Artist’s Lane: Having someone to lean on

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    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    I always found great comfort in saying, “It’s nice to grow old together.” I realized this week I could be wrong. Maybe I should have changed my narrative a long time ago.

    I’ve heard old men say, “Marry someone 20 years younger so you have someone who can take care of you when you’re old.” 

    Forget how ridiculous an old man looks with a girlfriend the age of your granddaughter. That said, the bond my youngest daughter has with her dad is priceless. 

    If you have been keeping up, you know that I recently fell and nearly shattered my knee. With it the size of a basketball and me hobbling on one leg, I had to do the unthinkable: I repurposed one of my Sweet Al’s canes. 

    He has two, so I didn’t think anything of it. Dare I say that Abbot and Costello have nothing on us. Picture my Sweet Al with his bum leg trying to teach me how to walk with a cane with my bum knee. 

    I asked our youngest daughter to drive me to a follow-up doctor’s appointment last week. Not one to miss a good time, Al was showered and shaved and ready to come along for the ride. No problem, or so I thought.

    We arrived at the hospital and parked the car. Before I could get my mask and purse in hand, our daughter jumped out of the car and opened the back door to help her dad out of the car. Then, off the two went as I sat trying to figure out the most graceful way to get out of the car without it involving a body roll. 

    I lagged behind, but eventually made my way to the reception area. Feeling a bit pitiful, I landed in the nearest chair I could find. I exchanged mask-muted shouts with the lady behind the glass. Meanwhile, my Sweet Al and our daughter sat in the corner laughing and carrying on like two lively teenagers. 

    I would have yelled out loud if I thought it would have garnered any attention. “I’m the hurt one. Remember me, the reason for the early morning trip to town?”

    My name was called and it was my turn to see the doctor. As I pushed myself up, my cane flipped out of my hand, my chair tipped over and all of my belongings fell on the floor. My travel companions didn’t seem fazed. With great concern, the lone masked woman from behind the desk rallied to my rescue. 

    With purse, cane and paperwork in hand, I made my way down the hall while my daughter and husband giggled in the background. 

    Didn’t they know I needed their help? Maybe I should have had a younger man on my arm to get me to where I needed to go. 

    Wisdom says, if I could do it all over, I should have played the sick card earlier in life. My children and my husband don’t know how much I need them. I wonder if it’s too late to play a damsel in distress? 

    Thankfully, my Sweet Al still has his chivalrous charm. At the conclusion of my appointment, he held my hand as we teetered and wobbled our way back to our daughter in the waiting car. 

    Final brushstroke: Who says life is easy? I always thought I would just slide into old age. Little did I know that it would be across my office floor. But who needs a young buck to help me along when I have a cane in one hand and my rock by my side? 

    Readers’ comments

    From JD in Oklahoma: “I totally relate (to Seasons). I was telling my daughter that we are entering into a new season of our life, one that we are no more prepared for than any of the other seasons. We experienced life as newlyweds — life as young parents — life as parents of teenagers — empty nesters and retirement — but, no one prepared us for ‘growing old’ together. Changes are necessary and uncomfortable. Setting alarms for everything, making lists for everything and reminding each other repeatedly about everything. Life is a challenge and this season is no different.”

    Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.