Singin’ Sally

We kids called her Singin’ Sally and
gave her house a wide berth,
especially if we caught sight of her
outside. We didn’t want to be called
over to her, and back then we wouldn’t
dare ignore or disrespect an elder.
Although we may have run…

Many times we could hear her banging on her
out-of-tune piano…singing praise to her Lord,
her voice raised in a crescendo of fervency.
She routinely posted signs in her front yard
that said “The End is Near” and “Repent Your Sins”.

She frightened me.
She was old…she seemed old…
Her hair was a scritch-scratch, bird’s nest grey,
wild and untamed like her need to make you
realize that you had better repent, REPENT!!
She babbled and mumbled…most words
made no sense. She was intense.

Sometimes she passed by our house on
the way to the bus stop at the end of our street.
I would watch from the safety of indoors,
staring at this strange figure wearing baggy,
outdated clothes, with a loping, purposeful walk.
She always appeared to be muttering.

One afternoon a storm was brewing, as was common,
and large drops started to splat from heavy-laden
summer clouds. Singin’ Sally was headed home from
the bus stop and just as she came even with our house
the skies busted loose a flood, with thundering cracks
and bolts that sent flashes slicing the blackened day.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, she sprinted up
to our front door and asked for sanctuary from
the storm. And Mom let her in!

There in our living room sat Singin’ Sally.
I couldn’t bring myself to step foot in there.
As inconspicuous as I could be, I peeked from
the hallway and stared. Mom was being kind
and hospitable and Singin’ Sally started talking
about the Lord and a lot of other jibber-jabber
I couldn’t understand. But in no time the storm
passed and Sally took her leave and continued
on home. I did admire my mother for her good,
Christian spirit and helping a neighbor…but gosh,
Singin’ Sally had been in our house.

Sam Peralta hosts us at dVerse one final time as he takes his leave to live his life. Goodbye Sam, I wish you well. He tells us of the beauty of prose poetry and encourages us to give it a try: http://dversepoets.com/2014/01/30/form-for-all-prosepoetry/

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32 Comments

  1. haha…she sounds like quite the personlity… we had a strange old lady as well in the little village where my mom was born – i always thought she was a witch….she probably was…smiles

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  2. ARose

     /  January 30, 2014

    seems every neighbourhood has a singin sally.lol indeed a cute tale.

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  3. Interesting story about Singing Sally. She does seem like the kind of people who would inspire stories of children in the neighborhood. I bet you had even more stories once Singing Sally had actually been IN your house. Perhaps you were even the envy of the neighborhood kids. Smiles.

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    • Oh boy…yeah, once she had actually been in my house…I can’t even recall but the talk must have been pure excitement!

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  4. ha. what an interesting character she is…i have known those staunch religeous people…and def been scary as well….imagine all the stories that could go around school after a visit from her as well….as i am sure you were not the only one afraid of her…ha….

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    • No, I wasn’t the only kid afraid of her…she just plain put you off with her over zealous jabbering. Not the way to win over children…or anyone for that matter.

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  5. Smiles. We had a similar neighbor (about whom I’ve written a poem, too.) She used to stare at us over the fence when we were playing in the backyard. Soon after, she died of a brain tumor. But it what scary. Re: your comment on my blog–I agree with you, Gayle. Earth has her natural cycles. Perhaps we do irritate her, but those variations are expected.

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    • Yes, seems like many neighborhoods house some strange ones that creep you out. Knowing that your neighbor had a brain tumor might explain some things, eh?

      I agree with you about us irritating the earth but all in all I think her power to change and adapt is greater than we give her credit for. That’s the story I’m telling myself anyway…smiles. I don’t quite align with the doom and gloom stories. Thanks for the comment, Victoria.

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  6. This is so good.. To me it’s a little bit echoing “how to kill a mocking bird” those neighbors that are a little weird. We just remember them

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  7. We had our neighbor, old man Cook – who we were sure we would never grow up to be, what brings people to these places in life, and spares us? I thought your words were just right.

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    • I often wonder the same thing, Bill. What takes a soul to those places so different from others that they are shunned, taunted…ignored. Thank you for your compliment…and comment.

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  8. You have gone back to the mind of a child and kept her voice consistently through this piece. Some delightful phrases here.

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    • Thank you, Viv. I guess I could resurrect that child in me that had those feelings about her. It was a consensus with the neighborhood kids that she was an odd one.

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  9. hypercryptical

     /  January 31, 2014

    What a wonderful story. I can remember the good old days when we respected our elders…
    Anna :o]

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  10. I remember a neighbour like that in my grandmother’s village. We thought she was a witch and would run away like anything when she offered us apples. She must have felt sad and lonely.

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    • I direct you to Claudia’s comment above. There was a “witch” that she knew too. Yeah, that does feel a bit sad…she was probably just trying to be kind. But once kids get a story in their head about someone…well, it’s hard to change their hard little noggins. Thanks for sharing, Marina.

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  11. I guess, in every place, there will always one or two that will appear so strange among the rest. I’m afraid her faith has taken away the best of her sanity. Smiles. I have enjoyed this.

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    • I agree with you, Kelvin. It seems like there is one like her in everyone’s life. I too feel her faith has taken the best of her. Glad you enjoyed…thank you.

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  12. I remember some character similar…..we were young and they scared us. I’m just worried someone will write about me someday as that “strange lady who live in the little house on the hill” ;o

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    • Haha…no one likely will write about you…unless maybe you live with 20 or 30 cats or something weird like that. 🙂 So many people remember strange characters when growing up.

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  13. Strangeness is scary especially for children and poets:)

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  14. I take it.. she was probably alone..i think that so often..people will do anything..to reach and be touched..even if it is warning others that the sky is falling…

    The pollyanna skies..are made for those with friends..i think..moreover..as the only true happiness…i knowNOW.. are the TRUE HUMAN connections .. such as that…

    I suppose that is the source of so much strife..in our huge and disconnected culture…

    Loneliness..is the grand conspirer…

    Of most conspiracies..
    perhaps…

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    • Yes, she lived alone. I don’t know if she had been married or had children. Never saw anyone ever visit. You may be right about trying to reach out any way you know how.

      And you make a good point too about loneliness.

      Thank you for your thoughtful and sensitive comment…I appreciate it.

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  15. A masterful character sketch, and what a perspective you draw, through the eyes of the young! Almost balladic in its interpretation.

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