Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MAGPIE TALES: The Ring of Nedra

(Our response to the Magpie Tales photo prompt)

Perhaps it's only fitting that her ultimate demise and departure were wrapped up with that pewter creamer.

Everyone in our building had problems with Nedra Haberton for as long as I could remember. She was always snooping through other's mailboxes or playing Wagner at pitch volume a 8 a.m. on Sunday mornings. And then there was that pewter creamer she would tote up and down the stairs and hallways. And she was always banging on it with one of her collection of souvenir spoons. Niagara Falls, Mount Rushmore, Banff, -- she had them all. She claimed that she had to d clang it to call back her cat Merdev whose typical response to it was the jump the back fence and not return for hours.

The exact provenance on the creamer was always suspect. She first claimed it was given to one of her old maiden aunts -- a somewhat ironic disdainful description coming from a woman in her 70s who, as far we could tell, had never married -- who had worked for 20 years at one of the original Harvey Houses and was given it upon her retirement.

Later she changed it to being from a family mining operation near Tucson that was later converted into one of the first dude ranches in the 1920s and had hosted many visiting Easterners ranging from George Gershwin to Warren Harding. She also claimed it was a gift to her father from Roy Rogers and that the horse shoe design engraved on the bottom was fashioned after one originally worn by Trigger. Finally she stuck to the story that it was something her uncle, the only Jewish Pullman Porter, was given upon his retirement after 30 years of service.

It was in the final months that the clanging became more frequent and at odder hours. One Monday at 4 a.m., we heard the clang, clang until the manager came down and pulled her arm away. "But Merdev is missing!" she exclaimed, even as we all stood around her and Merdev glared at us from her bedroom window, his calico fur bathed in the amber light of her Tiffany lamp.

I wasn't there the following week when two of her nieces came to escort her to wherever they felt she would be safer or at least less of a nuisance. Word was that it was a speedy exodus, and they only packed a few of her clothes, coming back later to have most of her belongings and sending Merdev to the local SPCA.

Apparently they never knew about the creamer or cared not enough to remove it from the fourth floor hall where she had left it the last night in the building. Only now that she is gone have I come to value a tiny remnant of Nedra, and on Saturdays when I have the focus to remember, I will clang it lightly twice for her.

Labels:

18 Comments:

At 4:18 AM, Blogger Bachelor said...

Junk Thief,
You're something else. Keep that clinging up, especially on the hour. Great tale of a story! :)
The Bach

 
At 4:59 AM, Blogger subby said...

Very enjoyable! I've actually dealt with older folks like this...

And I do know of plans to refurbish one of the old Harvey Houses, out in New Mexico. Would be nice if they got the funding for it :)

 
At 6:43 AM, Blogger willow said...

I happen to like the Roy Rogers version of the story. This was a delightful bit of writing, Mr. Thief.

(hey, you should move this up to the top of your blog, so your Magpie visitors won't miss it!)

 
At 7:09 AM, Blogger Pat transplanted to MN said...

I loved it; my Mother went not so softly with Alzheimers and I have known other elderly as well with that condition...minds are places where most anything can occur! Great take on the mug!

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger ArtSparker said...

Nice, kind of Edward Gorey but noisier.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Vicki Lane said...

Love the wild and crazy stories! I felt I'd fallen into Tales of the City.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger WAT said...

Hmmm, reminds me of that little old lady in that movie with Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore called Duplex.

 
At 12:00 PM, OpenID ewix said...

I well told tale.
I think dear Willow is on to something here.......
glad to be reacquainted with you.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger John Hayes said...

Wonderful story--funny & sad, & a bit E Gorey as per ArtSparker--with great details & a compelling voice.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Ronda Laveen said...

Give it a clang or two for me too! Loved the touch of the souvenier spoons. I have a whole bunch I got when my grandmother died. I could see each one you named.

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger Brian Miller said...

that was a wickedly delicious piece...clang it twice for her...

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Joan Tucker said...

Great story; you had me there... JT

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger tori said...

I enjoyed reading your take on the prompt. I could see Nedra banging her creamer.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger PattyF said...

I really ejoyed this, especially with your attention to details that started out making Nedra sound quirky, but in the end paid sad tribute to her failing faculties. Excellent piece!

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Every detail was fantastic. I think your story might have been my favorite today!

 
At 2:23 AM, Blogger spacedlaw said...

Awww, sweet. Lovely characters.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger SUN DANCE HILL said...

What a wonderful and unique take on this photo from Willow. I can almost hear the clanging and picture poor old Nedra, great story telling. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Everyone - Thanks for so many tremendous, supportive comments. I look forward to checking out your individual posts and blogs. It's been a crazy week, and I am just catching up but deeply appreciate everyone dropping by.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home