Six months ago, Tim and I moved to “the lake,” the Chicagoland term for Lake Michigan. We love it in Michiana Shores, and we frequently see our friends in Chicago and Valparaiso. We are not lonely even though we have only made one real friend here – Reed, the man who lives next door.
This greatly concerns my ninety-two-year-old mother. She grasps that we have moved although she still introduces me to the women on her floor at Mercy Circle as her daughter from Valparaiso. I do not correct her. I’m grateful that she recalls that I live in Indiana.
Every time I visit my mom, she asks me how I like my new house. And I always respond, “I like it.” She asks, “How are the neighbors?” Until I met Reed, I said, “I don’t know. I don’t know anybody.” I explain that the house has a long driveway and is set in the woods. I describe how Michiana Shores is different from Long Beach, the beautiful town a mile away where my parents’ bought a second home in 1973 at Stop 14, the resident beach of many cherished memories.
Last weekend, Tim and I visited my mom. Sliding into our norm, my mom asked, “How’s your new house?” I said, “I like it. It is very quiet.” A few minutes later, she asked, “How’s your new house?” and I replied, “I like it. It’s quiet.” Two minutes later, she asked, “How’s your new house?” Deciding to mix it up a bit, I added, “Nobody comes down our street.”
With deep concern, she leaned back in her wheelchair and asked, “Whah’d ya say?”
I said, “The house is quiet. Nobody comes down our street.”
“Oh, I thought you said ‘nobody comes down our chimney.'”
She tried to explain, “With all these songs about Santa Claus . . ..” and she couldn’t finish her thought – not because of age but because of pure mirth. I laughed my head off, and she nearly careened out of her chair.
Apparantly, Christmas carols are played in excess at Mercy Circle.