Why let strangers disturb that lived-in look?

Don Mumford

I must be careful about telling things about my personal life. After all, if I tell you all about my daily life, someone in authority may see it (like a helpful relative), and I could wind up in a home with only a living room / bedroom with a bath, and the sound of someone calling bingo somewhere down the hall.

It could even be worse. Maybe I’d wind up in the spare bedroom of a relative, with strict behavioral rules.

So let’s talk about my friend, Crandall. He’s about my age — in his mid-80s.

Crandall lives by himself, but now a concerned relative wants him to have some house cleaning people in. Of course, he really doesn’t need a house cleaning team, even though those dust bunnies are about to become rabbits.

The cupboards have finger marks all around the knobs and the kitchen floor has a lot of spots that aren’t part of the original pattern. The oven is pristine since it’s never been used, and the microwave is getting tired from overuse. The entire house has a velvety gray look about it as the dust has settled evenly over just about everything.

Monthly (maybe), Crandall throws out all food in the refrigerator that looks a little suspicious. Each day, he pulls a frozen chicken teriyaki dinner out of the freezer. Let’s see, there’s only four more chicken teriyakis left — that’s four more dinners. He may even be the first to have 30 days in a row of chicken teriyaki for dinner.

Crandall knows the tried and true is always the safest.

The living room looks pretty good, but end tables, TV table and book case could stand a thorough dusting.

The bathroom has that overused look. There’s always evidence of a recent shower there. Who says old folks don’t bathe enough?

The bed really looks slept in. Anyway, who needs to make it? It’s only going to get messed up again that night.

Crandall sure doesn’t want to rock the boat. But maybe that cleaning team might just brighten things up a bit and make life a little better.

Recently, Crandall drove to the grocery store that also has his pharmacy. He waited in his car near the grocery cart corral. No carts were there. Those guys who take the carts in ought to leave a few carts in the corral, because guys like Crandall must use one as a walker to get from the parking lot into the store.

At last, a younger guy came out of the store with groceries in his cart. His car was very near Crandall’s, so Crandall got out of his car and waited patiently for the guy to load his stuff into his car.

Politely, Crandall told the guy that he would take his cart when it was empty. The guy thought Crandall just wanted to put the cart away for him and thanked him, and Crandall had his walker / shopping cart to boot. See? That’s two for one.

So, after waiting in line for a bit at the pharmacy, he had a little trouble using his debit card to get his medicine. Now, what was the four letter code? Also, when asked to write his birthdate on a screen with his finger, he became confused. Let’s see. Is it year, day and month or what?

After several tries, he finally got it as the line behind him was growing exponentially.

Finally, after a lecture from the pharmacist about the dangers of the prescribed drug (like low mood, breathlessness, feeling dizzy, passing out and the desire to tell off his ex), Crandall was finally good to go — he hates that expression.

Where did all those people standing in line come from? And why are they looking at him like he had just kicked their dog?

— Contact Crandall, er, we mean his buddy Don Mumford of Warren, at don mumford@aol.com.


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