Ian Thompson: an anecdote (if you want)
Fiction » March 2002

"The paper says that there is snow on the way, a blizzard. We should probably walk over to market and get bread and milk." ... "Do you want ice cream? We can get ice cream at market."

"Sure, ice cream sounds good ... maybe a milk shake?"

"You can get whatever you want. I'll get a half gallon of Hershey's to bring home too."

"She told them that she wanted a bowl of ice cream and then put to bed. Things were really looking on the up and up. But ...you know ..."

"Grandma, do you think it's really going to snow?"

"That's what they say. Did you bring any warm clothes? Your galoshes?"

"No ... well ... what are galoshes?"

"Your boots."

"No, I didn't bring those. Mom put them away at the end of February. We thought that the snow was done."

"After every set she called the nurse something else ... I mean ... a different name. He would lift her arm, an ... and ah ... she would say, ‘William, stop William!' And then the other arm, ‘John no! John!', then ‘Matthew no!', and ‘Henry! Henry! No Henry!' And she was just exhausted by the time the nurse was done."

"O.K., Well ... if it does snow, I'll look for some of your father's old clothes." ... "I think there is a sled in the basement too." ... "Henry your lacers are undone. You better tie them before you trip and fall."

"A fall from the steps can do a lot of damage."

"I got ‘em."

"Good afternoon Besty! Ah ... is this your grandson?"

"Yes he is. Mark's son. The middle child."

"Well ... he looks just like his father."

"Yes he does."

"Well ... I wish I could talk, but I have to be on my way. I was just picking up some rolls for the dinner at church."

"O.K. G'Bye Gloria"

"Goodbye Betsy. Goodbye Henry."


"That's Gloria. She used to live down the block. She's awful nice, but she has a terribly gas problem."

"Oh. Is it bad?"

"She really had a lot of friends ... either from high school or people she worked with at Letterkenny. 32 years she worked there. Did you see all her mail? We tried to show her some of the cards ... huh ... you know ... to think of it ... if one person comes for every card she got, the church will be full. But some people can't drive anymore. There might be a problem getting everyone there."

"No not really."... "Gosh, these doors are heavy."

"Here, Grandma, I got it."

"Thank you. Now ... we are looking for ... bread ... white, milk ... 2%, Hershey's ice cream, aaaand whatever you want."

"O.K. The milk is right down this aisle and the bread is across the way."

"I don't understand why they put things so low on these shelves ... make you bend over to get everything." ... "Henry can you get the bread?"

"Got it."

"So what do we need now?"

"Uhh ... ice cream. That's it."

"It would be nice if either your brother or sister or you ... or even your cousin ... talked a little bit. I mean ... you can just share an anecdote if you want. Talk about the things that you used to do together. I mean ... like all the times she took you out to eat. It can be funny. She really liked to feed you."

"Did you get what you wanted?"

"I'm O.K. for now. I'll just have some ice cream at your house."

"Well ... O.K. But if you see anything, just grab it. You don't need to ask me."

"O.K. But I'm fine." ... "We should head towards the checkout line down there ... less people."

"Did we get everything?"


"Good, because I don't want to be stuck at home without bread and milk."

"It's a good idea ma'am ... everyone has been in here today getting the staples: bread, milk, orange juice, canned goods. They say that it's going to snow."

"That's what I heard. "

"Ah! ... ice cream for your grandson? This is the good stuff, mint chocolate chip ...that will be $6.83 ma'am."

"Here, Henry, is this a ten?"

"Yeah Grandma."

"Give it to the man Henry."

"$3.17 is your changed. Thank you for shopping with us."

"Here Grandma."

"You keep it; save it for the next time that I need change."

"You sure?"

"You keep it."

"Do you remember when we showed her the picture of the kitten on the cover of that card. Remember how her face lit up? You can talk about that if you want."

"O.K. if you say so. Here let me get the door."

"Thank you." ... "So what are you doing in school?"

"We are reading a book by Jack London right now; it's about a wolf."

"Do you like reading?"


"That's good. Your brother never did like reading. He didn't really try much either. Are you doing arithmetic?"

"By the way, your brother will be driving up Saturday morning."

"Yeah, we are doing that too ... in the mornings, along with science. In the afternoon we do reading and spelling and history."

"After lunch we are going to clean up around the house."

"When you get your report card bring it in to me. We'll go out to lunch."

"Just order pizza or something."

"O.K. Sounds good to me."

"It's starting to get colder Henry. Snow is on the way. I can feel it in my bones ... sometimes it pays to be an old lady."

"She went through a lot ... she was weak."

"I guess so." ... "Can I sleep in if I don't have school tomorrow. I mean, if you are up will you listen to the radio, and if there is no school ... just let me sleep?"

"She's resting in a better place now."

"O.K." ... "I'll have breakfast ready when you get up."

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