It’s All About Attitude


I met a lady yesterday. She is the same lady I met 20 years ago.  But, she’s not the same lady I met 20 years ago.

I hope I have your attention.

I’ll call her Susie-Q because that sounds like a cheerful, happy, upbeat kind of lady, which she is.  That’s not because she has no challenges, no worries, no troubles.

Her lot in life would be enough to put many people into depression, deep depression, but not Susie-Q. Let me tell you about her and the many things that she will not let control her attitude.

She probably would not read this post because she is not able to read the second sentence without forgetting the first sentence. This means she cannot enjoy reading as a way to get though her difficult days.

Visiting can be a challenge because there is a speaking issue. Her thoughts do not match her spoken words. They are a phrase apart. She often wonders what she just said.

She cannot do stitchery because her left hand cannot grip a hoop. She cannot sit up straight without being propped.

She does not take herself shopping because her left hand cannot grip a steering wheel. And, her left less-mobile leg would interfere with putting her right her foot on a brake to stop at red lights and stop signs. And, she could not even climb into a vehicle.

She didn’t need to shop for an Easter dress, because she couldn’t get dressed up to go to church anyway.

The dress doesn’t matter. She cannot remember any of the clothes hanging in her closet so they all look new to her. Wouldn’t most husbands wish for that forgetfulness in their wives? Susie-Q can just go shopping in her closet.

Susie-Q is stuck in a 12ft x 12ft room, assisted-living facility, with the TV for company, where she expects to be always. She can manipulate her body to get into the wheelchair at her bedside and wheel down to a large, theater-size room filled with recliners to join other people in similar situations and watch TV with them.

She is younger than the whole group because her troubles hit her at a much younger age. She has teenage children. They have teenage grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her husband, an alcoholic, played some really mean tricks  which left her destitute and separated her from the children and caused them to blame her many months for things that did not exist. I will not describe this in detail. I’ll leave this to your imagination. No, he did not beat her up physically. He did not even directly verbally abuse her. But she has no support from him in her current ordeal.

Now, I suppose you want to know what else put her into this situation.

First, she has a heart condition which forces her to be careful of everything. Stress can be an issue.

Second, the biggie, was at least one massive stroke. It destroyed the muscles in her left side which twisted her spine. Her spine now presses on all her internal organs. Her left arm and leg are mainly limp.  Simply put, this caused all the things described above except her x-husbands choices. He did those things because he is addicted to alcohol, which is another story.

Back to Susie-Q. During the hour my husband and I visited with her, she said not one complaining word. There was no “Oh, woe with me” comments. There was even no criticism of her, now former husband. It was just a ‘this is how it was’ statements of fact.

She had no frown on her face. She was all smiles and tiny laughter. She spoke words of gratitude. Gratitude for her blessings in the form of helping friends who rescued her when she collapsed from the stroke. Gratitude for a case worker she finally got after dozens of phone calls to different government offices asking for help. Gratitude for the lovely assisted living facility she now calls home. She chuckled about the tiny resident dog who protects her and others. (She described many undesirable facilities she saw during her work as a nurse.) Gratitude for love from her family and Heavenly Father. Gratitude for peace given her though prayer.

Susie-Q said she could not undo what has happened, but she “can choose to be happy, to have joy”.

I thought we went there to cheer her up. She didn’t need that. We left uplifted by a lovely lady. What more needs to be said?

As for this story, Myra Said It


Going to Grandma’s House

This is a well-written book edited by Ken and Janice Tate, published by House of White Birches in 2006. It is a collection of stories told by people and their visits to their grandparents homes.

National Grandparents Day is the first Sunday after Labor Day in the United States. The idea originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. She wanted to support the cause of lonely elderly people in nursing homes.

President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the holiday in 1978.

The only grandparent I ever knew was my maternal grandmother who passed away when I was only 10 years old. I remember very little about visits to her house.

This book of nostalgia stories show me what I missed. Examples are Charley’s Bluff, The Long Bus Ride, Heaven at Granny’s, To Grandad’s by Train, Tater Bug Pie, and When Granny Was a Flapper. Tater Bug Pie is one of my favorites. If you get the book, you’ll see why. * See variation.

You should see the beautiful pictures. They are better than most books, full color and old-fashioned in subject, as you would expect for the topics included. One of my favorites is on pages 62-62. It is an old home with two rockers on the front porch. There is a clothes line with three patchwork quilts hanging to catch the spring air. I know it is springtime because the couple are wearing jackets and there are flowers blooming on the lawn.

There is not need to wait until September to share good times with our grandparents. My children have many memories for which I am grateful. I will share one which will share a page in the book I plan to write.

The family owned a 120 acre field outside of town. One area was sectioned off as a pasture. During Easter week, the pasture was just beginning to be green and welcoming. Grandmother boiled eggs and the children colored them for an egg hunt. The oldest grandchildren hid the eggs while the younger ones were at the house.

The whole group went to the field for the children to search for the hidden eggs. There were so many eggs, even the older children could not remember where they hid them.  When the baskets were filled and counted, a few were eaten right there in the field. Grandmother had salt and pepper shakers.

Back at home, a lot of the eggs were pealed and used in potato salad and deviled eggs and in sandwiched.