What Pegman Saw : The value of nonsense

Gran had two china swans on the rail of her porch, heads dipped as if staring at the  bleached grass in front of her house.

There was a bench on the porch with a patchwork cushion, the fabric soft as felt from years of washing. I would sit on that cushion and squint until the swans softened and shimmered, until they seemed to drift on the hill opposite, swimming amid the treetops.

I once told Gran about the swans, how they swam in the sky, how the leaves parted before them, swirled in eddies behind.

The peas she was shelling plopped glossy green into an enamel bowl. ‘If nonsense was worth money, you’d be the richest of us all,’ she said, shaking her head.

She willed me that old wooden house and I left it to hollow out and flake to splinters.

I kept the swans.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. See here to join in and to read the other stories. This week Pegman returns to the Western Hemisphere to take us on a tour of Littleton, West Virginia.

35 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : The value of nonsense

  1. So evocative. It brought back memories of shelling peas (and sometimes plucking chickens, though never swans!) with my own gran. Shame about the house, but we move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you so much. Never plucked chickens or shelled peas with my own Nan – she was boss of her kitchen and stood for no input from others. Made a darned good meat pudding though. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you Karen. Nothing like an older member of the family to crush your childish dreams where they sprout, eh? Thanks so much for the kind comment 🙂


  2. So reminds me of Memaw in southeast Kentucky, way down deep into the hills. Sitting on the porch, shelling/snapping beans. A mess of those beans cooking over the firepit out front. Chickens running free, the cow meandering through, Daddy chopping wood for winter. Good memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s always a before and an after, isn’t there? The world changes afterwards. So sorry for your loss Jelli, but glad you still have those happy memories

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people seem to be born without an imagination, have no patience for fairy tales or wandering minds. We need the practical souls like that but we need the imaginative too. Thank you so much for reading Tracey

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love an old lady character – they can be irrascible and grumpy and say the kind of rude thing that many of us younger, more coy people wouldn’t say. Now I think she should have said ‘If nonsense was money, you’d be the richest of us all’, instead of ‘If nonsense was worth money, you’d be the richest of us all.’ Sounds snappier. Thanks so much for reading, Joy and the kind comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see what you mean, that it’s snappier, but I actually like “worth money” more, because it implies that someone would pay you for the nonsense. As a writer, the idea of someone paying me for nonsense has an obvious appeal!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely story, especially for a writer! I love the way you include the tactile in your descriptions, with the cushion ‘soft as felt’. And you differentiate so clearly between Gran’s pragmatism, and the girl’s imagination. Beautifully written, Lynn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Penny. I always look forward to your comments because they’re so specific, picking at certain points that worked or didn’t. So much more useful than a ‘great story’ etc. Thank you for taking the time to be so helpful 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lynne – so good – I felt three distinct moods throughout the piece – which is amazing – anyhow, first – had that setting all absorbed and by the time “how they swam in the sky…” well I was lifted. Then – the reply of Gran – with the sass of that generation – a different vibe came. But the end was a zinger with the “hollow out and flake”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the kind and thoughtful comment! And for being specific about which bits you thought worked – always good to know and store the knowledge away for the next story 🙂 Glad you liked it.


    1. Thanks Rochelle. I think the swans are an emblem of her own imagination, her ability to dream when perhaps other people in her life can’t. Thank you so much for the kind comment 🙂


  5. You do write so beautifully, Lynn. You bring us right into whatever the scene/scenario is. I could see and feel it all. Those grans have no time for nonsense, do they?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many Grans really don’t! I remember my own being pretty blunt women in many ways – matronly, maternal but very much in control and took no nonsense! Thanks so much for the kind comment Dale 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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