Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Loonville Vingette 6 = Independent Elderly

Directly across the street from us lived Mrs. Smith. She was ninety-two years old, and as the cliche says, spry as a spring chicken. I had cultivated a friendship with her since she was a very interesting lady and seemed to have very few visitors. She would sit on her porch of an evening, gently rocking in the swing. I would saunter across the street and sit on the step and visit with her. But our relationship had gotten off to a rocky start.

This occured when, one Saturday as I watched her pushing her old reel-type mower across the front yard, I thought to do the Boy Scout thing, you know, the good deed. I walked over. She stopped. I reached for the machine handle, saying, "Let me give you a hand with that." Mrs. Smith jerked the handle away from me and snarled, "Look, Sonny. I'm perfectly able to take care of myself and my yard. I'm old, but I ain't dead yet." I allowed that I was sorry, only trying to be a good neighbor. She apologetically said, "I'm sorry, too. But if I stop moving, I'll lock up and maybe never get started again."

One evening, I confided in her that Dr. Malton seemed to me to be even more arrogant than the average sawbones. "Don't you give him no nevermind. I recollect that whippersnapper when he was nothin' mor'n a snot-nosed ragamuffin, runnin' 'round annoying all the neighbors. He ain't no better'n he oughta be."

Sadly, several years later, Mrs. Smith, now well past 95, said to me one day, "I just wish I could die." "Oh," I retorted, "you don't mean that." "Yes," she assured me. " I most certainly do. I've lived way too long. If you ever get to be this old, you'll understand."

It was not long before her wish came true.

© 2010 David W. Lacy


Lin said...

I get that. And I wonder how many other old folks in nursing homes and in hospitals feel the same way? I don't like how medicine intervenes to keep old bodies going, but the thought of stopping it all horrifies people.

I like your picture today--I remember that from long ago.

Secondary Roads said...

I've known a few of the Mrs Smith variety. Stubborn, independent and brutally frank about everything--especially opinions. Colorful folk that brighten the often-dull patchwork quilt that comprises our life.

Sharkbytes said...

Boy oh boy, do I hate to have things grabbed out of my hands by someone who wants to "help." Hooray for Mrs. Smith

vanilla said...

Lin, I have encountered this phenomenon numerous times over the years. A while back, we visited a beloved Aunt in a nursing home. The only words she said during our visit were, "I wanna die." Over and over and... Sad.

Yes, Chuck, some "oldsters" get pretty 's,i and b f' about everything; and good for them.

Sharkbytes, so do we see you getting "that way" too? ;)