Life throws us some curves and we need to address whatever it is. I retired January 2013 with many plans for the future. Winter is my favourite time of the year and the idea of sitting by the fire, reading a mystery novel with a glass of wine in hand was my vision for the first few months of retirement.
After a long, cozy winter I developed plans for my garden. With almost five acres of property I had ambitious ideas of what my garden would look like and proceeded to buy plants and seeds. As I always do, I planted too much for the space. Within a few weeks the tomato plants fell over each other and the prolific zucchini crawled out of the designated space.
Some species of tomatoes did not do well and rotted on the vine. The plum tomatoes flourished and I harvested several baskets. The squash, cucumbers and pumpkins each had their own issues. The pumpkins blossomed but a blight killed them all off. So much for the promised jack o lanterns for my grandchildren. The cucumbers were sparse and quickly became misshaped. The squash were few but I was able to freeze some for the future. The herbs hung over the edge of the raised bed but provided tasty additions to sauces and Italian inspired meals. Dill is my favourite and was found in salads and egg salad sandwiches.
Rhubarb had grown earlier in the season and I froze many bags for winter cooking. Also; I made several rhubarb pies to freeze and to be baked at a later date.
There was a marathon in the kitchen making tomato sauce and freezing tomatoes for winter meals.
The flower gardens were expanded and more hosta plants added. I love hostas and can not pass up the chance to buy a new variety. There was a garden club sale in Odessa and the Hosta and Day Lily Farm in Prince Edward County that were the benefactors of much of my cash.
To make space for my gardens there was a large area cultivated and more soil added over a period of a few weeks. It was completed with a yellow park bench which I had painted for the space.
Harvesting and gardening took its toll on my body. Over the summer I began to have difficulty getting up from my knees in the garden and walking from the garden to the house hurt. Standing at the kitchen counter scalding and peeling tomatoes was satisfying but exhausting.
When I finally approached my doctor to discuss the pain I was experiencing he sent me for x rays. A call from him confirmed the diagnosis that I had arthritis and he advised that a hip replacement was likely in my future. The pain kept increasing and by the time winter arrived I was spending a great deal of time curling up with a heating pad and taking pain bills.
I recognized that all my garden plans would be changed for the next spring. Many days I wallowed in pity, railing against life for this curve ball. We made plans to sell our property and move to a small lot. Many days I would feel depressed to having to give up my beloved gardens and be angry at the world. My husband had his own health issues with his heart and I had to tell myself that I was not the only person in this relationship experiencing a life change.
Going shopping needs to be planned to avoid too much walking. When we go to the mall I know which stores I need to visit and not try to travel throughout the whole mall.
Recently I had spent the morning picking up groceries and then we drove to the Cataraqui Mall. After a short time my husband wanted to check on some expensive new cars on display in centre court. I said that I could not walk anymore and would make my way towards the car. We agreed to meet at the lower entrance of the Bay. As I approached the Bay I was looking for a seat but could not see any vacant space. At this point I was in so much pain that I contemplated sitting on the floor but I knew that getting up and down would not be very graceful and decided against it.
I walked up to a seating area and noticed that there was a low table like bench with flowers on it. Gingerly I placed my hand on the arm of the seating area with the intention to sit down on the table. Almost immediately I heard this voice say;
“Sit here, ma’m”.
I felt his hand on my elbow guiding me to the seat he had vacated. Once I was able to look up I saw a nice young man with a gym bag over his arm and a smart phone in one hand walking away from me. I hope that he heard my thanks and I will not forget this act of kindness. Too often we diss young people as being disrespectful towards older folks. I will not forget this young man’s act of kindness and I hope that he was just not afraid that I was going to break the table.