Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day at Symphony Manor - Poem: Labor Day Labor Day!

Every Monday I drive down to SM in Feasterville, clutching the directions in my hand.
Yesterday was no different. Here's the tough part:

At the Y take Bridgetown Pike.

Then make a Left on Buck Road.

I never find Buck Road but that's OK b/c all you do is make a left on any "thru road."

And - voila! - there it is.

I back into a parking space, leave my windows open if it looks like it won't rain, and walk in.

The group is sitting there in the huge room. Josh, the activities director, is talking and joshing with them.

  He told me they'd just been talking about the upcoming presidential election.

Ooh, I said, we gotta make sure they vote.

Those that can, he said.

Yes, I said, thinking about an awful experience I had for the last election, Obama's second term. I volunteered with a simply awful woman - they give you partners - and we went to a nursing home where everyone was just about dead.

They lay in a huge room, each person had their own bed where they were strapped to machines, each person  making a horrible snoring-snorting-sound, often talking nonsense.

Are these human beings? Is it right to keep them alive? 

My partner had left. She couldn't stand it. But, me, I was very curious.

If these people could see themselves! Would they want it this way?

I sat on their beds and attempted conversation. Most were totally out of it. Symphony Manor has a Memory Unit. I don't work there. But Josh told me that's what it's like.

Thankfully some people enjoy working with them, like Natalia who got me this job.

Labor Day began in 1882.

I suggested to our group that we write a Labor Day Song. After all there are songs for other holidays. We went around the room and I asked everyone what kind of work they all did. I jotted everything on the huge roll of white paper in the front of the room and we made a song of it.


Watermelon peaches apples
the last celebration of summer
Labor Day is here!

We remember working at Woolworth’s
serving Root Beer Floats

Answering the phone at Bell Tell
Milking the cows on the farm
O that delicious warm milk

Packing salad – potato salad and cole slaw
Writing checks for the Pitcairns
who were good to him

Helping develop new drugs like Benedryl
and Dexedrine for weight loss

Taking shorthand from Howard Katzen,
wonderful boss at the furniture store

He played the strings of the Day and they
roared at the Mummer’s Day Parade

A work-free day, a stress-free day.
Bring out the BBQ, the ribs, the hot dog,
the chicken and burgers and don’t forget
the Watermelon and Pink Lemonade.


They asked me if I'd like to eat the special BBQ meal outside.

Sure I did. I sat with some friends in a shadey corner out of the sun. 

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