I saw her tiny Oriental face
In the toy store yesterday
Sitting peacefully
In a pink stroller
Shyly smiling at her mommy
While she picks out
Just the right book
For her sweet baby girl.

Browsing at touch books
With fuzzy pictures of baby animals
Talking Barney, Elmo and Pooh books
So many playful treasures to choose from.

But from a distance
The Oriental princess
Focuses her attention
On a burly white-haired man
Wearing a cherry red suit.

When he comes closer
Her face is beaming with delight
As he gives her a small panda bear
Which she lovingly clutches.

Mommy smiles and thanks the man
For the special gift
He has given to her daughter
And then heads over to the checkout counter
To make her final purchase.


The lonely old man came by the cafe
Every week
Clad in tattered blue jeans
A red plaid flannel shirt
Dingy white tennis shoes
His white straggly hair
Hidden underneath a tight baseball cap
Wearing a yellowed tooth grin
He was always eager for someone
To sit down with him
For a chat and cup of coffee
And after talking awhile
Tears would begin to well in his
Tired old eyes
As he would recount
Memories of his happy youth
When he would help his father
Plough the fields
And go swimming in the river
With his friends
In the summertime
When he first fell in love
With his wife, Violet
And the happy years that they spent together
Caring for the needy
Traveling to foreign lands
And raising three children
But when all his loved ones passed on
This lonely old man
Almost gave up on life
By shutting out the world
Until one day
Someone finally took the time
To sit down for a chat and cup of coffee
At Ray’s Cafe.


In the middle of a frigid January blizzard
I dream of sunbathing on a beach in July
Letting the sizzling summer rays
Turn my ivory skin golden brown
Lightening my hair to strawberry blonde
Letting the frolicking waves tickle my toes
As I wade in the ocean surf
Picking up colorful nautical treasures
In the rippled silken sand
Eating juicy slices of pink watermelon
Drinking glassfuls of freshly squeezed lemonade
Lying on a big blue blanket
Reading a spine-chilling novel
Writing letters to distant friends
Or gazing at handsome muscular lifeguards
As they save swimmers from drowning
Watching seagulls scavenging for fish
Suddenly the shrill sound of my alarm clock awakens me
From a peaceful slumber
But soon, it won’t be long
Before winter’s siesta begins to fizzle
And summer’s fiesta starts to sizzle.


A lonely old man plays his trumpet in torment
On the corner of Second Avenue and Beach Drive
In St. Petersburg, Florida.

Expressing notes of sorrow and anguish
Wishing his troubles would evaporate
Like the languid summer heat.
Nowhere to run
No one to turn to
He toots out tunes of torment
Like there was no tomorrow
Never once believing that his life
Would get any better.

But before his mournful eyes
A beautiful young girl walks over to him
With a smile so radiant
And a heart so generous
When she gently drops the crisp green bills
In his empty tattered black hat
His notes of melancholy quickly vanish
Metamorphosing into a melody of euphoria.


Every Friday after Thanksgiving,
My family takes a shopping excursion
To Vidler’s 5 & 10 Store on Main Street
In the quaint town of East Aurora, New York.

Inside the gingerbread-trimmed building
With the red and white awning
We attentively browse two overflowing floors
Of unique gifts and treasures.

There is something for everyone from vintage to contemporary:
Buster Brown Socks, shoelaces and bandanas
Curlers, change purses and cold cream
Hairnets, hosier and hairpins
Collectible tins, kitchen gadgets and picture frames.

All occasion boxed and rack cards
Assorted gift wrap and multicolored stationery
Gourmet tea, coffee and soup mixes
Unfinished wood items, beads and jewelry
Fabrics, yarn and buttons
Holiday décor, dolls and teddy bears.

Scented candles, soaps and potpourri
Waft through the nostalgic air
As women happily sort through trays of craft supplies
Silk flowers, craft ribbon and wicker baskets.

All around the delightful sounds of shopping can be heard:
The old brass cash registers
Ring up dozens of daily purchases
Children laugh and play in the aisles
A little girl munches on a bag of 10 cent popcorn
While riding Sandy the Mechanical Horse
And a young lad pays a penny for his fortune
From the antique fortune machine.

Tiny tots hover over old-fashioned candy jars
Filled with colorful edible jewels of savory confections:
Necco Wafers, Mallo Cups and Sugar Daddies
Crimson jawbreakers and rainbow gumballs
Licorice all-sorts and anise bears
Rock candy and salt-water taffy.

Mothers and daughters examine
Embroidered handkerchiefs, satin gloves and scarves
While young men bounce fluorescent rubber balls
On the store’s hardwood floors
As they playfully snatch handfuls of marbles and plastic dinosaurs
From a toy bin smorgasbord.
Eager little girls squeal excitedly for pretty baby and paper dolls
Waiting to be plucked off the shelves
Boys delight themselves with yoyos, kazoos and model cars
While fathers search for rare household tools and woodworking materials.

Brothers, Bob and Ed Vidler magically appear
In their red and white aprons
Warmly greeting customers
With merry smiles, sparkling eyes and enthusiastic humor
Assisting everyone in their merchandise selections.
With over 15,000 square feet of retail space
This third generation family business
Continues to grow in size and popularity
All the while preserving its original 1930’s character and charm.

Vidler’s has made a legendary mark on the shopping map
As one of the largest 5 & 10 stores you’ll ever visit.

Stop in and take a walk down memory lane
In this beautiful wonderland of vintage charm and unhurried bliss.
You’ll be sure not to exit empty-handed!


Our paths have not crossed
In nine years time
There was never a chance
For us to say goodbye.

You disappeared unobtrusively
Like melted snow in March
Leaving behind a puddle of bewilderment
To those who made your acquaintance.
I miss your happy-go-lucky nature
Like a four-leaf clover
Your carefree stance
Like a soaring albatross
Your artistic flair

Following in the footsteps
Of Renoir and Degas
Your comical lines
That outwit Jeff Foxworthy
Your literary passion for words
Mellifluous like Lord Byron.

Yet beneath the bright surface
Lies a dark cave of cobwebs
Revealing a silhouette of sadness
Hidden within the lonely trenches of pain
Unable to face reality’s misfortunes
You escaped into a reclusive cubbyhole
To find inner utopian happiness.

Your pain punctures my heart
Like a fresh gunshot wound
Oh, how I wish to erase
Your suffering like a disposable chalk board
Starting over from scratch
With a clean slate
But the pendulum keeps swinging
Inching time forward
Into a continuous cycle
Of unforeseen change.
Though there are still regrets
Of not opening
The forbidden door of passion
Like that late evening in May.

While strolling the cobblestone streets
Of Paris, France
You lured me with your debonair charm
Playfully flirting with your mocha eyes
And diamond smile.

Our hands brushed lightly together
Like a cluster of fluttering butterflies
Then spontaneously separated
Like repelling magnets
Apprehensive about where
This immediate affinity
Between us
Might proceed.

Whether the by product
Of this brief encounter
Would end in happiness or heartache.

But the watchband of time
Ticks onward
Leaving me
With the fanciful afterthought
Of re-connecting with you someday.

I envision our partnership
Being as beautiful
As a white swan
Gliding through the lake
Vibrant like the feathers
Of a coral flamingo
Mystical as a tropical rainstorm
In the Amazon jungle
And deeper than the base
Of the Grand Canyon.
Though we are separated
By the outskirts of time
Your face still appears
In the looking glass of my soul
Magnifying my desire
To unite with you tenfold
And reverse the pendulum’s lilt
Of yesterday’s clock.

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