She called me on Saturday and said she would be staying with me on Monday. Can I pick her up at the limo stop? ...at 2AM? ...Of course I could. I hang up the phone and go immediately into whirlwind mode: The house needs cleaning. Beds need a change of linen. Who will sleep where? This will be the first time that I will use the pull out bed in the couch. I will take Stephen's bed. He can have the couch. Joyce gets my bed...my guest of honor. I need to cook ahead and put food in the refrigerator. My mind races ahead, planning.
Joyce's sister has died...the reason for the emergency flight to our town. This whole family has been good to me. I enjoy spending time with them. Joyce is the sister-in-law of my neighbor. That is how I met her. This family is entangling in a good way. They share their time, their food. They help each other. It takes a little getting used to this "what is yours is mine and vice versa", as I have very clear personal boundaries. I would never feel that someone else's stuff was mine to borrow because I might need it.
Joyce says she will call me when she arrives at the limo stop. It isn't far away from my house. However, at the appointed evening, I decide to drive ahead and wait for her. It is near a restaurant. The restaurant is closing. Staff leave. Cars pull out from the parking lot. The town is in sleep mode, after all. It is 2AM. No Joyce. It is 3AM. No Joyce. It is 3:30AM. No Joyce. I decide to go home and wait for her call. At home only a short time and my friend is at the door. It seems that there was a delay at the airport, causing a delay on the limo. She had caught the last limo of the evening. If she had missed it, she would have been stuck at the airport. Joyce never called me because she had left the list of phone numbers home on the table. She solved the problem by asking the limo driver to drive her directly to my house. This is unheard of, but He does it. Joyce is in her 80s and uses a walker to get around. The driver went out of his way to help a senior citizen, who would have been stuck at the limo stop if He didn't. She gave him five dollars as a thank you. Without my phone number, how would she have gotten to my house? At least she remembered my address...across the street from her brother-in-law.
Suitcases are inside, Joyce and I greet each other. I've taken the reverse trip to her place on St. Croix. The trip is exhausting. She is so much older than I am. Yet, she did it and here she is. To bed for a good night's sleep. Joyce likes my bed because it has a heated mattress pad on it. She is used to the tropics, even though she was born in our town. My friend can no longer tolerate the cold.
The next day after breakfast, Joyce wants to go shopping. (I thought she would want to be in touch with her family right away, but she wants to go shopping.) This reminds me of my mother. That is what she would want to do...go through the stores and look at every thing. Joyce has a list of things she wants to do while she is here. Stocking up on things she can take back in her suitcase, is one of those things. Getting an eye exam and a new pair of glasses is another. Hearing aids is a third goal for her visit. (We didn't get to the third task, as We ran out of time.)
We are in the drug store and I have to use the bathroom. There is none for the public. I am crossing my legs until lunch time. Joyce wants to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I want to go there, too. My Mom liked this place as well. ...and...they have a bathroom.
After lunch, We go to Sears Optical. Can they take Joyce in for an exam? It isn't possible, as they are fully scheduled. Instead, We went to our local independent optometrist and eye glass store. They take Joyce in immediately. For an old gal, her eyes are very good. She needs this exam for new glasses for a renewal of her driver's license. Again, there is the press of time to get everything done before she has to leave. The exam is covered by Medicare, but the glasses are not. My friend is shocked by the cost of glasses. If she pays cash, she will not have enough money for the rest of her trip. I volunteer to pay for her glasses. Joyce promises to pay me back. I know she will. I write the check.
We are getting ready for the wake. Joyce goes to her sister's house. The relatives will be gathering there. No one is there. We drive to her niece's house. The family is there, but they are getting ready for the calling hours later that day. There is some chaos there. A son has broken up with his girlfriend and has returned home...with a puppy. The niece has three dogs. The new puppy is a border collie who has decided that it is his responsibility to round up the other three dogs. There is a dog round up in the living room. Much activity in that house, so Joyce would only add to the confusion. Joyce comes home with me.
Time to get ready. Can Joyce borrow my white coat ? of course she can. She had borrowed my navy blue one since she arrived. Do I have a pair of pantyhose she can use? She can't find hers in her suitcase. Of course she can use mine. Do I have a piece of jewelry she can borrow? I had just bought a new necklace...watermelon tourmaline. I have never worn it. I liked it . It was too expensive. I paid for it on time. Joyce wanted to wear that necklace. I said OK. It looked good on her against her purple suit.
Joyce has had my room to herself. She explores. She finds my makeup. Joyce helps herself to my lipstick and eyebrow pencil. Of course it looks good on her. Her relatives come to fetch her. She is gone for the evening. I won't see her until tomorrow morning. She will be staying with her brother. I am glad she gets some time with him and his family. That is one thing she wanted to do. I get some peace and quiet.
The day of the funeral. Once again my friend is borrowing stuff from me. She isn't well organized, I observed. She doesn't want to take my necklace off and return it to me. Oh Oh.... She says she will give it back after the funeral. Off she goes with handbag, tote, walker, wallet, my coat and scarf and necklace, wearing my makeup. She picks a flower from my garden and puts it in her hair. The color of the flower matches her clothes. Joyce has good color sense.
Joyce is back that evening. Dinner is picking on the leftovers in the refrigerator. One more night with the electric mattress pad turned up to high. Joyce sleeps well. I note that she never took a nap. How does she keep on going?
In the morning, We get ready for the limo. It is very early in the morning...still dark out. Joyce has decided that she doesn't want her coat anymore. It is too heavy. Instead, she will wear layers of sweaters and take them off, one by one, as she gets to the tropics. This makes sense to me. She doesn't want cold feet. She asks for a pair of socks. I put a pair of my socks on her feet. She is keeping my lipsticks, my socks, my pantyhose...but I get my necklace back. (Whew!)
She is leaving her coat behind, a can of hair spray, a gift for me and by accident, a tote bag with her cell phone charger in it. Later I learned that the cell phone wasn't hers. She had borrowed it from her grandson on St. Croix. Joyce calls that she arrived home safely about 11PM. That is a long trip. If it was me, I would be exhausted. Last task of the experience is to mail the tote with the cell phone charger to her. Cost about $20 for mailing the box with tote and all inside.
Having Joyce around is like having my mother back. It makes me smile. I am exhausted. I need a nap.
Labels: Joyce's visit