The Hedge


image: hillerscapes.co.uk

image: hillerscapes.co.uk

Today’s writing challenge is Fifty. Exactly fifty words.

Here are mine.

My mother required a hedge. Hawthorne. All around the large field, for an English look. My father, heart patient, dug, scraped and worked the rocks and clay to plant the shrubs. It killed him, but my mother had her English hedge. A year later she liked another house and moved.

33 responses to “The Hedge

  1. The moral(s) of the story…

    If you like a hedge, find a healthy person to plant it. If someone asks you to plant a hedge, be sure you’re not going to die trying to look like the English. And… no matter how much you sacrifice for a woman, they will always change their mind… leaving you on the other side of the hedge.

    Thus endeth the lesson.

    Sorry.. that was 67 words. You win.

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  3. Now that sucks! SO sorry about your father, I was not ‘around’ when this happened, but I knew you were always close 🙂

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    • Barbara Backer-Gray

      Thanks, Hanneke.

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      • Well… jeepers, Barb. Given the last couple replies from others I realized that your “50 words” was in fact a revelation of your past and not simply a spontaneous exercise to match a witty “write something limited to 50 words” kinda thing. Boy.. did I misunderstand that one. My apologies for making what seems to be some lighthearted quip regarding what I thought was simply a word challenge. If it’s been a year since your father really did meet with his untimely demise, please accept my sympathy and understanding.
        When I was stationed in Iceland back in 1973 I took a 30 day leave to go home for the Christmas holidays… and my birthday which falls on January 9. In the middle of the night I head my mother downstairs going into some commotion and calling me. Seems dad was having a heart attack in bed in his sleep. By time I got to the bedroom he had stopped breathing. I tried mouth-to-mouth on him and all the rest.. but to no avail. We ended up burying him on my birthday. Mom’s death.. well, that’s another story. Bottom line… yeah.. sucks to loose parents for sure.

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      • Barbara Backer-Gray

        Thanks Doug. I’m sorry about your parents. That must have been hard, doing mouth to mouth on your own dad and seeing that it’s too late.

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      • The circumstances around my father’s death were entirely fortuitous. I mean, his passing was indeed sad and tragic in its own right as death usually is; he was only 53… pretty young. But he had a history of high cholesterol and was a smoker, albeit he was not overweight. But he died in the window of my 30 day leave from the military at a location nearly a quarter of the planet away. I could have not been with him, or been in a position to lend comfort and assistance to my mother, at all. He died in his sleep without pain or suffering or some dragged out long illness. We celebrated the holidays as a family one last time. But the most important aspect was something most people will never do with their loved one when they pass.. his last breath came from me.

        From your post I am guessing your father died while planting the hedge or sometime shortly thereafter as a result of all the physical strain? Sounds like your dad died doing something he wanted to do most of his life… please your mom because that made him happy. Gotta give love some credit… or blame, perhaps. I can only imagine how much your mother ended up hating that hedge, yet it was the last thing he did because he loved her.

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      • Barbara Backer-Gray

        Actually, he had said he dreaded planting that hedge at that time of year (November), because the clay was so heavy. But my mother made a scene and so he did it because what he hated more than anything was my mother’s scenes. She literally worked him to death. Yes, a normal person would have hated that hedge, but she just moved because the grass was always greener in the next house. Meryl Streep in August, Osage County has nothing on my mother.
        That’s great that you spent that last part of his life with your dad and your family. Indeed a lucky coincidence.

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  8. Oh, what a succinct and moving piece. Life is like that. This subtle hurt and then the crash.

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  13. What a challenge to convey all you did in so few words – and to have the impact and punch with the ending as well. Nice job on the exercise, but my sympathies to you and your family. Be well.

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    • Barbara Backer-Gray

      Thanks. It happened 17 years ago. I purposely chose a big thing to see if I could convey it in fifty words. Though with all the comments I’ve made on comments, I’m not sure it counts as fifty words anymore ;-).

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