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 Sweet Pea Lodge Joy L

By OSTFlorida (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The weeks and months rolled by, with the staff more than aware of the need to entertain their charges to keep up their morale. I’d be a liar if I said that it was easy…And then, just before Christmas, there were two more birthdays to celebrate.

A certain ‘Marion’ - a comparative newcomer, about to have her sixtieth birthday – and a very gentle man, soon to be 79, whose name was Sam. His mind was intact but his physical needs were such that he could no longer live alone. My heart went out to him and we had lots of chats.

Marion, on the other hand, while able to sustain a reasonable conversation, had a mental problem of sorts plus a disability.

About twenty of us were gathered in the prettied lounge; resplendent with decorations and balloons (the lounge not us), and I was aware of another man they referred to as Stan, who had only arrived the day before

Like Marion, he was much younger than most of the other residents and I had yet to learn of his history. Little did I know what was destined to follow that innocent event…! Having helped to see that everyone was suitably fed: (sausage rolls, dainty sandwiches and iced cakes) and watered (tea and fruit juice), I had a few words with an entertainer who was providing the music – this time a guitar! He played well and the atmosphere grew quite jolly, with Kitty out front prancing around as was her wont. However, she soon tired and plonked herself down next to Annie, who was looking lost, as she often was.

I was humming in time to the music, when I noticed Kitty nudging Annie in the ribs, and moving her head in the direction of Marion and the newcomer Stan, who were seated opposite, next to each other

Seemingly oblivious of anyone else in the room, Marion was caressing Stan in a most suggestive way, while giggling like a school-girl. He seemed to be lapping up the attention, until Matron noticed and intervened. Defusing the situation, she whisked Stan off to speak to someone else, leaving Marion looking crestfallen. I then checked my watch; the party wound down and it was time for me to go. I left Kitty and Annie still tutting over the amorous incident.

When I returned the following week, Sally took me to one side and told me what had happened after lights out on the party night…

Shaking her head, she said: “You’ll never guess what Veronica found when she checked on Marion last week!” I shrugged. “Search me!” “Stan and Marion ‘in flagrante’ on her bed, stark naked!” “What! You’re joking!” I said, adding, “Well at least some of them had an extra good time!”

When I approached Kitty and Annie to have a chat, they both said “Hello – are you new?” I didn’t feel particularly new; rather sad actually…and thought how they would have enjoyed the story of Marion and Stan. Both ladies were particularly quiet, when Kitty broke the silence and said: “Did you hear about that bloke giving that new woman one last week?” What an amazing organ is the brain!

I have fond memories of the ladies of Sweet Pea Lodge, and knowing how some gossip ‘leaks out,’ I bet many of the inhabitants of Branford had a good chuckle over the last, amorous, episode too.

Editor: "Just one of the short stories featured in WordPlay's anthology 'Talk of the Towns.' Available from Kindle/Amazon and CreateSpace."

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