Monday, January 25, 2010

Skylark Luncheon, Ashland, OR - January 21, 2010


I've been spending an hour a week at the local assisted living facility, writing down residents' stories and visiting. I bring my laptop, set it in my lap, and type without looking down as I talk with a small group of six or so - over slices of roast, fresh veggies, and some kind of pudding.

One of my favorite residents is Wendell, a former Army Major and world-traveler who carries a worn atlas in his wheelchair and says, "Oh, gorgeous, gorgeous," when anybody speaks of a place he likes. He recently suffered a stroke that left him slightly paralyzed, giving him grief when he wants to come up with specific words or details, but he's a delight to talk to. He has a sweet face, a sweet demeanor, and he smiles a lot as we all play his special form of charades.

He brought up London today and then made sounds and motions for Big Ben, the queen, and the guards, with clues like "tock tock," "crown!" and "the hat! the hat!" After we'd all guessed correctly, I chimed in "I like Trafalgar Square!" His eyes lit up, and he called out, "Gorgeous! Gorgeous!"

I then told him about traveling there with my good pal Maureen in 1993 and how I had her take a picture of me there - just as a pigeon sat on my arm and pooped on my coat.

Everyone in the room laughed and Wendell shouted out, "Pigeons! Pigeons!"

Next week I told him I'd bring pictures of London so he can point out where he's been or what he likes. Needless to say, I'll bring a big coffee table book from the library, but I'll also be slipping in this picture Maureen took of me one "gorgeous" day in Trafalgar Square.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anjie,
You're making friends, sharing stories and capturing Wendell's and others' memories. I see another book in the making???
That Ashland facility is truly blessed to have your weekly visits with their residents. Is it usually the same group gathering? I'd hope Wendell is there weekly. Please give him a hug and my love.
A fond memory I have of London is the 'amazing tour guide' who kept us mesmerized as as we bussed through town. She had a wealth of knowledge to share. I can only compare her with another guide who was sooooooo bad - can't think of an example.
Ah, I do remember the sound system was terribly poor. Even after she and the bus driver doodled with the system, it still was terribly poor. So, I asked her if there was room next to her in a front seat. There was also another seat available nearby. Mike didn't want to move forward but I sat next to the guide. I soon found it wasn't just the sound system, it was the inadequately prepared young lady. Many of us on that tour felt it was the worst ever. Ah, such nonsense to write about, but her tour was a complete contrast to the first guide I wrote about.
Thanks for listening,

KUrlie said...

I love this Anj - and I think I love Wendell too. Is he single? I like a man who gets right to the point - no need for those filler words. And one who might call me Gorgeous Gorgeous! every now and then - I'm just sayin'. This really is a great thing you're doing - good for you all:)


Jennie Englund said...

I LOVE this! A little bit of the sweet factor, a bit of research, some TRAVEL WRITING...

Well integrated, Chum!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure all your men (and women?) LOVE it when you come see them. So, did you take the book back with you yet?
PROUD of you!

Love, Mom