Friday, May 23, 2008

Where Neighbors Are Friends

That's the slogan of the retirement community where I used to work. I worked in the kitchen in the assisted living bulding. I quit about a year ago. In June. The twelfth, I think. Not that I was counting down the days or anything...but 5:30 am comes pretty early when the only things you can stomach before noon are peanut butter Ritz Bits, yogurt, canned tropical fruit mix, 2%milk, and coleslaw. Yes, coleslaw. And of course, peppermints. A morning-sickness lifesaver!

Anyhoo...every time I see this slogan, it makes me laugh out loud. It makes me think of Helen. Helen was this grouchy old lady who didn't really like anyone, staff or residents. She particularly disliked one of her 'neighbors' down the hall. This sweet old man was mostly deaf and in a wheelchair. Somehow she and he got seated at the same dining room table every day. When she came down for breakfast, she would give him a disapproving look, then scowl at me and say something like, "That man is just rude. He lives in my hall. Well, when I come out of my room, I look around the hall first. And if I see him coming, well, I just don't have to leave yet. So I just go back into my room and close the door until he goes on by." Typically, we would just put one little mini-pitcher of half-and-half on each table, but on their table, we had to put two little pitchers, one at each of their places, because they would get in fights if they had to ask the other one to pass the creamer. One day they were arguing about who was older. One was 92, the other was 93. How do you argue about who's older? It's kind of a fact, isn't it???

So, while the slogan, "Where Neighbors Are Friends" may have applied to most of the residents, Helen kind of blew the whole thing out of the water.

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