Last week I attended the funeral service for Mrs. E’s Aunt Margaret. She was able to use her gift of baking and cooking to be an asset to her church and community. She was a caterer who also ran the kitchen at her church and took baked good with her as a volunteer visitor to nursing homes. Ironically after a stroke she ended up in one of the nursing homes she visited. She was a warm, friendly, woman who quietly did for others. When she physically couldn’t run the church kitchen she stepped down from the job. The church threw her a party to honor her for her years of volunteer work. I attended and noticed she was quite embarrassed by the attention. Her late husband, John was a steelworker, a farmer and a carpenter. He shared many of the vegetables he grew with relatives and friends and built things he gave away as gifts. I still have a porch swing he built as a wedding gift for Mrs. E and I 30 years ago. These Aunt Margarets and Uncle Johns who go about quietly helping others are the backbone of communities. They don’t want any trumpets blown for them they just have decided they can’t be spectators in life.
Margaret and John were anything but the greedy Tea Party seniors I talked about in my last blog. They weren’t in the streets with signs wanting to protect their Medicare but deny health care to others. They remembered how their parents had come here from Serbia and Estonia and worked hard to build a better life in the USA for their families. Remembering that made people like Margaret and John not be bigoted against illegal aliens here to make a better life. Margaret and John were not Tea Party members but “We Party” members. The philosophy of the We Party is that we are all brothers and sisters and in this together. The We Party doesn’t do noisy rallies they just set about making the world better one good deed at a time. It is a silent revolution that more and more of us will join when we realize that “things” just don’t make us happy. You’ve probably heard the expression, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” The We Party would point out that there are no pockets in a shroud. They live by the creed that “He who has given the most joys wins.”
The priest at Aunt Margaret’s service said something that got me thinking. He said a tombstone only has a person’s birth date and date of death. He went on to say life is all about the time in between and that is never on the funeral marker but it is in our hearts and minds. I have reached that age where I read the obituaries. I know the newspapers today charge by the word for obituaries so some of the deceased families are cheap and don’t pay to print any of the good that the deceased did in their lifetime. Sadder yet might be the fact the person isn’t in your heart and mind because they really didn’t do much with their life. I wince at those obituaries that can find nothing more to say than he/she was a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and loved his/her cat Ralph. How’d you like to face St. Peter at the gates of Heaven with that resume? Heck, God might be a Cleveland Browns fan (though he hasn’t blessed them with any miracles) and maybe he’s a deity that likes dogs not cats. After thinking about these things I’ve come to some conclusions. One is that you should do the best for others that you can with your life. Also, you should never expect to hear praise for any good you’ve done. Another thing is that sometimes you’re going to be misunderstood and sometimes you’re going to fail and fall short of your goal. I believe that life much like love can hurt and that is OK because in the end God will judge us by our scars visible and invisible.
Mrs. E’s mother has been in a nursing home for a few months. I noted the names of the elderly residents on their doors. My mother-in-law’s floor has three Margaret, two Dorothys, a Lois and an Irma. Those are pretty typical names for women who are in their 80’s and 90’s today. Mrs. E and I started thinking about the names on those doors 50 years from now. There will be three Brittanys, two Kaylas, a Brooke, a Bambi, a Paris and an Apple. The kid who wants to show his uniqueness today is that rare 18-35 year-old person who doesn’t have a tattoo. I imagine these tattooed kids today in a nursing home 50 years from now. An elderly senile woman named, Brianna in her wheelchair will look down at the rose tattoo on he calf and say, “What the Hell is that thing on my calf? Is that varicose veins?” I imagine in 50 years a nurses aid will get tired of helping 92 year-old Chloe go to the bathroom. That is because when she is helping Chloe get her diaper on she will be sick of looking at that Harley Davidson spread wing tramp stamp across the top of her ass crack. In 50 years from now Chloe will probably be driving one of Harley’s newest senior citizen rascal scooters down the nursing room halls. Before senior women get x-rays they will be asked to remove the 9 earrings in each ear and belly button and nipple rings. That butterfly tattoo on an elderly lady’s floppy arms will now look so large people will think it is a pterodactyl. I’m sure many of the elderly will have serious carpal tunnel syndrome from years of texting.
I have been feeling every year of my age and it is not fun aging. I feel very sad remembering that I use to buy killer weed and now at my current age I buy weed killer. 6:00 AM was when I came home from a night out and now it is when I get up. A night out now means sitting on the patio. Happy hour to me means a nap. I really hate technology. I have reached that point in life where most of the items in my shopping cart says, “For fast pain relief. ” On the bright side I don’t watch game shows and I haven’t turned into a gardener or yard Nazi. I got to go as my rotary phone is ringing.
Local hero of the week is community asset Aunt Margaret and the Aunt Margaret in your life. I also want to salute nurses, assistants and staff who work at nursing homes. They see a lot of sadness on a daily basis and also have to work with some very difficult and demanding patients. It is a job that takes some very special folks to do.
Family of the Year (band): “Hero”
Come on dance with me to: “Saint Croix”
Local Band: Glitter Pig