When Harold retired from his satisfying job at a big Midwestern manufacturing facility, he planned on a well-ordered and simple retirement along the Gulf coast of Florida. It would be one where everything was planned for the most efficient use of time. Every day would have a purpose and every hour would fit his schedule. The problem with plans is they sometimes go awry. You see, Harold did not make plans that accommodated interaction with the people he encountered in everyday life. Neighbors, friends and even a mysterious little boy disrupt the well-ordered life of the well-organized man. As a result, Harold is not as well-organized as he had hoped. But Harold is nothing, if not persistent, and he tries his best to carry on.
The appearance of Harold in the short story series on SERENDIPITY was meant to be a one time thing. The short story “Soup and Sandwich” was written just to convey the typical week of a newly retired man. Each day was given a brief description with a little extra time spent on Harold’s favorite activity, his twice weekly soup and sandwich lunch at the Wild West Restaurant and Bar. It was to end there. After all there were other stories to be told.
Like the life of Harold, not all plans go as you foresee them. If we could know the future, maybe we could alter our plans. Harold’s first appearance seemed to call for more. Interest in the character and more stories led to a Sunday story, then a Monday and so on. The path to follow was laid out in the first story so it ultimately seemed logical to play out the week. But what was going to happen on those days? After all, the first story just took a very brief look at each day. There were really no details. What can the author see in all the days of an unplanned series?
Harold had to start each day attempting to execute his plan. The days then got caught up in friends and neighbors, supermarkets and the library, mysteries and a mysterious little boy. All of the new and unforeseen elements, unforeseen to Harold anyway, would disrupt the flow and challenge Harold to keep on his man-made, super strict schedule. How would the well-ordered man handle the lack of order that ran through his week? Certainly this is the point I invite you to read the series, rather than give any more away.
Following the opening story, the week starts with “The Case With The Missing Egg.” The mystery will carry over to a later story. Next up is “Come Monday, It Will Be Alright,” but unlike the Jimmy Buffett song, it is not as alright as hoped. “A Tuesday Mystery” may solve one conundrum, only to introduce another. Tuesday is a 2 part story, as is Thursday. The rest of the stories are, in order:
“A Tuesday Fantasy With Harold”
“A Wild West Wednesday”
“A Library Lesson”
“Harold and the Tiny Wizard”
Friday and Saturday are yet to come over on teepee12.com where the series has been running. Even the author can not tell you what things will be in Harold’s way as the week continues. The author’s plans as well as Harold’s may clash with any schedule that lies ahead. I hope you will stop over there to check out the stories. The Friday story will be up next week (for sure).
Of course, when you go over to see Harold, you will certainly find your schedule changed as you are fascinated with the content Marilyn Armstrong puts up every day on SERENDIPITY. Her stories will delight and inform. Her photography highlights her experience at capturing great scenes. If you hunt around, you will find that she has even shared some valuable tips on the art of photography. You may forget all about poor Harold when you find her articles on a wide range of topics. Harold is happy to find an occasional Sunday to make an appearance there.
Note: All of my short stories that have appeared on SERENDIPITY courtesy of Marilyn Armstrong are listed at the bottom of this column in the “footer.”