There Are No Real Endings

At least not in a book. 

The ending is just the place where the writer decides to stop that particular story. And sometimes in my mind I like to imagine what the characters are doing now. 

Haven’t you always wondered what happens after the girl and the guy get married? Assuming they do, that is, after they decide they really do love each other.

Now there are lots of book series that take the characters from one adventure to another, having them grow together, age or mature together, and maybe even add a few family members along the way. 

Nora Roberts, one of my very favorite authors, has a number of trilogies which skillfully bring favorite characters together in a three book series that you just don’t ever want to stop reading about. They’ve become old friends by the time the series ends, and you really want to know more about them, keep in touch, so to speak. Find out the story after the stories. (Actually her Chesapeake Bay Series featured 4 books, the last one set some 20 years after the first three, and it was a wonderful conclusion to the Quinn family saga.)

Nora also has written a very popular crime series under the pen name J.D. Robb. Set in futuristic New York City, and now into 53 books, her characters are unique and remind you of people you’d love to have as friends, and at the end of each book you can’t wait to hear what the characters are going to be doing next. And yes, I’ve read them all.

Joseph Flynn, another favorite author, has written a remarkable series of political novels which now total 14 books, and I’ve already downloaded the last two so I can catch up on some other people I now consider old friends.

If you’re a reading enthusiast like I am, you can certainly relate to what I’m saying. How many times have you come to the end of a great book and actually felt sad because you were saying goodbye to people you’d gotten to know so well? 

Unlike real life, the characters we come to know so well between the cover of a book, or the digital pages of a kindle, seem to stop their lives, stop what they’ve been doing at the end. Like mannequins in a storefront window or people in a painting they’re frozen in time, the rest of their stories never to be told. And that’s a bit sad when you’ve gotten to know them so well.

But real life is as different from a book as day is from night. 

In books, there’s almost always a happy ending. The characters evolve, have their ups and downs, their highs and lows, but things always seem to work out as they should in the end. And when they don’t work out as you’d like it to, you can always tell yourself it’s not real; it didn’t really happen, and then you feel better.

Real life isn’t like that because it’s REAL life, and life isn’t always fair and doesn’t always have a happy ending. You can try to make things work out they way you want them to, but it doesn’t always work that way.

How well we all know that. 

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we could write out exactly how we wanted it to be? And if the story got a bit difficult, or too complicated, all we’d have to do is take our eraser, delete that part, and start the story over.

Then we’d all live happily ever after.

But life is not a book. There are real beginnings and real endings. And we can’t rewrite them if they don’t turn out like we want.

But we can start a new chapter. We do it all the time. And we take what we’ve learned from the last chapter and make it better. Or at least different.

But we learn as we go along that sometimes the endings in our books are a lot easier to live through than the endings in real life.

A Gift from the Bridge

A few weeks ago we had the story of the welcoming party that each of our beloved pets experience when they cross over the Rainbow Bridge. How those cherished fur babies are welcomed into their waiting area by all of their friends who’ve crossed over before them, waiting not only for their other furry friends but for their beloved owners to come for them one day.

You see, the Rainbow Bridge is the entrance to a very special place where our pets go to wait for us to join them. An almost magical place of beauty and joy, where these beloved animals are not only free to play and enjoy a freedom they’ve never known before, but a place where they’re not only our furry companions, but where they’re also gifted with special abilities that they didn’t have on earth.

Abilities they had no idea were possible until they crossed the Bridge. 

Not only are they now able to speak to each other in ways never before possible, but they’re also able to help their beloved owners cope with losing them in ways no one would imagine. 

No, it’s not something magical, because magic really doesn’t exist. It’s something similar; something that can only be caused by a Creator who is so much more than any of us can begin to imagine. Our Creator loves every part of His creation, from those of us who are human, to those He created to love us in ways that only beloved pets can do.

We know our pets love us unconditionally. And we love them as well. But they leave us far too early. And even though they do, they don’t want us to be forever grieving for them. Because once they cross the Bridge they know for certain we’ll all be reunited again.

It’s those of us who loved them that are still here on earth that really can’t understand.

But Rusty and his best brother-friend Rudder know. And they also knew their owners needed a new friend, not only for them, but for Drake, their other doggy-brother who was now alone, except for his human family. They’d been a special threesome, and Rudder and Rusty knew there was only one thing to do.

And they didn’t want to wait.

They were told about a young pup, about 4 months old, who was in danger of having to leave his current home. He’d only been there about two months, and had just adjusted to being away from his brothers and sisters, but his new owners couldn’t keep him because he was going to be bigger than their apartment complex allowed.

This poor pup was facing being put in a shelter for who knew how long unless his owners found him a new home. And quickly.

This pup also happened to be a yellow lab-golden retriever mix. Rudder was a yellow lab and Rusty was a golden retriever. After the two dogs heard about this pup, there was no doubt in their minds. He had to be connected with their human family. 

And after a short talk with the Creator, the wheels were set in motion for this young pup to end up with Rusty and Rudder’s human family.

Just like it had been planned, Ashley and Chris saw an ad online about the pup. And they knew it was meant to be. The perfect combination of both of their beloved dogs.

They looked at pictures and videos of the pup. So much like the best of their lost fur babies. 

So a few days later, Tucker joined his new family. It was like he already knew them. When he met his new fur brother Drake, they immediately got along. Not one mean growl. They both knew it had been planned.

Rudder and Rusty watched from the Bridge, as the Creator normally allowed in times like this. They smiled, as only dogs can do. They were happy that they’d sent the right one, not to take their places, but to be a perfect new companion for not only their human family, but for their brother Drake.

They watched as the two dogs got acquainted, and their human family as well, and acknowledged the bond that immediately formed because of the gift from their heavenly brothers at the Rainbow Bridge. 

“We did good,” said Rudder and Rusty to each other. And they went off to play with their other friends, knowing they’d made everyone happy.

Welcome to the family, Tucker.

White Lace and Promises, Part 3

You’ve now read about her two bad marriages; the second by far much more disastrous than the first. It’s no wonder that the last thing she wanted after that ordeal was another man anywhere near her, let alone a boyfriend or a husband!

Marriage, she’d decided, wasn’t all it was made out to be. At least in her case. Although she still thought about having a family, it sure seemed like that was something that just wasn’t in her future. And right then she was ok with it.

She had a job she really liked, her family was supportive of her, and actually relieved she’d gotten away from the second man she’d married without serious injuries. Or worse.

And yes, most of her childhood friends were still married and had several kids, but right now she wasn’t spending her time envying what they had and what she didn’t.

And she felt free. Her priorities had changed, and she was ready to concentrate on making herself happy BY HERSELF for a change. It was time to pursue new interests; new hobbies,

She’d always been interested in photography, so she bought herself a new camera and decided to learn to take better pictures. One day she was walking around the mall where she worked and one of the store managers asked her where she was going. She told him the zoo, and he said if she’d wait another hour he’d go with her. 

Absolutely not! “I’m going now and going by myself. This is my day off!” Before her second divorce, if she’d been single, she’d have jumped at the offer. How far she’d come! She didn’t need, or want, a man in her life right now! And she was learning to have a great time by herself!

That next week, though, she noticed the same guy seemed to be popping up around her. Having lunch near her table in the food court. Standing outside the store when she’d walk by delivering memos to some of the businesses. Good grief, was he stalking her?! That’s all she needed.

A few more weeks went by. One day she saw him talking to her boss and they acted like they were having a really important conversation. She didn’t know what to think, especially when her boss said something about what a nice guy he was, and he really wanted to talk to her about some advertising ideas for the mall. Well, that sounded harmless. She was always ready to talk about new ideas,

Then one day he walked into the office, a smile on his face as usual, and asked her if she’d had lunch yet, and if not, how’d she like to go with him and talk about some ideas he had. 

What could it hurt? Business was business.  So she agreed. 

But lunch was anything but what she expected. They spent the majority of their time talking, but not about marketing the mall. He told her about his background, how he arrived in that city from across the country, and asked her all kinds of questions about herself. And she didn’t feel pressured, controlled, or being interrogated like her ex-husband made her feel.

They had a great time, and then he took her for ice cream before heading back to work. They still hadn’t discussed any marketing ideas. 

Later she realized he was marketing himself to her! Which actually worked! But it was way too soon for her to get involved with anyone after her last disaster of a marriage.


But still, he kept pursuing her. Yes, they eventually did talk marketing ideas, and he was a big help in planning some of the mall events, and even videotaping a lot of them for her. 

Eventually things progressed from him being just another marketing consultant to, well the two of them becoming a couple. And they moved in together. He’d been married once before, and we know what she’d experienced. Naturally they were both a bit hesitant to contemplate anything else. They talked about it once in a while but neither was ready to seriously discuss it. They were happy the way things were.

Until one morning when there was an unexpected staff meeting at her office. She didn’t think much about it, though, until she walked in the room and was asked to sit in the middle of the room while everyone else was seated around the conference table. That couldn’t be good….  

Her boss stood up and said, “Now that we’re all here, we have something special taking place this morning.” And he looked right at her.

As the conference room door opened, music began to play, and a man in a white tux, white top hat, and a white cane came dancing into the room, right over to her, and kneeled in front of her. She was…

Nervous. Embarrassed. And totally thinking everyone had lost their mind. What was going on?

He introduced himself and said his name was Mr. Wonderful, her boyfriend had sent him, and then he started singing. A marriage proposal. He ended it by grabbing her hand, and telling her her boyfriend was waiting for a phone call with her answer. And then he danced out.

The room burst into applause. She sat there speechless until her boss said, “What are you waiting for?! Go call the man!”

She walked out of the room in a daze; her head was spinning. She thought she was imagining things and then realized she wasn’t.

And of course she called him and told him yes!

This time, though, she was going to do things differently. After two formal weddings that had had disastrous endings, this one was going to be different. 

Small. Simple. She was more concerned about the marriage itself and what it meant, rather than another wedding.

No white lace this time. An off-white suit for her. Instead of a large white bouquet, a few red roses. Instead of a church with organ music, they were married in her mother’s home in front of the fireplace, with her cousin playing the piano. Just family and a few close friends.

This time, there were no “what if’s”, no cold feet or nervousness. Just promises that would be kept. In sickness and in health. Forever. She knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but it was going to be worth it

And 37 years later, they’re still married and still in love.

If you haven’t had the chance, be sure to read the first two installments of White Lace and Promises, published on January 31 and February 7.