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The Old Man and the Drifter

Updated on December 2, 2014

The Journey Begins

I was a young man, early twenties, barely scratching the surface of my life, barely sniffing the roses or tasting the sweet nectar, when one day I felt smothered by the routine of it all. Up at dawn, off to work, home dead tired, catch a little idiot tube, then off to bed, to be repeated the next day, and the next.

Weekends provided a respite, a break from the ordinary, a few drinks, some fun with friends, wasted days and wasted nights, a series of meaningless relationships and one-night stands, all a frantic search for God-only knows what.

Eighteen became nineteen, then twenty, then twenty-one and adulthood, responsibilities, the inevitable smothering as the internal pilot light flickered and the joy slowly ebbed. What had I accomplished? If this was a sampling of my life, then the next fifty or sixty years were going to be a slow waltz with the mundane and meaningless, those twin demons of twenty-first century life.

Is that all there is, I asked? Is that all there will be? What have I accomplished? How is it possible for someone to live a quarter of their life and have nothing to show for it? I had no accolades. I had grasped no golden rings. I was spiraling and I knew it, but what could I do? I was just one of seven-point-two-billion. What impact could I possibly have on this world?

Dejected and forlorn, I left work early one day and drifted, eventually finding myself on the side of the road, thumb held out, looking for a ride to anywhere but where I was.

The Road of Destiny
The Road of Destiny | Source

And Then He Appeared

Hours passed under a downpour, for good Samaritans were in short supply that day. Finally, as the skies cleared, an old, rusted pickup truck pulled to the side of the road, and the driver motioned to me to join him. The truck had seen better days. The tires were bare, the original paint sanded away, the upholstery ripped in places and held together with duct tape. In fact, the truck greatly resembled the driver. He looked somewhat familiar with heavy gray beard, silver hair, and a face etched by time and fate. He reached out his hand in greeting, and his grip was strong, hinting at a life of physical labor. I guessed his age at late-sixties, but in truth I may have missed the mark by not adding another ten or fifteen. His smile was unforced and inviting.

“Looks like you could use a ride, young feller. Where you heading?”

I told him I had no plan, that I was heading in whichever direction he was going.

“Well, I’m glad to have the company. West is my direction, toward the setting sun, so I guess it is for both of us. Now let me turn the heater on. You look chilled to the bone.”

We drove for several miles before either of us spoke again. By then I had warmed up sufficiently to stop shaking. The rhythmic sound of the tires on the pavement, and the warmth of the cab, lifted my dark mood, and I found myself enjoying the company of the old man on the open road. Slowly we began to share information.

I told him of my dissatisfaction with life, and my feelings of having wasted the time I had lived to date. I told him of the silliness of it all, the rat-chasing-his-own-tail syndrome that was threatening to engulf me, and I told him that if this is all there is to life, then what’s the point of continuing? He was a good listener, only interrupting to ask a clarifying question. He showed no signs of being judgmental, did not preach to me, but instead encouraged me to pour it all out, and I did.

“I mean, what the hell am I doing? Have I made any difference in life so far? Work, eat, sleep, booze it up occasionally, nail some strange tail from time to time, but what’s the point? I could die tomorrow and nobody would give a shit. I could drop off the face of the earth and not one ripple would be caused in the pool of life as we know it. I’ve basically wasted twenty-five years, and chances are I’ll waste the next twenty-five, and twenty-five after that, and then I’ll grow old, tire, and die. What’s the point? I’ve never been in love, I don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, and I have no direction at all.”

Scenery flashed by us as we drove on
Scenery flashed by us as we drove on | Source

But Enough About Me, I Said

“Listen to me, babbling on. You must think I’m a terrible bore,” I said. “Tell me something about yourself, please.”

He smiled at me, and the smile was genuine and inviting.

“I was just about your age when I started out on the road. It’s been a good life, but I sense it coming to a close. I’ve lived a long time, experienced much, but I think this will be my last road trip. I was married twice and buried both wives, one to cancer and the other to heart disease. God, they were good women, as loving as you could ever hope to find, and I miss them both something fierce.

“I had a son by one of them, but he died in a traffic accident. I’ve owned businesses but lost them. I lived in million dollar homes, but now I live in this old truck, traveling the back roads and meeting strangers such as yourself. I’ve held thirty jobs over the years, never could find one that satisfied me, damned near drowned off the coast of California, rode the rails, was homeless for a time, and saw some things in battle that no man should ever see. Yes indeed, it’s been a good life.” And then he laughed, and the laugh was infectious, and soon I found myself laughing along with him.

“Are you delusional?” I asked him. “What you just described is a lifetime of tragedy. How the hell can you laugh about it? How can you describe what I just heard as a good life?”

The Answer

He didn’t answer for a while, just kept his attention on the road. Finally he pulled the truck into a rest stop. He reached back and grabbed a thermos of coffee and took a sip, then offered me some.

“Sure, I guess some might call my life a tragedy, but they would be sadly mistaken in doing so. I’m seventy-five years old, and my life has been full. You speak of having no purpose. Well, my purpose was to experience all of life. You speak of having no one who gives a damn about you. I was loved, twice, and experienced all the joys that love can bring to a man. I had the privilege of watching, playing, and loving my son for ten years, and I’ve been lucky enough to have close friends over the years who knew the true meaning of brotherhood. Yes, my businesses failed, but I gained wisdom in their failure. Yes, I lost my homes, but I found a safe place within myself where I could reside and never be unhappy.

“I guess it’s all about perspective, young feller.”

The sun sets on one life, but rises on another
The sun sets on one life, but rises on another | Source

The Journey Ends

We drove for a few more days and then one bright, beautiful morning, as the sun rose behind us and the landscape transformed from grays to greens, he pulled over to the side of the road.

“My journey is over, young man. I’m going to drop you off here to continue your own. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.”

I found myself sad that my time with the old man had come to an end.

“I keep thinking you look so familiar. Excuse me all to hell, but I never asked your name, and here you were so kind in giving me a ride.”

He smiled that smile.

“My name is James Harding,” he said.

Was this a joke? Surely this was some reality television show. I was sure if I looked around closely I would find hidden cameras recording my reactions.

“Wait just a minute. My name is James Harding. How the hell could we both have the same name and meet randomly along an empty highway?”

The old man reached across me and opened my door. “Go live life, James Harding. Experience it all. Love like there is no tomorrow. Breathe deep and inhale all that life has to offer. Never fear the possibility of loss, but rather fear the possibility of never having lived life to the fullest. Let that fear fuel your every day. Now go. Life is good, and it is high time that you found that out in the only way possible. You’ve got to live life to fully appreciate it. And do you see that café up ahead? Your first wife is inside, waiting for you.”

Author’s note: Believe it or not, this short story was inspired by a television commercial. Inspiration will come if you are open to it. J Live a good life, my friends.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Wow, I got goosebumps by the end of this and can't believe it was inspired by a commercial. Bill, seriously, beautiful and entertaining story. Thank you for sharing and perfect way to start my morning off. Happy Tuesday now!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I love this story. Having a conversation with your future self would be amazing. The wisdom in this message is quite profound, my friend.

      Which TV commercial inspired this story?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Janine. I love the story premise as well. As soon as I saw the commercial the story came to me. Have a wonderful Tuesday my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha and good morning. I only saw the commercial once, but I think it was an insurance commercial. Anyway, I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Have a productive Tuesday.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I thought I was reading about your life until he introduced his name and it was you. What a great writer you are! Loved it! I hope you are inspired to write more fiction. Thank you my friend...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ruby. I love fiction and yes, I plan on doing more of it...thanks to encouragement like yours.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      What a story .....and inspiration does come if we are open and ready to receive it.

      This was a story that begged to be read from beginning to end...it flowed into itself and was one to read and reread for sure.

      You done good once again, bill..

      Angels are winging their way to you this morning ps

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Wonderful, alluring, captivating and satisfying.

      I am so glad to read a supernatural story from you.

      (That was the one draw back that I feared you would have with my novel.)

      This is short story competition material.

      It is absolutely one of your best, and I love it.

      There is a simplicity to the story but a familiarity that hits home.

      There is truth that resonates with anyone who has faced life's struggles.

      What an incredible way to start my day!!

      Thank you, Bill.

      Sending warm temperatures your way and a DJ. hug to go along

      with it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, PS! I loved this story too, not because I wrote it, but for its message. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

      Thanks for the angels. Those busy little creatures are heading back your way with hugs and blessings.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thank you DJ. I'm so happy you liked this. I love the message....live life the way it was meant to be lived, all out and no worries or regrets.

      You are a good friend...thank you.

      bill

    • monia saad profile image

      monia ben saad 2 years ago from In my Dream

      woow thank you for this strong history :)

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 2 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Bill you are a master! that was a heart warming and inspirational story. What a beautiful piece of work. Carry on, as I will look forward to more :)

    • profile image

      albin pius 2 years ago

      Remarkable.,...A great inspiration thanks for sharing.I think i am in the same phase as the man in the story.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Monia...thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, esmonaco. I'm so happy that you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you albin pius....best wishes on your journey.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, this has to be one of the very best you have written. I have goosebumps. I did not see that ending coming, but it's absolutely perfect. Beautiful! You brought tears to this old lady's eyes. Have a wonderful day .

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, shoot, Carb, that is so kind of you to say. Thank you so much. I love it when a story brings out emotions in my readers. You made my day, kind lady.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful story. Truly a journey I have taken myself a time or two. This brought back some fond memories, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric. It sounded familiar to me as well. :) Maybe we passed each other on the highway.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is a delightful story, Bill--a marvelous example of how inspiration can strike the creative writer from any source. The lesson wrapped inside your story is one that every young person needs.

      It reminds me of a poem I've loved most of my adult life, "Full Moon Song", by Georgie Starbuck Galbraith, that includes the lines, "And the heart is richer that chances pain/Than the heart in cotton wool."

      It's better to look back at an imperfect life than one so over-cautious nothing wonderful was ever experienced, isn't it?

      Jaye

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      Smilealot 2 years ago

      Just shows how a writer should try not to ever switch off (quite literally in this case) inspiration can come from anywhere...enjoyed this, thanks Bill :-))

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jaye. I love those lines...I'll have to look up that poem. Have a wonderful afternoon my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you smilealot.....I don't think ten years ago I would have found inspiration in that commercial...sure glad I do now.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I certainly identified with the Old Man, of course! Thanks, so much, for sharing where the inspiration came from. I really liked that!! Things flash through my mind, like that, as well, but of course, I don't write them down. Wonderful piece. You are a master! So happy to be able to call you a friend - as you so often say. Thanks for being there, and sharing!! ;-)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Good story, Bill. I needed a pick-me-up this afternoon. A lot of people look back on their lives and don't see any major accomplishments, but they don't see that they've accomplished their very purpose on earth. That of just being. Good parents, good children, good grandparents, that's what makes this world go 'round. Maybe that shoe salesman didn't write the great novel or become president but he was there to sell a pair of shoes when someone needed them. Like many of us, he filled a need. I hope at the end all people can look back and say "I was there when I was needed." That is life's greatest accomplishment!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you. I love this community of writers. So many of us become friends, cheerleaders, and a support along the way. The feeling is mutual, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, that was beautifully stated, and I firmly believe that is true. I'll never be famous, but I will have made a positive impact on the lives of many, and that is good enough for me. Thank you for your wonderful insights.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      You got me on this one, Bill. It was beautiful. Voted up!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      What an interesting story. I thought it was you, at first, that it was part of your history, but evidently not! You write a great story, Bill!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Bill, it took me awhile to figure out this was fiction and not a personal experience thing. Awesome job of writing as always.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      We're open to inspiration are not... sometimes it comes from unsuspected sources. Nice work my friend. whonu

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 2 years ago from USA

      I thought it was a true story until the end. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy life as it is.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Iris. If I had you fooled then my job is done. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Denise. My work here is completed. :) I was hoping it read like reality.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mike! That's what I was hoping for. Take care my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you whonu...strange where that inspiration comes from, but I'm sure glad it does.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was hoping you would think it was true...thank you, Barbara Kay.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      “I guess it’s all about perspective, young feller.”

      I loved it when the old man turned philosopher on you, Bro. Rather cool, then. Before that the conversations were great but sad-funny, if there is such a thing. (My new word).

      Anyway great tale and pretty sad in the sense that so many of us mirror this kind of journey. Ah well, the old man found a different way to look at it. Once again, cool!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      I also thought you were talking about yourself for a brieft time unitl I realized this was a very rewarding story. I think we all want to think we leave something of ourselves behind when we depart this world. I enjoyed your story, and it reminded me of that thought.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      Can I just say that the picture of the goose walking down the road is just awesome. Ok, now onto more serious matters. I love the circular nature of this story. We are left with the character knowing that he is walking into both love and tragedy, but somehow we know it will be OK.

      I think everyone goes through times of deep loss and introspection. The question of wasted time is one that has been exponentially appearing with each passing generation. It's hard though, balancing realism and necessity, with passion. I guess you could say I'm on the tip of a quarter life crisis. My life has been turned upside down in Job-like proportions, but I know it will be OK in the end. Just buck it up and keep trudging forward. I've never met a writer that didn't write from a deep place of current of past tense pain. Got to pay my dues.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow, what a story Bill. You are one heck of a story teller. I couldn't wait to see how this ended. Wonderful job.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Bill. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, manatita. I just have to figure out a way to make money with creative writing. Then I'll have the best of both worlds.

      peace and blessings to you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Pamela. I appreciate you stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed this bit of creativity.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, you brought up an interesting point at the very end. I do believe the truly good writers come from a place of pain. Maybe it is the pain that awakens our creativity. I don't know, but I do know the ones I know have been there. Thanks my friend, and best wishes to you as you trudge forward.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Absolutely love This story. I watched a movie at once on television about a group of people who go to a diner to get out of the rain. It turns out that God is running the diner and he has a special message for each one of them. It was a great movie and left me with the same feeling as your story. God has a purpose for each one of us would just need to realize that and discover it for ourselves.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, I saw that movie, but I can't remember the name of it....yes indeedy, pretty much the same message. Thanks for reminding me of that. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Ah, Bill...

      you had me spellbound -- this one felt like you wrote it without pausing for air.

      I know I didn't breathe while reading it. Brava! Love, Maria

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      I rode along for the whole journey, couldn't wait to see where it took you. Fabulous and wonderful, I just loved it. Phenomenal descriptions I could picture the driver, and feel your emotions and relate to how you felt about the art of living...or, rather, discovering from the man that life is certainly an art. I sure wanted to go along with you when you met your first wife. Brilliant! Your gift of writing fills me with wonder and encouragement. God bless you always. Sparklea

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Bill the movie was an independent film called The Encounter and it was on Netflix

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, thank you so much. This one was special to me. I guess it shows when I really feel a story.

      love and blessings dear lady

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, thank you my dear. Some stories just tell themselves. This was one of them. I just drove the bus and enjoyed the journey.

      blessings always my loyal follower and friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sandra. I'll look it up this weekend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, you sure had us fooled there in thinking you were writing about yourself, and then that name came out as a shock and fabulous ending! Wouldn't it be great to meet your younger self. I believe I saw that commercial too.

      Wonderful way to wind down the day.

      Peace and blessings as we head further down that road of life!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very beautiful story with a great lesson of life. The old man was so wise to see all positiveness in his tragic life and inspire the young person that 'this is the way of living life to its entirety'.

      I once again appreciate your writing skills and for presenting such a beautiful story with a lesson.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Brilliant it held me from the first line, no padding just first class work. Then, Bang! What an ending.

      Voted up and all.

      Graham.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I am familiar with that commercial and I love it. You did a fantastic job writing this story. I don't think I will ver forget it, billy. Voted absolutely beautiful and awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Faith. I'm glad I had you all fooled. Evidently I did what I set out to do.

      Blessings on this cold Wednesday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Venkatachari M. I believe there is a lesson here for all of us, and you obviously found that lesson.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, thank you very much, kind sir. Have a splendid day in Lancashire.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Music to my ears, breakfastpop. Thank you so much.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      What a superb message! I could see the man, see you both on the road in that pick-up. I did think, after a while, that it could be the same person and was so pleased to be right! That's half the skill of dropping hints as a writer and you do it so well. It's a difficult one to pull off.

      We miss so many opportunities in life and we need to be aware. Life is wonderful and we shouldn't waste one second of it.

      Lovely story, bill.

      Ann

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      Such a good twist! Never saw it coming! This made me very happy for the young man that he would grow wise having experienced a life he didn't know he wanted. Wonderful story, billybuc!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, your message at the end of your comments is so true. Life is wonderful. I know time is running short, but I'm going to wring every ounce of life out of this journey that remains.

      Thank you kind lady. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Besarien. I love it when a story I've written affects people in a positive way. I appreciate you and your comment.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      What a clever story. I didn't catch on immediately, but I loved the ending. I enjoyed this story very much - an excellent job on your part.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Perfect story, Bill. Just in time. People need to hear this kind of story and want to believe in it. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Pamela. I'm really happy that you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think that's true, Randi. I think I'll write more of them in hopes that I reach someone with the message. Thank you dear friend.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting and enjoyable story with an important message, Bill. Thanks for sharing it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I'm very happy that you enjoyed it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great story with a super-great message: "my purpose was to experience all of life." I need this like bread needs flour. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...thank you, Dora. First a metaphor and now a simile. I love it!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Bill, You have taken a nugget and worked it into a gem of a story! Life isn't always how we envision it, but, if we try to gain wisdom from all kinds of circumstances , we will find that we have lived well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Cat. This is my favorite kind of writing. Now all I have to do is figure out how to make money doing it.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      like the lottery commercial. the man goes back in time to make him choose the winning numbers.. His future self came back with the wisdom his young self was lacking.. like the story

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Some how I missed this hub. An excellent write here and you are a talented writer.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      An amazing and inspiring story, a self reflection! Great idea and wonderfully written.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, a beautiful and powerful tale with a great message, it had a profound effect on me, I think this story have the making of a good episode for the 'twilight zone.' Exceptional writing my friend.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      When you first introduced the old man I thought he was Santa Claus. Okay, stop laughing, it is Christmas time after all. I can see this story as a Hallmark movie, happy ending and all. Disgruntled young man finds truth in a visit from his future self....all the earmarks of a great movie, a tearjerker with the last sentence for sure.

      All of the comments here are so very true!

      Voted all but funny and shared for the Christmas spirit of it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Frank. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, DDE! Now to turn that talent into money...that's the quest.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur. A self-reflection? Most definitely.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Jo! I hadn't thought of the Twilight Zone, but I can see it as an episode. Your praise is gratifying. Thank you dear friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Mary, thank you! I can see how you would have thought of Santa Claus, although in truth, my mind never went there. LOL Thanks for the kind words. You are appreciated.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      Great read! Jamie

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Jamie!

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      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      What an awesome message Bill. You certainly have a great delivery. Funny that I read this topic today since I just had a thought about the rat race of life and that I refuse to start may day with the hopes of "getting through it" just so I can get to the next. I have found peace in the moment and the true quality of living your life to the fullest. Thank you Friend!!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, you are so young to have figured that lesson out. Well done my friend. It took me a lot longer to arrive at that place, but now that I'm here there is no returning to the rat race for me.

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      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      With this nugget of an inspirational short story, you have proved once again, Billy, that you are a tremendously creative writer with talent and heart. When I grow up, I want to be you.

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      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Bill, we find inspirations in the most random of places. That's how it's always been for me. Awesome hub!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We do for sure, vkwok, if we are open to it. Thanks for your kind words, and have a great weekend in sunny Hawaii!

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      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Wow! What an amazing story!! I could so relate to the elder James Harding's way of thinking...memories last a lifetime. He had some good ones! :)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      He did for sure, Linda. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my little story.

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      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Perfectly written, Bill. I didn't expect that twist at the end. Great writing isn't just a gift that you possess...it's hard wired in your DNA. There are many ways to tell this inspiring story; but not nearly as well. You nailed it, my friend. :-)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you so much. It's kind of funny, really, because growing up I never considered myself to be creative or a good writer. Something just clicked three or four years ago. I see life differently now, and perhaps that made all the difference.

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      Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 2 years ago from New York, NY

      Great stuff, Bill. Shocked that you got your inspiration from a TV commercial! You're right though..."Inspiration will come if you are open to it." Voted thumbs up!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you lawdoctorlee...I appreciate you reading my little story. I barely remember the product being sold on that commercial, but I do remember the final scene....hence, the story.

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wonderful reminder of how important to live every day to the fullest. This is our only chance at this life and we need to make it count.

      Thanks for the Beatles video. Revolver is one of my favourite albums and it was wonderful to hear that song again. Good times.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma. You are obviously a woman of discerning and exquisite tastes if you like Revolver. :)

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      Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great story, my friend. Truly good writing is hard to find, and even harder to DO, but you definitely have the knack. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I've felt that way myself, especially in young adulthood. I'm glad to be in a more serene and peaceful place now, and don't regret much of the experiences I've had, whether miserable or joyful. I know exactly what you mean. Good fictions carries a lot of truth.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paradise, thank you. I did enjoy writing this story, and it is nice to have it so well-received. Isn't it wonderful to find serenity at this point in life?

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, life is good, no matter what happens. People come and go in our lives all the time, but we learn so much from those experiences, whether we realize it at the time or not.

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      beta5909 2 years ago

      Love it.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Beta...this is one of my favorite works...by me. :)

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