Tag Archives: perception

The Truth in Advertising

“WE SELL STEEPED TEA!” They make this sound as if it’s something special. Steeping is simply the process in which you turn water into tea. (Now if they could turn that water into wine . . .)  Or the commercial about how they sell beef that has been ‘grass fed’. What do you think they’ve been eating?

Advertisers understand that if you say something loud enough and with enough enthusiasm you can get a lot of people excited about it. Even if they don’t know what it is. And who can remember the jingles from your childhood about food? I remember more than I like to admit to. It’s the jingles that get people excited. And excited people buy stuff.  There are some truly amazing commercials out there that are touching and poignant and memorable. The polar bears, the Clydesdale horses, the puppy dog lost in the rain. You don’t forget these commercials.

“POP-A-MATIC POP A DICE!  POP A SIX AND YOU MOVE TWICE! I don’t remember the game but I can’t stop thinking about the jingle. Or how about:  “MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME . . .” That’s how I learn to spell bologna!  I don’t hear many jingles anymore, at least not memorable ones. Commercials nowadays seem to be loud and annoying. And like so many people, I tape everything so I can fast forward through the commercials. I remember when I enjoyed the commercials, I was curious and entertained. But maybe the world has changed and it’s not quite so kind anymore.

I understand the job of an advertiser is to sell things. Hopefully in ways that are not illegal, immoral or unethical. That doesn’t say anything about telling the truth. But one can lie without actually doing so. It’s called obfuscation. I like this one a lot. Let me give you an example. A friend goes to a high price hairdresser to have her haircut for the first time. She spends 30 minutes in consultation before the scissors are even approached. Two hours later she comes out and is absolutely thrilled with her new do! And she asks you the inevitable… “What do you think?” Now do you tell her the truth: that her hair looks like it’s been cut by an eight-year-old on crack cocaine who has a twitching problem? Or do you obfuscate? “Wow”!  That could be a good wow or a could be an OMG wow. She’s not gonna know. Then you could say something like: “That’s a new look for you!” It’s all in the delivery and you have to sell it. This woman is happy with her hair, why would I want to change that. It may not be my taste but I’m not the important one here, she is.

To advertisers the buyers are not the important ones.  The clients that are selling the product, they are the ones that matter. They are the ones signing the cheques. So, we have that old adage: BUYER BEWARE! And that warning seems to apply to everything these days. Don’t take anything at face value and assume somebody’s trying to get something from you. What does that say about us?

 

A Message in a Bottle

Have you ever stood at the edge of an ocean, stuffed a heartfelt message into a bottle, corked it and thrown it into the waves? No, I haven’t either.  I wanted to but I didn’t have the courage to throw my words into the great unknown… What if no one answered? How many people have ever found a bottle with a message inside, let alone answered it? Probably not many. But isn’t that what we do now every day on the Internet.

In February 2013 I did just that. I tossed my words into the ether and wondered if anyone would answer. Four people did. Those four people gave me the courage to do it again. As I look back at the faces of the people that gave me ‘likes’ in those days, I’m recognizing familiar faces. Some people have been with me from the very beginning and now I think of them as my Internet Family. All because I had the courage to throw my bottle into the wind.

Every day that we leave our homes we are throwing ourselves on the mercy of the world. And that is terrifying. We have our routines and our safe places where we are comfortable but inevitably someone new or some new activity throws a wrench into our very comfortable existence. And that forces us to adapt, to accommodate and to change. I have always said that I don’t like change. And yet I kinda do. I like to be challenged and that usually involves change. Change for the sake of change is unsustainable but change to adapt or to improve can be exciting.

These past two years have forced us to re-evaluate our lives and the manner in which we live them. It is difficult to say how some good has come from this horrible time but I believe it has. We are learning about ourselves and we are learning about each other. It is my hope, my fervent hope that we will gain understanding from these horrific experiences and grow.

I have learned that I enjoy my hermit mode and that, while comfortable right now, will have to change when we can once again live fully. I think perhaps it is just my way of protecting myself from acknowledging the loss of the outdoors. The loss of restaurants and meeting places. I am sure that I will slide easily back into my old life when it is once more secure to live it. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy myself inside my safe place!

 

The image is from:  Vecteezy.com

The True Spirit

Mary was angry. Here it was two days before Christmas, she was in a town she didn’t know, a new job she didn’t like, she had no friends and no family close by, and some dirty bum had his hand out looking for money.  And on top of all that, he had the unmitigated gall to be smiling as if he was happy.

Mary wasn’t smiling.  In fact, she was absolutely miserable.  Christmas was just another day on the calendar, it had no real meaning.  People went into stores and spent a ridiculous amount of money on gifts for other people that the other people really didn’t want.  Christmas wasn’t even for the children. It was just another way to teach them about how money makes the world go ‘round.  If you had money, it was a good life.  If you did not then you starved and were miserable, and you should look like you were miserable.

Mary approached the man that she called a bum.  She was frustrated, she was angry, and she needed this person to explain to her how he could be so damn happy! Maybe he was on drugs or maybe he was crazy, but Mary didn’t think so.  Of course, she did drop a twenty-dollar bill into his tin can before she posed her question.

“Are you alright? You are sitting here on a cold sidewalk asking for money.  All around you is obscene wealth.  How can you sit there and smile when you have nothing and so many people around you are spending money like it is water and on frivolous things? You look like you need food and these people are buying toys for people who really don’t want them.  How can you sit there and smile? I’ve seen you everyday for the last week and you smile everyday, you wish people a Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanza and I don’t understand how you can actually be happy.”

At this point Mary was almost in tears.  She felt so alone and so unloved that she felt jealous of this destitute individual.  She wanted to shake him to make him see what an awful place the world was but she didn’t. What she did do was pause for a breath and what she saw then took that breath away.

Just a moment before she had been looking at a dirty bum and now, he had taken on a dignity that belied her original perception.  He sat up straighter and his smile became wider.  Even his eyes seemed to twinkle with a secret knowledge. There was a beauty to his face that she had not noticed before. His voice, when he spoke, was strong and melodic.  The words he spoke were the truth.

“But I have everything.  Someone gave me a coat to keep me warm.  He gave me the gift of warmth. People stop and give me their spare change, a cup of coffee, or a sandwich. A small child gave me a penny.  A penny to a small child is like a million dollars to a billionaire. A beautiful woman gave me her scarf to warm my neck.  An old man gave me a warm pair of gloves.  All I have to offer them in return is my smile and my best wishes.  Some people are embarrassed and hurry on but others take it in the spirit in which it is given. Some people give of themselves, and that is what makes me the wealthiest of people.”

Mary thought about what this person had just said to her.  It was starting to make sense.  The importance of the season was not the gift; it was not the thought of the gift. That was all meaningless.  What was important was the giving of one’s self willingly.

The next day Mary went into work.  She felt a little lighter, a little happier.  She looked around her with a new perspective: people were giving of them selves; the gifts they were giving were simply an extension of their spirit.  Sometimes the gifts were expensive, sometimes the gifts cost only pennies and sometimes it was only a word and a hug.  But these people were giving, Mary saw that now.  And Mary started giving as well.

It was Christmas Eve now and Mary wanted to share with the homeless man what she had learned.  She stopped at the bank and took out one hundred dollars.  She placed the money in an envelope and tucked that into the pocket of her coat.  With a smile on her face, she went looking for the homeless man.

But he wasn’t there. Mary walked up and down the street looking for him.  She asked shop keepers if they had seen him but everyone was too busy and said they didn’t remember.  So, Mary continued on her walk home.  She was sad now that she couldn’t share with the man who had taught her so much.  She wondered where he had gone and what he was doing for Christmas.

Just two blocks before Mary reached her apartment building was a small church.  Mary had seen the structure before but had never ventured in.  Today her feet took her over the threshold and into the church.  She sat quietly in one of the back pews and looked up into the beautiful stained-glass windows.  She felt at peace.  As her eyes wandered over the beautiful paintings, a figure seemed to stand out:   it was of man who was seated on the ground and his hand was outstretched as if beckoning.  Her eyes widened in recognition and then she shook her head, it was not possible.

As Mary turned over in bed that night, she replayed in her head what she had learned and she smiled.  She had left the envelope with the money in the church; she knew it was the right thing to do. Never again would she forget just how valuable it is to interact with other people.  Giving of one’s self is as simple as smiling.  He had taught her that.

 

The end

 

 

The Present

The little boy woke that morning,

Santa had been and gone.

The rest of the house was starting to stir,

It wouldn’t be too long.

 

A steaming mug of lovely cocoa,

Warmed his chilly hands.

Anticipation tickled up his smile,

As he thought of other lands.

 

He thought of all the children,

Scattered around the earth.

Then thought of all his presents,

He wondered at their worth.

 

And in that moment, he understood,

What everyone should know.

Could he share this precious gift?

In words he could bestow?

 

Beneath the tree was a single gift,

A box with tattered wrapping.

And inside a single word,

That had the whole world clapping.

 

Do you choose to speak a word?

A single word to heal.

If we could say it all together,

And with honest zeal.

 

The present that we all do need,

The one that we must share,

Is one of love and peace and kindness,

To show we truly care.

 

Marvin: The Forgotten Elf

“Now you take care of your little brother and I’ll be right over there.”

Odelia was used to taking care of her brother for short periods.  After all she was nine years old and quite mature for her age.  Billy was only three and he needed a lot of taking care of.  They were standing in line waiting for their turn. Actually, Billy was strapped into a stroller and for the moment he was quite serene.  However, Odelia knew it would probably be 15 or 20 minutes before it was their turn. A few moments later it began. Like most boys his age Billy didn’t like to wait so he started to squirm and then to whine.

“I don’t wanna wait!”

Odelia had been waiting for this moment and hoping it would take a little longer.  She looked over at her mother but she was still deep in conversation with a sales clerk.

“Okay Billy, I’m going to tell you a secret.” That always got a child’s attention. “But you can’t tell anyone else, ever!”

As expected, the young boy stopped squirming and looked at his sister with rapt anticipation.

“Okay.” He said quietly.

“This happened a very long time ago and nobody knows all the details but this much we know for sure.”

Odelia was a gifted storyteller and she knew her brother very well.  His eyes were glued to her face and he hadn’t moved an inch.  So, she continued with her story. The tale she told was about an elf.

One of Santa’s elves was called Marvin.  He was young and as it so often is with the young, he seemed forgetful.  The other elves tried to instil in him the importance of what they were doing in Santa’s workshop but Marvin was too interested in playing with the reindeer and investigating how some of the toys worked.  Unfortunately, he also had a knack for breaking things.  Soon the other elves pushed Marvin aside and tried to forget about him.  When Santa heard about the troubles, he spoke to Marvin but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the young elf. However, what we think isn’t always what is.

It seems that Marvin wasn’t trying to break things he was just trying to understand how they worked.  He was only trying to help.  When Santa heard this, he decided to give Marvin another chance. He was told that if he broke one more toy he would be banned from the workshop.

Over the next few weeks everything went smoothly.  The toys were being assembled and made ready to be shipped.  Marvin did everything he was asked and nothing that he was not.  Eventually everyone forgot about him.  Now as it often happens, when you’re not watching, trouble will find you.

There was one particular toy that was new to the workshop.  It had bells, and whistles and it had an engine.  Usually that pretty much guaranteed that the children would fall in love with it.  Unfortunately, this toy kept breaking down.  First the wheels were falling off when the Packers tried to wrap it up. Then the steering wheel wouldn’t work when it was tested prior to packaging.  It even started falling apart on the line when nobody was looking.  People started wondering if Marvin was the culprit but nobody could find him.

After a few days it was decided that the toy would be put aside until further investigation could be done.  Obviously, there was something wrong and there was no time to correct it.  Everyone was working to a deadline that could not be shifted.  And still, no one could find Marvin.

The night before the deadline the last package was wrapped and put in place for shipment.  Everyone congratulated themselves on the fine work they had done this year.  There had only been one glitch and he seemed to have taken himself off the line.  No one thought about him, no one worried about where he was or what he was doing.  That was their mistake.

What the others did not understand was that Marvin was different.  He wasn’t one to blindly follow the rules.  He wanted to understand why the rules were in place.  The only way something could be improved upon was to first know its nature.  Marvin wasn’t trying to break things he was trying to understand how they worked.  If you know how something works you can make sure it doesn’t break down.

When the others had taken the cars that kept breaking down and put them in another room Marvin had gone to see if he could fix them.  In the days and weeks that no one missed him, Marvin had corrected every single issue in every single car.  He had also wrapped them and prepared them for shipment.  The others were very surprised when he presented them with what they thought were broken vehicles.

When Santa heard what Marvin had done, he called him into his office and sat him down.  What happened next is not known.  But after a few minutes, Marvin exited with a smile on his face and a lift in his step.  Obviously, he had been vindicated.  From that day forward Marvin had a new job.  It was his responsibility to test each and every item that passed through the line to ensure that it was not easily broken.  It was a task that Marvin took to easily.  After all, if it could be broken, he would find a way to break it.

“Are you next young fella?”

With everyone’s attention now on them Odelia quickly unstrapped her brother. An oversized man dressed as an elf lifted Billy on to the knee of Santa Claus and stepped back.

Billy looked into the face of the big fat man in the red suit and thought about what he had just learned.

“Ho ho ho!  Little man what do you want for Christmas?”

Billy leaned close to Santa to whisper in his ear.

“You were naughty Santa.  You should have been nicer to Marvin.”

With that Billy jumped off Santa’s knee and ran to his sister. He never looked back and he never forgot his lesson.  Did you?

The End

 

 

The Christmas Gift

Well, ‘tis the season! And I’m going to give you my Christmas gift early. This month on each Sunday I will post one of my Christmas stories. Those of you who do not celebrate Christmas please accept this in the spirit in which I give it as we all celebrate each other at this wonderous time of year.

 

These stories will be familiar to many of you but there are those, I’m sure, that have never read them. I hope you enjoy.

Jeremy was bereft. His feet were cold and he felt the sniffles coming on. And yet here he was on the evening of December 24 standing in a freezing parking lot looking at dying trees.  Why? Because his family insisted. He desperately wanted to tell the world to piss off and just go and get drunk in some dive bar.

He hadn’t always been like this. He used to love Christmas. But 11 months and 13 days ago everything changed. The woman who completed him, who made him laugh and more importantly who laughed at his jokes, died. Mattie loved Christmas.  She loved life. She loved him. Until some two bit gangsta’ wanna-be thought it would be fun to drag race on a snow-covered icy street. They said she died instantly. But he didn’t. Jeremy wanted to die or to kill, but instead he lived. He felt the tiny box in his pocket. He had planned to ask her that night. That’s why she was out. They were going to meet.

It had been a horrible few months but everyone seemed to have moved on. Except for Jeremy. Here he was standing in the cold with instructions to buy a lovely full tree for Christmas.  He shook his head, was about to turn around and leave when he heard an odd sound.

He looked around the parking lot but he didn’t see anyone. The sound was low, almost frantic. It was a scratching noise with a hiccup and a sigh. It intrigued him. He wanted to know what was making that sound. Jeremy took a step forward and the sound changed. It was a whine now and a huffing noise. It didn’t sound human and yet it didn’t sound animal either.

A back-firing car startled him.  He felt silly. It was probably just the wind stirring up some garbage. Jeremy shrugged his shoulders; he knew he needed to get on with his life. He could never forget her but maybe he should put her where she needed to be:  deep in his heart where she could be protected, her memory safe.  He would start by taking an active roll in this evening’s activities.

In that moment something else happened.  Jeremy seemed to swim up from the abyss of grief he had been living in for almost a year.  His eyes truly opened. He almost smiled. He was looking for a tree. Now there were tall ones and fat ones and ones that looked a little sad. But he couldn’t seem to find one that he thought needed a home with his family. And then something fell on his foot. It wasn’t very heavy, it was very small and it coughed.

Jeremy peered down at his feet trying to see what this thing was.  There wasn’t a great deal of light but he was pretty sure that he saw it move. Without thinking he reached down and scooped up the small ball of something.

The next thing that happened was unexpected. But perhaps given the day, appropriate.  With the small black bundle at eye level Jeremy poked it. It poked back! And then it opened its mouth and emitted a rather large meow. It was a kitten. It was a small, black, cold, abandoned kitten. It curled itself into a ball and started to purr. Jeremy smiled for the first time in almost a year. He tucked the sleeping bundle into his pocket and bought the tree it had been hiding under.

He got his tree. He didn’t haggle the price, he just paid it and chuckled. He was taking home more than a tree.  He had found the Spirit of Christmas hiding in the small body of a kitten under a tree.

 

The end

The Little Red Ball

A little red ball rolled next to me,

I wonder where it’s going?

It came from somewhere, I don’t know,

And seems as if it’s glowing!

 

I reached my hand to pick it up,

And then it seemed to move!

I took a fright and backed away,

The ball did not approve!

 

It bounced up thrice and turned around,

Then rolled towards me fast!

I tried to scream out in my fear,

But then the ball was past!

 

I shook my head the fear was gone,

But now I start to wonder?

Is there someone in control?

Or was it just a blunder?

 

It seemed intent as it rolled away,

As if it had a mission.

And there is me in hot pursuit

To know is my ambition.

 

Was it magic that sent that ball?

To make my spirits soar?

Laughter bursts between my lips,

I know I’m wanting more!

 

I look around with some dismay,

It seems the ball has gone.

But it left me feeling happy,

And joy to which I’m drawn.

 

I learned a lesson here this day,

Of marvels that abound.

All we have to do is look.

And wonders will be found

Through The Eyes of a Stranger

 

What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see the person I’m trying to be?

Do you see the anger, the angst and the rage?

Or perhaps the compassion, the will to engage.

 

What do you see when you look out at life?

Do you see the hate, the fury, the strife?

Or do you see love, compassion and joy,

The innocence of children, a girl and a boy?

 

I look through eyes that are filled with hope,

With trust and belief, I know we can cope.

All it will take is for strangers to be friends,

And that will be the moment animosity ends.

 

Say What?

I speak English. I can say a smattering of  words in other languages but I am only fluent in one. And I must say I do enjoy this language. I enjoy it’s inefficiency, I enjoy it’s inexactitude. Let’s face it, it’s a bloody difficult language to learn. ‘We park on a driveway and we drive on a parkway’. Does that even make sense? We can use 10 words to say two and we can embellish like a master painter. It’s fun!

I admire people who come to this country with little or no English and they take the time and effort to speak well. I have met people that I did not know were not native born who spoke this language fluently. That impressed me. I think people who grow up here can be lazy. Oh hell, we can all be lazy! We slide into slang and we short form everything. And the double meanings can be hilarious. For example: ‘He wound a bandage around the wound’. And that’s not confusing?

I love to play with words. They are my sandbox. I was taught the rules on how to form a sentence, form a paragraph at a young age. Now, in some cases,  all of that goes out the window with me waving goodbye, jubilantly. Because sometimes the rules need to be broken. I’m not bending, I’m trashing.

While I definitely want to get my meaning across, I am also concerned with rhythm, with cadence. There is almost a musicality to my work. And I am not musically inclined, not by a long shot. But I hear these poems and stories in my head and they tell me where they want to go. Sometimes I go along for the ride and sometimes I fight them tooth and nail. I rarely win.

Now I know this makes me sound like a crazy woman. And maybe I am.(Are any of us actually sane? What is sane? Who decides? Sorry, tiny tangent, back on track.) I don’t know how my mind works but I know it spends a great deal of time moving words around. When I have a focus, an idea, my words tend to eddy around it like an embrace, a hug. I’ve written poems in 15 or 20 minutes simply because everything gelled quickly. Some of my best poems are written in far less time than would be expected. Other words need to percolate for a while. And then others sit for months, years and they won’t gel. And then one day everything falls into place.

Communication is the cornerstone of our species, of all species. Sometimes it is done well and unambiguously, other times it can cause wars. But we need more than just utilitarian communication. We need to sing. We need to reach for the stars with words and paint the planet with our prose. We need to plumb the depths of our psyche with expressions of our feelings, our wants and our desires.  We need to share our words. Together.

Trick or Treat

Juan’s hand gently caressed her cheek until his hand cupped her chin.

“I love you my darling Persephone.”

She closed her eyes, her lips pursed in anticipation.

Juan’s mouth hovered over Persephone’s; his breath warm on her cheeks.

“My darling,” he whispered as he placed his full, quivering lips against hers. In that moment the world ceased to exist. Her breath caught in her throat, her arms encircled his neck and she . . . “

“Penny, sorry to disturb you but I have got to have that report on the boss’s desk by noon and I still don’t have your numbers.  Wake up girl friend; you can’t daydream all day, work to do, work to do!”

Penny blinked rapidly.  She couldn’t quite grasp that what she had just experienced was a dream.  The reality was that she was sitting in an office in a cramped cubicle with a four-inch pile of work in front of her that needed to be completed by the end of the day.

“I’ll, I’ll get right at it.  I’m almost finished, I promise.”  She stammered her words as she tried to make sense of things.

Penny Elizabeth Foster was an ordinary woman, in an ordinary job, in an ordinary world.  What was extraordinary was her imagination.  As she went about the rest of her day Penny smiled at a secret memory.  Her Don Juan had taken her in his arms and made mad passionate love to her. The fact that that memory was actually only a dream was immaterial. To Penny her fantasy life was just as vibrant and vital as the real world.

So, the rest of the day Ms. Foster did as was expected of her.  She collated, she typed, she filed.  She filled the endless minutes with minutia and with deadlines.  Eventually the magical hour approached: the end of her day.

“Happy Halloween Penny!  Are you getting dressed up to give out candies tonight?”

“Yes, Eddy and no you can’t come over.  Besides you would scare the neighbourhood children. Say hi to your wife, Eddy.”

The last thing Penny wanted was to get involved with the office romancer. Or at least that’s how he saw himself. She packed up her purse and coat and made her way to her car.  It wasn’t a long drive home but it’s one she enjoyed because she didn’t have to listen to anybody else talk.  She could continue her fantasies as she wished.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a special treat today: Ms. Persephone Foster is in the front line up for today’s race.  She is a world-renowned stock car driver. She has won both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Her mentor was the legendary Don Juan of car racing.  The let’s sit back and enjoy today’s race.  Gentleman and lady, start your engines!”

“Hey lady, the light’s green, move!”

With a grin Penny realized that she was still sitting at a green light.  She chuckled and continued on her way home.

She had always enjoyed Halloween.  It was a time when every one could indulge in their secret fantasies without being seen to be odd. Yes, there were the ghosts and goblins and the scary monsters but there were also characters from history and whimsical creatures.  That was the part Penny enjoyed most.  Besides who couldn’t resist a child dressed up like a bunny?  Yes, she loved this day in the year.

So, with her usual efficiency Penny set about getting the candy ready to be handed out to the children, or more specifically the ‘trick or treaters’. After all, the indulgence in fantasies or whimsy is not just for the children.

She had spent a great deal of time preparing her own costume.  It wouldn’t do to answer the door in jeans.  No, Penny was going to be prepared in a costume that was appropriate to her frame of mind at just this time. She had always liked the concept of a damsel in distress so she dressed herself in flowing garments reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty. If only her Prince Charming could come by tonight.

“Trick or treat!  Trick-or-treat!”

The first of the ghosts and goblins had made their appearance and Penny was ready.

“Oh, my goodness what very scary ghosts and goblins you are!”

As she handed out the candy to the multitude of children at her door Penny was reminded of her own costumes as a child.  There was the cat with the long tail that kept dragging in puddles, or the space alien with the javex bottle for a helmet that was spray-painted gold. There was even a gypsy one year with all of her mother’s costume jewellery draped around her neck and her arms.  Her mother had become quite adept at making costumes.  It was something new every year.

Each year saw its share of ghosts and goblins, bunnies, squirrels and cats.  It was exciting to see the wonder in the eyes of the children and the quiet fatigue in the eyes of their parents as they shepherded their children from door to door.  But this year everything changed.

No one had rung her doorbell or cried “trick-or-treat” for about twenty minutes so Penny was starting to clean everything up.  Another Halloween was over.  There was something very sad about that.  But then it just meant that one looked forward to next year.

BBBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRINGGG

“Trick or Treat.”

The doorbell immediately got Penny’s attention but the quiet little voice that was saying ‘trick-or-treat’ was far more compelling.  When she opened the door Penny saw an adorable little brown bunny or more specifically a very small child in an oversized bunny costume.  As she leaned down, she could see incredibly huge pleading eyes that were almost in tears.

“Well, hello little bunny, here is some candy, but are you okay?”

Sniff, “I think I lost my dad. He doesn’t like to be lost in the dark.  Can you help me find him?”

Penny immediately looked up to see if she could find this errant father.  How dare he allow this small child to wander the streets without him!  She was not going to allow this youngster to stay out here alone any longer.

“You come inside little bunny.  My name is Penny what’s yours?”

“Miranda.”

Do you want me to call your mother?

“It’s only my dad and me.” As she spoke Miranda put her tiny little hand in Penny’s.  This small child needed comfort and she was going to take it from whatever adult was handy. Penny was touched.  She knelt down on one knee and embraced her.

“We’ll find your dad don’t you worry.”

Penny was trying to be comforting but inside she was angry.  What could possibly cause a father to lose sight of this precious child! When she found this man, she was going to give him a piece of her mind!  But first Miranda had to be reassured.

Within a few moments Penny was sure that her new charge was okay.  She was sitting at the kitchen table with glass of milk and a cookie.  Penny was preparing to call the police but she was hesitant.  She had heard stories about children going into foster care and essentially disappearing into a system that was not conducive to proper childcare.  So, she hesitated.

As she looked across the room to this lonely child, she felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility.  In this day and age, we are all responsible for our actions and we should never shirk that responsibility.  Sitting across the kitchen table was someone who was asking for her help.  She just could not drop that responsibility on someone else.

Penny was about to take the child out again into the dark.  She would find this man, the father of this child.

BBBBBBBBBBBRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG

Once again, the door unexpectedly demanded attention.  When it wasn’t immediately opened, insistent knocking followed.  Penny approached the door hesitantly; someone was anxious to get in. A moment ago, she had been anxious to track down an errant father on a dark Halloween night.  But now?  Who knows what Spirits are walking in the dusky light?  Now she was afraid to open the door.  The knocking continued louder, and louder.  They say that on one night of the year ghosts are capable of taking form and interacting with the living. They say that on one night of the year evil lurks within reach of the innocent.

The knocking continued, louder.  A voice was added to the banging; “Miranda, I know you’re in there, Miranda!”

With a relieved sigh Penny realized who was at the door: Miranda’s father.

With no further hesitation she threw open the door and then stopped.  In front of her was the man that she had been dreaming about earlier this day, a man of strength, of character and a father.  Upon hearing her father’s voice Miranda ran to him.

“I’m sorry daddy, I’m sorry I ran away!  I’m sorry, I’m sorry!  But this nice lady took care of me and she doesn’t have a husband.”

For just a moment no one said a word. And then the man spoke,

“I’m terribly sorry for what my daughter has done.  She has caused both of us undo concern.  I would like to make it up to you, my name is Don.”

Penny opened her mouth to respond but found that she was tongue-tied.  In the doorway of her home was the man she had been dreaming about.  She would have to say something witty and intelligent, but for the moment her mind was a blank.

“Oh, geez did I disturb you?  The boss won’t like ya sleeping on the job! Look a bunch of us are going over to the pub after work, it’s been a rough day.  Why don’t you join us?  Nobody hands out candy anymore, the kids all go to each other’s homes for parties; parents are too afraid of serial rapists and poisoned candy. Penny are you okay?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost! If you want to come to the pub, we’re leaving in twenty minutes.

Penny blinked her eyes repeatedly. She was still at her desk; she was still filing and she was still single.  Trick-or-treat?

 

 

 

The end