“I’ve had enough, Jack.” Jill labored to speak through panting, short breaths. “I’ve climbed this hill for the last time.”
“Now Jill, you’ve never complained before. What’s the matter?”
Jill wiped the rivulets of perspiration from her reddening cheeks. “I’m tired of fetching water from that well for Mother Goose misfits.”
“Darlin’,” Jack stopped to catch his breath, “they’ve been your friends for decades.”
“Some friends; wish I had a dollar for every time I climbed this hill, lowered my bucket into that well and carried it back down again just to satisfy Little Miss Prissy Muffet’s thirst. She does nothing but sit on her tuffet all day eating her curds and whey. Have you noticed the spread on her…?”
“Jill,” Jack cautioned, “be nice. After all, climbing up and down the hill has kept you slim and trim.”
“Well, I’m not getting any younger and neither are you. It worries me sick that with those bad knees of yours one day you’ll trip and fall and break your crown. And with no medical insurance, all I can do is put you to bed and mend your head with vinegar and brown paper. You’re no Jack be nimble, Jack be quick anymore. You know what happened to Humpty Dumpty. He fell right off the wall—not one morsel could be put together again! No, it’s high time the Old Lady in the Shoe trained that brood of hers to do something useful instead of scolding and sending them to bed hungry every day.”
“You may be right, Jill. Some days I feel as confused as Little Bo-Peep. Did you hear she lost her sheep again? Didn’t have a clue where to find them.”
“We’re too old for this, Jack,” Jill’s shoulders sagged with resignation. “I say quit before we can no longer pick a peck of pickled peppers. Mother Goose isn’t going to be happy, but how many pails of water has she toted this past century?”
By Sylvia Melvin
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