Wednesday, September 16, 2009

85 At Grand Court

As I sit here at the Computer, thinking about this subject, I’m sure that it will be a “short” posting - only a couple pages, as opposed to the 5, 6 or even 7 pages I generally write.

Actually (do you notice I use that word a lot?), they wouldn’t be so long if I used a more normal type size - like 10 or 12 point. For clarity on the computer screen, I use 14 point, Bold. When “pasted” to the Blog though, the type is normal size.

So, I keep telling myself, “I may not be blabbing as much as it seems”.

Oh yeah?

Well, I digress AGAIN, just after I start on a subject. That’s “free association” writing for you.

Back to the subject.

At the Grand Court, when a resident has a birthday, the Staff gets together at the noon meal - bringing balloons and banging drums - and then they sing a “modified” version of Happy Birthday. (Like - “Who has a birthday? Mary has a birthday! Who has a birthday? Mary has a birthday!”, etc.) The whole dining room crowd joins in, and claps for the celebratee.

I’ve known about that for over three years, since they did that when Jean and I were here in 2005-2007.

Early in May this year, they celebrated the birthday of a resident, and while I was laughing at that “spectacle”, Timi Neff said, “Don’t worry, Mike! Your time is coming!”

“Challenge me, will she? You just wait, Sister!”, I said to myself.

That evening, while listening to the Boston Pops Orchestra before going to sleep, I started “planning my revenge”. I had about 3 weeks, actually. As I did so, I began laughing to myself.

(I guess I DO laugh at my own jokes.)

On May 20, 2009, I turned 85 years of age.

At about 12:15 that day, we began hearing the drum coming from the Activity Room. I didn’t need to look back down the hall, for I KNEW what was happening.

There were about 50 residents in the room.

The “entourage” finally reached the back of the Dining Room where I sit, and all 6 or 7 of them began their chant. I turned around, smiling and nodding as they sang on.

As usual, at the end, they gradually started to retreat, when I stood, held up my hands, and said, loudly,

“Just a minute! Thank you for the song. But, don’t go yet.”

They turned around, rather shocked - and stayed.

“You know“, I said, “I turned 85 early this morning, and I’ve learned that when one turns 85, there are certain privileges one gets - not responsibilities, mind you, but privileges”

The staff turned around, stunned that a birthday celebratee would have the gall to challenge them - and have something to say. Never happened before. I could just imagine some of the staff whispering to each other - “What privileges? What’s he talkin’ about?”

I went on, “That being the case, I want to exercise that ‘privilege’, and relate to you a true story.

“About 75 years ago, when I was merely 10 years old, I attended a summer Church camp in southern Ohio. In those days, camps like this one had NO electricity; NO ball diamond; NO basketball court; NO Ping Pong tables; NOR other normal accoutrements. We just had tents, campfires, Bibles and Counselors.

“This year, I remember, there was a Gospel Male Quartet that visited our camp, and they sang at the evening service, by the campfire.

“ Their names were: Eeny, Meeny, Mynie and Moe. They called themselves ‘The Fish Quartet’. And they sang First Tuna, Second Tuna, Barracuda, and Bass (pronounced like the fish).

“After the service, dusk had settled over the camp, and in the “no lights” tents, only a small candle was placed on a picnic table in the tents for light.”

(Actually the story was merely a verisimilitude.)*


(I’ve wanted to use that word for WEEKS - after I read it in a book!)

I won’t burden you with the story, especially since it was what is normally called “a sight gag”. You have to SEE it to GET it.

When the punch line was given, applause and laughter broke out, and I gave a “gracious” bow.

Just then, our son Jim - who has over a hundred pounds on me - came walking down the aisle toward me, saying loudly,

“Ok Dad! It’s time to go back to the Asylum, now!”

He came to me, grabbed my by the collar, and began dragging me out of the Dining Room.

As he did that, I began yelling, loudly, “I don’t want to go back to the Asylum! I don’t want to go back to the Asylum! I want to stay at the Grand Court Asylum! Some of my best friends are inmates here!”, over and over.

That got a lot more applause and laughter than the story I told. Certainly NOT an anti-climax.

Aren’t I a devil?

* ver·i·si·mil·i·tude

ver·i·si·mil·i·tude [vèrrə si míllə td]
(plural ver·i·si·mil·i·tudes)
n (formal)
1. appearance of being true: the appearance of being true or real
2. something that only seems true: something that only appears to be true or real, e.g. a statement that is not supported by evidence

[Early 17th century. < Latin verisimilitudo

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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