Once there was a kind man who travelled the world all summer long. He led people on great adventures to beautiful places. His journeys took him to rivers and streams, mountains and forests and all along his travels he met many new and interesting people. Everywhere he went, his new friends loved to be with him because he was kind, funny and always happy.
His friends at home missed him very much, he was almost invisible to them. They kept trying to catch glimpses of him during the summer, but he kept disappearing. One of the best things about his travelling was that everywhere he went he left a little bit of happiness behind before he moved onto the next destination.
Finally, the long warm months of summer were over and winter was calling the kind man back to his home in the city. He said good-by to all of his new friends and new favorite places and packed up to return to home. His trusty black Labrador, Shadow, was also anxious to return home for awhile. During their summer travels, Shadow had made a new friend also, a grey wolf named Woofer. Shadow couldn't wait to show Woofer his new home in the city.
After a few days travel by train, the three companions finally opened the door to their comfy winter home. The kind man's first day home was a very busy one. Unpacking, reading mail, shopping but most of all getting used to being indoors again. They all shared a delicious meal and at the end of the day, Shadow and Woofer settled down in front of a fire. The kind man thought he would go onto his computer and check to see if any of his old friends were out there looking for him. As he walked into his office, he passed a mirror, and suddenly stopped to look at himself. He noticed with much surprise that he could see through himself! He was almost invisible! He had left so much happiness behind on his travels that he hadn't kept any for himself to hold him over for the winter.
The kind man sat at his computer and found that many of his old friends had been looking for him all summer and were still there waiting for him. As he talked to each one of them, he noticed that he was becoming visible again. All the love and happiness that his friends were sending his way was filling up the empty spaces left behind by the happiness he had given away to others.
By the time the kind man was ready to go to sleep for the night, he had become completely visible again, no empty spaces. He'd found that his old friends were so happy to have him back that they sent much of their own happiness and love through their words on the computer so that they would be able to see him always through the long winter months ahead. The kind man was home at last.
This is the second installment of the "Pittsburgh Short Stories" dedicated to our friend Solan Renolen of Norway. The story was written by my two co-authors, a six year old and an eleven year old, and myself. The photograph is again courtesy of Solan and is the inspiration for this story as well as the previous story, "The Happy Fisherman". Thank you Solan and we are looking forward to the next photograph and the story that will come from it :-)