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Category Archives: Humor
I wrote my first article for this online blog in June, 2015. I wrote about ageism, the wealth of aging boomers, and the generation born before the baby boomers, which I call the ‘Lucky Few’.
The next month, I wrote about 50s fashion, what old people worry about, and how no one wants to take our advice. I had a vague theme, a workable design and a great desire to finally write.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I had to maintain two separate lives, my regular life of activity and responsibility, and my online writing life, for which I had to get up at 5 am, so that I could write without distraction. I’ve done that every morning since, although I’m finding that now I can steal a few minutes from my regular life to write.
I have a cliff garden. Yes, it is exactly that—a garden perched on a cliff, 30 or so feet above a quiet street bordering the harbor.
I don’t own the garden. That would be impossible, given that I live in a condo. How it came about is a long story, but I’ll give you the short version.
Several years ago, our six story 25 year old building was restored, resulting in piles of building debris everywhere, and a general disturbance of the grounds.
The strip along the outside of our ground floor condo was an eyesore, and since no one came forward with a solution, I offered to clean it up. I’ve had lots of gardening experience, so I felt confident in starting this project.
Clare was having a bad day. She spun her car around the corner of Quadra and McKenzie one more time. This was her second attempt at finding the entrance to the Lodge. She had driven past it a hundred times, why couldn’t she find it?
It was just her state of mind, Clare knew. She was stressed. This had been a harrowing few weeks. First, there was the excitement and buildup to Fergus’s retirement, the banquet, the phone calls, the well-wishers, the late-night conversations. Then there were the disastrous first two days as Fergus tried out a couple of his retirement ideas. Now the neighbors weren’t talking to her, the manager at Fairmart Center was giving her dirty looks, and Mrs. Pereira had quit her job cleaning their house.
Fergus had gremlins in his head. Retirement gremlins. It was like having mice in the attic, or a monkey on his back. They wouldn’t leave him alone. They were the last things he thought of when he fell asleep at night, and the first things he thought of when he woke up. They never let up, even in his dreams.
“Remember how you could hardly wait to retire,” they gloated, “Remember all of the wonderful ideas you had? Where are they now?”
“Years from now,” Fergus worried, “I’ll still be doing this.” He imagined himself, a stooped old man, trudging along, saying, “What will I do when I retire?” It was not too far-fetched, he already had the stoop, and the trudge.
Fergus Blecher woke up on the morning of June 28, feeling like a new man. Instead of hunching over his oatmeal and gulping it down, like he did only yesterday, he took his coffee to the deck, shook the rain off one of the chairs, and sat down. He stayed there for a few minutes, peering through the layer of mist over the Finlayson Valley, and waited for reality to sink in.
It didn’t. It didn’t feel real. He felt anxious—like he should be somewhere else. Fergus started thinking about where he should really be this morning. By now, he would be rounding the corner of Cook Street, taking McKenzie Avenue to the Pat Bay Highway, sailing through the construction area of the interchange. After all, it was Wednesday. His turn to take morning playground supervision. Next period, gym. In June, he usually did a relay set-up, had the kids go over what they did in the track meet. Before he knew it, Fergus was rummaging in the hall closet, looking for his whistle.
I am lying on the bed that I share with my sisters. June is on one side, and April is on the other. We are lying sideways in a row, on our stomachs, with our feet hanging over the side. We each have a book on the bed in front of us, turning the pages with a “whumph” as we read. I am reading ‘Anne of Green Gables’, and I’m just coming to an exciting part about the day Anne dyes her hair and it comes out green. I know it is coming, because June has already talked about it.
It was another perfect day on the farm. My husband Jim, and my children, Andy and Janie, were gone for the day, and I was planning to wallpaper one of the back bedrooms in our 100 year old house.
But just then, I remembered that Lorne, our carpenter, was coming by to finish some plastering downstairs. And Oh, yes, someone called about picking some apples, from the two overladen trees in our front orchard. Hopefully, they would bring their own containers—I didn’t want to be disturbed, no matter what.
It was just another day on the farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm, we were just pretending it was. The chickens were safely in their yard, the dog was with the kids, and the air was filled with the sound of rustling leaves. So far, everything was going fine. My husband left early this morning, he had a staff meeting, Andy was back from Kindergarten, and now he and Janie were playing outside.
It was October, and our fourth month here. But I wasn’t really counting—only once in a while, when things went wrong. Here, it seemed, it was always one step forward and two steps back.
I decided to be a blonde once. Well, actually. It wasn’t me who decided. It was my hairdresser Maggie’s idea, and I went along.
“Wish I was born with lighter hair,” I complained to her, as she was cutting away, “This dark hair is so harsh.”
“But it’s your natural color”, she said, “It was the way God meant it to be.”
“It doesn’t look like my natural color. Look at my skin. It’s light, like my mothers’. Her hair is lighter, and it looks great on her.”
This week my husband went downstairs to the storage room to bring up our boxes of Christmas tree decorations. It takes real commitment to do this every year. After all, we know what those boxes contain—glass balls without the metal hangers, garlands with last year’s needles still attached, and
messes (I mean masses) of Christmas tree lights carelessly tossed in and destined for a sorting out, (which never happens).
And we’re late, red and green Christmas lights went up on our Parliament buildings across the harbor two weeks ago, the conical imitation trees are already scattered around the city, reminding everyone that Christmas is just around the corner. Not to mention my condo neighbors, who put up their usual display of astoundingly beautiful decorations inside and outside of their unit in late November. But the urgency I feel this year is a little different.