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Yesterday, May 3, I hosted what we dubbed as a “villa open house” for many of my new friends here at The Fountains. I’ve been attending a weekly Sisterhood Fellowship for a while now, and these women have been amazing role models for me. They are wonderful conversationalists in spite of their various physical limitations, and their wit and positive outlooks have inspired me.

Robin played golf again yesterday, so it was a good day to have a ladies-only get-together here in our home. We set the open house from 2 to 4 p.m., and I spent the morning getting everything ready. I thawed a loaf of zucchini bread I had bought and frozen after attending an earlier outing to the Puffy Muffin, a great bakery and restaurant up in Brentwood. Then I baked brownies and prepared a few more goodies to serve with wine and soft drinks. I also moved a couple of our dining room chairs into the living room area and set up TV trays to serve as extra tables.

At noon, I received a call from our neighbor. He and his wife live in a villa similar to ours, but they both need more assistance than we do. Their niece had been helping them until she broke her leg, so now the couple was using Home Instead, an agency that provides home care.

I had invited his wife to my party, but my neighbor said he had a doctor appointment and the aide had told him she couldn’t take him to the doctor and leave his wife by herself. His appointment was at 1 p.m., so I suggested that the aide bring Nancy over here for the party a little early. She could visit with me while I did a few last-minute things, and the aide could go ahead and take him for his appointment.

About ten till one, I noticed that Walter had not yet left for the doctor, so I called, and he apologized. “I discovered that my appointment isn’t until tomorrow,” he said. “I’m sorry. I should have called you back.”

“That’s fine. I’m glad you won’t have a conflict now. Please tell Nancy I’ll look forward to seeing her at the party.”

About 1:30, a knock at our back door caught my attention. There stood the aide with Nancy in her wheelchair. I greeted them, and the aide wheeled her inside. However, the aide seemed reluctant to leave. “I need to stay with you,” she told Nancy.

“No, you don’t need to stay,” she said. “I’ll be with my friends now, and I’ll be fine.”

“But I’m not supposed to leave you,” the aide insisted.

“No, you don’t need to stay. I will be fine. You can leave now.” Nancy’s voice sounded firm.

The aide’s eyes darted from Nancy to me, back and forth. I assured her it would be fine for Nancy to stay here with me.

The young woman left, and Nancy smiled. “Whew! I hope you don’t mind my coming a little early. I just had to get away for a while. She’s a smoker, and she doesn’t smoke inside the house, but her clothes just reek with the odor. It’s really bothering me!”

I felt sorry for her, trapped in her own house!  “You and Walter might want to call the agency and ask them not to send any more aides who smoke. I bet the home-care people receive that request quite often.”  She agreed that was a good idea. In the meantime, she settled onto our little sofa, and we enjoyed visiting until the other guests began to arrive.

Fourteen people attended the party, and I truly appreciated the extra effort many of them made in order to come. Several rode their motorized wheelchairs across the street, up our driveway, and around to the back screen porch door. Then, using their canes, they entered the villa. One resident brought her portable oxygen tank with her. One climbed our front porch stairs with assistance from a Fountains’ staff member.

I served their refreshments, and we all had a wonderful time together. They were very complimentary of the food and our villa’s décor. A few took a look around at the other rooms, and they remarked at the spacious, open floor plan. Several even brought little gifts to me, which I didn’t expect at all.

I had been worried that I might not have enough chairs for everyone, but people came and went, and we were able to visit in the living room area the whole time.

Robin returned from golf before the last group left, and he enjoyed meeting some of the ladies too—a delightful day for both of us!

 

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