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The watering can

The watering can

A Story by Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)

Old age roses memories and an old man and his watering can

Every morning out he’d go out the back in the early sun to his blessed roses. She would watch him out of the cream coloured lacy kitchen curtains with daffodil prints as he hosed his blessed garden.
“Herb cut me some red and lots of my favourite yellow ones will you love, the Marsh’s are coming for afternoon tea today and. I want the sitting room to look just right.” She’d ask him “Ok love” he replied waving and blowing her a kiss as he stood tall against the old wooden back door. She blew him one right back and blushed with pride. They were middle aged but still had that spark most of their married friends didn’t have or had lost along the way. Their children all grown now with busy lives of their own.

They led a simple life in the Blue Mountains of nsw. Herb worked and owned the local country post office and he tended his garden on his days off sometimes he’d have a sneaky three day weekend and get their neighbor Barbara to take over on a Friday. Excitedly they would drive up the coast and put the top down in their car and there she would sit proud as a pin looking at the ocean on her right driving up the coast. There she would be next to her Herb the wind in her curly auburn grey tinged hair the sun on her brow and a smile on her lips. Her husband Herb driving along chatting tapping his fingers to the radio as it played all their favourite songs of youth on their oldies radio dial.
“This is the life Herb!” she’d say and he’d touch her knee fondly and they would hold hands him expertly driving the car with his one hand sometimes smoking sometimes quiet reflective other times gay and happy. They had it all their own business,a very busy mountain retreat post office and a lovely family, their health and their love. They would die for each other they were a couple in their fifties just made for each other and still had that spark in their love life she would find out as they sometimes were still physical not like some of their friends.

So on this particular day as he was out picking his beloved wife roses she stood in the kitchen and looked out as she washed up the breakfast dishes drying up the cup she stood looking out to her Herb. He was bent down weeding now in his blue overalls his blessed roses pink yellow and white and red her favourite all sparkling after their shower in the early sun that’s the last she saw of life as she knew it his roses and him bending in his overalls and the sun twinkling suddenly it went black and Herb and his roses and the sun and the water twinkling was gone. The porcelain tea cup she was drying her mother’s actually hitting the floor in a crash.
She had luckily made her peace with her maker at her last hospital admission for chest pain a year back but this time her heart took her to her maker and on the way she floated over her husband and his blessed roses. He stood up with a start he felt her presence there with him she took a rose her favourite the yellow one he saw the rose fade before his eyes almost all colour faded he ran inside the scene indescribable he bent down and sobbed for hours his roses in his hand tears wet on her face his tears. The Marsh’s ended up coming early that day to console Herb and his sons met the Marshs and Barbara from over the fence for the first time.

The days passed the funeral done the passing of his beautiful Betty his wife.

He lived for years and years in pain sorrow and grief -sure his children visited daily then weekly then monthly - the years rolled on he tended to his shop a few days a week till at last he retired at 65 all the time hosing his blessed roses.

One day after his 70th birthday they said he would be taking a long holiday “ he replied he “didn’t want a long holiday “,but they didn’t listen to Herb. Week by week the furniture got sold his belongings slowly disappeared he didn’t know where his table and chairs went a young family came and took them and never returned his son put the money in a jar and said it was his long holiday fund. He told them “he didn’t need any long blasted holiday he was happy with his roses.” He continued to water his blessed roses sometimes he just filled his rusty watering can and did it that way. he was tired one day all the furniture was gone except for a stretcher he slept on he didn’t have any utensils pots or pans a lady come in once a day to give him a hot meal and make him tea she told him to get in the shower and she would close her eyes as she washed him he agreed happy for some company at least.
One day the lady stopped coming and his son came and packed what few clothes he had and a few pictures framed and took him on his long blasted holiday that he still didn’t want. That was five years ago he still dreamt of his wife,his roses, his watering can and the way they drove to the coast when he took his sneaky three day weekend and Barbara from over the fence could take over his post office shop in the Blue Mountains of nsw.

The nurses and doctors he overheard them say one afternoon to his son one day in low muffled voices that his Dementia was now borderline severe . “Severe my blasted arse “ he muffled thinking I remember it all as he drifted off in peace smiling tapping his fingers to an old tune he kept safe in his memory.
They found him the next morning holding a yellow rose the nurses swore they hadn’t seen anyone visit him and a porcelain cup sat next to him on the table with lipstick stains red vintage my oh my what visitors in the night did old herb have they wondered
For all their natural born days. The CD player had stopped on their favourite song of years gone by what else but
“The yellow rose of Texas”

© 2018 Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)

Author's Note

Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)
Old age eh not fair
Please excuse a bit rough needs edit

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You have touched my heart with this wonderful story. I lost my father to dementia, so this really hit home for m. Quite touching. :) Julie

Posted 4 Years Ago

Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)

4 Years Ago

Oh thanks ms jewel it’s fiction but true to life yes I lost my mum three years ago to same xx
Written quick will edit soon

Posted 4 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on February 17, 2018
Last Updated on February 17, 2018


Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)
Julie McCarthy (juliespenhere)

Sydney , Australia

Amateur old poet well not that old but not a young 20 anymore I live to write I write at least five poems ditties every weekend and a few during week I write quickly it just flows and bu.. more..