An older lady lived down the hall from me for years. As a matter of fact she lived in the apartment building the day it opened to the public. Her apartment number matched her date of birth. I figured being a senior citizen she didn’t have much company so I took it upon myself to go visit and check in on her. To my surprise she was quite irritated by me popping in from time to time. It turns out “Mrs. Jones” was raised in a huge family and her children constantly dropped in on her. One day when I came by she opened the door with “Bebop” in her arms and told me not to come back. She said she wanted to enjoy her old age in peace. She slammed the door in my face. I suppose when you have a host of children waiting on you hand in foot, calling you all hours of the day to interrupt your soap operas the last thing you need is some do-good neighbor knocking on your door.
On one my many visits when she put up with me I was able to see all her treasures collected over the years. I witnessed the decay of furniture older than me, of mismatched wall paper that covered parts of the wall surely never painted since she moved in. I saw shag green carpet and of course Bebop. He was always well taken care of. Bebop was brushed and friendly but surely as old as his mistress. He ate from a fake crystal dish under her wobbly kitchen table covered in an antique pea green cloth. He slept on her bed and at her swollen feet. They were a pair not to be disturbed. Together they grew older down the hall until the day when it was time for Mrs. Jones to go home.
Mrs. Jones, though I was a source of irritation to you and constantly interrupted your late year peace I did enjoy rummaging through your apartment and listening to stories of the old days. Thank you for your time. I have a secret to tell you though, I visited more for me than you. I knew you had a lot to offer but I should have met you in your younger years when you had more time for the constant questions of a neighbor with a hidden agenda..... Seek wisdom from a unique individual before the wisdom is lost.