Babi Yar

It was a pleasant surprise to find rain again early this morning, and just with what we’ve recently received, our lawns and gardens are perking up quite nicely. Now if we continue to get an average amount up until the hard frosts arrive, our trees and shrubs will be in good shape for their long winter sleep ahead.

With it being the last day of the month, there were all the more rental calls, emails to return and phone-ins. Since everything was in such a rush this morning, I dare say I can’t recall each and everything I did before noon arrived.

I did have a nice chat this morning with an old client from out of State who’s also suffering from the social distancing and restricted movement created by the China-virus. I encouraged her along with everyone else who’s having loneliness issues, to find enough constructive things to do all day because the sitting around and watching negative news feeds being supplied by all the many online media outlets, only makes matters worse. After hanging up, I remained confident she’d taken to heart some of my strong suggestions.

Once this pandemic is over, I’m hoping many of our seniors will be finding constructive things to do in group settings like sewing, quilting, cooking, gardening, along with the full spectrum of fulfilling projects which before this virus arrived, were freely dismissed.

Having known and worked with a great number of our elderly over these long years, I can say there’s been a huge difference in the minds and bodies of those who do as little as possible, and those who work at keeping themselves activated. Believe you me, the ones who found constructive and worth-while things to busy themselves with, have been far easier to work with when it came to selling their homes.

One person who will always stick in my mind was a woman by the name of Velma Grippen who owned a charming home in the old “classy” district. I’d known her in passing for some years, but when I got to be personally acquainted with her during the time I had her home listed, she quickly became someone who I wanted to be like when I reached her age of eighty-something.

First off, she had one of the most beautiful rear-yard gardens surrounded by a storybook white picket fence. When first given the tour of it, I bowed to her ability to grow such wide varieties of perennials which always had something blooming within it from Spring until frost, and unless it was raining or too cold, she’d be out there working. Her husband’s family were the ones who owned the Grippen Paper Company here in Mason City, and likely successful enough to where if Velma wanted something, she got it, but not to the extent of what we’re seeing in these times with our “so-called” rich who feel the need to prove it to the world by conspicuously consuming. The personalties in her possession were tasteful items of a more diminished elegance which you certainly don’t find much of in today’s world of mass production.

Her home had a 1st floor family room added which overlooked her garden, and on two of its walls were banks of bookshelves filled with various subjects and authors. In spite of my having not mentioned one thing about my love of reading, she began offering me books to read which she insisted I keep and a share with others. One particular she insisted I read was, “Babi Yar” which was a true story about what happened to the Ukrainian people during and after the Second World War. She insisted I would be moved by it, of which I was, and so much so that I leant it out to a number of people who were also moved which is one great reason we must always work at being semi-educated on histories which somehow repeat themselves due to ignorance of past events.

I speak of Velma at this time because she was a classic retiree who filled her days with constructive things to do which gave meaning to her golden years, and oh how I missed her when she moved to Arizona to live with her daughter who felt it best she be closer along with being able to enjoy warmer winters. To this day I can still recall the landline phone call I received late one night from her daughter telling me Velma died from some sort of virus or bacteria which had a deadly effect on her. I actually cried when she was telling me what had happened, along with her feeling exceptionally guilty over nearly insisting her mother move to Arizona. Even after all these years, I can still see her in my mind’s eye while continuing to have only the kindest of thoughts.

After Velma’s sudden death along with a few others who shouldn’t have moved closer to their family members, I make it a point to share my thoughts with seniors who’re thinking about enduring such moves to where there’ll be sacrifices and hard adjustments to be made when basically starting all over with the making of new friends, finding new doctors and dentists, getting used to new streets and traffic patterns, and even becoming a member of an unfamiliar church belonging their synod. When you really think about it, the only up-side in the beginning, is that they’re in close proximity to their loved ones who oft times don’t realize what great sacrifices they’d made just to be nearby.

What I’m now finding even more interesting, are all the many more retirees moving back to our area who’re seeking quieter and gentler lives which confirms my inability to understand why our City isn’t promoting the many senior-friendly features North Iowa has to offer. But again, they’re not out in the trenches on a daily basis like the rest of us.

Tonight’s photo is of yet another Hibiscus flower in full bloom, and if only their scents were similarly lovely.

Tonight’s one-liner is: It’s difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

Firstofall....JoeChodurreallydoesn'tliketalkingabouthimselfbutthisiswhatwehavefoundoutabouthim. more about: Joe Chodur

View page.