Heaven knows what lies ahead. As long as I can keep up putting a few words down and continue recognizing others I’ll be happy.I often see old people looking bewildered. Men more so than women. In shopping centres, one notices them being dragged along by still very fit looking wives.To realize they once were those proud bulls, pulling up at their pants, organizing their privates for the next battle. The procreators with ardent passions, ram rod unstoppable fornicators. And now…reduced to pith and pathos, limp and forlorn…so lost in decay and senility, being dragged along, shuffling through the dairy division of the shopping mall. What a vision of the future to behold!
I suppose there is justice after all. We die earlier too. Certainly in my own family’s case. Dad dies at 78, a happy smoker till the end having fornicated at least six times. Mum having done the same but wisely a non-smoker, lived till 96. Hale and hearty till the end. Now, there was a woman. She had an incurable habit of doing crosswords and keeping the household expenditure and income. She had a little red book in which all bookkeeping was recorded. Sugar 45c, bread 38c etc. At the end of the day she did balance the little red book. Not a cent would escape scrutiny. She kept that little red book next to the phone. If the amount did not balance she would go over the sums, study the shopping receipts, add it all up again, look inside her purse, recount the amount left over after outgoings, and would not go to bed till it all balanced or ‘klopte’ (Dutch).
We used to rile her, it was a family joke, my mum’s obsession with her book-keeping. Yet, it was vital for our survival. Those early years in Australia were financially touch and go. Dad could not care less as long as he could afford his tobacco. He used to put his pay packet under Mum’s dinner plate on a Thursday evening. She would give him his tobacco money. And that was that. Year in year out. Love has many ways of being expressed. Mum’s satisfaction of her little red book being in balance before retiring to bed. My dad in the knowledge that all was well , exhale his last nicotine laden breath before going to bed also, next to his wife and in a normal double bed. No queen or king size.
Every time I visited my mum in Holland after dad died it was a sign of her spirit and determination to keep going, that she still had her little red book next to her phone together with the crosswords.
Year in year out.