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'.
My parents were insperable. Their love surrounded so many. All I have to do is ask “what would mama want me to do?”
Sure makes the decisions easy.
My first grand child is going to be born in a few days. His initials will be CHP....Dad says it’s CHIP. The I stands for Infant. Asked what happens when he’s no longer an infant...He says we’ll change it to Intelligent.
(The H is his name) so this is his baby. Hope his mom and dad don’t mind.
My daughters were a blessing to me.
I am sure your dad appreciates what you do for him, even while hating that he needs it.
I would give anything to have mine back so I, too, could help him once again.
I lost my sister last week, which now makes me the sole living member of my original family of five. It's a very lonely feeling knowing there is no one left with whom to reminisce childhood memories.
anyone ever been in a line where the elderly person, once a young jerk, is an old jerk? Older people who cut to the front of a line and say “I have this one ‘little’thing...” or “there is a line?”
My son is a social worker by profession (even though he’s now on tour with a professional music group).
He sat me down shortly after dad decided to make his visit permanent and told me to stop doing for dad. I was making him an invalid. So I backed off. Best advice he ever gave me. Dad fixes his own breakfast and generally does little jobs to help around the house. At 92 he reads constantly is quite content to watch his ballgames and care for our two border collies (who take care of him).
I won't have to worry much about it. When my daughter would help me up and walk me to the bathroom, at the door she would tell me: "You're on your own. Hollar when you are done." ;) Both are ex-military. No coddling, just providing the required assistance.
Fortunately, within 6 months I was back on my own.
An elderly woman was slowly ordering a meal, asking many questions of the very patient young women working the counter
Then when she gave her money and got her change, she insisted she had given the clerk a $20, when the clerk knew
it was a $10 but had already put it in the cash drawer.
When the clerk's patient response did not ease the old woman's insistence, she gave her change for a $20 and said “Don't worry about it, honey” - then looked at me and smiled
In these contentious social times, the race of the old woman and all the KFC store clerks were quite different
but all the KFC staffers showed deference patience and good humor with the old woman
and then there was impatient me standing behind her in line looking at my watch
Even as I left I wished I had just paid for her meal, now I really do!
If an elderly person stops the line to have a several minute conversation with the cashier, I'm sorry, but that is not OK. Its rude and has nothing to do with age. And I know a number of "elderly" people in their 70s and 80s who think the same way. They don't go to the supermarket on "senior day" because of it. People in their 70s and 80s are not doddering old fools who have to be coddled and allowed to do what they want -- we can have sympathy for someone who takes more time to pay or who has a question about a product, but not someone who wants to hold up a line to have a conversation because the cashier reminds them of their grandson.
My husband and I were traveling to Oregon a few years ago and pulled over into a very very remote rest stop to use the facilities (I was eight months pregnant at the time and had a three-year old).
An elderly couple was nearby in a motorhome that they couldn’t get started and there was no cell phone service in that area. I watched as the man struggled with the ignition and fussed around under the hood.
When my husband came out of the restroom, he ran right over and looked over their engine to see if he could spot what was wrong — nothing. We wanted to take them to the nearest town but they refused to leave their motorhome. Finally, my husband got out the jumper cables, hooked them up to our car and their engine started right up. We followed them for a long way to the nearest town so they could get help.
I shudder to think what might have happened to them in such a remote area and I hope someone would be as kind to us if we were in that situation.
Believe me, that elderly couple was grateful.
I think it is something that comes with age, perspective. I was much more impatient when I was younger. I still have quite a bit of impatience during rush hour traffic, though. That is not the time to take a “Sunday afternoon stroll.”
Gee, thanks. You just reminded me of how old I'm getting....
What you say is absolutely true though. As time passes, it seems to move faster and faster and our perspective changes. I still snort in derision at the idiots who cut me off in traffic, risking all for a second of positioning, but I don't remember the last time I stood on my horn or flipped them off. Life's too dang short to get into deals that might cut it absolutely short.
If you have to pay for their contraception - where does it end?
Stack up the lines Charlie we ain't hiring more tellers.
Oh where to begin? That old woman survived her son, MAYBE she was not so hot a mother. Borderline personality mothers always charm strangers at first.
NOT every old person was a great person or decent parent.
Abusive and neglectful parents grow old and feel awfully damn sorry for themselves and can look pitiful. But that doesn’t change that they lived a selfish life and treated their kids with no consideration.
I had such a parent and still have.
When some says what you said,
“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’.”
You cannot say she was such a good woman, you have NO IDEA what kind of life she led, how she treated people when younger, nothing.
My Dad when he fully retired would make an adventure out of going to walmart, he would check every aisle. He would say how busy he was. I noticed that what should take a few minutes he will make it an all day project to give him something to do.
So I have projects going on, and do not go to the store for the “adventure” of it. When I start doing that I will have to reassess my life.
And then there is the person in line in front of you at the store that after the cashier has rung up everything, the person then starts to look for the payment method usually digging through their purse (but I have seen guys do something like this also).
Tears in my eyes...
My mom died at age 47. I was young and self absorbed but I did get the chance to tell her I loved her. No mom is perfect, but no other mom is YOUR mom. If you can forgive her, please do, and tell her so. Not for her, but for you. Then you will never have to live your life with regrets.
That was good advice. We built a little home for my Mom on our property. She lives there rent free and utility free. I take her to all her Dr. appts., hair, grocery, etc. She is having shoulder replacement surgery in a few weeks, so there have been a LOT of appointments, and I will be staying with her in the hospital. NO WAY am I leaving her there alone. However, I do try not to do EVERYTHING for her. She bakes cookies, makes her own meals, etc. My boys work in her flower garden for her when she needs help (shoveling dirt, etc). I told her I’d do everything I could for her, short of wiping her butt! At that point, we need to talk! LOL! She laughed, also. Wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s one of my best friends, and I dread the day she is gone.
They might just as well be singing, Young Puppy Caught in a Hailstorm in the City as far as I could tell. I can recognize a word once in a while, the rest of it is just noise.
This is not a matter of an “imperfect” mother. My earliest memory is not warm on any level.
I’ve forgiven her and to see us you might think there was some feeling going on.
Regrets! My brother killed himself, the other brother is in the pen for life (has done 20 years already) and I have my own suicidal inclinations (only occasionally now) to deal with and her to thank for them.
I kind of just wish she’d cash in finally - 87 years too long. And I am making sure she is safe, comfortable and well taken care of (not living with me tho). She has Alzheimers.
I just get sick and tired of those oozing over happy memories of childhood. And everyone always ASSUMES every old person was damn SAINT!
Bert, I think you missed the point of the story.
I am quite aware of bad mothers, who become lonely in their old ages. I worked with the elderly off and on for years, and saw the good and bad. My instance was one story, not generalization. I'm sorry about you having a bad parent, but these kind are the exception, not the rule. I hope you can be a better person and forgive your parent, whether she wants it or not.
He did have to spend some time in rehab. But learned to walk again on his own after all had healed and he was back home. Thank God for modern medicine. They cured his pancreas without even a stitch, no surgery at all.
Don't know how many medical and nursing home staff (where he got Mercia and pneumonia) have told me he wouldn't be here if I hadn't “gotten over it” quickly. Personally just think he a tough ol bird that enjoys living.
He told me if he lived to be over a hundred, he was going to get married again....I told him if he did to make sure she was young and rich and could take care of BOTH of us.
My dad would come home from golf and say "I just beat some more youngers"..."those new retirees can't hit a ball for toffee."
My mum at age 85 told the cardiologist "I'm past my shelf life....your' not going to muck me about."
we have families to take care of, homes to mangage, taxes to pay for all the people on the dole, volunteer work to do, church to attend, meals to prepare, children to pick up from school AND elderly relatives in need of groceries.... and to wait in a long line for extra time so someone can get some socialization in is not right....
lots of people are lonely...lots of people could benefit from extra help....its not just the elderly....
dollars to donuts if it was a little toddler at the front of the line making a fuss and slowing things down, a lot of freepers would be out with their pitch forks...
Your point is well taken — Peace be with you!
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.
Exactly. Something that one person thinks is sweet or cute — like an elderly woman stopping the checkout like to talk to a young cashier because he reminders her of her grandson, or a toddler running around a restaurant — are annoying to others and rightfully so. Why isn’t the old woman rude for holding up the line? Why aren’t the parents of the toddler considered rude for letting their kid run wild? No one is saying bite their head off or scream at them, but everyone — old and young — should be respectful of everyone else.
Oops - missed that :)
(...and therefore the whole article:)