Harold and the Short Story Series

Along the Gulf Coast

Along the Gulf Coast

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.”



Here’s the most recent short story about Harold, an organized man, and Part 2 of A Library Lesson from teepee12.com  Next week a summary of the Harold stories appears here and a look ahead to the two remaining stories to come on SERENDIPITY blog.

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A Library Lesson, Part 2, Richard Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Imagine Harold, Master of Time Manipulation, Lord of the Library and Sultan of the Schedule, being knocked off course by a tiny Harry Potter wannabe, but there he was.  The assistant librarian left him standing in the middle of the Children’s Library with a pint-sized wizard in training, hoping to hear the exploits of a “real” boy wizard, Harry Potter.  Harold did not know how to handle the situation.

When Harold retired from his job as a mechanical engineer at a large Midwestern manufacturing facility, he foresaw days of peaceful plans with little interference from other humans.  People would be worked into the schedule as time allowed.  But his retirement proved difficult to control and plans were more like wishes than regular schedules.  Harold, however, was not easily dissuaded from keeping his schedule in tact.

“Can you read that story?”…

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Another Harold short story from the fiction series. Part 2 of A Library Lesson is on SERENDIPTY today. Read it at teepee12.com here.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

A Reading from the Book of Harry Potter by Harold, an organized man

All morning it sat on the table calling to him in a fantastical sort of way and Harold did his best to ignore it. It wasn’t really “calling” of course, but Harold could not get “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” out of his mind. It was the library copy that kept stealing his attention and he was tempted to head out to the library a bit early to resume the tale. He knew leaving early was unacceptable to his schedule, so the story of the boy wizard would just have to wait until early afternoon.

He picked up the copy on Tuesday and after reading a little of the book, brought it home so he would have it for the next library day. Now that Thursday had come around, he could not help himself but feel a little anxious to…

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Thanks to Marilyn Armstrong for hosting yet another story of Harold, a man desperately trying to stay organized. Next week the story moves on to Thursday.  If you can not wait, read the next story on teepee12.com here.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Not just a Soup and Sandwich lunch for Harold, a rather well-organized man

It had already been an uncharacteristically hectic week for Harold, so he looked forward to a relaxing Wednesday. After he finished his morning breakfast, he took the newspaper to a nice spot by the window and sat down to read. He was only distracted momentarily by the library’s copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sitting on the table. It seemed to beckon to him to continue the journey of the boy wizard. There was a time set aside for that sort of reading and he imagined he would resume the fanciful tale at the library where it began.

Soup and Sandwich Wild West Restaurant and Sports Bar

The time idled by in a leisurely sort of way that was befitting of a man in retirement. With the completion of each article, Harold looked out the window approvingly. The sun was shining, the air…

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This is the third short story about Harold, a well organized man. Thanks to Marilyn Armstrong for editing and illustrating the story. Next week we will have the fourth story, but if you can not wait, read it on teepee12.com here.

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Not just another day in the Life of Harold by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Upon awakening Harold went immediately to the window to check the weather.  He was instantly aware that it was grayer than normal for that time of day. He needed to decide on his schedule for the morning.

There was no putting off decisions until later.  His orderly life demanded plans be set and executed precisely. Since rain was falling, Harold knew that he’d follow breakfast and some newspaper reading with a trip to town for some shopping. His lists were made; he was ready to go.

When it was almost 9 am, Harold grabbed his lists, a light jacket and umbrella and headed for the back door to the garage. Just as he was about to grab the door knob he was startled by the telephone ringing. He could not imagine who in the world might be…

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The second of the Harold stories from SERENDIPITY blog. Thanks to Marilyn Armstrong for editing and illustrating this.  If you can not wait until next Sunday for the third story, read in now right here.

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The story of Harold (Soup and Sandwich) continues with a new week.

Sunday started like any other Sunday.  Harold arose punctually with the sound of the alarm clock.  There was never any pressing the snooze button for Harold.  Time was too valuable to be wasted pressing a snooze button.  The world never snoozes, so why should Harold?  He quickly went through his morning routine, then went on to the kitchen for coffee.

Han Dynasty 206 BC - 220 AD Han Dynasty 206 BC – 220 AD

As expected, Harold found the coffee already brewing.  He set it up the night before so that there would be no fumbling through the coffee-making process in the morning.  When Harold was ready, so was the coffee.  You would not expect anything less from the time managing genius that he was.  He had a light breakfast, did some light reading and followed that by cleaning the dishes and neatly putting them away.

Now Harold, master…

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I did not know it at the time, but this proved to be the first in a series of stories on Serendipity about Harold, a well organized man.  For my other Serendipity short stories, look at the bottom of this page.

Serendipity - Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

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 of all his special drawings in a filing cabinet, organized by type of part.  His methodical brain could recall all the special requests to…

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