There will always be a big spot in my heart for the elderly, who they are, and what they represent. It wasn’t always this way. As a child I avoided the elderly when I could. They were slow to react, often cranky and mean and never smiled, but my mother changed all that.
My mother helped many a senior citizen while I was growing up. While I reluctantly visited home after home while my mother delivered tortillas, apple pie, apples, plums or her personal services that included cleaning, plastering, painting, you name it.
She instructed me on various occasions not to poke fun at the elderly for their slow ways and their slow reactions, but instead said, “one day you will walk in their shoes” so treat them with the respect they deserve. Her caring and compassionate nature was evident through her actions. A valuable lesson indeed for a six-year-old whose only priorities in life were fun and play. On one occasion my mother visited a dying neighbor whose elderly wife could not care for him properly. As she took the role of nurse, she bathed him, changed his bedding, shaved him and said people should die with dignity.
On another occasion my mother played nurse to a very sick man, a relative. He had a skin condition visually unappealing to the eye – which needed immediate treatment. My mother applied an ointment and returned to do so several times until he was healed.
On Christmas Day she delivered tortillas and an apple pie to an aging couple who barely had enough to eat. Their dark house and impoverished surroundings left me sad and depressed, but mom’s food brought a smile to their aged faces.
She delivered tortillas and apple pie to a local elderly alcoholic on more than one occasion and when my father resisted and said, “why are you providing for a drunk,” she said, “because the Bible says to visit the poor, the sick and those in prison.”
My mother taught me great lessons in compassion and loyalty. She just didn’t deliver food, but she spent time with people asking them about their family and helped whenever she was asked. My mother was a welcome sight and friend to many a senior citizen. She often scolded a spouse or two for mistreating the other.
It is with pride that I dedicate this special edition on senior citizens to her.