A ride in the rain

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

I’m sure in your lifetime you have heard your parents declare about a person, &uot;She’s a saint,&uot; or &uot;He’s a saint.&uot; More she’s than he’s, though.

Any guy objections to the last statement? Forget it guys. You know it’s true. Anyway what brought it up was a lunch I attended today. Because of it I submit for canonization the names Martha Hunt and Millie Dixon.

I realize neither one is Catholic and the names go to the Pope for the final decision of sainthood but if he needs any information, have him call me. I suggest he couldn’t do better. Now I’ll explain the situation.

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Martha is the administrator of Magnolia Manor, an assisted living retirement center where I now live. Millie is her assistant. They go together like bacon and eggs, salad and dressing. Just a great combo. There is a bus as a part of the Manor. Martha drives a la Jeff Gordon and Millie gives orders like a drill sergeant. &uot;Back up. Go to your left. Plenty of room&uot; Martha responds. Every month or so they invite some residents to a bus ride to a restaurant. It’s been lovely. This is my second time going. Today would be different. We gathered in the parlor, walkers, wheelchairs and residents. Such a sight. Walkers and chairs taken to be put on the bus, then us. We are four men, eight gals and Martha and Millie. Everyone is helped on to the bus. Chair goes on a lift at the rear. Note how mechanized we are. It’s a today thing. Every seat belt is checked and adjusted and we’re off.

Just about a mile out it begins to rain. Doesn’t daunt any of us. But soon the sky opened and the Lord sent down all He was saving for a rainy day. And get it we did. &uot;Jeff Gordon&uot; seemed to thrive in the open sky and we just went through it as though she dared it to worry her. No way!

We went to Amory’s in Portsmouth – a lovely seafood restaurant. We got absolutely drenched going from bus to restaurant. The two M’s getting walkers and wheelchairs (only one of those, thank goodness) out of each of us then helping us off the bus.

Finally all 12 of us plus the 2 M’s were ordering. Ever see a waitress take 14 orders each on a separate sheet on her pad? Got it all ordered and when ready delivered each in the order she wrote them. Not one slip up. The food was delightful and since Howard and I tested low that a.m. in blood sugar test we were allowed (would have anyway) to cheat and have dessert. Since I only ate half of mine I have a half a cheat left in storage.

Finished lunch and found rain had stopped but it was hot. Can’t please everyone, huh?

Back to the Manor and now settled in to elderly living – not old, elderly.

To straighten out remarks as to Martha being a Jeff Gordon I need to point out he was and is a champion. Worry not Martha. I think back to Brother Bud who was an excellent driver. He handled all kinds of vehicles – car, truck, jeep. The highest compliment he could pay a woman was to declare, &uot;She drives like a man.&uot; Take a bow Martha.

Florence Arena lives in Smithfield and is a regular News-Herald columnist.