Sunday, November 8, 2009

Iris Brentwood Waits

Iris Brentwood sits on a chair outside Cloverdale’s Train Station. It’s the second Sunday of the month and she has come from Strawberry Field to visit her son and grandchildren. Iris Brentwood visits her son and grandchildren every second Sunday, and has been doing so since her son moved to Cloverdale five years ago.

She waits with a mother’s patience. Her son is never punctual. She expects he will be along soon. The Station Master came out 20 minutes ago and offered her a cup of tea and a double stuffed Oreo from the ticket window. She kindly refused. She knew if she took tea a restroom visit would follow and she didn’t want to make her son wait or think she had missed the train. As for the cookie, she had a bag full of her own.

Many of the passengers arriving for the 12:10 Coastal Express to Dibley on the Downs and Tamworth on Tide recognize Iris as a fellow Sunday traveler. A few stop to wish her a good day. She appreciates their kindness and offers each one a home baked devil's food cookie carried in her bag. Iris bakes several dozen each month. Many are given to the friends she’s made over the years on the train and at the station. The others are for the grandchildren.

Its a chilly Autumn day. Iris is glad she wore sweat pants under her skirt. She knows its a bit unorthodox and draws unwanted attention to her legs, but at her age comfort is more important than fashion. Beside, who cares about what an old lady wears? However, just to help distract unwelcoming eyes, she makes it a point to wear brightly colored blouses. Today she is wearing a purple blouse - her favorite.

Something has caught her attention. Its a coin. If she were younger she’d consider picking it up.

Her son is thirty minutes late. Another familiar face walks by. Good afternoons pass between the two grandmothers and another devils food cookie is offered. She’s asked for the recipe which Iris gladly produces from her purse. Iris hand writes several copies of the recipe on 3X5 cards before each trip. It’s not easy with her arthritis but she enjoys talking about her baking.

One hour passes. Iris stands with the help of her cane and shuffles to the end of the sidewalk to collect the coin. Its only a penny - which is why no one picked it up sooner. She removes a piece of putty from a sandwich bag kept in her purse for occasions like this and places the putty on the bottom of her cane. She stabs the coin with the end of her cane. The coin sticks to the putty and finds its way in her coin purse.

There’s a chill in the air. She sits down and watches for another familiar face. Her son will arrive soon. If not, she will walk. Her legs are good and she has her cane.

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