Tag Archives: friends

Impressions Left By A Lonely Man

th[2]“It seems like no matter where I go I’m already there,” Quinn said.

“What is meant by that,” Marty said. “I bring everything with me; all the problems, all the troubles, all the insecurities, and all the things that make me miserable.”

“I know what you mean,” Marty said. “I used to feel the exact same way.”

“How did you overcome it?” Quinn said. “I can’t go on like this. I’m moving every three or four years.”

“Think for a moment about all the different experiences you have had by relocating every three of four years,” Marty said. “Most are afraid to pack up and start over, but you have adventure in your soul. You like to explore new things.”

“It’s not that I enjoy it,” Quinn said. “I’m forced to do it. People tire of me easily and I have no friends.”

“You have more friends than you think,” Marty said.

“Give me the name of someone you have not spoken to in 10 years,” Marty said.

Quinn thought for a moment. “Bruce Spruce.”

“You got to be kidding me, Bruce Spruce,” Marty said. “I’m surprised that guy didn’t move and change his name. Where do you know him from. Lubbock, Texas, we worked together.”

“Where did you work?” Marty said. “Horizon Industries, his desk was next to mine. We started out as friends and it kind of turned sour.”

“Give me just a moment,” Marty said pulling his cell phone form his pocket, “I’ll get right back with you.” Marty spoke into the phone. “Lubbock, Texas for Horizon Industries.”

“What are you doing!” Quinn said.

“Shhh,” Marty said, “I’m being connected.”

“This is embarrassing,” Quinn said.

“Yes,” Marty said. “Can I speak to Bruce Spruce.” Marty looked at Quinn. “He still works there. They’re putting us through.” Marty pushed the button for speaker and handed the phone to Quinn.

“Bruce Spruce, how can I help you?”

Quinn gave a sour look at Marty. “Hey, Bruce, this is Quinn.”

“Quinn,” Bruce pondered.

Quinn held his hand over the phone. “What did I tell you.”

“The Mighty Quinn!” Bruce said. “Is that you?” Man, it’s good to hear your voice. Where the heck are you now. Somebody said you were in Houston. Tell me what’s going on with you. My life hasn’t changed a bit; same desk, same wife, and same o, same o.”

Quinn smiled at Marty. “Thanks.”

 

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Pudge and Mickey

th3L9VDXLKPudge is what they called him, short and stout full of bluster and anger. No one dared to get on his bad side. He pushed and shoved until he found reason to humiliate and pummel a man. He had no friends yet everyone was his friend. How little he knew of the contempt other felt toward him.

He could clear a barroom with his fists or his presence as everyone suddenly had errands to run, lawns to tend, or sudden headaches when he showed up.

Yet on the weekends few left at his presence, there was too much going on for him to effect the evening. Although on several occasions he found ample reason to display his pugilistic prowess. His blows were sharp, quick, and powerful. His arms were short and his fists round and large like two clothing irons.

It was Mickey’s first night behind the bar. He was two hours into his shift and feeling comfortable. Mickey worked for a year at Flaherty’s on the other side of the river for a year so he knew his P’s and Q’s and could tap a keg and draw larger with the best of them. A slight man in build with a friendly disposition. Always smiled and had a light-hearted comment for everyone.

Pudge hated those dispositions. It was likely it signaled to him the world wasn’t such a bad place after all.

After a half hour of sitting at the bar Pudge said to Mickey, “Can you tone it down a notch or two, the is a bar not a circus.”

“I’m sorry sir,” Mickey said. “In most cases the customer is right, but in this particular one he is wrong dead wrong.”

There was a scowl on Pudge’s face that could have stopped a grizzly.

Mickey smiled and drew a beer. “Now there ya go, mate, one on the house to chase the gloom away.”

“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” Pudge said.

“Of course I do,” Mickey said. “It’s the famous Pudge. We heard about you on the other side of the river. Everyone’s afraid of you.”

“Than that ought to tell you to knock off the good-time-Charley routine and just tend the bar.”

“I’m sorry not to find you in a better frame of mind,” Mickey said. “Perhaps you should leave and allow decent people to have a good time. With that in mind I’ll remove the beer from in front of you and find someone more appreciative.”

Mickey was about to remove the beer. Pudge grabbed him quicker than a cat’s paw and pulled him inches from his face. Mickey head butted Pudge on the bridge of his nose. Pudge released his grip and fell backwards stumbling to the floor. Mickey swung over the bar and straddled Pudge’s chest before another breath could be drawn.

Mickey’s fist was tight and poised to launch like a blackjack. He knew exactly where to land his blow, the jaw. A broken jaw diminishes a man immediately. The pain is excruciating.

Mickey looked at Pudges face. It was a look he did not expect. He saw fear. “This man lives in fear,” Mickey thought.

Mickey’s fist relaxed. Blood trickled from Pudge’s nose. Mickey pulled a bar towel from his back pocket and placed it over Pudge’s nose.

Mickey sprung to his feet and offered a hand to Pudge. “Got a lucky one in that time. Next time might not be so lucky.”

Pudge grabbed hold of Mickey’s hand and Mickey pulled him to his feet.

“It’s probably broken, ya know,” Mickey said. “Not a word of this to the owner,” he said under his breath, “it could get me fired.”

Pudge smiled from beneath the bar towel held to his nose. “Your head okay?”

That was 40 years ago. During that time Mickey and Pudge were regulars all those years.

Mickey now laid in a casket. Pudge’s grief was unbearable. He leaned over and kissed Mickey’s forehead. He raised and said, “Thank you, Mickey, for understanding my fear.”

 

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Pride and Joy: Relationships

Pride and Joy

What’s your most prized possession? GO!

Admittedly I don’t take the prompts serious. I have fun with them. Fun has its limits and never would I want to give a false impression for the sake of being funny. This is, to me, a serious subject.

My most prized possessions are relationships with people. I really like them. That’s why I aspire to be one someday.

First there is my wife. If that doesn’t exist life is somehow a little less full. There are times I look at here and see the girl I dated as a teen ager. Her hopes, he dreams, her vulnerabilities, her fears. She makes me smile and feel not so alone. She knows my thoughts, my feelings, and who I am (and loves me still).  Then comes my children. I really like them. Of course I love them, but they are really likable. (This includes grandchildren, sons-in-law, and daughter-in-law, it’s a package deal.) They are easy and enjoyable to talk with. My mother, who is now 100 and at present not doing well. But we talk daily and it means much to both of us. I have friends far and near. One I call perhaps once a week and others less often, but that in no way indicates any less attachment and regard for them. Most importantly is my relationship with my Creator. Without his direction, examples, and teachings none of the above would even be remotely possible.

Here is a link to my daily short story, The Kellen Moore Selfie at Billy Bronco’s.

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I’m Broken, But Don’t Fix Me

th[8]

Daily Prompt: Only Sixteen

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen yet, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

When I was sixteen I had zits. Not a bunch, but just enough to let people know I was sixteen and dealing with stuff. Now I don’t have zits, I got age spots (at least that what they call them). Not a bunch, but just enough to let people know I’m over the hill and dealt with stuff. I have some arranged in a pattern that if play dot to dot it looks like a map of California. I have and ingrown whisker where Sacramento is. It is often infected.

Here is my short story for the day. It’s about all the broken stuff from sixteen that seems to work just fine.

I’m Broken, But Don’t Fix Me

Hank met Gregg for coffee at a quiet shop not far from Gregg’s work. They ordered the usual. They sat near the window to stare at the falling snow.

“I like the snow,” Hank said. “It reminds me of my childhood.”

“It reminds me of shoveling our driveway all day long,” Gregg said. “Hard work, that’s what it reminds me of.”

Hank sipped his coffee and thought for a moment.

“But there was always a pleasure in accomplishing it,” Gregg said. “One must take pleasure in his accomplishment, don’t you agree?”

“Certainly,” Hank said. “Otherwise everything is drudgery. The coffee is really good this morning.”

Gregg pulled the cup from his lips. “That’s why we go here. The coffee is always good.”

Hank smiled. “The barista’s take pride in what they do.”

“I read your blog this morning,” Gregg said. “It seemed depressing to me.”

“Yes,” Hank said. “I wrote it last night. I wasn’t feeling all that well.”

“You should have given me a call,” Gregg said. “My wife and I would have delighted to have you over for company.”

“That’s kind of you to say that,” Hank said. “But I would have been best by myself.”

“You seem to put a lot of time into you blog,” Gregg said. “Who reads it?”

“Well for one,” Hank said. “You do. But I think it’s more important that it is written rather than read.”

“Blogging seems so impersonal,” Greg said. “You sometimes spill your emotions to those who don’t care.”

“Like I said,” Hank said. “It’s good just to say things without bothering those who you know. You don’t always want or need help. Sometimes friends want to jump in and fix something and they end up breaking something. So I just write.”

“Don’t you want to be fixed if your broken,” Gregg said.

“All of my friends and most importantly me loves the broken me,” Hank said. “Who knows what the fixed me would be like. I may not like snow or coffee.”

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Stony Shows The Way (My own Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: I Was Here

You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet. Write the note that you leave to those who come after you.

Just to play along. “Ha ha, you ain’t the first.”

I’ve decided my own prompt for the day; Write about the last panhandler you saw.

Stony Shows The Way

Punta Delgada

Punta Delgada

He looked familiar. There are things forty years can’t erase. Not even a grizzled half shaven face and shabby cloths. It was Stony – Stony Callaway. It was just the way he stood, as if he were standing away from a surprise. What was he doing on a street corner panhandling?

It was years ago. It was a summer of exploration and a tumble into manhood for both of us.

We worked together, played together, and made plans. We talked about art, music, war, peace, love, the past, the present, and the future. He was going to be a lawyer and I talked about being an airline pilot.

We both wanted to desperately see and explore everything life and the world had to offer.

Strange, I thought. Neither of us did what we set out to do. Stony ended up a panhandler and I ended up selling real estate.

I turned the car around. My heart was full of charity, generosity, sympathy, and love for Stony. For that one summer we were closer than brothers and like a brother who falls on hard times I’ll be there to lift him up, help him along the way. “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

I parked my car in the closest parking space and made my way to him.

“Stony,” I called out. “Stony Callaway!”

He turned and smiled. That was Stony’s smile.

“Stony,” I said and embraced him. “It’s good to see you, old friend.”

“Josh Yates, you old son of a gun,” Stony smiled broadly. “You are looking good. How long has it been?”

“I think forty years,” I said.

“What are you doing?” Stony said. “You look successful. Well I never became an airline pilot and never traveled the world like I said, but years ago I got into real estate. It keeps me busy.” My smile turned to seriousness and concern. “What about you, Stony. What can I do to help.”

“Man,” Stony said. “You don’t have to do nothing. I got my law degree and I’ve been on the move ever since. I’ve been around the world four or five times. I’ve lived on the beaches of Western Africa, the deserts of Australia, the lagoons of South Sea Islands, the Andes, I spent a year in Siberia, a summer in Tuscany, a summer in the South of France, I’ve herded sheep on the Isle of Lewis, drilled wells in Canada, fished off the shores of Norway, and that hasn’t even scratched the surface. Man, I’ve done it all.”

“Is there anything I can do?” I said.

“Yeah,” Stony said. “You can stick a twenty in my cup or go with me for the winter in Punta Delgada.”

“Where is that?” I said.

“You can go home and look it up or come with me,” Stony said. “Another hundred dollars and your fair city loses its best traveled vagrant forever. I’ll have enough for a ticket.”

“How ’bout if I give you the money you need and drive you to the airport myself,” I said.

“No, Josh,” Stony said. “You drop by the house, pack your things, and come with me.”

“I can’t do that,” I said. “I’d loose everything.”

“Josh, my friend,” Stony said. “When you die you lost everything. If you’re dead and had nothing, but could come back to life would you demand everything be returned to you?”

“No,” I said. “I’d just be grateful to be alive again.”

“Do you get it now?” Stony said. “If it’s really yours it will be there when you return.”

“I’m packing,” I said.

(Stories like these leave the reader’s imagination free to write other episodes. Enjoy.)

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A Day With Carpenters

th8K3XFCDBDaily Prompt: The Best Day Ever

You get to enjoy the best day ever — describe in detail what that means to you. Where are you? What will you do? What’s the weather like? What will you eat? Who will you see?

Today is a pretty good day.

I was out of bed at 5:10 AM. I had a toasted raisin bagel with cream cheese and coffee black.

I don’t observe Christmas, but nonetheless it is a reflective day. The rhythm of life seems to slow just enough to pause and take a breath.

I started writing a re-cap of the Boise State/Oregon game and quickly checked my email for the Daily Prompt.

As I’m writing this I’m thinking about a letter a friend sent to me a couple of days ago. He describes loneliness in nearly poetic terms. He is a good writer.

We spent many hours together in the past. He is a carpenter and has a cozy little workshop. I remember going by there on cold winter days. His shop was filled with the odor of the fire from his wood burning stove. There was always present the comfortable smell of freshly cut or routed wood or newly varnished trim. We’d sit, chat, and sip coffee.

The letter he wrote was in part his memory of another carpenter who he admired and missed because he died. He reminisced about his friend’s love of wood and his unconventional style of sanding it to a perfect finish.

I was struck by the tone of the letter. My friend always told me it was unhealthy to live in the past and thus he chose not to do so, yet that’s what he was doing. I suppose living in the past is like playing in the snow; it’s fun, invigorating, and healthy, but if indulged for too long you could catch a cold, contract frostbite, or freeze to death.

In that letter he referenced three other friends of mine, all carpenters. There is something about carpenters. They have a way of expressing themselves and viewing life from the standpoint of measuring, cutting, fitting and at last nailing in place. They are patient and precise. And know how to work around mistakes.

I have a couple of friends who aren’t carpenters, but they could be. There is a mysterious thread about them that binds them to my carpenter friends.

My perfect day would be to sit down in my friend’s workshop and have all my friends there. I’d listen for that thread. I think that thread is the wisdom of carpenters. Even my friends who are not carpenters have it. It is their approach to life and problems.

I want my son there. We will sit and listen. A good day of listening is the best of all days.

It was not by accident Jesus was born into a family of a carpenter.

Many are thinking about Jesus today as a baby. Little attention given to his way of explaining and teaching. His simplistic approach to life. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Settle matters quickly. The one who forgives little loves little, but one who loves much forgives much. Love your neighbor the same you do yourself. Don’t be quick to judge others.

These are but a few of the building materials for a good and happy life. Every carpenter knows a good structure has to have good material.

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Advice: Be Careful Who First You Share Good News

I'm not in this picture.

I’m not in this picture.

Daily Prompt: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do?

When one receives good news a procedure automatically goes into place. Your emotions take over. You automatically think of the person who means most to you. That is the person who you tell your good news first. Sometimes that is not always possible, but the first response is; I can’t wait to tell the number one person in my life.

For most that is a spouse. In my situation it is my wife. The brain begins to intellectually assess those who are the ones most happy to hear your good news. The brain works at lightening speed and begins to place people in an order. Based on what your relationship is with each person the brain figures out if that good news would be something they appreciate.

After the broadcast of good news all your friends and relatives can argue over who you told first. Suddenly that good news you has become a source of bitterness between family and friends. They all become enemies of each other and all because you couldn’t help from blabbing about something.

Send an email and text to everyone at the same time. Avoid the emotional turmoil.

Friends, Fools, And Good News

“Thanks for taking me out to lunch,” Eric said to Roger as the waitress finished taking their orders. “What‘s the occasion?’

“Did you hear our buddy, Kenton, is about to receive the Nobel Prize for literature this year?” Roger said.

“Yes, I was the first to hear,” Eric said.

“No, it was me,” Roger said.

“Actually,” Eric said. “It was me. He said he just got off the phone with a Swedish guy on the Nobel committee.”

“Than you should buy,” Roger said. “Besides the prize is Norwegian.”

Just as Eric and Roger glower at one another Dave walks into the restaurant and sits at the table with them.

“Hey,” Dave says. “Why don’t you guys go together and buy me a lunch?”

“Why?” They both said barely being able to hold a tone of civility.

“I’m not in the best of modes right now,” Eric said.

“Me too,” Roger said. “I invited Eric for lunch to celebrate Kenton’s good news. He is going to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. I’m buying because I was the first he shared the news with and Eric insists he was the first.”

“So why should we buy you lunch?” Eric said.

“You‘re the first guys I‘ve told this to,” Dave said. “A month ago I called Kenton. I had this phony Swedish accent and told him I was on the Nobel committee and informed him he was going to win the Nobel Prize for literature.”

“I thought the Nobel was Norwegian,” Eric said.

“Maybe it’s Danish,” Roger said. “I get all those blond people mixed up.”

“It‘s Norwegian,” Dave said. “But the NO BELL (ding, ding) is Swedish. I just got off the phone with him talking in the same Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish accent. I told him he won the NO BELL prize for literature because nothing he writes rings with anybody.” Dave started laughing. “Isn’t that the funniest thing you ever heard?”

“I wasn’t fooled for a moment,” Eric said. “His writing is terrible.”

“Me neither,” Roger said. “But he fooled me before he fooled you.”

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