Friday, November 11, 2016

The Trail

I was walking along a trail the other day, high up upon a ridge. There were trees and bushes all around with occasional pinion trees - very beautiful. Along the ground there were 
wildflowers growing. Occasionally there’d be a deer off in the distance. 

This is a nice old trail, not many people know about it. So there’s never any stuff or trash, no cigarette butts - nothing like that and it’s always and only a sense of peace and calm. In some places it’s so high that on days when there’s low clouds or fog it’s always moist, though I cannot see as far as I would like.

As a result, I came up unexpectedly on an old turtle and we both stopped and looked at each other as if to say, “I didn’t expect to see anybody on this trail today.” You know how you can look at someone who cannot speak your language and they have the same expression in their eyes that you do. We were both quite friendly but I had a little space where I was in the trail so I moved aside and let old turtle walk by. We nodded at each other with a nice look in our eyes. A pleasant surprise.

When walking on this trail I think about how beautiful things can be because this trail is like an old part of the Earth where things are the way they were, I feel, many many years ago. As I said before, I practically never see anybody else up on this trail but this day I came across the old turtle and somebody that I never expected to see.

There’s a place on the trail just around a curve on the path where there’s a stone that’s almost in the way but what it really is like, this big stone, is a nice place you can sit but you don’t see this stone that juts out over the path until you come up right on it. 

So I came around the curve and there sitting on the edge of the stone is a person who stood up when she saw me. I’ve never seen another person on this trail at any time so I was very surprised and I looked at her and she looked at me and we both sat down on the stone. We were both surprised. 

I was hiking up on the trail and I thought perhaps she had been coming down. I asked her where she was from and she pointed off in a direction. I wasn’t sure then, whether she spoke my language but I hoped that maybe she could kind of get it. 

She asked me where I was from and I pointed in a direction - normally I would just say - and we smiled at each other. Then I asked her, just taking a chance, “Tell me something nice about your life.” And speaking my language perfectly she said, “I live in an old part of Earth. It’s not far from here but you cannot find it from this trail unless you know just how to do it.”

I said, “I’ve been walking this trail for a few years and I haven’t seen any trails off to the side either up or down.” She said, “I know.”

We talked a little bit more and then she reached out towards me. I thought she was going to shake hands but when I reached back she reached up and it was like she was pointing at me but not exactly - she reached up towards my forehead and then things changed.

Everything sort of glowed gently and beautifully. I could see a golden aura around her and I looked down and I saw it around me too. She got up and made the signal to me to follow her and I - I just did. It seemed right. 

We walked up the trail a bit further and we got to a spot where the growth of trees and bushes was very dense. 

She did something with her hand. I’m not sure what because I couldn’t see all of it since I was behind her and suddenly there was another trail there that I had never seen before. We walked on the trail and we went up to this place. It looked a bit like a cave, sort of a small cave though it had a pretty tall opening. I’m not to tall myself but she was a little taller then me, not much but a little bit and she didn’t have to duck. 

We walked in to the space inside though it was really quite small. She walked over to the left and on the cave wall there was what I can only describe as color moving around. It was beautiful. Kind of like seeing a round rainbow in motion.

She reached up with her left hand and while she didn’t touch the colors she came close to touching them and suddenly, I can’t explain how, we were in this other place.

It looked a lot like the trail in that everything was pristine and beautiful. There was a lake and in the distance I could see a river that either flowed into the lake or perhaps the lake flowed into the river, I wasn’t sure but everything had that golden glow. It was so very beautiful.

We walked down towards the lake and when we got there she turned around and smiled. Then she turned back quickly and walked into the lake. I thought she was going to swim and I’m a good swimmer myself so I slipped off my shoes quickly and tossed my shirt to the side.

I noticed she went in to the lake with her clothes on but I thought, “Oh well, she’s modest. That’s actually a nice thing.” As we got deeper in the lake I was just ready to swim but suddenly she ducked under and before I realized it she was gone but in her place was a dolphin and the dolphin nodded at me and made that sound that they make that’s so cheerful and for no reason I could think of I just ducked under too.

Suddenly I was a dolphin and we swam and played in that lake and I never felt so wonderful in my life. We did dolphin things and we enjoyed ourselves. We jumped out of the water the way they do and twirled around. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. I discovered what the joy of living in every moment felt like. It was such a great gift.

Then suddenly, without any warning, I was standing back on the shore. I looked around and didn’t see her though I did see someone swimming away in the distance and I knew I wasn’t supposed to follow. So I was sad to see my friend dolphin leaving and I didn’t see anybody else around.

I picked up my shirt and tied the shoelaces together on my shoes and threw them over my shoulder. I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t see the way out but suddenly I decided to look straight up and there was an opening to the sky I hadn’t noticed before. I had never thought of looking up because all that was around was so beautiful.

I could see that there was a pathway that I hadn’t noticed before because it was a bit higher up. I’d dried off now so I put on my shirt and shoes and walked up the path higher and higher still in the golden light. 

When I got close to the top I noticed that the path circled around above where the lake was. I walked up towards the rim that was open to the sky but the golden light started to fade and I didn’t want to leave it. So I went back down into the golden light and the place of the lake.

I sighed and thought how I am of an age where all my friends have passed away and I’m the last one left in my family. I’m very old and would it be so bad to stay here and pass the rest of my time away in this beautiful place. I don’t know if there is food but for some reason I don’t feel hungry. 

I walked further on past the lake and got to a small waterfall. I cupped my hands and made a bowl of them and scooped some of the water from the waterfall. It was beautiful and as golden as everything else. I felt it was safe to drink and I drank some.

The water tasted wonderful. I was still just as old as I was before but I felt wonderful inside so I took another swallow and the next thing I knew I was in the lake. I was the dolphin again and I was swimming with my friend and I knew I could stay there forever.

Happy New Year. May it be a golden one for you.

New Traditions

Jenny stepped out into the breezy hallway in her apartment building. Her mother said, “Wait honey, wait. Put on your scarf, it might be a little chilly.” Jenny ran back in and got her scarf, the one she liked with the blue bells on it, and then ran back out and went over and stood by the elevator. 

Several of her neighbors were leaving for work and they all smiled at Jenny. Now you might think that Jenny was going to take the elevator but she was too young to be going to work. She was waiting and you might ask what was she waiting for - we’ll get to that. 

Well, the people who were leaving got on the elevator and they all waved at Jenny and she waved back. The elevator doors glided shut and off they went downstairs to wherever they were going, Jenny thought. 

Jenny was smiling as she waited for her friend. She didn’t have to wait long. Soon the elevator made it’s little sound with a ding and the doors opened. Out walked her favorite person, besides mommy of course.

Well, he wasn’t exactly a person but to her he was. Out walked a cat. Nobody else on the elevator, just a cat and the cat walked right over to Jenny and put his paw up on her which always meant to pick him up and even though Jenny wasn’t that tall, she was only 7 years old, she managed to pick up eekoo and hold him and he would lick her hand a little bit. 

Meeting eekoo was her favorite thing to do every day. No one really knew where eekoo came from but they knew his name because it was written on his collar. 

Everybody in the building knew eekoo. Some people liked to give him food or treats but eekoo didn’t show up for food and he didn’t really go for it if it was offered - he would just look at you and blink his eyes if he liked you and then he’d just walk around the building. 

He came from the neighborhood and no one knew where he came from. Some people decided that he was a free cat and he lived where ever he felt welcomed. 

Sometimes eekoo would stay with Jenny and her mother and other times he would stay in other apartments in her building and he came to be known as the cat who came to visit.

Every year a few days before Christmas eekoo would show up with a bell around his neck. It was the only time he ever had a bell around his neck. It wasn’t on his collar. It was more like a necklace with a thin chain and a little bell on it. 

Always, eekoo would make sure to go on all the floors and run back and forth in the hallways. The little bell would make its little tinkle, tinkle and people knew it was eekoo telling people it must be Christmas time. 

After eekoo was done on all the floors bringing his cheery message he’d find his way out as always. The day after Christmas, eekoo wouldn’t have the bell around his neck anymore. 

People wondered for years, who was putting the bell around eekoo’s neck but one day when Jenny was 12 years old, she found out. 

Later in life Jenny always said, “I’ve never forgotten that day. It was just a few days before Christmas and I wasn’t really thinking about eekoo or anything else. I was just walking to school and up in the distance I saw this old lady. I’d seen her before and we always waved at each other.

“She lived in a house a few blocks away from our apartment building. I always looked for her when I walked by there because she was getting kind of old and I was a little worried about her. 

“I was walking past a neighbors hedge and the lady hadn’t seen me yet. I was getting ready to wave at her but when I got past the hedge I noticed she was bending down and I couldn’t exactly see what she was doing. 

“When the lady stood up, there at her feet was eekoo. He had run by a few minutes before when I was further away and paused just to blink at me the way cats do when they’re happy to see you and before I had a chance to pet him he ran down the street.  

“The lady was wearing her long winter coat and I couldn’t really see what she had been doing when she was stooped over. I thought she was petting eekoo but then eekoo ran back to me and he was wearing the bell around his neck. He looked at me and quickly blinked again and ran off. 

“Well, for years I’d been walking that way to school and I couldn’t wait when I was done with school that day. I stopped off and I was kinda shy but I knocked on the ladies door. She came to the door and she said, ‘I saw you this morning. You saw me put the bell around eekoo’s neck.’ And I said, ‘That’s right.’ Then the lady said, ‘I have something for you. It’s something special but don’t open it up until Christmas.’ Then she went inside the house.

“She wasn’t gone very long. She came back with a tray and some hot cocoa for both of us. There was also a box on the tray. We sipped our cocoa on the front porch and then she gave me the little box. It was all wrapped up for Christmas. She said, ‘Somebody gave me this when I was a young girl and I wanted to pass it on to you.’ ‘Really?,’ I said. ‘Really’, she answered.

“I remember, we sat and talked for a little while and the lady told me that her name was Mrs. Gibson. I finished my cocoa and thanked Mrs Gibson for it and for the gift and then I ran home to tell mom about Mrs. Gibson and eekoo. 

“Mom said it was okay that Mrs. Gibson had given me this present because she knew Mrs. Gibson as many others did in the neighborhood because they looked out for the old people to make sure they were alright.

“When Christmas came I remember opening up the gift from Mrs Gibson last. When I opened the box there was another box inside, a wooden jewelry box. It had a small carving on the wood of a cat. I opened that box and inside was a beautiful necklace and it had two small bells on it. On one of the bells was an engraving of a cat and on the other was a girl.   

“Mom said, ‘Oh my, that’s beautiful. It looks very old.’ I remember taking it out of the box and I just loved it. Mom said, ‘Oh look, the clasp - it’s also - yes, it looks just like a cat. Isn’t that amazing? Well, you’ll have to tell Mrs. Gibson thank you.’” 

Jenny liked to remember this every Christmas because she had a picture on her mantlepiece of eekoo, her beloved cat friend from when she was a child and every year around this time she’d have a dream. The only part of the dream she could ever remember was eekoo and he seemed to be smiling. Also she could hear his bell tinkling and she would wake up smiling. 

After that she knew what she wanted to do and she did so with her children. She had her own little girl now and a little boy too. She would take out the necklace and she’d walk with her husband and her children on all the floors of their apartment building and ring the little bell to let everybody know that Christmas was coming.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Photo is © B. Kim Barnes, used with permission, and can be found at

Monday, November 07, 2016

This Week

Okay, this is the week I’ll be putting up the new Christmas story and the new New Years story.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stories To Come

I’ve decided to post my new Christmas story early this year. There will however be no Halloween story. Instead though, I have a nice New Years story and I’ll be posting that early as well. 

So for those of you who like to translate the stories, and there’s many of you out there, and share them with others, you won’t have to rush at the end of the year because I’ll have them up fairly soon. 

First will be the Christmas story and then the New Years story. Goodlife

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Tree of Promise

Wayne stepped off the train platform on his way home. It was only 2 blocks by the sidewalk to get to his home. However he always liked to take the path which was a little farther.

The path went up over a hill and even though there wasn’t much along the way there was sometimes an unexpected flower having popped up. The tree that was at the very top of the hill would seem very calming or at times it even made him laugh.  

As he was going up the hill he got closer to the tree and yes, he started feeling giddy and before he knew it he was laughing and all the troubles and cares of his office life just fell away for a moment. 

He stopped and looked at the tree and laughed and smiled and felt so much better. He had no idea why the tree had this effect but it always cheered him up or just made him feel relaxed. He waited for a few minutes and smiling, walked on to his home.

Later that night as the moon was rising, just over the horizon, it had that beautiful orange-type glow that the moon has at times. Then at the base of the tree the little people came out and they were laughing and dancing as always. They looked at the base of the tree which was just above their home and they felt so good about it. 

They knew about Wayne who went by regularly and purposely took the foot path just so he could experience the happiness or the calm, whatever came over him.

Grandfather Elf said, “We’ve done good work. The tree has been our home but it’s time for us to move on. Now what can we do to give this walker who comes up the path one last happy experience?”

The next day Wayne got off the train feeling overwhelmed and confused - work had been hard and he wasn’t sure whether he really wanted to stay there anymore but he knew what he could do right now. Wayne stepped off the platform and made a beeline for the footpath. He thought to himself, "If anything can help me to feel better this is it." 

He started up the path and it was like always except that there were new flowers - he didn’t know where they had come from. He wondered whether someone planted flowers along the way. 

He stopped and looked at them. One was purple and right next to it a sweet little yellow flower. As he looked at them for a moment he felt calmer and enjoyed the rest of his walk up the hill. 

When he approached the top of the hill there was a woman there and as he got closer he smiled shyly towards her and she smiled back. “Hello,” he said. She answered, “Hi. What’s your name?” He responded, “My name is Wayne.” She asked, “Do you come this way often?” He answered, “Yes, I do. I don’t think I’ve met you before.” She said, “Oh, my name is Sally.”

“Oh, that’s nice. And where do you live,” Wayne asked. Sally answered, “Oh I just moved in” and she pointed the other way down the path to an apartment building which was right across the street from Wayne’s house. He said, “Oh that’s, that’s so close. I just live across the street.” “Oh that’s nice,” she said. 

Sally continued, “I haven’t seen many people on this footpath. You’re the first one today and I have to say I was surprised to see somebody come up the path wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase.” 

Wayne laughed out loud cheerfully and said, “This is one of the reasons that I come up this path. I come from the office and it’s the same work day after day and it’s very boring and tiring and I come up this path because it’s more natural. There’s flowers sometimes. There’s some new flowers as I was coming up the path. Did you see them?” 

“No,” she said, “I haven’t seen those yet. I came up from the other way but I noticed some new flowers from where I came up also.” Wayne smiled and said, “Oh good. I always love it when there’s flowers and the tree, you know, it’s very cheerful or sometimes just calming.” 

Sally agreed saying, “I’ve noticed that. When I came up this trail just to explore, the tree was so beautiful and I just suddenly felt so relaxed like everything was alright.” Wayne added, “That’s exactly the experience I have. Either that or I just feel happy and I laugh.” 

Sally said, “What a wonderful thing and it’s so nice to find somebody else who does this kind of thing and comes and explores. The sidewalk is the quicker route, you know.” 

Wayne agreed and said, “I know but I love this way.” Sally smiled and said, “I love this way too.” And they continued talking happily for the next few minutes.

Deep underground Grandfather Elf said, “This is wonderful. They’ve both been so lonely for so many years and now they have each other.” Grandmother Elf replied, “This is truly a wonderful thing to do. I’m so glad that we got together with Grandmother Tree and said the right prayers for this to happen.” 

While Wayne and Sally were walking back down the path towards their homes Sally showed Wayne the new flowers she had seen. They were both smiling and enjoying their new friendship. 

Meanwhile back at the tree the elf family had their bags packed and were ready to go. Grandmother Elf asked,”Do you think they’ll really get married?” Grandfather Elf who knew these things said, “Oh yes. They’ll be together regularly and I think maybe they’ll have a long happy life together and have several children and it will be good and what more can you ask out of life.” 

Grandmother Elf smiled at Grandfather Elf and she said, “You know, when you say things like that it makes me realize what a wonderful world it can be.” 

Pretty soon the golden door opened and off they went to retire in happiness.

Happy Valentines Day to you all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Unexpected Gift

It had been a quiet time around the house, unusually quiet since my wife and children were off visiting grandmother for several weeks. Unfortunately I couldn’t get away to go with them and was missing them.

Right then the doorbell rang, it was just such a quick ring I wasn’t sure that I had heard it and then ja, there it is again.

I answered the door and there was an old man there, very old. He was smiling and nodding and I got a really good feeling about him. However he did not say anything and I got the impression he didn’t speak my language. 

He was holding a very large suitcase that he had with him. It was almost as big as he was. He put the suitcase down and shoved it in my direction.

I didn’t know what to think of it but I took the suitcase - it seemed like he wanted me to take it. And that was that. I took it and smiled.

I almost couldn’t believe I was taking a suitcase from a man I didn’t know and couldn’t speak to but he seemed so nice about it so I took it in the house and I looked at it more closely. I was surprised to see, on the side of the suitcase I hadn’t seen, that it had some writing on it like small signs and they were both very odd.

The one at the top reminded me of something you’d write on a gift. It said: Do not open until Christmas. There was a smaller sign underneath but it was quite prominent even though it was smaller and it said: If Christmas is late push this button.

Now you have to admit that was a baffling thing to read and I was, I don’t mind saying, totally baffled.

I couldn’t imagine Christmas being late for one thing and for another thing it seemed so strange and I wondered what would happen if you pushed the button.

I didn’t know what to do and I had a feeling a friend might be playing a joke on me. So I took the suitcase and stuffed it in a closet and basically forgot about it.

Almost a week later, around the middle of December, I was getting prepared for Christmas and had the tree all set up though not decorated yet and I heard a sort of ding, ding, ding sound. 

I knew that I didn’t have an alarm that sounded like that. All my alarms buzzed or the radio would come on or something like that but this was actually like a chime.

Ding, ding, ding. I didn’t know what that was. I looked around the house. I wondered whether it was coming in from outdoors. I went outside but couldn’t hear it from there so it wasn’t coming in from a neighbors house.

I continued to hear it, ding, ding, ding. So I walked around the house until I noticed the sound got louder. It was coming from a closet and I opened the door.

Sure enough, it was the suitcase - ding, ding, ding. I took the suitcase out and put it on the living room floor not far from the tree and looked at it while it continued to ring slightly, chiming ding, ding, ding. Then it would pause. Then ding, ding, ding again.

I reached out and touched the suitcase near the button with the sign that said about pushing it in case Christmas was late but I didn’t touch the button.

The moment I touched the suitcase in that area the dinging stopped and a voice came out of the case much to my amazement.

It didn’t exactly sound recorded because it had a deep full sound like a good stereo system has but it didn’t sound like there was a person in there either, if you know what I mean. It didn’t sound like real life.

The voice said, “Christmas is coming soon. Please press the Reset button on the side of the suitcase.”

I was startled again but I looked around the side of the suitcase and sure enough there was a small button there that said: Reset. I pressed it and the voice said, “Thank you.”

I have to admit, I still thought someone was playing a grand joke on me.

So you know, Christmas time is busy and I got busy again and put the suitcase away in the closet. 

Long about Christmas Eve day I woke up and so did the rest of the family, I was so glad that they were back. Of course we were all happy to be together and the children were excited because on Christmas Eve we opened maybe one or two gifts and then waited til Christmas morning to open everything else before we went to church.

The day went well until the strangest thing happened to us. We had a few calls from relatives and friends but right around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon we all got very sleepy which was not typical for us.

My son Ronny, my daughter Cindy and my wife Linda and I got so sleepy we decided we just better go lay down for a while and have a nap. We woke up and it was light so I thought it was still daytime, It seemed like it was about 4:30 or 5:00.

Everybody else thought so too, it seemed like a short nap. We were smiling as we went downstairs as we were thinking about opening a gift when I happened to glance at the clock. It was a big grandfather clock in the hall and instead of showing 4:30 like I thought it would, the time was 7:30. I looked a little closer. It was clearly 7:30 AM.

At first I thought we’d somehow slept right through Christmas Eve and it was Christmas day but I looked at my watch calendar and it was the morning of  December 24th - Christmas Eve day again.

Everybody got upset and a little frightened and then much to my amazement I heard it - ding, ding, ding.

A chill ran up my spine. Not so much fear as a chill from the unexpected. My wife and kids looked at me with questions in their eyes that they didn't know how to ask for a moment. The suitcase had come and I had reset it and everything when no one else was at home but the whole experience was so odd that I’d basically just shoved it into the closet and forgotten about it.

No one knew what it was except me. I went right over to the closet and pulled out the suitcase and brought it out into the living room floor and it was going, every once in a while, ding, ding, ding. Then it would pause. Ding, ding, ding again.

“What is it dad”, said my son Ronny. “Is it a gift for us all?” 

My wife Linda stared at it and said, “Where on earth did you get that thing?” I said, “I’ll tell you later. It’s a strange story.” The suitcase chimed in again with its ding, ding, ding.

I found myself staring at that button: If Christmas is late… Right. So press the button, I thought. It seemed pretty wild but I figured well, if someone’s having a joke on me I’ll play along.

I pressed the button and the dinging stopped. The voice came out of the suitcase again and said, “Thank you.” Suddenly the suitcase unlocked itself and started to open.

My wife and kids and I jumped back a little bit as the suitcase opened up. There was a strange contraption inside with spinning wheels and balls and all kinds of levers and things moving and going back and forth and lights going on and off. It was the strangest thing. I had no idea what it was.

Out of the midst of all that contraption the voice spoke again and it said, “Merry Christmas” and it sounded friendly and we were all kind of surprised. My little daughter Cindy spoke right up. She said, “Merry Christmas to you too” in her cheerful voice.

The voice from the suitcase said, “That’s what I was waiting for, a cheerful answer.”

The voice spoke to her, “Thank you for correcting the time of Christmas. Sometimes the world time needs to be helped and I’m thanking you very much for your efforts.”

Suddenly the doorbell rang and I went and answered it expecting my sister and ready to tell her our wild story about the suitcase but when I opened the door it was the little old man and he had a big smile on his face.

I asked him to come in and he did. He walked right over to my littlest one Cindy and gave her a big smile and she smiled right back.

He then walked over to the suitcase and looked down at it and said to us all, “You’ve done very well.”

I was quite surprised as that was the first thing I ever heard him say. He bent down and folded up the suitcase and picked it up, even though it was almost as big as he was, and started carrying it to the door.

When he got to the door he turned around and said, “ We needed a little help this year so Christmas could come and that help could only come from a happy and innocent child.”

I heard a little jingling sound then and looked down and noticed that he had bells on his shoes. He took out his hat and it had a bell on top too. He smiled as he put it on and said, “Merry Christmas!” 

He stepped out the door and before he could leave Cindy ran up to him and gave him a big hug and said, “Merry Christmas, Christmas elf.”

He smiled and ran lightly down the steps carrying the big suitcase as if it was light as a feather and was gone in a flash.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to you all and remember sometimes unexpected gifts can be the greatest of all when they come with kindness and love. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Papa's Little Truck

"Oh, about this time of year I always remember Papa's little truck," Melinda said to her sister. "I remember too," said Janice. "I guess it's because it's papa's birthday." 

As her children shared their memories, Gerta smiled as she remembered how proud Herman had been of his truck. It was his first vehicle ever. Oh, it was old and a little scratched and beat up from so many previous owners but to Herman it was beautiful. She always missed him a bit this time of the year but her children would rally around her and ask her to tell the old stories as she knew would happen and the stories comforted her as they knew they would. She smiled at them.

“Tell the story again about our first trip in the truck down the road to the neighbors mama,” asked Janice

Gerta replied, “Do you really want to hear that one again?”

Janice, Melinda and their younger brother Freddy all chimed in, “Oh yes mama, please do.”

Gerta smiled at them and began, “I remember the time we went and got the pumpkins. We were all packed into the truck and there was hardly any room because there wasn’t enough room for everybody inside the truck itself. 

“It was Papa, of course, and me and Freddy who was about 3 years old and there was just enough room for him to sit on my lap - and you girls were in the bed of the truck.

“We were going to get the pumpkins because it was not only time for bringing in the crop but it was also getting kind of close to halloween and you kids were always excited about halloween because it meant you would be able to dress up in funny little costumes that I could put together out of this and that.

“Papa would take us around to the neighbors because the neighbor’s were a little ways off and since Papa had one of the few vehicles around there then the neighbors wouldn’t have to walk over to our place.

“It was about a mile down the road to get there and of course all of us were used to walking but it was night time so - well it was a good excuse for Papa to enjoy driving his little truck. 

Gerta smiled at them, “All you kids were looking forward to getting some treats too. We were going to make popcorn balls to give away that year but Millie put a little too much corn in the pot and we were eating popcorn for a few days afterward.” They all laughed about that since a little too much was actually a lot to much.

“As we got to our friends house everybody was out in front waving at us when we came down the road and they had a pumpkin there with a candle inside and a young one was sort of cuddled up near it. It was really cute. I remember that the pumpkin had a big smile on its face and so did the little one.

“We all went inside and as always we all sang songs and enjoyed bowls of fruit and told stories afterwards. Nobody told any scary stories, everyone told stories about far away places with wonderful names and stories about the stars and the people who lived there. 

After a while all the children started getting sleepy and our neighbors prepared a big basket of fruit for us as well as 3 big pumpkins - some of which they’d picked that day and it was a good time for us all.

“We all got in the truck to go home with our pumpkins and our basket of fruit and with all you kids looking forward to halloween when you’d go out with your costumes and your good feelings from our story time and time with our good friends.

Gerta got up and hugged each one of her children and they all went out to the porch to do something to remember those good times. They stood holding hands and looked out towards the neighborhood. They waved at the neighbors who were out on their porches and all said together, “Happy Halloween and good friends to you all.”

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wheels of Passage

“You need to meet somebody that’s your own age, Dad,” Tilda said to her father. “Maybe you’ll be interested again.”

“Oh honey…,” Gus said, “…I was married to your mother for 40 years and I’m not sure whether I’m ready to even think about being with another woman.”

“But dad, it’s been 7 years since mom - you know.”

“I know sweetie but you know, she was the love of my life. I can’t imagine, well…”

“Look dad, here it is. I met this woman - now don’t jump up, give me a minute okay? I met this woman recently and she’s a really nice person. And you know, the reason she caught my eye in the first place is that she was out in front of her house polishing this beautiful old hot rod.”

“Come on - now you’re making something up,” he said. “No, no really. I took a picture. Take a look at this,” Tilda said showing him the photo on her phone.

“Whoa, well what makes you think it’s her car?”

“Well, you know, I went over and asked her. I told her, ‘Gosh, my dad’s been interested in cars and hot rods his whole life.’” 

She said, ‘Really?’ and then she went on polishing.” 

“I said, ‘It’s such a beautiful car. Is it yours?”

She said, “Oh yes, I’ve had this car for about 27 years. Yeah, it’s a long story and I’ve got to finish waxing it.”

“So you know dad, I just pitched in and helped her finish. You know how I am and it’s not like we haven’t polished plenty of cars over time together,” Tilda said with a smile.
Gus chuckled, “You sure are helpful honey and you’re not shy with cars. You sure helped me wax a few.”

“Well anyway,” Tilda continued, “we got to talking…”
“Now wait a minute,” Gus interrupted, “you’ve been telling me now for about 6 months about this new friend you’ve got and you’ve been hanging around with her. This isn’t by chance your new friend?”

“Well, yes she is dad. I wasn’t sure for a long time, you know, whether she was available.”
“Oh I see”, Gus said, “what makes you think she is now?”
“Well, I saw this picture on her mantlepiece when we were inside having coffee after washing her car recently and it was her when she was younger standing next to a fella and I asked her about it. She told me that she always brought that picture out around Valentines Day. She said that was her husband and that he’d passed over quite a few years ago.”

“Well, we got to talking then. She said she works at an auto parts store and it’s a job she really likes. On the weekends she usually tinkers with the hot rod and sometimes drives it around a little bit though she has a regular car too that she drives to work. Anyway dad, we got to talking and she’s kind of lonely… and uh dad, you’re lonely too.”

“Well now honey, I’ve got my dog and got my good girl here”, he said smiling affectionately at Tilda, “and I’ve got a good life.”

“I know that dad but I know you’re lonely.”

Gus paused for a moment and then said, “Well, yeah I admit it sweetie. I’m lonely but people’ve been trying to fix me up for a while and…”

“Just give it a try dad. Tell you what. I was on my way over to Trudy’s and I was going to bring her some of my special valentine shaped cookies. Why don’t you come along.”

“Well, okay,” he said.

They walked the few blocks over to Trudy’s house and up her driveway and there she was with her back to them standing next to the beautiful blue 1932 Ford coupe. 
Impressed by the beauty of the old hot rod Gus said, “My goodness!”

Trudy turned around and said, “Hi Tilda and who’s this?”
Tilda said, “Well, it’s my dad.”

Gus and Trudy took one look at each other and eyes were twinkling back and forth.
“Well, I was just going in to have some coffee and now we have something wonderful to go with it. Do you want to come in?” Trudy said to both of them but glancing at him in particular.

“Well yes, I believe I will,” Gus replied glancing at Tilda who nodded cheerfully.

They all walked in to Trudy’s house and got settled with some good hot coffee and Tilda’s extra fancy cookies.

They’d been chatting pleasantly for a few minutes when Tilda grinned and said to Trudy, “Tell him your nickname.”

“Oh honey, for pete’s sakes,” Trudy said laughing. “Go on, you can tell him. There’s a reason you can tell him. Come on, tell him now,” Tilda said somewhat mysteriously.

“All right,” Trudy said looking at Tilda with a bit of an unsaid question showing on her face. “My good friends occasionally call me Wrinkly.”

“Oh my gosh!” Gus said his face getting red as he looked at his daughter.

“No, no, no dad. Wait,” said Tilda reassuringly.
Trudy went on to say, “Some years ago I was visiting my son and his family. We’d all gone to the lake and the children were swimming and splashing around in the water. Jilly, who was only about three years old then came over to me and looked up and said, “Grandma, you’re wrinkly.”

“My son Rory and his wife Jan rushed over to apologize but I was laughing and so was Jilly and we all laughed together. Jan explained after our laugh-fest that the children had recently seen a Shar Pei dog and that Jilly must have picked up a new word for her when the dogs owner described him as wrinkly. And you know, every once in a while one of the kids, especially Jilly, or even Rory or Jan will call me Wrinkly.”

Tilda looked at her dad with a mischievous smile and said, “Your turn.”

Gus smiled at them both and said, “Okay. When I was a teenager I had a summer job working at a deli. It was a very popular place so my task was to wrap the sandwiches up well with tinfoil so they would stay fresh. So all day long I was doing that. Some of the fella’s who worked there started kidding me because of all the sounds the tinfoil made and started calling me Crinkly and the name just stuck. My old friends still call me that.”

The three of them stared at each other and started laughing. Well, one thing led to another and every weekend for the next few months Gus and Trudy would get together and ride around in her old hot rod or go to the movies or just take a nice walk.

One fine spring day Gus said to Trudy, “You know we hit it off pretty good. What do you say if you and I make it a regular thing.”

Trudy said, “Well, you’re going to have to say that the right way.”

And he said, “Yes indeed. Madame Wrinkly, Mr. Crinkly would like you to be my wife.”

Trudy replied, “Mr. Crinkly, Madame Wrinkly would definitely like to do that.”

It just goes to show, never give up, never assume that life in any of its stages is beyond you. You just never know when something wonderful might happen. 

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Valentines Day wherever you are and whatever you’re doing and of course, goodlife to you all.