I (DM) got a phone call two weeks ago from our local nursing home.  Halley (director of activities) wanted to know if they could stop by in a bus, then I could tell them a little bit about our setup.  It wasn’t going to work with my schedule, but I did offer to come to town to the nursing home and do a little program.

That was yesterday morning.

It was a hoot.  I made up a version of Jeopardy.

Guys against the girls or as  we put it. drones against the worker bees.

Some of categories included: Apple Trees, The Birds and the bees, Enemies of the Orchard, and Johnny Appleseed.  Rather than me just talk, it was an interactive presentation.  Even with my helping  (just a little) the drones lost.  I started out asking if any of them could remember the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940?  (Several could)  Reason I asked that was because before that storm, Iowa  was number 2 in the nation in terms of the apple producing states, second only to Michigan.  The blizzard and ice storm  decimated the apple trees and since farmers could not afford to wait 5 to  7 years for a paycheck, the orchards were plowed under and turned into corn fields.  How sad. 😦


The following ditty I found on line, was in the back of my mind as I looked out over the men and women sitting before me:

“What do you see nurse?
What do you see, nurse… what do you see?
Are you thinking – when you look at me:
“A crabbed old woman, not very wise;
Uncertain of habit with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice ‘I do wish you’d try.'”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe;
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still.
As I move at your bidding, eat at your will:
– I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another;
– A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon a love she’ll meet;
– A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;
– At twenty-five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
– A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast.
Bound together with ties that should last.
– At forty, my young sons have grown up and gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn;
– At fifty once more babies play ’round my knee
Again we know children, my loved ones and me…
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years
and the love that I’ve known.
I’m an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.
There is a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now again my bittered heart swells;
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
and I’m loving and living life over again;
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last;

So open your eyes, nurse, open and see…
not a crabbed old woman.
Look closer… see me!”


Pictures compliments of Google images:

30 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. This reminded me of my hubby’s mom – we lost her this past January, she was 97. After emergency surgery and many complications, she descended into severe dementia – and lived very much in her past (which she thought was the present). Bruce would talk to her every day on the phone at the hospital- and ultimately just played along – which led to some true hilarity, and made it much easier for the nurses to deal with her. Some days she thought he was twelve, or that he was his brother (long gone), thought she worked at the hospital, was on her way to our house to make roast beef and Yorkshire puddings – and he would have to ‘talk her out of it’ by pointing out it was 800 miles and the roads weren’t very good in the winter. He was her only link to reality regardless of how old she thought he was on any given day – and he swears those were some of the best conversations he’s ever had with her. It’s certainly given me a different take on the elderly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry for your loss. We lost my Mum in January to dementia. She was 95.
      I was used to her calling me by my sister’s name all the time I was growing up, so it was a little odd to be addressed correctly in her latter years. I treasure the memories of holidays spent with us in Lincolnshire and still see her stood at the cottage window looking out across the fields watching ‘the doughnut machine’ as it cut and rolled the hay into bales.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thought about what you said here several times now….what a blessing Bruce was to his mother. In the event I find myself in a similar situation with my parents, I will definitely use Bruce’s approach… These new seasons of life have the feeling of uncharted waters to me

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug, that poem brought tears to my eyes this morning. I may not be ancient yet, nor needing nursing care, but I think when you reach a certain age it’s easy to look in the mirror and still see your youth. Others often just see the old body.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice post, Doug, and even nicer activity. Bravo. Intergenerational interactions are so important for all involved. It’s a true win -win; everyone of every generation involved enjoys and learns. Make sure your kids and grandkids pick up on that theory! 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is precious, Doug. It touches my heart on so many levels. Especially that you put so much thought, effort and time into your presentation for these precious souls. Thank you for loving them so well.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • We used to use this Jeopardy format when we were teaching Jr high kids @ church many moons ago. Its a great way to involve the audience and keep things moving.


  5. There was a woman (resident ) at the last nursing home I worked in
    She had been a nurse her entire adult life, and in her dementia, believed she was still at work. Every day she would hang out in her wheelchair at the nurse’s station, charting her notes, and demanding her shift reports. Everyone accommodated her (she had a ‘phony’ chart for making her notes in. It seemed to bring her peace. Loved your story and the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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