Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Picking yourself up

Remember that moralising tale? A young woman is on her way to market. Over her arm is a basket of eggs, in her head is a whirligig of plans. She’ll sell the eggs for a very good price (they’re beautifully big and brown and farm fresh). Then she will have money. MONEY! And with that money, she’ll be able to do so much. Like choose the best cake in the cake-shop window and eat it sitting in the sun. Or buy a new pair of sandals –  and if not sandals because they’d cost too much, certainly new ribbons for her hair. Oh, so many things she could do.

But that’s when that young woman tripped against a paving stone and fell, pell-mell, onto the pavement. Of course, it wasn’t only her that fell. So did her basket and as it tumbled onto the ground, so the eggs inside it rolled out and smashed. So when the young woman got up from the ground, what she saw was just an eggy mess.

End of plans.

Such commonplace things can get in the way of plans. It happened to me on Tuesday. Not with eggs but blood counts. There I was in the hospital waiting to be called for my last chemo treatment (Hooray, celebrations, what wouldn’t I do?). After what felt like a long time of waiting, a young nurse came along,  sat downbeside me and reached out a sympathetic hand. ‘ Sorry, not today,’ she said. ‘We can’t give you that chemo treatment today. Your blood counts are too low.’

End of plans.

But it has to be admitted: there’ll be another Tuesday next week. So I’ll get that last chemo then (provided, of course, that the counts are OK). Some feelings of relief and celebration can follow – and maybe even a cake.

‘Downfall of a man is not the end of his life.’ Didn’t I see that message in the back window of a car parked down the road in Brixton now many years ago? Pick yourself up and carry on. That has to be the message – if, of course, it’s possible. Yet we musn’t forget the many people for whom it isn’t possible – or only after a very long time of struggle to get things back to what can feel like normal.

PS: My first picture this week is self-explanatory. My second is of Ruby the beautiful dog we got to know on a visit to Mike and Brenda in Canada last year. It’s here for no reason at all except that before coming up to my study to write this blog, I was admiring the photo of Ruby that hangs on our kitchen wall. Admiring the photo and remembering a very good time!

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