SOMEONE TO TALK TO
Delivering meals to the elderly through the “Food for Friends” program, sponsored by the Crosby Memorial Hospital, has been a wonderful experience with only a few trials and tribulations, and the time and effort of volunteering has been worthwhile. I’ve been asked why I volunteer, why I do this, especially when car problems happen. There are many reasons, but today I think of one special lady.
Each Friday I look forward to delivering a meal to this particular person, I call her my pleasant lady. Just turning into the road that leads to her door, a long, curvy, peaceful, and calming driveway, is so pleasant. The world slows down when I make this turn; the open field of green grass to the right and the scattered trees with birds perching on the branches give me a feeling of calm and of peace. I appreciate this experience after each busy week. Arriving at her open garage entrance, there are two or three dogs always to greet me. They sometimes bark, sometimes not.
Delivering her meal today was a beautiful experience. The lady herself is a beautiful person. She loves to talk, to visit, to smile, to be friendly and to enjoy someone else’s company. When she said thanks, it was not the usual “thank you for the meal,” but instead I received a “thank you [pause] for the conversation of today [pause] and other days.” It was a beautiful feeling having her say thank you for that reason and in that way. I say I received because I felt that she had given me something today, someone to talk to. Speaking slowly but clearly, as she does have lung problems and tires easily when talking, I can see she really had enjoyed our conversation.
Her speech is slow, and I am sure it is not what it used to be. She told about being a teacher for the junior high age; I am sure she had to talk fast to keep up with that age group! English was her main subject and she expressed her concern of how English is taught today. She commented and hesitated on the fact that content was the main objective and not grammar, and her head shook as if in disagreement, at least in a questioning way. I mentioned the fact that the purpose was to get words and thoughts on paper. The grammar could be covered during the process of editing and revision. Maybe that is where teachers today are so busy that the editing and revising stage cannot always be completed. She paused to think, seemed to agree, seemed happy, and we talked a while longer.
I read a quote by John Ruskin and changed it to refer to an elderly person instead of a child: give a little love to an elderly person and you get a great deal back. This describes how I feel after delivering the noon-time meals. It makes me think of this particular person and conversations we have had. Why do I volunteer? Why did I look for something to do? Although I enjoy delivering the meals and visiting with all the elderly on my Friday route, today, my answer would have to be because of this one lovely, beautiful person. She made my day, and I hope I made hers.
[I wrote this narrative June 1996 and still think of this lovely, beautiful lady]