This morning I mentioned Dona, a long-time friend, in an entry. Writing about her really laid her on my heart, and when Cliff and I decided to go for a spin on the Honda, I suggested we visit her at the nursing home, less than twenty miles away. It was too cool for a long ride anyhow.
As soon as we entered the rest home Cliff spotted Dona cruising around in her wheel chair. When I called her by name, she turned to see us and lit up like a Christmas tree. I think we were a pleasant surprise for her.
We met Bud and Dona on the CB radio, of all things, back around 1976. Cliff was coming home from the butcher shop each evening at the same time Bud, a postman, was coming in from Kansas City. We all ran channel 8 on our CB's, and took turns talking back and forth to our spouses, being careful not to "walk on" one another. (Boy, that takes me back to the old CB slang!) Cliff's handle was "Jersey" and I was "Jersey Mama" (for the cows). Bud was Big Ace, and Dona was Cupid; they called their home base "the funnyfarm".
One evening when I mentioned to Cliff... over the air waves... that I needed a battery for my power mike, Bud (a total stranger) broke in and offered to pick one up for us, since he was in the city each day. "All you'll have to do is come and get it," he said.
Turned out they lived only five miles from us, and we became good friends. When we first met, they had a Jersey milk cow and I had two or three. Later on they achieved what was, at that time, a dream of mine: They built up a small herd of Jersey cows and had a grade C dairy.
Dona and I both liked to garden, and freeze or can the produce. We loved all things country: goats, ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese. And of course, our Jersey cows.
Often, if she was going someplace interesting during the day, she'd stop and pick me up, knowing I didn't drive and it would be a treat to get out of the house.
If Cliff had car trouble, he'd call Bud.
During an extended tough financial time we had after Cliff's R. B. Rice job ended, Bud offered to loan us a few hundred (or thousand) dollars to get us through. We declined, of course. But I've never been more touched by an offer from a friend.
So today at the rest home, we talked about motorcycles and Jersey cows and our ages and anniversaries. I inquired about her kids.
I asked if her sister still kept in touch, which brought her to tears instantly. "She died," Dona said, sobbing.
She's had some dementia ever since the stroke, but we could tell it's gotten worse. She told us the same stories two or three times. She informed us she is saving her money so she can buy another dairy herd: "Why, I made over $500 a month when I was milking," she said. "And all I had to do was put the milkers on the cows and then clean up the buckets when I was done."
I'm so glad we went. We'll be visiting her again from time to time.
Isn't it sad the way we lose touch with people?