Monday, May 14, 2012

Wild Times in the Midwest

I have a new appreciation for people who go sing at nursing homes.

Last week one day 85 fourth graders from the elementary school just down the street from the Manor came over and sang.  They had learned a series of songs about African-Americans such as Jesse Owens, Benjamin Banneker, and Ella Fitzgerald.

I think the older people enjoyed all those friendly young faces as much as the singing.

There was exactly one African-American child in that bunch and I wondered if she felt just a bit conspicuous.

And I imagined a Southern or inner-city elementary school, with an 84-to-1 ratio of black to white kids, learning a series of songs about the contributions of Scandinavians to the United States.  Charles Lindbergh, Garrison Keillor, Carl Sandburg, and so on.

On Mothers Day a local family performed.  Between the mom and the kids they sang and also played a guitar, banjo, violin, and two other instruments I don't remember the names of.  The boys were neatly dressed and the girls had long hair and modest dresses, and they reminded me so much of my children, whom I was missing terribly, that I could hardly keep from bubbling over in tears.

The lovely "elderly Emily" stood behind me with her walker during this concert and was absolutely entranced.  She started bouncing and dancing the best she could with the music, and then she cut loose with the sort of high-pitched WOOOO! you'd expect out of 14-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert.  After half a dozen of these outbursts she nudged me on the shoulder.  "Aren't they fabulous?  Here, this is what you do--you say WOOOH! like that.  You do it--WOOOOH!!"

I didn't do it.

You know how I said I'd feel techy if I always hung out at the nursing home?  Well, I'd feel like a good singer too, amazingly enough.  I went to the morning service with Mom and realized that just by virtue of being Mennonite and under age 80 I could carry along with the old hymns better than almost everyone else in the crowd.

The service was conducted by a local farmer with a moustache the size of a half grown cat and a heart for the elderly who is such a farmer that he opened the service with an update on the crops--"We got all da corn in da ground, and mosta da beans, three weeks earlier den normal."  Most of the old guys are former farmers, judging by the bulletin boards by their rooms with pictures of old Farmalls, so they ate this up.

Today Mom had an appointment with the orthopedist, about an hour away.  Dad wanted to go along, so I undertook this adventure.  The doctors are very happy with how Mom is progressing, and they took the staples out of her incision.

This isn't her x-ray, but shows the sort of machinery they used to put her bones back together.  Amazing.  And no wonder it hurt.

All the in-and-out, transferring, explaining, and so on with two old people reminded me of going to town with small children.

Although it's easier with small children because you can pick them up and put them in a stroller or shopping cart.  And their hearing is better.


  1. Love the line about being able to put children in the shopping carts. And the hearing being better. I shall have to tell my mom that so she understands the sacrifices I will have to make someday. :)
    Rachel M.

  2. Do they make adult size safety belts for shopping carts??
    Love the post. I was an MK and the minority most of my life. The ratio was about 1:800 in the bush village where I grew up and conspicuous moments did occur.:)