In a Sow’s Ear | TheFencePost.com
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In a Sow’s Ear

by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

“Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few…”

Most of us on the downhill slope of life are familiar with those lyrics from “September Song.” It was written in 1965 by Lonnie Johnson (so my research informs me). Johnny Carson used to refer to the tune often on the Tonight Show. Possibly the most poignant rendition was that by Willie Nelson.

In a world where it sometimes seems we are close to drowning in oceans of horror and mean-spirited nonsense, it touches a deep chord when we hear stories like the following. Most of us don’t like to admit to becoming too sentimental or sappy, but the tale made me cry.

An elderly couple in their late 80’s ” Richard and Jenny (not their real names) ” reside in a nursing home. They are short in stature, so they are the epitome of the “little old man and little old lady” couple. All the staff in the home “just love” the pair.

Richard has congestive heart disease and Jenny is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She is still fairly clear most of the time, but the combination of age and illness took their toll. Jenny refused to leave Richard in the care of anyone else, so they rented an apartment in the home.

According to one of their daughters, the two argue quite a bit but, “Dad calls Mom, ‘My Jenny.”

A while ago, Richard’s heart disease took a turn for the worse and he needed hospital care. His medical treatment included sticking various tubes in him, but he would try to pull them out, so an aide tied his hands down just enough so he couldn’t reach the IV’s. A sympathetic staff member asked him to promise not to pull out the tubes, he wouldn’t have to be tied. He promised.

Two weeks later he was released from the hospital. When he was wheeled into the home, Jenny was waiting for him at the entrance. They beamed at each other and the nurse heard him say, “My Jenny.”

Jenny walked to Richard, took his hand, leaned down, gave him a kiss, and they began jabbering/cooing to each other. The care giver pushed Richard in his wheel chair down the hall toward their apartment. Jenny walked alongside, holding his hand.

The next morning a nurse overheard them talking/cooing and arguing about something …

Oh, the days dwindle down

To a precious few …

September, November …

And these few precious days

I’ll spend with you.

These precious days

I’ll spend with you.


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