Friday, March 19, 2010

My New Friend

I made a new friend and I want you to meet her too...

I'm annoyingly driving along rush hour traffic trying to make it to my chiropractor appointment when I noticed this frail old woman inching along with her walker! Ummm...what the heck?! What on earth is she doing?! Is she a nursing home runaway? Is she loosing her mind? My heart broke as I pictured my sweet Grandma back in Oklahoma. I had to stop! I jerked off the interstate, swung my car around, hit a curb in the process and was on for the search. By the time I got through the traffic and everyone got out of my way I couldn't find her? I'm laughing, there's no way she could have gone far? I noticed a side street from where she was inching and there! A tiny hunched red blob! Thank God she didn't try to cross the crazy intersection! I caught up with her and hit the breaks. Lots of honking (Where the heck is that giant black button? The one with the red triangle on it?!) more honking, (OKAY people) oh screw it! I Roll the window down and in my sweetest voice I say, "Ma'am, can I help you?" Granny can't hear me. "MA'AM, CAN I HELP YOU?" Granny, "Oh no thank you, I'm just going to Target." I gasp! TARGET?! It would take her at least an hour to get to target! "Can I please give you a ride?" Granny chuckles, "You're not going to kidnap me are you?" I laughed and convinced her to hop in. Well, actually my SUV is not suitable for a tiny old woman so "hopping" wasn't really reasonable. I kind of lifted/scooted her in, threw her walker in the back and we were on our way!

I find out that Granny has a name which is Dorothy. Of course it's Dorothy because that has got to be the most perfect name for a sweet old granny who by the way is 86! "Dang Dorothy, you're still kicking!" Dorothy laughs. She reminds me of my Grandma. "Dorothy, what are you doing walking to Target by yourself?" Dorothy, "Oh, sometime I need a little adventure." "Dorothy, maybe you should read a book". Dorothy laughs, again I think of Grandma. "Dorothy, I like you and I'm going to help you shop today." She tells me I'm an angel...I laugh...hard.

Dorothy lives in an assisted living home. Her shuttle dropped her off at her eye doctor appointment and from there she decided to go to Target. She needed a new battery for her watch. Last week she missed her Bridge tournament because her watch wasn't working an she couldn't tell the time. My heart sunk, I would get her a new watch battery today if it was the last thing I did, Dorothy will not miss another Bridge tournament! Inching through Target I can't help but get angry as people are whisking by, inconvenienced when they get stuck behind her, or roll their eyes as they impatiently wait. Patience is a virtue people! While shopping, Dorothy decided to take advantage of my SUV and buy two king size pillows and a HUGE bag of soil for her garden. That a girl Dorothy! We make it to the check out line and Dorothy is mortified. She forgot to pick up a pack of socks for her husband Alfred, which I also think is an adorable name for what I imagine must be the sweetest old man to be married to this sweetest old lady. Dorothy, "Can I quickly go grab some socks?" "No, but you can SLOWLY go grab some socks." God forbid this woman falls and breaks a hip! Dorothy laughs, "I'm not used to people being so patient with me." I make a vow to never be impatient again. I'll let you know how long that last. 30 minutes later we grabbed the socks and checked out of target for the second time!

Dorothy says with a huge smile, "What is your name again?" I laugh, "Katherine". Dorothy, "Would you like to sit and have some water?" A check list vividly pops into my brain: chiropractor appointment, walking date with a friend, pack for Ohio, laundry, cook dinner, study..."Dorothy, I would love to sit and have some water with you." She smiles, I think of my Grandma.

While sipping water with Dorothy, I learn a lot about her life. Like Alfred recently breaking his hip causing him to be away from her in the hospital, her grandchildren, her children, her dog Rosy, and so much more. At this moment I remember I need to call Ryan! Oh crap, he's going to be worried about me. I dial, he answers, "Babe, this is really random but I saw this old lady walking on the side of the highway and I picked her up, I'm going to be home late." Ryan, "What?! "I'll explain later." Ryan, "Be safe!" I start laughing at the thought of an 86 year old elderly woman attacking me! Okay, it's getting late need to get going. Besides, Target has a policy and they won't change watch batteries and Dorothy will not miss another Bridge Tournament! Dorothy, "We better get going".

We inch to the car, throw the walker, pillows, and HUGE bag of soil into the back, lift into the seat, and head across to Radio Shack. They can't change the watch battery either! Ugh! So I go across the street into a jewelry shop. Dorothy is waiting in the car during all this as I walk into the store. Please picture this...Pit Bull dog chained to the wall, mid-40's guy who appears to be having a mid life crisis with his mullet, gold chain jewelry proudly displayed over his body, camouflage chaps (yes, I said chaps) and teeth white as snow. Classic. He changes the watch battery and the watch is broken. Nice. Dorothy might be missing her Bridge tournament after all. As I'm leaving mid life crisis guy encourages me to dig for all my gold jewelry and sell it to him. I promised I would keep that in mind. :)

I leave feeling a little defeated, but it was a good try. Now, on our way home. I'm a little nervous but Dorothy pulls through! We make it through all the twists and turns reaching the assisted living center. It's really nice! We walk into hallway and I'm hit with a wave of heat. I would love it here! We reach her room, open the door, and immediately here comes Rosy (the fattest Chiwawa I've ever seen). Dorothy is SO proud to show her off and I'm touched to see how much Rosy loves her owner! We get things settled in her house and I can't help but notice all the memories, sentiments, and precious tea cups proudly displayed throughout her home. Dorothy is thrilled as I take her up on the offer to sit in the chairs that view the man made pond in her back yard. I'm so glad I took her up on her offer as I hear Dorothy and Alfred have been married for 65 years and they like to watch old movies together. She is excited for him to return home from the nursing home. Me too because I hate leaving her all by herself. We exchange numbers and she thanks me with words, a hug, a smile, and tangerines. I promise her that I will be back and bring Ryan to meet her too.

I leave with a huge smile on my face. I loved meeting Dorothy. I'm not sure why God crossed our paths, but I was thankful for the opportunity. The opportunity to show God's love, to be loved, get out of my comfort zone, stop my busy life and be reminded of the important things. Maybe meeting Dorothy helped you do the same. :)

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  1. I may illustrate this story. No jokes.

  2. that's amazing kat & you really are an angel!

  3. This is such a sweet thing you did for this lady Kat. We could use more people like you in this world!