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Daffodils and my Aging Aunt

Daffodils and My Aging Aunt At ninety-one and partially blind from a fall – her fault– down the basement stairs for ignoring the doctor’s warning – she compared the experience to living in a perpetual fog, people and things reduced to shadows though grateful the fall had not affected her hearing. Her driver’s license suspended indefinitely I would visit her once a week and take her grocery shopping, then spend as few hours as possible listening to her torrent of repeated small talk, complaints mostly, she rattled off like a noisy parrot. Complaining that she had lived too long she wondered if the Lord had somehow forgotten her, and if so, she planned to give him a coarse piece of her mind when she found herself up there. Her body, she insisted, was a daily nuisance making too many demands on her time and patience, which she always prefaced with foul language. Listening to her stale, repeated weekly regurgitations, I did my best to feign an honest interest in what she had to say, contributing an occasional nod, if only to reassure her that my attention was genuine and not perfunctory as it sometimes was. She may have been old yet her mind was still sharp enough to see through something like that. Relief came when her train of thought broke off abruptly, and I welcomed the silence that filled the small kitchen as she struggled to retrieve (with a few expletives) the remainder of her thought much like when the caboose of a train detaches from its string of cars. When two hours had passed, she’d offer me more tea and a second helping of a store-bought apple pie – her strategy to keep me from leaving and she could continue talking to kill her boredom, but increase mine. Finally, I would have to break the news: “Well, auntie, I must be going. It’s an hour’s drive back home.” “So soon?” she’d say but understood. And with a heartfelt thank you she’d give me a warm hug. Walking back to my car, I’d take one more look at the bright yellow daffodils along the path hugging the house. Yellow, I recalled reading, was van Gogh’s favorite color. It made him happy he once wrote to his brother Theo. I doubt she ever heard of van Gogh or ever gave those daffodils a look, much less a smile – not that it would have made a difference.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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Date: 11/30/2022 9:47:00 AM
Maurice, I imagine your aunt looked very much forward to your weekly visits. I suspect she stored up her stories and her complaints, anticipating a listening ear. You did good!
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Date: 11/30/2022 9:01:00 AM
you were a very good nephew to your aunt, maurice, and i love the way you've described your weekly visits and how you waited until the end to mention the daffodils. a wonderful poem!
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Date: 11/30/2022 3:39:00 AM
I've only found you from a comment you made on someone's poem. I'll look some more, but this one I like very much. A fav. You see, I am 90. Elizabeth
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Rigoler Avatar
Maurice Rigoler
Date: 11/30/2022 8:29:00 AM
My poem about my aging aunt (now deceased) is not fictional. Thank you for reading me. Best to you in your writing endeavors. / Maurice