The word glorious was born on a day like today. Pure blue skies. Soft, whispering breezes. Brilliant sunshine beaming down with a hint of shyness. It's been ages since it took center stage up here in the Northeast.

She sits in her wheelchair in the hall. I've been coming to see her since early winter, and this is the first time that her eyes have been open. Usually, I have to talk to her and pat her hand to wake her up. The first time, I was afraid to do that. But the nurse said go ahead. She's only sleeping because she's got nothing else to do.

"Why are you here?" the old woman asks me.

"To see you." I sit down in the chair next to her and grin. She doesn't scare me anymore. I don't scare her, either.

"You have better things to do," she says.

"Not now I don't," I say.

"They say it might get nice one of these days," she says.

"It's glorious today," I tell her.

Sitting in this hallway in this nursing home, she can't see the world outside. For all she knows, snow still blankets the ground. Or it's raining. In her room, she can see one tree across the parking lot. But she can't see the sky. Her bed isn't by the window.

Suddenly, I have an idea. Can I take my friend outside, I ask the nurse behind the desk. She says it's fine with her. Just get her back in time for lunch.

"You wanna go for a little ride?" I ask my 91-year-old friend.

She blinks and shrugs. "Oh, sure. Why not. I have nothing else to do."

I dash back to her room and grab a blanket for her legs. Her knees are always cold, she tells me. I lay the blanket, an old-fashioned afghan crocheted in a dozen different colors, on her lap. And we're off.

I punch in the code at the exit door and wheel her out backwards. When we get outside, I turn her wheelchair around so she can face this day without any walls to block her view. For the first time in a year, at least, she comes face to face with spring. She inhales and exclaims, "Oh my."

She's grinning like a Cheshire cat, her cornflower blue eyes wider than a 9-month-old's, and I'm as nervous as her new mother. It's a little windy. Is it too chilly out here for her? The leaves on the trees are too new to give much shade. Is it too hot? Should I take her back inside?

I hear a little giggle and peer down at her. She is beaming like a child who is seeing life for the first time. I relax and push her over beside a wooden bench. I turn her wheelchair around so her face isn't directly in the sun, and I sit down next to her.

"Pretty beautiful day, isn't it?" I ask.

"It's so blue. So huge. The sky. Not one cloud anywhere. It's so blue."

A gentle wind picks up a lock of her thin, snow white hair and caresses it. I wonder if I should take her back inside and get a scarf. But if I do, that will take up almost all the time we have before she has to go to lunch. Besides, she doesn't seem to mind the wind blowing her hair. In fact, she doesn't seem to mind anything at all.

She breathes in deeply. She stares at the sky and then at the birch tree by the front of the building. She sighs.

"Those buds are green," she says.

Usually, she keeps up a good chatter when I visit each week. The same stories stored in her fragile memory. Of her mother, long gone. And her only son. She adores him.

But no same stories today. No same tears, either. Today, she sits with a quiet smile on her face while the wind plays in her hair and the sun pats her cold hands. A bumblebee buzzes by, and she waves.

"Good day, Mr. Bee."



Lorraine Lordi lives in Londonderry. To order the most recent collection of her favorite Derry News columns, visit www.plumriverpress.com.



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