Hugged By A Stranger

Have you ever been hugged by a complete stranger? Someone you’ve never laid eyes on before?

Well, I did barely lay eyes on his person as he hoisted himself from behind the steering wheel of his car and stood to his feet, and sort of laid eyes on him as he passed by the window in front of me. I didn’t know him from Adam – but he wasn’t an Eve, that much I could see.

Really my eyes weren’t focussed on him at all, but were fixed on something dark that had fallen to the ground as he stood up. Something that looked suspiciously like…

Oh, dear. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start again.

I was sitting at a table in a small corner of a bookstore, this corner they have set up as a coffee bar. I’d finished my coffee and was idly gazing out the window beside me when I saw this grey car drive up and park facing the store right in front of where I sat.

As I said, I saw this man get out of this car and stride purposefully toward the store next door. I saw something dark hit the icy asphalt when he stood up, so I jumped up and went out to see, because I thought it may be something quite important – like a wallet.

It was a wallet. I stuffed it into my pocket and hurried into the Dollar Store next door, looking for someone about his size, brownish jacket. I scanned the aisles and saw a good match but I wasn’t certain, so I approached him and asked, “Do you drive a grey car? Did you just park next door?”

“Yes,” he replied, looking puzzled.

“Did you lose something?”

He gave me a blank look, then slapped his back pockets. “My wallet!”

I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him. He moaned once and thanked me for it, then, in front of everyone in the store, he threw his arm around me and gave me a hug. Me, a complete stranger, someone he’d never laid eyes on before.

Can you imagine?!  😉

First published Aug 18, 2013

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A Man Who Can

One summer my daughter and I found a nice “pick-your-own” strawberry patch and came home with half a dozen baskets of berries to put in the freezer. For some reason shasta daisies were blooming among the strawberry plants; when we loaded up our loot, my daughter picked a couple of these and tossed them in with our berries.

Once home we were soon occupied with stemming and preserving strawberries and the flowers were forgotten until the evening; by then they looked pretty limp. My first thought was to toss them out, but I decided to trim the ends, put them in water, and see if they would revive. An hour or so later I checked them and was pleased to see them looking “fresh as a daisy” again.

I thought of the song that says, “I can’t take a heart that’s broken, make it over again, but I know a Man Who can.”*

Do you sometimes feel as limp, neglected, and unwanted as a trampled flower? Here’s some great news: the Lord can restore people as well as flowers. And this isn’t just a temporary boost, where we droop and die again later. When we put ourselves into His hands, He promises to be a flowing well of water in our lives:

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water (from Jacob’s well) shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14

Not only singly, but in twos and threes as well—in fact, He gives special attention to family groups. Relations between husband and wife, parents and children, former friends, in-laws, all can be revived and rebuilt by a better plan. “I know a Man Who can!”

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. — Matthew 19:26

(*Song written by Jack Campbell and Jimmy Davis)

What Makes An Artist

bluebirds.blossoms

by Edgar Guest

We got to talking art one day,
discussing in a general way
how some can match with brush and paint
the glory of a tree,
and some in stone can catch the things
of which the dreaming poet sings,
while others seems to have no way
to tell the joys they see.

Old Blake had sat in silence there
and let each one of us declare
our notions of what’s known as art,
until he’d heard us through.
And then said he: “It seems to me
that any man whoe’er he be,
becomes an artist by the good
he daily tries to do.

He need not write the books men read
to be an artist. No, indeed!
He need not work with paint and brush
to show his love of art;
who does a kindly deed today
and helps another on his way
has painted beauty on a face
and played the poet’s part.

Though some of us cannot express
our inmost thoughts of loveliness,
we prove we love the beautiful
by how we act and live.
The poet singing of a tree
no greater poet is than he
who finds it in his heart some care
unto a tree to give.

Though he who works in marble-stone
the name of artist here may own,
no less an artist is the man
who guards his children well.
‘Tis art to love the fine and true;
by what we are and what we do
how much we love life’s nobler things
to all the world we tell.”

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

The Sorrow Tugs

by Edgar Guest

There’s a lot of joy in the smiling world;
there’s plenty of morning sun
and laughter and songs and dances, too,
whenever the day’s work’s done;
full many an hour is a shining one,
when viewed by itself apart,
but the golden threads in the warp of life
are the sorrow tugs at your heart

Oh, the fun is froth and it blows away,
and many a joy’s forgot,
and the pleasures come and the pleasures go,
and memory holds them not;
but treasured ever you keep the pain
that causes your tears to start,
for the sweetest hours are the ones that bring
the sorrow tugs at your heart.

The lump in you throat and the little sigh
when your baby trudged away
the very first time to the big red school–
how long will their memory stay?
The fever days and the long black nights
you watched as she, troubled, slept
and the joy you felt when she smiled once more–
how long will that all be kept?

The glad hours live in a feeble way,
but the sad ones never die.
His first long trousers caused a pang
and you saw them with a sigh.
And the big still house when the boy and girl,
unto youth and beauty grown,
to college went; will you e’er forget
that first grim hour alone?

It seems as you look back over things,
that all that you treasure dear
is somehow blent in a wondrous way
with a heart pang and a tear.
Though many a day is a joyous one
when viewed by itself apart,
the golden threads in the warp of life
are the sorrow tugs at your heart.

From his book A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by the Reilly & Britton Co.

Memory

by Edgar Guest

And if I shall remember
the tulips of the spring,
the Christmas each December
the songs the children sing,
their bits of merry laughter
which meant so much to me,
that’s all in that hereafter
I’ll keep in memory.

I do not ask to go there
with boastful tales to tell;
I’d like to have them know there
this life I’ve loved so well.
I would recall a few things
my eyes rejoiced to see,
the tender and the true things
which brightened life for me.

And shall I wake from sleeping
to face eternity
but these I would be keeping
of earthly memory;
but these I would remember:
the songs the children sing
the Christmas each December,
the tulips in the spring.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

She’s Somewhere Else

Dementia

Grandma’s somewhere else
though she sits beside me.
Though I hold her hand
and we chat about little things
she might remember.

I didn’t tell her
it rained again last night,
that fall is here; the trees are bare.

Today’s rain can’t touch her;
Grandma’s somewhere else
where the trees are ever green–
where she barely hears my voice.

— C.G. (2013)

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I wrote this story as my Friday Flash Fiction contribution this week.
The exactly-100-words story posted was yesterday on Friday Tales:

A LIGHT LOOK

That streetlight looks so familiar, Adina thought. But where’s Henry? Why has he left me here?

“Mom. Stop!” Adina turned and saw Judy running down the sidewalk toward her.

“You were to stay in the house and wait for me, Mom.”

“But I have to find Dad. We’re supposed to go somewhere.”

Judy took her by the arm. “You have an appointment, remember. I’m taking you. I just stopped for a quick pee first.”

Adina chuckled. “You’re too old to pee, Judy.”

Judy burst out laughing, wiping away a tear. “Come on. Let’s get in the car.”

Why does she cry when she laughs? Adina wondered. What’s wrong with that girl?