Friday, April 27, 2007

A Sign Of The Times

The little town sits nestled between the hills; surrounded by a wealth of flora that nature endows. Trees, forests and fields of green, here and there a fast running stream. A small town like any other, situated anywhere in North America. Still but an unobtrusive place, bordering on two highways, dividing East and West, North and South.

This place although small, still has a few surprising revelations. I have never seen so many churches clustered around such a small populace. This town is what I like to term ‘industrially challenged’ for jobs are about zero! Until more recent developments took place, one of the most beautiful places here was the cemetery. That sounds crazy I know, but that place really was well thought out with the end result being a thing of beauty, a paradise of a resting place. The whole area is laid out with small rippling hills and trees and shade, a place to take your breath away.

We have an old guy who lives alone in the upstairs apartment. His name is Bob. I think his most striking feature is his thick tawny snow white hair and talkative nature. The guy is a real happy go lucky character and he‘s quite harmless. He’s 74 yrs old, bordering on the edge of Alzheimer’s and hasn’t an apparent care in the World. ~

It's not that he doesn't have any family for he does. They just don't seem to want to bother with him or are afraid to take any responsibility for Bob. As a result he never gets family visits or company, other than at Xmas and his birthday. Then it's just the dutiful visit with an equally dutiful gift.
I have watched him with his gifts and the way he shows them off. He’s almost like a child in his excitement, it is sad really. His gifts usually consist of some socks, maybe a pair of jeans, sometimes a cheaper winter jacket, or slippers.

It's almost as if that because of his Alzheimer’s, Bob has forgotten he even has any family and it seems they choose to forget him. Sadly this kind of treatment of older folks doesn't seem that unusual anymore these days. A sign of the times.

I know he really gets pretty lonely ocassionally, but he always greets cheerfully anyone he bumps into and then launches into a story, given half a chance.

He doesn’t remember peoples names or the fact he already told you that same story a hundred times before. It’s a shame really, but regardless I take the time to listen to him.

Because we live in a small town in the midst of nowhere, Bob is therefore, a town character pretty well known by everybody who’s ever walked down main-street. A real coffin dodger teetering on the edge with one foot in the box! If you will!

His daily routine is so fixed, you can set your clock by him each time you see him go by. He likes to watch “Price is Right” on TV at 11am and one minute after the program finishes you can see him headed down the street.

He has a variety of interests, that are usually dictated by what day of the week it is. He has days for doing shopping and another for when he does laundry.

He rarely passes a local store without popping his head in and has a jovial greeting for everyone in there.

One thing he never misses though is his visit to the local hotel for a few beers each day. On most occasions, you can tell if he’s had one too many, 4pm you will usually see him headed towards home. Most people turn and watch him doing his version of the chicken dance, as he skips boisterously, merrily singing and dancing down the street, some folks even cheer him on, that really makes him incorrigible, and not a care in the World.

A happy man really isn’t quite the term for Bob, but that’s him and who can knock him for that! ~

Way to go there Buddy!! ~



newnorth said...

Maybe more people should have his attitude, not dwelling on stuff they can't control and just be happy with what you have. or something :)

Eric Valentine said...

very true Newnorth. But that's the world we live in. :)

Augs Casa said...

I have to say I miss your posts mate. I hope you and the missues are well these days. Kudos to Ken. I envy him. he is living life to the fulliest and for that well wishes to him. Sad state about the elderly I say also. My dad will be 78 this year and I spend as much time with him as I can. I bring over my two sons to see him regular. He is healthy as a mule, but I do know that our time is limited. 1 day or 30 years. who knows. I will be with him as much as possible as well as my boys.

Eric Valentine said...

That is such a nice comment Augs thank you. I'm glad you still like the things I write, when I can get to it.

I agree with what you say about Ken and he never changes.

It's nice that you do that with your family, that's a good age for your dad, my wifes mom is 81 now. I always say that when they are gone, they are gone for a long time! You have to treasure the later years while you still can. :)