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Janet M Lewis

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By Janet M Lewis
Friday, December 14, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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An old man...a cigar shoppe proprieter, recalls a very sad moment in his past...

Janet M. Lewis
(No part of this story may be copied or duplicated without the express written permission of the author, Janet Marie Lewis.)

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was only eighteen and I had no reason to suspect that anythin’ was wrong at all. Every day for better than seven years…since I was just thirteen I would go and check on gramma. See there was this field just down the way from her dilapidated ole’ house and it seemed to me that the ole’ field was full of these saucer sized sunflowers nearly all year round! So I would stop in the field and pick as many of those sunflowers as my small hands would hold. I had very small hands for a boy you see, and anyhow, I would go into her house and call her name.


In her younger days she would wait for me, hidin’ behind the baby grand piano or under the counter in the kitchen, and when I circled around that way why she would jump out and holler at me and I would scream in surprise. Gramma would laugh and laugh until I thought she would certainly split her side or get a hernia or somethin’ and then she would ooh and ahh at the beautiful sunflowers I brought her. Finally we would sit and have her famous homemade peanut butter cookies with these towerin’ glasses of ice cold milk, lookin’ on at the crystal vase of sunflowers catchin’ the late afternoon sunlight through the west windows.

As Gramma got on in years though, I would more often find her sittin’ in her pink, overstuffed sewin’ chair just starin’ at the vase of flowers; starin’ out the window beyond those sunflowers at nothin’ in particular, and I would always ask my Gramma what was wron’.

“You ok Gramma?” And she would just nod her head with this little sad smile on her beautiful light pink lips, and whisper,

“Yep…ok my Barty…right as rain.”

I started to miss our chases around the piano that I’d never heard her play. I missed the thick, sweet peanut buttery taste of her cookies and how it was swept beautifully down my throat by a whisk of icy cold white milk. I would get her some of those cookies, but she would rarely ever eat them…maybe a nip or a bite but that was all. She would sit and her hands would quiver as she tried to bite the cookies just to make me, her Barty feel better.

And then that day, well my world shattered around me. I had more sunflowers than I could ever remember pickin’ before, and I had had a wonderful day and was a-whistlin’ like a bluebird when I walked into her house.

“Gramma?” It was habit. I couldn’t break tradition. I walked a little further into the ole’ house.

“Gramma?” It was quiet…too quiet as I turned the corner around the baby grand and there she was my beautiful Gramma with her fair hands and light pink lips, her eyes frozen open in an eternal gaze at the slightly wilted sunflowers from the day before. She had a barely noticeable smile frozen on her lips, and her already somewhat translucent skin was sort of pale…you know, like she had been scared and the blood had drained from her face or somethin’.

The tears were fallin’ from my chin and I hadn’t even noticed that I was cryin’. I stepped a bit closer to my Gramma and started to close her eyes, but then I thought better of it. She was lookin’ at her Barty’s sunflowers…I knew she was, so instead, I turned and never takin’ my eyes off hers, I threw out the ole’ wilting flowers and put the huge bouquet of fresh ones in the water for her. I opened the window and let that light zephyr blow in, and then, wipin’ my eyes, I called my Momma.

Janet M. Lewis
(No part of this story may be copied or duplicated without the express written permission of the author, Janet Marie Lewis.)

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