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Out of my comfort zone

“Try it, you’ll LIKE it,” Susan insisted.  She was dragging me by the sheer force of her steely will to visit old people at a local nursing home.  ”We’ll visit with them a little while and then sing some songs,” she insisted.  So in I went.  I’m a gregarious soul. How hard could it be?

I put on my company smile and walked up to my first old lady in the TV room, “Hi, how are you today?”  She snored on.  Person number two stared at me, bewildered.  ”Do I KNOW you?”  I’m a quick study in body language.  So I knew it wasn’t a good sign when she kept turning her head from side to side looking for an escape route.   Person three was doing a puzzle and, since she had to hold each piece an inch from her face to see it well, she was too focused to pay me any mind.

I decided to brave the big crowd and headed into the lunchroom.  One table was full of elderly ladies.  They all smiled benignly, but I didn’t get much more out of them than their names and that, yes, the weather was cold for March.

I took a deep breath and resolved to make the rounds, visiting each table and introducing myself.  I felt oh-so-welcomed when one dear soul snarled at my cheerful greeting, “We’re trying to EAT here.  So GO AWAY!”  She shook her cane at me threateningly.

I kept looking to the clock, hoping it was time to leave.  But we’d only been there for six minutes. Sigh. This selflessly bringing cheer and joy to the lonely was hard work!

I’d just made it to my fourth table when — FWOOOOSH! — a ladle flew out of the kitchen serving window.  It sailed between two of the tables and landed with a thump in the middle of the lunchroom carpet.  For a moment I was speechless.  Had it just slipped out of the cook’s hand?  Or was Woodlands Nursing Home’s chef nursing a grudge?  Oddly, none of the residents seemed to have noticed.

As an aid retrieved the errant ladle, I burst up to the next table.  ”Did you see that?” I asked breathlessly.  The folks looked at me attentively.  An old man asked, “See what?”

“A ladle just came FLYING outa that window from the kitchen!  Right between those two tables!” Shocked silence. ”It coulda HIT someone!” I insisted.

Suddenly they came to life.  ”Oh my!  Someone could have been KILLED!” I always said they should keep that window shut! What’re we going to do about it?!?”

The people at the next table wanted to know what all the commotion was, so I went from table to table alerting the residents about the near-death ladle incident.  By the time Susan   and I started to lead the music, the residents were very attentive and sang along with gusto.

We just needed to stir them up with a ladle.

— Sherry “Groovy” Grunder

Sherry “Groovy” Grunder lives in a multi-layered life-sized sandwich between two kids at home, two adult kids, four grandkids, three aging parents, three needy dairy goats and a whole herd of untamed dust bunnies. As an avowed optimist (and sometimes science teacher), she believes the glass is completely full of God’s blessings unless, of course, it is in a vacuum. She’s writing a young adult novel, The Molasses Swamp.

Reflections of Erma