Friday, January 27, 2012

Elderly?


   

Okay, so I’m getting older! Everyone is. Each day we live, we become a day older, and we can’t stop it. But does the younger generation have to treat us differently? My mother used to tell me often, when she was eighty, that she was old, not stupid! She said, “After we age, younger people seem to think we’re too dumb to come in out of the rain... and it doesn’t bother them to let us know it every chance they get either.”

I laughed at my mother then, thinking that, indeed, some senility had set in, but, although I’m not even close to eighty, I am starting to notice a difference in the way younger people treat me. For one thing, if you’re past 50, they assume you’re hard of hearing, and start yelling when they talk to you.  Also, they’re pretty sure you don’t know what they’re talking about most of the time, so after explaining something, they look directly into your eyes and ask, “Do you understand?” I smile and answer, “Yes, thank you.” Anything to get along – it’s my nature.

But what I’d like to say is, “Believe it or not, some older people actually lead active lives. They don’t lie down and die just because their faces have a few lines and their hair is turning gray... nor are they stupid!" I want to tell them... "the years pass fast, and before you know it, some young punk will be treating you exactly the way you’re treating me and my peers... and you won’t like it any better than we do!"

I had an appointment at the doctor’s office for blood work on Monday, the 16th. But for some reason, I thought the girl had told me “this” Monday, which was the 9th. So I fasted, got up early and went in for my blood work on that day. When I told the girl at the desk I was there for blood work, she merely looked at her computer for a minute and then motioned me inside. The blood was drawn in a matter of a few minutes, and I went home.

Later in the day, it was my husband who found my appointment card and pointed out that I'd gone a week early. We had a good laugh. No biggie. The work was done and I’d go back in two weeks – instead of the usual one – for the follow-up.

But when I laughingly told my daughter what I’d done, thinking she’d find it amusing, to my surprise, she acted just like the rest of the younger population. “Oh, my!” she said. “That’s the way elderly people are: always forgetting appointments, not taking their meds, and other things; it’s downhill all the way now.” I presumed she was joking, but saw red anyway.

My natural tendency to smile and get along, no matter what, vanished and something akin to anger took over, surprising us both! I emphatically informed her that anyone of any age could get mixed up about an appointment and that I’d thank her not to refer to me as “elderly” again! She started to protest, but I interrupted with, “I’m not elderly until I say I’m elderly; do you understand?”

She did. I think we can safely consider that subject closed for a few years.

Oh, how quickly the hands on the clock circle toward the future we thought was far away!

And how soon we become our mothers!







Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is Chivalry Dead?

Today I took a friend, who is temporarily without a car, to the grocery store. I took books along and told him to take his time as I would enjoy reading while he shopped. And I fully intended to do that, but movements outside the car kept distracting me, so I finally gave up in favor of “people watching.”  What could be more entertaining?

There was a little gray-haired lady who pulled up beside me, parked her car and stepped out. She was dressed to the nines and had perfectly coiffed hair. Every inch a lady – from a much earlier time, I observed as she walked slowly into the store. But then another car pulled up on the other side. This time, it was a man, a big man. Fifty-ish. He was a spot on country fellow. He sported blue jeans, plaid shirt, long hair, beard, and yes, cowboy boots! He stepped out of the car, his eyes surveying the parking lot. He looked at me and nodded. I smiled. Friendly, I thought as he disappeared into the store.

Then came the “Best of Show!” A white older model truck pulled up and parked a few spaces to my left. I couldn’t help but wonder who would alight from this vehicle. I was really into the “people watching” thing!

The driver got out, another down-home kind of guy, wearing jeans and a ball cap. A big bulge on the right side of his face gave the distinct impression that he was enjoying a big chew of tobacco. He walked around the back of the truck to the side and stood there, hands in his pockets, while an elderly woman slowly opened the door on the passenger’s side, positioned a walker on the ground and then literally slid off the side of the seat until her feet met with the ground below – steadied by the walker. Then she closed the door. The man had already started walking toward the store. I watched in disbelief! I wanted to get out and help her myself!

Almost to the entrance, the man stopped, looked back and waited for her to catch up. When she was almost there, he walked the other four or five steps to the door, and I thought, Surely, he’ll open the door for her. I watched anxiously.  Reaching for the door handle with his right hand, he opened the door. "Yes!" I said, but the man stepped directly in front of the woman, entering first, and then reached back and barely held the door open until she was just inside, then he let it go. Still in disbelief, in the privacy of my car, I uttered a few unkind words for a man I didn't even know.

I thought about my husband. How lucky I am! We’ve been married a very l—o—n—g time and I can’t remember a time that he didn’t open my car door or any other door, for that matter. If it’s raining, he brings an umbrella to my door and helps me out of the car. And I don’t even have to use a walker like that poor woman did. Until today, I was na├»ve enough to think that all men were like my husband – at least the older ones. I understand that the younger generation is different.

How sad it is that chivalry is dead! I thought. It was a beautiful thing!

While I was pondering this, the little gray-haired lady returned with several bags of groceries. She parked her buggy and, as if she had all day (perhaps she did), she took one bag at a time out of the buggy and walked slowly to her car placing it inside – just so – and then she’d go back for another. Again, I had the urge to help, but something deep inside told me that this woman was proud and enjoyed doing things for herself. As she drove away, I smiled thinking; I hope I’ll be like that if I’m ever forced to be alone.

My friend opened the car door, startling me a bit.  He said, “Sorry I took so long. Were you bored?”

“Not at all,” I answered. “I had my books. Remember?”




Thursday, January 12, 2012

But Not Forever


We are born into love, and we grow up believing we’ll always have that love. Our parents love us; our siblings love us; aunts, uncles and cousins love us; we are taught to believe in a God who loves us, and if we’re lucky, we eventually meet someone who loves us enough to share a wonderful life with us.

So with all that love surrounding a person his whole life, how does one fall into a pattern of hurting the people he or she loves most? And why is it so easy to hurt people who love you? Is it because you feel sure the person who has always been close will forgive you, no matter what you do?

There can be many factors that play a part in this kind of behavior. Alcohol, in particular, can change the way a person perceives things, thus causing him to lash out at anyone who disagrees with him. And it’s always easier to verbally attack someone who loves you. You feel certain that he either won’t take it seriously or will forgive you in the end. Usually, a person with this problem apologizes profusely when he’s sober and realizes what he’s done.

That may work for a while – but not forever. 

What happens if the person you were counting on to love you always, suddenly finds you unlovable?  He decides he’s had enough of your abusive ways and walks away from you. What then?

Someone once said, “Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than to risk hurting yourself trying to put them back together.”

Think about it!






Friday, January 6, 2012

Alien Number Five



Some of you may remember a story I wrote last year about finding an odd ornament on my tree after Christmas for four years in a row. If not, you can check it out here: Aliens On My Tree if you like.

Well, this is year number five and I wasn’t quite sure it would happen again. I just figured that whoever is doing it would tire of the routine at some point and stop. But I was wrong. When my husband started taking the tree down, I was in another room and heard a little chuckle. “What is it?” I asked. He said, “Here it is!” and handed me the alien ornament that had been secretly placed on the tree for the fifth straight year. We had a good laugh and then I checked it out.

What can I say?  It’s different.  A reindeer.  With a plaid body. I suppose it’s supposed to be wearing a coat or sweater and there’s a red scarf wrapped around its neck, blowing in the wind. It has small twigs for legs and even smaller ones for antlers. To top it off, there’s a tiny pine cone for a tail! Really cute!

I don’t know who’s pulling this yearly prank (though I have an idea), but I do hope he’s getting as much joy out of doing it as we are being on the receiving end. It gives us one more surprise to look forward to when the delights of the season have almost come to an end.

It seems some people have a knack for doing little things that make others happy. What a wonderful talent!

We’re so grateful to have this person, or persons, in our family!

See the 2012 here. The 2013 ornament here.