George was no longer noticed around the house. To the extent that one day they forgot to set him a place at the breakfast table.
“Aren’t you forgetting someone?” he laughed.
At least he thought he said something. But no one turned his way or offered him any waffles. His favorite kind, right off the iron and onto the plate with blueberries and whipped cream piled a mile high.
“Coffee would be nice,” he heard himself say.
Dead silence as his wife and three children devoured waffle after warm, buttery sweet, waffle.
“Not to worry," said George. “I’ll get it myself.”
This time he didn’t bother to look for a reaction. He fetched himself a cup of coffee and headed for the front porch.
Maybe a breathe of air will do me good, he thought. Something around here is not right.
He was about to sit in his favorite Adirondack chair when he got the shock of his life.
”Hey! Watch where you‘re sitting! I was here first!”
“George! Well it’s about time you noticed me.”
“I don’t understand, Grandad. This has got to be some kind of bad dream or sick joke. You’ve been dead for years.”
“No, not a dream. I’m not dead, George. I’m very real and I’m very much alive. You just stopped noticing me years ago. It‘s alright, though. I fend for myself around here pretty well.”
“How is it I’m noticing you now?”
“It’s because you’ve reached a certain level in your life.”
“Level? You mean like a mid-life crisis?”
“Oh, stop kidding yourself. You’re well beyond that. Unless you plan on given Methuselah a run for his money.”
”You really don‘t know, do you?”
”The suspense is killing me, Grandad.”
“Well, hold on to your suspenders, George, and plant yourself in that other chair, because it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time. You’ve only started noticing me because you’re bloody boring! Just like me.”
“Boooring! B-O-R-I-N-G! Deadening, dull, ho-hum, irksome, slow, tedious, tiresome, wearisome--”
“I get it!”
“Aburrido, langweilig, vervelend, ennuyeux, noioso, kjedelig--”
“Grandad! I get the point!”
“Your family simple let go of you, George. They could no longer be bothered. No challenge. No inspiring thoughts or deeds. Like me, you will sit and while away the hours watching people in their passing cars. People out and about, living lives as they ought to be lived
“It was last weeks vacation to the dental camp that did them in, George.”
“The dental camp? They loved the dental camp, Grandad. They told me so.”
“No. You told them they loved it. They were all too speechless to say much of anything.”
“It was very educational.”
“Boring,” interrupted George. “I bored them out of my life?”
“You don’t have to rub it in.”
“But I do, George. It’s not to late for you. Me? I was 80 when you all stopped noticing me. By then I was ready to let go. One gets tired of being poked at. ‘Wake up, Grandad, time for your pills’ ‘Wake up, Grandad, you peed your pants, again.’ 'Wake up, Grandad, time to go to bed.’ Very tedious stuff. I was ready to let go. But you’re much to young to be let go of.
“You have to get back in there and give them the time of their lives before the waffles are all gone. Look, they’re making another batch. Get moving. We can talk later, now that you know where to find me.”
“I believe I will, Grandad, but I need to make some arrangements first.”
When they were aloft in the hot air balloon, the Ballard family seemed the happiest they’d ever been. It was only when the hot air balloon pilot said, “uh, oh," and the floor gave way, that things took a less than boring turn.
Grandad lived out the rest of his life in quiet solitude. Forever grateful to be rid of the ungrateful bunch.
The Ballard family haunt the place still. Making ghostly waffles, hot off the iron with oodles of blueberries and cream.