Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another Vial of Sand

I'm back from a week's vacation. I've been catching up on reading what my blogging friends have been up to. Now it's time to turn my attention back to my own blog.

Well, sort of. I'm borrowing from a post I did elsewhere, but want to share it here with my own set of readers. It starts with a picture:

Photo by Kathryn
for more of Kathryn's photography visit -

Over at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose the above captioned picture appeared along with this suggested prompt:

It was the sand of ______ that she would remember because...

Mixing fact, fiction, what-if, and some creative license, I came up with this:

The Other Vial of Sand...

Fifteen clear boxes of labeled sand. They were relegated to the family room shelf for display, clumsily inscribed in her husband’s bland printing. In her separate bedroom, she had her treasures, it wasn’t the gems, the jewelry, or the rings, but it was the small vial containing the sand of southern Utah that she would remember and treasure because of him… a different him.

They had met at college – a friend of a friend. Soon they were more than that, much more. The school year was ending, and she had convinced him to join her for a month-long, transcontinental road trip. He loved to drive; she had the car and her mother’s financial backing. His mom didn’t like the idea, but hers did.

His mom had moral problems with the arrangement, and worried about unplanned pregnancies.

Her mom appreciated the security that the young man would provide her daughter on the cross-country trip that would culminate at her son’s home in northern Florida.

The trip started out great. It was the best trip she’d ever take despite the lack of glamour.

They drove to the Grand Canyon, camped there for four days, and made a three-day hike into the canyon. Together they saw Phantom Ranch located on the river’s edge where they ate over-priced five-dollar peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hiking out, they ventured off the main trail to Ribbon Falls. They drank in the beauty, and they showered together in the falls.

From the North Rim, the plan was to drive north through Kanab to Utah’s Zion and Bryce canyons before heading east. But on the way, they took an unplanned side trip to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was nearly deserted, and they took advantage.

Salmon was her favorite color. This was what she would call her “salmon colored summer.”

The vial of soft, wind blown, pink coral sand that she kept in her jewelry box was like a magic lamp, providing a gateway to pleasant memories, to another time, to another place, and to another man.

Ahhh… that was the best part… a different man… the man of the salmon-colored summer, not the man of fifteen clear boxes of labeled sand.


  1. Oh Don.......your posts are always so nice and thought provoking.....I so enjoy them.
    Trust you had a wonderful vacation and a spendid Easter.
    Thank you for your beautiful words at my post this morning. You are a blessing to know :)
    And that Price Is Right comment......are you saying that I look like Drew Carey??? I mean really Don......I have a lot more hair than he does, lol........
    Have a great week back at school with the kiddo's and.......

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  2. that's great, very interesting story!

    I also enjoyed your mountain story, I'd love to do that one day, just drive up to a snowy mountain and forget the world below, how lovely that would be...

    Hey, you should go to this blog:

    skim through his archives, his writing is good and I think you might find it a good read

  3. I love it! I love the color you bring to the piece and the little details-- like the overpriced pb&j sandwiches. I can see the trip and relate to it on several levels. I like the mysterious tone as well. Well done! :)

    P.S. It's good to have you back. Now that I'm a little more settled, I should be more blog-active. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

  4. Reggie Girl: Glad you liked my comments on your post. Personally, I gave you "The Best of Easter Award" for your post. I simply tagged along. (And you don't look like Drew Carey -- Mariah maybe, or was it Jim? -- you, like Drew champion spaying and neutering pets! Silly rabbit.

    Rawan: Glad you liked the mountain story comment on your blog. I checked out the site you mentioned. I'll follow it (secretly) for now, and check out more of his writings. It does look good. Thanks.

    Miss H: Always appreciate your comments. I ate those sandwiches, but not with some mysterious girl -- that was a different road-trip. I mix, meld, and re-contort truth to fit the prompt and the picture. A good lie always contains a fair amount of truth. Don't you think?


  5. Don, That's really good. A salmon colored summer!

  6. Hi Don,

    Long time no write and sincerest apologies. Now that I've started my MA life in England seems to be an endless churn of essays and readings. It's great, for sure, but it's sucked the creative blood from out my veins. As I've been at home in France for a week, licking my wounds and falling in love again, I thought it was time I poked my head back into the world I remember and adore.

    I've got to say you really seem to be on a creative roll. Your last poem was stunning (I've left you a message over at PP&P) and this short story is equally powerful.

    I'm looking forward to reading more!

    All the best,


  7. Don... your writing adds so much to PP&P I thank you for sharing your wonderful talent.


  8. I love the last 2 paragraphs of your story. I know I have certain memories of other times, places and of special people in my life tucked away where only I can access that special gateway. That pleasant feeling of past memories that just warm your heart and bring a smile to your lips.

  9. Dennis: Thanks for commenting -- cousin!

    Sacha: I got my masters 8 years ago. It's a lot of work. I understand. Thanks for the compliments. It means a lot coming from an accomplished writer such as yourself. I guess my vacation did me some good -- creatively speaking

    Laura-Jane: PP&P is a fun site. This summer I hope to post more. I ponder more of the photos than I write on. You've created a great site and help foster a great blogging community.

    Glo: I'm glad you read this post. I pulled from several road trips to create this story, and from several ladies I've known. It's all "fantasy," but I'm glad the last part resonated with you. I expected it would, and I'm glad it did.

  10. Well, what the hay is she doing with the man of fifteen boxes?! Write another prompt, Don. You know what you have to do.