The End of the Matter

“I have something for you,” said the Master Craftsman weakly as he lifted a withered hand to point. “Over at the desk, in the top drawer.”

The young man rose from his bedside seat and moved to the desk. Opening the drawer, he found what appeared to be official documents inside.

“What are these?” he asked after seeing his name on the paper.

“There is nothing left for me to teach you, my friend. You have built things the likes of which I could only dream. Such art is in you… it needs only the proper tools and materials to be expressed. And it seems there is little time left in me.”

“No master,” exclaimed the youth. “You mustn’t say such things. Your health could turn. The doctor has said…”

“If not today, then very soon. I see a shadow approaching. There is no need to fear it. Death comes to us all in its time. I merely wish to speak honestly of my desires so that you know.”

The younger man shut his mouth and lowered his head sadly.

The Master Craftsman tried to speak several times before faint words finally issued forth.

“The shop where you have learned, and all that is in it is yours,” said the old man slowly. “I have but one request.”

The young man sat back down and took the old, rough hand in his. “Anything, Master.”

The old man laughed feebly. “You agree too quickly. Know what is required before you accept…”

A sputtering cough interrupted him. When he finally settled, the young man said quietly, “Even when I did not understand your charges, I trusted that they were for my good. That trust has never been misplaced. Therefore, I accept this request without knowing what it might be.”

The old man smiled warmly and patted the hand of the younger. “You are now the master craftsman. I ask only that you select an apprentice from the orphanage as I did you. Teach him not only the ways of wood, but how to be a man.”

Through tears of memories, the young man readily agreed. He would be nowhere if it were not for this gentle, wise man lying beside him. Quietly he watched the rise and fall of the old man’s chest, fearful that it would stop at any moment.

Just when he thought sleep had come to his friend, the old man turned his head and a most contented smile rolled across his weathered face.

“I was just thinking about my beloved,” he whispered. “I am happy I will soon see her. It has been too long.”

“I had hoped you would be here to guide me into marriage. The day grows close.”

“Ah yes. I fear I will miss that joyous day. Remember the day you gave her the sun?”

“She was very young then – and very sick. She has grown strong and healthy… and also kind and beautiful.”

The old man looked out with a last twinkle in his eye. “Keep pointing her to the light, my young friend. And do not be surprised when she also rescues you from darkness.”

And then the old master relaxed.

In his grief, the young man spent the next day aimlessly in the shop they had shared. Death always brought an unfortunate duty for the master craftsman of the village. He held a worn chisel in his hand just to feel the old man’s presence as he considered what needed to be done. At some point late in the day, he remembered the old, worm-eaten lumber in the very back of the shop… the walnut from his first days with his friend.

And he instantly knew the purpose for which it had been saved.




I hope you’ve enjoyed the story. If  you want to start at the beginning, click HERE.



I Broke My Pants

We’ve all heard the expression, truth is better than fiction. When you blog, the two are often woven together with neither being the predominant thread. I’ve been known to stretch the blanket from time to time to suit comedic purpose. Sometimes what could have happened is funnier than what actually happened; so we just go with that.

I was going to forgo posting this week. When you’re seeking high art like I am, you can’t force it. That would be like a five-year-old going to the bathroom just before a trip. “I didn’t have to go then!”

Nothing felt right so I didn’t write… and then life happened.

My pants broke.

In and of itself, this isn’t very funny. But the comedy of life is all about timing. Of course one’s pants do not break while one is at home or when one is in the car a few miles away. No, cosmic forces conspire against zippers to break at the least opportune time and in front of the most people.

I happened to be at work last night preparing for an important board meeting. Being a coffee drinker over fifty years old, I thought it prudent to seek porcelain relief before the meeting to avoid interruption. It was there that I discovered why a zipper is called a fly in common vernacular because the minute I touched mine it flew into a million pieces. Yes, my pants exploded twenty-five minutes before a meeting of the board of directors.

I surveyed my options:

  1. Safety pins. These proved ineffective in patching the devastation and impossible to fasten without help. It did not feel appropriate to seek help with my zipper.
  2. Skip the meeting. Bad option.
  3. Go FIFO – first in, first out. No one sees the gaping hole in my crotch.
  4. Hold my pants closed like a batter between pitches. Seemed too edgy.
  5. Replace the pants and arrive late but fashionable.

After sharing the dilemma with two very empathetic coworkers, I left them in puddles of laughter as I scootched out the door holding tightly the remnants of my pants.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

Two miles to Steinmart during rush hour. After ten minutes, I scootched into the store. Of course it was crowded. Of course they all pointed and laughed as I arrived. I quickly found a pair my size and for the first time in my life didn’t even check the price. Of course I interrupted an employee meeting outside the dressing room.

As I explained my dilemma to the cashier, the young man made a valiant attempt to stifle his laughter as I pulled the tags off my butt for him to scan. I have to give him credit. He tried. I didn’t bother with the receipt and I dropped the tattered threads I had worn to work that morning in the trash.

I’m sure the eruption of laughter inside the store was equal to or greater than the sound of my pants exploding in the bathroom just twenty minutes prior. I don’t care… I was headed back to the meeting without a giant hole in my trousers.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

I walked back in at 6:29! I made it. I saw the sardonic grins of people as they checked out my new pants. The word had obviously spread. But I don’t mind.

6:29 and I’m back!

I declare victory over the Universe’s perverse sense of humor… this time. But I’m sure it will strike again. Maybe I should keep a spare pair of pants in my office.