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Friday, May 6, 2016

Gray Matters: Reporting From Across the State

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here I am, looking out on a cold gray day, grateful that I don't have to get out in it. Grateful too, that I will have to go outside only when I choose, the whole winter long.

I like it here and am getting somewhat settled in, though most of my new friends assure me that it will still take a good bit of time.

Speaking of new friends, I must tell you about a few I have met.

Ruth, my next-door neighbor, is perfectly charming. It was only after we had several conversations that I realized she has very limited vision. She is so perky and fun that it is hard to believe she isn't seeing everything well.

We both like to wear blue jeans and share the dismay that we are asked not to wear them in the dining room. One of the earliest residents told us that the founders of Cottage Grove Place were mostly of the "Country Club Set" and required, at first, that everyone dress for dinner.

In time, that went by the board, but the jeans ban lingered. Giggling, Ruth observed that all of our jeans are neat and pressed, and that none of us would ever turn up in those holey, tattered ones that teens buy for a mint of money.

I enjoyed listening to the woman who explained about the early rules. Almost totally blind, and in a wheel chair, she told us that she was living in another place when they told her she could no longer keep her cat there.

When she heard that plans were brewing for this new place, where one was allowed to keep pets, she signed up for it while it was still only on the drawing board. As she said, "The cat is long gone but I am still here, after thirteen years." Several times I have seen friends cutting up food on her plate to make it easier for her to eat. It's that kind of place.

Leah, a petite, attractive woman, shocked me when she announced that she walks three miles each day. Ann, my daughter, suggested I should join her, but I know that would never work. I will soon start a regular walking regimen, but certainly not at her pace.

My apartment is near one end of a long hall, and the elevator I take down to the dining room and lobby, are at the other, so it does take quite a jaunt to eat and to get my mail. Mail isn't in our boxes until after noon and that is taking quite an adjustment after picking up my mail each morning in Marcus for so many years.

Mentioning Marcus reminds me of a real come-uppance I had yesterday. A couple there (they know who they are) have rather recently retired from re-finishing furniture. They did fantastic work, including a table for me some years ago. It was in need of a re-do but we didn't quite make connections last summer so I decided to have it done after I came here.

The fellow my daughter recommended came yesterday. Wow! I was in for what you might call "sticker-shock." Suffice it to say, if my Marcus friends had charged what seems to be the going rate in most cities, they could be living on Millionaires' Row. Just another example of that favorite theme of mine, the advantages of small-town living!