High Noon In the Park

Three old men sat on a park bench, setting aside their canes for a little while. In the distance, children shrieked ignorance of their own mortality. But the men rested together, each hoping the others would return on the next sunny day, all well aware that one day soon they would not.



This post is for my grandfather, my Poppa, who will have been gone five years this September. For that long, my mother has held onto his house. But it’s time for her to let go, and she is getting ready to put it on the market. This week, I’ll be with her, helping to uproot memories we’ve both held for lifetimes (it’s the house she grew up in, after all, the one I visited as a child), dislodge furniture that hasn’t moved in decades, and dismember a bit of history, because we must. That house needs people in it, not memories. With no one living there, it is falling into disrepair, and it is lonely. It needs a young family, or an older couple, or some renters with rowdy dogs. But I will miss the musty smell of my grandmother’s closet, the dank basement with its mountains of junk and long unused coal bin, and Poppa’s roses, though those died before he did in any case. Scott will be here alone with the kids all week. Someone please check in and make sure he hasn’t climbed gibbering onto the roof by Wednesday, and call me so I can come home if he has.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


High Noon In the Park — 22 Comments

  1. Well done Jess! I tried doing the 3 sentence thing. I think my brain got too contorted over the 3 sentences. Oddly enough it doesn’t happen on the 33-word count limit, but 3 structured phrases? I was as blocked up as I would be the day after feasting on cheese fondue.

    How’s the bite mark? 😉

      • It’s my Mom – my grandmother’s been gone since 2006, and before he died in 09, Poppa got rid of a lot of the junk including by way of his neighborhood infamous free garage sale where he advertised and invited people into his storage area over the garage (the size of a small apartment) and told them to take anything they wanted free.

    • The bite marks are OK. Only three of them turned to bruises. Scott and I swear I need a shirt that says “My husband didn’t do this”. Just now, though, the brilliant tooth gap proves his innocence beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  2. So true, this post. Two elderly friends of mine lost husbands over the winter. I wonder how many times they sat together, wondering. And though cleaning the house out will be hard, you are right-houses need to be inhabited by people, and not just memories:)
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  3. My mother turns 82 at the end of this month. She had a bad winter, slipping several times on ice. For the most part, she felt afraid to leave the house and spent the winter under, virtual, house arrest as a result. She has put her name down for a place in a retirement home and is awaiting the call to go. My wife and two girls are scheduled to fly down to Cape Breton during the summer (actually, around the time of the Trifecta Meet-up) to visit with her. It will, in all likelihood, be the last time we visit with her in her own house. It could be sad. Hopefully it won’t. Children have a way of perking things up. Good luck with all that lay in store for you and your family.

  4. What a lovely piece. You captured the aging process so succinctly and well. Maybe it’s best kids are oblivious to their mortality.
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  5. I agree that a house needing people not memories. It’s so hard to see this when we are grieving.

    When my grandma had passed away (a couple years after my grandpa) their house sat empty for over a year. No one wanted to go through the house and get rid of everything they worked for all their lives. I wish you and your mom strength as you do this emotional (but necessary) task.
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  6. Your Trifecta piece is lovely – the dichotemy of the old men and the children. And I wish you the best in gettin your grandmother’s hour packed up. I agree that homes need people and not memories. Without the people, the memories seem sad over time – there is a loneliness that prevails.
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  7. A long week for you (and probably for Scott, too). Bless you and your Mom as you delve into emotions and raw memories, release some, and take with you those that refuse to remain in the house. You captured so beautifully the quiet waiting resignation of those nearing the end of this life. Thanks for sharing.