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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)

TITLE: Nothing To Do
By Jackie Wilson


There’s nothing to do. How many times had she heard those exact words come out of the mouths of her children? Too many times to count, that’s for sure. And definitely more than enough times to get on her nerves.

But that was exactly how she felt today. And yesterday. And the day before that. She had cleaned the house. She had gone through her closet and made a trip to the Salvation Army. She had organized the junk drawer. In the last month she had pressure washed the concrete, pruned every plant on the place (even the poor house plants), washed the windows, made jelly, and gotten addicted to The Young and the Restless. Her daily routine now included changing her toenail polish, curling her hair with electric rollers for the first time in twenty years, and checking to see if there might be another eyebrow that needed plucking.

It was now 1:30 p.m. Victor had once again gotten back together with Nicki on Y & R, and the afternoon stretched out endlessly before her. There was nothing to do.

She opened the refrigerator, closed the door, opened the pantry, closed the door. She stood in the middle of the kitchen, trying to think of something she needed to do. This is pitiful, she thought, and I am a pitiful person.

She had friends. She had family. But she couldn’t spend every day depending on them to entertain her or just hang out with her. The reality of her current life was startling considering how many years she had longed for retirement. Where were all those things she never had time to do when she was younger? She tried to remember what they were, but they all seemed rather…….well, pitiful.

She sat down at the kitchen table and stared into space, thinking about….. nothing. Gradually, her eyes focused on her cookbooks, lined up on the shelf. Maybe she could cook some….. Oh, heck, something!
And take it to…….. Aw, shoot! To somebody! Surely she could think of somebody that would appreciate something home-cooked.

Yes, she remembered, she did know someone! Her former co-worker had recently gone to a nursing home to live. She had promised to come and visit him, but the whole idea of someone her own age having no choice but to go there to live…. Well, it was just so depressing, she had avoided even thinking about it, much less actually making the effort to go see him. But today she was that desperate.

With great care, and taking all the time she needed, she produced an appealing variety of sweets. A pound cake, two kinds of cookies, lemon bars, and some fudge with nuts. She worked on past dinner time, and didn’t even want to stop, it was such a pleasure to have a purpose for those few hours.

She made plans as she worked. She would finish all the baking this evening. Then, in the morning, she would run to the dollar store and purchase some nice little airtight containers and maybe some cute snack bags with a design on them. She would put one or two of each baked good in every container. It would make a very nice treat for people who weren’t able to do that kind of thing for themselves anymore.

She cleaned up the kitchen with the old spring in her step. Even danced a little to the Oldies Goldies music on the radio. She felt pretty good tonight. Maybe there were other people at the nursing home besides her friend who might appreciate a gift like this. She had plenty of time, and enough money. She could do this for them every week. Yeah, she could do this.

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This article has been read 554 times
Member Comments
Member Date
c clemons09/17/09
Now you're talking! Good story and content. Good job!
Dee Yoder 09/21/09
We can always cheer up when we think to do something for others! Love this beautiful reminder of what retirement and the empty nest years can mean.
Carol Penhorwood 01/15/10
Beautiful story and very well written!