Losses and Treats
As we are getting to know most of the people here by name, it gets to feel more and more like a wonderful group of friends. We are starting to care about each other, and if someone goes missing at breakfast or dinner we try to find out where they are. Some residents move away unnoticed. Several, whom we have come to know better have moved to the other side of the building, to Assisted Living. I miss them. But they are only gone from our immediate sight, and all it takes is walk over there and visit. Our closest neighbor moved “over” after a hospital stay and a prognosis of “live each day to the fullest, because each day may be your last.” She was our Ambassador for four months and faithfully dropped off flyers and news bulletins at our door all summer. Now I visit her once a month with a bouquet of flowers or, just now, with a poinsettia. She loves it, and so do I.
The other day, one of the residents with an aide by her side was blocking my way to my friend’s apartment. She was delivering flyers from her walker and had two in her hand when I asked her, “Do you want me to be your courier? I am visiting Ginny and will give her your flyers.” As I stepped in front of her and took the flyers in my right hand I saw that it was Paula May and I said, with arms wide open, a plant in one hand and the flyers in the other, “Hey, Paula May! Do you want a hug?” She let go of her walker, stepped into my open arms and said, “You did it!”
“What did I do? Did I make your day?”
“Yes, you did! Come and visit me sometime please.” The aide showed me the number of her apartment, two doors down. And so I can make the rounds whenever I have time; of course that is when I make time.
Another friend had to go to the hospital and in a matter of days passed away. We heard she had leukemia. Her husband stays here, and he frequently plays his accordion for whomever wants to listen. We did attend the memorial service in their church last week – a beautiful, modern church, a beautiful service with many people of the congregation in attendance.
Today was the day we finally got our two youngest grandsons over. Last week they were going to help us decorate our tree, but they got sick. Today they helped decorate the outside and strung lights on the fence and in the bushes by the front door. I had purchased a timer and an extension cord, and tonight we’ll see the results of their efforts. Before we did that, however, I took them on a walk to show them my “secret passage through the Divide” to Wimbledon, warning them about the loops of barbed wire that are sticking out from the brown leaves on the ground. Next we went into the Nature Preserve where they walked on the “balance beam”, a tree trunk on the ground, and hopped up and down on the trail of cut tree stumps, one of which has a tic-tac-toe nailed on it, and we found round wooden game pieces between the leaves. The fish were out from their hiding places under the rocks, hovering together in the center of the pond.
On we went to the smaller of the two “lakes”, and I told them there is an underground tunnel through which maintenance men can drain water from one lake to the other, so they can go down on a metal ladder to make repairs in the leaking cement blocks of the walls of the tunnel. Interesting! (at least to me) From there we crossed the street to the Wimbledon Clubhouse and found my greenway which we followed until we came to the place where I had seen a swing, consisting of a round metal disc suspended from a very high, bent tree branch on a very long rope. I had never tried it out, but let them use it, because they are lighter. After letting them take turns several times I noticed high up that it looked like the rope was starting to fray, and I told them we’d better go to another swing. We walked along the larger lake and passed the Little Free Library. And then it must have happened. I took my Fitbit One out of my pocket and told the boys that we had walked 5000 steps. When I put it back in my pocket I must have missed, and I lost it. My precious Fitbit. My everyday companion for years now. It never fell out of my pocket because they are deep. But even when I went back this afternoon to walk the same stretch of greenway, I did not find it back. I am so sorry. But “it is what it is,” our faraway neighbor in Holland would say. “It is what it is.”
Back at the Clubhouse is a small playground, and they both had fun on the swings before we headed up the stairs, past the tennis courts, and through the “Divide” back home. We all had a delicious Dutch Stroopwafel, which I had found at Trader Joe’s, the real thing! If you have a chance, go get a few of the traditional blue tins, and if you want to have a treat for the Christmas days, get a few cartons of Marzipan Stollen as well. Delicious with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. But hurry, they are selling like hot cakes!
To end the morning we all went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, and then we took them home and admired their outdoor and indoor festive decorations. We had a lovely time together.
It’s a Wonderful Life!
Until next time,