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The Jug


Once upon a time there was a little old woman, who lived in a cottage at the side of a wood. The country she lived in was far away on the other side of the rainbow. All the houses there were crooked. They had crooked chimneys and crooked walls and crooked doors. The doors were there to shut some people in and other people out and to hide secrets.

In her cottage, the little old woman kept a ginger cat and a deaf, black dog for company. She was getting even older than old and very frail. She was so old that she was nearly dead, but not quite. She still had a sparkle in her eye. You could see the sparkle if you looked really closely at her. It twinkled when she saw children or the berries on the blackberry bush.

In her front room, a sunbeam shone through the windowpane and illuminated a large jug on the mantelpiece. It was the only thing in the cottage which was not crooked. On the side of it were an elephant and a camel. The elephant’s nose was holding on to the camel’s tail and the camel held the tip of the elephant’s tail in its mouth.

“Phew, it is hot when the sun shines on my back,” said the elephant.

“Well, move round a bit!” said the camel.

“You know very well that I can’t,” replied the elephant.

“It’s all right for you. I’m always in the shade,” the camel said.

“You wouldn’t like it if you had the sun burning your bottom all morning.”

“I love the sun. I am meant to be in the sun all day,” boasted the camel. “Stop moaning. Anyway, what do you mean you are meant to be in the sun all day? I am supposed to be in the desert, where the sun shines all day and it is very hot, but I’ve never been there. I can only dream of it.”

“I’m supposed to be on the plains of Africa, not standing on this jug all day and night,” lamented the elephant. If you could have one wish, what would it be?”

The beautiful camel smiled to herself on the other side of the jug.

“It would be nice to see your dear face at last, my friend. After all these years of loving you, I’ve never once seen your face.”

“You haven’t missed much. It is a huge, ugly face and I have a long nose like a staircase. If I could only see your face, I too would be a happy elephant.”

The old woman had three sons, who came to visit her as often as they could, which wasn’t very often. When they came she wore her best clothes and washed herself until she was squeaky-clean because she didn’t want them to think that she couldn’t look after herself properly. If they thought that, the decision may have to be made to put her in a home for elderly people. The last time the sons came to see her, the subject had come up in the conversation and the eldest one, Michael, had told her: –

“The time for you to consider going in to a home is when you think you are ready or when you can no longer dust that old jug up there on the mantelpiece by yourself. Whichever comes first? That will be the time.”

The large wooden clock on the shelf ticked loudly – tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

“And that’s another thing,” complained the camel. “I’m fed up with that clock chiming every fifteen minutes. It hurts my ears. They are delicate, my ears are, and they can’t stand that noise. It goes right through me.”

“Well, what do you want me to do about it? The noise hurts my ears much more than yours.”

“And why would that be?”

“Because my ears are very, very big.”

“Oh, you’re boasting again, aren’t you? Everything you’ve got is bigger than mine, you keep saying. Anyway my friend, you haven’t got humps like me.”

“Humps, what humps? You have the humps a lot of the time and that’s because you can’t get off the shelf.”

“No, I mean real humps. I have real humps for storing water. They sit on my back like two hills.”

“Ha, ha, ha. That’s a real joke. You have a vivid imagination.”

“And so have you – a nose as long as a staircase, whatever next!”

The old lady loved chocolates. She especially liked the sort of chocolates, which contained raspberry cream or liquid toffee. Her false teeth would nip into the crisp outer coating of the chocolate and open it up, allowing the liquid centre to flow out over her tongue, covering all her taste buds with happiness.

It was ten o’clock in the morning and the doorbell was ringing.

‘I’d better go and answer it,’ she thought. ‘It might be the laundryman.’

It wasn’t the laundryman. He was delayed in an apricot traffic jam. On the doorstep stood a couple of well-dressed young men wearing suits and looking very smart. The old lady looked through the spy hole in her front door and saw the young men.

‘Looks like church workers,’ she thought.

Carefully she lifted the chain and opened the door a little. One of the well-dressed young men stepped forward and smiled.

“Good morning. Sorry to trouble you. We’re looking for Betty. Is this her house?”

“No, it isn’t, I’m afraid.” The old lady stepped out of her cottage and slowly walked down the path to the gate leaning on the arm of one of the young men.

“That’s where Betty lives,” she said and pointed down the road. “Just there, three cottages down. Can you see? It’s the one with the green door.”

What she hadn’t realised was that, while she was talking to one of the young men, the other one was inside her cottage, helping himself to her best handbag and all of its contents. When she came back indoors, she realised she had been tricked. Her best handbag had gone and with it a great deal of money, which she had been putting aside to buy some Christmas presents.

‘I’ll make myself a cup of tea,’ she said to the dog in a trembly voice but he didn’t hear her because he was old and deaf. He slept on in his basket, dreaming of when he was younger, chasing rabbits over the hills. ‘Yes, that’s what I’ll do. A nice cup of tea will calm my nerves.’

She tottered into the kitchenette and took down the old tin where she kept the loose tea. As she tried to lift off the lid, her hands began to shake. She put two spoons of tea in her little teapot and flicked the switch on the kettle but she had forgotten to fill it up with water and after a little while it went “bang” and blew up.

The little old woman sat down in her chair and a big teardrop rolled down her papery cheek. She wiped it away with a pretty white handkerchief, which smelled of lilies of the valley. On the table beside her chair was a little photograph frame containing a picture of her husband who had died many years ago. He smiled at her through the glass, which protected his face.

The elephant from his position on the mantelpiece watched all these events.

“That’s not fair, is it?” he said to his friend the camel. “She didn’t deserve that.”

“No, it most certainly is not,” replied the camel.

The wind rustled in the plane tree, which towered over the cottage. The sun came out from behind a cloud and shone through the window, illuminating the dust on the shelf.

‘I’ll get the duster,’ said the little old woman. With the duster in her right hand, she reached up to dust the shelf but her hand was trembling so much that she knocked the jug right over. It rocked and spun and then “crash”. It fell to the floor and broke in two!

Now, at last, the two companions could look each other in the eye.

“You are very handsome,” remarked the camel.

“And you are very pretty,” replied the elephant.

“All these years I have longed to see your face and imagined in my mind what you may look like and you don’t look a bit like I thought you would.”

The elephant regarded the camel’s large eyes with her long eyelashes, designed to keep the sand out of her eyes in a sandstorm. The camel noticed the elephant’s enormous grey ears, which were designed to flap and keep the elephant cool on the plains of Africa.

“What will become of us now, do you think?”

The old woman stooped down and picked up the two pieces of the jug and set them side by side on the shelf so they could look each other in the eye.

‘I’ll explain that the cat did it,’ she decided, ‘otherwise they’ll put me in that old people’s home, saying I can’t cope. I won’t mention the burglary either because that will go against me.’

When her son came to see her at the end of the week, he noticed the broken jug on the shelf.

“Mum, I’ve been thinking,’ he started.

“It’s all right, son. I know what you’re going to say. I’m ready to go. You make the arrangements.”

“No, what I was going to say was…Pam and I have been talking and we’ve decided between us that we can’t live another day without that jug over there. We’ve always admired it and now we want to own it ourselves and, of course, you’ll have to come with it when we move it to our own crooked house on the plains in Africa, because it will need dusting every day to keep it bright.”

The old woman smiled a smile, which reached right across her face and the crooked, broken jug on the shelf shimmered in the sunshine.

This story was written by Oma, writing as Amanda Marigold

By Amanda Marigold

All Rights Reserved

Amanda Marigold reserves the right to be named as the author of this work under the Copyright, Designs & Patent Act 1988.

Copyright November 2010.

A Little Sparkle for the New Year


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Here in the northern hemisphere we are facing the hardest months of the year so here is a little sparkle to warm our thoughts on a cold winter’s day.

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Leave your cares and woes behind, buy yourself some flowers, put your feet up with a good book and relax.

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All of us experience change in our lives. Change is the one constant in our lives. There are changes that we look forward to and change that we fear. However, one thing is for sure. Things will not stay the same no matter how much we would like them too. When a life change occurs, we have two choices in how to respond. We can despair that a change has come and assume that things will be worse, or we can look with excitement at the new possibilities that the change presents.

From:  www.familyfriendpoems.com

Those of you who know me well know that I have had some extreme changes in my life. I think perhaps we all have. It’s just that our own personal changes are brighter in colour to ourselves and the effects stick in our memories and won’t go away.

I’ve always thought how easy it is to see where other people go wrong in their life decisions but almost impossible to see your own bloomers!!! Here are some more bloomers for you:

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When I was a little girl, my mother used to sing a song for me. It was called ‘Que Sera Sera’, what will be will be. Listen to it here:

I used to think she made it up, then one day I heard Doris Day sing it. Now when I hear that song I always think of my mum and the memories come back… At this time of the year it is good to do a little ‘letting-go’. I have been sorting out my wardrobe, putting aside clothes which I don’t wear very often.  I find it very hard to do because I like all my things, but I keep telling myself that once I’ve made the space there will be room in the wardrobe when the weather changes as it surely will.

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For myself I find it hard that my children have grown up and now lead their own lives. I crave for the times that they were all at home and we shared the ups and downs of lives. I know I am very lucky that I still have my children and they live near me, two very close, one a bit further away but it’s not the same as when you all live under the same roof, is it.

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I always look forward to each New Year in trepidation.  Will it be a good year? or not so good? Will I keep my health or have issues to deal with? Should I do those things which I have putting off NOW? or put them off a little longer?

In the past I have been guilty of ‘making things happen’ a little too much. Perhaps I should take a step back this year and let things take their course? As Doris Day so cherrilly sings, ‘What will be, will be.’

How are your New Year’s resolutions getting on?

Fading – Remembering – Love – Old Age – Preparation – Getting Older


REMEMBER 

by Christina Rosetti 1830 – 94

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember; do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

+++

I shall be 61 years old soon, so I have made it through my 60th year, which has been very difficult for me. The difficulty comes when you don’t feel 60, not in your mind anyway, but the mirror and a chance glance in a shop window, remind you that you no longer look like you thought you looked. I have talked about the physical signs of aging before and will do again, but it’s harder to quantify the emotional mind when it ages.

People change as they get older. Dare I say that I am not the person I was at 14? or 21?, 30?, 40? or 50? I would like to think that I have improved but the truth is that I have just changed. I don’t think I am any better than I was way back then.  Perhaps I am more forgiving? Yes, that is true. I am more forgiving, less judgmental but on the down side, I am more set in my ways. I resist change in my life more than before. I find I don’t yearn to learn new things quite as much as I did even five years ago. It is hard to keep up with new technology. It doesn’t seem to work like it’s supposed to so every day brings a new challenge.  Something has gone wrong with A, B or C and it is up to me or my partner to fix it.

Computers and telephones play a much larger part in our lives than they used to. I have resisted getting a Smartphone thus far; saying to myself that I don’t need one; it is too complicated; I might lose it; I can’t afford the monthly payments now that I am on a restricted budget. Those are the kind of excuses I use for myself. I don’t need one, it is true. I do just fine with the two pay-as-you-go phones I have – one for England and one for America.

Computers are a different matter.  So many forms need to be filled in online these days that no-one can really function properly without one. Then there is the fun side of computers. There is still a lot of fun in surfing the Internet and I enjoy that as much as anyone.  However, my computer in England, which is only two years old, is running very slow.  I have no idea why and no intention of buying software to sort out the problem. I know if I do that, more problems will occur. When I get back I intend to try and speed it up a bit. I may need to buy more memory but should I have to? after only two years use? I’ll let you know.

As I enter my 61st year next week, I find myself spending more and more time remembering……

Becoming invisible when you get older…


I have wanted to write a post about this subject for some time because it seems to get ever more relevant.  The older I get the more invisible I get, so it seems. Now this can have its advantages. I look so innocent that I feel like I could easily get away with throwing a brick through a window and then point to the ‘younger’ person next to me and say ‘he did it’! I think I would be believed. Trouble is I have no desire to do such a thing nor have I ever.

BUT life can be very frustrating when you are getting older. The first thing that springs to mind are the mobile phones.  These days walking through the town is hazardous owing to the large number of people who persist in talking on their phones whilst walking along in a crowd.  It is up to me to jump out of their way because they just do not see me.  I am totally invisible to them, so it seems.  I suppose it all comes down to respect. When I was a young person, I was taught to respect my elders.  That meant that I had to open doors for people who were obviously elderly, pregnant women etc. Anyone who was older than me had to be allowed for.  I looked forward to the time when I was older and someone would do that for me.

Well that time has come but now I discover that I am invisible and rarely does anyone let me go first if the pavement is a crush. Seldom do I get offered to step onto the bus first. No, it is very much a ‘take care of yourself’ society.  I wonder why that is. Perhaps it was the rise of feminism in the 60’s that started it off. No longer did some women want doors opened for them or seats given up for them.  What were they thinking of? I didn’t agree with it then and I don’t now.  Perhaps I am old fashioned.  I am feminist enough to want equal pay for doing the same job as a man, but feminine enough that I would love for a man to open a door for me, especially when I am loaded down with shopping and/or grandchildren.

When my hair started going grey, I dyed it. I don’t like the half and half look. However because I am blessed with a youthful looking skin, I am taken for younger than I am, usually.  So this year, after I turned 60 I thought I would let my hair go grey and see what happened.  Would I command more respect with grey hair? If not, what is the next stage? Perhaps buy a black stick with a silver top and wield that around in shops etc. I rather like the Dowager Duchess in the popular drama ‘Downton Abbey’. That’s my next look I think.

My hair is now natural looking, grey at the front and dark brown at the back. I’m still debating whether to leave it like that or sneak a bit of colour in. After all, grey is an invisible colour isn’t it!

So back to the invisibility. Do you suffer from that if you have reached that certain age? Does it bother you? Why do you think it happens?  Are we, as older people, getting in the way? If you are a younger person, do you make allowances for older people? or do you ignore them? treat them the same as everyone else? be extra caring.

What I hadn’t realised when I was young is that it hurts to be old. The bones hurt, the muscles hurt, everything hurts. It’s like you wake up in the morning and you think to yourself  ‘what’s going to hurt today”? It would be really nice to have one day totally without pain. I wish I’d known that when I was young. I would have been a lot kinder to my parents and other people who were aging.

I found this post, which is on the same subject and is very interesting (to those of us afflicted).

I’m going to enjoy myself!


  
 Some very true words to ponder….I hope you enjoy.
 
 
As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.
 
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
 
Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
 
I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
 
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.
 
Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
 
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
 
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
 
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Why didn’t we recycle in our day?



Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older
woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing
back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.
Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future
generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags,
was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.
This was to ensure that public property, (the books
provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our
scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown
paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two
blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the
throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry
our clothes back in our early days.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In
the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have
electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail,
we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it,
not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then,
we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.
We used a push mower that ran on human power.
We exercised by working so we didn’t need to
go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the
razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire
bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a
computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old
folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a
lesson in conservation from aknow-it-all young person…

We don’t like being old in the first place,
so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

This was sent to me by a dear ‘old’ friend (smile)

Star

The aging process


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This is what I look like. I turned 60 last October. When I look in the mirror, I see my mother looking back at me and I’m not sure I like that. I’m not saying my mother wasn’t nice looking. It’s just that I don’t want to look like her.

Recently I have read in the press that Hilary Clinton is not so concerned about her looks in the public eye anymore. She has stopped using a lot of makeup, preferring the natural look in her present frame of mind and she has left her hair to do its own thing more than before.  She always looked immaculate until recently. I don’t blame her for having her current opinion though. It’s much the same as mine.

For years I have dyed my hair, trying lots of different colours and getting some interesting results.  On one visit to the hairdresser I came away with that new colour, bright auburn red. Even the hairdresser was surprised at how red it was. I smiled and said it looked nice, which it did, but it wasn’t really ME. What is ME? I’m still not sure.  When I turned 60 I decided to try the ‘older’ look. For years people have been treating me as if I was younger than I am and that is a mixed blessing…

Sometimes whilst sitting at the front of the bus, someone, who is probably the same age as me but looks older, has looked sternly at me and made gestures as if I should give up my seat to them (because they were older) but in truth, they were probably the same age as me or even younger. I felt embarrassed when things like that happened. I wondered if I looked my age, if perhaps someone would offer me their seat?  It hasn’t happened yet!

My grandson was born 19 months ago. I wondered what I should look like as Oma? Should I try to look 50 or should I look my age.  Whatever I did, he wouldn’t know any difference, would he?

Two years ago, I looked like this:

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and I liked my long hair, but not everyone does! It’s a lot of bother and expensive too, to keep it looking like that, but is it worth it? Is it worth the expense and the bother.  I’m still not sure.

How important is image?  What do you think?