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My father always looked at me sadly while we sat at the breakfast table in the mornings.

“Nan,” he would say, “you need to get married soon; you’re getting old.”

“I know, dad,” I would reply. “I know.”

When I was still in my prime, he always would ask me why I didn’t go out and get married to one of the nice boys in town.  I never had an answer.  Getting married and having a family just never interested me after my mother died.  Not to say that I didn’t try, but circumstances deemed it impossible.

I was much too old now to have children, and my mother had died before she could have another child.

Instead of going off and marrying young, I opted to stay at home and take care of my aging father.  He was getting older, but he did not stop working.  If anything, he worked harder to prove to me that he could take care of himself and I should leave home.

The other villagers started to talk about me when they thought I wasn’t listening.  They called me a “spinster”, an “old maid”, an “ape leader”, names like that.  I ignored them.  I didn’t care what they said.  I had to stay home and take care of my father.

He couldn’t cook, clean, and work on the fields by himself.  He tried once when I was seventeen and looking for a husband.  My mother had died a few months before and I still wanted to perform my duties as a woman.  I had left home.

However, with my father alone in the house, it remained uncleaned, dishes piled up in the sink, and his health suffered.  It took him too much effort to man the fields and cook for himself.  I returned home when he landed himself in the hospital.  We didn’t have much money, and his hospital trip cost us almost all our savings. When I brought him home, I took over the housework once again, opting to stay at home and perform my duties there.

After that, I just didn’t see the point in getting married.  If I got married, I would have to leave home and live with my new husband.  My father would be alone again.
I was now sixty-three.  Almost forty years have passed since the day my father ended up in the hospital.  He was now eighty-two and still hard at work.

Her father has managed to save up enough money over the years to hire an artist named Grant Wood to paint the two of us in front of our house.  He told me it was so that future generations would know what the hard working man looked like.

I wasn’t too happy about this decision.  Again, almost all our savings were gone just so our legacy would be preserved for years to come.  I couldn’t look at Wood as he painted the picture.  All I could do was stare at my father, wishing he would take our lack of money a bit more seriously.

The End.