Short Story

I HATE THIS GETTING OLD

Basement

Reading and TV

Pills

Computer

Dale's Washing Machine

Bridge Spaghetti Rachel Pinning Dream

Pray for Me

Getting old is no fun. For one thing you forget. Therefore, I have prepared a list of everything I want to say and will use a pen to mark off subjects so I don't repeat myself.

BASEMENT

Names are the first thing to go and the second is wanting to do something and forgetting what is was. Take for instance the other day when I decided to get something out of the deep freeze. The deep freeze is down in the basement, way to the back, about a block away.

The first time I went down there, I noticed the downstairs bathroom needed a new roll of toilet paper. So, I took care of that, then couldn't remember what I came down for. Why is it, that you have to go way back to where you started before that elusive memory returns?

The second time I went down, I noticed dust on the TV. I knew better than to go back upstairs to get the dust cloth because after I got up there, I wouldn't remember why. So I brushed off the dust with the bottom of my shirt.

Forgot again.

The next time I went down, I had a note pinned to my shirt and, for good measure, chanted all the way: "I'm going to get out fish-fish-fish."

Speaking of the dust cloth, after dusting two rooms I answered the door. When I returned to dusting, the dust cloth was nowhere to be seen. I scanned all 14 rooms of my house, then started opening drawers and closets before I passed in front of a mirror.

There in the image of the mirror was my dust cloth slung across my shoulder.

Basement

READING AND TV

I can't stay awake long enough to get through a whole paragraph reading and miss the ending of a movie on TV. So, I started chewing gun. Then I discovered sleep will creep up on me even with a wad of gum in my mouth, if it is regular gum. I needed to upgrade to bubble gum. However, the husband doesn't like the popping noise, so I resorted to eating popcorn, one kernel at a time. That works.

Reading

PILLS

I forget to take them. The only way I know I have forgotten is when my heartburn starts to act up. I decided I must have a plan. So, I put a glass of water on the night stand. You may ask why I am worrying about water at night when it is my habit to take the pills in the morning? I'll tell you why. I sleep on my back and that causes dry mouth. I also get up three times a night to make a bathroom run and afterwards take a sip of water for the dry mouth. So, the glass of water is there to help relieve dry mouth and a remembrance in the morning to take the remainder of the water straight to the kitchen and take the pills. It works -- as long as I don't forget to place the glass of water on the nightstand.

Pills

COMPUTER

I like to write letters and for years I used an electric typewriter. It went kaput. So, I lugged it around to find someone to fix it. Everyone said, "Trash it. Get a computer. You will love it. It spells for you." That was the magic word. I am the world's worst speller. So, I brought a computer home. Of course, I hadn't the foggiest notion what to do with it because they don't send a manual with you to peruse, they just say it would be too heavy to carry. My daughter-in-law is computer savvy and she set it up for me.

The next morning, I was in front of the computer, planning to write a letter to my brother, Guy. I got as far as inserting the password, then couldn't remember what came next. The daughter-in-law was now at work. But suddenly, I remembered grandson, Matt, was home on spring break. He is going to be a doctor, you know. He answered the phone and said, "Sure, grandmother, I'll stop in on my way back to Omaha in about an hour. After the computer was up and working, I begged Matt to write out all the instructions for me. Then he ventured to comment, "Grandmother, you really should get hooked up to the internet."

"Oh," but I said, "Doesn't that cost money? Like every month?"

"Well, yes."

"Matt,"I said, "I would rather spend that money on shopping or traveling."

I gave him a big hug goodbye. As he went out the door he said, "Well, happy shopping and traveling, grandmother."

Computer

DALE'S WASHING MACHINE

It's down in the basement, a block away, beside that deep freeze. I call it Dale's washing machine because I wash his dirty, really dirty, farm clothes in it. I wouldn't think of using my good machine upstairs for that business. But I forget that clothes are tumbling around down there, maybe for days, so I leave the dryer door open upstairs to remind me about the washing downstairs. Dale will come along and notice the dryer door ajar and say, "How come you can leave a door open when you tell me to close doors behind myself?"

Said I, "You see, I leave a door open out of necessity, you leave a door open because you don't take the time to close it. And while we are on the subject, you don't turn out lights after you leave a room either."

"Oh, Mary, you just wear out hinges and switches, " commented Dale.

Dale’s Washing Machine

BRIDGE

Three of us ladies were sitting up to the bridge table. It takes four people to play bridge, you know. After we sat for a long time the hostess called the fourth person on the cell phone and asked:

"What are you doing?"

"I'm sitting here at Shaffer's having coffee with my friends."

"But you are supposed to be sitting here at Rice's playing bridge with your friends."

I find something comforting about this situation. That fourth person is in the same boat as I am, concerning our minds going south.

Bridge

SPAGHETTI

We were supposed to babysit our two granddaughters for a couple of days. Their ages are eleven and nine, I think. Well, their ages keep changing. And their names are Joan and Betty, I think. I have 14 grandchildren and I don't always call them by the right name. Anyway, it would be no problem getting them here because we live in town now and our house is two blocks from school if you cross the football field and tramp cattycorner across the neighbor's lawn. The problem was: what to feed them? This little nine year old is a mite finicky about food.

Betty looked at her plate of spaghetti and said: "I'm not going to eat that."

"Why not?"

"Because I don't like the looks of it."

"Pray tell, what is wrong with the looks of it?"

"Can't you see? Those tomato chunks are just laying there and the sauce is way too runny.''

"That's the way grandfather and I like it."

"I'm not going to touch it."

Joan says, "Betty, I know the sauce is runnier than mother's, but it is really quite tasty. You ought to try it."

''No!"

"Then what are you going to eat?" I asked. "You didn't want a baked potato and you didn't want any com."

"Now listen up grandmother," she said, "I like plain spaghetti! No butter! No salt! No pepper! Definitely no runny sauce!"

She ate gobs and gobs of plain spaghetti.

After supper Dale took them out to their farm to sleep in their own beds. The next morning, however, he called me and said, "The girls just informed me that they need to come to town for baske ball practice. Practice will be done by noon. Will you fix dinner for us?"

"But, whatever will I fix that Betty will eat?"

"You'll think of something."

So I served baked chicken.

After Betty got up from the table she said, "That chicken was alright, grandmother, but I would rather had it fried!"

Spaghetti

SCHOOL BUS

My friend Joyce Emory, who has driven the school bus for years, called and said, "Mary, I have something to tell you before I forget. You know how it is these days. One better not put things off. Anyway, I need to tell you what Betty said yesterday."

"0.K. What did Betty have to say?"

"She plopped down in the front seat of the bus and asked, "Mrs. Emory, do you notice anything different about me today?"

"I'll have to think about that, Betty. Ah ha, I know what it is. You are wearing purple today. I have never seen you wear purple before."

''No, that is not it."

"You are getting prettier every day."

"I wish! No that is not it."

"You are wearing toenail polish,"

"Why would you say that? You can't see through my shoes. No, you are wrong again."

"Betty, I'm grasping at straws here. I give up. What is different about you today?"

"I had my hair cut and gave it to Locks of Love."

"What a nice thing to do."

"I thought so. That is why I am telling you about it, but how come you didn't notice that my hair is shorter?"

School Bus

RACHEL

While we were still out on the farm, Rachel 's parents asked if we would watch her while they went on vacation. Rachel was three, maybe four, what does it matter? She was little.

Grandsons are easy to watch because they just follow grandfather around.

Granddaughters have to be entertained. She and I decided to go to town and purchase a wading pool. We took grandfather's pickup. Now grandfather doesn't like me to drive his pickup. I don't know how it comes to be that farmers don't want anyone except themselves driving their pickups. But the car was out of gas, so we took his pickup. Bomgaars had the last pool available, but it was blown up for display. So, we stuffed it into the pickup and came home. While I was filling the pool, Rachel put on her swimming suit. When she came back from the house, I said, "You better wait until tomorrow for this water to warm up."

So the next morning, as soon as she was up, she put on her bathing suit and skipped out to the pool. She started to scream so loudly, I could hear it from the porch.

I ran over to her and asked, "What is the matter?"

"There are dead bugs in that pool."

So I drained the pool and filled it back up. The next morning there was more screaming and jumping up and down. "What is it this time?''

"Didn't you see that big dog get in the pool. I am not using it now!"

I drained the pool permanently and hung it in the garage on a nail.

The next day she put on a pair of coveralls. She was rummaging around in the pocket of the coveralls and I asked:

"What have you got in there, Rachel?"

"My hand!"

Rachel

PINNING

Our granddaughter, Alisha, is in nursing school in Omaha. At the end of the first year, the class gets pinned. A nurse must do the pinning. This was to be special for Alisha and all of us because her mother is a nurse and would be pinning Alisha. Afterwards, Dale announced, "Alisha, you pick out a restaurant and I will take everyone out to eat." I think she picked out the most expensive one she could think of. It is called ????. I can't remember the name. I can see it in my mind’s eye. It is yellow and has an Egyptian motif. As you are driving along Dodge, you can look up and there it is at the top of the hill. I wish these cob webs would clear out from my mind. Oh well, I'll think of that name someday.

In the end there would be 14 of us dining. Matt, the one who is going to be a doctor you know, joined us. So did another grandson Nick, his wife and our two great granddaughters and Rachel, now a teacher. The bill came to a whopping $208. But why worry about such matters when Dale and I probably don't have many years left on this earth.

Pinning

DREAM

I had this dream the other night where I was driving a huge truck. I drove that truck right through a wall and landed on a white rug in a lady's house. I jumped out as quickly as I could to apologize for ruining her rug.

She said: "It is alright, don't worry about it. Just come have lunch with me."

"All you can think of is lunch when I have just ruined your rug with my truck?"

''Now, about that truck," she said, "It is all in your imagination because you are actually living in a Rest Home. Now come eat with the rest of us. Afterwards we can do your hair. Won't that be nice?"

I don't let anyone touch my hair. I can take care of that myself. And I don't want to live in a Rest Home. I'll just get back in my truck and go home!"

At that point, I woke up. I was so thankful that I hadn't ruined anyone's rug and that I wasn't living in a Rest Home---yet.

Dreams

PRAY FOR ME

That I have many more years before I enter a Rest Home and, if and when I do, I will be able to adjust and let them do my hair.

Halleluiah! The name of the restaurant just came to me:

THE CHEESE CAKE FACTORY

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