uite a bit of the work I do as The Eldersitter is, well, stressful. There are appointments to schedule and attend, medical histories to learn and commit to memory, lists of medication to manage, personalities to accommodate, meals to cook, laundry to wash, floors to clean, reminders to exercise to issue, hurt feelings from loss of abilities to salve, clothing to put on Mom, shoes to put on Dad--the list goes on and on.
But, there are a lot of wonderful things involved in eldersitting, not the least of which is having time to listen to stories of the past. Dad has been telling me lots of them, particularly when we are driving to doctor appointments. A couple of weeks ago, I heard the best one yet: that of Uncle riding the rails.
There used to be a railroad track that went right past my Grandma's back yard. Over the years, rail traffic in that area diminished to the point there was only one train each direction per day. Dad doesn't remember if it was then that Uncle did this stunt, or if it was after the trains stopped altogether but the tracks had not yet been removed. Uncle used to go for an unusual kind of joy ride.
Apparently, Uncle and his friends had figured out that if you had the right width vehicle and used bias ply tires with some of the air let out, you could drive along the railroad tracks without steering! (How much experimenting did they do before finding the right width vehicle and correct tire pressure is what I want to know!)
So anyway, Uncle would do this from time to time. In the dark. With the headlights off.
Once, he was riding the rails and decided to turn on his headlights--just as he was going over a bridge!! I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was his last rail ride!