Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Dying Breed

I’d just driven nearly onto the sidewalk to help my wife avoid the rain at the Big Lots the other day. Parking in the nearest handicapped space, I put the tag on my mirror. Then, I noticed an elderly gentleman pull his shopping cart through the door of a nearby store and hold the door for someone behind him. Slowly, an elderly lady with a badly stooped back shuffled through the door with her walker. The couple then took a few steps down the walk, where the man seemed to decide was a safe place for the woman to stay.

I was just reaching for the keys, to start my truck and take my umbrella to the man, when he began slowly walking, through the pouring rain, toward his car with his shopping buggy. He proceeded to put the groceries and such in the trunk and then began his walk back to his wife. Under the circumstances, I would have left the buggy and drove over to the walk beside my wife. HE, however, was a man of honor and took his buggy back and even put it in the row of nested buggies to one side of the store entrance. He then took out his cane and began helping his wife toward the car through the rain.

It was a slow walk even for him, but he was patient. Once at the car, he opened the door, took her walker out of the way and helped her get seated. Then, he took the walker to the rear of the car, folded it, opened the trunk again and stashed it inside. Then, cane in hand, he hobbled around to his side and climbed in, a thoroughly soaked but supremely honorable man. In a moment, he drove slowly and carefully away.

The rain had almost stopped five minutes later, when my wife unexpectedly climbed into the truck. She doesn’t move as fast as she once did either, nor do I. I don’t know why she didn’t call me to come get her, because I was so close already, I guess. She told me that her balance was off and she nearly fell twice in the store. I asked her if she was using a buggy, but she didn’t remember. I fear we may not be far from the condition of the elderly couple that I had been watching. My wife sometimes uses a walker at home, but not even a cane in public. I already use a cane, though more as a “just in case” thing than a need. I just hope I can be as attentive as that gentleman when the time comes, but then it could be ME that gets frail first. © 2017


Vicki said...

You described the way my Father looked after my Mother and her wheelchair...never thinking of his own comfort...always thinking of hers. He was one of those few and far between honorable men. I suspect you are, too, my friend.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I notice at work that most older people bring the carts back to the store or at least to the return racks in the parking lot. When I say older it is 70 or so. One woman probably 80, took a load of brick like stones to her car and put it in her trunk then brought the cart back on Tuesday. We aren't allowed to help people since we are plant vendors and lawyers have decided we would be sued if anything happened so we watched the old girl. Lowes would have sent a guy to load for her but she didn't ask. On the other hand some young woman who I didn't pay any attention to went to the store manager and complained that I hadn't stopped working on plants to come out into the parking lot and help her load heavy bags in her car. I wonder if she bothered to take her cart back when going to complain. Of course nothing happened since I am prevent by both companies from helping load customer items. Just two different attitudes in action, I like to observe people and wouldn't mind helping them but I wouldn't get anything else done as so few are like the old lady.

deborah harvey said...

i always get a buggy, just to lean on and to put my pocketbook in. better to be safe than sorry.

Janet said...

We are of the "boomer" generation. My memories are of lots of people my age and some old people. I wonder what it feels like to grow up mainly around older, sick people. I feel sorry for the current generation sometimes.

The younger generation have flocked to the cities and live in enclaves of their own kind. There they can forget aging, sick people and enjoy their pleasures and activities.

The small deteriorating town I live near in Oklahoma is mostly aging and there are funerals every couple of weeks. The population in the cemetery already far exceeds the town

Didn't mean to share so much truth as it can be a downer. On the bright side my husband is still with me and I got up this morning. :)

Joy said...

I know what you're saying. I can get around fine now but I look at others and see what's coming down the road. It's sad, but it's just how it is. I only hope others will be compassionate with me as I have been with those who move slowly. Another thing, if you're behind someone who moves slowly or needs some help, don't just get impatient, help them!(Just a general shout-out here). A small kindness like that just might make someone's day.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, and bless you, Vicki.

You have to do what you have to do, SF, like it or not.

My wife usually does, too, dh; it's a good idea.

Us old coots have to stick together, Janet! ;-)

You're absolutely right, Joy.

Lady Locust said...

The word that comes to mind when reading this is chivalry. You sure don't hear much that brings that word to mind any more.

PS finally getting to catch up on a bit of blog reading:)