That’s a nice shirt

There’s been a hiatus while I attended to large life events, but I’m hoping for more time and discipline now. At least I have a fresh source of stories from my mother’s new neighbourhood. Here’s a little tale she told me this week:

It’s breakfast time again. Marlene stalks across the carpet on her two canes and nudges her usual chair. Across from her, George lifts his eyes from contemplation of his plate of toast.

‘That’s a nice shirt,’ he says.

‘Oh, are you there?’ says Marlene, bending like a paperclip as she inserts herself between the chair and the table. ‘My daughter bought it for me.’

‘Did she visit?’

‘No, she sent it by helicopter.’


Marlene frowns at her plate. ‘Toast.’

Pamela approaches, bustling her wheeled chair in stilted lurches through the patterned axminster. ‘Move away!’ she warns the young nurse beside her. The nurse dispenses her characteristic wide smile, and helps Pamela manouever up to the table. ‘There now. I’ll get your coffee.’

‘Wait!’ calls Marlene. ‘Wait! There’s toast on my plate.’

‘Yes, that’s right, Marlene. You always have toast.’

‘And a banana! And a banana!’

‘Yes,’ replies the nurse, ‘but we have no bananas today.’

George lifts his chin, which he does when deeply moved. He sounds a note to get the key, and begins a loud and stirring rendition of ‘Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!’

Pamela says to Marlene between phrases, ‘That’s a nice shirt.’


Image from Wikimedia commons: By Poulsen, Harry – Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland., Public Domain,


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