The following is a brief telling of a Sunday morning that Genevieve and Fern share. Names are changed to protect the privacy of persons mentioned.
"Good morning Genevieve", I pull up drapes and place a pillow behind her head. Setting the breakfast tray on her lap, I remind her that this is Sunday. "So it is! It looks rainy this morning". Taking a sip of coffee, she adds "Where's my kitty?" "Oh, inside, I think." the smell of bacon and french toast wafts in the air. "Would you like anything else, Genevieve?" I smile knowing that she will likely say that she can't think of anything. I'll bring you some more coffee in a bit!" I speed off to my quarters, her thank you lingering in the air.
Detouring to the kitchen, I poor more coffee for myself, let the cat out, and remember that I had neglected to do my laundry last night. Locating something that sort of matches, I spend 45 minutes dressing, scrutinize my appearance, curling hair, applying make up. Time is of the essence however, so I swiftly walk toward Genevieve's room. She is still up in bed eating, a far a way look in her eyes. Generally she routinely reads the daily News Tribune, but this is Sunday, and taking such a liberty is unheard of. "Shall I take your tray?" "I'm not quite through yet." Turning her eyes toward the window, she scans the rock wall beyond. Half of her banana is poised in mid air. "I'll pick out your clothes for today." I'm wishing the rest of her banana could contain Red Bull energy. Smiling, I envision her leaping off her mattress and sprinting for all she's worth into this day with passion and zest. I peruse the contents of her closet. Most of her clothes are warm winter dresses, dark colors, but there are a handful of spring colored outfits. Glancing outside, I groan at the indefinite greyness. Choosing a light blue dress and matching sweater, I promise to compromise by adding a heavy coat (even though it's April).
I've learned that Genevieve's absolute favorite color is blue. From the little pin-head sized light on the T.V. set, to the Willow tea cup on her breakfast tray, a note of exclamation and satisfaction never leaves Genevieve's lips mute. After the undergarments are set out on top of her dress, whether it's necessary or not, I name and point to each item as I speak. She acknowledges. I seize the opportunity to retrieve her tray. Stating with emphasis, "We have 45 minutes until we need to go to church" "What will I do with all that time?" is her characteristic reply. She states this with mild humor, but I usually don't get the joke. I'm thinking that I want to get to mychurch on time. I perversely contemplate singing "For God's sake get me to the church on time!" There is little hope that we will be out of the door in time - at least in time enough to please me. This morning I feel feisty, so I respond to Genevieve's comment with, "Hopefully with all that time you will get up and get ready!" She doesn't get my joke. I know I should be more gentle and warm - a friend, a companion. After all, I'm not here to shape Genvieve's character, but rather serve her, help make her happy, enhance her quality of life (her daughter in law had to learn this too, and has helped me a bit in this regard).
I assure Genevieve that I will help her with her buttons in a few minutes. My boots clomping on the wood floors, I fly back to my room to finish with getting ready. I scowl at my appearance wishing God hadn't felt quite so generous when he created my more-than-ample nose. After reassuring myself that Mars Hill's lighting is too dim for too many people to notice my facial deficiencies, I glance at the clock and stomp back to Genevieve. If she hasn't miraculously roused herself and started dressing, usually my stomping incites the slumbering eyes to open. Trying not to show my agitation, I clap my hands saying we have only half and hour! I pull the covers off her- she starts to resist, then changes her mind and submits, buts l o w l y bends her body and turns to sit on the edge of the bed, Yea! success! Once she is up and dressed (you must understand that to an 87 year old, getting ready for the day, makes her want to lie back down and take a snooze) we've conquered the greatest hurdle.
After attending to her toilet, I glance at the time and feel slightly encouraged. Her coat, her purse, her walker. Her purse is an appendage that must never be severed. "When will you be coming home to care for the cat? Does she have food? Now, I don't need this do I?" she states last question referring to her walker. "Yes Genevieve, you need to have it with you at all times. You wouldn't want Moshe (not his real name) getting mad would you?" I know this is a stupid question, but picturing her unsteadily clinging to the end of each pew as she shakily makes her way to the very front row in the sanctuary is not a calming picture.
We descend to the garage via the elevator, walker in tow. Among the numerous gifts Genevieve posses, her talent of observation is quite astute The other tenants in the building collect things, ie. boxes, kayaks, picture frames, oddly shaped things, odd and ends etc. She clucks her tongue and scowls at the piled up stuff ornamenting one wall. She wonders allowed "when are those people going to move in?" We are in the car at 10:35 not bad I think. Turning the car on, I realize that I left the air conditioner on full blast (it had been warmer last night). Genevieve voices a desire for immediate change. I back the car out, turn the fan off, roll the windows up, and turn off the radio. Genevieve is NOT a fan of Dolly Parton. Getting a grip on life and flying over the speed limit, I hear her say "Did you roll down the window?" "Your window us up." "No, she says, I mean the garage door." I say yes, but there is doubt in my mind. I always roll it down but I don't actually remember doing it this time. Leaving the garage door up leaves everyone vulnerable to a break in. I decide to come back and check after I drop her off. We arrive at church. She states that if we were in her car, we could just park in one of the reserved spots. I assure her that pulling up to the curve is even better. One kind gentleman opens the door for her to enter the church. She smiles and thanks him.
She rolls past the thresh hold into her Sunday. I trip back to my car and race smilingly into mine.