February 27, 2012

Am I Old?

Old People; Really Old People;

I have been told and read many times that the elderly still have the same passions they ever had. I see this more as I am getting older. There is a way that I have always seen myself looking; I still expect to look in the mirror and see the person that I got so used to looking at, for so many years. She really is not there in a physical sense. I still feel as if I am the same person. The person that had hopes and dreams to find that special love; and etc. The etc. is things, I guess. Things really do not matter too much at all anymore. I have always loved clothes, but that really does not matter too much now, because I am thirty pounds overweight. I have always been one of those people that make-up made a big improvement. Shame is something I really feel now, because of the way I looked at my elders, when I was younger. I really thought there was no need in my grandmother sending me to Rogersville for Merle Norman make-up. The make-up was not going to make an eighty year old women look that much better. The shame now comes from she wanted the make-up mainly because she thought my face looked so good with it. One of the compliments I received from her, I will never forget. For some reason my best buds were my grandmother and mother from my early twenties until they died. They both died the same year; my mama in February; my grandmother in March. Guilt is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel when I think of the way I perceived them. There is a book, Old Friends, about a man in a nursing home. His thoughts are I am sure the way many old people feel. Strange how we think of small children and the elderly in similar ways; that they are not all that smart. Wisdom is something that is developed over years. Years of dealing with all that life has to dish out to us. Society makes too big a deal out of how a person looks for sure. Water for Elephants is another book that delves into the mind of an elderly man that still relishes the passion and love he had for his wife that has died. The Notebook, another example of love a man never forgot. Hanging out with my grandmother, mother and a couple of aunts are reasons that I now know that the passion for life is still there even though they are feeble and wrinkled. Sex being one of the things that always freaked me out when any of these women brought it up. I am like what? You still think about that as old as you are. The craziest old lady sex story is when I was caring for my great aunt prior to her going into the nursing home. Convinced that she had dementia, I did not always believe the things she told me that happened. In the beginning of her going down, I stopped in three times a day to check on her. In the morning I fixed her an egg, toast and some bacon. At lunch I made sure that the senior center had brought her lunch and that she had eaten it. Most of the time she did not even know it had been brought. Then there was supper, which was something I had cooked at home and took to her house. The day that the man had been there was between lunch and me bringing her supper. She was for sure that a man had just walked up into her house and drug her to the bedroom. Mind you this is an eighty something year old women that said he could have screwed her to death. Those words coming out of her mouth were enough to totally freak me out. To this day I do not know who or if the man was really in her house. As the year passed she became more and more difficult to deal with at home. I decided to check on her at all hours of the night. I would at 2am find her trying to do washing. The washer and dryer would be running and she would be standing waiting for the clothes to dry. Finally the decision was made that she goes into assisted living. Thank goodness, it takes a huge person that I am not……..My grandmother was another one that seemed as she was losing it to dwell on the passions that she in earlier years still remembered. Asking me questions was her favorite thing to do; everyone said that she was meaner to me because I let her know too much of my business. She had raised me and she felt she had the right to stay on me for my poor decisions. I hung out, with her, so I told her more than the other grandchildren did. She helped me more than I deserved with my girls also. She was the rock that kept me going. My mama and my grandmother lived in the same house which was more than interesting. Mama always swore that Grandmother had a thing for Uncle Luke. She never swayed on the story that she had caught them lip locked on the couch. Grandmother swore that Mama had made the whole thing up. Yeah, right. This was really perfectly alright because both of their spouses had died. Maybe Grandmother thought she was too old for anyone to think she would mess around. As for me, I believe Mama's story. Mama loved men that were no secret to anyone in town. She would flirt like a teen-ager with them all. The garbage men, store owners and OMG that man on the plane. Her favorite man was the guy that moved and set her trailer up, Truman. He was a very nice looking thirty something year old man. She just kept on finding stuff wrong with the new mobile home, so he would have to come back. Making phone calls was something she had long quit doing until then. She got his number and called him over and over; till he finally said his obligation to the move was over. She talked about him until she died. In the later years I have had folks around Lexington tell things Mama said to them. She walked everyday. Walking in a small town means that being offered a ride is common. Mama always had her moods and that mood depended on what she might say or if she would accept the ride. She never let up on the way she dealed with men. A life that seems not all that long to me now was lived by her with un-canny since of doing just what she wanted to do and saying most of the time whatever she wanted to say. She never got old even though I treated her that way too many times. The ways that the women in my family talked about their passions are still something that fasinates me. I really understand more now that I am older. I realize that dreams do not end at a certain point. As long as there is a breath their is hope for tomorrow.

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