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The Carriage Driver³ - Debbie

Updated on January 04, 2017

Debbie sat in her living room with her grief. The lights were low, in the background an old LP played softly. Her head was bowed low, both from grief and age. She thought she heard a voice from a distance.

“Momma, I’m scared. Momma, can you hear me?”

With her head still bowed, she thought, “I’m coming Darling, Momma will be right there.” The corners of her mouth turned up ever so slightly, and she closed her eyes for the very last time.

At first, the path was too dim. She took a step with caution. In a moment her vision was as crisp and clear as it had been when she was a teenager. The path was smooth and tree lined. “Darling,” she called softly. “I’m here. Darling.”

“Here Momma, you came. This way Momma.” She hugged her Mother tightly. “This way.”

The two walked hand in hand for a short while. The path narrowed as they made their progress. Soon they came to a fork in the path. “This way Momma. Look at those bright lights on the horizon. Momma, I just knew there would be bright lights waiting for me. I spent most of my life in the glare of the bright lights. I guess I don't have to tell you that.”

“That way, Darling? Are you sure? Those bright lights never treated you well. They enticed you. Seduced by them. When taken away, you did everything you could to maintain that rush of excitement. That red carpet, to tell the truth, never did agree with you.”

“Momma, I had the fastest cars, the most handsome men, the world at my feet.” She stared off in the direction of the shining horizon. This way Momma.” She held out her hand.

“Darling, I know what is down that path. I spent my whole life on that road. So, I am not sure that is the right direction for you or me.”

“Well, can you walk with me awhile?”

Griffin used his newly made bellows to stoke the fire. He decided that the carriage needed new rims. This gave him an excuse to be in the barn near Nuelle on this cold winter’s night. With his shirt off, and a blacksmith’s metal hammer he pounded the metal into the size and shape necessary.

Debbie wandered along the path. “Do you hear that?”

“I am listening to the sound of music coming from the direction of the lighted horizon. I feel the heartbeat of a great party. Momma, do you think they threw me a party? Do you think they are waiting for my arrival? For years I was pursued by so many men and some women also made passes. So, many wanted a piece of me for almost a decade; I had it all. I had the best alcohol, and my pick of men. Imagine that Momma, my pick of men; I just hooked my finger, and they came running. I know you were not always proud of me. The best drugs available were tough to turn down. A life of sex, drugs, and the Hollywood myth is the dream of so many young people.”

Debbie paused and turned. She turned her head trying to determine the direction of the ringing that reached her ears. “You don’t hear that?” She asked her daughter.

“No, Momma. I am afraid, I only hear what I want to hear. You know that. You have always known that. You know, you always balanced your life better than I. You were unlucky with husbands. But, so are many women leading ordinary lives far beyond the spotlight. You could not have wanted that. To be a happy nobody. No movie credits. No leading men. No star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Momma?”

The clanking of Griffin’s hammer against the glowing red metal had the sound of church bells to Debbie’s ears. She had stopped. Her daughter had also stopped. Debbie looked at her young hands and was amazed. The aching in her legs was gone, as were thirty-five pounds and sixty years. The notes of the bells swirled around her soul.

Debbie took a step and embraced her daughter. “I am going to find out where that music is coming from. Are you sure you can’t hear it? Do you want to follow me and see where that path takes us?”

“Momma, I called to you. Momma, you came and found me. To me, those lights in the distance feel right. They seem warm and inviting. Look around; there is nothing out there but the light on the horizon.”

Debbie again hugged her daughter. This time tighter, she held on tighter, like it was the last time. She kissed her one last time. Like so many times in the past, she let her daughter do what she felt was right for her.

“I am going this way.” She turned back toward where the road split.

“Goodbye, Momma. I love you. I wanted to say that.” Then a little louder, “I love you.”

“I love you, Darling. The two women again were parted as they were so many times along the way.

Griffin, satisfied with the first rim, fit it onto the wooden wheel. With metal rivets, he affixed the two pieces together. He found an apple placed there for the occasion and split it into four pieces. He fed two to Nuelle and ate the other two.

Debbie stopped, the music had stopped, and she wondered, if again, like so many other times in life, she was going in the right direction. Then the bells again began to ring. Reassured, she found her way back to the fork and followed what she was sure was the right way.

She thought about the things her daughter had told her. Her daughter witnessed the life she had led. The husband, failed marriages, near bankruptcies. So many disappointments. Debbie could not criticize her daughter for making many of the mistakes she had made.

In a very short distance from the fork in the road, a small glow through the trees reached Debbie. Soon she found herself in a clearing. With her new found eyesight, she watched a large man standing in his shirt sleeves in the glow of the most inviting fire she had ever seen. Behind him, a beautiful white horse stared at her.

Source

Griffin looked up and saw her. He sat the hammer down and bellowed, “Welcome.” He found a rag and wiped his face. He put on and buttoned his jacket. He took Nuelle’s harness and placed it over her head. Both Griffin and Nuelle went out to greet their arrival. “So glad you found us. Follow us into the barn. I’ll get the carriage ready. You will find there is no longer a need to hurry. Most people spend much of their time rushing.”

Debbie pat Nuelle on her cheek. “Hello, Beautiful. You look magnificent.”

Griffin wiped down the carriage. He brought Nuelle to the carriage then noticed one wheel was still waiting. “Oh, would you look at that? I won’t be long.” He removed his jacket and stoked the bellow to get the heat up where necessary. He picked up the hammer and began pounding.

Now, farther along the other path, Debbie’s daughter stopped and turned her head as the sound of bells reached her.

Happy New Year

Debbie Reynolds - Tammy

Debbie Reynolds - With You I Shall Walk

© 2016 mckbirdbks

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    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 2 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      This is a beautiful story about a beautiful lady. I met Debbie a couple of times years ago. She was a wonderful lady, with a beautiful soul. She was a sponsor for Easter Seals and came to a club I was in to accept a $100,000 check from our fundraiser. We had a huge fundraiser every year that would bring in a lot of money for Easter Seals. She hung around for quite a while afterwards talking to everybody that attended. We had people there from all over the world.

      The second time I met her, she was bored and going around Reno to the antique shops. She came to mine and admired several pieces I had. She also bought a few of them. She laughed and said she had to severely limit herself or she would not be able to get into the door of her house. A lot of the stars headlining at the casinos would show up and look around for a bit. Some bought, some didn't. The bodyguards would bring them to my store, because they knew I would give the stars some space.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      What a gift to wake up to...Happy New Year's Eve, Mike, Becky and all who stop by this series for inspiration and imagination.

      Some of my younger friends did not know that Debbie was Carrie's mother. Others don't know that Billie Lourd, the adorable / talented actress who plays Chanel #3 on Scream Queens, is Carrie's daughter. Her character always wears earmuffs...as a reminder / tribute to her mama, Princess Leia.

      Mike, you have sensitively addressed the bittersweet relationships that many of us have with our parents in this story of Debbie. At some point, the child will 'hear the bell'... some take longer than others.

      I enjoyed hearing Debbie's music...I will be checking out some of her movies on TMC for sure...what a beauty.

      Your stories have a satisfying combination of depth and breadth (warmth) to me - hoping 2017 is filled with (at least) 52 more publications from you ... no pressure intended... ;)

      Happy and hopeful 2017 to everyone. Hugs, mar

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Wishing you and yours a very Happy and Blessed New Year, Mike. Thank you for all that you do. I'm going to have a lot of work for you in 2017...first up, a coloring book cover....I'll be in touch.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky – Happy New Year. I sure hope you find your way back to writing at some point. You have such great stories to share. I think along the way you have mentioned meeting Debbie Reynolds. All the more sad for you in that the loss may seem more personal. I am not sure I knew you ran an antique store. My first go at selling books was in a large space in the back of an antique store. I set the whole thing up, like it was my office. An office that I never realized.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello mar – Happy New Year. Thanks for the compliment. I am sure glad that you derive inspiration from these stories. I have lost count of how many there are now.

      I would have flunked the test about Billie Lourd as Carrie Fishers daughter. I think I would have missed the answer to any question with Scream Queens also. I meant to work in that two bun hairdo in Star Wars, but forgot.

      This was easy to write, because of the whole parent - the child issue. I am sure a Millenial would write the story differently. I am still waiting for an acknowledgement from one that they can hear the bell.

      Thanks for the continued encouragement of my writing endeavors.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill. Happy New Year. Wishing you revenue and good health. I have a mockup of Shadows Fall on Rosarito. I think it is the best cover yet. So, yes, send along your requirements. They give me something to do, other than chores.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Mike this is a beautiful story/tribute to one of the classic ladies of the golden era. Debbie had her up's and down's, but she always got back up. Carrie grew up in a house divided and drugs and alcohol were her escape. I watched the son, Todd say that just before Debbie died she said, " I want to be with Carrie. " I then listened to a cardiologist say that one could die from a broken heart. It seems the heart reacts to acute sadness by overproducing enzymes. This was a totally new concept to me. I am now going up to watch the videos. Happy New Year Mike, get better soon...I loved this. Debbie and Carrie would be proud!

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby - Happy New Year. I have heard of 'dying of a broken heart' but did not realize it was actually possible. I am sure that a Mother losing a child has to be the ultimate pain. I hope they are together and laughing at all the things that stressed them during life. I hope their silver screen is filled with the good cheer of friendship.

      Thanks for staying with these stories.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Many viewed the inspirational Debbie Reynolds as Tammy and the girl next door; but as a young girl, I saw her more as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Mike, you have penned the perfect tribute to this talented, resilient lady, and the poignant and unique relationship she had with her daughter, Carrie. May the force be with them both, always. :-)

      Happy New Year.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Happy New Year Genna. Your, "May the force be with them with, always." Is perfect. I did not follow Carrie's career. But her Mom always held a fascination with me. She seemed to be able to do it all. I never felt she became 'swept up' in the fame issue.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 2 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      Mike, It has been really personal that Debbie and Carrie died. Dennis also worked as security on one of the Star Wars movies that Carrie was in. The one with Jabba the Hut was filmed in the sand dunes in Imperial County before I met him. They hired a bunch of National Guard, cops, and ex-cops to work security for the film set. He always admired her and said she was really sweet, but very mixed up at that time.

      I actually have run three different antique shops. One was in Reno and I was just managing it. The second one was in Cottonwood, AZ; and my husband and I ran it for a charity. The third one was in Ohio, and I owned it for 3 years. We closed it about a year after Katy was born. The owner sold the building and we moved back to AZ. I got sick as soon as we moved to AZ and I could not work for a couple of years after that.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

      Beautiful, though sad, story. Debbie and Carrie's departures made a deep impact on people around the globe. Why, most daughters don't want to be like their mother, but in the process of becoming different they get lost.

      Happy New Year, Mike!

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky, It does seem that yours and Dennis’ path crossed with Debbie’s path along the journey. It must be one of those, ‘down to earth’ things that slowly is disappearing from our culture.

      The antique business was always ‘close by’ as I stood in lines waiting to look at old books. There were many people who worked the local antique shops and swap meet circuits there with me. They came in all sizes and shapes and areas of expertise. The art dealers, and record dealers were in line with the furniture dealers. It was quite a pack of humanity.

      Happy New Year

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Martie – Happy New Year – Yes, I have seen many mother-daughter issues. It seems daughters, all eventually turn into their mothers. It is an evolution thing. It holds true for fathers and sons also. Many a time I heard my father’s words come out of my mother. It is shocking.

      To me Debbie and Carrie were very different. Debbie seemed to know that the acting was all make believe.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mike, What a beautiful story about the reunion of two souls. Debbie was the epitome of the All American Girl when I was growing up. She represented purity and sweetness. That video you included of her in the Singing Nun was one I didn't recall. Her voice is so beautiful. It broke my heart and came as a shock to hear about the passing her daughter, Carrie. I was late watching the Star Wars film where she returned as a General and was surprised to learn that she was younger than me. That is an awakening in itself.

      Your stories remind us that life is not guaranteed and that what we do with our time on this earth is so important. You've chosen two beautiful, yet troubled souls to meet on the other side with the help of The Carriage Driver and his trusty Nuelle.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - You are right about our time here. It seems the light can go out in an instant. Debbie Reynolds was part of the American fabric. She was part of what made us feel good about ourselves and others. Her singing and dancing entertained us all. I did not follow Carrie's career, she had more than her share of troubles. (As did her Mom.)

      The Carriage Driver was there for her. In the big picture that is a reward worth achieving. (I guess.)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      The perfect last line that I think everyone would've been waiting for!

      Such a shame Carrie died so young but a mother's grief must be the worst. May they rest in peace.

      Penultimate para: 'top get' - I think that's a typo for 'to get'?!

      Happy New Year, Mike!

      Ann :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann. Happy New Year. I do wonder if Carrie would have responded to those bells. She always went her own way. Thanks for the typo alert. I don't proofread with any energy these days. It does not seem like there are many writers still posting. Or even many readers. Everyone is so busy with watching the global political theater.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      I try not to watch the global political situation; it's too depressing.

      I am, however, getting withdrawal symptoms from not writing enough as life interferes! This new house just won't sort itself out. However, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to issue at least a couple of hubs soon.

      Ann :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann. You will have the new placed sorted in short order. Then you can get back into the grace of writing all that needs to be said.

      We all look forward to your work.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

      You're very kind, Mike; thanks.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 months ago from Central Florida

      This is a beautiful tribute to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher Mike. I'm glad they finally found each other in the end.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - We can only hope the two ladies found what their were looking for in the next life. It seemed elusive in this one. Thanks for staying with these stories.

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