7:37 pm


When I am old, I shall wear purple canvas trousers. That poet lady said she wanted to wear purple when she was old, and I think that's a mighty fine idea. So I shall have purple trousers, too, with elastic at the waist and two big pockets in front, for my stuff, and my hands, too, if there's room.

And I'll roll up the cuffs, halfway to my knees. Because I'll have a dock, on a lake, and I'll sit out on the dock with my purple trousers rolled up, in case I need to go wading. I'll have slip-on deck shoes, too. When I'm old, I don't want to be fooling around with no laces, not when my shoes are soaking wet with lake water from wading. And I'll wear a floppy brimmed hat, maybe straw, with a bit of ribbon (but not too much ribbon) in plaid. And an old tee shirt, stained, and stretched at the neck, with the faded mascot of the local high school still showing, in some colour that doesn't normally go with purple. And I won't wear a bra, because no one cares about sagging old woman tits, and I wouldn't care even if they did.

I'll sit out on my dock, and fish. I won't use barbed hooks, though. I'll cut the barbs off, cos a fish that'll take bait from a barbless hook is a fish that wants to fry. And I'll cast my whippy fast fly rod, and the unbarbed hook and weight will sing out over my head and arc a line in the air like painting with chinese ink, and fall and fall and fall into the water plop! and sink down down down to where the easy fish, the frypan fish, swim, and maybe they'll take that one, and maybe they'll wait for the next, and maybe a wise fish will lip the bait off the hook and swim away laughing at me, its stomach purring with the same good feeling I'd have if he'd caught the hook, and come to land at my feet.

And every time I cast, I'll take a sip of whisky from my silver flask, the one with my initials and Nola's intertwined on it, because when you're old, you can sit on your dock and fish and drink whisky, and no one bothers any more to fuss and say it's not right to drink whisky so free and easy, when the drinker is an old woman, in purple trousers and a floppy straw hat, and sitting on her own dock.

On the land behind of the dock, we'll have some trees, and some will be fruit trees, peach and maybe apple. And Nola will come down to the dock, wearing whatever the hell she pleases, carrying new-picked peaches (or apples), and she'll sit by me (not on my casting side) and bite into a peach without offering me any, because I don't much like peaches and we'll have been together so long she'd have to be simple to not know I don't care for them, and complain about how the wasps or the squirrels are getting the best of the fruit this year, and throw the stone in the lake to see if a fish will rise.

Some of the other trees will be tall ones, with long, sturdy branches, and they'll be down by the lake shore so that kingfishers and ospreys will have someplace to stop in between chasing all the fish that are too smart to take a barbless hook, but not so wise as to know they shouldn't be swimming so close to the air.

And Nola will steal sips from my whisky, and take her applepeaches up to the house and maybe make a pie. Or maybe leave them for me to make a pie, if she wants. And then, if the man from the government, that's here to help you, shows up on the dock, with his neatly combed hair and his bright white teeth all in a perfect double arc behind his government smile, his tie knotted just so, and his pants neat and trim to the knees, but below all covered in mud and dust, and his Italian government-black-polished shoes stuck over with mud and grass from our lane that I keep saying I'll pave but it's too much trouble, really, all at the end of my dock and talking and smiling and holding out government forms with government ballpoint pens for me to sign, me with my hands full of casting rod and whisky flask, well, I won't have to pretend he's making sense just because he wants to be making sense, I'll be old and have no time for nonsense from government men, so I'll tell him to get on off my dock, and if he doesn't look sharp about it, I'll whip my rod at him to touch him up a bit.

And once a week or so, I'll climb inside our pick-up truck, that's sturdy enough to not mind the potholes and the mud of the lane between our house and the road, and chuggle-putt-chug up to the postbox and from there down the road to town, for more whisky and eggs and milk, and whatever Nola wants me to bring her. And behind my truck, for the first quarter mile or so, will drop little clods of mud, mixed with snow. If it's been snowing.

tagged: | 4 Comments


  1. posted December 7, 2004 at 7:57 pm

    That’s a sweet daydream! It would be a comfortable and comforting way to spend one’s later years.

  2. posted December 8, 2004 at 1:13 pm

    When I am old, I shall wear purple canvas trousers.
    Pericat has been dreaming, and quite possibly drinking, and writing. Right now, or as soon as you can, whatever you’re doing, take a break; sit yourself down all comfy, with cookies and milk or a hot toddy or whatever you feel like, and go read her da…

  3. posted December 8, 2004 at 6:35 pm

    a comfortable and comforting way to spend one’s later years

    one way or another…

  4. posted December 11, 2004 at 6:43 pm

    Another version of pastoral…