Still Waters: Seniors, best in show

Respect those who are farther along the path of life than you. They have something to share from that perspective, distant and distinct from your own.

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I visited a friend who is recovering in one of our local care centers (we try not to call them nursing homes anymore) last weekend. On my way in I saw another friend of mine who was in a wheelchair in the lobby, waiting for her daughter to come and visit. She was still there, waiting, when I left. I wondered if her daughter ever came that day.

My friend’s room was busy and even a bit chaotic. It was wonderful. She had two friends sitting on the vacant nearby bed, and they had a cute little dog with them, so I got a dog-petting fix while we visited. Then my friend’s granddaughter and great granddaughter came in, and the great granddaughter left with the two visitors who were there first. She was going to spend the night with them, and they planned on watching movies and probably eating popcorn and other treats.

I thought that it was pretty awesome that a young girl would want to spend time with folks “our age” and even looked forward to having an overnight experience. But then she is accustomed to my friend, who is in her 70’s but such a hoot! She gave her great granddaughter some advice about behaving herself, and the youngster left.

My friend’s granddaughter then spread a towel on the floor, sat down and began to paint her grandma’s toes a beautiful shade of blue with glitter on top.

If you have to spend time in a “care facility,” that’s the way to do it — surrounded by people who love you and are willing to paint your toes blue with glitter on top!

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My folks recently ate out at one of their favorite restaurants that has a great breakfast menu. But the restaurant had changed its menu and apparently its policies regarding the “senior menu.” As he had done many times before, my father ordered the senior omelet with mushrooms added. The waitress said the senior omelet couldn’t be ordered with any extras now, just eggs and cheese. If he wanted anything extra he would have to order the regular omelet, not the senior one. So he had a senior omelet, cheese and eggs only.

My folks left with a bad taste in their mouth, so to speak, because of how this restaurant changed its policies, menu and prices in a way not so favorable to seniors anymore.

Seniors can be good customers, folks. If for no other reason, they should be treated with respect for the amount of money they bring to a business and the amount of money they have spent in businesses over the years.

That restaurant might have lost two regular customers that day.

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I was channel surfing one Saturday night not that long ago and came upon the first American Rescue Dog Show on one of the Hallmark channels. It was delightful. All of the dogs in the show had been rescued and adopted by wonderful folks. It was not the usual dog show with breeds performing tricks or just looking gorgeous on the “runway.” This show had such categories as “best snorer” or “best couch potato” (won by a St. Bernard I believe.) There was the “best wiggle butt” category and “best listener” and “best talker.” One of the categories was “best senior dog.”

The winners in all of the categories lined up (some better behaved than others) with their owners for the “best in show” honor at the climax of the evening. I figured the personable “wiggle butt” winner might take the top honor. What a cutie! They were all so adorable. I know I would have had a hard time deciding.

The judges debated. They whispered together for what seemed a long time.

Finally they reached a decision.

The best in show was Jackie, the “senior dog,” an 11-year-old black lab mix whose original family had dumped her at a shelter the year before because she was too old. She would have been euthanized if not for Debbie Bloom who adopted her and gave her a new lease on life in her retirement years at the Bloom home with three other rescued dogs and two children. (Her family says she regained some of her youthful ways and always has a toy in her mouth.) I think no one was more surprised than Jackie’s owner Debbie to see this sweet old “puppy” chosen as “best in show.”

Jackie amiably moved from one judge to another to get pets and congratulations. What a dear!

Of course as I saw that sweet black lab with white on her muzzle I thought of my own black lab mix Ebony who had to go to sleep in January, and I sat on the couch and cried for a bit.

Thank you, Hallmark, for recognizing these awesome rescued dogs, and thank you, judges, for recognizing that seniors certainly deserve to be “best in show.”