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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lonely Lenore

It was 1948 and Leonore, like the decade, was in her late 40's.  She had worked hard all her life as a secretary for a small shipping company in Minnesota and dreamed many dreams.  One of her dreams was travel.  She always longed to travel.  On her meager income, she would carefully pinch pennies and save all year long so that she could take the bus or the train to some place other than Minnesota and see a bit of the world.  It was all she had to look forward to, most of the time.

With the passing of her father last year, she had been left a little money from his estate.  This year she was going to take a little of that money and use it for travel.  But, not her ordinary travel.  Nothing within the United States - not even Canada.  No, Leonore had decided to travel overseas.  She was going to take a boat and go to Italy - Venice, the city of canals, gondolas and gondoliers.  The whole idea seemed so romantic to her.  Lenore could use a little romance in her simple life.

Upon her arrival in Venice, she checked into a small bed and breakfast run by a widow, Sophia.  Sophia, short and round with dark hair pinned on top of her head, had lived there with her husband when he was alive, but after his death, needed some income.  So, she opened her home to tourists.

Sophia showed Leonore to her room.  Leonore looked around the spacious room and noticed the french doors leading out to a Juliet balcony.  She stepped out and looked out over the city.  Her room was up high and she could see rooftops for as far as she could look.  Sophia left Leonore to get settled and went down to tend to the needs of her other guests.

As Leonore unpacked and showered, she decided that she would eat her supper in town that evening.  She changed into a soft green dress with full skirt and white sandals.  She grabbed her envelope purse and, after getting suggestions of where to dine from Sophia, headed out the door to the nearest gondola.

As she floated in the gondola, she looked around the city - the ancient buildings, laundry being strung from one window over to the window across the canal, traffic lights in the canals where marine traffic met.  The gondola pulled up to some steps and she stepped out onto the stones, hopped up the stairs and headed down the street to a nearby outdoor cafe.

After her delicious meal, she ordered coffee.  She sipped it quietly, smiling while she watched couples, hand in hand, stroll down the sidewalks together.  She thought how nice it would be to have someone to call her own.  She had loved once, but he had gone off to war and was killed.  It was hard to get over.  A tear slowly came down her cheek, past her smile, as she watched the couples, which seemed to be everywhere.

Lenore finished the last of her coffee and reached for her purse to leave.  As she pushed her chair under the table, a tall, handsome man bumped into her.  Their eyes met.  He said "hello", paused and then said "excuse me" to her in Italian.  She very nervously smiled at him.  Lenore turned quickly and left the man looking after her.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Irritates You?

Pet peeves. Okay - where do I start? Which one?
Well, one of my pet peeves is when people do not return phone calls. I don't really like to talk on the phone that much. I mean, I'm not one of those people who will dial your number and talk on and on about my children, my grandchildren, my garden, my aches and pains and all that. But, if you call me and tell me all those things, I will certainly listen.
But, when I make a phone call, which for some reason unknown to me, I dread and I leave a message politely asking for that person to return my call and they don't - well, I just don't understand. And when I have to leave three or four messages with the same request, I think that is just rudeness.
Today I have made my fifth attempt to contact a person who is coordinator of something in which I want to participate. There is no other way to get involved except through this person. It's very frustrating because here I am ready to get started and involved and I am just being ignored. I have filled out the required form three times and have left my third voice mail and still I hear nothing.
Now, I understand that people get busy or maybe they are out of town, but these attempts have been made over a matter of months!
Yes, it's high on my pet peeve list when people don't return my calls. How long does it take to dial a number for a conversation that would take less than ten minutes?
So, I sit here irritated trying to come up with ways NOT to be irritated and frustrated and trying to be kind and polite by making all sorts of excuses for this person who does not return calls, but keeps announcing that they are the contact person for this issue.
Maybe it's me. Maybe it's linked to my many years of being administrative assistant - where I always answered the phone and returned calls the same day. But this person works in an office. Do they let their voice mails pile up?
I knew a lady once who did that. She had over a hundred voice mails in her box that she needed to address. Her office was a mess - things thrown on her desk and spilling from numerous bookcases onto chairs, tables and eventually to piles on the floor.
So, maybe it isn't ones lack of consideration. Maybe it is an organizational issue.
But, now I wonder what our conversation will be like when I finally do get to talk with this person. Will it be awkward because I've mentioned the attempts I've tried to contact him and left pleading messages using the word "please" maybe more times than I should? Or will he even notice that he's not returned my calls or that I begged and pleaded and mentioned that more than one form had been submitted and other voice mails were left? He may not even care, but he doesn't seem to be that sort of person to me.
I know this guy's wife and she is sort of one of those "let's get 'er done right now" type of people. She's like the "go to girl" when you need to get something done. "Opposites attract," I remind myself, still trying to come up with excuses for this guy.

Well, what can I do except sit back and wait - again. I'll take a deep sigh, eat some chocolate and hope, and I hope not in vain, that today he will check his voice mail and choose my number to dial. It's just seven little digits to push on the phone.

Pet peeves. Not returning calls is just one of mine. I just don't understand.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Bad Day

Ideas came to me as I wrote. I started the beginning sentence a few times and decided, that with the clock ticking, I'd better go with the one that was up there.  Fifteen minutes goes by fast sometimes!

Joey knew it was going to be a bad day when he came home to find that his wife of six years had left him. Today was their anniversary and he had rushed home from his business trip to make sure he had made it there for their special day. Six years - they had been married six years.

The first two years seemed great, but then things started to go downhill. Oftentimes Joey would wonder what he could do differently to make his wife happy. He would try to please her in every way, but nothing ever seemed to work. He just couldn't figure out what was wrong with him and why he couldn't please her. He felt like a failure.

Upon arriving home that morning, he noticed some things were different. It seemed all of his things in the living room were missing - his favorite clock that was on the mantle was gone, the photos of him and his brother fishing was missing, along with a few other personal items. Everything else seemed to be in place. He wondered what his wife did with them and why she had taken them down.

He went back to the bedroom to empty his suitcase and put his clothes away. He opened the closet door in the bedroom and noticed that all of his wife's things were gone - totally and completely gone. Her whole half of the closet was empty - but not as empty as his heart felt just then.

Joey rushed into the bathroom to see if her toiletries were still there. No toothbrush, no make-up - all gone. His heart sank. Where was she? Where had she gone? Why was she gone? All sorts of questions ran through his mind.

As he began putting things away from his suitcase, the phone rang. He set his shoes down on the closet floor, closed the door and went to the phone.

"Hello," he said, hoping it was his wife.

"Hello," said the female voice on the other end of the phone. It wasn't a voice he knew. It wasn't his wife. "You don't know me, but my name is Sheila. I just called to let you know that your wife is having an affair with my husband. I thought you would want to know."

Joey felt nothing but total shock. Words didn't come to him. Questions, nothing but questions entered his head - then anger rose in his face.

He explained to the voice on the phone named Sheila that he had just rushed home for a business trip to be with his wife on their sixth anniversary only to find her gone. Sheila explained that her husband had left over the weekend, as well, and didn't know where he had gone either. They assumed their spouses had gone off together somewhere.

After a brief conversation, the phone call ended and Joey decided to try to find the personal things of his that were missing in from the living room. He searched around the house until he finally found them in the spare bedroom closet. Wondering why they had been removed from the living room and placed in the closet, he finally concluded that The Other Man must have been entertained in his own home while he was away.

Joey took his things to the living room and placed them back in their usual spot. He looked around the room and realized that now he could arrange things the way he wanted. He realized that now all this space was his - this quiet and tranquil space - this peace, this quiet was his. And he realized that he wasn't the problem in his marriage. He realized that her choices were the problem.

Joey knew that this bad day was the beginning of a new start and that a few months from now, things would be better. It was only a matter of time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hotdogs from Heaven

There was a young single mom who had recently been deserted by her husband and left with two young daughters.  As hard as she tried, she couldn't find work and the money and food began to dwindle quickly.

One Saturday morning, she opened the only thing left in her cupboard - a box of cereal.  She sighed in relief seeing that there was just enough for two bowls.  Her children could have breakfast.  She wondered about lunch.  She took two bowls down from the cupboard, grabbed a couple of spoons out of one of the kitchen drawers and set them on the table.  Walking over to the refrigerator, she grabbed the carton of milk that was almost empty and went to the cupboard again to get two glasses.

As she poured the last of the cereal and milk into the bowls and glasses, she silently prayed, "Okay, God.  This is all there is in this house to eat.  I've got some breakfast here for my daughters, but lunch and dinner are going to have to be your problem."  She called the girls into the table and smiled as she watched them eat the last bit of food in the house.

After clearing the table and cleaning things up, the young mother walked into her living room.  Looking out the front window she saw that something was laying in her yard near the street.  She couldn't quite tell what it was, so she decided to go outside to investigate.  "Oh," she thought as she reached down to pick it up, "it's just one of those silly ads."  She opened it up to see what the ad was about.

The bright colored ad told all about a new store near their neighborhood that was celebrating a grand opening all day long.  Part of the celebration included free hot dogs, a bag of chips and a free soda to everyone that came to the store that afternoon!  The young mom laughed out loud, looked up into the bright blue sky full of soft fluffy clouds and whispered out loud, "Thanks for lunch, God.  But, I'm still going to need supper."

She happily ran inside the house and called to her daughters.  The precious little girls came out and listened as their mother told them they would be visiting a new store, but that they were only going to be looking - not buying anything.  The girls listened attentively with big eyes wide opened as they understood their mother explain that money was tight.

Later that afternoon, leaving the house, the young mother locked her deadbolts tight and they all got into the car and drove off to the new store.  As they got out of the car, the mother reminded her playful daughters that they were only to look - not buy today.  They all three reached the sidewalk at the same time, and there a friendly man greeted them with a smile.  He handed each one of them a hot dog, bag of chips and a soda of their choice.  He pointed the way to the condiments and napkins. 

The faithful mother watched her young daughters eat as they stood around the hot dog stand.  She helped them hold their sodas while they ate.  When the children were finished, she asked them if they were full and, having trouble waiting to go inside, they both said that they had plenty to eat.  The mother felt satisfied and happy that her children didn't have to know hunger just yet.

After they all looked at every little thing in the new store, they got back into the car to head home.  Upon arriving home, the mother unlocked the deadbolt on her front door.  Standing in the doorway, she could see directly into the kitchen and onto the table.  There was some sort of green paper on the table.  She knew she had cleared the table before they left, so she walked over to investigate.

She looked down at the paper with tears of joy streaming down her face.  She picked it up and held it in her hands.  It was a one-hundred dollar bill!  Again, she thanked God, wondering how in the world it got onto her kitchen table when all her deadbolts had been locked.  When she got herself together, she made a grocery list and headed back out to the store.

My timer has gone off, but I had to finish the story as I didn't want to leave my readers hanging.  This is a true story.  I know it to be true because it happened to me many years ago.  My God supplies all my needs, just like He promised.  He always has and He always will.

Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans.  Check back with me tomorrow and be sure to leave me a comment and tell your friends about my new blog.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My First Fifteen Minutes

Following the saying that "You can do anything in fifteen minutes", I have set my timer and decided to stop procrastinating and do some writing on a regular basis.  Why didn't I think of this before?

The website at has inspired me to do this.  I wrote there yesterday and had a great time - and it was fiction.  Do you have any idea how much I dread writing fiction?  But, I did it and I did it without a plan.  I just started writing and came up with this little snippet of a story based on a famous painting.  (Search "famous painting" there and you should find it.)  So, I extend a hearty thanks to Douglas, it's creator and administrator for my inspiration.

So, what does one do when one writes for fifteen minutes?  Well, at Douglas' site, I was given a suggested topic.  I suppose each day I will need to have a topic of interest and right now I have no idea what those topics should be.  Current events, maybe?  Ah, but I get tired of hearing despressing, negative news stories.  Well, then, perhaps I should write about encouraging, uplifting tales and events.  But, will those be hard to discover?  I mean, with all the negativity that surrounds our world, how hard will positive, encouraging words be to find?

Whenever I need encouragment, I turn to my Bible and find some there.  So, don't be surprised if I reference my Bible often when giving words of encouragement.

Other times when I need encouragement, I look at photos of my family and friends.  The photos remind me of happy times or how blessed I am to have such wonderful people share DNA with me.

I find encouragment in the early mornings - even though I am NOT a morning person.  Sometimes in the early morning (depending upon the weather) I'll either go sit on my front porch or back deck with my cup of hot, black coffee and listen to the morning birdsongs.  I can smell the scents from the mimosa tree and the petunias in the hanging pots.  The sounds, smells and bright sunshine are so energizing in the early day.  It makes me grateful for the little things that God blesses us with each and every day.

My time is coming to an end.  I think the next fifteen minutes will be spent folding laundry and putting it away.  What can you do in fifteen minutes?  Is there some little joy or encouragement you can find?  If so, why not spend fifteen minutes just to sit and enjoy it.

Well, there's the timer!  Guess I'll go fold laundry.  Have a great day and be sure to follow me every day for my fifteen minutes of writing.