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Whittling Away: Hope, like birthdays and flowers, springs eternal

November 8, 2019 11:32 am Updated: November 8, 2019 11:40 am


I find myself staring another birthday in the face. It’s not the thrill it used to be, there may be cake, that would be nice but there probably won’t be any clowns or ponies. Even cake loses some of its thrill when you start thinking about the amount of calories, carbohydrates and cholesterol involved. Still, I’m glad that my birthday falls close to Thanksgiving because at my age there becomes a definite connection between these two national holidays — I really am thankful when I get to see another birthday.

I am doing well considering, I can still sit up and take nourishment on my own. My mind is as good as it ever was. a fact which frightens The Queen. It just goes on these little vacations that seem to occur with greater frequency. I sometimes find myself in the kitchen wondering why I’m there but since I know that I usually go there for a snack, it hasn’t been much of a problem. I find that if I write myself notes, it helps. Finding the notes sometimes becomes the problem though so I always put them in the left hand pocket in my jeans. Unfortunately when I change pants in the morning, I transfer all the contents of the previous day’s jeans into the choice of the day jeans without weeding out the old notes. Right now there are three different grocery lists, two receipts for bird seed, three phone numbers jotted on scraps of paper that I have no idea who they’re for, the little card I always carry just in case that says, “If found wandering, please call — and The Queen’s cell phone number,” three Fire Police raffle ticket stubs and a CVS coupon that is good for three different items and I forgot to circle the one I was supposed to pick up last week.

Life is not as simple as it was when I had had fewer birthdays.

I ran into another little memory glitch yesterday, I’ve been getting the gardens ready for their seasonal slumber and was putting away the tools I’d been using when behind a flower pot, I discovered the seed packets I’d purchased last spring in the hardware store.

I’ve done this for years and am finally secure enough to admit it. I’m a seed junky. After a long hard winter and the brown mush of early spring, to walk into a store and see all those little packets of flower and vegetable seeds smiling up at one makes hope spring eternal. This flower would look great near the arbor, we don’t have this variety of daisy, I always wanted to grow one of those giant pumpkins and so I load up — even though the little voice in the back of my head (which sounds a lot like The Queen) says, “When was the last time you actually planted a seed”?

The truthful answer to this nagging question would have to be — “In sixth grade, for a 4H project.” This doesn’t usually deter me. I always leave the store with a little bag full of seed packets. I tell myself when I arrive back at the castle that this year I’m going to plant them right away. It’s a little too early, the old farmer in me says, there could still be frost. A couple of weeks go by and now the planting could begin except it means digging a new garden and there’s so much other stuff that needs to be done. The little sack of seed packets works its way further back on the work bench where it hides until the next fall. I took the little sack full of potential garden delights and put it in the box up on the shelf near the window with the other eight little sacks, thought for a minute about how beautiful the garden will be next year when I get to plant all of them and headed for the Post Office, there could be Birthday cards!

Thought for the week — As we grow older, our bodies get shorter and our anecdotes longer. — Robert Quillen

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at