| #1 (permalink) Thu Aug 13, 2009 15:44 pm Old Nellie.
|Nellie was proud. Seventy seven years of age and she had never had to beg, borrow or steal in her whole life, but now, now she was on her last legs.... whatever was she to do?
She hadn't a penny in her purse to buy food with and she was so hungry.
She had hoped that something might turn-up to get her through until pension day next week, but that Council tax bill just had to be paid, and it was that which had taken the last of her pension money.
She couldn't have held her head up high if her neighbour thought that she hadn't paid her Council tax.
Her neighbour, Mrs. Watson was an old lady who just loved to gossip about anyone and everyone, and wouldn't she just love to know that Nellie hadn't paid her Council tax. She could talk about that for weeks,... no, better she never was in a position to be the subject of Mrs. Watson's gossip!
It was rumoured that her husband had been a banker in London when he was alive, and after he died Mrs. Watson came to look after her ill old mother who was now dead.
Mrs. Watson had decided to stay here in Horden, where she was born, although she obviously could have afforded to have bought a house in a more affluent part of the town.
Anyway, enough about Mrs. Watson, Nellie had to find a way of feeding herself before she fainted with hunger.
Slowly she walked along the streets of her small town, just hoping she might meet someone from the past who would maybe offer to buy her a cup of coffee and a sandwich.
It was while standing at the traffic-lights that she saw a notice that attracted her attention.
A food-kitchen had been opened by the local Christian Aid group.
They were offering free coffee and food parcels for the community's needy folk.
Nellie noted the address which was only two streets away and she quickened her step toward this haven of hope.
When she arrived there the door was wide open, and a smiling young woman invited her in.
She offered Nellie a seat and a cup of coffee which she gratefully accepted.
The young woman returned with a plate of sandwiches. Nellie coyly accepted one and the young lady left her alone.
Other people were now entering the hall and conversations were breaking out on all sides of her. Despite her reluctance Nellie found herself eating more of the sandwiches than she had intended and there was only one left on the plate.
Better eat that one thought Nellie, then people will just think its an empty plate someone has left there.
The young lady came back to her table and sat down.
"When you leave you are welcome to take a food-parcel with you," she said.
Nellie could feel her face reddening.
"Thanks you so much. I was only calling in to see what this place was all about," she lamely muttered.
"I'm not really poor, but I do have a neighbour who is," she managed to blurt out. "Perhaps I might take a parcel for her, is that permitted,?" she asked.
"Of course," said the young woman.
She had seen this attitude before in old people.
They never wanted the world to see just how hard-up they were.
"Just help yourself. All of the parcels are the same. Just a few provisions to help you through the week."
Nellie thanked her and slowly rose from her seat.
"Why Nellie, what are you doing here,?" the strident voice of Mrs. Watson rang out in the half-filled hall.
Nellie stopped in her tracks. Oh, no....not HER. How could she talk her way out of this embarrassing situation?
Nellie turned toward the voice.
"Oh, hello Mrs. Watson. How nice to see you here too, supporting the poor."
The young girl smiled to herself on hearing Nellie say this. One point to you she thought.
Mrs. Watson gave a furtive glance around the hall..... "I'm not supporting this at all, I'm coming for my free food parcel, I'm needy too you know,"she quietly said.
Nellie was taken aback at this.
Surely Mrs. Watson was not hard-up, after all her husband had been a bank manager, and she had no rent to pay, unlike Nellie, because Mrs.Watson's mother had owned her
Nellie and Mrs. Watson sat again, and once more the young lady filled their cups with coffee.
"One must never be too proud to avail ones'self of charity," Mrs. Watson smiled to herself.
"If I hadn't been prudent with my money I would be really poor today. As it is I'm still only above the poverty line," she added.
Nellie didn't believe a word of this, but she wisely made no comment.
"After we've had our coffee we must take our food parcels, otherwise they might all be
taken by these others,she said, greedily gulping her hot coffee. Come on, get a move on before they are all gone"
"I really couldn't. I only came to see if I could be of any help," replied Nellie.
"Well, I'm off, more fool you," said Mrs.Watson, and grabbing a food parcel she hurriedly left the hall.
The young woman came across to Nellie and smiled.
"You really are most welcome to a parcel, we have lots to give away."
Nellie found herself returning the smile.
"Thank you very much. I did have every intention of taking-up your generous offer, but when my neighbour appeared I was so embarrassed to do so."
"Well, she's gone now, so help yourself, they are there to be taken," she smiled once again.
Nellie approached the table of parcels and chose the smallest one there.
The young girl smiled to herself. She'd guessed that Nellie would do just that.
It was lucky that Mrs. Watson hadn't taken the small one, otherwise Nellie wouldn't have gotten the fifty pounds that the girl had placed at the bottom of the parcel.
Money wasn't that important when you were a millionaires daughter.
Keep it simple ... Keep it interesting.
Joined: 04 Mar 2009
Location: ESSEN, Germany, (but English.)