Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



Roots – flash fiction

The hot day had Tessa itching to return to the park of her youth. She drove the streets admiring the colorful flowers in bloom, realizing the town had grown while she was away. She parked in the same space she used years ago, wondering if the forest trail that beckoned was still in use. Finding it even wider than she remembered, she took off her shoes in order to feel the warm packed earth underfoot. While walking, she imagined the day her granddaughter would be big enough to step over the same roots and share the experience with her.

Written in response to Charli Mills April 22, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about earthing. Put a character’s hands, feet or body and soul into the earth. Who needs recharging? What happens between the interaction? Go where the prompt leads!

Butterfly Rock Garden

In the springtime, the Homefront Warrior’s group worked quickly under the threat of rain to arrange rocks and then plant seedlings and bulbs for a memorial garden.

Now it was a sunny, blue-sky August day and they gathered for a picnic near their handiwork. One woman who had little knowledge of plants stood admiring the various colored blossoms with a puzzled look on her face.

Tessa noticed. “What has you perplexed?”

“Why did we plant weeds in with the flowers?”

“If you mean the milkweed, it’s the only thing a monarch butterfly will eat. Look, here comes one now.”

Written in response to Charli Mills January 7, 2021 prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stones. The two can be used in any way in your story. Go where the prompt leads!

Lemon Queens

When Michael rolled out of the church back door he saw Tessa standing at the far side of the parking lot dabbing her eyes. He went to her. “What’s upset you?”

“Look at Mrs. Staples’ house. It’s run down and her gardens have gone to weeds. Remember those tall yellow flowers called Lemon Queens? It wasn’t summer until they bloomed.”

“I’m afraid she’s gone into a home and her kids won’t sell the house while she’s alive, so it sits.”

“That’s awful. I’m going to visit her and share my memories. I wonder where I can buy lemon Queens.”

Written in response to Charli Mills August 27, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features Lemon Queens. Maybe it’s an ancient fairy tale or a modern brand name. What ideas seep into your imagination? Is there a character or place involved? Go where the prompt leads!

The Baby’s Nickname – flash fiction

A month after Lexi and Adam, Tessa’s daughter and son-in-law, were settled in their new house, Emma got baptized with families present. Michael’s youth choir sang two children’s dedication songs and Adam’s parents were thrilled to see how he was accepted into the close-knit group. At the luncheon, Lexi tolerated her grandmother’s proprietorship over the baby just so long then retrieved her so Adam’s family could cuddle her too. Adam’s grandfather beamed at her and said, “So this is the new blossom that made our family grow.” And that’s how the pink-cheeked infant came to be called Emma Blossom.

Written in response to Charli Mills July 2, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the word blossom. You can use the word as a noun or a verb, or even as a name. How does it fit into your story? Go where the prompt leads!

Decent Substitutes

On a recent summer trip through the southwest United States, Annie admired the many brightly painted ceramic skulls she saw in gift shops. They seemed to be happy, not scary. She wondered why so many people collected them, skulls weren’t her thing. After getting home she read for the first time the definition of the Mexican Holiday, Day of the Dead. Now it all made sense and she wished she had bought some for her parents and brother-in-law’s gravesites. She decided to paint flowers on three flat stones and leave them for her loved ones next time she visited

Written in response to Charli Mills October 31, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the Day of the Dead. It can be the Mexican holiday, a modern adaptation of it, a similar remembrance, or something entirely new. Go where the prompt leads!

Day 22 – Rt 66 trip

I don’t think I have mentioned, we are staying at Best Westerns whenever possible. We are rewards members and have earned a couple of free nights staying with the same chain. There are a couple of foibles to doing so; you take the  location they offer, sometimes a gem and sometimes not, and each hotel is owned by a different person so the amenities are not always the same. In Tulsa we were given a free upgrade to a suite, in another location we were given our points and a couple of battles of water, in Elk City, OK, the desk person said let’s make sure you aren’t by the laundry or elevator. Thank you. Here in Palm Springs we accepted a room by the pool. Mistake, and it’s our fault we didn’t ask to be moved. The point, when you travel, open your mouth and ask for a quiet spot in the hotel. Generally they are cooperative.


Above is the view walking from the hotel parking lot to go across the street through the parking garage to the next street to have breakfast. It was 88 degrees at 10 am. and that mountain was a couple more streets away from the one we walked to. One thing about desert temperatures, the flowers are still blooming and the young women are running around in sleeveless sundresses. Most of them looked very attractive.


Above is the Broken Yolk Cafe menu. Below are my savory crepes. The food was good, my coffee lukewarm and our server uninterested. We sat outside and enjoyed watching the people walking by.


After breakfast Bob watched a bit of football. The games are on at decent times on the west coast. Then we took a ride to Palm Desert to find fabric depicting California landscape. I actually found some with windmills on it. Considering we have seen windmills the whole trip that selection was a no-brainer. We were happy the store was open on Sunday. We are not fans of the Spanish architecture and all the same adobe color.


We then took “back roads” towards Yucca Valley to find a restaurant we had heard about from more than one person. The picture below is typical California mountains. It looked like the road went no where.


Now we know where the road goes, right up over the top, through a slight pass. It was a pretty drive, in some areas four lanes and two in others.


We found Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace out in those mountains. It has no cell service, but parking for over 100 cars. Dating from 1946, this rustic desert motel was a former movie set built by famed actor Roy Rogers. It’s 3 minutes’ walk from historic Pioneertown Main Street and 4 miles from Twentynine Palms Highway. It has been a biker bar and is now a “must visit” location for locals and travelers alike.


I was taken by the artwork in the bathroom. The first picture is the door to designate the ladies room, the next three are the stall doors.



Below is the best satirical sign I saw on the trip. The beer was extra cold, the food was yummy and the service was fine. We were seated with a couple named Mike and Jennifer. She took the picture of us, and I took a couple of them for their memory book. Once again, we made instant friends with an invitation to stay at their house should we ever travel through their state.


Below are a couple of pictures of the buildings that are part of Pioneertown. Very unique.


And us, having finished our dinner at Pappy and Harriet’s. I had ribs and Bob had a quesadilla.


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