Friday Fictioneers–Lavender Blue

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Family, Friday Fictioneers
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How many years does it take for children’s songs to fade from your brain?  The answer seems to be an infinite number, so choose those songs carefully!  Our girls loved Sharon, Lois, and Bram and one of the songs they sang comes from Burl Ives and before him from folk song history.  It’s called “Lavender Blue” and the lyrics and lovely melody SL&B sang have been in my head all these years.  It inspired the title of this week’s story.

If you’re new to Friday Fictioneers, each week on Wednesday, a number of addicted writers wait with great anticipation for the photo prompt selected by our hostess-with-the-most-ess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  We then cudgel our brains a/o wait for the muse to strike us (hard), then craft our stories for the week with the best hundred words we can choose.  If you’d like read more stories, click on the little blue guy at the end of my story, sit back, and enjoy. Feel free to “like” and comment too. We writers love interaction with our readers. And if you’d like to join, the door’s always open.


copyright Sandra Cook

copyright Sandra Cook

Lavender Blue

Lavender perfumes the patio where we linger over déjeuner with local wine, basking in the sun, relishing food chosen at the village market.

Once children are gone, it’s time to move on.  We took “move” literally, leaving the town where we’d lived and had a child.  Choosing Provence had been easy, finding the house more difficult. This house attracted us with its quirky sculpture. It remains a now-bearable reminder of the tricycle David was riding when the drunk driver’s car jumped the curb, hitting him as he joyously wheeled along the sidewalk.

Lavender perfumes the urn tucked in the garden.



Lavender Blue
Sharon, Lois and Bram)

 Lavender’s blue
Dilly dilly
Lavender’s green
If I were king
Dilly dilly
You’d be my queen

Who told you so
Dilly dilly
Who told you so
I told myself
Dilly dilly
I told me so

  1. Both are so beautifully written. In both, you have me pulled into another world. I didn’t see the tricycle accident coming, and it kind of stuck a knife in my heart. Perhaps good writing should do that, make us feel deeply.

    • That’s a lovely compliment, Kristin. Thanks so much. (If by both you mean the story and the song, I didn’t write the song, much as I would have liked to.)


  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    I loved the feel and flow of your piece. Soft, dreamy, set on a summer’s day, sad and somber. You are a good writer to get that story from such a whimsical prompt.



    • Doug, thank you. As Tolkien put it, “The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.” I’m always glad to have you stop by. Miss your stories but hope your work is going well.


  3. Dear Janet,
    You drew me in with the peaceful beginning only to sucker punch me in the end. Beautifully written.

  4. vb holmes says:

    Lavender and Provence–reminds me of the glorious fields of lavender in summer. You did a good job of portraying your protagonists’ healthy acceptance of their son’s death and their ability to treasure his memory as they move on. Well done, Janet.

  5. Sandra says:

    Very sad, but such a wealth of atmosphere in this one. Well done Janet.

    • Thanks, Sandra. You gave us such a lovely and interesting picture. It brought Provence to mind immediately and the rest just sort of happened to happen. Glad you liked it.


  6. Shreyank says:

    a well written story Janet. 🙂

  7. Penny L Howe says:

    there are so many levels to this that I really enjoy janet. Really, the whole thing. You’ve woven in such creative elements each one hits my emotions in a different way as I read the next line! Just great! Thanks, Penny

  8. Pirate says:

    Show me a better first line, anywhere…just carved right, sounds wonderful…but….but but but Janet…the end, also and sadly tailored to perfection…you played us, so cleverly, so tricked was I…the tragedy..

  9. The contents in this are full – change, empty nest, death something we all face but somehow the lavender made it serene

    • I think that in a small way, plants, especially scented ones such as lavender, can do that. At the very least, they can bring some balm to hurting souls.


  10. elmowrites says:

    Ouch, Janet. This is one of those stories that pulls you right in then rips out your stomach. Beautifully written. So far, this prompt is bringing out the best in my favourite bloggers.

    • Jen, you brought joy to my heart with your comment and to be considered one of your favorite bloggers is an enormous compliment (even if you spell “favorite” incorrectly!) 🙂 I have no doubt Sebastian will “colour” as well.


  11. annesquared says:

    If that didn’t send me flying back to my mom singing while she rocked me … I don’t remember not knowing the song. Funny, I don’t remember if she could carry a tune.

  12. Oh, I didn’t see that coming…!
    This could have been fact, and not fiction; so well was it written…
    Absolutely lovely….
    (I need to let this story go; it’s haunting me…)…. 😉

  13. julespaige says:

    So many reasons to move…on. Love is a great motivator. As others have said the twist brings sadness tempered with hope.

  14. Carrie says:

    Definitely an unexpected ending. It felt so happy, so dreamy and then quickly turned to a nightmare.

    Though at least it seems the narrator has dealt with her grief somewhat

  15. Janet, Janet, Janet… “Of the tricycle David was riding” sent a hand to my mouth, where it remained till I’d finished reading the comments. Your story is rich with emotion. It all seems so serene and natural, until we get to David, and I wonder if this couple is not as old as I had imagined. And I wonder if the literal “move” was necessary for their healing. Oh, it hurt my heart in the best of ways to read your story!

    • I’m touched by what you said. No, they’re not that old and you’re exactly right that they moved to heal. But David went with them as indeed he always will.

      Thank you. To have that effect is rewarding to me as a writer.


  16. Lyn says:

    I can see this as a scene from a movie – the couple sitting on the porch, the shadowy figures of the little boy on the tricycle fading slowly. So much emotion in so few words – wonderful.

    • Thank you, Lyn. What you say is so true…100 words can convey so much. That’s what makes FF such a great exercise. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day!


  17. camgal says:

    That was a powerful piece and in regards to the amount of grief packed in, time heals pain. Wonderful expression of so much in so little words.

    • Thanks for stopping by, camgal. I’m pleased that you felt the grief and the beginnings of healing as well. Even though you never forget, the pain, thankfully, diminishes.


  18. Janet the expertise of a writer is the emotion they bring to the surface of the reader. This wonderful piece brought out the emotion of sadness. Well executed.

  19. zookyworld says:

    An incredible piece… you first described the setting so well that I could easily imagine the place with sun and lavender in the village. This mood was jolted with the sentence about David being hit by a drunk driver. A very sad ending after the soothing beginning.

    • Your comments are very much appreciated. Unfortunately, in the midst of joy, there is sometimes pain and sorrow but I think place can aid in healing.


  20. nightlake says:

    This story was very painful to read. Good that it is just a story..

  21. I remember listening to that song when I was young. I haven’t heard it in years though. Very nice story, then way the lavenders weave through it all.

  22. Trudy says:

    So sad, and such beautiful description. Really moving piece.

  23. beckles23 says:

    What an amazing story. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so many emotions in just 100 words. Beautiful.

  24. Darkly elegant.
    Loved it.

  25. Tom Poet says:

    I took the lord’s name in vain when the truck jumped the curb….I was sure this was real. Excellent Janet. Just excellent!


  26. elappleby says:

    What a sad tale but how beautifully written. I used to sing Lavender Blue to my kids when they were little – poor things – I’m tone deaf!

    • I’m laughing. Someone will probably try to persuade your children to sue you some day for cruel and unusual singing that marred them beyond all help. 🙂 (Wish that was funnier instead of too real.)


  27. Nice story with punch of reality at the end 🙂

  28. Joe Owens says:

    Janet, I feel such a heartfelt emotion in this. I hope this is purely fiction and not a story from your life we are enjoying. I can see everything just as you describe it and even feel the mother’s longing for the child.

  29. jwdwrites says:

    I don’t think I will ever look at that picture the same way again! I don’t know how they can cope with it, I think I might need counselling, or at least another glass of wine. Nicely done Janet, and I’m so glad it was nothing like mine! 🙂

  30. I gasped over the stories turn, when the car hit the trike, then I marveled over how your turned a hulking pile of metal into a beautiful remembrance. Nicely done!

  31. kz says:

    masterfully written piece. my heart really broke for them, couldn’t imagine how it’d feel like to lose a child.

  32. petrujviljoen says:

    Ouch! Well-written.

  33. unspywriter says:

    You held back the kick until the end, and that worked perfectly. I like “kick in the gut” stories, and the sad beauty of this will stay with me. Good work. (And I was so glad to see in the comments, it wasn’t autobiographical.)

    Here’s mine:

  34. wmqcolby says:

    Lavender’s Blue was the first piece I learned on the piano. I was 21. 5 out of 5 gold stars for this, Janet! Terrific!

  35. rgayer55 says:

    After reading through the comments, I don’t think I can add anything original. It was beautifully written, especially the ending. Moving on must be difficult after losign a child.

    • rgayer55 says:

      I really do know how to spell “losing” Just give me one more chance, please??

      • First, Russ, thanks very much. I hope I never have to know what it feels like to lose a child, but I’m certainly glad the story is ringing true.

        Secondly, isn’t “losign” one of a baseball catcher’s signs? 🙂 I see how you could be confused.


  36. Nandini Godara says:

    Beautiful story. The ending was powerful and a little heartbreaking.

  37. JackieP says:

    Well now wasn’t that a surprise at the end. You got me. Really nice Janet. Good story with a punch finish.

    • I wish no one had that sort of surprise, but unfortunately, they do. Glad you enjoyed the story and ending, Jackie. Hope you have a great weekend.


  38. silently Kim says:

    What a haunting story Janet. The song at the end really brings the story home. I can picture the pain a mother would feel thinking of her child killed by a drunken driver. Bravo!!

  39. Oh my. Such sadness. Hope it’s not based on reality.

  40. A bittersweet story. Moving perhaps gave them some peace but will never erase the loss of their beloved child. How sweet of you to remind me of my childhood song. Before I saw the lyrics, I immed. started singing …. Lavender Blue…dilly dilly…etc. and there they were … Thank you, Janet.

  41. 40again says:

    I was drawn in by your intro and your mention of the old song and wondered where we would be going this time. Lavender.
    You took me back to one of my favourite (Brit spelling) places Provence. I remember standing at the top of a dusty path looking down on row after row of lavender bushes. As we walked through and brushed past the plants, the bright purple spikes released their scent into the evening air, it was almost overpowering.
    Thank you for taking me back, your writing is so well structured and just brilliant.

    • Good morning (here), Dee. The lavender in Provence IS gorgeous. I was blessed to see it, too, and the smell hangs in the air and as you said, can almost be overwhelming, But at a lesser level, it’s a wonderful smell. I love to go back soon.

      So happy you enjoyed the story and the trip to Provence. Enjoy the weekend!


  42. Nick Johns says:

    Good work on this one Janet. This a proper twist (as opposed to just a punchline) ending. It flowed naturally from the rest of the piece and brings the reader up short, forcing them to re-evaluate where they thought they were going.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reading and remark, Nick. Although I hadn’t thought about the difference, there is one and I probably too often come up with a punchline instead of a real twist. Something good to remember.


  43. This gave me such a nice fuzzy feeling.

  44. Oh, Janet, you really blindsided me with this one! It starts out as a glimpse of such a peaceful, almost dull retired couple, enjoying life after their children are grown – and then you shocked me with the knowledge that this couple’s child will never grow up, but will always stay right in their garden. Beautiful pacing, powerful impact – a great story.

  45. tedstrutz says:

    My that is a fancy luncheon. I see yours is as cheery as mine this week. I liked how you ended with that line. Haven’t heard that song in a long time… my mother used to sing it to us, back when people sang.

    I revised my story… could you check the punctuation for me? I’m serious.

  46. sandraconner says:

    You’ve done a really good job of weaving a very powerful story with such few words. And I too remember that song very well. Nice touch for the story.