Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Plaintive Little Cry

It was warm late Tuesday morning, and Julie and I were sitting outside on the home patio, sun beaming down from the east on Julie's back as she faced me in half profile.  She was enjoying the first of the warmth provided by the spring sunlight. I was a few feet away in the shade, perched on a painted wooden rocker with legs folded while I removed woolen socks, hand knit a decade prior. "It is hard to part with a sock one has knit oneself with a good quality yarn," I thought to myself as I critically reviewed the wear on the socks.

Silently lamenting that fact as I pulled off one sock, then the other, folding them and stacking them, I said aloud to Julie "it is about time to use these socks as rags."  The old variegated wool had been washed way too many times, first as a hand wash, then as time went on, they had been tossed into the machine for thorough washing without further regard for the pilling process.  And the pair were indeed pilled, fine wool strands finding other similar worn yarn strands, knotting themselves together to create long errant pieces of extraneous fibers, an aesthetic bane to both knitters and wearers of wool.
Julie was listening to me, watching, contemplating my musing. Glancing over to her as she leaned back in her wheelchair, her head down as she was likely glancing at her iPad to see if a new WordChums play was ready for her response.

But she had heard me, and said "Don't use them as rags, given them to someone at the manor."  I was thinking that if this well worn foot apparel was eschewed by me, it would be unfair to offer them as a gift to one of the other residents. Julie then said "Lots of people there are continually cold, no matter how much the heat is cranked up." Then, under her breath, her head still turned downwards, and in a quieter, more high pitched voice, she said "I'm cold.  I'm cold."

I must have gasped because in my mind's eye, I saw the very elderly woman who lives on Julie's same wing at the manor.  Let's call her Ethyl.  "I'm cold, I'm cold," Ethyl laments in her chair parked outside the door to her room. I could very clearly picture Ethyl sitting in the hallway in a passive demeanor, waiting for the next activity to be laid on her by an aide or a nurse or an activity director. Toothless and without aid of dentures, her head bundled in a soft cap that covers her ears and forehead, there was Ethyl speaking through Julie.  "I'm cold, I'm cold."  Julie had mimicked Ethyl's voice perfectly, and with a fair amount of empathy. And Julie has heard this plaintive cry so many times over the past eleven months that it sprung forth from her being as if Ethyl were living inside Julie.  It was eerie how Ethyl was being channeled.

And maybe I will re-think using those well worn socks as cleaning rags.
Another story about an elderly nursing home resident can be read here.  It continues to be revised.


  1. such much big and small sufferings are in the world. Lord have mercy!

  2. That sounds like a good idea. My grandparents are always bundled up even though it's a hot day. I guess blood circulation isn't as fast when one ages?

  3. I have some that SHOULD probably be used as rags... but I still wear them:) Have a blessed Mother's Day dear Nancy! HUGS!

  4. Oh. That makes me sad that someone might be cold and need help getting warm.
    Happy Mother's Day, friend!


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