I got a call from my grandmother the other day. (The one in the senior living home.) The call went something like this:
Grams: Abby, this is your grandmother. Say, I need another shipment of chickens.
Me: I just sent you a dozen, you need more?
Grams: Well, yes. I was at breakfast the other morning when I opened your box and, you know, Sally from down the hall says, “where did you get those chickens?” And now she wants a box for her grandkids.
Me: Ok, I’ll order them today. Are you going to start racing?
Grams: I’m working on the director right now.
A dozen chickens. Well ten chickens and two rabbits to be exact. If the NSA were listening to our phone call they would think we are both off our rockers. Grams is referring to wind up chickens. The little toys that have a white plastic knob on the side that you wind up and then they bounce around the floor…exactly, you think we are nuts too.
It started like this. A few years a go she found wind up chickens and bunnies at the dollar store and thought they would make great gifts for her red hat lady friends at their next function. Or maybe she wanted to have wind up toy races then too, The details escape me, but the point is, she has had an affinity for wind up toys for some time. When we visited over Thanksgiving she bonded with my son, her great grandson, through these silly wind up toys she had all over her house. For most of our time there, all I heard about was how much she would love to have chicken races, but she couldn’t find the toys at the dollar store any more. After we left, I was really tired of chicken talk.
Then for Christmas, I thought it would be fun for P to gift Grams a dozen wind up chickens… or ten chickens and two bunnies. Since Amazon has everything, she became the proud owner of a box of wind up toys. The calls have been coming ever since for more chickens, and I, the loving granddaughter, obliges.
You could think this is silly and childish, and to some degree, you would be right. But there is a reason I feed her obsession. She is finding joy in the simplest of things. It is giving her something to talk about that isn’t about failing health or the weather. It’s making her and those around her smile. There goes Barb with her chickens! She is in heaven.
On a deeper level, the joy in something so minute is having an affect on her health. Joy and laughter do a few of the following:
- raises endorphins which temporarily relieves pain
- helps the heart by increasing blood flow and improves function of the blood vessels
- reduces depression, which is high in an assisted living home
Honestly, it brings me joy to see her happy. If nothing else, and her body fails her, I hope she is still laughing about supplying everyone in her world with wind up chickens! This is yet another valuable lesson my Grams is teaching me even though she doesn’t know it.
Let me know if you need a shipment of chickens. I’m sure I’ll be ordering more soon.