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FIRST SIP OF LOVE

First KissHe saw her from a distance, a waif with a broad smile and bright eyes and a gait that would mesmerize. Waiting for something, someone perhaps and his lapse of concentration was telling. The players were yelling “GET IN THE GAME!”

Blake Daley was his name. Confident and sure with numbers, but horribly bad on the frozen ponds around which he worked. He blamed weak ankles as a kid. Blake never came forward with his lack of interest in anything athletic. When Blake was asked to act in the role of statistician for the rink, he reluctantly jumped at the chance.

But now his thoughts were elsewhere. There across the rink in the bleachers, where she sat with her friend. And she’d glance over and see him watching. He was far from inconspicuous. When their eyes met on those occasions, she’d grin widely and his cheeks would assume a bright shade of fluster. Blake was nervous around girls. Especially one as striking as Carol.

Her eyes were rich like cocoa, hot and searing, endearing himself to her. Her smile showed brightly, a wide grin full of Chiclets which she wore proudly like her badge of honor. Carol’s hair was the hue of autumn’s height, alight with the auburn which he associated with warmth and comfort. And there she was, so near. So far away.

The combatants completed their task. The game was over with little fanfare. And Blake decided he could no longer stare. He was determined to meet the one so fair with crimson hair.

As Blake approached her, Carol’s friend excused herself leaving the two to close the gap between them or fail miserably trying. Blake would be lying if he admitted to not being nervous. But her demeanor calmed him. Her look was soothing and inviting. Silent introductions and handshakes. His hand sliding to grip her elbow to help her keep balance on the rickety bleachers. And it stayed there as they shuffled to the aisle for their short descent to the exit.

“Can I call?” he asked shyly; softly.

“Do you have a pen?” she smiled.

As she wrote, Carol glanced up at Blake and their eyes embraced each other in looks of future’s promise. Her smile remained, a Cheshire cat in the frigid hockey rink,

Carol returned the pen and slid the scrap of paper into his gloved hand. And she leaned in… a tender kiss catching the corner of his lip.

A gentle peck. Their first “kiss”. He prayed it would last a lifetime!

THE SIMPLE THINGS

Lorraine Jenkins was tired. Between going to nursing school, and pulling a double at the nursing home, Lorraine had every cause to complain. But what purpose would that serve. Her ambition was driven by the need to help people.

She had come up the ranks the hard way, a slim black woman with manly features, but a very compassionate heart. Her mother had done volunteer work in the black hospital in Selma. A product of segregation, Floridine took pride in her work.She put all the compassion she had into caring for her patients. Lorraine recalled how tired and worn her mother looked after hard days. She was touched by how her mother would cry for hours when one of her charges has lost their struggle with life.

And here she was, a single woman dedicated to her work so much that she knew nothing of a social life. Her dream was to finish school and be the nurse her mother always strived to be.

But Lorraine was tired after an exceptionally hard day, Mr. Kettering in room 14 was fighting Pancreatic Cancer. He had been failing rapidly. Lorraine felt the end was drawing near. But Kettering had a spirit; he put up a fight. He was determined to survive to the new year. He promised his granddaughter he would be around for the Holiday.

Lorraine knew such promises were not his to make. But she smiled and nodded. And her eyes had met Mr. Kettering’s and the twinkle that lived there mesmerized her. Somehow, she knew he would not falter.

As she turned on the lights to her small Christmas tree, she sighed. It was one week to the dawn of a new year. Mr. Kettering had made it to Christmas. She smiled inwardly. The old guy was half way home. Lorraine took comfort in that fact. A monumental achievement. A “promise” kept. A simple thing.

IT’S A DOG’S WORLD

IMAG1131_1Funny name these humans gave me. “King” It sounds rather nondescript; what is a king? From my point of view, I must be a big deal. I feel important for some reason. They slather me with praise, always telling me I am highly qualified for this title. “Good King” I heard the hairy one say to me.

The tall, leggy one with the tail in the back of its head… she looks lost in this place. Apparently, my kingdom does not suit her, and the point is moot to her. She seems to be miles away as she stand right there. And that other animal they have… they put in down to play with me. But I am as afraid of it as it is of me. And it smells funny… a cross between baby oil and poop. If it needs to go out, they should let it out.

And what is it about my tail that fascinates it? Always pulling me backwards. Let me voice my opinion just once, and they bring out that rolled paper thing and tell me I’m a “Bad King”. I think I’m getting the hang of this “Good King/Bad King” thing.

But there’s a lot of activity today. It looks festive. A day fit for a… a… well, King! A day fit for … ME! It smells good in here, and I’m getting hungry. Let me get up here and get a closer view! Such a nice spread, I’m glad I stuck around and not followed that poodle to God-knows where. At least I get to keep what falls off the edge.

“HEY, GET THOSE BRUSSELS SPROUTS OUT OF HERE!”

The King is fed. Long live the king!

PERFECT, MAJESTIC, WARM

PerfectMajesticWarm

“… a poke of light to crack the horizon’s stoic shell…”

The storm had passed. And every last remnant was fading faster than two hearts could imagine. Forgiveness came in hushed whispers of the heart. Yet memory reminded, that hind-sight was alright if it provided a lesson. He learned the hard way. He always learned the hard way.

The early bird did indeed get the spoils, as work and its toils became the obligation to end his lack of motivation. Settled under the covers until the nagging need to proceed overwhelmed him, Will’s feet finally kicked free of flannel confinement. Poking aimlessly with pointed toes in search of his slippers, the call of the wild overcame him to fore go the footwear to traipse across the tile’s frozen tundra for relief.

Will had this belief that his days mirrored the mood of his early waking moments. Often tense and hectic, he picked a bad day to give caffeine the finger and lingered with his orange juice a bit too long. His thoughts previewed the day ahead. He dreaded his Monday meetings, he had over-scheduled his clients, squeezing two lunch dates into his incredibly shrinking day. Travel tumbler clutched and briefcase under his elbow, Will started for the office.

A text buzzed his phone. He didn’t reach for it. The tone said it was urgent. It didn’t matter. Will drove toward the complex.

The stretch of Highway was relatively clear this time of morning. It seemed this corner of the world had been untouched my human interference. Off to his left in a clearance of trees, it began. A glimmer first; a poke of light to crack the horizon’s stoic shell. Edging skyward, It rose in rapid progression. Will’s indiscretion would set the stage for a great day. He pulled off to park and watched the rapid rise of a new day dawning. He sat fawning over it’s beauty, and out of duty to his heart, he called her.

“Good Morning Sunshine!” he began. “I saw this incredible sunrise on my way in this morning.It reminded me so much of you!”

A mumble; sleepy, sexy, nearly incoherent – it was laced with her heart.

“I love you very much” she finally broadcast in her warm comfort.

“I love you very much, too!” Will repeated passionately. It was going to be a fabulous day!

GONE FISHING

Phil-bee woke up early. Before his mom. “Before the roosters”, like his grandpa used to tease. Actually, it was thoughts of his grandfather that enticed him to carry out this quest.

Philbin Barrett, Phil-bee for short, was grandpa’s pride and joy. Gramps was the only father Phil-bee knew, his own “a flash in the pan” as he heard his mother mention on the phone when she thought Philbin was out of the room. A mistake. A one-night stand, mom spoke in confession. Until then, Phil-bee had thought his father had died when the boy was three.

“The only redeeming quality of that man, was the little guy in the back bedroom” she was heard to interject.

So Phil-bee’s grandfather assumed the part as role model and teacher. A creature of habit was Jackson Barrett, and he taught his grandson the things Jack felt Phil-bee needed to learn in this life if he expected to go far.

All that changed as grandfather’s memory started to fade. Mom blamed some guy, an Al Shimer, for that. Ever since this Al showed up, grandpa just wasn’t the same. It was hard for Philbin to watch the only man who mattered in his life slowly become someone else. As Jack deteriorated, Phil-bee had to rely on the lessons learned from this good man. He tried to remember that man more than the person who did not recognize him any longer. Mom called it a “blessing” when Jackson Barrett had passed away.

“Gramps isn’t suffering any longer” she tried to explain to a tearful Phil-bee.

Phil-bee knew that along with being his grandfather and his teacher, Papa Jack was his friend. Phil-bee lost his BEST friend. If there was anything good in that revelation, it was that grandpa would live in his memory as long as Phil-bee kept him there.

The young boy’s mind was elsewhere as he stood next to his mom at Jack’s graveside. Philbin stared at the pile of dirt behind the square hole, watching the worms peek out and scurry back into the soil. The crowd of people that came to pay their respects was small. A few cousins, a couple of Jack’s friends from the service, Mrs. Burgess from their old apartment and the undertaker were Papa Jack’s only mourners.

Phil-bee remembered the talks he had with Jack as they sat at lakeside with their fishing line in the mossy green water. This was their classroom; where they had their best talks. Philbin needed to talk to Jack. But Jack was no longer there.

worms

“he reached into the tin can that held the wiggly worms”
(Photobucket)

Phil-bee dressed quietly, slipping his blue jeans over his spindly legs. He zipped his jacket right up to his chin and grabbed his ball cap. He gave the doorknob a soft turn and stepped out onto the back deck. Reaching down behind the deck chair, Philbin took the dented tin can that he had placed there last night.

The sun was coming up over the treetops as Phil-bee settled on the shore at their favorite fishing spot. The boy nestled into the moist grass as he reached into the tin can that held the wiggly worms that were distracting him at Grandpa’s funeral. With a shaky finger, Phil-bee hooked a fat worm. As he baited his hook (just like grandpa had taught him) Philbin started to talk out loud.

“Hey Grandpa Jack. It’s a good morning for fishing. I saved your spot…” Phil-bee started his long monologue.

In the early morning mist, a boy and his grandfather shared another moment discussing life and the future. Well, Phil-bee talked, and he was sure grandpa was listening. He had cast his line into the water a few times, but wasn’t having any luck. But it didn’t matter. Jack always said a bad day of fishing was better that anything he could think of.

Phil-be had talked himself out. He had told Grandpa Jack all he needed to say. He thanked Jack for being his Gramps and for teaching him stuff; for not being “a flash in the pan”. Phil-bee was honored to have been given time to be with Jack Barrett. He found peace there. Phil-bee forgave Al for taking Jack so soon.

“I love you, Grandpa!” Phil-bee tearfully whispered.

Philbin felt the tug on his line. He knew his grandfather loved him too.

HONORS AND AWARDS

ShoesIt was the greatest tribute he could have been given.

He lived a honorable life; a loving husband, a doting father. He was the perfect son and brother, a hard-working employee and he did works of charity. Christopher Blandings only did what he had been put on this earth to do.

There were times that he wondered if it was all worth the trouble. Christopher was never one for accolades and acknowledgements; most of his meanderings were done in the strictest anonymity. It was just that the world seemed so out of step with the morals he was raised upon. People never seemed to understand or appreciate the way things were. Blandings was baffled.

His wife sympathized with her mate, but being almost a decade younger than he, she straddled the fence between the generations. But she believed in his good and kind heart. She loved his honesty and his loyalty. He surprised her on occasion with breakfast in bed or a tender back rub. And he had a fire burning deep within him that made Jessica lose control. There was nothing bland about Blandings.

She loved her man. She loved Christopher right up to the day he died. Sadness and grief were not emotions to which she prescribed. Jessica knew life was a celebration. And death was clearly an extension of that celebration. In his passing, she saw that her Christopher did not go unnoticed. As the funeral processed to the cemetery she became aware of something. The telephone wires were adorned with shoes. Their laces bound together, they were tossed aloft to wrap around the overhead lines. There were well over a hundred pairs hanging; she witnessed people removing their footwear and adding to the milieu.

Puzzled, she questioned the undertaker. His explanation brought a tear to her eye and a flicker in her already gracious heart.

“When a person passes, tradition had the mourners remove their shoes and by draping the secured pairs over the wires, pay homage to the person so loved. The more shoes that dangled, the more respected was the deceased.” he informed.

Again Jessica looked. And the tear were more abundant now. The entire route to his resting place was graced with shoes. Hundreds and hundreds of pairs pointed to his life as one well lived; having touched many hearts.

It was the greatest tribute he could have been given.

UP WITH THE SUN

…her long dark tresses, spraying the sand with her seductive “rain”.

Rob Caruso had given up all hope. He was far removed from the shipping lanes. No chance of rescue remained. He had been gone for three years. He was REALLY late for his last appointment. As a matter of fact, that’s how most people referred to their friend now. He was the late Rob Caruso.

But hope has a second face. When you give up hope, you actually open yourself up for any possibility. As he emerged from the thatched hut he caught a glimpse of all that was possible.

There she stood, a curvacious silhouette in all her natural beauty. She was Toostana. The name means Tuesday which Rob saw as ironic, since he found Toostana on a Friday. The native cleansed herself in the teal blue lagoon waters tossing her long dark tresses, spraying the sand with her seductive “rain”.

Rob scratched a hand through his disheveled hair and sighed. The thought of being alone becomes less depressing when shared with one as ravishing as Toostana. The thought of clothing also becomes less relevant when all that tanned flesh is the most stunning outfit one could “don”.

The sun crept slowly over the cliff…

The sun crept slowly over the cliff, illuminating more of the shore and bringing every trace of Toostana’s beauty to bare. But Rob’s paradise held this one fact. Who needed the sun to creep slowly over a cliff when Toostana was baring her beauty quite nicely on her own? All he could do was pray for midday!