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Wolf Lady

2008-02-17


When I was a kid there was an elderly woman in our neighborhood. She neither looked nor sounded like a wolf, but we called her the wolf lady. She would sometimes just appear before a bunch of us kids, and tell us to be quiet, or to watch out for poison ivy. She may have threatened to call the police on us for throwing rocks at trees, but I could have just made that up. It sounds like something she would have done.

Wolf lady appeared to be in her seventies or so. She drove an old blue Chevy, but not often. Most of the time she walked. When she walked she pulled a metal basket behind her with all the wares she would need for the journey. Sometimes the basket contained groceries, even though there was no supermarket within reasonable walking distance for a person of advanced age.

Wolf lady never smiled. She was short, maybe five feet tall, and had peppered hair. She sometimes wore one of those old lady hats that look like tea kettle cozies. It was red. She did not wear glasses, and her eyesight must have been tremendous as she was always able to spot us kids nearing potential trouble. She moved with the stalking abilities of a wolf, as you never heard her coming, although I am sure that is not why we called her wolf lady.

None of this seems too relevant, I am sure, but from time to time we remember odd bits of our childhood. That would be all this was if I was not at my parents house just a few days ago. They still live in the same neighborhood that I grew up in. I had some lunch, and departed. As I drove around the corner I was astounded to see the wolf lady, in her yard, quite alive, and dragging her basket. She must be a hundred years old. She looked exactly the same as I remembered. Her hair was peppered, and not completely white or absent. She was no more or less wrinkled as in my days as a child. I had to stop my car for just a moment, and stare at her. She looked back with a pissed off look like I was about to get out and throw a rock at a tree. The crazy old bastard was exactly the same as ever. Surely she must have aged the way the rest of us have. Surely assisted living must be the best she could possibly be doing. But no, she has not aged, and she is still pulling the damn basket with god knows what in it.

I hope the kids in that neighborhood still call her the wolf lady. I hope that she stalks them with the same keen eye that we were hunted down with. I hope the old bitch lives forever to mildly terrorize children playing in the woods. I salute the wolf lady with a little howl, and may I look as good when I reach triple or quadruple digits in age.

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