Posts Tagged ‘nursing home’

I have been visiting a nursing home each day in a nearby town. Just before Thanksgiving, in support of the residents, there were tables lined with many theme-styled gift baskets/hampers. Sports, pets, wines, spas, games and lottery were some of the themes. A person could buy tickets and then put their stubs in a tin can associated with the basket. The staff would pull the winning tickets on December 16th.

So, I thought I’d show my support. Bought a string of tickets and plunked them down in the various tins. Baskets that appealed to me.

Well, December 16th rolls around and I am making my daily visit. The receptionist sees me and exclaims, “Mary, you won!”

“TWO baskets!”

Funny, it just happened to be one of those days. God must have thought I needed a little pick-me-up.

One was a “Pot of Gold.”It had fifty scratch-off lottery tickets.

The other was a “Family Games” hamper.

I brought them home and under the Christmas tree they went. Thought it would be fun to have my adult children open them on December 25th.

Christmas morning arrives. After exchanging gifts, we all furiously scratched the fifty tickets. Some small winnings here and there. No big jackpots.

No one seemed interested in the “Family Games” basket so I opened it later in the day.

Table tennis, whiffle balls and more!

Wait, one box contained a juggling kit. Something new to learn! To hell with the on-line Latin course!

Donum cape! Seize the gift!

But what’s wrong with the following photo?

I cannot lie. The word “video” on the box didn’t capture my attention. Too intent on the contents.

I opened the box and noticed a few things not quite right. The leathery balls in bright, primary colors seemed to almost flake in my hands. I quickly put them back in the box before they disintegrated. There are already too many messes to clean in the house.

The other thing was that there was a musty smell coming from the box.

There was also a video. A video??? It’s been ages since we have had a VCR in this home.

So, yes, this particular box in the basket was quite dated.

Was I disappointed? No. I thought it was funny.

I totally understand how this happened. These were all gift baskets donated by friends and families of nursing home residents. While some folks went out and purchased items I am quite certain a few donors looked around their houses, attics and garages to happily contribute/compile a theme basket.

There are some lessons here.

If you are hanging on to something?

Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!

It does not even have to be a material, physical thing.

Give your gifts while they are fresh. Current. Useful. While you are fresh. Current. Useful.

Do not save your gift giving for a rainy day. Or a rainy year. Or a rainy decade.

It might not serve any purpose.

There is no time like the present. A purpose driven present.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year! A purpose driven 2023!

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As the young folks say, “It’s been a minute.”

This means that it’s been an extended period of time. And I haven’t written anything since July!

It wasn’t malaise. Although this country (world) has truly been on some kind of a roller coaster! Politics aside for the moment.

I hesitate to blame it on writer’s block.

Some type of low grade depression?

Maybe. My friend Karla figures most of us are experiencing a touch of that in the past year.

Anyway, whatever it was, today is the day.

This past Wednesday I was very busy. Three things that day had me thinking profoundly.

They are three very different stories and deserve their own space. So, another time!

But I was thinking about the fragility of life. One day someone is here and then they are not.

A childhood friend and I were messaging the next day. We had a mutual friend who had died suddenly Tuesday/Wednesday at the young age of fifty. Someone I worked with many years ago and one of her high school friends.

We chatted about life, families, acceptance, etc.

S. works at a nursing home and told me about a recent interaction.

One day, she sees a resident just wheeling around in his chair. Eyes closed.

Asks him, “J., buddy, what’s up with your eyes closed??”

He replied, “I’m exhausted but I am not sure how many days I have left on earth so I can’t spend them in bed.”

Bang. There it is.

She told me that he has arthritis and is in pain 100% of the time.

Also told me he smiles 100% of the time.

None of us know how many days we have left on earth.

If we wake up in the morning we are blessed with a choice.

How do we want to spend this day? This gift?

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I was at an old folks’ home the other day in Cheras, Malaysia. Playing Bingo. Well, I wasn’t playing. I was just helping them find their numbers.

What I observed during the hour is that they all had their own thing going on. Like snowflakes. Each one unique.

The Bingo chips were buttons. We distribute them from a huge tub of brightly colored buttons.

Some of the residents used only one colored button while playing. Others used only two colors. Some used all of the colors. Like a rainbow or a bag of skittles.

You could tell some were really into the winning. And eager to start the next game if they didn’t win last round.

Some didn’t say a word and gazed intently at their cards just waiting to hear the next number and plop the button down.

One lady kept filling her entire card up and saying she was all done.

Some would blurt out the number they were waiting on as if that would make it happen. I was like, “Hey, we call the numbers here! Not you!” Totally kidding with them.

A few were there, playing away, but with a bit of chit-chat with their friends.

And some were just there. Not really engaged in anything at all.

What I realized was that no matter how old we are we still retain our core personality. Sure, events affect us. Illness and tragedy will impact us. Roles and circumstance also leave their mark.

But, as Led Zeppelin once sang, “The Song Remains the Same.”

So, this means that the grumpy old man was a grumpy young man. That sweet old lady was a sweet young lady. That cantankerous coot was a cantankerous young fellow. The dirty old man was a dirty young man. The wacky old woman who will say anything? Probably did it all her life. The elder gentleman was a young gentleman.

The little ladies who were chatting at the table? Most likely they were always nattering on like a bunch of yentas. The guy who used the same colored buttons probably always liked consistency or order. The ones who used an array of colors probably always had a thing for variety. The ones that were yelling out numbers have been impatient since day one! Folks that were itching to get on to the next game were probably the ones who couldn’t sit still as a young person.

Our personalities don’t change.

The song remains the absolute same.

How are they going to describe you in your old age?

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