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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: I'm Only a Ripple On a Thirty Foot Wave
By Andrea Willard
09/21/11


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I’m Only a Ripple On a Thirty Foot Wave

Jack Douglas aka Grumpy writer, husband, friend.

Jennifer and Sally were chatting companionably in our lanai where my orchids bloom profusely. Jennifer slumped over and was gone before help could arrive. My sweet Jennifer.

He wrote.

Jennifer was challenged daily to stay on track in simple conversations. She was noble, she was gentle, and she never stopped loving me.

He berated himself in the book he’s writing for the world to read.

I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t very thoughtful toward her. Now I cry. Now I weep. I’m a hurting old man with no hope she’ll ever come home again from carport sailing with her best friend Sally.

Consequences hurt like crazy. Why didn’t I see her Alzheimer’s disease gaining speed, barreling through her mind, and ripping through a lifetime of memories? My fondest memories puddle at my feet in pools of tears. I call them forth one by one just to have a touch from my dearest sweetheart Jenny of sixty-three years.

He thought then he wrote.

I will soon be labeled for all to know just how unjust I was toward her. I’m writing it all down. Just like the movie, ‘The Notebook’. I’m going to publish it so pre-dementia men and women will not just sit around with their loved ones and watch television mindlessly. They will see each other in a new light. It will persuade them to be mindfully present to their spouses.

I’m only a ripple on a thirty foot wave. Oh what’s the use?

Then he spoke in an alarmingly loud voice.

“Alert! Alert! Love lovingly the one you cherish now! Hug them all throughout your days on this earth. Before it is everlasting too late, submerge yourselves in stories and label every picture in the albums you thought you would remember forever.”

“I’m not exaggerating. I’ll put my email address in the book if clarifications are necessary. Yes siree. I’m going to name the book, ALERT! It will be a best seller in the New York Times and Amazon.com.

He yelled the following.

“I was grumpy all the time. I hurt my Jenny.”

Suddenly he was mystified.

“What am I doing in this place. Where am I?”

“Mr. Douglas you’re in Hope Hospital on Dixon Boulevard. Have you eaten lunch yet? Are you hungry?”

This came from a helpful tech in bright green scrubs.

“Leave me alone. A-L-O-N-E!”

The technician didn’t leave him alone.

“I heard you say you have a title for your book. This book has a name now?”

This comment brought Jack into a conversation with her.

“A name? My name is Mr. and Mrs. Jack Douglas. Is my wife coming to see me today?

“Mrs. Douglas was just here for your daily walk to the park, sir.”

“Did she bring Jesus with her?”

“Sure did.”

Jack smiled.

“Is he your friend too?”

“Sally’s best friend in the whole world is Jesus. He strolls to the tune of ‘All is well with my soul’. We sing it all the way to the park and back. Jesus is my friend too.”

As his life dwindled he chose Sally to be his bride. He was sure about this because he had dedicated ALERT! to her. He needed Sally desperately in the nights as well as the days.

He had honored Jennifer’s last wish before Altzheimers took reality away. Her wishes and hope could not express the comfort she felt that August afternoon so long ago when she told Jack that she expected him to marry again when his mourning was over.

“All right my beautiful wife. I will marry someone. You are going to live another twenty years. You’re only halfway through your eighties so don’t talk anymore about death.”

Jack wanted to establish the fact that he thought dementia was a crock some high falooten’ psychiatrist thought up to increase profitability.

Altzheimer’s? No way. Never in a million years. Not my Jennifer."

Nevertheless, she couldn’t change the fact she had all the symptoms.

Jennifer had gently directed Jack toward Sally. She invited Sally over for tea more often. Jack found someone interested in watching football with him and her listening ear was always close-by. Jennifer reasoned her motive was purely from her heart.

“ALERT is the name of my book wife. It will save marriages around the world. Will you buy it?”

Sally stood by Jack’s side.

“Grumpy old man. Of course I will buy it.”


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This article has been read 190 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca 09/23/11
Very interesting and well written. This goes very nicely with the theme. The imaginative title says it all.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/11
I admire you writing about Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. I can tell it's a subject that has touched your heart.

I did have a little trouble following parts of the story,the first line seems a repeat of the title and the second isn't a complete sentence then He writes; I wasn't sure if he was writing in general or the sentence above.

Your characters were interesting and your message is one we all need to be reminded off, keep writing, you have important stories that only you can tell.
Linda Goergen09/27/11
This was touching. Going through the dementia thing with my dad right now. Great message in here about labeling and writing notes to one’s self but the best message is to enjoy what reality our inflicted loved ones still do have! I did have a hard time understanding a confused Jennifer working to find her husband a new wife or confusing a dementia patient, as Jack seemed to be with a new wife! I just could not imagine either of my parents thoughts seeking that goal! Enjoyed the read of this tragic family where memories were seemingly stripped from both Jennifer and Jack.
Jennifer Hill09/28/11
I enjoyed your story. I did have some trouble my first read through, but I see it clearly now. I don't want my husband alone if I'm gone early in our life together. He says there will never be another... I can't think of life without him. Your story is good and has heart. Thank you for sharing!!! Keep telling it. Maybe clarify when your're ready, where Jack is writing. Add some more details, so the reader understands his mind set, as it changes. I know many who need this lesson taught!!!! I loved the Notebook too!