short story

Pay it Forward

Reymundo had a busy day ahead of him. While others might have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, he had visions of tamales, which were in demand at this time of year. The Richardson’s had given him free reign over the menu, since he became head cook and manager of South Fork Cafe.  Each day, he counted his job a blessing. He had not forgotten his years as a dishwasher and busing tables. For a young man he had excellent work ethics and it was obvious to the owner’s that Rey, as they called him, was a keeper. Working hard was instilled at a very young age. He didn’t take his lifestyle for granted, as he recalled the challenges his parents faced as a young couple, with two young children, setting down in a place that was totally foreign to where they had come from in Mexico.

DSCN6011His parents Ernesto and Martina had been determined to do whatever it took to provide a comfortable lifestyle for their children. Rey recalled the hours spent at the small library, looking at picture books and wondering  what the words said. His mother had been very shy and was  embarrassed to speak up at first. But the library staff were patient and helped her to find books that would benefit her and her children. Eventually she got help from a tutor and that opened up her world. With new-found confidence, Martina began to think about how she could earn some income and she decided to go with what she did best. Sewing had been a hobby and she had plenty of experience making bright-colored outfits for her little girls by hand. In their early years, Ernesto worked two jobs and one day, he was able to buy a sewing machine for the love of his life. Martina was thrilled when Ernesto carried the machine through the door. It didn’t take her long to set up the machine.Hearing  the hum of it, as she pieced little dresses together was a dream come true. Before long, word got out that she was available to alter clothing and Martina stayed busy  and most important she was able to stay home with her young children.Now, Reymundo was thirty-eight and with a family of his own.As a toddler he had clung to his grandmother’s side, watching her every move as she made tortillas and cooked up huge portions of food to feed the workers on the ranch.His fascination with cooking continued to grow up into his teen years. Esperanza would have been very proud to see her grandson following in her footsteps. She was a wise woman and instructed her grandchildren, ” to always do good on this side of heaven.” She meant for them to work hard, respect the earth, the people and creatures on it. He heeded her advice. With those words he grew up to be a man of his word and of good character. He was known to whistle as he worked and the Richardson’s loved Rey and his family. It gave them  gave them peace of mind knowing that they could depend on him.  As Rey drove past the road that led to Hanks home, he realized that he had not seen his old buddy for a few weeks.It was time to pay him a visit and drop off a few tamales too. Christmas was a time to give and a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward.


Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than man.

Colossians 3:22


short story


Inga Larsson sipped the last of her tea. She savored each drop and she knew that she had a big day ahead of her. She had just returned from her beloved country of Sweden to say her final goodbyes to her dear mother. Though her heart grieved she had made a commitment to plan and prepare for the annual Christmas lunch at the Food Pantry. She would do her best to set aside sadness to fulfill her obligation. She still had to find a few more volunteers to decorate and someone to  provide music for the festivities. While Hank Johnson was devoid of color in his life, Inga was all about color.

DSCN0575She would soon turn sixty-four and she vowed that she would never let age deter her from being active. As a retired nurse, it afforded her a comfortable lifestyle. Having never married, she traveled to far off places and wanted to experience as much as possible, but always with God’s final ok on her decision-making. She was not one to sit on the fence of life and watch it go by.  It was December first and time to get cracking. Of all her years of eating  oatmeal for breakfast seemed to give her enough energy to run miles around those half her age. She reminisced a moment about her lovely mother. She had been a woman of strength and character. She had a beautiful heart and had always given over and beyond when it came to helping those in need.

DSCN0560In her mind her mother was an angel. She glanced at the clock and realized that it would soon be time to meet with the director of the House of Hope and work out some of the details. She laughed as she looked at Mitt. Mitten had been a stray kitten that Inga had coaxed into her home by feeding her.

DSCN4094Mitten had brought her hours of entertainment, laughter and joy. Laughter to Inga was good medicine. She believed it would cure whatever ailed you.

DSCN0567A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up bones.

Proverbs 17:22

short story

The Letter

Before Hank called it a day, he decided to check his mailbox. There was rarely anything worth even checking for except for the normal bills. But, since there would be no mail the next day, he hiked to his mailbox and pulled out a small assortment of envelopes and headed back home.

DSCN4861-001He sat down in his rocker, the same one Mollie had used to rock and soothe their babies. Two boys and one girl. As he scanned the mail, one of the envelopes caught his eye. It appeared to be written by a child. Although written in cursive,  the slant of his name was much exaggerated. He looked at the return address and it said, Abby Brown. He was shocked! He had heard nothing from his daughter for three years. His hand began to shake and his heart began to pound. He got up to get his glass and fill it up before he opened the letter. He couldn’t  bring himself to open it. All of a sudden a wave of remorse hit him.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6