A to Z Blog Challenge – V is for Vince


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VinceVince had a few free minutes of time to spend on a weekday afternoon so he decided to stop by the park to work on the flower beds. Since the park was a community project, volunteers from the community did the upkeep and maintenance of the flowers, shrubs and pathways. They were lucky enough to be sponsored by the local garden supply store, and the store supplied the plants, and store crews kept the grass cut.

The park had turned out to be a great thing for the community. Everyone loved how it looked, and many enjoyed the benefits of the hard work that had been expended. Town residents had planted trees, shrubs, and flowers and built the twisting pathways that ran around the perimeter and between the flower beds and shrubbery.

Vince worked at the delicatessen but had been told many times that he had a true green thumb, and he loved working with flowers.

“The gardens look lovely this year!” Sally at the garden store gushed when he stopped to pick up some flats of petunias for the center flower bed.

“Thanks,” he smiled, “It’s not all me. I’ve had plenty of help. Thank the store for supplying the plants. They do such a great job every year. It’s always a privilege to plant what they provide.”

“I’ll let them know,” she smiled.

When Vince showed up at the park, he spent some time weeding the flower beds out by the Market Street sidewalk. He also did a quick walk-through the entire park and picked up the wrappers and trash lying around.

Then he moved on to the center flower bed, moving his trowel and the flats of flowers to where he could easily reach them. He was planting the petunias when he heard voices approaching.

“And here’s his favorite bench,” a little girl’s voice said, “He likes to sit here when it’s nice out. He feeds the squirrels and watches the birds. When I have my allowance, I bring him ice cream cones. He likes chocolate the best.”

“Would you like to sit here for a while, Mr. Webb?” a younger man’s voice asked.

“He doesn’t answer,” the little girl chattered on, “But it’s okay. He listens a lot.”

“He’s listening to you very closely now,” the younger man said, “He hasn’t taken his eyes off of you.”

“We’re friends,” the little girl said.

Vince stood up so he could move to the other side of the flower bed. He glanced over, curious to see who was talking, and he saw an older man sitting on the park bench. Beside him sat a younger man, dressed in what looked like nurse’s scrubs or a uniform of some sort. In front of the bench a little girl had begun singing to herself as she played hopscotch. The older man watched her intently with a faint smile on his face. Vince nodded to the younger man who waved back.

Vince turned to go back to his gardening, already deep in thought about what he could add to the bed that would work well with the petunias. He thought impatiens would work well in the shade at the base of the tree, and he made a mental note to ask Sally if they had any ready.

Image courtesy of Pinterest


A to Z Blog Challenge – U is for Ursula


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UrsulaUrsula straightened the chairs in front of her small desk as she prepared for her next appointment. The last appointment had been difficult and she hadn’t been able to help the individuals she had met with. The case was still open, but she wasn’t hopeful. She didn’t like leaving things like that, but sometimes it worked out that way.

She sighed and walked over to the window. She had been working as a social worker for the past five years. Sometimes she just wasn’t sure if she was cut out for the job. She got too involved and felt bad when she wasn’t able to match a client up with the services that they needed. She sometimes wondered if she should consider switching careers. She was lost in thought when she heard people approaching.

“This way, Dad,” a woman said in a soothing voice.

Ursula moved over to her desk to pick up the Crowley-Webb file. She looked up to smile as a middle-aged couple came in with an elderly man.

“Hello,” she smiled, “Mr. and Mrs. Crowley? Mr. Webb?”

“David Crowley,” David said, shaking her hand, “This is my wife, Chloe and my father-in-law, Barney Webb.”

“It’s nice to meet you all. Please have a seat.” Ursula waited until they were all seated before she sat down herself. She opened the file and picked up her pen. “Now, before we discuss how we might be able to help, please start by telling me about your current situation.”

Chloe began by explaining where they lived and how the apartment was set up. Then she talked about David’s job and schedule.

“So basically, you, Chloe, are his primary caregiver,” Ursula said, kindly, nodding to Barney.

“Yes,” Chloe said.

“How many times does he get you up at night?” Ursula asked.

“Three or four,” Chloe said.

“Has he ever wandered off or left the house on his own?”

“Just once,” David said, “He wandered away from the park where he likes to sit.”

“We had to call the Police because we couldn’t find him,” Chloe said, sadly, “He was several blocks away trying to find his old store.”

“Store,” Barney said suddenly.

“Yes, Dad,” Chloe said, taking his hand.

“That’s not uncommon for Alzheimer’s patients,” Ursula said, “They often look for places and people they once knew. In their minds, those people and places still exist. What type of help are you looking for?”

“We wanted to hire an aide,” Chloe said.

“I think we can help with that,” Ursula smiled, “I have the paperwork from your father’s Doctor verifying his condition and his needs, and I have the paperwork from David’s insurance company detailing what they will assist with. Let’s talk about possible schedules for aides and what types of eldercare you might like them to provide for your father’s situation other than the obvious – watching him so that he doesn’t wander.”

By the time the Crowley’s and Mr. Webb left her office almost an hour later, they were smiling and feeling much relieved. Ursula herself had a smile on her face, pleased to have helped this family. It really made it all worthwhile when things went so smoothly.

Image courtesy of Pinterest


A to Z Blog Challenge – T is for Tillie


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TillieTillie was running late for work when she hurried into the school building from the staff parking lot. She waved hello to the hallway monitor as she quickly moved down the hallway towards her office.

“Good morning, Lois,” she called to the department secretary as she entered their work area.

“Hi, Tillie,” Lois smiled, “Annelise is in the small conference room. She’s been working on a picture while she was waiting.”

Tillie took a moment to hang up her coat and put her purse away. When she was ready, she joined the little girl in the small meeting room.

“Good morning, Annelise, how are you?” Tillie asked.

“I’m okay,” she said.

“My name is Mrs. McGrew,” Tillie said, “I’m the school psychologist. Do you know what a psychologist is?”

Annelise shook her head ‘no’.

“I try to help people,” Tillie said, “I listen to them when they are sad or mad or upset. Sometimes people need to talk to someone, and it makes them feel better when they do. Do you know why you’re here, sweetie?”

She nodded. “I was crying in the classroom.”

“Yes,” Tillie said, “Miss Gleason told me, and we both talked to your Mommy. We all thought you might like someone to talk to. Would it be okay if we talked?”

Annelise nodded.

“Can you show me what you were drawing?”

Annelise sat back from her drawing, and Tillie turned it so she could see it better.

“Where is this?” Tillie asked.

“The park,” Annelise said.

“Who is that sitting on the bench?”

“Grandpa Barney,” Annelise said, “He’s my friend.”

“I see,” Tillie smiled, “Is that a dog?”

“Yes and a squirrel.”

“Is Grandpa Barney your grandfather?” Tillie asked.

“No, he’s my friend and neighbor. He’s sick.”

“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry to hear that,” Tillie said.

“He won’t get better,” Annelise said in a tiny voice.

Tillie put her arm around Annelise’s shoulders to give her a hug.

“He has Alzheimer’s,” Annelise said.

“I’m sorry,” Tillie said again. “Tell me about Grandpa Barney.”

Annelise talked about her friendship with the old man who lived in the building across from her own and how they had met while Barney was sitting in the park, enjoying the sunshine. Although Barney did not speak much, he was always glad to see her. He always listened to everything she had to say with a twinkle in his eye. She told Tillie how she saved her allowance to buy Barney ice cream cones and how he liked the chocolate ones the best. She also told Tillie how her Mommy was friends with Barney’s daughter, Chloe.

“They sound like a very nice family,” Tillie said, “You are lucky to know them.”

“Yes,” Annelise nodded.

They talked about Barney for several more minutes, and they worked on finishing Annelise’s drawing together.

“I’d like to meet with you again,” Tillie said, “Maybe we could meet a few mornings each week, and we could talk about Barney some more. Would you like that?”

“Yes,” Annelise said.

“I will work out a schedule with Miss Gleason,” Tillie said.

When Annelise had gone back to her classroom, Tillie went into her office to make some notes on their session together. She gave them to Lois to type up, and she asked her to coordinate with Annelise’s teacher to set up further meetings.

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A to Z Blog Challenge – S is for Sammy


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SammySammy scampered down the tree trunk and waited a moment at the bottom. His shiny black eyes quickly scanned his surroundings. His whiskers twitched as he sniffed the breeze. He hopped down onto the grassy area behind the park bench. He twitched nervously before he hopped over to pick up a discarded peanut shell. He was disappointed to find it empty, but he quickly moved on in search of more.

He hopped closer to the bench where two humans sat, talking.

“… not sure what we will do,” one of them said, “David is waiting to hear from the HR guy at the bus company about how much his insurance will cover. If they will help us pay, it would be a God-send.”

“Would you get an aide then, or will you have to look for a nursing home?” the other human asked.

“We’d like to hire an aide first,” the first human said, “Keeping Dad at home as long as we can is what we would prefer, of course. This was the first time he’s wandered off like that. I don’t think it will be the last time, though, so we have to do something. I can’t keep him cooped up inside all the time.”

“Where is he now?” second human asked.

“David is watching him,” first human said.

Sammy edged around the side of the park bench, constantly watching and sniffing for a treat or two, as he went. He found a few bird seeds in the grass and nibbled at those before he cautiously came around the front of the bench.

The humans ignored him until he sat up on his haunches to peer hopefully up at them. He clasped his front paws together in front of his chest.

“Oh, look at that little squirrel!” second human said, “Isn’t he cute?”

“He’s begging for a handout,” first human smiled. She fished around in her jacket pocket and tossed a couple of peanuts towards him. “Dad feeds them all the time. He’s got me doing it now, too.”

Sammy was so excited that he pounced eagerly on the first peanut. He darted back towards the tree trunk and climbed up onto the first branch to sit and crack open his treasure. He used his paws to turn the peanut so he could crack open the shell with his teeth. He nibbled happily at the delicious peanut inside the shell.

“They hang out here around the bench all the time,” first human said.

“They probably miss your Dad,” second human said.

“He misses them, too,” first human sighed. “Sometimes I wish I was a squirrel and all I had to worry about was where my next peanut was coming from.”

The second human chuckled.

“I know,” she said, putting her arm around the first human to hug her. “You’re doing all you can, Chloe. Just take it one day at a time. I’m here if you need anything. You can call me anytime.”

“Thanks, Holly,” first human said.

Sammy clambered back down the tree trunk and darted over to grab up the second peanut before one of the birds or another squirrel found it. This one was a good one, and the shell wasn’t even cracked. Yes, this one was a keeper. Now where was he going to bury it? Over by the rose bushes seemed a great place so he set off over there to cache the peanut for later enjoyment.

Image courtesy of Pinterest



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