It is the end of garden season. Time has also passed for Mr. Jardin in this short story. Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to jump over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of the story.

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The Last Plant, by Rich Paschall

Every spring and summer for many years, decades in fact, Mr. Jardin had spent weekday evenings and all day Saturday or Sunday tending to his yard and garden.  With such a large area to manage, Mr. Jardin found the work to be a full-time job, in addition to his full-time job.

The yard was bigger than most in the area and there was a long garden down one side with a vast variety of plants.  Along the other side ran a sidewalk, but Mr. Jardin found just enough room between the walk and the neighbor’s fence for a row of lilies of the valley.  The flowers did not last long, but the large green leaves were there all season.

Beyond the back fence near to the alley was a cement slab where Mr. Jardin often parked his car.  Along a fence on the side…

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After a few days of cool weather, we may have some warm weather left this season. A day trip may still be in order.  Click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY to read the rest of the article and see our day trip pictures.

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Matthiessen State Park day trip, by Rich Paschall

When you are heading out on your Day Trip, you may wish to take a long a few provisions.  On our recent trip, my friend and I took a small flexible cooler with some water and flavored water.   Then we dropped into the pockets some granola bars, chewy bars of something and some small pieces of chocolate or something.  They were just quick snacks.  If you plan to visit some picnic grounds, it is a bigger production and you should plan in advance and start earlier.  We are not so organized so our lunch was at the concession stand and our dinner was at Culver’s on the way home.

Our main goal of the day trip was Starved Rock State Park.  This spot is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Illinois and rival’s Chicago’s Navy Pier in surveys of the best places…

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It’s not too late in the season for a day trip, no matter where you are. Here’s one of ours. Be sure to click “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of our adventure.

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Day Trip, by Rich Paschall

While most people would like to go away for vacation, it is not always possible to pack up and catch a flight to England or Ireland, Germany or France, Mexico or Colombia.  In fact, it may not even be possible to take a trip for a few days to another domestic locale by train, bus or automobile.  If your time off of work is mostly given up to obligations around town, you may wish to consider a day trip.  This could be one overnight, or just somewhere close enough to visit during the day, and return home by nightfall.

A lot of stairs to the top

When my “old friend” and occasional travel companion came to visit for a week, we each had a list of things to do together, and some with others.  He had dates and I had social and medical obligations to attend.  When…

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This is a short story of a man who thought, perhaps incorrectly, that he was out of options. Click View original post at the post to follow over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of the story.

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The Final Sentence, by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

In a cold and sterile room, Ernie sat on the end of a table. He waited in brutal silence for someone to enter.  He studied the floor intently through his boredom.  The light-colored tile was clean.  He could find no dust in the corners, although he examined the areas closely.  One small window that could not be opened allowed a little sunlight to fall to the floor.  The counter along the wall was clear.  The cabinets were labeled with the contents.  And a small chair awaited an occupant.

Ernie did not feel well.  He had not felt well for months.  Perhaps it was longer.  He had been somewhat in denial until recently.  His body could no longer ignore what his brain had tried hard to conceal.  The persistent aches and acute pains had become a fact of life.  Now there was this, the reason for…

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When we look at vacation photos, we always wish to travel again. While we dream of the next vacation, we look back at the last one.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

A Visit to Strasbourg by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Just across the Rhine River from Germany, in the northeast corner of France, lies the capital of the Grand Est (East) Region.  It is the largest metropolitan area in Alsace and home to the European Parliament, the legislative body of the European Union.  Because of its central location in Europe and proximity to Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as “Allemand” (Germany), it is a major confluence of architecture, culture and cuisine.

Gare de Strasbourg

Whether you arrive by train from Paris or other city or town around France, or come via the Lufthansa bus from Frankfurt, Germany, your first stop will be at Gare de Strasbourg (or Strasbourg railway station).  You can get a nonstop train from Paris, but you may find it easier to fly to Frankfurt and take the bus direct from Frankfurt airport.  Having made this trip many times…

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It’s still summer and it may be hot where you are, so we have some hot dance tunes to recall.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Hot Summer Dancing, by Rich Paschall

Summer is in full swing, just like your dance moves.  The nights are hot and the days are sweltering.  We can tell by the sweat running down your flushed face that you are not just a Hot Child in the City, but that you have the Dance Fever.  It happens to many so do not be five alarmed.  In The Heat of the Night, you just have to get up and move.  We are not handing you a Hot Line, just our top ten HOT dance tunes.

If our lasttop ten list of Dance Songs did not get you out of your chair, we think these will do it.  They are hot, really hot.  In fact, they are so hot all the titles tell you so.  Yes, they all have heat (or fire) in the title.  Since you have heat in your shoes, get up…

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Market Days, Chicago

Each August Chicago has a celebration we call Market Days, also known as North Halsted Market Days for its location.  It runs for a half mile stretch of Halsted Street through the area known as Boystown.  It has been given this designation due to the number of gay bars, shops and restaurants in the area.

Both sides of the street are lined with food booths, beverage booths, arts and crafts.  Some community organizations have booths to promote their cause.  Along the way you will find 4 stages of entertainment.

On Sunday night I started at the south end and walked toward the northernmost stage to see MAX.  On the way I could see people of all backgrounds and colors.  It is refreshing to see such a varied group of people (many thousands front to back) all enjoying a night of entertainment together.  It is not just an LGBTQ crowd, but rather all orientations are on hand.  It is easy to tell that as you walk through the crowd.

Unfortunately the Bud Light Stage was a lighting disaster.  Almost everything was backlit in such a way that you could not see the artists’ faces.  Maybe they will learn to do better next year.

Click on any picture to go through the larger version of each photo.


This gives the details of where I would travel every year if I could. It is a destination like no other.  Click “View Original post” at the bottom to follow over to SERENDIPITY online magazine and the rest of the story.

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A Trip to Alsace, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

In the eastern part of France, along the Rhine River and the borders of Germany and Switzerland, lies the region known as Alsace.  The colorful history and culture of this area could never be told in a brief post. From ancient time to the present, the land has been part of the Holy Roman Empire, the Frankish Realm, German Empire, Kingdom of France, Nazi Germany, modern-day France and others.  The fusion of cultures and languages makes the area a fascinating trip through history, tradition, architecture and cuisine.  A prominent feature of the region today is the wine vineyards.  A trip down the wine road is a delight.  I have done it often.

Green alternative

Although you can take a flight to Paris and go on to Strasbourg, the largest city of Alsace, by train, the more efficient and cheaper transit may…

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As I contemplate my next great adventure, I look back at the vacation thoughts shared last year on SERENDIPITY. Be sure to hit “View original post” at the bottom to follow over to for the rest of the article.

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When Your Destination Is Not A Place, Rich Paschall

Where would you go if you could travel anywhere at all?  Where would your sense of adventure lead you?  Would it be around the world or around town?  Perhaps it would have to be domestic.  You could go to St. Louis and see the Gateway Arch and the mighty Mississippi River.  You could go up river to Hannibal, Missouri and see Mark Twain’s home.  From there you could head east to Springfield, Illinois and see Abe Lincoln’s wonderfully preserved home, maintained by the National Park Service.

Gateway arch

You might have one of the great wonders of North America in mind.  So you could head north of Buffalo, New York to Niagara Falls and ride the Maid of the Mist right up to the Falls, or you could climb down the cliff to a point where the water falls between you and…

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With the most recent story of Harold, the great planner, up on SERENDIPITY, it seems a good time to look at the first story. Be sure to hit “View original post” at the bottom to follow over to for the rest of this episode.

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There were many stories about Harold, the great planner from the Midwest who retired to an orderly life in Florida.  This was the first.

Everyone who knew Harold would agree; he was an orderly man.  Everything about his well-ordered existence was, well, “orderly.” That would perhaps be the only word to describe it.  He firmly believed in the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  That did not just include things, but it also included time.  Harold ran on a strict schedule and parceled out his time for maximum efficiency.  He was dependable, likable and predictable.


Harold had been chief mechanical engineer at a plant that made small motors for big applications.

This work demanded designing a wide variety of parts for the many specialized applications.  Harold was up to every task.  He drew his special parts the old-fashioned way at his drafting table.

He kept copies…

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