Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ben Owen follows the rainbow

Shortly after I posted a video on Facebook of the gully washer we had yesterday, I sat on my deck to enjoy the cool air. I'm not sure if I nodded off or what, but when I raise my head and open my eyes, a young man sits across the table from me.

He notes my alarm and hastens to assure me that he means no harm, calling me "Mom," and saying he is Benjamin Owen.

I should have known him right off, although he hadn't come visiting before now. He resembles his younger brother, Carl. Or maybe I have that turned around, and should say Carl looks like Ben.

When my breathing regularizes, I become curious about the reason for Ben's visit. Usually, my characters come to urge me to tell their story, but I'm in the midst of doing just that with Rulon Owen, and to a lesser degree, with Ben.

Me: I'm glad to make your acquaintance, Ben.

Ben (eyeing me speculatively): Are you now, Mom?

Me: Indeed.

Ben: Rulon's gettin' the bulk of the words you write. Sometimes I feel a mite cast aside.

Me: This is the first draft, Ben, and I'm jumping around a lot, and writing out-of-order scenes with this novel. Be patient.

Ben (squirming a bit in his chair): I ain't a patient man. Ella Ruth can attest to that.

Me (arching an eyebrow in my best imitation of Randolph Hilbrands): You're much like Rulon in that area. You take care. I don't want to add a tragic subplot about an unwed mother.

Ben (rising to his feet): Unwed mother! I wouldn't-- Well, I'm sorely tempted, but I'd druther not face Ma's fury on that head. She would flail the skin off my bones, she would.

Me (signaling him to be seated): Then control your passions. Don't meet the girl in private. Keep to crowds when she's with you.

Ben: That wasn't my idea, there behind the mill. She crept up on me. Surprised me.

Me: Don't let it happen again.

Ben (hanging his head): She makes it difficult. A body would think, well, it would almost appear she . . . (his voice trails off)

Me: Ben, she's more than a little bit spoiled. She expects to get anything she desires. (I look pointedly at him.) She desires you, but wrapped around her little finger and doing her utmost bidding.

Ben: I get that same feeling, ma'am. I recall that speech she spoke me about the suit she expects me to wear for her dream weddin'! I can't afford such outlandish trappings, nor would I buy them if I could. But ma'am, Mom, how my body does betray me whenever I get a whiff of that good-smellin' perfume she wears!

Me: Benjamin, you must strive to be the good Christian gentleman your mother raised you up to be. Strong. Mannerly. Celibate. (I stress my final word.)

Ben (groans): Ma does have her standards. (He looks at me searchingly.) Did Rulon--

Me: No, he didn't. I expect you to be the consummate Southern gentleman, as well. I have my standards, too.

Ben (seeming to grit his teeth between halting phrases): Then I will . . . give my most . . . fervent efforts toward that end, Mom.

Me: You will keep yourself in hand?

Ben: Help me. Don't let Ella Ruth, ah, ambush me again.

Me (quirking an eyebrow): Fervent efforts, Ben. Fervent efforts.

The sun comes out, and he's gone.

Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at or Westward Books.


  1. I love it. I wish my characters would speak to me that clearly. But then, the characters are the hardest part for me. Plots come aplenty.

    1. Donna, I sometimes have the opposite problem. I have to write organically and see where the characters lead me, plot-wise. Thus, it can take a long time for me to write a novel. When my characters are cooperating, though, it can go with lightning speed.

      I appreciate your visit and comment. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This is so cute! I love it and would love to read his story!

    1. Thank you, Hillary! I'm writing the book in which Ben appears even now. The title is GONE FOR A SOLDIER.

      It's very instructive to have these little visits from my characters.They really help me shape the novel.

      I appreciate your visit. Please come again.

  3. What fun. It's good to interview your characters sometimes or write a letter from them to you--whatever works!

    1. I have great fun with this, Heidi, and I learn a lot! Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your comment.

  4. Ben sounds like a fun character. How nice to have him visit. Enjoyed the interview.

    1. Thanks, Susan! Ella Ruth stopped by afterward. I scheduled that blog post for next Wednesday. Scary!

  5. Lol! Poor guy. Sounds like you're torturing him just like you should. :)

    1. Thanks, Heidi. Yes, Ben is getting the business here . . . and in the novel.

  6. very interesting...I think I'd be scared to meet some of my characters.

    1. Yes, Lisa, it can be chancy. I certainly don't want Peyton Oswald to know where I live! Or C. G. Thorne. Or Pete Dawes.

      I appreciate your comment. Thank you for stopping by!


I welcome your comments.

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