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Pulling the wool over

By Jo McCormick
Park Ridge resident

Madrid Adult Foster Care adventures for this month. More about Minnie Mickels. At this time she was living in the west apartment, but had no fellow dwellers.
I’m sure this will not be news to anyone who knew Minnie, but she was very opinionated.
I liked that. She was “alone” because two of her apartment mates had digressed in mental or physical capacity so they could no longer remain in foster care with us and had moved to Golden Ours. Two others had returned to their own homes after brief stays to recuperate from physical problems. Sounds like we had a revolving door does it not?
These events, however, did not happen all at once. Back to Minnie–we had mountain oysters for dinner one day at our end of the building so I built her dinner around the same.
I delivered her tray of food to her, set up the meal for her on her dining room table as usual and told her I would be back to get the dishes. When I returned she was raving about the delicious eggplant.
We did have eggplant occasionally, but on this particular day I knew I had not prepared any. I was racking my brain for a reply when a light came on in my head–“eggplant” was actually mountain oysters (bull fries) in this instance. Not knowing how squeamish she might be about bull fries, I replied, “Oh yeah, I tried a new recipe for eggplant, so glad you enjoyed it.”
Sorry, Lord, but I never did tell her any different. She had, at times, a troublesome stomach condition and I surely did not want to cause an up-chuck.
I certainly was not biased but did have a different relationship with Mabel Gump at our foster care facility before she had to return to Golden Ours from whence she had come. I was her caregiver at both sites, but she was special beyond that.
One thing she always wanted to do was be of help. She loved doing dishes and came to our end of the building daily to work on her dishpan hands.
The spring and summer she was there we had a very large garden. She helped with and observed its planting, growing, weeding and harvest. That summer we picked, snapped, and canned 90 quarts of green beans.
It was the garden and my husband Jerry’s memory lapse that set the stage for a memorable event. We laughed together about this escapade many, many times even after she had to return to Golden Ours.
The garden was located on lots in north Madrid that were owned by my in-laws. On his way to work Jerry was to shut off the sprinklers in the garden to allow it to dry a bit before our harvest began that day. He forgot!! Water was standing in the rows and the plants were shimmering in the sun.
We shut off the water, drove up to the post office to pick up the mail and visit with Opal McCormick, who was the post-mistress at that time. Then we were off to the drive-in to get something to drink and have a potty break and then back to the garden.
Seemed good-to-go so out came the buckets to gather our beans. All went well for a time. I looked up to see my helper in a quandary. She was in mud up over her ankles and could not move her feet. I straddled the mud hole to support her so she could unstick her feet. No go!!
Oh, the feet came out, but not so much the shoes. She was wearing canvas tennis shoes and they were going to require further extrication.
Getting out of the garden she sat down once in the mud. As it was a nice cushion – no damage done except to her dress and possibly her dignity. By this time neither of us had much of that dignity stuff left in us. The laughs were great though.
When Mabel was securely seated on a bench I retrieved her shoes from the quagmire. The garden hose washed away some of the worst mud. Well, needless to say, the bean harvest was over for that day because we had a major clean-up job to do which included an extra bath that week.
It was her desire to be a helper that ultimately landed her back at Golden Ours. It was January of 1978 and there was ice on our adjoining sidewalk. I told her when I took breakfast not to venture out to do dishes as was her routine as I would be back to assist her because of the slick walkway.
Never wanting to be a bother she started out, slipped on the ice and fell. She somehow got herself back to her apartment and inside. I knew nothing of the accident until I went to get the dishes, and Mabel. I had the coffee and the cookies waiting, but a trip to the Grant hospital validated a broken hip and this special lady was subsequently at home again at GOCH in Grant.