Coming of Age Friendship Funny

He woke up and prayed every morning. He never really asked for anything, just thanked to the Lord for his life, his wife, and the rowdy family next door. He almost felt like their second grampa, and they often made him smile as he watched them play.

It was a large family, and it would take a mean old Grinch not to fall for their cuteness. But to him, it was a chance to be a friend who could give produce from his garden, make toys for in his woodshop, or just lend a friendly ear.

So he was as close to them as a mere neighbor could be. He watched them grow, fight, make up and even a few of the eldest had little ones of their own.

As he sat there that morning and pondered which blessings he would pick to thank the man upstairs for most, he smiled to himself.

What an easy decision...the brats next door win by a total knock out in the first round. As for waking to his wife's face every morning, well heaven will only wait so long. Money, he never had much anyway and at his age it mattered less and less. Can't take that to the other side.

But there was something vulnerable and endearing about the little waifs running around like wild indians, making him wish he were young again for a while, so he could run and jump with them.

But it wasn't just to their youth, it was how much fun they had with little more than their imagination and each other.

As for his own hobby, he had a woodshop in his garage, where he made purple Martin nesting boxes and sold to them for extra money. He just loved to work out there, shaping and sawing, painting until each one was a work of art (and heart).

But as satisfying as his hobbies of woodshop and garden were to him, those rowdy homeschooled bunch next door were his real way to make the days pass faster.

Just watching them grow into young men and ladies reminded him of watching a rosebush bloom. You grow it, feed and care for it, and of course along the way train and prune and shape it. Then, of course, you watch it bloom.

Yes sir, that family was like a garden or a woodworking shop. To make it worthwhile you put in the work, but someday you can just step back and enjoy.

As for the here and now, he got a first row seat to watch the process, boy howdy, it sure was more interesting than his wife's soaps.

Entertaining and once in a while those lil rascals taught him a thing or two as well. Lessons about cameradery, the sibling bond, as well as dreaded rivalry. Every bit of it was so fascinating at his age with his own grown and gone with kids of their own.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? He learned a bit each day, and if not for that what's a long, full life good for? No sir, he wouldn't just stagnate his way into the old folks home.

They'd most likely have to pry him out front door with a crowbar or sure not step an inch beyond his stoop.

Such thinking as he stared up the bedroom ceiling in the morning was another way to pass the early day. He liked to kiss his wife and be the first thing she saw when she woke up, so he just sat and did his thinking and his prayers.

Isn't a bit ironic that the moments when we appreciate youth are the ones long after it's passed you by? By then all of us can use pep in our respective steps. Unhappily we're the most feeble of all by then.

As I we age, if we're graceful, we adopt a young friend (or a houseful) and live vicariously. Not all are so lucky to have their own broods live nearby.

So the children became good friends and he looked forward to watching them play and reminiscing to himself about when he could do those runs, jumps, and cartwheels.

As we age, he mused, it's not what you can't do anymore that hurts, it's what you had a blast in youth doing but have no o energy for.

So I guess most seniors play the what if I were young card game secretly in their heads. Like a gypsy, it can be slippery slope. Miss it too much and you might get hurt physically, lose touch with your inner child and become what we once called a geezer. In other words, "See here sonny, in my day"...

It's a fine line between young at heart and just trying too hard. Careful, cross that line too much and bust a metaphorical hipster, hip hop beebop and that's so UN Hip. Not to be too blunt, I hope.

Not that I have to worry when I live next door from diapers all the way up to first dates. To they'll keep you young inside where it couts.

From the day he net those funny little ones he felt a bit younger every day, but certainly not in his arthritic body. It was his soul that she'd the years.

Feeling young again at nearly ninety. If you told a younger version of him that, he'd laugh or say he mightn't see that day and he would stay his own rascal if a self forever.

If his twenty years old alter ego only knew someday he would envy young men at that age?

Like any youth, I would have scoffed at the very idea. I'll be young forever dummy, youd think deep in your heart. But time takes it toll road fee no matter what happens.

When I meet my maker, said he, I want no regrets. So instead of being envious or annoyed he decided to cherish each moment with his young pals. After all, each day might be just that.

September 20, 2022 06:48

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Tommy Goround
00:24 Sep 29, 2022

Zero conflict is what? A diary post. A background sketch. The character is great. But you want me to tell you that this is a 3000 word or less story market with the number one spot on Google. There are people back in contest number 8 that work for the New York times. That's your new peers. There's great feeling in this. If you had a conflict and overcame the conflict and this would probably be in the top 30% of stories. Maybe better. So we have a beautiful old man that loves God and reminds me that I really should start praying in the m...


Dawn Kaltenbaugh
11:39 Oct 03, 2022

thank you for the advice. I never thought of having something bad happen to the neighbor, as this character was based on a real person I knew as a child. You're right, a conflict would make the story more compelling. Perhaps I should have mentioned the dark side of the family's life that he never knew about. That it broke his heart when he realized that the father was a monster, but he missed it. It broke his heart so much that he died not long after getting the news from a friend. Do you think it would have made the story better?


Tommy Goround
13:48 Oct 03, 2022

That's interesting. If I understand you correct. You're saying that the cute little kids next door have a devil of a father. Then the protagonist, The Good neighbor can come over and save them? That is very interesting from a literary perspective for me. Typically the saving neighbor is a static character. We barely know them and then the movie makers or the story makers have the static character come and save the family or protagonist out of the blue. It's usually during a storm. I can think of probably 20 examples right now. I've neve...


Tommy Goround
13:50 Oct 03, 2022

Oops.... First blood kind of has that theme. The movie on Netflix about the grandmother that is a landlord and neighbor and suddenly is a member of the CIA as a backstory... Has that theme. Regardless, if we like your character we want his normal and happy life to continue. His normal and happy life cannot continue if he knows that the kids next door are being abused or bullied or something like that. It could amplify the story


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Trebor Mack
03:11 Sep 25, 2022

Your proofreading missed a few grammar and typing errors.


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