We have an elderly couple that lives around the corner from us. They are both in their upper 80's and they just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They live on a farm that up until about 3 years ago was quite productive. Since that time Mr. R has had a stroke and can no longer keep up with farming. But he certainly didn't give up on life! We always get a kick out of both of them because Mrs. R is fiesty and Mr. R is forgetful and nonchalant!
I think they have adopted Joel as their son! He is very good about fixing things for them. In the past week or two he has: 1) Climbed down a spider infested, old, windmill well to fix a water turn off(to me that is pure dedication!). 2) He got their lawn mower running (again!). 3Accomplished a few other odd jobs. Not only is he Mister Fix It, but in the winter he keeps them supplied in fire wood.
They have seen tragedy in their lifetime. Both of their children are deceased and both died at fairly young ages. When we first moved here, Mrs. R was a little stand-offish. I believe it was from her heartache. Over the years she has become attached to my children and they have become attached to her.
Last night while I was trying to conduct a 4-H meeting, Mr. R came by. He was looking for a socket. The scary part is that he isn't supposed to be driving, because his response time was impaired by the stroke. The funny part was that when I asked him if he was supposed to be driving he gave me a little smirk and said, "No!" The funniest part was that he snuck in and took the keys to the truck while Mrs. R was sleeping!!! He doesn't dare attempt to drive when she is awake because she would put the kaboshes on that immediately!
Later after the meeting, Joel went to head over to their house to get the lawn mower started for Mr. R. The boys jumped into the van to go along. Lauren saw that they were getting to go for a ride and she took off on a dead run to get into the van. I was taking laundry off the line and Joel yelled out the window, "I guess your going too, Jenn!" We have a understanding in our home, if you go over to Mr. and Mrs. R's you better be prepared to stay at least 2 hours. So, even though I had planned on picking up the house and doing some paper work, we all headed over to Mr. and Mrs. R's. The house could wait.
When we got there Joel headed out to the barn with Mr. R to locate the socket he had borrowed from us. Then he proceeded to change the spark plugs and get the old girl running! Lauren and I went in the house to look at Mrs. R's kittys. While we were in there she began showing me pictures of her children and talking about their accomplishments. It was wonderful to hear her share. She sometimes shows us the same things over again, but I don't mind because I know how much she still loves her precious children.
All this leads up to the fact that I feel we are blessed to be a part of their lives. They need us and we need them. The boys are learning what it means to help your neighbor by watching their dad. I pray that they too will be as giving of their time and heart as he is with his.