A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-87

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Enough read about possible future health problems! The list is endless! I will cross bridges when they appear. Time for an interesting TV program (we are watching The Crown at night) and finally a good book. Also, wonderful opportunities to “do good in the neighborhood.”

On Thursday morning, a huge moving vehicle backed into our cul-de-sac and parked there. An old, skinny, bespectacled black man sat behind the wheel. He sat there for hours. Finally, I decided to bring him a bottle of cold water. That was gladly accepted. “Is anyone going to move into this cottage?” I asked.

“Yes Ma’am, tomorrow morning at nine,” he said.
“What? Are you going to stand here all night? Are you going to sleep here?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I will sleep in the cabin.”

Two hours later, I walked across the street: “Would you like a banana for lunch?”
“Um, no Ma’am, I am diabetic.”
“You are diabetic and can’t have a banana?”
“Well, I can have a little piece and another little piece later. Yes, I would like it.” and he reached his arm out of the window and down to get the banana I held up to him. The afternoon wore on, and I checked  the menu for the night, posted on the refrigerator. Perhaps I could pick up dinner for him when I picked up ours at 5:00 p.m., I thought.

Back to the truck. “Sir, would you like me to bring you some hot dinner tonight?”
“Yes, please!”
“BBQ chicken?”
“Yes please.”
“Baked beans?”
“Well, I can have no pork.”
“I don’t think we have pork in the beans, but I will check with the Chef. How about salad, Lentil soup, and mashed potatoes?” He nodded his head.
“Oh yes, Ma’m. But I can’t eat after sundown and before sunup.”
“I will pick up dinner at five, so that is way before sundown.” He nodded happily.

I couldn’t imagine who, as a diabetic, could have no pork, no sugar, and could not eat after sundown. But then diabetes is another thing I know nothing about. I Googled it and now I know a lot more. Except for not eating after sundown. I googled that again. This is the Holy month of Ramadan and during this month, Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset, only after sunset. So let’s call him Joe was not a Muslim.

Jains, an ancient religion from India, however, do not eat from sunset to sunrise because they believe germs that we cannot see directly spread rapidly at night.  They also insist on nonviolence in any form.  They go out of their way not to harm even small insects and other tiny animals. They are part of a broader Hindu religion. Looking at Joe from White Plains New York, I didn’t think he could belong to a group of this ancient religion either. Final conclusion: diabetics can’t eat after sundown. Now, I have not looked up those details – enough already!

 I sent an email to the Chef, explained to him I wanted to provide dinner for a poor, homeless man, and we would gladly take home less for us. Well, the BBQ chicken was glazed (sugar!) but he could set aside two pieces without glaze. And yes, chicken was more nutritious than flank steak. And yes, baked beans did come with pork and sugar. The soup, salad, mashed potatoes and mushrooms were safe. The Chef was very helpful and kind.

And so I picked up a nice dinner for Joe, and took a little less for ourselves. I put his in a nice styrofoam box, soup and salad separate, with a bottle of water, and then I could for the life of me not find any plastic forks or knives anywhere, only chopsticks. So I walked over to the truck again, and saw that Joe had moved over to the passenger’s seat. That seemed more comfortable to me, too. I said, “Sir, here’s your dinner. No sugar, no pork, no utensils! I’m sorry, but you will have to eat with your hands or with these chopsticks. I put in a whole stack of paper towels to wipe your hands afterwards.” He opened the door and reached down with a big smile, then said something I could not understand. But I could see that he was happy. After sundown, beige curtains were drawn in front of the side windows of the cabin of the truck and he must have happily gone to sleep. So did I, very happily as well. And I hope I will never get diabetes.

Fall Flowers

A very nice, older couple, Jack and Jenny, living in one of the cottages, have had a lot of health problems during the past year. Their children brighten up the outside of their entrance once in a while with hanging pots of flowers and garden lights. But one large flower pot remained empty during the time we were all in lockdown for a year because of Covid. Jack used to fill it with silk flowers that looked real from a distance. Last week, when I went to Walmart, I saw picks of large, bright yellow Mums on sale and I bought them all. Two days later, after taking the price tags off and waiting until it was almost dark and their car was parked outside the garage, I walked over to the cottage and filled their pot with the Mums. It looked sunny and glorious! What a surprise it must have been the next morning, and what a guessing game between them as to who could have brought them flowers for the pot! I also bought one pick of black flowers and leaves, and I will put that in the center on Halloween. Until then I will keep it in a mixed bouquet in our living room.

The coyote and the Geese

Three years ago, when we had geese all over the property and people complained about the danger they posed should they attack, and the dirty sidewalks, the – then – Executive Director ordered a life-size coyote to be put in the pond area to scare the geese away. But it did not work: the coyote never moved, and the geese got used to him. Over time, the scary looking beast started to deteriorate. But last week, when I counted the return of seventeen geese, somebody moved the coyote to the center of the sloping lawn around the pond. Lo and behold: the next day all the geese were gone!

May your days be peaceful and happy.

Until next time,




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