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October 3, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Life on the way out.

storm clouds with house. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Geesch. Unannounced visitor? What time is it? OK, manners. Even for the spirited.©

People are always stopping by on their way out.

If you’ve grown up around really old people, you know they do what they want.

You’re polite – especially when they are in a hurry and say, “Now, listen, Only have a minute. I wanted to tell you this…”

 Smiles. Nods. And “Yes, ma’am”, “Yes, Sir” until off they go.

Sue came by after we’d already gone to bed. Quiet, but firm on a having few words.

(Old people don’t sleep much. “Too much to do. Too little time”, they say.)

I offered to get my husband up for her – as she was his, but she said, “No please don’t wake him. Don’t want to disturb him this late. I came to see you.”

Now Sue was old school. Like from the 1950’s. Like from The Help.

She arrived in the storm after the death of a mother to steady the ship and get the deck hands scrubbed up and constructively occupied.

Formidable, Sue was well-known in the neighborhood. Respected is an understatement.

More stories about her than stars in the sky.

“Mrs. J,” said Sue upon discovering a young 4-year-old pants-less boy between the screen door and kitchen door, “your youngest has just done his business on our back door step. I’ll clean him up and send him home, but you might want to have a talk with him. Have a feeling he tried, but couldn’t get our door knob to work.”

Sue had childhood dirt on EVERYONE. She was the neighborhood source of endless rescues. Never put up with nonsense. Could see through anything, but always the forgiving angel in an apron.

Not forgotten by grown children either. There was some unspoken competition over who would “get” Sue when she couldn’t live on her own – who had the best accommodations prepared. As she aged, dinners came to her. Not as good as her own cooking, but nothing to clean up later she’d joke.

Sue had a great sense of humor. We got along from the start.

Strange dark blue sky and odd, spooky clouds. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

An opening or is that a closing? No matter.©

But late that night, there Sue stood. In front of me. She said she got the call and was leaving.

One never questioned Sue.

“No, don’t wake him. I came to see you. Now tell your husband and his sisters to not fret or be sad. You tell them to not fight and to get along. And no tears. He’s called me home.”

And with that she left.

The next morning was just ordinary. I didn’t say anything as some things have to be timed.

Then he came in and said, “I just got a call. Sue died last night.”

Taking a deep breath, I said,  “I know. Late last night she came by to say goodbye.”

People are always stopping by on their way out.

I always listen. And remember.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Keeping tradition, I tell one tale a year – early in October. So these won’t be confused with the Halloween hype – ’cause they aren’t like that. In the fall as when that’s when many leave: after birthdays and before Thanksgiving. I have theories about that. 

Other spooky, but also true tales: “Dark, Stormy, and Spooky. Mommy!”, or  “Beside Her”.

Sun lit dark clouds and hole in the sky. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Apparently it is too much to ask them to knock. Besides it would wake the dog and delay what needs to be heard.©





  1. easyweimaraner / Oct 3 2016 6:43 am

    that was very touching… and although I never met Sue my tears were running…. that’s what blogging can do… to feel with others… isn’t that great? My father once had such a business-mischief on the couch of his aunt… he was 6 that time. As the family opened the last will of the aunt many years later, she wrote that my father has to get THIS couch. my parents still have it, it’s completely renovated and looks different, but its still there :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 9:53 am

      That old house is still standing (back then they were built to last) although it has been remodeled…we all wondered if tMrs. J’s son would stop by during the remodeling and offer to buy the old screen door.
      Funny without AC in houses, each home’s screen door sounded different when it slammed – so you know who was in and who was out…although everyone got yelled out for slamming the screen doors.
      The fact that the couch survived makes me smile. Funny what thing end up being treasured. Thanks for running by to chat, Easy


  2. Kate Crimmins / Oct 3 2016 7:08 am

    Wonderful story. Most of my relatives wait until after the holidays (don’t want to miss a present). They wait until the coldest spell of the winter to make us stand at the cemetery and mourn. Perhaps they think it’s easier with frozen toes. It’s the curse of our family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 8:23 am

      Seems they always get the last “you’re it, I quit” power play. Most of these ancient ones were of the “don’t want to be a bother” generation….”Oh, don’t worry about bringing a birthday/Christmas present – a visit is enough”. But wouldn’t put it past ’em to insist on cold/rainy weather to make the rest of the family stop and think a bit. Thanks for slippin’ by to add a comment

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ally Bean / Oct 3 2016 9:15 am

    I grew up around the “don’t want to be a bother” generation. They solved their own problems, happily made do with what they had, shared hilarious stories. Sue sounds like she was one of them, sorry to hear that she is gone… even if I didn’t know her, I respect and understand her. RIP Sue.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 9:45 am

      Actually, this happened many many years ago. Sometime things have to settle for a time. There are lots of stories about her managing the kids of the neighborhood. “Boy, they are going to send you to the big house” was a common phrase if some behavior was really bad- back when going to prison was a one way deal and a lot scarier…as well as bringing shame onto the family. Just the thought of her makes me smile. Thanks for sweeping a comment this way

      Liked by 2 people

  4. RKLikesReeses / Oct 3 2016 9:16 am

    No words…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 9:48 am

      Nothing like an October story to get people to fall into the spirit of the season? Thanks for peeking through fingers to add a shivering comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne Mehrling / Oct 3 2016 11:10 am

    What a marvelous story! And you wrote it beautifully! I have only one exit story about people in our church. A Down Syndrome woman was staying with her sister while her mother was visiting Norway, a trip that had been a gift. The daughters were about 40 years old, which is quite old for someone with Down Syndrome. The younger sister told the other that she was going to be with Daddy in heaven. Older sis said, “Please wait till Mother gets home.”

    Their mother returned from her wonderful trip. Younger sis went home with her mother and died that night.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 2:00 pm

      Amazing how some sort through the cosmos. And how it dances with some and not others.
      Happy you enjoyed the telling of the tale, I’d held off for many years as it was one needed a careful touch.


  6. RAB / Oct 3 2016 12:08 pm

    Love this, and the pictures are perfect. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 3 2016 1:54 pm

      And this is one of those. Not unsettling, but oddly leaving a sense of calm, peace, mission accomplished. It is what it is – which is enough. Glad you stepped into the comment zone


  7. Sue Vincent / Oct 3 2016 2:10 pm

    It isn’t easy to tell such a story. The words seldom seem right and you always seem to have that balancing act of how much…or how little… to tell. Beautifully told.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 4 2016 10:27 am

      Appreciate the kind words. She deserves the best – or as good as I could. Thanks for adding a fleeting comment


      • Sue Vincent / Oct 4 2016 11:49 am

        She sounds like she does too 🙂


  8. EllaDee / Oct 3 2016 2:21 pm

    Beautifully told, and written. Touching. Those who call by to say goodbye, I think they see our light on, not the porch, but you know the one I mean ♡


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 4 2016 10:28 am

      Some either born with awareness or some haven’t lost it through life. It is recognized by those who wish to. Thanks for slippin’ by to chat


  9. shoreacres / Oct 3 2016 5:42 pm

    Just beautiful, and oh, so true. I did smile at your reference to old-school 1950s, but that’s what I am, and there’s no denying it. Ah, well.

    I’ve never quite understood people who say, “I hope I go in my sleep” or otherwise without warning. The beauty of having a little time, is that you do have time to say goodbye. And, I think there is an animal-like sense that some have: knowing when the time has come, and accepting it.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 4 2016 10:32 am

      Like you, after being around a lot of very old people, I think there is some long faded animal instinct. If you are tuned in – or look back later, you can go, “oh, yes. That’s exactly where the switch was flipped and they were making use of remaining words and time.” Sadder is that some seem totally unapproachable/numb to it. Must be difficult for all concerned.
      Thanks for joining the sock hop. (Love the ribbon ruffles and sequins)


  10. Dalo 2013 / Oct 3 2016 6:05 pm

    Sue sounds like an absolute angel, and this is a person who has perfected her life along the way…making the day of those around her that much better. Even having never met her, such people are the ones I always shed a tear at hearing of their passing in part celebration of their life and one less heart-filled person in this world. Great post!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 4 2016 10:35 am

      Some recognize early their purpose in life and happily go about doing it with grace and style. While it’s been plenty of years since this, I have no doubt Sue immediately took to sorting out any confusion, wrinkled wings, or tarnished stars. Thanks for stopping by and adding a comment to the collection basket


  11. Littlesundog / Oct 4 2016 8:12 pm

    What a great lady. I have been thankful to know a few fine people like that in my life. They set things right, no matter what hapless, embarrassing, or tricky situation you got yourself into. A person never forgets those important folks along the path. It always made me want to be a better person.


  12. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Oct 5 2016 8:19 pm

    merciful heavens – that must be her best story – amazing.. c


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 6 2016 6:26 pm

      So glad you stopped by for a bit of haunting. Some strange tales have to find the right time to be told. Thanks for shivering along


  13. Kourtney Heintz / Oct 6 2016 11:47 am

    Sue sounds like quite a woman. What a wonderful visit. Something similar happened to my mom when her grandfather died. She was dreaming about him saying goodbye when the phone rang and woke her up. She answered and knew he had passed before anyone told her.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 6 2016 6:21 pm

      It’s an odd thing, but not unheard of. Some connections are very strong. Interesting is the sense of peace and calm afterwards. Thanks for adding your mysterious occurance.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. eliwoodbine / Oct 8 2016 1:12 am

    What a poignant thought.

    Thanks for sharing,




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