Friday, October 21, 2011

The Optimist’s Club –or –Spread love like you’ve got a shovel ….. Flash Fiction


I went to an antique car show with my camera and spent a wonderful couple of hours taking pictures and talking to anyone I happened to see. During the course of the morning I was asked to lunch by a twenty three year old and a seventy two year old. I declined the twenty three year old because, well, I have socks older than him, but I took a shine to the seventy two year old and after he sweetened the invite by telling me he'd buy me a slice of pie [and I wasn't even wearing my I heart pie button] I agreed to the date and followed him to a diner about a mile down the road.

We went in for lunch and stayed for dinner.

We talked and laughed for nine hours straight. I had to get up twice to go out and run around the diner because my legs were stiff.

When we walked out to our cars, I reached up and gave Rich a hug. He returned it with a squeeze that pulled me off my feet and popped my back. He said I was the first woman tall enough to hug him properly since his wife died.

Now here's the thing that gets me. Three days later my phone rang and Rich's name came up on the display. He told me he'd call when he got home and settled, so I figured he was home and settled.

I answered it with a smile and a: "Well hello there, darlin', did you make it home ok?"

There was a pause on the other end. It went on long enough that I looked at my phone to make sure the call hadn't been dropped. Just when I was going to hang up and call him back, a man cleared his throat and said, "I'm calling for my dad….."

Turns out Rich made it home, but died in his bed the night he got back. Also turns out he knew he was dying when we were having lunch. As a matter of fact he'd known for a couple of weeks. His son said his dad had always looked on the bright side of things, and thought life was what you made of it. He was calling to ask me for my zip code. Said his dad had left an envelope for me on the nightstand.

People looked at me strange at the post office, but I didn't care. It was either stand there and laugh, or stand there and cry. The envelope had a thank you note in it. Rich said I'd been a balm to his soul. He said a lot of other beautiful things, but the thing that I'll always remember was the ps.

PS: Life is like a good cup of coffee, and I got to enjoy both until the very last drop.

34 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

Oh, this is heartwarming. And, no, those are not tears. I have allergies. *sob*

estrella05azul said...

Wow, Karen, this slice of life is just that; like Life and the cup of coffee both enjoyed until the very last drop.
I'm pretty much speechless, but I'll pull myself together to say: I love it, even if it made me teary!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Oh yes, you've brought a tear here too Karen. Beautifully poignant story!

Karen from Mentor said...

Lots of allergies going around Marisa

*smooches you*

Karen from Mentor said...

See, now you can go off to work with sparkly eyes Estrella.
[always thinking about you]

Karen from Mentor said...

Lovely to see you Deanna. I know what a fan you are of slice of life, and I do it so rarely[at least with fiction] that I'm thrilled that you came in to see this one.

*hands you a tissue*

shannon esposito said...

This isn't slice of life...this is the whole dang pie! So real, are you sure this didn't happen?? This is how I want to live my life...arms wide open until the circle is complete.

Thanks for the warm fuzzies & reminder, Sis ;-)

Karen from Mentor said...

lovin this sisterhood thing shannon. I'm thinking we should get some traveling pants.

the whole dang pie made me laugh. Thanks eversomuch for stopping in my lovely friend.
*hugs you*

Anonymous said...

I don't just read horror and I loved this story. Thank you for writing it. Very few things in life can be described as good for the soul but this story fits that category perfectly.

Vamplit

Karen from Mentor said...

Well aren't you just the sweetest thing. I was tickled when I saw this piece made it into the vamplit daily.

Thank you for taking the time to stop in and comment. MUCH appreciated.
*gives you a cookie*
:0)

FARfetched said...

Sweet story. The guy died happy!

Karen from Mentor said...

yep. and the best part is he lived that way too.

*happy sigh*

Linda said...

You lead a fascinating life, Sparkly. I'm sure I've told you that many times. Live it to the last drop.

J. M. Strother said...

I agree with Shannon's so real, you sure this didn't happen comment. Lovely piece here, Karen. I particularly liked it because of the simplicity of the ending, just a lovely letter from a dying man. ~jon

Big Boys Don't Cry said...

A touching and uplifting story, m'dear.

I want to be just like Rich when I grow up.

Inspirational stuff.

Karen from Mentor said...

Awwwww Alan, you go ahead and wipe those manly tears on my shoulder.

*hugs you*

Karen from Mentor said...

@jon I LOVE that it read like it was real to you. thank you for that. Slice of life for me needs to feel like it really happened.

*looks pleased*

thank you for taking the time to stop in. Much appreciated.

Karen from Mentor said...

@Linda. I try to linda, every moment of every day.

*smooches you*

Steve Green said...

Lovely story, and lovely title too. :)

Karen from Mentor said...

thanks steve. I have a bigger shovel in my trunk, but that's a whole different kind of story.

sweet of you to stop in.
*BIG SMILE*

ganymeder said...

Oh, that was lovely and beautiful. What a sweet story.

Karen from Mentor said...

glad you liked it cathy. thanks for taking the time to comment -- and for using THREE stellar adjectives. the flying monkeys will be over to rake your leaves on sunday.
*hugs you*

KjM said...

And maybe you *do* just smell like freshly baked cookies...

Beautifully told story, Karen. You have a light touch in your writing - and maybe it's that light touch you bring to life also that leads to such as the above.

My best to you

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh I love that idea kevin,thank you. [and I see you've been reading my random thoughts]

I saw a quote yesterday that expressly sums up how I feel about life:

There's nothing wrong with having pleasures. It's grasping at them that turns them into a source of pain. ~ Lama Yeshe

I think going through life leaving a sparkly trail of joy instead of using a machete to chop a path is the way to go. Treasuring the experiences along the way ...ahhhh...even better.

*hugs you*

Adam B said...

Simple, effective storytelling. Life as it should be.
Adam B @revhappiness

Becky Sain said...

More... please.

Cat Connor said...

ohhh loved it! :D

Karen from Mentor said...

Love that capital sideways D smile Cat.

*smooch!*

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Adam, sweet of you to stop in. I like simple. In food, in relationships and in clothes. Although I will wear a dress I have to be taped into on the rare special occasion.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

aw becky, sadly there isn't another. this was a stand alone. But you can always look at the other slice of life pieces if you're jonesing for something else to make you teary.

and if I make you cry twice in one day, you get a free box of donuts.
[the kind with sprinkles]

thanks for coming in sweetie.
*hugs you*

Chuck Allen said...

Beautiful story!

Karen from Mentor said...

thanks Chuck!

*BIG SMILE*

Harry said...

Sweet story! I didn't find this to be a sad story at all. Very nice. Now write one where you accept the youngster's invitation.

Karen from Mentor said...

Hee. ok harry, I'll do that.
[may have to put it in a plain brown wrapper though]
:0)