Sometimes pictures get me. It sounds silly. Maybe it is. But sometimes, a picture hits me in my core, cutting, ripping, tearing away at soul and sinew.
Some pictures, some stories haunt me as assuredly as a ghost in a graveyard. I can’t sleep without it popping into my dreams. I can’t concentrate without it popping into conscious thought.
This picture sticks with me like a chain around the heart:
Continue reading Help This Boy
It was sad, really. She has no one. Maybe it was a conscience choice a long time ago. Maybe it was a forced decision that she didn’t want. Either way, the results are the same.
She lives alone in a nice neighborhood that we’ve driven through a thousand times. Her hedges are rarely trimmed and there are plants growing in the gutters. The yard is always green, but the grass always looks like it’s half grown, half mowed, somehow suspended in animation just enough to give the yard sort of a kept, but not maintained look.
She has a big sprawling house that is dark and uninviting, almost like where a horror movie could be filmed. In the four plus years of driving through that neighborhood, I’ve never once seen anyone outside, and the garage door is always closed. Occasionally, but not very often, there may be a light on at night somewhere in the house, but it would only be one, if any.
We were driving home through that neighborhood coming home from a symphony at 10:30 PM at night. Janet, my wife, told me we had just passed an old woman sitting in the grass by a mailbox waving for help. I turned around and there she sat. I left the car running with the headlights on to light the area as we checked on her. Continue reading Hermit House
The lady blurted out to the Walmart Customer Service worker, “I’m the one you called a few minutes ago about the purse!”
I was waiting in line and glanced at her. The worker asked her to describe the purse. She did, and was told to wait just a minute while the worker went to the back office.
She was casually dressed in blue jeans, flip flops and a bright, pink Fight Breast Cancer t-shirt. Her hair was about half an inch long over her entire head. In fact, I wasn’t sure if she was being treated for cancer, or just wearing her hair short. She waited with an anxious, lip chewing expression on her face. A minute later, the Walmart worker came out holding a small red change purse.
Continue reading Little or Lot Faithful
There used to be an old tire store up Main Street surrounded by properties that have all seen better days. Years ago it was a full-service gas station built in the late 40s or early 50s out of cinder blocks and mortar.
For the most part, however, the old building was insignificant. If it hadn’t been for the man outside, I would’ve never even noticed the place.
Years ago the tire store was painted white, but oil, grease and dirt make a dark entourage at the base of the walls up to a chalky, white at the top. The concrete around it was patchy and dark, stained with layers on layers of grease, dripped motor oil and a host of other dried automotive blood. Continue reading The Waving Man
Several years ago, I stopped by a friend’s used car lot at lunch time. I didn’t need anything, just figured I’d stop in and chit chat for a few minutes.
He told me he almost sold his integrity earlier. He began:
An older man came in early that morning and wanted my friend, Dan, to buy a truck he owned. The old gentleman didn’t want a trade in, but to sell it outright. He had a nice, older truck with low mileage that was clean as a whistle. He’d bought it brand new and maintained it well over the years.
Dan had never seen the old, country gentleman before and the man seemed, well….sad.
Dan asked how much he wanted for his truck. The man hesitated, almost wincing in embarrassment, and said he hoped to get $3,000 because he had some expenses he needed to take care of.
That’s when Dan said he was tempted! Continue reading Extra Mile Integrity
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?
A cool front came in and all the windows in the house are open. Ahh! Fresh air from a cool, refreshing breeze! On days like today, forget Montana, Italy and every other place on the bucket list to visit. Sitting in the backyard with a hot cup of coffee and the tree leaves rustling is as good as it gets!
Even the puppy dogs are energized with more bounce in their pounce and bite in their bark. Maybe it’s just the wind’s relief after a frigid cold winter. Maybe it’s just a change to something new. Maybe it’s just enjoying the moment. I don’t know, but sitting here watching invisible air rustle visible leaves makes me envious of the wind.
Somewhere right now the wind is blowing through an early spring potato field and elsewhere, over the top of a sky scraper, an anemometer is turning in circles to measure the wind’s speed. Continue reading What Wind Sees
The seller dropped the keys in my youngest daughter’s hand, and with a smile, told her he had just filled up the gas tank for her too!
I’ve bought eight, yes eight used cars for each of my eight kids as their first vehicle. Don’t be impressed. There is a set amount that has been the same for all of them. They can spend more if they want with money they have saved, or they can spend less and take the extra cash and run.
Continue reading Car Deal Gone Good
Something woke me up at 3:41 AM this morning. Sometimes it’s insomnia, but not today.
Sometimes you wake up slowly and realize you’re stretching, feeling the freedom of every muscle movement. Sometimes you wake feeling completely rested, healthy and whole. Sometimes you know something woke you, but not sure what, and your mind begins a gentle wander wondering about chicken spaghetti, Snicker Doodles and peaches.
Sometimes you think the dog may have fleas because you hear it scratching in its crate. Sometimes you think of people and see their smiles and hear their voices and hope they’re sound asleep, or like you, completely rested. Sometimes you hear a noise and question how in the world you ever missed the ceiling fan’s sound as the quiet electric motor swirls the air. Continue reading Sometimes
Two questionable characters were loitering in front on the grocery store bench. I did what all concealed handgun licensed carriers do. I slipped a small pistol in my pocket before going in.
About the time I was in front of the bench, one of the men said, “Hey brother! Why don’t you hire me?”
That’s not the first time I’ve heard that line, so I knew at some time or another he had worked or interviewed for a job with me. I looked at the man who spoke and said, “I’m sorry. I recognize your face, but your name is slipping me.” Continue reading Rock Bottom Hope