Make Way for Tomorrow

Old Man and Wife
old man and wife

cold wind…
old man and wife clasp hands
pulling coats closer
the long road
much shorter now

The prompt for this tanka was the 1937 movie, Make Way for Tomorrow, about a married elderly couple, Bark (Pa) and Lucy, who are forced to separate when they lose their house. None of their five children will take both parents in and they have been married 50 years. Thankfully, my wife and I don’t face that situation but I can empathize.

Quote at beginning of movie: Life flies past us so swiftly that few of us pause to consider those who have lost the tempo of today. Their laughter and their tears we do not even understand for there is no magic that will draw together in perfect understanding the aged and the young. There is a canyon between us, and the painful gap is only bridged by the ancient words of a very wise man… HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.

Rhoda Cooper: Why don’t you face facts, Grandma?
Lucy Cooper: Oh, Rhoda!
[Pats her hand]
Lucy Cooper: When you’re seventeen and the world’s beautiful, facing facts is just as slick fun as dancing or going to partis, but when you’re seventy… well, you don’t care about dancing, you don’t think about parties anymore, and about the only fun you have left is pretending that there ain’t any facts to face, so would you mind if I just went on pretending?

Lucy Cooper: A man and a maid stood hand in hand; bound by a tiny wedding band. Before them lay the uncertain years that promised joy and, maybe tears. “Is she afraid?” thought the man of the maid. “Darling,” he said in a tender voice, “Tell me. Do you regret your choice? ‘We know not where the road may wind, ‘or what strange byways we may find. ‘Are you afraid?” said the man to the maid. She raised her eyes and spoke at last. “My dear,” she said, “the die is cast. ‘The vows have been spoken. The rice has been thrown. ‘Into the future we’ll travel alone. ‘With you,” said the maid, “I’m not afraid.”