Sorry for being AWOL from the column last week; I was on another Amtrak excursion; this time to visit my aunt in Deerfield Beach, FL.
I can’t believe I’ve already done two Amtrak trips this year: first from Savannah to NYC and CT to visit my daughter and family and last week from Savannah to Deerfield Beach, FL (just north of Ft. Lauderdale) to visit my aunt. The North-South Amtrak route out of Savannah basically parallels I-95 and travels about the same speed as interstate traffic. As the train gets into south Florida, the facilities get nicer. When I got off the train at Deerfield Beach I wondered for a minute if I was in Disney World. It was a ten hour trip from Savannah, much longer than I’d want to drive by myself in one day but a “Piece of cake” on the train.
So who is this aunt and why did I go. She’s my mother ‘s oldest sister whom I haven’t seen in 20+ years. In my last phone conversation with her she said “I’m going to be 88 next month. Are you going to come see me before it’s too late”? That really pricked my conscience and I made up my mind to go as soon as I could schedule it. Then, when I called back to setup the trip a few weeks later, she said that wouldn’t work because she had to go in for a mastectomy! (Don’t forsake your mammograms just because you’re senior citizens, ladies!). I knew I HAD to go then as soon as she was strong enough. That actually happened sooner than I thought; the operation went so well that she never even took a pain pill!
My mother had one full sibling and five half siblings; this aunt is the oldest of the half siblings and has been living alone for several years since being widowed 2-1/2 times (a long story!). She’s a fun-filled spunky fighter, and for two and a half days told me some stories about my mom and her family that I had never heard before. We laughed, cried and went out to eat at a couple really nice restaurants. She even packed me a big bag of sandwiches and fruit to eat on the train home.
So why did I really go? James, the half brother of Jesus, says in the New Testament book he wrote that carries his name, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…..”. Clearly she is a widow in distress and I wanted to go help her if I could. So amongst all the stories here’s what I was able to help her do:
Replace the light fixture over her kitchen sink so she can see to prep meals and do the dishes
Go with her to get her car serviced. The dealer told her she needed new tires. NO she doesn’t ! She only travels back roads and doesn’t go over 60 mph and the tires have lots more tread and life left in them. Shame on you, dealer!
Took her to renew her driver’s license which she didn’t want to do by herself. Two very long lines made us revisit the paperwork which said she could do it by mail. Sure hope that works for her.
Went over the “Roman Road to Salvation’ with her in my old worn out bible and now I know I’ll spend lots more time visiting her in heaven when we both “graduate”. That was the most important thing for me and I came home with a real peace in my heart!
So, I ask again, “Where’s your aunt”? If you have long lost relative you haven’t seen in years, consider a visit. I’m glad I did!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
photo credit to Amtrak Blog
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