Taking Tips

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for August 22. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create.

This week, my spouse informed me that my story hit too close to home. My father, who worked part-time as a pizza delivery man until two weeks ago, recently was found wandering around in the driveway of the wrong residence as he attempted to deliver an order. To learn more about the real-life adventure and my family’s quest to keep him alive and in good health, click here.

2014 08 22

Copyright Roger Bultot

Taking Tips

“William Culligan! That is not what the doctor meant when he told you to eat more fresh produce.”

Bill stood on the sidewalk next to his mangled Nissan and listened to his wife squawk at him through the cell phone.

“That produce truck came out of nowhere.” The elderly man blinked back the tears. Jeanne and his daughters had threatened to take his keys only last week. Now he hadn’t seen a produce truck coming when he pulled into traffic.

“Bill.” Jeanne’s voice was gentler now. “You need to call Pizza Hut. They’ll send another driver to complete the delivery.”

25 thoughts on “Taking Tips

  1. Sandra says:

    So very sad. I felt for the poor man.

  2. J. D. Hager says:

    It’s time to take the keys away. This one hits very close to home for me as well. Nicely done.

  3. K.Z. says:

    aww i feel sorry for the old man.. well, we’re all gonna get old sooner or later…

  4. I can’t imagine what it will be like for age to limit my abilities. My heart goes out to you and your family.
    Well wishes for your dad.
    I enjoyed your story a lot.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks so much. The doctor says “no driving” right now, but I am hoping that he will be much better off after the surgery in Houston. We’ll have the doctors reevaluate him then.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  5. Dear Marie Gail,

    Catharsis? You handled it with love and sensitivity. Nicely done.



    • storydivamg says:

      Yes, definitely a catharsis for me. My family had a bit of trouble reading it, but I felt so much better once it was written. It’s as though putting my worries on paper got them out of my mind. I’m glad you enjoyed the read.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  6. I feel really bad for him, especially when you find he’s on the job. I also sympathize since just today I was backing out of the driveway onto a rural highway, looked both ways and almost backed into a truck that roared by at 60mph. I totally didn’t see him somehow.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, David. As to your near collision, I’m guessing the 60mph had more to do with it than anything. I grew up in rural areas where we often had to watch out for speeders barreling around blind corners. Sometimes ESP seems a necessary skill for defensive driving.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  7. Marie Gail, Good story and well written. I hope only the best for your dad. It was wise you took the keys. I’ve had to make some hard decisions. My mother had Alzheimer’s and my husband is bi-polar. —Susan

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Susan. The hardest part about telling Dad that he needs to follow doctor’s orders and not drive was the fact that he really was employed as a pizza delivery man to supplement Social Security.

      Dementia and mental illness in loved ones are both difficult to manage. You have my heartfelt care and support as you face day-to-day life with a bi-polar person. I once asked my 12-year-old niece how she felt growing up with a bi-polar mother affected her. You might be encouraged by her response: “Well . . . I have a lot of respect for people who are bi-polar. They do all the things that everyone else does, even though it is harder for them, and they have to handle so much more emotion that normal people do. I really respect everyone who has bi-polar.”

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  8. Oh.. yes. My mother also thinks she can drive.. and yes it’s quite good that we have told her the battery is drained… easier than taking the keys.

    • storydivamg says:

      Great idea, Bjorn. I imagine simply unhooking the battery cable would hinder many elders who aren’t particularly mechanically inclined. Unfortunately, my father would immediately figure out the problem and probably manage to fix it.

      Marie Gail

  9. rgayer55 says:

    We’ll all be in Bill’s shoes if we live long enough. Losing your independence would be a bitter pill to swallow. The Dr. banned both my parent from driving a few years before they died. It sucked the life right out of them. Great story, Marie Gail. This one hit close to home with a lot of us.

    • storydivamg says:

      Unfortunately, my Dad is a lot younger than one would imagine–only 67–so I truly hope the loss of driving privileges can be temporary. But I’m not giving back the keys until the doctor signs the OK.

      Thanks for reading.

      All my best,

  10. Sarah Ann says:

    Oh dear. I think the wife’s response was very witty given the circumstances. Poor William though, accidents are horrible things to have to deal with.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Sarah Ann. Actually, the wife in this story is much like my mom–so much that when I told the first version of the story to her and dad they cracked up laughing at the opening line.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  11. I’m sorry Marie; this is a hard time in our lives.

  12. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Marie Gail – I am so sorry for you. Heck, I am almost 65 but so far I have good reflexes and am a defensive driver – but I don’t poke down the road at 30 m.p.h. either. Good luck sweetie – I know it’s hard and when my children tell me it’s time to quit driving, I’ll give up my keys, but hey – they just gave me a better car than I had before so I guess they know I can still drive. Good luck hon! Nan 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Nan! The good news is that we did finally get my mother-in-law back to driving in the past year.

      I know many people who drive well and safely into their 80s. I’m certainly hoping that the issue with my father is only temporary, but I’m definitely not letting him know that I’m thinking that way.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

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