Friday, June 13, 2008

Today was a GOOD Day!

Today really WAS a good day. Yesterday, in addition to errands, Mam-ma had an appointment late morning with her local physician... a "3-week follow-up" visit. That went fine - pat on the hand and come back in 3 months - and I dropped her off at home to have lunch and a little rest before going to the beauty shop at 2:00 for a hair permanent. It took longer than expected, and we were nearly 4:30 getting her home, and Mam-ma was worn out and cranky! I told her to rest, because today we had to travel to Searcy (30 miles away) for a pacemaker check at the cardiologist's.

I arrived a little before 9 a.m. to get my grandmother, and we drove to Searcy. Our visit was pleasant, and she looked great in a pair of light blue slacks, a soft peach-colored t-shirt, and a jacket in a checkered plaid of pastel blue/peach/white. She had on nice "gold" jewelry I had given her and her white Keds tennis shoes, and she looked really sharp - certainly not 95 years old!

We arrived early for our appointment, and the receptionist took our information and became flustered. Seems there was a change at the cardiologist's office, and they no longer do pacemaker checks on Fridays, and someone was supposed to contact us, but that didn't happen. I explained we had driven over 30 miles for the appointment, and my grandmother added, "And gas is $4.00 a gallon!" The girl scrambled and called a technician who happened to be nearby. Bottom line: the test was done, and we were actually out of the clinic two minutes after our scheduled 10:15 a.m. appointment! But we will call ahead next time and make sure everything is as it should be!

We went on to shop for fabric. I want to make new draperies for our bedroom, and Mam-ma is a master seamstress. She doesn't sew much any more, but she still knows what she is doing in that department, so I value her advice. She helped me select a great fabric and coordinating lining material, and then she helped me match up just the right shades of thread. Then we went to Wal-Mart! Don't all roads lead to Wal-Mart?!

Mam-ma pushed a cart as I shopped for hardware for hanging the new curtain, and then we picked out a wedding shower card she needed and she bought some candy. And then she treated me to lunch at Dixie Café. It was delicious. On the way home, we stopped at a couple of yard sales. One sale was at a home that had belonged to my great-grandparents - Mam-ma's inlaws - and she enjoyed being back on "the old home place" and visiting with the daughters of the latest owner, who passed away recently. Mam-ma knew these ladies, and they even shared some "forget-me-nots" from a planter in the front yard with her. Mam-ma said it would be a way to remember their mother, Emma.

Mam-ma didn't have many complaints today. She looked well and seemed far younger than 95. She was truly a lot of fun, and it WAS a GOOD day.

Yesterday, while Mam-ma got her permanent, I went to one of the local nursing homes to visit my great-aunt Mary Louise and a dear friend of our family, Mrs. Charlsie Little, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this spring. I had promised Mrs. Charlsie a piano recital for her birthday. Her daughter-in-law was my piano teacher until I married, and I knew that Mrs. Charlsie would appreciate a piano recital about as much as anyone. That was probably one of the most rewarding hours I have spent in a long time. I watched Mrs. Charlsie's face as I played... she was engrossed in the music - moving and swaying to the rhythms, and when a hymn was the theme, she sang along. I asked if she would like to hear "Clair de Lune," and she said "YES!" so I played for her. She was lost in the melody and swaying again. Others came to the dining room to enjoy the concert, and one lady would yell when I played, "That's too loud! She plays too loud." When the volume would dip, she would comment, "That's better!"

When I finished playing the songs I had prepared, I decided that maybe a few hymns and a "sing-along" would be fun for them, so I started playing a few. It was amazing. People who had been sitting slumped and lifeless suddenly sat up, sprang to life and began singing! Hymns are a common denominator, and when the mind forgets many other things, it still recalls choruses of old familiar hymns, apparently. We sang and sang!

My great-aunt, who is nearly 87, recognized Mrs. Charlsie as one of her school teachers. She moved closer to her to visit, and she related that a boy in her class had padded his pants with books to avoid the discomfort of a paddling! She couldn't recall his name, and neither could her teacher, but my aunt, who is not nearly as clear-headed as Mrs. Charlsie, repeated this same two thoughts over and over and over - as much as 9 or 12 times! It got really sad and frustrating, but she was totally oblivious. I am quite sure she never did understand who I was, though I explained several times that she was my grandmother's sister - and I was her great-niece. I commented later that I gained a new appreciation for how "with it" my grandmother is still at 95 years of age. Her friend Charlsie, just five years older, cannot see and is unable to live alone and care for herself, and Mary Louise has already "gone around the bend" apparently. I don't know how my Mam-ma will be at 100, if she lives that long, but today it looked like she might still be doing fairly well!

I realize that everything is relative - and precarious. I arrived home to the news that Tim Russert had fallen dead at age 58. But I am grateful for this good day with my grandmother. I know that each one is different - and who knows how tomorrow will be - so I will focus on the GOOD DAY today and be glad for that for now!