Alice was sitting in the long hallway, the shades drawn, the fans blowing. “Alice” I said, “we’re going to be painting the pinch pots we made last time I was here, want to join us?”
“No” Alice shook her head, “not today, it’s too hot”.
And it was hot. Brother Peter, another resident at The Mansion, Assisted Living Facility, told me the thermometer read 100 degrees on the big wraparound porch.
The Activities Room was cooler because of the portable air condition the Army of Good had helped buy last year. Peggy and her daughter, who was visiting, were the only two people sitting at the table. Soon, with Julie’s help, Jean, Ellen, Ruth, Joan and Winnie drifted in.
But enthusiasm was low and I could feel it start to eek into my own attitude. Ellen and Jean just wanted to watch and no one else seemed terribly interested in the idea of decorating the pinch pots with markers.
I imagined myself leaving the bag of markers on the table and slinking out the door.
Instead I pulled out the tiny pinch pot I made earlier that morning and decorated with markers as an example of what we were going to do. I conjured up some enthusiasm and showed it to everyone sitting at the table, explaining the different ways they could decorate their pots.
Peggy took to it right away, she’s never at a loss as long as she has something to draw with and sometime to draw on. Ruth drew an orange leaf on her pot and wrote her husband’s name. Joan was having a hard time using the markers so I gave her more clay to work with and she made another pinch pot.
Winnie wandered in after Ruth left. She didn’t have a pot to decorate, so I gave her some clay and showed her what to do.
By the time I left an hour later, I was tired and drained. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to do more to lift the spirits of some of the people at The Mansion, even for just a little while.
But, later that night, when I looked at the pictures I took of Peggy and Winnie, I could see that they were at least happy to have their pictures taken with the work they had done. And that made me feel better.
Which seems to be a big part of what we do for each other.
Jon took this video of us decorating the Pinch Pots.