Thursday, December 29, 2022

123 Steps

 123 Steps to the Parking Lot. He’d counted it every day and today he was excited. “I’m going to be able to lay the last 3 steps,” he thought. 

He thought about it again, he’d been asked to finish the walkway down to the parking lot. It was really something that was well beyond the scope of his job’s duties but he took it on as a challenge because Joe, the man who had his job before him had been asked to do this and couldn’t finish it before he retired.

Joe did leave notes, which he appreciated, as a way to keep track of the job. The steps had to be stone or some kind of poured concrete topped with tile with non-slip rubber inserts for safety.

The steps weren’t pretty but they were sturdy. He knew, even after finishing the steps, that it would be necessary to put a handrail in but that would be the easy part because it would be made with pipe. His plan was to finish the pipe before he installed it so he could install it in sections.

Since he planned to finish the staircase that day he had all the supplies and parts set up there with a walk around pathway and a sign in big red letters - Construction Zone.

“Uh-oh, there she comes,” he thought. Every time he saw her he was reminded of a sailing ship in full blown sail. She arrived as if a trumpet was playing to announce her. She always glared at him even though she was the one who originally demanded that the staircase be improved. He said, as always, “Good morning miss,” even though her age was indeterminate with her grey hair quite obvious under her hat.

At the end of his day he was able to lay the final step and it was done. The next day was a holiday so the school was closed but he had been asked to put in the rail and he would be paid extra.

He had already put in the bases for the rail and it would be easy enough for him to install the whole thing that day as he had already finished all the parts.

The next morning, earlier than usual because it wasn’t really part of his job but he wanted to claim an unwritten construction tradition. The standard was if you had completed a long difficult job building or creating something you were allowed to sign it.

He had left a small inset space in the last step for a metal medallion that had the logo of the school on it. In very small writing he had etched his own signature: Staircase and rail by Rudy. 

As he was finishing fastening it, there she came in full sail as always but this time as he stood up and greeted her, “Good morning miss,” with a little smile as was his fashion she broke into a big smile and said, “What a wonderful staircase you have created. Something that makes life easier and more pleasant even though it would have been nice if they had created the parking lot at the level of the school.”

He nodded and said, “ Yes ma’am. that would have been a better idea.” “But still,” she said, “this staircase is a monument to the diligence of man and you are the person that carried that out.”

She came over, patted him on the shoulder and walked up the staircase like a queenly person that he felt she somehow was in her heritage because of her behaviors.

He didn’t know how to describe it but he felt rewarded in a way that seemed to lift him up.

As he started up the staircase he felt like he could run up even though he knew at his age, 72, he shouldn’t. What a wonderful thing he thought to himself, a smile, a pat on the back and a feeling of being rewarded. This is something that could be good for us all and walked on to work feeling much better then ever.


May it be big things or small things, a pat on the back and a “well done” might just make the world a little better whether giving or receiving.

Goodlife to you all.

Monday, December 20, 2021

A Surprising New Friend

 Sparky shuffled down the path he’d traveled so many times before. It was a heavily shaded winding trail that he often chose because the trees were very tall and he liked that. There were also places where the sun shined through that were nice and warm. He would stop there usually and have a snack or even his whole lunch. He always packed in a little extra food for this nice long hike. 

 He shuffled carefully down the path through the dark parts of the forest and then through to the light parts. He wasn’t hungry yet so he didn’t stop at the light sunny parts. He got to another dark part of the forest where the trees were very thick and heavy and suddenly he saw something he’d never seen before. It was a small light floating in the air. It was about the size of a candle flame and it even flickered like one.

 Of course he stopped. It wasn’t exactly in his path but it was close enough to him so that it seemed like it was almost being…well…friendly he thought, and so without thinking he found himself softly saying, “Hello.” The candle flame, as he thought of it now, nodded and remained where it was.

 With such an extraordinary event Sparky wondered how far this could go and so softly said, “Could you talk to me, I mean in my language?” Suddenly a loud friendly voice erupted from Candle Flame,“Hello!” Sparky stepped back a little bit and Candle Flame quickly said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to speak so loudly.” Thus was started their unusual friendship.

 Sparky sat down on a log just to the side of the trail. He decided maybe this would be a good place to rest. Having a polite nature he quickly invited Candle Flame to rest near him. 

 Sparky loved unusual and different people, places and things so his meeting with Candle Flame was a happy moment. He was excited to see how far they could go in what he hoped could be like meeting someone from another world.

 Sparky said, “I haven’t noticed you here before.” Candle Flame said, “I felt like there was something or someone that needed me. Do you know who?”

 Sparky said, “No, I wasn’t thinking that I needed a candle flame at this time but it is nice. You are providing a nice glowing light that isn’t usually here and I like that.” 

 Candle Flame formed a smile with a slight chuckle and said, “My feeling is similar. I feel that it was a nice thing for you but I feel this glowing light is needed in some other way. This is what I think”, Candle Flame said, “I believe that in your world there are a lot of people and places and a lot of variety. There are other beings - trees of course but also beings you call animals that in other places would just be considered other forms of people.” 

 Candle Flame stopped for a moment and Sparky thought about it. He said, “I’ve always thought of animals as other forms of people so that makes sense to me.”

 Candle Flame went on, “I feel that if called upon I could help to illuminate the darker corners where people don’t see things as they are as compared to what impressions they might have because they can’t see into those places just like if you look off to the sides you can’t see what’s going on in the forest but there’s lots of things, lots of other beings and life is happening in a big way. You just can’t see it.”

 Sparky pondered that for a moment and said, “I never thought about it that way but that makes sense.”

 Candle Flame continued, “I feel I have a mission here but I don’t see how I can accomplish it. Can you help?” Sparky considered that and then said, “What do you feel is your mission? ”

 Candle Flame answered, “I feel that there are places in peoples hearts that need to be illuminated so they can also see with their hearts and feel what is happening in their lives even when they cannot see all they need to see with their eyes.”

 Sparky thought about that for a moment, “Do you mean like noticing things with instinct? I use my instinct a lot when I’m hiking. I pay attention to my feelings because sometimes a trail just isn’t right for me so I take another one.”

 Candle Flame formed a gentle smile and went on, “I feel that these times here on Earth need to have yes, instinct, you’re right but also there needs to be love. I know you cannot love every individual but you can have an overview with instinct and love. I feel that there may be people here who know how to do this and there are also people here, called animals, who know how to do this.” Candle Flame paused for a moment.

 “Oh yes,” Sparky said, “…my dog absolutely knows how to do that. If I’ve had a hard day my dog can cheer me up just by being herself and jumping around being playful. She’ll want me to go outside and play with her and pretty soon I’m happy. My cat is like that too. She’ll look at me and slowly wink and that always makes me smile. Of course it’s the same when Mom and Dad hug me. And also when my girlfriend gives me a hug. That feels especially good.” Sparky smiled at that thought.

 Candle Flame formed a smile in the air and chuckled slightly, “So you do understand. That’s what it takes and I think that I’m going to travel around and try to inspire people with your message as well as my own. If you don’t mind I’m going to use some of your words. Can I quote you?”

 It was Sparky’s turn to chuckle then. He laughed and said, “Absolutely, go ahead.”

 Candle Flame said, “You might see me sometime in the sky as a moving light. Sometimes I’ll go quickly or you might see me just around the corner as a flash of light or you might just see me in a dream. If you do, I’ll be there to inspire you with what we talked about today.”

 “I’d like that”, said Sparky. “And I like it too,” Candle Flame added. They both smiled together in a moment of happiness.


 May you all have many happy smiles, a happy holiday time and a most benevolent New Year. Goodlife

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

 Have you seen the new Nice Little Stories book? It's based on the stories here in a book format. I hope you like it.

Monday, February 10, 2020

When Trails Cross

Well, it was Valentine’s Day and that’s when they had met, he and his wife, and even though she had passed away 10 years ago, every Valentine’s Day he took the hike where they had met. So with a smile, he proceeded to the trail.
He placed his feet very carefully on the trail. There was a lot of loose stones and sand in places so he had to be very careful as he hiked down into the canyon.
It was a warm day, so he rolled his sleeves up to enjoy it but he kept his hat on because it was also very bright at that time of day there.
As he went down the trail it switched back and forth so it wasn’t too steep. It was fairly wide and deeper in the middle which he appreciated because it lent a sense of there being a safety ridge on the sides so that there wasn’t much chance of falling off the edge which he appreciated a great deal.
He had hiked the mountains for years and years and he was getting on in his age but he still loved to do it. At this time of his life he used a walking stick and from time to time would brace himself on it or would dig it into the ground just a little bit so that he could get a firm hold on his next step and lean against the stick.
As he got near the bottom he appreciated the beautiful stream that was running there. Suddenly he heard a little sound off to his left. He looked over and there was a lady sitting on a rock. He noticed that she was eating a sandwich and he mumbled to himself, “I wonder, this would be rather bold.” But he had a sandwich too and he went over and introduced himself very politely and said, “Hello, my name is Dominick and do you mind if I share this rock?” She replied, “No, certainly. Sit down. Nice to have company. My name is Donna.” 
He sat down and took out his sandwich and started eating it. He also had a apple and a pear. So when he got done with his sandwich and she did too he offered the pear to her and she said, “Oh, isn’t that funny. I also brought an apple and and a pear. Since you gave me your pear maybe you’d like mine.” He laughed and accepted her offer. 
The time of day was quite early still. It was about 11:00 o’clock but since they were in a canyon they knew they would have to get up out of there by at least 4:00 o’clock or it could get dark in a hurry. Sundown in a canyon happens early. 
After their lunch and pleasant conversation he asked her if she was taking the same trail up that he had taken down and she said, “No. I’m taking this other trail. It’s a little steeper but I like it better. He said, “Oh, I know that trail.” So she said, “Why don’t you join me?” 
And so he did and up the trail they went slowly but surely stoping to rest along the way because they were both getting on in years but they enjoyed their hike and eventually they got to the point of the trail that had an overlook and from there you could see not only the whole canyon in both directions but very far to mountains all around. The spectacular beauty of it all was enthralling.
Quietly he said, “This must be magnificent in the morning when the sun’s coming up,” and she replied softly, “Oh yes, it is I assure you.” 
He asked, “You’ve come here often?” “Yes,” she said, “I have a little cabin just up at the top.” “Oh,” he said, “I’ve seen that cabin so many times and always wondered who lived in it.” She smiled and said said, “Well, it’s me!”
They continued on up the hill with the trail twisting, at this point, back and forth and not as steep as it was so that it was easier going and they could walk steadily. They got to the top and they both rested a bit on a log that was there for that purpose.
They got to talking. She asked, “Well, where do you live?” He answered, “You know where the other trail is?” She said, “Yes, yes.” “And at the top of that trail,” he continued, “if you walk down the hill there’s an old house that’s near the Italian restaurant - have you seen that one?” “She said, “Oh my, is that the one with all the gingerbread carving on the wood around it?” He said, “Yes, yes, you’ve seen it.” She said, “Oh, I’ve walked past that house hundreds of times.” And they laughed at their similar experiences. She said, “Why don’t you come up on the porch and we’ll have a lemonade.” And so they did. 
Well, one thing led to another and before long they were seeing each other, becoming great friends and enjoying each others company.
She’d had a long marriage and raised several children but her husband had passed away many years ago and the children were grown up and lived a little ways away but they would still come and visit her when they could.
He had been married as well and his wife had also passed away quite a few years before and so they felt it was fate that they should meet at this time of their lives.
One day they had planned to go to the Italian restaurant so he walked up to her place, not as far as he had to walk the first time they met. There was a back trail from his house to her little cabin and they walked down from her place to the restaurant  together. 
He paused thoughtfully for a moment and said, “You know, we’ve been seeing each other for about a year now. Why don’t we make it permanent”. She smiled and said, “I’d love to.” And so they did.
May you all enjoy pleasant surprises and good times. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.”

—————————— ———————————
2020 likes music too. Why don’t you welcome it with a song. Goodlife
Photo is ©️ B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at:

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.
Sometimes we might need a little nudge to help us to communicate better. Happy Holidays to you all!
Detail of photo: Photo is ©️B. Kim Barnes, used with permission and can be found at

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.

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