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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: Gram Gets The Gold
By Patricia Herchenroether


“Come on, Grandma, it’ll be fun!” Ten minutes on the phone with 13-year-old Hannah broke down my resistance and I agreed to go. But for Heaven’s sake, panning for gold? At my age? Well, why not? These little adventures with my family were certainly keeping this old gal’s clock tick-tocking. Besides that, I always got a lot of ammo to fill in the dull spots at the quilting circle.

Digging in the cedar chest, I came up with my old plaid woolies and penny loafers. Thinking about it, I flipped out the coins. (Prospectors are greedy sorts, you know.) Adding my Sergeant-of-the-Yukon hat to the outfit, I looked like a gen-u-ine sourdough and was sure to fit right in with the other “miners.”

By the time Al drove up with Sue and the kids, I was already waiting on the porch with a spark in my heart and a gleam in my cataracts. As my son-a-law helped me bend down into their midget coupe-de-crate, I noticed everyone was giggling. They must’ve been telling jokes. Off we went, my grandson Sam bouncing against the back of my seat with excitement. “Maybe we’ll strike it rich, Gramma, and get a new car!” Sue just chuckled. Hannah did the eye rolling bit. Albert scowled. I behaved myself.

We arrived two hours later. Mr. Real-Men-Don’t-Need-To-Use-Maps Albert had got us lost only twice this time. I was proud of him. Above the entrance to the tourist trap, a huge sign flashed neon blue:

Welcome to The Lost Mine
We guarantee dust in every pan!

I was directed to the “Sluice Area, where the elderly or infirm can prospect without bending, stooping, or wading.” Next to me was a man who was neither elderly nor infirm, and to my aggrievement, sported a mouth louder than his pink and green shirt. In between his pan swishing and sloshing, he‘d bellow. “Hey, Granny, what’s with the ear flaps? Trying to hide your hearing aid? Ha-ha, ho-ho!” swish, swish. “Whatza matter, Lady? Didn’t get your Social Security check this month? Heh, heh, hee hee.” slosh, slosh. To make matters worse, each time he swished, my penny loafers took on water. Lord, help me love my brother. “Don’t you know you can’t take it with you? Hoo hoot!” slosh, swish.

Twenty minutes of this and I was ready to sell the mine, mother lode and all. Then I saw it. In the bottom of my pan, golden as a sunrise, sat a pea-sized nugget winking up at me. Resisting the urge to yell “Eureka!” (and thereby putting my person at risk to claim jumpers), I quickly slipped the gem into my pocket and walked away, my tick-tocker loud as a grandfather clock in my earflaps.

As I was painfully folding back into the car, we heard Mr. Obnoxious yelling from the sluice area. “My filling! I lost my gold filling!” Hmmm…Retrieving the “nugget” from my pocket I took a closer looksee. Ah, thank you, Father, for these small triumphs. Al returned my prize to the man “with compliments from the old lady.”

On the way home from The Lost Mine, tired but content, I gazed out of the passenger seat window. Some of my church-lady friends call this time of their life the Autumn or Twilight years. Smiling to myself, I thanked God for my wonderful family and the chance to enjoy my Golden Years.

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This article has been read 703 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Cindy White07/10/09
HA HA That was too funny "...a gleam in my cataracts" Love it! Great story, great attitude.
Mona Purvis07/12/09
So very rich! Love your characters. The gold filling was a plus! Didn't see that coming. By the way, I'm taking my three grandsons gold panning before school starts back. Not sure what I'll do if I have the luck to work beside a loudmouth. He might lose more than a filling.
Karlene Jacobsen07/13/09
I loved Grandma. I'll bet she's a feisty lady. LOL This was fun to read, beginning to end.
Shelley Ledfors 07/13/09
What a charming story and wonderful grandma! Loved it!
Mariane Holbrook 07/14/09
This one of those "laugh out loud" entries! I LOVE IT! And I love grandma! I've been gold panning with my dh so I could relate to all you wrote. What a fun piece!
Joy Faire Stewart07/14/09
What a delightful character and love the story. I'm glad she didn't keep the "gold."
Sara Harricharan 07/15/09
Heehee-how fun! I loved Gram's "gold" what a delightful piece, and it sure served that fellow right. I wanted to smack him for laughing at her penny loafers. Great stuff!
Jeanne E Webster 07/15/09
This is one "wicked cool" grandma! LOL at the "midget coupe-de-crate"!!! Upbeat and jovial read, for which I thank you.
Colin Swann07/15/09
A very witty piece. Gold for the golden-aged. How creative! Thanks - Colin
Gregory Kane07/17/09
Some great characterisation here. I never even knew that it was possible to go panning for gold as a leisure activity. What a fun and funny entry.