Character Sketch – Book Excerpt: Whispering Falls
“Aunt Margie, who made you the head of the neighborhood watch program?” I asked, smiling.
“Hmmph!” she said as she tottered past me, clacking her cane.
Aunt Margie knew all the neighbors’ habits just like she knew all abut the boyfriends and girlfriends of her great grand kids. “That one’s a winner!” “He can’t keep a job!” she would say. “Yep, and that one, she will last ’bout as long as the first one!”
Something happened a long time ago to turn Aunt Margie off love in a big way, and she had no faith in it. Wasn’t nothing nobody could say to change it for her. I watched as she scrubbed the kitchen counter top for the 100th time.
“Did you see my dish drainer? I had to take it apart to really get it clean,” she said.
“Oh…, it’s clean, alright,” I reported as I inspected it. The drainer looked like it had been power washed. Aunt Margie was battling her OCD daily with every single crumb that hit the floor or every drop of water that appeared on the counter. She cleaned her bathroom too almost every day. Her cleaning items got the best workout in town, maybe even better than maids less than half her age. Aunt Margie couldn’t stand dirt and her favorite color was white…..white shirts, white shoes. The whiter, the better. White was clean. I had recently surprised her with those As Seen on TV storage bags that can be compacted by taking a vacuum hose to make them flat. This was on one of her particularly bad days, and she just perked right up.
“Hey, that seals up nice and airtight,” she said, her eyes lighting up like two Christmas trees. She then proceeded to bag up her entire closet, along with towels, washcloths, and bedding. “See?” she pointed. “Those will stay nice and clean!”
“Why yes, Umm, yes they will,” I stammered. At least she was happy for awhile. I couldn’t help but think that Aunt Margie most likely wished she had vacuum storage bags to cover her breakfast. This ordeal every morning involved her meticulously placing Saran wrap over the top of her nutty grain cereal in the bowl, the tops of her two milk glasses, and the rim of her coffee mug. The she carefully carried each one to the table in the sun room where she ate her morning meal. It took longer to plasticize this meal than to consume it, but I told myself….we all get there someday.