My life is their lifeline

Dad, A Bear and William Tripp – [l to r]

Caring for our elderly parents, was it a class
I overlooked in college?

– No, not even offered, but very much needed.
I was born in the winter of ’63, a “baby boomer”,
That’s me.

I am now on the verge of my fifth year assisting
an elderly group of family members, whom shall
remain nameless, yet well define, the days turn
into months, and the first year of my forties
become the last year of freedom as I defined it.

In the past four years, I have spent much time
overseeing their visits to; doctors, pharmacy,
and untimely ERs appearances.

I can only hope that I will come to appreciate
and understand the last four and a half years,
along with the onset of another new year filled
with uncertain mornings, inpatient telephone
calls and endless mundane reading in virus
fill waiting rooms, a majority, surprisingly not
designed for motorized chairs, walking canes
and square tennis ball trimmed walkers.

QTips, Waiting Rooms and Early Bird Specials

Q-Tips, Waiting Rooms and Early Bird Specials

I stop to use a pay phone, circa 1997; I glanced at the car…

– upon observing the white Lincoln Continental, with three
white-haired sisters, whom sat quietly in the back seat, I was
reminded of a box of Q-tips® , align, in a row, although
mass-produced, at glance they looked similar, but if you take
a closer look, each one has its own unique “fluffy tip”

The story of why I use the word q-tips when referencing
a generation twice my age.

A friend and I had just picked up her mother and two aunts
at the airport. I was informed of their initial destination of their
two-month vacation itinerary.  So with their safe arrival
and suitcases retrieved, we were ready to take the three
lovely women, now comfortably seated in the backseat
of my own mothers car, I was bestowed the task of driving
them to their first destination. Thinking I had what I needed…
I thought, as I drove into the darkness of night with purpose.

As the stars replaced the streetlights, highways became
a two-lane road.  [We had just passed the township sign,
population 819]. I spoke, a few simple, but very important
words,” I will need the street address”… The response
to my request was” I have it here, on this paper”.

My friend reached for the paper, which was scribe with
what I thought would offer me the instructions to their
brothers home.  The paper looked rather small to have
the usual information needed to find someone’s address,
a place I for one, had not been too, nor my friend, even though
it was her uncles winter home.

I could see, as the paper got closer, the numbers and words
came together in my head, and laughter burst from me
as if I had been punked by Ashton Kutcher.  My eyes would
not lie, would they?  So with firm knowledge of what I was
reading, would not be adequate to find their brothers home,
at least without the aid of a local postal employee.

Although the numbers looked larger than life on paper, I tried
to emphasize the reality that their brother and sister-law did not
reside at the local post office. Therefore, even though the city
of Webster is an area of 1.3 miles of it is land, none of which
is covered by water, we would still be hard pressed to find
their brothers home without his the typical information.

Just as we were about to head back into Orlando, and try to make
other arrangements, a local police officer drove by, I said, “hey, let’s
asked if he knew where the RV parks are located and how many
are there in the city limits. and how many there were.  We caught
up with the officer, and asked our question, and we received answer,
but not the one we wanted to hear. The officer stated he had just
moved to the area, but suggested the two streets we should look on.

Therefore, by process of elimination, we were able to locate
and drop the three lovely women, whom inspired my term “Qtips”.

I always like the phase in this song by the band Fastball called “The Way”

“Their children woke up
And they couldn’t find them
They left before the sun came up that day
They just drove off and
left it all behind ’em
But where were they going without ever
Knowing the way?”

“You can see their shadows
wandering off somewhere
They won’t make it home
But they really don’t care
They wanted the highway
They’re happier there today, today”
–Fastball/Tony Scalzo

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