Friday, March 1, 2013

Elizabeth

Wet (Canned) cat food example (Fish flakes in ...
Wet (Canned) cat food example (Fish flakes in jelly) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I dropped my 97 year old aunt off at the senior's

residence where she lives.

Just as I was leaving a little old lady with a walker

shuffled into my line of vision.

 

"Excuse me," she said,

"Do you know where I can buy some cat food?"

She was so terribly bent over that she had to twist

her head to look up at me.

 

I offered to take her to the store but you

mustn't think it was like Mother Theresa

eager to wait on the dying lepers.

In truth it was more like mean old

Eddie Haskell agreeing to drag the Beave

someplace for Wally.

 

Anyway I bundled her into the spy car and we

sped off to the little strip mall two blocks away.

I managed to get 'Elizabeth' out of the car and

opened her walker for her.

 

We started off but almost immediately she

stopped and looked down at herself.

 

"Double-u-tee-eff?" I wondered as I watched

her pull off her gloves on such a cold sleety day.

She carefully laid them on her walker and

then unzipped her long purple winter coat. 

 

I was in a bit of a hurry, but after so many years of

looking after my old Dad, I've learned that there is

no rushing the elderly.

 

I mean you can try it, but you'll be sorry.

 

They guard the little dignity they have left the

way the cherubim with the flaming sword guards


 

So I looked on as she let go of her walker with

both hands and yanked her droopy pants up.

Then she slowly zipped the coat and

pulled her gloves back on.

 

It took a few more of these pit stops but  

eventually we reached the store.

 

***

 

I was at the counter fondling an interesting

green squishy thing and fingering all of the candy

I wasn't going to buy when it occurred to me that

she was taking a long time to locate the tinned

cat food.

 

"Do you know where the mumble mumble are?"

she said when I found her.

 

"Pardon?"  I bent down to try to hear better.

She raised her voice, "Do you know where the

mumble mumble are?"

 

"I'm sorry, Elizabeth," I said, "I just can't catch what

it is that you are looking for."

 

"MENSTRAL PADS! 
DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE MENSTRAL PADS ARE?"

 

Jeesh!

She was 85 and bent over with arthritis but her lungs

were great!

 

And her reproductive system was apparently ageless.

 

"Are you sure you don't want something for..."  I waved

my hand trying to think of a tactful way to suggest what

I suspected was her real problem.

 

She shook her head with a frown.

So I sighed and we shuffled off to the feminine hygiene

department where she bought a 12 pack of maxis.

 

With wings.

 

Happy now, she twisted her head up to look at me.

"You can go now, dear" she said.  

"I don't want to be a bother so I'll walk home by myself."

 

Right.

And I could kick a few puppies on the way.

 

***

 

At the door to her building we waved at each other

through the glass and I saw that a bunch of her

old lady friends was eagerly waiting for her.

Each one bent over a walker.

 

"Please tell me she isn't bringing home supper,"

I prayed as I drove away

more fearful of the future than I had been a few hours ago.

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9 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hmmm, I'm wondering. I don't need to buy either at the moment, but are menstrual pads cheaper than incontinent products? Perhaps that explains it. (Of course, one should not be used for the other but, like cat food for tinned meat, sometimes economy dictates).

I fear poverty in old age too. Along with dementia and abuse. But what you gonna do, eh?

The Episcopagan said...

Yeah, maybe there is a diff in the price. That never occurred to me. Yes old age looks like a scary place at times, sigh.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Oh my goodness....I loved this...and laughed heartily through it. Not that I'm laughing at the elderly, far from it! But this was funny.

Debra makes a very good point, and I wonder about that, too. Some elderly folks are forced to make ends meet in the most unusual, and sometimes most horrible, ways.

We are all going headed that way, and we don't know what's up ahead. It can be quite scary, indeed.

Victoria said...

Hello Francie...totally loved this story..your are an amazing writer..you truly bring every thing to life..I totally enjoyed reading this....many visuals popped into my mind along the way ha ha! Brilliant writing..you rock..
What a sweet lady and so lovely you helped her out.
Victoria

Fundy Blue said...

How kind of you to help the 97 year old woman, Francie! You have a way with words! I worry about the future and what it might bring. But, one day at a time! I try to be grateful for every wonderful day I have. I've saved and saved, so hopefully I won't be buying cat food or pads! Have a good evening!

Doug Jamieson said...

The definition of "elderly" keeps shifting as we get older, doesn't it.

When I was 40, 70 seemed elderly. Now that I am there, 90 sounds elderly.

Scary to see our futures in the lives of those older than us.

Pandorah's Box said...

As heartbreaking as this post COULD be, I take humour in the fact that once I DO get to be that age, and that bent over, I will also STILL be buying maxi pads (only they will cost an arm and leg more then they already do), and I will pee freely and openly without having to get up from my chair. FREELY!!!

momto8 said...

thank you for taking her. You have more Mother Teresa in you than you realize.

Introverted Art said...

oh Francie, this was no good... I was drooling at the sight of cat food!!!! I mean, what human had watery mouth at the sight of cat food?????!!!!