Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Parts 1) and 2) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021. Week #36
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the image prompt.
This one-line contribution by John Howell.
“I’ll accept that you painted my van as part of your history project, son, but you’re still grounded.”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
Here is my own contribution.
“So, Mark, what’s he like?”
“My grandpa is awesome. I think you’ll like him.”
“He doesn’t mind me joining you guys for the summer?”
“He’s the one who suggested I bring you. He’s all excited about a project he wants our help with, and he’s looking forward to meeting you.” Mark smiled as he pulled round out front, “He’s waiting for us!”
Linda wasn’t sure what she’d expected, but it surely wasn’t the fit and tanned old guy with shoulder length white hair who was striding down the driveway with arms outstretched to greet them.
Mark was swept into a welcoming hug, and then the man’s attention turned to her. He extended a hand with a smile, “Welcome to our home, Linda. Please come on inside, my wife has prepared lunch for everyone.”
Linda flashed him a grateful smile, “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Hanlon.”
“None of this ‘Mr. Hanlon’ stuff. Just call me Alan, okay?
“Okay … Alan.”
Delia Hanlon was as welcoming as her husband. The woman was tiny and frail looking until you caught the gleam of fire in her eyes and heard her unrestrained laughter. This house carried joy within it walls. Linda was happy to be included in it.
The men cleared the table after the meal. Delia headed into the bedroom for a nap, and the conversation turned to the project she and Mark would be helping with.
Alan’s eyes sparkled with excitement as he stood and beckoned them over to the glass doors.
“Come on outside. There’s something I want to show you.”
They reached the balcony and Mark stopped in his tracks, “Oh, my God! Grandpa, you found it! Is this the van you always talked about?”
“It surely is. I’ve been searching for so long I’d given up any hope of finding it again. Then I got a call from a junkyard in Cleveland. The guy who’d bought it had passed away and his son had put it up for sale. Long story short, it’s ours again! Isn’t she a beauty?”
“She’s our project? Is that the original paint job you and your friends did? Does the engine still work?” The questions tumbled out in his excitement.
“Yup that’s our project. The Germans really built this baby to last. That’s our original artwork. She needs some panel work, and the wiring, headlight, and fender need fixing, plus I want it made more comfortable inside for your grandmother.”
“When are you planning on leaving?”
“It’s not a long drive from here, but I want to take it slowly. We need to be there by 3.30 A.M, August 18th.
“That will have been my Dad’s fifty first birthday.”
“Yes, son. Your grandmother and I want to revisit that place. We want to honor both the memory of his birth and the event that changed our culture forever. We were so proud to be a small part of that.”
“I’m sorry about the loss of your father, Mark, and your son, Alan. What event are you referring to?”
“Woodstock Music Festival.” Both the Hanlon men answered together.
“Oh, my God, Alan! You and Delia were at Woodstock?”
“Yup, we sure were. Come on back inside, I’d like you to see something.”
The man walked across and removed a photograph album and a document from the bookcase.
He handed Linda the framed document, and she read it with awe, “Your son was born at the Woodstock music festival! “
“He was. Delia went into labor three weeks ahead of schedule, my son was born at 3.35 am on Monday August 18th, 1969. I recall that Crosby Stills Nash and Young were onstage at the time. A couple of midwives in the crowd helped us with the birth. we were so lucky that nothing went wrong. They finally got us to a hospital several hours later. You’re holding my son’s birth certificate. This is another way for us to honor his memory.”
Linda handed it back with reverence. Then she went through the photographs. Alan Hanlon pointed out several of he and his wife in the company of two other teenage couples. Linda caught the look of sadness on the man’s face.
“It’s the last time we were all together. Tommy and Keith died in Vietnam. Another reason our little pilgrimage is so important to us.”
“We’ll be sure to have the van ready, Grandpa.”
“Thank you, my boy.”
August 18th. 3.35 am. Woodstock: Ulster County, New York.
Delia and Alan Hanlon lit the candles and sent the red balloons skywards. Then they sat wrapped in each-other’s arms and watched the new sunrise dawn over Woodstock. They could hear the music of Crosby Stills Nash and Young coming from the van and they smiled through their tears. The music carried with it the sounds of a time and an event that forever depicted a generation.
I have a large collection of music from the sixties and seventies, the track I’d like to share with you was written by Joni Mitchell and is performed here on the Deja Vu album by Crosby Stills Nash and Young.