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by Sandy Fields

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    They have been married for 73 years. He was born in this territory before New Mexico became a state. He and his father used to bring sausage into town in their wagon to sell to the café. They’d butcher three hogs at a time, and his mother would make sleeves for the sausage out of old bed sheets. They both love to talk about those days. She lived in Missouri and ice skated on their pond in Iowa as a girl. They fell in love and were married. They taught school for years. They were born one day apart, so both celebrated their 94th birthday the week of Thanksgiving.

    She asks the same questions over and over again, then strains to hear the answer. Alzheimers plays cruel tricks on her mind. He sits in a wheelchair and has as sharp a mind as ever. They have no children. They are my great-aunt and great-uncle. They call me Sisty (that’s what they call all the girls in the family), and I call them Dude and Summie. They live in a beautiful nursing home two hours away.

    I wish I could say that I visit them every week. I try to visit them every month, but many times I fail at that goal. I love our conversations and I know they do too.

    The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known for its shopping fame. I’m not much of a shopper, and could make a list of a thousand things I’d rather do than hit a mall on the busiest day of the year, so I was glad when my mom asked if I’d like to drive over and spend the afternoon visiting with Dude and Summie. We live in a small town and they live in fairly big city where lots of people love to go shopping. Wouldn’t you know, one of my aunts asked us to pop into a store and pick up a couple of things she needed while we were there. Well, we “ooched” our way through the parking lot with bumper to bumper traffic. Then we walked up and down the crowded aisles trying to find the things on her list. The streets were packed with cars and every parking lot we saw was loaded. It was a beautiful West Texas day — warm sunshine that only called for a sweater. The perfect day to be out and about.

May it ever be a memory that causes me to take action.
    It was a relief to get out of the congestion as we made our way to the other side of town. However, the contrast was stark and overwhelming as we pulled into the large parking lot of the nursing home where only two cars were parked. The list of my sins of omission is long. Good intentions go undone. There are so many more precious family members and friends who need to be visited, more cards to send, and more calls to make. That empty parking lot broke my heart. May it ever be a memory that causes me to take action.

    December can easily become a month so filled with activities that many noble deeds go undone and simple acts of kindness, courtesy, and respect are forgotten. Please, let me encourage you to make special plans to visit the elderly throughout this holiday season and escape the madness of the mall and share with your loved ones a moment of grace.

I am your God and will take care of you;
Until you are old and your hair is gray.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue you.
(Isaiah 46:4)

    As servants of God, may we be used by Him to fulfill this promise.

 
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      © 2002, Sandy Fields. Used by permission.

      Title: ""
      Author: Sandy Fields
      Publication Date: December 12, 2002


 
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