Tag Archives: age

2509.  Phone Grandma

“So how you doing, Gran?” I asked on the phone.

“I’m good, dear,” said Grandma. “And how you doing?”

I hated having to do this. Grandma wasn’t my grandmother at all. Her grandson had been killed in a car accident and people had said she was on her last legs so why make her final few weeks miserable. So they volunteered me to phone up and pretend to be the grandson. I’ve phoned three times now.

“You sound a bit different,” said Grandma.

“I’ve had a bit of a cold,” I said.

“When am I going to see you again?” asked Grandma.

“We are so busy with assignments at university, Gran, that I hardly get a spare moment.”

“Well, you’re a good boy,” said Grandma. “No other grandchild phones or gives a hoot. So I’m leaving you my entire fortune when I go; the house, the car, the bank account. I don’t want anyone else to get a dime.”

“Don’t you think it would be better to share it around?” I asked.

“It’s all arranged,” said Grandma. “It’s all signed and sealed. Anyway, I’ve got to run dear. There’s a knock on the door and it’ll be a friend. We’re off to our weekly evening of roller skating.”

2366.  Winter wood

As he grew older – now in his mid-seventies – Ernest had a preoccupation each summer: to chop up enough firewood for the following two winters so that if he were to pass on then Polly his wife would have enough firewood to keep warm for at least two winters. It wasn’t a silly idea. He dreaded the thought that his dear widow should suffer from cold. Finances would be stretched. If the worst came to the worst she could cook on the log-burner as well as heat the house. The firewood was an insurance of sorts.

Ernest knew the likelihood that he would go first. Polly was fit as a fiddle. He suffered from breathlessness and a mild diabetes. Husbands often (usually) predeceased their spouses. Chopping wood for winter was thoughtful and practical. The wood shed was full to overflowing as autumn closed its curtains.

These thoughts occupied Ernest each day as he went out to get enough firewood for the evening. He appreciated his foresight. He just wished he didn’t have to do it alone.

2344. Old bones

Great Aunt Imelda said that twenty-year-old Harold would “never make old bones”. He was sickly and took no interest in living a healthy existence.

Well, how wrong can one be? That was seventy years ago. That would make Harold ninety; that is if he hadn’t died when he was forty-two. But his bones have certainly aged.

2033. Trudy knew

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Inese of Making Memories. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, please leave your suggestion in the comments – only one suggestion per person!)

Trudy knew better than to be alone with Mr Hughes. No, he wasn’t one of those. Nor was he one of those.

Trudy and Mr Hughes went way back. She had always called him Mr Hughes, even though they were roughly the same age and had been neighbours for a long time. These days he had retired, as had Trudy, but his cognitive processes were more than slightly on the wane. Trudy leaned towards kindness, but it was disconcerting that in his dotage Mr Hughes was calling on her nearly every day, and sometimes twice a day.

Throughout the years Trudy never knew what Mr Hughes did. She had asked but he would never really say. He tried once to explain that he worked as a “handyman”, but where and how he did so was never properly explained.

Now in his current state Trudy found out; he had been a spy working for the police department. His job was simply to suss out the burglars, and tax avoiders, and bigamists, and so on.  Did Trudy want to know about the Chesterton Family down the road? Possibly not, but she got a blow by blow account nonetheless. And the Browns. And the Archers. And the Cuthbert household. The list and narratives of private information went on and on.

Then things got worse. He had spent some time in the secret service and started to tell Trudy some highly scary political things. Not only did Trudy not want to know, but she was frightened to know. Knowledge of such things can put one in danger. Trudy informed the police.

Some people came and took Mr Hughes away. It was a sad tragedy several days later when Mr Hughes fell off his roof while cleaning the spouting.

“But he wasn’t even home,” observed Trudy.

It wasn’t long before Trudy herself was visited by the same people who had taken Mr Hughes away.

1686. A rose in name

What a delightful person Rose was. She would brighten any room; any company. Her laughter tinkled like crystal bells that caught and reflected sunlight. Her smile was wonderful but her lips merely reflected the gaiety in her eyes. Her hair hung down in natural ringlets. No need to flat wrap her hair with a curling iron; Nature did it for her.

People said it was all in the name; Rose in name, Rose in nature.

All that was years ago. These days she has thin lips and a slightly pointy nose. Her laughter is like the cackling of a witch. As Ms Angelina Bright from down the road declared, “Her straight grey hair is best covered by a pointy hat.”

People said it was all in the name; Rose in name, prickly in nature.

1509: Hector’s fastidious plan

Hector had always been fastidious. There was not an ounce of spontaneity in his genes (nor in his jeans for that matter). When he was approaching his sixtieth birthday he made a list of the names of his parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Next to each name he wrote their exact age when they died.

Aunt Peggy, for example, died when she was sixty-one years and eleven days. Uncle Sylvester died aged seventy-two and ninety-six days. His maternal grandmother died aged eighty-three and two hundred and seventeen days. He would mark off each person when he passed their age. He would beat them all! He would draw a great big happy face next to each name the day he passed their death age! Ha! Ha! Ha! A happy face to celebrate!

Hector pinned his plan to the back of his kitchen door.

That was one hundred and twenty-four years ago. Not a single happy face was ever added to the list.

1376. Big jump

Florrie was not one to sit back and let life stop because she was getting older. For her seventy-fifth birthday she had organised a parachute jump. She would be strapped to a hopefully handsome muscular young man and they would jump out of the plane. He would guide her safely to the ground.

Well, the truth was, upon arrival at the venue Florrie discovered that the young man wasn’t as muscular and strapping as she’d hoped. That didn’t greatly matter of course; she was in it for the big jump.

And jump they did! Happy seventy-fifth, Florrie! It was most unfortunate that the parachute didn’t open.

1355. Noreen’s secret

Noreen was eighty-seven. She had always jokingly told her daughter that once she started to wet the bed, she should be put into geriatric care. Well, she wet the bed.

It was starting to become a regular occurrence.

“When are you coming to stay for a few days with us and the grandkids like you always used to?” asked Noreen’s daughter.

“I’m just getting a bit too old for it,” said Noreen. “And I find that grandchildren these days can get too boisterous.”

“Is everything okay?” asked Noreen’s daughter.

“Everything’s fine. Of course it is,” said Noreen.

Several months later Noreen died; in fact a week after her eighty-eighth birthday. Noreen’s children descended upon her house to clean it up. Noreen’s secret was out.

Poem 77: Now that summer’s over

Now that summer’s over
I’m a season older, and find
each summer season mines
less memories. It’s kind of sad
to think of times we had.
The heat-strewn days were glad when we
were children; so carefree,
chasing bees, climbing trees – the days
all melded in a haze
of ever-sunshine glaze. And yet…

It’s easy to forget
age casts far wider nets to catch
a varied vaster batch
of joys than those dispatched to girls
and boys. For in life’s twirl
of memory there swirls wise dreams
far deeper, so it seems,
than younger days we deem as fine.
Here, in my autumn time,
(I thank this God of mine) there calls
no need to live it all again.

Listen to the poem read aloud HERE!

(Based on the Vietnamese luc bat poetic form. For those who don’t know, I usually challenge myself with a weekly poem using a set poetic form each month).

Poem 61: It just seems that way

Swaying grass in wind
teaches me to dance in one spot.
It makes the hillside waltz
but really not.
It just seems that way.

Rise and fall of waves
teaches me to dance in one spot.
It makes the ocean tango
but really not.
It just seems that way.

Alone, I sit glued to one spot,
cornered in this old folks’ home.
He’s long past it, so they say.
He dribbles in his chair.
He wheezes in his air.
His mind’s not very clear.
His bank account is bare.
Mostly he can’t hear.
He won’t see out the year.
His end must soon be near.
There’s a bloody waiting list as long as your arm for here.

And yet

Swaying grass in wind
teaches me to dance in one spot.
It makes the hillside waltz
but really not.
It just seems that way.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.