City Social Magazine

SEP 2014

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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51 I've been spending a lot of time at the nursing home where my Mom is going through therapy. I thought I took myself lightly, but these folks make me look like an amateur. This realization came to me last week as I played Bingo with a table of women. We'd been busy discussing important things like cardinals (the birds), the Pope (not a bird), and shades of fingernail polish, when a person at another table yelled "Bingo." They immediately responded with their own yell, "Cheater!" Before I knew it, I was joining in the yelling. After all, the prize was a whole quarter. Yup, I learned from these folks that, if you put aside ego and pretense, everything becomes clearer. Funnier, too. And you meet even more heroes. Like the one- legged Elvis who puts on a show each month on his tour of 15 nursing homes. (Note: He's not always dressed as Elvis. That would be too much of a good thing.) Or the workers and nurses who know how to go along with rewrites of history. Or Wyndy, who hosts the book club meeting each week. It doesn't even matter that few of the participants have gotten around to reading any books. They remind me that flexibility is a valuable trait. After all, I go to meetings in the corporate world where people get furious if the minutes are typed in a new font. These folks know how to address disabilities better than any of us in the outside world. That's probably how they talked Elvis into demonstrating how his fancy new leg worked. They don't dwell on the past. While this is sometimes because they don't remember it, it still seems healthier than those of us who refuse to let it go. A great example was the group of three ladies that I sat with at the Elvis show. I saw them the next day and smiled. "Wasn't that great music yesterday?" "Oh, did they have someone playing music here yesterday?" The oldest one looked confused. "Yes ma'am. The Elvis performer." "Elvis was here?" This came from the woman who had actually sung one of the songs with him. "No ma'am. He was an Elvis impersonator." "I'm sorry we missed that." The third woman piped up. "No ma'am. You were here." "Where was I?" The first woman jumped back into the conversation. "You were here at the Elvis show," I reminded her. "Elvis was here?" At this point, "Who's on First?" was beginning to echo in my head. I gave up. "Yes ma'am." "We'll have to go see that next time." "Yes ma'am," I agreed. "And maybe we could all sit together." They liked the idea. That's the great thing about these treasures. They live in the moment. And if I hang around enough, I hope to learn to do the same. Forget meditation tapes, motivational seminars and Zen training. If you want to learn how to live in the "here and now" with no excuses and no pretense, get thee to a nursing home. And please tell them I sent you. Hidden Treasure this column was written by cricket atwood, who reminds you never to assume anything. Because you not only don't know what your dog is thinking, but you also can't really be sure whether or not she has her own email account. Follow christee on uncommonsense101 … until i get my own Facebook account. Life's Lumps christee GaBour atwood Join christee atwood on Facebook at uncommon sense 101 for daily humor. her latest book, in celebration of elastic waistbands, is available online or by order at your favorite bookstore.

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