Hannah Sits on Chairs

Hannah sits on chairs. She sits on a chair at the sink, and moves her weight to the chair by the fridge, to complete the daily tasks that have etched the grooves of her life. Her husband will not allow her to seek assisted care, so she lives life from chair to chair and keeps her hands busy.

She has three of four children left. She lives under the same roof that sheltered her and Edward since ’68, when Joseph, the eldest, was born. The walls in her home are nicked and tired, but filled with memories and photos.

Edward yells and storms at her, unaware of his own outbursts. He is a mild, good man in dire straights. His face is deteriorating from cancer, and the doctor says there’s nothing that can be done. His face is seeping and swathed with bandages. His life is suffering and restless sleep.

Regarding the anger and railings of her husband Hannah confides, “I listen to Dr. Shultz on the radio give advice to women about all sorts of problems. Many are worse off than I am  and it makes me feel a little better about my own situation.”

“Lunch is ready,” calls Hannah.

“What are you saying?” Edward growls from the bedroom.

Lunch is chicken broth with noodles and garlic bread.

“Did you want some garlic toast?”

Edward shakes his head but Hannah doesn’t see. She passes him the toast.

“What are you giving me that for?”


Existing from chair to chair, Hannah still bakes bread. Her eyes sparkle as she shows me the cushion her sister made for her, and the little handcrafted boats her uncle made. She catches me up on the family gossip and asks me about my husband. I look at this lady and see that she is so young. A twenty-something trapped in frailty. She hugs me like a high school bosom friend. I realize that people are timeless.

No Sunday School Marm

I am at church in the Harvest room and I am not ready for this. I am experiencing my lack of presence—authoritative presence. Heck, my best “Mom voice” is soft. These kids can sense it and they are ready to sack and pillage. They are ready to take my inch and stretch it a mile like worked bubble gum.

Max wants to know if he can have a pepsi from the fridge. Jen wants to know why we have to make a circle again. Leroy has to go pee for the 3rd time. Janna is on Tannis’ back giddy’up-ing. Today I have relinquished the last feeble strands of control that once made fragile reigns. Today I have let the madness come crashing upon me like a rogue wave. This is Sunday School.

Did you know that some are made of tougher stuff than others?

And I like atmosphere, lingering in a hot shower, serenity, wrinkles on the elderly, working fresh dough, morning tea, air that takes your breath away.

I’m not meant to bust a vein yelling after whippersnappers.