Someone asked me whether we had settled into any routines now that we are back in Cambridge (and, I think they were hinting about our plod towards retirement). Well, yes! On Wednesdays we often go to play a (gentle) game of table tennis at a local Methodist church which hosts a community time for the over 60's. (Do we really? Honestly, yes!)
Yesterday turned out to be a corker of a day. En route to the community time, we visited a friend who is mightily disabled by Parkinson's Disease and currently in a care home. Her brightness and humour is radiant. She has become a poet, gaining ever wider recognition through many published poems. Extraordinarily, she shared how grateful she is that in her severe disablement she has been given such a gift to be creative. Thoughtfully she commented as we spoke about her condition: 'If I had to choose between being disabled with this opportunity to be creative and not being disabled yet without creativity, I would choose the former.' Isn't that amazing?
Arriving at the community session we found ourselves talking and listening to a colourful range of people. One couple have a daughter who, with her husband, works in the slums in Kenya with heroic stories by the yard. Another lady came in wearing biker leathers for her first visit; her job was a 'coder' in the National Health Service making sure all treatment was properly coded for payment. She had stories too. Another man came in who said he worked with the Armed Forces in the Middle East. I asked him whether he had seen the movie 'Captain Phillips' about the Somali pirates and eventual freeing of the sailors by the navy. Quietly, he told us that he was part of the network responsible for dealing with such intelligence but he couldn't say much otherwise he would have to kill us. Actually, the table tennis game was something of an anticlimax - close but Carol won again.
Afterwards we popped over to a Salvation Army Resale Shop to congratulate a lady we have only recently got to know who was awarded 'The Carer of the Year 2013' by the Cambridge Evening News because of her sterling work caring for the elderly. In her modesty she had told us nothing about this award but the stories of her devotion are now out there to challenge us all.
Later that evening we met up with the couple whose daughter works in Kenya and shared more stories. As the day wound down Carol said to me: 'You should blog about this. Just an ordinary day but if you are listening to people there are such interesting folk everywhere you turn.' Not every Wednesday is like this but it's not too shabby a 'routine' is it?
Thursday, January 9, 2014
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