Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When the Matron is Pushing Her Wheelchair. . . .

Six days a week, the Matron runs four miles. The seventh day she doesn't go to church but sleeps until the drool has crusted on her lower lip.

Yesterday on the run, she noted an exercise walker. This walker was unusual. Clearly, the huff and puff and exertion of his face meant this was serious walking. But the man? Pushing 90, rounding a corner near an assisted living home called the Marian Center. He was nearly bald, bone thin, big wire-rim glasses and a hearing aid meant to reach Japan. Moreover (love that word!) he was pushing an empty wheelchair as he walked. The Matron couldn't comprehend if the wheelchair was assistance or weight training. But she smiled as she ran past him.

Fast forward three miles (for the Matron). The Matron is a good two miles from the Marian Center, near her home. She sees the SAME elderly man, shuffling his wheelchair very very very very slowly. Something in the slope of his shoulders makes her throat catch.

She jogs up beside him, slowing to his snail's pace at a corner.

Matron: "Excuse me, sir? Are you okay? Can I help you?"

Elderly Man (surprised): "Why, I'm lost. I don't know where I am. And unfortunately for me, I don't think I can walk any more. I live at the Marian Center."

Matron (All mama care-taking mode): "I'd love to take you home. Let me get my van and I can give you a ride."

The man sighed, spent, and gave over his life to a stranger. The plan was established. He'd wait there whlie the Matron retrieved her van.

While the Matron was dashing home, she realized that at THIS VERY MINUTE Merrick was being released from a city sponsored tennis program. City sponsored meant he was pretty much shoved onto the street in a neighborhood known for, well, chaos and mayhem and murder.

She needed to be in two places at once.

Thank God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe, one of her neighbors (30 something) belongs in that line-up ofdieties. He's a hulking man's man who works on the railroad, as in riding on actual trains while wearing overalls.

And he was right there watering daisies in his yard when she panted up, spewed her story and said: "Do you want to drive Merrick or the wheelchair?"

He picked wheelchair and the Matron felt compelled to risk Merrick's life long enough to introduce them.

So the Man and the Matron jogged two blocks to the waiting elder. The Matron was all "coo-coo" and let's take care of you to this elder. Then she introduced him to the Man.

Man (holding out his hand for the handshake): "Hey, bro. I'm Chip Moe. That is one bad set of wheels you're packing."

Old Man (holds out his hand like a 20 year old): "Richard Moleski. You know nothing about wheels. Give me a '62 chevy and we're talking."

And they fell into it, men, just like that. While hoisting the wheelchair into the truck.

Then Richard Moleski grabbed the Matron and gave her a hug: "Sweetheart. I was a little worried. Thank you."


Maggie said...

Wow, what a wonderful & heartwarming story! Thank you for sharing :)

expateek said...

You're a peach.

As my father-in-law always said, "It's hell to get old". Now that he is old, (along with our other three elderly parents) one just has to hope and pray that there are nice people around, like you, to give them a hand when they need it.

Anonymous said...

What a great story!

Joy said...

Brought tears to my eyes - thanks for seeing the need - may the kindness be returned to you many times over!

40isthenew30 said...

that made my day - thank you - sigh (dab dab)

Cha Cha said...

I'm in love with everyone featued in this story - Chip, Richard and you.

Tammy said...

You're such a good egg Matron. I'm glad to know ye.

Ree said...

Wonderful. Utterly wonderful.