Senior Citizen Outings

by admin on January 28, 2009

Yesterday we were invited to a “fish fry/picnic” given by friends for their family and church members.  “Sammy” and I were asked because my husband and his buddy “Freddy” (not his real name), being avid fishermen, had been catching the fish and saving them in the freezer since early Spring.  It was decided to have this affair at a local park.  We were fortunate because it was a lovely sunny 80 degrees, although there was a chilly northern breeze blowing.  Our meeting was in a roofed pavilion, but with open sides, with lots of picnic tables and benches.  Unfortunately, I am not quite in love with picnics as I was in my younger years and I find that sitting on hard benches is tough on my “aging bottom”.  Not good on aching backs or knees either!

Now, fish isn’t my favorite thing to eat(or smell) and my husband can attest to that.  My contribution to the “pot luck” food donations was a ground beef/veggies casserole without added salt (due to my no salt diet) and a sugar free apple dump cake.  These were what I ate since I needed to be careful of my diet due to health reasons, (and besides, I don’t like fish!). For 20 years, my husband has been trying to get me to go fishing with him, but I told him he’d be so miserable if I was with him that he’d be sorry he ever made the suggestion. I tried fishing once or twice and found it so very boring.  Also do not like hunting a tree to hide behind (nor possibly squatting on poison ivy or oak, ug!) whenever the “call of nature” would come upon me (which can be frequently, in my “old” age.)  He offered to take a port-a-potty along in his boat, but I find that idea none too appealing.  Can just imagine my going down the river and all the attention I’d attract should I find a need to use one of those.  Sorry, but that just isn’t my idea of fun!  He says as long as I supply the “worm money”, then it is okay if I stay home!  Hallelujah!, thank you, Lord!

One disadvantage about attending such functions is the need to visit the “outhouses”.  When I moved to this area years ago, I had an encounter with one when visiting in-law’s who still lived in the country in an old house without indoor plumbing, nor running water.  This seemed so strange to me, in such modern times, to be living like the “really olden days” and I was unprepared when visiting the “outhouse” which was complete with a wooden slab with a hole cut in the center.  However, I did notice that the bees, flies, ants, roaches, gnats, spiders and various other insects, all rather liked this place, but, being in winter, I made as fast a “get-away as I possibly could!

Meanwhile, back to yesterday, the need arose, and being troubled by an aching back and knees, my husband offered to drive me to the “outhouse” which was about half a block away, but through the woods.  While on our way, my memory flashed back to the time mentioned above when I first encountered one of these, and so, I expected the worse!  Much to my surprise, I found modern facilities, and even equipped for the handicapped, but no paper.  Good thing I had tissue in my pockets.  I was also quite pleased not to find any flies, gnats, spiders, or any other creepy, crawly things to bother me!

Attending this picnic were quite a few mothers and grandmothers and we were discussing how odd it is that no matter whether our children are all grown up, whenever we hear “Mama”,  “Grandma”,  “Grammy”, or something similar, we automatically turn our heads and look for the source of the cry!  My own sons are all men and I have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live quite a distance away, and there’s no possible way any of them would be calling me, yet I, too, will turn towards the sound of a child crying out, ready to be of assistance if needed.  The other ladies all agreed this was the case and seems to be typical to all of us Moms and Grandmas.  Guess it is something that is “inborn” and God-given!

I was quite impressed by one woman attending who had come down with a flare-up of rheumatoid arthritis in her feet and was struggling to walk.  She sat down by an 85-90 year old lady who immediately took her hand and started praying for her.  Such a long and sweet prayer asking God to bring healing to this hurting woman.  I’m sure the kindness and thoughtfulness of the prayer touched the heart of the one whose hand was being held so lovingly!  Shortly after this, it was announced that the fish was ready and for everyone to grab their plates and start digging into all the “goodies” that the different ladies had brought to accompany the fish.  I was surprised to find that my casserole was wiped out as usually I have left-over’s for the next day’s dinner.  Several even asked for the recipe which I have had 40 years or more.

One unfortunate incident happened yesterday though when my friends’ three year old grandson fell off some playground equipment and badly cut his head.  His Dad and several Grandmas rushed to him when they heard his scream.  He had to be taken to a hospital for emergency treatment where they put in 5 staples to close the wound.  There were lots of suggestions on what to do to help and some first aid applied, but everyone knew he needed medical treatment.

This “outing” yesterday brought to mind another time several months ago when I was invited to a luncheon.  Due to periodic ill health, sometimes I am housebound for days or weeks at a time.  In fact, if I go shopping one day to Wal Mart’s Super Store, the next day I usually need to stay home as I have difficultly walking around the house and lean on all the furniture or my walker.  But, this day I decided to attend the luncheon.  There was a special speaker and a “carry-in” dinner.  I really enjoyed listening to the speaker’s message and visiting with my friends.  But one thing occurred which I’d like to mention as a warning to seniors who might have lowered immune systems.  Three of the ladies who were helping set up the food tables mentioned that they had been ill with the flu, but being responsible for the luncheon arrangements and faithful in their service to the church, had come in spite of being sick.  Several of them were sitting opposite me and had some trouble with sneezing and coughing.  Two days after the meeting, I came down with fever, chills, aching, cold symptoms, etc. and later told I had the flu.  When talking with a nurse, I mentioned being exposed two days before and she said that where this illness is concerned, you can catch it that quickly!

So, I just wanted to pass along a suggestion that when suffering from flu, cold, or other airborne illnesses which involves coughing and sneezing, etc, please avoid going out to group meetings where you might expose others to your germs.  Those of us who have had cancer or who suffer from other chronic diseases, have compromised immune systems and are highly susceptible to catching illnesses.  We also should try to avoid going out in public very often when hearing of flu outbreaks or any other type which might be prevalent as it can really endanger our lives if our bodies don’t have the needed resistance to fight off the germ exposure.  In the above illness which I came down with, my symptoms lasted about 4 weeks and I was quite weakened from the episode.  Sometimes the coughing can last as long as 6-8 weeks.

Well, I have run down for another day and I will close.  It is enjoyable to get out occasionally, but also, I am content to be at home.  Whenever another story line pops into my head, will again write it all down, in case anyone is interested in happenings or memories of Grandma Suzie.  So long and God Bless!

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