visiting the happy

Last Friday (wow, already a week ago?!), my father and I did his morning circuit, which consists of going to his deli to pick up food for Shabbat and then to the bakery. Of course, he could buy his challah at the deli, but he is a people person, and he has to go see his people at each place.

Me? I find it much easier to make all the food myself, rather than have to deal with people. Probably faster, even. Much cheaper, too, but that’s not his issue, thankfully.

I recall going with my mother to the bakery and waiting for her to look over all the items and then always to pick the same things, probably, every week. It’s something about the hunt, perhaps. I think it skipped me.

But then we had some time before meeting up with my very very busy daughter, so he asked if I wanted to go visit my aunt. Of course!

This is my mother’s sister-in-law. She and my father are the only ones left from that generation. Her daughter lives in LA, so as it became clear that she should be in some kind of assisted living set-up, my cousin arranged for her mother to move there from Florida.

The place that they chose (or that was chosen for her) is a very lovely place; probably very much on the expensive side. All the people who work there seem to be very happy; the residents? As much as they can be.

My aunt was sitting on a sofa in the common area, doing her crossword puzzles, waiting to go to lunch. She was very openly moved to see me, although she claims that she would never have recognized me if I weren’t with my father.

She actually said that a few times, but I didn’t challenge her on that about what she actually meant.

The crossword puzzle was actually in a book of puzzles from the New Yorker. Someone in the home (facilities? What’s the correct word to use here?) gave it to her and she’s made it her bible. That was her word for it. She carries it everywhere, and writes in ink. If she doesn’t know something, she goes back to it another day. Not bad at all.

Why is she there? I’m not sure what her limitation is. She complained about some of the other residents who are restricted by their walkers and wheelchairs and frowns on their faces. I’m not sure why she had this reaction. But she illustrated that she is not like them. She stood up and leaned on my father’s shoulder and kicked up her leg, like in a can-can line.

My father’s question was why did she need to lean on him?

But the real kicker (sorry) was how she was praising the facilities and her daughter and her husband.

“They take care of everything for me. I don’t have to worry about a thing. I only take one pill a day, and when that is finished, my son-in-law comes and brings me a refill. It’s Zoloft. I don’t know what it is, but they think I should take it and so I listen to them.”

Okay, happy is as happy is given.

It became very clear that she was eager to go to lunch, perhaps the highlight of the day, so we said our goodbyes. After our lunch, we also went to LACMA to quickly view the Calder exhibit. Amazing. I couldn’t take any photos, even if my camera were not on the quiet mode, so I’ll direct you over to their site here. Be sure to check out the Flickr account here in lieu of my photos.

So what do my aunt and Calder have to do with each other?

Remember to kick up your heels and move.





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