New Perspectives Come From Unexpected Sources
I've had the privilege of interacting with older adults my entire life, and in fact, my career both as a nurse and then social service worker centered on the senior population. I learned so much from those interactions. They've colored my thinking and opened my eyes to situations and experiences I would never have imagined myself.
In social service, my role was to visit older adults in the community who might need some assistance in maintaining their independence. The agency offered various services such as light housekeeping and personal care, handyman service and more, with those unable to pay full price offered co-pay by the agency.
One day, our office received a referral from a concerned church member about a older gentleman living alone. The gentleman had no family living nearby and was somewhat of a curmudgeon, thus not having many close friends. After making contact with said gentleman, I arranged an agreed-upon date and time to visit his home.
As I parked my car behind the one already parked out front, I couldn't help but notice the many NRA (National Rifle Association) bumper stickers on that car. Between the report by the church member that this gentleman was a little rough around the edges and the sight of the numerous NRA bumper stickers on what I assumed to be his car in the driveway, I was already developing a mental image of this man.
He ushered me into his home, instructing me to sit on the couch as he sat down in an upholstered chair directly across from me. The gentleman was pleasant, but didn't see how I or my agency could be of any assistance to him.
And just like that, he reached down in the chair between the seat cushion and chair arm and brought out what looked to me to be a derringer. He held his arm, bent at the elbow, pointing the small gun directly at me! I said nothing, tried not to look alarmed, and waited for the gentleman to make the next move or say the next thing.
He set the gun on his lap and began telling me some of his life story. He and his wife had never had children, but they did share a love and that was for sharpshooting. As a couple, they had won trophies and events from around the country. The accounts were fascinating and any fear I had felt quickly dissipated.
With great pride, the gentleman walked me to another room where some of his gun collection was stored and displayed. It was with reverence that he explained what gun was used for what type of shooting, which ones had been his wife's and more. He handed me a pistol that held special importance to him, after assuring me it was not loaded. It was then I knew then that he accepted my presence and would perhaps in time allow our agency to provide some services to improve his quality of life.
I've not met anyone quite like this gentleman before or since, but I'm convinced my life experience is richer for having met him and developing what turned out to be a good working relationship.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/annie-oakley-woman-person-american-391456/ by skeeze