed near the peonies at the Burgeron family home. His eyes seemed to follow you around like those of a bad ancestral portrait. And that look on his face, well, could it be disgust? I’m definitely posting his pix on Instagram.

Whoa! How’d I trip? That was quite a wallop. If I didn’t know better I’d say that funky little fat creature didn’t like having his picture made . . .

And that’s how the rumors of the grumpy gnome at the Burgeron’s place began.

With apologies to Libba Bray, Going Bovine


Don goes Reminiscing about Dancing Cows and Scarecrows

Today I have been reminiscing about some of the gatherings we have had here on the property and at dad’s old place on the river. I guess nostalgia is a good thing. Some of the memories are just great and they make me smile. Other are a bit confusing and some get me feeling a little down, truth be told.

I recall the 82 Bovine Hoedown we had here in town and how excited everyone was to bring some game to play, some food to eat, and some instruments to make music with! Families practicing songs in the cool breeze of a June evening. You could hear them hootin and hollerin from miles away.

I recall one family that had a teen with an electric guitar. Good lord it was awful. That kid made more noise in three minutes than most folks make in a year or two. I ain’t sure, but if I recall that summer was the same summer the family had a big blowout and the kid left town real unhappy and carrying a guitar case. I don’t know that I’ve seen him since. I don’t even recall his name, just the screechin ripping through the prairie.

I remember that after the hoedown here at the trailer we had a few of the games we had made. One was this silly looking wooden scarecrow with the face cut out. The game was to hit whoever was a standin behind it with a water balloon. The day of the hoedown a kid who didn’t know any better came up to play and I was standing behind the thing. I don’t think the kid really realized what he was doing, he had just seen other folks throwing stuff at me. He had been playing baseball with some friends and he up and through his baseball at me fast as can be! And damn if it didn’t smack me right on the forehead. Knocked me clean off my feet and stone cold out for 10 minutes.

Well, I guess that is what happens at hoedowns. I snapped the picture here of ol Nana standing behind the scarecrow after we got home to the trailer.


I suppose our reunion will be sorta like a hoedown?

I was also thinking about that old Anny Cow and her damn dance studio. I think that is where little Sally Lou learned to dance? I don’t really recall. That damn cow was the only cow I have known to own and operate a dance studio? We have had a lot of good lookin and smart cows here in Bovine. But that Anny, she sure had some initiative. Where else but in a place called Bovine could a cow get a business license?


My Pa (Teddy Burgeron) Kept a Diary

Given the recent conversation about the flood of ’57 I figure I would share a few lines from my dad’s (Teddy Burgeron) diary he kept after losing the house in 1957. I thought it was kind of strange that someone who had so recently lost everything would commit to paper these reflections and take the time to make something that could so easily be swept away with just a bit more than normal rainfall.

Well, there ain’t no explaining somethings and I think that is what my pa thought too. Maybe his way of reconciling his loss was to wonder about things on something tangible like paper. It is hard to say. I have several diaries that he kept. Some are partly filled and some are completely full. Some writing is deep and thoughtful and others are drunken ramblings that are very hard to follow and downright disturbing at times.

The floods here in Texas washed a lot of memories and hopes and dreams downstream with them. My pa was one of the casualties in more ways than one.

This particular part of his diary is from March 12th, 1958.

There was once a Pretty Little River
That roiled up one day,
It took my home, my socks, and my dinner
It took lots of stuff they say.

There was once a Pretty Little River
It watered my cows, my hens, and my roses,
Its taste was not a bit bitter
Now I can’t reach it with 10,000 hoses.

There was once a Pretty Little River
It used to meander right over there,
Now it just gives me nightmares and makes me shiver
Life just ain’t f*&^%$# fair.


Pas Diary

The Bergerons and the Burgerons

Here in Bovine we have a lot of folks. I think Bovine now has nearly 350 people. Now that ain’t like Austin or Dallas, but in Bovine, a group of more than about ten folks gets us worried. I don’t know why that is, but we ain’t big city folk. I suppose that is why were are here in Bovine.

This morning I headed out to get the mail and I was reminded of one of my favorite stories from my pa and grandpa. I seen this damn mailbox every day and I usually get to thinking about my pa when I do. I miss him.Image

Back before the flood of 57 the house was in a different spot on the river. Of course, no one could have known that it was not such a great spot, but you know how disasters are, everything seems really great right before them and then, well, everything falls apart.

Dad had completed the ditch and like I said, he owned some acres along the river. Well, in the spring of 53 he got some neighbors. He always said they were Finnish. I was just a kid and I always imagined that he said they were “finished” and for a while I wondered if somehow we were not? Like some folks just got done better than others. Kinda like bread that don’t get baked all the way, some folks were doughier inside than others and you know what that can be like. Pretty awful.

They were from somewhere far away anyway and I imagined that maybe folks from places other than Bovine or Texas were just cooked better. As it turns out, folks in Bovine are cooked just fine. Thank goodness.

So the new neighbors also had the last name of Bergeron. Dad could not figure it out. “How the hell can they have our name and we don’t even know where they hell they come from,” dad would ask the coffee cup some days. No one had an answer. I remember thinking that it was a real cool coincidence that we had the same last name and that we might even be related to them somehow and maybe we had come from some exotic far away land where people were cooked a little longer and more finished.

Well, it did not take long for the trouble to start. Dad was a couple of years away from losing his home and his mind and the new neighbors, and the damn postman as dad would remind us, were about to cause some trouble.

As dad told it, the mailboxes and our same last name caused all kinds of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service and the local chapter of the American Legion.

Here in Bovine we never had actual address numbers. We were just the “Bergerons” in Bovine. If you wanted to send us mail that was all you needed to write. Ol’ Tom the mailman for the last 20 years knew everyone and where they lived. We didn’t need no stinking numbers.

Well, I guess the neighbors had some tax troubles and when they moved in dad started getting their mail. Dad put the mail addressed to them in their mailbox and they denied that the mail was for them. They said they had never had any tax trouble. So there dad was with this mail addressed to him and the letters said he owed a lot of money he did not have. Well, dad knew it was not his and the neighbors refused to take the mail and ol’ Tom was stuck in the middle. Tom was also a member of the Foreign Legion in town and he told the members dad was evading taxes. Well, as you can imagine, they kicked pa out of the legion. That helped a bit with his drinking later on, but initially he was devastated. All three of his friends hung out there all day and night and all of a sudden he couldn’t hang out with them.

It was Tom’s idea to get us number on our mailboxes. He said in the big cites everyone had a number. I remember thinking how important all those folks must be to have their own numbers!

Well, dad kept getting the mail for the Bergerons, of course, and ol’ Tom had to really pay attention because the mail to both places usually just said, The Bergerons. After a couple of years of continually getting the wrong mail, and just before the flood, dad had finally had enough and went down to the county courthouse in Laredo and changed our name to Burgeron. Why he only chose to change one letter I don’t know.

That was long ago but I still remember seeing the mailboxes as a kid and it always reminded me of people who cooked long enough and had been finished.

I’m Don

My name is Don Bergeron. I live here. I moved outta here twice when I got married. Both times I moved to Bovine and stayed there. Once with Nancy for three years and once with Gretta. Gretta left after a couple days of married and I come back here.

My grandpa William come here in 1927 when we was right on the Pretty Wide River. He got the land dirt cheap and got a bunch of it. I guess the river was flowing by and it watered all the land for a mile around and there were good times. The big flood of 34 pushed the river into a new channel nearly a mile west toward Bovine and grandpa William’s crops went dry. That was the end of that.

My dad was born to grandpa William’s second wife. Her name was Margie. My dad’s name was Teddy and he went off to war and become a land engineer. When he come back he had it in his mind to get that damn Pretty River flowin back here near grandpa’s land. Back then the tractors was slow and it took him nearly three years to get the channel dug out.

The big flood of 57 came racing down from the mountains and right into my dad’s newly dug channel and it took his tractor about fourteen miles down toward Mexico. It also dug the channel out so close to the house that it took it right along with the tractor. We had water again but we had to move in with grandpa.

The flood of 58 took the river way back toward Bovine again and we been dryer than lint ever since. A fire in 63 burned grandpa’s old house.

Well, that was about it for dad. He bought this used up old house trailer we been in ever since.

Dad passed on about ten years back and now it’s just us. The Bergerons.