Archive for July 30th, 2010

“The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” Reminds Us to Report Suspected Elder Abuse

Good morning, dear readers. I would like to advise you on an important short story you should take the time to read. It started out as a story in a book, but now it has graduated to become a story on the Internet, the highest form of literature nowadays. It’s rare for writers to tell the story of what it’s like to be a senior citizen, but when it happens, the results can be tremendous. “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Anne Porter, readable at a Web site here, tells the true-to-life story of an active 80 year old senior (the titular Granny Weatherall) who is trying to take a catnap to rest up for all the work she has to do tomorrow: Organizing, dusting, getting rid of some embarrassing old correspondences up in the attic before her family can get their hands on them; from the sounds of it, they would probably use them against her if given the chance. As Granny herself says, “You had to live forty years with kerosene lamps to appreciate honest electricity”. I couldn’t agree more. She’s no slouch, so she is more than entitled to a little catnap here and there.

Unfortunately, her meddling daughter Cornelia keeps popping in and waking her up, talking a lot of nonsense even when Granny hollers at her to stop. Much like my own experiences scolding my son Brian and his wife Tammy, it doesn’t do a heck of a lot of good to yell at people who are completely set in their ways and unwilling to change. But that Cornelia, she goes so far as to invite a bunch of people over for a soiree, and so a doctor, a priest, and some assorted family members show up; they open the blinds and ignore Granny’s complaints that there are sugar ants in her bed. Back when this story was written, no one had bothered to invent the term “elder abuse” yet, but that’s what is it, pure and simple. If you suspect any seniors are being neglected or abused by their children or custodians, be sure to alert the proper authorities.

The real low-point of the story happens at the end when Granny’s daughter Hapsy, who doubles as her preferred healthcare provider, “jilts” Granny by not showing up to defend her from the party attendees’ continued harassment, particularly that priest who is making passes at her. Hapsy should’ve known better than to entrust Cornelia with Granny’s welfare. Distraught, Granny flips off the light…the author, Katherine Anne Porter, writes this part all showy because that’s what writers do, but the simple fact remains that Granny Weatherall went to bed grief-stricken. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Granny will wake up refreshed tomorrow, ready to dig more holes and install more fences around her acreage.

Until next time!


The Codger