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DATo
August 23rd, 2019, 10:30 AM
The Kiss

by DATo

Long ago I spent a lot of time traveling between the homes of my elderly father, an uncle, and an old maiden aunt. All of them lived alone and I would make it a point to stop in to visit each of them from time to time to give them some company. Young people tend not to realize how much it means to older people to be in the company of young people. Young people make them feel young too. Sadly, most young people tend to be put off by older people. They find them boring I suppose and don't seem to want to be around them much.


So maybe you will understand why one night while eating alone in a restaurant I took special notice of a beautiful young woman about 20 years of age seated with an older woman who I would estimate to be in her mid 70's, perhaps older. The young lady was engaged in an animated conversation with the older woman and I found it difficult to keep from looking at the beautiful smile which never seemed to leave the younger woman's face. The older woman wore a corsage and I could only assume it was her birthday or some other memorable occasion which was being celebrated that evening, but just by the two of them. There was no one else in their company. The young lady truly seemed to be enjoying the evening with the older woman who also appeared to be in very happy spirits.


I continued to eat my dinner but caught the eye of the waitress and signaled for her to come to me. I told her I would like to pay for the dinners of the two women at the other table but that she was not to tell them who their benefactor was. When they were about to leave and the younger woman called for the check I watched the waitress come over to their table and say something to her which I couldn't hear and then made sure to avert my eyes for the young woman's natural impulse would be to scan the room to see who was watching and thus determine that it was I who paid the check. I stole glances at them as they made their way to the doorway of the room we were in. They walked slowly to accommodate the older woman who's arm was being held by the younger woman in support. Just before they walked through the doorway the younger woman, wearing her most beautiful smile of the evening paused, turned, and then blew a kiss to the room in general. That was many years ago, but I still treasure that kiss.

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Stopping By The Library On A Winter Morning

by DATo

As a child I once visited the local library on a very cold Saturday morning after having trudged through a half mile of snow. I arrived frozen to the bone. The old and gothic library windows were frosted with ice, but it also had a large fireplace with a cozy fire blazing in it. The library had very few people in it, probably because of the weather, it was also very quiet for this was back in the day when no talking above a whisper would be tolerated. I scanned the stacks and picked up a book I had heard of called Animal Farm. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but I soon found myself curled up in a very comfortable cushioned chair in front of the fireplace with my rubber boots and shoes off reading the book. Perhaps there was something of a Norman Rockwell theme in the picture this presented because at one point I noticed the librarian looking at me with a subtle and what might be interpreted as approving smile on her face. I gave her a questioning look as if to say, "What did I do?" her smile broadened and she slowly shook her head as if to say, "No problem." and walked away. While listening to the crackling of the fire, smelling the faint wisps of hickory smoke, and feeling the warm glow of the embers I eventually finished the book in one sitting - the first time I had ever done this. I then stretched my arms and decided that this had been, overall, a very nice experience. Little did I know how nice. It remains to this day, over a half century later, the most memorable reading experience of my life.

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Umree
August 24th, 2019, 10:03 PM
Your style has a slow and deliberate pace. These two pieces feel calming, like anecdotes told between friends. It's refreshing to see writing that doesn't dive into the darker side of humanity, preferring instead to present the more mundane and charming qualities of life. I would say that despite being complete, the stories can certainly be build upon if you choose to do so. I'm not sure of what your intentions are moving forward, but adding conflict can definitely make these more dynamic and traditional (story structure-wise). I enjoyed reading these and I appreciate you sharing them!

DATo
August 25th, 2019, 11:44 AM
Your style has a slow and deliberate pace. These two pieces feel calming, like anecdotes told between friends. It's refreshing to see writing that doesn't dive into the darker side of humanity, preferring instead to present the more mundane and charming qualities of life. I would say that despite being complete, the stories can certainly be build upon if you choose to do so. I'm not sure of what your intentions are moving forward, but adding conflict can definitely make these more dynamic and traditional (story structure-wise). I enjoyed reading these and I appreciate you sharing them!

Thank you Umree for acknowledging my stories and for your very kind comments.

Long ago I read a book which was a compendium of stories much like the ones I contributed above and each one was about as long. The stories were put together in this volume by Bennwtt Cerf who was one of the founders of Random House Publishing. These stories were not necessarily from Cerf's own life, but were true-life stories he had collected over many years. I enjoyed reading it very much. Each story was a small snapshot of life. Some stories were humorous, some were poignant, some were tragic, but they all were stories we could identify with to some degree. I am convinced that many of the most memorable events of our lives are lost in the shuffle of the hectic, modern day pace to which we have become accustomed. I am also convinced that many of these types of stories, humble though they may be, rival the contrived fiction which surrounds us. I am reminded of the story of the racehorse Seabiscuit. If this true story were written as a novel of fiction no one would accept it as a believable premiss, or, if they did, would consider it too sappy and contrived, and yet it was absolutely true.

Thank you once again.

[EDIT] If you are interested: this is another true story from my life with an interesting ending.
https://www.writingforums.com/threads/159238-Crossroads

Umree
August 25th, 2019, 06:55 PM
[EDIT] If you are interested: this is another true story from my life with an interesting ending.


I will happily take a look at it, thank you! I'm also interested in the Bennwtt Cerf volume. Its surprising to me that a major publisher would write stories like these. I think it is due to my perception of what publishers tend to expect --excitement, spectacle, marketing-- stories like the news reported on TV. I feel like a lot of writers today tend to skew more toward work that is layered with drama and over-the-top emotion. I like these scenes, they show subtle feeling, which I think is closer to truth.

DATo
August 26th, 2019, 12:24 PM
I will happily take a look at it, thank you! I'm also interested in the Bennwtt Cerf volume. Its surprising to me that a major publisher would write stories like these. I think it is due to my perception of what publishers tend to expect --excitement, spectacle, marketing-- stories like the news reported on TV. I feel like a lot of writers today tend to skew more toward work that is layered with drama and over-the-top emotion. I like these scenes, they show subtle feeling, which I think is closer to truth.


I made a mistake in the spelling of the author's name. Actually it is Bennett Cerf. He did not write the stories he simply put together a collection of stories he had come across over many years.



[purportedly true story] One story I still remember from that collection involved a man who was an aspiring actor whose career was going nowhere; however, he refused to give up what he felt was his destined vocation much to the frustration of his wife. As a result, in time his wife divorced him in desperation and took their three year old daughter with her. She met and eventually married a very successful business man. Several years later she took her daughter to see Santa Claus at the local department store. Her former husband, by pure coincidence, was acting the part of Santa, a job usually held by people low on their luck. Her former husband secure in his disguise as Santa fought back tears as he held his daughter in his lap and listened to her request for toys and remained jovial and light-hearted in his replies though his heart was breaking. The woman and the little girl then left. Soon after one of the store workers approached "Santa" and gave him an envelope which contained a note and a $100 bill. The note read, "For the greatest display of acting I have ever seen." signed by his former wife.