Special Moments

There are times in your life when all of your problems and all of your worries seem to disappear… even if only for a few moments.

Recently, I was wandering around the local grocery store with a piece of chewing gum in my mouth, trying to find some coffee… lost as usual. I’m a man; we can drive a car from point A to point B using ten different routes, but we can’t find one item in a grocery store.

I found the coffee section, walked down between the racks and came upon 659 different types of coffee. After five minutes I found what I thought was the correct kind and headed off towards the registers.

Like most grocery stores this one had a coffee section where you could grind beans into fresh coffee. Standing in that section, looking at the 200 different categories and brands of coffee beans, was a small, weak looking older woman, at least in her 70s.

Apparently she thought I worked int the store because, as I walked by, she addressed me.

“Excuse me, sir; is this the coffee that you grind yourself?”

I told her “yes, ma’am”, without bothering to tell her that I didn’t work there.

She suddenly looked sad, and said that she had no idea how to grind her own coffee.

Then she went on to tell me that she was living on a pension. She also told me about her nephew. He was serving in the armed forces and stationed overseas, and was coming home in a few days. She told me how he would sit with her and drink a particular type of coffee. I could tell by the way she spoke that those moments with her nephew were special to her. And why wouldn’t they be?

I asked her which type of coffee it was, and she showed me. It was one of those French roasted things. I took the bag and showed her how the grinder worked… I poured in the beans, placed the bag underneath the hopper, found out what type of coffee maker she had and adjusted it accordingly. Then I turned it on.

It only took about 15 seconds to grind 400 grams of coffee… and the smell was wonderful.

I took the bag from the hopper and handed it to her, still open. She put her nose to the bag, took a deep breath and said, “don’t you just love the smell of fresh ground coffee?”… and she held the bag up a bit.

So I leaned over and put my head next to hers, as she reached up and took hold of my arm, and we both took a deep breath of fresh ground coffee.

As I stood up, she still held on to my arm; she smiled and looked me in the eyes as she said, “you’re a wonderful young man.”

Then she walked away with a receipt for her purchase.

For a few moments I was lost in one of those special moments. For a few moments I stood next to this wonderful lady, and together we got lost in the scent of fresh ground coffee. That night, back at home, I put some sugar cubes into the coffee and watched them dissolve into the hot water in the kettle.

There are special moments in your life when you don’t think about your problems, your worries, your concerns.

You just stop and smell the coffee along the way.

The Frog Prince

One fine morning a young princess put on her hat and shoes, and went out to take a walk by herself in a dense wood where there was a huge flock of birds; the fog soon melted in the morning sun, and when she came to a cool spring of water with a rose in the middle of it, she sat down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her favorite plaything; and she was always throwing it up into the air, and catching it again as it fell.

After a time she threw it up so high that she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled along on the ground, until at last it fell sown into the spring. The princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so deep that she could not see the bottom of it. She began to cry, and said, “If I could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world.”

While she was speaking, an ugly frog put its head out of the water, and asked sympathetically, “Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?”

She said, “what can you do for me, you disgusting frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.”

The frog said, “I do not want your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off your golden plate, and sleep on your bed, I will fetch you your ball again.”

“What nonsense,” thought the princess, “this silly frog is talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me, and he wouldn’t survive without the spring, though he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell him he shall have what he asks.”

So she said to the frog, “Well, if you will bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.”

Then the frog put his head down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while he came up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge of the spring.

As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pick it up; and she was so pleased to have it in her hand again, that she never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as she could.

The frog called after her, “Stay, princess, and take me with you as you said.”

But she did not stop to hear a word.

The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard a strange noise—tap, tap—as if something was coming up the marble staircase, and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the door, and a little voice cried out and said:

“Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain, in the greenwood shade.”

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw the frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadly frightened, and slamming the door with a big bang as fast as she could come back to her seat.

The king, her beloved father, seeing that something had frightened her, asked her what was the matter.

“There is a disgusting frog,” said she, “at the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring last morning. I told him that he should live with me here, thinking that he could never get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and he wants to come in.”

While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:

“Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain, in the greenwood shade.”

Then the king said to the young princess sincerely, “As you have given your word you must keep it; so go and let him in.”

She did do, and the frog leapt into the room, and then straight on—tap, tap—till he came up close to the table where the princess sat.

“Please lift me upon the chair,” said he to the princess, “and let me sit next to you.” As soon as she had done this, the frog said, “Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.”

This she did, and the frog ate as much as he could; he seemed to have a big appetite. After the dinner, the frog yawned and said, “Now I am tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.” And the princess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long.

As soon as it was light the frog jumped up, climbed downstairs, and went out of the house.

“Now, then,” thought the princess, “at last he is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more.” But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the same tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:

“Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.”

And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon her pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night he did the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning she was astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazing on her with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen and standing at the head of her bed.

He told her that a devilish witch had cast a spell over him and changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to endure till some princess would like to take him out of the spring, and let him eat from her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights.

“You,” said the prince, “have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for but that you should go with me into my father’s kingdom, where I will marry you, and love you as long as you live.”

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying “Yes” to all this; and as they spoke a brightly colored coach drove up, with eight beautiful horses, decked with fine feathers and a golden harness; and behind the coach rode the prince’s faithful servant, who had cried over the misfortunes of his dear master during his endurance so long and so bitterly, that his heart had almost burst.

They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eight horses, and all set out, full of joy and excitement, for the prince’s kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great many years.


I squeezed out of the crowd and jumped off the bus as fast as I could. I landed on the hard ground and virtually strained my back. I could hear the yells of the other passengers behind me telling me to watch where I was going, and some other dirty words in the local dialect. I didn’t care. I was supposed to meet her ten minutes ago, and I didn’t need any more stress. I was usually punctual. I didn’t know what was wrong with me today. I probably shouldn’t have wasted so much time picking out clothes to wear. “Stupid, stupid!” I murmured as I ran up the steps.

We’re supposed to meet in the middle of the square and then bring her to a chamber concert by a leading orchestra. I hope she’s still there. Please! Please! Let her still be there, I thought to myself. I am beginning to get frantic. Should I have brought a bunch of flowers? No, that’s too awkward. Why am I wearing this shirt? I look like a complete idiot. God, why am I so stupid? I began to near our meeting place. Just up a few more steps. A man carrying a suitcase yelled in anger as I pushed him aside.

“Watch where you’re going as…” “Sorry! I’m in a rush!” I yelled back.

Almost there just a few more steps. I hope. I hope. Yes! I could see her waiting there. Made it at last.

“Hi!” I said slightly out of breath. I could feel a stream of sweat go down my cheek. “You’re late. Too late for the concert.” She said giving me a slightly annoyed smile. “I’m sorry… It’s just that…” I tried to explain, but she cut me off. “Don’t worry about it… Forget about the concert.” She said as she moved closer to me. She embraced me, and for that brief moment it was like she was the only one in the square with me. It was like a dream. The whole world went silent, and the only thing I could feel was her warmth. “Well let’s get going.” She said as she moved away from me. “Where to then?” I asked… I could still taste her on my lips. “Oh… It doesn’t matter, let’s just walk.” “Alright let’s walk.” We walked off holding each other closely.

Then he awoke. The sunlight streaming into his room blinded him for a few seconds. He slowly sat up and lingered there a minute longer trying to remember everything he had just dreamt. “Someday…”, He whispered to himself as he slowly walked towards the bathroom, half naked.

Then she awoke. She slowly got out of her bed and stepped onto the cool carpet. She stood there just a while longer trying to remember everything she had just dreamt. “Someday…” She whispered to herself as she slowly walked towards the toilet.

A Little Bird Told Me

As I sat enjoying a cup of tea one morning before work, my children brought a catalogue to show me what they had found. They pointed to a picture of a tee shirt with vertical stripes. They said it reminded them of me.

Pleased that they were thinking of me, I looked at the picture. Then I frowned. On the front of the shirt, in large bold print, were the words “I Yell Because I Care”.

“But I don’t yell at you,” I said softly. This brought laughter and rolling eyes from children.

“Oh yeah, Mom, you sure do!” said my oldest teenager. Number Two added, “All the time!” The youngest put his hands over his ears in pretended fright and spun around in a circle until he collapsed on the floor, giggling.

“No, no,” I protested quietly. How could they possibly think I yelled at them? I was a good mother. I listened and helped when I could. I was always there for them, lending support and love. But a mom that yelled?

“We can prove it,” said the oldest. “Every time you raise your voice, Bo Peep goes nuts.”

I eyed my little blue and white parrot with suspicions. She sat calmly on her perch, watching us. She was waiting for someone to notice her, and perhaps come over for a talk and little playtime. She thrived on the attention that four children could give.

“Okay, I’ll prove it,” I challenged them. “Let me think of something to say loudly, and then we’ll see.”

I’d like to say that it took me some time to come up with an appropriate phrase to “yell”, but in all honesty, it just sprang to my mind. I cleared my throat gracefully, then sang out, “YOU KIDS HURRY UP OR YOU’LL BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!”

Before I finished speaking, Bo Peep was flapping around inside her cage, hopping from perch to perch, screaming, “TSK… TSK… TSK…” She certainly gave us her two cents’ worth. We all received a thorough scolding out from the most minute member of our household.

It was a very humble mother who apologized then. The kids were right, I was wrong. I now realized the truth. I was a mom who yelled, after all.

A few minutes later, the children were still laughing as they made their way out the door and on to school. I took another sip of hot tea, then turned and shook a finger at my feathered friend.

“Miss Peep…,” I began, only to be interrupted. Bo Peep puffed out her cheek feathers and said earnestly, “You are sooooo pretty, pretty, pretty!”

Well, I could hardly argue with such an honest friend, could I? It had to be true.

After all, a little bird told me so.


My name is Ester—it means star and I am fifteen years old. I have been fighting addictions for years. I spend all of my childcare earnings on soda and junk food, none of which helps my personality, my savings account or my figure; and none of which seems to give me more than a moment of pleasure. Only a small fraction of such earnings went to buying literature books.

As I understand it, an addiction is something which has been given power by the mind to replace another thing. I feel sad, so I drink a soda which I find to be sweet and good and for a few moments I no longer feel sad. Repeat the experience. After several repetitions, the soda drinking replaces my sorrow and I have become addicted to it.

You see, I have a lot zeal for dancing; my sole interest is in dancing. I’ve submitted an application for membership to a local dancing club. I dislike my school curriculum. I’ve never hoped for admission to a higher education institution. I have always wanted to be a dancer in all phases of my life but life has blessed me with a pear-shaped body. I am elegant and graceful; I have rhythm and I’m good at coordinating my movements; but, my body is not right and no dancing instructor will allow me to dance in a performance, although they are perfectly happy to take money in exchange for lessons. I realize that junk food isn’t helping my shape but I was grossly overweight long before I became an addict.

My struggle with my addiction became an entry in my English journal and when my teacher, Mrs. Drayton, read this piece, she said, “Don’t be pessimistic. I might be able to help you substitute a healthier addiction for your current addiction; an addiction that would allow your hands to dance to a rhythm.”

I knew there was nothing to lose and following Mrs. Drayton’s instructions, I took some of my earnings and purchased some pretty pink, purple and white dyed cotton threads.

Mrs. Drayton loaned me a pair of 6.5-millimeter knitting needles and showed me how to wrap the yarn around my fingers. Knitting felt very clumsy at first but she encouraged me and told me that it was like learning to hold a pencil to write and it would soon begin to feel natural. For 20 minutes I struggled to make my hands and fingers do what I wanted them to do before giving up.

An hour later, I was busy with some homework and I realized how neat it had felt to work those needles and I wanted to experience that feeling again. I picked up the needles and had another go and this time everything felt right. I quickly produced a dishcloth. The rhythm was soothing and I felt good about the little cloth that I had just made and I was eager to begin another project. Visions of hats and sweaters danced before my eyes. I had discovered another form of creativity.

I still feel sad that I will never become a performing dancer but when the sorrow descends upon me, instead of yielding to my old junk-addiction, I take up my knitting. I relax into the rhythm, enjoy the colors and textures that are building before my eyes, and I feel a bond with all others who find comfort in handwork.