A New Thanksgiving


It being Thanksgiving day, and my having little else to do, it was my custom to go round to the old people’s home and give them some home made rock cakes, with the emphasis on the word “Rock” owing to my limited cooking skills, and  then raise my harmonica to my lips and play a couple of popular national anthems to the seated gathering, in order to spread the sense of cheer and national pride.

The old often have silence on their side, and their response to my visits was  a little hard to gauge. Finally, slightly stressed if anything by the implacable detachment and the sight of one of my half eaten cakes in the rubbish bin, no doubt deposited by some elderly sage who considered himself beyond the age of tact, I walked up to one solitary gentleman and asked him, “When was the last time you did something entirely new in your life ?”

He looked at me with those eyes many elderly people have, which seemed to be saying, “How old do you think you will be before you realise you are an idiot” and then a crazy smile lit up his  face and he said, “About twenty minutes ago”  I was surprised, and no doubt looked it, and he continued, “I asked young Mavis out on a date.”

Young Mavis was seated across the room from us and admitted to being in her early seventies, which means near eighty to you and I:  no bad thing as our bold hero was nearing ninety himself, although clearly unworried by the age gap.

“What did she say?” I asked him, all agog at this rare hint of romance in such a place. “Oh she was firm” said our Romeo, “She told me, ‘No kissing on the first date!” . “What did you say.” I asked him, and he said, “And not much dancing I’ll be bound” and we both had a laugh. The only things to be touching may be our hands and wheel-chairs, but that’s enough at my age, and even hers.”

I rose to leave him then and wished him the best of luck with his new romance. He smiled,  and as I walked away he said, in a slightly louder voice, “I bet she’ll be the making of me”. and, perhaps unwisely,  I replied, “We can always dream” which we clearly we always can. He called me back to him, and beckoned me closer to his head, and said. “Leave the weariness to us son.”  We became friends, and he kept me abreast of  his dating news. He taught me that being alive is not about being mobile. It is also a state of mind.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, community, creative writing, faith, Fiction, humour, Life, Love, old age, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A New Thanksgiving

  1. Al says:

    Beautiful said. So many people’s minds and/or spirits die well in advance of their bodies. It’s a constant battle. At age 71 I’m currently taking voice and piano lessons. Also started playing a sport called pickleball. I do jigsaw puzzles online daily and many word problems as well. Yet with all this, I still turn out mush and malapropisms on my blog. Thank God for forgiving readers like yourself.

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  2. How very sagacious. This is written with a wonderful voice, Peter, and is a reminder of what we are really all about.

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  3. gotham girl says:

    So well done! Clearly a state of mind. I love when you write about the elderly, my favorite!

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  4. Caroline says:

    I love this post. My father’s comment 2 days before he died at just over 100 was “Enjoy the journey”. He lived by that all his life

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  5. Beautidul Peter.and although I certainly do not consider myself elderly, but because of circumstances, mobility is extremely restricted, your last s tence sang out loud! 😊

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  6. Jane says:

    wonderful, especially for those of us who treasure any mobility.

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  7. gwpj says:

    Beautifully said, Peter. I spent 15 years working with elderly people, and recall it as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Now, at 80, I am living it.

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  8. rod says:

    I am reminded of a joke, a label beside a plate of rock cakes.
    ROCK CAKES – TAKE YOUR PICK

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  9. Marcus Case says:

    That’s such a great post. Thanks!

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  10. genusrosa says:

    This is very dear. I love this sketch. Incidentally, I grew up around old people and liked them so much I decided to become one. Well on my way to wish fulfillment…On the feisty side of things, I remember my mom’s second husband and another gentleman (both men in a care facility at this point) attempting a sort of High Noon duel with dinner forks because the second gentleman had made a racy comment about my mom’s legs when she came to visit. My mom was in her mid-seventies by this time and was quite carried away by the romance of it all. And–thankfully–very little damage was done with the dinner forks because both elderly jousting knights were too shaky to have much aim.

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  11. Abby says:

    Awesome. We also went to the old people’s home, as we do every week anyway, but in order to pass out some treats and spend some time with those who didn’t have family come visit (and my grandma, of course.) The time is the best thing you can give, and I know they are so thankful for the visits, as am I. Hope you had a great day. Wonderful post.

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  12. When I’m old and grey, I def. want you to come visit me!! xxx

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  13. jmmcdowell says:

    There is, indeed, a difference between “getting older” and “getting old.” I want my attitude to be like that of your Romeo and Mavis.

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  14. “He taught me that being alive is not about being mobile. It is also a state of mind.” – makes perfect sense to me! 🙂

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