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It had been a while since Charlie had been able to fish at the nearby farm pond. Being an avid fisherman, Charlie was missing the thrill of the catch. During his lunch break, he called his closest buddy John and asked him if he wanted to go fishing on Thursday evening. John replied that he already had a commitment on Thursday and would be unable to go.

Charlie, while really wanting to fish, did not want to go by himself. Thursday was still four days away, so he begins contacting multiple friends searching for a fishing partner. After reaching out to a few friends, he makes contact with Matt, who agrees to join him on his fishing trip.

Thursday afternoon, Matt contacts Charlie to find what the agenda for the evening is going to be. Charlie responds that in the period between asking Matt to go fishing and Thursday afternoon, John had been able to free up his schedule to go so he would be going with John and not Matt. He tells Matt that they can schedule a fishing trip sometime in the future.

Matt hangs up the phone, just a little bit perturbed. He had wasted his evening off by holding it for the fishing trip. In the back of his mind is the seed of doubt that he can trust Charlie to keep his commitments in the future. He wonders if he will always be the last friend to be contacted when Charlie wants company.

The epilogue to the story is that Charlie is unaware he has just created a trust issue between himself and Matt. Matt is quick to forgive and forget, but the issue of trust will always be there. Trust is earned with effort and easily lost, so care must be taken to safeguard something so essential yet so fragile.



Sitting at the dining room table with his head in his hands, Mike realizes just how selfish and destructive his ruthless drive for the bottom dollar has been. Getting up from the chair, he walks to the door that opens into the garage and stares at the space once occupied by his pride and joy, a shiny red Mustang Mach I from the early nineteen seventies. The sorrow at seeing the empty space is made even more burdensome as he relives the pained look in the eyes of the previous owner as they had accepted a low ball offer for their pride and joy.

Shutting the door, he returns to the table. On it is the cashier's check for his prized possession, along with a stack of medical bills for Emily's recent illness. Fair market value for the car would have brought in enough money to cover paying the statements, but it is a buyer's market and not the sellers amid an economic downturn.

Knowing he could not pay all of the bills, he had accepted the offer for below market value with a heavy heart hours earlier. The look of triumph in the buyer's eyes burned deep into his soul, and he wonders if this is how he had looked after making deals that had far undercut the seller. His thoughts turned to what if most of his hard-driven bargains were from people much like himself, just trying to pay debts and avoid sinking into debt.

He now understood how his pride kept him from revealing the actual truth of the sale. With his eyes opened to how pride keeps most people from telling the real truth behind selling prized possessions, he quietly resolved to treat people fairly in negotiation and pay a fair value for any future purchases.

Looking into the living room where Emily rested peacefully on the couch, he shuffles through the papers on the table; he finds the old bill of sale with the phone number of the previous owner. Reaching for his phone, he begins to dial.




Brian sits at his work desk; the economic downturn of 2008 had caught the small shop he ran with his father entirely by surprise. A few short months before, the shop's customers were flying high, expanding and planning for the future. The downturn was so sudden that the shops business had gone from barely being able to keep up to zero orders.

The writing was on the wall that the economic downturn would last perhaps longer than the shop could survive. In that context, Brian began to research the job market. The research showed that most jobs found are through contacts you already have. So, after weeks of writing and rewriting his resume, he attached it to an email addressed to Terry Lou, a friend he had known since school days many years ago. Knowing that Terry Lou himself had gotten his position with the company through the recommendation of a third party, he clicked the send button. In his email, he asked Terry Lou for assistance in getting the resume viewed by the company's human resources department. With shock and a heavy heart, he regarded the return email.

Reading the reasons given for why he does not belong at the company and why he should apply at other companies, he recalls Terry Lou, in the past, telling him that he was the kind of friend that would get him at two in the morning if he needed assistance.

Not long after being "cut off at the kees" by Terry Lou the shop received an email asking if the shop is hiring. Brian, knowing job hunting is a gut wrenching experience, responds to the request. He explains the shop is not hiring and then expresses his compassion to the job searcher on his job search.

Weeks later, Brian looked up from his computer on the shop floor to see a stranger walking from the office to greet him. The stranger introduced himself as Jonathon and explained that he had sent an email weeks earlier about job opportunities. What he had to say next humbled Brian; he explained that out of all the job search emails he had sent out, Brian was the only one to respond. He went on to say he stopped in to say thank you in person for the kind email.

After Jonathan had left, Brian turned his attention back to his computer with his mind trying to process the disparity in outcomes between the two job search requests. Twice he had been humbled but for two entirely different reasons.




With a fresh cup of coffee in hand, Richard pulls his chair up to the computer. Today is the day he will be typing a letter to Diana, a long-ago high school classmate. He had been fighting for weeks the urge to send an encouraging letter thinking why would she care about hearing from him. Richard and his wife watched her care for her parents in the last years and months of their lives. Her mother had passed away in the previous year, and her father had recently passed away only months before. Experience had taught Richard the months after the loss of loved ones is a lonely time. A time when it feels like the world has moved on and forgotten your grief.

The goal of his letter is to let Diana know while she was quietly a caretaker for the benefit of her parents, someone was watching and appreciating her efforts. Richard knows that giving people do good things without expecting anything in return. However, he also knows that the world's givers do not have an endless supply of giving. The well can run dry. The giver, while not willing to admit it, at times needs to be the receiver.

With a bit of apprehension, Richard adds his letter to a card and seals them into an envelope. He has his wife with her better handwriting address the envelope. Placing the envelope in the postal box, Richard sighs and thinks to himself, here goes nothing.

A month or more has gone by since Richard placed the envelope in the post office box, and life has put the sending of the letter in the rearview mirror and forgotten. So, he was surprised when his wife handed him an envelope addressed from Diana.

Richard opened the envelope which contained a thank you card. Diana had written a heartfelt thank you for the kind words he had written, but there was one section of her note that taught him a lesson he would never forget. In her message, she made a point of saying she had received his letter on the anniversary of her mother's going to heaven and how perfect the timing was. Reading the card was a moving moment for Richard. He had not expected his small token to have such meaning.

Opening the drawer, Richard places the card in with his other special memories. The card will be a reminder that even small gestures of appreciation can have a more significant impact than intended.




My father called to tell me about something that happened to him at the local lumberyard. He said a guy walked up to him and asked him if he was D..... Simpson. Of course, my dad responded, yes. He proceeded to tell my father, you don't know me, but years ago, I came to your shop and asked if I could sand a tabletop. He said he was surprised when dad let him use our equipment to sand his top. He told dad, I thought that was awfully nice of you and wanted you to know.

Dad asked me if I remembered him, but I really don't. Doing that kind of thing for people was just par for the course for us. It's how we lived and worked then and now.

Doing the right thing can leave a lasting impression. You never know when. I hope the gentleman learned a lesson and has been carrying it forward.



Sunday morning, just past eleven o'clock, discouraged and exhausted, Daryl plops down on the couch and turns on the television. He opens the YouTube app on his smartphone, hoping to find something mindless to stream. The previous Friday evening, his sibling Michael had arrived at his parent's home for a weekend visit. Out of duty to his parents, Daryl had forced himself to spend his weekend visiting.

There was a time when Daryl looked forward to the visits, but something has changed over the years. There is an increasing lack of respect shown by Michael to the rest of the family. Gone is any civil conversation of the past. What has replaced it is a growing attitude of Michael challenging the opinion of other family members as they attempt to carry on a conversation. Worse than being challenged regularly is the apparent lack of respect in those challenges for the learned knowledge of his family.

In conversation with his father, Daryl knows that along with himself, his father is trying to steer conversations away from any conversation that could lead to heated discussions. They both know that their life experiences and knowledge will be challenged as not valid when Michael visits. There were several conversations between Michael and their father resulting in Daryl leaving the room. It was not the topic of discussion but the lack of respect Michael showed their father that caused him to walk away.

Scrolling through videos, Daryl ponders a number of his life observations.

Siblings are all going to have different life experiences; it is critical to respect one another.

Listen to siblings, and not at sibling's; respectful conversations are not, know it best contests.

The best way to learn the art of conversation is to sit down and talk to a senior man or woman who is well past having anything to prove in life.

Listen with understanding. You must understand the information and the context in which it was given before you respond. Take just a bit of time to process. Haste in response causes misunderstandings, thoughtfulness results in clarity.

Unfortunately, Daryl knows that members of many different families often feel free to treat other family rudely when they would not treat non family in such a manner. In many cases, the recipients of the rude behavior, usually siblings or parents, are under a lot of stress as they wish to keep the peace between family members. Family gatherings should be fun and light hearted not tense joyless affairs.

Settling on a video, Daryl concludes perhaps a nice relaxing drive in the countryside might be in order the next time Michael comes to visit



Jeff sits bemused at the Red Cross snack table. The gentleman seated at the other end of the table had approached with a friendly smile and had proceeded to strike up a conversation upon sitting down. The reason for Jeff's bemusement is he knows the only reason for the gentleman to be nice is he has mistaken Jeff for being a part of the man's group. Jeff has a distinguishing physical characteristic that has confused the gentleman and other members of his group in the past.

The gentleman starts the conversation by asking Jeff how many units he has given. Jeff responds that this was number eleven. He can see disapproval in the gentleman's face. Having donated blood at this location before, Jeff knows that it is popular with the gentleman's group. Jeff deduces the group keeps an accounting of how often group members donate blood, thus the gentleman's question and response. Jeff asks about and compliments the gentleman on his impressive unit total.

Jeff notices as the conversation continues, the gentleman's demeanor quickly changes the friendliness is gone. Jeff surmised the gentleman had deduced he was not a member of the group. Jeff strokes his beard and smiles.

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