I love stories.
This is not a newsflash. LOL. I’m a novelist, so of course I love stories.
But don’t you? Ah, hearing what makes people tick, how their lives have run their course, listening to what they’ve learned, doesn’t that just tweak you? It sure does me. Not that I can ever learn from them! Learning the hard way has been my choice 🙂
I also seem to have one of those faces that just says, “Please tell me about you.” Because no matter where I go, folks just do.
Think I’m exaggerating? I’ll relate just one, which just happened, and still has me laughing.
I had to get new tires on the van. And was feeling both annoyed and blessed about it. Annoyed that it was taking a piece of my day, but truly grateful I didn’t wreck as one tire had worn smooth. I know, I know—I should have paid more attention!
But to mitigate the time-waste annoyance, I took along a manuscript to edit. Lucky for me, I can work just about anywhere.
As long as I can keep to myself . . .
So there I sit in Discount Tire. Head buried in manuscript pages, red pen flying away. And open seats all over the place.
When here comes this little old lady, who plunks down right beside me, cane and all.
“You must be a teacher,” she said, nodding to the work in my lap.
I swallowed my sigh, knowing the gig was up. No way could I not talk to this sweet wrinkled face, and the crystal-clear blue eyes sparkling at me.
“A book editor,” I replied.
“Oh, what an exciting line of work!” she said, and we were off and running to wherever this meeting would take us.
We of course first bemoaned the lack of people actually reading these days, and how that’s led to the dumbing down of our country. What with all the “smart” devices, people have sure gotten stupid, was her take on that.
I could only laugh. And agree. Of course, I think everybody on the planet should read books 🙂
Not once did she say, “In my day . . .” but she did soon tell me she was 90 years old this year.
I about fell over. She didn’t look nearly that old. Especially with those sparkly eyes. But I also felt a pretty sharp catch. My mom would have been 90 this year . . .
We talked about living on the farm, and how that nurtured the values that our culture seems to have lost—chiefly, hard work and honesty.
Which got her onto politics. I kid you not. Sharp as a tack, she knew all the facts and was disgusted by the political climate we find ourselves in.
A lifelong Republican, she said she was sickened by what this group of clowns was doing to her party. And, before you throw tomatoes at me, “clowns” was her word!
I did mention that my parents would be revolving in their graves over this. And was so heartened when she reached over to squeeze my hand . . .
She did harken back to days of yore about one thing—how the journalists of her day wouldn’t let all these politicians get away with bald-facing lying to the camera without calling BS on them.
Again, BS was her word.
Lest you think she wasn’t proper, she was a prim and perfectly put together as any woman of that generation ever would be. She just said what she meant, and meant what she said.
And it was then that our conversation sort of merged journalists, politics, and men. I know, an odd combination, right?
But she talked about how the journalists today were just pretty faces, especially the female ones, and especially on the FOX news channel. Whom she would never normally see because this channel spread lies all day, with no facts involved.
Once more—I’m just reporting what she said!
And how the news readers were all these talentless but pretty young perfect girls, makeup expertly applied, and especially in tight, short skirts.
“Isn’t it funny,” she said, “how they always get a shot of their legs. And the skirts are so short, you can almost see to possible.”
Now, if you have spent much time with older generations of women, you get the “possible” joke. If you haven’t, such a pity!
She went on to say that she and her husband volunteer at the nursing home! They’re 90, mind you. Every time I think about it, that just makes me laugh.
And that the “old” men are always glued to FOX news, watching the pretty young things.
“They’re just staring at the girls’ legs,” she said with a chuckle of her own. “I told one of the old men that, and you know what he said? He turned to me with a mischievous grin and said, ‘Isn’t she wearing such purty shoes.’”
I’m still laughing.
Such marvelous stories are all around us. Such beautiful lives people have led. And how incredibly blessed I am that they tell me their tales with such unabashed abandon.
So now it’s your turn—what are the stories you’ve heard?
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.