UNITED STATES—It is a new scene. There is darkness, closed shades. A huge Victorian bed against the wall, and all around there is stuff, dusty boxes, knicknacks, kewpie dolls and tennis rackets. A figure lies in bed–Davy. His left leg is propped under the covers in a leg cast.

Mom trundles along on a rubber-socket reinforced cane.

“The doctor says you’ll be back on your feet.”

“What day of the week is it,” Davy yawns.

“Here’s some chicken brother. I made some broth for you.”

She sits on a chair and spoons it to his mouth.

“Where’s Karen?”

“In Albuquerque now.”

“I thought she was in Arizona. Why did she leave Arizona?”

“She and her husband went their separate ways.”

“Did I punch her in the nose, or was I just dreaming.”

“Here, have some more broth,” says mom.

Davy props himself up in bed, amazed.

“You really are yourself again.”

“The anti-anxiety meds did wonders,” mom says. “I’d like another one of those red and yellow ones now.”

“Mom mom mom, that’s your third,”

“Too late,” she gulps it down with a glass of water.

“Enough,” Davy says, “you’re getting high.”

“I can get high if I please. I’ll be 91 in July and I plan on living to 100.”

“Who wants to live to 100?”

“I do. I want to live to 110. Think of what kind of drugs they’ll invent in 20 years. We can dream we’re in Shangri-La.”

“I hear something…”

A dog’s shrill barks are heard in the background.

“It’s Saville,” says mom. “Davy you wouldn’t be in the fix you are in if it wasn’t for him.”

“Yeah,” he yawns. “I was running after him in the nursing home hallway. He lifted a leg and peed.”

“And you slipped on the pee and broke your femur. Nurse Lupita says you sailed up in the air when you slipped. I hear the doorbell. I’m not dressed to see anyone. I wonder who it is?”

Mom exits the dark, cluttered room to answer the door.

“How much longer is this going to last,” Davy says to himself. “I’m going to die of Campbell’s vegetable soup poisoning.”

After a few moments, Betty comes back with flowers and a trophy.

“What is that?”

She holds the trophy aloft.

“It was that nice business manager from Watsonville Manor. He brought this.”

“Lemme see,” Davy holds the gold cup against his leg cast.”

He reads from the inscribed plaque. “Most improved patient.”

“Wow Mom, this is terrific…!”

“These flowers aren’t for me. I forget who they’re for. I better put them in water.”

“Mom, you look perplexed?”

“I am. Why do I have these flowers?”

She sits on the edge of Davy’s bed. She rubs a hand across a bang of his hair.

“You’re getting a lot of gray?”


“It’ll only get worse.”

“When was the last time you got your nose hairs clipped?”

“That’s right, rub it in.”

“Now I remember,” says Betty, “The trophy was for me. The flowers were for you.”

“From the business manager.”

“Yes, that’s right. What are you worried about? What’s wrong?”

“I’m not sure how I feel about getting flowers from the manager of a nursing home.”

“What is it you are always telling me, Davy?” the mom says. “Oh yes…”

She is very satisfied with herself for remembering and says, “Just smile and say yes.”


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Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. (https://amzn.to/3bGBLB8) His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)