I couldn't tell you exactly what year it was that Thanksgiving, only that I was old enough to drive....and to fully understand my mother's panic. A new oven with a time bake feature (standard on many now days) gave Mom the luxury of popping the turkey in the oven and setting it to heat, roast and the behemoth bird golden brown well before our traditional lunch time feast---simply by putting it in the oven when she went to bed.
The first sign of trouble: there was no magnetizing aroma of turkey to pull me from my sleep on Thanksgiving day. Mom had not been up long and when I entered the kitchen; there was mumbling about the turkey still being raw. Dad, in usual fashion, had gotten up at the crack of dawn and had gone to work in the yard to plant trees, another tradition. I don't remember the exact chain of events in the interim but I was sent to Wilmington to retrieve Mrs. Blanche Matthews, a family friend who came to share most holidays with us, from Extended Care. By the time we returned to the homestead, plan B was well underway:Turkey roasting in the oven and hamburgers ready to be fried.
I can still see the square patties on the griddle Mom used to make grilled cheese or french toast. The turkey was finished cooking in time for an early supper and made for an interesting day, the rest of which has slipped from my memory.
What did I learn that day?
- Things rarely, if ever, go according to plan, so be flexible. The turkey wasn't ready for lunch..... but it wasn't the end of the world.
- Caring for older adults is important and worth the effort. Both Mrs. Matthews and my (Uible) grandmother were older, but we looked forward to having them on special occassions and gave no thought to the effort it would take to bring two aging women with walkers into our home. When Grandma Uible got to the point where she used her wheelchair more and more, she did not let that hold her back. And, more importantly, my parents never complained or acted as if it was an inconvenience to get her to church each Sunday or out to eat or to a Doctors appointment. That's just what we did....because it was the right thing and EVERYONE deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
In hindsight, God used this lesson not only to help me learn how to interact with Sr. Adults but to prepare me for the challenges of a handicapped husband. While Don didn't use a walker or wheelchair for many years, when that time came there was no fear of how to do this or how to handle that. It just simply was. Period. The main thing was to offer as many possibilities with as much kindness as possible. And, yes....to stay flexible.