Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A little old ladies book review

Just when I think I'm starting to get a handle on this writing business my ego takes another hit. This time from a little old lady that fancies herself as a hoity toity book reviewer. She's actually a friend of a friend that I sort of took a liking to while visiting my friend in his retirement complex. She's well educated, informed and loves to read. She joined our conversation and the topic of children's stories came up. She adores reading stories written with the innocence of children in mind. My friend mentioned to her that I have written several children's stories for my grand kids and hope to publish them sometime in the near future. "Oh, I'd love to read them!" she laughingly declared, grinning from ear to ear at the mere thought of some new literary discoveries. She literally begged me for copies. Although I guard my stories carefully, after many futile attempts at weaseling my way out of it, I found it impossible to refuse her. So, the next time I visited I carried with me copies of a few of my stories, placing them in her thin and wrinkled hands only after she swore not to share them with anyone under any circumstances. Off she went, back to her room to enjoy her new found treasure with a promise to return them when I came back the following week. I lost a couple hands of cribbage, finished my visit and left.

On Thanksgiving morning, as is my tradition I came by the retirement home and once again played a few rounds of cribbage plus some penny ante poker to boot. I always lose! It's a tradition you know. Just before I left the little old lady came into the common area with my manuscripts tucked carefully under her arm. As she wheeled up she looked into my eyes, frowning and said I needed some coaching on children's stories. They were just too innocent! She snapped, I should put in some blood and guts, some scary stuff and more reason to make kids cry. I am hiding them from the cruelty of the real world. She put the stories into my outstretched hands, turned and wheeled away without further comment. Leaving my friend and I, considering her initial enthusiasm sitting there in complete, dumbfounded confusion. The nurse standing nearby, seeing our dismay gently reminded us that the little old lady is in a stage of Alzheimer's where she has occasional signs of normalcy, other times of complete mental reverse and all behaviors in between. We indeed had forgotten that fact. A half hour later she gave me a quick smile and stated how much she enjoyed the stories as she wheeled off to the dining area. Life deals us certain situations every day, I think just to keep us humble and on our toes. I am reminded not to take anything for granted. Just to make sure I am re-reading my children's stories.

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