6/01/2010

The Elderly on Holidays


Like many people yesterday, I spent my Memorial Day with family and friends. We had the usual; BBQ, grilled steaks, pork chops, sausage and so on. I had already done my usual routine of visiting veterans cemeteries, VA hospitals over the weekend. So, yesterday was a day of relaxation. I have a new neighbor (let's call him "Mr. Wiggins") who moved in three homes down from where I live on this corner lot. Mr. Wiggins is an elderly gentleman, late 70s or early 80s. I suspect it is the latter of the two. But, he sticks pretty much to himself since he moved here about February of this year.

People next to him have invited him for supper, to attend holiday functions (St. Patrick's Day is the only one I can think of since Feb.). But, he has always declined offeres to socialize. I have never invited him over to my home. I noticed him sitting in his front yard all alone. I have no idea if he has children or not. He doesn't volunteer much information about himself. So, no one around here knows much about him. We are all standing around drinking beer, eating and carrying on yesterday in my backyard. I simply couldn't stand it any longer. I told everyone I would be right back. I walked over to his yard, apologized for not coming and introducing myself before now. He seemed polite, but a bit guarded toward me. I then asked him if he would like to join us for Memorial Day cookout. Mr. Wiggins stated he didn't want to intrude on our festivities. I told him he wouldn't be intruding at all since he was invited. He sat there for a moment, looked up at me and said, yes, I think I would enjoy the company. Stunned, I walked with him back to our cookout in the backyard.

Long story short here, Mr. Wiggins was a very enjoyable guest. We were entranced with all he had been through in his life (he is 85 and a WWII vet). Finding out he was a WWII veteran made it even more appropriate that he joined in with us yesterday. Is there a point to be made here? Well, if there is one, it's this; if you know any elderly who spend a lot of time alone, you are probably wrong if you think they don't want to be bothered. The vast majority want company. Mr. Wiggins just had to wait for the right person to invite him. As it turns out, I was that person. And, to top things off, I have a new friend now in Mr. Wiggins.



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