Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Birthday Party at 102?

Another year has come and gone.  Today we celebrated the 102nd birthday of my grandmother's friend since childhood... Lois Magness Taylor.  Mrs. Taylor's daughter and son-in-law and other family members threw a celebratory buffet lunch party in her honor at their RV resort on the river, Wagon Circle RV Park.  Mrs. Lois' birthday was actually July 15th. As they have done for a number of years now, the family invited my grandmother to attend as a special guest.  Of course, she was eager to go... and I was glad to take her.

We got there a little early, so that Mam-ma could sit with Lois and visit.  They had a grand time and seemed to have plenty to talk about for a little better than two hours.  Later, Mam-ma remarked that she didn't get to visit with many people because she sat with Lois the whole time.  I pointed out to her that every person in the room came by to speak to her and Lois, so in actuality, she probably got to visit with more people!

I had to laugh... Mam-ma is always concerned about the men in the group being taken care of... and today, Mrs. Lois was just like her.  Before the meal was served, she called me over and gestured toward a group of men sitting alongside a table and said, "When are they going to turn those men loose on that food?"  I told her the ladies were still preparing the meal and getting it to the buffet table, and that seemed to satisfy her.  But I had to laugh that... at 102... she was still concerned that the "menfolk" were not going to be fed!

The men (and one woman) Ms. Lois wanted fed!
Ms. Lois and her daughter, Ann, with Mam-ma Polly
The party was lovely, and Mam-ma was treated like royalty.  There was an abundance of food prepared by Mrs. Lois' daughter, Ann, other family members, and members of Ann's Sunday School Class, some of whom were there to share in the party - and help in the kitchen.  There was fried chicken, smoked ribs, all manner of vegetables and side dishes, chips, dip, rolls, garlic bread, and more.
Mrs. Lois had a beautiful birthday cake, and someone led the singing of "Happy Birthday."  There were other desserts, also, as well as Cave City watermelon - a "delicacy" in these parts!  Nobody left hungry this day!

Mam-ma cried as she kissed Lois "good-bye" - and I know they both wonder if they will see each other again next year.  Something tells me they just might!

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I was quite pleased to hear Mam-ma tell more than one person today how wonderful her new living arrangements are at the ALF.  She told several how she had so much to do there and enjoyed the people.  AND... she said more than once that the food was wonderful!  Mam-ma has been telling me that her clothing is too tight - that she has gained weight.  I told her we would take a look at her pants and see if maybe it was time to buy some new ones.  So I measured her - waist, tummy, inseam - and when we returned from the party, I took a look at the clothes in her closet.

Every time I would pull out a pair of pants and ask, "Are these too tight?" she would reply, "No, those are okay."  We finally came up with one pair of pants that was too small and one blouse that she didn't care for... and I surmised that her real problem was that she had her closet in a mess and couldn't determine what she did have.  I had her sit down in one of her comfy chairs while I took virtually everything out of her closet and sorted things.  I arranged all of her pants together, by color... then all of her blouses together by color... and I separated all of her jackets, "house dresses" and more.  When I was finished, I counted 14 pair of pants, and probably 2 dozen blouses.  And that didn't count the clothing in her laundry hamper!  I told her I didn't see any need to purchase new clothing!

This brings me to my hint for today.  My grandmother has always been a neat and orderly person.  Her drawers have always contained neatly folded items... from socks and underwear to pajamas and dish towels.  She has always been quite meticulous about this.  However, her closet was a royal disaster today.  Once I got the empty hangers out and rearranged the clothing, she could see that she had quite a nice wardrobe... and plenty of space.  However, I don't figure she will be able to keep her closet in this shape for long.

So I am making a mental note to reorganize her closet for her about once every month or two.  It will help us both.  I can assess items that have a stain she didn't notice or need mending... and it will reassure her that she has plenty of nice outfits for each day of the week.  I don't want to intrude on her privacy... or make her think I feel she is incapable of managing her clothing.  But I think I can do this in such a way that she won't get this impression... maybe under the guise of returning some of her nicer blouses she likes for me to launder - or rearranging to bring a different "season" of clothing to the forefront.

As our seniors age, they sometimes lose the ability to maintain order... yet order helps their day go a little bit smoother.  This is just one small way we can help keep them in routine... and happy.  And that makes the day go better for all of us!

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