Grandpa Larry’s Not-So-Instant Solution for all the World’s Problems

I heard a knock at the back door. When I went to answer it, I found my neighbor, Homer, with a bruise on his forehead, and it looked like he had been crying.

“What happened to you?” I asked.

“I don’t want to tell you,” he replied. “Can I come in?”

With no need for formality, I opened widely the door and Homer went to his usual place at the kitchen table.

“Beer?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said.


Although Homer showed signs of emotional wear, he was not reluctant to talk. “I just couldn’t take another minute of the news,” he said, “so I unplugged the TV and I was carrying it out to the garage, and I tripped over the threshold, and while falling, I hurled the TV onto the gravel path and slammed my head against the garage wall. And now there’re pieces of TV all over the walk, and my wife’s upset about it, and I needed a friend.”

Homer looked like he was going to cry again. I went for the beer. I popped the top and put it on the table in front of him.

“I get it.” I said. “The news just seems to be full of one disaster or another, political or natural.”

Homer sniffed and blew his nose into his handkerchief and gathered his emotions, took a swig of the beer and said, “Well, it’s not just that. I’ve grown to expect that: weird weather everywhere, people doing crazy stuff, refugees by the millions with nowhere to go, and now this Corona virus. But what’s really getting me is all the hatred. Everyone’s got a right to what they believe. But why can’t they just talk about it like you and I do?”

I wanted to reassure him somehow, but I was failing for words, and I knew this wasn’t a time for platitudes. I thought back to a book I had been reading before Homer arrived. It was a fiction but the author was waxing eloquently through one of her characters. Thoughts take form, a father was telling his son, and these thought forms become the projects we begin with all of our creativity and enthusiasm. But what the father was telling the boy was that he should not leave the projects unfinished, that doing so was energy wasted. A person needed to do something with his thoughts, to put them into action.

I quoted a short haiku-like poem that I had once written: “like a flower, a prayer blooms in the heart, soft petals open unheard.” Sometimes poetry was wasted on Homer, sometimes not.

“Unheard,” he said.

Homer is a country feller, and a thoughtful and big-hearted one, who looks natural twiddling his thumbs. He looked up and there was interest in his gaze. The thumbs reversed direction.

“I’m touched that you feel comfortable sharing your grief with me,” I told him. “Most people who confront anger respond with equal anger, but I think that there is an idea cooking up in your mind, or your heart, or wherever they distill in you, and it’s like a complicated mathematical formula that you just haven’t quite got the answer to yet.”

Homer didn’t grin, but one side of his mouth curled up a little. I knew all he needed was someone to talk to, someone to remind him that the world wasn’t total chaos.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I mean, you are aware of something, and your mind is clicking away, and I’ll bet that before you finish that beer, you will start coming up with an idea of what to do about it.” His eyebrows went up an eighth of an inch and the other side of his mouth, too. “I’ll bet the anger of someone specific has got you worked up.”

“Should I tell you?” he asked.

“No,” I said, “but tell me what you think will make the anger dissipate.” Homer’s blank look made me realize that he didn’t know what dissipate meant. “Disappear, vanish, evaporate, dissolve, go away,” I added.

“Hmmm,” was all I could get out of him after that. We finished our beers and Homer left, carefully looking down at the threshold before he walked through it, glancing in both directions before he crossed the street and got into his car and drove off towards town. Later, as I sat reading my novel, I saw Homer return to his house. And after getting out of the car, he opened the back door and took out a big TV wrapped up very nicely with a red ribbon and bow, and headed for his front door.

Thanks to Isabel Allende and her novel, The Infinite Plan, and thanks to you, dear readers, for all the solutions for the world’s problems that are brewing in your minds, or your hearts, or wherever they brew.

– Larry Berger. HashtagWV #124. April 2020.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Submit a Comment


What Would the Quarantined Bunny Drink? w/ Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper this April!

What Would the Quarantined Bunny Drink w/ Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper - This April, what would the quarantined Easter bunny drink? Vodka, rum, tequila, brews? Find out with Robert Aquilino here. The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect us all in unprecedented ways. Along with fun/engaging content this month, we have included helpful information about the Paycheck Protection Loan Program for small businesses. In this issue, Grandpa […]


Stay Updated w/ HashtagWV!

Want to stay updated with the paper or thinking about advertising? Sign up today for the latest HASHTAGWV monthly newsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg, WV

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg WV! - Spending a day in Lewisburg? Here are a few of the best things to do while you’re visiting. Start your day at the Wild Bean coffee shop.  Located downtown, this cafe offers premium coffee, tea, veggie cuisine, wi-fi, entertainment, and more! The breakfast menu consisting of breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and granola w/ […]

"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

HashtagWV remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)


Instagram has returned invalid data.

Follow Us!


Wonder How HashtagWV Remains Free?

WONDER HOW HASHTAG LEWISBURG CITY PAPER REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper gets published and distributed FREE every month in-print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of HASHTAGWV comes […]


P.O. Box 744
Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901


"Here at WHEN PIGS FLY BBQ, we get the most return advertising with LBSPY. New customers tell us all the time how they see our ad. They then come see us!" - Mike and Kellen, owners of When Pigs Fly BBQ, Lewisburg, WV.
"Christina, Thank you so much for the cover and the ARTICLE. Your LBSPY is fantastic! We hope to grow this ride and other sports events in our area. Your magazine will do this. Again thank you from everyone in the GVBike club. Come ride with us sometime." - Janice Centa


LBSPY is a free, full color arts and entertainment tabloid dedicated to providing useful information in the areas of Greenbrier County, Pocahontas County, parts of Alleghany County, and more. We distribute 7,000, full color issues every month.


We are engaged in promoting local music, arts, events, dining, and shopping. We reach our audience where they live, eat, shop, drink, play, and fill up their gas tank. BEHIND THE SPY


"LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty, owner @ The Irish Pub