Well, it snowed a bit here yesterday… not much, not even long enough for me to play out…and then it all disappeared. It is all very well her heaving sighs of relief, but I was looking forward to a long snowy walk! Still, she says that mysterious ‘they’ say we may have lots of snow this weekend. Mind, she says they often get it wrong too… But she’s got her hat and her boots by the door and that big fluffy coat that makes her look like a short-legged yeti… so I think she thinks they may be right this time…
I love playing in the snow. Quite apart from the fact that it might save me from having to have a bath before Christmas, it is really good fun. She plays out for ages when it snows and we walk miles. And while she throws snowballs for me and does things with the camera, I get to follow tracks and scents and everything is really different and exciting!
But it is always best when you can share. Sally Cronin is good at sharing… she helps lots of people on her website and, if you read about her dog Sam there, you’ll know she ‘gets’ the whole dog thing… You could read the new story she sent me too…
You are never too old to be loved
by Sally Cronin
He was getting on a bit in years, his eyesight was very dodgy, and his hip was definitely causing him jip. His teeth were still okay; he still enjoyed his meat slightly chewy, instead of that pap that they gave the real oldies in this residence. And if truth be told, despite his advanced years there was still a little fizz left when it came to the ladies. In fact there was a rather saucy looking old gal in the residence four down from him, who despite the silver threads through her glorious mane of hair, still had a twinkle in her eye.
Making his mind up to make more of her acquaintance later when they were all out in the garden enjoying their daily exercise, he closed his eyes to have a quick nap before lunch. He dreamt of a luscious garden full of the scent of flowers, as well as the laughter of children as he chased them around the apple trees. Two hours later he woke with a feeling of sadness, knowing that he would never see those children again. They were grown now and had no thought of him as he sat alone in this place.
There were visitors, who came from time to time, but this was a residence for the elderly and whilst they were well taken care of with amusements laid on and so called enrichment programmes, they all felt the loss of being part of a family. They would talk about it amongst themselves when they were resting in the shade of the garden; out of breath from their recent exertions. They had to accept that they were not going to see the outside of this place again and had better make the best of it.
One day they woke up to see the garden covered in snow and some of the more elderly residents declined the invitation to go out for their usual daily exercise; choosing instead to huddle under the blankets and watch through the windows of their rooms. He, however, was made of sterner stuff. He remembered the fun he had enjoyed with the children; lying in the snow whilst they covered him from top to tail until only his head could be seen. He was not sure if he lay down in the soft snow now, that he would be able to get up again with his dodgy hip.
Tired from his time in the winter wonderland, he returned to his room and settled down in the old chair in front of the window. For some reason he felt incredibly sad; for once his normally sunny disposition was overshadowed by grief.
The next day the staff could be seen rushing around putting up shining decorations and the residents perked up knowing turkey and all the trimmings were imminent. You have to give credit to the woman who ran the place; she was a kind soul who was committed to giving her elderly charges the comfort and care they deserved. They all enjoyed her frequent visits to their rooms for a chat and a hug or two.
Somehow this year he found it difficult to get excited, despite loving the taste of turkey, ham and those little sausages wrapped in bacon. But his dreams each night of children’s laughter lingered throughout the day, and he felt incredibly sad.
The day before Christmas, he woke to hear people talking outside in the corridor. Not unusual certainly, but he kept hearing his name mentioned and there was something familiar about one of the voices… He moved closer to the door and tried to understand what was being said about him. He heard the click of the latch and hurriedly moved back into the room; watching as the woman who ran the place entered with a tall young man.
“Hello Jack is that really you.” He stared at the stranger who seemed to know his name. He edged forward to get a better look and a hand reached out towards him.
“We’ve been searching for you since Mrs Jones died and we didn’t know where you had gone, I cannot tell you how happy we are to have found you.”
We, what’s this we bit?
Suddenly two very young children pushed themselves into the room and rushed towards me, throwing their arms around my neck. After a moment’s fear I surrendered to the wonderful emotions that surged through me as I heard their laughter; feeling their small arms choking the life out of me.
He looked up through rather bleary eyes as the young man knelt down and stroked the fur around his neck, a familiar smell immediately unlocked the memories he had tried to suppress during his waking hours. Memories of this man as a teenager living next door to his mistress, coming over when he was a puppy and playing with him, rolling around in the snow and teaching him how to make snow angels.
“You’re coming home with us Jack, would you like that boy, would you like that?”
To say that I was out that door like a whippet up a drainpipe, despite my dodgy hip, is an understatement. I was helped into a large box that hummed and sat between the two small children strapped into special seats. They both reached out to touch me, reassurance that it was going to be safe as we set off at an alarming rate.
So here I am on Christmas Day and I have just eaten a meal of turkey, basmati rice and vegetables with special gravy, no salt my new mistress said in her soft caressing voice. I have a lovely new bed which is in the same room as my two young friends, Billy and Grace. I lie there in the warmth listening to them breathing gently in their sleep, knowing that I am their guardian. I am filled with new purpose and strength; even my dodgy hip doesn’t hurt as much.
More than anything I feel young again and loved… You are never too old to feel loved.
About Sally Cronin
I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.
I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.
Links for books
Sally’s Latest book
Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.
Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.
Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.
Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.
Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.
In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.
Antlers are for Reindeer!
If you would like to help save Ani from a fate (she says) worse than death, send your Letters to Santa, festive memories, short stories, flash fiction or poems to the Small Dog. She will post them every day through December until Christmas.
She would especially like to hear from her four-legged or feathered friends (she has a special place very close to her heart for turkeys)… but she says that two-legs are better than none, so she will accept submissions from humans too.
To get in touch, please use the form on the contact page or email Ani at firstname.lastname@example.org