Jun 13, 2007

Revenge & Glory

by Delsa Anderson, Guest Blogger

Faith asked Delsa Anderson to fill in for her this week. Delsa is known for her wit and wisdom, and extensive knowledge of grammatical usage, so she's a delight for those who use ANWA's critique group. She sent me two pieces of her work for this blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. ~~Marsha


My Aunt Ellie, laughing merrily, told me this true story many years ago. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent (and unfortunately, the guilty as well.)

Aunt Ellie’s husband, Ed, was charming, outgoing, good company, a clotheshorse, and an all-round, no-good rascal. Every day he went to work with an immaculate and starched ironed white shirt, white trousers, a black tie, and a hopeful attitude. He had a whole closet full of white shirts, because Ed was a milkman, back in the good old days when milk was delivered to the door early in the morning. His customers loved him, or at least his young female customers did. He was successful with his work and the women.

More than once, Ed had to beg Ellie’s forgiveness for his sexual adventures on the milk route. And each time, his brokenhearted customer had to back off her demands for marriage, because, after all, he already had a wife and two children.

Aunt Ellie endured a lot of other insults, actually. Ed was just plain mean. For instance, he didn’t believe in her religion, so he would try to make it impossible for her to go to church with the children. One Sunday morning, he was still lying in bed when she demanded the key to the garage because he had locked the car inside to keep her from going to meeting. He refused, pointblank, to give it to her—said he’d lost it. In a fury, Ellie, who was not a milk toast sort of woman, picked up the alarm clock and fired it at him, missing his head by an inch, and putting a sizable hole in the wall. He laughed uproariously, and said “You little hellcat!” Pulling off his sock, he shook the key out in his hand and tossed it to her.

Finally, Ed met his Waterloo. He really fell in love with one of the young women on his route. Complicating the whole thing was her insistence on marriage, because she was having his baby. He wanted Ellie to go quietly, especially hoping she wouldn’t cause him to lose his job.

Aunt Ellie was moving out, leaving him the house. She didn’t know where she’d turn, or what she’d do, but she felt she wanted to make a dignified exit. So she cleaned the house, packed her clothes, the children’s toys, and everything she was taking with her. Then she considered how to make a final statement.

A basket of un-ironed, starched clothes stood in the corner—mostly white shirts. Aunt Ellie dutifully sprinkled them down to moisten the lot, then ironed each shirt--perfectly. The job lasted for hours. She hung them in the closet in a row—perfectly. Then she ripped each one up the middle of the back—perfectly—and left the house forever.


I picked up my left arm and studied it closely;
In fact you could add that I viewed it morosely.
I spoke to my husband, and rather verbosely,
About vibrant skin turned to crepe.

Why, only five years ago, being quite truthful,
I still received kudos for looking so youthful.
My pride now lies low in a fact I find ruthful:
Trim triceps transposed to a drape.

The form I displayed with such élan at fifty,
Has changed to an infirm condition—not nifty—
With rotator cuff which declines to stay lifty,
And “svelte” won’t describe my new shape.

“Oh, Delsa,” they say, “You are always so cheerful!”
And that is quite true, ‘cause in old age I’m fearful
That if I don’t smile I’ll sure give them an earful.
I’m a raisin, now, DANG, not a grape!


  1. Delsa, you're wonderfully amazing. Not merely talented, but oh, so clever. How I loved the poem, even though you described me quite perfectly. If I always give you full credit, do you mind if I memorize and quote it, ? (That is, if my memorizer still works.)

    Aunt Ellie's revenge is sweet and unexpected. I laughed. Thanks for cheering up my day.

  2. Delsa, you are such a delight! Your story and poem made me smile. I wish I had your wit!

  3. I loved your poem. That's me. Actually, that is I is correct, I guess.

    I read it aloud to my husband and he enjoyed it as much as I. Growing old is not for the faint of heart or the aesthetically particular.

  4. Grandma,
    I was shocked by the story, but amused by the poem. Such a mind you have! May I be as sharp (and as beautiful) when I get to be 60. (Is that how old you are now?)


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