Skip to comments.Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Posted on 04/27/2012 5:00:27 AM PDT by Kaslin
One afternoon I stopped by the bank to make a few deposits. I was in a rush and needed to get in and out as soon as possible. I had places to go and things I had to do. I picked the worst possible time of day and the worst day of the week to do my banking. But I had been out of town and needed to catch up on errands before the weekend began.
There was only one teller working and the line was about fifteen people deep. After waiting patiently, I got close to the front of the line. Looking back at the dozen or so people who had entered the line after me, I was relieved that the wait was almost over. Unfortunately, the elderly woman who was making a deposit was requiring a lot more assistance than the others who had gone before her.
She must have been 85 years old. She held a cane in one hand and wore a thick pair of glasses that were visible only after she peeled away her sunglasses. They were the kind of sunglasses that fit over her regular glasses and were big enough to block harmful rays from even the nastiest of solar eclipses. They were the kind that retirees used to wear to watch shuttle launches in south Florida. The kind people older people wear when they are consumed by practicality and no longer care as much about fashion.
When she was finally finished with her transaction, she started to make small talk with the teller behind the counter. She did not seem to notice that there were so many people in line behind her. The teller smiled and nodded at everything she said. The old lady told her she reminded her of her daughter. Then she asked the teller whether she had children. She just kept making conversation while the young woman behind the counter provided her with full and undivided attention. She seemed to feel sorry for her. It was as if she appreciated sitting where she was rather than occupying the elderly womans shoes.
But there was a younger man in the line who did not feel the same sympathy for the old woman. He glared impatiently at the teller as if to say that she should tell the elderly woman she was holding up the line. He even held out one of his hands and waved at the teller. He was signaling that he had been waiting long enough and that it was time his needs were met. But the teller kept nodding politely and giving the elderly woman her undivided attention.
Someone should have said something to the younger man who was so impatient. He should have understood why the elderly woman was clinging on to the conversation with the young teller. It was probably more than a reminder of her children. More likely, it was a reminder that she had not seen them or talked to them in quite some time.
As soon as she finished talking to the teller, the elderly woman walked out of the bank and headed across the parking lot towards her car. She was walking slowly and labored with every step as she leaned upon her cane for support. She had no one to help her. No husband. No son. No daughter. There was nothing to lean on but a cane.
The younger man who had been so impatient with her needed to hear my pastor talk about the time our church went caroling at the old folks home about a year and a half ago. He needed to hear the stories of the elderly people whose lives had been enriched by hearing songs sung to them by people who had never met them before. He needed to hear that elderly people are a treasure and not an inconvenience.
Of course, my pastor was not there to tell him. But I was in the bank that day. In case you havent figured it out, the impatient man in the line was me.
I should have dropped what I was doing and given the woman a hand as she made her way across the parking lot. I should have made plans to go back to the retirement home to spend a few hours of visitation. Like you, I probably wont make it back until Christmas. I have places to go and things I have to do.
And that is why my dad is living with me.
So he can take my arm instead of using a cane as we walk into his favorite restaurant.
So we can have time to sit on the porch rockers and just talk about what’s growing and what needs to be planted.
So he doesn’t have to worry about doing errands that I can take care of early in the AM while he sleeps in.
There isn’t a day that the counting of blessings isn’t multiplied because of the time we are able to spend together.
If all were so blessed.
Good for you. Cherish the time you have.
My father passed away a year ago. Unfortunately he lived 900 miles away. We had a great relationship and we talked on the phone all the time. I saw him whenever I could and, thankfully, was with him when he passed.
Still, would have done it your way if I could’ve.
Bless you and your father. Enjoy your time together.
My situation is similar, HM.
There was a time not so long ago when ours would be the rule rather than the exception.
And in case you're a FReeper, thanks Mike.
In this sewer that is our culture, it is still possible to pick our moments and to connect with a better reality.
Yesterday I encountered my elderly neighbor who was very excited. She had found a little bird who had fallen from its nest and she picked it up. The little bird’s parents immediately appeared and flew about her in anxiety until they saw that she had returned the little creature to the nest.
It had made my neighbor’s day, and mine too.
No he is not, but you can befriend him on FB, I have
Many elderly people don’t get out much, so any outing, even to the store, is a social event.
I have learned that impatient people (me) need to avoid getting behind an elderly person at the checkout.
I still miss him
I too was once immortal . . .
If you bank online, there is little need to ever see a teller.
Great title. Great song.
And that is why my dad is living with me.
Such a blessing for both of you.
It will be 5 years on Monday that we lost my dear, dear Mother. Miss her so much. She would have been 100 this June.
Absolutely right. I’m often “inconvenienced at Wal Mart and other places with lines. The Clerk/teller often apologizes for the delay and I reply that someday I may need extra attention and will appreciate it when that time comes - if that is the worst thing that happens to me in any given day, I have had a blessed and trouble-free day. I usually get some smiles (and a few snorts) from others in the line, but when we set a good example, someone’s hardened heart begins to thaw - we may never be aware of it, but the world becomes a better place. God Bless you and yours!
We all have things to do.
Mr. Adams was probably correct in his assessment of the situation, but sometimes old people just like to gab.
It’s what they do.
Me? - I bank online...saves a lot of time.
Reminds me of the young man in line waving to the teller.
This may sound dumb; but my dogs were allowed to visit the old lady next door to sit on her porch while she gently stroked them and cooed to them. She died not long after. Her daughter told me the dogs visit was the best therapy for her and her days brightened as I brought them around. Of course, the dogs were happy too.
I lost my parents when my dad was 52, my mom was 61.
I was that “change of life baby”. I didn’t have them long enough to deal with “elderly”. Nor my own marriage, nor the birth of my children, etc.
Cherish the moments people.
One day, the newspaper wasn't on her porch, and as she leaned down to retrieve it, she began falling, almost as if in slow motion. By this time, I was eight months pregnant, and lived catty-corner across the street, and began yelling for my dad. I slowed her fall, but even so, her son was "distressed" enough to put her in a nursing home. We pleaded with him, and promised to keep an eye on her, but he wouldn't budge.
On the day she went to the nursing home, she cried, and called out my name and said, "Please, don't let the take me." I felt so guilty and worthless. Her son and his wife showed no emotion. Every time we would visit, she would cry, and ask us to take her home. She died at the age of 101, never coming to terms with her environment. This haunts me to this day, as well as my family who loved her so much.
Her son died before she did, but she never knew, and never talked about him. Her funeral was paid for by the state, and the only people there were my family and a couple folks from the old neighborhood. She was such a good woman, only to be rejected because she 'lived too long'.