The Howard P. Castle Canoe
Canoeing is a sport, tradition and symbol of tranquility to me.
Some words, lumped together on a sign in my study, have inspired many ideas for my short stories. This is one of them!
Waiting 29 Years
Going to a high school reunion, I heard some unexpected words and the positive impact of something I did when I was 10 years old.
Giving a Pint of Blood
My parents rarely told me about their difficulties or health challenges. I learned to listen for clues of questions to ask.
I Can Either Go into Depression or Laugh
My friend, Robert, used to believe he was a self-made man, could do anything himself and didn’t need anybody’s help. He then made some bad choices in his construction business resulting in an Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation of filing two false tax statements. It nearly cost him a 20-30 year prison sentence and a $530,000 tax assessment.
The Missing Piano Being productive, creative and challenged is important to me. When time seems to be in slow motion, work is too routine and things are in a rut – I’ve looked for creativity in some interesting ways.
It was a gradual transition from just being my mother’s son to becoming her long-distance caregiver. Many of my decisions affected her health, independence and quality of life.
Seeing there was an untouched box of pizza remaining after an event, I asked about taking the box and giving it away. Then, upon driving into our inner city that’s fraught with the roaming homeless, I looked to bless someone for their dinner that night.
Life Is Full of Choices
A son remembers his father as tough, scrappy, entrepreneurial and one of the best World War II soldiers of our greatest generation.
Where are the Instructions?
In visiting our home, our five-year-old grandnephew was curious about an old grandfather mantle chime clock resting on the floor next to my study.
Facing the reality of my depression is really about swallowing my pride, asking for help and adjusting.
The Christmas Card
Having the Christmas spirit all year round gives me the opportunity to give to others and encourage people. It has been a blessing! (Christmas card with the story)
Expect the Most!
In learning about the challenges of a young lady working behind a sandwich shop counter, I decided to let God influence my decisions to make some positive differences in her life.
She Only Asked for Prayer
Filling in the blanks for a young single mother was an honor. I watched her Christian faith in action as she prayed, requested prayer and depended on God for the results.
The Homeless Man
Being the same person to everyone – open, transparent and not hypocritical – is much easier said than done.
Where’d You Come From?
Watching a lady fish through her credit cards and listening to her questions to a deli shop manager, I believed she was hungry and looking for the cheapest thing on their menu.
You Can Pray for Me
In affirming a Church official in his stand on a controversial world issue, I came to know what really mattered to him.
My father said some harsh words to my wife while she was visiting my parents. When my wife returned home she told me about the confrontation and how hurt she felt. I pondered my words and six weeks later mailed him this letter.
No Bitterness in Your Heart
In a difficult situation, God showed me that praying for an organization and its members was better than becoming bitter towards them.
In fleeting moments, I will make a gesture that reminds me of my father or will look in the mirror and see a likeness of him.
By Your Side
The gift of life is very precious. God gave me the opportunity to candidly and gently tell my father some positive things before his heart surgery.
Leading with Faith First
Then all my other decisions for relationships, in casting votes, practicing good business ethics, how I treat others and all the rest – follow second.
Three Is Not a Crowd
An insurance company’s TV ads inspire people to copy their actors’ actions, but not necessarily buy their products.
Integrity Has One Face
Dishonesty, deceit, omission of facts, lying and a myriad of other untruths, constitute fraud and are delivered with many faces.
Practicing Humor, Humility and Heart
I am not a big fan of parking meters and believe they actually prevent and discourage business. Following are three examples of reactions to them.
Falling Into Place
On a hike with others, one slip could have resulted in injuries or worse. Instead, I walked away with only grass stains on my golf shirt.
Flunking Out of College
The path of obtaining my college degree taught me the value of having purpose, possessing confidence…and just moving forward.
An employer once announced in a sales meeting, “When you know people and don’t use them, it’s worthless.” Not agreeing with his viewpoint, I do believe in utilizing relationships with a servant’s heart – and that’s worthwhile! A correlation to this was my privilege in getting to know a federal Congressman in the Houston area.
Tell Them the Truth, Mark!
While mentoring a man, I watched him shrink the gap between his old thinking and his new life in Christ.
Ever Stolen Anything?
This question was asked on a Securities Exchange Commission questionnaire, and after some thought, I answered “Yes” with a short explanation.
Future Story Titles
Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir!
When entering the doors of Meadows Park Community Center, I usually don’t have an appointment or know why I’m visiting. When I leave, I mostly do.
The Doctor, the Dog and the Disciple
In a short period of time, two people and a dog I knew died. Each of their lives influenced me with negative and positive impacts.
When in Nacogdoches
One of the chapters in my life was in and out of the East Texas town of Nacogdoches, Texas. That chapter evolved from my college years, fraternity reunions and my parents retiring there.
While waiting for a late night tire-changing service on a busy freeway, I began to fret about my inconvenience. Then I was reminded to be thankful for what I have instead.
The Gift of a Six-Pack
Whether it’s marketing for business or simply remembering a friend, dropping by a gift of a six-pack of varied liquid products can make an impact.
With each of my parents gradually losing their cognitive skills, driving vehicles became a danger to them and others.
My brother-in-law, Steve, works as an outfitter in the Colorado mountains with a home abutting a creek that’s home to a beaver family, too. Each day, the beaver family builds the dams and then Steve tears them down.
Come On In!
Labor Day weekends for 25 years were spent on the beach with another family. Keeping an eye on our family members who went swimming, was knowing the difference between frolicking and being carried out by the riptide.
Good Decision and I Was Wrong
After my first car accident, I believed my father would take away my driver’s license. On another matter a year later, we had a disagreement, my father admitted he was wrong, and then backed his change of mind by supporting me.
I Didn’t Know My Grandfathers
Before I was born, each passed away leaving a legacy. I learned about each man through my parents’ eyes, pictures taken and papers written. With initials of HPC and CPH, both were born in 1876, had desires to be farmers and struggled with depression.
It Began with Wind Speed
A local pickleball organization’s continuous perseverance to get dedicated and new playing courts, was culminated with collaboration, donations, strong leadership and a “never give up” attitude!
Where Have I Seen You Before?
At a chamber of commerce parking lot, a utility crew foreman recognized something about me. Then he remembered where we met before because of my second offer of hospitality.
The Desk and the Bed
In moving my mother’s belongings from her apartment to an assisted-living facility, my wife and I had some choices on what to do with some of her furniture.
You Ever Do That Again, and I’ll Turn You In!
After a college roommate stole some merchandise while we were grocery shopping, I read him the “riot act!” 26 years later I learned the effect my comment had on his life.
A Key for Refuge
In college when a friend’s husband committed suicide, I lent her my spare campus apartment key. Her walk from work to my apartment was two blocks.
Sending a Signal
Being the foreman for a traffic court jury, we learned how to steer a guilty verdict into no civil case for later.
Answer in a Textbook
At a colleague’s reception a friend described her tribulation in getting a diagnosis and solution to a perplexing health problem. Her conversation triggered a memory of a befuddlement I encountered with a health issue 20 years before.
I’ll Take the 10 Licks!
In 8th grade metal shop, I got mad at one of the other students and was sent to the principal’s office. He gave me a choice of punishment.
Ready to Live Again!
One of my close friends never complains about his aches, pains, living with Crohn’s disease and other complications. When he changed doctors, his health began to turn the corner for the better.
Life on Paper
In meeting a waiter at a restaurant, I asked him, “What do you like lease about Nacogdoches?” His response was astounding – we talked about the advantage of him writing his dreams and goals.
Small Dots on the Map
On a trip through many little towns in Wisconsin and Illinois, our destination was taking my aunt to her home in Barrington, Illinois. Sitting in the back seat, my 88-year-old Aunt Grace navigated while my wife drove and I was in the passenger front seat.
Choosing Not to Cut Back
After getting a nasty cut on a chair in a barber shop, I chose to invite the franchise owner to lunch.
How Much is Enough?
In the course of 23 years, a family member lost her husband, all three sons and a granddaughter