There was a time when we once-young mothers were child proofing our homes in our never-ending efforts to keep our little arrivals alive longer than when they were securely tucked inside our protective wombs. Now those very wombs have withered, there aren't any more babies to bounce on now-replacement knees or carry on dislocated hips. God sure knew what He was doing when He gave infants to “young fillies,” still with their original parts. I guess the only artificial things for us back then were maybe powder puffs stuffed into our bras and, in my grandmother's day, bustles on their buttocks.
Talk about women being put on a pedestal!
About a year before my dear husband left me, and he must have sensed that time was running out, he decided to senior proof our home. I tell you, that man was ahead of his time, and never mind that he was almost 80 years old. First, he installed both a handrail and seat in our shower.
"Expecting guests from the old folks home?” I teased.
"Hell, we ARE the old folks" – and did I detect a yesteryear 's longing look on his still ruggedly handsome face?
He built me a pantry and placed all the dry and canned goods on higher shelves so that I wouldn't someday have to bend down and risk the probability of not being able to get up on my own. Next came a his and her every-day-of-the-week pill container. He had the real deal medications, but as for me, he filled the separate compartments with assorted jelly beans. "To me you're still young, vibrant and sweet," he conceded.
"What the heck woman have YOU been living with?" I warmly smiled, but then I complained that there were too many black jelly beans and didn't he know how I hated them? What a spoiled ingrate I was and I didn't deserve this "box of candy."
It wasn't until he was gone that I kept coming across my sudden “necessities of life” in unsuspecting places. He knew that I usually only dusted things at eye-level, except for once or twice a year, so on a top shelf I found a medic alert button wrapped in a flashy jewelry box. "Sorry, kid, the card read," probably thought you were getting diamonds, but consider this a detour from death if you should stumble and fall."
Taped to the bottom of my writing desk drawer were emergency numbers for ''just in case." But did the number of a geriatric doctor have to be listed FIRST? Guess so. After all, when was the last time you heard of a septuagenarian needing a pediatrician?
Many months later when I was rummaging through Glenn's sewing box, yes, HIS sewing box, the most masculine, authoritative-looking person I've ever known, that I discovered his last, most loving and tender gesture of all. Trust me, I wasn't worthy. Not this dopey dame who chastised him for loading me up with black jelly beans. There, all stuck in an old, plump pin cushion were several sewing needles, no big deal except....except they were all threaded. "You get all nervous, jerky and go ballistic when trying to thread a needle," he wrote. "Don't want to see my gal suffering a stroke."
Imagine, even in death, I was still being cared for. And to think, I was always so very afraid of being alone. Only fools worry about things that may never really happen.