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It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Loneliness

Author’s note:  Well folks, the time has comethe author to declare that THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY CARD AND GIFT SHOP is officially on life support, a victim of search engine algorithms and the modern McDonald’s mentality.  You see, search engines look for sites that are much more one dimensional than what you have been seeing here, and search engine traffic is essential to the type of numbers that lead to a successful blog.  And, apparently, even the traffic I do get only gives me a couple of seconds before they decide to stay or go.  McDonald’s has taught people to demand instant gratification, something the present format of this blog does not provide.  I don’t think it ever will…that’s not the way I write stories and anecdotes, but we will try to make it more obvious to visitors what’s in it for them if they stick around.  Look for an extreme makeover soon, complete with a change on the blog’s name, theme, and focus.  We will keep the type of content that everyone has been enjoying, but the packaging will be quite different.

Why on earth am I doing something like this?  I was the lucky recipient of a blog audit by the incomparable Ana Hoffman in her Traffic Generation Cafe blog audit Friday.  She took my blog apart, piece by piece, and didn’t even put it back together again.  She left that part up to me.  🙂   How can I argue with someone who started a blog, and within a year, was up to 25-30,000 visitors a month?! (according to Google analytics)   Blog audits are one of her paid services, but if you are one of her email subscribers, she picks one from her list every week for a free blog audit.  So, I recommend you stop over to http://trafficgenerationcafe.com for lots of free advice about traffic generation.  The bonus is that Ana is a loveable and transparent person who makes everyone know that she is their friend.

I’d like to quickly note that our blog was featured on Third Sunday Blog Carnival, which is a blog featuring writers and their stories.

Some of you are asking…Where’s the story?  Is he going to leave us hanging and not finish the story?  Nope!  Our story will continue as I’m making the changes that Ana recommends.  If you stop by, and something isn’t working right…have patience.  I must have clicked the wrong button.  Somehow, I don’t think this is going to be a seamless transition.  🙁



William was on a mission.  It was Juanita’s birthday and he wanted to find the perfect gift.  The only problem was, he had no clue on what to give her.  She sure hadn’t given him any hints, either.  Should he give her something for the house, or something personal?  He concluded that he needed some help and he knew just the person who could give him some gift counseling.

He had tried to get help from his sister, Jasmyne, but that was a lost cause.  When he asked her if she thought a vacuum cleaner was a good gift, after she stopped laughing, she said, “Why don’t you just buy her a bucket and a scrub brush, William?  Boy, are you ever clueless!”

It was only a few blocks to the Village Gift ShopThe Village Gift Shop from their home, so William quickly made the walk.  He entered the little shop and approached his friend, Angel Realto.  “Hello William!  It’s good to see you here.  What can I do for you?”

William heard a baby ‘s laughing coming from a room in the back of the store.  “You’ve got little Lonnie with you today?  How’s he doing?”

Angel’s face glowed with love for the baby.  “He’s growing fast.  And, what an appetite he has!  We think he’ll be ready for his first steak soon.”

William laughed.  “I don’t know about that.  Maybe you ought to go a little slow on the steak for now.”  He glanced around the shop quickly.  “Angel, I have a problem.  It’s Juanita’s birthday and I haven’t got a clue about what to get her.  You would know better than I do about what a woman wants for a gift.”

“I think a nice big box of candy would be good.  Every girl craves chocolate.  Why don’t you look at what we have in the candy section?”

William walked to the display of different types of sweet treats.  “What did you think of myJasmyne Mary sister, Angel?  She’s going to stay with us during her leave.  We’re all proud of her and she seems to have a calling…a special calling.”

“What would that be, William?”

“She works with people who have drug and alcohol problems.  She’s really good at it and she likes her job.”

“We certainly need people like her around the Village.  I wish we had a program here when my father was having his problems.”

“That would be great.”  William picked the largest box of filled chocolate candy he could find.  Angel gift wrapped it for him and he added a romantic birthday card.   She walked him to the door and he headed back home.



Today was ZeeZee’s day off, although it was more of a workday for her than a day of rest.  She was traveling to the city on the other side of the province to spend the day in the specialty shops where she could get the gourmet foods she used at the inn.  Her father had often taken her on these shopping trips when she was a little girl.  Many of the shop owners regarded her as part of their family, so she totally enjoyed these trips.

One by one, she made the rounds, purchasing the various meats and cheese that the inn was known for.  The proprietor of the last store she was stopping at was a portly, grey haired, grandmotherlymatchmaker grandma lady.  She was one of ZeeZee’s favorite people…sort of an adopted grandma.  “ZeeZee, I am just about sick of seeing you without a man in your life.  It’s time you met someone and settled down, don’t you know?  I’ve got a wonderful nephew I’d like to have you meet.  How about the next time you come to the city?”

ZeeZee remembered some of the blind dates she had with distaste.  “I don’t think so, Grandma.  Don’t worry about me.  God will send the right man in His time.”  She didn’t know why, but as soon as she said that, she thought about Sandy.

“Oh, I know what it is, ZeeZee.  You’ve already got someone you’re interested in.  That’s wonderful.”  She clapped her hands and her round face lit up with a huge smile.

ZeeZee laughed.  “Grandma, you are an incurable romantic!  No, there isn’t really anyone right now.”

The older woman nodded her head.  “Sure, sure.  That’s what you say.”  She reached under the counter, retrieving a bottle of wine.  “Here.  Take this with you.  It’s a special blend my friend gave me a case of.  See if you like it when you go home.”

ZeeZee took the bottle and place it in a large satchel.  “Thanks, Grandma.  I’ll let you know when I’m back this way.”

Almost reluctantly, she began the trip back to her large, empty house.  She inherited the family home along with the inn, but didn’t spend much time there.  As she drove, her thoughts kept returning to Grandma’s words.  What could God have in mind for her?  Sandy hadn’t shown any kind of interest in her, even though she half wished he would.

When she got home, she put everything she had bought into a large, walk in cooler in the cellar.  Weary from the long trip, she decided to forgo trying Grandma’s wine until another time.  She set her alarm for 5 AM, and within a few minutes of stretching out in her down mattress, she was sound asleep.



Thoughts were coming into Sandy’s mind as fast as the fish were coming past his spot in the processing line.  It was fortunate for him that his job was fairly mindless, giving him a chance to reflect on recent events.  He was so used to being on the outside looking in that it was almost making him uneasy to be so included in people’s lives as he had been since his arrival at The VillageThe Village on the Edge of the Sea.  The attachments that people here seemed to make so easily were difficult for him.  Sometimes, it seemed like loneliness was his oldest and best friend.  At least, he never got hurt that way.

Thoughts of his hostess, ZeeZee seemed to be in the forefront.  She was an attractive woman, about his own age.  He knew she was single, but didn’t think her interest in him was much else than professional.  Why would someone like her be attracted to a hobo like him?  Sandy thought that they seemed to connect, but nothing had ever been that simple in his life.

The red faced man behind him in the line called out, interrupting his thoughts.  “Hey Sandy.  Are you dreaming over there?  Things are getting backed up.”

“Oops!  Sorry, Bud.  I’ll catch up here in a minute.”

Sandy pushed his thoughts from his mind and finished the day.  But as he walked home, they returned like a rushing flood.  William’s sister Jasmyne had impressed him greatly.  For someone so young to be so involved with doing the very thing that had brought him from a lifetime on skid rows was so special.  He made a mental note to ask her how she had gotten started with drug and alcohol rehabilitation the next time he saw her.

When he got home, he got rid of his clothes, reeking from fish.  He took a long, hot shower and got dressed for dinner.  When he walked into the dining area, ZeeZee greeted him warmly.  “There’s a hard working man.  Have a seat and we’ll take care of that big appetite you must have.”

Sandy grinned sheepishly.  “Okay,  ZeeZee.  But do me a favor, please.  Don’t bring me any fish!”

ZeeZee tried to suppress it, but she couldn’t stop giggling.  “Gotcha, my man.  I think we might have something else besides fish tonight.”

She walked away, still giggling and shaking her head.  When she returned, she was carrying a plate, two baskets, and a bottle.  She set them on the table with a flourish and a curtsy.   “What you have here is a steak sandwich with threethree bean salad bean salad.  On the side is a basket of french fries and a basket of garlic bread.   The bottle is a specially blended wine that my adopted grandma wanted me to try.  I’d be honored to get your opinion about it.”

A dark look suddenly came over Sandy’s face.  He looked away for a moment and then turned back, looking deep into ZeeZee’s eyes.  “I’m sorry, ZeeZee.  I can’t drink that.  I’ve been a recovering alcoholic since I was sixteen.”

ZeeZee didn’t avert her gaze.  Looking back into Sandy’s eyes, she said, “No, Sandy.  I’m the one who should be sorry.  I’ll bring you something else.”  She didn’t want to end the moment.  She felt like she could look into those azure eyes for a long, long time.  Finally, she broke away and returned with a pitcher of iced tea.

“Do you mind if I take my break with you, Sandy?  I’ve got about a half an hour or so.”

Sandy’s heart started to race.  “I’d like that ZeeZee.”  He slid over, making room for her and she sat down.  The next half hour passed like a dream, with both of them chatting excitedly.







{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Deep April 13, 2016, 8:51 am

    There is no solution If we stay alone. We need to find someone to live happily.

  • Henry August 10, 2015, 9:44 am

    It seems truly creative and I would love to share it on my social media account. i love this. Thanks for sharing such a great content.
    Henry recently posted..Happy Independence Day Greetings, wallpapers, Images and Facebook CoversMy Profile

    • Lou Barba September 7, 2015, 11:11 pm

      Thanks Henry. Feel free to share anything you see on The Short Story Kitchen.

      Lou Barba recently posted..The ImmortalMy Profile

  • pallavi May 23, 2015, 7:44 am

    You are absolutely right. Loneliness is killing everyone but need to come out of it. This is another great post from you and I would say to everyone to stay from loneliness.

    • Lou Barba September 7, 2015, 11:13 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I still have a hard time sometimes saying goodbye to loneliness.

      Lou Barba recently posted..The ImmortalMy Profile

  • presse pmu December 6, 2012, 11:29 pm

    Thank you for your article (and please excuse me, English is not my mother tongue), do you write a second part to cover the subject entirety? In all cases, it’s a topical issue that will have to be treated in this way more often. Regards, Roger.
    presse pmu recently posted..La presse PMU indispensable pour votre pronostic PMUMy Profile

  • Maxwell from factoring August 22, 2012, 10:59 am

    ZeeZee could be an inpirational name for any online business in my opinion, I am thinking more and more to use it for my own online projects, thanks for sharing with us!
    Maxwell recently posted..More SMEs with Poor Credit RatingsMy Profile

    • Lou
      August 25, 2012, 5:40 pm

      Hello Maxwell,

      I don’t know what made me think of this name…if I had another girl baby, I might give her this name. Just like you can’t go wrong with bacon, you can’t go wrong with ZeeZee. 🙂


  • Dipa from nappy cake July 29, 2012, 3:05 am

    I am a regular to your site-it is nothing i have ever seen anywhere. great concept. something to look forward to every now and then!

    • Lou
      July 30, 2012, 3:08 pm

      Hi Dipa,

      That’s so great to hear. It means our mission is accomplished for you. Looking forward to your return.


  • richa from wordpress maintenance July 12, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Hey Loy
    Wonderful share. I am a die hard romantic. Loved the story. 🙂
    richa recently posted..WB DownloadMy Profile

  • Angelica June 11, 2012, 4:38 am

    I am just a hopeless romatic. I wish you could have starting writing a few years ago but there is a season for everything. Can’t wait for the next episode.
    Angelica recently posted..Replacement Hot Tub CoversMy Profile

    • Lou
      June 12, 2012, 2:28 pm

      Hi Angelica,

      I wanted to be a writer when I was a young guy, but it just didn’t work out for me at that time. I guess I have plenty of time to catch up, though.


  • Mika Castro April 11, 2012, 9:07 am

    I love the story and emotions behind it. I am not a romantic person but even thou i am not, i always give my best shot to the one i love.
    Mika Castro recently posted..glockMy Profile

    • Lou
      April 11, 2012, 1:54 pm

      Hi Mika,

      The story is about romance and life as it is dealt to so many people. It would be nice if things turned out as well for everyone as they did for Sandy and ZeeZee.


  • Robbie March 13, 2012, 3:49 am

    I like the new look of your blog… Maybe I should ask Ana Hoffman for some advice for my blog too. And love your story as always!
    Robbie recently posted..Tips to Get a Russian Girlfriend or WifeMy Profile

    • Lou
      March 13, 2012, 2:28 pm

      Hi Robbie,

      I haven’t had any negatives, so she must know what she’s doing. If you are an email subscriber, you have a chance of having a free audit and landing on one of her posts. She also does consulting, and blog audits are one of her paid services.


  • Derek March 6, 2012, 10:18 am

    I stop and waved goodbye to friends I had known for five years, many of whom I have not seen from that day to this. Its really hard to say goodbye to people you really love.
    Derek recently posted..Buy P90XMy Profile

    • Lou
      March 8, 2012, 3:57 pm

      Hi Derek,

      In a Christian setting, we never say goodbye. We say “see you later”.


  • Val Heisey March 5, 2012, 5:10 am

    Lou, I like the look as well, and sometimes it is most difficult to see what is right in front of you. An unbiased third party can bring new insight into a problem that is too close at hand. Keep moving forward my friend!

    • Lou
      March 5, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Hi Val,

      I was scratching my head for a long time trying to resolve the SEO issues. I guess I couldn’t make myself do the many big changes Ana suggested. Thanks for your input and be sure to stop back.


  • John Moussan
    March 5, 2012, 2:32 am

    Facts tells stories sell! nice work… taking the time to write this.

    • Lou
      March 5, 2012, 3:27 pm

      Hi John,

      We enjoy providing entertaining fiction and anecdotes for our visitors. Hope you can be a regular visitor.


  • David Sharp
    March 4, 2012, 3:59 pm

    Great blog you have got here Lou, and the blog audit certainly got you moving in the right direction.

    • Lou
      March 5, 2012, 3:31 pm

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your observations. I needed a jolt to make the changes that were necessary. Hopefully, I can make use of Thesis to its greatest potential.


  • Duke Romkey March 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

    That’s a cool concept to get your blog audited. I’m gonna check that out and see what she says!

    • Lou
      March 5, 2012, 3:33 pm

      Hi Duke,

      I felt it was such a valuable service that I was going to pay her for it. However, I was lucky enough to be picked for a free one. She draws from among her subscribers and gives audits away. Primarily, it’s one of her paid services, well worth it.


  • Tosin
    February 29, 2012, 10:07 pm

    Hi Lou,

    This blog is looking fantastic. Love the header. When I started blogging, I learnt some much from Ana and I occassionally still go visit her blog and she has not stopped delivering value. She’s awesome!

    To the post: You also have not stopped writing excellently. 🙂 Looking forward to the next episode 🙂


    • Lou
      March 1, 2012, 6:39 pm

      Hi Tosin,

      I felt like I hit a hole in one with that header, although Ana thinks it may be too big. I hope you continue to enjoy our fiction, I’m glad to be able to make it available. Keep coming back…subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes.


  • Jayne
    February 29, 2012, 7:35 am

    Hi Lou, first of all, WOW. Love the site. good Job. Ana is awesome… and such a ‘giver. How lucky are you to have her on your side. I have learned so much from her over the years.

    I also love the story as I always say. I can’t wait to see where Zee Zee and Sandy go next. I await the next installment with bated breath!

    Jayne recently posted..Serious about Starting a Business Online? Maybe You Need to Get Cracking Then!My Profile

    • Lou
      March 1, 2012, 6:41 pm

      Hi Jayne,

      Nice to see you here! I’m sure I have a few things to change, but I think I’ve got all the big stuff done. Can’t go wrong listening to Ana.

      Be ready for some surprises with Sandy and ZeeZee.


  • Shelby Ryan February 29, 2012, 6:42 am

    Its reaaly great when you have friend to help you chose a gift for your wife on her birthday

    • Lou
      March 1, 2012, 6:42 pm

      Hi Shelby,

      Us old veteran husbands would probably be embarrassed to ask for help with a gift, but we’re probably as incompetent as William!


  • Brenda February 28, 2012, 10:40 am

    So true, it’s really hard to say goodbye on something that became a part on your life. But goodbye means start of something new. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this..

    • Lou
      February 29, 2012, 12:55 am

      Hi Brenda,

      What you say is so often true in life. New beginnings give us something to look forward to.

      Have a great day!


  • Ana from Free SEO Report February 28, 2012, 3:25 am

    I am absolutely loving the new idea behind the site, Lou.

    Great domain name and tagline!

    Could I make a couple of suggestion (can’t stop myself, lol)?

    I’d love to see your header a little smaller and your tagline bigger.

    • Lou
      February 29, 2012, 1:03 am

      Hello Ana,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I think you can count on seeing the changes you mentioned. I told my wife I felt like I got a hole in one (golf) when I succeeded in getting the image there with the title and tagline showing at all. CSS code…very white knuckle moment. I’ll work on your suggestions this weekend. Can’t get free until then.

      Trust the Lord to put a new home in your price range on the middle of your path!


  • Catarina February 27, 2012, 3:05 pm

    Wow, what an improvement of your web site as well as the name of it! Well done Lou – congratulations!!

    And as always a good story, not short, but good!! Keep up the good work!

    • Lou
      February 27, 2012, 3:52 pm

      Hi Catarina,

      Thanks so much. I feel like I hit a hole in one on this one. 🙂 (golf) Hopefully, I got the big stuff done with the changes and I can get time to write the next episode.


  • Rebecca Reddy
    February 27, 2012, 10:38 am

    I enjoy the new look! I’m sorry you have to go through the rebuilding process, but hopefully you’ll come out better in the end. I like the story’s title. It seems that what keeps us from experiencing love is our attachment to that loneliness. Or rather the fear of being hurt…
    Thank for sharing!
    Rebecca Reddy recently posted..Keep It Simple StupidMy Profile

    • Lou
      February 27, 2012, 3:56 pm

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for the compliments.

      My daughter used to have what is called attachment disorder, until she went in the Army and gave in to the camaraderie she felt with her “battle buddies”. I went through a long period of being a solitary person, and believe me, it’s hard to get over it.

      Have a great day!


  • Jamella Biegel
    February 27, 2012, 4:28 am

    Hi Lou,

    I love the new look and name of your blog. Thanks for the link to Ana’s blog. That’s very generous of her to do a weekly audit for free.

    Looking forward to the next installment.
    Jamella Biegel recently posted..If you had 24 hours to yourself, what would you do?My Profile

    • Lou
      February 27, 2012, 4:00 pm

      Hi Jamella,

      I agree with you. I like it too. 🙂

      Ana is the best! If you listen to her long enough, you know she isn’t giving her readers a bunch of baloney. She’s the real deal. In fact, I think she gives away too much, she should be better paid than she is.


  • Ragnar Crowley
    February 25, 2012, 10:33 pm

    Another great post Lou,

    I love coming over her to catch up on the story that keeps unfolding. I want to keep reading…

    Thanks again,

    ~ Ragnar
    Ragnar Crowley recently posted..A Complete Avant Home Business ReviewMy Profile

    • Lou
      February 26, 2012, 6:35 pm

      Thanks Ragnar. I hope you enjoy our new look and name when you visit for the upcoming episodes.


  • Easther
    February 24, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Hi Lou

    Great story Lou looking forward to the next episode where this will take ZeeZee and Sand..can’t wait!

    thanks Lou..!!
    Easther recently posted..Speed Up Operating System, Protect Your Data And Enjoy SurfingMy Profile

  • Charrmagn February 24, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Hi Lou…You always provide us with great story…keep it up!
    Charrmagn recently posted..livia condoMy Profile

    • Lou
      February 26, 2012, 6:27 pm

      Thanks Charmagn. It’s good to know that people enjoy our stories. Be sure to return.


  • Stacy
    February 23, 2012, 6:47 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Another great episode of the story! Looking forward to seeing where this takes both Sandy and ZeeZee.

    Stacy recently posted..Don’t Make These (Humorous) Fatal Marketing ErrorsMy Profile

    • Lou
      February 26, 2012, 6:28 pm

      Hi Stacy,

      Sometimes things are as easy as falling off a log, and sometimes they’re not. 🙂


  • Charm26 February 23, 2012, 9:58 am

    To say good bye is the hardest part for me, but I think I don’t need to stop all along and feel quitting, because life doesn’t stop in just that point of life…
    Charm26 recently posted..Trying To Get Pregnant TipsMy Profile

    • Lou
      February 23, 2012, 4:32 pm

      Hi Cheney,

      Life does go on, doesn’t it? As Christians, we try to always say “see ya later”, instead of goodbye.


  • Louise Barba
    February 22, 2012, 11:36 pm

    Well this story is getting to the good part. I guess I am just a hopeless romatic. I wish you could have starting writing a few years ago but there is a season for everything. Can’t wait for the next episode.

    • Lou
      February 23, 2012, 4:35 pm

      Hi Louise,

      I was telling stories when I was very young, but my mother didn’t appreciate not knowing they were just stories. 🙂 Hopefully, all will go smoothly, but how often does that happen?


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