Two days after I moved into my new apartment in the seniors building (read here), someone angrily rapped my knocker. (All the apartment doors have brass knockers. They’re easier to hear and you don’t hurt your knuckles when you call on a neighbour.)
I opened my door. A short elderly woman leaned on her walker. She snarled, “You parked in my spot.”
Innocently, I responded, “Oh…. I did? The superintendent told me the parking was not assigned and I could park anywhere I liked.”
“He DID, DID he. Well I’ve had THAT spot for 12 years, ever since I moved in here, so you’ll have to find another spot,” the woman growled.
Hearing the commotion, a neighbour from down the hall approached us.
“There is a spot that no one is using at the end of the second row. You can park there if you like,” the neighbour offered.
“Thank you, I’ll move my car,” I replied sheepishly.
I’d had my first encounter with Eileen.
About a week later, I pulled into my parking spot at the end of the row while Eileen pulled into her spot, four cars down. We entered the building together.
“I just came from my son’s house,” she said gruffly. “The family took me out for brunch today for my 91st birthday.”
“Ninety-one, well happy birthday to you! Did you have fun?”
“Oh yes,” she responded as she eyed me suspiciously.
The next time I met Eileen coming in from the parking lot, she had forgotten her walker in her car. When I asked if I could help, she retorted, “I don’t need any help,” and toddled off back toward her car. Feeling a little foolish, I headed toward my apartment.
Eileen approached me one day while I did my laundry. She told me her story.
Twenty years ago, Eileen was on kidney dialysis due to poisoning from chemicals in the workplace. She said it was the worst time of her life. She prayed to either die or get off dialysis. A week later her kidneys started working again on their own and the doctor took her off the dialysis machine. She hasn’t needed dialysis since.
We had a nice chat about her life and her family.
Eileen bowed her head, “I have to apologize for that day I knocked at your door. I was so mean and you were so nice.”
“Don’t think anything of it, Eileen, it was nice to meet you,” I reassured.
That was six months ago.
The other day, I had the pleasure of accompanying Eileen to the Christmas banquet at her church.
We had just seated ourselves at one of the fifteen large round tables in the hall when a lady stopped by to greet Eileen. Eileen introduce me as her friend.
Eileen explained to the lady that she was without a car to drive for a few days.
The lady commented, “They clipped your wings, did they?”
I piped in, “I haven’t known Eileen for very long, but from what I can tell, I don’t think there is anyone who can clip Eileen’s wings.”
“You’re right about that,” the lady chuckled.
Eileen looked puzzled, “What did you say?”
I leaned closer and repeated my statement with a louder voice.
Eileen grinned, “It didn’t take you long to figure me out.”
We laughed. I’m sure I saw a twinkle in her eye.
The Christmas banquet featured a lovely home-made turkey dinner complete with a special guest in concert.
The buffet table was lined with dishes of coleslaw, mashed potatoes, corn, turnip, stuffing, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread and butter. For dessert, we had plum pudding and cherry cheesecake (so much for my new eating plan, Oh well, it was worth it).
The special guest was Eduard Klassen in concert with his Paraguayan Folk Harp. Here is a taste of Eduard’s beautiful gift of music.
Hope you enjoyed Eduard’s music. It was a lovely Christmas concert and a lovely afternoon spent with Eileen.
Thank you Eileen.