Posts Tagged ‘ blind ’

My Mother’s Friend

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

My Mother’s Friend, Martha

My mother’s friend Martha is 90 years old. She is mainly blind from birth, and now her hearing is drifting off. I imagine words coming towards her and curling into a gentle, blue puffy cloud.

Martha lives alone with her dog friend, Gretel.

Martha considers my mother her best friend. But, my mother is dead… and hence so is Martha’s best friend.

Martha calls me on the phone one day, wanting to return a book to me. She must have borrowed it from my mother.

I say, “Keep it or give it away, whatever you want.”

There is a silence.

“Oh. Do you want me to come and get it?” I ask.

Yes. She does.

She’s lonely. She wants to see me. I haven’t seen Martha since my mother died 2 1/2 years ago.

The next day when I arrive at her gate, I park my car, get out and wait for her to push her way down the drive with her walker. She unlocks the heavy wire gate and I step through the opening.

She reaches toward me, takes my face in her hands and peers closely up into my face.

“Oh. You look just like your mother. It’s like having your mother here with me, again.”

I am going to be my mother for an hour or two as I spend some time with Martha.

We inch our way up the long drive. Martha tells me she has to use the walker because her dog, in her great thrill with life and running, ran over her one day when they were outside. Greta knocked Martha to the ground and Martha broke her leg.

“But, I’m fine now,” Martha tells me once we are settled in the house at her table. “I only bring the walker outside with me so Greta can’t take me down when she’s chasing rabbits and squirrels.

Martha has a nice old house. It’s not fancy. It’s plain. The kitchen where we are sitting has old coffee cans dotting the sink, mismatched dishes and cracked drinking glasses. It looks like my mother’s kitchen.

Martha’s husband died 25 years ago. I remember him. A tall man with a great, big dark moustache that ran up at the ends into a wide smile.

They raised chickens. Looking out the kitchen window I notice the long old chicken houses, rusted with age and neglect.

Martha has been alone for a long, long time.

Her children live in places like China and Nepal. One lives across a wide field near Martha but she is gone for ten and more hours a day.

I look around and silently wonder, ‘How do you live alone when you are old and nearly blind and can hardly hear?’

“How do you do it?” I ask her.  “How do you feel about living alone?”

Martha says she is healthy. That even her knees are good. She thinks a minute. “About living and being alone for so many years? I just do it.”

She says it used to be easier when a bus came by and took her uptown but that it’s been years since that bus came by. Once a week, a friend takes her for a senior lunch at the Centre. The daughter that lives across the big field, takes her grocery shopping and they have lunch every Sunday.

I hear the ticking of an old wooden clock on the kitchen wall. We sit quietly and I listen to the tick. Martha has been listening to that clock tick her days away for at least 25 years.

“I have to go now,” I say, reluctantly. “I have to be somewhere else.”

“Oh. It’s been so nice having you here for awhile,” she says. She is disappointed that I have to go.

“In a couple, of weeks,” I say, “I’m going to call you and come and get you and take you to my house for lunch and tea. Would you like that?”

She would!

Now, we both have something to look forward, too.

Martha sees my mother in me…and I see my mother in Martha.

My mother’s old friend is now my new friend.

My mother’s friend is now my friend, too.

Suddenly, I feel all sweet and warm inside.

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A Cheery Day With Venus

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

When my father went blind, I sometimes took him to the Blind Center where he could socialize. One day, I met an old blind lady there, named Ruth.  She was charming but what captivated me most was that Ruth had penciled her bald eyebrows into a surprised arch……. with a bright red lip liner.

I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, is this my fate in my old age? Will I be doing things like this?”

Apparently so.  I look in the mirror as I’m getting ready for my big Studio Art Tour Event and I notice that I have outlined my eyes, top and bottom, not with a brown eyebrow pencil but with my red lip liner.

Eeeeh gads!!

I assure myself that the light in this bathroom is very poor.

It’s the day of the Studio Tour when hopefully, hordes of buyers will come and purchase my art.

Summer, her father Bumpa, and my grand kids are here to help me. Lexi is six and Loch is three.

Loch has arrived wearing his usual attire. A tee shirt, shorts, high plastic yellow rain boots patterned with some kid design and his large green and white cotton gloves.

He only takes his gloves off when he goes to bed. For several years now he has referred to himself as ‘a hard working man,’ and he likes to dress the part.

Summer tells me he wears the gloves so constantly that they have acquired a rank stink.

“I’ve washed them and bleached them but within a few days, the smell is back,” she says.

She tells me she is afraid that he’s going to get a fungus. (more…)


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