MYRTLE (name changed to protect the, er, innocent)
Damned if she didn’t do it.
Despite me being busy with year end work, she finally found me at home, getting out of my car in the garage, lunch in one hand, grocery bag in another struggling to get the back door open without Emil Catt escaping.
Oh! there you are! I was just knocking on your front door!
Hi, Myrtle! yeah, I’ve been out running some errands. Went up to …
Well, I’ve been calling you for days now! I have your Christmas cookies, but don’t want to just leave them on your porch. I thought we could have a good chat (I had told her earlier there might be time after the first of the year).
Well…come in, come in (she clearly was not going to leave). Pardon the mess, I was cleaning right before I decided to head up to Ski Country Antiques for their 50% off Christmas decoration sale!
I set my lunch on the coffee table, picked up the feather bed I’d shaken out and spread across the back of the couch in the sun earlier in the day, and tossed it through the door of my bedroom. Shut the door on the mess.
OH, you’re doing some real cleaning, aren’t you?
Yep, getting ready to take down the tree.
She settled comfortably into the corner of the settee, Emil Catt joining her (traitor!).
So, Roxie, How was your Christmas? I’ve been calling you, you know? Maybe you’ve not heard my messages.
I’ve heard them.
Oh, well, I thought, since your message says have a good summer, you maybe were not checking your messages.
No, I check my messages. Just was a really busy last couple weeks of the year, and I found myself working late, then focusing on getting ready for Christmas Eve.
Oh, well, then you know I’ve been calling you to bring you your cookies. I’ve put them in the freezer now, to keep them fresh, since you weren’t responding. So, how IS your work?
I grumble something. She nods knowingly.
You should sell your house, so you can retire. Move somewhere cheaper.
I have no idea what I would do if I retire. I like being around people, with something to do.
You’ll find there is plenty to do. You can volunteer.
I’ve volunteered all my adult life, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Wings Museum, Board of Directors of the Western Slope Girl Scout Council, Girl Scout troops, Association of Professional Mortgage Women, Business Women Association, Alzheimer’s Association, yadda yadda yadda. I think I’m volunteered out, Myrtle. Don’t really care all that much anymore.
But just think you would have so much more time to really make a difference!
Well, so, my daughter and her husband are planning to sell their home and move to Grand Junction to live on an acreage. They’ve asked me to go with them. She is a nurse, you know. She would know just how to care for me as I get older. But they’re thinking of doing it soon! like a year and a half from now. (soon?) They do not want to leave before Lilly graduates from high school.
Maybe they should move now, while prices are fairly low.
Certainly they would not pull Lilly out of high school in her junior year!
Well, as an old Air Force brat, I would venture to say she would survive.
Oh, No, absolutely not. She’s comfortable in her current school. She’s in the band, working on the yearbook team. It would destroy her. They would never do that.
Mmm, prob’ly not… you’ll be selling your house?
Oh, I would have to think about that…I would, uh, wah wah wah wah…
…she chatted on while my lunch grew cold, my laundry wrinkled in the dryer, and my interest in attacking the after Christmas clean up waned… Emil Catt lost interest and wandered into the front bedroom to curly into his blanket. Another neighbor waited outside for Myrtle to take a walk. Myrtle’s daughter was out of town, and had called for Myrt to pick up and take care of the pup until they were back home. She was go grateful the other neighbor would help her walk both pups, which can be a handful.
She finally brought me the cookies, along with a lovely card. The cookies were good, as always. The chat filled some time. She reminded me that I am likely losing my memory since I’m getting older, which likely explains why I remember so little of what we said.
I took a nap in front of the fire…Christmas cleanup be damned…
Lord, save us from annoyances…and sometimes, thank you for a fading memory (as determined by a forgetful old neighbor) that will nullify the need to respond to chatter… Do help me keep my temper and manners in place, please. I think I can only claim I have Tourette’s Syndrome once or twice, before people realize I actually, wholeheartedly, cussed them out for bothering me.
For these and all your gifts, I thank you.
rJo Herman 1/1/19