Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Quiet Neighborhood

I sat in the living room of my neighbor's home this morning enjoying the company of Mr. and Mrs. H. my neighbors down the street. We spoke of Mr. H's parents, whose picture was displayed on one of their bric-a-brac lined shelves. His dad was born in the early 1800s - his Mom died when he was 5. That was 82 years ago and he still thinks of her fondly. He said in sweet remembrance - "Oh, Daddy got remarried. She was a nice lady." Mr. H celebrated his 87th birthday last week.

The temperature in the room was sweltering with the help of a space heater placed near the couch. Mr. H sat in his auto-lift chair hooked up to his newly acquired oxygen machine. Over the past few weeks he's undergone surgery for a blocked artery in his neck. His wife "E" is confined to her recliner, yet over the past few weeks, she's taken back the task of meal preparation in their country home. They do have the luxury of a Home Health Aide who comes 5 days a week to help with the daily tasks of bathing and light cleaning of their home. But in times like last week's deep freeze, they're grateful for the neighbors who come to help. "Oh, we can always count on Rick who's there for us 24/7" Mr. H says, delighted to use his up-to-date lingo. "And we're so grateful to folks like your Mom who's such a good friend to us."

For two people who are homebound - they are the most positive, upbeat people I've run across in months. They attribute everything to "God's good grace" and are grateful for every day they have on this planet. Although their view of the world has now been reduced to the landscape they can see through the glass storm door on the front room where we sit, they thank God for all their blessings in this life.

We compared the ages of the folks in the room, my Auntie L taking the lead in years being about to turn 91 this April. Mr. H followed with a close second - but his long-time wife "E" will surpass him in a few weeks when she turns 88. The baby in the room is my Mother who, at 85, is the youngest, not counting me.

When the conversation lagged for a moment, I thought it was a good time to introduce them all to the new technology I carried in my purse, a Smart Phone.  Although I'm an amateur at using it, they were absolutely amazed when I pulled up a Google Map and it showed an arial view of our exact location, the curve of the street and the little brown house where we sat.  I used my index finger to scroll over a couple of streets to show them my house - the garage where our red truck could be seen and the white Blazer I recently traded in was visible in our driveway.

I'll never forget the emphatic "Amazing - absolutely Amazing" words he used to describe this new phenomenon - a 4G phone. They'd never seen anything like it. His ebulient smile and enthusiasm was absolutely Amazing to me. What a long way we've come in this world we live in.

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