Pineapple Finials- Day 480: 5 Minute Freewrite: Tuesday - Prompt: pineapple

in #freewrite2 years ago (edited)

*my daughter's old walnut four-poster

Her husband was dead

and she couldn't sleep in their room, not with his old faded Levis piled under those leather boots leaning like the Tower of Pisa against the giant ceramic pot of his ludicrous avocado tree, not with the scent of Irish Spring soap still emanating from the master bath, not with the little Caspar dog bed Rocko had loved lying empty by the floor-to-ceiling window.

So she slept in the bed her parents and grandparents had used, the one with the bedposts that terrified her all through childhood. They looked like spears wielded by cannibals who ate missionaries. Not until she met Layne did she learn that this solid walnut bed was hand-carved into pineapples at the "finials." She only knew the wood had darkened to ebony over the years, and the bed was smaller than a full size but larger than a twin, which made it twice the price for a custom mattress.

Pineapples and finials. The words Layne knew! "Dad just has to show off," the kids would say. "Nobody says pylon when they could say orange traffic cone." Well, even she said pylon, and Millennials were woefully uneducated, but even people her own age knew this much: Never challenge Layne Davis at Scrabble. Every crazy word he came up with turned out to be a legitimate science term that appeared in the dictionary.

Never again would she lose a Scrabble game to him. Or an argument.

One minute he was here, annoying and presumptuous as always. An hour later, half a mile from their front door, he was dead in a ditch. Accidents happen closest to home, people say, as if "home" is dangerous. No. Statistically, drivers are near home more often than any destination, so it only stands to reason that...

Her brain froze up. She tried again.

The car starts out from and returns to the same spot no matter where the driver is heading, so, duh. It was just numbers, not fate, not some Twilight Zone vibe marking HOME as the scene of most fatalities. The riskiest room in the house was not the kitchen but the bathroom. As an E.R. nurse she knew a quarter of a million people a year visited emergency rooms because of injuries suffered while bathing or showering, and fourteen percent occurred while using the toilet.

The toilet! People actually suffered ambulance-worthy injuries while using the toilet!

So for Layne to drive off in her dad's old Dodge and get rear-ended and killed was really not such a terrible surprise. Stranger things happened all the time. He was a brain surgeon; he'd drilled holes into the skulls of many a crash victim to relieve pressure and swelling. His friend Bill might have had at him with that drill had Layne not died before the texting idiot who'd killed him could summon 9-1-1.


The voice startled her even more than the figure at the door. Jack. So much like his father but also like his namesake, the uncle he never got to meet.

Normally she'd bounce up and greet him with a hug, but normally, he wasn't watching her like she was a grenade that might go off. "You were just here two weeks ago," she said. "You don't have to check on me in person, you know."

He shrugged. "I just fed the dogs." Then he looked at her as if awaiting a reply, or a dawning realization.

Had she forgotten to feed the dogs? No. No. She was not that far gone.

"You know, that bed isn't as ugly as I remember," he said. "The granny quilt with the flowers can go any decade now, but the bed. It's really something. Solid walnut!"

Big yellow poppies wound their way up the old bedspread, looking a little faded nowadays, not as cheery and bright as they did when Sarah's brother bought it for their mom one Christmas. As if they didn't have enough quilts made from old work shirts and scraps from hand-sewn dresses, Mom scolded him. Jack Savage was dead of a burst appendix before Mom could get to the return lane with a bedspread that suddenly became priceless to her.

"Mom." Her son's voice brought her back to the land of the living. "Didn't Dad try to get you to sell this bed?"

She finger-tipped some dust off a finial. "Columbus brought the first pineapple to Spain from Guadalupe," she said. "New England sea captains marked a safe return voyage with ripe pineapples impaled in fence posts outside their homes. I don't suppose pineapple finials would have increased the odds of your father coming home safe with Rocko from his little trip to the store."

The girls would be rolling their eyes at her or making snide remarks, but Jack was so patient. She had to give him that. He was here to insist that she leave the house and get out of her rut, but at least he wasn't so obvious and so in-your-face about it.

"I didn't come here just to check on you, Mom." He shifted his feet, looking tall in his faded Levis and buff in his white T-shirt that fit loose at the waist, tight in the arms and chest. "I came to see if you wanna watch me at the Demolition Derby."

"You? In a derby?" Her breath quickened.

"Me." He cracked a smile. His eyes lit up the way Layne's did at the Chicago car show every February.

Sarah Savage, queen of the Demolition Derby, back in the day. He knew her soft spot.

"You didn't get that old Chevy Impala running again," she said in the same scoffing tone her dad had always used on her when she did something unbelievable.

"I did indeed."

A sudden vision of the old Dodge rammed from behind, an image of Rocko releasing his last sigh: Was she up for this?

God, it would feel good to smash something.

That was her go-to after she lost her brother.

Sarah unclenched her fists and pulled herself to her feet. This was what the Savage family had done for three generations in this old house: both feet on the floor. One foot ahead of the other. Her parents had buried their only son; her mom had lived another twenty years after she buried her husband. Sarah would go on too because that's what people do.

One step at a time.


Day 480: 5 Minute Freewrite: Tuesday - Prompt: pineapple

We have an antique bed with pineapple filials, but you all know me. I had to see what was up with pineapple designs showing up in antiques and the doilies my mom used to crochet. The hard, prickly pineapple used to symbolize a home’s warmth and hospitality. Pineapple motifs were carved into wood bedposts and entry doors, window frames, shutters and stair risers, and stenciled onto walls, floors, and ceilings. source

My mother has a pineapple doily pattern,

and I am in awe of her spider-like talent for taking a stick and a string, counting the loops on and off the hook, and creating things like this while watching TV:


Check Out The @FreeWriteHouse Prompt Of The Day By @MarianneWest


Hmm. We've got the same old bed. Same finials. Same odd size too. My grandmother claimed it's worth a fortune, going back to a Civil War era great-grandmother. All I know for sure is it takes an entire day to take apart and put back together again if you've got to move it from one room to another. If we ever sell this house we're leaving it behind.

Civil War era - wow! I've seen nearly identical beds as recently made as the 1930s. The mattress size makes it expensive. Ours is easy enough to disassemble and move. We were told it was a late 1800s piece, but who knows. Solid walnut! That much, we can tell. Yours sounds too awesome to leave behind. I hope you get a fortune for it if you do let it go.

Edits cost SBD, somehow, or so I'm told. I've already gone back 3 or 4 times to edit this piece. Instead of making a wrecking ball of the blockchain, I'll just reference my wordpress blog, where (as far as I know) I can revise ad infinitum without cost. Latest version is here:

Great story. I guess sometimes we all need that someone to remind us that the show must go on.
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So you are surrounded by more pineapples as I (well I have some cans).
Loved reading it... I forgot to feed the dog yesterday :(

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