By Fred Prout
The after church crowd has dwindled down to T Rex (fka Thomas King) and yours truly. Shirley Shewill comes over coffee pot in hand. T and I have been yakking about things in general. Particularly some of the Easter finery that was on display. I know T is not a religious person, but he’s one of the most spiritual souls on this good earth. “Frippery” he calls it in his most cynical way. “Getting all dolled and duded up makes you a better person? Bullies hit” he snorts.
Now, Shirley and I know this is just T warming up. Venting if you will. Looking over at me he says “I know you love stories. Your book ‘Squirrel Droppings’ has reached a lot of people. Touched a lot of hearts. Take notes, my friend, this will keep your pencil busy for a while. Shirley one last refill, if you please, then sit down with us and be a people for a while.
You didn’t know I had a twin brother. Well I do. Not in the family sense, but people who know us both say we are so much alike we could be twins. We were talking this morning and he mentioned the first time we met. And that got me thinking about the strange way life happens. You wrote about how Mrs T and I had a habit of trying to help what she lovingly called our strays. People who were down and needed a hand.
We met Rick over twenty years ago on one of our trips. It was at a Thanksgiving dinner and Mrs T saw a sad young man sitting alone. She went over and invited him to join us. Turns out he had recently suffered a couple of losses of loved ones. One loss during the holidays is bad enough. Two can be devastating. We spent a lot of time together that week. Got to know each other pretty well. Time to leave, separate ways and such, but we stayed in touch. We found out how much alike we are. Classic good looks, acerbic wit and an off kilter way of looking at things. Make sure you write this down cause this story could change somebody’s life.
Rick had recently lost Lacey, the love of his life. Mrs T and I tried to put a positive spin on the life they had together, the wonderful memories they had, and, tried to keep him talking. Well, a few years later, he met Donna. They fell in love and are making a good life together. On our call he mentioned that first meeting all those years ago. Turns out that he kept our talks in mind for a long time. When he met Donna he said we had put some hope, tucked away in the back of his head. She helped him let it blossom. Into a willingness to fall in love again.
Now, you know, after I lost Mrs T, I was in darkness myself for a couple of years. I guess seeing how Rick kept hope alive and found Donna, got passed back to me. Without that little bit of hope, I never would have followed the fate, the Kismet, that led me to meet, and, fall in love with the Beautiful Wanda. Neither one of us expected to be fortunate enough to find each other. But we did. We joke that her Frank, and Mrs T each gave us a little push to get us together. Maybe they are looking down at us and smiling. Hopefully we can make them proud.”
Shirley and I did a simultaneous tear wipe.
“I know this, Mister writer man, the hope that Mrs T and I gave Rick came cascading back to me. Somehow I was pushed to go to Ike’s that morning. I was pushed to ask if I could sit next to a beautiful stranger. I was pushed to be driving by the beach at the precise moment we would meet again. Something amazing happened to Rick and Donna, Wanda and me. And countless others. Write about it. Pass Hope along. There are a lot of people who need to know it can happen.”
Shirley went full blown Niagara Falls. Tears and mascara rolling down her cheeks. “After I lost my Jerry, I was crushed. I led my life. Went through the motions. But, I don’t think I had any hope of life getting better. Thank you T, after this, I may see a glimmer.”
Author’s note: This, like all my stories, might, or might not be, total fiction. The characters might be composites of the many wonderful people I know. Maybe they are real. But this part is true. We all have opportunities to pass good things along to others. If you get the opportunity, it costs nothing to pass it along. I’ve got to tell you, the cost is nil, but the rewards are priceless.
Life has its ups and downs. Smiles and sorrows. In the words of Carl Perkins,
“If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.”
Thanks Fred…..I needed that…..(still looking for the fictional parts though. 😉 )
Well Fred, you did it again! Wonderful and very timely story! Thank you for sharing it ! And I too, am looking for the “fictional” parts! I am SO happy for you, and your story gave me hope on this somewhat grey and discouraging morning…there is hope!!!!
Thank you for the reminder!!!
I’m smiling Fred … as I always do after reading your posts (sometimes through a tear though). Happy Spring! Love, Val