In all of my 60-plus years of driving motor vehicles I have never had a collision with another vehicle until last year and then again this year. Neither of these were deemed to be my fault, just terrible damage. Last year the vehicle with 30-some thousand miles was totaled; this year the hit by another vehicle was limited to the front right corner, fender and door frame and some damage under underneath that turned out to be worse than it looked. Thus I still don’t have a vehicle. I had to return the loaner I had been using as I had used up the amount the insurance allows for that purpose. Sad story, eh?
My family doesn’t have any extra vehicles that they would be able to allow Granny Lee to use. I don’t blame them; it has become too expensive to insure a vehicle that is used only occasionally. I’m really stuck.
I have many friends and neighbors who are willing to provide transportation for basic needs, but I feel that I don’t want to be a burden too often and too long. I have plenty to take care of here; weeds in the vegetable garden; grass that grows fast and needs mowing regularly, but that doesn’t get me to medical appointments or church. It’s not fun to have to ask for a ride every time one needs something. Sometimes I think I should just try out life in a facility for the aged.
My problem is that I love doing what I do. I love growing vegetables to put away for winter and to share with friends and family. I love to see the colorful flowers in my yard; for some people caring for them is work, for me it’s joy.
From early spring I am able to enjoy to the bright yellow of daffodils throughout the yard. Next, the various colors of tulips from pale to deep red which take their turn through spring time. Iris, follow as well as peonies. For the rest of the summer there is something colorful all of the time.
In the meantime, I have turned my main room in the lower level downstairs into a place to start vegetable and flowers, to start tiny plants from seeds under lights hung from in the ceiling. Everything from tomato and peppers and zinnias and sunflowers; several hundred plants in flats at first, then transplanted into individual pots. As soon as danger of frost is over, the whole thing is moved to the garage or outdoors depending on the weather. I share as many plants as I can at that point with friends, neighbors, and relatives and sort out the strongest ones that I can for planting in my gardens.
Yes, I am getting slower it seems with all of this each year; still, it’s what I love to do and I haven’t been willing to cut back very much. My priorities are for the growing things; my social life seems to be what has suffered.
These last few weeks have been difficult; dealing with the automobile damage repair, the insurance company, along with my springtime work outside in my yard and seed starting in the house, and keeping track of where and when I may be able to get my damaged vehicle fixed and returned. There have been times that I have wondered if I could keep it all together. I have been widowed and responsible for more than 20 years for my home and health and finances. Fortunately, I have some handy family that can help when they have time and with emergencies. Also I have very wonderful neighbors who are often willing to help. I do my best to reciprocate; I bake homemade bread and share that as well as when garden produce is ready I share what I can.
I finally got my own car back last Tuesday; all repaired by a very skilled repair person who had to wait for the final necessary part. I had begun to wonder whether if it would happen. But it has, and I can just breathe deeply and try to catch up with everything I have had to let go.
Lee Haight is a lifelong resident of Wisconsin whose background includes farm wife and mother of six, legal secretary, teacher and pastor.