Edith Becomes Donnarose

Finally, Edith had been tapped to be Donnarose; the advice columnist for the Suncoast Retirement Center newspaper. Her hints and outright pleas had, at last, been heard.

The staff headed  by Activity Director Ms Smith, had chosen her. They knew it was risky. Edith had been considered before but they worried that she was too controversial, independent, and stubborn. So they offered her the job with the caveats that her written advice be pre-approved and that the advice be offered with the names and situations altered to provide privacy to the sensitive residents.

The staff had cooked up two problems for “Donnarose” to solve.

Edith, using these two issues, was bound and determined to make her column far spicier and interesting than her, now deceased, predecessor.

The first was the problem of what to do about unruly children during visitations. The second had to do with the forever problem of food in the dining hall.

With these two situations in mind, Edith framed the first question:

Dear Donnarose, I love children as much as the next person. After all  I have six great grandchildren of my own. But MY grand kids are well behaved when they visit. These OTHER kids are out of control! They run up and down the halls. They shout. They nearly knock people over. Where are their parents?  What should I say or do? Signed: So Angry I Could Pop a Blood Vessel

Dear Angry, I get it. I know just what you are thinking. I’ve wanted to smack some of these little suckers myself. Since their parents are no where in sight and not willing to take their ill bred children in hand, you will have to take charge. The sooner the better.

Next time the little rascals visit and make the halls a race track, open your apartment door, put a kitchen chair in the doorway and sit down. When they offenders start down your hall, give them fair warning that there will be action if they don’t slow down and shut up. The next time they charge by your door at speed, stick out your cane and trip them! When they skid to the floor say something like,” There’s more where that came from Bucko!”

And next:

Donnarose, I’ve complained and complained to the kitchen and no one listens! The food is so bland. Why can’t the kitchen use spices? Why can’t we have chili dogs once a week? Why can’t we have Krispy Kreme  glazed donuts for breakfast? These are tasty American traditions. We are not infants! We can have these foods if we want. For what we pay to live here, there should be more choice! Signed: Steamed, Fried and Baked

Dear Steamed, Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately? Take a good look. You are not “pleasantly plump” and you are not “more to love.”  You are FAT.  It is not a pretty sight. You need to stop thinking about what you put in your mouth and think about what you are putting on your hips. You’ve gotten so big you can’t get yourself out of your own chair anymore. Big and lazy- that’s what you are! No one wants to eat at your table. Stop complaining and get with the program.

Edith, satisfied and feeling like she’d just had a hot shower and massage, felt better than she had in days. This advice writing was like a day at the spa. She couldn’t wait to encounter the next batch of problems. She was made for this!

Now for the publishing. Edith knew her advice would never pass muster with the staff.She had the motto of Do It and Apologize Later. She would have to take charge herself. Petty people with petty minds should not stop the Freedom of the Press!

Edith had a plan.

The residents had a little library and office space. There was a ditto machine. Luckily, it was of the variety that Edith understood. She had used it before.

One night she skipped dinner and went to the machine with her column in hand. She made sure the paper supply was full and everything was ready to go. She printed two hundred copies and was finished just before the machine ran out of paper.

Then, after nine that night, when everyone was tucked into bed, Edith snuck out of her apartment. She went down to the mail room, opened the door and put a copy of her column in every box.

The next day there was plenty of buzz around the breakfast tables. Who was the “new” Donnarose? What did you think of her advice? Donuts for breakfast? Really?!

The buzz continued but eventually died down in the next day or two. Edith tried to stir up talk but didn’t want to give away her secret identity.

Then Sunday came around. The usual flurry of grand kids showed up with the usual problems. Edith watched and waited. It was not easy being coy.

But it was worth it all the next day when the news came that someone on the third floor of Eaton Hall had taken Donnarose’s advice. It seems two men who were across the hall from each other had decided that they would they would put an end to the problem of bratty kids. They skipped the warnings and went directly to putting up a clothes line between their two doors. When the kids ran down the hall again, the two old geezers pulled the rope and let the first one go sliding head first down the all into a pile of tacks they had discreetly laid out.

An ambulance was called, parents were distraught, grandparents were embarrassed and worried. The two old gents feigned loss of memory and innocence.

Ms Smith and the staff finally got wind of the rogue advice column and dragged Edith into the office.

“I suppose you think you are funny. What were you thinking? Some foolish men up on third took your advice and landed Dr. Olsen’s grandson in the emergency room. He needed stitches. Dr. Olsen is on our Board, you know. This advice of yours got us into some deep water here, Edith. I’m afraid you are out of a job.” Ms Smith was red in the face, clearly worked up, and ready to find Edith a new home.

“Well, who knew anyone would be stupid enough to trip those kids? I can’t account for those two to spread tacks in the hall! No one ever paid attention to Donnarose before” Edith replied.

Hot damn. I finally struck a nerve around here. I can’t wait to do this again.

The whole matter died down and everything started to settle into the old routine. Then it happened. Someone had gotten hold of the column and the incident with the boys and thumb tacks went viral on YouTube. Edith was in the news again.

Just where she wanted to be.