My Books · My Thoughts · poetry · Ranching

Would You Like to Taste One of My Books?

            Taste one of my books, sample it, savor it! Here’s samples from three of my books. Enjoy!

Excerpt from This Tumbleweed Landed

“She Was Born Dancing!”

 On June 26, 1953, my folks left
their thirteen-month-old son with Millie,
the family babysitter,
to go to a square dance in Trinidad,
fifty miles away.
 
Mom danced one tip that night—
She was nine months pregnant
with me.
They left the dance early
feeling something was about to happen.
 
Early the next morning
Mom had labor pains
that made her stagger across the floor.
It was time!
 
The fifty-mile trip back to Trinidad
and the hospital
was made in record time.
 
At 10:30 a.m. I was born.
 
Dad went downtown
to buy celebratory cigars
and ran into a fellow dancer
from the previous night.
 
Dad announced his good news—
a new baby girl!
 
Remembering Mom at the dance
the night before,
the only comment the stunned friend
had to make was,
“She was born dancing!”
 

Copyright © 2014 Larada Horner-Miller


Excerpt from When Will Papa Get Home?

Chapter 8

Halfway through our delicious, but modest meal, the much-feared event happens. Horses approach our house in a rush of noise from men and animals. The dreaded moment arrives and catches us all clustered together in the dark corner of our small kitchen. Three unfinished meals cover our deserted table.

            Several loud men on nondescript sweaty, panting horses ride up with shouting and cussing. A brisk pounding at the door sends us further in the corner. Before Papa can open the door, this mob forces the door open. What a violent invasion of our home! Six gringos fill our small, modest house of stone and adobe with their foreign language and foreign smells. One of these invaders is the sheriff of Las Animas County.

            Peering from behind Mama’s protective full skirt, I see the sheriff, now our enemy, argue with Papa in English. Papa pleads. I don’t understand the words, but I do understand the tone of his voice and theirs. Grabbing the sheriff’s hand, he begs, pleads, and cries! And then, they laugh, a communication that crosses all languages. Their laughter overflows with power, ridicule and anger. And all this is aimed at my Papa, my hero! That laughter bounces off of our adobe walls and crashes into my head.

            The sheriff and one man get on each side of Papa and push him outside towards the corrals. The others move back to their horses, light cigarettes and stand talking. Mama and I move closer to the closed door, listening and trying to understand what is happening. I don’t understand their words but I know they feel they have won.  

            In a loud voice, Papa continues to argue with the two men who take him to the corral where the horses are. I hear English words that I do know: “The Rose horse ranch” where we bought Smokey as a colt. From the conversation, I see in my mind the two gringos surveying our two horses, especially Papa’s horse. Papa continues his litany of innocence with his voice growing louder and shriller with each statement, but they ignore him. Laughter is their only response.  

            I hear Papa beg about something. The two ruffians bring him back to the house for our tearful good-bye. The last thing I remember hearing is his screams as they drag him from our house. “Mi hijita, mi esposa preciosa–esperame, esperame!” His screams for us to wait for him echo through my mind. I must have fainted because the next thing I remember is waking to Mama and our neighbor and friend, Pablo, standing over me with worried looks on their faces.

            “Where’s Papa? Where’s Papa? ¿Dónde está mi Papa?” I scream, demanding to know and trying to shake the cobwebs of uncertainty from my mind.

            Mama falls across me on my small bed, crying and sobbing out of control, “Papa, se ha ido! Papa’s gone! He’s gone. Se lo llevaron. They took him away.” The weight of her body and sound of her wails almost suffocate me.

            Pushing Mama aside, I scramble out from underneath her, search our two-room home and explode. Uncontrollable anger rages from deep within me and I attack and destroy anything I can get my hands on. My doll crashes against the hard rock wall; my marbles fly out the door in all directions.  

            Mama tries to console me in the midst of my savage tantrum, but I push her away. I shove open the front door and collapse on the front step. I scream, I cry, and I wail! Finally, I take a breath and open my eyes—Paco is staring at me a few feet away. He seems apprehensive about coming any closer. My tantrum has lost its power, so my little friend ventures near and I scoop him up in my skirt. I gingerly hold him in my hand while my sobs are subsiding. He seems to know that I need him close to me. I sit there with him consoling me.  

            I look around and see my marbles strewn around our front door; I don’t pick them up, but go inside, leaving Paco outside. Mama and Pablo stop their conversation, and I slide into my bed fully dressed. Pablo touches my brow with gentle rough fingers and whispers, “Adios.  Hasta la mañana.” I appreciate his good-bye and the hope of seeing him tomorrow. Mama walks to the door with him and says her good-byes.

            She returns to my bed and repeats what Pablo did; she touches my brow with her long slender fingers and whispers, “Buenas noches.” I sigh my response and turn to the wall, heart-broken because the most valuable person in my life has been taken away.

Copyright © 2015 Larada Horner-Miller


Excerpt from A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir

I Want you Back! Or Do I?

January 27, 2014

I stand at that mysterious wall
between life and eternity
                     and scream,
"I want you back!"
 
I pound my fists.
I scream!
I cry,
but nothing changes.
 
You slipped
through my finger tips.
I grasped.
You were here one second
and
gone the next!
 
Nothing I could do
would hold you.
Where are you now?
Sitting next to Jesus and Dad—
              smiling
              youthful
              relaxed
              happy!
 
I hope so!
 
I am earth bound—
held in place
  by time and
              my human existence!
 
I now know more,
realize there's more.
There has to be!
 
A small peephole
opened into eternity
              at your death bed.
Surprisingly, a small kernel of hope was born that day for me.
 
Life ended here for you
so quickly!
Your shell of a body
lay limp and lifeless
in that hospital bed.
I saw your last breath,
but I also saw something else
              slight
              faint
 
Relief for you!
A passing
A knowing
              that you are gone
                          from here,
              but will wait for me
                          there.
 
In my solemn, desolate space,
I will still cry,
"I want you back!"
 
But today I know
that
I don't want you back—
I want to join you
              there!

Copyright © 2017 Larada Horner-Miller

Maybe one of these samples makes you want more. Visit my website at: https://laradasbooks.com


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