Common Ground – Friday Fictioneers, May 2018

Copyright Connie Gayer

There were a million reasons we couldn’t get along.

The least of these was his endless banging on about the size of his courgettes, the brilliance of his tomatoes, the tenderness of his beans.

Each Sunday he brought his bounty to the dinner-table, like a kid toting a glowing school report.  And every Sunday I withheld what he sought.

“What? Yeah, cool… what’s for dessert, Mum?”

A small victory, none too sweet either.

Today, leaning on my hoe, I survey neat rows of asparagus, broccoli, kohlrabi, beans…

“How’d I do, Dad?”

But there’s no response… and never will be now.


Apologies for my recent absence from Friday Fictioneers.  Part of the blame lies with Microsoft for yet another computer crash following a Windows 10 update; the rest is just plain lack of inspiration and/or the steady battle against weeds/predators in our own vegetable garden.  Thanks to Rochelle for her encouragement.  And to Russell, for giving us a glimpse of his other side. 

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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56 Responses to Common Ground – Friday Fictioneers, May 2018

  1. Dale says:

    So very nice to see you here again, Sandra!
    Blasted computers and weeds… (and lookit me, second in the link! You can thank my son for waking me up, my dog for bugging me for the door and the fact my story was ready…)
    Loved this…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. neilmacdon says:

    That’s tender, and not as dark as your usual offerings, Sandra. You’ve mellowed in your enforced absence

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Sandra,

    Tantalizing descriptions of veggies. I’m about to bite into a ripe tomato. Well cultivated and touching story. Glad to see you’ve weathered the Windows 10 storm and are back in the FF queue.



    Liked by 2 people

  4. Varad says:

    Very deep and tender, Sandra. Loved it.


  5. Emily says:

    Nice twist; I love how you have really demonstrated the growth of the main character.


  6. Anita says:

    It’s nice to get some appreciation for such stellar work done.
    The protagonist sure deserves his parent’s support & encouragement.
    The last line comes as a twist…
    True Treasure – Anita


  7. Simply delightful Sandra. Good to see you back – and top of the pile too!

    Click to read my FriFic tale


  8. Deeply moving piece, Sandra. One of your best. Well done


  9. ceayr says:

    Subtle and superb.
    Beautifully constructed, then finished with a blow to the heart.


  10. jillyfunnell says:

    A very telling point made here, beautifully done. So sorry to hear about your computer problems, glad all is well and I hope the plants aren’t romping out of control now.


    • Sandra says:

      I could put up with the plants romping out of control, it’s the damned deer, foxes, voles, badgers and slugs that are occupying my time. Thanks for visiting.


  11. StuHN says:

    Father and Son. Cat Stevens.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bettina says:

    Awww, sweet but sad and all too true


  13. subroto says:

    Sometimes what we don’t say matters more than what we say. Beautiful story to tug the heartstrings.


  14. shivamt25 says:

    The lead in your story has come a long way. Such is the father and son relationship.


  15. This is so sad… I think there are so many moments when you wished you had been a better son… but often they do know deep within.


  16. Lynn Love says:

    This is so true! I remember my dad growing cabbages, making us help cut them in the rain. Hated it! Now, of course, I potter round my own garden, tending my flowers, digging new borders. So well written so well observed and so sad. Lovely Sandra.
    And so glad to see you here!


  17. wmqcolby says:

    Hi, Sandra! Yes, it’s been a long time for me, too. Wonderful story you have there. Almost lyrical. Sad-sweet ending. I know there will be some things about growing a garden, should I ever do one, it’ll be because of what I learned from her, like the character learned from Dad.

    My mom had a garden and the worst thing I did in it was to dig potatoes. Oh well …

    Five out of five rockets (or arugulas, like we say in America). 🙂


  18. It’s so hard to have regrets and have no way to rectify things. You really caught that in your story.


  19. I liked the way led me along in this story. I wasn’t expecting such a poignant ending!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  20. pennygadd51 says:

    Dear Sandra
    You’ve given us a lovely subtle story here. Firstly, it’s a nice oblique take on the prompt. Then there’s the fascinating way the father seeks his son’s approval for his gardening feats; a way of showing off that can make the son feel terribly inadequate. Notwithstanding this, we find the son – many years later – cultivating his own neat rows of vegetables for which he would like his father’s approval, and can never have it. You show a lot of insight in this story.
    With best wishes


  21. My dad used to brag about his sweet potatoes. He’d hand you one about five pounds and say, “This is one of the little ones from the garden.” I wish I could hear him brag on them today.

    I hope you didn’t notice the vegetable garden in the background. No, I’m not shipping you green beans, okra, or squash. Don’t grovel, it’s not lady-like.


  22. Beautiful tale. Thank you.


  23. I had to read it over to get who was talking, but then or course it made perfect sense. Yes, bittersweet memory & regret. Don’t we all wish we’d shown more appreciation back when?


  24. Mike says:

    I have just posted my story, so now I can read yours and the other posts. I enjoyed reading this. Since a recent update I have been unable to use the [like button] computers! Could you use your garden pests as photographic opportunities. Mike


  25. Unbearably sad! I did think of a grave too when I saw the prompt but no story came. Your story is stellar!


  26. Its sad when we don’t give what doesn’t actually cost much and also when its too late to give.
    Its extra sad when you reap what you sow!


  27. draliman says:

    A little sad at the end, but they’re following in Dad’s footsteps.


  28. A touchingly sad story of what we sometimes long for but neverr seem to get.
    Nicely told, Sandra. Welcome back to FF. Your presence and stories are always a big asset.
    Isadora 😎


  29. AMelodyPearson says:

    I’ve been absent as well. Probably much longer than you. I’m trying to get myself organized to start writing again, but I’m not going to write this weekend. The photo looks too much like the brother I lost last year and your story touched exactly on my feelings.


  30. Sarah Ann says:

    Such a sad tale and sad character – her hoeing reinforcing her missing of something that’s gone. Or maybe she doesn’t miss it at all? A story of complex emotions to work through.


  31. Really sad. There’s something of his life in all of us, I imagine. Nicely portrayed.


  32. prior.. says:

    this was a nice heart tug and the changes humans go through – I sorta see it with my son now– as he is maturing and even taking vitamins – that is a big deal and my fav part in your fiction was,

    “Today, leaning on my hoe, I survey neat rows of asparagus, broccoli, kohlrabi, beans…

    “How’d I do, Dad?”

    because we do carry on the heritage and they are sometimes with us in spirit that we talk like this – to them and with them



  33. Dang computers!
    Oh the upside they give us wonderful stories like this from across the globe.


  34. Thom Carswell says:

    Beautifully sad.


  35. Reminds me of the song Cats in the Cradle.


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