Thursday, August 20, 2009

Journal of Living Lady #354b

Nancy White Kelly

Huh? What did you say?

The dog needs braces? The dog is a racist? The dog likes to race.


Ever had a similar dialog with your spouse?

Buddy’s hearing loss over the last few years has gotten progressively worse. It passed the funny stage long ago. Spousal frustration is more like it, especially when my lovable, but stubborn husband won’t wear his hearing aids.

Sometimes Buddy nods when I am speaking to him, pretending to hear but knowing better than to ask what I said the third time. My patience wears thin with Buddy when he doesn’t cooperate by wearing those hearing devices that he just had to have.

Three years ago Buddy went on a tangent about wanting hearing aids. I didn’t doubt that he needed them. But I know my man. We’d buy those expensive ear plugs and in no time the volume-enhancing gadgets would end up in the bureau drawer.

Buddy promised that he would wear them faithfully. Though it was a lot of money for us retirees, I gave in. It might save our other-wise stable and happy marriage.

Buddy got the hearing aids. He hated them from the start. He said that they didn’t fit right and he had difficulty adjusting the tiny knobs. One Sunday, in the midst of the pastor’s sermon, the annoying aids repeatedly screamed worse than a high-pitched little girl.

Sure enough. Just as I predicted, the hearing aids stayed in Buddy’s underwear drawer most of the time. Thereafter, Buddy insisted that I mumbled. I complained that he wasn’t listening. Our daily communication suffered.

Finally I consented to his getting a better set of hearing aids. It took a few weeks, but they finally arrived. He liked them. I liked them.

Then I suddenly noticed the incessant “huhs” again. He meekly admitted that he had lost the new pair. To add insult to grief, he had also misplaced his cell phone.

The hunt began. We checked anywhere he might have stuck the little black pouch that housed the hearing aids and for the little blue case that housed his cell phone. No success.

This usually jovial husband of mine became depressed. No cell phone. No hearing aids. For a non-stop, talkative man like my Buddy, life was intolerable.

Last week the hearing specialist fitted Buddy with hearing aids, pair 3. They are exactly like the second pair. For now, Buddy is a happy camper. I am a happy spouse who again enjoys hearing humor.

During a January revival an evangelist asked the people in line what they needed. One man's request was for his hearing. The evangelist put his hand on the man’s ear, prayed for him and then asked him, "How's your hearing?"

The man replied, "I don't know. It's not until next Tuesday.”

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Journal of a Living Lady #354

Nancy White Kelly

The saddest part of living in a retirement area is seeing your older friends grow even older. Fifteen years ago we moved from the southern suburbs of Atlanta to the north Georgia mountains. Except for a work acquaintance, we knew nobody.

In the ensuing years, new acquaintances evolved into dear friends. We have shared meals, laughed, cried, traveled, and worshipped with our substitute family.

Lately, we have noticed that our inventory of cherished friends is dwindling. If mortuaries offered frequent funeral miles, we would have enough for a trip somewhere far away.

Old age and death fascinate me. I suppose that is because I have managed to postpone the dying part thanks to or in spite of doctors. Wish I had a remedy for taxes. Unfortunately one must die to escape them. That is a lose-win situation.

Recently an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in Nebraska. It was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found a poem he had penned. It spoke volumes to me and deserves to be shared.


What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you'd try!”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a sock or a shoe?

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap.
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide and secure a happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me. My wife is now dead.
I look at the future and shudder with dread..
For my young are all rearing kids of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles. Grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young guy still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys. I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living life o’er again.

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people. Open and see.
Not a crabby old man. Look closer. See ME!!

Readers, I am off to the nursing home. Will you come too?