National Pointsettia Day

Happy National Poinsettia Day….

Can you write a short story or poem about a poinsettia today? Ever heard the song, Percy the Poinsettia? It’s a hoot. Look it up for a good chuckle.

It would be fun to share them if you want to write them. Make your short story the 500 words you write today – but the count isn’t important. Getting our butts in the chair and creating something is what’s important.

If you DO write a poinsettia story, won’t you please post it as a comment? Or, send it to my email – nancy@nlquatrano.com. I’d love to see that you’re writing during the busy month of December!

Keep writing and reading. NQ

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About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014.
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One Response to National Pointsettia Day

  1. Jack Owen says:

    body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;} Behind the Pretty

    by Jack Owen

    My take on the ubiquitous scarlet and yellow potted plant, spotted amongst twinkling colored lights and near real, plastic or aluminum trees, is different to the rest of the world. Most see it as a sign of Christmas. To me, it recalls a hot Florida summer decades ago, and a quest to be the best.

    For many years ago two old friends, “Cap” and “Pointy”, made an annual trek to Key West trailering Pointy’s 25-foot center-board sloop. One guy was ex-West Point, the other ex-Annapolis. Their destination was the remote fort-prison on the Dry Tortugas, in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Each year they were thwarted by wind, tide, breakages. One year the ex-navy man, “Pointy” took his son “Pudge” as crew and enlisted his friend, me, as crew for his Army buddy who had bought his own boat so they could cruise in convoy

    One of the unwritten sea-laws known by every sailor is, it is just not possible to have two boats on a body of water heading for the same destination, without a race being born. Army-v-Navy, Son-v-Father, Friend-v-Friend., it doesn’t matter.

    The thing about racing, as opposed to cruising, is everything aboard is straining forward to be first to reach the destination. It took the older lags a little longer to get switch gears from lollygagging along in the general direction of a destination, eating, talking, drinking the day away, than the fiery pumped-up crew. Cause for friction – number one.

    With the wind boxing the compass, the tide race at the “horn of Florida” pushing and pulling for ascendancy as basin-heated waters expanded out of the Gulf to merge with the cooler Atlantic Ocean, both boats raced many leagues across the water – but traveled scant distance over the bottom. Every tack and sail combination, every ounce of body-English, every prayer and curse was employed by both boats to no avail.

    By day’s end, with fluky breezes fading, the entrance to the idyllic-looking doughnut-hole Marquesas island chain, a couple-dozen miles west of Key West, issued a siren call to drop the hook, raft-up and chow down. The gin-clear water of the lagoon formed by the islets, not as chilled as the cocktails passed from cockpit to cockpit, provided a kaleidoscope panorama of shelled and finned creatures to comment about.

    Pointy and Cap rattled on with their war-stories, while Pudge and I speculated whether our brand of cigarettes and sugar for tea, would last. We also considered the temptations lurking along the length of Duval Street, the main drag, awaiting our return to Key West.

    This was a period between the waves of Cuban refugees from political persecution to maniacal marielitos refugees. A decade or so before the island morphed into 42nd Street South and Tennessee Williams had few competitors for the crown. It was a time when hard-tack shrimpers owned most of the watering holes, and Mel Fisher’s treasure-hunting successes and tragedies were still gestating. Navy rum and beer, no straws included, was the cure-all for ills, pot was a container to boil shrimp or lobster and dope was someone who paid too much for an item, or something jazz musicians used.

    While the liquor level dropped, the evening sun sunk into the sea in a Chamber of Commerce sunset, and the buzz of conversation was joined by a chorus of biting mosquitoes sending multiple messages to nearby mangrove patches to join the blood feast. Pointy’s galley had been selected to heat up our dinner of canned Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Its pungent odor, mingled with four unwashed bodies in close quarters, with hatch and portholes closed, and competing brands of cigarettes and cheroots, created a memorable meal. It kept the critters at bay, too. The geezers wheezed on about their exploits, service politics and long-dead heroes and villains of both branches of the service. It just took one word, to launched them or an endless ramble down memory lane. But it really became animated when I pushed Pointy’s button about his nickname. He didn’t have a pointy head, ears or nose. “He’s a pirate, a buccaneer, and filibuster!” cackled Cap, complete with obligatory Robert Newton “aarrggghh”, rather spoiled by his cracking falsetto.

    “I’ll have you know, my ancestor was an honest politician!” Pointy aimed his partially filled plastic beaker with sufficient force to propel a scarce ice-cube scattering across the chart-table.

    “That’s an oxymoron!” riposted Cap.

    Hostilities were suspended until the errant ice-slivers could be retrieved, and the beaker re-loaded for the next salvo.

    Within the next hour or so my knowledge of American-British-Spanish shenanigans during the tumultuous early 19th Century, was brought up to speed. Joel R. Poinsett, a southerner who resisted a law career in favor of the army, was offered military commissions by the Russian Czar and a Chilean President,; led a cavalry charge, freed captured America whalers held by Peruvians, served several terms in the US Congress, became US Secretary of War, was the first American Minister to Mexico and…discovered the Flor de Noche Buena [The Christmas Eve Flower] which became known as, the Poinsettia..

    Fascinating, and a valuable lesson learned before we made the dash through swarms of hungry mosquitoes back to our boat. Nothing to do with persistence, pirates or politicians

    Fame, is fleeting.

    Famous relatives did not relieve the great-great-grandson, of an internationally acclaimed statesman, from his duties as, dish-washer-upper!

    Ends…

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