Desperate Measures


Uncle Frank died just after Christmas time, which left Aunt Dot all alone in the world. Her kids, all grown, moved away long before. They had their own lives to lead several states away from their home place. Things began to look grim for Dot.

She spent more time in her recliner, its arms threadbare and frayed, and watched the world go by her window. The chair’s green fabric stuck up in spikes from her nervously picking at it and almost looked like it might prick her skin. One day moved into the next without her noticing a change.

Dot’s health quickly deteriorated. Her diabetes went unchecked and blood sugar level skyrocketed. She figured without much left in life to live for, why not enjoy all the candy and sweets she could get her hands on — one small pleasure she had left.

Before long, Dot could only leave the house on a Hoveround. Medicare paid for the luxury item, since feet are usually the first to go from diabetes complications. So the lonely woman putted down the street to the Quickimart in her motorized wheelchair for a quick fix of Lemonheads and chocolate turtles. Doc Morton warned against it, but Dot went with her impulses.

No one was busting her door down to visit, and her loneliness became unbearable. To avoid growing bitter and resentful, she self-medicated with sugar. The EBT card masqueraded the shame of using food stamps since she no longer benefited from Frank’s Social Security income. Times got tight, and she had trouble making ends meet. The little things kept her going. Afternoons with Dr. Phil seemed to go by quicker when fueled with Coke Zero and M&Ms.

The neighbors got suspicious of her circumstances when they saw a hand-painted sign in front of Dot’s house. The woman began to sell off her possessions one-by-one.

Her kids never came to visit, so they didn’t suspect the precariousness of poor Dot’s situation. First it was the appliances. Cooking for one cut down on usual necessities, so she just used an old beer cooler, a toaster oven, and an electric skillet. She could reach everything from her scooter seat anyway.

Even Frank’s treasures had a price. Dot sobbed when the man backed his trailer into the driveway to retrieve the 16′ Tracker from which they’d caught many a striped bass on memorable fishing jaunts before he passed.

Her beloved transportation went last. With the loss it, Aunt Dot paid the boy next door to make the trip to the store for her candy. She bartered with fresh baked cookies when he mowed her lawn. At least until she sold the oven.

Then he accepted licorice as payment instead. Too bad he didn’t stay a spell afterward to talk.


 Tara’s photo (above) prompted the writing this week at Studio 30+ Studio30


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