By Charles Towne 

Many times, just as we are crawling into bed after a long day of living and I have closed my eyes in anticipation of an exciting journey into the land of Nod my darling, my dear sweet Nanny wants to talk.

I have at times been somewhat frustrated by these nocturnal excursions into the realm of communication, but they are important to her, and usually, if I listen, something insightful occurs. The following is an example:

Nan: “Charles?”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Nan: “I love you.”

Me: “I love you too sweetie.”

(We cuddle.)

Nan: “I really enjoyed that movie.”

Me: “What movie?”

Nan: “You know, the one with Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth.”

Me: “Oh yah, that one.”

Nan: “Charles?”

Me: “Uh huh.”

Nan: “Are you listening to me?”

Me: “Yes honey, of coarse I’m listening to you.”

Nan: “Is Clark Gable still alive?”

Me: “No, He died quite a few years ago.”

Nan: “No, he couldn’t have!”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sure he did.”

Nan: “He couldn’t have!”

Me: “Why do you say that?”

Nan: “Because I just saw him in that movie.”

Me: “So?”

Nan: “Well silly, if he was in the movie he must still be alive.”

(I lay there staring into the darkness wondering when it is going to end.)

Nan: “Charles?”

Me: “Yes honey.”

Nan: “Is Rita Hayworth still alive?”

Me: “What do you think sweetie?”

Nan: “She must still be alive “’cause she was in the movie too.”

Me: “Oh sure, that makes sense.”

Nan: “What makes sense?”

Me: “That they are still alive.”

Nan: “Who is still alive?”

Me: “Clark Gable and Rita what’s her face.”

Nan: “What about them?”

(Oh my goodness, I have created a monster!  But then, after all, she is my monster.)

Me: “What about who?”

Nan: “You know, Clark Hayworth and Rita Gable.”

Me: “Huh?”

Nan: “Let’s go to sleep now.”

Me: “O.K.”

(I lay there staring into the darkness with unseeing eyes.  All I can envision is Rita Hayworth beating up on Clark Gable.  (Poor Clark) and I am wheezing from my C.O.P.D.)

Nan: “Charles.”

Me: “Uh huh?”

Nan: “You are wheezing.”

(She giggles.)

Me: “What’s so funny?”

Nan: “I was just thinking about what I am going to have written on your gravestone.”

Me: “What are you going to have them write on my gravestone?”

(More giggling.)

Nan: “She took his breath away.”

(Aint it the truth?)


Dear God, you are wonderful and gracious in your giving!  You have said that you would not withhold any good thing from them that love you so I guess that means that you will give good things to those that love you and you know that I love you so very much.  I thank you for my darling wife because through her I am learning of your great love for me.  Help me to always be ready to laugh.  Help me to be gracious in all things.  Again I say, thank you for my darling.  In Jesus’ holy name I declare it, Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Ohhhhhh, how sweet and precious that was to me! It reminded me of conversations my dear-departed husband and I have shared in the night. No matter the subject or even frustration because of wanting to sleep instead of talk, I will always remember them with a smile….and wish I could have more. Thanks Chuck!! God bless you and Nancy.

  2. Dear NH, perhaps it is a special relationship thing between husbands and wives that such things as this can bring a smile to our faces. God bless you dear friend. Chaz

  3. Memories, O such sweet memories. Dear CSG, the great indescribable bliss that comes from remembering those bittersweet occasions of tender love you hold dear. Yes, bitter because they were so few, but sweet because they touch us so deeply. There are times, more frequent than I care to admit, that I wake in the night to silence… yearning to hear my Nancy’s sweet voice… Please forgive me for the brief sentimental journey. May Papa God hold you close, Chaz

  4. A persons Perseption is their Reality! And we must allow each other that Right even when we think it Wrong. Someone once said a long time ago. What is Truth? Love is Always the Always the Answer

  5. I absolutely love this column and while the life of a caregiver is hard, I’ve found that these kind of conversations with my parents brings me humor and helps direct my attention away from what’s worrying me and puts my attention soley on making them happy. Great work Chuck, God Bless.

    – D.L

  6. Understanding that the statute of limitations has ran its course I can discuss some of the things I wondered about as a kid…I can remember laying in bed at night and hearing whispered pillow talk, giggles and low laughter coming from my folk’s bedroom and wondering what’n the dickens was going on? It was only years later when I was married and had a family of my own that I was able to figure it out. O.K., so I was a slow learner! You take care pal, Chaz

  7. It was my mother that had dementia, not my wife but even so, your words bring many memories not only of my mom, but of every lady I think I have known! Papa God seems to have given them a logic we males are forever barred from understanding! As my grandfather explained when he was teaching me about nature, it seems designed to insure that we just ” shut up and listen! ” God bless us all, each and every one!

  8. Logic? Richard, you are talking about hooman beans here and you speak of logic? I have arrived at the conclusion that we are ALL a tad demented. AINT IT GLORIOUS? Now if by chance you were to ask some folks for their opinion, Mama Mia for instance, they would vehemently deny my “demented” comment but that just serves to prove my point. May Papa God Bless each and every one of us nut-cases. Chaz

  9. Chuckle! “Chuckle” did you say? Was that meant as a pathetic and very sarcastic play on my name? See, there went any sense of logic I might have possessed! i am glad you liked it Mike, you have a blessed day. Many blessings pal on you and the family. Chaz

  10. What a sweet story and thank you for sharing it. Blessings on you for your patience and kindness, even when you were tired and needed sleep! I love hearing about Nancy’s late night giggling and her sense of humor. It’s nice to read about your finding some precious moments in a very difficult situation.

  11. Dear Kristin, when folks enjoy my nostalgic little excursions it brings me great joy. Yes though the journey is at times more than difficult it has its moments when all I can do is raise my voice and praise God for His great love as evidenced by His incredible mercies. May you be overwhelmed by His wondrous love. Chaz

  12. I wish I could remember some of the conversations that Betty and I had. I know that she really enjoyed some of our walks around the pathways at FLNC. She especially liked our daily stop at one of the gazebos, where we would have our daily devotions. The last two times we stopped at our gazebo, we had to rush back to Betty’s room. She was too sick to stay away from her oxygen for very long. I remember on my birthday, Betty telling me “I don’t want to live any longer” and when I asked why, she mentioned the pain she was having. She mentioned it twice that day! I simply mentioned that she should pray to God about that, and He would understand! Three days later, Feb. 22, Betty told me twice “I want to go to Heaven!” and again I told her to pray about it. Sunday, Feb. 25th, while a Hospice Nurse was there, Betty called out loudly “DON!” and when I went over to her she simply said “I WANT TO DIE!” It was all related to the pain that Betty was feeling and from that time on they increased the pain meds they were giving her and she simply closed her eyes most of the time!

    March the 6th and Just before Midnight, the Hospice Nursed called me and said that Betty wasn’t expected to last the night. At that time I called my best friend, Charles “Chuck” Towne and asked if he would pray for me and Betty! Shortly after Midnight, March 7th “Chuck” surprised me by walking into Betty’s room and stayed with me until early in the morning. Betty passed away at 3:41am in the morning.

    When I looked at the devotion we normally read each day, the one for March 7th was from John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives.” I feel that Betty and God had spoken the words I needed to hear and remember!


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