CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: And the Days Linger On, to a Precious Few …

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Where’s my appointments secretary? I need a haircut. And a tux. Gather the underlings. Prepare a news release and set up a press conference. Hold on, first contact Ng to do my nails and Ngo to walk on my back. ASAP. Stat. Hayaku. 

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Can you believe it will be seven hundred and thirty days tomorrow?!?!

Yup, One August Twenty Thirteen, two years right on the button since I walked through the lobby at 325 S. Boyle Avenue and began my first day as a resident of Keiro Retirement Home, known to some as a facility.

It’s no big never no mind to folks who are living in familiar and comfortable trappings of home. For me, after more than a half-century of knowing where the newspaper lands every morning, what time the mailman comes and which window sticks after it rains, getting accustomed to living in a two-room apartment off a corridor was daunting; and greeted by friendly neighbors who are offended if there is no response to cordial “good mornings.” Let me tell you, it has sometimes been a trying transition.

Can’t rightly remember how I survived Year #1. Considering I wound up in a hospital ER soon after arrival would explain the lack of memory. I recall a dramatic blackout, a siren blaring ambulance ride, and a bleeding ulcer diagnosis; which was staunched, only to find another. Since the source of blood transfusions is never disclosed, I could have six units of Hugh Hefner’s in me. Or some other ancient dude, who knows?

So yeah, CR2S is upbeat and optimistic these days. Even though I can’t seem to gain weight [0.7 lb. last month] despite never missing breakfast; a meal routinely disregarded when home-housed. While 40% of Americans are overweight, I’m right where I was when enlisting in the Army at 17. But if that is a shortcoming, life is good. 

I repeat: Life is Good. The KRH food situation has taken a dramatic upswing, which is the best news. Without appetizing sustenance, what doth one have? Zilch. As nominal head of the Food Committee, the assumption could be my vast gastronomical expertise is paying local dividends.Nope, my acumen has nothing to do with the improvement: A new chef has brought zest to the daily fare, variety and appetite.

With stomach satisfaction, nothing else really important. My rooms are almost soundproof, a plus that needs no elaboration, and they are clean and airy. Linen is changed weekly and laundry taken care of every Friday. Since wardrobe is almost entirely wash and wear, ironing is a chore of the past. Helpful ladies at sewing center take care of fitting needs. 

There is an abundance of classes and instruction in everything imaginable: exercise, ukulele, karaoke, origami, games, dance, craft, ikebana, movies et al, trips to Walmart, Gardena, Costco, Hollywood Bowl, Montebello mall, Indian casinos, with a schedule of transportation to Li’l Tokio for shopping and appointments.

A selfless, compassionate corps of volunteers [a shout-out for a speedy Betty Y recovery] makes everything happen, and supports a dedicated staff that works in seamless harmony. If I were a Nisei or Sansei looking for something productive and satisfying to do, I would consider joining the volunteer program here in some capacity. Whether it’s as a driver, instructor, social interaction or professional service, there is a way you can assist/contribute and enjoy the interaction. As a one-time enticement, CR2S will reward the first new volunteer(ette) to help hang pictures on my barren walls.

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I don’t have a hidden cache of beer or booze and I’ve quit taking pain pills. Fact of the matter is, I’ve cut down my prescription medicines to zero. In checking around, that would make me one rare human being.  I won’t bore you with philosophical or religious mien, but you gotta figure all this gung-ho, look-at-me stuff has got to be the result of something positive. Who cares what as long as it continues unabated and unabashed.

And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m concluding this week’s remarks and not a single reference to“O-bah-keh-sama.”  

Rest assured, “O” is alive and well. But she’s only made two visitations during the month; interspersed were three telephone rings; two on the 22nd, the last sleep interruption experienced in July. So yeah, the curtain seems in slow descent on the 17-month phenomena. For sure the intrigue and interest level remains; it’s just that we’ve reached the point where citing dates and numbers is of no consequence. One day down the road a piece, I’ll take another whack at trying to make sense of the “tap tap tap” mystery.

Meanwhile, a reminder: If you haven’t already, start thinking about what you’re going to do “when it comes time.” While it’s never too early, it can be too late.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.


 

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