I live in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. It’s a place that finally suits me, after having lived in eight other states. At 82 years old, I could not ask for a better place. I am a member of a newly constructed senior center, situated on Narragansett Bay. It offers many positive programs for the elderly, as well as transportation for those who do not have means to get to the grocery store or other places. The center works hard supplying us with every conceivable need. Also in North Kingstown, there is a group called FISH, which is an acronym for Friends In Service to Humanity. This is a volunteer group that assists people who do not have transportation to medical, social services or the food pantry. This group has done miraculous things for me and thousands of others. Without them, I would not be alive today.
I like to go to the center’s exercise room and discuss politics with various people: an ex-school teacher who knows sign language and entertains us with story skits; or, a retired lawyer who talks and talks. When I can catch him in the “shut-up mode,” I insist on a hug, he laughs and obliges; or, a well-to-do avid exerciser who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis but still diligently uses the treadmill five days a week. She and I argued about who should be President. She won, (although today, three months later, she said she is not sure she made the right choice). I lost. However, Hillary will have a lot less stress in the next four years and, too, think of all the fun she can have with her grandchild.
There are many other intelligent, verbose elders who come: the father of a world-renowned orchestra director. Because of him, I can supply these pictures. A wonderful couple whose son is a celebrated jazz trumpeter in Germany. They gave me a picture of their first grandson. It was so cuddly, I put it, face up, in my dresser drawer and threw him a kiss every morning when I opened it. There is a very intelligent woman who, with her retired, attorney husband, tells me of their extensive, adventurous travels. Since I have only been to one foreign country, Mexico, I enjoy her stories, except the one she told me about her falling while in Cuba and getting a concussion. She and I have feet problems and know the best inserts to buy for expensive, worn-out shoes we can’t relinquish.
We are all trying to live longer with the help of a small, but quality-equipped exercise room, while we pass the time showing off our individual bits of knowledge and, what we consider, stimulating conversation. Thank goodness, none of our children are around to tell us to “hurry up and come to the point” or “you’ve already told me that.”
Next to the exercise room is the manicure and pedicure room run by Liz Albanesa, the best pedicurist in the United States, if not the world. No one has her experience and love for tending to ugly, old, wrinkled feet, while she entertains clients with her chatter. She cured my ingrown toenails, not an easy task. My feet are presently photogenic except for one hammer toe. Even my podiatrist compliments them. Kiss, kiss to you, dear Liz. One day, there was a retired Asian doctor getting his discolored feet done. Liz sat on the hard floor while she performed her miracle. She does not have a fancy, professional pedicure chair. She, like me, is well endowed with behind padding, otherwise, it would be unbearable for her to work all day in this awkward position. As I stared at the doctor’s purple legs, my brain shifted into the curative mode. I surmised he needed more exercise and told him so. He nodded condescendingly and smiled. He, like many old people, tend to get lazy. “They need to be jacked up” my son, Garry, the runner, says. He needles me all the time, “Move, just move it or lose it, Ma!”
In North Kingstown, there is a group called FISH, which is an acronym for Friends In Service to Humanity. This is a volunteer group that assists people who do not have transportation to medical, social services or the food pantry. FISH was started in 1964. It has volunteer telephone operators (me, being one of them, an accountant, a leader, and about 20 drivers who use their time and cars to take people to their appointments, free of charge. This group has done miraculous things for me and thousands of others. Without them, I would not be alive today. One of them came to my apartment in the middle of a rainy night, helped me into his car and sped me, toot sweet (fr. tout de suite), to the hospital. Another FISH driver is the most benevolent person I have ever met. Bob is my angel. I was not aware a man could listen and be so willingly useful. Because of him, I can submit this entry (3 strokes have limited many of my abilities).
What a nice life I have! Exercise friends, FISH compadres and a wonderful pedicurist! I will live to be 100, if I can ever curtail my love for heavenly tasting food. I’m working on it.
Everyone should have what I have. I revel in it.