WHILE YOU CAN

Yes, I am doing great with the physical therapy, if I do say so myself! I am improving by leaps and bounds, but then I was raised to give my best. If you tell me to walk to that chair across the gym, I will, no matter how far! With the walker of course, because the last thing I want to do is fall down. Or have my pants fall down, as they almost did the other day when we forgot to tie them after the bathroom! I was so busy figuring out how to keep my nose above my toes and which hand to put on the walker first. Heaven above, that was a close one. I don’t want to be the talk of the town! Okay, next exercise. I’m ready!

Yes, my legs are shaking a bit, but that’s okay, it’s not from pain – it’s from effort. I push myself. Mom always told me whenever I slowed down and got daydreamy, hey, she would say. Hey! Since you can’t be pretty, at least make yourself useful! Hahaha, no, I didn’t take it as an insult. Pretty doesn’t put food on your table. The menfolk in the countryside have something better to do than stare at their wife’s face, much less her backside. I am a hard worker and it has stood me in good stead. That much is as true as I stand here! Yes, I know, I know, the three-pound weights and the arm lifts. Don’t be disappointed by my weak arm now. I try not to be. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

The strength of our arms and our backs was our livelihood back home, and for a lot of us here as well. I never went to school. Luckily, I have a good memory, and I know how to sign my name and write a phone number, and that’s better than some people. I can keep track of which pills I have to take, too. They are different colors and sizes so that’s all right. And I can tell time. Oh, and bus numbers! I know my bus numbers. And as soon as I get to walking steady after this latest fall, you will find me on the Number 5, heading to the mall for a walk in indoor comfort. Oh, don’t worry! I always take a grandchild and my walker with me! We have good times.

Oh, this step exercise! You know how hard it is to get my weak leg up, the poor old limb. I’m like a tree struck by lightning! Haha! Yes, we laugh so we don’t cry. And I believe God wants us to laugh. I believe we came here to enjoy this wonderful gift of life. It doesn’t mean you won’t have sorrows and hard work, and why shouldn’t we? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And we will all die anyway, that’s a given. When the neighbor asked my Mom why do you joke so much, she answered with another joke: Why take life seriously? We’ll never get out of it alive! But still and all, my Mom always told us, enjoy life while you can. Don’t sit still – you can rest when you’re dead. But enjoy being alive even as you work. It lasts less time than you think, when you are young and it stretches out past the horizon.

The older you get, the more you can look at the bright side, and the bright side is, I am on my legs again after the stroke and the fall. I have my voice and I can feed myself. I can take care of my grandchildren and cook meals. I can help around the house. I get a little Social Security from my years of housecleaning. I am finally old enough to get Medicare, and it’s a blessing! I have a few old hens I see at church every Sunday and we drink coffee together and gossip. Nothing unkind! Just interesting! And I am getting stronger every day. You said it yourself, right? I have so much to be grateful for.

Oh! Is our time up? But wait, I have more advice to give you! Haha, it will have to wait for next week. Time is money for you young folks and you must be getting on. God bless you and keep you safe. I will pray for God to grant you the peace I see you are lacking in your shifty eyes. Yes, they look impatient! Yes, they do! Aaw, okay, I am just kidding. But if the shoe fits, you know the saying… anyway, you have exhausted me with all your chatter, so please help me into bed before you go. The chair? Okay, okay, have it your way. Leave me in the chair by the window. I will look out at God’s creation. Now go drag the next one out of bed! Haha! Don’t be idle! Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Go on now! And remember to enjoy yourself while you can. I know I do.