Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Retirement Home Friends

We visited a nearby retirement home recently.

I love to see the cheerful looks on the residents' faces when they see young children walk through the door. (Joe and I are chopped liver at this point.)

Mikey perked up when this gentleman mentioned he used to fly B24 bombers in WWII. He told Mikey that they used to call the plane a "flying coffin" because the only exit was in the rear of the plane making it difficult to get out of in case of an emergency.

We're glad he can now laugh about it.

We're also glad to see that he and his wife still had a sense of humor after spending the evening at the E.R. after she fell out of bed and broke her arm in two places.

We've known this next gentleman for about four years now.

He's Yogi Berra's first cousin--really. At 95, Mr. Berra is as social as can be and invites our youngest to celebrate their November birthdays together. He loves to talk about the old farm back in St. Louis.

The kids always get a piece of fruit from his wheelchair stash.

It was one banana and three oranges this time! And I think his fruity gifts are very sweet.

Reminds me of when I worked as an elderly outreach volunteer in Appalachia. I rarely left a home without something--zucchini, green beans, even an owl statue once. Sweet.

We love to hear stories of the past from these residents.
We've met a widow whose husband was stranded on a South Pacific Island during the war.

We met a blind man who used to tune all of the concert pianos at the University of Texas.

We've met a former dancer, learned some Cajun traditions, heard the story of how a former nurse met her neurosurgeon husband on the job.

We've pet their cats and dogs, seen their frog figurine collections, looked through albums of their family photos, shared in their stories of celebration as well as tragedy...and have witnessed the end of some lives.

We have been enriched by it all, and the kids pray for these people and look forward to our visits.

One thing still has yet to be accomplished.

They haven't had the chance to drive one of these.

On the way out, Jimmer spotted one and said, "That electric chair over there looks too enticing. I wish I could hop on and go for a ride!"

I love his term, electric chair!

Luckily, we made it out before his willful resistance gave out! And maybe with luck, he'll eventually get the chance to pilot one.

He's already had a foot race against one older church friend who was driving full-tilt on his speedy electric wheelchair.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I just LOVE it that you guys do this. This is something I've always wanted to do. I need to find a way to get plugged in.