Big Day

My daughters have been volunteering at a retirement home for about six months. They go on weekends, holidays and now, with free summer days, on afternoons when it is too hot to be outside. In Texas, you stay indoors between noon and four, if you can.

They love old people. They think they are cute. Charming, and funny. They point them out when they see them, particularly the couples. I’m not sure when the fascination began, but as soon as they were old enough, I called around to various homes and found one near our house. The girls have helped with manicures and parties. They have delivered mail, wheeled wheelchairs. They have hung calendars up in rooms…too high, too low, perfect. Served juice. Handed out menus… a highlight.

Yesterday, they got the July calendar, listing all of the events planned for the month. There were word games and wine and cheese, memory exercises, outings to the movie theatre. Today, there is a birthday. Fern Ives is turning 100. They will not miss today. How often do you get to attend such a celebration.

“She doesn’t look 100,” they said.  “There are younger people there who look much older.” We figured out that if you are still around at 100, you are probably doing pretty well. Hence, the youthful glow.

The other night, my younger daughter strung a bracelet for Fern. She used beads with letters printed on them and spelled out her name. Put it in a box and wrapped it, with green paper and a pink bow. My other child has chosen to make a card. I am curious to see what she writes. Later, they will arrive early. Big day.