Thursday, July 28, 2016


                          Green green grass of summer, amplified!

     My vacation crew for when Barbara is gone has happily expanded to include two new people and one old friend -- the old friend being Joann, my prayer partner and long-time assistant in food preparation. She has quite ably taken over the task of mixing a small jar full of prescription strength vitamin powders and others of digestive enzymes as she also packs my bedside food box each evening with jars of meat, vegetables and liquids for the next 24 hours. 

                                                               This is Joann

    Joann has a full-time job as a baker, a huge family of aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers, plus all their children and grandchildren and hers, but has cleared her calendar for me, for these three weeks, because she knows few others could or would want to manage my complicated kitchen. She'll be back on her days off for the Rosary.

     The second helper is Kathy, who refuses to have her picture taken, but she is an energetic and an accomplished home care specialist, with prior experience as a nursing home aide, jailer, roofer and farm worker and she has seven other home care clients besides me and at least four other houses to clean besides mine! And then, at the end of the week she spends her Fridays cleaning the courthouse. Busy as she is, she is the one who comes within minutes if I need something sudden, if the dehumidifier needs emptied, if I want something more from the refrigerator or if something important should be picked up off the floor (such as one of the bedside tables which inexplicably fell over as I was raising or lowering the bed). 

   She can do these missions of mercy because she is often either coming or going between clients or can leave and go back, unless of course she’s in a town 40 miles away, which also happens, but then she just shows up an hour later. In addition to all that I’m discovering she can trim trees, manage tenants, clean house and solve problems with the best of them. She is someone who will stay on staff even after Barbara, my primary caregiver returns, to provide much-needed respite.

                                And then here's Faith!

    This is the third member of the crew -- who will also stay on for as long as she wants to, or until she graduates from high school, of course. (When she's not fishing.) She doesn’t have her driver’s license yet and lives outside of town but comes to work whenever she can hitch a ride with her sister, mother or father. Her name is Faith and her family brings Communion to the home bound, which is how I first found her. 

   She was the one, even though the youngest of her family, who saw where my paper towels were stored and immediately mopped up the snow they had tracked in on my hardwood floor last winter. When I said, child, would you like a job this summer helping an old lady she said she okay maybe, and then her mother (who is a director of nursing at the nursing home) turned back at the door and asked what would such a job entail? And I said, oh probably some housekeeping and for sure help with work on the computer. Both nodded at that and said they’d be in touch. And so she was, as soon as school let out for the summer, and now she is here at least once a week ever since.

     She is helping to transcribe cassette tapes of interviews I had done with my mother and can do ancestry research way better than me, since she knows her computers. She is a quick study about helping to use the multi-left to get me in and out of bed and the Hoyer lift to get me to the bath and back. Moreover, she decided that I should enter some of the photographs I have on my walls in an art show at the local library where her work was also being entered! Then she came to select, prepare labels and transport six pictures to the show with her mother and father in the car. 

    In other words, this child is welcome whenever she doesn’t have camps in basketball, volleyball, track and field, Church or family togetherness events. Oh yes, and true to the form of her athletic family this skinny little girl also lifts weights!

     I should never worry.

                                New Jersey, in honor of Barbara

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