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Four Quick True Stories: Planning ahead and aging

July 2, 2021

Another Way for week of June 25, 2021

Four Quick True Stories

Granddad and two boys.

I was quite amused—and pleased, if the truth be known. We were taking care of two of our grandsons for a couple days and their mother had left some ideas for activities for us to enjoy. She’s also quite an avid planner, with a job which entails thinking through things ahead of time, making lists, schedules, and then following through.

The boys and my husband and I had decided that on the first day, we would go do one of their very favorite things: visit a nearby Petsmart store where they loved watching the cats, dogs (in for grooming), fish and snakes in tanks, birds in cages, and other small creatures. We also needed to buy and eat lunch somewhere, preferably in a park with a playground.

The four-year-old (almost five) sat me down and said “You need a plan.” I almost coughed and swallowed my deep smile. Oh this little boy was his mother’s son, for sure.

I asked “What should the plan be?”

Owen said, “Well, let’s first do lunch, and then go to the pet store.”

Again I almost choked. It sounded like an excellent plan to me. He was obviously saving what he thought would be the best for last. That always suits me fine!

***

A guy from our church ran into us (not literally) in a parking lot. We were talking about aging and our parents.

Our friend said he recently needed to hide the keys for his dad’s vehicle. His dad is in his upper 90s, and of great mind, but there were increasing stories floating around about his dad’s driving. Reflecting, this son said, “I’m not sure if it’s better to have your right mind as you get older, or if it’s better to be sorta confused and not know what’s going on,” he paused. “Then you don’t know who to be mad at. My dad is mad at me and not my sisters for taking away his keys.” 

***

Along the same lines regarding aging, another church friend was reflecting on the death of a longtime church member. The man had died unexpectedly overnight and we found out right at the close of our morning worship. Bill, in his mid-90s, told us his own doctors were encouraging him to check out an issue with his heart. Bill said reflectively, “I’m thinking that all of us are going to go through this someday. I mean, I’ve got a tumor in my brain, cancer on my scalp, cancer on my back. I’m just not sure at this stage whether I should worry about my ticker.”

***

Our friend Charles, lying on his bed at the nursing home, was dying. I watched his breathing, somewhat labored, his heart visibly beating in his tightly drawn chest. Charles had always been thin but durable, his small size and frozen knee making him appear weaker than he was. His knee had a steel rod in it, a procedure more common longer ago before knee replacement surgeries were as common as they are today. At any rate, at age 92, his heart had proved to be incredibly strong, surviving episodes of palpitations, not being able to breathe well, falls, setbacks: a hard physical life. But now he was approaching the end. I felt honored to sit with him for a spell. We will never forget him and his deep friendship. I know he is now in a better place.

***

Four true stories and memories (in my mind), from opposite ends of life. Whatever happens this summer, whether vacationing, working, or spending time with your children, grandchildren, or friends, take time to jot down a quick story or quip you hear. You’ll grow to treasure these quotes and stories as much as the photos that stuff your phone. Whatever media you use to preserve stories and memories, just get it done.

Write down the memories, before they are too distant to remember.

***

What is a strong memory, quote, or incident from this summer? I’d love to hear!

Comment here, or send your memories and stories to anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834. Let me know if I have your permission to share them in a future column.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

10 Comments
  1. Two striking things from your stories: Your nearly five grandson sounds precocious even though he was mouthing words he probably heard from his mother: “You need a plan.” Wow! This incident reminds me of a story of my teenage grandson recalled from when he was in elementary school. A mean girl made a surly comment to Curtis. He looked her straight in the eye and said, “You should say that again but in a kinder voice.” I’m sure he heard that from one of his parents.

    Thanks too for the stories of the elderly. I take comfort in the fact that you are citing stories from 90-year-olds. Although I’m not that far behind, I’m not there yet–ha!

    Happy Fourth of July to you and your family!

    • I left a reply by phone and then it disappeared! Interesting thing about this grandson–he was the one with a speech delay, but yes, I’m sure he heard that from his mother before. And I can understand him so much better now. Your Curtis story is so beautiful. His story reminds me of another I heard/saw just this week about a guy who played pick up basketball in his neighborhood and and a new guy who was full of himself was calling the first guy terrible names. The player finally stopping dribbling the ball, asked the new guy what his name was, told him his own, and then went on playing. Later the new guy apologized.

      Marian, I had an email from a writer (age 81 or so) who asked me this week for advice on whether she should begin a blog. I’ll let you know if she goes for it!

      Happy fourth to your family as well. We had a good day with one family yesterday grilling, eating sweet corn, and blowing bubbles. We hope to see all of them later in July. 🙂

  2. Beverly Silver permalink

    Melodie, Thanks for sharing so beautifully! It is a gift and you share (Your writing and thoughts) so graciously. Love,

  3. Kathy permalink

    Great stories, Melodie. “Bill” reminds me of my 92-year old uncle who said something similar the other day. Your grandson reminds me of one of our grandsons. Always wants a plan, and he has thought out the order so it totally makes sense. This is expected from him every time he visits us. He has a lot of “stuff” he likes to do when he’s away from home at our house. Parks, hikes, museum, walk to the lake, look for blackberries on walk to pool, etc. Makes us happy that he loves to visit!

  4. Hi, Kathy, love your stories–too. Great to have ideas to put on the table! Thanks for commenting.

  5. After just getting back from a visit with my dad (87 yo), and sister and niece, I can echo your statement about how important the memories are.
    Loved your post!

    • I’m glad you got to visit your dad and other kin.

      In other matters, I’m now reading through the whole book of “Be you!”. Some great stories in there, too. Glad I bought it, and not just for your story! I was finishing another book when it first came.

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