Jenifer’s Journal: Bulletins from the border

Guest columnist, artist and writer Betty Maxson — turning 101 in February — is now sending us bulletins from beyond the “border.” Enjoy! 

On Cars:                                              

I’m trying to wean myself away from my car. My daughter and I are both having oil problems. I need to learn how to keep a check on it since Midas, who just finished a tail pipe job for big bucks, wants it back to work on the oil leak. I’m no dummy. I can check oil.

Our cars are the same age but mine has 1,000 less miles. I don’t think she wants to be responsible for my needs and I have everything here within walking distance, except, well, for the liquor store. She’s the one who really needs a car. We could have a once-a-week deal with shopping and lunch (on me). I’ll miss driving to my park though, but maybe with a walker I could make it there.

On Brains:

I had read an article in an AARP magazine by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about better brain health. I had a couple of questions. Naturally, I was a little concerned about my own gray mass, as things around here have become a completely chaotic mess. I also had questions about the effects of childhood brain injuries.

My sister told me once that I fell out of a car and my mother was afraid I was dead. If that happened, my mother never said anything to me. My sister was the only other witness. Maybe she pushed! 

However it must have affected me somehow, but I didn’t notice. I never said I was smart.

Anyway, I heard there was a treatment so I made an appointment with my doctor. I explained my problem. First, she gave me three or four words to remember, then we chatted about some of my other meds and she took my vitals, all of which came out fine. I’d made a point of remembering the words she’d given me, so when she asked me what they were, I told her.

She said that there was nothing the matter with me. I must have looked skeptical because she asked if I would like to go to a brain doctor, and I said I’d love to. She made the appointment.

About a week later I went to his office. He was a charmer. Nice looking, middle-aged, smiley and friendly. He gave me the words to remember. We chatted about something else, then he asked for the words, which I gave him.  He said there was nothing the matter with my brain. I was fine.

On the way home I remembered that the reason I’d wanted to go to a brain doctor was to ask about the effects of childhood injuries but — I’d forgotten!  So, my advice if you’re really concerned and want treatment: Don’t remember the words.

On old age, poetry and bagels:

We have a nice clear morning today, so I’ve planned to stay home, clean house and do laundry. I haven’t gotten very far but it’s only 11:30.

I slept good last night.

Eight hours straight through.

I had coffee and my daily pills

And did my morning readings.

I thanked God for my night

And breakfast bagel.

Then, while thinking of my

Waiting chores, I fell asleep!

Is that what growing old is? Is that a poem?  Poets and I don’t agree on poetry. They write for other poets. I think poetry should be written for the average person who can only understand something that’s beautiful or painful, happy or sad and probably not too intellectual.

I love Mae Sarton’s journals. In one of them she copied one of her poems for us. It was about eight pages long. I apologize to her, but I skipped it. 

Nowadays I don’t write anything. A few years back I use to sit for my grandson’s cat. They live in a condominium in South Norwalk.

One time while there I wrote just a “thing” about condominiums, something about either the wind or clouds looking in at the playing cat, the sad, waiting dog, and the old lady with her rheumy eyes and half-eaten bagel, dozing in her chair.  Writers love that word “rheumy.” I asked my eye doctor if she knew about “rheumy eyes.” She’d never heard about them. Wanted to know how to spell it.

Naturally I didn’t know, but since then I’ve checked. My grandson doesn’t ask me to come cat-sit anymore. That’s sad. I enjoyed it. Maybe it was the old lady part that got him, but at least there would be no half-eaten bagel left sitting around.