Ruth and Michele’s Excellent Adventure

By Michele

They say she had spunk. They say she had spirit. I say she had a real sense of adventure. For a 94 year old who had just a couple of years earlier endured a broken elbow and let it heal on its own, Ruth had all of the above!

It was September 2012, in Tucson, after the celebration luncheon of the Lend A Hand Senior Writing Group. We had a 4th birthday party at Pappy’s Diner. I was to take Ruth home.

Armed with her remote control garage door opener, The Genie, we pulled into her driveway. I aimed the Genie at the door clicking it twice. I know, I shoulda, woulda, coulda clicked only once, but . . . It began to raise – up, up, up. It opened to 5 inches from the ground and stopped.

Ruth knew a double click always meant trouble. So began Ruth and Michele’s Excellent Adventure.

I exited the van. “Maybe I could encourage the door up with the right push. Maybe it would go down and then up again,” I thought. Push! Pull! Tug! Force!

No way! The door was not budging.

I returned to the driver’s seat. “Ruth, are you carrying your house keys?” I hoped.

“No, why would I need to when I use the back door?” she said.

Think. Think. Think, Michele.

I was concerned about keeping Ruth hydrated as we sat in the van on that warm September day. She was concerned about our predicament. She insisted we call her son; he would have the keys to let us in.

We called. He and his wife were driving to Vail, about 30 miles away. They were nearer to Vail than Tucson.

Our adventure continued.

I told him we would call a locksmith and not to turn around to come to save us, but Ruth thought they should turn around and come home immediately. He gave us the phone contact of a locksmith and I called. The dispatcher promised he would be there within the hour.

I opened up two bottles of water to keep us cool.

Somehow, I couldn’t believe Ruth would be so ready to relegate the solution to this problem to someone else – like her son. She was the epitome of the independent woman, even at 94 years.

“Ruth, we are grown women. We can figure this out on our own,” I told her. I am pretty sure she did not agree with me, especially since I was the grown woman who double clicked the Genie.

Why wouldn’t that Genie work? Think.

Another turn in the adventure . . .

“Ruth, let’s go over to Home Depot to see if we can get an idea about reprogramming Genie; it’ll be an adventure.”

We drove the short distance to Home Depot, got out and carefully navigated to the information desk. Ruth chatted with three young women clerks at the desk. While I was researching the 800 number for the Genie, Ruth was telling the ladies that she was 94, was locked out of her home and that we were having an adventure!

No luck with the Genie contact! So, we returned home to wait for the locksmith.

Then, it dawned on me. Why not reboot the Genie? Take the batteries out and break the control on the door? It would be just like canceling computer commands by rebooting. Ta Da! It worked.

The adventure was not over as the locksmith needed to be cancelled. Ruth’s son and daughter-in-law were alerted. Lastly, Ruth needed to get into her favorite chair and relax. I gave her a hug and congratulated her on the adventure, replaced the Genie, and was proud of us grown women surviving the day. She didn’t say, but I suspect Ruth was proud of us too.

June 2013