And then there were 7

The Home is quiet today, Sunday. We are waiting for our visitors. Too bad no one showed up.

“Where’s your grand daughter, Minnie? I thought she would be here by now.”

“Well, she is busy, this time of year. Maybe she forgot.”

“George, you might as well take off that tie. Get comfortable. Your kids ain’t showing up.”

“So, what should we do this afternoon?”

“Let’s do some Christmas decorating.”

“Frank, get the ladder. We need to get up in the attic and get our tree.”

“You hold the ladder, George. Minnie and I will go up and get it.”

“Oh no, Minnie. What the hell happened up here?”

“It looks like a wild animal got loose. This is a mess.”

“Wait! Look. There is something running around. Yikes!”

“It’s hiding under the tree!”

“Let me see. Oh my gosh!! It’s a kitten!”

“No, it’s kittens! There must be a half dozen of them up here.”

“And there’s Puff! She didn’t run away after all. Why that stinker.”

“George, Frank? Get some cat food and milk. We have a family to feed.”

“What about our tree?”

“Huh? Oh that. We can’t move the tree now.”

“Besides, we need to make some posters, and find homes for these little guys.”

“Hey, Puff! Where you going?”

“She ran down the ladder.”

“The kittens are trying to follow her!”

“Mickey: I will toss you the kittens. Catch them!”

“Minnie, look! Here comes your grand daughter with her kids.”

“And George’s family showed up too.”

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yep. Guess we won’t be needing those posters after all.”


What did you have in mind?

We had a wonderful holiday at the home. Everyone is stuffed and bloated and glassy eyed, after eating left over turkey and the trimmings. Now it is time to watch TV and crash.

“What’s on tonight?”

“I don’t care what you want, we are watching the PBS channel. Do Wop is on.”

“God, I hate that music. It is so dumb.”

“I love it.”

“It all sounds the same, do wop do wop do wop.”

“When was that popular anyway? In the 60s?”

“Who cares? It is really a drag.”

“Last night they had the 50s on. Patti Page and Gogi Grant and all those wonderful love songs.”

“Thank God I went to bed early. That stuff is terrible.”

“So what do you like?”

“I prefer the good stuff, like old blue eyes and Tony what’s his name.”

“Tony? Who the hell is Tony? The only Tony I know is Tony Soprano.”

“Well in case you didn’t hear, he is moving to Hunterdon County, NJ.”

“Let him. Everyone knows Jersey is full of those mafia types.”

“I think I will go to my room and watch a movie.”

“What movie?”


“Oh really? I love that movie. Bring it out here and we can all watch it.”

“Oh no you don’t. We are watching Do Wop out here. Who wants to watch an invisible rabbit, anyway?”

“Let’s take a vote…. Those who want Do Wop, say Aye. Ok 3 votes. And those who want Harvey? Yes!!! 12 votes. Harvey wins by a mile.”

“You do-woppers can go to your rooms.”

“Well! I’ll be damned. Who do you think you are, anyway?”

“Dowd. Elwood P. Allow me to introduce my dear friend. Hahahahah.”


Rootin’ Tootin’ Rutabaga

“Hey girls, it’s Black Friday. Let’s go!”

“No thanks, you and Minnie, go ahead. I hate crowds.”

“C’mon Minnie, get ready and let’s go boogie.”

“Naw, I don’t want to get trampled.”

“Well, how about you guys? Frank? George? Mickey?”

“Nope. We are staying here. We are watching old movies and eating turkey sandwiches.”

“You mean none of you old farts want to keep up an American tradition? What the heck is wrong with all of you?”

“Look Wolf. You may call it a tradition, but I call it misery. We just finished Thanksgiving and you are succumbing to the biggest American scam there is: A commercialized Christmas.”

“Yeah, who wants to think about Christmas right now?”

“For sure. What you gonna do? Sit on some drunk Santa’s lap and lie? Tell him you have been good all year?”

“Well, for Pete’s sake. I think you are all getting old.”

“Now you’re talking, Einstein. Hahah. For once you got something right.”

“Ok. I give up. You folks are no fun. Hey where you all going?”

“There’s bingo in the great room. And the prizes are really nice today.”

“Like what?”

“Fruit, nuts, candy and a rutabaga.”

“A rutabaga?”

“Yes, it was left over from dinner yesterday. No one likes rutabagas.”

“What would you do with it, if you won it?”

“Put it in your stocking for Christmas, Wolf.”

“Why you old goat!”

“Come on gang, let’s go win that rutie tootie. Whoever wins it can put it in Wolf’s stocking.”

“Merry Christmas, Wolf.”


To brine, or not to brine

“I just heard that it is imperative to brine the turkey.”

“What? No way. Why?”

“I don’t know. I guess it makes the bird fluffier.”

“Who wants a fluffy bird? I want a good old fashioned turkey.”

“What is brine, anyway?”

“Salt and water and spices. You dip the bird in it, I guess.”

“Yeah, I saw it on the Food Network. They say it really makes the bird tasty.”

“Oh Oh. Here comes Ms. Barkley, our in house bird watcher. She never eats fowl.”

“I heard that. I will have you know that I am not eating with you this year. I refuse to be around a dead roasted bird. There is something unholy about it.”

“So where are you going?”

“To the Chinese restaurant.”

“Guess you would rather eat cat, eh? Hahahahaah.”

“Very funny, you hose head. You know I am a vegetarian.”

“Are we really gonna have a brined turkey?”

“I hope not. I mean, all this fancy new stuff they show on the Food Channel, just to confuse us. I hate that when someone tries to ruin our traditional meals.”

“They even said the green bean casserole is no good. They have a new recipe out with nuts and cranberries in it.”

“And they put cheese in mashed potatoes.”


“I wonder if our cook watches that show? I sure hope not.”

“Here she comes now. Let’s ask her.”

“Hey, Mrs. Roberts, do you watch the food network?”

“Of course I do. It is my favorite channel.”

“Did you get any new ideas for our dinner this Thanksgiving?”

“Of course I did. Lots of changes this year. You will be surprised.”

“Uhm, uhm, Ms. Barkley? What time are you going to the Chinese Restaurant tomorrow? Can we tag along?”


Leave it to the Irish

Just a few days before Thanksgiving and we are anxious for the big day and its activities. To keep our minds off the turkey and football, we decided to have a pot luck ethnic day at the home. In other words, if you had a favorite dish from your ancestral background, cook it, bake it or buy it and bring it to the potluck, to share.

Gloria made a Greek salad with feta cheese and stuffed olives and a wonderful cucumber sauce. George bought a case of Pennsylvania Dutch root beer. Ms Barkley made watercress sandwiches. Laura baked several varieties of Norwegian cookies. Minnie whipped up her delicious pasta with meat sauce. Frank bought garlic bread at the bakery. I prepared a casserole I call cheese pudding. And Mickey brought a potato and a 6 pack of beer.

We were ready to serve the meal when Pastor Tom arrived unexpectedly, with a group of children from the orphanage. They had adopted us as their grandparents, and visited occasionally, bringing gifts for us. They had drawn turkeys and pilgrims and wanted to decorate our dining room for Thanksgiving.

They were adorable, all 12 of them. They were a little raggedy, slightly disheveled, and full of life. They had a hug for each of us, before they began their task of brightening our dining room.

Laura whispered to us: “Let’s invite them to eat with us. We have plenty of food.”

George agreed and said, “Yes for sure.”

Minnie had tears in her eyes and said, “What about the other kids at the Orphanage? You know, those who couldn’t come today. Pastor Tom said they were getting over the flu.”

Ms Barkley remarked, “You are absolutely correct. We have to think about them.”

A unanimous decision was made to wrap up all the food and send it back with the kids. Well, except for Mickey’s potato and six pack of beer, that is.

The kids squealed with delight, hugged us and left with our ethnic food.

Just then, Mary Catherine showed up, late as usual, with a pan of stuffed cabbage rolls.

“Sorry I am late. Did I miss the party?”

“No, my dear. You ARE the party.”

We shared the beer and cabbage rolls and burped and tooted all afternoon. It was a gas.


Who in the world is that goof?

Oh boy. Tonight is the night we have been waiting for. Pizza and root beer, and photos of Halloween. I was not well on Halloween, so I am anxious to see the costumes. The Home always has a costume party on Halloween.

“Hey Wolf, since you weren’t here, try to guess who is who. We will show the picture and you can tell us who you think it is.”

First photo: A blue haired woman in a nightgown, with bunny slippers and her hair in curlers.

“Gee, wow. That is a tough one. Could it be Minnie?”

“Yes!! How did you ever figure that one out?”

(Ummm, sorry, but how can you miss that blue hair)

“Just lucky I guess.”

Next one: A woman in a turkey outfit, with a parakeet sitting on her shoulder.

“Well, that wouldn’t be Ms Barkley, now would it?”

“Right again! Are you sure you haven’t seen these before?”

(She always has that goofy parakeet Felix with her)

“You will never guess this one.”

Third photo: Man wearing a cowboy hat, boots and Bermuda shorts.

“Well, let’s see now. Is that George?”

(Who else has those white legs and bony knees?)

“Hey you are no fun. Let’s just show the photos.”

“Yeah, Wolf, you always spoil the fun.”

“Wait a minute. Show me that last photo again. I don’t recognize that person.”

4th photo: A woman, in pink sweatpants, seemingly comatose, in a wheel chair, with a mask that resembled a pig snout on her face.

“You don’t know who that is? You idiot. It is you!! We knew you didn’t want to miss the party, so even though you were out of it, we wheeled you in.”

“What the heck was I supposed to be?”

“Miss Piggy!”

“But you haven’t heard the best part yet.”


“You won first prize!”


Do I have to go?

“Good morning everyone. Sorry I am late for breakfast. My grandson called to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner.”

“Nice. I suppose he is fixing a bird and all the trimmings.”

“Well, not exactly. He says his wife wants a green Thanksgiving, low fat, healthy, and all that jazz.”

“So what’s on the menu? Tofu and yogurt? Haha.”

“He is roasting a skinless, boneless breast of turkey. And no mashed potatoes this year. Only a baked potato with low fat sour cream. The green bean casserole will be modified, somewhat, with no onion rings, no cream of mushroom soup, no bacon. I guess that means plain green beans.”

“No sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce?”

“I asked about that and he said he will bake me a sweet potato, and if I insist on cranberry sauce, he will pick up a can.”

“Did he mention dessert? Like pumpkin pie, I hope?”

“His wife is baking a fat free pumpkin roll.”

“Oh my gosh girl, that sounds just awful. Sorry, but why even bother?”

“Yeah, now that I think about it, it does hint of blandness.”

“That’s a tactful way of putting it. I would rather eat a Hungry Man TV dinner than be subjected to that dried out, boring meal. Can’t you get out of it and eat with us?”

“Well, I don’t know what to tell him. I already agreed to go.”

“Let me call your grandson. I will talk turkey to him.”

“OK, I am dialing his number now.”

“Hi Mark. Wolf here, at the home. Hey, I hear you are having a green Thanksgiving this year. How do you feel about that?”

“Oh, not so good, eh? Gonna miss all the stuffing and gravy and crispy skin on the bird, huh?”

“Well, tell you what. We are serving the traditional meal at the home this year. Why don’t you join us? And that way Granny can stay here, eat her heart out, and still see you on Thanksgiving?”

“You can always eat green when you get home, since your meal isn’t until 6pm.”

“And you can tell your family that 6pm is a little late for Granny to eat. You know, at her age and all.”

“Wonderful. See you then!”

“Gee thanks Wolf! I am so happy!”

“No problem. Mark is happy too. But he did ask a favor.”


“Can he join us for our Christmas meal? His wife is serving vegetarian lasagna and spinach salad.”


Beauty is in the eye …. or is it the chin?

Everyone loves a man who looks distinguished. Somehow men look a whole lot better than we women do, when they are aging. And they can grow a mustache and nobody gives a damn. On the other hand, we women get a stray hair here and there and we are given the strangest looks. We have to keep up the waxing or stripping or shaving every day, as these strays have a way of popping up whenever we aren’t looking.

Yesterday, my dear friend Minnie showed up at breakfast with 3 or 4 of those crazy hairs on her chin. I wanted to mention something to her, but we were in mixed company and I did not want to embarrass her.

“Hey Minnie when we are finished eating breakfast, let’s have a beauty session. You know, get our hair fixed, our nails polished and whatever else needs beautified.”

“OK Wolf, what’s up? You don’t give a rat’s ass about beauty. Why if I wasn’t half asleep, I would guess you have something up your sleeve.”

“No, no, Minnie. I thought it would be good for our spirits.”

Ralph, being the smart ass he is, piped up: “You two? Beauty treatment? You have to be kidding. With that blue hair and wrinkled skin, you two remind me of Paul Bunyan, and Babe the Blue Ox.”

Now Minnie and I are feisty old bags, and no one gets by with that.

“Ok Minnie, you go first. Let him have it.”

“No, Wolf, I am not gonna even bother. Ralph is a miserable old goat, and has his head up his heiney. And you know what? I can’t tell which end is up.”

“You know Minnie, you are right. I met his Momma once and she told me that when he was born, Ralph was so ugly, that she swore he could not be hers. Then when he grew up, she said, he got even uglier. So she entered him in the ugliest dog contest.”

“Did he win?”

“No, the other dogs protested. They said not even a dog could be that ugly.”

“Ok ladies. I was just kidding. So knock it off.”

“Well, Ralph, we hate to tell you, but we were not kidding.”

“You know, girls, I am not a mean person, but since you insist on making this a contest, I have one thing to say.”

“Ok Ralph, go for it.”

“You remember the old Nursery Rhyme? The 3 little piggies? Well, girrrrrrls, don’t say I told you so, but that hair on your chinny chin chins sure don’t look so good.”

“Why you old fart!! How dare you. Let’s get out of here, Wolf.”


We ate your candy

Now that I am feeling much better, it was time to catch up on the gossip.
I could hardly wait. At breakfast, I chose a spot next to Charlie. He is definitely the biggest gossip at the Home.

“Hey Charlie, what’s new?”

“Hey Wolf, not much. But someone told me that George has a new girlfriend. And Minnie has a hickey on her neck.”

“Well, I better check that out.”

“Yeah, and Gloria found a baby rabbit in the yard and smuggled it into her room. I guess he chewed up her slippers and ate all her cashews. So she donated him to the zoo.”

“No kidding?”

“And our new nurse is very nice. She caught Laura smoking in her room, and didn’t turn her in. Actually, she smoked a couple with her, before she gave her a warning.”


“You missed the trip to the pumpkin patch. We lost Mary Catherine.”


“Yes, she took off in the corn maize and couldn’t find her way out. So, we had to call the cops to search for her. We were all out looking for her, and didn’t turn up a thing. At 7pm, we were really worried, as we returned to the bus. And guess what? There was Mary Catherine, sitting in her seat, asleep.”

“Thank goodness!”

“Well, the coppers weren’t too happy. They had spent all afternoon looking for her, and they chewed her out. But she never heard a word of it, she was sound asleep.”

“Sounds like a lot of exciting things have happened.”

“Oh you weren’t at our dance last week. You missed a big fight. The band refused to play Moon River, and Lennie went nuts.”

“Why did they refuse to play it?”

“Cuz Lennie had already requested it 5 times that evening, and the band was sick of it.”

“What happened?”

“Lennie beat the drummer with his cane and the guitar player had to peel him off.”

“Geez, I guess Lennie likes Moon River, or something.”

“He is a big Johnny Rivers fan.”

“Johnny Rivers didn’t do Moon River. Andy Williams did.”

“Not according to Lennie. He swears that Johnny Rivers sang it, and it was Johnny’s birthday, so Lenny wanted to celebrate it with his music.”

“Well, Charlie, thanks for catching me up with all the news.”

“No problem. Oh, by the way, when you were so sick, and we thought you might….you know…might not make it, we cleaned out your candy jar.”

“Candy jar? I don’t have a candy jar. OOOOOOOH, wait. I had my ex-lax in a jar by my bed. Hahahahahahah.”


Almost lost

I am not a victim. No. No. No. The moon was full. The natives were restless. I had a fever. I was rolling around in the mud, grunting, snorting. The doctor said: “You are old. You don’t need the vaccine.”

OK. I believed him. Never again. 3 weeks later and I am weak, exhausted, and have a chronic cough. After the 2nd week, I dragged myself into work. I was sent home. “And don’t come back, until you are no longer a threat to the populace.”

Now it is approaching week 4. No groceries. No bottled water. Only a nagging voice that says: “go back to work, you goof.” And wash your hands.

Strange, but I don’t have a job. So who sent me home? I live here, at the Rest Home. I ventured out of my room. The crowd was gathering for breakfast. I heard a voice: “Wolf, you are back!!!!”

Now I remember where I am. I don’t have a home of my own. I live here, and I am a Senior Citizen. I am an old bag, a sorry resemblance of the person I once was.

I see Minnie. She looks worried. I ask her: “What the heck is wrong?”
She grimaces and says: “Wolf, we thought we had lost you.”

Oh God. Am I dreaming? What is going on?

Everyone is staring at me, and clucking. I wonder if I am a chicken.
Why is everyone wearing masks? Is it Halloween?

I stand in line for cold scrambled eggs and burnt toast. I am not hungry.

I go back to my room and turn on the TV. Oprah is on. No thanks.
I fluff my pillows. I am tired.

I have a strange feeling that I have been gone for a long time.

I wonder what day it is. What month? I vow to get up tomorrow and go for a walk.

Oprah says the N1H1 is on the decline. Good.