Mom and Dad

Barb Phillips

Lila Ashby

Arlyn Fisk

Stan Fisk

Mike Preslar

Debbie Tarr

Randy Ashby

Jerry Ashby

Danny Ashby

Jack Ashby

Dale Fisk

Dana Kellerman

Venus Zook

Mandy Miller

Sweet Evie

Luna Belle

Onion Soup

Poetry

Odds & Ends

Trivial Stuff

I gazed sullenly out the front window and into the desolation of winter. The snowbank in the front lawn, the accumulations of many previous shovellings, was sinking lower. I watched it melt as if it were the flesh of the old woman in the next room melting off her bones.

I heard a moan from her room and got up to see what she could want now. Sheís forever bothering me. She lay flat on the queen-size bed, face up, with her hands folded across her bosom. One thin sheet covered her. She had so little strength left that any more covers would prove too heavy on her chest and retard her breathing. I stood in the doorway watching her. Half her hair gone, half her heart gone,- indeed she was beyond halfway into the grave, yet still she clung on, relentless in the struggle for her very life. She moaned again.

"What would you like, my dear?" I asked. She half-opened her mouth and patted her stomach twice, which I had come to learn meant a desire for food and drink. Oh, jolly times, I thought. It is only half past eleven and she wants to eat again. With great effort I made my way into the kitchen to begin the chore.

The sun shone in the east window of the kitchen so brightly that I had to pull the shade down. Would that I could get out and play some basketball with the guys. Why should I have to care for grandma? Of all her six children and seventeen grandchildren, how did I get stuck with the job?

Hot tea and cream-of-wheat is her standard lunch. She has to have precisely one-and-one-half teaspoons of sugar in her tea to lighten it and none in her cereal. She likes two spoons set on top of a triangularly folded white napkin placed on her tray; and the cup, saucer and bowl had to be of her patterned china, which she received as a wedding present. I added a small paper cup of mints to the array, even though I knew she wouldnít eat them, and carried it into the room of waiting.

I stopped by her bed and set the tray on a table near it. She had fallen asleep. Terrific! After all the fuss she put me through she couldnít even stay awake long enough to eat it. I stared at her wrinkled face trying to decide just what it was about her that kept her going; just a helpless bundle of loose skin drooped over a framework of decaying bones. Quelle joie de la vie! Her major activity is going to the bathroom, and she couldnít even do that without me.

The old wench coughed in her sleep. Her skeleton hand appeared from beneath the sheet and cupped itself over her mouth but she had no strength left to cough again. That wretched, angry smile was frozen on her lips. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, but instead I ran into the bathroom and threw up. I pulled the handle to the toilet and flushed my life away, I feel better now.

I wandered back into the livingroom and took my seat by the window. The clouds were rolling in. I suppose itís going to snow. And Iíll have to shovel the walks again. And Iíll pile the snow on the side as before. And then Iíll watch it melt.

by Stan Fisk

Sometime in 1973