When I was twelve years old my grade six class went on a camping trip to the Coromandel, a rugged peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island. Three teachers came to supervise the boys-only class. After a two-hour bus trip we pitched our tents at a campsite off a dirt road, thirty minutes from the small mining town of Thames. The site was surrounded by bush and mountain ranges, one mountain caught everyone’s eye, it had a long flat top, a teacher, Mr Larson, informed us it was aptly named Tabletop Mountain.
Here we are with another Saturday and another week closer to the dreaded ‘C’ word.
Just to let you all know that we will finish up on Saturday 23rd December and be back in the New Year on the 8th. Now if you are depressed and write the weirdest most deranged story in the world, send it in, we insist!
The clouds were moving. If Harvey closed one eye, he could see them as they drifted above him. He didn’t know when dental offices began putting relaxing pictures in their light fixtures, but he was damned grateful for it. It could have been the numbing stuff they jammed into his gums or that he had been in this chair for an hour and was starting to hallucinate, but those clouds were definitely moving.
Maggie and I sit on our front porch at dusk. We drink ice tea and watch the sun sink. In our fifty-five years of marriage, we have rarely missed a sunset.
Today, the sun bleeds through the haze, and the horizon is apple red. Maggie rocks in her rocker, knitting a shawl. I smoke a pipe filled with Captain Black tobacco.
“It was a hay loft, sweetheart,” her mother said. “The old lady who used to live here kept hay up there to feed her cows.”
“But it’s empty now,” the child said. “And I hear things.”
“It used to be a hay loft,” her mother said patiently, “so there were lots of small animals lived in it.” She smiled encouragingly. “Dormice, you know, like in Alice in Wonderland.”
Solomon Sands stood on the dock at Norfolk Navy Yard and wondered how the hunched skeleton in the wheelchair could have ever cut a fearful figure. River water, bay water, ocean water, chopped into crests and troughs, assaulted the USS Cormorant, ready for decommissioning this October day in 1868.
It took me over a year to convince my father to move into Riverview Gardens, and now, four months later, it looked like I’d done the right thing. He was eating well, sleeping well, even playing checkers most days with a man from Montreal. As for his dementia, it was no better, but no worse either. And, now that Riverview was in the process of building a new state-of-the-art facility with more space and more light and wonderful things like a pool and a library and a little movie theatre, I felt even more sure that I’d found a good, safe place for my father to live out his days.