Mother was always faithful when it came to Church attendance. You could always find her at Sunday School and preaching services on any given Sunday. I've mentioned before that she was a Sunday School Teacher, Deacon's wife and choir member most of her adult life.
We had some newcomers to come join at our church one Sunday and for some reason mother took a liken to them and they to her. The woman, Joan, was somewhere in the age range of her forties while her husband Kenneth, was some eight years older. This couple sat directly in front of mother most Sundays. They started talking and began a close friendship.
Several years ago, mother had some major surgery done. At this time, dementia had not yet reared it's ugly head. This statement alone would cause some discussion in our family. As we entered the waiting area in the hospital, there sat the Jolley's, Kenneth and Joan. Always there to comfort, visit or call,they were a permanent presence in mother's life from then on out. Kenneth enjoyed turkey hunting when the season came around and mother's farm was well furnished with these "Thanksgiving birds." Mother gave Kenneth permission to hunt on her property, which was a compliment in itself, as mother has a very strong attachment to all of her animal friends. Her exact orders were, "You can only kill one!"
Time went on and mother's dementia took over most of her life so she had to stop attending church. This did not deter Kenneth. He would call and check on mother every week and to this day, still does.
One day, Kenneth was off from work, so he and Joan decided they would come for a visit. Later that evening, I called to check on mother and asked if anyone had come to visit. She replied, "Yes, an old man and his daughter that live down near the edge of the pasture." I said, "mother, there's not anybody like that living near you." We argued back and forth for awhile, so I asked her to describe them. She told me that he was just an "old man," and his daughter was with him but she didn't think she was married. She said she didn't know their names and she sure didn't think much of that old man coming to see her and bringing his daughter. While quizzing her, she gave up one piece of information that sounded familiar. Kenneth, has always teased me about being older than him. Whether that's the truth, I don't know. But, mother told me that the "old man" said to be sure and tell his "big sister" hey. Well, this is what Kenneth had always referred to me as, so now I knew who the mystery visitors were. It didn't take me long to dial up the Jolleys and inform Kenneth that mother thought he was an old man who had come to court her and had brought his unmarried daughter along.
Another instance concerning an "old man and his daughter happened about a year ago. It was a very cold night and mother was trying to get her dog Annie into the house for the night. As she opened the back door and began calling Annie, a little girl stuck her head around the corner of the house and said "just what dog are you looking for?" Mother told us that the little girl's daddy was an old man and stood up on the bank watching. She was upset because she said "it was none of their business which dog she was looking for." She couldn't get over the fact that neighbors would come down there in the middle of the night and it as cold as it was, nosing in her business!
It's very interesting to me, the characters that mother comes up with in her hallucinations. I have to say though, out of all of them, the "old man and his daughter" have tickled me the most as now I can be the one to tease Kenneth about who's the oldest! I truly thank God for people like the Jolley's who have remained close and faithful friends to mother in spite of it all!