Empty nesters

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Rick Ryckeley

It happens in a blink of an eye. Children are born, they grow up, and then they’re off to school. Seems as if it was just yesterday our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline, were yelling and giggling as they ran and played through our house, filling each room with noise, laughter, and love.

Now they’re all grown up. Gone off to school. Leaving their Big Papa alone, bored, with nothing to do.

On her way out to work, The Wife noticed my slumped shoulders and empty stare. She tried to reassure me, “It’s okay. I have faith you’ll find something to do. Just don’t sit around all day. That’s not healthy.”

Her words of encouragement started to pull me out of my funk. Standing, I gave her a goodbye kiss. “Think I’ll go out and buy some balloons and a banner.”

She smiled, shook her head and walked up the steps to leave. Waiting for the party store to open, I sat down at the computer and started this story but didn’t write for long. As always, something happened to drawn my attention away from the task at hand.

It was a rare sighting. Buzzing around the window was a brown hummingbird. Not wanting to scare off our long-beaked visitor, I reach for my cell phone to take the picture that had eluded me all summer – a hummingbird caught in mid-flight. Unfortunately, no picture was taken.

Took over an hour searching, but I finally found my cell phone. For some reason, it was left on top of the washing machine, which reminded me that I’d promised to do a couple of loads before The Wife came home. So I started towels.

Reaching for the Nilla Wafers and a jar of peanut butter as a mid-morning snack and reward for a job well done, I unfortunately came away empty-handed.

Out of both, I opened the desk drawer for my keys to make a quick trip to the grocery store before having to move the towels over to the dryer.

No keys, so the search began. I soon gave up and texted The Wife asking, “Someone misplaced my keys. Do you know where they are?”

Finding my keys on top of the clothes dryer, I left the house headed towards the grocery store. But the balloons, banner, and party store came to mind, so my mid-morning snack had to wait.

Note to Readers: it’s hard driving around this town with a car full of helium-filled balloons. At least that’s what I told the nice officer when she pulled me over.

After a warning, it was time for lunch at the chicken place that doesn’t think it’s funny when you try to order a hamburger at their drive-through window.

Second note to Readers: if you have a car full of balloons, some will escape when you roll down your window to pay for your lunch … or when you roll it down to talk to that nice police officer.

Once home again, I moved the towels over to the dryer and it was back to the story. An hour later, it was time to get everything ready, check for the mail, and wait out on the front lawn.

Soon it came around the corner. It stopped right in front of our house. The big vehicle had an important delivery that I had been waiting for all day.

No, it wasn’t the UPS truck with more packages from Amazon. The bus doors opened and out jumped Little One and Sweet Caroline with a big hug for their Big Papa! We all laughed as we walked down the driveway.

When The Wife got home that evening, she asked how my day was. I told her it was okay. She replied, “Looks like you kept busy. But don’t you think the huge Welcome Home banner on the front lawn and 20 balloons is a little much. After all, the girls just went off to school for one day.”

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]