As we've mentioned in our last post, we've had two nurses, Simmoune and Kaitlyn share stories when they visited Best Day. And it is our profound pleasure to share these stories with you today, along with a little extra story from one of our older buds:
The plane had just landed, and we were getting ready to grab our bags from the overhead compartment. My dad hastily got up from his seat and started fumbling through our bags making sure we had everything-our luggage was over the weight limit so we had to pay extra; we had to make sure our money wasn’t wasted. Looking back, it seemed inevitable that we would overpack. How do you fit your entire life into 4 checked bags and a couple of carry-ons?
My little sister started to wail as my mother started getting up from her seat. The suddenly noisy sounds of the entire plane trying to get all their bags and exist must have been a shock to her peaceful nap. My mother tried her best to soothe her, but her cried just got louder. At 4 moths old, she was already making sure her voice was heard. While my dad gathered all the carry-ons and my mother continued to try calming my sister down, I followed behind with my little Hello Kitty rolling backpack.
Soon after getting out of the long line to exit the plane, we were met with another long line at customs. We waited for what seemed like an eternity. During which I started to think about what lay beyond the customs agents’ cubicles? What was America like? I wondered what it would look like; would it be similar to the UK? Would I make new friends? In the middle of pondering these questions, my dad tapped me out of my trance. He asked, “Are you ready?” Although I didn’t know if I was ready or not, I put on as brave a face as I could and I said “OK.”
By Kaitlyn Downey
Summer of Fire
This summer I worked on a local fire crew doing wild land firefighting back home in Montana. I have done this every summer since high school, and this was my fourth and final summer doing so. I was sent on a two-week assignment about 9 hours away to fight a fire that was a couple thousand acres big.
I was nervous, but excited to get the experience (and money) that came along with it. We drove the 9 hours to Billing, MT and by the next morning, were headed to the mountains. Little did I know we were going to be camping up there for the full 2 weeks… We set up camp with our tents, sleeping bags and campfires.
Each morning we would wake up at 5am to the chilly summer aur, get our yellows/greens and boots on, and away we went. Hiking a couple miles into the fire, working our 12 hours, and then back to camp. This repeated daily until we reached our day 14. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically but the group of 19 people I was with made it all worth it. We grew very close, shared lots of laughs, and made so many memories. By the time our assignment was done, I felt like I had known everyone for much longer than the 2 weeks we spent together.
Heading down off the mountain and back to the nearest city, I had one thing on my mind- a long, hot shower. I will always remember this experience and I’m very glad I got to share it with the people I did.
A Good Lesson
I am a fairly happy person and always have been. Although I have had plenty of personal problems in my life, especially with health, family and various friendships, as I am sure we all have being seniors. The longer one lives eventually all kinds of experiences follow. It seems I always spring back, after all, in a reasonable amount of time.
The state of the worlds human problems always seems to be a weight on my mind. As child I worried about war, people starving, elderly people in nursing homes. You name it, I worried about it trying to think of a solution for it.
For instance, once in my childhood I suppose I must have been about six years old coming from my grandmother’s house which was about four blocks from mine. I saw a man which would probably qualify got the title, Bum! Now days I suppose the terminology for his description would be homeless. As I remember I kept staring at him. He fascinated me with his way of caring for himself there on the pavement. Folding his shabby blanket, brushing his warm coat, smoothing his beard, slicking his hair back with his hand, wetting his face with the tiny glass that contained a small amount of water in it he poured carefully in his hand, the remainder he drank not wasting a drop.
He didn’t see me observing. In those days I was always quick to take action. He sparked my problem-solving skills. I immediately thought of my mother I could hear her in my mind as clear as day. She would never let anyone go without who was in need. She would say it’s the right thing to do. “That’s it”, I said, she meant it! I’m taking him home.
I decided to let myself be known. I quickly introduced myself, asked him a few questions, i.e. what was his name? I think it was Nick. Where was his family? He said he didn’t have one for a long time. I said, Do you have a mother? “She’s been gone for a very long time”, he replied.
I looked into his eyes, I remember liking what I saw. He reminded me of Uncle Remus, you know from the Walt Disney movie. I told him I wanted to take him home with me, my mother would take care of him since he didn’t have a mother and no home. I didn’t know then, but he must have been as naïve as I was. I took this gentle giant soul by the hand and we walked off to my house.
He seemed shy when we got to the steps. I knocked on the door briefly. Mommy came to the door with a terrified look on her face. I didn’t understand this look.
She grabs out for me and says, “Are you alright? What’s happened?” I said, “I found Nick and he needs a house and a family. I remember you told me you would help anybody. I told him you would let him live with us.” Well I guess you know pretty much how that situation turned out.
Nick didn’t get to live with us, but my mother gave him something to eat and wrote something on a paper she gave to him. He sat on the porch. I was told to tell Mr. Nick good-bye, nice meeting you and was sent in the house. Later I found out mommy gave him Father Mitchell’s number. He was our head Priest at the parish. She told him that she had sent Nick to him. Father let us know later they were able to he will be alright.
I learned a good lesson.
If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds have stories honoring our healthcare workers, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.