Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Loss for Words

Waiting for the ladies

Having worked in the nursing home industry for nearly 20 years, I am no stranger to elderly ladies. I find them to be an incredible source of fun. Charley has not always shared my sentiments. And with good reason. When he was little we went to a new church. Not knowing anyone was in itself a challenge, but there happened to be a lady (I'm guessing around 90 years old). She was a very sweet lady, and was excited about meeting  Charley. Poor lady. Who could have known?

Charley was headed up the aisle, and there she came, from the other direction in her wheelchair. The two came face to face. That was okay. He started to say hi, but she reached out to shake hands with him.

All of a sudden, his eyes widened, and he screamed "Bwood!" At that, he bolted and ran from the sanctuary.

The lady looked at me. "I have no idea what just happened," she said.

But I did. She had long bony fingers and extra long fingernails painted with bright red nail polish.

"He thinks your fingernail Polish is blood," I said. "I'm so sorry."

At that, she burst out laughing. “Imagine that,” she said. “I’m bleeding and didn’t even know it.”

I hate to admit this, but as the Pastor’s wife if there was ever a time I had good reason to lose my sense of humor, this was it. The very thought that he would even think of offending a little old lady with his honesty. Turned out, I was more mortified than she was.

After that, Charley was a bit leery of elderly people. In fact, he wouldn't have much to do with them. The good news is, that was a long time ago. Now when the older ladies at church speak to him he tends to speak back, thank you, Jesus.

That's why I was a little concerned yesterday. We were to pick up an older lady and her daughter (who happens to have special needs), and give them a ride to church. I secretly hoped he wouldn’t be rude and hurt their feelings. All it would take would be some inappropriate comment. He better not, that’s all I could say

On the downside, he pitched a fit. Why? It had nothing to do with that lady or her daughter, rather it interfered with his plans to get to church and flirt with Tiffanie. How dare me take a detour.  I gave him my best scowl and drove right past the church. “You’ll just have to wait. It won’t kill you.”

“Yes I are,” he said.

“No it won’t.”

“Wash you attitude, Mommy.”

“You watch YOUR attitude, son."

That’s what arguing sounds like in our family. Then, when fussing doesn't work, we employ the silent treatment. So, we drove to the ladies house in silence. Stealing glances at each other, quickly turning our heads if the other spotted us looking, smirking, hanging on every silent glare.

On the upside, they didn’t have to witness this little exchange. Also on the upside, it was short-lived. When we pulled up at the lady’s house, he got out of the car and went to the door to get them.  Joann came out first, and got in the car. Her mother wasn’t so forthcoming.

In fact, we sat there a while and waited. And, waited. I didn’t mind. After all, sometimes people need a few extra minutes, but I could see him shuffling from foot to foot on the sidewalk. “Impatient buzzard,” I mumbled under my breath. “If he says one rude word to that lady, why, I’m gonna give  him a piece of my mind. I'm gonna give him a good reaming out. I'm gonna...”

And then, oh me of little faith, I found myself at a loss for words. Not only did he pull an attitude switch on me, he ran back to the car and opened the car door, peered in at Joann, and said, “You Mom comin’.”

Back he trotted, half-way up the sidewalk. Shuffling some more, then running back to the car again.“You  Mom comin’, I pwomise.”

Joann nodded at him.

Back to the sidewalk again. More shuffling.

“You Mom be here wight away.”

I couldn’t help it, he was so sweet I cried right there. He turned to me. “No cwyeen, Mommy. Dwy up.” Of course, this made me laugh.

And then, there she was, out the house and down the sidewalk, headed to the car.

And there he was, opening the car door, making sure she got in okay. So mannerly. So manly. This man, who fussed about long bony painted fingers so many years ago. Today, his fingers wrapped around the door handle as he opened and shut it for the lady. Then he slid into the front seat and winked at me, like, “I got this.”

He sure did.

No words needed.

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