a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Early Morning Tale

These hands pained me this morning telling a weather change was coming.  My hands did more work when they weren't knotted and gnarled from age and accidents.

Warming by the wood cook stove I waited for the coffee to perk. The percolator was a welcome sound that ushered in the day while I made plans.

These knotty fingers have sewn quilts and stitched up wounds.  They have birthed babies and spanked children when it was the common practice.  They have milked cows and have made biscuits all without a thought of them ever failing me.

Pulling my shawl around me and the chair closer to the fire I listened to the rhythmic sound of the coffee pot. Billy Jo, bless her heart, had brought an electric coffee pot.  It still sat in its box unopened. No reason to use it since there was only me.

Husband gone this past winter, two children passed before the age of reason.  Just me now in this old house that had been so full of life years past.  This is where my marriage bed was.  I did my duties for my husband all these years.  Tried to bear and raise my young ones, tried to a good wife and mother.  Here in later years the grands used to gather around this old chair eager for my words and stories.

They have their own lives now and it's just me and The Duke who warms by the fire with me every winter morning. 

Most of my friends have already passed.  That's the sad thing about aging; the people you know begin to die off.

The coffee finally perked to perfection I poured a cup, black as I always take it, holding it in both hands for the warmth as the coffee cooled.  The tin cup that belonged to my mother's mother not only warmed my hands but also warmed my heart.

I continued to sit, rocking a little, smiling at old thoughts of passed times.

I patted the old dog.  He woke when I said, "It's just you and me."  The dog looked at me a moment and laid his head onto his paws to rest.

My grandson would be coming soon to take me to get some "staples" I needed.  

I smiled, closed my eyes and rocked in the warmth of the past.
~
~
The grandson arrived.  The smoke rising from the chimney caused his own memories to come to life as he walked toward the house to greet his grandmother.

The dog whined then howled as he reached the door. This was odd behavior even for The Duke.  When the knock and shout went unanswered the middle-aged grandson opened the door.

He found her in the rocking chair pulled up close to the fire.  Her favorite coffee cup laid spilled beside her.  

When The Duke howled again, the grandson knew the matriarch was gone.  Still warm in her chair she sat as always with a smile on her face that said the journey home had been a peaceful ride.

The Duke howled.

The grandson kissed his grandmother's cheek, swallowed his tears and reached for his cell phone, punching in 911.
Unexpected for Poetry Jam

26 comments:

Sandra said...

my favorite part is this starts in the past of long ago and ends with the grandson using a cell phone and 911... everything else could have been 100 years ago.. this is the way i want to go... my grandmother did in her sleep...great story. keep writing

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I LOVE this I was right there and your description of the scene had me smelling the coffee so I now up with tears in my eyes and head to my own coffee pot wishing it was on a wood stove. Thanks for the morning jolt of imagination. Hug B

Lynne said...

Brought tears . . .
Like I have said . . .
You can write girl . . .

TexWisGirl said...

i hope old duke will be well tended to.

Linda Wildenstein said...

What a lovely bit of word crafting you have put before us. I love how you just took us along with the thoughts of this woman. Beautifully written. Thanks. Linda

John Gray said...

Wistful xxx

Far Side of Fifty said...

I enjoyed this..I hope my passing is as peaceful:)

Farm Girl said...

Okay Gail, not fair... I am sitting here crying my eyes out. What a great and wonderful story.
I do hope I go as easy as that, and not walking of in the desert like I have imagined so my family doesn't have to deal with me.
What a lovely way of looking at life. I loved it so much, even if I am crying and can't swallow for the lump in my throat. I was hoping for a good story today, you never fail to please.

Country Gal said...

The old fashioned scene you set was amazing and ending it with modern age brilliant ! I get hands like that as I have Arthritis in mine and typing and doing a easy task as opening a jar can be havoc for me ! ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

aspiritofsimplicity said...

oh I thought at first of my mum and her dog...too sad for me.

Gemma Wiseman said...

The simplicity of the accumulating homely scenes warm the spirit. There is a great sense of comfort in these images. And that last line...shell shock...

Brian Miller said...

oh this pulled my heart strings....to find her like that...how sad as well to see your friends pass all around you...ah when my time comes i think i might walk out into the woods...good luck to them finding me...ha....

thewovenspoke said...

Gail, that was fantastic. A great post and story. Keep writing.

gld said...

What a lovely way to go.

Gabriella said...

Very poignant write, Gail. Waiting for a beloved grandson confident that he will arrive is probably the best way to die.

Mary said...

A very touching write, Gail. It brought tears to my eyes.

Saucy Kodz said...

Tugging at my heart - you know that don't you. My Grandma always kissed everyone goodnite when she retired for the evening. One nite she spoke to each person in our family individually and hugged and kissed each one - my grandma had a way of making you feel like the most important person in the world. She took my tiny hands in hers and told me how much she loved me. She told me how I would travel the world and to always remember her when I went to France (my Grand Father had died there) - she held me tight in an embrace of pure love. I wondered later as a young adult, how she would know that I would travel to France one day and live in Europe for a while? She went off to bed, only for my Dad & I to find her in the morning sound asleep, or so I thought - She had passed during the night in her sleep. I have always remembered the peaceful look of her face and I was 5 yrs old. This was a lovely story Gail - You touched memories deep in my heart. I am not going to say what you should do Miss Gail, but we both know I'll be first in the lineup, eh

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

Aww, nice story. Heartfelt.

Sumana Roy said...

this is so moving, heart warming and the last moment jolt...oh so shocking...such flow of beautiful words...

Mary said...

Hi Gail - glad you are enjoying Poetry Jam. You mentioned you could respond to each comment, but some people had no 'address.' If you go back to the Poetry Jam site itself, you will see the links. You really should be able to see everyone's name there. If you don't see their name, they did not comment through Poetry Jam. Smiles.

Henny Penny said...

Oh, I love this. It is sad and sweet and makes me feel like crying.

Mary said...

Hi Gail. You can delete this as well. So true thT. Any do not have email addresses. Me included. If you respond. Y going to someone's comment on your blog by going to their blog and commenting that is the best response and the one people really appreciate...thanks for being part of the community...smiles.

alan1704 said...

This is very touching and from the heart. Made me stop and think, very pweceptive

mrs-minerva said...

Wonderful story, Gail! I enjoyed it from the very beginning, but as I kept reading, it pulled at my heartstrings more and more. Simply lovely!

Peggy said...

What a beautiful story about a peaceful end. I do hope someone will take old Duke!

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

Trying to catch up-we finally went to Branson. Made me cry today gal-I was just thinking about this the other day- how I hope that I can stay at home til my days are done. I don't want to ever have to be in a nursing home.

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