Mom is 91 years old... and well she has some Alzheimers, a little salt and pepper, and a lot of joy. I enjoy her company and love to make her smile and well, today, was one of those days when everything came together and I made her smile. Forgive me for all the ands, they just sounded right.
Anyway, I got to "El Quijote," my mother's nursing home at about two thirty in the afternoon with a desire to take Mom on a ride. When I had visited her two days earlier she had told me that she wasn't up to it that day but yesterday she told me she was a little tired of being inside her room day in and day out. So I was convinced that a little trip to her home town was in order. After all, it was only twenty minutes away.
Don't let that last statement fool you. Taking an elderly person on a road trip can be taxing, mostly on the elderly person, but on the driver as well. There are details and responsibilities that have to be dealt with. This was no easy feat because it was going to be only Mom and I. I had to sign a form and I was brave enough to do that since I had a deep assurance that everything was going to be alright. They changed her clothes, put on her shoes, and I took a pillow and a blanket, both of which were used. I had also prepared a little lunch bag cooler with a bag of ice, water bottles, and some snacks for the both of us. We got her comfortable in the seat, the ladies that work there that is, settled her in her seat, and we were off. Actually we prayed first for God's favor and protection.
Yet we had barely left when Mom said she was not comfortable, so I pulled off to the side of the road. Oh my, how do I help her? Then I remembered what I saw the orderly do. She had reclined the seat, gone behind the seat, pulled her up a little on it and then shut the back door and lifted up the seat. It was then that the seat didn't automatically lift up. Oh, no what do I do? You see I have had an operation and am not allowed to lift more than fifty pounds. As it worked out, I figured if I had mom lean a bit towards me that would take the weight off the back of the seat. I was right, as she leaned forward, the seat came up. Once back in the car, she then said her neck bothered her so I folded her blanket to form a resting place behind her neck, and we were all set. She never complained again. Instead she was perfectly comfortable to enjoy her trip to Naranjito her hometown.
On the way we saw Flamboyanes dotting the hillsides as well as lining the roads with their brilliant orange blossoms. We also saw signs with political slogans, a new coliseum under construction, narrow roads, many leading into the mountains, and with more to see. Things we couldn't do today. It wasn't meant to be except the road to her birthplace was wide open, Barranquitas wasn't. So we went to her little town first.
We took the southern entrance into the congested little town of Naranjito, but it was a firm reminder that the town was mostly the same town she grew up in, with one street in and the same out that split in the middle of town to allow for a narrow plaza. The little plaza filled with curious bronze sculptures with the church at one end and the government center on a side was an easy drive by with black birds called "Changos" guarding each entrance.
Then we went up the road past the cemetary and then up the winding road to Las Jaguas and finally to Las Lomas. Lomas means hills and there was hill after hill full of vegetation of all shades of green, filled with plantains, bananas, breadfruit, mangos, coconut and royal palms swaying in the breeze and old landmarks, such as the homes of many late uncles and cousins. Some of our conversation was as follows:
There are times when you yearn to make someone smile and fortunately for me, today was the day!