Cat’s in the Cradle – Friday Fictioneers, September 2017

Copyright Danny Bowman

We were so poor, my father once paid off the hired help with my dog.

My mother left the following year; that was tough too.

“Where do you think they’re living now, Dad?”

“The next valley, son.”

Seemed like everything I loved lived in the next valley so, eight years old,  I trudged all day towards the horizon to discover the next valley, as empty, barren and unforgiving as this.

My Dad was defensive.

“I said the next valley, son.”

Eventually, I left too.

“I’m getting older, son, where will you be if I need you?”

“The next valley, Dad.”


The first Friday Fictioneer offering of the autumn.  It seems to have been a long and lovely summer here, our first in our new home on the south coast.  Hard work, but worth it all the same.  No stranger to hard work is our illustrious leader, Rochelle who celebrated a birthday this week.  Thanks for all that you do, Rochelle.  And I know you won’t have forgotten this song, but just in case…  🙂

 

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Cat’s in the Cradle – Friday Fictioneers, September 2017

  1. Rainee says:

    Very poignant! I love the song too – so often true.

    Like

  2. neilmacdon says:

    I loved the idea of “the next valley”

    Like

  3. Varad says:

    That was a beautiful tale, Sandra. Loved the tone and the allusion to the grass is greener on the otherside.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Moon says:

    ‘As you sow…’. Great story, Sandra!

    Like

  5. michael1148humphris says:

    Yes I smile, as I travel to the next valley. I enjoyed the musical tone of this post.

    Like

  6. There is always another valley.

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  7. Dear Sandra,

    Beautifully understated. “The next valley.” I felt for the boy when his father paid a hired person with the boy’s dog. As for the title and the song…perfect. One of my favorites and so true. Once more, you show us all how it’s done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  8. Emily says:

    Aw this is quite sad! A lovely story and a lovely take.

    Like

  9. Miles Rost says:

    One more mile, one more road… Well done.

    Like

  10. Great story. You really get a feel for the character.

    Like

  11. James says:

    The grass is always greener…

    Like

  12. Jelli says:

    Good write. Love how you revisited the song. The next valley, indeed.

    Like

  13. gahlearner says:

    This is painfully good. The next valley is so far away. Maybe the father should seek it while he still can. Maybe he deserved the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. k rawson says:

    Excellent story as always Sandra. Love the bittersweet subtext wonderfully woven in.

    Like

  15. Perfect song for your latest story. I always enjoy what you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. rgayer55 says:

    Dear Sandra,
    My family was so poor, we couldn’t pay attention. Even now, I can rarely focus for more than a few seconds without getting sidetracked. Loved the story—and the link to one of my favorite songs.

    Like

  17. Mike says:

    Great story Sandra.

    Like

  18. Sightsnbytes says:

    I liked this one, great job.

    Like

  19. pennygadd51 says:

    Clever turnaround at the end. A poignant story.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love this… as in many gritty tales it’s all that is not said that means the most… great take

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Indira says:

    Great story Sandra.

    Like

  22. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    This is a very insightful and poignant piece that was dripping sadness from every line. Great take on the prompt.

    Like

  23. A very poignant story. You tell these stories so well, Sandra.

    Like

  24. Susan says:

    Such a strong story. You summed up in 100 words the despair of missed opportunities between parents and children.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Sad irony and the perfect accompanying song. Well done, Sandra.

    Like

  26. When you arrive at the next valley, it’s no longer the next valley -. that’s the one beyond, and on and on it goes. It’s like ‘tomorrow never comes’

    Click to read my FriFic

    Like

  27. draliman says:

    Ooh, quite a comeback. Quite a sad little story of life in their valley.

    Like

  28. Dahlia says:

    An apt final retort. Loved the story.

    Like

  29. Dale says:

    You are simply brilliant, Sandra.
    He don’t know no better so he don’t do nothing but watch ’em all go…

    Like

  30. *smirk*

    Makes me wonder what he found there: was it “the grass is greener over the sewer”, or was it “freedom”!?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. writelindy says:

    And that is why the truth matters. Great writing once again.

    Like

  32. plaridel says:

    i guess there comes a time when we grow up and head to the next valley. such is life.

    Like

  33. prior.. says:

    masterful – I could feel so much about this family – and that dad! enjoyed this….

    Like

  34. Well done illustration of “What goes around comes around.”

    Like

  35. Beautifully written. The voice is so frank and unemotional but it simmers with loss and longing. Wonderful. :o)

    Like

  36. granonine says:

    Perfect. And there couldn’t be a better song to illustrate the story 🙂

    Like

  37. The next valley seems to be unattainable. Hard on the old man.
    https://ideasolsi65.blogspot.in/2017/09/the-fort.html

    Like

  38. subroto says:

    Nice one. There is always another “next valley” to reach. I hadn’t heard that song for a long long time, thanks for putting it up.

    Like

  39. Lynn Love says:

    Lovely writing Sandra. Love the idea of him looking for all that’s lost in the next valley, not realising he won’t be able to reach there until it’s his time. Just has a perfect feel to it, this. Loved it

    Like

  40. athling2001 says:

    Wow- excellent story!. You set the tone with the first sentence and it just flows from there down to the last -fantastic- line. Love it!

    Like

  41. athling2001 says:

    Reblogged this on A Writer's Life and commented:
    Wonderful story from first word to last. Enjoy!

    Like

  42. Vivian Zems says:

    An engaging story! I was gripped! 🙂

    Like

  43. Fluid Phrase says:

    Oh no. This is brutal! :(. Very well written.

    Like

  44. Sad and thoughtful. So much of life in so few words.

    Like

  45. Rowena says:

    I know I should find this depressing, but I didn’t. I found it touching…understandable. Like it was meant to be. Sounds like Dad should move to the next valley too. Or, perhaps he was the problem.
    xx Rowena

    Like

  46. This is so poignant. I can feel for the little boy and his pain. Reminds me how we live on with that faint glimmer of hope in our lives, always, until a day comes when we accept the truth and move on! Beautifully done, Sandra.

    Like

  47. Sarah Ann says:

    Your words paint such desolation. There is nothing here but loss and neglect. So well done, if a tad depressing. I don’t think the old man will ever find the right next valley.

    Like

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