In 1947 I was eleven years old and had been wishing for a pet for a long time. I told my parents I’d settle for a dog or a cat. What I got was fish, in a tank, which was not my idea of a pet. One day, alone in our apartment, the phone rang, startling me. It was rare for anyone to call during the day and when it did, it meant trouble. I picked up the receiver, worried that something bad had happened.
It was my 6-year-old cousin, John. “Hi Nancy, our cat had kittens and they’re ready for adoption. Want one?
In 1985 I spent 19 days in a 28-bed ward for critically ill women. When it was tea time, three of the women closest to my bed joined me at a small table to talk and drink our tea. They were poor women from towns outside of London. Despite the differences between them and me, we were all sick, each of us in danger of dying. We’d been talking among ourselves for a few days when one of the women put down her cup and asked, “If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?”
I’d been wanting to go to Machu Pichu for a long time, but none of the plans worked out. When I saw the REI Peru trip advertised, I immediately signed up, but still had to be approved. A woman called to assess whether I was up to the degree of hiking difficulty. I told her I was 83, in good shape, that I hiked regularly, sometimes up to 14 miles. She signed me up but, given my age, she said I could not do one of the hikes that involved climbing two peaks of 14, 700,’ that I would do the alternative hike. I tried to change her mind by telling her I’d climbed Wheeler Peak in Taos, which is 13,100,’ but this had no effect. I wished I could participate in the two-peak hike, but she made it clear it wouldn’t be possible.
Stories inspired by world tales to challenge and comfort.