Never Too Old

by Laura Eccleston

15 Oct 2018


Never Too Old
In 2015 I wrote a short story for Lets Get Crafting Magazine so I thought I would share it here.  I hope you enjoy!

If there was one thing to look forward to this weekend, it was visiting the local yarn store, myself!’ George thought as he finally slumped down in the musty armchair and whipped out the familiar bag of hooks and yarn. It had been yet another uninspiring day full of interruptions, but he still had a few minutes left before Mildred got back.
“Now where was I?” George pondered, examining the almost-finished crochet project in front of him. It had taken him a few months, but finally he was almost there. George snuggled the chunky wool against his cheek and sighed, “I do love a good yarn” he grinned, even more so at the irony.
“21 … 22 … 23 …” George muttered as he whiled away the rare few minutes of peace. He was careful to count his stitches as this project wasn't just any project.
“George! I’m back,” Mildred bellowed from the hallway in her usual brisk voice.
“Uh huh,” George mumbled in response, not wishing to look up. He couldn't let Mildred distract him today, not when he was so close to finishing.
“Have a good day dear?” Mildred chirped from the kitchen.
“Uh huh … 43 … 44 … 45 …”
“You know, it was so busy down at the … ugh! Are you at that darn project again George?” Mildred frowned as she marched into the dated living room. “You really should buy your own hooks as you crochet more than I do! And you know your arthritis isn't helped by all that knitting one pearling one.”
“51 … 52 … 53 … it’s crochet Mildred, not knitting, how many times do I have to tell you? And I've very nearly finished,” George grunted, avoiding Mildred’s scowls and pulling angrily on his ball of yarn.
“Well I know nothing about crochet and what those silly hooks do, you know I prefer my knitting dear.”
“Yes, my wardrobe is testament to that,” George whispered under his breath, “… 58 … 59 … 60.”
“What are you making anyway? You've been at that for months. I bet it’s something rather silly.”
“67 … 68 … 69 …”
“Well, whatever it is, you must have time for a nice cup of tea. I bought some delightful tea at the market, which I don’t believe we've tried before and you’ll never guess who I bumped into?”
“78 … 79 … 80 …”
“I was only thinking about Alfred and Joan as I was perusing some beautiful carnations, which I think will look lovely in that vase you never use, and there they were at the market.”
“95 … 96 … 97 …”
“I simply can’t wait until they come for afternoon tea with you this Sunday George. They said they are looking forward to seeing you as you hadn't been answering the phone lately? Why don’t you ever answer the phone George? You know, people will think you don’t like them.”
“102 … 103 … 104 … I’m a busy man Mildred, I don’t have time for …” George was interrupted by the cackle of Mildred’s laugh, “You busy? George, you haven’t been busy for years! You should enjoy the luxury of retirement and the peace it brings.”
“Peace you say?” George flinched, finally looking up to stare at Mildred’s middle-aged face. ‘What did she know about peace and quiet,’ he thought, but not wishing to get into yet another argument with the annoying woman, he went back to his crocheting.
“I say, you are a grumpy one George. How about a nice game of scrabble? Now, where did I put the scrabble board?” Mildred mused as she finally went to put the kettle on.
George picked up speed, ignoring the aching in his twisted fingers. ‘Not much yarn left, but I only have a few more rows to do and I’m done … come on yarn … come on yarn,’ George worried to himself, not wishing to have to persuade Mildred to go buy him yet more yarn.
“You know, I got you a few treats George from the market that I know you like, which should cheer you up. How about a nice slice of Madeira cake, how does that sound?” Mildred shouted in his ear, putting the wobbly tray of tea down in front of him and knocking his yarn under the chair.
“122 … 123 … 124,” George grunted, raising his voice to remind Mildred he was busy and not deaf.
“I spoke to the lovely Phyllis earlier in reception, you know she worries about you too George, hiding away in this room and not joining in with the social groups. Such a lovely lady is Phyllis, always there for a good old chat. She was telling me about her mother who is joining us soon. She’s a bit jittery on her old knees apparently but it will be nice to have some new company won’t it George?”
“134 … 135 … 136 …”
“Maybe she can persuade you to join the bingo class on Fridays; you know you’re quite the catch in this place George being the youngest here at 79.”
“142 … 143 … 144 …”
“Don’t forget your tea dear, it will get cold,” Mildred frowned as she sipped hers. 
“148 … 149 …”
“What are you making George? It’s huge and doesn't look very practical,” Mildred frowned.
“150 … and done!” George exclaimed. “I think you’ll find Mildred, that this project is extremely practical.” 
And knocking his tea aside, George flung himself into action, throwing the finally finished crocheted ladder out the window. 
“Free at last,” George grinned, and not waiting for a response from the stunned Mildred, he scaled the few stories down to the lawn and sprinted away from the dreary old-folks home. 
George knew that crocheting wasn't just for girls, ‘it was for adventurous old fogeys like me too,’ he giggled, and off he ran.

The End

Lets Get Crafting Magazine - Short Story Winner 2015 Issue 73 Laura Eccleston

"I loved this entry because I had no idea there would be such a great twist at the end. It really made me laugh out loud when George escapes. At the beginning we share Mildred's concern for George, who seems to be cutting himself off from people and becoming rather obsessed with a crochet project. The ultimate irony, when Mildred objects to it not being very practical, is a lovely twist - as George leaves the tedium and irritation of the old people's home behind and escapes down his ladder. Hurrah!" 
- Mary Ellingham, Publicity Manager at Search Press Publishers

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