“In this beloved residence the opportunity to make friends is there for the taking.”
Does that look familiar? Probably. Those are the words with which I started my last essay, but contrary opinions were expressed by some of my friends who found their entry to residential living difficult. Most of us are here of our own accord. Most of us have gone through the wrenching business of closing down a home, and deciding what to take and what to discard. Several, like me, have moved from one city to another. Despite our similarities, our reactions to the move are different. Why? Continue reading
In this beloved residence the opportunity to make friends is there for the taking. Together we form not only a place to live, but a community – a special one. The majority of us are old. Instinctively I reach out to others.
As the years lived increase, the years left to me decrease. I cherish my friends, reach out to my acquaintances, and lean on both as I travel the path ahead. To borrow from the old Maxwell House coffee ad that their brew was “Good to the last drop”, I have a different claim. Life is capable of being “Good to the last day.”
Let my New Life thrive!
“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December,” proclaimed Sir James Matthew Barrie sometime in the early 1900s. Born in 1860 he lived a full thoughtful life, with his share of sorrow and success. His saying naturally resonates with me: At 94, I can smell those roses! With open arms, I welcome home the memories triggered by the scent.
Life has no set formula. We live our lives differently, and we age differently. One of the common experiences is realizing that age steals many of the abilities and interests once enjoyed. The good news is that the problems I encounter as the years pass are manageable. The joys I experience continue to accumulate. Now deep into my December, as countless wonderful memories drift in, I pick my roses, contentedly.
My mind is a mystery to me. In it is stored a library of miscellaneous facts, stories, ideas, and emotions. Anything which flows past its grasping reach is gathered in, filed, and kept for use as required!
Walking across the front lobby, I glance out the front door and windows and stop and gasp. There, spread before me, is a scene beautiful beyond description. Framing the far side of our covered drive-in entrance, there is a flower bed. It features a pair of unusual hydrangea bushes, with huge white blossoms.
Photo by Liz Koerner
I know they are there. I know they are beautiful, but they hardly register anymore. My glance is usually focused on which taxi is waiting to discharge its customer, or the mailman with the day’s mail. What jarred me awake today? What caused my mind to dig in its files, and come up with the first line of a hymn I sang eighty-four years ago – “Open My Eyes That I May See”?
This is an interesting day. So quiet and calm, the sunlight that filters through the surrounding foliage lights up the hydrangea bushes, and the light breeze makes them dance. Today those blossoms might as well be saying, “Look at me, look at me.”
I think to myself that there is no denying that I have been looking at those hydrangeas without really seeing them. How much pleasure and appreciation I missed with this lack of awareness.
Photo by Liz Koerner
My thanks to Liz Koerner, Vancouver artist, for these photos.
“Do you need help?”
His voice rings out, jarring me out of my concentration. The path is steep, and my walker’s basket loaded. I cling to the railing with one hand and my walker with the other, picking my way toward the pathway below.
“Hang on, I’m coming.”
The young man is not waiting for a reply from me. He parks his bike and is sprinting up the path. Sizing up the situation, he decides what to do. Continue reading
A few days ago I knew very little about the Philippines. If asked, I would have said it was a group of islands in the South Asian seas, and the home of very nice people, if the staff in my seniors’ residence are anything to go by! But that was a few days ago . . .
How It All Started
Marnelli is serving our table. She is a small, cheerful, friendly individual who moves quickly. I make a casual query about the Philippines.
“Which of those many islands is your home, Marnelli?”
She tries to answer. Seeing that we do not understand she laughs and says, “I’ll be back.” Continue reading
A Vignette of Spring Flowers and Warm Breezes
Winters are not severe here in Vancouver, but the season is obvious: cool, lots of rain, and more dull days than anyone wants. Sunny days are greeted with joy, and people pour out to enjoy walks. My walking partner says wistfully, “How I wish this break was really the beginning of spring, but it’s much too early. We won’t see spring for another month.”
Her estimation makes sense. She hit the average time the warm weather arrives here–but not this year. To our surprise and pleasure, mixed with feelings of confusion, spring really is beginning. Continue reading
The sixth presentation in this series.
In the summer of 1937 the Thompson family is still on the farm, but they are busily packing up for a big move to temporary rental accommodation in Calgary. Belle and Will are both determined that their two daughters, Doris and Marjorie, get good educations. While Marjorie finishes her Grade 8 at the one-room country school, Doris takes as much of Grade 9 as is available by correspondence.
Will commutes back and forth as the farm work permits. He also oversees the building of a new home. Continue reading