A man alone


Ed Brinkman retired 14 years ago, and lost his wife two weeks later. Neighbors in his multi stored apartment building all called him “doc” because he held a PhD in sociology. Nobody gets lonelier than a man without children or family, especially during the Christmas holidays. He looked forward to the letter carrier coming by this time of year; many of his students still sent him holiday greeting cards.

Brinkman, like most folks in their early 70’s had to deal with a few health issues. He’d given up his daily ration of Maker’s Mark more than six years ago; except on special occasions when somebody came to visit. And that was very rare. In the cold light of reality, hardly anyone ever called in.

More than a few times lately, he’d press the button of his answering machine, just to hear a friendly vice. The message was always the same, “You have no messages.” Beep.

He wondered if his friend Harry was well enough yet to play cribbage at the senior center, two blocks down from his building. Harry had had what the docs termed a “minor” heart attack.

Ed looked at his laptop. He’d left it open on his kitchen table. He shook his head and thought, “Nah, too much crap going on. Nobody has anything nice to say anymore. And I’m sick of trying to sort through all the junk that’s tossed my way, from people who actually believe that what they say is correct.”

No, all he wanted was to hear some lively voices, have a chat with happy people, and quite possibly munch some snacky stuff and aw hell, celebrate the holiday with just one Maker’s Mark Manhattan.

He jumped an inch from his seat when his telephone rang, and he snatched up the receiver before the second ring finished,



“Yes. Is that you Harry?”

“Hell yes, who were you expecting to call, Santa Claus?”


“Get you butt down to the center, Ed. I have two dollars that says I can take you in cribbage.”

Author’s note: I hope you liked this little snippet. It carries a moral for us all. Let’s take a minute and do something this festive time of year, for someone we know who is without friends or family. A brief chat and a happy smile, or even a quick phone call “just to check” will help dispel their loneliness, and put a little joy into their holiday season.

~And merry Christmas to all. (Ted)


Beach walk

Beach Crowd

LEONARD WHITTIER STOPPED walking. The white-haired woman about thirty paces in front of him called back, “What’s the matter? Why are you stopping Leonard? What are you looking at?”

The seventy-year-old observed the mass of humanity crowding the beach. Bright colored umbrella’s mushroomed under the scorching sun, failing to prevent major sunburns. White noise of children’s laughter blended into the soothing softness of ocean sounds. He’d fall asleep easy, if he had a chance.

The beach was rarely this packed in mid-summer. He swept his eyes over throngs of beach-goers. Some lay flat, many sat up with silly expressions on their faces, and others failed at attempts to look alluring.

His wife joined him, “I told you to put your teeth in before our walk. What are you looking at?”

She followed his gaze. “Ah, I see her. Close your mouth Leonard; you’ll begin to drool in a minute.””

“Do you see that, Elizabeth?”

“Yes, Leonard. I see her.Times have changed. She must be about thirty-five years old. Looks like she’s getting ready to go home. And WOW! I’ll never get used to seeing a woman take off her bathing suit and expose herself like that in public.”

She watched the naked woman, unhurried, step into a pair of shorts. Next, she donned a loose-fitting shirt.

“Did you see that? She looked like she was wearing a two-piece white bathing suit. Boy, nice tan.”

“The hell you talking about honey? I just spotted the string of little houses. You know, the portable toilets. They put them farther away each year. They’re up there, to the right of the dunes. C’mon. I gotta pee like a mule.”