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Widowers LamentPosted Friday, May 20, 2011, at 10:05 PM
During 63 years of my married life, I paid very little attention as to what my wife did to keep everything running smoothly in our home. I was sure there wasn't very much to this job, but now that I am a widower, I have discovered that there is more to running a home than the ideas and suggestions proclaimed by Martha Stewart and Mr. Food.
It has been 12 years now, since cruel fate took my wife from me, and I have been living here all alone in this little bungalow at the corner of "Depression & Frugal Street." That's over 4000 mornings that I have prepared my own breakfast and sat gazing across the table to an empty chair. Even though it has been a lonely 12 years I have managed to survive on burned bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast, and I have consumed so many TV dinners, that the empty plates alone would fill a 50 gallon barrel. I have practically lost of my vocal cords because I have no one to talk with. I tried to break the monotony of this silence by bringing my dog in the house, but he didn't seem to be interested in my attempt to discuss the weather conditions with him, so the first time the door was open, he made a hasty retreat to his own little castle.
I soon discovered that a thick coat of dust on the furniture is not diminished by taking an allergy pill, but when I needed to remember something, I found that I could write myself a note in the dust on the furniture.
When the aroma in the kitchen began to rival that of a pigpen, I decided that it was time to take out the garbage and drag a damp mop across the kitchen floor. When my shirts and underwear began to resemble that of my camoflaged hunting clothes, I decided that it was time to give them a bath.
During these lonely years, I noticed that I was developing a peculiar attitude. I was becoming so mean and hateful that I was afraid of myself. I was even afraid to shave myself, for fear that I would cut my own throat. I quit wearing my hearing aid because I didn't want to hear all the bad news coming in on the TV.
Even though my old body was racked with aches and pain, I refused to take any medication, because I didn't want to help some rich doctor pay for his cadillac and million dollar home.
Another thing that bugged me was the high price of everything. It was getting to where I could barely afford the necessities of life, and half of what I was gettng was not fit to drink.
I also had lots of other problems and troubles, but rather than bother the world with them, I just put them in my "Trouble Box." I built this box several years ago; I built each part with care, and as I travel down life's pathway, I put my troubles there. It holds my bitter cups of failures, and it locks my heartaches within its walls. I have told no one of its contents; none of its secrets have I shared, as I dropped in my load of sorrows and keep them buried there. The world will never know my burdens as I travel these last few miles, as I sit on top of my trouble box and greet you with my smiles.
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Paul Corbin is a 100-year-old historian, humorist, and amateur archaeologist from Advance, Mo. He grew up in the Greenbrier area west of Advance, where he attended Stepp School on the banks of Cato Slough and the Castor River, important waterways throughout his life. In an age when many area residents did not go to high school, the young Corbin made the decision to walk the five miles to Zalma, graduating in 1933. Throughout his life, he was an enterprising businessman, selling Watkins products from house to house throughout a large area - and later opening a variety store in Advance. He and his wife Geneva traveled throughout the United States, even following the route that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled. His knowledge of Native American culture is extensive, and he has donated a sizeable collection of his artifacts to the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center and the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill. Throughout the years, he has submitted articles to TBY, the North Stoddard Countian, the Ozark Mountaineer, and several other Missouri publications. He has also written two books - "Reflections in Missouri Mud," and "Fragments of my Feeble Mind." The first one is out of print.
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