I visited a dear friend in the nursing home last Saturday. She is a small woman, a farmer’s wife, bright and feisty with a quick smile. She didn’t recognize me at first as I’ve grown a beard. “I haven’t seen you in a while,” she said.During my high school years, I worked on their farm for her and her husband when and if I had time. They had lost two sons to childhood leukemia; I grew up with their two daughters. I loved working for them; it was a positive, fun place to be--a bright stop on some dark days.
I asked her if she needed anything but she said “no”. Look Beef, I have everything I need; I wonder why God has blessed me so. I also wonder why He keeps me around. It was then a young nurse came in to give her some medications. Lorraine smiled, patted the nurse on her check, and thanked her. She introduced me and told me what a great person this young nurse was. The nurse left beaming. I told Lorraine, “I think that’s why you’re here, to be a bright light in this somewhat sad place.”
We had a great visit. Before I left, I asked again if she needed anything. Her eyes moved; she was about to ask for something. Then she shook her head no. I said, “Lorraine, what were you going to ask for? She kind of looked down and sheepishly asked for a fast food hamburger. All she wanted was a fast food hamburger! Why the hesitation? She was told they are not good for you. She reminded me that she and her husband ate hamburgers probably four times a week throughout their married life (he lived into his late seventies).
What kind of educated idiots have we become? We won’t allow a ninety year old woman a fast food hamburger? As Lorraine said, “Like one more would shorten my life!”
What’s happened to common sense and compassion? No, we shouldn’t live on fast food hamburgers but so what if she wants just one more. Who are we to think we have the right to deny her a simple pleasure?
I wheeled her down for supper. I promised her the next time I come through I’d get her a burger. “Cheese also” she said. I think I’ll get her four burgers, French fries, plus some good beer and lemon pie. We will have a party. The food police can sulk in the shadows and stew in their envy…