Whimsy's grandma was one of the most active seniors in town, although sometimes her activities raised eyebrows. She rarely conformed to the expectations of others. Last summer, Grandma took up powerlifting after having put it aside for many, many years. Much to Whimsy’s, her granddaughter, chagrin, she started working out in the backyard besides the gym space she had set up upstairs in her house. Whimsy secretly admired Grandma's perseverance and bravery, but Grandma was an old woman! Whimsy also wondered why her grandma chose something so unconventional for a grandmother figure like herself. Grandma inspired Whimsy with her unwavering spirit, despite the stares of those in the neighborhood, and showed that a 'grandmother' could be vigorous and energetic.
While visiting her grandmother one weekend, she went next door where her friend, Janella, was also visiting her grandma. She walked into the kitchen and found Janella's grandma watching her grandma out the window. At first, the equally old woman looked and acted embarrassed, but finally she spoke and said, "That Grandma of yours is really something. How does she stay so strong?"
Janella told her that this strength and fitness thing wasn't new. Grandma exercised and kept fit when she was younger, actually coming in 2nd place in a bodybuilding contest once. Acting unusually interested, she asked Whimsy if her grandmother liked coffee or tea. Whimsy told her she doesn’t drink coffee but has a variety of teas she drinks throughout the day. Janella’s grandma said ‘Even more we have in common!’
Not sure what that meant, Whimsy and Janella went upstairs to listen to some music. About a half hour later, they came downstairs, deciding they wanted to go to Whimsy’s house to play with the dog for a while. Janella called out to her grandmother that they were going next door, but to no response.
Entering Whimsy’s house, she called out to her mom, telling her they were going to take Swiftie, the dog, downstairs and teach him some new stuff. Swiftie was a bright, fast learner that, besides being a great family member, was an endless source of entertainment with all his tricks. Not getting a response, Whimsy checked out the back window and found her grandmother and Janella’s grandma sitting on the patio, sipping tea, and talking about planning a neighborhood power walking meet-up.
They heard Janella’s grandma saying that she used to be very fitness conscious as a young ballet dancer and would like to get some of that back.
Shrugging her shoulders, Janella said that she guesses their grandmothers once had a real life too, to which Whimsy shrugged hers and agreed.
ELDIE GOES TO
Ed decided he had mulled it over long enough. He had dreams when he was younger of being a computer programmer, but back then, programming was a new art, and so were home computers. Back in 1990, Basic programming was all the rage, and he was a pro, but the highest paying job was being a computer end user—someone who used the programs created by the coding wizards—and this was the best way for a stockbroker to make a nice living.
With all of Ed’s wife’s support behind him in this venture, he was excited but with a little trepidation at attending his first class. As he expected, all those attending were a good 40+ years younger than he was. It didn’t take long for this class of computer wizes to come up with the nickname of “Eldie” for him, either. He didn’t object, in fact he felt they meant it with a bit of good natured warmth attached.
As they learned this new computer programming language called F#, Ed found he had a lot to share as he could draw from experiences he had working with coding from previous years. He helped, shared tips and tricks, and actually became known as the class hero.
Six weeks later, the last night of class, Eldie invited the entire class, including the instructor, to the ice cream parlor across the street, saying “have anything you want, it’s all on me.” Besides all the thank you(s) received, he received lots of “hope to see you soon in upcoming computer classes, Eldie!”
Note: This story encompasses a lot of diversity. The picture includes several nationalities. Noticeable is the age difference between Ed and the other students. Also, it is a misconception in 2023 that those born during the 20th century couldn’t possibly know the intricacies of computing today. Look at Ed, affectionately labeled Eldie by the other students. Not so…huh?
Cal had moved into his son's home almost a year ago, but right from the start, he felt excluded from family activities. His family reminded him of his exclusion when they left without him, saying they were afraid he might get hurt if he went with. When he objected, he was told by his son that now that he was living in his home, he felt responsible for him and his safety and most of the family's activities were too dangerous for a man his age.
He and his son never actually spent any time talking about Cal's abilities and disabilities. He just sort of assumed the family was already aware that he lived a moderately active lifestyle walking to the drugstore, picking up the newspaper almost every day. Every week, he would catch a ride with the neighbor to the supermarket to get the items necessary for the next seven days. Cal was also very conscious of staying healthy, following tips and tricks for olders to stay that way. Included in these tips was using a hand basket in place of a cart at the store. The article he read said this would help keep his balance in tiptop shape.
Cal knew it was time for a change. Tim's wife had given him a strange look when he asked to add a few things to her grocery list, but she didn't ask why or challenge him. That weekend, he had a big surprise for them when they came home from their Saturday afternoon x-country ski adventure. He had prepared a sumptuous gourmet meal for them. It surprised them he cooked - in all the years they had known him, no one knew he could cook! It was clear Cal had put his heart and soul into this delicious spread. He filled his dishes with love and adventure, including several ethnic delicacies! As Cal brought each dish to the table, everyone exclaimed over how incredible it looked and tasted.
Once seated and all were enjoying the gourmet spread, the youngest boy piped up, asking, "What else don't we know about you, Grandpa?" His dad looked at the little boy and remarked, "You may well be the wisest one at this table. Yes, Dad, what else don't we know about you?"
***note: This may have been a game changer for this family. What do you think?***
Annie sat on her bed stuffing store bought cookies into her mouth, crumbs and sprinkles falling unnoticed onto the bed. "No way!" She said to her friend, Jordan, sitting opposite.
"Way," Jordan said emphatically.
"How did she pull that off," Annie, wide eyed, asked. "What did her mom say?"
Jordan answered, "You won't believe it. Her mom did it for her!"
At that moment, Annie's mom popped into her bedroom with a basket of clean laundry. Annie seized the moment. "Mom, will you help me dye my hair purple? Winter's mom helped her do it."
Annie's mom looked at her for a few moments, then said, "Sure thing. As soon as you clean that cookie mess up on your bed." Then, she turned and left the room.
With eyes wider than ever, Jordan said, "You have the coolest mom!"
"Right," Annie says, "she's bilingual, too. She speaks English and Sarcasm."
I hope you like the stories! I'd love to hear from you.
Fifty years had gone by since their time in high school, but the moment Bob and Cindy saw each other again at the high school reunion, something felt familiar. Both feeling shy, they approached each other hesitantly. Sparks flew between them as soon as they hugged, as if no time at all had gone by. As their conversation unfolded, all those long-buried feelings resurfaced.
With nothing but time ahead of them that night, Bob and Cindy lived it as if it were their last. Hand in hand, they danced all night and when midnight came all too soon and the party was over, they took a walk instead of going back to the hotel.
Hours later, with fingers intertwined and love on their lips still unspoken, dawn approached and so did reality. The sun was rising, casting a golden hue over the city. Bob and Cindy felt it in their hearts - love that had rekindled after so many years apart - but they knew they could not keep it alive in this one night together. They shared one last kiss in the doorway of his hotel, before Cindy choked back tears and whispered, "Goodbye."
Bob watched her as she walked away until he couldn't make out her figure anymore.
The Stone Collectors
For decades, 83-year-old couple Phyllis and Ed had been collecting pretty stones in the serene countryside around their home. They loved to find the most colorful, unique ones, creating lasting memories with each one. After an afternoon of searching, they came across an enormous stone that Phyllis was sure would be worth a fortune. When they took it in for appraisal, they discover it's a worthless, common stone. They stifled their laughter and happily settled back into their shared hobby of hunting for more beautiful ones.
One day, Ed and Phyllis were having a great time rock and stone hunting at Panama Rocks Park. As they were going through an area full of jagged rocks, Ed suddenly got his foot stuck in a crevice! After much scrambling and cooperation from both parties, they freed Ed with only minor scrapes and bruises. Just before leaving the area, Phyllis turned to Ed laughing and said, "Looks like we can add this experience to our long list of adventures—the Great Foot Escape of 2023!”
They spent the next day quietly, just sitting by a nearby lake. Phyllis turned to Ed and said, “Yesterday could have turned out much differently, you know.” Ed continues looking at the lake for a moment, then said, “We’ve been together for over 60 years. That story could have turned out differently, too. Life has been good for us. Let’s not think about the ‘what ifs’.”
ON THE BEACH
With 50 years together, Bob and Martha, a 73-year-old couple, were experiencing some bumps in their relationship. One afternoon, they took a walk on the beach. However, Martha forgot her cane and Bob had forgotten how hard it was to walk on a sandy beach. They were stumbling around while trying to walk like young lovebirds again, laughing the whole way.
From that day on, Bob and Martha found out how much they had missed adventures together, romance returned, and they found their relationship thriving once again.
When You Have Lemons
Alexander went for a walk on Monday. It was a day off from school, and he just wanted to explore the neighborhood a bit. They had just moved here for his dad’s job, and he was having trouble adjusting after spending the whole eight years of his life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Alex was walking by a house a few doors down, when a voice came from the porch.
“Hey, I saw you walk by the other day. You are new here, right? My name is Mason.”
Alexander didn’t even know a kid lived that close. He started up the sidewalk to the porch, immediately seeing why Mason didn’t come out front. He was in a wheelchair. Alexander had never met a kid in a wheelchair before.
Being kids, they didn’t bother with formalities and got right to the point, with Alex asking Mason how old he was. Mason replied eight years old. This information formed a bond between the two.
“What’s with the chair?” Alex asked right off.
“I used to walk, just like you, but then I was in this car accident. I don’t like to talk about it much because it still scares me,” Mason told Alex.
Alex just shrugged and said, “that’s okay. What grade are you in at school?”
Mason replied with, “I don’t go to school. My mom home schools me. She’s afraid of me getting hurt or something. What school do you go to?”
“I go to Lander Elementary,” Alex told Mason. “It’s just two blocks…”
But Mason interrupted him. “I know where it is. I wish mom would hurry and let me go there. Do they still have that climbing wall in the gym? I used to love that thing. I could do it when I was seven. Then this happened.” Mason gestured with his head at the chair. “If I ever get back there, I think I’ll try it. My mom believes in lemonade or something like that, and she has me keeping my upper body strong. They don’t weigh much, but I even pump iron,” Mason giggles. “Wanna see how strong I am?” Mason says as he pushes up his sleeve and assumes a childish but recognizable arm wrestling position on the tray attached to his chair.
"Giving Mason the side eye and with hesitant confidence, Alex said “You're on.” Crouching down so he was at the right level, Alex assumed the same position.
“Okay, on the count of three,” Mason said. At three, there was a noticeable hesitation in the clasped hands, and then Alex’s hand slowly moved backward.
“Okay, I give! You win!” Alex half shouted. “You are strong. I wonder if my mom would let me pump some of that iron. What did you say? You are up to 2#? I know what I’m asking for my birthday this week. Hey, Mason, want to come over on my birthday? I’ve invited two kids from school that I like and we will play games and stuff.”
“I don’t know. My mom still doesn’t let me do much. She says all in good time, whatever that means.” Mason tells Alex.
“Bring her with!” Alex says. “Our moms can eat cake and drink that icky coffee while we have a good time.”
“You sure that would be okay with your mom?” Mason’s mom had been standing at the door the whole time, observing this wrestling match.
“Oh, I’m sure,” Alexander told her. “If you give me a pencil and paper, I’ll even write her cell number and you can check yourself.”
Now Is Not The Time
Noah had promised to Zoom me at 2pm. It’s after 2pm now, but this is the word of an 8 year old. This Zoom technology is new to both of us, so maybe he ran into problems. I’m just so eager to see if I had impressed Noah,with the hot dog holders I made him in ceramics class. Each little holder was a tiny dachshund, better known to Noah as a ‘weiner dog’ and hot dogs are just about his favorite meal. I suppose feeling anxious about his reaction is silly for a Great Gramma but….but nothing. Noah had said he’d Zoom at 2pm and it was now 2:30pm.
Now, it is 3pm and no Zoom in sight! Maybe I should call and make sure everything is okay. No. Noah has a telephone too, so if something is wrong, it is his responsibility to let me know.
Finally, at 4pm, a Zoom invitation appears on my screen. Noah is the only one that knows I can even Zoom, or trying to learn, except for his dad. I accept the invite and join Noah on screen. It is probably a little mean, but Great Grammas have feelings too, and I’m a little cool to him. I needn’t worry because the moment I was on the screen, Noah started excitedly telling me about a play date he had just attended at a friend’s house. There were 4 boys there, but one had to leave because his gramma was coming to his house that afternoon. Asking what 4 boys found to talk about, Noah answered, “Just life! Stuff we did in school, homework the teachers are giving us. Really! Do you think 3rd graders are ready for homework?” Before I could even answer, Noah added, “and Grammas. Two of my friends there had birthdays on the same day and brought their birthday presents from their gramma with. One had a bunch of space stuff, and the other had sports stuff.”
“Stop!” I said. I wanted to get a word in on this Zoom call. “Both presents sound great. Did you have anything to show the kids?” I know this was a thinly veiled ask to see if Noah was going to mention the hot dog holders.
“I was just getting to that,” Noah said. “I had my weiner dog holder with me! Dad only let me bring it after making me wrap it in practically an entire roll of bubble wrap. I showed my friends my hot dog holder, and I told them that my mormor made them for each of us, two for dad because he always eats two hot dogs for lunch! They asked what a mormor was, and I told them how you are very Swedish and that is what I call you ‘cause it means Gramma in Swedish. When I talked about already having a Gramma, actually two, they kind of got confused. That’s when I told them you aren’t my Gramma, but my Great Gramma! Liam asked if I thought my Gramma was better than other Grammas, but I explained no, I didn’t. I told him how my dad said something about four generations and things then got really complicated. Maybe we will learn this stuff in 4th grade. Anyway, they wanted to know if they ever came to my house for lunch, could they have their hot dog in the hot dog holders you made for me?”
I guess there is no higher praise, then to have 8 year olds want to have their lunch from the hot dog holders I made. It looks like I better get busy, making some more in upcoming ceramic classes. And, I will also teach Noah punctuality lessons, another time. This wasn’t the time to take away the joy of the moment, his or my own.
I hope you like the flash fiction! Would love to hear from you.
No Crying Over Spills
"Oh no!" Brent's mom gasps. It wasn't a scream, except in her own head. Brent was walking towards Uncle Ted with a full glass of ice tea. Uncle Ted has a tremor that has only been diagnosed as a familial tremor. It seems to run on just one side of the Johnson family. As Brent approached with his drink, Uncle Ted reached out. Handing it to him, Uncle Ted took it and it began to slosh from side to side, ice going everywhere. Brent's mom ran over and began mopping up the spilled drink as well as possible, apologizing over and over. "I didn't know! I didn't know!" Brent kept saying. Patting his soggy lap and flicking off the ice cubes, Uncle Ted said "Of course you didn't. It's just one of those silly accidents that happen in life. What is a little spilled tea compared to sharing a wonderful picnic with you?"
Not So Spooky Halloween
Answering the doorbell, my rollator (a stablizer on wheels), with a big bowl of candy and toys on its seat, stood between me and the wide eyed goblins on the porch. "Please, take two," I said. After getting over the initial surprise of seeing a rollator, the kids helped themselves, finishing with a loud 'Happy Halloween' and a brand new memory.