The Blind Side Parables – 12

“Uncle Dan, I’ve got a problem.”

The blind uncle stopped rocking in his chair and turned his head to face the boy standing on the porch.

“And what is it?” responded the old man in a soothing voice.

“It’s Priscilla, she’s asked me to be her date to next week’s prom,” said the bashful Ernie, a good looking young man of sixteen years who was clueless about girls, even neighbor Priscilla, who he’d known and played with since they were toddlers.

“Doesn’t sound like a problem to me,” replied Dan, “she’s a smart and kind girl, and I’ve heard she’s quite pretty.”

All true thought Ernie, Priscilla was the neatest girl he’d ever known, and so pretty he often found himself tongue tied when she spoke to him.

Perceiving the boy’s silence as confusion, Uncle Dan pushed, “so what’s really bothering you?”

Ernie stammered, then blurted out, “I don’t know how to dance.”

Dan laughed, then cried out, “of course you don’t. But we can fix that easy enough.”

Wide eyed, Ernie replied, “Really?”

“Really,” answered Dan, who then gave his nephew instructions on where to find a box in his bedroom closet. Ernie disappeared, then returned moments later with a small cardboard box. He held it out to his uncle.

“Open it,” said Dan.

Ernie removed the lid. Inside was a pair of brightly shined new shoes, and not just any shoes. These were hand made, sleekly fashioned shoes with leather souls.

“What did you find?” asked the old man.

“The finest pair of shoes I’ve ever seen,” exclaimed the boy.

“Them’s dancing shoes, son. With those shoes on, you can dance all night like Fred Astaire. Them’s the shoes I wore to take your Aunt Winnie out dancing,” said Dan, then added softly, “and how we loved to dance.”

“Really?” asked Ernie, touching the shoes reverently.

“Magic shoes, boy, you put them on and you can dance anything, just let them take you away with her.”

“Wow!” said Ernie, picking up one of the shoes and eyeing it closely. They were truly beautiful shoes.

“Put them on,” insisted Dan.

Ernie stopped, “No, I can’t, they’re yours.”

“Only memories now, son, Winnie’s gone and our dancing days are done. Time for some new feet to use the magic.”

Ernie sat down on the porch steps and cautiously put on the beautiful, shining dancing shoes.

“How do they feel?” asked Dan.

Ernie stood up, wiggled his toes, bounced his feet up and down on the porch.

“It’s amazing. They fit perfectly.”

“Of course they do, they’re magic shoes,” replied his uncle.

With that, Ernie began swooping and swaying, embracing an imaginary partner as he pranced and danced about the porch. Uncle Dan smiled.

Finally, Ernie stopped in front of Dan and asked, “can I borrow them?”

“Of course,” said his Uncle, “but, you must do one thing to keep the magic going.”

“Ernie listened intently.

“Once you start dancing with your true love, dance with her every day until the music stops.”

*   *   *

In the cool evening air, Ernie looked out as the  sky turned crimson. He rocked slowly in the same chair, on the same porch, his uncle had shared with him years ago.  Ernie had gone to the dance with Priscilla, worn those magic shoes, and they’d danced every day for nearly sixty years, until Priscilla passed.

He smiled, remembering when his mom had told him those shoes were meant to be a present from Winnie to Dan on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But Winnie’s heart had failed before they could share that dance, and Dan had never worn those shoes.

Moral: If you are blessed to find your perfect partner, dance, dance, dance until the music stops.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: The Blind Side Parables – 11; Life Journey Poems & Prose

The Challenge of Climbing Mountains

most think the challenge of climbing mountains
is reaching the top
sweating
aching
heart pounding
pushing past fear
step by step
to finally stand victorious
in the rare air
above the clouds of ordinary being
surrounded by distant views
of unclaimed summits

but
with each descending step
the real work begins
returning to the valley of everyday existence
the spirit begins to shrink
atrophy
for it can no longer be fed
by ordinary life

the real challenge of climbing mountains
is never surrendering the summits of our dreams
to stand alone
bold and free
with only mountaintops
for company

tio stib

2016, 2019, 2020

You might also enjoy  Breaking Trail, Dead Horse Point 

The Blind Side Parables – 11

Goldilocks stared at the big banner in the window of the Three Bears Mattress Company store.

“Try us, comfort guaranteed.”

Having missed a good night’s sleep for over a week, she didn’t hesitate and pushed open the door.

Studying her teenage fashion magazine, the girl at the reception counter never looked up as Goldilocks passed by. She stopped chewing her gum long enough to mutter, “Go ahead, look around. I’m here if you have questions.”

“Fat chance,” thought Goldilocks as she hurried past, eyes scanning the large showroom and what seemed like an infinite sea of mattresses.

*  *  *

It was an hour later when the three bear brothers returned from lunch. Miles, the oldest, who had enjoyed his usual meatloaf sandwich, queried the counter girl.

“What’s up, Celeste, sold any mattresses while we were gone?”

The girl looked up from her magazine and shrugged. She obviously had no future in sales, but she was the best hire the brothers could make quickly after their last receptionist had won the lottery.

Giles, the middle brother, rubbed his furry stomach contentedly. He’d really enjoyed the broccoli soup and steak sandwich special. Sure, these long lunches were noticeably expanding his girth, but he jokingly told his wife he was fattening up for hibernation.

Her retort was that urban bears no longer needed to hibernate. True, but Grandpa Bear had known all about hibernation. He’d come to the big city from the wilderness and started the family mattress business with the slogan, “Come to Bear Mattress, we know sleep.”

The company was now in its third generation and Junior, the youngest of the brothers and most financially astute, was the CEO. He was also the only brother who paid any attention to his diet, if only because his fiance, Brownie, was always nagging him about his weight. Today, he’d forced himself to endure another green salad with tuna and avocado. Looking around the store, something caught his eye in the far corner. He went to investigate.

Under the big “Our Bear Best” sign, three mattresses lay in disarray. Sure enough , someone had been trying them out. The California King was rumpled with tossed pillows and sheets. Beside it, the Standard King, was also a mess. Junior moved to the Queen size mattress which was covered with a mound of pillows and blankets. He noticed a pair of well worn sneakers at the foot of the bed. Gently lifting the corner of a blanket, he saw two feet clad in socks with holes in the heels. He softly set the blanket down and poked at the mound of covers.

Something moaned. Junior backed up in surprise. Then, poked again.

“Hey, cut it out, can’t you see I’m taking a nap?”

Max and Giles joined Junior as he pulled back a blanket to reveal a head of golden curls. a head which suddenly turned and snarled at them.

“What kind of clip joint is this? The sign out front says ‘try us” and that’s exactly what I’m doing!”

“Well of course,” stammered Junior, “take all the time you want.”

The awakened girl propped herself up on her elbows, “Is this an inner spring or foam mattress?”

“Foam,” replied Junior, quickly slipping into sales mode.

“Memory foam or not?”

“Memory, of course.”

“How many layers of foam?”

“Four, graded from firm at the bottom to soft on top.”

The girl pondered, “Nice. And how much for the Queen?”

“$950 delivered.”

“I’ll pay $500, not a penny more.”

Junior stroked his chin as his brothers watched a master in action. “You drive a hard bargain,” countered Junior.

“Take it or leave it, bear.”

“And where will we deliver the mattress?”

This seemed to stop the girl cold, there was no answer.

Junior continued, “Will that be cash or credit?”

Goldilocks came back to life, “You can’t deliver the mattress because I’m homeless and I can’t pay with cash or credit because I’m broke.”

She threw off the blankets and bent down to put on her shoes, then looked up and said, “But I’ve got to give you guys credit, this has been my best sleep in days. You’ve got an excellent line of merchandise. Your prices are reasonable but I think you could add to your profits by pushing your pillows and linens .”

With that, Goldilocks stood up and headed for the front door.

The three brothers looked at each other, smiled, then Junior called out-

“Wait!”

And so Three Bears Mattress Company hired the most prolific salesperson in the history of the franchise. Franchise? Yes, due to Goldilocks’ spectacular success in selling mattresses and related wares, both in store and online, the company soon expanded to a profitable chain with outlets all across the Rocky Mountain West.

No, Celeste did not find fame and fortune as a fashion designer. Last seen, she was chewing gum and packing boxes at an amazon distribution center.

Moral: The truth shall set you free or, at least, it might get you a job in sales.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: The Blind Side Parables – 10; Taxi School

Commitment

Commitment, like love, is a verb.” Commitment does not exist without action.

I offer the following thoughts on “Commitment,” as much to re-inspire myself as to inspire you-

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

-W.H. Murray, Scottish Himalyan Expedition, 1951

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?

GO FOR IT!

tio stib
2015, 2018

You might also enjoy: Breaking Trail, If

The Blind Side Parables – 10

Lizzie was frustrated. Once again, her domineering mother had put her in an impossible position. As she had many times before, her mom had bragged about her daughter’s talents, how Liz could do anything she set her mind to, leaving her to prove she was, indeed, special.

“Oh, my Liz is a whiz at spelling. Go ahead, dear, spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

And the dutiful daughter did.

“Oh, my Lizzie can jump rope for hours and hours. Go ahead, sweetheart,  jump rope.”

And that’s what Liz did for hours and hours and . . .

But this time, her mother had gone too far. This time, Mom had gotten the ear of the king, and eager to impress him, had taken up the king’s impossible challenge.

“Can your daughter turn this room full of straw into gold?” he’d asked, thinking this question would certainly shut the mouthy woman up.

“Of course she can,” replied the boastful mother, “my Lizzie can do anything.”

“Fine,” said the king, motioning for a guard to push the distraught Liz into the straw filled room and lock the door behind her.

“But…” retorted the mother, suddenly realizing the predicament her bragging had created.

The king parted with, “I’ll be back in the morning for the gold. If it’s not here, off comes her head.”

Liz looked around the room, empty except for a mound of straw and a loom. The straw would have made for a nice night’s sleep, except the coming morning did not promise to be pleasant.

Shazam!

A cloud of smoke appeared in the room, along with a strong smell of men’s aftershave. A deep voice spoke from within the cloud.

“Well, Lizzie, seems you have a problem.”

Then, much to the surprised girl’s amazement, a dwarf stepped out of the mist. He had a large, bulbous nose with a wart on its tip, a line of dark eyebrows that stretched across his forehead, unruly hair poking out from under a New York Mets baseball cap, and a smile that revealed a mouthful of yellowed crooked teeth. He wore a sweatshirt that announced “Life’s too short to drink cheap beer,” jeans with patches on the knees, and black high topped tennis shoes with pink shoe laces.

Open mouthed, Liz was still gaping when the visitor, hands on hips, announced, “I’m here to help.”

Dumbfounded, Lizzie stared in disbelief, then shrieked, “Help! Are you kidding me? Like you can turn this pile of straw into gold?!”

Unfazed, the little man simply replied, “No problem.”

Losing it, Lizzie screamed, “Too much! My big mouthed mother tells the king I can turn straw into gold and then a pint size guy appears in a puff of smoke, reeking of Bay Rum, and says ‘No problem.’”

Liz buried her head in her hands and sobbed.

The dwarf did not reply, instead, he sat down at the loom, took up a handful of straw, and with a few words and some razzle dazzle, began weaving. Moments later, he handed Liz a small piece of finely woven  fabric.

She stopped crying and fingered the fabric, then muttered a single amazed word-

“Gold.”

The dwarf just smiled.

Her second word was, “How?”

“My mother was a witch and my dad a tailor, and I spent awhile in a textile mill in Bangladesh.”

Lizzie’s third word was, “Wow!” Then she erupted with a series of questions.

  *  *  *

It was morning when the door was unlocked and creaked open. There stood the king, with Liz’s mom beside him. He looked into the room. The straw was gone and there stood Liz, smiling, holding up a stunning gold tunic.

“Will this do?” she asked helping the astonished king into the dazzling garment.

Looking down at the brilliant gold cloth, the likes of which he’d never seen before, the king purred, “Oh yes, this will do very, very well.”

For the first time in her life, Liz’s mother had nothing to say, which was good, for she was summarily shunted outside the room and left alone as the door closed.

Liz was done having her mother speak for her and she began negotiating a deal with the king. An hour later, discussions over, she had a new warehouse in the free trade zone with a ten year break on property taxes. From this location, she’d run her new fashion clothing business which would supply the king with the latest designs to keep him the best dressed man in the kingdom. Also, Liz had suggested the king needed to work on his public image and the vain monarch agreed to take on Liz’s mother as his new director of public relations.

The king, enamored with this deal, left to show off his new garb to the court’s elite, a guard dragging Lizzie’s protesting mother behind him.

Shazam!

“Well, what do you think?” asked Liz of the strange little man with the magic touch who once again appeared in a puff of smoke.

“Perfect!” exclaimed the dwarf, producing two bottles of ice cold pale ale, popping the tops, and handing one to Liz.

“By the way,” she asked, “you never did mention your name.”

“Oh, that,” her savior said, “it’s Rumpelstiltskin

“That’s a mouthful.”

“You can call me Al.”

And with a clink of their bottles, the unlikely duo birthed “Rumpelstiltskins,”  the specialty clothing company which now has outlets in Beverly Hills, Paris, and Dubai.

Moral: You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but you can turn straw to gold with a little magic and some razzle dazzle.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: The Blind Side Parables – 9; Taxi School

 

Seekers

I pause
high above the world of human strife
to look about the mountain I call life
and in the air where breath is rare and clear
I notice other seekers venture near
A wave, a smile, a moment’s eye
and then their journeys pass me by
but in the silence that ensues
I find my heart has been renewed.

tio stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: A Mirrored Smile, Flavors of Friends

The Blind Side Parables – 9

Peter Pan was bored.

Not much was happening in Never Land. The Indians and Lost Boys Coalition had defeated the ultra nationalist Never Never party in the last election, and political stability seemed assured for at least four more years. The pirates were in disarray after their leader, Captain Hook, had lost another limb to Tic Tock, the man-eating crocodile. On a whim, Peter decided to fly back to London, hoping to reunite with the Darling family kids, with whom he’d shared many past adventures.

Arriving in night’s darkness, Peter landed on the sill of the open playroom window. With his longtime fairy friend, Tinker Bell, hovering on his shoulder, the two travelers peeked inside.

Peter smiled and whispered, “look Tink, they’re all here.”

One boy sat at a desk, eyes glued to a bright screen. A smaller boy sat on the floor, playing with a toy. An older girl, legs tucked underneath her, lounged on a couch with another bright screen on her lap.

“Yeah! Gottcha!” yelled the first boy, shooting his arms skyward.

Peter interrupted this celebration by flying into the room and announcing himself, “Hello.”

All three children turned to face the visitor.

“Who are you?” the kids asked in unison.

“I’m Peter, Peter pan, the boy from Never Land, don’t you remember me?

The children looked at each other, then the girl spoke, “it’s that flying boy from some far off place that Grandma used to tell us about.”

“Grandma?” asked Peter.

The girl replied, “Grandma Wendy.”

Peter’s face brightened, “Wendy, where is she ?”

“She’s long gone,” answered the little boy, still struggling to make the toy in his lap work.

“Gone?” replied the suddenly sad Peter, “then who are you?

“I’m Wendy Ann,” said the girl.

“And I’m John Junior, JJ”, said the older boy, “and he’s Mikey,” pointing to the boy on the floor.

“Oh,” said Peter, reassessing the situation, then, deciding all was not lost, put an offer on the table, “hey, would you like to fly with me, I can take you to a really neat place?”

JJ looked back at the computer screen in front of him, “does this place have Galactic Invaders?”

Puzzled, Peter answered, “Well, no, but it’s got pirates and Indians and lots of really cool kids.”

“I don’t think so,” replied JJ, starting to punch the computer keys, “I just shot down the Death Star and now I’m up to level three, I need to keep going to get to Star Flight Commander.”

Wendy Ann looked at Peter, “Does Amazon deliver to this place you want to take us? I’ve got a trippy outfit I want and with expedited delivery, it can be here tomorrow.”

Even more puzzled, Peter replied, “Amazon? Well we do have jungles and tropical birds.”

“No thanks,” said Wendy, scrolling through more fashion options on her laptop, “I need to keep up my social standing at school.”

Tinker Bell was about to whisper something in Peter’s ear when Mikey, screamed, “I’ve got it!” and his toy came to life.

With a whir, a toy flying machine took off and buzzed around the room.

“Yippee!” shouted Mikey as he directed the little helicopter up, down, and all around with its remote control. Then, Mikey noticed Tinker Bell, “what’s that, he asked, pointing at the pixie?”

Peter answered, “that’s my friend Tinker bell. She’s a fairy.”

Mikey’s face lit up, “does she want to play?”

Not waiting for an answer, the toy helicopter began chasing Tinker Bell around the room. Tink, having never encountered such a device, freaked out, darting and dodging to avoid a collision with the whirring menace.

Mikey’s face contorted into a sadistic smile. “I’m going to flatten you, fairy girl!”

But, Tink, having recovered her composure, realized that the mechanized attacker was no different than the many other predators who’d tried to get her. She froze in front of Wendy Ann’s dressing mirror. Mikey, seeing his chance, gave full throttle to the helicopter to annihilate the fairy.  The toy was going full tilt when Tinker Bell slipped sideways and the helicopter crashed headlong into its reflection in the mirror, falling to the floor in many more pieces than all the King’s men would ever put together again.

Mikey howled, “You broke it!”

JJ never looked up, simply uttering “Damn!” as a black moth enemy fighter blew him out of the sky.

Oblivious to the twin tragedies around her, Wendy Ann declared, “Oh, look at that, those shoes would be so perfect with my new dress, and they come in pink, too.”

Tinker Bell whispered something in Peter’s ear.

The boy who would never grow up replied, “Yes, Tink, you can pinch me the next time I’m bored.”

Their departure went unnoticed.

Moral: Boring is a world without fantasies and fairies.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: The Blind Side Parables – 8; Taxi School

Where the Sidewalk Ends

A poem by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

by Shel Silverstein, 1974

When I start slipping into seriousness, I turn to Shel Silverstein to lighten up. Reading his poems with kids is better than blowing bubbles on San francisco’s BART train.

Want more fun? Watch this link on YouTube-

tio stib

You might also enjoy: Inspiration

The Blind Side Parables – 8

“Toto, where are you?”

The little dog didn’t move.

“Toto, come here right now!”

Toto peeked out from behind a tree. There was Dorothy, standing with Glinda, the Good Witch, surrounded by the cheering little munchkins of Oz. All Dorothy had to do was rub her red shoes together and she’d be magically whisked back to Kansas.

No way, thought Toto, Oz was the best gig he’d ever come across. No way was he going back to that farm where the chickens all chased and pecked him. No way was he going back to that barnyard where every step risked an encounter with foul smelling poop.

Toto had paid his dues, spent weeks on the road protecting Dorothy and those three dimwits, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and lion, from evil witches, flying demons, and the pitfalls of third rate motels. And what did he get for all this hard work and for pulling back the curtain that revealed that the Wizard of Oz was just a crazy old coot?

Not even one “attaboy!”

But none of that mattered anymore, for when Toto had pulled back that curtain, revealing the bumbling wizard, he’d  also discovered Mimi, the wizard’s adorable, if statuesque, French poodle. Sure, Mimi was a bit young, but she found Toto’s worldly adventures fascinating. And, when she’d invited him to dinner at the palace, they’d been served steaks on real silver plates.

No way was he going back to a handful of dry kibbles tossed into a plastic bowl.

Toto swaggered off to meet Mimi. Sure, he was just a mutt, but he knew how to keep the ladies happy. He packed a punch for a little pooch.

“Toto, come here right now or I’m leaving without you!”

Toto smiled, you can call until the cows come home, farm girl, but I’m not going back to sun broiled summers and frozen whisker winters.

No, Dorothy, I’m not in Kansas anymore. Thank God.

Moral: Just because you can go home doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

tio stib

You might also enjoy “The Blindside Parables – 7“; “Taxi School

Walking With My Lover’s Ghost

walk with me
I hear her softly plead
come
walk with me

and so I rise and go
take the hand that isn’t there
feel the joy in her smile
the smile only my heart can see
hear the memory of her gleeful calls
her waves to passing children
as she scampers to greet them

hugging close
faces glowing in the morning sun
a gentle breeze caresses us
sitting on our seaside bench

I kiss her tenderly
taste the love upon her lips
inhale the sweet scent of her soul
embrace the grace that made us one
blessed us

touching the emptiness beside me
tears slide down my cheeks

come
I plead
walk with me

and I rise again
move on

walking with my lover’s ghost

tio stib

You might also appreciate: You Will Always Be My Valentine; My Dementia Diary