Monday Memories: Coffee By the Cup

Originally published in February, 2020, this humorous short story features the wills of a serious coffee drinker and a determined server, who wants to have the last word. 

assorted variety of foods on plates on dining table

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Wednesday morning broadcasts the arrival of another breakfast meeting for Billy and his other retired friends.  Once a week, he meets his five best buds for hot coffee, delicious food, and welcome conversation at Bob’s Diner.

He always wears his favorite plaid, flannel shirt (perhaps you recall Al Borland from “Tool Time”).  His faded, tractor green “John Deere” cap covers his nearly bald head, but his smile always catches his favorite server’s attention.

Flo has been working for the diner ever since Mel’s Diner closed (you might remember Mel and Alice—they became quite an item).  She holds her own with humor and a smile, always managing to take care of Billy and his pals every Wednesday morning.

As Flo is scurrying around the diner with her always full coffee pot, she sets it down near Billy’s table as she takes another order.  Billy appropriates the full pot of freshly brewed refills for his own private use, and sets it right next to his nearly empty cup.  He tells Flo, “Thanks my dear.  Now you won’t need to worry about refilling my cup.”

Billy remarks to his friends, “Ain’t life great!”

Billy enjoys his coffee, probably too much.  The manager takes a look and shakes his head . . . as his profits shrink with every coffee pot Billy drinks.  He motions Flo to come over for a moment, and they share a quick word.

Flo formulates a plan to take care of Billy’s endless and bottomless coffee drinking.

By the end of the breakfast meeting, the gray-haired trio times two has solved just about all of the world’s problems for another week.  Billy has nearly eaten a whole hog as he has devoured crispy bacon, honey-baked ham, and perfectly browned sausage links, along with the usual fixings of hash browns, eggs, and pancakes.  It’s time for the check please.

Billy surveys his bill, and his smile stretches to a frown.  Reading on, he sees that he has been charged for a whole pot of coffee.  He thinks to himself, “What’s this?”

Billy’s check has a special note at the bottom, “Cheaper to drink coffee by the cup instead of by the pot!”

red and white coffee set

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Monday Memories: Vacation Paradise

Written and published in June, 2019, this short story is an early attempt with humorous, flash fiction.

field of trees near body of water

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Pete has been planning a well-deserved, solitary fishing trip for months.  His actual plans have remained a secret—especially from his nauseating cousin, Wilbur.

Wilbur always meddles in Pete’s affairs.  So much so, he even frightened away the love of Pete’s life.

Pete is ready to make his “secret” trip for some rest and relaxation.  He anticipates fantastic weather, superb fishing, and time all to himself.  Paradise awaits!

As Pete enters the lobby of the sleepy, little motel in a tiny, isolated town, he agonizingly hears, “Good Buddy!  How ya doin’ cousin Pete?”

Vacation paradise . . . Never!

 

[Story Archives] Panic on the River: Heroism Arrives

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In case you missed the opening chapters of the story, here are the links: 

Panic on the River:  Friends Join Up

Panic on the River:  Disaster Strikes

Here’s a short excerpt from the previous chapter to help us to navigate better before we plunge into the final chapter:

The raft dashes to catch up to Fred, who is looming closer and closer.  With a few more yards yet to go, Fred may soon be saved from the clutches of the river.

Out of nowhere, a large tree limb cuts between the raft and Fred.  Like a large water snake gathering speed, the enormous splinter of wood rushes through the water towards Fred.

Whack!

Fred’s grip loosens as he is knocked back into the main waters of the Little Gulch.

Randy and Bill groan in utter disbelief at Fred’s terrible misfortune.  Pete senses that it is now or never for saving Fred.  He alerts his boat mates with a shout that he will try to save poor Fred.

Before Randy and Bill have a chance to persuade Pete to remain safely in the boat, he jumps into the high tide of the Little Gulch.  Unlike Fred, Pete’s life vest assists him as he manages to keep his head above the surface of the river’s furious charge.

Calling upon his swimming prowess (remember those high school medals), he furiously sets a pace to reach Fred as quickly as possible.  Fred, who is about to breathe his last gasp of air, begins to feel the final power of the river upon his tired, weary soul.

Stroke after stroke, Pete’s “state championship” swimming form propels him forward as he cuts the distance quickly.  Ignoring the aching pain in his long-dormant swimming muscles, Pete doggedly pushes himself to reach a nearly unconscious Fred in time.

Meanwhile, Randy and Bill struggle to keep the bulky rubber tube plowing a straight line towards their pair of friends in the water.  Randy hopes that both of his friends survive the death grip being applied by a nasty and angry river.

The Little Gulch prepares to take Fred with her, and possibly Pete, too.  The river’s “Grim Reaper” stands poised to claim another drowning victim or two.

Feeling his last bit of strength giving way, Fred succumbs to the river’s never-ending power.  He is totally out of energy; out of any more willpower . . . the river stands ready to claim final victory!

Pete is reaching his physical limits.  He feels his arms and legs beginning to cramp, but he tries to push on.  If he quits now, Fred’s final doom is sealed.

Death, the river wins!

Looking ahead, his water-filled eyes can no longer locate Fred.  Yet, Pete finds a hidden reserve of energy to continue his sprint to where he last saw Fred.

Where is Fred?

Has the Little Gulch pulled his lifeless body to her rocky bottom?

Where will she spit out his body for others to find so that his passing can be treated with dignity?

So many questions to answer as time seems to stand still momentarily.  Randy and Bill trail behind in the cumbersome boat.  Pete is pushing himself beyond his physical capabilities.  Fred seems to have perished from an “accidental drowning” (as the weekly Clifton newspaper prints in its next edition).

Fred and Pete may well have met their match with the Little Gulch, which stands poised to render both of them as new victims on the river’s scorecard.

Randy and Bill strain to see what lies ahead.  Unbelievably, their eyes locate something or someone rising out of the water just ahead.

Hooray!  Fred is back!

The unforgiving Little Gulch has made a tactical error.  Her death grip has maneuvered Fred to a gravel bar, hidden just below the river’s violent surface.  The guys cannot believe it!

Slowly Fred gains more consciousness.  He realizes that his nightmare has finally ended, and he will live to see another sunrise.  He ungracefully stands on his feet—a bit wobbly, but slowly regaining more strength and balance.

By the same miracle, Pete is also deposited upon the same narrow gravel strip.  He is exhausted, his lungs appear to breathe no more, and he lies there silently and very still.  Fred looks down at his would-be rescuer, and he begins to weep.  His own stupidity and panic have allowed the river to take away his dear friend.

The raft approaches a standing, remorseful Fred and a motionless Pete.  Randy and Bill fear the worst for their stricken comrade while thinking that Fred’s transgressions started this terrible sequence of events in the first place.

Without warning!  Another spectacular outcome is witnessed by all.

Pete’s lungs begin to take in fresh, life-supporting air.  He sluggishly feels his exhausted body trying to recover some of its misplaced energy and strength.  He has no idea of what has happened to Fred.

Glancing up, he notices a shadow above him.  “Is that really you Fred?”

Fred kneels down and gives Pete a big hug!  He feels overjoyed to see his good pal, who risked his life to rescue him.

Rushing in, Randy and Bill beach the raft a moment later.  The disheveled boat is partly filled with water from their ordeal.  Everyone helps to bail out the remnants of the Little Gulch’s fury and to examine their possessions.

Bill finds the empty rope at the bow, which used to be securely fastened to the cold beer.  Now like an empty fish hook, the beer has been swallowed up by the thirsty river.  Much of the lunch is water-logged and will have to be thrown away.  Actually, food doesn’t sound too tasty as this particular moment.  Perhaps the steakhouse at Clifton will offer a better tasting menu.

But at least, the men are safe and together once again.  They are feeling an urge to celebrate just a little bit, but their mood will need to stay calm until they reach Clifton.  The three look at Fred with more than a morsel of disappointment and frustration.  His brazen insanity has ruined a “memorable” float trip on the Little Gulch and nearly taken two men to their graves.

From his pocket, Fred retrieves an unopened can of beer.  He hurriedly pops its top, and begins his own private celebration.  Afterall, he has survived the river’s best shot, and his heart is still ticking!  Amazing!

Pete gingerly walks towards Fred, and rips the can from his grasp.  Pouring the liquid out slowly cannot conceal Pete’s hidden anger and annoyance with Fred.  While Fred protests, Pete pays little attention.  With the empty beer can gripped in his right hand, he crushes the aluminum cylinder into Fred’s forehead.

Fred crumbles to the bottom of the raft, and Bill quickly dresses him in a life vest.  The men make haste to finish their journey without any more adventure from Fred or the Little Gulch.

Eventually, the quartet of river adventurers reaches their final destination at Clifton.  While trying to enjoy a delicious four-course dinner at the well-known steakhouse, the men feel exhausted and rather subdued.  There will be no celebration tonight!  Even Fred looks tired and rather apologetic for his actions.

As the evening’s full moon shines brightly in a cloudless sky, everyone (with the possible exception of Fred) feels that this will certainly be the only time that Fred will ever float the Little Gulch.  The worn out trio of river rats still desires to return again in the future to enjoy their friendship along with safe, adventurous fun.

Without crazy Fred . . . stirring up another day of panic on the river!

[Story Archives] Panic on the River: Disaster Strikes

river between green leafed tree

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In case you missed the first chapter of the story, here is a link: 

Panic on the River:  Friends Join Up

As we rejoin the story, let’s take a quick look at where the story last left us.

As the oversized boat journeys downstream, majestic cottonwood trees line the river bank.  The guys relive past stories and throw out a few new jokes.  The sun is heating up the raft’s surface, and Fred feels thirsty.  Sitting at the bow, he slyly pulls a cold beer from the chilly river water.  Nature provides a perfect way to keep these barley pops cold, and Fred intends to enjoy a few.

Bill and Pete, sitting in the middle of the boat, pay close attention to the river as they paddle and assist with the steering of the craft.  Randy, the mighty river navigator, hardly notices Fred pulling a beer out of the water.  Steering the raft from the stern, he notices that the Little Gulch is running much higher than he expected.

With the river cresting at such a high level, the boat continues to pick up speed in the churning waters.  Randy glances at his watch, and he figures that they will reach Clifton about an hour earlier than expected.  “No worries,” he ponders.  Thinking to himself, perhaps the gang can enjoy a longer lunch break several miles away.

The buoyant raft slides into a long stretch of challenging whitewater.  Everyone begins to feel an adrenaline rush, excitement builds, and the men prepare to float the most exciting segment of the river.

Meanwhile at the bow, Fred pays little attention to what lies ahead.  Another icy, cold beer is sliding right down, and the deceptive Little Gulch will soon bring on more excitement than anyone can imagine.

The eight-man raft picks up speed again, and Randy steers the boat on a straight and steady course.  The large craft is handling the whitewater and rapids without much difficulty.

Out of nowhere, a swarm of mosquitoes attack the crew.  The fellas do their best to fend off the biting invaders.  Suddenly, the overwhelmed craft becomes airborne as it maneuvers more like a large rubber tube instead of a hardy and manageable river craft.  Jumping up and down violently in the quick-moving water, the overmatched boat swirls along as the river attempts to swallow it whole.

Bill and Pete, feeling perspiration running nearly as rapid as the Little Gulch, continue to perform yeoman’s work to keep the boat on a somewhat straight course through the ever-increasing rapids.  Randy, feeling a bit of panic, realizes that he must stay extra alert and as steady as those ancient cottonwood trees lining the river’s edge.

The buzzing mosquitoes are beginning to fly away when Fred excitedly stands up.

Rule #1:  Never ever stand up in a moving boat!

A final attack of the airborne, vampire bugs proves too much for a beleaguered Fred.  In the middle of his thoughts, he remembers his father, Fred Sr.  The elder Fred died a few years ago when he fell off the roof of his home and struck his head.  Perhaps he should sit back down before he falls out of the boat, but fate decides to intervene at its most opportune moment.

Fred continues to stand and swat wildly at the raging mob of mosquitoes.

Randy yells at him, “You need to sit down.  Now!”

Rule #2:  Always listen to the boat’s captain!

Well . . . sometimes worthy advice shows up a bit too late!

Splash!

Fred tumbles into the powerful waters of the Little Gulch.  The guys hear his screams of terror before the river surrounds him and pulls him under the violent surface.  Randy strains to keep the raft steady as the river seems intent on possibly dumping the large boat upside down.  The Little Gulch’s pace quickens—as if on cue!

Bill and Pete glance at each other, wondering what to do next.  Bill, who cannot swim, tightens the straps on his life vest and looks forward to where Fred was just sitting.

Oh no!

Fred’s life vest is nestled at the front of the boat.  In their haste to get the trip started, everyone missed Fred sliding his life vest under the bow area.  Fred is now fighting for his life—just the river and him!

Pete screams, “How could Fred be so incredibly stupid!”

He hurriedly scans the river, and finally spots Fred’s head and shoulders popping up above the foaming whitewater.  Fred, in a semi-drunken state, is splashing around helplessly.  Everyone hears his muffled cries of panic and despair.  How will these three men prepare a plan to save foolish Fred?

As their boat hurries down the wild river, the guys realize that Fred is likely doomed.  But . . . fate always finds a way to tantalize and tease at the most extreme of moments.

Amazingly, the Little Gulch’s ravaging current pushes Fred towards the shore where the ageless cottonwood trees conveniently dangle their branches just above the river’s boiling surface.  As a waterlogged Fred reaches and grabs one of the branches as a lifeline, the fellas watch as he tightly grips a lone branch for his very life.

“Help!  Help me!” echo screams of help from Fred.

The raft dashes to catch up to Fred, who is looming closer and closer.  With a few more yards yet to go, Fred may soon be saved from the clutches of the river.

Out of nowhere, a large tree limb cuts between the raft and Fred.  Like a large water snake gathering speed, the enormous splinter of wood rushes through the water towards Fred.

Whack!

Fred’s grip loosens as he is knocked back into the main waters of the Little Gulch.

Randy and Bill groan in utter disbelief at Fred’s terrible misfortune.  Pete senses that it is now or never for saving Fred.  He alerts his boat mates with a shout that he will try to save poor Fred.

Stay tuned to this same river channel for the exciting conclusion when we all witness “Heroism Arrives.”

[Story Archives] Panic on the River: Friends Join Up

This short story was written and published in November, 2018.  While I am traveling, I thought now would be a good time to allow more readers to experience this story.  Due to the length, it will be divided into three chapters.  Here is the first, and the remaining two will be posted in the coming days.

people riding a boat

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Planning for an adventurous river trip for the past six months, Pete joins his long-time friends Randy, Bill, and Fred.  The men have been looking forward to floating the Little Gulch River, and their expectations run quite high to enjoy a fantastic time.  All of them have floated this river before except for Fred, who will travel this river (or any river) for his first time.

For this time of the year, the river is running extremely high with an unusually swift current.  The local people have never seen the Little Gulch so full at this time of the annual spring run-off.

Twenty years ago, the sometimes treacherous river took the life of a careless fisherman.  The novice angler stood up in his small boat, and his poor balance sent him into the rapid-moving water.  With no help nearby and lacking a life vest, the old man was no match for the Little Gulch.  He perished quickly!

The excited river floaters plan to use Randy’s large eight-man rubber raft.  It will offer plenty of room for all of the fella’s supplies . . . extra life vests, paddles, a cooler filled with a delicious lunch, a few bags of salty and sweet snacks, and beer.  Randy’s water-worthy craft is large enough to handle any of the challenges that the Little Gulch brings their way.

As the “captain” of their vessel, Randy is an experienced river man.  He has floated the Little Gulch numerous times, and he is intimately familiar with most of its twists and turns.  The rest of the crew will depend on Randy’s expertise, more than they can ever imagine on this fateful day.

This day’s journey begins early in the morning at Sleeping Bear fishing access.  Few river travelers begin at this point along the river.  This section of the Little Gulch is only floated by the most experienced and skilled boaters and their sleek and stable river crafts.  Confident in his skills and vast experience, Randy looks forward to a routine, uneventful, and safe trip.

Bill looks forward to today’s trip as he enjoys floating the river with Randy and Pete.  The men have known each other since high school, and they have managed to stay in touch throughout the past several years.  These days find them separated by hundreds of miles, but the Little Gulch will provide a scenic backdrop for an exhilarating reunion.  Yes, exciting may not be a strong enough word to describe what awaits the men on their journey down the tricky and sometimes devious river.

The entire day looks to be sunny and warm.  The river’s temperature will be chilly, but it will keep the guys’ six-packs of beer cold in order to quench their thirsts later at lunchtime.  At the bow of the raft, Randy has cleverly secured ropes to safely transport and chill the cans of brew while they remain slightly below the water line.

Pete, having been on the Little Gulch just a few times, is not as experienced as Randy or Bill.  His experience may come in handy at a critical moment today, especially his skills as a competitive swimmer from his high school days.  Somewhere at his home, buried and nearly lost in an overflowing hallway closet, lies a small box with a cache of swimming medals.  Almost forgotten are these achievements!

The guys set out on their adventure.  They expect to have a marvelous time as the raft moves swiftly downstream with the river’s strong moving current.  Randy’s itinerary provides for a mid-day lunch (remember the chilling beer) at an island on the river.  In checking his map, skipper Randy expects the stop to be perfect for food, beer, and a bit of rest.  Over 30 miles downstream awaits the small town of Clifton and the arrival of the fun-loving foursome on board.

The last member of the boat’s crew, Fred, is floating the Little Gulch for his very first time.  With some reluctance, Randy has offered Fred an opportunity to make the trip.  He will replace a much more experienced river man, Mark, who is laid up at his home with a broken arm.  A recent tumble from a ladder puts Mark on the bench for this trip, and Fred is thrilled to be taking his place.

The river cruising quartet enjoys the bright sun and a gentle breeze.  The large rubber raft will likely make a speedy trip down to Clifton.  The men plan to eat dinner at a tasty steakhouse before driving Bill’s old, beat-up pick-up truck back to Randy’s brand new beast of a truck, which has been left at Sleeping Bear.  After loading the raft and supplies into Randy’s truck, Randy and Fred plan to stay overnight in Clifton while Bill and Pete will drive all night to catch an early morning flight back to their separate homes.

As the oversized boat journeys downstream, majestic cottonwood trees line the river bank.  The guys relive past stories and throw out a few new jokes.  The sun is heating up the raft’s surface, and Fred feels thirsty.  Sitting at the bow, he slyly pulls a cold beer from the chilly river water.  Nature provides a perfect way to keep these barley pops cold, and Fred intends to enjoy a few.

The story continues . . . stay tuned for the next chapter when “Disaster Strikes.”

Monday Memories: Humbling Conversation

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The other day, grandpa had a conversation with his very confident (and all knowing) six-year old grandson.  Let’s drop in on the conversation for a moment or two.

Grandpa states, “Does your television wake up each morning at 6:00 with a color bar display on the screen?”

His grandson replies, “Nope.  Remember Grandpa, I am not as old as you.  Besides, didn’t you only watch shows on black and white TVs?”

Grandpa proudly recalls the American space program and tells his young protégé, “I was there in 1969 watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.”

His eager grandson answers back, “I really don’t think you were on the moon with Neil Armstrong because Buzz Aldrin was there instead.  You know, landing on the moon isn’t such a big deal.  I plan to visit Mars.”

Grandpa pauses for a moment, thinking to himself . . . This young fella has an answer for everything!

Grandpa wanders over to his desk and pulls out a miniature plastic card.  He holds up the 3.5-inch floppy disk and tells his grandson, “We used to save our computer data on disks such as this.  Pretty amazing, don’t you think?”

His grandson eagerly says, “Wow Grandpa!  Now we store information on a cloud.”

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His grandson pipes up and asks, “Grandpa, do you have anything else you want to share with me before I go?”

“Why sure!”  Grandpa says with a grin.  “I remember when the Ford Mustang came out in 1964.  It was the hottest and fastest ride.”

“Sounds amazing, but I am looking forward to owning and driving a Corvette when I am a whole lot older.  It leaves the Mustang in the dust.”  His smiling grandson adds with a cute, little smile (with two missing front teeth).

Grandpa scratches his head, and then he laments with a heavy heart, “I’ve been a Cleveland Browns football fan for all of my life.  You should have seen them play back in the 60s.”

His football prognosticator grandson quickly answers back, “Yup, and you’re still waiting for them to play in their first Super Bowl.  Go Steelers!”

“I have an old bicycle sitting in the garage.  Perhaps we can go for a bike ride this weekend.”  Grandpa sighs (he is nearly exhausted).

“Why sure Grandpa.  But, do you think your old three-speed bike can keep up with my brand new 15-speed?”  The first-grader replies, with a wink.

Later in the day, Grandpa is sitting in his reliable, comfortable rocking chair in the living room.  He ponders a thought . . . I don’t know what I am going to do when my grandson becomes a fifth grader.  I’ll never be as smart as a fifth grader!

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Miracle Child

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A young, married couple plans to fill their Christian home with children.  Facing fertility issues, the husband and wife seek advice from doctors.

After months of trying the medical route and completing test after test, they retreat from doctors. As they decide to focus on their continuing journey of prayer, their dream of having a baby is left in God’s hands. 

A few more months run their course, and the couple is still waiting.  In God’s plan, an answer will eventually come, but it will be by His design and used for His glory.

Witnessing God’s lasting hope, peace, joy, and love, this Christian husband and wife discover their wish will be granted.  A baby will be born just after the New Year begins.  They are excited, but they take time to praise and show gratitude to their Heavenly Father.

Eventually, the baby boy arrives, but he has decided to enter the world too soon.  Born prematurely and much smaller than expected, the boy’s status concerns his parents.  Their “miracle” child is born, and the medical staff sees that he is well-taken care of.

Over the coming weeks and months, the couple care and love their little “Bubba” as they like to call him.  He may be undersized, but he is healthy and growing.  They feel so blessed and thankful.

For many couples, this scenario plays out around the world.  With God’s guidance and modern medical care, more and more families are experiencing the joy of children in their lives. 

Other families turn to adoption or foster care of children.  When choosing what path to take, bringing God into the equation helps to guide each decision.

In contrast, the world has its own “miracle” child . . . a babe born in a Bethlehem stable over 2,000 years ago.  God comes to earth as the incarnate Emmanuel.  His light continues to guide lives each and every day.

Wondrous Night

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The town wakes up to a new day.  It doesn’t quite seem like any other day.  A tranquil, peaceful night has given way to a quiet sunrise.

Few have heard of the overnight excitement at a nearby stable.  A babe lies wrapped in bands of cloth, and he sleeps in a simple livestock feed box.

Outside of the sleepy town, shepherds watch over their flocks at night.  However, with the rising sun there awakens a buzz among them.  A handful of them have returned from a most magnificent and blessed sight.

Directed by an angelic, heavenly host, these simple men were invited to witness the good news of great joy for all of God’s people.  An angel of the Lord proclaims, “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

With haste, the band of shepherds swiftly journey into the town.  Their quick pace is filled with overwhelming wonder. 

In arriving at a simple scene, filled with livestock, a husband and wife, and a newborn baby, the shepherds pay their respects to this Prince of Peace . . . Wonderful, Counselor, King of Kings.  Only a loving Father in Heaven could orchestrate such a joyous and lasting moment for the birth of His Son. 

God has heard the distressed cries of His people.  In this eternal moment, He forever reminds mankind that He fulfills His promises.

Later in the morning, a young shepherd boy wonders.  While he didn’t have the opportunity to see the baby in the manger, he has heard all of the other shepherds talking about their amazing experience while they praise God. 

Thinking to himself, the boy quietly asks a couple of questions.  Perhaps God will answer them in his lifetime.

  • What will this young King’s life be like? 
  • How will His coming change the darkness of this world?

He feels astounded and kneels to pray.  As he talks to the Lord, he is in awe of all that he has heard this day.

Quick Escape

Courtesy of Pinterest.

A supermarket can be one of life’s greatest adventures for a pair of boys, who are about a year or two away from starting elementary school.

Pete and James have been traveling with their parents on a short trip.  

Taking a break to buy a few items, the parents and the boys make a quick stop in a larger, nearby city.  The boys have never seen such a big store, and they are curious about what waits on the massive rows of different products neatly arranged on the endless shelves.

While their father and mother pause to have a conversation, the boys become quite curious with rows and rows of men’s shaving cream cans.  The shelf sits at their level with everything in easy reach.  They look at each other as if to say, “Who wants to push the button on the top of the can?” 

Pete, being the older of the two brothers, quite literally takes matters into his own hands.  He picks up one of the capless cans, and presses his finger down on the button. 

Suddenly, a huge ball of white foam erupts out of the can . . . right toward father’s pants!

With a quick look at the disaster they’ve made, the brothers make a quick escape as they dash around the corner of the aisle, without either of their parents having a clue about what has just happened. 

Just as the boys run around to the next door aisle, father notices something white on his pants, near his front pocket.  The foam just seems to keep growing as he touches it.  He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handkerchief to wipe up the damp, foamy mess.  He tells his wife, “Where did this shaving cream come from?”

Turning around, mother asks, “Where are the boys?”

Both of the parents scan one end of the aisle, then the other end.  Sure enough, they notice two familiar faces peeking back at them.  Their look says it all, “We’re busted, and now we’re in big trouble.”

Seeing that their quick escape has failed, the brotherly tandem walks slowly back toward their parents.  As Pete approaches with the shaving cream can in one hand, smiles and laughter quickly take over the scene.  Father’s handkerchief has just about cleaned up the white foam off of his pants.

Funny thing!  Father doesn’t even use shaving cream because he’s an electric razor guy.

Monday Memories: Highway Rescue

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Blanche drives home after work one late afternoon.  The freeway is slow with traffic due to a heavy rainstorm.

As she approaches her exit, traffic has spread out a bit.  However, the rain has picked up in intensity.  The car’s wipers are working overtime now so she can see the highway a bit more clearly.

As she glances across the median, she notices a man pulled off on to the right shoulder.  He deposits a small kitten along the road and quickly drives away.

Blanche can’t believe it.  She pulls over to the right shoulder on her side of the freeway, and turns on the car’s emergency flashers.

Upon leaving her car, she pulls her large purse up over her head, checks for traffic, and hurries across the median to the marooned kitten.  The rain is drenching her clothing, and she can barely see her way.

Upon reaching the terrified little feline, she picks her up and stuffs the soaking wet kitten into her large purse.  She carefully and quickly makes it back across the freeway to her waiting car.

Once inside, she pulls the frightened kitten out of her bag, pats her on the head, and allows her to snuggle on her lap.  She is just a few minutes away from home.

When a rain-soaked Blanche walks into the kitchen with the dry kitten cuddled in her arms, her husband looks up from the stove (he is making dinner).  In a calm voice, he comments, “Well . . . at least one of you is dry.”

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This story is inspired by my sister-in-law’s actual rescue of a cat along a highway where she lives.  The cat now has a new home with her mother.  The picture above is actually one of my daughter’s cats.  She and her husband provide a home for three cats (two females and one male) rescued from shelters.