Grandma’s Wish

birthday, blowing out candles, cakeWhen her birthday cake was placed in front of her and someone said “make a wish, Grandma!” Dolly closed her eyes and thought, okay, here’s the chance to try it.

She rubbed her back right heel on her left toe, crossed her left arthritic index finger over her third finger, took in a deep breath and chanted,

“Now may be the time, time is what we find, find the time that’s right for me. And let me see!”

Then for good measure she wished, take me back to Steve and the girls.

A roar in her ears prepared her for the worst – she was having a stroke and would collapse right here in front of all her family, gathered for her 80th March birthday. But the sound turned softer, less urgent, and she felt a light breeze tickle her chin as chimes crooned gently with the sweet summer air. Dolly opened her eyes and gasped.

She was sitting in the middle of the back yard, the one from their salad days when Steve was still working the night shift. The green grass was prickly against her bare legs, and she smiled down at her man, who was bent over a picnic basket with glee on his face. Her Steve. He was only 31, but the bald spot that would grow to an embarrassing patch when he was 20 years older was already showing off some pink scalp .

Dolly giggled, her voice strong and steady, and Steve’s two bright blue eyes looked up happily. Oh, was he a sight for sore eyes. Ruddy red cheeks belied the kidney disease he’d deal with in his 60s, instead now offering health and youth and love.PIxabay, fried chicken

“Your fried chicken! And even better, your potato salad!” he exclaimed as he brought the food out, followed by screeches of delight by their little peach, 1½-year-old Priscilla. She looked just like her daddy, except with longer eyelashes.

Dolly felt a kick in her stomach and looked down. So that’s where Jenny was. Still inside, a couple of months from entering this world. Or that world, Dolly corrected.

Which world was she in, she wondered, as the July sun warmed her back on this March birthday evening.

The fortune teller she visited a few days ago – a fun birthday gift from funky granddaughter Rose – insisted that if Dolly followed her instructions to the T, including the crossed feet and fingers and the special chant, her wish could come true.

Dolly stretched and met Steve’s face over the blue blanket. He dropped the chicken and laid a protective hand over her pregnant body. Their lips met, and Dolly savored the warm wet kiss, sucking in his breath as she tasted Steve’s love. Her eyes closed.

“Mom! Mom, where are you? Earth to Mars. Earth to Mars.”

Dolly opened her eyes. Her 56-year-old daughter stared at her with a small smile on her face, but also some concern. “You blew out your candles, but then you wouldn’t open your eyes,” Priscilla scolded with a laugh.

“What did you wish for, Grandma?” Rose asked as she quickly pulled out the melting candles, licking off the frosting with a swipe of her tongue on each one. “You sure were concentrating hard before you blew. What’dya ask for, a ’61 Corvette?”

Rose’s Aunt Jenny laughed and said, “No, that’s what your granddad used to wish for on his birthdays. That and fried chicken.”candles for blog

Dolly didn’t answer Rose’s question. She just closed her eyes and pleaded, “Could I blow out some more candles before we eat the cake. Please?”

123 thoughts on “Grandma’s Wish

  1. That was one perfectly executed wish that brought a huge smile to my face Pam.. Time creates memories we carry in our hearts… And a wish with closed eyes can bring them back to life in any given moment, especially when we rub our right heel on our left toe and cross over our left index finger over our third… and Chant… 🙂
    Wonderful piece of writing that brought the images to life…
    And thank you for your Wow’s, on my post… I see now see how TIME conspires to unite us all… ❤

    Much love dearest Pam… and thank YOU… ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful, Pam. The incredible power of memory can truly take us back in time. My parents are blowing out lots of candles lately. Their memories are so real, almost as it happening. 🙂 A lovely post, my friend. You might publish a collection of your flash fiction someday. They’re wonderful reading. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Okay, you and your muse are doing a fantastic job of putting a spark in my writing rear-end and getting me moving on my short story collection. I’m 1/4 through, maybe more, and your words (and the “likes” by several followers) have made me determined to finish this up soon. Now that my writing classes have been canceled for a while and we’re all kind of sequestered in place, no excuses.
      Hope you’re parents are okay as this virus spreads. My mom is sequestered and no visitors allowed. Scary and difficult. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Happy tears for Dolly, hopefully. But when I write these stories, I also shed some tears over the knowledge that the past is past, and we won’t see it again until maybe we blow out a LOT of candles and follow the fortune teller’s rules. 🙂

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  3. I may have tried rubbing my “right heel on [my] left toe and cross over [my] left index finger over [my] third… but it seemed too hard.

    Lots of sweet savoriness here, and I love that you named your character Dolly. I agree with Ms. Peach about publishing your flash fiction pieces. You already have an audience! 🙂

    I tend to live in the present and think of the future because I remember how hard it was go back in time to write memoir. Yet, the happy times still glow.

    Your writing transports me back in time – wonderful piece, Pam!

    Liked by 2 people

    • As a memoir writer, you know how difficult it can be to go back into the past – difficult to search our memories and difficult psychologically. Also we learn through meditation and yoga that we should appreciate the NOW and not linger over the then and the later. But….when I’m Dolly’s age, I bet I’ll rub my right heal on my left toe and cross my left finger over my third finger when I blow out all those candles. (I’ve been practicing since Dolly came to me through my pen.) 🙂

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  4. Beautiful yet melancholy story. Weirdly fitting for me these days. We just had a surprise birthday party for my mom’s 80th, and I’m the age of Dolly’s daughter.
    Aging hurts.

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  5. ‘chimes crooned gently’ is a beautiful expression for memories Pam, I love how grandma hears those ‘chimes.’ She didn’t share them, as it is not easy to communicate emotions associated with such moments that keep coming back to warm the hearts. Lovely story.

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  6. Pam, a story that touches all our hearts … I took a while scrolling down to the comment section as I read all the comments! 😀

    As Dolly blew out the candles I was rooting for her, that she would regain her wish. Moments of tenderness and sheer joy as she’s her younger self again, immersed in the past and this tinged with the memories of the future illnesses etc.

    When Dolly opened her eyes I felt her longing, her pull to be back with Steve aged 31, one daughter as her unborn, about the enjoy the wonders of being younger parents!

    Wonderful story, Pam … and I’m with Diana … you should seriously consider publishing your stories in a book! What a treat! Hugs XX ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are one of my biggest supporters and read my stories so thoroughly and with “heart.” THANK you! And thanks for the boost and push to publish my flash stories in a book. You are my inspiration for this. I’ll be e-mailing you before too long for some advice. 🙂 xo

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    • Ohhh, Arlene. You expressed my secret desire. To close our eyes and return to that time when our kids were snuggly little ones, needing us and loving us with a child’s heart. But I love how you acknowledge that just by thinking about that time, perhaps we have just returned there for a quick few seconds. xo

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  7. What a really wonderful story, Pam. You told it so well. I’ve often thought along the same lines as Dolly. Thinking back to wonderful memories certainly helps take away the pains of cold, grey days in March. I hope Dolly got to go back to that scene you built up for her. I bet it was the best birthday present she had.

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    • In my imagination, Dolly had her “kids” put a load of new birthday candles on that cake all night long, so she could reunite with Steve many times. Here’s to memories – accessible always in our hearts and minds. ❤

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    • You’re the best, Nancy. LOVE the music and the desire. I Wanna Go Back! You and Dolly. I think it’s a good sign that so many of us wanna do it all over again. That means we’ve been having a helluva good life. xo

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      • Yes. I am ok and staying at home but did go to some nurseries which are all open air with very few people and there is no standing in line. Do take care and be safe as well. There is one critical case in Waco of a 27 year male. I read that on FB this afternoon, March 20th. It is very upsetting to learn of the young man’s condition. He is, as far as I know, one of seven confirmed cases in my town thus far. Two Baylor profs tested positive that had recently been in NYC.

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    • That’s terrific! Could you give me a little mention in the “acknowledgements” page of that book? 🙂 Seriously, I do believe that we bloggers inspire each other in ideas and thoughts frequently.

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  8. Pam, this was lovely and so poignant. It reminded me of my grandfather’s 70th birthday. We thought we’d catch the house on fire with all 70 candles on it. His wish was for the future. He wanted to be here for all of his grandchildren’s weddings. That was his last birthday before he had his 2nd and last stroke. He was with us two more years but in body only. I think of that firey cake every time someone blows out the candles on their cake.

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  9. Pam, A part of me hoped Dolly’s wish would come true. I haven’t heard the term “salad days” in a long time. You are making me cry two times tonight, Pam. Although, sometimes tears are healthy. Possibly, it is our memories that will eventually sustain us in our later years. Your posts are hitting too close to home. Reading through the comments, I am also a believer in trying to stay present. Yet, I hope I never lose the memories. Keep bringing us Dolly. We may be her, one day. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t remembered the term “salad days” either, Erica, until I began to write in Dolly’s voice, and it came right out. Isn’t that magical? I hope that through my stories, we look at “the elderly” a bit differently, and remember they had full lives that they are now holding deep inside. To everlasting love, and Hope. xo

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