January 2 – The cute little old lady

Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued,

is always just beyond your grasp, but which,

if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

                                                                                                   Nathaniel Hawthorne

As I was dragging after going shopping this morning Denis suggested a walk and I suggested I take a little rest and then we go for a walk. So that is good.   I did take that rest and it worked out for the best.  Lo and behold, when we went out for a walk there up the street was the cutest little figure one could want to see – With her pipe that she uses for a cane, wearing slippers, no socks and a sweater shirt hoodie there was Dottie.    Dottie is the loveliest little thing.  She is always happy to see us and even though speech is difficult for her now she tries her darnest to speak to us.  I think she has gotten shorter than the last time I saw her in the summer.  But she still has the twinkle in her eye and that sweet warm smile.

Dottie has been our neighbor since we moved here when Dan was four months old.  Her husband was a nuclear engineer with GE and worked at Knolls.  They have two sons who are both married and have no children.  Greg, the husband, died in his 60’s. He was a lovely fellow from Maine, with the accent and all. They were both collectors of lots of things.  Dottie never got over Greg’s death.  He and many of the men he worked with died of cancer around the same time and she and the other widows felt it had to do with their early nuclear work when they did not know how dangerous it really was.  But Dottie kept busy working for some friends who did estate sales. She was an expert is pricing antiques and knowing how old things were and if they had value or not. She was also very active in her church and had many friends from there.  But she always talked about how much she missed Greg. When we were cleaning out my mom’s apartment she came over and helped me figure out what was ‘good” stuff and what was just “nice” stuff.

In the past few years she has had several strokes but has always come back, she is one hell of  a fighter. She now lives with her son David and his wife but they are so good to her. Every day they bring her to her home and leave her there to putter around.  No one can ever go in her house because as she says, “I cannot have you come in until I sort out my mess”. I don’t think that will ever happen. I have never seen the inside of her house.

She adores our son Ian and always wants to know about how he is doing and about his girls. She asks about the others but Ian had been her paperboy and always stopped to chat with her when he was collecting and she appreciated that.

Today she started talking and I was not sure what she was saying and then it hit me, her son who lives in Maine had a lovely wife Cathy who has been battling cancer for many years now.  It seems she lost her battle recently. Dottie was tearful and so sad. I just looked it up and Cathy died in Sept.  But those feelings are still new and sad for Dottie.  She talked about Peter and how he is working at staying happy because he knows that is what Cathy would have wanted.

After chatting with her for a while it was obvious she was getting so cold. Poor sweet thing told us that she thinks people are going into her house and trying to take her things.  Then she told us her son David has suggested that she is imagining it on the left side of her brain and that her right side needs to keep reminding her that she is imagining it. It was cute, she knows it is not real but still talked about it as if there really were people  going into her house. She never lets anyone in even if it is freezing outside.

Anyway, I have to say that was the highlight of my day. I was so afraid something might have happened to her while we were gone and I would feel terrible. Dottie is one of my favorite people around here and I am going to miss her terribly one of these days.

Another neat thing that happened today which will only mean something if you have tried them.  I found out that the Latham Price Chopper has Mrs Crimbles chocolate covered macaroons.  I thought I had died and went to heaven. I mean really now, if you are gluten free these make up for all the things you are not suppose to eat. They are so good and even my friends who can eat anything when they tasted them they went nuts for them. Just ask them.  So, Denis and I will have some good treats if we get snowed in one of these weeks.

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