Friday, December 27, 2019

Tripping Over Time


2019 Year asked, “Have they delivered the new year yet?” “No! They keep doing that crazy thing,” Time Boss answered. “What crazy thing,” 2019 asked. “You remember, I told you,” Time Boss answered impatiently. “I… I forgot. You know, as 2019 my recollection is slowly slipping away.” 
     Grumbling, Time Boss answered, “They keep delivering 2018!” Startled, 2019 said, “What?” “Yes,” Time Boss answered almost in disbelief. “Don’t they realize I’m here as 2019?” “Apparently not,” Time Boss said. “And they keep delivering 2018,” 2019 repeated feeling astounded. “They keep delivering it. What are we going to do with them, they seem to be behind the time,” Time Boss said unintentionally saying something funny. 2019 turned away for a moment and smiled but turned back quickly to respond, “They certainly do. What can we do about 2020? Should we remind them?” “You mean for the 5th time,” Time Boss said grumpily. Joining into Time Boss’ exasperation 2019 sighed, “Well, what then?”
     Speaking more thoughtfully. Time Boss said, “We have to show them. 2020 is still in its egg. Of course it’s very fragile since it’s going to hatch out soon but, and this would be a calculated risk, maybe we could find it and bring it over to them. What do you think?”
     “That sounds like a big risk. What if we trip over it and break it open before I have a chance to finish 2019?” 
     “Oh, life as a digit, it’s not easy,” Time Boss sighed. “No one said it would be,” 2019 said gently. “I know, I know but no one said we could be digit-less some time either,” Time Boss answered feeling overwhelmed.
     2019 suddenly perked up and said, “I think I’ve got it.” “Okay, let’s hear it,” Time Boss said hopefully. “I think we have to sing,” 2019 responded. “What,” Time Boss asked looking baffled.
     2019 went on to explain, “Yes, I think we have to sing. We’ve been making a mistake. We’ve been using words, just talking. I think if we get together and sing - you know like happens at the end of the year when people sing.”
     “Oh, yes…,” said Time Boss, “…you think that’ll get their attention?” “Well, you know, everybody loves music,” 2019 answered. “You’re right, you’re right. Okay well, what shall we do,” Time Boss asked. “Well…,” 2019 explained, “…sidle over to me.” 
     Moving over to 2019 Time Boss said, “Okay, hows that?” “Okay,” 2019 responded, “Now let’s sing.” “What are the words,” Time Boss asked. 2019 began and Time Boss joined in: “Hello, we love you. We want you to welcome our friend. Hello, we love you. We love our friend. Hello, we love you. Welcome 2020. Hello, we love you. 2020 loves you too.”
     “Okay, we did that. That was wonderful,” Time Boss said gratefully and went on to say, “I guess it’s up to me to send it.” “Yes, yes I think so. They expect to hear from you,” 2019 responded. “Okay,” Time Boss agreed.
     The next day they received a pleasant surprise and that was a gift. A little gift wrapped in a box and a beautiful ribbon around it.
     2019 asked, “What do you think it might be?” “I don’t know,” Time Boss answered. 2019 continued, “Who’s it addressed to?” “Well, it came to our department,” Time Boss replied again. “So I guess you could open it then,” 2019 said. “Alright, I will,” Time Boss said.
     Time Boss opened it up and it was a tiny baby bassinet and on the bottom of the bassinet was a delicate looking little egg. “For heaven’s sake. Have you seen the 2020 egg today,” Time Boss asked. “No, I haven’t,” 2019 answered. “Neither have I,” Time Boss mused, “Do you think they recognized that 2020 is real?” With hopeful enthusiasm 2019 answered, “Yes!” Time Boss whispered, “Do you think that could be it?”
     2019 leaned down, “You know, I hear something stirring in there.” “Oh, That must be it! What a relief,” Time Boss sighed. They embraced. “You were so right about music,” said Time Boss. 2019 smiled and said, “I heard something too.” What did you hear,” Time Boss asked. 2019 smiled peacefully and responded, “I heard a little voice singing - 2020 loves you.”

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2020 likes music too. Why don’t you welcome it with a song. Goodlife
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Photo is ©️ B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimbar/49124940822/in/album-72157712003801288/

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Helpful Visitor



     Glenn’s car slid slowly down the hill. It was a dirt and gravel road that he had taken many times but the trouble with an ice storm, which was not a very strong one but passed by recently, was that it didn’t have to leave much ice on the road for it to be slippery and you really couldn’t see it very well. 
     So his car slid from one side of the road to the other but fortunately it was an old car and as it bumped off the berms on the sides of the road a bit, it would continue on down the road. He thought to himself in this long slow slide, “If there were cars parked here it would be a disaster but fortunately there isn’t any.” 
     Suddenly a cat jumped up on the hood of his car and stared at him. Then the cat slowly blinked at him and jumped off. Before Glenn had a chance to wonder where the cat came from his car slid onto a section of the road that didn’t have any ice and came to a complete stop. His brakes which he had been gently applying were now effective. 
     He breathed a sigh of relief, smiled and thought, “Whew! That was some slide. It got better when the passenger showed up though.” He wondered exactly how he was going to turn off at his friend Eida’s driveway. He could see it up ahead but there were some ups and downs on the icy road to come.
     He thought, “Practically nobody ever comes down this road so I’ll just wait.” He waited and as luck would have it the sun came out and warmed the road a bit. After about 20 minutes with nobody coming down that road since it was really like a long driveway that serviced a few old houses there, he slowly carefully proceeded to Eida’s driveway and turned off into her place. 
     He got out and Eida was there at the door smiling at him. He walked over and said, “You know I love living out in the country but this is not the particular type of day that I look forward to.” 
     She looked at him and said, “Well you know, what did I tell you. I told you when you moved out here to park that fancy car and get an old beater car and you did. Aren’t you happy?” He turned around and looked at his car all mud stained and scratched on the side by gravel and he said, “I sure am. It runs fine but it looks terrible.” 
     She smiled and responded, “Well, that’s the kind of vehicle you need at this time of year and you can drive the nice one in the spring or summer if you feel like it.” Glenn smiled and said, “Well, are you going to invite me in or are you going to keep me freezing out here?” “Oh!”, she said. “Excuse me.” They both laughed and went in the house. 
     “I hear, according to the news of the neighborhood, that you’ve got a bunch of new kittens, Glenn commented.” “It’s true,” she said, “and it was a complete surprise.” 
     “I didn’t even know you had a cat,” Glenn said. “I don’t have a cat,” she answered, “but I went out into the garage the other day and I heard this little mewing sound and I went over to where the hot water heater is and opened the door and there inside, and heaven knows how she managed to find her way in, was a momma cat and 4 baby kittens.” The momma cat looked up kinda of dreamy like and I said, ‘I don’t know how you got in but you’re welcome to stay.’” 
     Glenn said, “It’s not a gas flame thing is it?” Eida answered, “No, no, it’s electric and the walls that are surrounding the heater are really pretty well insulated but that’s because I’m trying to, you know, prevent heat loss.” 
     “Well it sounds like it makes a pretty good cat birthing place too but how did she get in there, you know? Show me how the door opens,” Glenn asked. “I don’t want to disturb her because she and the kittens sleep at this time of the day,” Eida responded. “Well, you don’t have to do that then,” Glenn answered. 
     They both went out to the garage and they looked at the water heater enclosure. It was just a plain handle on the door, the kind that you stick your fingers through and pull and he said, “What keeps it shut?” She said, “It’s a spring magnetic thing.” “Oh, I wonder if she just knows how to open it?” Glenn mused. 
     “Well if she knew how to open it she would have to jump up, put one paw on one side of the door frame and the other paw to pull on the door. You think she can do that?” Eida responded. “Well, you know, it’s possible,”Glenn answered. 
     “Anyway she’s doin okay and I think I’m going to leave her for another day or so but I’m going to start putting some kind of food in there because she’s going to get hungry. Food and maybe water. Oh, I hear her moving around a bit. Maybe just crack the door a little Glenn and have a look”, Eida said. 
     Glenn opened the door just a tiny bit but couldn’t see a thing for a moment. Suddenly there was a cat face right at the slight door opening. Glenn jumped back for a moment and the door closed. “I’ll be doggoned”, he said, That’s the cat that jumped up on my car hood.” Glenn explained to Eida about his unexpected passenger that joined him for a moment at the bottom of the hill. 
     Eida said, “Wow! She is a special cat alright.” 
They both bent down and opened the door a little. The moment they did cat was right there and touched Eida with one front paw and Glenn with the other and looked into their eyes. 
     Eida and Glenn both heard a voice at the same time. The voice said, “I am Samba. I have come to remind you that what you both have wished for can be yours now. It is the right time to be together.” 
     And from that day forward, even before they were married, Samba would talk to them that way when they each needed to know what the other was thinking so they could be together in happiness and make choices that they both wanted but sometimes couldn’t quite express in words.
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Sometimes we might need a little nudge to help us to communicate better. Happy Holidays to you all!
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Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimbar/31263059798/in/album-72157664596107402/

Friday, November 22, 2019

Unexpected Friends



    Reginald P. Watchemacallit. “What kind of a name was that,” he thought to himself, “What were they thinking!” His grandpa had told him that when his great great grand parents immigrated to the USA the people admitting and processing them on Ellis Island couldn’t understand their name because it was extra long and hard to pronounce. Also they were so rushed because there were so many people and so much work to do they just wrote down watchemacallit thinking that others would correct it in time but that never happened. 
     He grumbled on his way home from school. It had been miserable since he got to school. At home it had just been kind of silly and fun when he was a little kid but now that he was going to school it was completely different. 
     After people stopped laughing at his name they always asked what the P. stood for. It was just a nice simple name, Phillip but if they were making fun of him he would always say, “Phooey,” and yell it in their faces. That way it gave him some way to sort of strike back.
     As he was walking he looked in the window of a sort of junk and antiques store called Bits and Pieces and saw an old electric typewriter with a sign, Doesn’t Work So Only $2.00. He enjoyed fixing things and knew immediately how to repair it. It was just an adjustment and no parts would be needed.
     He went in the store to tell them he could fix it easy and then they could charge more for it but when he entered there was no one there. Just as he was about ready to leave he heard people talking loudly near a door he hadn’t noticed before.
     Suddenly the door swung open and a woman’s voice rang out, “Jeffrey P. Thingamading! You come right back here!” 
     A kid about his age stepped partly out and spun back around facing the open doorway. He said, “Mom, I’m not going to wear that sweater with my name on it to school even if Grandma wove it special for me.” 
     He turned around the other way and noticed Reg for the first time. He said, “Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you. Hey, aren’t you the new kid in school. The other jerks in school said your name was ‘Phooey,’ Course I didn’t believe them.”
     Reg smiled and said, “I say that to them because they hassle me all the time because of my last name.” Jeff quickly replied and said, “ Oh, can’t be as bad as mine.” Reg shook his head and said, “It is. It’s Watchemacallit!”
     The boys stared at each other for a moment and then just shook their heads almost in disbelief that someone else was in the same situation that they were. 
     Jeff said, “Ellis Island, you too?” Reg nodded and said, “Finally, someone I can actually relate to.” Jeff smiled and said, “I think we’re going to be friends.”
     One day when they were walking home from school together they joked about starting a club for kids with big names and the more they talked about it the more it seemed like a good idea.
     They’d call it the Big Names Club and it would only be for kids who had big long names especially kids that were teased because of their names. 
     And that was just exactly what they did. The Big Names Club was a big success. They made lots of new friends and were happy every day that they had a group they could go to and laugh about things and think about things and feel at home away from home.

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Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Goodlife
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Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at

Monday, October 28, 2019

It Was the Wrong Road but the Right Potato



She drove down the highway looking for the sign Rudy said was the landmark for the road. She was beginning to regret driving all this way to find an office picnic that may not even be here. She started grumbling out loud now, “Rudy’s always been a prankster. Why did I believe him this time. Look for a potato! That’s what Rudy said!”  

And suddenly there it was! A brightly colored small billboard with a picture of a potato. Thats all, no words. She turned onto the road happily now looking forward to the picnic. She’d made her special raspberry jam just for this event.

She noticed up ahead an old man walking slowly. He looks tired, she thought. She pulled up next to him, “Would you like a ride,” she said. The man looked relieved and got in the car with a sigh.

As she pulled away she glanced at him noticing that he was younger than she had thought. “If you’re thirsty there’s an extra bottle of water there,” she pointed to a bag on the floor. He reached for it and drank it all. He sighed again and leaned back for a moment.

“You’re very kind,” he said. “I’ve made this walk once a week for many years to check on the billboard and you are the first person ever who has stopped and helped.”

She asked, “Are you going to the picnic?” He looked puzzled for a moment and then said, “Oh, I heard about that but that is a few miles up the highway, I think.” 

“I heard,” he continued, “that they were going to use a sign like mine to mark their place but I asked them not to because it took my grandparents years to create this particular purple potato we raise. We distribute it to only a few places since it is so special.”

Fascinated by what he was saying and forgetting the picnic for the moment, she had pulled over and stopped as they continued to talk. She asked, “Does it have a special taste?” “Yes,” he answered, “but that’s not all. It has a unique quality. If you like, I have a small sample here in the form of a cookie. Would you like to share it with me?” He hurried on to say, “I assure you, it is completely safe.”

A comfortable feeling came over her. She felt she could trust him. “Okay, I’ll try it,” she said. He pulled out the cookie and she noticed that it seemed to have a purple glow. He broke it neatly in half and with a whimsical tap of cookie halves they ate it at the same time.

Almost immediately she felt the change. All of her old aches and pains were suddenly gone and she felt like she was 20 years old again.She smiled and looked over at him. He now looked about the same age as she felt. She glanced at her reflection in the rear view mirror and she looked 20! “Is it real?” she asked.

“Yes,” he simply said. “How long does it last?” she asked quietly. “As long as you want,” he answered. He tentatively reached out and gently touched the back of her hand. She felt wonderful with his gentle touch. Almost whispering she said, “Are you my other half?” “Yes,” he said quietly, “It’s our time now.”

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Halloween can be happy. May yours be so.
Goodlife

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Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimbar/21330395353/in/album-72157653171573963/

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Zeus and the Cat Doctor



 It had been a lonely life lately for Zeus. He’d been walking around on the streets - it seemed like forever but he knew it wasn’t that long. He looked in all the old familiar places but he couldn’t find what he was looking for. He knew that what he was looking for wasn’t here anymore but he had hope. He wanted to find some of the smells to remind him of the old days with the old man. It was a good trip to make every day. 
 Some people wondered why he kept doing that. Others thought it was love or loneliness or that he was just old. It was all those things but it was more then that. After almost his whole life of living with the old man who was also old when they got together, it was normal for him. It was what he did with his life now. 
 He continued on his walk down the path to the old wood shop where the old man had worked. He walked up to the front door and stared at it. It was locked. He so very much wanted to go inside but there wasn’t anybody to let him in so he walked around the outside. 
 There were still a few lingering smells from those old days. The old man used to like to sit out in back sometimes on an old wood box behind the wood shop and smoke his pipe. Zeus walked over there and sat down next to it. 
 He could still sniff some of those old tobacco smells and they were a comfort to him. Doing that always made him feel better. He would sit there for an hour or so and then he’d walk on home. 
 The old man’s daughter, Susie, still lived there and she took care of him and that was a comfort too but she had a busy life. She often went off with her friends - he didn’t know where - so he’d be a bit lonely and he would go on his walk every day to remember the good times with the old man.  
 Everybody in the neighborhood knew him. Sometimes the children would call to him and if he really liked them he would stop for a short visit but this didn’t happen every day, just some days. 
 He was almost home when Jeremy came running out from the alley and bumped right into him. Jeremy was getting a little older now and he fell over. Zeus stopped and stayed with him. 
 Jeremy was a cat and was almost completely blind, he was born that way, and they had become friends. Zeus remained with his friend while Jeremy figured out how to get up. 
 Jeremy had only 3 legs so getting up was sometimes awkward for him. He was born that way, almost blind and with 3 legs but the people he lived with next door loved him just the way he was. 
 Jeremy got up and the 2 of them leaned together which is a way that dogs, cats and some others will hug each other sometimes. They walked together and since they were almost home they got back within a minute or two. 
 Susie and her friends were there. They saw Zeus and Jeremy coming up the sidewalk and they stopped what they were doing. Susie looked at the pair and she thought, “What an odd mixed match they are but they are very precious.” 
 Many of her friends were taking pictures of them and it always made her uncomfortable when that happened because she felt somehow it was invading Zeus’s and Jeremy’s friendship but she noticed the dog and cat didn’t seem to mind at all. 
 The two came up to where everybody was and her friends all sat or crouched down to visit with them. They knew that Zeus and Jeremy were not young so they were gentle and petted them and said sweet and friendly things to them. Zeus and Jeremy sat down and enjoyed their friendliness.  
 After a few minutes Jeremy got up and walked over to Richard who was sitting by himself and feeling kind of grumpy because he had broken his toe and it was really hurting. He was wearing a walking cast and since he loved nothing better then to go skateboarding he was a bit grumpy.
 Jeremy jumped up into Richard’s lap. Richard didn’t know what to do because he didn’t have a cat but Jeremy settled down and Richard just started gently petting him. 
 He noticed as he was petting Jeremy that he felt better and his toe had stopped hurting so much. He didn’t know why but he appreciated it and pretty soon he was smiling and laughing with the rest of his friends. 
 Susie and her best friend and neighbor Joni looked at each other and smiled. Joni quietly said  that Jeremy was working his special magic again. They agreed that Jeremy was a cat doctor. He could cheer anybody up and he could help them to feel better no matter what. He just had that special way about him.
 Zeus smiled to himself. He walked up on the porch and got up on the old man’s wooden deck chair that Susie kept there for him. He looked around sleepily as he started to relax. It’s not a bad life even though the old man was gone - it’s a good life in a lot of ways. Maybe I’ll stop making that walk and hang out more with my friend Jeremy. I might pick up some pointers and someday perhaps I can be a dog doctor. On that note he settled in for his afternoon snooze.

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


Saturday, July 06, 2019

Jon’s World



Jon rolled over in bed. “Have to go to work,” he said in a tired miserable way. “I don’t know why, what’s all this big fuss about the South Pole. Every year we have to trek down to the exact South Pole,” Jon grumbled to himself. “Well…,” he muttered, “…I’m not in this alone so no point in fussing any more about it.” 
 Jon was a member of a crew that walked down to the exact South Pole every year. Scientists would be there of course and they would take their usual measurements and Astrophysicists would study the sky - everybody would do what their speciality was. 
 Jon worked with the sled dogs to keep them safe and secure and well fed and to some extent controlled because sometimes they would get overexcited. 
 His job was to bring back-up supplies on the sled just in case. You never knew about the weather there so even though the scientists all rode in an old snow cat, which Jon also maintained and filled with supplies, he and the dogs went with the sled. 
 It was only a group of 8 to 10 every time and this time the group was 9. It took about 2 to 3 hours to get to the area and mark the South Pole as precisely as possible.
 Jon had the sled packed with everything and would mush the sled, that was his job and so they were off. After about 2 hours, the general area where they were going was just ahead. The scientists in the snow cat were using their knowledge and instruments to find the location. 
 A little ways before they got to the pinpoint location the dogs stopped and they absolutely refused to go any further. Jon did everything he could to coax them but the lead scientist, Mr. Jeffers said, “We have to go on.” Jon replied, “Well it’s, it’s not very far.” They could all see it. 
 It was about 100 yards away (91.44 meters) and Mr. Jeffers said, “Well Jon, you come along when you can and we’ll see you there.” Mr. Jeffers and the rest of them in the snow cat drove off towards the area. 
 Jon walked over to the dogs. He knew them all very well and he sat down in front of the lead dog. He patted the lead dog a little bit which always meant to the other dogs that they could sit down, so they did and then while the lead dog was sitting Jon said, “I know that you know something.” 
 The lead dog gave him that warm loving look that dogs do that people who live with dogs know about and Jon said, “We’ll stay here.” And so they did. 
 After about a half an hour one of the scientists, Mr. Royce, walked back and said, “Are you coming?” Jon answered, “Well you know, they just don’t want to go any further and I don’t want to leave them.” Mr. Royce said, “Okay, okay,” and he walked back. 
 About 20 minutes after that Jon had a funny feeling and the dogs had it too. The dogs got up without Jon saying anything or giving any order. The dogs looked at each other, they looked at Jon who also stood up - and things seemed to be different. Jon noticed there were colors swirling in the air around them and the dogs seemed to like it though they weren’t getting excited - they were just happy. 
 Jon felt a sense of ease coming over him and the next thing he knew his eyes were closed. He knew he was still standing but he felt like he was in a deep sleep. After a little while he started feeling very warm and then actually hot. He wondered what that was about because he was going to have to take off his parka. 
 He opened his eyes and he looked - he was in some kind of a - was it a desert? No, he could see trees in the distance. He looked towards where the sled had been but it wasn’t there. The dogs weren’t either. He looked all around and off in the distance he saw the dogs frisking around by the trees and they were splashing in what looked like a pool. 
 Jon suddenly realized how hot he was so he took off his parka and his boots. He thought this must be a dream - of course, it’s a dream. Everything will be alright so he walked over to the dogs and the dogs ran up to him and they were all happy.
 The lead dog came up to him and gave him that look that Jon knew. So he sat down and he looked at the lead dog. 
 Suddenly Jon felt himself going through an odd sensation. Pretty soon he felt kind of like he was a dog and pretty soon after that he felt like he really is a dog. He looked around at himself and he had 4 legs and he was wagging his tail and he was thinking to himself, “but I’m a man, I’m not a dog,” 
 The lead dog looked at him and Jon felt freer than he had ever felt in his life and he thought, “what a wonderful dream!” He ran into the pond and splashed around and all the dogs splashed around in the pond with him. 
 He came out refreshed and looked again at his friend, the lead dog. Lead dog brushed up against him and Jon could hear something. He wasn’t sure what it was until he realized it was a song. It was some sort of tune without words. The music was beautiful and then he started hearing the words and the words were, home - I’m home. 
 He didn’t know what that meant. He was starting to get a bit nervous and then the lead dog came over and leaned against him and he leaned back with his dog self and soon he was completely relaxed and sleeping some place. Then, as he awoke he heard it. 
 It was the most loving voice he’d ever heard and it said, “You’ve been playing at being a man but now you’re home. This is the place where dogs live and where they come from and now you’re home again.” 
 He wanted to wake up from his dream and his dream sleep but then he realized - why fight it - I’ve never been so happy and comfortable in my life.

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Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimbar/21544139049/in/album-72157657309351200/

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Silver Sail



 The old man woke up. He’d had that strange dream again. All he could ever remember was that there was a very flat and calm lake. It had a sort of gleam to it and in the distance there was a sailboat. 
 He liked that boat very much. He’d always wanted to have a boat of his own but the distinctive feature of the boat is that it had a silver sail. The sail was so bright that the sun would reflect from it and at the moment of the flash of the sun reflecting off of it he would wake up. This happened every time. In the past it had bothered him because he wanted to know what happened next. 
 He had been a story teller his whole life and like any story teller, there has to be a good finish and it’s also good to have a nice start - and it’s even better for it to be a good story all the way through.
 So on the one hand it bothered him and on the other hand he really liked the image of the calm water, the sailboat and the silver sail. “Anyway,” he thought to himself, “…how many times have I had that thought.” 
 He rolled out of bed and Q rolled with him. Q was his dog. Well actually, to be perfectly honest, Q was his families dog who had taken a shine to him. 
 They called him Quintus Rex and he thought that was a silly name for a dog but he didn’t say so to the family because they thought it was a funny name and he didn’t want to rain on their parade, so to speak. He was kind of an unusual looking dog and so every time they’d say his name they would laugh looking at him. 
 The old man felt that Q, as he called him, was a fine looking dog - he was just different. “And so,” he thought, “ well, just because he’s got big floppy ears and one of the ears is much shorter than the other doesn’t mean that he should just be continually laughed at. Dogs like it when people are happy but if they’re the butt of the joke eventually they don’t like it too much, just like human beings.” 
 So the old man treated Q different and he didn’t call him Quintus Rex even in front of the family, he always called him Q. 
 Later in the day after a nice family breakfast, he looked at Q and said, “Want to go for a stroll boy?” Q always wanted to go for a stroll with the old man because it was fun and so of course he looked happy and wagged his tail.
 They lived in a neighborhood where, if you had a well-behaved dog, that you didn’t have to use a leash and so they both left the house - no leash. 
 Q looked up happily at the old man as they walked along. The old man liked to say, “Heel,” and of course Q would do that but he looked up at the old man with happiness because the old man could understand and recognize that he was happy just to be with the old man. 
 They walked down that slow slope towards the lake. It was a nice lake. It was fairly big. You could see the other side but it was at a distance. 
 When the old man was younger he used to be able to walk around the lake but now that he was older he was happy just to walk down there, think his thoughts of his life and have his good friend Q with him.
 The old man sat on the bench that was closest to the lake. Most of the benches were behind the path so that you could have chats with people walking by. The old man, when he was younger, used to sit on those benches for his Sunday walk but now that he was in his advanced years he liked to sit near the lake because most of his friends whom he used to see there had already passed over. 
 So he sat near the lake and Q sat on the ground near him. The old man would usually look at Q and say, “Do you want to go play, boy?” When he would do that Q would go off and play with the other dogs or sometimes splash a bit in the water. This time the old man didn’t say that. He looked kind of sleepy and Q thought - maybe I’d better stay. 
 Q looked out at something that caught his eye on the lake. He wasn’t sure what it was and he glanced back at the old man. He wanted to see if the old man had seen it but the old man had shifted on the bench. He wasn’t sitting up any more. 
 He had in fact leaned over to the side and now he sort of slowly descended to the rest of the bench and looked kind of like he was sleeping but Q knew what it was. To be sure, Q put a  paw up on the old man and he knew. Dogs have a way of knowing these things. 
 Q looked at the old man but again something caught his eye. It was a flash of light from the direction of the lake. He turned around and looked directly at the lake. 
 He saw another flash of light and there out on the lake was a sailboat. It was a nice one. Not too big, just a nice size, and it had a silver sail.
 Q was happy. The old man had told him about his dream several times. Again he looked at the old man laying on the bench but somehow he knew the old man wasn’t really there any more and Q got happier and excited. 
 He wondered whether the old man’s dream had come true and he looked at the boat with the silver sail. He saw something. He had good vision like dogs do. 
 The old man was on the boat! He was waving at Q. Q hopped up in the air with joy and when he landed the boat was gone. The silver sail was gone and the old man on the boat was gone but dogs can accept these things and he knew that the old man was happy and Q was happy for him.
 He looked back at the bench. A couple of people had come over and he looked at them. One of them said, “It was his time,” and glanced at Q and Q nodded - it was his time but Q knew that it was the next time for the old man.

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We all will have next times, I believe. Goodlife to you all.