Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)
TITLE: Gram Gets The Gold
By Patricia Herchenroether
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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:
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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