I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Bill Holland, one of our favorite writers on HubPages, has issued the following challenge.
"I’m going to give you three photos below. Those are your prompts. I’m going to ask you to use all three of them in your story. The length of your story is up to you, but it must relate to the photos. And yes, if you are a poet, feel free to write a poem about the photos rather than a short story or flash fiction.
That’s it! Easy Peasy!" - Bill Holland
Below is my response. For some reason, I could not open the photo of boxes from Bill, so I am using ones from Pixabay.
A Neighborhood Street
The quiet residential street in Dallas, Texas, holds many stories. The majority of these longtime homeowners strive to keep up the appearance of their homes, and their lawns are well-tended. Outward appearances are often deceiving. Few people, other than those who live there or might occasionally visit, know of the present-day economic disparities between the households.
Sue and her husband live on the corner. She quickly makes friends. Sue has met many of her neighbors and regularly chats with them when outside, tending her roses or removing weeds from her garden beds. Before the pandemic, she and her neighbors would occasionally share a cup of coffee or tea and sometimes share an entire meal in each of their places. She has gotten to know many of them quite well. Now, because of the pandemic, the chats are only outdoors and socially distant.
Since the end of their street ends in a cul-de-sac, any vehicles going down to the end of Sue's street must return the same way. They all must stop at the stop sign in front of Sue's house. The UPS and FedEx trucks are seen in the neighborhood every day, and sometimes more than once a day, as the delivery men and women stay busy delivering packages. Some people who never before ordered packages for delivery are doing so today because of the pandemic. We must be grateful for all those who work hard making these deliveries to ensure the safety of others during Covid-19.
Sue has noticed that some of her neighbors get deliveries almost every or every other day. Those trucks seldom stop at other homes on her block. She knows the reasons why this is the case from what she has learned about her neighbors.
The Smith home seldom has a delivery. Sarah and her husband had to declare bankruptcy many years ago due to excessive medical bills. They were living the American dream until Sarah started having debilitating headaches. After seemingly endless visits to doctors, a brain tumor was the final diagnosis. As the surgeries and continuing doctor visits mounted up, their savings became depleted. Without constant supervision, she could pose a problem to her safety and even their home. Jim once discovered a burner on their stove left on high, and fortunately, he was able to extinguish the fire that had erupted before damage to their kitchen ended badly. There is not enough money to hire a caretaker, and Jim had to retire early to care for his wife, who has frequent memory lapses. They drive an older car and seldom have company except for their daughter, who was recently laid off from her job and moved back in with them.
Penny-pinching has become a way of life for Ben and Alice, who live in a two-story home just a few houses away from Sarah and Jim. Ben lost his executive management position years ago due to a hostile takeover of the company. At that time, at age 55, he found it hard to find comparable work. Fortunately, they had paid off their mortgage before their economic circumstances changed. The jobs he could get would never again provide the lifestyle which they once enjoyed. Seldom does a delivery truck leave packages at their home.
On the other hand, deliveries are made almost daily at the Schuster home. They are a couple who have two sons. Sam works as the co-owner of a plumbing business, and he stays busy providing much-needed services to those who live in his area of Dallas. They appear to have the best of everything money can buy. Their growing sons wear the latest clothing fashions and are involved in sports. Cars are updated every couple of years. Gloria continually redecorates her home and is proud to show it off. Gloria stays busy with her shopping trips, lunches, and planning their next vacation getaway. Boxes are laid at her front door almost daily.
In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
Thinking of Others
While fiction, these are representative stories of what is happening all across our land today. Let's do what we can to reach out and help each other during this time of economic stress for so many of our fellow countrymen. The disparities between the "haves and the have-nots" have never been so exaggerated. Many have lost jobs, some of which will never return. People are hungry! More people may become homeless! What can each of us do to help during this stressful time? That is a question each of us must answer.
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
© 2020 Peggy Woods