A Cornered Gurl
Published in

A Cornered Gurl

Raising My Nanny’s Cane

And her temper

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

On the Christmas of her 75th year,
my Nanny received, amongst her other gifts,
a silver walking cane with a white tip.

The cane, lightweight, aluminum, encased in a narrow coffin,
gift-wrapped in shiny red paper, bound in a perfect green bow,
came to Nanny from her best friend and our across-the-street neighbor,
Goldie Batton.

Upon opening the gift, and I know
because I had to help her untie that confounded ribbon,
Nanny brought down sacrilege upon us:

“That so-and-so Goldie Batton thinks I need help walking!”
She threw the cane down, amidst the paper and tinsel, and
a box of miniature peppermint canes someone else had given her.

“I ought to give her a hearing aid,” she rasped, for Goldie Batton
couldn’t hear a raven call if it perched by the fire, next to her.

So much for old friendships, which blaze in external glory
for extended periods of bridge-playing, Fourth of July barbecues,
and the births of seven grandchildren,
and then whiff away with barely a puff of smoke left for anyone to see.
Or to remember.

Though I saw it all, the fire and the ashes,
which I kept seeing over the next four years,
as every day, Nanny would stand up from her favorite rocking chair,
grab that cane, which hung on the ring behind her,
and hobble on with her business — old friends to call,
new bridge games to raise —


the day my Nanny died, alone in another Home, leaving behind her cane,
and us,
And an old woman across the street who never heard what hit her.



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Terry Barr

Terry Barr

I write about music, culture, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, The Riff, InTune, FanFare, SongStories, Rock n”Heavy, Counter Arts, and Pop Off.