A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Visit With Elizabeth

One of my favorite things is to visit people who are older than I am. I have always loved listening to someone older, be it my grandparents, neighbors or friends. I have visited people in nursing homes and always felt that it did me as much good as it did the person I was visiting. I hope you enjoy reading about my day yesterday.

When I think of Elizabeth, I think of purple coneflowers. Elizabeth is one of my "up the road neighbors". We are both members of St. Mary's Church in Byron and that is where we met. She is a white haired, gracious lady of almost 86. We went to Mass this morning and there she sat in her pretty dress of a flowered soft material...maybe one called lawn.She goes to Mass every morning and drives her own car. She only drives in town now...highways are too busy for her. She is still interested in clothes and always looks impeccably turned out.

Her house is back off the road...a quiet, shady lot with gardens all around. I've written about this before, but I wanted to tell about our visit today. Her flowers are suited to the shade...hydrangeas are everywhere and the front and side are planted with a very wide border of purple coneflowers. Lots of pretty things to see in her yard...a little waterfall that trickles down to the pond.A birdhouse hanging by the window. 

I had promised to come over for a visit and bring lunch. So I filled a market basket with first a lace doily and then a tub of chicken salad made with cranberries, a baggie filled with lettuces from my garden, another baggie with crispy red grapes, and one with watermelon wedges. I took her some new cookies to try. 
Since she doesn't get to the stores very much...I took these Newtons along. We both loved them with the crispy cookie and added coconut and drizzled with dark chocolate. An excellent cookie.

Two cans of Country Time Pink Lemonade for our beverage. The table was set by the window and we ate indoors since we had just had a rain storm. Every view out her windows is a treat.

It was a dark afternoon just right for visiting. We finished the lunch and then she let her puppies out of confinement. Bello and Fritzi, two West Highland Terriers, came bounding out and danced around my feet. She and I went over to the fireplace and sat with a dog in each lap.Everything is so comfortable here.

Elizabeth was born in Barvaria and studied there to become a German teacher. She talked about the hardships during the war and the way she met her husband. I love hearing stories about people who lived during the war. She married and moved to the states and started a family. We went back and forth talking about our children and lives as mothers. She recently lost her husband and since I just lost my son... we had so much in common to talk about. She went on to teach German in Byron after her children were raised. They all went on to complete college and have successful careers.Her daughter and son in law take her to their home every night for dinner. This helps her and she is able to stay in her home pretty much on her own.
We talked about everything from cooking, to old age. We joked and laughed at different stories each of us told.

I love to visit her and think that we both get so much out of  our visits. We said our goodbyes, later in the afternoon...between showers. She invited me back to sample a sandwich that she loves to make. I love that she is still interested in new things...TV shows, books, recipes, dogs you name it. It keeps  her young and interesting and it is teaching me to not be a bore, so that people will love to visit me when I am her age.

This is my entry for Saturday's Favorite Thing. Visit Claudia tomorrow and read about a lot of favorite things. http://mockingbirdhillcottage.com/


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Elizabeth sounds like a doll. Does she keep up here garden herself still? What a nice visit. Thanks for sharing. Hugs for both of you!

Balisha said...

She doesn't garden and never did. The man who takes care of the yard has taken care of it for over 15 yrs. He did gardening there before E. and her husband bought the house.
I was surprised to find that out today...I kind of thought that maybe she was once a gardener.

Judy said...

What a wonderful blessing for you to have this friend! I would have loved to have a Westmoreland Terrier sitting on MY lap--I have always wanted one--I love their little square heads. Gardens...flowers. Little tucked away water falls and fountains and ponds--dark green shade--this is what summer is all about!!!

Blondie's Journal said...

Balisha...I so enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and your visit with her. We can learn so much about life and find so many commonalities with people that are both younger and older than we are. She sounds like a wonderful friend and likewise, you are certainly someone who provides her with company and joy.

I know when I comment here that I often go on with tangents of my own...I hope you don't mind. I often thought of doing a post about my very elderly friend, Henry, who has now been gone just under twenty years. If you can just imagine a young 30 something housewife and mother, and a 74 year old neighbor who had just lost his wife...well, that was my friendship with Henry. He was born in Poland, studied and became a lawyer. Soon after, he was taken by the Nazis when they invaded, but held a high position in their military because of his education. He did however, escape three times and each time he was caught, he was brutally disciplined. He was finally set free and married a young German doctor and moved to the U.S., just 3 doors away from my home (but many years before I was even born). He was lonely when I met him and I needed adult companionship, being a mother with 4 kids under the age of 10. Somehow I got this cranky old man to take me to lunch (he was by then a retired judge), every Thursday for the next three years, where we talked about everything under the sun! When he had cancer and was getting chemotherapy every Monday, I cooked his dinner, brought it to him and sat with him while he ate. Likewise, when I was hospitalized countless times for asthma, he sat at my bedside for hours. We made him a part of our family, and as a reserved, stoic and well mannered man amongst our crazy American family, he learned to really relax and enjoy the last years of his life.

He died in his sleep one beautiful spring morning. I noticed his blinds weren't drawn and sadly I was the one to find him. I visited his grave every week for many months as he had no relatives in the U.S....and I really, really missed him.

Well, sorry for such a long story...I would love to write a post about our friendship, but as he said about writing a memoir, the details are just too hazy to fill in the blanks.

Hold Elizabeth close to your heart. She will teach you many things, as she has already. She will bring you joy as you do for her. Someday they will just be warm memories.

Much love,

debra @ HOMESPUN said...

I remember her from a prior post! :)

always sounds like a delightful visit :)

Balisha said...

Hi Judy...We had hoped to eat out on her patio, but the rain kept us inside. It was still a treat for me to sit and look out her wrap around windows....and watch the shower.
Her dogs are so well behaved and they are the reason she stays in her home.

Balisha said...

Hi Jane...You must have been a real joy to Henry. I think that sometimes elderly people simply love a younger friend who will listen to their stories. The world moves so fast that people don't take or have the time to listen anymore. I would love to read a post about your friend.

Balisha said...

Hi Debra,
I would have loved to put a picture of her in my post. She's a very private person and I thought it would be rude of me to ask. I did tell her once, that when her coneflowers bloom...I would love to take her picture sitting among them.She just smiled.

Poppy said...

Hi Balisha,

I so enjoyed reading about Elizabeth today. She seems like the sweetest of ladies. And you are a kind friend for thinking of her and visiting her often. The company of friends, a little conversation and a chuckle can do wonders for the heart and the soul.

Hope you are having a nice weekend!


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Balisha !
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and telling me about your past adventures of greening up an ally way with your neighbors : )
This was such a lovely story about your visit with such an interesting woman! .. Elizabeth will stay young in her heart because she finds so many things interesting .. I think that is a key element to us all.
I am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to say anything of great comfort. Do you feel that time does heal ? I hope so.
I just read about the gentleman that actually does the gardening!
Now that was a surprise !! LOL
Joy : )

Claudia said...

Staying interested in new things and keeping your mind sharp is guaranteed to make the aging process easier. Elizabeth sound wonderful and you are also wonderful to spend time with her.

I love those cookies, too!