Monday, January 20, 2020

HE SET THE BAR HIGH

Reworked from February 2009. Just something kind of sweet to take the nastiness of today's headlines out of your mouth. Locusts now?? Come on!!

After retirement from the power company, I got the urge for self employment.  I came across the idea of using my favorite toy at the time, a video camera, to make some money. This was in the day of the big ones you rested on your shoulder or used a tripod.

Originally I had planned to video seniors as they committed their histories to tape for their children and grandchildren. Blogs form that function today. 

As a side, I planned to do insurance videos. I would record all of a persons belongings in case of a fire, hurricane or any massive loss. Insurance companies would only pay for what you could list. Today anyone with a smart phone can do the same thing I did.

Being in Florida with yearly hurricanes, it made sense. It really satisfied the snoop in me for nothing in a person's house was off limits to my camera. All my clients were darling and I loved the job.

One day I got a call from an older gentleman who had seen one of my insurance videos and wanted one for himself. He asked how long it usually took and I told him they average an hour or so to film. He agreed to the price and we set an appointment.

I drove up to his double wide which was in a nice retirement park with 1 acre lots. Sam came out to greet me attached to an incredibly long oxygen tube. I told him I would do the outside first and proceeded. His garage held only an older car. This is usually where a lot of people kept bunches of stuff-- not Sam. It was pristine.

When I came inside, Sam introduced me to his wife Carrie who sat on the couch with a walker in front of her. She was as heavy as Sam was slim and  had a very pleasant appearance. These were two very elderly people. Sam was tied to the oxygen tank by a long tube and his wife was barely mobile. Made me wonder who was taking care of whom.

A little shocked, I noticed the inside of the house was very sparsely decorated. There was a couch, a chair, a table, a small TV/VCR combination and one wall painting. I had previously told him this could take an hour but I honestly didn't see a good 15 minutes of work. I didn't want to embarrass him by finishing so quickly, so I videoed everything from every angle.

In the bare kitchen, I even taped the condiments and refrigerator contents to use up time. The clothes closet would have made Henry David Thoreau proud. They had little jewelry. These people were living a very spartan life. I don't know if they were poor, very frugal or had taken downsizing to the extreme.

When I had finished taping , Sam asked me if I would tape just one more thing.
"Sure" I said for thus far, I had definitely not earned my money. Then I learned the real reason he had hired me.

Sam sat on the couch with his wife and asked me to tape them. As I started the tape he said in a proud voice with his arm around his wife, "On October 12 , my wife will be 89 years old." He turned towards his wife and with a catch in his voice and a hand on her cheek he said, "I have loved you every hour of every day for 73 of those years."

Then and even now, my throat screwed shut and the tears welled up. A surprised Carrie beamed broader than a lottery winner and they shared a kiss that so many years together had reduced to a comfortable but warm peck. It was all caught on film.

I fussed with the camera for a while for I frankly could not talk. I don't think I have ever been so touched by such an enduring love between a married couple. That day Sam showed me that the most romantic of men do not need rose pedals, caviar and Dom Perignon. They just needed 24 very sweet, deeply felt words. Carrie was a lucky woman and for me, Sam set the bar high that day.

Monday, January 13, 2020

HELP--- I NEED AN EXIT LINE


We were both heading for the doctor's office door. He beat me, opened it for me and gave me a surprise compliment on my looks.  It seemed harmless and what lady doesn't want to be told she is looking good especially when 80 years old and knows better. I thanked him for the open door and the compliment.

We entered the office, notified our respective receptionists and took seats on the same side of the room.   He was tall, heavy set and a bit scruffy in that he didn't really have a beard but just a patchy growth of random gray whiskers and untamed hair.  Almost street person like.

I noticed he was carrying a portable oxygen concentrator. Since I am dealing with COPD, I asked him how long the battery lasts with one of those.

He was briefly helpful and then he started asking somewhat personal questions. He asked if I was from around there and I told him I lived about 20 miles away. He noticed my ring less left hand and wanted to know if I lived alone.   I was starting to get a wee bit uncomfortable as we were only about 2 minutes into the conversation.

He then wanted to know if I would want to go out sometime. I said "not really" and to change the subject, I asked him about the small bottle he was rubbing on his rather massive stomach in a rhythmic fashion.  His stomach was quite large. Were he a woman I think he would have been due in about a month. Sadly one of the signs of liver disease.

"Oh this is my Testosterone." he explained. "I'm just warming it up so the nurse can give me a shot."

Then he waved his hands over his body and grinned. "It keeps all of this working."

I think that was to assure me that he might be old but with a little chemical help he was a fully functioning fellow.

Then he said, "How about you give me your phone number and we can talk some more?"

Just then, my nurse called me into the office.  Phew. She and I got the giggles when I told her that I had just been hit on by a stranger in the waiting room. 

When I left the office, he was gone. I saw him getting into his pickup truck in front of the building. I was parked around the side.

"Hey, Hey! " he yelled.

I kept walking. I mean at my age it would be perfectly normal if I were hard of hearing.

As I drove out, he pulled up to my vehicle and rolled down his window.  I just smiled, waved and drove off. He didn't follow--I checked.

It had been so long since I had been so blatantly hit on I was totally unprepared. You either use it or lose it and that applies to snappy comebacks.   I really didn't have a handy line that would let him know in a kindly fashion I wasn't interested since "not really" didn't register.

When I told my support group at lunch, they really had fun with it. One of the ladies asked me if I were worried  and I said. "No, pretty sure even with my bad lungs I could out shuffle him:)"

Now what I need from you is a cool but kindly exit line if for some reason I am put in that position again. This is a small town and I will very likely run into him again. Thanks for your help.