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Dinner For One by Cole Parker

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Wow, beautiful story, very visual.

If I can offer a small criticism (and it's very small), I think it could've been compressed another 10% to make it tighter. Don't lose any scenes -- just reduce the dialog more to its essentials.

What's there is very moving and well-told. Bravo!

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An absolutely amazing story! My eyes are teary with admiration for love so beautifully expressed. Of course, when I got to the end, I needed to re-read the entire story with different eyes.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I cried more than once during this one, willingly and without resistance. And I bet i'll do it again, in a year, when Cole reminds me to test my theory.

And as Camy said, you can't go wrong with a Cole Parker story. Probably all the work he puts into it, and then just a little bit more just in case. Or 'cuz he can.

Thanks, Cole.


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Another wonderful story, Cole. I just have two criticisms. Firstly, you beat me to it!!! I've written a story for the GA Fall Anthology about a couple of septuagenarians who find each other in the twilight of their years. I wrote it in response to a reader who noted that no one seems to write about gay men in their elder years.

My second criticism is a bit more important, although still a minor one. Isn't Albert a bit old to have a 21-year-old son? If he's in his eighties now, he would have been in his sixties when Tom was born. Wouldn't it make more sense for Tom to be Albert's grandson? Like I said, it's a minor complaint.

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I don't see anything quite as unusual as you do Altimexis in an 80+ year old having an 21 year old child.

For example Cary Grant was over 60 when his daughter Jennifer Grant was born and he went on to marry again at the age of 77. Wiki

As if that wasn't coincidence enough, Grant was also believed to be bi-sexual.

So no I don't think the the timeline for Albert having a 21 year old son is out of place.

There are references of men having sired children into their 90s. Just Google it.

Indeed if I live long enough I might have a child when I reach 90, as I think by then, I might be demented enough to believe I would be a good father. :hehe:

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Isn't Albert a bit old to have a 21-year-old son? If he's in his eighties now, he would have been in his sixties when Tom was born.

I actually gave that some considerable thought. I came up with a whole scenario about why he had a child so late in life, and wrote it out, but on reflection, it didn't add to the story at all, was simply a digression, so I deleted it.

I like to think Tom and Albert were particularly close because of the age gap. That Tom grew up being more protective of his father than most boys would be, that Albert began thinking of leaving the restaurant with Tom when the boy was still very young, and groomed him for it. And too, that Albert was part of Tom's life as he grew because he was able, at his age, to see things with a different perspective than younger fathers who are more engaged in pressing forward with their own careers at that point in their lives.

I didn't put this in the story, but imagined it. Part of writing a short story, or couse, an important part, is separating the wheat from the chaff. Novels can ramble. Short stories shouldn't. In my opinion, of course.


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The story was perfect, Cole.

It is yours and is widely enjoyed and admired. It stands on its own and no amount of sniping from readers or other authors can detract from it.

Keep your eyes on the goal... writing excellent stories... as you always have.


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I never thought about the age thing either, but that said, we had a backdoor neighbor who had a daughter at 63, so there is nothing unusual at all.

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The age difference between father and son didn't enter into my mind while reading this delightful story.

Sorry - I can't help it. I just notice things like that. It's in my nature. Cole, if you want to write a story with a 60 year old new father, more power to you. Me - I don't even want to think about caring for a newborn at my age, let alone in another 6 or more years. I truly admire the grandparents that end up raising their children's children - it's not a job for the faint of heart. Above all else, however, raising a child is a labor of love, regardless of the age of the one doing it.

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It's possible that Tom's parents had died and that his granddad (Albert) raised him from a very young age. Then Tom would have referred to his grandfather as his dad. I don't think it detracts from the story either way, old father/young son or old grandfather/young grandson.

Colin :hehe:

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Cole, what a wonderful story, but then you have never stopped me being amazed by you insite.

But to the age disparity; I have personally known a young man who was raised by his grandparent, and in my mind, he was better off for it. His parents had to give him up because they were unable (and unwilling in this case) to teach him what he needed to know to be a functioning adult. This was taught to him by his grandparents, mostly because of their maturity.

I know, Tom had his real dad as a role model, but it was mentioned in this thread about a kid being raised by a grandparent and I had to get my 2 1/2 cents in. And it truly is a labor of love.

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  • Camy changed the title to Dinner For One by Cole Parker
  • 4 years later...

Dinner for One was a fabulous story when I first read it twelve years ago, and like a fine wine it has aged beautifully... or is it that, alongside Cole's story, I have aged to appreciate it more?

Read it, do! 

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